If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH
FROM SABRINA CHASE: Red Wolf: Exile Part 2
Surviving the sudden shift to a parallel Earth, Nic finds a refuge in the not-quite-Ancient China she finds herself in, the fortress of Shanmen – and a new identity as the idiot water-carrier Niu. But when Nic defends the fortress against an enemy attack in the night and nearly dies, the general in charge uncovers her disguise.
Will he welcome this uncanny foreign woman, or join the others calling her a demon? And will the forces involved in the river massacre track her down and threaten them all?
FROM BONNIE RAMTHUN: The Turtle of Ultimate Power: Book One of the Centerville Chronicles
Ray thought magic only existed in books and movies–not in real life!
On the first day of seventh grade, twelve-year-old Ray Sebastian discovers his home town, Centerville, is the most dangerous place on Earth. Buried in caves underneath the town is a treasure-trove of ancient and powerful artifacts that were kept secret–until now.
Ray and Clancy Jones, the fearless new girl at school, uncover a magical stone turtle that gives them amazing power over others. Together with Clancy’s eccentric grandfather, the three join forces to prevent the turtle from falling into the hands of a deadly sorcerer who wants the ultimate power for himself.
From the streets of Centerville to the dangerous caves beneath, can Ray and his friends protect the magical artifacts and defeat the villains before it’s too late?
FROM STEPHEN KRUEGER: Law Future
The anthology has 25 original legal science-fiction stories: 3 short-short stories, 18 short stories, 2 novelettes, and 2 novellas. Plus 1 original preface, 1 original essay, and 1 original Post Scriptum.“Science fiction” intends a recital, the foundation of which is a yet-to-be technology. Usual yet-to-be technologies are space travel, time travel, and terraforming.
“Legal” intends that a substantive law matter is central to a recital.
The target audiences are lawyers and sci-fi readers. To that end, excellent writing prevails. There is not a single blasphemous, scatological, or reproductive word in the anthology. An aficionado or aficionada of quality legal fiction and of first-rate science fiction will be happy with the anthology.
BY MAX BRAND, WITH INTRODUCTION BY D. JASON FLEMING: Train’s Trust (Annotated): The classic pulp western adventure
Steve Train, gambler, adventurer, clever rogue, didn’t care much for work. But then he was offered a job with no work, but plenty of danger. The job: track down outlaw Jim Nair — and hand him a pile of money!
This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction by indie author D. Jason Fleming giving historical and genre context to the novel.
FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Margins of Mundania.
A tween boy’s Christmas gift opens a world of wonder and brings joy to a whole town fallen on hard times. A young New Englander in the early Twentieth Century discovers that some parts of human history don’t bear too close examination. A literary critic in the old Soviet Union must confront his own moral cowardice.
These stories, along with a multitude of bite-sized works of flash fiction, carry you from the most prosaic of events to the moments of awe that offer glimpses of matters larger than ourselves.
FROM DALE COZORT: Earth Swap: The Stone Library of Venus
Near-future Earth suddenly finds itself in a different version of the solar system, one where human civilizations trade and war between planets. Lurking behind those humans: the long-vanished non-human “Builders,” who colonized the solar system long ago, seeding it with Earth life. Ward Parke, astronomy enthusiast and presidential advisor, wants to explore this new solar system, but the planets here are on the verge of a genocidal, civilization-ending interplanetary war.
Our Earth is caught in the middle of that looming war, with technology hundreds of years behind the other powers. Its only advantage is an ancient stone library preserved by a now-vanished human civilization from Venus and a mysterious woman called Pandora who may be that civilization’s only survivor.Near-future Earth suddenly finds itself in a different version of the solar system, one where human civilizations trade and war between planets. Lurking behind those humans: the long-vanished non-human “Builders,” who colonized the solar system long ago, seeding it with Earth life. Ward Parke, astronomy enthusiast and presidential advisor, wants to explore this new solar system, but the planets here are on the verge of a genocidal, civilization-ending interplanetary war.
Our Earth is caught in the middle of that looming war, with technology hundreds of years behind the other powers. Its only advantage is an ancient stone library preserved by a now-vanished human civilization from Venus and a mysterious woman called Pandora who may be that civilization’s only survivor.
FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Darkship Thieves
Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space.
Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. She never had any interest in finding out the truth about the Darkships.
You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the stranger—who turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help.
But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime and perhaps a whole new world—if she managed to survive….
A Prometheus Award Winning Novel, written by a USA Today Bestseller.
Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.
So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.
We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.
If you have questions, feel free to ask.
Your writing prompt this week is: FUEL
81 thoughts on “Book Promo and Vignettes by by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike”
“Give us your fools”
“Ah, why do you want our fools?”
“We use fools as fuel for our starship.”
[Very Big Crazy Grin]
Give us fools! Give us liars! Mass conversion drives us higher!
(Driving beat Thrash Metal tune…)
Fools, burn, throw them in the engine, drive us cross the galactic scene…..
Give us fools! Give us liars! Mass conversion drives us higher!
(More thrash Metal)
The plume of smoke in the distance was larger than it had been an hour ago, evidence that the gap between the two trains was narrowing. The engineer, eyeing the steam gauge, gave a nod of satisfaction and turned to shout: “We are making progress! Get me more fuel!”
“We’re doing our best,” Fixx shouted back. Passepartout only nodded; he had no breath to speak. The interior of the train’s cab gave him barely enough room to shovel the coal being moved to him by Fixx, further back in the tender.
Glancing at his watch, the engineer performed some mental calculations and added, “We shall reach York less than ten minutes after they do. You said you expect the police to meet you at the station?”
“Our employer has telegraphed them,” Fixx explained, switching places with Passepartout. “I hope they’re on their guard; the fellow has killed at least two people.”
“Well, this has been an exciting day and no mistake,” chuckled the engineer. “Have some water and then we’ll need more coal in that firebox.”
[Related: it’s clear I will have to research the heck out of steam locomotives.]
Such is life.
Note that water was actually required in greater quantities.
Personal experience speaking here: the inside of the cab of a coal-fired steam locomotive is incredibly hot (seriously, words don’t do it justice) and, when the locomotive is moving at any decent amount of speed, loud enough that you need to shout directly into the other person’s ear in order to be heard.
Charles has a dozen MREs, British and the box still having a range card on it, and he hands them out quickly. No flavor hiders-no hot sauce or salsa, anemic salt packets in the MREs-and still-warm boiled water for crappy instant coffee or weak “fruit” drink. But we’ve been using our magic hard in the last few hours and right now taste is secondary to fuel and our feeding tanks were low.
We’ve gone through two MREs each-so quickly that I can feel a bit of a scorched tongue from the food-and we’re still hungry. “Got some munchies,” Charles nods and gives us some food bars. I deliberately set aside the best three of the five bars he gives me and devour the remaining two.
“What happened?” I asked carefully, taking another drink of plain boiled water. I know I’m going to have to piss and shit soon, but I can delay for a few more minutes.
“How can he eat that much?”
“I’m not sure. But, I think the fights we’ve been in require a lot of calories, as well as the shifts between bear and human. Also, he’s a teen-age boy! That alone requires a lot of fuel for his metabolism.”
Yeah, shape-shifting probably would take a lot of energy. Particularly if the cells are duplicating in order to provide the extra body mass.
Fuel? And how POL got used? Sir, this manifest is a word salad of oil and vignettes.
To carp or not to carp, that is the question.
Whether to suffer the slings and arrows of bad puns,
or to praise the commenter who came up with a better one than that I was thinking of.
Aye, ’tis fuel for thought.
Exit: Stage down. (Damned trap doors…)
Carp squad: stand down!
Begrudging respect is one of the best things in life. Particularly between rivals. (And enemies.)
“Refrigerate those oats!”
“Our draft animals require chilled fodder in this weather.”
“Oh, they need Cool Mule Fuel.”
Can’t manipulate the fodder without the proper implement, the Cool Mule Fuel Tool.
There are regulations on the manipulation, the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule.
There is, of course, a short class on the rule, Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School.
Ans, as is customary, the ‘goat’ of each class is known as the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool.
Unless we pay the competing Chill Fill Prill Bill.
The Reader thinks a carpapocalypse is coming to a blog comment near all of you.
Please, I surrender! Have mercy!
Throw the towel in? I think not! /
Strike while punnish iron is hot! /
Oliver Hazard (Katy) Perry /
Said surrender was contrary /
To maintenance of good order on his ship. /
Sergeant Doggerel, my good mentor /
Instructed me to never enter /
Battle without pun upon my lips. /
Think not LARPing! This is real! /
I’ve been watching Puns of Steel! /
Fuel for nightmares, eh?
A wise man knows when he is beaten, good sir. And your skill with a pun puts mine to shame. Perhaps one day, after I gain a mentor and go through the obligatory training montage, we shall meet again.
(Using ‘man’ in the ‘humanity’ form, of course.)
No ‘beating’ intended – recruiting! And I see the beginnings of success there, and in other posts below. Huzzah!
> “Please, I surrender! Have mercy!”
No. The puns will continue until morale improves.
However, as sometimes happens, the class ‘goat’ becomes successful in later life. He endowed the school with a natatorium – the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool.
I hear it’s haunted, too — seems there are Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghouls. 😀
Yes! You’ve been there!
That pool is especially useful to remove Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghouls’ Drool, which they produce copiously in worship of their $DEITY, Zuul.
On second thought, I should have gone with just one Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghoul, to maintain a consistent sound.
Someone tell the Dragon to throw 50 lb of Carp Miracle Grow in the carp pond. The Reader thinks we need some really big carp here.
Don’t be a piker!
Besides, the splash of the landing carp merely spreads the contagion – Masque of the Red Carp, anyone?
So, just wondering if in light of the upcoming season of lent we could switch to cod instead of carp.
It seems like we may have an abundance of fish, and, well, waste not want not.
Lately there have been rumors that he’s hoarding a mystical gem — the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghoul Jewel.
… As well as its unwound jewel-cozy on the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghoul Jewel Crewel Spool, which Jewel and Spool are on an elegant 3-legged display stand, the Cool Mule Fuel Tool Rule School Fool Pool Ghoul Jewel Crewel Spool Stool.
[[ The game some of us are playing here actually has a name – ‘Rhyme Time’; a friend introduced it to me over 50 years ago. Rots yer brain, it does! Makes recursion seem reasonable. ]]
The cook came in with another tray. “Eat. You need the strength to face your studies! How will you defend the realm if you are not strong?”
Ava looked at windows, where it rapidly grew as dark as night. What did the cook know that Isabella had not told them?
Things about to get grim.
They still are students. It is, admittedly, not going to be a fun lesson. Particularly for Ava.
Practical cold fusion is now possible! While it still requires high temp and pressures, the answer was to add a rare organic to the fuel stream And it’s changed the whole global balance of power. After all, there is only the one source of kangaroo dung – there’s a new superpower.
“Not roo! Energy!”
Black market kangaroos.
When kangaroo trading is outlawed, only outlaws and world governments will have kangaroos. But I do rather repeat myself, don’t I?
Meandering anecdotage about poor vehicular performance of classic car until it is gassed up with a vintage pre-unleaded era gas.
Punchline: There’s no fuel like an old fuel.
Meanwhile, Mr. Stanley steams at the indignities.
That was enough to make me look up what fueled Stanley Steamers. Kerosene, if Wikipedia is to be believed.
Wait, What? They ran on jet fuel??!!!!!!!
“The power of the sun in the palm of my hand!” Doctor Octopus howls in triumph.
A bunch of vehicle suddenly stop and transform into autobots and decepticons, since they are technically in the Marvel universe and also need fuel.
Couple hours later they’re fighting over the fusion reactor and Doctor Octopus has cool new Cybertron-upgraded arms that can plug into transformers and control them.
Optimus Prime, Spider Man and Captain America exchange looks, realizing they’ve got some work ahead of them.
Then a portal opens from the alternate Disney post-endgame MCU and the M-She-U girls-only Avengers led by Captain Marvel step out.
“Okay, we’ll take it from here-”
And all the other characters stop, punch the All-New All-Different Avengers back where they came from, seal up the portal and go back to matters at hand.
Audiences immediately tune into this instead of whatever the hell their home-universe MCU is doing, because they want some fun-fuel.
Why does that remind me of a Superbowl commercial? Maybe ‘coz it’s just before halftime!
Nah, too cool for a commercial these days.
And what would they be selling?
You can’t always tell. It might start out with superheroes morphing into mighty robots, but then they’ll wind up at the beach drinking beer. By the end of the commercial you find out they’ve been hocking recyclable underpants the entire time.
Oh, dear. Power-ups in villains. This is going to suck.
a few paragraphs later
And the Mary Sues enter the scene. I was more right than even I realized.
Oh, good, they’re gone. Let the real fight begin!
I would like to see this movie.
I’ll settle for the scene of the Mary Sues getting beaten on a loop.
A maid was fussing around the hearth. Not enough firewood, Eleanora could see it at a glance. She swept by. A lass that careless would not last long in service, if only because she was caught by a member of family working long after she should have finished her tasks.
Reggie Waite had still been in flight training at the time of the Great Outrage, so he’d only seen the images after the fact, when he’d returned to quarters. But even on the tiny black-and-white TV the video footage from the Big Apple had been horrifying.
At the time all the talking heads had been comparing the explosion and consequent fires all over Lower Manhattan to the Grandcamp disaster in Texas City back in the 40’s. Only later, after an enormous amount of forensic analysis and the discovery of an anchor from an LP carrier stuck in the wall of the Empire State Building, did they realize that the terrorists had managed to turn the vessel into a giant fuel-air bomb.
TINS. One of my great-uncles on the maternal side would have been at the dock in Texas City when the Grandcamp blew. Except his boss assigned them a different job that day, and they went to Galveston instead. MomRed remembers hearing the boom in Houston, and seeing smoke.
My mom remembered that, too.
Bellangere glared at them, her anger fueled into a bonfire. “And if Rosine had not happened to be available? You would have — what? Told the king that it was past your powers to serve him and resigned your post in disgrace?”
Marian and Aurelie blinked. Carolus looked gravely impassive.
“Baked beans on toast – no better way to refuel, don’t you think?” It was lunchtime, and young Nigel was starving.
“You know I top off my batteries every night, don’t you?” said Lily. Noticing Nigel’s disappointment, she added with a giggle, “But I’ll join you for beans and toast anyway!”
Her eyes narrowed, and she rapped out an order to the other children, to feed more to the fires. The smoke thickened, the visions grew extravagant, several showed the land outside, the land he longed for.
Not at the price she asked. He would never be free if he paid.
Not sure I quite understand this one, but it certainly sounds interesting!
It’s a bit in a novel. Here’s a bit more:
Also, you’ve been liking this novel’s vignettes for some time. 😀
What can I say? I have a type.
Some of the other stuff you’ve written seems to fall into regency-period fiction of various kinds (fantasy, romance, etc.) It’s quite good, but not my cup of tea, so to speak, so it’s not so easy for me to comment on.
“Do you remember Oakeshotte’s ‘Elegy for a Ground Crew’? I can’t find my copy.”
“I don’t think I know it.”
“Sure you do, everybody does. It begins: ‘Fuel remember…'”
“So, she was designed to read my face, but not to eat baked beans,” laughed Nigel Slim-Howland. “Somewhere I’ve got a picture of Lily with beans all over her face!”
“A design flaw?” asked Gwendolyn, eyebrow raised.
“Possibly,” replied Nigel wistfully, “but fuel for my memories more than anything else.”
“Brian, why are all these deliveries scheduled for the same day?”
“Which ones, Kevin?”
“Charcoal, Coal, Fuel Oil, Kerosene, Propane, Wood. And a note to top off all gasoline tanks.”
“Oh. Notice the date.”
“The first of April. Isn’t that a bit late in the season?”
“It’s April Fuels Day!”
Sigh. I fell for that one hook, lie, sinker and bob.
Boy, do I feel fuelish.
Reads vignettes. Sighs
OK, what was the password again? Oh, yeah, that’s right. Carp-On-Demand dot com,. Order status. Update order. Double earlier order. Change to ‘expedited delivery’. Confirm order? Yep.
pushes order button
“Better they be sent to find wood, so that the elderly and the young may be kept warm in the winter!”
Rodger sat back. No one said, aloud, that woodcutters had no allotment of food. One might suppose that a criminal should not expecct others to labor for his food.
It was a monster. Its creator had died over a hundred years ago, yet it still lived. It was fueled by ignorance, envy, and hatred. Mindlessly destroying all it infected. It had killed hundreds of millions, and yet it still was ready to kill even more. Communism was its name.
Bring fuel for the smokeweaver’s fire. Should we wed? The smoke tendrils would tell.
Pick only deadfall, untouched by blades, from the blood-red heartwood tree in the forest glade at midnight under the full red moon. She did not warn us of the guardian, nor the terror of its eyes.
Democrats make excellent fuel.
Compared to peat, maybe?
bear poo, which is what some characters are considering in my head right now.
Yes. But I was thinking about rendering fats into “biodiesel”…
Nice group of promos today! Thanks!
Bjorn looked up as Sven stumped up. “What do you have?”
Sven shook his head. “Nothing. We…there is no more fuel here. No wood, no seals, no whales.”
Bjorn nodded. “We will go. I feared this when we landed here.”
Sven smiled. “Good.”
“We shall name this place Greenland.”
“Well Professor this Interstellar drive is very promising but why the space for 535 passengers near engineering?”. “Ah” replied the inventor “That is an excellent question, it is fueled by ignorance. It seemed easiest just to load the U.S. Congress on board and we’d have a nearly infinite fuel supply.”
It’s also an endless supply of hot air for the maneuvering thrusters.
“So we have a deal, then? The fuel you’ve ordered, in trade for the helium you’ve offered?” The stationer’s eyes were happy and bright and his voice earnest and enthusiastic — except maybe a little bit too much of one or both, for me.
“The fuel, as in liquid-oxygen oxidizer and liquid-hydrogen fuel, we’ve asked for in return for that 15 kilograms of helium-3,” I said, quite matter-of-factly. Though the dealer’s expression didn’t change so much, his bearing didn’t either, there did seem to be the slightest let-down…
“You know, that old thing about fuel not meaning propellant, but only the fuel part, of chemical-rocket juice goes back at least as far as Musk and the dawn of commercial spaceflight,” put in my chief engineer in her odd mostly Irish-flavored accents, “with all his peccadilloes about ‘orbital refilling’ instead of ‘orbital refuelling’ and so forth. Still, something most sensible people ignore, practicalities considered.” Interesting how she always managed to say the obvious in an indirect-enough way to avoid unintended offense — unless she tripped over her own casual bluntness.
“Surely that old confusion won’t be an obstacle here. And you’ll have the title to your helium 3 ready to exchange, now?”
Title. Almost as if they used the stuff as some sort of currency…
“Not title, Mister Arnhem. Actual helium, in a composite-wrapped pressure sphere. What, do you trade rights to the stuff like it’s gold, or slow-inbound comet tonnage, or something?” And I nudged Carissa a bit with my right elbow. As in, not a word on your old hobbyhorse, now.
“Oh, surely, Captain Markham, you or your engineer should know why. Though our tech-level isn’t quite back up to burning it yet, a mix of helium 3 and hydrogen 2, helion and deuterium, is the ideal fusion fuel, no nasty fog of neutrons to worry about. So we trade the supply we do have, ready for that fine day we can burn it so much more cleanly than D and tritium.”
I tried not to react at all. “Well, fifteen kigs is a fair lot. You can’t really handle it much easier, it doesn’t liquefy until a few degrees above absolute zero and it’s seventeen times less dense than water once it does. So we’ll give it to you as hundred-atmosphere gas, no worries about bad insulation or time till it boils and vents off before you transfer it to your buyer — sounds like you’ll not be holding on to it yourself.” A flicker of surprise in his blue eyes, faint but there.
“No, don’t know many who do, it has a few uses now but most… well, we do have a final deal then?”
“Yes, and done.” I reached out to shake his hand, which seemed to bemuse him a bit… but, different ways for different folks. “So you can start prop-loading into our tanks, next? We’d like to depart soon-ish and your local regs require chemical boost in and out of your station.”
“Soon as we receive your payment, dock crews are standing by.” He stood up in the 3/4 spin gravity, happy with the deal, but not… too much so. And tipped his (charming but silly) little hat to us and bustled on his way.
Carissa Magee stood up. “Good Dear Lord, Anse. They think helium-3 is some sort of magic fuel. They even seem to’ve based some big chunk of their whole economy on it. Tulips, boss, it’s tulip-bulbs all the way down…”
I couldn’t help but smile. “They likely think tokamaks, maybe spheromaks at best, are the greatest newest thing in fusion. Notice they do pay well for the lithium they need to breed their tritium, no cargo-cultery in it where it really counts.” We were already strolling along the wide concourse, not even hurrying much since it was no more’n a half-furlong to the next crossover to the docking ring and our Atalanta’s Revenge. Still a good thing to get a bit of open air, even if it was inside a spinning tin can…
“And remember, Carissa, you do get a five times greater cross section on the He3-D reaction as the D-D reaction, if you pick just the right energy for the interaction.” I tried to keep my voice light, though I wasn’t near the kind of self-control I’d have on a real trade. As in, unilke these past ten minutes.
“Oh, yes, boss, sure and you can. Then you’ll ‘only’ get a sixth as many neutrons. Assuming you can magically keep every collision at that right perfect energy, which you can’t in a thermonuclear process, statistics don’t’cha know. And that you can run the thing at billions of degrees in a plasma that radiates more power away than the fusion makes.” Carissa’s own voice was light, too; she was almost-quoting her mini-paper from back in her apprenticeship days, “Why Magical Helium-3 Fusion is a Great Crock of Nightsoil.” (Gotta love the Irish “earthiness” — right?)
“At least they didn’t fall for that old wives’ tale about how mixing He3 into your D somehow prevents D from fusing with itself… now that is a bit on the magic side.” Their concourse was like many, lots of trees and bold flowers on a grand(-ish) scale that still fit into a quarter-mile torus section. It made a fine walk; but something in me still itched for the tall cold blue of a real planetary sky… it’d been a bit too long.
She walked ahead a half-step, then looked back over her shoulder, the same old maneuver to grab someone’s attention. “Don’t be too sure of that last point, boss. Like the sainted Irishman in exile said, it’s not what you don’t know, it’s what you know that isn’t so — Ronald Wilson Reagan, bountiful blessings be ever unto him.”
“And to get up to those billions of degrees, you need, what? About 1% of the total fuel load to burn already, just to get you there? Over a range where D-D fusion is dozens of times more likely than the He3-D kind?”
She’d resumed walking, and now simply smiled sideways at me under that flat cap she often wore over her long dark hair. “Yes, all and for sure. But what they’re really missing is the big perspective. You need to let that flood of neutrons be a feature, not a bug. The first fusion reactors didn’t do much better than system breakeven on the energy, directly; but the extra neutrons bred enough fission fuel to pay off handsome. And the later ones like ours, unless you blanket your fuel in normal hydrogen to stop the neutrons or at least steal most of their energy at the pellet or explosive-core level, use the ‘extra’ neutrons to mix with the protons to regenerate a third of your D and get over a 50% energy bonus — like that old paper I showed you from the first score o’ years Post Millennium.” A sort of impish merriness leaked into her eyes, one I knew well from so many (often “eventful”) drinking expeditions in port.
“You remember, Anse, when fusion was first demonstrated? Its Stagg Field sort of moment, you know, ‘Italian Navigator has reached the New World’ point, but for hammering together instead of smashing apart?” Impish. A sparkle in her clear green eyes, daring me to recall Inertial Confinement Ignition or the Final Ignition Torus Experiment from back in the 21st.
“No bet, Carissa, first of all. And I’d say, though some might differ, it was a little multi-megaton thing called Ivy Mike, before the Millennium. Explosive fusion, running on — pure deuterium, inside an iron and uranium tamper-imploder. Right from that first bright experiment, fusion has been about hydrogen fuel. Maybe hydrogen packaged slyly inside lithium deuteride for more conveniently blowing things up in never-to-be-seen wars, but still hydrogen. And out in our wide world today, it’s nearly all D meets D.”
Carissa giggled, almost, which was rare for her. “Yes, boss, right all the way. So let’s hurry on and go sell the nice man some more tulips, seein’ how our main engine basically shits out tulip bulbs for ‘im as a waste product.”
(Took a bit longer to hard-SF verify all the snark in here than actually write. “Far too many” of my characters seem to work with Extremely Powerful Boomstuff quite regularly…)
That is a lot of technical details to work out. (Most of which, I’m afraid, is Greek to me.) Nicely done!
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