Residing across the sprawling expanse of the First Unified Imperial Combine of Earth are billions upon billions of people, each of them living out their lives on one of thousands of worlds. While the Empire dictates many of the laws and social directions to which those planets must adhere, many of the colonies have their own cultural idiosyncrasies and societal mores.
The huge range of unusual names found across Imperial space, therefore, should come as no surprise.
The words are not coming easily today, and my mind is wandering. While plotting out one of the more violent and dramatic actions sequences in From Shattered Stars, I started thinking about what it would actually look like to see a squad of armed Tankers barrelling down the ramp of an Imperial lander.
In the coming fourth novel, we will see much more of Squad Four, the Tankers from Downfall Company's first platoon. These are the same guys who first popped up in List of the Dead, and who returned to assist Elm Caden in The Ravening Deep. As I worked out who would do what, and how violently they would do it, my brain wanted to put faces to the troops.
So this is what I came up with as a Dream Team in the as-yet imaginary movie version of From Shattered Stars...
It's #BiWeek from 19th to 26th September 2016, so what better time to run a feature on sexuality in the Armada Wars universe? This is a topic which has reared its head a few times in the novels so far — sometimes with great subtlety, sometimes not so much — and you will doubtless appreciate some pointers on how the culture of the Imperial Combine differs from ours with regards to love and intimacy.
Before we get started, let's take a quick moment to recognise what #BiWeek is. Simply put, it's a time for recognition and education. It aims to address the stigmas, misunderstandings, and falsehoods surrounding bisexuality, and to tackle problems such as bisexual erasure.
The biggest problem facing campaigns of this sort is that people like to believe that they "know what they know", and can't be wrong. Given the opportunity to actually look at some information, stats, and first hand accounts, many people suddenly realise that — even though they mean well — they actually hold a few quite large misconceptions.
So by all means get on and enjoy the rest of the article about a fictional universe, but please consider reading more about #BiWeek and helping to get the message out there!
The Armada Wars series is one of ups and downs, filled with periods of reflection sandwiched between action sequences which we just know have explanations and consequences we are yet to see. And every once in a while the suspenseful thread running through the series snags slightly, and the tension is released in a woah moment.
Here are the top three 'woah moments' so far, as nominated by fans on Facebook. Be warned that there are potential spoilers ahead!
Earth is the home of Humanity, located in the Solar system on the Orion-Cygnus arm of the galaxy. It is a verdant world which supports millions of native species. Vast smart cities rise high in the air, ensuring that their immense populations produce only a small physical footprint. They are surrounded on all sides by the lush preserves which now cover most of the planet.
While the lands and oceans have largely been healed by the extensive and costly Restoration Project, which aimed to reverse ecological damage of ages past, some areas remain barren. The North American badlands are a prime example, and very little has been able to grow there since the bombardment which occurred near the end of the Asia-Pacific war.
Aside from Damastion, Earth is the only class zero planet in the Imperial Combine. Seen from space it is a mainly blue ball wreathed in white cloud, with visible continents coloured green, brown and grey. The polar ice caps are white. Amongst the rocky planets orbiting its star, Sol, it has relatively high density and surface gravity. The rocky surface of the planet is a thin crust with relatively low density, essentially floating on a denser semi-liquid mantle.
A strong magnetic field deflects a significant amount of harmful stellar radiation. Also, around 71% of the surface of the planet is covered by water, an organic solvent. Both of these attributes contributed significantly to the emergence of life on the planet.