I hate to be a pedantic bore (no, actually I love it) but it is theoretically possible to set up life based on carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but where liquid methane substitutes for water.
M in the comments
M’s survival instincts are misfiring.
Let’s be pedantic. We haven’t told you anything except that there is methane and electrified sand, and the carbon-based life is not welcome. M has no idea if there is silicon based life thriving on this planet or if a planet-wide energy based sapient bioweb encircles it, projecting its consciousness into space, or what have you, because we haven’t told you anything about it. Yet M took the time to correct us and he relished it. He really loves being a pedant.
I was going to let all those comments quietly disappear, but this one got me, because I can’t let this misunderstanding of chemistry go. I am going to assume that M is basing that weirdo statement above on Titan of our lovely solar system, which has methane and nitrogen atmosphere and liquid methane seas.
For life as we know it to exist even in its most primitive form, there must be a membrane, a boundary that defines the inner space of the organism and separates it from the environment. Here it is, courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica.
The cell membrane has two functions: to protect things inside and to allow nutrients to enter and waste products to exit. Our membranes are made mostly of phospholipids and sterols (mostly cholesterol.)
Do you see that O in the formula? That’s oxygen. The P stand for phosphorus, also a very helpful element. The lipid molecules are polarized, which is what makes them “stick” together.
What does that mean? Imagine a sewing pin.
This is our phospholipid molecule. We’ve discussed before that water is sticky because its molecule is polarized. The head of the our “pin” is also sticky. It’s polar and likes water. The long end (there are 2 of them per each head) is hydrophobic and doesn’t like water.
If you drop oil into water, it will quickly form a round drop. These guys function the same way. You drop them in water and they right away will arrange themselves into a sphere with the heads pointing toward water and tails pointing inside our little ball. And because we still have water inside the ball, they make a second layer that’s a mirror of the first one. This forms a barrier that’s surprisingly resilient and flexible.
M, for the record, the planet is not Titan, but if it were Titan with its liquid methane seas, we would still need this lipid membrane. However, there is a big problem with that.
Phosphorus and oxygen, found in Earth cell membranes, don’t exist in Titan’s frigid methane oceans, so any cell-like membranes would have to be based on nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon, all of which are abundant on Titan.NASA
NASA stipulated that life on Titan, if it were to exist, is methane-based and oxygen-free. It would be based on nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon, because there is no oxygen or phosphorus in Titan’s methane seas. There might be water under the liquid methane, but that’s a whole different story.
So, no, you can’t “set up life based on carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, but where liquid methane substitutes for water.” Because there is no phosphorus or oxygen, you can’t have a lipid membrane.
But what if there is magic oxygen that we miraculously pulled out of our butt and stuck into other elements available on Titan?
Okay, if you have carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and you wanted to make a lipid molecule, you could make a fatty acid. It’s nonpolar, so it won’t work. You could make cholesterol, which is again largely nonpolar. (No, we are not going to be discussing hydroxyl groups. We are keeping it simple.) You need phosphorus-oxygen combo for that polarity.
Even if you somehow – and I don’t know how – made a magically polar lipid molecule out of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, it still wouldn’t work. Why? Because methane liquefies at -260°F. The surface of Titan is a brisk -292 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the phospholipid membranes, which are so strong and elastic in water, do not perform as well in liquid methane. The nonpolar tails of phospholipids would seem to be compatible with nonpolar liquid methane, and the polar heads with each other; does this suggest that an inverse membrane to those formed in water could exist in methane? Unfortunately not; this phospholipid hypothesis neglects the fact that the tails of phospholipids are long-chain hydrocarbons, which will be rigid at cryogenic temperatures. Furthermore, the phospholipid head component atoms, oxygen and phosphorus, are not available in any form in the methane seas of Titan and presumably not in any similar liquid methane environment. Inverted-phase liposomes are therefore not a viable option. The idea of using polarity to prevent dissolution, however, is valid if any suitable materials exist.Membrane alternatives in worlds without oxygen: Creation of an azotosome
Translation: it is too cold. The membrane has to be flexible and at this temperature our poor lipids float there, stiff as a nail, and refuse to stick together. So our trio of C, H, and O is right out.
We have to search for alternatives to lipids. You can theoretically set up a life-enabling membrane based on vinyl cyanide, which looks like this.
It is theorized that vinyl cyanide could form a spherical membrane in a methane sea. We don’t know if it happens. We only know that it could happen.
Now then, we posted a teaser for Innkeeper, and ModR had to trash 10 comments. We haven’t even started. There is literally no fiction up. I am sure that M was excited to share his understanding of methane-based life, but by comment #10, I am done.
Our blog policy is that any person who offers corrections without listing their credentials will have said corrections removed without explanation. If you are correcting something we wrote about Houston, you should live there. If you are correcting something a Mancunian says, you better be one. If you are not an expert, please cite your references. Otherwise, you are spreading misinformation, which we have to refute or which will create a long comment thread and lead to fights. If you see something in error of fact (not a typo) in the narrative, please email us using the contact form.
Most of BDH really enjoyed the teaser, so this bottom part is addressed to those who, like M, relish being pedantic and decided to nitpick 3 sentences (WTF) in the previous post. You have to decide if you are going to be “helpful” or if you want to read Innkeeper in a serial form. No person alive can write in a toxic atmosphere – and it’s not methane this time – that so many “helpful corrections” create. Especially since half of the time, as M’s comment above demonstrates, they are in error.
Gordon has not seen this post yet, because his fuse is short when it comes to Innkeeper corrections. He is not a fan of serialization, because some people tend to get obsessive and abusive. I hope that by the end of August we will all be on the same page regarding Innkeeper’s availability.
Please do not trash each other in the comments. I have an ER scene to write in Ruby Fever because important people are very hurt, and I have told Mod R to exercise extreme prejudice. 😀
Moderator R says
Kat M. says
Moderator R is going to start featuring in fanfic soon. Mark my words.
Very true. Complete badass. Same with House Andrews. We stan. I am extremely excited for any potential future Innkeeper content and in the meantime will continue to buy whatever you put out with great joy! (I’m still under 18 and don’t have a job yet, so I’ve been doing cleaning chores at home to finance buying IA books, among others. Most recently it was the window screens. I tried to reread Innkeeper while doing it; didn’t work very well. I read it after as a reward.)
trailing wife says
When you have more earnings, you can go back and get the audiobook versions, which are perfect for reading while doing physical labour. Also while driving, because for some reason it’s considered unwise to look at words alternating with making sure you aren’t driving into the rear end if the car that stopped while you were looking at the words. 😉
With such a work ethic, Claire, you will do well wherever life take you, disproving all the silly things people say about your generation — the same silly things older generations have been saying about those just entering adulthood since at least the time of Socrates, if not earlier. 😉
Laura Martinez says
Omg, I love how kickass at-work-you looks!
Also, please stop the nitpicking and writing snide comments, especially if you want more Innkeeper or any other works by IA. Imagine instead of writing this explanation about methane, oxygens and phosphorus in a fictional planet, Ilona could write more awesome scenes in Ruby Fever, or the new secret project, or entertaining grocery lists.
Also as kickass Mod R’s at work outfit looks, she probably has better things to do too.
Patricia Schlorke says
I agree. This is not a scientific forum. If it was M would be slammed down hard by those chemists and biologists who work with membranes and other cell components every day (and have the education to back them up).
Karen EVERETT says
Why do some readers have to poke at authors. Just enjoy the ride they provide with their imaginations.
Aurora Ebonfire says
Linzi Day says
Yep – EXACTLY what Harriet said – idiots who try to get between House Andrews and our future books should feature in some really unpleasant future scene just so the BDH can point and laugh. Thanks for saving me time Harriet. + about a billion – you rock!
Kudos to Mod R for the fine job. I’m keeping it short so I don’t have to face that sword!
Silvia Maifrede says
Just love it!! I don’t which one I like better: Mod R at work portrait or his Dwight Schrute reply.
ModR looks badass.
“Moderators are paid in praise and taxed in grief. The pay is too low and the taxes too high!” – ( me after years as a forum moderator )
Awesome job Moderator R!!
Keep it up…
… but remember to take breaks ( my go to is hot chocolate )
Moderator R says
I’m never far away from chocolate,even when working my dream job 🥰
Robin Šebelová says
I read somewhere (I think here: whateleyacademy.net) that “Duct Tape is like the Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”
Well, I think that can be also applied to mood and chocolate.
LOVE MOD R!!!!! In all his/her/their forms…. And a double ‘poop’ to any and all who force Ilona, Gordon and Mod R. to take time from their very busy lives to have to respond to comments that are unnecessary and unhelpful.
Diana N Rivis says
Cris Reads says
They make that portrait of your character AND your gravatar has a woman sitting on a mushroom while reading. Awesomeness achieved ❣️
I love your work portrait Mod R! Now we can imagine you casual (your person on a mushroom) and at work (warrior in black)! 😊
I hope I never do anything to incur the wrath of your warrior self! 😇☺
LOL, and more chemistry/biology than I can handle right now. But I did want to say that those sewing pins are really creepy. They look like they all have tiny happy faces on them.
Wow, I LOVED the teaser and can’t wait for more news or details or snippets :)\
I’m afraid my attention span wasn’t up to reading your scientific screed 🙂 🙂 🙂
and…… I cannot believe I was no. 2 in the comments !!!!!!
Sheryl Winters says
The most important thing I got out of your blog today (for me) was leave you alone so you can write. Consider me obediently waiting. Take all the time you need. Ignore all the naysayers and let your hearts speak on the storylines you are writing.
Moderator R says
The blog is a meant as a place of interaction 🙂 .
The BDH is always a riot and pretty much any stroll through the comments of a random post is a delight because we come together and have fun.
The problems only arise when we’re willing to waste the time, energy and creative resources of the author because we cannot let fiction be fiction. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: healthy, rested Authors give us happy worlds!
Bravo! Well said Mod R !!
The one bad apple syndrome hurts us all.
I really felt bad for Ilona being upset enough to respond in such volume but appreciated learning so much.
I’d like to think 99.9% of us provide positive energy to our beloved HA and hope it will carry them thru the rest.
“let fiction be fiction”
Great way to put it! All nitpickers should get an email with this quote when their comment gets removed
Amen! What is it about “fiction” that some people just don’t get? Fiction = made up, so suspend “reality ” and stop annoying the author of these very enjoyable series!
Years ago when I worked in a bookstore I got very depressed by the number of customers who in all seriousness said to me a variation on fiction – that is what is true, right?
Had a hard time not thumping my head against a wall on those days.
“Let fiction be fiction” is very true, but House Andrews’ fiction is the most well-researched fiction I’ve ever read. I’m so impressed with the scientific, historical and linguistic research that goes into these books. The last slap-down I remember for pedantry was about the Hebrew root word Ilona chose for the priests of Moloc- Komer/Komrim. Awesome!
I second this!
I learned a lot from this educational blog post that I would never have thought to ask! Thank you!
I’m sorry for the increased toxicity and hope your Friday is great!
I read it and thought, damn, I either forgot a lot of science from high school or this is taught in college and I (wisely) stopped taking science classes before I got to this topic.
+1 I took advanced science in high school and could vaguely follow chemistry. I was reading that thinking “I wonder if I learned any of this before?” So internet though, now.
Frances Leask says
What i don’t get is it’s a work of fiction!!!!!
I love you (weeps tears of joy at gorgeous scientific slapdown). My day has been made!
That scientific slap down deserves a lot of love!
Seriously! If they gave awards for scientific slap downs this would be the winner by a mile. 😎✨
Cris Reads says
Love & praise ❣️
Oh Ilona, I can only be grateful you put so much into spelling out to us about this type of life. Thank you, I’m a few weeks shy of 70, and I could follow your explanation. It makes me very happy to comprehend. Good job.
Deborah Majo says
Ohhh chemistry! I’m getting all tingly!!! If I could have found a big number of jobs for someone with a chemistry degree back in ‘82, that would have been my major! As opposed to the nursing degree I did get… but I took every chemistry course I could 🥰
What she said!
Copied from my Facebook post.
I never understood nitpickers in fantasy or sci-fi. Why cant we just enjoy the story. I will honestly say, I read none of that science stuff. If in a fantasy book you tell me a + b = 25. Then 25 it is! Thats how the writer built their world and thats what I’m working with.
I hope it doesn’t stop you guys from working on it later on this year.
Mod R good luck!
Melissa Grant says
Agree! It’s FICTION and fantasy to boot.
I read to escape not to analyze every thing.
Courtney M says
Yup, as long as the author doesn’t break their own rules then I’ll happily hang out and enjoy. I’ll even accept a certain amount of hand waving.* Don’t start telling us that a + b = 50, but if you want say that a + b = 50 when the protagonist does it because they have a Super Special Secret Power that hasn’t yet been on page then fiiiiine (I mean, if that happens too often in different ways that just happen to be convenient for the plot I’ll still get annoyed but not because it’s “impossible”).
*In SciFi, for example, which usually purports to be in the future aka obeying the laws of physics in this universe, hand waving is necessary for a certain amount of Sufficiently Advanced Technology (see: warp speed, wormhole travel, spaceship gravity, etc.).
Wow, my brain just stopped as I tried to follow the science. I loved the teaser and it is YOUR created world, so you rule! Anyway, you guys always write with knowledge as you do the research. I have learn so many interesting things from reading all your series.
I worked as a professional scientist for 45 years. In all that time I never confused a work of fiction for a peer reviewed science publication. In a work of fiction the laws of nature are not confined by reality but work the way the author says they do. If the author wants gravity to repel rather than attract objects, that is how it works in that fictional world. If you don’t like it, don’t read the book.
+1 and I’m a working science teacher! Fiction is not fact (which is often confused in the good old USA right now)……
Ha! I have a science PhD, have worked as a scientist for the past 20 years..and this is exactly how I feel!
This is why I read fiction….I want to read about crazy new worlds where magic is possible, our science is not the norm, everything is filled with timey-wimey craziness, I can ooh and aah over something I could never have dreamt possible!!
As long as a book is well written (literally my only requirement..preferably with sarcastic humor tossed in) I am there for any creative liberties from an author!!
Patricia Schlorke says
Yep. If I want to read dry publications, I can read proposed and final rules from CMS (CMS = Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), or I can get my eyes crossed from reading statistical methodologies. I understand the methodology, but when various forms of the same sentence is over and over, I get cross-eyed.
When I read a fictional book, I want to get away from dry reading. Let the authors rule their world. The result is the rest of us get a great read and a mini-vacation. 🙂
If you want real dry reading, try the Code if Federal Regulations. I especially recommend the sections on Environmental regulations and the sections on Nuclear Power regulations. Guaranteed cure for insomnia!!!
Moderator R says
✍️ the ✍️ section ✍️ on ✍️ Nuclear ✍️ Power ✍️ Regulations.
My insomnia thanks you 😃
Gah. I worked on a nuclear power, government contract, safety dispute as a paralegal and even the experts had trouble staying awake during each other’s testimony.
Unfortunately most is necessary. Because. Humans. ( Do not get my wife started on horror stories about nuclear safety / accidents in Boston Research Hospitals. PS “No contacts allowed, only corrective glasses” is not a suggestion my young graduates ).
I also used to use the CFR for insomnia, for me the section on nuclear waste transportation packaging test requirements. It works every time!
Environmental Scientist for almost 20 years. Lots of environmental regulations. Took a vacation from that to become a professional tax preparer. Can you say, “More regulations”?
Sandra Uveric says
Laughing out loud
👏 more boring reading material please 👏
Susie Q. says
My job as a Compliance Manager/paralegal was to translate the often badly written federal and state regs into English procedures our employees actually understand. No one I explained my job to ever asked me how they could get a similar job. I drank a lot of coffee.
Patricia Schlorke says
😂 That would definitely put me to sleep.
What gets me with all that is those who write it say the same thing in the same paragraph in different ways. It’s like “ok people, I got it the first time you said it.” 🤪
+1000! Let fiction be fiction and fun! And leave our author lords alone as they provide this priceless gift for the BDH. If Innkeeper goes on the shelf due to nitpicking, there will be ripper cushions!
+1 I am a long time “lurker” and was introduced to the Ilona Andrews authors through the Inn Keeper novels (they are still my favourites), although I have read and loved all the worlds they have created. I know they started writing the series for fun and it just isn’t right for others to spoil that for them.
Please know that I for one truly appreciate the unalloyed enjoyment that I get from this series. I shall now return to my “lurking” 😉
Hahaha 🙂 Ripper cushions – you said it best! +1000!
My mouth was full when I read this comment and I just finished cleaning off the stuff I spit onto my computer. Awesome comment and so true. If you wanna debate science, go publish a paper. Science fiction is fiction and doesn’t need to conform to science, especially when it’s mixed with magic. So why worry about it?
To me this is the difference between fantasy and sci-fi. If someone is writing fantasy then all the laws of physics are out the window. Wolverine heals at chemically impossible speeds and people can fly. However, if someone purports to write science fiction, then the science should not break the basic laws of physics. You can bend and stretch what is currently known, but you can’t create a perpetual motion machine and call it sci-fi.
It’s fiction though. I think that people should be able to break rules. Now, of course, I say that, but say something that is obviously medically inaccurate (and that is unnecessary), then I might have trouble with the book. Truly though, I read books to escape real life and for enjoyment. Like many others, it doesn’t have to be completely (or even kind of accurate) as long as the author sells the reason why. House Andrews and ModR, bless you for the work you do and the many hours of enjoyment (and escape) that you have provided.
This … Fiction, something invented by the imagination or feigned
specifically : an invented story
If an author can come up with a well thought story even if it has zero basis in reality, why not. Love authors like House Andrews who are amazing world builder … the more interestingly different the better, as long as it is consistent I’m in.
House Andrews hasn’t written anything I would pass up buying
+100,000,000,000. Well said.👌
amber dawn says
Goodness You bring a smile to my face no matter what you are writing.
I am sorry some people can not take earlier warning to heart.
be happy and safe
Sad that you needed to lay a smackdown, but as someone who also finds herself on the receiving end of arm chair experts this was oh so cathartic to read. 😀
I will admit that the science stuff went right over my head but I’m with you in spirit – it’s your world and it works the way you want it to- that said I love the image of Mod R at work – seriously kick-a** 😀😃
Go ModR! (Whose image bears a striking similarity to a grown up female version of Rogan’s and Nevada’s firstborn, heehee)
I very much enjoyed the Innkeeper teaser.
And thank you for the chemistry lesson Ilona. I had very ineffective teachers so I always appreciate your clearly stated explanations of anything scientific.
Mod R is my next Halloween costume!
Since I came to your work through Innkeeper, and still only read those, I’m thrilled at any steps you need to take to produce more of it. And to the nitpickers: please find a different place to have that conversation.
Moderator R says
But the Edge has crossovers with Innkeeper! The Easter Eggs, the Easter Eggs!
🤓 Hope you find your way to the other series too.
What I need is to ask someone about content and tone, so I can decide what would scratch my fiction itch. And eventually I will! I know the writing will be good. Thanks, ModR.
If you enjoy Innkeeper you will love the Edge series.
Thanks, I appreciate your help!
I found the tone of The Edge books, in particular the 4th book, to be quite a bit darker than Innkeeper, but certainly no less enjoyable. Hope this is helpful!
Thanks, I appreciate it!
trailing wife says
Just go to Amazon, go to the Ilona Andrews author page, and start reading the free sample chapters for the first book of each of the other series. You’ll quickly discover which suits you best… and at some future date will be startled to realize you’ve acquired all their published works and preordered the next two.
In the meantime you might possibly have read all the ones your public library carries — several times each — but that is part of the process. 😉
Great advice, thanks!
Some people need to let their imagination flow. What we know and can do today would be considered witchcraft not all that long ago. Just think of what we will know and be able to do in the future.
I remember reading Sentenced to Prism years ago. On that planet, life was silica based. As an FYI, we have some silica-based life right here…diatoms. They need silica to build their shells. If there isn’t enough silica in the water, you won’t have any diatoms.
Who knows what types of life forms have developed on other planets?
I love House Andrews’ imagination. It is sooooooo much better than mine.
Credentials: PhD, Environmental Sci. & Engineering
That is an excellent choice of imagery depicting Mod R. Makes me smile behind this mask at the doctors office.
Lenore Villa says
Love that portrait of Mod R at work.
Kudos to the artist.
Izzy Hamm says
I am a fan of ModR (which I’m reading as Mordor 🙂 and obviously of yours as well.
I found this entire blogpost fascinating. I was just teaching my daughter about how we are (mostly) watertight. But I am sorry you had to address it at all.
I hope your weekend is nice.
Moderator R says
I bow to your power and beauty. 🥰
Melina Behrens says
I am thankful for any work you do, whether Inkeeper or anything else.
I also appreciate the curtailing of misinformation.
You don’t owe us any explanations. If someone feels you do, they can stop reading your work…. Or risk being banned.
I just don’t get it.
But I wanted to let you know I appreciate your work, specially Inkeeper, which is a child of love for BDH (the way I see it).
People can be ass hats.
I’m excited for innkeeper
I’m excited for Ruby Fever
I’m excited for new Hugh
Heck I’d read your shopping lists
True BDH doesn’t nit pick True BDH devours and then devours some more
Sending love and light from Oxfordshire
What Nicola said!!!
Cat Wyatt says
Mod R is the hero we need. Thank you!
Kimberly L says
Too much chemistry. Too little coffee. You’re right. He’s wrong.
Maria R. says
+1 yes! I’m still drinking my morning coffee and did struggle a bit, um no, loads with the science, it has been awhile since I’ve last looked at those types of diagrams.
Fantasy is my escape from what life is throwing at my hubby & I, every dang day.
Again will await any and all books.
I am offering you a hug and appreciation of your patience level. Thanks for continuing your creative work in the face of this kind of stuff. Also, that was pretty interesting.
Lenore Villa says
Agree with you.
Alan Dean Foster did a heck of a job with that book . His Science was pretty darn good and the imagination behind it let the science and fiction flow seamlessly.
One of my favorites along with Flynx and Pip, Icerigger and others.
Don’t understand posters who can’t seem to separate the fact that fiction works on different parameters than Real World scenarios of actual known Science at this point in time.
Just grateful as it is to have authors of the Andrews’ caliber making my days of reading worthwhile.
Loved ADF’s Flinx & Pip series and the others. He and House Andrews are my top two authors and a few of the ones that I’ve read maybe everything they’ve written.
I love when you include scientific info. I despise the behavior that caused this post.
Arm-chair experts, you need to shut up and sit down. Nobody wants to hear what you pulled out of your arse.
You are awesome sister!
Kim Stewart says
For the love of little rassas, do not piss off Gordon! I love weekly fixes of IA!
And this is why I am the third bear with the monocle.
My eyes are glazed. Science and I do not mix well. If only my science teachers explained as you do….
Still, love love Mod R’s portrait.
He he…Go Mod R! Use them scythe well.
It seems so strange that people try to correct some of the science in YOUR world – and yet have no problem with telepathic powers, people bonding with inns, George bringing animals and humans back from the dead. Very selective view of the fictional worlds.
My exact thought!
Nancy Heald says
Murdered by Words
I enjoyed that smackdown entirely too much. Thanks for the biology lesson; I haven’t taken a bio class since college, so that was nice! 🙂
I’m sorry you are dealing with people who want to nitpick and not just enjoy! I found all the science positively fascinating! I love all of your worlds that you put so much thought into!!!
I really loved the scientific post, but then I’m a science nerd so there’s that. I also loved the teaser and can’t wait (well obviously I can-because I have to 😊) for the next installment. And whatever else you choose to write. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the worlds you create because each one is incredibly wonderfully immersive. If they were video games, I’d probably be in them non-stop (which wouldn’t be healthy – and probably a bit of an exaggeration) but just want you both to know how much you’re appreciated. Thank you so much for everything you create. I will happily read it all. ♥
if you want to read Innkeeper in a serial form.
Yeah, I was wonderin’. about that.
I missed that with the first 3, started reading it as posted with Maude’s book, and decided I would rather wait for the finished work so I quit reading right about the time when Maude first met Karat. I don’t recall Sweep With Me being serialized, but at that time we were getting bits and pieces of Blood Heir, and I DEFINITELY read that until y’all pulled the plug.
The only thing I can be pedantic about is my city of Atlanta which plays a starring role in KD’s world, where I live within walking distance of where Rowena will have had been encased in molten glass.
Johanna J says
You and ModR are indeed awesome!! 🙂
Aww Mod R, sending you hugs because I can’t send you cake and cookies.
Moderator R says
Speaking of Houston, as an over the road trucker with over 2 million (25 years at approx 10k a month) paid miles, we used to call Houston the armpit of the country. Hot, muggy and always 24/7 bumper to bumper traffic on a puzzling road system that tests you. But it does have excellent truck stops.
Unfortunately I never made it to England. I regret all the places I never made it to, especially now that my traveling days are over.
I got kicked out of High School in ’65 for refusing to come to school sober. So most of the science above zoomed over my head, it was an excellent exercise for my googling skills.
Big Mike says
Oh, dear. I meant yesterday’s comment in a light-hearted, facetious manner and not to offend anyone. I thought my parenthetical remark would give the show away, since hardly any true pedants acknowledge either their pedantry or their assholery. I apologize for any inadvertent offense.
Credentials. I am a septuagenarian with a bachelor’s degree in math and advanced degrees in computer science. I retired after a long career designing advanced computer systems out where the cutting edge of technology meets the bleeding edge. My career began before large scale integrated circuits and back when input was via 80 column punch cards or punch paper tape, and ended a few years ago using massively parallel computers like Teradata and Oracle Exadata.
I am not a chemist (though I married one) nor do I know anything about microbiology. My funny bone was jiggled because methane is a hydrocarbon so there must be some sort of organic processes going on. But anywhere that methane is a liquid (per my comment) has temperatures where oxygen is also a liquid, CO2 is a solid, and ditto water. So any organic processes would have to be a far cry from life as we know it.
After Ilona’s exhortation for us not to trash one another in the comments, it makes me sad that that’s exactly what’s happening.
Kudos to you for trying to clarify something you hadn’t meant to be taken seriously. I remember being warned years ago in a seminar on workplace communication (not always an oxymoron) that it can be very difficult to convey one’s intended tone in an email. 🙁
Big Mike says
Thanks. Lisa. Good point regarding communications.
+1 Agreed re: difficulty conveying tone and some of the commenters’ comments…
I have a friend who…in person I can tell when he is joking but in writing I never can.
It leads to some interesting interactions via text messaging. I am glad you commented again to clarify.
OK. We’re really going to need information on Mod R’s tailor/armorer, now.
Greedy Guts says
Very cool portrait.
Makes me want to meet her. Well,… you know… theoretically.
Moderator R says
2/10 would not recommend.
She’s usually running on 2 hours of sleep, anxiety and an Oreo 🤣
AN Oreo? How do you function on just one!?!
Isn’t that one of Newton’s Laws (continuing the science theme) that the physical world/people cannot survive on just 1 Oreo/Ruffles potato chip? It’s like the cycle of life, something like that. I know I read that somewhere.😁
Have you tried the new apple spice donut oreos? I need someone to eat one for me as I cannot.
And really, who could stop after one?
I can relate. At one point in my life, it was ~ 3 hours of sleep, the anxiety component, and the “ine” vitamins – caffeine and nicotine….
Wild ride, but glad I don’t do that anymore!
Science always wins
Michelle M says
This is supposed to be a fun place where everyone has a willing suspension of disbelief. Innkeeper has one character that is a werewolf and the other is vampire so let’s not be nit picking about scientific details, the ship has sailed in that regard, this is fiction. I for one am happy with whatever is going to happen and can hardly wait to see who is in trouble, who is going to rescue him and how it all gets resolved. We are all having a blast playing in House Andrews’ play box so we just have to follow their rules.
I’m sorry you received the inciting post(s), but the biochemistry lesson was great. Someday you may be surprised by all the hits to archival blog posts as educators link. https://ilona-andrews.com/passive-voice/ is what I use to teach passive voice.
That picture is so cool😍 I tried to follow the science, but my brain isn’t made for it😂
Love you guys and my $0.02 is if you decide not to serialize in order not to deal with gross stupidity I’ll be completely okay and happy.
I know you want to balance the fan base against your sanity but whatever helps produce the least stress and most enjoyment in the process for you is what I hope you do.
And Mod R, if I ever meet you in person the least I can do is buy you a coffee and pastry of your choice for your work!
Patricia Scott says
I wish you had been my chemistry /biology teacher….I might have understood it.
I love all of your writings and especially enjoy Innkeeper.
Thank you for all the pleasure you have given and are giving❤️❤️❤️
Tim Muszalski says
Lol I didn’t understand more than half that explanation. My thoughts towards Carbon life wasn’t welcomed was oh they (beings on the planet) xenophobic to carbon bases lifeforms lol
Howdy! Great pic!
Mariana J. says
Yay!! Great explanation, totally behind it!
On a funny side note: I’m a PhD student writing a review on lipid membrane biology and took a short break from biology to read your blog only to find myself back to membranes 😂. Guess it’s a sign to get back to work!
Moderator R says
Not the real life reverse Uno card! 😀 The Universe played you hehe
Hahaha! I’m also here for a break from my science work… clearly the universe has other plans for us today! Back to it then… 🤣
Best of luck to you with your dissertation!!!
Bill G says
Loathe the nitpickers, and I love the drawing.
Thank you for removing misinformation and non-referenced posts! As someone in the earth science field I find misinformation SO annoying (and dangerous). I’m not even a climate person and I can’t listen to the news some days without wanting to rip my hair out. And if I hear someone talk about a 9.0 on the Richter scale (seismology IS my field) it drives me BATTY. Everyone thinks they’re an expert. I appreciate all the research you do, it’s amazing!
Since you confessed your specialty, I’ll throw a question at you. I did quite a bit if undergrad geology and I specifically remember my structure teacher saying he didn’t think a 9 was possible because he didn’t think that much that much stress could be contained. Life goes on, many years pass, then I start seeing 9 this and 9 that, and the scale has been recalibrated to account for something with the waves travel through the mantle. So what’s the real deal?? And thank you!
When it comes to works building science, I am happy to let the authors do the heavy thinking for me!!!
James Cavanaugh says
Whomever wrote this is a great science communicator.
M needs to do a bit more literature diving before they try and play expert.
Well, I laughed my teeny tiny butt right off my body when I read this portion of this post: “(No, we are not going to be discussing hydroxyl groups. We are keeping it simple.)”
Sure. Keep it simple for us!
Seriously, what’s up with people correcting things in the writing of fiction, anyway? I mean, yes, the Hidden Legacy novels are set in what could possibly be real Houston, but it’s not really Houston at all, so if a road goes somewhere or a building exists somewhere in the books, it doesn’t really HAVE TO be in the real Houston, does it? I mean, does the warehouse where they lived, surrounded by the old fire station and all the other buildings actually exist, or is it just a little piece of fiction set into a little bit of reality to make the story flow? I don’t know. When I lived there, it did seem possible that all those things could have existed in Houston, but at the same time, I never saw any of them.
But the Innkeeper novels are based in an entirely fictional place with some references to real places to keep people from wondering where the hell they are. When you read fiction, you let go of the real world you live in and immerse yourself in the world of the book. No matter how pedantic you are, you’re out of line “correcting” fiction to fit your view of the world as it should be. If you can accept a 12-point warp in space near earth, why can’t you just accept a world where carbon-based life is not welcome? Unclench! Free yourself to enjoy the world as it is created by authors who know their business and entertain the masses! Personally, I can’t wait to see another Innkeeper book. Let it get written before you start critiquing it with your magnifying glass and your vague understanding of how the real world works! Fiction is for those of us with really dreary real lives who want to just enjoy what might have been, had things been different. How you can accept the aliens and what they do and can’t accept a simple thing like a planet that doesn’t accept carbon-based life is beyond me.
Ilona, if the two of you write it, I will read it with glee and great joy and my heart dancing in anticipation of each and every installment if you write it as a serial and with the same glee and joy if you don’t release it until it’s done, polished, and printed. Some of us love what you do, and we accept the worlds you create so lovingly with so much detail as you imagine them. My personal reaction is that your research into something someone questions and your taking time to explain such things as you did in this post astound me. I am with Gordon with the short fuse.
Welcome, Mod R. What happened to Mod M?
You have my sympathy, I work with a pedant, almost daily.
It’s drama. It’s Fiction. Just roll with it.
Bottom line up front: you and Gordon have a phenomenal gift; one I pray you keep sharing with us, your rabid fans. I love all your writing, except that post above because it’s so technical. I suppose, if you wrote about my area of expertise, I might wince a little if you got it wrong but I would certainly not attempt to correct you because one, it’s fiction; meant to be entertaining. And two, I am not a writer. I can allow everything because it’s FICTION and because it’s Ilona Andrews and my world revolves around your worlds. Please do not listen to, or read anything negative about your works. Those of us who love your writings, support you 1000%
Andy Lawler says
The Entitlement of some people is astonishing. Just be grateful for the work and the insight and the humor
Ilona – I LOVE your use of sewing pins as phospholipids – it knocks my ping pong balls with pencils stuck into them right out of the methane sea! I foresee some happy time spent scouring local sewing shops for some sphere-topped sewing pins to make my model membranes out of for next year’s A-level students!
Hope your fictional trip to the ER went well – is Lydia still on duty there?
Karen but not that KAREN says
In other words don’t mess with authors that do their research and that are smart. I’ll stick to one of my favorite topics tea and the Thumper rule.
Driving in Cincinnati last weekend, with mapping increasing and decreasing the distance to the hotel as I drove up and down the hilly road, suddenly the concept of Folded Space crystallized in my strictly humanities major brain… but that’s a different author entirely.
I’m sure that, at some point, the idea of methane as more than just a component of cow-farts (tee-hee!) will come clear.
I love this sassy biochem post. I AM an actual scientist (biological/physical oceanographer) and y’alls knowledge/attention to detail is absolutely why your series are among the top of my list re: Favorite Worldbuilding. Love it love it.
If you ever decide to write science text books, you’d be awesome at it!
+1 I would buy it.
Graduate students everywhere would rejoice! 😁
You have mad skills as a biology warrior! I feel very schooled, and also glad you are out there doing biology stuff and not me. Thank you!
Amanda P says
Love the outfit ModR.
You’re very scary, I would want to meet you on a dark night.
Totally agree that everyone should be nice, no snarky comments and be happy to be allowed to be part of this wonderful place.
Looking forward to more clues 😉
Amanda P says
That’s supposed to be ‘wouldn’t’ as I am a bit of a scaredy-Cat
Cindy Cripps says
Dang! will you be my friend? you are brilliant Thank you for the expose and for the lesson.
Louise corona says
Didn’t understand the science but didn’t care. It’s fiction not reality.
Only the ModR picture is real. Wow! Love it!
So M was questioning that, yet is reading a series with magic inns, vampires, werewolves, hedgehog chefs? Seriously? That was all way above my little brain, but I don’t look closely at science when it’s a fictional series that has magic and all sorts of fictional beings. Hehe
Well done, but sad you had to take the time to make your point. However, I certainly learned more about penguins than I wanted to learn about penguins ( an old saying of one of my favorite professors when he had to lower the boom on idiots in the class).
Patricia Schlorke says
Thank you for the membrane lecture. When I saw the title for the post, I thought “uh oh, who ticked off Ilona, and possibly Gordon?”
I understand the frustration and annoyance. If I hear someone say “statistics” in a sentence, my ears perk up. If I hear something off-kilter or just plain wrong, I will give them a mini lecture with the added sentence “I have a doctorate in biostatistics”. Then the conversation stops and people get a lovely shade of red on their faces. 😀
Mod R, you rock. With that outfit, I would not want to meet you in a dark alley on a moonless night. 🙂
Moderator R says
Only those who threaten the harmony of the BDH or my Stardew Valley save file need fear me! 🥰
I’m going to ignore everything related to “pedantic” *because seriously?* AND chemistry *I LOATHED chemistry*. I am here strictly *cough* to say that Mod R is a badass and I think she and Julie should be besties. 🥰
You made my brain hurt. 😉
The above post is why you are the author you are and why I shall probably never be. You are awesome.
Can I just say I love you guys — that’s all.
I wept through Organic Chem the first time, tears came to my eyes with this post. (Wouldn’t that world be stinky, all that methane?) I have to go back a banana creme pie and poke through dead people’s houses.
For crying out loud – it’s FICTION!!! What part of fiction don’t they get?
What she said!
See, and fiction loving me didn’t look for a SCIENCE answer in why “carbon life was not welcome there”… but took it to be “get out before the inhabitants make sure you never leave”
Silly me. Granted, chemistry and I hated each other, so that might have been part of it as well.
(Moderator R looks fierce – someone should bring her cookies.)
Patricia B. says
I have no idea what you just said. I read for the story and not for science because I don’t understand what you just said I am totally ignorant when it comes to science and accept the world you create without question because I don’t care. I’m just here for the story
Ilona, you and Gordon are amazingly creative knowledgeable people. Please don’t let idiots and (foul language deleted) derail you. Everything you write is a joy to read. Even your blogs! It’s my personal escape when the world gets to be too much! (I’ve re-read all your books these past 18 months, several times) THANK YOU BOTH for everything you do. Olga
Jill Henle says
I don’t understand having to correct/nitpick an author’s words. I truly just enjoy the glances we get before reading the story. Honestly, it’s a work of fiction. The author gets to make up what they want for their world. And I for one, don’t want the author’s stressed out to the point they refuse to give us these glimpses.
Yay more innkeeper 😍. Love the Mod R pic too 🤣 Thank you for the Friday good news.
Love you-love your work! Please delete irritating comments and enjoy life!
Thank you for the explanation. It was elegant and easily understandable, even to those who have not played with chemistry for many years.
It seems like the less people know, the more stubborn they are about their version of reality.
Unfortunately, we have seen example after example of this recently, both in politics and in health care most prominently, but also in relation to other subjects.
Good luck with hacking through the accumulated bias. I truly hope you can manage to, but am not holding my breath.
Not holding my breath on the release date for anything either. It will be here when it’s here. Thank you again for the many happy hours of reading.
OBTW – Mod R, your picture is gorgeous!
As a PhD scientist, I LOVE your response. You could also add that all of protein folding is driven by decreasing organization (increasing entropy) of water molecules, and methane’s lack of similar polarity to water wouldn’t allow for C H O based proteins. In case you need a Mack truck to follow the freight train you already drove through their hypothesis 😂
I adore your books and I commonly use the innkeeper series an example of how to do a sci-fi fantasy mix well. I’ve read many series where the science fiction doesn’t have enough science to maintain suspension of disbelief, and yours isn’t one of them. Keep up the great work! And if you ever need a biologist/toxicologist to answer a question or two (or help you lay some smack down), I humbly offer my services for what it’s worth 😉
Moderator R, your picture is so bad@$$!
Kelly M says
Oooh, I always wondered what Mod R looked like… It’s a shame mods work online in faceless anonymity, I really feel like the glowing eyes would shut people the hell up quick. 😂
Ellen Solensky says
So, bless you for putting up with all of this. I will need to have my PhD biologist daughter -in-law translate for me. Because even that excellent explanation made my ignorant eyes cross.
Fiction: relaxation, freedom from daily stress, adventure, humor, romance, anticipation, enjoyment, etc.,etc.
I don’t acknowledge pedantry as one of the components.
All hail the Incredibles (Ilona and the shorter used Gordon).
Oops, that was supposed to be “shorter crushed”!
First – I love you guys. One of the reasons I adore your stories so much (I mean, outside of the story telling and most epic world building) is how detailed and in depth you guys research and understand the nuances of the worlds you’ve built.
Sure, some things work because it’s the way you want it to (I mean – magic – duh) – but to me that enhances the stories anyway. FFS this is fiction.
I’d rather you turn commenting off and writing than have the naysayers\pedants\trolls have their way!
“shorter-fused”———Autocorrect hates me.
Thank you for illuminating cell membranes for us!
I am sorry to learn that this work was inspired by a comment tossed off by an insufficiently pedantic fan.
If BDH can’t back up their facts, they have earned Mod R’s blade 😉
Oh mod R. You are so very interesting. Love your picture. Now I remember why I dropped chemistry.
I read all your books with minimal interest in scientific explanations. I suspend all disbelief, as I love your created worlds and wish I had your imagination, skill in writing, and patience to deal with your fans. I often don’t read all the comments, as some fans seem to expect reality in a fictional world and complain about it. And I rarely comment, because meh, not too worked up about much, I am pretty laid back.
I hope you are able to spare the time and energy for a serialization, but as always, it’s your choice whether you can spare the energy and time. I will read anything you write, and wait (with bated breath) for every new book.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Your world your rules. If I don’t like your rules, I won’t buy your books.. (Seeing as I own everything you’ve written, I think I like your rules.)
SCIENCE!!! And now my brain hurts. Go ModR, get ’em all!!
Gosh, I’m sorry I missed all that. I liked the explanation though.
Kristan Paige Hall says
I’m glad I made it through the science parts to get to the end part.
People suck. That’s it. That’s the reply.
Mod R is a fantastic goddess of protection. I aim to never be on the receiving end of their fury.
Or to ever be pedantic with you…cause that was a glorious stomp of information.
Amanda Lawson says
Dear stars in heaven, we finally get an Innkeeper blip and people have to act a fool. I for one am grateful for any scrap I’m given. Thank you for the hope of Innkeeper. I love all the things and read all the things but deeply appreciate how different Innkeeper is. Ya’ll, apply moderators liberally if you have to. I’ll still read anything you write and enjoy!
Am I weird for really enjoying all the science in this? 😂😂😂
Erika Hedglin says
Quote of the day:
“But what if there is magic oxygen that we miraculously pulled out of our butt and stuck into other elements available on Titan?” – Ilona Andrews
Thank you for this today.
Hi. Here’s a question that will hopefully not be too troublesome. When marketing a book do you or the publisher or bookseller decide if the book is a mystery, or romance or science fiction or fantasy?
Reason I ask is that frequently I am in a bookstore or library, I find a book in the romance section and discover that it is much more mystery than romance. Or find a mystery or science fiction in the general fiction section. Why?? Is a bookstore worker or librarian reading a title or blurb and deciding from that what type of story it is??
Librarian here. Normally publishers choose how to market a book and what the genre is. Famous case is Diana Gabaldon’s book, Outlander. The publisher categorized it as a romance because that is what they thought was the best fit and would help it sell. My library has it as SF.
Bookstores and libraries, as a rule, organize their materials a little differently. Bookstores often use something called BISAC categories which is system of assigning subjects to group together. Libraries usually use a classification system which in the United States is almost always Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal. A work of fiction is given subject headings that classify it.
For example, here are the subject headings for Sweep in Peace from my library’s catalog.
Subject Term: Bed and breakfast accommodations — Fiction.
Hotelkeepers — Fiction.
Bed and breakfast accommodations — Texas — Fiction.
Magic — Fiction.
Werewolves — Fiction.
Vampires — Fiction.
Good and evil — Fiction.
Geographic Term: Texas — Fiction.
Genre: Fantasy fiction.
These terms will help folks using the catalog to identify items, such as paranormal fiction or werewolves, that they are searching for.
Ultimately the cataloger, the person who organizes the records, decides what the genre of a book will be in their organization’s catalog and that decision varies based on the individual. I have argued with our cataloger about a book belonging in romance — I lost. She put it where she felt it belonged even though I had purchased the book for romance.
And this says nothing of how items are arranged on shelves. Bookstores often group by genre for easier browsing. Some libraries group by genre some shelve alphabetically.
When in doubt, search for subjects you are looking for or chat with your librarian and ask for recommendations. Talking to people about books is the BEST part of my job.
I know there are other librarians in the BDH and they might have additional insights.
PS. Sorry about this very long answer — I am writing a paper about organization of information at the moment and I got carried away here!
I hate that people nitpick others behind the safety of a screen but… I do so love your educational smack downs.
Mod R your outfit today is kickass.
After reading the first paragraph of this post, the first thing that popped into my head, “uh-oh, somebodies forgot that the “I” in House Andrews came to the US with the plans of chemistry higher-education! It’s smackdown time.” I use “chemistry higher-education” as I don’t remember the specific information Ilona had shared with us in previous posts – so I may be slightly off, but do remember know that chemistry – Ilona rocks – do not engage!! LOL
So sorry for the needed chemistry lesson, I love everything you guys write; as stated by others – I’ll read the shopping lists too!
Erin Valentine says
I sometimes wonder if this isn’t the double-edged sword of being an author in our times. Thanks to social media and blogs, autors make more and more of their private lives available. I do recognize that what we see and read is carefully curated, but is still creates a sense of the author being our peer, if not a friend. People will offer advice, make corrections – generally act as they would with a good buddy. It helps authors to make that personal connection with their readers; it’s such a solitary career for so many. But those connections have a cost, it seems. I’m sorry a comment made on your post spoiled your day and took your time.
OMG, I was subtly reminded why I was so bad at chemistry … *brain snoozing away* … all those years in (the equivalent of) highschool and when I studied biology 🤪 I managed to become a MD though 🤣🤣🤣
Wow….eyes glazed over….y’all too smart for this gal. I just love imaginary, impossible worlds. Phooey on science!
David Becher says
If life exists in a methane atmosphere, its chemistry would be nothing like ours. All of our biochemistry depends on water being a polar liquid. Nothing would work the same in a non-polar liquid like methane, not to mention that the reaction rates would be very low at those temperatures. That does not mean it would be impossible, but it does not seem very likely. I suspect that life is much rarer in the universe than many would like to believe. It is really very fragile and the universe is not a friendly place.
ModR is a badass!
Thank you for all you do. I’m sorry you had to go through all of that scientific stuff to defend your own world that you created out of thin air. I am happy to read every little scrap of everything you have ever written or ever will write. And now I have my 14 yo daughter hooked on you, too. Started her on Innkeeper and then introduced her to Kate. I may have told her that if she didn’t like Kate then she would need to find somewhere else to live. Of course that wasn’t an issue. When I told her about the Julie book, she got very excited. Thank you for writing all the books. Longest comment ever 🤦♀️
NOOOOOO! I typed “you’re” instead of “your!” Ugh. No. How do I edit? 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤬
Moderator R says
Took care of it for you! 😊
I hate that when that happens.
Loved the science smack down!
As a scientist myself, with a phd in genetics, I appreciated (and agree with) the accuracy of your explanation. As an avid reader of sci-fi/fantasy, who loves your writing style/world-building, I am always in awe of the amount of research you both put into everything you write!
I could continue to gush about how amazing all your books are, the way you’re able to make freaking magic (in so many different ways) seem not only plausible but “real” and plot/characters so memorable and…. squeee – cutting myself off 🙂
PS: seconding all comments supporting ModR’s kick-ass-ery!
Dawn Shreves says
Everyone say yes ma’am and shut up!
Holy fuck. I bow to the greatness that is you. You just spanked him but good. I’m so sorry you have to deal with people like that. I adore your worlds, characters, and books. I love your imaginations and what you write becomes truth in my imagination just please write for people like me not the dickheads
…you explain chemistry better than my chem teacher in high school. In high school, you could hear the ‘whoosh’ sound of all that info going over my head lol.
I like doing deep dives into random science subjects just for fun, but the vast majority of it seems like gibberish to me. Tried to read the wiki article on five-fold symmetry, and wow I understood maybe 10% of that.
This reminds me of in Plato’s Apology, how Socrate approached knowledge / ignorance [https://iep.utm.edu/socrates/#SSH2bi under “socratic ignorance” found at 2(b)(i)]. Essentially, the Oracle told a bff of Socrates that Socrates was the wisest person, and Socrates was like “wut, me?” And so he goes and talks to a bunch of people to find someone who was wise to show the Oracle was mistaken. Socrates ends up being unimpressed by all these people because none were aware of their own ignorance. Being aware of his own ignorance made him wise.
ps, portrait of ModR at work looks fabulously terrifying.
Brittany V. says
Ilona for the slam dunk and smack down!!
Over my head, other than to admire someone’s chemistry knowledge. I enjoyed this as much as the original 3 line post!
I didn’t read the excellent explanation because A. My head is already aching from the 2 & 3 yr old boys I babysit crying, screaming, biting, pushing, etc. (truly unusual behavior) Mom & Dad took the 5 wk old girlie and bugged out. Smart 😂
B. I trust you and your research.
House Andrews – 1 Pedantic bore – zip
I obviously don’t sew that much. I saw the smaller picture on the home page of the blog and thought they were Cake Pops from Starbucks.
A Very Appreciative Fan says
Excellent & very thorough explanation of some of the science involved in possible extraterrestrial life forms!
I’m not sure I’m a fan of serializations either, but if it gets me more Innkeeper, I’m all for it.
Mod R – your avatar looks stunning. Fierce and elegant.
Staying in bed today with flu like symptoms ( second COVID19 shot yesterday ).
Not fit to read but able to enjoy my audio book of “Blood Heir” and tomorrow
it is time for Elara’s & Hughs’s story. My compliments to Ilona and Gordon for
their story telling abilities and the narrative talents of Mrs Freeman and Mr West. You are very much appreciated.
Earlier this month I did a back to back reread of INNKEEPER – and loved spending time again with these characters – so looking forward to future adventures in this world.
Okay, way above my pay grade. It’s crazy what people put out there in comments sections. I hope that there was chocolate and pretty things to pet while you wrote that reply. (pretty things like dogs,cats,lizards,yarn, and etc.)
Karen Ann Persinger says
Mod R is gorgeous, sorry you have to spend so much time correcting the ignorant, I would rather you were writing stories, can’t wait for the next one. Carry on 😊
Life “as we know it” and “magic” leave a lot of wiggle room. I love that you guys try to educate yourself as much as possible on the topics you write about, its part of what makes your writing so enjoyable, and puts you guys on my favorite author list. Just keep doing, you guys are awesome.
I loved the teaser! I will take any and all Innkeeper content we can get.
I learned a lot of this post, but most of all I learned, that my knowledge of chemistry and my English are not good enough.
Off to google for a german explanation of all that stuff.
And I wouldn’t dream of correcting you about your worlds – who knows, maybe carbon-based life isn’t welcome on this one, because the planet is tired if them and threw them out 🤷🏻♀️
Liz Mansfield says
Wow, when you go Pedantic you don’t mess about, do you?!🤔
Go get em, author! We like our generously provided serialized novels. I myself was mightily confused by the teaser, so I decided to wait and see. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I trust House Andrew’s to get on with the business of writing good stuff.
I love this post you remind me of my Fav Biology teacher who used to rip people apart when they would try and correct him on the text book HE WROTE. lol
I love your worlds. I am of the thought “anything is posible if you just believe” so i believe whatever you write in your worlds are posible.
Keep on keeping on and can’t wait for more of your work. Thank yo
Robin Šebelová says
Thank you Mod R for the hard work, your portrait is stunning! 🙂
Don’t know why anyone has to correct an author. Either you enjoy the story or you don’t. It’s pretty simple. 🤷🏻♀️
I love when you get explain-y to the BDH, even when I can’t understand the explanation 🤣
Rene O says
I had a flash back to O chem! The tests were brutal but I was one of the weirdos who liked it. Hee hee hee.
OMG: People seriously need to get a life.
I read your books (and some others) for enjoyment and entertainment. I am not reading to look for any academic, scientific, or technical items that I can correct. I am an OCD (actually CDO :-)) anal-retentive accountant with an MBA and CPA. When I read something that is not correct from a business standpoint, I may thing to myself – HMMM, that isn’t quite correct. However, I would never even consider writing to my favorite (or one I even don’t like as much) and tell them where they got it wrong.
The writes of Fiction are writing to entertain – it is not the reader’s job to correct them.
On behalf of the many millions of us out there that would NEVER do something like that, I apologize for the “pedantic” a*%holes out there that do this to you and other writers.
However, I LOVED how you handled it.
The writers of Fiction – Sorry , I didn’t catch my typo.
I love your work and check you blog regularly because your comments make me laugh.
I’m sorry you have to deal with people like M. However, your smackdown was amazing.
Sending out calming vibes to my fellow BDH.
Carina M Paredes says
Not sure why people would think of questioning your world building or your science. You write amazing books. Ignore the crazies and buy some yarn or eat some dark chocolate for an endorphin boost after dealing with that.
Holy crap! Shots fired! 😂👍🏻
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post. Quite educational and (as a biologist) correct. Looking forward to Innkeeper story.
My take on ANY upcoming ER scene as an emergency medicine physician:
How do I thank you enough for your books that have helped keep me alive before and during the pandemic. They are wonderful. Please ban all but supportive comments that don’t make your heart sing.
Favorite cartoon: Woman on a stretcher outside of an ambulance asking “are you taking me to the hospital?” The answer is “no ma’am, you need top medical experts. We’re taking you to the comments section.”
Let a writer write her/his brilliance!
Ha! that was a good one
Judy B says
my head hurts,,, lol
How nostalgic! I choose biology as one of my focus subjects in school (no idea what the US equivalent of that is) because I love Biochemistry. What these little molecules can accomplish with each other is so elegant and ingenious. The basic chemistry of life is so simple and nature found so many ways to make cool stuff with it – like double membranes.
Unfortunately I could not study Biochemistry at university, but I chose Food Chemistry instead. So I focused on a small part of Biochemistry and I never regretted this choice. The chemistry of life is so interesting!
Hi Ilona & Gordon
I’ve been a fan since Magic Bites came out, & read all of your other books as well. Based on this even though I’m pretty much a wallflower, I like to think I’m a legitimate member of the BDH. I absolutely love the name Book Devouring Horde!
I would love to see something tangible with the Book Devouring Hoard on it.A ubiquitous fan t-shirt for example. You all seem to have a great number of artistic fans so I am wondering – & hoping that this is something you & one of them would consider making.
In any case, I also am a public librarian and I promote your work every way I can through Staff Picks, readers advisory, picking up ebooks for our Overdrive account & going through the stacks periodically to face out one of the books even though I’m not the library’s selector for this part of the collection.(He he!)
Ok I’ll stop fan girling now & just wish you continued success & thank you for your generosity with all your fans.
Awesome description. I have a doctorate in Biochemistry with a doctoral thesis on the role of polar residues on membrane protein folding. My first thought when looking at the comment was that non-aqueous chemistry at those temperatures was going to be problematic. For life to exist you need very dynamic reactivity, which water and all its hydrogen bonds provide. Pure organic chemistry in an inorganic solvent often requires high temperatures to work. Although maybe the high pressure compensates to some degree?
On a chemistry tangent, it is possible that S could substitute for some of the P chemistry. S can form multiple bonds when it pulls in hybridized orbitals. I’m not sure if there is S on Titan, though. Regarding a boundary mechanism, lipid membrane are not possible (completely agree), but I suppose some other sort of boundary molecule might exist. You also probably won’t not ionizable groups but just weakly polar ones to create a separation boundary because the dielectric constant of methane (or any organic solvent) is so low relative to water. That makes the “strength” of the polar group much greater and the energy requirements to cost it significantly higher. Really interesting topic, but I’m sorry you were dragged into it.
I wouldn’t think sulfur would sub for phosphorus very easily. They are in different columns on periodic table with different valence electrons and electron configurations. They tend to behave differently in chemical reactions.
For qualifications, I have a master’s degree in chemistry although I specialize in analytical chemistry and not in the planetary science.
It’s also a question of a completely novel compound in a non-aqueous environment. Although they’re in separate columns, it can form more than 2 bonds under certain conditions. And it has partially polar characteristics, although no where near oxygen. I’m thinking about whether it can provide some additional polarity to molecules in the absence of oxygen and phosphorus. However, it’s chemistry in methane at very low temp and high pressure…yeah, I have no clue what that would look like.
Oops! My wonderful type-ahead “correted Horde on me. Sorry 😐
Bill from nj says
I am just gobsmacked at what Ilona knows, this was seriously good ( I meant information wise, but it was seriously good as a smackdown as well). Funny when I read the snippet the last thing that came to my mind is hypothesizing about methane based life forms, my first thought was ‘ okay, who is this talking about’.
Honestly, this was like hearing the opening bars of Beethoven’s fifth symphony and saying his Grosse Fuga was too long…….
Wow!!! You are serious about your world building. It never even occurred to me to think and plan about a fictional planet on a molecular level. Kudos to your attention to detail. (Also, I want to say that I am pretty pedantic myself, but some people are just nuts.)
Judy E Schultheis says
Love the Mod R portrait. I suspect it looks just like her.
I didn’t have the energy for anything yesterday as getting my office laptop to work seemed to be a never-ending exercise in futility, but today I can gleefully say:
Inkeeper sneak-peek!!! Squeeeeeeeeee
Debbie l richardson says
Cool photo, the lady looks like a perfect badass.
Mod R vs BDH!!!
A thankless job against an undying foe!
I want the book!
Moderator R says
Mod R is of the BDH! The real foe is the nitpicking within 😉
Holy smokes! My mind is blown.
And I thought my love of you couldn’t grow bigger. Bam! It just did.
Was finding the science interesting but truthfully my head started to hurt😁 and once I saw your phrase “But what if there is magic oxygen that we miraculously pulled out of our butt and stuck into other elements available on Titan?” My brain went to wow there farts are oxygenating this world 😆 I highly amused my self hoping it brings a bit of humour to your world, my thoughts are it’s your world do what you want I love your work you guys rock. One of the reasons I read is to escape and you have provided excellent material for me to do that, THANK YOU
That had me thinking about something I saw on the weather channel about climate change also being affected by cow farts. A thing that does come to mind is how wonderful things can come from our imagination or enjoying the products of another’s imagination. If an Inn can be produced from a seed, bond with an Innkeeper and do amazing things, having a planet exhibiting different abilities or reactions seems very plausible especially when well written which has been my experience with every series by Ilona and Gordon.
The Innkeeper’s series vaguely reminds me of one of Anne McCaffrey’s series that has sentient ships and Robin D. Owens that have sentient houses with animals that can communicate with people… now I am thinking about sentient plants along with planets able to do different things… imagine that!
wow, sorry! Nice explanation of membranes! Much more understandable than my last two text books, heh. I’m glad I totally missed the pedantic and/or negative ones.
Serialization, yea! Negative comments, boo! I actually didn’t think you guys were ever thinking about another serialization. So I’m pretty excited that it might be a possibility.
Donna Goddard says
Love Mod R! Glad she’s not coming by for a visit!
I love Mod R’s portrait.
I know it is impossible, but please ignore M and others like that. I love your writing and the amount of research you put into each detail.
I enjoy the books you write for the adventure. I marvel at the word craft that takes me wherever you want me to go. I never once pick apart whatever you’re writing. I just enjoy it like a fine wine or beautifully cooked meal.
Re ModR portrait….. LOL!
Yeesh M-type people, why you ruin for the rest of us?
Also, I’m sucked into Solo Leveling, so thanks for that.
Hello Ilona and Andrew,
Your explanations in this post are exceptional. I had difficulty in chemestry, but you make it sound AWSOME!!! I wish you had been my teacher way back when.
If you wish to do first hand reaserch on Navada’s ancestry (Grandma Frida’s deceased husband home “town”), please come and visit! We would be sooooo happy to see you. By the way, my parents and I still say “Mook” “Mook” and “cookie”. 😉
You are ROCKING that outfit!
Is Mercury in Retrograde? Seems like all the difficult people are ardently trying to out-difficult each other.
Why is it with Science Fiction, people are all about the science and forget that it’s also fiction?
Hope it all settles down soon. Enjoy glass of mead. Polish your armor. And have a relaxing weekend! You deserve it!
Loved the snippet. I love the anticipation of discovering who “he” is. Your discussion brings back lovely memories of the original Star Trek and how the Enterprise found a silicon-based lifeform called the Horta on a planet the Federation was mining. The miners were destroying Horta eggs– not knowing what they were– and the Horta were killing the miners for doing so. Luckily Spock mind-melded with one and the misunderstandings were cleared up. LOVE fiction. ANYTHING is possible.
One of my Fav episodes!
Helen B says
I am truly thankful that Ilona Andrews have kept writing during this ghastly pandemic, and do not want any idiots upsetting them. Of other self published authors I read and enjoy, one seems to have totally vanished, are they alive even.Horrible thought, but who knows, another hasn’t updated their site in months. It’s a bad time and silly little pendants are not wanted!
Chelley Roberts says
I think Mod R’s wings are a bit smallish.
If there’s one thing the BDH knows, it’s that Ilona and Gordon meticulously research everything – EVERYTHING – so 10+ helpful comments seems “over the top”. Am a personal fan of Mod R’s portrait – totally badass.
“To exercise extreme prejudice “. Oh how I love you and your command of language. Hugs and kisses and total support for those who expose themselves by writing.
Lesley Denton says
Love the Mod R picture
I like the portrait of Mod R at work.
Terrie C says
I want to write something (I am not a writer) just so I could use the concept of Magic Oxygen coming out of one’s butt.
It remind me that there is a new research on giving ICU patients oxygen through the butt instead of the airway😂😂 It may not be magical, but it can save a life 👍🏻
Thank you, that explanation was actually really interesting.
Eileen Hamilton says
I am a scientist with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, specializing in molecular genetics. I totally love your premise that Arabella’s talent comes from the surrogate. It’s your fantastic outside the box thinking that makes your stories so special. Don’t let the nit pickers grind you down.
Epigenetics for the win!
Moderator R says
It’s not epigenetics in Arabella’s case, but maternal microchimerism https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microchimerism
And, of course, magic.
Hope this helped 🙂
As a young planetary scientist, I’m excited to see what kind of new planet you are going to invent and describe 😄 I can only make guesses as nothing is written yet, but I have sooo many questions about it that I’ll happily wait 10 years to have the answers to 😄Is there a magnetic field ? What is the surface temperature ? Is there a greenhouse effect ? How long is the day ? And the year ? The acceleration of gravity and the density ? (Yes, my questions have nothing to do with the possibility of life on a planet. That’s the exibiologists job to know the possibility, and it’s the author’s job to make it happens if needed😄)
As a reader and a fan : I don’t care about the answers, I’ll happily read whatever you write 😄 And I’ll accept any explanations, because it will be as always logical, well researched and well explained :p
Go Mod R – sword at the ready
Rachel Williams says
If we find an error in published books, should we send an email through the contact form? I read on my Kindle, and I’ve used the “report content error” function through their platform for several authors, but would it be appropriate to email directly through the contact form on the blog?
ModR is cool! I was lost at “sapient bioweb” but that’s ok – because I trust the authors and realize that their books are fiction – very, very good and enjoyable fiction.
It’s clearly not the right thing to say but…. I enjoyed your blog post today on non-water based building blocks of life so much that I’m almost glad some pedant annoyed you yesterday. It was a lovely exposition on the possibilities.
Sydney Girl says
Gotta agree!! I learn so much unrelated science stuff here.
Mind blowing – truely.
Also, was really glad not to be eating anything when I read the Modor puppy post. Food would have been everywhere. Laughed OUT LOUD AT WORK. Very funny.
I’m always amazed at how smart you are. It’s probably why you’re able to create such amazing worlds. Ignore the ppl out to prove they know better than you! Just low self esteem on their end
Angel Mercury says
While I’m sad to hear you felt like you needed to push back against some of the comments from the teaser post, I did find this science lesson really cool and interesting. I always enjoy when you share bits of knowledge.
Looking forward to more Innkeeper when we get it 🙂
Susan J says
First, thank you for my new favorite sentence, “M’s survival instincts are misfiring,” and second thank you for what I actually do envision modR looking like. She will terminate with extreme prejudice. We are lucky to have her protecting our authors.
Fancy W. says
Boy howdy, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gordon finds out about those ‘pedantic’ comments.
I reckon I’d learn new power words!
I am in awe of your ability to write. You spend the day writing to make a living and you manage to post a rebuttal like this. Amazing.
Mod R is an effing Sith Lord. Color me surprised- I had no clue (seriously NONE).
Writers are some of the most versatile and intelligent beings on this planet. Thank you for sharing your worlds with us! Without you our world would be a cold dark place.
It always floors me that ANYONE would complain about FREE fiction!
As a proud member of the BDH, let me say how sorry I am that you have had to deal with this nonsense.
I’m sure some people really do think they are being “helpful” but they are also setting up a scenario where they assume that you haven’t done any research or have any idea what you’re talking about and it just comes off as insulting and self-aggrandizing, not helpful.
No one can be an expert in everything, but when you have needed help you have ASKED for it. I am thinking of Catalina’s formula to try to determine if Alessandro’s car is going to make the jump safely. You asked, people answered (and listed their credentials as to why their opinion should be given notice) and the formula was correct in the book.
People need to adopt a wait-to-be-asked attitude when it comes to giving their opinions and “corrections”.
Also, Ilona is a BAD ASS CHEMISTRY GODDESS.
I have no idea about anything you wrote. However, I can state with authority that I am waiting for anything you write.
I realize there’s a lot of “satisfying takedown-ness” here…but I also found the science really really cool!! The whole way membranes form is just mind-boggling to me, and just awesome to learn the science behind it!
Sadly, it was things like that that sucked the fun out of my blog and made me pull the plug. Honestly, I got tired of the demands, the erroneous “corrections” of my posts, and the behind the scenes insults. All for something I did for free. I don’t miss the super duper smart keyboard warriors. At all.
This demonstrates why I love that big, beautiful, intelligent brain you have! You are brilliant and I adore your writing! Can’t wait for the next Innkeeper or any if your different series! ❤️
I was afraid of this happening.
Apparently lockdowns have an adverse affect on civility.
I would love, love to have an Innkeeper to read.
Yes, mind candy, yum, yum
I really, really, really love devouring good mind candy 😁
I love a good verbal smackdown. You are awesome. Thank you for all you do to make this world a better place.
Maybe I missed a post, but what does BDH stand for?
Book Devouring Horde
So sorry you have to deal with such idiots. Waiting with delight for novella!
AHA, Michael is a male version of Moderator R. It makes sense now
Dear Mod R, I can see there is an Innkeeper teaser, but when I follow the link I get a blank screen. This makes me sad. Please help. I can read all the other blog entries just fine.
Moderator R says
The teaser snippet of the Innkeeper is here https://www.ilona-andrews.com/2021/we-must-find-him/
Transcript for the image can be found below it, but just in case ☺️, it says:
“The dunes of Karron are born of electrified sand and methane winds. We must find him before the planet swallows him whole.”
I hope this helps 🙂
Jill S. says
Such a very cool discussion of alien life possibilities, even if the original impetus was an inaccurate/annoying comment!!
Thank you for this fascinating analysis.
Looking forward to more delightful Innkeeper scenarios.
I don’t typically read the Innkeeper serialization, I wait for the edited version to go up for sale. And then I buy all ebook, paperback, and sometimes the audio version as well. Speaking of 😉 there’s several IA audible books on sale for $5 each for another day if you’re a premium plus audible member (and many more great books by other authors. Anyone that liked Cradle by Will Wight should check out Reincarnation by Michael Head. Same wonderful narrator too. Love Travis Baldree!! ). I got the first four Hidden Legacy and Blood Heir since I hadn’t picked them up yet. I love “rereading” books using the audio versions; I already know what’s going to happen so if I miss a minute or two that’s ok. I just finished Iron & Magic the other day (for the third time!), and I think it’s a good time for a reread of HL for when book 6 comes out. Love the new narrator of HL too btw. Anyway, thanks for all you do, House Andrews. Any day with an blog post from you is a Good Day
Jim Huffman says
You folks are the best!
“We are keeping it simple.”
That broke my brain, which is why I was never a biology or chemistry major and **why I love House Andrews’ stories so much** — you all make the implausible (magic) completely plausible because it’s clear you know your stuff. Thank you for building such absolutely fascinating worlds that I feel like I can actually visit.
Kaylene McCormack says
Thank you for the clarification, entertainment and the fantastic fiction! Your authorship is one of a kind and should be treated with courtesy and respect. Salute to Mod R!
If only eye rolling was a form of exercise!
For what it’s worth, I personally would be just as happy if you wrote the entire thing in beautiful privacy and then sold it to the BDH who will happily pay for it. The work and your mental health is the important thing here and a very small but very loud percentage of the BDH will never be able to keep their mouths shut. Seriously, makes us wait, please.
I must say, I love it when fantasy authors of any stripe get into the science of how things work. Thank you!
I so enjoy your smack downs 😁
Aaannnnd then you give me anxiety telling us important people in my favorite series are hurt 😢😢 🤞🏼🤞🏼
That was a glorious slaughter. 😁
This is why strong women are the best! Thank you for your service <333
Thank you for all your books.
Re-reading Wildfire and just had to grin 😀; Fullerton and his comment about extreme prejudice.
OMG!! My 25 year old is a FNP/ENP, er nurse in case u need any info while writing er scenes. She is huge fan! Just saying!!
At Mod R: I think you’re portrait needs to be on a t-shirt.
At House Andrews: I love your books, blog and anything else you care to share. I am simply grateful that I get to read and enjoy.
And the typo 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️ Apologies for the wrong “your”.
‘You have to decide if you are going to be 1.“helpful” ‘
2. ‘ read serial form’
I vote 2
Why are there always idiots who spoil it for everyone?
Heh – let’s NOT be pedantic. Lest anyone forget, Ilona has a background in science. I took a fair amount of science classes in college and I’m going to go stick my head in a bucket of ice because I think I sprained my brain trying to wrap my head around all that.
Haha fact-filled smackdowns are the best!
I just finished reading the Innkeeper series again and have an odd niggling question that I can’t seem to get out if my head! I can’t work out in my head how Gertrude Hunt and the Avalon Subdivision are situated. I tried to search for a picture of Gertrude Hunt that shows its orientation vis-à-vis the Avalon subdivision. Does Gertrude Hunt face the subdivision at a T junction. Is the road between the Inn and the subdivision small enough that a conversation between Officer Marais and the Draziri can be heard from the edge of front yard of the Inn?
Normally I’d say unleash the Gordon but it’s been a generally shit year and he doesn’t need that grief. UNLEASH THE MOD.
Ummm, is no one else in the BDH a bit curious about who is seriously injured and in the ER?
On a lighter note, I’m wondering who was under the partially open floating sippy cup when it stopped floating. 😁
Natalie Naumann says
Damn….I wish I was mod R….
Wouldn’t readers rather House Andrews focus on writing than spend an hour on a biochem? Also, aren’t these fiction books? If HA says the Planet Earth in innkeeper is made up of marshmallows- they call the shots. (Although, I appreciate the effort and research HA takes, when they don’t need to for fictional world with MAGIC.)
But if HA is accepting questions for a future Q&A: how do mates work in KD world? Is choosing a mate voluntary? Is it fate? Could shapeshifters pick anyone and experience the mating symptoms? Is it for life or can one divorce and experience a new mating bond? I’m just sneakily trying to figure out how long Derek recognized Julie’s importance even if his mind wouldn’t go there when she was younger. Mates are a fictional phenomenon I enjoy but don’t need to understand, so please feel free to let this question disappear in to the abyss (or sato construct, har har). I’ll see myself out.
I think mates are not really magical-for-life stuff in here. I rmb about a divorced wolf couple case that kate complain to curran in his coma.
Thanks Pang! I had wondered if the mood swings and territorial instincts Angela and Curran exhibited after mating we’re symptomatic of a greater instinct. Mostly to overanalyze Derek and Julie, to be honest. But given her age when she left, it’s more comfortable to think of them as just friends back then (from Derek’s POV). Still, Magic Stars was one of the most romantic non-romances I’ve enjoyed so I love scanning for more clues and context. Thanks again!
Moderator R says
Mates are not predestined in the KD world.
They have different courting rituals and culture around the mate relationships because of being shifters (breaking into each other’s territory to demonstrate prowess, feeding their mate etc), but there is no “fated urge” overwhelming their consent. Divorces and breakups are possible (off the top of my head, the Wolf clan has several examples).
Julie and Derek’s relationship is very complex, but Magic Stars and hopefully the sequels to Blood Heir will give us further insights 🥰. #MetalRose 4ever!
I hope this helped 😊
Thank you Moderator for answering pure speculative questions on my end. You’re so prompt and thorough! I look forward to learning more about mates and Julie and Derek in particular in future books. I’m a sucker for a years-long payoff.
Maura Elisabeth Manning says
Cool Beans! I truly love coming here. You always brighten my day.
This is the most weirdly timed of all of your posts that I’ve read. I’m going back to school for my nursing degree and just took a biology exam exactly on cell membranes. Just turned it in online by midnight, come here and am asking myself—wait is this the blog or homework?!
I’m sorry people are such…pedants… Whenever I read a blog I’m just happy to hear what’s going on in your life! Reading your blogs are some of my best times on the internet these days.
Moderator R says
Good luck with the exam!
There is a Dutch children’s book. A “future novel” (not SciFi!) written by Tonke Dragt in 1969. Dutch title “Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed”. It may have been translated as “The Forests of Venus”.
Venus has been colonised. Explorers/researchers live under a dome.
Venus is described as extremely colourful, not unlike our rain forests. The atmosphere contains oxygen and there are many lifeforms, some even as intelligent as humans.
Scientifically everything the book says about Venus is wrong. Nobody cares, the book has won many prizes for youth literature.
I still have the book. My copy is from 1971.
I suppose it was a birthday present since I was too young to buy my own books in 1971.
I re-read occasionally and I still love it.
Me…googling the word pedantic.
New vocabulary learnt. Thank you!
Lizz D. says
Who did the wicked drawing at the end of the post? I LOVE IT. Also, major kudos on the chemistry lesson. While I SUCK at science, I find it fascinating and fun. I’m a history buff. Have fun with the ER scene. 🙂
I love the image of Moderate M at work.
Don’t think we need to say anything more as Mod-M blade appears sharp enough (I currently have blade envy *sighs*)
I guess something happened in the comments?
Don’t tell me, I’ll just go watch tiktoks
I enjoyed the exobiology lesson. Very cool.
Thanks for the explanation, I love to learn new stuff like this and sadly it has been quite some time since my last biology/chemistry classes.
I hadnt read the comment in question of course but I just love to see all the attention to detail you employ when writing your works.
House Andrews rules! And innkeeper has a special place in my heart ❤
It is sad to hear that some people get …. mean when there is serialisation, please know that whenever innkeeper is being uploaded you make my week as I look forward to each chapter or snippet 🙂
Mary S says
This may be regarding the Innkeeper series, but that was a Kate Daniels style smackdown LOL. Don’t let them get to you, we love what you do!
Don’t mess with Ilona. She is (they are) brilliant! Thanks for the interesting chem lesson.
The interesting thing is “Life as we know it” Looking back in time, “life as we know it” is so different now than it was in the 1400s or during the time of the ancient Greeks, for example. Who is to say that sometime in the future the math and physics we use today may be proved to be as out of date as as when Earth was the center of the Universe.
Truth, itself is malleable. a majority opinion. In the time that Earth was thought to be the center of the universe, that concept was known to be the absolute truth.
Love your work. Thank you for writing and for blogging 💕
I love that you know all this!
Absolutely everything you said there, and also, in case anyone is interested, water molecules are good a biological solvent because they are small and polar (because of the oxygen), much more than methane… so if anything, in conditions where water can’t be in a liquid state,liquid ammonia would probably be more efficient as a solvent than methane! I’m a second year biology student and this information came from one of my professors, so pretty sure about that, but feel free to correct me if you know something I don’t 🙂
Thanks for the post! Dizzying but clearly to the point. Good luck with the ER scene O_O and I loved the Mod R portrait ^_^
I absolutely believe that moderation requires PPE equipment like armor and sharpened blades. 5 stars for an impressive on-the-job presence :).
I know it’s so petty, but I want to frame this amazing smack-down and read it as a form of meditation.
cheryl z says
I was watching Rocky and Bullwinkle last night, I adore that cartoon series; it was entertaining for adults (I mean as a kid I had zero understanding of the cold war and why Boris and Natasha made my parents laugh) and hilarious for kids. Although to the modern woke culture it would be viewed as offensive, it is so f’ing funny to a politically incorrectzoid like me. I always loved the Mr. Know It All features, which perfectly captured human/moose nature. Some things never change.
Just in case you need one, My husband has a PhD in Biochemistry specifically protein folding. It’s a very weird field. He is currently a patent agent for Thermo Fisher Scientific and does work for their instrument group. If you have questions about biochemistry I would be happy to pass them along to him. I’m sure he would like to actually use his degree;-)
I thought it was very cool. The bio-major with a chem-minor in me was very excited.
I rarely read comments as I am here to see what you have to say but sorry you get crappy ones.
Polina Makeeva says
If you liked this discussion, I highly recommend Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Its a mix of biochemistry, elementary particle physics and space survival.
Ooh, Ilona threw down with SCIENCE. Love it!!!
I so wouldn’t play the pedantic game with you:
– let’s remember that you called an opera to make sure of the paint color for one scene for KD ( https://www.ilona-andrews.com/2018/writing-questions-research/ ),
– that when naming things, you go check it’s meaning in several languages ( https://ilona-andrews.com/2021/of-birds-and-names-ferocious-nature-of/ ),
– that you have a fucking major in biochemistry as you fully demonstrated in this post ( https://ilona-andrews.com/2020/coming-to-america/ ).
If you taught me one thing it is to never underestimate you : nothing is done without both research and purpose.
Adrienne Trudeau says
Didn’t Ilona get a university scholarship due to her proficiency in chemistry?
Please don’t ruin things for the rest of us by your arrogance, pedantic people!
Ilona & Gordon, I’m so sorry you have these types of interactions. You’re so generous with us & it’s a poor repayment.
I buy everything you write the moment it’s available for pre-order & have never been disappointed. Thank you!
Y G says
Please, I love Innkeeper, I tell everyone about it, I’ve gifted the series to people, and I am commenting so you know there are loads of people just like me who feel the same. When people blow up your comments section I hope you know the rest of us are here, keeping our fingers crossed.
Also, I have sent this post to my children to show them yet another way that science is useful – when writing fiction! (and telling off a know-it-all)
Love Mod R! love your books because your world building all hangs together and does not contradict itself. That’s all I need to keep my suspension of disbelief going
On being precise…….
I read the Ilona Andrews books to relax and enjoy the characters, world-building, humor, etc. I’m not looking to nitpick or deliver/get a scientific treatise. It would be a shame to have the authors ticked off enough to stop writing the series and move on to something else. I’m sure I’d like the “something else”, but Innkeeper and the serialization is fun. Let’s all relax, suspend disbelief, enjoy their creativity and keep the fun going. Please.
Mod R, you’re my hero. Also, Ilona, big ups on continuing to be a chemistry nerd forever. I aspire to that level of glorious chemistry love! (But seriously, how do you remember this level of detail??? I’m one year out of my last O Chem 2 class and can’t keep this level of expertise alive) Thanks for keeping the blog a safe corner of the inter-webs, and for continuing to write here as well as books. I am so absolutely grateful for you.
Couldn’t follow the science but the pictures are really pretty!
I love science!
Your pedantification is amazing. You are amazing. Full stop. This is why IA books are just so professionally scripted. Thank you.
Can’t wait for Ruby Fever!!
I’ve never understood troll-like behavior, particularly towards authors they claim to like and want to see more work from. What can be more demoralizing and counter-productive to the creative process writing requires than such negativity? There’s a place for constructive literary criticism, but it certainly isn’t a few throw away lines from some unknown stranger on a blog, especially when responding to free fiction! I love books and snippets whether free or paid works and I’m so sorry you have to deal with trolls telling you what to write or have a passive aggressive comment for every line. I’ve loved your books for years and want to send another shout out to Mod R for keeping the haters out and hope you all keep wanting to write for years to come!
OK, that was a cool post! You lost me in the chemistry. But the basic point that life is believed to require separation, meaning a cell wall, fascinating.
The post was a bit like when you’re at a science fiction convention and you go to a panel where actual space scientists explain how something like asteroid mining would work with today’s technology. Even more so, as somebody in that room with no advanced training will definitely stick their oar in. Leading a physicist to say something like, “Sure, you could do that if you had some way to cancel angular momentum.”
Holly E Corin says
Preach sistah! We love Innkeeper and all the teasers!
WENDY m HASBARGEN says
I love the Mod R portrait! Is it bad that I enjoyed this post? Thank you for continuing to write. I have enjoyed all of the series you write. (I am fairly certain I own all of them.)
Ooooh Getting “tips from the ER” flashes.
@steveioe on tiktok. If you need a chuckle.
ModR rocks! As does House Andrews! Your patience with the BDH is always appreciated. As is your creativity and genius. Ignore the haters and the pedants. The rest of us BDH adore your work and live for when House Andrews bestows their latest creative genius upon us mere mortals.
“I have an ER scene to write in Ruby Fever because important people are very hurt” OMG!!!! Cannot wait for Ruby Fever… hope none of my favourite characters die…
Ove T says
Don’t get the “I’m getting a peek at the story for free, so I’ve gotta nitpick and make negative remarks about it for no reason”-crowd ? Heck, I’ve been following many of the stories that have been on here (I arrived because of Innkeeper !). I like the stories and the action. Since I’m not writing the stories I can’t critique the twists and turns, I can make my own stories/books (in theory…!!!) and do with them as I please, but for the love of Grapthars Hammer – why would you yap about something you get a sneak peek at for free ???
I hope these nincompoops can shut up – I wanna enjoy my sneak peeks in peace and have happy writers that put out more of them !
Lovely portrait of Mod R btw, is probably very useful to have a large stabby-slashy implement to mod comments
Elba =) says
I love you guys!
That’s it, that’s all I got…xoxo
Coming to this on a Monday morning…. I think those sewing pins look like cake pops (with a mirror glaze) and now I’m hungry for something sweet. 🤪
Love your books and also think that Mod R rocks!
I trust your research. Clearly, you do it impeccably. I did not realize how in depth your science research goes. I love science. I was able to follow that, almost. Not because of your teaching, but because, I will have to go over it again to stretch my brain cells to understand, lol. Thank-You! Knowledge is power.
I appreciate all of your writing .Never understood what makes people want to be rude when you all give so much.
Super excited for RF, Innkeeper and anything else you guys dream up and create. Thank you!
I love how much random stuff I learn from your blog. While it was born of a frusterating comment, this post was absolutely fascinating, thank-you!
A clear and concise science lesson! I love it! Thank you for giving this old granny more knowledge!
I have purchased all your books, short stories and anthologies. The worlds you all create are amazing. All are worth revisiting! I love being a member of the BDH – my philosophy is simple: you write & publish and I will purchase, read and reread.
ModR you totally rock. Have you ever tried Norwegian Chocolate? It’s divine! But, do not let my #6 granddaughter see your outfit she’ll want one for sure!
Love the outfit. Would be nice for a party.
Thank you for moderating. This is the only blog I enjoy reading. The discourtesy and snark on unmoderated sites turns my stomach.
Barbara Kay Swanson says
You are a queen. Thank you.
As a chemist I absolutely love your explanations here 😊 it makes me miss my undergrad lectures in biochem
sandra scott says
All Hail Mod R.
Let it be known far and wide the Author Gods have spoken.
This is too funny. I mean we are reading a book with vimpires, werewolves and intelligent houses in it. It’s ll fine and dandy. Let’s get sticky about some random planet and its electrified sand.
It’s fiction, people, who cares about chemistry if it fun and enjoyable read?
Thank you Mod R for all your work! Without you, I know serialized Innkeeper would not be possible!
Moderator R says
You’re very sweet, but the magic is all House Andrews. 🥰
There have been 4 Inkeepe serials so far and I’ve only been here since January so haven’t yet been through the process. Hehe fingers crossed for all of us!
Whatever it takes to have a happy non-toxic environment for my favorite authors I am solidly in favor of creating. Delete comments by the dozens, including mine, as long as I get more Innkeeper. I have no shame. Best regards,
Why do people have to be like *waves arms vaguely* this?
I’m sorry. And thank you for pushing through the pedantic.
Last year, I spent the year clenching my teeth and repeating, “2021. 2021. 2021. I can make it.” So far, 2021’s response has been, “oh yeah? Hold my beer.” And now I’m repeating “2022. 2022. 2022. I can make it.”
Your stories offer an escape when this reality gets to be too much, and – with all due melodrama – they’ve seriously been a lifeline over the past 10,000 months.
You are so appreciated.
Melody S. says
My high school chemistry teacher would be so proud that I wished I paid attention in class so I could understand my favorite author’s blog post.
Not gonna lie my understanding is about 40%, but I appreciate the translation that it’s too cold.
I’m sad and hope they don’t take Innkeeper’s serial away from the rest of us who enjoy it. 🤞