A rough snippet of April 11

Jeff Singh, Irwin Hall, and Eddie Persico sat off by the back wall in the cafeteria, drinking coffee and conspiring. On Earth that would have been like the Governor of the Federal Bank, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the CEO of Amazon-Walmart-Fuji (AWF) meeting in the corner booth at a Waffle House. The social and political strata related to wealth still existed on Home but were exhibited in very different ways. None of them had body guards or felt the need to have a special secure conference room to keep such meetings secret.

Markets wouldn’t change value wildly on rumors the three were seen together, because that sort of public market didn’t exist on Home. If anyone on Home held Earth stocks it was traded on Earth exchanges, with all the risk that applied to foreigners operating in a different legal system. Eddie did so, but retained one of the three resident attorneys on Home who served Home citizens to deal with the complexities of Earth laws and taxes.

Most business on Home and Central on the Moon were sole proprietors or partnerships. So far the Assembly hadn’t seen giving legal status to corporations as desirable. Several speakers had objected to allowing foreign corporations any special rights of personhood, arguing that would diminish personal responsibility when such a thing was proposed. Earth corporations had little representation on Home because their agents would be held personally responsible for their corporate conduct. That effectively negated the reasons to do business as a corporation. There were three banks and two delivery services brave enough to pay somebody very well to do that, and their terms of service were very different than what the Earth branches of their companies offered.

Jeff and Irwin ran the two banks which were exclusively spacer owned and Eddie was the richest person on Home, at least in terms of actual liquid cash assets. Eddie was aware Jeff with his partners Heather and April probably had more potential for wealth looking a few decades into the future. Far from being competitors, they both intended to informally support and accommodate each other as having complimentary business interests even if they weren’t actual partners.

Irwin was their link to Earth interests, given Jeff was effectively isolated from using any Earth banking systems. Not that Earthies were all that thrilled with Irwin’s Private Bank of Home, but there was trade between the habitat and Earth that was too large and important to run as part of an underground or black economy. The de facto currency of Home was the Solar, a monetary unit based on a twenty five gram gold or platinum coin, which was illegal to hold or trade in North America or China.

As long as the coins carried the Name of Jeff’s bank on its face instead of Irwin’s bank the Earthies ignored the fact that much of the metal the System Trade Bank coined came from Irwin’s deposits and went straight back to him for a minimal seigniorage. There wasn’t really an alternative way to carry on an exchange that wouldn’t cost more or look worse. So Irwin kept access to four bank clearing systems, though only the Russian Federation and India treated him as a full peer to their system banks.

Eddie wanted to build a second companion habitat to Home, opposite it in a halo orbit around the meta-stable point which Home circled out beyond the Moon. Actually he wanted to build two of them, but he didn’t quite have the funds to build one alone, so he was discussing how to bring in Earth money with the two bankers. It bothered him not to keep total control of the project that sole ownership would allow, but he was worried the Earth economy was recovering sufficiently somebody else might undertake the project and get in ahead of him. The slots in the orbital path were up for grabs ever since Home had made clear the UN or any other Earth agencies weren’t going to tell the Homies where they could park. China had lost a couple trillion Yuan of ships and their crews trying to enforce that defunct idea. The UN didn’t exist anymore except as some obsolete agreements on paper without agency.

If Eddie didn’t get some construction started opposite Home there was a real possibility a consortium of Japanese, Australian and other partners might put a smaller habitat there to establish squatter’s rights until they could build on the initial station. Jeff and Irwin both agreed that was a danger, and would rather deal with Eddie controlling a new hab than some unknown. It would be glaringly hypocritical to object someone else couldn’t do the same thing Home had done and stake out an unoccupied space.

“I don’t want to just build an unspun hub,” Eddie insisted. “I want it to be obvious we intend to ultimately build a series of rings just like Home has, but with more cubic and stiffer so it can be moved easier if we need to in the future. So I want the start of a beefy spindle and two cylindrical sections at the end of two arms that investors can visualize being extended each way until they complete a ring. You’d leave closed off sections on the hub where two more spokes would reach out too. Build to spin up to a full G when the ring is completed all the way around. I want it to be obvious it’s just a start and where stuff will be added on next.”

“That would be hard to keep balanced out without a full ring to carry a balancing circuit,” Irwin pointed out. “You’d have to pump against the throw clear to the hub to transfer to the other side. It wouldn’t be near as fast as pumping around a full ring.”

“That’s another reason why we’d only spin it up to half speed until we have a full ring,” Eddie said. “Do you really have serious doubts about the feasibility? Have you read the engineering studies and alternate proposals? Neither of you are aerospace architects. If you have specific doubts somebody must be feeding them. Is somebody I’m not aware of speaking against the project?”

Irwin shook his head no. “They aren’t serious objections. I pretty much skipped all the detailed stuff about early construction and went to the architectural concept drawings and important numbers at the end. All the deep stuff about moment arms and skin loadings was Greek to me. It’s just that when you start talking about it, all these objections easily pop to mind. I know just enough from living in Home to have ideas about what can go wrong.

“It’s probably better to not bring all that stuff up if you aren’t talking with a space nut or a construction worker who is just fascinated with every detail. I have to pretty much trust the people you hired to know what they are doing. You have to trust me to be able to say whether the needed money can be attracted to the project no matter how physically sound and practical it is.”

“I know just enough about ship building to understand some of the terms,” Jeff Singh said. “It’s like a person who knows how to do drawings looking at an oil painting. They are both art and may share qualities like composition. But that doesn’t mean that because you can do a decent pencil sketch that you can do an oil. Likewise I know a little banking, but Irwin understands the Earth banking systems and what their people want to hear from him better than me. So I have to trust both of you to some degree.”

Irwin believed Jeff had no idea how to schmooze with Earth bankers, but he suspected his dependency on Irwin to do so was more in the nature of a convenience. When Jeff’s bank was cut out of Earth settlement systems over the creation of his currency he hadn’t begged for acceptance and a way to make amends. Rather he publicly stopped accepting their currencies, dumping Dollars and EuroMarks. Doing so through shady Russians in a way that was just private enough it was hard to denounce and public enough not to fool anyone. It was then their currencies that had declined rather than Solars.

Jeff still denied actually engineering that. Irwin had been tempted back then and still occasionally thought about running Jeff’s statements through verification software. He’d discussed that with his most trusted employee, Dan Prescott, who handled their IT. He’d asked just what Irwin expected to do if he got answers he didn’t like? He also predicted Irwin would be tempted to script words and phrases into his conversations with Jeff to try to refine the answers.

“Do you think that would work?” Irwin asked, intrigued at the idea.

“I think he’d catch on to it about the third time you said something that isn’t your usual pattern of speech, and then he’d lead you about with false responses so you ended up knowing even less than you did before.” Dan said.

“You really think he is that smart?” Irwin demanded.

“I do, and the next thing you are going to be tempted to say is, ‘If he’s so smart maybe you should go work for him.’ I’ve heard you say variations on that to other people and if you say it out loud to me I’ll give it a go and see if he’ll hire me.”

Irwin didn’t say it, but he didn’t deny thinking it either. He knew Jeff was smarter than him and suspected Dan was too. He certainly was about computers and security. Irwin had that twinge of insecurity so many feel to have an employee smarter than them. What he didn’t understand was that was a factor in retaining Dan. If he quit Dan had pretty much two choices, start his own bank, or go to work for Singh, and he wasn’t comfortable working for somebody that much smarter than him. He felt much more secure with Irwin.

“Why not go ahead and learn how to build stations?” Eddie asked Jeff.
“There isn’t enough time to know everything. In the last few years I’ve had a hand in designing and building a dozen ships already. How long do you think it would be before I got to design a dozen stations? I had to get a lot of help just to design the zero G temporary housing. The pay-back period is too long. Let somebody else do it who thinks it’s fun.”

27 Responses to A rough snippet of April 11

  1. Ann January 15, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

    Mitsubushi made at least 3 orbital habs so would be a good possible partner as might any other non chinese and,nort american orbital construction company. So there could be lots of Earth partners.

    If Mitsubushi was made primary Earth partner it could organise funding and deals with other Earth governments, and companies and allow Home veto over major partners, major contractors and major subcontractors..

    Mitsubushi makes orbital lifters so anything lifted from earth makes them a good partner.

    Rock shareholders or right holders may also be interested in swapping metal equity for hab equity as might some comet shareholder or right holders.Moon settlements should also be interested.

    The big advantage of Earth involvement is creating vested interests that don’t want any damage to the orbital construction but there are many ways this could happen – if not trusted or wanted for the construction or funding then maybe involve in funding insurance or much better construction and habitat insurance.

    Thanks for the snippet

  2. Ann January 16, 2019 at 12:08 am #


    OK corporations don’t have ‘personhood’ legal rights on Home. But what of all the legacy businesses that existed prior to independence.

    If those were making good money they should’ve stayed, if they were running research they could’ve stayed if there was no other orbital space they could go to, they had to stay or vacate for a possible competitor.

    As there wasn’t lots of vacancies for M3 space – but unmet demand for more space it seems the legacy companies probably continued as they had always done (with some possible adjustments if their owning company was at war with Home.

    But its your IP

    • Mac January 16, 2019 at 8:46 am #

      Sure they would be like any other country after a revolution. They’d adjust to the new laws or lack of old ones. But their main markets are on Earth, so all the laws that applied would be of a foreign maker selling in an Earth Market. If the company was from North America they might have problems and even divest the division. Banking would be impacted more than say drugs because it is regulated more. I’ve written about banking and will a lot more in the next April.

  3. Sarah January 16, 2019 at 3:04 am #

    Love the snippet. Looking forward to the book even more now!

  4. Kevin Harrison January 16, 2019 at 8:18 am #

    I thought Family Law book 5 was next book? Do you work on both at same time ? Like anything even stand alone. How fare along are they. I like to know when I need to start rereading. Once again sorry about your last book it was very good.

    • Mac January 16, 2019 at 8:51 am #

      I often have two or three going. If I sit down to one and the juice doesn’t flow I go to another. I also have a pretty decent collection of first chapters of books that may never get written.
      April 11 is at 6k words Family Law 5 at near 40k words. I don’t expect to switch and finish April 11 first – but you never know what these crazy Homies will decide to do when you sit down to write.

      • Tazzer January 16, 2019 at 11:51 am #

        I felt guilty doing that for about three different attempts at Nanowrimo. Knowing that I can just jump to different stories and having the ideas shift around as I write helps out.

        That’s a good way to not burn out.

        Thanks for the insight of your process! No wonder your books are compelling reads.

  5. Mike G. January 16, 2019 at 8:53 am #

    More please! Very interesting snippet.

    One typo: s/having complimentary business/having complementary business/

    • np January 19, 2019 at 11:43 am #

      exactly! that seems to be a very common mistake

  6. Big Ben January 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm #

    Thanks for the snippet.
    I really like how you’re working the two series and joining them together. Family Law is kinda the big picture galactic swashbuckling side of the coin and the April series is becoming more of the fine detail “how the sausage and spaceships are made” side of the coin.

    The only thing I have the slightest concern about is losing the excitement of the April series in future books. Since F.L. is set in the “future” of the April series and you’re blending them together we’re learning about the past, or current events in young April’s life. We know that in all the future April books she and her friends survive their adventures, as does Home and Central. We know they continue to increase their influence, encounter aliens, establish distant colonies and thrive. In some ways this diminishes the suspense of the ongoing series. However much trouble / peril / uncertainty is happening in the moment, we know how it will ultimately end …
    Kinda like reading the end of a mystery novel first – it doesn’t matter how well the author crafts the whodunnit suspense when the mystery has already been solved.

    Both series are delightfully fun and among the most rereadable of any long series I’ve ever read. Keep ‘em coming!

  7. Mike Morrow January 18, 2019 at 2:20 pm #

    Ahhh….. Like a nice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day!

    Thanks for the snippet.

  8. LJ January 18, 2019 at 2:54 pm #

    Love the snippets! Thank you for these. It’s been really interesting reading these books, and then seeing what’s happening real time right now with our democracy and how people are reacting. Love how your books have started making me question everything, even things I agree with.

  9. Glen January 21, 2019 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Mac,

    Explanation of Jeff’s Fusion device conflicts across different books

    Atomic Masses
    p = 1.007276466879 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton)
    n = 1.00866491588 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron)
    D = 2.01410178 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deuterium)
    T = 3.0160492 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium)
    He3 = 3.0160293 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3)
    He = 4.002602 u (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-4)
    1 u = 931.4940954 MeV (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_mass_unit)

    Fusion Reactions
    D + D -> T + p = ((2*D) – (T + p))*u = 4.54 MeV (50% chance)
    D + D -> He3 + n = ((2*D) – (He3 + n))*u = 3.27 MeV (50% chance)
    D + T -> He + n = ((D + T) – (He + n))*u = 17.6 MeV
    He3 + He3 -> He + 2 p = ((2*He3) – (He + 2*p))*u = 13.9 MeV

    Reaction that violates the Momentum-Energy Constrains
    i.e. Both energy and momentum must be conserved and in a free space reaction the products can’t carry sufficient momentum for the energy release hence the reactions is not allowed.
    Jeffs device may be able to bypass this constrain since momentum may be exchanged with the lattice.
    D + D -> He = ((2*D) – He)*u = 23.8 MeV

    So in the first April book,

    Jeff tells April that his device consumes Deuterium and Produces Helium i.e.
    D + D -> He3 + n = ((2*D) – (He3 + n))*u = 3.27 MeV (50% chance)
    or possibly
    D + D -> He = ((2*D) – He)*u = 23.8 MeV

    Later Jeff tells Aprils Grandpa that he set it to do the reaction that doesn’t produce Neutrons i.e.
    D + D -> T + p = ((2*D) – (T + p))*u = 4.54 MeV (50% chance)
    or possibly
    D + D -> He = ((2*D) – He)*u = 23.8 MeV

    this means the only possible reaction is
    D + D -> He = ((2*D) – He)*u = 23.8 MeV
    bypassing the Momentum-Energy constrain due to the nature of his device

    Then in the later books Jeff says he wants to product Tritium because the D+T reaction is more energetic
    i.e. consider the following 3 reactions this makes sense
    D + D -> T + p = ((2*D) – (T + p))*u = 4.54 MeV (50% chance)
    D + D -> He3 + n = ((2*D) – (He3 + n))*u = 3.27 MeV (50% chance)
    D + T -> He + n = ((D + T) – (He + n))*u = 17.6 MeV

    Then in the latest books Jeff talks about how a He3 reaction produces more energy i.e.
    He3 + He3 -> He + 2 p = ((2*He3) – (He + 2*p))*u = 13.9 MeV

    These later statements by Jeff conflict with his explanation in book 1

    can you please clarify what his device is actually doing?

    • Mac January 22, 2019 at 10:43 am #

      Maybe later. I’m off to buy groceries before it starts snowing again. I’ll examine it closed. What comes to mind is Jeff wanted the tritium before he found a gravitational form of a jump drive. After that he didn’t need it. Also we see the French have a process that lets them generate it as a storage system even if at a loss. That just off the top of my head from memory. Ultimately it is fiction and may deviate from being predictive in any sense. – Mac’

  10. Cheryl January 23, 2019 at 12:47 pm #

    Love it. Looking forward to whichever comes next. Always buy anything you publish IMMEDIATELY and will not be changing

  11. Chuck January 30, 2019 at 7:12 am #

    The Exit TAX is here! https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/elizabeth-warren-s-plan-tax-super-rich-has-been-tried-n963971

    I thought you wrote fiction!

    • Mac January 31, 2019 at 10:00 am #

      There are already stiff fees to renounce your citizenship. It’ll get worse and I’ll predict if they ever finish a border fence the guns will point IN.

      • Jørgen January 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm #

        Yes, it start with travel restrictions… due to belief and cost. All to control a group of people or more correctly control the money they represent.

        Here I live you can only notice it if you pay really good attention that certain products are disappearing from the marked. Everything with a specific raw material have already vanished, the product that remain now uses a fake taste that taste differently.

        When I complained, they promised me that they would fix it and gave me a gift bag of their products worth close to 150$ and asked me to give them time to fix it. Hush money..

        They changed the recipe of 1 product, but that lasted only a few months before they change out the original material with fake taste. The same is happening elsewhere too, we are running out of certain materials on a global level and that will led to tighter controls because those in control do not want you to know, plus a growing part of the 1% are hoarding tings.

        Religion-ism is on the rise, education is being made harder to get, information is obfuscated by the Internet of fakes and even more are debt slaves (not that they know it).

        It all points towards a society in decline, The question is not if, but when and the window to fix it is shrinking. Technology might save us, but I think someone will sit on it until someone triggers a population reduction, when people get really desperate then the tech will be brought up from storage and miraculously save us.(As long as we willingly put us self into debt)

  12. Anna zintl February 17, 2019 at 3:36 am #

    I just finished re-reading these and wanted to drop a quick FYI. In April 10 when she has dinner in the fox and hare w the French guy, the former Spanish king comes over to say hello, but he and his wife are misnamed. Here they are called James and Elena but they should be Carlos and… I can’t remember his wife’s name. James and Elena are the other Spanish characters, also in exile, also with LET and who could know a French diplomat, so it is confusing which you really mean until the very end of their encounter when you name him as the former king and his dinner companions are mentioned.

    (There are a couple of Easy/Happy swaps in first book too. And Elena/Helena flips back and forth when she is first introduced.)

    I don’t mean to be a pain. Love the books and can’t wait for the next.

    • Mac February 17, 2019 at 10:07 am #

      They are living under different names on Home, but where I messed up is Pierre would not know them under those new names. I should have had him be corrected quietly about their new identity. I’m re-editing to do paper editions so I’m making a note to fix that.

      • Anon E. Mouse June 6, 2019 at 2:59 pm #

        All of the books need a careful read for quality. I’ve marked at least a dozen typos just re-reading April 9.

        Also the 14th assembly of home precedes the 11th…

        • Mac June 6, 2019 at 8:48 pm #

          They all get improved and corrected as I am able. If you want to share the typos I’ll fix them. Different readers see different things. Even real editors.

  13. Lord Ogre March 28, 2019 at 4:57 pm #

    Liked the snippet!! More! More!!
    When (roughly) might we expect releases of April 11 or Family Law 5?
    Thank you.

    • Mac March 28, 2019 at 10:07 pm #

      I’m not going to set a hard date. We have a lot of other things going on. Tomorrow is lost to medical appointments.

  14. Ami Avnit April 3, 2019 at 10:18 pm #

    Both April and FL are my go to mental comfort food. I enjoy your style of writing and the artistry you show with the ease
    You zoom in on micro-events and zoom out to anchor them in the big picture while adhering the book into a unit through personalities… Unusual, captivating and highly entertaining style –
    Mahalo nui for hundreds of pleasurable hours.

  15. Amber June 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm #

    Hi I love April and her friends waiting impatiently for 11 to come out lol I check every month. Living in space sounds cool. ( and expensive) hope you’re doing good.

    • Mac June 14, 2019 at 8:18 pm #

      April 11 is just well started at 32k words – Family Law 5 is out to beta readers and will happen first. The expense of living in space is on top of regular inflation. I remember buying a brand new top of the line Boss 302 Mustang in 1970 for $3,600.00.

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