So returning to the actual writing here's some musings on the second story in Different Skies; 'Testament'.
The story is set around a manned mission to Mars and the backdrop is a little more ambiguous than 'Changing Times' in that it might be an alternate universe or simply a point in the future of our own. Now as well as enjoying a good space opera novel I'm also keenly interested in real word spaceflight and space exploration. Whenever the topic comers round to Mars I am however somewhat dubious as to the practicality of a mission when the mission profiles currently being discussed all envision a two year plus round trip.
Now given that some important part breaks on the ISS with alarming frequency I was far from convinced this was a credible plan and somewhere in all of this an idea came to mind that was more 'fiction' than 'science'; about what would really be the worst case scenario. Imagine if you will that a Mars mission has been launched and the crew is fine, the ship is working well and the Mars landing is going to work perfectly. Their only problem is that Earth is gone; humanity has been erased by a cataclysm bar the six people aboard the Martian expedition.
The story is essentially about the choices they face as to how best to use their reprieve; its downbeat but hopefully not gloomy.