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Science Fiction Questions

Research for my book

When you’re an author, you sometimes have research some pretty weird science fiction questions. I remember asking a doctor in my church how long someone with a certain injury would take to die. Not quite what they expected from a chat after the service!
Kestrel spaceship and questions
My current work in progress is basically a disaster novel, so if you can help me with answers to some questions, I would be very grateful.
  1. How bad is a broken or cracked rib?
  2. How bad is a major burn (arm and side) and how does healing progress? Would the patient be able to walk? Can it lead to death?
  3. Would a sandstone cliff crumble if hit by a tidal wave?
  4. Is it called a tidal wave or a tsunami?
  5. What effect would torrential rain have on an erupting volcano?
  6. What’s the difference between a hurricane and a tornado?
  7. I need some technobabble for engine trouble on a spaceship, severe enough to cripple it but not bring it down.
So if you’re a medical person, or a geologist, a climatologist or whatever, can you answer any of my science fiction questions? I would be very grateful and you’ll be mentioned in the book acknowledgements!

Head shot Ann Marie ThomasAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel, Intruders, Alien Secrets & Crisis of Conscience are out now Follow her at