Flashforward Friday: Carbon Nanotubes – Raven Oak

Flashforward Friday: Carbon Nanotubes

This week’s Flashforward Friday: Carbon Nanotubes.

I’m happy to have author, Stuart Thaman, here again for a guest post on carbon nanotubes and how his own experiences with prosthetic limbs shaped the future of his writing.

While I haven’t written much futuristic as far as novels go, I’ve been in love with sci-fi ever since I read Dune in high school. My first novel, Vatican Massacre, often gets categorized as futuristic sci-fi for a few reasons. Let me say here that it is indeed set in present day. One of the characters is actually a WWII veteran – I couldn’t imagine how old he would be if the novel was set in the future.

Vatican Massacre by Stuart ThamanSo, what makes Vatican Massacre considered futuristic? I based Esau, the protagonist, partially off of my own life experiences. When I was sixteen, I completely shattered the bones of my elbow and upper arm in a high school wrestling match. To perform the first of two surgeries, the surgeon had to remove my tricep muscle. In the novel, Esau has a robotic prosthetic arm that functions with carbon nanotubes.

The technology to make such an arm possible currently exists, but it is still experimental and prohibitively expensive. Carbon nanotubes used in the muscle replacement world are less than half a millimeter thick and provide the strength of steel and the flexibility of rubber. In addition, they can be activated by electrical signal quicker than natural muscles responding to nerve impulses.

Prosthetic arm w/ carbon nanotubing via Luke Skywalker.

Prosthetic arm w/ carbon nanotubing via Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

Shortly after my own injury, I found a research program developing nanotubes muscle replacements out in California. It wasn’t a hard decision to sign up for a prototype. While I don’t think I would ever get super strength like Esau in Vatican Massacre, just having normal strength is a win in my book.

Apart from Vatican Massacre, I like to write short stories about specific elements of real world sci-fi. My most recent story is a conspiracy thriller about the Wow! Signal, a bit of radio transmission that a telescope in Ohio picked up from outer space. Real life mysteries like the Wow! Signal, Oak Island, Easter Island, and the Bloop have always been sources of fascination and inspiration for me. Bringing those mysteries to life through sci-fi will always be one of my greatest passions.

Click here to read other Flashforward Friday posts by other authors including Jean Walker, G. G. Silverman, Django Wexler, and more.


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