For over 20 years, the Atomic Rocket website has been providing science fiction authors with the tools needed to write hard science fiction that follows physics and engineering principles in an internally consistent way. Webmaster Nyrath (also known as Winchell Chung) recently read the Peacekeepers of Sol series and awarded Glynn Stewart with the Atomic Rocket Seal of Approval for scientific accuracy, internal consistency and believability.
Having followed the website (and its pocketbook of rocket equations) since its early days, Glynn was thrilled to be included among works like Andy Weir’s The Martian and James S. A. Corey’s Expanse Series. When Glynn’s not deliberately breaking the laws of physics in The Duchy of Terra series, he tends to stick to hard science fiction principles, especially in series like Peacekeepers of Sol and Starship’s Mage, where he often makes calculations in a spreadsheet that no one will ever see.
Here’s what Nyrath had to say:
“Peacekeepers of Sol is the latest science fiction series by master story-teller Glynn Stewart, with Raven’s Peace the first novel in the series. Rob Davidoff brought Mr. Stewart to my attention, and it didn’t take much reading to find that here was an expert craftsman.
His scientific accuracy is very good, he won the heat radiator award on about page 94 of the very first book I read.
But where he stands head and shoulders above the rest is in his worldbuilding. Specifically how he has carefully thought out the unintended consequences. That’s rare among writers. In many cases it appears that Mr. Stewart specifically created the situation generating the consequences so that they could be explored by the novel.
The backgrounds of his series are composed of elements finely meshed like the tiny gears of a Swiss watch, ticking away precisely.”
Peacekeepers of Sol also gets called out for its exemplary uses of a monopoly over interstellar communication, synthetic gravity shielding on warships, and the sad overarching truth of the setting: that its major background event is a “Kill the Queen” style genocide of an alien race. Peacekeepers doesn’t shy away from that fact, nor from some of its more brutal worldbuilding. Which, as Nyrath points out, involves said alien race keeping its subjugates dependent by completely destroying the ability of factory worlds to feed themselves. Incidentally, that sets up ideal conditions for rebellion—and hope for a brighter future.
As for Starship’s Mage as a hard science fiction series? Well, “when you get right down to it faster-than-light starships are fantasy anyway, regardless of whether they use warp drive, stargates, or wizards casting magic spells. What I demand is internal self-consistency. Which the Starship’s Mage series has in spades.”
Read the full breakdown of the seal of approval for Glynn Stewart’s works here. And if you’re interested in learning more about writing hard science fiction, check out the great resources on the Atomic Rocket site on the Getting Started page.