Thomas T. Thomas Tom Thomas

Tom Thomas is a writer with a career spanning forty years in publishing, technical writing, public relations, and popular fiction writing.
“My business now is to weave circumstance, happenstance, intention, and mischance into stories.”


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Featured Work:
Revolt on the Iron Planet

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Revolt on the Iron Planet Cover

Featured Work: After a disastrous attempt at rescuing Chinese traders held hostage in Guatemala, U.S. Army Major John Hessian is demoted and sent into exile as head of security at the U.S. embassy on Mars. The position is meaningless—until the daugher of the U.N. Authority’s governor is kidnapped by a group of angry miners, and Hessian is the only person on the planet with the know-how to get her back. What follows is a tale of intrigue, adventure, and war. This is a novel of space travel, interplanetary politics and economics, and military tactics set in the 22nd century.

Now available as an ebook on, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks (search your app for “Thomas T. Thomas” and “Revolt on the Iron Planet”) for $2.99, and in paperback for $13.24.

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The Human Condition:

Class in America – March 19, 2023

Balloon rising

In my novel Revolt on the Iron Planet I describe a transport ship that travels a continuous loop between Earth, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter. The ship has three concentric rings of passenger cabins, with the apparent centrifugal gravity increasing as the passenger moves outward from the ship’s core. And these rings are graded and sold as First, Second, and Third Class, just like a 20th century transatlantic passenger ship.

I thought hard about this in the writing. Class separation based on the comfort levels of different gravity effects seemed appropriate, but what was the justification? Why would you have passenger classes on a spaceship traveling in the 22nd century? Why do we have First Class, Business Class, and Coach on airliners today? Why is there this distinction among classes of people in a supposedly egalitarian society?

For one thing, these are not classes in the traditional European sense, where the best is reserved for the noble born, and the rest goes to the upcoming merchant class and the lowly peasants. These are classes where the level of service is based on who can—or is willing to—pay. And why not? If an airline can get a thousand dollars or more per ticket for a seat at the front of the plane with a few inches more leg room—leg room that would hardly accommodate a second row of seats back in Coach—why wouldn’t they? That surcharge on the basic flying fare helps defray the costs of running the jet and perhaps makes the seats in back a little less expensive and more attractive to the infrequent flyers. And kicking in a few extra bucks for a glass or two of complementary, cut-rate champagne and a dollop of indifferent caviar doesn’t make up the price differential.

Why wouldn’t a cruise-ship line charge more for cabins on the outside perimeter of the deck, port and starboard, with a view of the ocean or the waterfront when the ship docks? And the added cost of providing a better table in the lounge or a few entertainment perks doesn’t make a dent in the return on the ticket.

And when those tickets are sold, no one is looking into the buyer’s pedigree or class standing—just his or her ability to pay. Yes, those tickets are usually bought by the wealthy, the famous, and those for whom an extra thousand or two on a flight to Paris means nothing. But they can also be bought by those of limited means who for once want a little luxury in their lives.

I stand just over six-foot-four and would benefit from those extra inches in First Class, although I can do without the champagne and fish eggs. I could actually, somewhat afford the two or three thousand extra dollars on the overall cost of my vacation. But I can put up with the discomfort of a small seat and crowded conditions for three, eight, or twelve hours because I have better things to do with that money than have one easy day out of the rest of my life. And, as they say, First Class passengers don’t get to their destination any faster than the rest of us, although they usually have the perk of deplaning first.

So class in America is not about distinctions of birth and family but about ability to pay. Each of us values our time, our comfort, and our visible status differently. And if the airline or the cruise line, the hotel or the restaurant, can make a few extra dollars by selling more space and a few amenities to those who think they matter, why not? It makes the experience less costly for the rest of us. And no one has to tug their forelock—except the waiters and cabin stewards up front there, and they are well paid for the gesture.

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