Ghosts of Orion, Doug Hoffman's Latest SF Novel Released

Resilient Earth Press is pleased to announce that Ghosts of Orion, Doug Hoffman's fourth novel and the first in a new science fiction series, the T'aafhal Legacy, is now available for purchase online. The book follows the further adventures of the captain and crew of the starship Peggy Sue, as they set out to explore the galaxy beyond Earth's local neighborhood. Led by Captain Billy Ray Vincent, the crew is part of a new, commercial enterprise, the Orion Arm Trading Company, whose mission is exploration and colonization of new worlds in the Orion Arm. Along the way they encounter scientific mysteries and strange aliens, and are reminded that the galaxy is a very dangerous place.

The story started in Parker's Folly and the T'aafhal Inheritance trilogy continues with new adventures and many new characters. Accompanying Billy Ray are First Officer Beth Melaku, his wife, Sailing Master Bobby Danner and Dr. Mizuki Ogawa, Bobby's katana wielding, astrophysicist girlfriend. The story starts a couple of years after the events in M'tak Ka'fek, but stands alone as a complete work in itself.

The natives of planet Earth have survived their debut as a spacefaring species, barely. Having eradicated the Dark Lords' minions from surrounding space humanity is ready to send out its first colonists. Ahead of the colonists' ship another starship, the Peggy Sue, owned by the Orion Arm Trading Company, arrives in the chosen system and finds something very strange about the planet selected to be humanity's first outpost among the stars. It has a good atmosphere, clear blue oceans and not too much gravity—and absolutely no indigenous life.


GL 667c, the main location in Ghosts of Orion.

The colonists soon arrive and start building their settlements on the planet they name Paradise. Not quite trusting the colonists on their own, Captain Vincent takes the Peggy Sue to survey the outer reaches of the system. There they find even more strange things, while back on Paradise the colonists' presence awakens something long dead.

Here is an excerpt from M'tak Ka'fek:

The couple stepped outside of the apartment and closed the door. As the door slid shut, two burly men confronted them.

“Where is the black boy?” demanded the one on the left, closest to Bobby. “He owes us money.”

Bobby and Mizuki were not an imposing couple. Mizuki, though tall for a Japanese woman, was not all that large and Bobby was not much taller than she. At one time Bobby had been a pudgy couch potato and not much for physical conflict. That was before they both spent a year in the company of a group of Marines and SEALS, fighting aliens and being fine tuned by the M'tak Ka'fek's AI. That meddlesome sentient computer viewed its crew as biological systems whose performance needed to be optimized. As a result, both Bobby and Mizuki were strong, well trained in the martial arts, and startlingly quick.

“We have no business with you,” said Bobby, as he and Mizuki moved apart slightly. “Stand aside and there will be no trouble.”

“I think you already have trouble,” said the thug on the right, reaching behind his back. Mizuki's butterflies formed a swirling red and yellow cloud above her head.

The thug nearest Bobby lunged at him, throwing a roundhouse right. At the same time, the thug nearest Mizuki produced a knife from behind his back and stepped toward her.

Bobby seized his assailant's arm, pivoted and used the man's momentum to execute a hip throw. The man landed heavily on his back, his head striking the floor and rebounding. His face was traveling upward from the rebound when it met Bobby's fist descending in a straight armed strike. Bone and cartilage crunched audibly.

Meanwhile, Mizuki reached over her head and drew the bokken she always carried when roaming outside the ship. The heavy wooden stick had the same weight and balance as a katana, the traditional long sword carried by samurai. The wooden practice sword was a blur as she first broke her attacker's wrist and then struck the side of his head. The knife clattered to the floor as the second thug dropped like a felled ox.

Mizuki and Bobby stepped clear of their fallen foes only to see a third Ukrainian holding what looked like a pistol. They jumped in opposite directions, forcing the man to chose between targets. Mizuki ended her roll to the right in a crouch with her weapon held before her, ready to strike. Bobby came up low with a small stunner in his hand. Before either could take out the gun wielding thug he was enveloped by a flock of angry butterflies, flashing reds, oranges and yellows.

The man with the gun cried out as sparks flew from the winged creatures alighting on his person. He crumpled as the smell of ozone and cooked meat permeated the area. The butterflies circled above their victim showing more placid colors. No additional targets appeared.

“I think your pets cooked that guy, Mizuki-chan.”

Bobby moved forward and examined the third gangster's dropped weapon. Nudging the pistol with his foot, he grunted.

“Looks like a plastic pistol made in a 3D printer or other low-end fab unit. I don't think it would be very accurate.”

“Still a threat of deadly force, as was the knife, Bobby.” Mizuki was intent on justifying the actions of her flying pets. Bobby nodded absently and brought his foot down on the plastic pistol, breaking it.

“I think we should head back to the ship,” he said. “We can call this in when we are well away from here.”

“Hai.”

Man, woman and butterflies moved off down the corridor in the direction of the docks, leaving one dead and two badly injured Ukrainian gangsters on the floor behind them.

Set in the same Universe as the popular T'aafhal Inheritance trilogy, join the crew of the starship Peggy Sue as they travel to the stars on new adventures. Familiar characters are joined by new as the crew seeks their fortunes among the stars of the Orion Arm. Awaiting the intrepid crew are strange alien races to discovery, new mysteries to solve, and new dangers to over come. Join them in the Ghosts or Orion, first book in the T'aafhal Legacy series.

Ghosts of Orion is available as a Kindle eBook and a trade paperback from Amazon.com. If you liked the T'aafhal Inheritance trilogy, you will love Ghosts of Orion. If you haven't read the first three books buy them today.

Hard SF vs Hack Scifi

I posted some of this on my Facebook page and thought I'd share it here as well. I just had an upset young writer complain that I rated his book unfairly. I gave it one * because it was hack scifi. Writing a science fiction novel is not a license to rewrite the laws of nature as we understand them. If a book has a reasonable plot, decent characters, and is entertaining I am usually kind. Without those characteristics, and if the "science" in the book is a bunch of crap, it's stomping time.

According to classic science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, "a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."

In a rejoinder, the author said "I could easily chastise you about having a third-graders fantasy in you books having talking bears, but I would instead just choose not to read them." He went on to admit that the "science" in his books was "BS".

I replied: My polar bears talk because they have been genetically manipulated by an alien AI for the past 4 million years, as have we humans. Check the time lines, the rapid evolution of humans (and bears); there is nothing that violates current scientific knowledge in my supposition. Nor does muon catalyzed fusion (it's real) or the possibility of additional dimensions (see string theory). The distances to stars and planets are realistic, accelerations and travel times in 3space are accurate, the stars visited are real. I do not knowingly violate current science and only propose things that are possible even if improbable. You intentionally base your "science" on "BS". You think it's fun, I think it's mindless and even dangerous. Most of the people in the world are ignorant of science, and that threatens the very civilization we live in.

Real SF is hard SF, and it is hard to write. If you are going to write science fiction you need to learn something about science, otherwise stick to fantasy.

Crappy SciFi

Science fiction fans have always bemoaned the lack of SF movies/TV shows. Then we got a bunch of them and they mostly sucked. Little surprise that noob writers are cranking out crap that reflects films like Lucy and the Planet of the Apes reboot. To get better maybe it has to become less popular.