Chapter one: In the summer of 2013 I was in the beer garden at Felber's Tavern, a little redneck bar in the ghetto, talking with Dewey Green and a couple of other guys about Nobots, which he'd just read. A half dozen crack whores walked down the street, and Dewey commented “you ought to write a book about whores in space.”
I didn't recall ever reading a science fiction story about whores in space before. It took a couple of months to figure out a plot where whores in space would make sense, and it seemed a challenge to write.
Dewey wanted me to name a character after him, so the CEO is named Dewey Green. Charles Osbourne is named after Dewey's dad Charles and his grandfather Osbourne.
Chapter two: Since I have no editors or proofreaders, editing is the hardest part of writing. I have to fret over stuff like “is it who or whom”, or other grammatical blunders. I thought that since most of this was going to be from the first person perspective of someone who would be a roofer or a bricklayer today, I thought it would be a piece of cake.
I was wrong, I discovered that bad grammar and a limited vocabulary are hard to do! Sometimes I'd sit at the keyboard for half an hour trying in vain to find a short synonym for a multisyllable word that Knolls would never use.
Chapter five: If it had been a first class flight, Knolls would have ridden his houseboat to the ship while the rich passengers rode a space plane.
Chapter eight: Before 1949, cataracts usually meant blindness, although there were surgical techniques to alleviate the condition. In 1949 the Intraocular lens was developed in England, which cured not only the cataract, but near-sightedness and astigmatism as well. However, the patient still needed reading glasses.
In 2003 a new type of IOL was developed that can restore better than 20/20 vision at all distances in many patients. I had one inserted in 2006, and at age 62 need no corrective lenses at all after a lifetime of being extremely nearsighted, as well as being farsighted after middle age.
In the next few hundred years techniques and equipment will surely advance greatly. Most likely, folks with IOLs will probably have better vision than Destiny had after her surgery.
Chapter nine: In the US in the nineteen twenties, only the very rich could afford chicken. Anyone who had chickens needed them for the eggs, and would only sell them for a very high price.
In the campaign for the 1928 US Presidential election, Herbert Hoover's campain slogan was “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage”, meaning that everyone would be prosperous during his presidency.
The stock market crashed on October 24, 1929, plunging the country into what is called “The Great Depression”.
Chapter Thirteen: I researched drug-addicted prostitutes by haunting the sleaziest bars in town (one has been closed by the health department) and talking to them. The addicts in the book are based on what I learned in sleazy bars.
Chapter fifteen: What Knolls, who doesn't know how the thrusters work, doesn't understand is that they don't just run on electricity, they expel ions at a high velocity. The ionized material is the actual fuel, and takes up most of the five story tall motors. He guesses correctly that it does indeed have something to do with maintenance, since the fuel is part of the motor and is built in.
Chapter seventeen: The maid must have broken down hours earlier than it had caught fire, since they clean at noon.
It is mentioned that the clocks reset when they get to Mars; this is because of the time dilation caused by the extreme speeds you would reach at .3 to .7 gravities thrust. Space captains and frequent travelers would live a very long time, since the faster you go, the slower time goes (depending on the perspective of the observer, whether the traveler or someone stationary).
Chapter eighteen: An EMP is an electromagnetic pulse, which will break anything that's transistorized.
Chapter nineteen: The title is in Thai, and translates to “catfight”.
I spent a year in Thailand while stationed there in the USAF. They were the friendliest people I ever met. I became friends with quite a few, where I heard that prostitutes are honored in Thailand, although I don't know if that's actually true.
When Thai women argue, they do indeed sound like cats fighting. Interestingly, they have a legend that once people were happy and lived in harmony, but then the evil felines taught us to talk and we've been arguing and fighting ever since.
“Meow” really is Thai for “I want.” “Money” is just as coincidentally Thai for “come here.”
John mentions that he can't tell the difference between the two Leks' names, and that went both ways. The Thai words for “you” and “me” both sound like “coon” to me. A black friend once tried to teach me the difference and we wound up laughing so hard we gave up. There are sounds in their language that we simply don't have, like starting a word with “ng”. There are sounds in our language theirs doesn't have as well, such as the “st” combination or the letter V. I only met one Thai who could pronounce my first name, Steve. It came out as “Teeb”.
The town John thought was “Bong Chong” was named (and of course this is phonetic) Bahnchang.. It sat between the Thai naval base (that we Americans were renting part of to launch B-52s from to bomb Vietnam) in the country's south, and another town named Sadaheep. I rented a bungalow in Bahnchang.
Chapter twenty: John didn't have to worry about losing the computers. As an astrophysicist, Destiny knew calculus and could have done the calculations necessary for getting them to Mars.
Chapter twenty five: When John had the expensive BLT, the restaurant obviously swindled him, since turkey bacon doesn’t, in fact, taste like pork bacon.
Language will change far more in the next few hundred years than the spelling of “phone”. John wonders why people “hang up” their “fones”, but it's doubtless that the only things getting hung up by then are clothing.