Month: July 2020

3 Hard Science Fiction Ideas

Nicholas C. Rossis

Many of my readers enjoy science fiction as much as I do. Jacob Baumgardner recently shared an answer about which emerging technologies may have the greatest impact in the near future. He identified three: fusion power, rail/coilguns, and pre-coolers.

I imagine that all of these will come to be in this century.

Fusion power

This will probably be the last form of energy generation we develop until the advent of anti-matter.

Right now, fusion power is still in the testing phase in the form of ITER. If all goes to plan, the first successful testbed will be operational 5 years from now. It will start with large power plants, then small power plants, then large ships like carriers, and eventually it will be small enough to use in vehicles like aircraft and small ships. It is unlikely cars and the like will use fusion reactors as superconducting batteries are…

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What Is the Oldest English Word?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Someone asked this on Quora and Oscar Tay gave a fascinating answer.

The oldest recorded word In English is Gægogæ mægæ medu.

The Undley Bracteate

In 1982, a farmer in Undley Common, Suffolk, England, was walking across his field when he came across a fantastic bit of history: The Undley Bracteate, an Anglo-Saxon medallion dating to 450 AD. It was small, no bigger than a penny, and inscribed with the image of two babies – presumably Romulus and Remus – suckling from a wolf.

Undley Bracteate | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books The Undley Bracteate is believed to be made in or near southern Denmark. It may have been brought to England by some of the earliest Germanic-speaking settlers. Image: the British Museum.

Gægogæ mægæ medu

The find itself would be interesting enough, but look carefully at that inscription around the edges. It’s not just a random pattern: in Runes, it says ᚷ‍ᚫᚷ‍ᚩᚷ‍ᚫ ᛗᚫᚷᚫ ᛗᛖᛞᚢ, gægogæ…

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Medieval Rules for Travelers: Here’s My Wife

Nicholas C. Rossis

If you watch any fantasy movies or any fiction taking place in the Middle Ages, you will probably think that travelers camped outside in the open with nobody around for miles.

As Joanna Arman explains in Quora, this is not the case. So, if you’re a fantasy or historical fiction writer, please take note!

Almshouse | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksGood times at the inn

The population of Medieval Europe was a lot smaller than it is today, but for the most part, there weren’t vast areas of uninhabited territory, and where they were, they were off the proverbial beaten track.

Medieval Europe, including Britain, had pretty good infrastructure. A network of Roman roads connected settlement within day’s ride of any given location, even if it was only a small village.

Churches and monasteries were also commonplace, and most monasteries and even small priories had a guest house where anyone could stay overnight.

Travelers could also…

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Medieval Chess Troubles

Nicholas C. Rossis

Lewis chess | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books The Lewis Chessmen. Source: The British Museum

Medieval monasteries had a serious problem. Instead of 100% focusing on their spiritual and earthly duties, many monks loved besting each other at chess. The Medieval version of “video games cause violence” was, “playing chess leads to blasphemy.”

Things got so bad that chess was forbidden many times throughout the medieval period. However, monks were so addicted that often they found creative ways to hide their boards and pieces. Lanercost, a monastery in the UK, features gameboards scratched into the stone of the windowsills for bored monks to play. And the foldable chessboard, which could be disguised as a book and held a compartment for pieces, was developed that way. In a sense, portable Chess was the Gameboy of Medieval Times.

If you’re writing any kind of Medieval fiction, throwing in a chapter about the chess controversy may be a great way…

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Some of My Favorite Writing Blogs

Nicholas C. Rossis

I haven’t written one of these posts in ages, so I wanted to give you a few links to blogs and websites that have provided me with plenty of writing tips and inspiration.

I apologize in advance if you have an excellent blog that’s not mentioned below. Charles Yallowitz, for example, often offers fantasy writing tips in his Legends of Windemere blog. Here, however, I’m solely focusing on websites that provide the kind of research that a writer will use to make their fiction ring true.

Too Saxon for your love | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I’m starting with fantasy and historical fiction, as the image above suggests. Mythic Scribes is one of the best places I’ve found when it comes to historical novels and fantasy. It is aimed at authors and carries articles on everything historical and fantasy, from the basics of heraldry to map building for fantasy writers. Unsurprisingly, it has often served as inspiration for…

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How to Design Your Book Cover

Nicholas C. Rossis

Book covers | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Dave Chesson, aka Kindlepreneur, recently published what I think is the ultimate guide to designing your book cover. While I use Alex of 187Designz for all of my book covers, Dave has compiled a list of:

  • The best book cover design software, both paid and free;
  • Book cover design templates and pre-made book covers,
  • Best book cover designers, helpfully organized by genre and specialty,
  • Best book cover design services,
  • An exhaustive resource library for making your own book cover,
  • More places where you can find designers

Dave even throws in some links and tips on how to test your book cover design to figure out which one your readers will like best!

Be sure to check out both Alex’s book covers and Dave’s article if you’re in the process of publishing a new book!

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Sci-Fi Tip: Futuristic Construction Technologies

Nicholas C. Rossis

Skyscraper | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

My Ph.D. thesis, Design in the Digital Age: In Search of a Collaborative Paradigm, was all about finding novel ways to help designers interact with their clients. I had envisioned a tablet-based Virtual Reality environment with Augmented Reality elements for the client, thus allowing them to better understand what the architect or designer was trying to achieve. As for the architect or designer, Artificial-Intelligence software would significantly speed up the design process.

My thesis was published in 2000. Unfortunately, my vision has yet to be brought together by a software company, even though most of the elements I was describing are now widely available.

However, that doesn’t mean that technology hasn’t changed in other ways. As an article in IndiaCADworks explains, in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, new technologies are advancing with each passing day that makes the process of construction smarter, more streamlined, and indeed futuristic.

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7 Tips to Write a Killer Book Presentation

Nicholas C. Rossis

Daniela McVicker | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Daniela McVicker. Daniela is a contributor to Essayguard. She has a master’s degree in English Literature and is truly passionate about learning foreign languages and teaching. Daniela works with the students to help them reveal their writing talent and find their one true calling.

7 Tips to Write a Killer Book Presentation

Sometimes, a book you have written draws enough attention that you are asked to speak about it to an audience. You may be asked to present as a subject expert, talk about your material at a conference or convention, present at a book fair, or give a quick presentation as part of a book signing.

As they say, more people are afraid of public speaking than of death. Which means that most people would prefer being in a casket than giving the obituary.

And now, you’re going to be in…

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Getting Married in the Middle Ages

Nicholas C. Rossis

Whether you’re writing Medieval history fiction or fantasy, you will appreciate this Quora answer by Helena Schrader, who borrowed from an article she wrote for The Medieval Magazine. To this, I have added information by Brent Cooper, taken from

Getting Married in the Middle Ages

First, a caveat: the Middle Ages lasted a thousand years in places as different as Iceland and the Holy Land. So, things differed from place to place and from time to time. After all, did your grandmother get married in a similar way to you?

No matter where and when, though, a general fact about marriage in the Middle Ages is that it was usually an economic affair.

This is not to say that the parties to a medieval marriage inherently lacked affection, passion, or sexual attraction. However, economic considerations played an important role in marriage negotiations and contracts…

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Translating Puns

Nicholas C. Rossis

Pure Bread Cat pun | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

As anyone who’s been following my blog for a while surely knows, I love puns and bad dad jokes (often the same thing). And I often use them in my work, especially in my children’s books. Which becomes rather problematic when translating them into Greek. How can someone translate puns decently?

Rick van Mechelen, aka “that translation student“, recently shared an interesting post on this very subject. He cites Dirk Delabastita 1996 work* to divide puns into four categories of ambiguity. These are homonymy, homophony, homography, and paronymy, each of which is better suited to different forms of communication:

HomonymyA pun where a word with multiple meanings is used to give multiple meanings at once.A hard-boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
HomophonyA pun using two words that sound identical, but have different spellings.‘Mine is a long and…

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