Shrink-Wrapped Buckyballs

Gee that’s a fun couple words to say if you have the right mindset. But why am I saying it? New Scientist Tech is reporting on some extroverted buckyballs caught on film:

Blink and you might miss it. Researchers have captured the rapid formation of buckyballs—carbon spheres just 1 nanometre in diameter—on film for the first time.

The footage shows how buckyballs, or C60 fullerenes, form in a new process where a thin sheet of graphite exposed to high temperatures shrinks and loses carbon atoms, says Boris Yakobson at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US.

Why am I so worked up over buckyballs? A while back I talked about how science inspires my stories and how buckyballs play a fundamental role in my novel AVATAR (previously titled RIVER OF STARS), where they’re used in a particulate radiation shield when a companion star is in flare.

I’ve been revising AVATAR lately, hence the new title and I even have a new blurb for it:

AVATAR blends post-cyberpunk espionage with the ecological and mystic themes akin to Frank Herbert’s Dune.

When dispatched to distant Ico, Kinship spy Jana Rajam is captured and forced to share her mind with the memories of a long-dead warrior queen. Once escaped, Rajam finds herself thrown between a far-reaching conspiracy to reclaim a lost golden age and a bid to control a narcotic that could enslave or liberate the Iconnu.

A queen must have a consort, and religious leader Brannon Bayne has spent a lifetime living up to the memories he carries of the ancient monarch’s renowned general. A half-breed caught between two cultures, Bayne must convince Jana to help him forge a peace before solar flares ravage the planet.

AVATAR tells the story of a spy’s redeeming mission, a revered leader’s desperate journey, and a warring planet’s only hope.

Read an excerpt of AVATAR.