About Heart of Stone

The story:

Kellandry is a retired robotics technician who used his life savings to buy a personal space camper and spend his old years visiting the universe. His plans hit a wall when, on his first trip, a hard landing damages his ship, and he must stay on this backwater planet to gather repair funds... or leave his ship behind and give up on his dream.

He receives help from Rachel, a young girl who, having been present when he was rescued, feels responsible for making him feel at home, and Livine, the manager of a geothermic power plant who gives him a job on the automation team. Unfortunately, his grumpy, introverted personality is ill suited for a dome city's crowded conditions, and increasingly turning to his Earth souvenirs for comfort does no good for his mental health, to a point where he may be seeing Ammonite, his fossil rock, as a closer friend than those who actually try to support him...

 

The setting:

Several centuries from now, young lifeless planets are being terraformed. The colony Kellandry is stranded on is approximately five hundred years old, with a population of thirty tousands scattered accross two dozen habitats around the south pole. Several varieties of blue algae have been successfully implanted in its seas, and the Red Bay habitat can boast of its stromatolite littered shore and rust stained sand. Everything else happens inside sealed buildings, from residential blocks with covered plazas, all the way to greenhouse farming and natural preserves in geodesic domes. Faster than light travel and communication are possible via a system of relays and ferries which smaller vessels can board, so no world is truly isolated, but with their limited industrial capabilities, scarcely populated planets can at most afford a handful of shuttles to reach them.

 

Science-fiction hardness:

This isn't strictly hard sci-fi. The faster than light travel required for this kind of space tourism to happen may not be physically possible at all, though if it was after all I certainly wouldn't be one to complain. I avoid making up an explanation that would hardly be convincing and that science would probably contradict within the next six months; you can buy a ticket to a space ferry without knowing how they run, as long as the engineers behind them do! I took liberties with the robotics as well, and some of the architecture shows my inexpertise, which I'll handwave with "they probably developped better alloys by then, that frame will totally hold". When it comes to chemistry and biology though, I researched the thing to death! I even changed the sand colour in the outdoor models because a "young Earth" geology made yellow sand unlikely. Keep an eye on the extra pages, new articles and fake advertisements will show up to describe futuristic concepts and technology as they become relevant.

 

Politics:

All is politics and especially sci-fi. Because I know some people roll their eyes and groan whenever it's not tucked out of sight enough, I'll tell you ahead what to expect:

The worldbuilding and story are made with the notion that humans are adaptable and can handle progress without immediately turning it into a dystopian parody of itself, and that the future will have it own problems but will also have improved on a lot of the current ones. The plot will come from characters interacting with themselves, each others, society and circumstances, not from the whole civilisation being in need to be pulled back to a 21th Century but with flying cars statut quo.