Yep, Humans Could Fly On Titan

We're getting into the later chapters now so I feel like this should probably go without saying.  But Imma gonna say it anyway.  If you haven't listened to chapter 26 yet, this would be a super-dooper time to do that.

Which you can do right here...



So... yeah, the Venganto were just people all along.

*Thunder Crash*

*Maniacle Laughter*

.... Actually I was never sure how big a surprise this was going to be to people.  To this day I kinda assume that people reading the book kind a shrug to themselves and mutter at the book, "Yeah... of course their people.  That's been pretty obvious from the get go.  What did you think, we were going to assume they were aliens?"

To which I might reply, "'s science fiction... I dunno shut up."

And then I would run away crying....

Because of you....


The idea that the team would be attacked by humans who had strapped wings to themselves is probably one of the fundamental ideas of this book.  In fact the only similarity between my earliest outline and the final book is the scene where Viekko ends up falling into the Legia Mare after chasing one of these flying warriors.

In fact one of the few scenes in the first draft of Saturnius Mons that bears any resemblance to the final book is this scene 

Althea gunned the engine of the hovercraft, “What is he doing now?”

“The fool is still chasing the stupid thing.  He’s going to fall into the damn ocean if he keeps going like he is.”

They watched Viekko’s silhouette run alongside the Prolis.  Althea muttered, “Don’t do it.  For God’s sake don’t do what I think you’re going to do.”

“The stupid bastard is going for it,” said Ariane.

“No!  Viekko!  Don’t!” yelled Althea.

They both watched Viekko lunge to grab the Prolis, miss and fall into the Legaia Mare.  Althea pushed all her weight into the throttle in an attempt to push the engines harder.

The names of the characters, the names of the creatures themselves and basically the entire plot around which this rotated has all changed but this moment remains remarkably intact from my original draft.

I don't know when I first became aware of this idea.  I think it might have been an old xkcd comic by Randal Munroe who is off and on as fascinated with the idea as I am.

Now, obviously, flying on Titan wouldn't be as easy as going there, strapping on a set of wings and flapping away.  Mostly because Titan is cold.  Like, really, really cold.  Like so cold that the atmosphere is at the triple-point of methane in the same way that Earth largely remains at the triple-point for water.  That is to sat the temperature range is such that water can exist as a solid, liquid and gas which is, of course, why it Earth has a water cycle which is one of the fundamental driving forces of life on this planet.

Yeah, it's like that but with methane.  So... you know... cold.

But as I mentioned in a another post, I realized early into this process that I really wasn't trying to write a hard science fiction book.  Because the story I was trying to tell wasn't of trying to establish and survive on a colony on a inhospitable world.  I wanted to tell a story about societies and civilization and the common traits that bind us as a species.

But in space!

But I like little kernels of fact mixed in.  Think of them like geeky little Easter eggs.  Like the fact that, because of the way it rotates around Saturn, Titan's 'days' would be closer to a week long.  Or the fact that the moon contains more hydrocarbons then all of Earth's reserves combined.

Or that humans could, theoretically, fly using only their muscle power.

One more geeky thought about Titan before I move on.  I remember reading an article some years back about the impending time when we run out of fossil fuels and some possible (if not obscenely outlandish) solutions.  One of those solutions was, of course, Titan.

But, let us not forget that Titan is a few billion kilometers away.   Which is a problem.  With any current or concievable rocket technology the cost of going to Titan, extracting hydrocarbons and bringing them back to Earth would make those hydrocarbons worth more per ounce then diamonds.

And diamonds, being nothing but pure carbon, will burn.


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