My Favorite Bit: J.S. Fields Talks About ARDULUM: THE BATTLE FOR PRUITCU

J.S. Fields is joining us today to talk about their novel, Ardulum: The Battle for Pruitcu. Here’s the publisher’s description:

Fifteen years ago, Guard Four stood by and watched her friend, Atalant, be jettisoned into space for questioning their planet’s religion.

Atalant should have died. Instead, she disappeared.

Consumed by guilt, Guard Four trawls space, hopping from spaceport to spaceport, hoping to find and bring Atalant home with exonerating evidence that Ardulum, the traveling planet her people worship, is no mystic deity.

At the edges of the known galaxy, Guard Four finds the shattered remains of a murdered world – a world of her genetic cousins who could have provided the evidence she desperately seeks. Ardulum, it seems, is no fairy tale but rather a bogeyman, set on destroying anyone who gets between it and its biological imperative to reproduce. And in its seat of governance rules Atalant – god to a planet she swore did not, could not, exist.

Guard Four must unravel Ardulan fact from myth to save her friend and the billions of other beings threatened by the Void – a tear in space created from Ardulum’s most recent birthing event. But how does one bring a god of a killer planet home? And how is Guard Four supposed to stop the Void without giving it the only thing it wants – the destruction of Ardulum?

If you’re looking for adventure and a touch of romance across time and space, filled with diverse alien species, deep emotions, and science fact and fiction, don’t miss the next book in J.S. Field’s Ardulum Series!

What’s J.S. Fields’ favorite bit?

J.S. Fields

Wood’s greatest weakness: fungi

I’ve been on My Favorite Bit before to talk about my science fiction series Ardulum, which blends space opera tropes with hard science (wood science…the best science). For the fifth book in this series, which starts a new trilogy arc, I wanted to introduce a new technology to screw with the galaxy.

The obvious choice was fungi.

Cellulose—the primary component of wood—has a number of uses in technology and food printers even today. However just like Superman it has kryptonite. Fungi, specifically wood-decaying Basidiomycetes and some Ascomycetes, secrete enzymes that can digest all three primary wood cell wall components (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). In a galaxy where all the tech is cellulose based, from food printers to spaceships to communication lines, the quickest way to introduce chaos, is to introduce rot.

But of course, fungi are highly diverse and have developed methods to counteract each other. It doesn’t take long for rot counter measures to be put into place in the Ardulum universe, and to do that I used my favorite fungal compound: melanin.

Some fungi secrete this high molecular weight pigment (usually brown or black) into wood when they are under stress. Melanin is thick and dense, and fungal hyphae cannot penetrate through it. It forms a visible ‘fence’ in wood, that protects from other fungal species.

It was fantastic to introduce the concept of fungal melanin in The Battle for Pruitcu, and really delve into how A) one would produce enough melanin to coat, say, a planet, and B) the almost certain black market trade that would crop up if melanin were in short supply. Add to that the planet of sentient fungi that were already established in-world, and this bit of bio-tech adds a delightful nerdy extension to the series.

It also puts a real damper on Ardulan telekinetic powers which makes the main characters predictably grumpy. May you enjoy reading about fungal warfare in space as much as I enjoyed writing it!


Ardulum: The Battle for Pruitcu Universal Book Link





J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans.

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