Welcome to Realm Explorers! In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors. Enjoy your travels! And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.
Title of book and/or series:
Avarice Dynasty: Evasion
Brief summary of the story:
Drevin Cantrim awakens to find out he’s one of the few survivors of a starliner explosion, and that the tragedy was no accident. He must race to try and figure out what he might have done to anger the Barons before their unstoppable assassin finds him and his friends.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The Frontier Worlds are on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy in a dense supercluster of stars. There are 105 star systems with habitable planets or otherwise exploitable celestial bodies. One of the planets visited in the story is New Mercury, a frozen rock that’s farthest from its star. It is a harsh existence but the mineral and liquid wealth of the planet means that there are always people living there. It is located in the Canine Taurus star system, in the Canine Star Province.
If we were to visit New Mercury as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
During Sunside, there are regular tourist tours out to the mining facilities and the Worlds-famous Hosgen Glaciers. Several of the enclosed cities, known as Habitats, have excellent spas using fresh glacier water. New Mercury is not generally considered a tourist destination, however, so most of the locals would point you elsewhere for a visit.
What dangers should we avoid on New Mercury?
Never try to fly or visit the surface without protection, and definitely don’t do it during Farside. That’s when the planet’s long rotation turns it away from the sun. The temperatures drop so quickly that the methane freezes right out of the atmosphere, dropping in large, dangerous chunks of ice.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served on New Mercury?
Amazingly enough, there are six types of aquatic animals that can survive the extremely harsh environment. Three of those species are edible as expensive delicacies that are only available onsite.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common on New Mercury?
New Mercury is in the realm of the BloodGutters, one of the six currently-ruling Alpha Cartels. The BloodGutters, as their name implies, favor vicious warfare with a lot of chemical weapons. The planet itself has never been the site of a battle during either of the Cartel Wars; the locals figure they have a rough enough existence and don’t bother with war.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter on New Mercury that we don’t see on Earth?
The only plant life are microscopic algae that populate the vast frozen oceans, and which feed two of the six aquatic species. The six-foot-long Mercales are the top predators and make for an excellent soup.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology on New Mercury?
New Mercury is one of the few planets where the cities are completely enclosed. The large transparent domes must be protected during Farside, otherwise the constant methane-ice bombardment would crack them open. Large metal armor plates are raised over the cities every time the planet starts to head Farside. This armor system is one of the greatest, and most expensive, technological wonders of the Frontier Worlds.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same on New Mercury as on Earth?
New Mercury does not have a local calendar that is anywhere near Old Earth’s. The planet with the calendar closest to Old Earth is called Prime. To give an example, New Mercury’s nights last six Prime days and it has no moon so there are no technical months. Its year, measured by how long it takes to orbit, is 204 Prime years. The locals are kept in sync with the rest of the Frontier Worlds because every planet goes by Prime time, regardless of local conditions. That’s a good thing, because none of the locals would ever get to celebrate a birthday if they went by New Mercury time.
Is there a particular religion practiced on New Mercury? Please describe what it involves.
Religion is a varied thing in the Frontier Worlds. Most of the people who left Old Earth brought a form of religion with them, but by the time they reached the Frontier Worlds these had changed. Most believe in a God of some sort, and the Bible is still regularly used, but there are not many standardized religions left after the Anarchy and the Cartel Wars. Spur Tarc is fairly famous on New Mercury as a radical preacher who claims that a person’s footwear is exceedingly important in gaining God’s approval.
What is the political or government structure on New Mercury? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The power structure in the Frontier Worlds goes Barons > Alpha Cartels > Local Government. In the more populous and frequented worlds, the Barons and Alpha Cartels exert a huge amount of influence. New Mercury is a distant and harsh planet, so the Barons barely even notice it. There is a BloodGutter Governor-General in charge, but she rarely visits the planet. The local Habitats have a loose coalition of mayors who make and enforce the day-to-day laws. Government is something that isn’t really on the minds of the locals; survival is a more pressing and urgent need.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit New Mercury?
If the Habitat you wish to visit is on the Farside they will be completely out of contact for up to six days. This has led to a culture where people are regularly cut off from the outside world and must rely on each other for anything they need. Patience is a huge virtue among New Mercurians, and anybody who tries to force a conversation or a landing with a Farside Habitat is usually shot out of the sky with little warning. They take their survival and their culture very seriously.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
New Mercury was inspired by the three years I spent in a small town in Iowa when I was 9-12. The world froze over every winter, something I wasn’t used to in southern California, and everything seemed to grind to a halt. The town was close-knit and everybody knew everybody else. Going outside required effort and at times great expense.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I write mostly for entertainment value. If I had to pick a theme, it would be this: humans are quite capable of ruining our own lives without needing evil alien overlords invading. But despite the sunken depths of humanity, there will always be those few who stand up and try to make things better. Drevin Cantrim is one of those people.
I was born not far from Los Angeles and spent the next nine years living in seven or eight different locations in southern California. I moved to Iowa for three years (and two different houses) and then back to California. Then I moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1999 and have lived in that hot dustbowl ever since. I started writing just before the move to Iowa and haven’t stopped since. I enjoy playing computer and board games with my wife, and am an Adult Fan of Legos.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to New Mercury. Questions about the planet or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you! Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the fantasy world of Finian Jahndra, in Realm Explorers Part II!