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      • Contactplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Contact

        If you have a burning desire to contact me, use the discussion form below. Anything you say remains private between you and me.
      • Cookie Policy & GDPRplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Cookie Policy & GDPR

        There are NO tracking cookies on this site!

        The Cookie policy is straightforward. This site only uses cookies that are required to make your experience of using this site better, and only uses session cookies (see exceptions below). Session cookies are deleted when you close your browser.
      • Downloadsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Downloads

        Orbital Calculator Current Version This is a portable application, meaning there is no installer. Just unzip into a folder and run the executable. Since it is portable, it can be run from a USB stick.

        A full description and a list of the features are available
      • International Space Stationplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big International Space Station

        This page has a portal through which you can view the current location of the International Space Station, updating in real-time. The tracker itself comes from the European Space Agency (ESA).

        Part of the tool doesn't seem to be working properly yet, raising an error when the widget first loads. A possible explanation for the error is detailed below. There is also a handy link to get email notifications direct from NASA when the ISS is visible in your night sky.
      • Mars Mission Locatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars Mission Locator

        [Mars Missions] The location of all the missions that have gone to Mars can be confusing when you don't know where they went. Many missions never made it to the surface successfully, or had a malfunction that prevented them from working properly. Some of the landers introduced themselves to the surface with a little too much vigour. Others sailed on past Mars never to be seen again.
      • Mars Weather Reportsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars Weather Reports

        These reports are provided by NASA's InSight lander in the south-west corner of Elysium Planitia. Daily readings are usually a couple of days behind reality (it takes time for the lander to transmit its data back to Earth).
      • NASA Image of the Dayplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big NASA Image of the Day

        Date: Fri 14th August, 2020

        Title: NGC 5189: An Unusually Complex Planetary Nebula

        Why is this nebula so complex? When a star like our Sun is dying, it will cast off its outer layers, usually into a simple overall shape. Sometimes this shape is a sphere, sometimes a double lobe, and sometimes a ring or a helix.
      • Perseverance Roverplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Perseverance Rover

        Perseverance has launched succesfully and the clock is now counting flight time. It is due to land on Mars on

        * Feb 18th 2021. * * * * * * *

        Watch this page for updated information as we move closer to and beyond launch. Thumbnail to help Facebook:
      • Rules on Reviewingplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Rules on Reviewing

        First off, you should know I only have a limited amount of time, so I can't review a hundred novels at once. Sorry, but that's basic physics for you. If I agree to review your novel, you may have to wait a while for me to get around to it, and then I'll need time to read it. I only review hard copies.
        • A Keen Interest In Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big A Keen Interest In Mars

          [MOLA globe of Mars]You may have noticed from pages such as the Mars Weather Report page, that I have a keen interest in Mars, Martian weather, and the InSight lander.

          Mars itself, and the incredible science we are doing there is of course a fascination in and of itself. However, my interest goes deeper than that. My latest novel (at the time this article was written - March 2019) is about the exploration of Mars. NASA have provided a wealth of data and information for …
        • A New Siteplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big A New Site

          Yup, the old site was as ugly as sin and to find a blog entry you had to scroll through the feed or take your chances with the search option.

          This new site is just as easy to maintain, has extensive search capabilities, and both orders and structures the entries. Not only does this make it easier for you to find stuff, it encourages you to browse around. It's not as ugly either.
        • Getting To Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Getting To Mars

          [Mars] Edit: updated to include

          There are multiple ways to get to Mars, and each has pros and cons. The one thing they all have in common is orbital mechanics. Some options can get to Mars in a short period of time, while others could take up to a year. Some are better suited for robotic missions, others for crewed missions. This article takes a look at the problems of getting to Mars (and getting back) and what options are available.
        • How do I Calculate Distance from Period?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big How do I Calculate Distance from Period?

          I've been asked how Orbital Calculator can calculate the distance an object is from a gravitational mass, using just its period (the time it takes to complete an orbit). The technique is relatively simple, so I'll explain it.
        • Martian Spring Weirdnessplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Martian Spring Weirdness

          [Mars (northern hemisphere)]Spring in the northern hemisphere of Mars is odd to say the least. The further the season moves away from winter, the warmer we should expect things to get, but this is not the case. It gets colder. By examining why, we can see why Earth is pretty much a special case, and begin to be able to predict weather patterns on other planets.
        • NASA Boarding Passplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big NASA Boarding Pass

          I took the plunge and got my NASA boarding pass for the Mars 2020 Rover mission.

          [NASA Boarding pass for Mars 2020 Mission]

          Get yours here: NASA Website SEND YOUR NAME TO MARS
        • NASA Receives 2 Emmy Awardsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big NASA Receives 2 Emmy Awards

          NASA recently won (14th-15th Sept 2019) two Emmy's for interactive content. Aside from the obvious achievements of winning the awards, there is something else going on here that should be recognised and encouraged. Awards, of course, are intended to recognise, encourage and promote excellence, but I'm talking about NASA not only reaching out to the public, but interactively engaging them.
        • Orbital Calculator v1.0.0.5 Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Calculator v1.0.0.5 Update

          You can now calculate distance from a gravitational mass using the orbital period. The image above shows a calculation for Mars which has a 687 day year.

          I've allowed the use of tokens to identify time components to make it easy to use. The examples shown in the image should explain how it works.
        • Orbital Shenanigansplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Shenanigans

          [MOLA map of Mars coloured by elevation]

          Edited: 2019-03-14

          Sometimes when you do some research – actually, quite often – you find out some really interesting stuff and end up changing your mind. In my story, I had some people on the ground on Mars, and wanted a spacecraft in a geostationary orbit above them to give them communications between them at all times. Just for info, when talking about geostationary orbits, the accepted term for Mars is aerostationary. I’ll use g…
        • Adjustment to Mars Clocksplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Adjustment to Mars Clocks

          [Martian clock showing time at the prime meridian] The Martian clocks (keeping Martian time) on the Mars Weather page also display the L (pron. ell sub ess) - a way of describing where the planet is in its orbit, and the displacement of the sun in the sky at midday. I noticed the value for this was out by some distance, and after pondering the problem (and the code) for a while, the penny dropped.
        • Automatic Weather Updatesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Automatic Weather Updates

          The Mars Weather page is now 99.99% automatic, with rebuilds regularly throughout the day. The 0.001% that's not automated? Once a week I have to update the image that shows the relative positions of the inner planets. I think I can manage that
        • Hogfather Update 2plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Hogfather Update 2

          The Website will be down for a short period Sun, Aug 2nd 2020 while the site is upgraded

          I shall be taking the site down for a while on Sun, Aug 2nd 2020, while i perform the upgrade. Although I have a local copy of the website, I also do a bit of experimentation on it, so the two are not perfectly synchronised, so I'll have to make a backup of the site and download it first. It'll actually take longer to do that than perform the update. It should all be over in less than tw…
        • Info Reportplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Info Report

          N.B. This page gets bumped every now and again when new info is added.

          I've been pruning some of the stale articles and blog posts. If anything is broken, please let me know.
        • Mars July 2020plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars July 2020

          It's mid-July now, and temperatures at the InSight lander's location on Mars (south-west corner of Elysium in the northern hemisphere) are teetering on the edge and about to fall. At the end of the month - July 30th - NASA's Perseverance rover (formerly known as the Mars 2020 rover) gets its first launch opportunity. It had previously been scheduled to launch two weeks earlier but, you know, things happened.
        • Mars Solar Conjunctionplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars Solar Conjunction

          This page is currently inactive for 2019 conjunction (until next conjunction in 2021)

          Mars is heading for a solar conjunction, which in layman's terms means it's on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth. For a short period, no commands will be sent to the Mars spacecraft (which includes landers and rovers) since the sun's corona could corrupt those commands and result in unintended actions, disablement of the spacecraft or worse.
        • Mars Weather Page Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars Weather Page Update

          [Temperature over time] I've updated the format of the Temperature Over Time chart on the Mars Weather page to make it more readable. The sol numbers were overlapping each other, despite being broken into two rows. The chart is now interactive, in that you can use your mouse (or other pointing device) to select a position on one of the temperature graphs, and the sol number will be displayed at the bottom.
        • Orbital Calculator v2.0.6 Releasedplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Calculator v2.0.6 Released

          [Orbital Calculator v2.0.6] Four major new functions for acceleration and gravity and a few tweaks under the hood. New functions include: Constant Velocity, Free-Fall, N-Body Centre of Gravity (in 3D space) and Distance/Speed/Time.

          These powerful functions allow you to calculate speed as a constant, as constant acceleration or as increasing acceleration, as well as determine the common centre of gravity of any number of astronomical or artificial space-born o…
        • Pi Zero Planplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Pi Zero Plan

          I've been wondering what to do with my Raspberry Pi Zero, and didn't think I'd come up with an idea for a few months. Like most things, it's not necessarily a good idea to go looking for a use for it: wait until a use suggests itself.
        • Site Softwareplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Site Software

          Some people have expressed an interest in what software I use for this site. It's built around DokuWiki with some extensions to make it work like a blog, keep it transparent (all the articles and entries are visible in the treeview menu) and to spruce things up - such as the auto-tooltip which displays the first part of a page when the user mouses over an internal link (this also works in the top-bar menu). Some extensions make administering the site easier, such as moving articl…
        • Site Statisticsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Site Statistics

          For the last year I've been using a plugin for my site that generates a statistics page, through which I can keep an eye on how well the site is doing. A couple of days ago, it stopped working. After a bit of analysis I discovered the data structures it was creating in memory had consumed too much of said memory and my hosting service had auto-assassinated it.
        • Updatesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Updates

          The physical Martian clock... I have to come up with a better name for it than that. PiMars! Yup, I like that. The PiMars clock was up and running and displaying data at a crucial time. It was just a couple of hours before the end of the day at the InSight location, and as luck would have it, I had it display time at that place.
        • Weather Page Updateplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Weather Page Update

          Mon Aug 10, 2020

          I've made some updates to the Mars Weather page.

          * Bugfix to Wind direction chart to correctly show most common wind direction and sample count * Smoothed the max/min data lines in the Temperature over Time chart so anomolies don't distort the location of the lines
          • 2020-06-30plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big 2020-06-30

            Tue 30th June, 2020 I have (on the Mars Weather page) some clocks that tell the current time at various locations on Mars, keeping both the Martian calendar and the correct Martian time (which has extended seconds). Ever since I first wrote a Martian clock, I had the extremely nerdy idea of making a physical one. I mean, what nerd wouldn't want a clock like that on their desk? It has nerd-factor 10 stamped all over it.
          • 2020-06-30aplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big 2020-06-30a

            Well, it didn't take long for a disaster to occur :-D

            It's a minor thing, but a real pain in the you-know-where. I discovered my network switch didn't have any free ports on it, and I have one free on the other switch but not any cables long enough to reach it. I guess I'll have to enable WiFi on my router then. Gosh, I must turn my paranoia setting down so I can cope
          • 2020-07-01plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big 2020-07-01

            Physical Martian Clock Project

            I've just been informed that the power supply unit will be here tomorrow, and I do sort of need that to get moving on this project. but there are all sorts of hurdles to get through first, so I thought I'd talk about them today, since I'm going to have to tackle them sooner or later.
          • 2020-07-02plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big 2020-07-02

            The new power unit arrived, but now I have another problem. First, I need to be able to SSH into my Pi, but SSH is not enabled by default. I think that's a mistake, but you know, who am I? My big problem is I do not have an HDMI to micro-HDMI cable, so no monitor, hence the need to telnet into the device via SSH. The solution is to edit the SD card with the Pi's operating system on it, and create a file called 'ssh' in the root of the boot partition, which is enough to enable SSh whe…
          • 2020-07-05plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big 2020-07-05

            It's been a few days since I last updated the progress of this project, for which I apologise. Here's what's happened:

            * The new power unit arrived * I put the Pi, screen and Case together and got it working (using the split cable) *
          • piMars 2020-07-10plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big piMars 2020-07-10

            It's been a few days since I wrote an update, so here's what's happening. Firstly, and a bit off-topic, NASA have stopped updating their Mars Weather page, and the data isn't currently coming through from their servers via the Open
          • piMars 2020-07-14plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big piMars 2020-07-14

            Big day today. I'd taken the day off yesterday to setup my NAS, which actually only took a couple of hours but then I began to tinker... Anyway, today I reformatted the clock's SD card and reinstalled Raspbian. Then I went through the process of setting up the clock, making sure that everything I hadn't documented before got documented.
          • SmartSuitplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big SmartSuit

            SmartSuit: A Hybrid, Intelligent, and Highly Mobile EVA Spacesuit for Next Generation Exploration Missions

            Developer: Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

            I think the title says it all, but just in case it wasn't crystal clear, this is what they have to say about it:
          • THE MOST Space Telescopeplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big THE MOST Space Telescope

            Few telescopes can honestly say they've reinvented the concept, yet THE MOST certainly has. It works on a surprisingly old principle, by passing light through two prisms. As Isaac Newton demonstrated, this first splits light into its constituent components, then recombines it back again.
        • Dragonfly to Explore Titanplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Dragonfly to Explore Titan

          Credits: NASA/JHU-APL Few worlds excite exoplanetary chemists like Titan, Saturn's enigmatic and largest moon. It is the second-largest moon in the solar system, and the only one known to have a dense atmosphere. As such, it is seen as an analogue to the early Earth, and therefore important in understanding how life might have evolved on our homeworld.
        • How Big Is The Universe?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big How Big Is The Universe?

          [Hubble deep Field Image]

          I recently came across a youtube video explaining a method for multiplication that was quite different from long multiplication. To explain why this was so interesting, let’s first talk about long multiplication and what’s wrong with it, and then we'll calculate the size of the visible universe in centimeters.
        • Landing the Mars 2020 Rover Safelyplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Landing the Mars 2020 Rover Safely

          Autonomous landings are always fraught with danger. One of the most dangerous terrains any landing might occur on is a boulder field. Not only would the impact of the landing on these hard objects be a threat, but the boulders are likely to be jagged too. Another threat are the steep cliffs of the crater - not falling off them (although that's a possibility), but crashing into them.
        • Magnetic Field Lines on a Galactic Scaleplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Magnetic Field Lines on a Galactic Scale

          [Powerful magnetic fields are visible]

          The Cigar galaxy (M82) is already famous for the speed at which it creates new stars. The composite image shows the powerful magnetic field lines on a truly epic scale, wrapping around the entire galaxy. NASA's SOFIA observatory (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy - a converted Boeing 747) has shed light on what is happening.
        • Mysterious Starplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mysterious Star

          Back in 2016, Tabetha Boyajian gave a TED talk about a star with nifty little name KIC 8462852. The Kepler space telescope had studied it and lots of other stars over the course of four years, but this one stood out.

          Also known as Tabby's Star, it is a main-sequence F-type star located in the constellation Cygnus, about 1,480 light-years from Earth. Its claim to fame of course, is that it was suggested that alien megastructures would explain the weird data that Kepler had recor…
        • NASA Got it Wrong - Oops!plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big NASA Got it Wrong - Oops!

          It's not every day you get the chance to tell NASA they screwed up.

          I was reviewing the data I'd collected from NASA's Mars Weather page, and I noticed that the graphs they generated didn't match the summary data.

          For example, the summary data for Sol 169 shows the maximum temperature peaking at -17.6°C, while the graph for the same day showed the temperature never rising above -25°C.
        • To the Moon and Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big To the Moon and Mars

          [The Moon - watch out, here we come (again)!]NASA has outlined an aggressive timetable for an equally aggressive return to the Moon, with a view to making the Moon a waystation for trips to Mars. This requires the development of a whole slew of new technologies, as well as ramping up existing technologies and capabilities to whole new levels.
        • Calculate your Age and Weight on the Planetsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Calculate your Age and Weight on the Planets

          This little calculator allows you to calculate how old you would be on each of the planets in the solar system, and what your weight would be. If you have weight issues, don't look at the result for Jupiter!
        • DLCounter Pluginplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big DLCounter Plugin

          [screenshot]

          This download-counter plugin for DokuWiki enables you to keep track of the number of downloads of media files such as zip, gzip, tarballs and pdf's (your choice of media formats). This plugin has been developed and tested on “Greebo
        • DLCounter Plugin Bugtrackerplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big DLCounter Plugin Bugtracker

          If you have any issues with the plugin, leave a comment here.
        • Orbital Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Calculator

          I needed to calculate orbital characteristics for any orbit around any gravitational mass (because I write sci-fi stories), so I wrote this program because I'm a programmer and I'm too lazy to do it by hand all the time. The program has expanded over the last few years, sometimes from suggestions by other writers. I make it freely available and as simple to use as possible. It now has a list of functions as long as your arm (assuming you're not a tentacle user), and the numbe…
        • Orbital Calculator v2.x Release Notesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Calculator v2.x Release Notes

          This lists the important notes on each new release, explaining what has changed and what's new.

          See the Downloads page to download Orbital Calculator for various platforms. A full description of the product is available on the
        • Surface Gravity Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Surface Gravity Calculator

          Want to know what the surface gravity is on any celestial object? You just need to know it's mass in terms of Earth masses (e.g. Earth = 1, Venus = 0.815, Mars = 0.107 etc.) and it's radius. This calculator will do the rest.
      • Description or Teaser?plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Description or Teaser?

        When you write the blurb that goes on the back of the book, should you write a description or a teaser? This article explores that question, explaining why each of them work and what their effects are, and why sometimes one is a better choice than the other.
      • Oh, The Facts!plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Oh, The Facts!

        [Only the facts, ma'am]There was a litany that writers used to be told, but is rarely heard these days. If you've been a writer for more than ten years you will probably recall it: “Stick to the facts!”. Does that mean your story ends up a dry, soulless, sequential list of equally dry, soulless facts? Of course not.
      • Proper Paragraph Spacing and Indenting on Web Pagesplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Proper Paragraph Spacing and Indenting on Web Pages

        This is a short article on how to setup the correct CSS in order to replicate the paragraph spacing and indenting displayed in a book on your web pages. It will also enlarge and embolden the first character in the scene.
      • Self-Publishing Trapsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Self-Publishing Traps

        Sometimes it's a while before I post a new book review. Usually this is because I've read some self-published novels that I don't want to review. When I post a review, I'm telling readers about a book I'd recommend. This is good for readers, and it's good for the authors who get the recommendation. I'm not out to harm someone's writing career - which can always be turned around in the future - and I'm certainly not the sort of pompous umm, donkey, that simply lets my mouth…
      • Smart but Dumb Aliensplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Smart but Dumb Aliens

        We all know the problem, especially from video games and movies, where the super-smart aliens turn out to be really dumb. This is usually because the creator hasn't put much thought into it.

        So, you're creating a super-intelligent alien or species or civilisation for your short story or novel or whatever. How do you avoid the pitfalls of dumbing them down?
      • Story Structure (Hero's Journey)plugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Story Structure (Hero's Journey)

        The Hero's Journey is an overlay for the 4-part story structure. See how they work in conjunction with the character arc.

        ----------

        Click on this image to review it, then click it again to see it full size

        Other Structures
      • Voices in the Darkplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Voices in the Dark

        A scene that is all dialogue and no action creates the dreaded “voices in the dark”. Perhaps they're at a conference table, or standing around talking things through before making a decision that will propel the story into its next phase.
          • Silvertongueplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Silvertongue

            [Silvertongue]

            Silvertongue is the first in a series named “Remnants of Magic”, and both the title of the novel and the series become readily apparent in the first scene. Speaking of the first scene, it's a big one at 100 pages spanning eleven chapters, but don't let that put you off - it's one hell of a scene. The story kicks you straight into the action and that first scene is a long and continuous battle - and the poor protagonist (Jon) hasn't got a clue what's going on or why…
          • Beyond Falcon's Reachplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Beyond Falcon's Reach

            Beyond Falcon's Reach by Jay Northearn, is a mish-mash of high fantasy, gothic-horror, steampunk and electropunk, with a dash of semi-intelligent machine-learning AI's thrown-in to boot. Yet for all of this, the world Northearn has created is homogenous and holistic - two watchwords I'll bang on about until the cows come home, to anyone who'll listen. Giving everything in your world a place and a reason for being there is something that every writer should always keep i…
        • The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universeplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe

          [The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe]

          The Bluffers Guide to the Quantum Universe is a very funny guide (read: hilarious) to things surrounding quantum mechanics. Who the major players were, how the major theories won out over each other... or didn't. Tons of interesting facts you can toss around at parties and make it look like you know what you're talking about when discussing anything to do with quantum theory, quantum mechanics, who was who…
          • Creation Machineplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Creation Machine

            Andrew Bannister’s “Creation Machine” is the best novel I’ve read this year – and that’s saying something, I’ve read some of the best sci-fi novels from the last five years in the last ten months.

            The breadth and depth of his imagination is incredible. He’s created an entire artificial galaxy, given it character and taken us on a tour that is as exciting as it is varied.
          • Iron Godsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Iron Gods

            Another novel of The Spin, and following on from Creation Machine, Iron Gods continues in much the same vein. There are intriguing and plausible characters, a spaceship AI that has had its lobotomy reversed, strange worlds and even stranger economic forces.
          • Stone Clockplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Stone Clock

            The third outing in The Spin series from acclaimed author Andrew Bannister, Stone Clock, has a dark edge to it. Already an accomplished writer, Bannister has taken things up a notch.

            His usual mélange of lucid and slightly demented imagination is in full force, and the array of modes of humour are all present and permeate the pages as if they’d been dipped in the stuff.
          • Hard-Boiled Wonderlandplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Hard-Boiled Wonderland

            [Hard-Boiled Wonderland]

            Chris Morton is a writer with a certain pedigree, having been shortlisted for a Guardian award, this story is his third novel and his first in science-fiction.

            It tells the story of a man (Maggie Flycatcher) who has almost certainly the most boring job in history: he's a lemon tree supervisor. The creative talent that can come up with such a pointless job is one that deserves some recognition, so it instantly grabbed my attention. Flycatcher's …
          • Colony One Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Colony One Mars

            [Colony One Mars] [4.5 stars]

            Colony One Mars promises to be a fast-paced sci-fi thriller, and it certainly delivers. The prologue is short and sweet, and although it doesn't offer any story information that isn't in the story proper, it does set up the atmosphere for what is to follow. The tension ramps up very quickly and most unexpectedly, and everything changes before we've had a chance to grab our breath.
          • Colony Three Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Colony Three Mars

            [Colony Three Mars by Gerald M. Kilby] [4 Stars] The third instalment in the saga is even messier (for the protagonists) than the previous two, ramping up the tension and the action, and making the solution even harder for the reader to predict. The cast of protagonists has grown a little, but that's fair because the cast of antagonists has too.
          • Colony Two Marsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Colony Two Mars

            [Colony Two Mars] [4 Stars] Colony Two Mars picks up the story a few years after the preceding story, Colony One Mars left off. I really enjoyed the first instalment in this trilogy, but this is a much better, much stronger story. As the overarching story of the trilogy begins to emerge, Kilby's eye for a good story starts to pay dividends.
        • Science Fiction Double Featureplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Science Fiction Double Feature

          [Science Fiction Double Feature ]

          This pair of novellas comes courtesy of Zombie Pirate Publishing, and indeed the stories themselves come from the publishing house's founders and resident editors, Sam M. Phillips (Into the Eye) and Adam Bennett (Phosphorus).

          Since they come as a pair it is necessary of me to review each in turn before giving an overall impression, and I've chosen the order they appear between the covers.
    • DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big DokuWiki

      wiki:dokuwiki DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn't require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable Formatting Syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup and integration makes it an administrator's favorite. Built in
    • Formatting Syntaxplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Formatting Syntax

      DokuWiki supports some simple markup language, which tries to make the datafiles to be as readable as possible. This page contains all possible syntax you may use when editing the pages. Simply have a look at the source of this page by pressing
    • Welcome to your new DokuWikiplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Welcome to your new DokuWiki

      Congratulations, your wiki is now up and running. Here are a few more tips to get you started.

      Enjoy your work with DokuWiki,

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  • ISSplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big International Space Station

    This page has a portal through which you can view the current location of the International Space Station, updating in real-time. The tracker itself comes from the European Space Agency (ESA).

    Part of the tool doesn't seem to be working properly yet, raising an error when the widget first loads. A possible explanation for the error is detailed below. There is also a handy link to get email notifications direct from NASA when the ISS is visible in your night sky.
  • Mars Weatherplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Mars Weather Reports

    These reports are provided by NASA's InSight lander in the south-west corner of Elysium Planitia. Daily readings are usually a couple of days behind reality (it takes time for the lander to transmit its data back to Earth).
  • Downloadsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Downloads

    Orbital Calculator Current Version This is a portable application, meaning there is no installer. Just unzip into a folder and run the executable. Since it is portable, it can be run from a USB stick.

    A full description and a list of the features are available
  • Orbital Calculatorplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Orbital Calculator

    I needed to calculate orbital characteristics for any orbit around any gravitational mass (because I write sci-fi stories), so I wrote this program because I'm a programmer and I'm too lazy to do it by hand all the time. The program has expanded over the last few years, sometimes from suggestions by other writers. I make it freely available and as simple to use as possible. It now has a list of functions as long as your arm (assuming you're not a tentacle user), and the numbe…
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  • Book Reviewsplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Book Reviews

    Here you can find all the book reviews, broken down by genre, and further subdivided by author. If you want me to review your novel, please read my Rules on Reviewing.

    * Science-Fiction * Fantasy * Non-Fiction
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    If you have a burning desire to contact me, use the discussion form below. Anything you say remains private between you and me.