The Music of Mars-The Antagonists

Part of the fun in writing is the opportunity to create characters to interfere with the needs and desires of the main characters.

The trick is to give the antagonists an excellent reason to oppose the main characters.

In The Music of Mars, Peter Konklin, the CEO of Peter Konklin Interplanetary, lost control of MarsVantage twelve years earlier when the government split off MarsVantage after an airlock accident. In Peter’s mind, he built MarsVantage, and it belongs to him.

He wants it back, and he’s pulling strings with the government to tighten the screws, so when the company fails, he can swoop in and buy them on the cheap.

As MarsVantage goes after a prize at a price they can barely afford, Konklin reasons that their success could hinder his efforts. He directs his people, Heather and John, to stop Gretchen and Frank on the Martian plain. Each of them have their own desires and complying with Konklin’s orders will help achieve them.

I think the reader can identify with Konklin’s desire–his means, on the other hand, places him on the wrong side of the reader’s sympathies.

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReaderWant to learn more? Check out The Music of Mars page, or buy the paperback or Kindle edition.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came about.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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The Music of Mars, the Government, and Blackmarkets

In The Music of Mars, I looked at current government initiatives and extrapolated what the future would look like within the context of the overall story.

Seventy-five years ago, marriage was a till-death-do-us-part proposition. These days, it can be relatively temporary as it’s easy to divorce, and there’s no stigma in doing so.

I put a finite time (five years) on marriage with the contract auto-renewing. A written statement presented 30 days before the contract’s end is required to prevent the auto-renewal.

Far more interesting is the trend for the government (local, state, federal) to tax or outright forbid the consumption of items it deems unhealthy. Today, Seattle and Philadelphia tax sugary drinks. New York City disallows the purchase of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

What’s the next step? An outright ban. Nearly 100 years ago, Prohibition prevented the legal sale of alcohol. I see a new wave of prohibitions coming in the future. They’ll take out soda, chocolate (and other candy), tobacco, and even sushi. The government will use health as the reason.

People will fight back by going underground and creating black markets. If enough people want something, someone will provide it for a price. Prohibition demonstrates this fact perfectly. In the novel, black markets abound on Earth, some fixed in backrooms of aboveboard places while others move from one seedy venue to another.

Black markets add an extra dimension to The Music of Mars, one that is fun and affects the plot unexpectedly.

For more information about The Music of Mars, click here.

Starting on May 29, 2018 for a limited time, the Kindle edition of The Music of Mars is on sale. #kindledeals

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Free Comic Book Day and Book Signing

Comic Logic in Ashburn, VA celebrated free comic book day yesterday, May 5th.

People waited in line to check out comic books. Word had it that when the doors opened the line was at the bottom of the stairs.

Free Comic Book Day - Waiting to Start

For over four hours the store was packed. I saw many familiar people and lots of new people. Spidey even showed up…

Free Comic Book Day - Spider-man

As always, I enjoyed talking about science fiction of all kinds as well as my book.

George G. Moore Discussing Sci-FiAnd I signed copies of The Music of Mars.

Free Comic Book Day - George G. Moore Signing a Book

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Mars InSight Lander Launch

On May 5, 2018, the Mars InSight mission is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. This launch will be NASA’s first from the West Coast.

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport is scheduled to land in Elysium Planitia, Mars (northern hemisphere) on Nov. 26, 2018.

For two year, the lander will study Mars’s deep interior to reveal clues in how rocky bodies form–not only Mars but also the Earth and Moon. NASA teamed up with several European partners to outfit the lander with instruments.

NASA hopes the lander’s ultra-sensitive seismometer will see between dozens to hundreds of marsquakes, each providing a picture of Mars’s interior. Meteorites, which regularly impact, will provide further pictures. Radio signals will determine if the core is molten. Other sensors will measure wind, pressure, and temperature.

The heat sensor will tunnel sixteen feet underground to measure how heat is escaping into space.

The RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment) is designed to track the wobble of Mars’s North Pole as the planet orbits the sun. This data will provide a clue as to the interior’s composition.

Lastly, the probe will carry a microchip etched with names. The name of the hero of The Music of Mars, my novel, and my name are on that chip.

 

The Music of Mars InSight Gretchen Black

The Music of Mars InSight George G Moore

Click here to learn more about The Music of Mars.

Buy the ebook or paperback from Amazon.com.

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The Music of Mars and Quotations

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReader

When I wrote The Music of Mars, I looked to America’s colonial times for inspiration. I wanted to tell a story where Mars’s culture was starting to deviate from Earth’s, allowing for plenty of tension. While I allow for instantaneous communication, to get anything physically between Earth and Mars requires about one month.

I specifically looked at the time leading up to the Revolutionary War. Not to spoil anything, but that may be a hint at where the story goes after The Music of Mars concludes.

I came across the quotation below from Samuel Adams.

If ye love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Naturally, I can’t have anyone speak these words–the quote is too long. I decided to place it on MarsVantage CEO’s wall and allow Gretchen, an archaeologist, to notice it an react. Later the CEO, Chuck, mentions a couple of phrases while arguing with a board member.

The quote itself sets a mood that I intended to convey. It perfectly exemplifies Chuck and Frank’s attitude. When I came across it, I had to use it somehow.

For the quote below, I had already finished the first draft and was hip deep in revisions when I came across it.

We might have been a free and great people together.

I read about Benjamin Franklin editing this line from Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence. While it’s true, the statement didn’t fit the tone of the Declaration so they wisely cut it.

As soon as I read it, I knew where I needed to use it. It comes up in conversation during a tense time between Gretchen and Frank. I won’t say more, but the quote and how it’s framed highlights a dimension of MarsVantage’s situation that otherwise might not be apparent.

If you like to learn more about The Music of Mars, check out The Music of Mars page, or go here to buy the paperback or here the Kindle.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came about.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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Comic Logic Third Anniversary and Book Signing

On April 21st, Comic Logic in Ashburn, VA celebrated their third anniversary. Food, Avengers trivia, cosplay, and of course, comic books filled the day.

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Plus, they invited several creators, including me. I was among a comic book writer, children’s book author, a fantasy author, and a creator of customized clutches, bags, keyrings, and towels.

I had a fantastic time, including stepping away from my table a couple of times to take pictures. It was the first time I was around cosplay.

Throughout the day, I enjoyed chatting with lots of people about comics, sci-fi, and my book, The Music of Mars.

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The Music of Mars-Chuck Has a Spy Problem

Chuck’s concerned about Konklin’s spies within MarsVantage…

I have no proof. Either my board members disbelieve or don’t care, but I know Peter Konklin has spies in my company, MarsVantage.

For over a decade, Konklin and his company have been one step ahead of us. As soon as we get traction in an area, we get blocked. Sometimes supplies suddenly became unavailable. Other times the government imposed new regulations. That’s not surprising–Konklin has funded half of congress, and they live contently in his pocket.

A once in a lifetime opportunity lies before me. I spent a sizeable sum hiring Gretchen, an archaeology consultant, to decipher odd symbols on a cave wall to access a new energy source. Everyone knows of the hire–there’s no way to hide a person traveling from Earth to Mars. The key is to prevent Konklin from learning what she’s working on.

I instructed Frank to look for the spies using recently delivered security data analysis software. It would be so much easier to find and return them to Earth than deal with them interfering with the mission, but they eluded Frank.

I have a feeling Konklin’s spies have plans for Frank and Gretchen’s mission.

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReaderWant to learn more about Chuck and his spy problem? Check out The Music of Mars page, or go here to buy the paperback or here the Kindle.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came about.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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The Music of Mars-Frank and the Knowledge Keepers

Franks talks about the Knowledge Keepers…

Just after my engagement to Lori, she inducted me as an initiate in the Knowledge Keeper Order. She taught me the ins and outs until she died in the Airlock Accident.

When the public catches Knowledge Keepers in action, they see clowns, which is designed to cover our actual purpose: to safeguard humanity’s knowledge, history, and essence for a time when we’ll need it.

That time grows near, and it’s clear for the few who wish to see. Far too many succumb to the government’s lies propped up by the corrupt media.

We believe that society is on the verge of ruin, and there’s nothing that can stop the decline. The government wields power to benefit the elite at the expense of the ordinary citizens. However when society collaspes, we’ll help pick up the pieces.

For over a decade, I faithfully executed my duties anticipating and planning for the inevitable. In the course of a month, humanity’s fate changed. Gretchen and I are in the vanguard because of what we found buried under centuries of Martian sand.

Will Gretchen understand my participation with the Knowledge Keepers? Could it drive her from Mars altogether?

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReader

The Music of Mars, available in paperback and Kindle

Want to learn more about Frank and the Knowledge Keepers? Check out The Music of Mars page, or go here to buy the paperback or here the Kindle.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came into being.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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The Music of Mars-Behind the Story

In The Music of Mars, I wanted to explore practical aspects of having a colony on Mars, which means dealing with planetary separation, and how various elements of such a distance affected character motivation and actions.

Today, it takes around 260 days (a tick under nine months) to travel from Earth to Mars with the best planetary alignment at a minimal cost. Naturally, such a separation would cause the Mars culture to shift away from Earth.

The problem is that amount of time hindered the story I wanted to tell. No one would travel for so long for a short-term consulting gig–it’s implausible.

I needed travel to last about a month. I also required real-time communication between Earth and Mars. Who’s willing to read a conversation with a twenty-minute break between every line of dialogue?

In the end, for real-time communication, I envisioned the use of wormholes to shortcut the distance. I can’t change orbital mechanics, but I can reasonably expect fuel and propulsion systems advances that would allow us to ignore planetary alignment considerations.

Having gotten over those hurdles, I could start having fun with the story.

Given the distance, supplies from Earth would be expensive on Mars. Talk about shipping and handling fees! Mostly necessities, rather than luxuries, would be shipped. I’m thinking spare parts, food, and fuel. And ships wouldn’t arrive every day like the mail. Likewise, only so much can be shipped at a time. All of which means that luxuries would be hard to come by as necessities would fill the shipping pipeline.

On the other hand, Earth would have everything in abundance. People would live well without having to work overly hard. The titans of industry would routinely use connections and favors to achieve their goals.

The government would have steadily acquired power. For instance, they would finally take over housing with a vast bureaucracy assigning houses and condos based its understanding of the individual’s needs. As a result, the housing market would collapse.

Naturally, the government would also take it upon themselves to save people from themselves for their own good. For example, they would pass several laws related to food and nutrition. They would mandate a nutritional allocation for each person. Plus, they’d criminalized certain types of foods, particularly snack foods. Of course, black markets would spring up and thrive.

Other changes would have occurred. Marriage would be for a set time frame of five years. The term would auto-renew, and for couples without children, a thirty-day notice would be enough to end the relationship at renewal time.

In short, Earth society requires little work to live well while hard work is the only way to survive on Mars.

Against this backdrop, conflict is inevitable as characters pursue tangible goals.

For instance, Peter Konklin, CEO of Interplanetary, wants to take over MarsVantage and will pull strings with bureaucrats to make MarsVantage’s path more difficult. He’ll even call for murder to achieve his goal.

Chuck and Frank want to loosen Earth’s grip, which is slowly strangling MarsVantage. They’ll take a chance by hiring Gretchen, an archaeologist, to gain access to an energy source.

Gretchen, whose husband recently non-renewed their marriage contract, accepts the job to get the energy source with the hope of reclaiming a place in the archaeology field because her last project leader blackballed her after she insisted on investigating her theory.

And all of these agendas clash.

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReader

The Music of Mars, available in paperback and Kindle

For more, check out The Music of Mars page, or buy the paperback or Kindle ebook. Every book purchase contains the steps to download two free short stories.

Sign up for my mailing list and download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came into being.

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The Music of Mars-Why Gretchen Went to Mars

Gretchen shares her reasons for going to Mars…

After my husband non-renewed our marriage contract, I completed the residence change application. The Housing Ministry assigned me housing to match my single status. In other words, it was small. Don’t get me wrong, it was pleasant enough–far better than living in a Quonset hut in Antartica.

I needed work since my last project leader blackballed me in the archaeology field. Once my money ran out, the government would move me into free public housing, which was ill-maintained–typical of a government-run endeavor.

Thankfully, MarsVantage needed help deciphering odd symbols in a remote Martian cave. The fee would cover nearly a year’s worth of expenses. Fortunately for me, they have to overpay for everything. They had to pay for my travel time to and from Mars, plus they had to pay handsomely, some would say overpay, for the job itself.

And what I found was beyond my wildest imagination–the knowledge and treasures of the Bvindu civilization. A lifetime of work awaits me on Mars, a place where I finally belong if Peter Konklin’s operatives don’t steal it or kill me first.

The-Music-of-Mars-customdesign-JayAheer2018-3D-eReaderWould you like to learn more about Gretchen? Check out The Music of Mars page, or go here to buy the trade paperback or here the Kindle.

If you sign-up for my mailing list, you can download a free short story that details how MarsVantage came into being.

If you buy the book, you’re eligible to download two free short stories.

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