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The Star Trails Compendium: Terms, Definitions, Weather, Political Structure, and Planetary Description of the Cyrarian Planetary System (Star Trails Tetralogy) (Volume 5) Paperback – May 1, 2015
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About the Author
Marcha Fox has loved science fiction since she was a child with the stars always holding a strong sense of mystery and fascination. Her love of astronomy resulted in a bachelor of science degree in physics from Utah State University followed by a 21 year career at NASA where she held a variety of positions including technical writer, engineer and eventually manager. Her NASA experience was primarily at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas but included trips to Cape Canaveral in Florida, visiting other Centers in Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland as well as visits to the European Space Agency in The Netherlands. Her most memorable experience, however, was the sad task of helping to recover space shuttle debris in East Texas following the tragic Columbia accident in 2003. "NASA was a great career experience, but writing is what I've always wanted to do. To me there is nothing more exhilarating than bringing a character to life." She has made it a point to "do the math" regarding various elements in her books to assure accuracy and hoping to instill an interest in science and engineering to her readers in an enjoyable and entertaining way. She admits that Cyraria's figure-8 orbit around a binary star system is a bit of a stretch but maintains it is mathematically feasible even though it would be unstable with life on such a planet beyond challenging with its seasonal extremes. "But that's what makes it a good setting for the story," she adds. Born in Peekskill, New York she has lived in California, Utah and Texas in the course of raising her family and currently resides in the Texas Hill Country. Whether “Refractions of Frozen Time,” the fourth and final volume of the Star Trails Tetralogy series will be the last she states, "These characters have a life of their own and may move on to other adventures."
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Marcha Fox wrote this as a work of fiction to accompany her Star Trails Tetralogy series, which I absolutely loved. As with her novels, her scientific terminology is accurate, though I am sure it is used in a fictional sense.
For instance, "Ballome: Portable structures formed from inflatable epoxy that cures and hardens in the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Used for temporary outposts on primitive worlds. Most contain basic heating and cooling systems and gel insulation that protects from most climates as well as plumbing. Usually have a galley kitchen, living area and two bedrooms equipped with built-in sleeping cylls." .... to the best of my knowledge, here on earth, we don't have the technology to fabricate inflatable epoxy into anything the size of a house, though I would love to see this happen.
The Compendium also includes information on star systems and an entire section devoted to Cyrarian weather, which is very useful, since in A Psilent Place Below, as well as other stories when the characters were on Cyrarian, the weather was a big factor in the story. Not surprisingly, there are also lesson plan suggestions, for the science that readers absorb as they read her Star Trails Tetralogy series - and of course, as a physics major, her emphasis is on physics.
She also includes a section for teachers to work elements of the series into their lesson plans with great fantastic high level questions and explanations for each book and each chapter such as, “What do you think it would be like to be in a black hole?” In the series a black hole is used as a prison. Or, “What are some of the reasons that the habitable planets in an intergalactic society would employ space stations as points of entry?” Good brain questions. The type that get students synapses firing!
She includes her website which has an entire parents and educators page.
For sci-fi fans, teachers, students, parents the Star Trails Tetralogy and Compendium are a must read!