Happy Friday everyone! Casey here!
One of fun parts of writing is research. Normally, I don’t do very much research other than getting a feel for a geographic location (thank you, Google Earth) or learning more about a specific process (tattooing) or a particular bit of history (like naming conventions for Chinese males).
I love history and learning about new cultures, places or people. But when it comes to writing, I tend to steer clear, otherwise I would never finish anything. And I don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many facts or details.
However, when the subject was vampires in space or more specifically, the undead on Mars, I couldn’t wait to dig in. In a few short weeks, my next book, The Undead Space Initiative is coming out. Before I wrote the book, I did some research on space travel and conditions on Mars. I visited NASA‘s website and Google Mars (yes, can you believe it? There is a such a thing!)
I learned many fun and fascinating facts such as:
- NASA hired veterinarians to create the first meals for astronauts (and how they couldn’t understand why people didn’t want to eat food shaped like kibble).
- There are studies out there, where you can be paid to not leave bed for a year at a time (literally – you can’t get off the bed – you must sleep, eat and do everything else in the bed). The purpose of this is to understand the long-term effects of zero-G.
- A great deal of scientific know how and design went into making an actual toilet in space. The book goes into ridiculous detail so I will spare you.
- Japanese astronauts are locked into small rooms with each and made to fold paper cranes for hours on end (to study personality and other behavioral dynamics).
There is so much more, but you’ll have to read it yourself to find out the rest.
Now, in case you’re wondering, and because I did bring it up in the title of this blog – can you have sex in space?
The books touches on the subject with a bit of thinly veiled frustration. While there have been no officially documented studies sanctioned by any space faring government, there are plenty of rumors in the space community, that it is possible. I came up with my own conclusions for purposes of storytelling.
So, what does any of this research have to do with my book?
Everything and nothing.
I’m a big believer in verisimilitude or the appearance of reality. Ms. Roach’s book helped solidify my belief that the undead, like vampires, zombies and revenants would do very well in space and on Mars.Here’s why:
They are dead.
They don’t need to breathe, eat or use the toilet.
Their bodies can stand extreme temperatures and they won’t get cancer from gamma ray bursts.
Quite simply, they are perfect recruits for settling Mars.
And while it was fun to learn about space toilets, and kibble, none of those things appear in my book. None of my characters break out into spontaneous bouts of paper crane folding either.
I did use facts as best I could. Yes, there are clouds in the Martian sky, dust storms that last for days, and scientists believe there is water in the Martian permafrost. But there are plenty of other things in the book that are my own invention.
And no, I won’t say what they are! You’ll have to read the story to find out how vampires travel in space and learn to live on Mars.
While we’re on the subject of research and sex – if you have a moment – please stop by and visit my blog today - 60 Inches of Glory where I talk about one of my favorite tools for research (and get your mind out of the gutter!).
How much research do you like to do before writing? And how do you use those facts? Or does the thought of research cause you to break out in hives?