But first, downcoming. On Thursday, I had a flight before dawn, during the hours when the Geminid meteor shower was in full force. From the ground, an observer who gets away from the lights of urban areas can hope to see about a meteor a minute.
Sean and I were flying north from Kenora to Kingfisher Lake, so we were a long way from city lights. Better still, we were at Flight Level 210, about 21,000 feet above sea level, which put us above most of the atmosphere. You may be thinking, “Tim means above most of the haze and pollution,” but air density up there is less than half of what it is at sea level, so we really were above more than half of the atmosphere by weight.
We had very clear viewing conditions, and we saw a shooting star as soon as we leveled off and darkened our cockpit. Given our restricted field of view – pressurized airplanes don’t have picture windows – we hoped to see about twenty meteors during our forty minutes of level flight. We counted 59. That’s one every forty seconds. It was an immensely satisfying flight.
And now back to earth. The title of this post refers to some public appearances I’ll be making in December and January.
On Tuesday, December 19th, I’ll be popping in to the Q-104 radio studio to chat with Ken O’Neill. The interview will take place at around 9:00am, and will likely go to air soon after.
One thing I’ll be mentioning is that Avians is now being carried by Novel Ideas in Dryden.
Please support your local independent bookstore. They support authors like me.
On Friday, December 22nd, I’ll be at Elizabeth Campbell Books on Main Street in Kenora (next door to the Plaza restaurant, if you weren’t sure.) I’ll be chatting about Avians and signing copies of for an hour or two starting at 7:00pm. You don’t have to wait until this late date to buy someone my book for Christmas, of course; I’m delighted to sign and personalize copies regardless of when they were purchased. Since the August release, Elizabeth Campbell Books has ordered several cases of my books. My publisher must have been impressed, she featured Elizabeth’s store on the Five Rivers Publishing blog back in October.
On January 25th, I’ll be in Winnipeg to speak at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada at 7:00pm. The meeting of the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society is open to the public and free to attend, and there will be coffee and doughnuts on hand.
I’ll present a version of my Alternative Aviation slideshow and talk: I run through an entire glossary of unusual kinds of flying machine, from Autogyros to Zeppelins. If you didn’t know there’s been a flight by a human-powered helicopter, or that nuclear powered airplanes were once a thing, you might find something entertaining in my presentation.
I’ll also talk about some of the aircraft from my science fiction: the bamboo gliders and gigantic solar-powered airships of Avians, and the gunpowder propelled paragliders from my alternative history short story “The Emperor’s Dragon.”
I plan to introduce The Lake of the Woods Ice Patrol for some of those Winnipeggers who may not know about it, and yes, I’ll have copies of Avians on hand.
I’m looking forward to a fun winter.