Next Files

A site for commentary on science fiction and science


July 2015

Book writing the Andy Weir way – you bet!


The mystery of the ocean was a gift given him by parents who spent most of their careers standing where he finds himself today. He stares into the great expanse of water just as they did. There was never a question. He simply headed into marine biology as his parents had. The ocean, where life began, holds answers for us, they would say. In a few hours, his pursuit would bring to an end one of the millions-year-old mysteries.

I have yet to read The Martian. Friends tell me it is a great read. USA Today tells us it is a crackling good read. Weir’s story is inspiring, even breathtaking. One day he is hoping people will read his book. The next day he is sitting opposite Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame and explaining how he did it, how his book rose to a bestseller.

That stratospheric success story might make a good book some day. All you need is a great premise, a few tips from the folks at the Jet Propulsion Lab and you’re book is off toward the clouds. I’m dying to get my hands on it and I will when I finish my own effort.

Would I like to see my book do the same? Can astronauts “science the shit out” of getting themselves off Mars?


Is nothing sacred to those in Congress?

You can tell Congress that swapping an Apache holy site to a foreign mining company is reprehensible – just plain wrong. Sign:

To Members of the US Congress and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell: As concerned people from across the world, we believe the recent rider to the National Defense Authorization Act that opens up National Forest land in Arizona to copper mining, land held sacred by the San Carlos Apache, is an outrage likely tied to campaign spending by the mining industry. We the undersigned demand immediate repeal or amendment of this rider, and an apology to the local Apache whose cultural heritage is being put up for sale.

Please click on this link to go to the petition: #SaveOakFlat

Author: Injecting science and fiction

Mike's Dinver

Hope you are enjoying the first two chapters. Keep returning to the CHAPTERS page for additional downloads.

 Writers lament all the challenges that come with setting out on a project. I make reference to teachings of the Native Americans in my work. This is just the occasion for native wisdom. Elders steer their young on a difficult path. Challenge is embraced.

After 30 years of professional writing as a newsman, I am still learning. And, while some might find the transition from article writing to chapter writing a smooth one, I find it challenging – always have.

Challenges are something I have not steered clear of over the years. My experience as a law student got me into the linear thinking habit. But linear thinking is like canoeing upstream when it comes to creating stories. My mind is a wild horse and will not be reined in easily, I have found. My mind produces its best ideas when it is not restrained. The reining in happens as I turn ideas into chapters and then a drama. My focus might be the best kind. I keep after it.

The more difficult challenge was to bring science knowledge into the content. How much is too much? How little is too little? It’s more than balance. The story has to be cohesive. It needs to be reader friendly, but not dumbed down. It’s easy to wander down tangents after minutes of writing only to pause and find that you might not keep the passages just written. If I have any advice to impart after taking on this project, it is do not fall in love with what you write. It is likely to change.


Chapter 2 is available for download

Frontier scifi icon
click to go to site

Conditions were not right the first time a NASA probe flew by. Oddly enough, it was the Hubble telescope that later took images of what the Galileo missed. Geysers shooting 125 miles into space beckoned from Jupiter’s domain.

Europa was envisioned as something like a Lava Lamp.

Read chapters from the novel by author Raymond Alvarez

Continue reading “Chapter 2 is available for download”

More chapters coming – and they are free

The second chapter of Frontier, a novel by Raymond Alvarez, is scheduled to be available at my website today. Download the second chapter and let me know what you think.

Download the second chapter in Chapters

Read first chapter of Frontier, a scifi novel set on Europa

scifi novel
scifi novel about strange object on Europa


A mystery lies at the bottom of Europa’s hidden ocean. Scientists arrive to learn that the spherical object is an extraterrestrial spaceship. Never-imagined-technical wizardry lies dormant inside. A commercial space ship burns all of its fuel rocketing to Jupiter’s moon. Asteroids and the enormous pressure deep in Jupiter’s atmosphere cannot stop the ship from delivering the two men assigned to go inside. Waiting on earth is a trillionaire bent on controlling the alien technology. With the object’s powerful secrets nearly in hand something goes terribly wrong. A chain of events is set loose as mankind struggles for its very survival.

Download the first chapter – for free

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