On a wintery Ohio morning in 1958, Doug Turnbull (the author) watched the television broadcast of America’s first satellite blasting off atop a Jupiter C rocket into the darkness above Cape Canaveral. From that moment, he was hooked on rockets and space travel, both what was being done and what could be done. As a youth he constructed a series of solid and liquid fuel rockets, on one occasion filling the house with smoke after conducting a static test in the basement. Future tests were banished to the back yard and while none of the rockets flew, their failures were spectacular.
A victim of Math Deficiency Syndrome, his future as a professional engineer or scientist was limited. Nonetheless, while making ends meet in mortgage banking, a field requiring only limited mathematical aptitude, Turnbull maintained his interest in Astronomy, as well as Physical and Planetary Science. He has constructed several telescopes, including one with a clock drive of his own design. As an amateur historian, amateur scientist, radical Libertarian, UCD graduate, member of the NRA, occasional reader of the work of other Science Fiction writers and subscriber to the Scientific American, he is well positioned to opine on a variety of issues.
Among those issues is manned space flight—specifically the colonization of Earth orbital space, Luna, Mars, and the Galilean moons of Jupiter. He believes that one of the chief impediments to the colonization of Luna and the other planets is the notion that colonists must return to Earth. Once that mindset is discarded, the process is simplified and the extraterrestrial colonization that is essential to humanity’s survival is made feasible. One of this book’s characters states that “until the human race spread to the planets, we were niche dwellers.” Turnbull contends that as niche dwellers, we are like the dodo birds, waiting for some external event to come along and drive us to extinction. Interplanetary space flight and colonization are mankind’s life insurance policy.
Now imagine a gritty tale of crime, violence, sex, and drug use with indolent and anomic behavior among mid-21st century youth living in a postapocalyptic dystopia. If that’s the sort of thing you are used to reading, try this author for a change! His stories are upbeat, hard science-fiction, the kind that tells an interesting and exciting story set in a plausible future. The science in the fiction is well researched and based on the latest information about the natural universe on and off Earth. The principal characters are young adults who encounter all of life’s normal problems, but in a hazardous, extraterrestrial, frontier environment.