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Alex Terrified Hero


The first book in the series

Anchor 17


The Characters


This has to be the funnest and toughest part of the research for this book.



  • Aliens

    • Ytell, the giant, alien raptor Who isn’t amazed at the sight of a raptor? They are similar to a snow leopard in their aloofness, but are intensely proud and fierce. wikipedia I looked for information on both their behavior/personality and how big they have gotten on Earth. Finding someone to talk to who lives, breathes, and talks raptors was wonderful. I give credit to Lee Merrick of Alaska Falcons for his help. top 10 formidable birds of prey  This site and others were particularly interesting and led to many hours of reading. The Harpy Eagle with its ruff of feathers it can raise around its head caught my eye. Hence, Ytell and others of his species can also do this. For Ytell it is a red ruff. wikipedia The size this bird could attain and still fly helped me with working out the height and wingspan of Ytell’s species. There were many more sites. The research was fascinating.

    • Stick, Amable, Gursha, teachers, other students, and many others: For these and other alien creatures I looked at how amazingly diverse Earth’s creatures are and realized aliens could be just as diverse. There are ideas about what body structures work best for developing sentience in species, but we are beginning to understand just how much other Earth animals with widely varying body have different levels of sentience. Another thing I did for Stick, Amable, Gursha, and Ytell was to write back stories for all of them. Those were necessary to get the characterization of the characters right and to have details about their past figured out which would affect the story of ‘Alex and the Crystal of Jedh.’ Those stories are novels in their own rights and I hope to rewrite and publish them at a later time. There are also the back stories of the bad guys and a number of others.


  • Humans in the story:

    • A’idah, of the Kalasha People The name has an almost alien sound to it and in the area of the world where they live, they are very different from the people around them. I spent weeks reading about, studying, and thinking about these people. Here are some of the sites: wikipedia, ancient history encyclopedia and The Kalasha and the Crescent. These people have a unique culture for the twenty first century and there are very few still living in that culture. This is a area of research it is wonderful/hard for me to go back to. Wonderful because the Kalasha are so interesting and they live in a beautiful area. Hard because the lives and culture of the Kalasha are fraught with danger. Will their way of life survive all of the pressures around them. I read this book about them: our women are free: gender and ethnicity in the hindukush. And then I spoke with the researcher who wrote the book, Wynne R. Maggi. Initially she did not want me to use the Kalasha in my stories. She feared for the people and how some might react. I had to work hard to reassure her of my intent and of the work. Her help was instrumental in getting the characterization of A’idah right. I appreciate her love for the people of Pakistan and hope to share that love with others, while still recognizing the Kalasha are just one people among many I could’ve written about and learned to care about.

    • Alex It was difficult to decide where he was from. I have left it vague as to where he lived and what his genotype or racial type is. I want everyone to see him as being possibly their cousin many times removed. One thing I did do research for him on was his illness. I spoke with a doctor about it. The doctor said when the cause is unknown there still must be a diagnosis. For Alex this became, ‘Failure to thrive.’ Another part of the research for his chronic illness was very near to home. I too suffer from a chronic illness. I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Thankfully I don’t have the worst form of it. I am also glad for what it has given to me. Know when others suffer from a chronic illness I can understand. I love that. It is also the cause of me writing, but enough of me.

    • Other human’characters There are a number of them and some I did research for in order to get them right in the story. If you want to have a certain type of person in a future story, then please let me know.


The Planets


  • Ice Planets

    • The Academy The location of the Academy required lots of research. A crater deep enough in a thin atmosphere world to actually have a warm and thick atmosphere came to mind. This led to two lines of research. One, was just how big are craters on other objects in our solar system, I learned some fascinating facts on these sites. whats the biggest visible impact crater in the solar system Lunar_craters Tycho_(crater) The Academy exists within a Tycho type of crater. highest and lowest points on mars Craters - The Moon This is based on the general fact that the deeper you go into an atmosphere the thicker and warmer the air is. How quickly the atmosphere thickens will vary on many facts about the individual planet. This site is helpful to see that. interplanetary air pressure altitude calculator You can pick the planet to look at and then calculate the atmospheric pressure at a set altitude. So for a planet like Mars you would need a hole about thirty-five miles deep to have air pressure similar to Earth at sea level. I decided to use a planet which had a unique history. This planet at one time had an atmosphere much like Earth. One of many possible disasters caused its orbit to be changed to the point it was lost by its solar system. Here are some sites which talk about orbits and the changes. Stability_of_the_Solar_System changes in planetary orbit At which point its atmosphere froze. Another star eventually caught the planet and over time it settled into a new orbit, but still with its atmosphere frozen. Such as happens to Pluto or as happens to the carbon dioxide on Mars. At this point I needed some object to have hit the frozen planet to create a very deep and large crater. Now if you are designing craters you use different sized bodies, with different densities, hitting together at different speeds and angles. For the crater I wanted it was a direct hit by a very large object. The result for me was a crater. One problem for me and a big one. By what we currently understand of crater creation, a crater the size I wanted would be an impact basin. Could a Tycho type of crater exist with the depth and width of an impact basin? I don’t know. What I do know is we keep finding our expectations of what we will find in the universe to be blown away by what we do find. That settled it. I don’t know all of the mechanisms which led to the crater’s creation. If necessary, I might be able to come up with some ideas which would explain the crater using what we currently know. In the mean time I have the crater where the Academy is. Now I needed the geography of the crater and that came from the Tycho type of craters. A central peak surrounded by a lower flat area and then the slumped area from the crater walls and then the crater wall itself. New information from the Pluto probe will be used in future books. Ice planets have turned out to be much more interesting than we thought. How I’ll use it I don’t know yet. On Earth the mantle is present 4.3 to 21.7 miles down. I will explain what this means in another posting in this section.




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