I have been writing or developing the Jack of Harts universe for years. It started with the characters, and then I began to flesh out the universe around them. What kind of universe would forge someone like the people I wanted to write? I realized early on that it wasn’t going to be any form of a dystopia. I grew up on Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and Battlestar Galactica, where the men are men, the women are women, and the furry little creatures from Alpha Centauri are furry little creatures from Alpha Centauri. Sorry for those who missed that. There’s a bit of a sliding joke in that line. 😉

Most of those had pretty loose rules when it came to hyperspace. Otherwise known as Plot Rules. Hyperspace does whatever the plot requires. I like the simplicity of that, but I’m a bit of a wargamer. I like rules.

So as I have developed Jack of Harts, I’ve been slowly putting together rules for how hyperspace works. They barely showed up at all in my first book, Forge of War. Though that book took place entirely in the Earth and Alpha Centauri star systems. And for story purposes (ahem…Plot Rules) I really didn’t need to explain it. There’s a reason for that, and it involves why Alpha Centauri is Earth’s gateway to the stars. But it wasn’t important to the story, so I didn’t touch on it. The action started on Earth, went to Alpha Centauri, and stayed there.

My Wolfenheim Rising and Angel Flight stories required a bit more theory of hyperspace to be remarked on though. I still kept it rather light, as I don’t want to bog readers down with infodumps, but there is one thing I did note. It’s called a Hyperspace Run. Every star has them. These are the rainbow rivers of light I describe. They reach out to other stars and create the runs that most ships use to travel between the stars. Note the “most” in there. Ships can travel in the deep dark, away from the runs. They just go slower.

I will note that I picked the rainbow rivers of light motif for the gravitic links between stars, the “highways” we use to travel, from old Norse mythology. The gods of Asgard used a rainbow highway to travel between the realms. You may have seen an example of that idea in recent movies that sport a certain Norse god and his manipulative brother in them. 😉

The point is that I wanted these links to be as realistic as possible for speculative fiction, while also being fun to play with. I am a wargamer, after all. So I came up with some complex rules for how far stars can reach, and how fast their runs are based on how hot or large the star is. I have entire spreadsheets detailing this, along with real universe 3D coordinate maps of where every major colony is. And the real space, real star system data, we use to go between them. Maps of normalspace and hyperspace that I use to plot the time and range of each movement in the Wolfenheim and Angel stories.

Serenity orbits the real star known as Beta Hydri.
Sunnydale, where the fleets assemble to assault the Hyades Cluster, orbits the star called Psi Tauri.
And Bosphorus, the doorway to the Pleiades Cluster and The Gateway, is the star we call 16 Tauri or Celaeno.

Every single colony I’ve mentioned is noted in my files, and almost every single one has a real star it is associated with. A real place we have observed with our own eyes and telescopes. We know where they are, we know what kind of stars they are, and sometimes we even know if there are planets around them.

So if you give me a real star, I can tell you if we have colonized it. And if you give me two stars, I can tell you what stars you have to travel through to get from one to the other. Because the information is in my notes. I just try to keep that out of the stories as much as possible. Infodumps. Not everybody likes them.

But I rather enjoy having it all sitting in the background, ready to trot out at a moment’s notice. Who knows? Maybe someone wants to take the midnight train to Rigel one day? I can tell them how. Though the Plot Rules might make the exact pathway a little vague. 😉