Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Solar Express"

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., is the bestselling author of over sixty novels encompassing two science fiction series and four fantasy series, as well as several other novels in the science fiction genre..

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, Solar Express, and reported the following:
Solar Express is a very “hard” SF novel set in the year 2114. One of the key aspects of the book is that Alayna Wong-Grant, one of the two protagonists, is an astrophysicist at a full-spectrum optical and radio telescope observatory on the far side of the Moon, trying to discover the reason for a recently-discovered [in our time] pattern of solar behavior, otherwise known as multi-fractal mini-granulations. As the station-keeper, she has to work in her observation time when she can, while making sure all the various instruments and all the support equipment are always functioning. On page 69…
She’d put off answering Chris’s latest message for several reasons, including the fact that she’d been preoccupied with her own research, poring over the data and observations, looking for the smallest hint of something besides the patterns of granulation and mini-granulation that had been studied for more than a century and a half. But it seemed that nothing was there. Nothing was there…

For some reason an old rhyme came into her head.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today.
I wish, I wish he’d go away.

Like it or not, one way or another, the data, the observational hints she was seeking, the clues, the whatever… she and the solar array weren’t finding them… or not recognizing them, and she was having trouble dealing with that.
This passage and what follows shows her intensity, and the fact that her work comes before answering messages from friends, as well as the fact that the great questions in science don’t always yield quick or easy answers.

And yes… there is an answer to her inquiry, to which, by the way, there isn’t today. There’s also a great deal more, all of which results from her intensity.
Learn more about the author and his work at L. E. Modesitt, Jr.'s website.

--Marshal Zeringue