‘Up Against It’ Explores Life in the Asteroid Belt


Against, a science fiction novel by environmental engineer Laura J. Mixon, explores life aboard the asteroid 25 Phocaea. The book takes a more realistic approach to space adventure, fleeing family troops such as FTL units and instant communication.

“When I’m reading science fiction, one of the things I can really get into is things that have a lot of science basis,” Mixon says in episode 517 of the Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “As I write, I try to really delve into this challenge of ‘How can I make this believable, but still really blow the reader’s mind?’

Against he paints a vivid image of a space colony full of asteroid miners, gene hackers and Martian mobsters. An interesting detail is “the circuit,” a rite of passage in which the characters make a 13-year journey around the asteroid belt. “Especially because people live longer [in the future]they feel like they can afford to do it, “says Mixon.” It’s like people climbing Everest, only I think there’s a little more of a feeling that you’re not really a stroider unless you can say. that you did. “

One of the main characters in the book is Jane Navio, Focea’s 25th resource management commissioner. As an inspiration, Mixon took advantage of his own experience as a corporate officer at an investment bank riddled with scandals. “I think Jane’s remorse for her past and having to deal with all the political machinations and how to get things done when people could have very different agendas than yours, that influenced a lot. Against,” she says.

She hopes the book will help encourage human settlements elsewhere in the solar system. “I think narrators are a very important part of getting the future we want to see,” he says. “You have to be able to imagine it before you can do it, so I wanted to write stories about it.”

Listen to the full interview with Laura J. Mixon in episode 517 of Geek Guide to the Galaxy (on top). And look at some of the highlights of the discussion below.

Laura J. Mixon on her first novel Astropilots:

Melinda Snodgrass was a friend of Ellen Datlow, who was the purchasing editor of this new YA series they were releasing. They were looking for proposals and all of a sudden I just had this flash of what I knew I wanted to write. I sat down and wrote the first three chapters and an outline in a very short period of time, while I was still sick with the flu, during the Thanksgiving weekend, and then sent it out. And then, in a week and a half or two, Ellen got in touch with me and told me she wanted to buy it. I was blown away. I never thought it would be that easy.

Laura J. Mixon in her novel Proxies:

I was learning to write this while I was going. It is a story with multiple points of view. The first character you meet has amnesia, and it turns out that this person is actually one of three personalities occupying the same body. That person is a young man who has been trained to basically divide his consciousness, he has basically done it [dissociative identity disorder]But he was induced to be able to control different bodies at the same time. One of them is a woman, and she is one of the main characters in the book. It’s a hard thing to write, and probably read, but I have a lot of fondness for this book.

Laura J. Mixon on asteroids:

The first scene I wrote [in Up Against It] it was actually from Jane’s perspective, as she swayed in the vineyards. They have these bonds, which is a way to travel between different asteroids. There are three that climb into the same orbit and use corrective ion jets to keep them aligned, but the rest, there’s what I call “tree paths,” which are these rigid wires coming out of the cables between these. three asteroids, because the asteroids are far apart. Whenever you see in the movies where they have all these asteroids grouped together, that’s not how it really looks.

Laura J. Mixon on research:

One of my clients was a mining company, BHP Billiton, and David Porterfield was my main contact. So many of the details of mining, I was very happy that I interviewed him and got information about the types of challenges that miners face and speculate, “What would it be like in a microgravity environment?” I told him I wanted Geoff and his friends to have something plausible but funky and weird to fight the bad guys when they run into Geoff’s little claim, and he told me about the potato guns. He said, “I actually have one and we can go out and shoot.” It was very fun.


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