Verdant Pioneers


cover for Verdant PioneersVerdant Pioneers – sequel to Verdant Skies

There’s no Brane Boy out here.

The city-satellite Verdant has spent a year out in deep space, searching for the raw materials it needs to survive, fighting off internal terrorist factions that seek to force their return to Earth influence, and unsure of Earth’s state—or how they’d be welcomed. No one on Earth knows Verdant’s status, either, and both sides are afraid of aggression from the other.

And when the deep-space discovery of the age is spoiled by the unexpected disappearance of one of their exploration freighters, Julian Lenz and his staff must make a difficult decision: To take Verdant into hiding, perhaps forever; or to return to Earth, and risk Verdant’s survival.

“Verdant Pioneers was a real page turner for me… I did not want this book to end. I award this book 4 stars and will definitely be going back to read the first in the series as well.” -Sift Book Reviews (Read the full review on

Read excerpt | Buy at Amazon | Buy at Barnes & Noble

When I wrote Verdant Skies, I had no intention of writing a sequel; I thought it was perfectly formed and finished as it was. Needless to say, a number of readers disagreed, and it became my second most popular sequel-request (after the Kestral stories).

The planetary systems mentioned in the story—Fomalhaut, Glisa 581, 55 Canri, and Gliese—are actual star systems and, according to the latest data, are expected to have planets in the “Goldilocks” zone of liquid water that is required for Life As We Know It. It would make sense that Verdant would want to search those systems for similar chemicals and compounds, as they might expect planetary development in that zone to be similar to that in our Solar System. What we would find when we get there is still anybody’s guess, since our best telescopes and scanners can barely confirm that planetary bodies are there, much less their actual state. But it seemed a good place to start a galactic adventure.

Kudos go out to the late Neil Marr for turning me on to the wonderful (and very real) word “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” and its definition. (Curious?  Get the book.)  When I heard it, I told Neil via Facebook that I’d try to work it into the story—good thing I’d already added a medical researcher to the cast of characters. He replied: “If you can, Steven, I’ll send you a signed bottle of The Famous Grouse whisky. Or maybe you could send me one.”

And surprise: I left this story much as I left Verdant Skies… complete, but with a possibility of stories yet to come. And for the record, I have no intention of writing any of them. But then… I had no intention of writing this one…


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