Michael McCollum books in order
Michael Allen McCollum, popularly known as Michael McCollum, is a retired American engineer and author of science fiction novels, as well as non-fiction books.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, he attended Arizona State University, where he majored in aerospace propulsion and minored in nuclear engineering.
McCollum then proceeded to work for a staggering 45 years with Honeywell in Tempe, Arizona, where he retired as the Chief Engineer in the valve product line.
Throughout his illustrious career, he worked on the precursor to the Space Shuttle Main Engine, multiple guided missiles, the Space Station, and basically every aircraft that is in production today.
As a writer, McCollum has written several short fiction and appeared in magazines such as Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Amazing, and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Russian, and English–not just American.
McCollum is married to Catherine, and together they have three children: Robert, Michael, and Elizabeth.
Genres: Fantasy / SF, Non-fiction
- A Greater Infinity (1982)
- Thunderstrike! (1989)
- The Clouds of Saturn (1991)
- Sails of Tau Ceti (1992)
- Euclid's Wall (2012)
- Lost Earth (2020)
- Gridlock and Other Stories (1996)
- The Art of Writing, Volume 1 (2000)
- The Art of Writing, Volume 2 (2000)
- The Art of Science Fiction, Volume 1 (2000)
- The Art of Science Fiction, Volume 2 (2000)
- The Astrogator's Handbook (2000)
The Antares Series
- Antares Dawn (1986)
- Antares Passage (1987)
- Antares Victory (2002)
The Gibraltar Trilogy
- Gibraltar Earth (2000)
- Gibraltar Sun (2006)
- Gibraltar Stars (2009)
The Maker Duology
- Life Probe (1983)
- Procyon's Promise (1985)
Detailed book overview
Duncan MacElroy was an ordinary engineering student before he went out for a six-pack of beer one night and never came back. Instead, he found himself embroiled in a war for the dominance of Paratime, as well as defending our own particular version of Earth from predators on both sides of the battle lines. For he quickly discovered that "parallel universes" aren't, and that a single individual can make all of the difference in the worlds!
The new comet found near Jupiter was an incredible treasure trove of water-ice and rock. Immediately, the water-starved Luna Republic and Sierra Corporation, a leader in asteroid mining, were squabbling over rights to the new resource. But all thoughts of profit and fame were abandoned when a scientific expedition discovered that the comet's trajectory placed it on a collision course with Earth!
As scientists struggled to find a way to alter the comet's course, world leaders tried desperately to restrain mass panic, and two lovers quarreled over the direction the comet was to take, all Earth waited to see if humanity had any future at all...
When the sun flared out of control and boiled Earth's oceans, humanity took refuge in a place that few would have predicted. In the greatest migration in history, the entire human race took up residence among the towering clouds and deep clear-air canyons of Saturn's upper atmosphere.
Having survived the traitor star, they returned to the all-too-human tradition of internecine strife. The new city-states of Saturn began to resemble those of ancient Greece, with one group of cities taking on the role of militaristic Sparta...
Starhopper was humanity's first interstellar probe. It was designed to search for intelligent life beyond the solar system. Before it could be launched, however, intelligent life found Earth. The discovery of an alien light sail inbound at the edge of the solar system generated considerable excitement in scientific circles.
With the interstellar probe nearing completion, it gave scientists the opportunity to launch an expedition to meet the aliens while they were still in space. The second surprise came when Starhopper's crew boarded the alien craft. They found beings who, despite their alien physiques, were surprisingly compatible with humans. That two species so similar could have evolved a mere twelve light years from one another seemed too coincidental to be true.
One human being soon discovered that coincidence had nothing to do with it…
A century after civilization fell in a day and a night of tectonic cataclysm, scattered communities have regained a fraction of what humanity lost on that Day of Destruction. One such is the Duchy of Hampshire on the southern tip of England.
Hampshire is at war with the Califat de Normandie. It is a war that has been profitable for merchant sea captain Ethan Scott of the Sailing Barque Hellespont. Despite the money to be made, Scott prays for the war to end. Each time he puts to sea, he risks his ship and the lives of his crew on his ability to evade the Norman raiders in the Channel and the Eirish Sea. It is a gamble he will inevitably lose if he keeps at it too long.
The Duke of Hampshire has problems of his own. War is expensive. If he doesn’t find additional resources soon, he will be defeated. The Duke plans to send an expedition to North America to discover whether the fabled wealth of old still exists there. For that, he needs a ship.
Scott’s chance meeting with a beautiful woman presents both men with the solution to their respective problems. Soon Hellespont sets sail for America and the mysterious Wall that scholars believe precipitated the fall of civilization, and which may yet destroy the world.
A Galaxy Reborn
It is the 43rd century and humanity occupies a substantial chunk of the Orion Spur, the small galactic arm in which Sol is located. Homo sapiens Terra has become Homo sapiens Galactica.
Following the invention of faster-than-light travel in 2530, the Great Hegira went from a trickle to a flood as human-occupied space expanded at an exponential clip. Over the centuries, rivalries grew, as did star system navies. When widespread war finally came, it raged across entire sectors.
Mass bombardments of enemy planets took their toll. Much that had been built during the preceding thousand years was smashed in flashes of nuclear fusion.
A dark age descended. Eventually, a new Pax Galactica took hold. The return of stability brought with it a renaissance. Much knowledge that had been lost was regained.
Much, but not all.
On worlds across human space, parents told their children stories of a place where once dwelt knights and princesses, magicians and dragons, where bold warriors sallied forth to victory or defeat.
What the children did not learn was where this magical place could be found. The years of chaos had robbed them of that information. The stellar coordinates of Sol were lost.
And with them, the location of Planet Earth.
DUTY, HONOR, PLANET -- A story of love, honor, courage, and the Strategic Defense Initiative...
SCOOP -- For Those Who Think Chernobyl and Three Mile Island Were Big Deals, in the Words of the Immortal Al Jolson: "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"
BEER RUN -- What if you went out for a six-pack and never came back?
GIFT -- If you think nuclear power is a dangerous way to generate electricity, then you obviously haven't considered the drawbacks of solar energy!
THE SHROUD -- The Shroud of Turin is thought by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. As such, it could represent the greatest danger Christianity has yet faced . . .
WHO WILL GUARD THE GUARDIANS? -- Immortality must be purchased for a price. Perhaps that price is too high.
LIFE PROBE -- If an alien spacecraft searching for intelligent life in the universe encountered Earth, would it think that it had found any?
MAN OF THE RENAISSANCE -- If you think nuclear weapons are difficult to build, ask yourself the following question: How successful would the Manhattan Project have been at inventing the VCR?
GRIDLOCK -- Where would you go if you had invented a time machine, but couldn't steer it?
DREAM WORLD -- Does modern life ever remind you of a bad 1950s science fiction story? You may be closer to the truth than you think!
LYSENKO'S LEGACY -- There are things in life more important than ideology. Sometimes it takes the wisdom of age to realize this simple truth. (Published on Sci Fi - Arizona for the first time.)
Chapter 1: So You Want To Be A Writer?
Chapter 2: Rules For Writers
Chapter 3: Writing Basics
Chapter 4: Conflict in Fiction
Chapter 5: Character In Fiction
Chapter 6: Anchors In Reality
Chapter 7: Rhythm In Fiction
Chapter 8: The Plots The Thing
Chapter 9: The Theory of Dialogue
Chapter 10: The Practice of Dialogue
Chapter 11: Language And Atmosphere
Chapter 12: Common Mistakes In Writing
Chapter 13: Publishers, Editors, And Agents
Chapter 14: Literary Rights
Chapter 15: The Publication Process
Chapter 16: Writers And Readers
Chapter 1: Protagonists
Chapter 2: Antagonists
Chapter 3: Incidental Characters
Chapter 4: Making It Up As You Go Along
Chapter 5: Male/Female Relations
Chapter 6: Sex in Fiction
Chapter 7: The Unavoidable Sin of Repetition
Chapter 8: Sequels and Series
Chapter 9: The Psychology of Writers
Chapter 10: The Psychology of Readers
Chapter 11: Writing in the 21st Century
Appendix A: The Writer’s Guide to the Human Body
Part I: Science Fiction Techniques
Chapter 1: The History Of Science Fiction
Chapter 2: Science And Science Fiction
Chapter 3: One Impossible Thing At A Time
Part II: Science Fiction Technologies
Chapter 4: The Einstein Barrier, Part I
Chapter 5: The Einstein Barrier, Part II
Chapter 6: The Theory Of Time Travel
Chapter 7: Time Travel in Fiction
Chapter 8: Paratime
Part III: Astronomy For Science Fiction Writers
Chapter 9: Stars
Chapter 10: Practical Astrogation
Chapter 11: Terminology
Part IV: Building An Interplanetary Civilization
Chapter 12: The Solar System
Chapter 13: Rocket Propulsion
Chapter 14: Travel Between Worlds
Chapter 15: Living In Space
Part V: Science Fiction and Society
Chapter 16: Science Fiction and Society
Chapter 1: Life As We "Think" We Know It
Chapter 2: Life As We Don’t Know It
Chapter 3: World Building For Fun And Profit, Part 1
Chapter 4: World Building For Fun And Profit, Part 2
Chapter 5: Fantasy
Chapter 6: Space War Fundamentals
Chapter 7: Interplanetary Space War
Chapter 8: Interstellar Space War
Chapter 9: Introduction to Spacesuit Design
Chapter 10: Advanced Spacesuit Design
Chapter 11: Galactic Empires and Interstellar Federations: Part I
Chapter 12: Galactic Empires and Interstellar Federations: Part II
Science fiction writers have long had a problem with astronomy books. They go into great detail showing where the stars are in Earth's sky.
We SF writers aren't interested in the constellations. We need a three-dimensional view of space where the stars are displayed in their true positions with respect to their neighbors. If you are writing a book where the captain orders the astrogator to route the ship from Rigel to Antares, you don't want to stop en route at a star on the other side of the universe.
The Astrogator's Handbook was created to resolve this conundrum. It maps 3000 of the closest stars in a format akin to a 3-D chess board as viewed from the vicinity of Polaris. The book reconstructs the three dimensional structure of local space, with each star in its proper position.
The Antares Series
When the supergiant star Antares exploded in 2512, the human colony on Alta found their pathway to the stars gone, isolating them from the rest of human space for more than a century.
When a powerful warship materializes in the system without warning, the commanders of the Altan Space Navy are alarmed. They dispatch one of Alta’s most powerful ships to investigate, only to discover the unknown behemoth is battered and helmed by a dead crew.
This is disturbing news for the Altans as the defeated battleship would have easily defeated the whole of the Altan navy on it’s own. And if that ship was able to stumble into the Altan system, so too could the force responsible for its destruction. Something must be done.
After more than a century of isolation, the paths between stars are again open and the people of Alta in contact with their sister colony on Sandar. And yet, the opening of the foldlines has not been the pure blessing the Altans had supposed.
The re-establishment of interstellar travel has brought with it news of the encroaching Ryall, an alien race whose goal is the extermination of humanity. If they are to avoid defeat at the hands of the alien forces, Alta must seek out the military might of Earth. The only suitable path, however, requires a journey into the heart of a supernova...
After a century of warfare, humanity finally discovered the Achilles heel of the Ryall, their xenophobic reptilian foe. Spica – Alpha Virginis – is the key star system in enemy space. It is the hub through which all Ryall starships must pass, and if Alta and their allies can just capture and hold it, they will strangle the Ryall war machine and end its threat to humankind forever.
It all seemed so simple in the computer simulations: Advance by stealth, attack without warning, strike swiftly with overwhelming power. Unfortunately, the logistics prove to be the easy part. With the key to victory in hand, Richard and Bethany Drake must temper the volatile role of human nature if they are to bring down the alien foe…
The Gibraltar Trilogy
It is the 24th Century. Humanity is only just beginning to gain a toehold out among the stars. While exploring the New Eden system, the crew aboard Stellar Survey Starship Magellan encounters a pair of alien spacecraft. A skirmish ensues and both sides exit the battle with heavy losses. In picking through the wreckage of one of the alien ships, the human crew stumbles upon a survivor with a fantastic story.
The alien hails from a million-star Galactic Empire ruled over by a mysterious race known as the Broa. As masters of this region of the galaxy, they permit no challenge to their empire. But as yet the Broa are ignorant of humanity’s existence.
Armed with this vital information, the human race must decide how best to proceed. Do they cease all astral voyages and retreat to their corner of the universe, quaking in fear at the thought of the Broa’s discovery of Earth? Or…do they take a more aggressive approach?
The crew aboard the Stellar Survey Starship Magellan returns to Earth with bad news from their expedition to the Crab Nebula. Out among the stars, a million systems have fallen under the weight of Broan force—a fate awaiting Earth should the Broa learn of the planet’s existence. Having received this knowledge, Earth’s politicians argue over their next move, confronted by a problem with no acceptable solution.
In the meantime, Mark Rykand and Lisa Arden have embarked on a dangerous mission to spy on this newly discovered, all-powerful enemy. They must gather useful intelligence quickly—if their cover is blown too soon, the extinction of humankind is nearly certain…
The great debate is over. The human race has rejected the idea of retreating to Earth and that the Broa will continue to overlook them—at least for a few more generations. Instead, the World Parliament, by a 60-40 vote, has decided to throw the dice and go for a win. Brave words echo in Parliament Hall as members declare a victory inevitable.
While plans for war mount on Earth, Mark and Lisa Rykand face grave danger as spies in enemy territory. The Broa have begun to scrutinize these strange two-legged interlopers and question their intentions. It’s only a matter of time before their identities are revealed.
But the Rykands’ mission is key to securing a victory. With the number of forces favoring the enemy by roughly a million to one, Earth will need all the help they can get…
The Maker Duology
The Makers are an advanced, intelligent alien species. For hundreds of millennia, they have been on the hunt for the secret to faster-than-light travel. Their chosen instruments were the far-reaching Life Probes, in hopes of encountering other advanced civilizations out among the stars.
After a 10,000 year long journey, one of these machines stumbles upon 22nd-century Earth. Upon arrival, the probe isn’t quite sure that this planet contains anything that could be considered “advanced” or “intelligent”.
But the Makers need help from humankind—the probe is damaged and must be repaired if their search for knowledge is to continue...
For millennia, the Makers’ Life Probes explored the farthest reaches of space in search of the secret behind faster-than-light speed. In the 22nd century, the people of Earth made a pact with this far-flung civilization—all of the Makers’ intelligence in exchange for help in their mission.
Three hundred years later, descendants of the original Procyon expedition have returned to Earth in a starship. They find a world that has forgotten the generations-old contract.
No matter. The returning colonists have overcome far greater obstacles in their single-minded drive to redeem a promise made before any of them were born…