Nebador Archives presents an epic young-adult science fiction adventure - Deep Learning 4

J. Z. Colby's NEBADOR takes place in the wide universe around us ...
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Book Four Deep Learning Notes

Chapter 1: Learning Curve

The first illustration reminds us who the six crew members were and where their primary work stations were located on the ship.

The first paragraph of the book contains a description of an ideal, easy-to-learn language. Unfortunately, these stories are, out of necessity, written in English, which came into being because the Romans pulled out of Britain in 410 A.D. That left a cultural vacuum, and all the surrounding languages (Latin, French, several kinds of Celtic, and several kinds of German) smashed together to form one of the most complex and difficult languages on our planet.

Landing a ship of any kind, with limited or no engines, is an important skill for any pilot to learn. Helicopters require a constantly-turning rotor to glide. Fixed-wing airplanes must maintain airspeed or the wings will stall. Water ships, our most efficient form of transportation, have great inertia, and the pilot's fear is not stopping in time without engines for braking.

Boro's anti-mass drive, you may recall, is based on the theory that moving electrical and magnetic fields at 90 degrees to each other create Lorentz forces that radiate a form of energy that counteracts gravity and inertia. The engine is called "anti-mass" instead of "anti-gravity" because it works in deep space where there is no external gravity, but the other effects of mass (or physical substance), such as inertia, still cause problems.

We humans are very proud of our opposable thumbs. They allow us to grasp things in ways that most creatures cannot. We have even come to believe that any creature without opposable thumbs cannot become highly intelligent. We then discovered that the creatures on our planet who may be closest to us in intelligence (dolphins and whales) don't even have arms. We also discovered that the animal with the highest brain-to-body weight ratio (the horse) has only one finger/toe. So perhaps it is not too surprising that the number system of Nebador (base eight) was designed to be usable by creatures without thumbs.

Working in another base, like base eight, is only hard when we constantly try to refer back to our own base (ten). If I say that a "hundred" in base eight is a square 8 by 8, that is pretty easy to imagine. If I say it's 64, I have just ruined the learning process by making it seem "weird." Everyone knows that 64 does not equal 100!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Base  8: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 20...76 77 100
Base 10: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16...62 63 64

Ilika also told his crew that base eight is easier for Manessa, who is sentient but not sapient. Our primitive thinking machines today (computers) use base two, in which the only digits are 0 and 1. It is fairly easy to translate base two into bases four, eight, and sixteen. It is much more difficult to translate it into our base ten.

The most commonly-used fractions:

           1/2    1/4    1/8    1/3
Base 10: .5 .25 .125 .3333...
Base 8: .4 .2 .1 .2525...

Ilika mentioned that some other people in Nebador can make only about half the sounds that humans can. We are in a similar situation. English is, at its foundation, based on German, so our set of sounds (called "phonemes") is just about complete for speaking German. When we attempt to learn a Latin language (especially French), we have to learn several new sounds, and can easily confuse words with very different meaning until we learn all the new sounds. Some languages, completely unrelated to English, have sounds that are very difficult for us to make, such as the glottal stop in some African languages.

Sand dunes have two sides, a windward face with a gentle slope that sand slowly creeps up, pushed by the wind, and a slip-face, steeper, that the sand falls down when it reaches the top. Because of this, sand dunes are constantly, but slowly, moving in the direction the wind blows.

As an example of base eight, the crew's first altitude training exercise was at "one hundred meters." That's 64 meters in base ten. A meter is 3.28 feet, so 64 x 3.28 = 210 feet (in base ten).

How high is "eight thousand meters"? You must first figure out what a "thousand" is (base eight). Hint: a "thousand" in our base ten is 10 to the third power.

If you do not remember what "hypoxia" means, it may help to recall that a "hypodermic" needle goes UNDER the skin. "oxia" refers to oxygen, of course.

Have you ever wanted (with your mind) to do something that your body was just not ready to do? What was your body's reaction?

Why would this particular crew have little or no temptation to mistreat their tools?

Mati was completely dependent on her crutch for life. Do you, or does someone you know, have something they need, perhaps a medicine, without which they would die?

Today, most of the "bristles" on our brushes are made of plastic, which comes from crude oil. In a medieval society, the only source of such a thing was real bristle, the hair of the pig.

Rini's observation that the ship can feel things gives us the essential definition of "sentient," which means to be able to sense (feel) the environment. Although the word is often used incorrectly, it should not be confused with "sapient," which means self-aware and wise. Bugs are sentient.

Boro realized there is a relationship between respect and trust. If you treat someone badly, can you later count on them to help you when you are in need?

One of the effects of the stars and planets being so far apart is that potential space travelers must be much smarter and more mature than people who only travel on land or water. Whether this is by accident, or by design, does not really change the situation.

Ilika described the "retirement" he hopes Buna will give Tera when she gets old. Do you think this is about right, doing too much for the donkey, or too little?

"If you can't see the sentience in a donkey, a ship, or a delicate tool, then it's just as easy to not see it in your brother or sister when you can profit by treating them as an object." The ability to treat other people as objects is one thing that has made us powerful and able to "subdue the Earth." What problems does this ability of ours create?

The need to treat ships with great care and respect doesn't seem too important with our "land ships" (cars) because a mechanical failure is usually not fatal. In aircraft, a failure often IS fatal, and so we have strict laws about inspections and maintenance that must be done, when, and by whom.

"The stars are too far away for a ship built on a world like this." Ilika's statement reflects the problem of traversing distances that would take hundreds of years with any technology we possess. We can imagine "warp drive" and "star gates" when we write stories, but have no idea if they are possible.

The word "wisdom," like most words, has several definitions. One of them is simply "accumulated knowledge." When talking about star travel, Ilika used the word to imply something that goes beyond mere knowledge or intelligence, and is not commonly found in humans.

Chapter 2: Serious Training

The illustration shows one cycle, forming a simple sine wave, of some form of electro-magnetic energy, such as light or radio. "Wave-lengths" are the only things we have found that are fixed, reliable, unchanging distances, so we use them today to define our units of distance measurement.

"... the length of the king's shoe or the volume of his favorite drinking vessel" refers to the system of measurement still in use in the USA (feet, pints, etc.) The metric system, used by most of the world, is much easier to use, but was invented a little too early to be firmly based in physical reality.

Mati's simulation of piloting with thrusters but no anti-mass engines would be like an airplane with a powerful propeller but no wings -- in other words, a helicopter. An aircraft that uses brute force to stay aloft can be very maneuverable, but is also very inefficient. A 2-person helicopter uses about twice the fuel as a 2-person fixed-wing airplane.

Boro learned the lesson every driver, pilot, and machine operator must learn: what is right in front is most important, but awareness of other directions, instruments, and controls must be maintained. The thing you forget about is the one most likely to get you.

When "cruise controls" first appeared on cars in the 1960s, many people thought they could set the controls and then get something from the back seat, or take a nap. People quickly learned, of course, that they provide some control of the accelerator, but not the steering wheel. Most professional drivers today never use them as they give an illusion of control, but without the intelligence and wisdom that only the driver can provide.

Ilika's "ethics" chart has a column for a medieval society, and a column for an ideal society with values similar to those taught by most religions. How does your society fit into this chart?

Chapter 3: Attitude Flying

Aviation pilots (and crash investigators) recognize five dangerous attitudes that can easily lead to an accident:
- Anti-authority: "Don't tell me what to do!"
- Impulsive: "Do something, anything, quickly!"
- Over-confident/Invulnerable: "It won't happen to me! I'm different!"
- Macho/Competitive: "I can do it! I'm better than him!"
- Resigned to failure: "What's the use? We're all going to die!"

All of these dangerous attitudes are SOCIAL processes, based on relations with other people. Cars, boats, aircraft, and starships all move, each in their own way, according to the laws of PHYSICS. Even though good relations and communication among the member of a crew is very important, it is a big mistake to think that any kind of social process will affect the laws of physics.

Altered states of consciousness can be caused by emotions, illnesses, and drugs. Just like in the story, some are easy for the affected person to see, others are not. Because of the 5 dangerous attitudes above, altered states of consciousness in a crew often go unreported. It takes a good leader or captain to create an environment in which his crew members feel safe reporting these things. All-male crews, as we usually have in our world, tend to allow some dangerous attitudes, and altered states of consciousness, to persist.

In our society, members of crews who work closely together are usually not allowed to have intimate relationships. By allowing such relationships, what level of maturity is the Nebador Transport Service requiring in its deep-space response ship crews?

Chapter 4: From the Heart

Humans are naturally born with a wide variety of personality temperaments. Those who tend to act impulsively on feelings are very good at some things, such as social leadership, but tend to be weak team members of a crew that must deal with non-social reality. It was not the fact that Kibi felt terrible on the moving ship that put her into this group, but the fact that she ran away.

Ilika explained that the members of the Nebador Services "do their work with joy in their hearts because they choose to." This is called "surplus motivation," and it happens when people like something enough to do it. The other kind, "deficit motivation," is when people act because they need to earn money, avoid punishment, or (like Kibi) are driven by their own emotions.

Chapter 5: Lizards or Bones

The "little hopping bugs" are usually called sand fleas, and are common in most deserts.

Most deserts in the USA look somewhat like valleys, but are actually called "depressions" because they aren't created by water and erosion, as valleys are. The mountains surrounding them usually contain fresh water, but it can be difficult to find, as it often soaks into the ground before reaching the "floor" of the desert.

Why did Ilika make Kibi listen to each crew member, instead of just talking to her himself?

What meanings were attached to the memory of "Toli back in the forest" that made Kibi cry? Hint: NEBADOR Book Two.

If Mati, while piloting, had cringed (or made some other emotional expression) every time the task became difficult, how would that have affected her piloting?

By making love to Kibi, what was Ilika telling her?

In a medieval society, what is the fastest "ride" that most people ever experienced?

What experiences have most of us had that would prepare us for the high-speed, low-altitude training?

The "supreme decisions" that Mati and Boro made earlier, and Kibi finally made recently, do not come very often in life. They are difficult, life-changing, and usually full of unknown possibilities. Dedication to difficult training of some kind, as in this story, is one kind of supreme decision. Making a commitment to a partner/lover/mate is another. What other kinds of supreme decisions can you think of?

Chapter 6: Higher Challenges

The base eight numerals of Nebador are based on the binary (base two) representations of the same values. The horizontal bar on the bottom is the ones place, the bar in the middle is the twos place, and the bar on top is the fours place. The vertical bar with no horizontal bar is, of course, zero. For example "L" is (1 x 1) + (0 x 2) + (0 x 4) = 1, and "E" is (1 x 1) + (1 x 2) + (1 x 4) = 7. "Eight," the base, is written "LI" (we would write it "10" in our numerals).

As Ilika explained after he demonstrated a hull excursion, one of the main challenges would be to IGNORE the altitude (eventually "eight thousand meters" = 4096 meters = 13438 feet). The "exposure" (a mountaineering term) does not change the task, but it adds a huge psychological challenge. The other part of the challenge, working in a harsh environment suit and gloves, is important because the temptation to take off gloves, "just for a moment," leads to many accidents and deaths in "zero-tolerance environments" (usually extreme cold).

Aircraft crews in the USA are allowed to fly for up to half an hour between 12,500 and 14,000 feet without a pressurized cabin or supplemental oxygen because our bodies only experience ill effects at those altitudes when we are there for longer times. The exception is, as Ilika explained, when someone is already sick.

Chapter 7: The Gathering

Ilika counseled his crew to avoid one of the most common mistakes tourists make: talking loudly to overcome a language barrier. It doesn't work, just makes people angry, and is one of the reasons that rich countries have such a bad reputation around the world. A humble, open attitude works much better.

Why did Ilika accept, without complaint, Kibi's decision to pair him with Mati?

Rini's infra-red view gave them the information they needed, to avoid landing the ship near any of the local people, because people and animals are usually warmer than the surrounding land. In what situation would an infra-red image not work to see people and animals?

Social drugs are much more common in cultures that don't operate dangerous machines. Sata and Boro were probably smelling marijuana or hashish, both from the hemp plant. In our culture, driving and operating other dangerous machines is so common that the only legal social drug is alcohol (which wears off quickly).

Chapter 8: An Unexpected Ceremony

What clues were there in the first pastry-sharing between Rini and the desert girl that could have warned him that something unusual was taking place?

Most cultures expect anyone in them, even just visiting, to know the meanings of many symbols, from ritual actions to traffic signs. What symbols can you spot in the wedding ceremony that Rini (and his captain and friends) failed to notice in time?

Chapter 9: Wedding Bliss

To solve the problem, did Ilika work within the local customs, or did he violate them?

What situation caused Ilika to consider violating the local customs (when he thought about using his bracelet)?

How did Rini make his decision?

In our world, citizens of powerful countries often expect their governments to intervene for them when they get into trouble in foreign countries. This sometimes happens if the person has wealth or power, but in theory, we are all subject to the laws of another country when visiting it, and if we go to prison there, it will be to THEIR prison, however good or bad their prisons might be.

Why didn't Rini feel it when he cut himself?

Was there any way Rini could have made everyone happy in that situation?

Chapter 10: Honeymoon

Why was Mati thinking of returning to her kingdom?

What made her change her mind?

"Shy" and "introverted" are two different things, but Mati and Rini, to various degrees, were both. Shyness, or fear in social situations, was probably stronger in Mati, and introversion, finding comfort and meaning in inner thoughts and feelings, was probably stronger in Rini.

From Mati's dependence on her crutch, and both their experiences as slaves, they are both very aware of the possibility of death. How do you think this affected their relationship?

What 3 things made the pastry sharing a special ritual, instead of just a bite of food?

What was Mati's fear when she asked Rini to clarify what he meant by "choosing" her?

How is the criteria for being in the Transport Service (do your best and always learn) different from the criteria used by most employers in selecting workers? Hint: one is "social" in nature (relative to other people), and the other is not.

Chapter 11: Back to Work

Below Earth orbit, zero gravity can only be created for short periods of time by diving toward the Earth in "free fall." This can be done skydiving, from a high cliff into water, in an airplane, and in some amusement park rides. We do not have the ability to block (or create) gravity without using motion. In orbit, gravity is always zero because orbit is simply that path of falling toward a planet that never gets closer to (or farther away from) the planet, and instead goes around and around. Zero gravity is not dangerous to our bodies in the short term, but because we are used to having gravity always present, some people feel sick to their stomachs under zero gravity. In the long term, our muscles become weak under zero gravity because it is so difficult to exercise.

Most human organizations, past and present, do not allow close personal relationships between people who work closely together because, as Ilika explained, most people get distracted. What quality is the Nebador Transport Service requiring in its deep-space response ship crews by allowing them to have romantic relationships within the crew?

Kibi's fear is understandable. Many stories have been told about captains and officers of ships who have a lover in several different ports, who never know about each other.

The rapid descent from eight thousand meters was far more frightening than the ascent because the ground could be seen rushing toward them. Our instincts tell us we're going to crash.

Chapter 12: Getting Very Serious

"... fruit that seemed almost fresh when soaked in water," could be freeze-dried, a dehydration method that is usually only used for backpacking foods because of its high cost. Most camping gear stores have some for sale.

Teachers have long known that one of the best ways to help an advanced student gain mastery is to have them teach all their knowledge to a beginning student. This phase of their language lessons, therefore, was just as useful to Kibi and Sata as to the others.

The zero-inertia ascent and descent would be most like a video game, seeing the expected visuals, but feeling nothing.

When Kibi "equalized pressure," after the ascent to eight thousand meters, which way did air flow?

Two gravities of acceleration is about what you would feel in an amusement park ride that spins you on the inside of a cylinder, sometimes dropping the floor out from under your feet for extra excitement. Working our arms, hands, and fingers under 2g takes effort, but is not hard.

Why did Ilika wait for Sata to think of a solution to her problem, instead of just asking Mati to turn the ship? Since it was a test, was Sata being allowed to "cheat," in your opinion?

Chapter 13: New Horizons

Ilika's navigation problem was challenging because desert "depressions" can be completely ringed by high-elevation passes, unlike true "valleys" which always have a low-elevation river outlet.

"Fog" is just a cloud that happens to be touching the ground. Flying in a cloud is the most usual type of "IMC" (instrument meteorological condition). It is different from "IFR" flying (instrument flight rules), which is often done in perfectly good weather. IMC is real, and absolutely requires IFR flight.

What situation made Kibi so nervous during her first period of command during flight? What could she have done to reduce her nervousness? Hint: Mati did it just before entering the cloud.

The crew's experience as Mati changed speeds shows the difference between velocity and acceleration. "Going fast" does not create acceleration forces (gravity and inertia). "Speeding up" does. Once Mati reached the new (higher) speed, the crew ceased to be pressed into their seats.

Mati's course change to avoid the flock of birds is a small example of something the crew will learn in much more depth in NEBADOR Book Six. Any piloting situation requires the crew to sometimes bend, even break, the rules. FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations in the USA) 91.3(b) states "In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency." (Part 91 is all the General Operating and Flight Rules.) Breaking the rules "well" is one of the things that clearly separates adults from children.

Chapter 14: New Powers

An acceleration force sideways would be like someone giving us a shove. When standing, we are top-heavy, so receiving a shove can knock us off balance. If we see the shove coming, we can spread our legs to form a wider base.

Why would Ilika ask his crew to not crush birds or nests? The answer is in NEBADOR Book Three, chapter 16.

Do you remember the meanings of "heading," "track," and "bearing" from NEBADOR Book Two? "Make the target bearing our heading" translates to "Point the ship the way we want to go."

"Visual flight references" (sometimes mistakenly called "VFR," but that means visual flight rules) is piloting by what you can see out the window. It is also called "pilotage."

Chapter 15: Boro's Volcano

By giving Kibi a problem (a safe landing site for lunch on the volcano) that has no answer, what is Ilika teaching her?

The method Ilika taught them of fulfilling a command that is not safe (preparing to follow the request, explaining the problem, and preparing an alternative) is almost beyond human ability because it requires both assertiveness and humility in the commander and the crew member. If you can learn to do this, you will be ready to tackle extremely hard and complex problems in a teamwork situation, but don't be surprised if other members of your team are not capable of it.

The Manessa Kwi, a sentient but not sapient deep-space response ship, challenges us to think about the meaning of the word "person." Some people will only grant that status to other human beings (and sometimes only if they are in the correct nation, race, or class). Other people grant personhood to higher animals (dogs, cats, horses, dolphins, etc.) Few would give it to a machine that has simple controls. When Manessa didn't "like" the lava on her hull, and spoke to the crew in a conversational situation, did she gain "personhood" in your eyes?

Chapter 16: Sata's Trench

Sata's reaction to the ocean trench is on the border between a psychological (mental) reaction, and a physiological (body) reaction. No physical force was acting upon her (like reduced air pressure), but neither did it spring from emotions or beliefs. There exists a level in our minds that is very difficult to access, and is closely tied to the functioning of our bodies. This mental level can cause us to be incapable of doing certain things, or living in certain environments, and no amount of therapy (drug or cognitive) will help.

The ecosystem on the deep ocean floors was only discovered very recently, and has a completely different metabolic process than anywhere else on the planet. Instead of green plants making food from sunlight and minerals through photosynthesis, the ocean trench ecological niches rely on the heat from volcanic or tectonic activity. This process is called chemosynthesis.

The water pressure deep in the oceans makes it impossible to bring back living creatures. When brought to the surface, they immediately fall apart and die, just as we would in a vacuum.

Flying to music must be done with awareness of the limitations of the craft. When I am flying a Cessna 152, for example, I have to remember that it will not handle acrobatic maneuvers.

The extreme pressure in the deep oceans would require a suit primarily designed to deal with that pressure. Our "deep-sea diving suits" can only handle a fraction of that pressure. We can only visit the ocean trenches in small ships called bathyspheres or bathyscaphs. The crew's green harsh environment suits were for extreme temperatures, but normal pressure.

Chapter 17: Going Fishing

What tropical fruit is long and green, and only ripens to yellow off the tree? What is pear-shaped with black seeds?

The regular breathing that divers use, avoiding either holding their breath or breathing too fast (hyperventilating), is similar to breathing during meditation.

A shallow-water diving suit is called a "wet suit" because it doesn't attempt to keep out the water, but instead provides insulation from the cold of the water. The small amount of water that gets in, as Ilika explained, is quickly warmed by our bodies. Any suit that keeps all the water out (such as a "deep-sea diving suit") is very stiff and clumsy.

Many aspects of the crew's training, you might have noticed, involved dealing with the physical reality at hand, and avoiding any limitations placed upon us by our fears. No doubt Ilika compared swimming in a few meters of water, with swimming above an ocean trench, just for Sata's benefit.

For most of our history, anything that lived in the sea was called a "fish." There are stories about marine mammals doing very un-fish-like things (such as rescuing people), but only recently did we realize they are mammals, like us, with large brains, like us. The evidence, from both their bodies and fossil records, tells us they once lived on land, and at some point returned to the sea. Marine mammals include whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, walruses, and manatees.

We cannot understand any of the sounds made by marine mammals, and many people would deny they have a language. That, of course, is an example of the point-of-view fallacy. We have noticed, however, that the sounds made by small dolphins are very similar to those made by huge whales, just higher-pitched. We have also discovered that these sounds can carry through the ocean for hundreds of miles.

Why were Boro and Ilika laughing after the dolphin bit Boro?

Chapter 18: Worse Than Slavery

This chapter gives an excellent example of the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Only intelligence is needed to place a high value on human life. Wisdom is required to realize that such a value cannot be taken to extremes, or implemented on all levels of society, without serious problems.

One problem was discussed by the crew. If any creature will not limit its reproduction by choice, or thin its population through conflict, then nature will do the job instead with famine and disease. There are no other options. All ecosystems are limited, even for a species, like us, who can go everywhere on the planet. Infinite growth is not possible in a finite ecosystem. We humans of planet Earth have not yet come to terms with this reality.

But problems arise long before famine and disease limit a population. Since all living creatures need roughly the same things to live (land, water, air, sunshine, etc.), any effort to maximize the population of one species will minimize the populations of all others. Although we might be able to live on a diet of just a few plants, would we want a world with nothing but people and a few food plants (say, wheat and soy beans)? Other animals and non-food plants would not be allowed because they would take up space, or eat food, that could be used for more people. (Don't worry, it's not possible because such a simple ecosystem would be completely unstable.)

It is natural to place a higher value on your own species than another, and a higher value on a relative (by blood or marriage) than on a stranger. If we have the choice of saving a fellow human or a horse, we usually choose the human. If the choice is between brother and shopkeeper, brother usually wins. But this only works on the individual level. When we implement this idea on a societal level, such as by allowing the destruction of a forest so more houses can be built, we shrink the carrying capacity of the planet a little, and at the same time we raise our population a little.

Another problem, which we saw in the discussion about Kibi's city, is that a population never arrives gracefully at the carrying capacity of its environment, and stays there without going over. Instead, it "overshoots" the carrying capacity because all of the possible corrections (birth control, war, famine, disease) take time to get going. Having jumped up well over the environment's carrying capacity, the population will then "crash" quickly due to famine and disease, down to a fraction of the numbers that could have lived in the environment.

But also, in the process of overshooting, the environment is usually damaged, resulting in a lower carrying capacity than before. A human population, for example, that tries to recover from famine and disease, only to discover that the farmland is eroded and the water is polluted, will not be able to recover as quickly, nor reach the same population numbers (or quality of life) it had before.

Perhaps this is the ultimate test. We are a species with enough intelligence to "subdue the Earth." Will we find the wisdom to not destroy it?

Chapter 19: Ready for Trouble

Travel by water and air can never be made as "idiot proof" as travel by land because we cannot usually survive in water or air if our vehicles fail. A good airplane pilot is always looking for places to land, within gliding distance, in case of engine failure. A multi-engine aircraft pilot studies what his craft can and can't do "OEI" (one engine inoperative).

When our cars fail, we usually take them to a mechanic and get them fixed. Since there were no deep-space response ship garages on that planet, what is implied by making each simulated failure continue "until we don't need that part of the ship any more"?

Why was the first simulated failure (anti-mass drive) especially challenging for Mati as the pilot?

When Boro's fuel was suddenly threatened, be tried one alternative from memory, but Ilika had to coax him to look up a third option. An aircraft pilot (or other essential crew member) always keeps all necessary information within reach. When piloting a small airplane or helicopter, it's all in a small binder strapped to my leg.

After being reminded of the tools she had available, Sata took compass bearings to mountain peaks in two directions. One of the directions had two possibilities because the peaks looked similar. After selecting the peaks, Sata worked backwards. The unmistakable mountain peak (lower left), for example, was at a bearing of 260° (using our system). The opposite (or "reciprocal") would be 80°, so Sata drew a line in that direction from the peak. The crew saw no river directly under the ship. What was the ship's position?

The reciprocal of a compass bearing is the bearing plus or minus 180 modulus 360. It is the number directly opposite the bearing on the compass rose. The reciprocal of 50° is 230°. What is the reciprocal of 300°?

Boro got "ahead of his aircraft" by preparing another type of fuel. Any type of ship operation has long stretches with little to do, then suddenly moments of high-workload and stress. Whatever crew members can do ahead of time makes those stressful moments easier.

Chapter 20: Rini's Mountain

Why was Mati never bored when riding her donkey, but then, with only thrusters ("jet engines") available, she craved more speed?

All but the most extreme air turbulence and wind shear (rapid changes of wind direction) are merely inconvenient while flying, but become very dangerous when trying to land.

Disorientation in fog or darkness is a serious challenge for most people. Have you ever had to walk a short distance without useful vision? What feelings did you experience? Did you have any trouble getting to your destination?

Chapter 21: Demons

Most people naturally avoid uncomfortable experiences. Practicing for any kind of emergency is uncomfortable. Although the information and supplies are easy to find, very few people (or families) practice fire drills, first aid, self defense, and other emergency skills. What do we learn about the ship's crew when we see them WILLINGLY go back out into the icy fog?

The Manessa Kwi was sentient but not sapient, intelligent and aware, but not wise. As Sata and Rini worked in the kitchen, they saw an example of this limitation. In this case, they agreed with the ship. If they had needed to heat the food more quickly, they might have left the stove on level four. Have you ever tried to use a machine that "believed" (through its programming) that it was doing the right thing, and absolutely "refused" to change?

Why do you think Kibi was interested in Manessa's gender? What challenges was Kibi facing that related to her own gender, and the assumptions her kingdom made about what young women could, and could not, do?

Why was Sata comforted when Manessa revealed that all previous crew members, including captains, had fears about certain environments?

Chapter 22: Mati's Waterfall

Stalactites, stalagmites, and other limestone cave formations are created over long periods of time by water that drips into the caves. The water begins as rain or snow, and as it soaks into the ground and passes through limestone rock, some of the stone is dissolved by the water. When that water enters the cave, some of the dissolved minerals are deposited on the ceiling or floor. It takes thousands to millions of years for cave formations to grow.

Rini and Mati were less affected by zero gravity (free fall), and other physical experiences that didn't cause pain or danger, because they were both intuitives. Intuitives pay less attention to physical reality and more to unseen patterns and meanings. Boro and Sata were both more "down to Earth" and so more affected by zero gravity. Kibi was a mixture of the two.

When reading about the intelligence of the deep-space response ship Manessa Kwi, it is easy to remember the HAL 9000 computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey." In that story, mental illness was caused in the computer by placing it under conflicting political pressures. It's a uniquely human theme, based on the way the human mind (and therefore human society) is structured, and has no relationship to the Manessa Kwi.

Based on the evidence in this chapter, does Manessa have visual sensors inside the ship (as the HAL 9000 did)?

Giving voice commands to someone who can't see is a powerful exercise in mutual trust. If the person giving commands does a bad job, the person carrying them out has no way of knowing until disaster strikes. If the person carrying out the commands does not do so faithfully, then it doesn't matter how good the commands were. Again, disaster strikes.

Rini quickly realized that phrases like "a little" do no good. It is not its vagueness that is the problem. "Exactly half way" would be just as bad. The problem is that they are relative to the whole distance, which only the person giving commands can see.

Rini's last words before the accident were, "This is so beautiful!" What state of mind was he in?

Why would Ilika want Rini to practice paying attention when he was feeling something deeply?

In your opinion, was the stalagmite "just a rock" as Boro said, or was it something greater because of its beauty and the length of time it took to create?

Chapter 23: Mati's Problem

Would you have been able to pilot the ship, without any visual or topographic displays, using only the directions Sata gave? What do you think of Mati's refusal to continue piloting?

What leadership qualities did Kibi show during this crisis?

Most human groups that engage in teamwork operations, such as the military and corporations, normally isolate a person who cannot function on the team, and select a replacement. How did Ilika handle the situation differently than we usually would?

Kibi forced the two girls to solve the problem together. Why did that motivate them to come up with a solution? In what ways did it make that solution easier to achieve?

When Mati admitted she also had a problem (anger), how did that help the two girls form their problem-solving pact?

When Sata went up to the top of the ship again, what was different that helped her do a better job than the first time?

Ilika made an assumption about the way his crew members could learn to give directions when the pilot could not see. The method involves "trial and error" in which the one giving commands can see what happens when the directions are vague or relative to something the pilot can't see. It requires clear thinking, so it worked for Rini, but not for Sata because of her claustrophobia.

Chapter 24: Rini's Jungle

Conditions in a tropical rain forest (a "jungle") are perfect for living things like those on planet Earth. Any wetter, drier, hotter, or colder, and the amount and diversity of life goes down. "Diversity" means the number of different species that are part of the ecosystem. The more diverse an ecosystem is, the more resilient it is to shocks and changes, because there are many different species doing the same "job" in the ecosystem.

Of course, being "perfect for life" also means a jungle is perfect for death. An ecosystem in balance (in other words, that continues from year to year) has to have just as much death and decay as there is birth and growth. That explains the many carnivorous (meat-eating) animals, and the countless diseases.

A creature is "part of an ecosystem" when it gets its food and water from the ecosystem, leaves its wastes (and upon death, its body) in the ecosystem, and reproduces within the ecosystem. Were the 6 humans in the Manessa Kwi part of that jungle ecosystem?

Kibi eliminated large organisms in the water by filtering (straining), then killed the rest with heat. We have no filter material that will remove all microbes from water. "Chlorine" (sodium hypochlorite) will kill most microbes, but not all.

A small area of special conditions, like the constant mist around a waterfall, is called an ecological "niche." It is still part of the larger ecosystem, but allows certain creatures to flourish that would have a harder time outside the niche.

Sata made the decision to get over her claustrophobia. Why is she still uncomfortable in dark or tight places?

By admitting that there's no place on the bridge of a ship for a little girl, what is Sata promising to Boro?

By sharing an intimate moment with Sata even when she is talking about her claustrophobia problem, what is Boro telling her?

Chapter 25: Flight Plan

What could be the result if Boro's bug bite was infected, painful, or poisoned, and he didn't tell his commander?

By keeping a jug of water in a cabinet, what other situations, besides a simulated failure drill, was Kibi prepared for?

As the navigator, Sata was essentially "in command" of the flight planning process. What aspect of her personality made it hard for her to see the solution that Mati and Kibi saw?

The method of collecting information that Mati and Kibi are good at, and Sata not so good, is called "intuition." Boro is not normally intuitive. What statement by another crew member, an intuitive, allowed him to realize he had a tool that would help get through the polar ice cap?

Cross-training, as Mati and Sata were beginning to do by observing each other at work, is important so that a person's job can be covered if they are sick, injured, or absent. It also has another value that is almost as important. How will one crew member tend to react to another when a mistake is made if they think the other's job is simple and easy? How will they tend to react if they know how complex the other's job really is?

"Two thousand meters," in case you're checking, would be 2 x 512 x 3.28 = 3359 feet. Remember that "thousand" is 8 (not 10) to the third power.

The area they passed through with clouds, mist, waterfalls, tall trees, and people who made boats and houses from logs, was another kind of rain forest called a "temperate rain forest." Examples in our world are Norway, Scotland, Ireland, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.

How far from 2000 meters is 1760 meters? Base eight, of course.

Chapter 26: The North Pole

Salt water freezes at lower temperatures than fresh water, so a floating ice cap is probably far below "freezing" (0°C = 32°F = 273°K).

Our own North Pole was possible visited by people and dogs in 1908 and/or 1909, but they could not prove it. It was seen from the air in 1926, submarine in 1959, and snowmobile in 1968.

Since the planet where the story takes place had 24-hour night in mid-winter and 24-hour day in mid-summer, it must have a rotational axis that is not at a right angle (90°) to the plane of the solar system (the "ecliptic"), just like our planet. Earth's axis is 67° from the ecliptic, so it is 23° "tilted" from "straight up and down." It is this tilt that gives us shorter days in the winter and longer days in the summer.

Although it varies from year to year, and has been thinner recently because of global warming, the 4-meter (13-foot) thickness of the polar ice in the story is similar to our own North Pole.

Infra-red radiation is what we call "radiant heat," and can be felt by placing your hand near any fire or dark, hot object. It is a broad band of electromagnetic radiation between microwave radiation and visible light.

When Sata experienced her claustrophobia again under the polar ice cap, why was Ilika careful to only look at his piloting displays and not say anything about it?

Almost by accident, Sata made the discovery that part of her problem was fear of asking for what she needed to deal with her problem. Have you ever had a problem, knew what you needed, but were afraid to ask for it?

It is true that in most human groups, there are negative consequences for admitting weakness and asking for what you need. How is Ilika's ship different in this way?

Ilika was "desensitizing" Sata to the ocean depths around them by having her take a short look once in a while. We can often take frightening things in small doses, and by slowly increasing our exposure, make progress toward mastering our fears.

Chapter 27: Learning by Watching

The value that Ilika shared, the freedom of "consenting adults" to enter into relationships, has been a goal of freedom-loving people all through history. We have made progress in that direction, but it is a constant struggle against people in both politics and religion who enjoy controlling others without good reason.

Can you imagine a civilization in which "people" aren't in charge?

On our planet, at the edge of the northern polar ice cap, the marine mammals are mostly seals, walruses, and bears. Our "wingless diving birds" are only found around the southern ice cap. What are they called?

7000 + 4000 = 13000?

Human and animal sacrifices are not part of most religions today, but they were once a common part of human culture. Our concept of deity (god and other spiritual persons) has changed slowly over the thousands of years of human pre-history and history. As our concept changed, so we changed the ways we relate to deity. The god(s) to whom human and animal sacrifices were made were thought of as cruel, vengeful, and angry. Some people still have that concept of deity today.

Chapter 28: The Lost City of the Atorura

When the crew first discussed the puzzle, what personality difference could clearly be seen between Boro and Rini?

What aspect of leadership was Kibi performing when she asked Boro to read the Atorura records?

The ship gave the crew a good example of the difference between sentience/intelligence and sapience/wisdom. It answered the question about ocean current charts truthfully. The leap from that, to a way to create the charts, required the application of a "value" (a spiritual concept) by a sapient mind. What value did Rini apply?

Ocean currents are caused by many factors, primarily the rotation of the planet, the heating or cooling of the water at different latitudes, and the shape of the land. They are not completely stable, but change from season to season because of temperature, and also have multi-year cycles that we don't completely understand.

What attitude (or spiritual "value") did it take for Boro to accept the fact that his fellow shipmates were not going to let him get too far behind at any of the skills they needed? How common is that attitude in humans?

Parts of the ocean away from currents often have poor fishing because the ocean currents transport many living things and the nutrients they need for food. Large areas of still water tend to be relatively lifeless.

Small, low islands that are just sand and a few trees are called "desert islands" because they don't stick up high enough to catch any rainwater from the clouds, and so have no fresh (non-salty) drinking water. One of these may be the last resting place of Emelia Earhart.

Kibi's remark about mothers and daughters may actually be relevant to the Atorura culture. In our own history, there is a tendency for small, stable tribal societies, and sometimes federations of tribes, to be matriarchal (ruled mostly by women) and matrilineal (family lineage traced through mothers). The patriarchal and patrilineal society we have today can be traced back to ancient Greece, and before that, to migrating groups from central Asia.

Constellations are logical groupings of stars based on animals or other things they resemble. They are not reliable astronomical references because the constellations are all different sizes, and different people, in different cultures or at different times, will see different things in the stars.

At night, stars appear to "rise" and "set," just as the sun does during the day (and in the same direction), because of the rotation of the planet. We see this when looking east or west.

When the Atorura journeyed north, and began to see less and less of the Great Turtle constellation in their southern sky, what was blocking their view?

The controls Sata had available when selecting star charts are about the same as those in any good planetarium computer program, except that we only know the view from Earth, and local universe reference grids are not, of course, available.

What skill did Kibi (and Buna) show with the flower puzzle in NEBADOR Book One that caused her friends to select her for constellation-recognition duty?

As Boro discovered, not all the pattern-recognition abilities of our minds are under our conscious control. Sometimes they come when we least expect them (including during dream-filled sleep). Boro, although he glimpsed the pattern, was not used to listening to his intuition, so probably had a harder time "holding onto" the information than Kibi or Rini would have. How did he compensate for that weakness?

Chapter 29: The Old, the Hot, and the Cold

The chapter title is a word-play on the classic western "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."

"Axial" north and south is what we would expect of the alignment of an observatory of a civilization that watched the sun, moon, and stars. Two points in the sky, one directly over each axial pole, do not appear to move as the stars make their daily journey across the night sky. In our sky, the star Polaris is very close to being directly over the north pole. It is the last star on the tail of the constellation Ursa Minor (Little Bear), or the last star on the handle of the "Little Dipper."

"Magnetic" north and south, the other possibility, requires a delicate instrument that few early civilizations had (the compass), and it changes from year to year, making it a poor choice for building alignment.

What is the difference in attitude between (1) being from a planet and feeling free to dig things up, and (2) being visitors who want to change things as little as possible?

What did we learn about Rini by his reaction to being "not part of this world anymore"?

The crew could not see the Great Turtle "drink" (touch the ocean horizon) because, on any one day of the year, we can only see about half the sky. The other half is "up" during the day, so the sun prevents us from seeing the much-dimmer stars. It was just bad luck that on that particular day of the year, the Great Turtle "drank" during the day.

If the Great Turtle was a constellation in Earth's sky, and it "drank" at 4:00 pm, a month later it would "drink" at 2:00 pm, then 12:00 noon, etc., until 6 months later, it would finally "drink" at about 4:00 am and could be seen.

On Earth, the hottest deserts experience temperatures in the summer of about 60°C (140°F, 333°K).

Ilika judged the hottest desert, in summer, to be an environment they could only endure for "a few minutes" without special clothing. What other environments have they endured for "a few minutes" that would require special clothing for a longer stay? (In one of them, only Kibi went out briefly in regular clothing.)

The water at a desert oasis allows food and shade trees to grow, and a few people and animals to live. Such an ecological "niche" shows clearly the minimum requirements for a human habitation: soil, fresh water, and a tolerable temperature range.

An oasis where water "bubbles out of the ground" is the luckiest kind. Called an "artesian" well, it saves the labor of hauling or pumping the water out of a regular well.

When a glacier meets the sea, it is undermined at the bottom by the water until huge chunks fall from the slowly-creeping wall of ice. This is sometimes called "glacial calving."

On Earth, the south axial pole is on land covered by a thick polar glacier. The resulting elevation is 2835m (9301 feet), most of which is ice. It was first visited by people and dogs in 1911, then seen from the air in 1929. The temperature can plunge to about -80°C (-112°F, 193°K).

Making something visible that is usually invisible is the task of all instruments. Rini used the ship's sensors and displays to make the south magnetic pole visible. What instruments are found in most cars that make things visible that are hard or impossible to know otherwise?

Chapter 30: People Where None Should Be

What does the communication with "Melorania of Nebador" tell us about Melorania, or about Nebador?

The wooden ship was probably crushed by ice. Floating ice shelves are usually very thin and broken along the outer edge, so ships are tempted to penetrate for some distance to get closer to the land. If the ice begins to shift, or open passages freeze over, a wooden ship is easily crushed.

Why would the man, not seeing another sailing ship, assume Ilika and Boro were demons?

Kibi's soothing tone of voice, and Boro's sign language, was all the communication the crew had with the little girl at first. What other forms of communication work in a situation like that (when there is no shared language)?

Chapter 31: Important Stuff

The word "gold" is a good example of how languages from nearby countries often have similar words. Just east from England, the birthplace of the English language, several Germanic countries would easily recognize the word "gold" ("gold" in German, "goud" in Dutch, "guld" in Danish, etc.) A little farther away, in Latin-language speaking countries, they might be confused until you said "gold ore." Suddenly, eyes would light up ("or" in French, "oro" in Spanish and Italian, "ouro" in Portuguese, etc.)

The gold from the wrecked ship was on the ocean floor because it is very dense (heavy for its size), and quickly moved downward as the ship was twisted and crushed by the ice. Other things made of metal would have done the same. Most of the wood of the ship's structure, however, was lighter than water, and would continue to float even when the ship had been smashed into little pieces.

Why is Ilika making Sata do something uncomfortable?

Most people have no conscious control over several body functions, including heartbeat (pulse). Other body functions, like breathing, can be controlled by the body automatically (such as during sleep), but are also subject to conscious control. A few people have conscious control over body functions the rest of us don't. They are usually disciplined meditators.

The human body seems to be capable of many things, when there is great need or deep feelings, that it can't usually do. That's why Rini warned Sata that she had to really mean it, when telling her heart to slow, or it would ignore her.

What emotion did Sata tap into that allowed her to stop feeling afraid of the dark, swirling mud?

Chapter 32: Where Hell Bubbles Up

There is nothing high-tech about starting a fire with a bright beam of light, as any kid, who has played with a magnifying glass on a sunny day, knows.

Some of the many mysteries in our own history are the places, sprinkled all over the world, that seem to have something to do with aircraft or spacecraft, long before we had either one. Sometimes they are figures that can only be seen from the air, such as on the plain of Nazca in Peru. Sometimes they involve knowledge about the Earth that might have been gained from a high altitude, such as the Piri Reis map. Occasionally they are just primitive pictures of people with bubbles over their heads. Finally, the world contains many flat, level constructions that we can't explain. None of these things can be proven to have anything to do with aircraft or spacecraft, but neither can the possibility be disproven. They will probably remain mysteries.

In your opinion, which would have been more respectful of the passengers: to FORBID Risan Gor from playing in the water because of Timod Gor's wishes, to HELP her sneak away without Timod Gor's knowledge, or to remain neutral as they did?

What kind of book do you think Timod Gor was reading?

At the end of the chapter, when Ilika cursed, what mistake did he realize he had made?

Chapter 33: Saving the Manessa Kwi

What was Mati's state of mind right after the hijacking?

How might the hijacking have gone differently if Mati had freaked out instead of cooperating with Timod Gor?

What was Risan Gor probably feeling during that first hour of the hijacking?

When Mati went into the galley for the first time, she was using the power she possessed as the pilot. What might have happened if she had not found the courage to use her power, or if she had tried to use too much power?

There are many ways to vent frustration. Boro did something constructive, collecting firewood. What other methods have you seen people use?

To get control of the ship. Mati used trickery and manipulation. Was it justified?

Chapter 34: Learning from Mistakes

We tend to naturally assume that anyone in an oppressive or dangerous situation is innocent, even virtuous. It is one of those "truisms," so often true that we forget it might not be.

When Mati and Rini had a difference of opinion about Timod Gor's motives, they could have gotten into an argument. Why didn't they?

As Ilika pointed out, the language barrier contributed to letting down their guard. We naturally feel sympathy for someone who can't communicate.

In your opinion, is it most useful to judge Timod Gor in relation to the values of his planet, the Nebador Transport Service, or some absolute standard? Two answers are possible, one for how much to respect him in general, and one for how much freedom and trust to give him.

Do you think Ilika was bluffing when he threatened to take Timod Gor back to the rock hut on the ice continent? What would you do, in Ilika's place, if Timod Gor had refused to identify his home?

Mati expressed the point of view of introverts (about 30% of the population). They don't hate people. In fact, they tend to love and cherish others even more than extroverts because they focus their affections on a select few. The main difference is that introverts are drained of energy when they have to deal with large numbers of people, while extroverts are energized.

Timod Gor's "demons" and Risan Gor's "angels" are both conceptual boxes ("stereotypes") into which we put people when we don't know enough about their true natures. What other stereotypes do we use when trying to understand people?

Risan Gor thought the crew members were angels because "they could fly, they played like children, they loved and cared for each other, and they didn't hurt Timod Gor even when he was bad." What do you think of her reasons?

Chapter 35: Warm Milk by a Cozy Fire

Why was Timod Gor's village covered by snow when the ship had just come from a pleasantly-warm forest where they could walk around in wet underwear without getting cold?

Why did Ilika give away their share of the gold?

When hiding something of value, in the woods, for possibly several years, what things make good markers that won't be moved by people or animals, and won't disappear over time? (You can assume no excavations, in that culture, by machines or explosives.)

What important information was given to Timod Gor as he watched Risan Gor receive their belongings?

What sort of logic was Timod Gor using when he labeled the crew as demons because (or at least party because) they didn't understand the words in his "Great Book"? Has this sort of logic ever played a part in human history?

Chapter 36: Orbit

There are many other things anyone who goes into space must learn about orbit, but the ship's velocity is probably the most important. When Ilika declared "it is life," he is echoing what fixed-wing airplane pilots learn about air speed, and what helicopter pilots learn about rotor speed.

The next time you do an orbit excursion (we call them "space walks"), remember that even though your tools will generally orbit with you, they will slowly wander away unless tied down somehow.

In our mathematics, the "2" is implied with the root operation when not specified.

Root operations of even powers (2, 4, 6, etc.) actually have two answers. The second root (also called the "square root") of 4 is 2 and -2. Only the positive answer is important for most situations.

Rini's realization that the bigger the planet, the faster the ship has to orbit, was because the Mass of the planet is being multiplied in the formula. If Mass goes up, Velocity goes up, and if Mass goes down ...

Size or volume is the amount of space something take up. Mass is the total amount of matter present, and is related to weight. Mass / Volume = Density, a measure of how "tightly packed" the atomic particles are. If you take a certain volume of water, then freeze it, the mass remains the same, but the volume increases, which means the density does down. It will now float on liquid water.

In our solar system, Saturn is an example of a gas giant that's average density is less than water. That only happens because we are counting the entire volume of the "visible" Saturn, much of which is atmosphere.

Sata's realization that the ship would orbit faster when close to the planet, slower when farther away, was because Radius is a divisor in the formula. When we divide by a number, the greater the number, the smaller the result.

Mati was showing a different kind of intelligence when she realized they couldn't just orbit anywhere. She was using her natural "pilot's instincts."

What is a "monster"? Hint: the same creature would be a "monster" to a 3-month-old baby, and a "cute puppy-dog" to a 5-year-old child.

Sata was still aware of her claustrophobia. Even though she had made great progress at mastering it, deeply-rooted fears rarely go away completely.

What was it about that situation that made Kibi willing to risk motion sickness in space?

As Mati sensed, changes in orbit are tricky because they involve both the maneuvers to change altitude, and changes in velocity ("delta V").

In systems science, there are basically two kinds of feedback. (These two terms are mathematical in nature, and are completely unrelated to the use of the same terms in human social situations.) Negative feedback occurs when imperfections in the system lead to greater stability. Positive feedback occurs when imperfections lead to collapse of the system. Imperfections in the orbit of a ship, as Ilika explained, have positive feedback. The following number series illustrate both ideas:

Negative Feedback: 15, 5, 14, 6, 13, 7, 12, 8, 11, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10 ...

Positive Feedback: 10, 10, 10, 11, 9, 12, 8, 13, 7, 14, 6, 15, 5, 17, 3, 20, 0 ...

If going into orbit is "one of the biggest tests a civilizations goes through before growing up," what might be other big tests for a civilization "growing up"?

Chapter 37: A New Tradition

Even though not everyone has hot springs handy, a similar traditions links us with just about every human being from the cave dwellers of 40,000 years ago to the present. Sitting around a campfire, discussing the events of the day just passed, and hopes for the following day, is an experience few people have missed. It is the essential "hearth," the heart of a home or community, and requires cooperation to gather and chop wood, kindle and tend the fire, and make food. Gazing into the flames puts us in a meditative state, perfect for listening to stories. It connects us with all our ancestors on an emotional level, and if we listen carefully to the cracking fire, we can almost hear the drums, songs, and voices of our ancestors.

Book by Book

the narrow streets of a medieval walled city
Book One:
The Test
Spring 2010




Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 1 (6MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

a lonely beach along a wild seashore
Book Two:
Summer 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 13 (8MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

the colorful aurora above majestic mountains
Book Three:
Fall 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 5 (13MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

stranded on a frigid ice continent
Book Four:
Flight Training
Spring 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

fascinating planets with strange life forms
Book Five:
Back to the Stars
Fall 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

a shining jewel floating in the blackness of space
Book Six:
Star Station
Summer 2012


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

unseen guests at an event of universe importance
Book Seven:
The Local Universe
Summer 2013


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

stillness and silence where movement and sound should be
Book Eight:
Summer 2014


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

Heather's meeting circle at a top-secret military facility
Book Nine:
A Cry for Help
Summer 2015


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

a strange eco-system deep underground
Book Ten:
Stories from Sonmatia
Summer 2016


Letter to Readers


Where to Get It

Nebador Archives

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by J. Z. Colby
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