Inspiration for Verdant Skies: Yellowstone is worse than we thought


Yellowstone craterVerdant Skies was partly inspired by data on the Yellowstone Caldera, the buried supervolcano in the Wyoming-Idaho-Montana area which, if when it erupts, could create an ecological disaster akin to the process which accelerated the end of the Dinosaurs.

Now University of Utah seismologists have discovered even more detail about the caldera, including a magna pocket below the known pocket and five times larger.  No, it doesn’t make the threat of an eruption more imminent; but it does mean that an eruption could be much, much worse than previously assumed.  See more at the link.



supermanOccasionally people who know I’ve done some writing would ask me if I’d consider writing this kind of story, why don’t I write that kind of story, etc… you know, the ones that tend to be very epic, very popular, often made into movies, and get talked about incessantly.  And in many cases, I’ve had a very good reason for my not wanting to write those kinds of stories.

It boils down to consequences.

This Observation Deck article and discussion breaks the issue down perfectly: So many exciting sci-fi and fantasy stories tend to overlook the consequences beyond their story… consequences that aren’t so inconsequential.  Continue reading

Verdant Skies is now in print!


cover of Verdant SkiesThe trigger has been pulled: Verdant Skies is now a printed book, available now at Createspace and  at

This is my first book to see print (if you don’t count the occasional PDF that someone has printed here or there)… and it was worth enough work to make everything as perfect as possible, that the text didn’t just get re-proofed, it earned a third revision.  So, it’s not only a “first time in paperback” edition, but it’s new and improved, to-boot!

If you’re one of those people who want your fiction printed—or you know someone else who does—now’s the time to check out this great novel.  If it looks good, let me know… that, and sales, will dictate whether I’ll continue this trend with Verdant Pioneers, the sequel to Verdant Skies, and with any of my other books.


Steven Lyle Jordan


By Grabthar’s Hammer!!  Are you still visiting this site?  I thought I’d let everyone know I’ve moved on to a new site!  How did this oversight happen?  How could you have missed it?  How did things go so horribly wrong?!?

Probably my fault.

This site has been moved to Please visit me there and catch up on what you’ve missed!

Go Interstellar? No—go Orbital


InterstellarInterstellar opens in theaters this week.  Its premise is that the Earth is becoming a global dustbowl, making it impossible to support the human race; so a band of astronauts heads out and through a wormhole to find another planet for human colonization.  (A non-spoiler-y review of the movie precedes this post.)

Would this be the best solution for human survival?  Not necessarily.  Physicists Gerard O’Neill and Tom Heppenheimer worked out a more practical solution four decades ago: Build artificial habitats and put them into orbit around the Earth or Sun.  This idea was described in O’Neill’s book The High Frontier and Heppenheimer’s book Colonies in Space, and it’s the idea I used as the premise of my novel Verdant Skies.
Continue reading

Orbiting habitat design

Kalpana spacehab

Bryan Versteeg,

I love this habitat design, and this shot.  It’s very similar in design to what I specified for the satellite Verdant (in Verdant Skies), with the exception that Verdant was longer than it was in diameter; this is more a drum, where Verdant was a cylinder.

The hubs feature balcony levels, which, in Verdant Skies, rotated independently so as to provide either 1G simulated gravity equal to the main interior, or varying degrees of lower gravity, right down to a full counter-rotation to create 0 gravity, for medical or research uses.  It also features the “sun column,” the axis that bridges both sides of the hab and provides heat and light to the interior.

Edit: Turns out the creator, Brian Versteeg, has named this the Kalpana One Space Settlement.  He provides additional renders and great detail on it at Gizmodo.

Kalpana One Space Settlement

Time to move?


verdant poster

I just did this for fun: I thought the elements of the Verdant Skies cover would make a cool poster.  I’m putting it on a T-shirt.

Interested?  Take a look here.


New Verdant covers


Have a gander at the latest covers for Verdant Skies and Verdant Pioneers, both available on re-released novels, which also include updated contact information.

cover of Verdant Skies

cover for Verdant Pioneers

Know anyone looking for exciting futurist fiction?  Now you know what to show them.

The Kestral Voyages, and their Star Trek roots


cover of The Kestral Voyages: My Life, After BerserkerThe novels of The Kestral Voyages are my most popular stories, hands down; not only my best sellers, but earning more comments, reviews and requests for more stories than any other novels I’ve written to date.

It’s not hard to guess why: When I created the series, it was originally based on the Star Trek universe, a story idea I intended to pitch to Paramount as the next Trek series after Voyager.  Though I made changes to fit it into its own universe, it still has many similarities to the Trek universe that is still so popular with fans.

So, what happened?  Well, it’s like this… Continue reading

Better than starships: Satellites


Bernal SpherePhysicist Stephen Hawking argues that Mankind must build starships and spread itself throughout the galaxy in order to survive, since Earth’s years are clearly finite.  Hawking has made this case many times, being convinced that even a smallish catastrophe (like a massive meteor strike) could render Earth uninhabitable for humans, and it could do so at any time.

I wouldn’t presume to contradict Hawking; in fact, I agree with his assessment of the fragility of our ecosystem and its prospects for long-term viability.  But when it comes to his opinion that we should leave Earth for our own survivability, I have another option. I don’t think we need to leave Earth; I believe we can stay longer, even through a catastrophe, if we apply proper husbandry to the Earth.  And we can do that if we move the bulk of our population into orbital satellites. Continue reading