Rummanah Aasi
  I'm very excited to be part of the Zenn Scarlett blog tour. Today I have a guest post from Christian Schoon, the book's author. Before we get to the guest post, here's the book cover and description for Zenn Scarlett:

When you're studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school... is a different kind of animal. 

  Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she's learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she's feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn't enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she's started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can't deny what she's feeling.

  Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what's happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she's actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients... or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year...

Guest post:  Recent NASA news indicates that it is possible for life to survive on Mars. If you were offer a chance to leave Earth and settle in Mars, would you take it? If so, how would you live your life?

   Yes, the analysis of drilled surface-rock samples taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars seem to show that in the distant past there was sufficient water and the required mineral/chemical resources to potentially support life. Pretty awesome news. Generally this is taken to mean microbial life, but there’s certainly room for informed speculation that higher forms of life might have existed on Mars.
 Of course, the Curiosity rover is giving us data about conditions on Mars millions of years ago, not Mars today. Back then the planet most likely had a much thicker, more protective atmosphere, warmer temps and liquid water on the surface. But, humans heading off for a vacation in the Valles Marinaris now would either be spending all their time inside their pressurized, heated, air-filled habitats, or putting on fairly bulky pressure suits before stepping through the airlock and rambling around outdoors.
 Would I go to Mars and settle there if it meant living in a dome, probably small, probably crowded, probably a one-way trip? Naaaah. With our current technologies and habitat options, I don’t think living on Mars would be enjoyable. Now, if you’re talking ginormous, Los-Angeles-basin-sized domes with open air forests and farm fields and room for animals (and, important: room for my lovely wife and all my OWN current animals…) I’d give living on the Red Planet some very serious thought. But that’s far in our future.
  This line of thought usually leads someone to mention terraforming of planets. But again, we Earthers won't be tweaking any planets in this way for, ohhh, the next few thousand years. And, to my way of thinking, investing the vast resources needed to make an entire planet human-friendly is a waste. We don’t need the convert the entire surface area of a world like Mars in order to live there productively.
  In my SF novel Zenn Scarlett, I propose a middle path. Only selected canyon systems on Mars are made suitable for habitation. This is achieved by my patented Barymetric Ionic Membrane Generators. Bary-gen devices are anchored at strategic positions along the upper reaches of canyon walls in canyon systems running along the Martian equator where sunlight is maximal. When activated, the Bary-Gens radiate a translucent layer of energetically ionized molecules from rim to rim of the canyon. To seal the area underneath the shielding ionic membrane, the walls and floor of the canyon are hermetically sealed with a hyper-polymer emulsion that bonds soil particles together into a gas-tight but liquid permeable barrier. Sunlight warms the canyon floor and the resulting radiant heat is trapped beneath the ion barrier, melting permafrost beneath the canyon floor. This water sublimates into vapor, this evaporation then works to create a natural water/rain cycle within the protected canyon. Next, suitable cover plants are sown on the canyon floor. Watered by the on-going permafrost/rain cycle, the plants grow and produce oxygen; supplemental nitrogen gas is added, filling the sealed canyon systems with breathable air. And bob’s your uncle.
 OK… so there might be a few holes in my grand mini-terraforming scheme, but it works well enough for Zenn and the other colonists to survive quite nicely on my future Mars. Come and visit these comfy Martian canyons for yourself! 

Thank you for your enlightening post, Christian! Zenn Scarlett debuts in the UK on May 2nd. It’s out in the US and Canada on May 7th. If you would like to learn more about Christian, you can find him at Goodreads, his blog, on Twitter, and at his publisher's website
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I agree, if there were massive city-sized domes with lots of plant life and some serious crowd control, I'd give Mars a whirl I think:) For now though, my dogs and I are pretty good to go here on Earth, they've got some things worked out with the local squirrel population - I wouldn't want to disrupt that ;-)

    Christian has obviously given terraforming a great deal of thought, and holes or not, I'm impressed!

  2. I'm on this blog tour as well. I'm still reading this but I think the world Christian built is so believable! I thought maybe it was something that we already had the technology for and were doing somewhere.

    I don't think I'll ever want to live on Mars. Or be an exovet. Or work with Hamish, no matter how nice he is!


  3. Ha, my colleague and I were arguing about how habitable Mars would be in about twenty years because according to some article in the Toronto Star, some program is hoping to send humans to live comfortably in Mars in the future. I was like no way. Although it would be cool to say you visited Mars ... Of course you'd have to stay there for a couple years before being able to come back.

    Lol, Christian lost me at the terraforming part.

  4. No way could I live in a dome! What if the dome cracked? Yikes! Very interesting stuff to ponder. I have been seeing this eye catching cover around and wondering about this book! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I am excited about reading this (I've only just started), because I keep hearing amazing things,and the worldbuilding sounds VERY intriguing. But like Heidi, I could never survive in a dome. Not. Ever.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I'm ridiculously excited about this book! I think being an exovet would be just about the coolest career path ever. Can't wait to start my ARC of this! And I really like Christian's plan for mini-terraforming. Way ahead of its time. :-)

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