It’s my birthday and you can help me celebrate! How? By reading one of my short-stories that I’ve posted free for everyone to read on my site.
Atoll is a sister story to my recently released novel Mathematics Of Eternity. It’s set a few years before the novel and shows some of the situations that led up to the world you can see in the novel. Be quick, though, it’s only there for today and tomorrow!
Have fun reading 🙂
(No, that’s not really my cake, but I wish it was!)
I’ve finally finished my debut novel and I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. But it’s involved far more work than I would have ever imagined.
The delay in getting it into production has been a mixture of work related stress, lack of time to work on it, plus my many doubts about my ability. You see, this isn’t my first novel. Depending on how you count it, it’s actually my fourth (or maybe three-and-a-half’th!) So, what happened to the others?
For that, we’ll have to go back to the beginning.
I’ve always wanted to write stories, ever since I was in school devouring every book I could get my hands on. I’d take every possible opportunity to turn class assignments into an opportunity to write a story. This was frowned upon by my teachers and I certainly wasn’t encouraged in my “literary” efforts–quite the opposite in fact.
So I put the idea away and tried to do other “normal” things though it was always latent. I was part of an early games company start-up and as well as programming, 3D, and the other duties (we did everything in those days!), I was always the one writing backstory, creating the world environments and fictional histories.
Jump forward a few years and I found myself commuting to work by train. This journey was supposed to take around forty-five minutes but in reality was usually closer to double that. So that was two or three hours a day of mind-numbing boredom. Something had to be done.
I could have put in extra work for my job, but as I wouldn’t get paid for that or receive any other benefit, that wasn’t going to happen. (If I could have done job work and had a shorter day because of it, I’d have happily taken that option.) So, after some thought, I decided I would try my hand at writing.
I had no real plans at this point as to where it might lead. It was simply a distraction from the miserable journey. While I was stuck on that smelly uncomfortable train, my mind could escape into outer space, exploring new stars and different worlds.
After a few months of this, disaster struck. In a bizarre accident involving a pair of shoes, a shopping mall, and an escalator (no, this isn’t something from Hitchhiker’s Guide and I wasn’t drunk at the time), I ended up with a torn calf muscle. This begat a deep vein thrombosis, and the DVT, in turn, begat a pulmonary embolism, and I ended up being rushed to hospital almost dying. That’s some pretty serious begatting.
So I was laid up in hospital, living on a diet of oxygen and blood thinners, (mmm mmmmhhh! Rat poison!) wired up like a Christmas tree.
Hospitals are strangely timeless places. As I couldn’t really move around much and there was a very real prospect of not getting out of there alive, I found I needed the diversion that my writing had given me during my commutes. My wife brought in my little laptop, and I went back to work.
I finished that project while I was still in hospital. I was so eager to write the last part, I was up until about 2 AM putting the last section in and went to “celebrate” by doing a circuit of the corridor outside the ward and chatting to the night-nurse! To my great surprise, I found I’d written a novel.
That was one of the biggest days I’ve ever had.
Of course, there were some problems. And lots of questions.
Such as, what did it mean to “finish” a novel? I knew the generally accepted word-count and I’d hit that. But what else?
I knew about “editing” in a general sense, but that was all. All of my favorite writers (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke) seemed to write their stories, send them off, and they got published. There were several pieces I read that actively frowned on the idea of editing. I also had the vague idea that writers wrote, and editing–well, that was something that editors did. So I did a spell check, skimmed through the grammar to make sure there was nothing too awful and sent it off to Tor.
They still haven’t got back to me 🙂
As my early passions included science and math, I’ve always been a very questioning person–something which was also often a source of irritation for my school teachers. When I don’t understand something I research the topic, I find answers for myself. So I started to investigate what it meant to “write” something, what was really involved. And that was an eye-opener for sure.
For one thing, I quickly learned that for all the hundreds of books I’d read, I didn’t really know anything about writing. How do you develop a plot? How do you create characters? What about structure, voice, mythic qualities? And editing? Hell, you could spend your life just learning to edit alone. First drafts, second drafts, structural edits, line edits, proofreading, and a whole raft of other things I’d never even heard of.
I started to delve and found myself buried in a morass of conflicting information. Some people said you write this way, some that way. Some said you have to plan everything, some that you plan nothing. There wasn’t the same access to information at that time as now, so I bought books on writing. Lots of them and devoured them too.
I soon realized what I’d written was essentially a very rough draft. And I mean rough in the sense of a butchered bird house made with stone tools, no tape measure or square. It was written with no more than an instinctive knowledge of story, amassed from decades of reading voraciously–not a bad thing but not necessarily good either. In the true spirit of Hemingway, my first draft was shit.
While I was doing all of this investigating my writing hadn’t stopped. The buzz from finishing the project was still so great that I’d already started work on another story. This time I knew it was going to be a novel when I started. Hell, I’d just knocked out over seventy-thousand words while I was dying. How could I miss? 🙂 So I wrote and wrote and read and thought.
I also realized that writing a novel was a long process, which meant extended feedback cycles. So I started to write short-stories too. This allowed me to play with ideas and get a “result” quickly–it also started to teach me about economy of words. As I’d already found, simply producing the right word-count wasn’t necessarily very hard–or effective.
Short-stories also offered a chance of getting published sooner. I could write them, submit to magazines and just maybe get published while working on other novels.
So that was what I did. I wrote short-stories, submitted them, collected rejections, and plowed on with my second novel. At this point, progress was slow. I was working a highly stressful job, navigating the labyrinthine processes of the Canadian immigration process, buying (and subsequently selling) a house, and all of the other things that are part of life.
I learned a lot during this time. Such as how important it is to write regularly. Anybody can put words on a page, but writing a story and especially something as involved as a novel, isn’t something that most people can just do. It takes practice, a lot of practice. How else can you learn how to write unless you’re doing it? Then analyzing what you’ve done and working to improve. Rinse and repeat. If that sounds like a lot of work–that’s because it is.
I also learned that you will never “find time” for writing. You have to love it, you need to feel empty and lost if you don’t do it, because the only way you’ll do this is by making time. Time is life’s most precious commodity. You’ve only got so much to play with, so you need to spend it wisely and if you’re not completely committed and enjoying what you’re doing, then you’re better off finding something else that will make you feel that way.
I finished the first draft of the second novel and put it away. Something else I’d learned is that you have to distance yourself from what you’ve written. Because if you don’t, you can’t look at it with the cold, fresh eye that you need to in order to edit effectively. And duly started on my third novel.
As I worked through the early stages of the new project I realized that one of my problems was that I never planned anything. I simply decided what I wanted to write and started banging away. This was great fun and certainly gave rise to–hmmm let’s call it organic development. The trouble was that it also led back to the problems I’d had with the first novel. Poor structure, weak characters, and other large-scale flaws.
As I added distance to my second novel, I was beginning to realize just how big the problems were. It’s true that anything that’s been written can be polished until it’s at the point where it becomes worth publishing, but depending on where you start, the process could take you as long, or longer, than initially writing the book.
This realization wasn’t exactly appealing, and by now I was approaching the middle of the third book. I’d done more preparation on this one, but it was still too little I realized. And at this point I made a terrible mistake, though I didn’t understand that at the time.
I stopped writing it.
I went back to the beginning and started to try and analyze everything. To plan every detail. Every character, every scene, every beat, and every plot twist. It was a Sisyphean task, but I stuck with it. At this point, my only actual writing content was short-stories. But at least I thought I’d finally get somewhere the way “real” writers do.
After several months of this, I finally had everything planned out (I thought) and turned my head back to actually writing the book. And here’s where I found a strange thing happening. I couldn’t get back into the story. No matter what I did, or how I tried, it wasn’t happening. It was as though having done the exhaustive work on the planning, I’d sucked dry any actual enjoyment left in the project. It was like chewing on week-old gum that had had the flavor chewed out by someone else.
I lost confidence at this point almost entirely. Started to question everything. I still hadn’t been successful with my story submissions, and I started to wonder if maybe I was just deluding myself about my ability.
I’ve been dealing with depression since I was in university, and all of this dragged me very low. Not only that, but the immigration process was taking far longer than expected, and I was starting to wonder if we’d be accepted. I still couldn’t move on with the third story, and the more I read about the craft of writing the more lost I seemed to be.
Then two things happened that changed everything around. Okay, well three things actually.
Firstly, one of my short stories was accepted for publication by the Canadian SF magazine Neo-Opsis. The acceptance came out of the blue by email and completely threw me. I was so amazed that I could hardly think, and the routine of the day was simply a blur (and another story entirely!).
That sparked another, far more personal event. I’d been with my wife (girlfriend at that point) for several years. We’d bought a house together and been more or less content, beyond waiting what seemed an eternity over the immigration status. But we’d never taken any steps to “formalize” our relationship. Partly this was deliberate to make sure we were comfortable with each other, but part of it was also because I wanted to tie it into something special. So I’d decided (several years previously and without her knowledge) that I’d ask her to marry me on the day I learned I was published. So, I asked, Amazingly she said “yes.” So now there was a greater sense of disruption in my life, although a wonderfully happy one.
The third thing that happened was that I bought a copy of one of James Scott Bell‘s books on writing. If I remember correctly it was Plot And Structure, though I quickly bought all his other books as well.
These were a revelation for me. They were full to the brim of useful information on every aspect of writing. But unlike most of the other similar books I’d read, his down-to-earth manner demystified the ideas and made them approachable. I started to cautiously apply some of the things I learned in them to my short-stories and found they improved my work. I then took things further and re-analyzed my earlier projects. I could clearly see where I’d screwed up and the gaping holes that were dotted liberally throughout.
Importantly, Bell also introduced the idea that there is no right way to write. Certainly, you can borrow techniques and ideas from wherever you want, but the important thing is that you understand what works for you. It’s a very personal thing, and comparing yourself with other writers or trying to adopt their practices wholesale is unlikely to lead to success. It’s like being a musician. Yes, you can learn to play like famous names, but ultimately success comes from finding your own style.
I found some of the exercises in the books to be fantastic ways of analyzing writing and generating ideas. Bell’s self-editing and revision tools are invaluable in learning how to polish your work and fix things that are broken.
This new found knowledge combined with my short-story publication re-ignited my passion for writing. I also realized I could apply some techniques from my day job using things such as just-in-time design and adaptive development to maintain flexibility but still push forward. And I started to outline a new novel.
This time I built a light framework for my outline. Just enough to enable me to move forward. Whenever I needed more detail than this or got stuck, I’d brainstorm ideas and figure out my way forward again. I’m sure this isn’t the most efficient way of operating, but it worked for me. I also learned to be more relaxed about problems, often deferring them until my subconscious came up with a solution rather than letting myself get stymied by details.
I still had plenty of other things going on. Our immigration application was successful, and we made the move to Canada. That put a big dent in my writing for a while. I had ups and downs, periods where I made little or no progress. But I knew where I was going and kept at it.
Until finally I finished the first draft of book four. It took a long time, but I got there.
When I reviewed it after a break I soon realized that despite my best efforts, the quality was still lower than I’d hoped for. The on-and-off development had taken its toll and the manuscript was extremely messy. I felt the structure and general sense of story was good, but the level of writing was, perhaps understandably, patchy and inconsistent.
But knowing the story was good was a huge step forward from previous attempts. So I started to apply the techniques I’d picked up from Bell and various other places and redrafted, and redrafted.
Another thing I’d learned during all of this was that writing isn’t just writing. Redrafting or editing is also writing. I no longer looked at the manuscript and cursed it for being so bad. I knew it was bad and why and knew I could fix it.
So there you have it. It took a while to self-edit. I also had it professional edited (Michelle Dunbar), to ensure that I was producing something as good as possible. I also have to give a huge thank you to my wife, who helped review and edit this monster–between us we got there.
Writing a book is in some ways similar to building a piece of software. It’s a long process of refinement and every time you “finish” you learn more (or should) and could probably write the same thing again but better. I learned a lot through the process of writing Mathematics Of Eternity and will strive to constantly learn further as I progress.
Perhaps the proof of what I learned lies in the sequel. The first draft was completed in under six months, and as I’m working through the editing process, I can see the quality is so much better than earlier first drafts because it was written more consistently.
If you’re out there struggling with some of these things too, don’t worry. I think it’s something we all go through–a part of the process of becoming an author. Listen to advice and learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, but remember that whatever works for you is right.
I don’t often post very much about my writing process, and I’d like to thank the incredibly talented Christie Stratos from Proof Positive for suggesting this post. I’m surprised it turned out so long!
It’s finally here! The day the world has been waiting for! After many eons in development, Mathematics Of Eternity, the first in an explosive SF thriller series is available! Be the first kid on your block to get your hands on a copy! 🙂 It’s got everything: flying cars, mysterious women,spaceships, genetic engineering, sinister space villains, and a conspiracy that’ll make your hair curl! (Did I get in enough exclamation points? 🙂 )
Ebook and paperback now available on Amazon.
Meet former space engineer, Joe Ballen. These days, he’s scraping a living flying cabs in flooded-out Baltimore, trying to avoid the clutches of his boss and the well-meaning advice of an old friend. When one of his passengers suffers a grisly death, Joe is dragged into a dangerous web of ruthless academic rivalry centered on a prototype spaceship.
As the bodies pile up, Joe becomes suspect number one, and his enemies will stop at nothing to hide the truth. With the help of an enigmatic scientist, a senile survivalist, and the glamorous Ms Buntin, can Joe untangle the conspiracy and prove his innocence before it’s too late?
Mathematics Of Eternity: The future’s about to get a lot more action-packed!
“Negotiations between the assembled Earth nations and Atoll negotiators broke down today, with no relaxation of the restrictions on Earth-based extra-orbital operations. General Chadwick, from the combined Atoll security forces, stated there would be a vigorous response to any attempt by Earth to increase operations outside Low Earth Orbit, other than the Mars mining operation. He also said that this boycott included the starship—”
I stabbed the off-button hard enough to make the plastic click sound like a gun had gone off inside the car. The news shouldn’t have bothered me, but it did. The fact that I used to work in space was part of it—the fact that I couldn’t any longer was another. But mostly it was because the Atolls were right—we didn’t deserve another chance.
I pulled up outside The Kase waiting for the traffic lights to change. The rain on the windshield distorted the garish neon and holo-projections from the bar into painful tracks that burned ghostly afterimages on my retina. I rubbed my face to ease the ache in my eyes, a two-day growth of beard rasping against my palms. Time to polish yourself up a bit, Ballen, otherwise someone’s going to think you stole this cab. It had been that kind of night. The only thing keeping me going was the thought that my tour was over for another twelve hours.
The cab bucked and I grabbed the shuddering controls, wrestling the car into a level attitude. The door hissed open as someone slid in the back. The turbines whined as the stability systems fought to compensate for the shift in weight distribution and for a second I thought we were going to plummet to the ground. […] Read More
It’s incredibly interesting to see the newest developments in nanotechnology. The research holds so much promise for development in materials’ science that the possibilities are almost boundless. Imagine for example, clothes (or even buildings!) that can never get dirty. Imagine super-strong, super-light conductors that could rewire electricity grids and make them fifty times more efficient. Or how about adaptive armor materials that could be strong light and flexible, and yet protect a soldier from a bullet–or a car’s occupants in a collision.
One of the fantastic possibilities in this area is the development of molecular self-assembly, where materials actually grow into objects”spontaneously” because they are designed to do that. We see this effect in nature in the formation of everything from chemical molecule to crystals and even entire galaxies, but now we’re on the verge of being able to control and shape these processes directly into creating things that are useful to us.
In Mathematics Of Eternity, I imagine a community of space-living humans who dominate the Earth from giant “Atolls.” These Atolls are not built in the traditional way, but instead are grown through a self -organizing process, much like crystals are created but on a much larger scale. The idea is that as the population of the Atoll increases, they would “bud” new areas to provide room for the extra people.
The new volumes would create themselves from a “seed” and a supply of the appropriate raw materials, forming chambers, walls, and basic infrastructure components such as ducts, walkway,s and partitioned spaces. Once the growth is complete, people and machines would move in and finish the process to make the space habitable. How much of the basic construction could be achieved this way? That’s hard to speculate on, but in my imagination I think something in the order of sixty percent.
I imagined the Atolls looking like a kind of futuristic snowflake, the growth process constantly being extended in multiple directions to maintain a balance to the structure, and each new section being grown on to existing sections. Here’s a render of what was in my head when I came up with the idea.
While much of this is fanciful, architecture as a whole is on the verge of an explosion of new ideas and concepts, only made possible through the use of these new materials. A few years ago almost no-one had heard of 3D printing and now not only can you buy small desktop versions for the same price as a computer but we also have the first 3D printed buildings.
Imagine the process as the crystalline buds grow, organizing themselves in to the shapes and forms needed to create a station in space. Swarms of robots, both at a macro level but also at the nano-scale, guiding and nurturing the process.The end result? A building, or a skyscraper, or a space station.
Perhaps my vision isn’t so far off after all.
It’s really exciting to see more developments on the flying car front and demonstrations such as the autonomous flight displayed by the Cormorant from Urban Aeronautics. For SF obsessed people like myself, the concept of flying cars has been a dream for at least the last fifty years. And who can possibly forget the Jetsons?
Unfortunately, reality has been a few steps behind the dream for quite a while. But now we’re on the verge of breakthroughs in materials technology, computational capability and lightweight power-sources hat will finally turn these symbols of the future into everyday conveniences!
From my perspective, this is not only something I’ve waited to see since being a kid. It’s also an idea that features heavily in my up-coming novel Mathematics Of Eternity, in which my lead character flies cabs in twenty-second century Baltimore.
In my future vision, flying cars–or aeromobiles as I call them–are common-place, partly for convenience, but also because coastal cities have been flooded to a greater or lesser extent, due to rising sea levels and as a result moving around on the ground is seen as a somewhat risky endeavor.
The first of the links above talks about some of the challenges involved with such vehicles. Don’t expect these to be controlled solely by humans. By necessity they will be semi-autonomous, with the drivers “guiding” them, but also paired with traffic management systems to cope with the mass of low level air-traffic. As well as avoidance systems within the vehicles, there would undoubtedly need to be some kind of centralized coordinating system to ensure safety of the vehicles themselves, as well as general safety of the populace. I envisage different control zones, where the cars are allowed to be more independent outside urban zones and more controlled over cities and dense population areas, in much the same way that we have more rigidly defined (and enforced) regulations covering regular cars at the moment.
What’s kind of cool to me, is that while I was working on my novel I came up with an idea of what my lead character’s cab might look like and to my eye, it’s not too different in configuration from the Urban Aeronautics Cormorant! Take a look:
In my design, I shrouded the turbines (thinking of safety in an urban environment) but, overall I think they have a similar layout. Also remember that the current designs being tested are really at the dawn of flying car technology. I’ve no doubt they’ll evolve significantly the way cars have. But at least we’re finally seeing the first steps to flying car heaven!
Space is strange. Space is big–very, very big. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s dangerous, it’s tranquil. It is everything and nothing. In short, it is so different from where we are now that only the noisiest of authorities would find it well received.
But above all else, scifi architecture is the strangest.
I’ve been doing some 3D modelling recently while putting together a trailer for my upcoming novel, and as a result I’ve been browsing a lot of concept art. There are some incredibly talented artists out there, but something that often baffles me is the vision of space architecture.
By that, I’m not talking about external ship design. We have no idea what such ships might look like–not having developed warp drive, hyperdrive, or any of the endless variants yet–so any guess is pretty much as good as any other (although most spaceships/starships will consist largely of fuel tanks and radiator fins, and as such are unlikely to have much in the way of pleasing aesthetics.) But when it comes to scifi interiors… Well, take a look at these:
The image on the left is a Victorian era bedroom. Note the fancy arched doors, the ornate multilevel ceiling with complex carved wood and plaster detail. Can you imagine Continue reading
I mostly talk about writing and astronomy on this blog, as those are among my main interests, but these topics aren’t disconnected from the rest of events happening in the world. Astronomy not only gave us an unprecedented knowledge of space, it also provided us with our first real understanding of our position in the universe. And it was a humbling perspective.
In his famous “Pale Blue Dot” speech, Carl Sagan said:
“We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.”
“To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
The fact is that now, over 20 years after he made this address we are still not looking after the world and the consequences of that are truly frightening.
Recent news is a mixed bag, in the Netherlands the national railway is now operating its trains on 100% electricity generated from wind power. A great example of hat can be achieved. Yet, at the same time, reports show that the global average tax on petrol/gasoline has dropped by 13 percent over the last 12 years–leading to subsequent increases in consumption, and the release of even more greenhouse gases.
Despite the recent news that renewable energy supplies are now cheaper than fossil fuels, there are still only limited attempts to switch over. The obvious question is–why? The obvious answer is “powerful, vested interests” in the fossil fuels industry. This desperately needs to change.
Although astronomers have now identified over a thousand exo-planets, not one of these is known to be suitable for harboring life. Even if they did tease out the information that one of the planets can sustain human life, thy are so remote as to be unreachable in any but the most long-term view. Using our current technology reaching Proxima–the closest star–would take us thousands of years. Even if we had some unexpected breakthrough, we would still be talking hundreds of years to transport people there.
Earth is it. Our only hope for the foreseeable future. We need to protect it, so that it can nurture us until we develop sufficiently to move into the stars. If we don’t, the result will be extinction.
Some people think we can’t afford to take the measures necessary, but the real question is–can we afford not to?
I’ve been working on various models for my book trailer and have tried to find a good way of creating panel lines for projects such as spaceships. This can be done with materials, but I’ve had better luck creating physical detail rather than using texturing.
Up to now, the method I’ve used has been slow and cumbersome, but after recently going through a bunch of tutorials on adding this kind of detail, I’ve found a method that seems to work well (at least for me) and is non-destructive to the base mesh. So I thought I’ share it for anyone interested. This introduces more polygons, so may not be suitable for models intended for real time rendering, but works fine for still images or video/animation.
Personally I find that a clearly written set of instructions is much quicker to follow than a video tutorial, so here goes:
- Add lines(edges) on model where panels wanted (might be able to use existing edges depending on surface)
- Mark desired panel lines as “sharp”
- Add “Edge Split” modifier, uncheck Edge Angle
- Add “Solidify” Modifier. Adjust Thickness to taste, check Only Rim to avoid back facing polys
- Add Bevel modifier, Adjust Width and Segments to taste.
You can now add or change panel lines by marking/clearing sharp on edges! Also, this method would allow you to turn off the panels completely if needed for a particularly complex scene render.
Here’s a shot of the modifier stack (Click to enlarge):
And an example before/after shot (click to enlarge)
Thanks to the following people for their helpful youtube tutorials:
I’ve speculated a couple of times on the possibilities of life on other planets (Life Everywhere and Water, Ceres and Life for example). Now we have more information to add to the growing likelihood that life is likely to be found anywhere that the right conditions exist, no matter how remote they may seem.
Recent discussion suggests that microbial life may exist in the dark clouds within the Venusian atmosphere, while other research shows yet more evidence that Mars may also have, at least at one time, been hospitable to life.
Planning for new missions to both worlds is currently underway and may finally confirm these speculations in the not too distant future. If it does, it will be a great day for the world and especially the exobiologists trying to determine the course that life may take outside the realms of our small planet.
Hopefully this will happen soon, and I stand firmly behind my “prediction” that we will find life everywhere. The nature of chemistry seems to naturally move in the direction of life-supporting compounds, making and almost inevitably to life itself. Just imagine–the entire galaxy or even universe as one giant breeding ground for living organisms in all their myriad forms.
Just what might we find out there…? (Cue Twilight Zone music…)
Researchers at MIT have developed techniques for creating 3d graphene materials that are incredibly strong and lightweight. With tested strengths as much as ten times higher than steel while having only 5% of the weight (density).
The materials make use of structures called “gyroids”–a kind of sponge-like arrangement–to create three-dimensional structures with potential applications for building components for vehicles and other machinery.
Graphene has been known as a high tensile material for quite a while, but only in single-atom thick sheets that have limited practical uses. This new development could make it’s adoption far more widespread. It also may avoid some of the flaws caused by imperfections that naturally occur in such thin sheets.
The exciting thing here though is the potential for use in rocket and spacecraft design. When it comes to launching anything into space, the limit is always a case of the mass (weight) versus the thrust available. Simply put, the lighter the object you’re lifting, the easier it is to launch. So materials such as this could revolutionize space systems.
More than that though, the gyroid structure can be applied to other materials too, enabling the creation of lighter weight versions of things like actual steel, concrete, and others. With the world’s resources limited, it is only sensible to be as efficient as we can wherever possible.
We seem to be on the threshold of a whole new world of materials science where we can control and build materials down to atomic (and smaller?) levels–an exciting time for engineers everywhere as well as those of us who dream of seeing humans spread to other worlds.