New Concept Art: The Hykonians

Hello, friends!

I had a really good weekend of writing and art, and I’m finally making real progress with the next Tomorrow News Network novella.  With that in mind, today I’d like to share some new concept art:

I’ve blogged about these guys (gals…? gender ambiguous pals…?) before.  They’re Hykonians.  In the Tomorrow News Network universe, the Hykonians are Humanity’s nearest neighbors, and they’re not exactly friendly neighbors.

I’ve really struggled to pin down the look of the Hykonians.  For a long time, I figured they should have glossy black, almond-shaped eyes.  You know, the kind of eyes stereotypical space aliens always have.  But this weekend, I finally came to terms with the fact that I just don’t like that look, and I went with this new “frog eye” look instead.

Let me know what you think.  I really hope people like it.  Just please don’t call the Hykonians “froggies.”  In the Tomorrow News Network universe, that’s kind of an ethnic slur.

P.S.: And if you haven’t read the previous Tomorrow News Network novella, click here to buy it on Amazon, or you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Yola (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  Welcome to the penultimate posting of this year’s A to Z Challenge!  This year, I’ve been telling you about the universe of Tomorrow News Network, my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series.  In today’s post, Y is for:


Yola is a gas giant planet located in the Cygni Lambda-Kappa Star Sector.  To some, Yola is one of the most spectacular sights in the known universe.  To others, the colors look garish.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the ancient Earthlings used to say.

The planet’s distinctive variegation is caused by a complex mix of chemicals and jet streams in the planet’s atmosphere. The colors change periodically due to the photolytic influence of Yola’s sun (something similar is known to happen to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot).  Sometimes, Yola’s colors are vibrant and bold; other times, they’re muted pastels.

Scientific research concerning Yola has been limited due to the fact that Yola is located in the middle of a war zone.  The Yola System lies near the border between the United Earth Republic and the Hykonian Hegemonic Empire.  Control over the planet has changed multiple times over the centuries.

The moons of Yola now host a mixed population of humans and Hykonians.  Well, I say mixed, but in reality a lot of self-segregation goes on.  At times, racial tensions run high; however, all-out violence among the locals is surprisingly rare.  “You don’t have to like each other to live with each other,” as the citizens of Yola often say.

If there is ever going to be peace between Earth and Hykonia, that peace will likely begin on the moons of Yola.  Or at least that’s what reports on the Tomorrow News Network have occasionally suggested.

So where did the name Yola come from?  In universe, Yola derives from the Hykonian word for rainbow.  As for the real world origin of this name, well… click here.  You’ll figure it out.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, let’s end this year’s challenge with a bang.  A Big Bang.

Hykonians (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m telling you a little more about the universe of my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series, Tomorrow News Network.  In today’s post, H is for:


Much like Mr. Cognis, the cyborg who’s addicted to emotions, the Hykonians are an idea that I salvaged from one of my old, abandoned manuscripts.  Actually, they appear in more than one of my old manuscripts.  You see, the Hykonians and I… we have a long history.

As a small child, I was already a space adventurer.  Sometimes I’d recruit other kids on the playground to be my crew.  The jungle gym was our spaceship, and we had to defend Earth from evil space aliens.  And what were those evil space aliens called?  They were called Hykonians, of course!  I have no idea how I came up with that name.  It just sounded right.

As I transitioned from playing on jungle gyms to writing my own stories and drawing my own comic books, the Hykonians continued to serve as my go-to bad guys.  They abducted humans for their evil experiments.  They hurled planet crusher missiles at Earth.  And when I started writing about time travel, the Hykonians were first in line to steal my hero and heroine’s time machine.

In science fiction, alien species often fit into easy categories.  You’ll find a warrior race or a logical race or a spiritually transcendent race or a race that’s obsessed with social media or a race that cannot understand the concept of love.  But because the Hykonians have been so many things in so many stories, I have a hard time pinning them down in that way.

In one story, I made them highly religious to the point of superstitious.  In another, they were led by a technocratic form of government that rejected anything but pure scientific fact.  They were an egalitarian culture, sometimes; but in one story I started exploring racial divisions in their society, with certain Hykonians jokingly calling themselves “High-konians” while others were referred to as “Low-konians.”  Also, at one point I wanted the Hykonians to be totally asexual.  Now they have four genders, and translating Hykonian pronouns into English is a huge problem.

So when I write about the Hykonians in Tomorrow News Network, I intend to honor everything that they’ve been in all those old stories.  Does that make Hykonian culture messy and confusing?  Yes.  Yes it does.  It’s just like human culture in that way.

In Tomorrow News Network, the border of the Hykonian Hegemonic Empire is only a few lightyears away from Earth.  The Hykonians are effectively our next door neighbors.  And they’d be friendly neighbors, except that things sort of got off on the wrong foot between our two species.  Thus, the Hykonians do not approve of us Earthlings.

And unfortunately, we Earthlings have good reason to keep our guard up against them.

Next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, anything that travels faster than light must also travel backwards through time.

The Fermi Paradox (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m telling you more about the universe I’ve created for my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series, Tomorrow News Network.  In today’s post, F is for:


Okay, bear with me.  This post is going to get weird.  Some of what I’m going to tell you is true.  The rest is totally made up Sci-Fi nonsense.


Historians disagree about the exact date, but sometime around 1950, nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi was having lunch with a few physicist colleagues.  The topic of conversation: extraterrestrial life.  It was during this conversation that Fermi famously quipped: “But where is everybody?”

Dr. Fermi then proceeded to lay out all the reasons why advanced alien civilizations should exist out there among the stars, and also all the reasons why we should have detected their presence by now.  And yet, despite our best efforts, we’ve found nothing.  So where is everybody?

This question is now known as the Fermi Paradox.  If you’re a scientist involved in SETI research, you will have to grapple with this issue at some point.  And if you’re a science fiction writer creating a sprawling Sci-Fi universe full of advanced alien civilizations, well… you should probably imagine up some sort of solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Mind you, it doesn’t have to be the most scientifically plausible solution.  But some of your readers will surely be wondering about this, so….


In time index 117-299, a Hykonian observation vessel crashed on Earth near a small Earthling village named Roswell.  The cause of the crash remains unknown.  The fate of the Hykonian crew remains unknown.  And what happened to the wreckage of the spacecraft itself?  Again, unknown.

Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the Roswell incident, the Galactic Inquisitor was forced to intervene.  The Hykonian Hegemony has demanded retribution; meanwhile, the local authorities on Earth continue to claim ignorance (something, something, weather balloons).  Until this matter is resolved, the Galactic Inquisitor has imposed an isolation ordinance over Earth.

All forms of interstellar communications are being jammed, and no spacecraft shall be permitted to enter of leave the Solar System.  Recent violations of this ordinance by NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes are currently under investigation.

Most Earthlings are left wondering, understandably, why they seem to be alone in the universe.  And so things shall remain until the Galactic Inquisitor’s ordinance is lifted.

Speaking of the Galactic Inquisitor, next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, we’ll meet the timeless, near godlike being who maintains law and order in the galaxy.