Stephen B. Pearl Shares Their Greatest Sci Fi Gadget During OWS CyCon 2019

Welcome to another fantastic stop in our Greatest Gadgets blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting awesome Sci Fi tech, and you can find a full list of participating authors and topics for this hop on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Stephen As Tinker1

Welcome, Stephen B. Pearl!

Tinker’s World – Post-Apocalyptic, thrillers, Science Fiction

 Starting over doesn’t mean escaping the past.

Over a hundred years before the first book, human society collapsed from the excesses of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Two high tech societies have risen from the ashes in the area that is today Ontario by centering on the old hydroelectric plants. Novo Gaia and the United Grid Regions. Novo Gaia runs the tinker program, where they send Doctors of General Applied Technologies, colloquially known as a Tinker, into the Dark Lands, areas without electricity, to help the people there bootstrap themselves back to energy abundance through the use of sustainable technologies. Tinkers also supply basic medical, veterinary and other services.

In Tinker’s Plague Brad, a tinker enters the Dark Lands town of Guelph to find that a plague has been released from an abandon research facility. Brad must deal with the plague while Novo Gaia and the United Grid Regions fight a cold war battle about how much aid to give the afflicted area.

In Tinker’s Sea, Tabby, a tinker working an aquatic tinker’s route on lake Heroin, is tasked with neutralizing a notorious pirate that is marauding over the Great Lakes in a broken-down nuclear submarine, leaving a trail of radiation and death in their wake.

Tinker Twins

What can you tell us about the piece of Sci Fi tech you’re featuring today?

To start, the solar still is only science fiction in a nebulous sense because we could make them today. In fact, if someone has a rural property, it could be an interesting home handyman project. To understand the place of the Solar Still in the Tinker’s World you must keep in mind that the water supply is heavily contaminated. This excerpt makes the point.

Carla awoke the next morning to a hissing sound. Sitting up on the front seat, she looked at the back of the wagon.

“Brad, your pot’s boiling dry,” she warned.

Brad looked up from his computer.

“I know. I’m doing a fractional distillation of the well water.”


Brad shrugged. “The academy’s hydrology department will store my van through the winter for free if I send them test results on all the communal wells on my route.”

“Oh. What’s it like?”

“Petroleum distillates, e-coli bacteria, metallic salts, a variety of trace elements too numerous to mention.”


“Our inheritance. You have to love our ancestors.”

Due to the degraded environment, various cancers are rampant in the dark lands where there is inadequate water treatment. During the collapse, one hundred and seven years before the first book, Tinker’s Plague, approximately ninety per cent of the global population died over a five-year period. The majority of those deaths were due to water born pathogens people had no resistance to. We spend a lot of energy purifying our drinking water in the west today.

The Solar Still is a device for cleaning contaminated water. Mirrors direct sunlight onto a black barrel situated on the sunward side of a building. A black pipe rises from the barrel to a hatch. This hatch is attached to a float in the barrel that will trigger it to close when four litres of the water has evaporated out of the barrel. A white pipe leads from the hatch down the shaded side of the building where it is situated over a collection barrel.

Back at the reservoir barrel, the float system is set to open a valve spilling the last 4 litres of water onto the ground. The black barrel is filled by a hand pump then left to run through the daylight hours.

Chemicals with a low vaporizing temperature evaporate out of the water and are lost up the chimney. The flap closes directing the rest of the evaporate, mostly water, into the white, shaded pipes where it cools, condenses and flows into the collection barrel. This has the effect of concentrating contaminants with a high vapour point in the water in the source barrel which is dumped at the end before the contaminants can escape up the pipe to contaminate the water in the collection barrel.

One of the advantages of this system is it can be made of items that can be salvaged from the crumbling abandoned building that are common in the dark lands.

Another brief excerpt from Tinker’s Plague that fits well with the topic.

“If you want water, we’re all S.O.L. Somebody doesn’t have the sense to refill the reservoir. I just pumped it full, but the sun’s setting.”

“Arkell! This town. Let me check the system to see that no one damaged it.” Brad began inspecting the unit.

The still consisted of a hand pump connected to a black steel drum set behind a sheet of glass. Reflective panels directed sunlight onto the drum, from which a length of black pipe rose above the barn. A float opened a vent at the top of the pipe, allowing the first few litres of the water to escape. When the vent closed the humid air flowed along another pipe to the north side of the building, where it condensed into a barrel on the second floor. When the float neared the tank’s bottom, it opened a valve, dumping the remaining water. A pipe led from the condensing tank, to just above the horse trough.

“System’s okay,” announced Brad, after scrambling around it for several minutes.

“I figured it would be. I don’t mind them drinking the clean, but I wish they’d refill the cistern afterwards. When you tinkers going to rig a solar pump to refill this unit anyways?” Dan leaned against the barn like he owned it.

“Probably when we don’t have to anymore.” Brad grinned. “I’ve enough water for us and the horses on board. Last year’s tests showed the well good enough for washing in; we should do okay.”

Where can people find you on the web?

Thanks for reading and for more about me and my works or to buy, please visit the following links.


To Buy:

Stephen B. Pearl on Amazon:

For more info:

Stephen B. Pearl:

Stephen B. Pearl on Amazon:

Facebook Stephen B. Pearl Writer:

Facebook Tinker’s Plague:



Blog Stephens Musings:


Good Reads:

For more stops on our World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.


2 thoughts on “Stephen B. Pearl Shares Their Greatest Sci Fi Gadget During OWS CyCon 2019

  1. I love sci-fi too, especially the gadgets. I’ve seen/read about new inventions to purify contaminated water but they all require an industrial world. I like the ‘hands on’ feel of this solar still. I like the idea of Tinkers too. 🙂


  2. Thank’s AcFlory, in the Tinker’s World I really wanted to explore the idea that, ‘No system could expand beyond the limits set by the least available element necessary for its survival.’ And I made the least available element energy. The solar still is a particular favourite of my gadgets in so much as it could have real-world applications. Tinkers came about because I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades myself so I greatly exaggerated my own skill set. I wanted to make the generalist relevant again.

    I also want to thank Liz Hennessy for hosting my post.

    Enjoy the con.


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