Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Micro-Singularity Grenades

Fans of the IX Series will be aware that I like to base the futuristic tech you read about in the pages of The IXExordium of Tears – and later this year, Prelude to Sorrow – on the very latest theoretical science to emerge from the many research laboratories scattered around the world.

Five years ago, I read an interesting paper in Scientific America Magazine regarding the possibility of creating an artificial black hole for use as a power source, something that the wonderful world of science fiction had already surmised a number of years before.
(Star Trek buffs will remember the Romulans were purported to power their starships with gravity banded micro singularities).

At the time, I was still in the world building phase for the IX, and, imagining the various aspects of technology the futuristic Ardenese race might employ, I thought... “Hey, what if there was such a thing as a micro-singularity grenade?” a weapon capable of generating a temporary, limited field of crushing gravity, the implosive/explosive kinetic energy of which would be sufficient to destroy anything within its effective radius. (Just the thing our protagonists would need to take care of the pesky superhuman Horde ogres).

Well, as readers now know, Mac McDonald and his Special Forces team of kick-ass commandos went on to use singularity grenades to great effect in the ensuing adventures of The IX, and such weapons went on to become part of an arsenal they used in their efforts to turn the tide against a relentless enemy.

Ah, the stuff of science fiction eh?

Or is it?

Take a quick look at these short excerpts from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University along with extracts from Galaxy & Nature magazines:


Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have managed to produce an extreme physical object – a molecule that attracts more electrons than it can keep until it explodes.
This object, dubbed a molecular black hole, caught researchers by surprise as they weren’t expecting something quite so intense and astronomers and scientists are now beginning to suspect that this rather stolid source of many a science fiction story may, in fact, be science fact.

When scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory focused the full intensity of the world's most powerful X-ray laser on a small molecule, the pulse stripped all but a few electrons out of the molecule's biggest atom from the inside out, leaving a void that started pulling in electrons from the rest of the molecule, like a black hole gobbling a spiraling disk of matter.

Within 30 femtoseconds (millionths of a billionth of a second), more than 50 electrons from the rest of the molecule came rushing in, which quickly led to the explosive demise of the molecule.

While scientists have seen similar behavior before when this experiment was attempted with less intense beams or isolated atoms, they've not seen it to this magnitude. The molecular black hole is not just astonishing as a new discovery, but it provides clues on how X-ray lasers affect molecules. This is important because we use X-ray lasers to study how individual biological systems work.

“For any type of experiment you do that focuses intense X-rays on a sample, you want to understand how it reacts to the X-rays. This paper shows that we can understand and model the radiation damage in small molecules, so now we can predict what damage we will get in other systems.” experiment leader Daniel Rolles, of Kansas State University, said in a statement.

“We think the effect was even more important in the larger molecule than in the smaller one, but we don't know how to quantify it yet. We estimate that more than 60 electrons were kicked out, but we don't actually know where it stopped because we could not detect all the fragments that flew off as the molecule fell apart to see how many electrons were missing. This is one of the open questions we need to study.” lead author Artem Rudenko added.

The power of the laser has allowed the study of reactions like photosynthesis in never-seen-before detail, and it remains an incredibly powerful instrument. The X-ray pulses are 100 times more intense than if you concentrate all the sunlight we receive on Earth onto a single thumbnail.

All that power from such a tiny thing. Why? Because the iodine atom – which had a strong positive charge after losing most of its electrons – continued to suck in electrons from neighboring carbon and hydrogen atoms, and those electrons were also ejected, one by one, creating a level of damage and disruption that's not only higher than would normally be expected, but significantly different in nature.
Amazing, isn’t it, to think that a make-believe device might one day have a basis to zap alien bad guys?.
Of course, this raises a perplexing question. Do sci-fi enthusiasts like myself get our ideas from innovative breakthroughs in the field of scientific discovery...or are there researchers out there secretly getting inspiration from science fiction novels?
Mind boggling.

As a well know series always reminds us: “This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.”

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Are You Looking for the Very Best in Military Science Fiction?


The Story So Far

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia. 

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. 

Fight or die. 

Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX. 
Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

Fight or die.

That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.

But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.

Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.

Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.
Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.

A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.

It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.

Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…

Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

Soon - the story comes to its dramatic conclusion

Prelude to Sorrow

Sometimes - Fighting and dying simply isn't enough

Tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…
Death is only the beginning of the adventure.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The IX Series

Senatus Populus Que Romanus
       The Swift and the Brave
By Strength and Guile

Down through the ages, inspiring mottos have been ascribed to legendary warriors.
It unifies them behind one banner. Focuses them on the task ahead. Inspires them to sacrifice, honor and victory.
But what happens if such heroes are plucked from the familiar and stranded in a fight not of their making on a world far, far away?
Find out as we join the lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles; and 4 Troop, X Squadron SBS on their epic adventure against a foe forged in their worst nightmares.

The IX. 

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Have You Heard The Call?

Fight, or Die

There shouldn't be a reason why you haven't, especially as The IX is now available as an audiobook.
Narrated by British Actor Rob Goll, you'll be able to immerse yourselves in the critically acclaimed sci-fi action adventure that is, The IX.

Remember some of the editorial reviews for The IX?

Weston deftly weaves the horrors of the Horde stealing human life-essences, with the beauty of his prose and imagery. Action-packed and highly recommended.
Amazing Stories

The IX has taken me back to the books I enjoyed in my youth (Jerry Pournelle's King David's Spaceship or Gordon Dickson's Hour of the Horde) It flows wonderfully. There's constant motion, & Weston takes the story in unexpected directions that are intriguing & fun.
Black Gate

Weston knows how to keep the reader on the edge of the seat without feeling as though the mission will never end. This is a complex combination of history, imagination & science fiction magic as is available today.
Grady Harp: Hall of Fame/Top 100 /Vine Reviewer

When it comes to science fiction, I want a book that captures me from page one and never gives me a reason to want to escape. I want a book that forces me to stay up until 3 a.m., because there is no point at which it is ideal to put it down. I want a book whose characters and plots are complex and intelligent, but elegantly crafted with the minimum of distraction. The IX delivers.
Fanboy Comics

A brilliant & amazing synthesis of military, horror and far-future science fiction.
Nebula Award Winner Michael A. Armstrong

The author's knowledge of military history & his speculations about what might have happened to the legendary Ninth Roman Legion have led to an amazing trip through time & space to a world where things are not ever as straight-forward as they seem. Blending in believable science & classic elements of old Westerns, Weston has created a truly delightful story.
This Dark Matter

If you come back from watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens and find yourself pining for a galaxy far, far away with similar elements, I highly recommend The IX.

The IX is the most inventive science fiction novel I have read since "Stranger in a Strange Land". That's saying a lot. The plot is highly complicated, and yet so clearly and gracefully written that it is easy to follow. The ending is wildly inventive and too brilliant to give away. Suffice it to say I ended the book with tears in my eyes.
Jim Morris (Vine Voice)

Why don’t YOU get a taste for The IX?
It’ll put you in the right frame of mind to enjoy the action-packed sequel
Exordium of Tears

A remarkable follow-up to the continuing battle that will decide the fate of the universe, and the precursor for Prelude to Sorrow.

This year’s stunning conclusion to an epic that really does emphasize,
Death is only the beginning of the adventure.