Author Karl Gallagher takes over my blog today. He is one of 11 authors in the military sci-fi anthology, Space Force: Building The Legacy, edited by Doug Irvin and published by Midlands Scribes Publishing. The e-book is scheduled for a Memorial Day release and you can order the print edition now to be delivered around that same day at the link above. Karl’s story is: Visitors.
SF Grandmaster Lois Bujold says one of her sources of inspiration for stories is to find the “worst possible thing” to happen to a character. This provides plenty of conflict as the poor protagonist tries to evade the dread fate.
For a main character who is as arachnophobic as, say, I am, the worst possible thing would be trying to be diplomatic in an encounter with spider-like aliens. Big spiders. Van-sized spiders.
But a guy breaking down and gibbering just doesn’t make an entertaining story. So I turned the premise around: what if our very ugly aliens show up, and an arachnophile is recruited to negotiate with them. Someone who’s only qualification is that he’s an
arachnophile, and lacks all the other training for such high stakes talks.
That’s the situation for Space Force Captain Alan Micheletti. He’s switched from routine satellite operations to a first contact situation with no preparation.
Writing Micheletti let me draw on my experience in Air Force Space Command as a weather satellite operator. I commanded enlisted crews in executing real-time control. Later I programmed the satellites’ data acquisition. Fascinating work, but not a “people person” job.
For someone as nerdy as Micheletti–or me–getting through a conversation where a verbal blunder could seal the fate of the Earth is the Worst Possible Thing.
Karl K. Gallagher has designed launch vehicles, calculated orbits, simulated system performance, and evaluated profitability of a rocket start-up. That technical background went into his hard SF Torchship Trilogy, a finalist for the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel of 2018. Karl’s other writings include the portal fantasy The
Lost War and the upcoming space opera The Storm Between the Stars.
News about Karl’s new releases can be found at https://kelthavenpress.com/.