Titan's Shadow - Story Extras

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't read Titan's Shadow, grab a copy (it's FREE this week!). The rest of this article gives away some major plots points, otherwise.

A few sciencey bits first:

  • Jia only wears arctic gear and a full-face breather in Saturn's clouds. Atmospheric pressure is eighty-percent Earth's and the temperature, -99 C, isn't that much colder than the coldest temperature recorded on Earth, -89 C, in Antartica.
  • When Jia and Ping attend the eclipse party, Enceladus eclipses the Sun. Janus, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Rhea, Dione and Titan are all capable of causing eclipses on Saturn.
  • Despite its thick nitrogen atmosphere, Titan is extremely cold at -179 C, which is why Jia's cryowear is adequate for Saturn but not Titan. If you're wondering why Ping needs a PLEX suit here instead of a regular spacesuit, read the Science of the Story section of Aero One (TLDR: spacesuits are not designed to keep you warm).
  • Titan's atmospheric pressure is higher than Earth's. Jia doesn't depressurize Lucky Cricket's airlock before going outside. When she opens the door, Titan's atmosphere blasts in.
  • Iapetus is remarkably far from Saturn. At 3,560,851 km, you could fit 279 Earths between Saturn and Iapetus. It's a good place for a smuggler's base.
  • The concept of celestial Julian dates is only somewhat fictional. Real Julian dates are popular for astronomy because they are not calendar dependent; instead, they use Jan 1, 4713 BC, as '0' and count up days elapsed. In everyday-life you probably encounter a simplified version of a Julian date which counts days elapsed since Jan 1st of the current year, maxing out at 365. There's no reason that you can't do the same thing for any other planet. For example, Venus has a 225 day year, so it could have its own simplified Julian calendar which spans from zero to 225.
  • Although the constellations will appear the same from any planet in our solar system, the morning stars (which are planets) will change. In Park 270 at the end, Jia and Ping see two morning stars - Earth and Venus - low in the horizon.

A few writing bits:

Titan's Shadow has a linear structure, but, like an action movie, has a few big action scenes. If you break the story into normal scenes (S) and action scenes (A) for the nine chapters, it looks like:


Neat, huh? It's fairly symmetric.

In terms of writing lingo, the inciting incident occurs when Jia spots Flynn, the midpoint is the news of the Hephaestus attack, the climax is the shoot-out with Sulo, and the Hermes's return is the resolution. If you map them out as inciting (I), midpoint (m), climax (c), and resolution (r):

- I - - M - C - R

It works out how you'd expect. The midpoint is exactly in the middle (and is the turning point for the story).

Aero One's story structure was very different. In terms of normal scenes/action scenes, its five chapters map as:


Still symmetric, but the opposite of Titan's Shadow. Aero One starts with action and lets you get caught up in the middle.

Okay, a bit technical for writing tidbits, but thought I'd mix it up and give you both the science of the story and also the science of the story.  Hope you enjoyed it.