A little bigger snippet. Unedited. April 12 is at 78k words.

“Prime Minister Durand, I’m sorry to bother you, but we have an irregular situation at the security station. There is a gentleman who insists you will want to see him but refuses to give his name. He said to tell you Chen sent him, and that is sufficient identification. Is this some sham? Should we arrest him?”

“No! Please, extend every courtesy to him and I will see him in the blue conference room as soon as they can prepare it. Have them sweep it and activate the jammer fields. Explain to him that is the delay, and offer him refreshments until I can join him.”
The officer started to turn away but Joel thought to ask. “You weren’t able to ID him?”

“The security station has priority access and ran a national and European Union search as well as Interpol and what partial searches we can do in other systems. We have no data on him. That should be impossible inside our borders. Are you sure he is no danger to you?”

“Quite sure,” Joel said, even though he wasn’t. The officer could probably read that easily with his portable software. The basic sort foot patrolmen used on a street corner suspect. He looked at Joel, unhappy, but didn’t contradict him and went out.

The man was seated at the corner of the conference table turned toward the other seat he’d pulled out and turned toward him a little. It was an obvious invitation to sit. It felt odd like Joel was the supplicant in his own secure room. The man was Asian but dressed very nicely in a western manner, and thanked Joel for his hospitality in flawless French. The high end spex were unusual for Earth. He had a cup of coffee he pushed away. He didn’t rise but Joel didn’t feel disrespected. He extended a memory stick to Joel.

“I was told not to deliver this over com. I suggest you only read it on an unconnected computer in a shielded facility. The files on this detail who sold your fuel process to the North Americans. Who paid him, and the routing of the funds through seven banks to an end account in Columbia. The small changes the North Americans made to the drive system to improve the probability of it working at lower velocities are included as requested. We have no idea of course if it resides on any air gaped machine, but the server on which it resides in Maryland is identified and an administrative password for the network included if you wish to verify it, delete it, or alter it. You can transfer fifteen hundred grams in payment to the account listed in the end file at the Private Bank of Home. Is there anything else we can do for you?”

“Is this same information being conveyed to Miss Lewis on Home?” Joel asked.

“Certainly not. We are contracted with you. If April Lewis desires that information she will have to request it be obtained as an individual outside our arrangement with her partnership or as an officer of one of their associated businesses.”
That was normal policy but the man had no idea the depth of Chen’s personal relationship with April and what he might confide.
“Details of specific hardware and systems doesn’t fall within the sort of general report we make daily. Since we were told she recommended us and you have confirmed it, we will forward a finder’s fee to her.”

“You will pay her?” Joel asked.

“That’s just good business,” the fellow insisted.

Joel took a deep breath and tried to make sense of it. April could get the report, but she’d have to ask for it. And apparently hadn’t. Would she have to pay extra, or was that covered by some sort of retainer? He didn’t want to ask.
“Can you tell me how this information was obtained,” Joel asked hefting the card.

“I’d have to ask permission and that will undoubtedly entail a fee. Methods are closely held and valuable.”

“Never mind then. I’d have to ask for a secure…”

The lights in the room flickered and came back. The fellow looked briefly distracted and then snapped back too.

“Your pardon, I asked already but it’s a three second lag. It took a lot of power to get past some local interference. I hope I didn’t damage anything. My supervisor says the method is reproducible with your technology, so a general description without actual plans has significant value. If you wish to know how the information on the guilty party was obtained that will be an additional two kilograms of gold. The methods to search and crack North American secure networks aren’t for sale at any price.”

Joel thought about it. This sort of secret payment of huge sums could create problems later. It was the sort of thing political opponents dredged up and questioned. No way was he paying for this himself. On the other hand, his own people might be delighted to have this ability. They undoubtedly spent more in a year on things less effective than this seemed to be.

“Very well, tell me.”

“We identified your primary drive research facility and who works there by transport and phone records. Examining the education and work history of everyone who could be confirmed to work there took about six hours. Your security was too good to cost effectively penetrate there. We then went about bugging their homes and places they frequent with micro drones. Of the one hundred and sixty-four targets, three were impossible to bug, having aggressive drone safeguards and other high-end security. They are probably intelligence agents of yours or other countries. Of the remainder, six had such abnormal psychological profiles and atypical responses to key words and visual stimuli as to be unreadable. They may be socially functional but we consider them to be functionally insane. The rest we watched and noted their reactions to video programs, conversations they conducted, and conversations they overheard. The software is not much different from veracity or interrogation software. Pupil dilation, skin resistance, and other physical attributes can be sensed remotely. Even brain activity, if not detailed mapping, yet. It’s simply a bit slower to tally reactions to random words instead of read off a list of preselected words. Within twenty-four hours we had three candidates. Examining their associates, banking records, online interests or searches, and travel histories quickly isolated the individual thief. We were fortunate our man was not one of the well protected or insane workers. That would have delayed us.”

“All that is within our technical ability?” Joel asked.

“Yes. You may need some experience to catch up, but you possess all the elements.”

“That’s kind of scary actually. I’ll forward both payments together,” Joel promised. Now, he had doubts after the fact if he wanted his own people wielding such an invasive capacity.

“Thank you for your business,” the nameless man said and left.

Joel sat and thought about it a bit. For a wonder, his security didn’t rush back in and ask if they should follow the man. Apparently, they now saw him as a private asset of the Prime Minister. It might disturb them to know he could have other assets, but that was fine. It might keep them on their toes. As far as following him, Joel suspected that wouldn’t be easy. Chen’s minions seemed extra spooky if not downright creepy.

77 Responses to A little bigger snippet. Unedited. April 12 is at 78k words.

  1. Ed Patterson June 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm #

    I will be patient!
    I will be patient!
    I WILL BE PATIENT!

    It’s hard but it is worth it.

  2. Jim` June 9, 2020 at 6:55 pm #

    Im so ready for book 12, heck with patience. No worries, I’ll buy it as soon as its released. Thank you for sharing the snippet!

  3. Cheryl June 9, 2020 at 9:14 pm #

    Repeat both of the above from me. You usually shoot for between 100,000 and 125,000 words don’t you

    We are getting closer

    • Mac June 10, 2020 at 4:28 pm #

      Yeah – April and Family law were too big. I could split them now but at the time it was too difficult. I think 130k is a good upper limit.

  4. HamsterDesTodes June 10, 2020 at 10:59 am #

    Scary indeed.
    Good to see you’re still alive 🙂

  5. Nutter June 10, 2020 at 3:27 pm #

    An intriguing little piece! I am very excited for the upcoming book, and look forward to seeing how the snippets come together.

  6. Big Ben June 11, 2020 at 1:47 pm #

    I don’t know if you like corrections offered by finicky fans, but it should be “air gapped machine” instead of “air gaped machine.”

    And even then, with micro drone technology advancing like it is in your world, would even that be effective?
    I could see someone curious/sneaky like April coming up with idea of a minuscule drone that would hitch a ride on someone into a secure room – no flying, no radio or other signal emissions. When the “secure room” was empty it would transfer itself into a keyboard through the gaps between the keys – blending into the background electrical environment and becoming undetectable.
    It would then log key strokes (much less memory intensive than recording audio or visual) and either exfiltrate itself the same way it came in (no radio or any other kinds of transmissions) to be recovered off site, or would fill up its memory and then send out one quick burst transmission before self destructing – maybe damaging that secure air gapped computer, if it had enough juice.
    Sure, security might catch one, or two, or two thousand … but if they’re cheap enough you could mass produce billions of them and spread them all around the world, gobbling up everyone’s passwords, bank accounts, top secret info, etc., etc.

    Your imagination is infectious …. the good kind of infectious! No face mask required.

  7. Ember June 11, 2020 at 3:47 pm #

    So excited! My partner and I are eagerly waiting the next books of both series. I’m re-listening to the FL Audiobooks. We usually re-read the books right before release, so we’re going to probably start doing that soon.

  8. ELW June 12, 2020 at 4:12 pm #

    Can’t wait!

    • Mac June 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm #

      past 85k words

  9. Terry Dean June 18, 2020 at 9:59 pm #

    I can’t wait to read April 12, I love the Three. From the snippets, It sounds like fun times and conspiracies galore.

    I am also looking forward to the next Family Law. I am eagerly anticipating the reaction of the USNA officials to the looming national collapse when they realize that they did it to themselves. But then China will get their turn to demonstrate Earth Think.

  10. DEBORAH SMITH June 21, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

    Like everyone else, I’m eagerly awaiting April 12 and Family Law 6. And I seriously hope that ALL of your books will be available on Audible- I’ll buy them all, promise!

    • Mac June 21, 2020 at 9:43 pm #

      I was offered a contract for my first four Family Law books. They haven’t offered for any more. They still haven’t quite earned out my advance. But I have no idea how that compares to other writers or books.

      • Glen A Fletcher June 23, 2020 at 5:34 am #

        Hi Mac,

        About audiobooks, it’s my understanding that you can do a royalty sharing arrangement at no upfront cost to you to produce audiobooks for audible.

        From these two web pages:
        https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201014330
        https://www.acx.com/help/what-s-the-deal/200497690

        From the second page, you have the pay for production option which has an upfront cost to you and the Royalty Share options, in which half the royalties for the book go to the produce at no upfront cost to you. So if your only worry about releasing further books to audio is the cost, I hope this will help you to find a way to release the rest of your books.

        • Mac June 23, 2020 at 7:11 am #

          That’s correct. I was offered a $2,000 advance.

          • Ember July 27, 2020 at 4:45 pm #

            Everyone who hasn’t, go buy the family law audio books. That way they’ll be interested in making more!

          • Mac August 13, 2020 at 10:16 am #

            Thanks, they are pricey but I have zero control over that. Kind of weird – I’m effectively deaf for speech so I’ve never heard them. But if you have vision problems or just like them and can afford them it’s nice they exist.

          • Andraon August 14, 2020 at 9:17 pm #

            I wasn’t aware any of your books were audio. So I went and grabbed the set. I feel the narrator did a good job. I already own all your books in kindle form, but the audio is nice for when I’m on the go.

          • Mac August 14, 2020 at 9:27 pm #

            Good to hear you like his reading.
            Arranged for a cover today.
            April 12 will be “Who Can Own the Stars?”

  11. harry June 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm #

    Excellent! April 2 is past the half-way point!! Can’t wait for it to be finished. Hurry up and write, Mac!!

  12. 1Stew June 28, 2020 at 3:47 pm #

    Thanks for the Snippet! Can’t wait!

  13. ld July 12, 2020 at 1:29 am #

    any eta on release – this installment is looking good

  14. Ann July 16, 2020 at 9:01 pm #

    In April 6 there was a mention of G level. In previous books A to D was mentioned. I know M3 has 3 rings but will you ever tell us how rings and levels are related?

    Also who sells all the reaction fuel that Home spacecraft are using – and what is it?

  15. Jerry July 17, 2020 at 12:06 pm #

    The reaction fuel is coming from The Rock and later from the ice ball that they brought back. For the systems Jeff designs the energy is from hydrogen fusion. The reaction mass can be anything but water is definitely mentioned.

  16. Ann July 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm #

    water is mentioned for Jeff’s spacecrafts but he uses engines differently to other craft e.g. Larkin etc.

    Water also can be used two different ways – heated to steam or as oxygen and hydrogen

    Water can also be sourced from M3 as some was sold to Jeff.

    But water isn’t the only possibility.

    • Mac July 22, 2020 at 2:02 pm #

      For this and quite a few of the other comments – I try not to get too deeply into technical details. Once you add a number or detail it locks you into a narrower story. The thing about the series is not creating a complex universe in which everything harmoniously follows canon. It’s about the people and their relationships and how they react. Writing #11 I have to go back now and then to do a word search when I can’t remember something I wrote years ago. Neither are the characters frozen. They may occasionally show bad judgment of personality flaws. They may fail at something and learn from it – or not.

  17. Ann July 18, 2020 at 10:06 pm #

    Family Law Question

    If Gamma hab is going to one of the brown dwalf systems – how will the inhabitants be fed?

    The habs weren’t making their own food and a lot of vacant space would be needed or a lot more space created.

    Adding 3 thousand extra people to Fargone mightn’t strain food supplies but adding 3 thousand humans to Derf might.

  18. Jerry July 19, 2020 at 12:29 pm #

    Ann,

    Remember that Heather had her people storing food on Derf. That would handle the short term problem.

    With the faster space drive they could continue to supply them from the same source as before. If food was coming from the moon then Derf is farther away but still not that difficult for them. If the food is coming from one of their colony planets then Derf and the brown dwarf systems might actually be closer than Earth.

    I don’t remember if the population of Fargone and Derf is mentioned but I would expect Derf to have more people. Fargone is a colony and deliberately growing slowly. Derf already had it’s own population prior to human contact. Both will think of feeding a few thousand humans as an business opportunity rather than a problem.

  19. Ann July 19, 2020 at 9:02 pm #

    But that food was for a disaster and survival rations – definitely not the quality of food Home is used to having from the moon and earth.

    Derf don’t use industrial farming so they may or may not be able to cope with Home’s sudden needs and we don’t know how much food stocks they maintain.

    As Heath moved them then yes I do expect her to deal with the short term changes.

    But sending gamma to one of the brown dwalf systems or the rich mid element mining system is a different issue than supplying them around Mars or moving them back.

    How Central deals with the NA both on planet and in space could mean other nations leave the habs alone.

    NA should be isolated on planet – no planes or ships in or out and no communications in or out. In space their bases should be captured or destroyed same as all military ships, military logistic ships and NA civilian ships and spacestations around earth and colonies.

    • Terry Dean July 20, 2020 at 9:05 am #

      Consider that the brown dwarf system is on the Derfhome-Far Away shipping route (or can easily be). It would be a good midpoint for this journey. The Badgers and Bills would be happy to trade Derfhome food for Gamma metals on their return leg. Just as they can transport metals to Derfhome on their initial leg. A profitable route indeed!

      With regard to USNA lack of armed jump ships, see Claims Commission membership rules. Enough said!

      • Max July 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm #

        Lots of possible mid points – any of the easily reachable brown dwalf systems, the mid element mining system or as yet other systems. Best would be another A+ class living world.

        In chapter 5 of Family Law 4 – A Hop, Skip and a Jump
        “Lee is a billionaire just with her claims from the Earth Commission before her latest expedition.”
        Wrong so wrong. As Lee gets 2/3rds of the 15% going to the explorer crew by the end of the first year she was expected to have NA$30 Trillion dollars and Gordon NA$15 Trillion. Quote from Family Law 1 (Bertrand said) “However over the next year we expect to take bids for approximately three hundred trillion North American Dollars.”

        The conversion of her money into other currencies is a bank function and could change the balance between the various currencies.

        She will eventually join the very exclusive club of trillionaires.
        Wrong so wrong.
        She will eventually be the wealthiest or second human after Heather.

        Possibly partner with Fargone to exploit 1 brown dwalf system, possibly partner with New Japan to exploit a different brown dwalf system, possibly partner with New France to exploit a third, possibly partner with a hab (Gamma?) to exploit the the rich mid element mining system and exploit the 3 brown dwalf system themselves for everyone else.
        Her wealth will further increase from finds under Thor’s expedition and if she and Gorden take back Providence.

        The Badger station and ship gravity plates should revolutionize station construction but there was a lot of gravity tech by different species – Caterpillar boards & pickup, ship tugs, and multiG ships, plus all Singh tech.

        Re USNA military ships – these should be easily found – in their naval bases, and around USNA aligned stations and enroute between these places. Central should find them easily.

        • Josh July 22, 2020 at 12:23 pm #

          The excuse that “Gravity Plates cannot be used in ships because they create drag” really didn’t work for space stations too..since everything in space is in motion.. The planet around the sun, the sun around the galaxy, the galaxy around the universe.. etc. etc. So anything using it would go slower than the surroundings and move orbits…eventually exiting the solar system.

          • Mac July 22, 2020 at 1:52 pm #

            Yes, but they aren’t under acceleration.

          • Thorsten July 23, 2020 at 2:37 am #

            “Drag” is the wrong term in this context. What the Gravity Plates in operation caused was increased “inertial mass”. That makes them harder to accelerate, which is bad for space ships, but, as Mac stated, space stations are not being accelerated, so an increase in inertial mass after they are already in the desired orbit will have no effect.

  20. Thorsten July 23, 2020 at 3:00 am #

    I greatly enjoyed the 3 snippets from April 12 that are posted here. I just finished (for the 5th time now) a complete re-read of the whole April and Family Law series, and I’m very much looking forward to the next books in each of them.

    Rereading them now, I found it kinda funny that Jelly used a “harmless coronavirus” as his vector for genetic modification treatments while the deadly plague is a flu…

    In light of possible future research to adapt LET to Derf, Badgers, and other races, and seeing that while there is some overlap in what the different races can eat, there are also things that are either toxic or or missing the necessary nutrients across species, there would be a very worthwhile goal for future research beyond basic LET, for all races, including humans:

    – the ability to produce all essential vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, in the body
    – the ability to the ability to fully break down and digest nutrients and other substances that are found in normal food for any of the races
    – the ability to filter and excrete an oversupply of any mineral, including heavy metals

    This would mean that nutritional requirements are reduced to just an energy source and essential minerals and would greatly simplify colonizing new planets as well as different races living together…

    In the meantime, does anyone have any recommendation for similar series to tide me over? I’ve deep mined anything Amazon recommended and anything listed on Amazon under “people that bought this also bought these” and am scratching the bottom of the barrel now…

    • Josh July 23, 2020 at 11:00 am #

      I figured Gorden (or Lee) would also want genetic treatment allowing Derf to eat cheese without the gastronomical after effects.

      • Thorsten July 24, 2020 at 4:07 am #

        Yeah, that would pretty much be implicit with:

        – the ability to the ability to fully break down and digest nutrients and other substances that are found in normal food for any of the races

        To expand on that, for humans, any essential function that’s currently being done by microflora in the gut (e.g. production of vitamin k, breakdown of certain lengths of fatty acids, …) could be transferred into human cells and instead the body could be much more aggressive in getting rid of all non-self cells.

        • Stephen July 27, 2020 at 9:40 pm #

          Safer to gm gut biome to do all food related enhancements than try to tweak human gut cells and less complicated.

    • Josh July 23, 2020 at 11:09 am #

      For a book Recommendation, my favorite sci-fi book has to be “Perilous Waif” from E. William Brown with a second book hopefully out by end of year 2020. The author is pretty good explaining his ‘science’ with a full appendix on his tech. Its about 400 years in the future with A.I., cybernetics, and a unique take on faster-than-light travel.

      The author also has a 4 book series called “Daniel Black” that is about a modern day man portaled into a fantasy/magic dimension. It is excellent as well, but has some adult elements (harem).

      • Thorsten July 24, 2020 at 4:01 am #

        Thanks. I’ll give that a try

      • Brent July 25, 2020 at 10:09 pm #

        Josh,
        Great recommendation on “Perilous Waif”. Just finishing up the first book and am impressed. The character isn’t as well developed (imho) as April or Lee, but seems more in the Laurence Dauhmers style (invincible) set in a hard SF storyline.
        I look forward to reading the rest of this series while waiting for Mac’s next book (in whichever series he contributes to next – (big fan of both April and Family Law).
        Thanks again,
        Brent

    • Margaret July 23, 2020 at 6:57 pm #

      I found the Alicia Jones series by D. L. Harrison to be quite good. A smart heroine and over reaching government.

      • Thorsten July 24, 2020 at 4:00 am #

        Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve read that series a few years ago, and yeah, while I feel it can’t really compare to April/Family Law, it was pretty decent.

    • David Fish July 27, 2020 at 5:30 am #

      Jack Knapp, “Ship Series”. Actually, Jack is very similar in style to Mack, has several good series, well worth a look.

      • Thorsten July 27, 2020 at 9:45 am #

        Thanks, I’ll give that one a try too.

  21. Ed Patterson July 24, 2020 at 10:44 am #

    I have really enjoyed P. C. Allen’s Robledo Mountain series. 664 pages that had a hold on me until I finished it in three days. Western Time travel

    $3.99 per ebook but he has a playlist of utube music (videos) of the songs that he uses in the book. When I re-read the books, I do it while listening to the music. Also a lot of New Mexico history and the music info at https://pcallenbooks.yolasite.com.

    The fifth book in the series is coming out soon. I will be reading Mac’s book first, but that is mainly that I can finish it in a day.

    • Thorsten July 24, 2020 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve seen that series before, but had passed on it as it’s not available on KU. I’ll consider getting the first book and see if I like it enough to pay for the others.

  22. Ed Patterson July 25, 2020 at 10:42 am #

    They are also at storiesonline.net under the author Kraken, but there they do not give the author compensation for his work. Also I like to have them on my paperwhite, to reread when I want especially on trips.

  23. John Leggett July 25, 2020 at 4:01 pm #

    Ann, about food supply in the brown dwarf systems. I think it will be a combination of the more rural farming systems, new Japan, Badger and Bill systems. Plus all the food production on the moon plus all the food from the parts of earth not controlled by north America or China that was supplying the three habitats is still available.

    It is likely that Derfhome and Fargone will feed the new habitats without much trouble. For a planet plus or minus ten thousand people is a nit. Just look at how easy it was to come up with the survival rations. Yes Fargone is trying to control immigration but it has at least one city of over a million and enough of a economy to support a space navy and research on new weapons.

    • Thorsten July 26, 2020 at 5:43 am #

      I can’t see actual food production as a bottleneck of any kind.

      Which only leaves transportation as the possible bottleneck. And I’m willing to bet that’s actually going to be much less of an issue than most people might think.

      Granted, supplying them with large non-grav tech freighters would be a problem sending them on a 2-3 month run through unsecured space.

      So the supply would have to be done by grav tech ships. Based on how quick Gabriel got the Retribution from Sol to Derfholm, they can probably do the trip out to the brown dwarf systems in under a day.

      Central obviously has such ships, and based on the end of the last Family Law book, I expect Lee to have the knowledge how to build them, without being bottlenecked by the magic liquid from Jeff’s Mom, shortly. Even better, it looks like she’ll even have a reactionless drive, above and beyond what Central currently has.

      That means the only problem is that probably neither The Three nor Lee would want to put that secret tech into a large fighter that loiters a long time in systems under control of entities that should never get access to that tech, or worse, having untrusted personnel on board for loading and unloading.

      Fortunately, there is a great solution for that.

      The fact that Central has the capability to take large objects through a sequence of jumps without having to get up to normal “jump speed* should be public knowledge now after they took Home, Beta, and Gamma from L2. So that doesn’t need to be kept a secret anymore.

      So the logical consequence is to revive the maritime concept of barges. Essentially just large freighters with no (not even non-grav tech) jump drives, just enough drives to navigate in the local system.

      They would go in orbit around a planet, or possibly dock to a station, then get loaded. That can take however long it takes, without risking exposure kf grav tech or having a grav jump ship tied down for days without being used.

      Once ready for departure, a grav jump tech tug comes by and drags the barge through a jump sequence to its destination, where, once again, the barge has however long it needs to unload, reload, and get ready for the next jump sequence from a tug.

      With this system, a small number of tightly controlled small jump tugs could drive a large scale interstellar shipping concern with many barges, at a scale and speed so far unimaginable.

      Maximizing the shipping that can be done with the minimum number of grav tech jump ships, while keeping the grav tech physically away from anyone but your fully trusted pilots.

      • Thorsten July 26, 2020 at 5:46 am #

        Rereading my post, I noticed I didn’t make explicitly clear that I’m talking about supply in case one or more of the stations gets dragged out all the way to the brown dwarf systems…

        • Mac July 26, 2020 at 8:57 am #

          At 120k words on April 12. Home stretch.

          • Thorsten July 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm #

            Fantastic, looking forward to reading it. I’ve greatly enjoyed all your works so far (not April and FL series).

          • Mike Morrow July 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm #

            Outstanding! Your new releases are the highlight of my week!
            Seriously I don’t think you have written anything I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.

            Thanks for all your hard work.

  24. Ed Patterson July 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm #

    I also enjoyed the one that disappeared.

    I wish I had bought it.

    • Stephen July 26, 2020 at 8:51 pm #

      I have it. A bit slow to start but became interesting and was worth a sequel.

      If people can put up with the typo type errors Bob Blanton’s Delphi series (1-7 so far) is worth a read and so far each book has come out after around 3 months.

  25. Cheryl July 27, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

    Hooray, I’m looking forward to April 12 and thank goodness I purchase everything Mackey puts out right away so I do have the one that disappeared. I also agree that it started slow and took some adjusting but ended up an interesting story.

  26. Ed Patterson August 5, 2020 at 10:20 am #

    I have something to reread until the new release.

    Enough said. :<)

  27. Thorsten August 9, 2020 at 7:40 am #

    Hi Mac, I was just rereading the first April book again, and noticed this:

    “It’s usually Ruby’s shift now, she isn’t sick or anything, is she?”

    “No. I’m staying over ’cause her kid was sick and she wanted to take him to the clinic herself this morning. She should be here any minute. She’ll probably have breakfast herself and start right at mid-shift. If we switch at an odd time, the twits in payroll will run out of fingers and toes before they can add it all up.”

    so… I think that was the first and last time it was ever mentioned that Ruby has a kid? No age is given, but I guess by the current point in the timeline (April 12 and later) the kid should be old enough to maybe rate showing up as a character? (If you haven’t completely forgotten about this one throwaway sentence).

    • Dorcas Gray August 9, 2020 at 8:35 am #

      Isn’t her son mentioned in one of the Family Law books – Loosey? At the Battle of ?? Thessaly – will have to look it up not sure of the name of the battle.

      • Thorsten August 9, 2020 at 10:03 am #

        Possible… I just started another re-read of both series in preparation for April 12 and will keep an eye out for him this time. But it’s going to take a while till I get that far. If he really is mentioned there, and it’s actually the same son, and not a later one, then that’s all the more reason for him to show up in the timeframe of the April books.

  28. Jim Davis August 9, 2020 at 9:19 pm #

    Good memory Dorcas! There are 3 mentions of Loosey in “A Hop, Skip and a Jump (Family Law Book 4).” He is identified as Easy’s, and I suppose Ruby’s, son.

    • Thorsten August 10, 2020 at 12:08 pm #

      Ah… indeed. I never mentally connected him with Ruby’s kid from April 1 and had assumed he was born sometime in the hundred-something years between the April books and the Family Law ones.

  29. Skandia August 13, 2020 at 9:43 am #

    Lotta loose ends left unresolved in the last book, and I’m anxious to see how things work out. Earth has gone to war, again, with the spacers. Gordon and Lee Anderson will have to take control of Paradise since the Earth based Claims Commission will be an agent for Earth Interests.

    I keep expecting the Earth based Claims Commission to refuse further payments to Gordon and Lee, for development rights in the systems where the Little Fleet has filed claims. And Lee’s researchers should be producing new drive hardware real soon now. And I want to see the competing ‘claims commission’ registering newly discovered and surveyed systems. There is also the issue with the Mitsubishi 3 hab (‘Home’) having been moved to Derf Home. How will the Homies like that?

    I like the way Family Law was merged into April.

    • Mac August 13, 2020 at 10:13 am #

      I’m almost done with April 12 – Past 130k words. I’ll get back to Family Law. I have to say the crazy situation with the COVID virus has been a distraction and required extra work and time shopping and cooking. We ate out a couple times a week and it became hard to even get carryout. My wife is working at home. Plus other things such as an extremely close friend having a series of strokes and moving to a nursing home.

  30. Silke Maier August 13, 2020 at 11:25 am #

    Thanks for the update to both series – I’m really looking forward where your fantasy will lead us next.
    And I agree with Skandia – the merge of both series is awesame.

    I’m sorry about your friend.
    I hope you and your family keep well and fit – and get better…

  31. Terry Dean August 14, 2020 at 11:59 pm #

    There are a number of events to anticipate in the next couple of the Family Law series:

    1) Reaction of USNA to Claims Commission challenge (probably from China)
    2) Interaction between Home and Derfhome residents
    3) Name changes for Beta and Gamma?
    4) If Gamma in metal-rich system, food supply situation (fresh must be from Central ships or in-house, stable can be from Derfhome/Fargone/Far Away ships)
    5) When second hab needed with Gamma, do they use human(spinning) or badger(gravity) style station?
    6) What about Providence? and
    7) When will Lee break down and build her own armed ships to enforce Registry claims and stop borrowing from Fargone?

  32. Ed Patterson August 15, 2020 at 10:41 pm #

    Home has been building ships for April, etc. for a long time. Not big ships but effective ships. They probably have learned enough or have been wanting to build the big ones. For what purposes are the big ones necessary given the effectiveness of the Moon ships?

    The combination of Home’s expertise, Derf planet resources, Derf warriors, and Lee’s new technologhy without the limits that Jeff has had to work under should lead to some interesting ships.

    Are the Earth governments smart enough to realize what they have set in motion?
    (These are the same governments that had been pushing Heather, Jeff and April for a long time.)

    • Thorsten August 15, 2020 at 11:49 pm #

      The small ships are perfectly capable for getting quickly from one place to another and as warships. Thanks to jump drones there is no need for huge warships. Having a larger number of small ships instead of just a few large warships would seem me to be a much more flexible and adaptable solution.

      The only reason why you would need large ships is to transport a large amount of freight and passengers.

      And as I already laid out in a post above, the solution would that should be the introduction of barges. Large ships without their own jump drive or any other “secret” technology, so that there is no risk and that technology being accessible to a large number of potentially untrusted people.

      These barges can loiter at planets for loading/unloading. When they are ready, one of the small jump ships comes along and drags them to a different system. Where the barge can once more loiter to unload/load passengers or freight. During which time the small jump ship with a trusted crew could either move on to transport other barges, or provide system security, patrols of nearby systems, …

      On the one hand, Lee is now well along the process of replicating Centrals existing grav technology, giving her (without being limited by being supplied with material from Jeffs mom):
      – grav based jump drives
      – grav based acceleration compensation
      – grav lances
      – fission kernel free fusion weapons

      Beyond that, there are a number of new developments:
      – reaction less drive (hinted at at the end of the last book)
      – grav plates without inertial dragging

      I would assume she’s also going to get access to Jeff’s micro fusion reactors (the fact the everyone else is dropping by gas giants to fuel up on helium 3 would indicate that they are still using a reactor design similar to what the first non-grav jump ships we saw in the April books use), and the energy storage devices originally developed by the loonies (again, the Family Law books didn’t give me the impression that these are generally available technology).

      • Stephen August 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm #

        But Central does have some large ships – ore freighters IIRC

        • Thorsten August 16, 2020 at 9:49 pm #

          Sure, but Central ships operate in complete secrecy, with absolutely trustworthy crews, calling only on ports that are already “on the inside”.

          Lee on the other hand will need ships operating thorough human space, keeping the technical details of these drives operate secret, while the knowledge that they exist is public.

          If you use small tugs and large barges, you can minimise the number of people that have physical access to the new technology, while maximizing your transport capacity.

          • Stephen August 17, 2020 at 8:45 pm #

            Jeff seems good at keeping tech details secure even if people aren’t trustworthy.

  33. Thorsten August 16, 2020 at 12:08 am #

    I noticed a (minor) character that seems to have gotten lost. Mel Wainwright, Wiggen’s security chief that fled with her to Home. He never got mentioned again after the end of Book 4.

    I doubt he would be safe to return to Earth or any other orbital structure accessible to the USNA. So I would think he would stay on Home or go to Central if he can.

    Given that he’s not independently wealthy, he would have to find a job to afford staying. I’m not sure what other qualifications he might have, but his primary one seems to be Mayhem.

    Having been personal security of the USNA president, and having successfully extracted her from an untenable position would probably look pretty good on his resume.

    Further assuming that he didn’t join the presidential detail after Gunny left, he should have had at least a professional relationship with Gunny.

    All of which would probably have made him a prime candidate to join the security company.

  34. Thorsten August 16, 2020 at 5:26 am #

    I’ve just realized that there are some more questions that the current Family Law books don’t answer.

    What happened to Mitsubishi’s ownership of M3? Is the physical Habitat still owned by Mitsubishi at the time it’s moved to Derfhome? If yes, what’s Mitsubishi’s opinion of that move?

    What’s the status of Hawaii, Tonga, Japan and Australia, and their relationship to Home/Central in the Family Law timeframe?

    Does Jeff still operate a floating base on Earth at that time?

  35. Cheryl August 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

    Yes, I also was curious about questions in Thorsten’s postings (Mel W and status of M3)

    Can’t wait

  36. Thorsten August 18, 2020 at 9:15 am #

    Yes, but we are talking about ships Lee will be building and operating. And the new level of cooperation between Central/The Three/Jeff and Lee notwithstanding, they are still separated entities operating under different constrains in different environments and with not completely identical goals.

    • Thorsten August 18, 2020 at 9:17 am #

      That was meant as a reply to “Stephen August 17, 2020 at 8:45 pm”

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