It’s great when a reader gets in touch about one of my books; nothing quite makes your day like a Twitter message or an email through the website. Sometimes that contact is just to tell you that they enjoyed the story, but sometimes it’s also to ask about something in the book. THE LAZARUS WAR features lots of made-up SF tech, and several readers have asked how a particular piece of tech might work. Other reader contacts might be to ask about an aspect of background, or to clarify things that appear in the books.
And so, in the months since the release of the last book in THE LAZARUS WAR, I’ve been compiling reader questions. I’m going to do a semi-regular run down of additional trivia on each book. Here are a few insights into the war that didn’t quite make it into ARTEFACT…
- Harris uses a Smith & Wesson Model 913; a revolver that features both a revolving cylinder and an ammunition clip. Historically, revolvers require manually reloading via the cylinder, but this is an advanced form of revolver.
- The organisation of the Alliance Army’s Simulant Operations Programme is probably technically closer to that of the US Marine Corps, in terms of deployment, than the US Army. Although modern military forces do conduct joint operations, the close relationship between the Army’s Sim Ops Programme and the Alliance Navy has more in common with deployment of Marine forces.
- When Captain Harris (as he is at the time of ARTEFACT) first boards the UAS Oregon, he should technically be promoted to a major due to the presence of Captain Atkins. There should not be two military captains on the same vessel. (I chose not to apply this general rule as I felt that it might be confusing for Harris to be promoted, then subsequently demoted, within a short space of time…)
- Time passes at a different rate for a ship travelling through quantum space. To counter this phenomenon crew are expected to use hypersleep capsules.
- You age in hypersleep, although at a far reduced rate.
- The “universal calendar” employed by the Alliance armed forces is based on quantum-clock technology: a necessity for a military coordinating a war across an area of space as large as the Quarantine Zone, and given the potential for significant time dilation during long Q-space jumps.
- The “UAS” acronym before starship names in the LAZARUS WAR universe stands for “United American Starship”. Similarly, “AFS” stands for “Arab Freeworld Starship”. During a very early draft, all Alliance naval assets were going to carry the signifier “Alliance Starship”…. But that acronym didn’t work out so well…
- The simulant technology is based purely on telepresence. The operator does not actually “download” into the simulant body, but remotely operates it at all times. Harris sometimes describes the technology as though he is “downloading” simply because he does not know how the tech actually works. Because the books are written from the point of view of Conrad Harris, sometimes the descriptions don’t represent the actual, scientific explanation for a particular piece of technology: Harris isn’t so bothered about how things worked, only that they do.
- Some scientists believe that gravimetric storms of the type described in the book may exist in deep-space.
- Many of the character names in ARTEFACT were inspired by some of my favourite SF books, movies and/or TV programmes.
Next week, we’ll take a look at LEGION: a book in which the tech is taken to a whole new level…