Space Elevators in Science Fiction

Explore the different ways space elevators are employed in my book vs the game Satisfactory. Pics from Yosemite and June Lake. Lost Colonies release update. Enigma book trailer update. Books featuring atonement arcs.

Looking up at 3 enormous mechanical arms gripping catches attached to a cable running into space
The space elevator in Satisfactory

We just got back from a whirlwind trip to LA to visit a friend and his family, followed by 5 days in June Lake with my brother. The weather couldn't have been better in both places. I helped my friend Nerses Ohanyan host a space tech conference attended by some big names in the field, which was incredibly interesting. June Lake was just beginning to thaw and saw the warmest weather of the season yet. A few pics of the beautiful scenery below.

The Enigma cover is finished! Shout-out to all the wonderful people who provided feedback during the design process. If you missed the reveal email, you can find the cover in all its glory along with a few interesting tidbits about its creation here:

Enigma Cover Reveal
I’m happy to share José del Nido’s latest masterpiece in the sparkly new cover for Enigma! José captured the protagonist Britta Silverstar perfectly: her slight figure, the ’ware on her left arm, her jeweled hair pin, and her bedraggled business outfit after a harrowing trek through the wilderness. As the

The book trailer is almost finished. Being in the same place as my brother helped us nail down the final few tweaks. It's looking ✨ spectacular ✨. I can't wait to share it with you!

Advanced reader copies of Project Xerxes are in the ARC Team's hands. I'm putting the final polish on Enigma right now and hope to have it ready for the team this week. If you're on the team, look for another email soon. (And if you'd like to join the team, you can do so here.) Both books are on-track for simultaneous release in May.

This month's feature comes from the game Satisfactory, which includes a fully functional space elevator. I became enthralled because Enigma also features a space elevator. Because no one has actually built one yet (the technology is still a ways off), it was difficult for me to imagine, so I was thrilled to find a life-scale concept in the game. More on this with pictures and video links below.

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Space Elevators

Satisfactory vs Enigma

Satisfactory is a futuristic factory management game (i.e. conveyor hell) built in Unreal Engine 5 that is, as of this writing, still in early access. The main objective is to send parts up a space elevator to your parent company who, in their infinite benevolence, have dropped you on a planet with nothing but your HUB (Habitat and Utility Base) and the clothes on your back.

When I eventually managed to construct the space elevator, I was shocked at its size and the detail the developers put into it. I spent hours running around, examining it from every angle, and gasping when I reached a milestone that triggered its massive slingshot package delivery up the cable to orbit.

Why so enthralled? When I began writing Enigma 5 years ago—long before installing Satisfactory—I needed a viable way for Galileo to make return trips between their space station and a planet where technology fizzles the moment it touches the atmosphere. The landing part would be easy; put enough parachutes on a metal capsule and it would be fine, even when dropped from space. But returning? Any planet-based method would require some sort of technology. That meant the mechanism would need to be off-planet, outside of the source of the interference.

Fortunately, I read a lot of science articles and science fiction. I recalled the space elevator concept, where a large body (such as an asteroid) is put into wide Earth orbit and tethered to the planet via a very light and incredibly strong cable. Well, the Galileans in my story possess gravity technology that could secure the cable from a much lower orbit. Lower a massive weight to the surface, attach the other end of the cable to a space station in geosynchronous orbit, then put a pulley on either side and you have tech-free ride back into space! Things don't go quite so smoothly in the story, as you might have guessed, but that's the concept.

Satisfactory takes a different approach. The anchor is built first, consisting of three massive arms that hook onto a cable lowered from orbit (watch a video of this entire sequence. Amazing!).

Top of the space elevator cable from a distance
Space anchor from a distance dwarfing large factory buildings, mountains and blue sky, massive cable running up
Space elevator from a distance

The above screenshots hopefully convey the massive scale of this thing; those "little chimney buildings" at the bottom of the second picture are 20-story coal power generators, and the spaghetti messes to the left and right of it are gigantic factory complexes. For me, the elevator was the most awe-inspiring surprise in the game, and ludicrously easy to deploy. "Need a space elevator? No prob! I got one right here in my pocket." (No innuendo intended 😁)

The mechanics of launching packages into space is a bit of a mystery. The package is first loaded onto the cable. The arms pull back as if to slingshot it into the heavens, and then... something happens. An energy pulse shoots up the cable into a catch, somehow rocketing the package into orbit. * shrug * See it for yourself. You might have a different take, but I found it puzzling.

Anyhow, for those who eventually read Enigma, I hope these images and video links help visualize the scale of what the Galileans built. The good news is that you won't have long to wait! Enigma is slated for release next month.

Free Books, Sales, and Events

Currently Reading


Yup, still working on it. Between playing Satisfactory, editing Project Xerxes and Enigma, and our busy road trip, my reading time has plummeted. Happy to say the story is going in directions I feared it wouldn't and continues to draw me in. More next month!

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