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$187 pledged of $6,000 goal
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By Tom Chmielewski
$187 pledged of $6,000 goal
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About this project

Exploring human drama in sci-fi

This project and its support website is about science fiction that isn't fantasy, but instead takes a real look at the drama that awaits us as we go beyond our time and our planet.

The project covers two closely related science-fiction works, the novel “Lunar Dust, Martian Sands,” and a full-cast audio drama of a short story prequel, “Shalbatana Solstice.” My plan is to release these stories concurrently so they support each other in marketing. The stories take place sometime near the start of the 22nd century. The Martian settlement has gone beyond a few self-enclosed modules, but its economic and ecological viability are still at risk.

Lunar Dust, Martian Sands

Ed Ferald, pilot of the inteplanetary tug Cydonia Zach on the Martian-Lunar route, receives orders from his uncle and boss to take an enigmatic woman as his sole passenger on the return to Mars. But the woman is carrying more baggage than Ed imagined. He ends up ensnarled in a violent plot to suppress a rumored advancement in a space drive that could cut the trip from Earth to Mars weeks to just a few days, a boon to the Martian colony but a disaster for corporations that fear for their monopolies and profits. His passenger is at the center of the fight, though on what side Ed can’t tell. He only knows he has to uncover the plot’s conspirators to preserve his Martian home – and to keep from being the next one killed.

The intro to the video above is from the opening of Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, off a demo I produced of an audio version of the story. This campaign would only finance the print and e-book version, unless the campaign well exceeds the goal. More likely, I’ll submit the production of the audio serial version of LDMS as a separate project in the future.

Shalbatana

Shalbatana is the name of a valley where Martian orbiters a couple of years back discovered the first solid evidence of a shoreline, in this case from a long dry lake bed at the bottom of the valley.

The short story takes place several years before the novel. Ed hasn’t qualified for interplanetary tugs, yet, but he is piloting Martian shuttles. He ends up piloting a frantic passenger anxious to reach a mysterious festival at the Shalbatana science outpost. Whispered rumors have spread across Mars about what happens at the festival at its peak during the Null Time, those 40 minutes after midnight but before the Martian day begins. Only a few, however, are allowed to take part in the festival, and those few aren’t talking. Outpost officials allow Ed to stay, though he’s not sure that’s a wise idea.

The song at the end of the project video is a demo of a song to be performed by a character in the story, a woman whose ancestors helped settle New Zealand in the late 1800s. But she also has ancestors from the native Maori. As with the story of all settlers, the song is about the reshaping of their new world.

How the funds will be used

For Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, a portion of the funds raised will be used to cover the following:

  • Original artwork for the cover design

  • A final edit

  • Publishing costs

A greater portion of the funds will go toward the audio production of Shalbatana Solstice. These funds will cover:

  • Studio recording

  • Director and actor fees

  • Audio editor

  • Artwork (Album cover and possibly art for scene changes)

  • Sound effects recordings

Funds raised above the minimum will be used to increase artwork in the recording and provide more flexibility in how to proceed in completing the project and enhancing its quality.

Author contribution

Besides writing the two stories, I also bring to the project years of experience as an editor and publication designer in print and electronic forms. This allows me to do the print design and e-formatting of the novel rather than contract it out.

My experience in editing illustrated audio narrations for a multi-media e-book, previous demos, and managing the service National Voice Exchange allows me to do some post audio editing, though I’ll leave the recording and primary editing to the studio pros.

Role of MartianSands.com

MartianSands.com seeks to publicize and support not only my novel and short story, but also the works of other autors. Your assistance for the publication of Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, and production of Shalbatana Solstice, will allow the website to continue this networking and promote the idea that science fiction can still be the inspiration for ideas that propel us into the future.

I invite you to visit the site and in particular the blog titled “Tripping fantastic in hard sci-fi” for a better understanding of the approach I’m taking.

Besides offering a location to find sci-fi books that deal with a plausible future, MartianSands.com also provides a blog on science and science fiction issues, and hosts a news feed summary for science-oriented services such as Space.com, Mars Today, NASA and the European Space Agency.

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Download of the novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands as an e-book.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Previous rewards and download of the audio drama Shalbatana Solstice, the prequel to Lunar Dust, Martian Sands.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Previous rewards and a signed copy of the paperback version of Lunar Dust, Martian Sands. Your name will be included in a list of supporters.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Previous rewards plus a poster of Lunar Dust, Martian Sands and download of the finished version of the song Shalbatana Shore written for the audio drama Shalbatana Solstice.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Previous rewards but exchange the paperback for a signed hardcover edition of Lunar Dust, Martian Sands. and a poster of the cover image for Shalbatana Solstice

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Previous awards and an invitation to visit the studio during the recording of Shalbatana Solstice and take part in a crowd scene, if practical for the donor. Your name will be listed as a co-producer.

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Funding period

- (30 days)