Category Archives: Taj's Universe

Modeling an Armadillo

How many people out there have an interest in doing 3D modeling of an Armadillo-class ship? Specifically, if I posted the Python script that could be used in FreeCad to create models of the ship, how many people out there would be interested in playing with it to make graphics, videos, add details, create interior images (either for posting here or possible inclusion in future editions), game mods etc?

The way the current graphics (cover-art aside) were made was with this method.


One of the things that I keep realizing is that there are themes running though TSCB that I put in almost subconsciously, themes that I keep seeing popping up in various other places.

One theme is the risk/reward of technology. I came across one of Vox’s reprints of an article he wrote about the Unabomber’s Manifesto. The Unabomber was afraid of technology, or more specifically that it be used by government to enslave people, and by companies and people to take from them their ability to support themselves, to make them dependent on goods and services provided by others. He wanted to have us all return to something like an Amish tech level or lower, on the theory that when you are in tune with nature you can’t be tech-traped (or something along those lines). That has problems to say the least.

In TSCB, the Armadillo warships and their AIs scared the government so bad that they put the kibosh on it, and reverted to an effectively lower and inferior level of military technology. Taj saw that for humans to be the most useful, they had to know how things work. She is constantly teaching everyone on board everything she can (a bit more on this in the sequel). From the fundamentals of language and math and story-telling with Quinn (note she doesn’t just tell him stories, but has him tell them back to check for understanding and cement the knowledge), to how to operate sensors and coms and understand how they work to anyone that spends time on the bridge. She requires the use of checklists so that the crew know the function and condition of the ship’s systems.

In the classroom I encounter a specific dichotomy regularly. Kids think they don’t need to learn and know things because they can “just Google it.” but they struggle to find good web resources and evaluate what they do find because they know so little. Often they lack sufficient fluency with math fundamentals to easily see more advanced concepts. They have a difficult time differentiating wikipedia and The Onion from peer-review papers (if they can find them). Technology can be a tool, or a crutch. Taj is, in a way, the ultimate tool, but she refuses to be used as a crutch because she has learned by hard experience that by definition crutches are for the crippled, and a team where everyone is as strong as they can be will be the most effective.

Made a deal

Just signed and mailed off a contract with a publisher, so I don’t have to worry about upfront editing and cover art costs and details in any future books. I’m also working on altering TSCB to conventional prose novel format, to be released when done. I de-published from Amazon so they could upload it and take it from here.

I’ll add more details when it’s available again and the publisher makes an official announcement.

It’s a strange world I live in. Very strange, but oddly nice.

UPDATE: Looks like the new product link is . Comments haven’t followed it over just yet, and the cover is a bit different. The conventional prose format cover will be totally different.

UPDATE II: Castalia House. Comments have migrated over. Vox talks about it here.

How it started

Most of us have have that “what would make a great movie scene” moments, where we had an idea about how something could or should happen on the big screen. Sometimes we even see them in movies. The problem is that they need to be strung together in a way that is coherent, and there is a reason for the actions you see to be, well, reasonable. There are FAR to many movies that are little more than an excuse for special effects and random events, with plot holes you could park a small mountain in. Continue reading How it started