Authorpreneur Dashboard – Wendy E Gamble

Wendy E Gamble
Shoot for Earth: MedSci Missions 3

Shoot for Earth: MedSci Missions 3

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The conclusion to a medical crisis on Earth in a trilogy that introduces a new universe of adventures. Specialists from spaceship Chiron are working with alien scientists while furtively aiding a secret science society on the planet. However, that shortcut to solving Earth’s problem could endanger their relationship with planetary officials. Meanwhile, Chiron deals with aliens on nearby planets to gain more information and goodwill as they solve some of the neighbourhood’s problems. Armed with new information, they meet back at their new home base, but soon find their relationship with the planet’s government strained. Desperate to gain back the trust and aid of the innovative aliens, the crew of Chiron find themselves involved in interplanetary conflict as they strive to produce a vaccine to send home to Earth.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from Shoot for Earth: MedSci Missions 3

Get Behind Me

Some might cringe at a lady being told to stay protected behind an officer, but put yourself in her place. Ambassador O’Bien is a highly trained professional negotiator, mediator, and big picture overseer for science research and mission completion. She’s not trained at all in combat, except for a few civilian karate lessons once she got on board spaceship Chiron to begin a mission to find a cure for Earth. Given her training and essential skills, it would be irresponsible for her not to comply quickly with an order from her head of security. The surprise here is another lady in the party placing herself in the line of fire. She’s not thrilled about it, though. Who would be, really? It’s fun to watch or read about people in combat situations, but who in their right mind would want to risk their life and suffer pain and injury if they had a choice? In this situation, computer science head Sufra felt she didn’t have a choice. Given her own background, which she attempted to keep secret, she is stepping up to help because skills she has are needed. Like stepping back if you would be a sacrificial lamb, stepping forward can make sense too!

Preparing for Pain

If you have about a fifty-fifty chance of being overcome with pain followed by certain death in the next few hours, you would probably do things you normally wouldn’t. Indulging in numbing medicine might be one of them. If you want to choose when or if you want to spend your last few hours in a hospital, getting your own stash of medicinal herbs might seem a good idea. Let me be clear that just because I write about a character doing something doesn’t mean I advocate it. Characters are human. They make mistakes, do bad things, kill people…all in the name of good drama. It’s true that sometimes I want to send little messages. I have to trust readers to judge what actions and ideas from my stories they might want to think about doing or emulating. In Canada, having enough cannabis for personal use is legal, but some countries still have stiff penalties. Self-medicating is certainly dangerous. That’s why we take herbs into the lab to measure their contents and extract only the chemicals shown to have the desired effects. Alternately, one can study the ancient methods of herbal medicine, but it has to be done just right! In this trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures, Troy doesn’t know if he’s doing it right. He’s hoping he’ll be alive the next day to find out! (Click “View Profile” or my website to see my science fiction books available now.)

Holding your Breath on Death

At some point, we all face imminent death. I don’t like to think about it, so mostly I don’t. Except when I have to write it. It doesn’t seem to matter if one believes in life after death in some form, fear and grief are poignant. Troy in this little excerpt feels the fear, knowing he has about a fifty-fifty chance of giving himself a vaccine that cures him instead of kills him. Which will it be? No one knows but I at this point, but I’m eager to share the angst as soon as I can finish up this trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. I hope you enjoy it! (Click “View Profile” or my website to see my science fiction books available now.)

Being a Know-it-all

An author has to know it all when it comes to the inner secrets of characters, the twists and surprises of the plot, and the very fabric of the universe they’re generating and sharing. However, when to reveal those elements is key to the reader’s experience. In this excerpt, I chose to open the chapter with a short omniscient paragraph, then transition from the god-like powers to the closest thing to that, aboard the experimental spaceship far from Earth. Now we get to see the inner thoughts of the highest-ranking person, one imbued with the power to interpret and even make laws on the fly in order to accomplish the medical mission to save Earth. I hope you will find this edit of her thoughts and actions, and if you later read on, those of the others in their turns, as exciting a journey as I’m undertaking in my mind – for really, without an audience immersing themselves, the author has no power at all! Enjoy this tiny excerpt from the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. (Click “View Profile” or my website to see my science fiction books available now.)

Flipping a Coin on Death

If you had the technical prowess to possibly cure yourself of a disease, but it might kill you, what would you do? The answer is probably different for each of us. It would depend on so many factors. Age, pain level, percent chances, social connections … . The character in this mini-excerpt from the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures has been ill a long time. Once before, he managed to give himself something close to a cure, though it also made him manifest alien characteristics. Now he has the choice of his life. Or death! (Click “profile” to see my science fiction books available now.)

Total Eclipse will not Part

I was lucky enough to be near the area of totality for the latest total solar eclipse. An experience everyone should have! With it being entrenched in Earth culture, I decided my telling of the experience could make a good bit of Earth culture for the Alien who is joining the crew of spaceship Chiron to read about. I hope that if you haven’t already, you, too, will have a chance to enjoy the uniquely dark lighting of the moon blocking the sun during the day. It happens somewhere in the world about every few years, so you can watch for this kind of wonderful event to be in your location or include it in your travel plans! Enjoy this poem representing Earth culture in the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. (Click “profile” to see my science fiction books available now.)

An Alien Amongst Them

A spaceship full of humans set out on a mission, but not all will return to Earth. With empty living space, it makes a lot of sense for the top brass to welcome an alien scientist who is now unwelcome on her home world because of friendship-driven aid she’s given the humans. Thus, while her new human romantic interest is allowed back on board after doing illicit research, she’s able to join him as the first alien aboard a human deep space vessel. Only time will tell if she can adjust to a whole new culture and language and live happily ever after aboard as the ship continues its fascinating journey. Enjoy this tiny excerpt hot off the keyboard, from the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. (Click “profile” to see my science fiction books available now.)

Killer or Lover?

Ambassador Karen O’Bien tried many relationships on Earth, and none of them worked out. Finally, on planet Fabar, she has met an intriguing, and powerful being who isn’t turned off by her ambitions and abilities. She’s surprised to find herself in love, and the alien Petmar claims to reciprocate the feelings. However, it’s those you love that can anger you the most. With all of Earth needing her to complete her medical mission, she’s betrayed her lover. Is it enough for him to kill? Enjoy this tiny excerpt hot off the keyboard, from the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. (Click “profile” to see my science fiction books available now.)

A Far-out Home Away from Home

I hope one day this excerpt will come true; that people get to travel the stars and feel at home on another world, with alien friends. Though it’s exciting to read and write about, I hope we don’t also have the problem that comes next, and the battles and woes it took to get the crew and specialists of Chiron to this point. One can hope and dream! Enjoy this excerpt of the trilogy finale that opens a universe of further adventures. (Click “profile” to see my science fiction books available now.)

Should we Assume Aliens are Hostile?

In many science fiction stories, the minute people meet aliens, there’s a battle, or fight of some kind. Would that really happen? Looking at human history, meeting a new group of people with a different culture didn’t always result in immediate conflict – but how relevant is the human model when considering meeting sentient beings that are much less like we are? Hopefully, by the time we can travel the stars (if ever), we’ll be mature enough to talk first, blast with lasers later .

Food Forests for Life

Communities in my province have been putting in Food Forests since the pandemic (maybe before). There has been a general realization that if the trucks stop rolling in, people still need to eat. There’s a lot of wilderness and land in my area, but surprisingly little food production. That’s starting to change, however, with changing attitudes. Anything people can grow in their backyard helps. On the Spaceship Chiron, a garden is vital. There are cloned foods available while the ship is functioning properly, but what happens if they have to evacuate to a planet? The quiet custodian, Joe, has perhaps the most important job on the ship when it comes to everyone’s survival in case of emergency. He had input into the design, and knows how to program the drones for every aspect of every growing season. Now he has the chance to start something new, that will likely outlive him. As wise Joe knows, with nut trees that start slow and live hundreds of years, planting now is not just food for your life, but food for beyond your lifetime.

Understanding the Impossible

It’s no wonder that the engineering staff on spaceship Chiron have trouble understanding how an engine can displace a ship from one point in deep space to another one. It shouldn’t be possible. Or is it? Quantum particles jump from one location to another without travelling. Why not a ship? In any case, re-creating travel similar to how a quantum particle moves is risky business. The Captain and crew desperately want to have more than one person understand the exact mechanism. Especially when that one person exhibits impossible-to-understand human behaviour!

When are Human Enhancements Wrong?

In the future universe that spaceship Chiron flies through, there are strict limits on how humans can be enhanced. Age extension procedures are allowed, and considered normal; giving someone super-sensitive sense of smell, the ability to echo-locate, or to light a finger on fire aren’t. But when someone on board a ship undertaking a vital medical mission far from Earth slips in those alterations, what then? Should the changes be reversed, at additional danger to the involuntary recipients? What if the enhancements turn out to have mission-saving advantages? Was it still wrong for a well-intentioned scientist to make illegal trans-humans?

Toxic Masculinity or Strength and Nobility?

A High King rides out on his mighty steed to trounce the enemy. The King risks his life time and again as his superior skill slices and stabs down the invaders. At the end of the day, the field is littered with the slaughtered enemy. The King’s army rides back to a victory parade. All hail the noble King! Now move that King forward in time. Someone clever has created electricity. Others have invented pink foam insulation, and Tasers and LASERS for protection. No more does survival of the village depend on the physical strength and brutality of the King, nor of the wood choppers and hunters and masons building thick-walled castles that still stand today. Today the High King is homeless. A victim of a changed society in which his once coveted abilities are labelled “Toxic Masculinity.” Evolution takes centuries longer than the rapid changes brought about by industrialisation and mechanisations of modern society. Why do so many blame people, especially men, for being who they were made to be for centuries ? There has been no time to catch up to what, in evolutionary terms is the blink of an eye. Nature is no one’s fault, there must be a way to embrace what it imbues us with. Send people forth to battle white water rapids, mountains, and oceans . Or to explore deep space. Let’s be patient and find places for the Kings of old in the comforting safety of the new.

Altruism Truly Needed

In this fictional excerpt, security head officer Woon tries to ensure that robot drone assistant Arfus doesn’t sacrifice aliens to save humans. He doesn’t need that kind of guilt after what he did to an innocent young man back in book one. The real world needs all the altruism we can get, too. It doesn’t have to be big. We’re not all in a position to save lives by ordering an army to defend a neighbouring country. If each of us took little actions as the opportunity arises, it could make a big effect, however . Recently, a large grocery chain (Superstore, owned by Loblaws) announced quick-sale prices on perishable items would be reduced by only 30% instead of 50%. That will make a big difference to some budgets! I have enjoyed end of day shopping sales of yummy baked goods, but to make a point I plan to hold off. I can bake them if I really want them, and they’ll be better anyway. The store would have us believe they’re helping to save the planet by selling us bags splashed with green Earth labels. In reality, the large grocers have been able to use the green movement to stop providing packaging at no cost. Now they sell it to us. At profit? Not exactly altruistic!

What Makes a Woman Strong?

If the average woman competes in tests of physical strength or hand to hand combat with a man, most lose. It’s basic biology. Men are built with more muscle mass. There are exceptions, including women trained for combat. With a few levels of black in my belt, I would have a fair chance in a fight, especially if the man was untrained (weapons such as guns change the picture, but males and females can both pull a trigger, so we’ll leave those out of the current discussion.) The trick of training is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and using your strengths well . I’m often quicker than a large, bulky male, and can get out of the way, bide my time, and look for an opening. A single good blow can be crippling. Technique matters more than bulk strength. Physical strength is only one aspect of over-all strength. We must include strength of character! The ability to persevere in hardship, use wit to problem solve, charm to form alliances…the list goes on. Many women, including the big boss Ambassador in Chiron’s adventures in space, draw most of their strength from their character. Gender realism is not the same as sexism! Certainly not misogyny. I’ve seen some odd usages of those words. A realistic woman can be very strong and loved!

An Unusual Pain of Childbirth

On Earth, women suffer pain and danger to have a child. Nature isn’t sexist, though. It’s not out to get females. Other species than humans on Earth bring danger or even death to the males. Some species of Octopi, for example , eat the males after they’ve got the needed sperm packs. So, I don’t think it’s at all out of the realm of imagination to have an octopoid alien species in which the male suffers damage and pain. Different strokes for different folks. Different species lose different piecies .

Trusting Unknown Experts

We all need to trust experts we don’t personally know, such as dentists, lawyers, plumbers, and many others. It would be nice if we could know everything ourselves and not have to hope the expert knows what they’re doing, but it just isn’t practical. That leads to a whole lot of confusion when it comes to innovative technology such as RNA vaccines. There certainly has been a lot of mistrust for those! Why? I assume it’s because of the conflicting and varied information available to people about them. For some reason root canal surgery doesn’t have articles and videos of dentist inserting microchips into people, or other horrors, so most people who need the surgery will get it if they can afford it. So, it’s not really about refusing to trust an expert, it’s about figuring who is, in fact, an expert. In my story, Dr. Atland wishes he didn’t have to trust alien doctors to look after Captain Walsh, but the emergency required leaving him in the hands of strangers. Not just unknown experts, but newly met beings with their own equipment and procedures. Thus, it’s understandable for Atland to be fearful. Life certainly is less stressful if we’re able to trust the many experts we’re expected to rely on in our daily lives.

Breaking Asimov’s Laws

Sufra’s Safey Rules, written for her Illegally pumped-up AI drone assistant, don’t exactly follow Asimov’s Laws. In fact, I imagine they could lead to some kind of nightmarish Pokemon-like battle situation. However, I believe they’re more realistic for what people going into dangerous situations would want from their personal flying robot. Sufra, the head of spaceship Chiron’s computer science department, grew up being forced to learn a backwater form of smartial arts by her parents. She was not told to avoid harming others, she was told to be ready to survive and get the job done, whatever it might be. Hence, the much more aggressive robotic laws than people are used to seeing. She also failed to write the laws with space travel in mind. Thus, humans are referred to, but not aliens. What will a robot following Sufra’s Rules do to the new beings Chiron must befriend to solve their mission?

Jailbird Engineer

It’s both intriguing and challenging to write a personality-challenged genius chief engineer for a deep spaceship. I admire him, feel sorry for him, and perhaps sometimes find him annoying, but he is what he is. He fell so deeply in love, or perhaps in need, that he took a desperate action (in book two, Ripped Genes) that was highly illegal. What kind of person puts their genius mind to work learning how to do brain surgery to revive a comatose girlfriend? A mentally ill one, probably. He still chose his actions, though. Now he’s in the odd position of being the only person on board who can really run the Quantum Displacement Drive he invented, as well as being otherwise indispensable. Unfortunately for the Captain, he tries to use that to his advantage . . . .

Transforming Space and Thyme

I had a heap of fragrant, spicy thyme, with stiff stems stacking it loosely into a large mound. Painstakingly, I removed leaves, collecting a compact pile devoid of interstitial spaces. With great satisfaction, I noted I had transformed space and thyme. It took a lot of time, though. By spending time, I now had more space available to use. We reap what we sow, to make life more than so-so. Consider lessons learned from the space-thyme continuum. Thyme increases with the speed of light. The quicker you get more light, the quicker you get more thyme. The more thyme you get continuing on and on, the less space you have available, relative to what you had before. Who knew the herb garden is so Einsteinian? The spaceship Chiron has a hydroponic garden full of edible or medicinal plants. The ship designers also realised that giving plants space would lighten their load. Relativity works in weird ways, but feeding people is pretty basic. (Or acidic or neutral, depending on the needs of plants.) Unfortunately, for some people, a field of greens is only a field of dreams, but even a pot on a balcony can help. Many herbs are good spreaders, so it’s not too hard to transform bare ground into thyme – but will we transform enough space in time?

Combat Skills for Peace

Having a black belt in karate doesn’t make you Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan, or Jet Li. For one thing, scenes in movies are staged, and often include hidden wires. When people hear I have a black belt, their reaction usually cause me to immediately inform them that modern karate training is about being peaceful. Never attacking first is drilled into us. So, there is no cause to fear someone trained in the modern way in Shotokan or similar styles of karate. Another point is that a black belt means you have mastered basic techniques. It’s not easy to get a black belt, and not everyone passes the first time. However, most people don’t realize that there are ten levels of black belt. My character Sufra Shahar had a different kind of training. It was painful to the point of being traumatic. She was forced by her parents to become an expert in a rough, backyard martial arts that emphasises proficiency, not peace. After she got into deep space, away from her parents’ eyes, she made the realization that she didn’t have to keep training. The head of Chiron’s security force has another opinion, however. In this scene he has a victory in convincing Sufra to give another style of martial arts a chance – for everyone’s peace and security.

Combat Skills for Peace

Having a black belt in karate doesn’t make you Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan, or Jet Li. For one thing, scenes in movies are staged, and often include hidden wires. When people hear I have a black belt, their reaction usually cause me to immediately inform them that modern karate training is about being peaceful. Never attacking first is drilled into us. So, there is no cause to fear someone trained in the modern way in Shotokan or similar styles of karate. Another point is that a black belt means you have mastered basic techniques. It’s not easy to get a black belt, and not everyone passes the first time. However, most people don’t realize that there are ten levels of black belt. My character Sufra Shahar had a different kind of training. It was painful to the point of being traumatic. She was forced by her parents to become an expert in a rough, backyard martial arts that emphasises proficiency, not peace. After she got into deep space, away from her parents’ eyes, she made the realization that she didn’t have to keep training. The head of Chiron’s security force has another opinion, however. In this scene he has a victory in convincing Sufra to give another style of martial arts a chance – for everyone’s peace and security.

AI Taking Over

If artificial intelligence can do a better job than a human, should we let it? While TV shows are held up by writers insisting AI not take their jobs, will AI internet videos become entrenched in people’s live to the point that the writers are out of a job anyway? I painstakingly write every word, but I have to wonder if AI could speed the process up. I’m almost scared to do the experiment of having AI write a story with the same setting and characters. I have no doubt that I would have to edit what the AI wrote, perhaps extensively. However, even if it did speed things up, it might never be the same as I would have come up with on my own. Plus, the legalities are awkward. So, I continue the old-fashioned way. What is necessary, though, as with the TV writers, is to be better than the AI. Not just different, but better. Otherwise, no contracts will help, it’s only a matter of time before the AI takes over. On board my science fiction ship Chiron, there’s a similar dilemma, with higher stakes and more immediate consequences if the AI doesn’t get the job done right.

Eviscerating and Squashing English

In a news report about a natural disaster, the reporter claimed the wildfire “eviscerated everything.” I was immediately disrupted from following the news story. Really? How on earth could fire open someone up, pull out the entrails, and leave the rest whole? Beyond that, how does anyone cut a colon out of a tree or house? Quashed vs squashed is one I’m frequently bothered by. Someone can squash an Octopoid alien if they throw it against a wall and cause the normal form to burst and bleed, or bruise so it spreads out to a thinner one, but you can not squash an idea you don’t like – you quash it. Stop it, so it goes no further and no one suggests it again. You can’t flatten it. Trying to squash a lawyer’s argument or a political platform sound ridiculous. Why do so many reporters sound ridiculous these days? Having been a volunteer in English classes, I sadly say there are reasons. The school system isn’t what it was when I went through it. Many teachers are excellent, many students are talented, but a complex set of societal situations are obstacles. Let’s do our best to keep English functional. Eat your liquorice and avoid people who stare at you in a liquorish way!

We Think we Want Peace

Most people, when asked, will say they don’t want wars, crime, and horrors. However, when you see what they want to watch, read, or talk about, they very often choose exactly that. It’s built into the human psyche. There are many real-life thrill seekers doing dangerous rafting, cliff jumping, and martial arts matches, to name a few. I, too, am guilty of finding fights exciting, as long as they’re fictional. We humans haven’t yet evolved away from admiring physical prowess. Perhaps in the future, assuming we have one, we will value brainpower over brawn. For now, I hope you enjoy a bit of battle drama!

An Astronaut’s Song

I hope future humans, and maybe even aliens, will look back on the challenges of today as a bad time in history that we were smart enough to overcome. The alternative is an unpleasant thought, indeed. I choose to be optimistic. People are smart! We’re selfish and greedy and many other things, but a certain percentage of the population is very clever. Consider the engineering feats we’ve accomplished in the past. We have the brainpower to create clean vehicles, and chemicals to clean up pollution. It can be done. What’s more of a challenge is creating the political will to spend the money and make needed sacrifices. On the one hand, the population sees storms and horrors and demands action, but on the other, they say, “We don’t want to pay more tax, we like our videos!” You see the problem….

Big Brother is Real

Free speech and privacy are supposed to be rights. However, there is to be a blitz of video deletion from YouTube soon. Anything that governing bodies deem to be untrue is to be deleted. One the one hand, much of what’s deleted might indeed be untrue or at least controversial. Maybe it’s better if people don’t see videos that might radicalise them, or cause them to do asinine stunts. But where do we draw the line? Videos claiming garlic can cure cancer were mentioned as targets for deletion, citing the dangers of delaying standard (in first world countries) treatment. However, eighty percent of the world doesn’t have access to modern pharmaceuticals. Don’t they have a right to research options available to them? Who decides which videos are unsuitable? Are large corporations influencing decisions, such as medical supply and big pharma being worried about losing money to alternative medicine? In this excerpt, Captain Walsh feels the ever-watching eyes of his boss. He took the job knowing she would be very present, but he doesn’t have to like it. The Captain and Ambassador have formed a friendship of sorts, but when they’re on the job, there’s an underlying tension. Mindful of that, the Captain makes an effort not to micromanage his crew. He’s hoping to be a great Captain, not a Big Brother!

Marked by a Mistake

I made a silly mistake. Or was it? I have proof that I have an unfinished book inside me. Book three progresses, albeit a bit slowly through planting season and trips to Panama and the Cabot trail. At my birthday dinner, I opened a package to find a delicate leather loop with dangling decorations. Carefully, I placed it around my neck. A minute later, hooting laughter ensued as the gifter informed me it’s a bookmark. I laughed too, but how suitable, really, for me to wear it now as I sit down to write. Enjoy this week’s excerpt from the book that’s a bit more finished now.

We Need Innovative Medicine

The World doesn’t have enough modern-tech-trained doctors and nurses for everyone to have access. We might not have enough affordable medical practitioners even including traditional/alternative ones. I read in the Ottawa Science Museum that eighty percent of the world has no access to modern pharmaceuticals. There are those who prefer traditional methods such as herbal, but it sure would be nice if everyone had the option to use the method that works for them. The scenario in the excerpt is perhaps an extremely imagined method, making use of nature. The scientist in me wants to extract the exact chemicals we need from herbs, or to synthesise the right compounds, and not have the side-effects from other chemicals in the herbs. However, a herbalist pointed out that we don’t fully understand the complex interactions involved in using a whole plant instead of just one chemical from it. There are certainly examples from early records to modern times, if they are to be believed, of success with natural herbs. I’m convinced that many ancient medical methods must have had legitimate benefits to have been used and passed down so faithfully for centuries. We need to keep open minds and learn to incorporate the best of both worlds. Most of all, we need to find a way to make any viable options available to all!

Sudden Horror

Fun and food, then suddenly not fun! Unfortunately, that’s what often happens. No one expects a terrorist attack at the donut café, or to be in a big pile-up on the highway. Horror is just out of reach at every corner of our lives. In this scenario, the characters expected something bad might happen to them, but certainly didn’t imagine what happened to the aliens around them. Sometimes surprises are good. Sometimes not!

Shooting for Earth

Every time we get into a car, train, plane, or ship, we expect, or at least hope, to arrive safely. Sometimes we don’t. Accidents happen. Terrorism happens. Deer, moose, or cattle collisions happen. In this excerpt, our planet party have a little different crisis on their planned trip to a building in an alien land housing an artefact they need to check out. In the course of trying to get vaccine shots ready for all of Earth, Captain Wash has to do some shooting of his own to keep them safe.

The Future of Bees

My book club is having me read The History of Bees, by Maja Lunde. While the writing style is lovely, and the point that we need to treat our bees properly instead of killing them with pesticides is poignant, I do object to the opening chapter. The novel opens in 2098 with a horde of people laboriously hand pollinating flowers. Really? In 2098? Even today, we have drones, and AI, and artificial brushes-and real feathers that would work. What was the author thinking? Or not thinking? Yes, she drove home the point that we on Earth are killing our bees and it will cause humans a lot of trouble. We do need to save the bees, for their sake and the sake of the rest of nature, but I can in no way imagine the future looking like that, even without bees. The excerpt this week is from a passage written for an alien planet, but we could do the same on Earth. Certainly by 2098!

Loving Science Fiction

I didn’t set out to write a romance, but sometimes characters fall for each other, so what can I do? The alien Savna is slated to become a regular, so I will be developing her as a “person,” as in a “bari,” the Fabarian alien equivalent. Enjoy!

Life as an Introvert

When I took a test at university, I scored at the top of the chart for being an introvert – so it’s natural to write about an extreme introvert. Mind you, the Roed character is over the top in other characteristics. I haven’t defined his personality “disorder” partly because I’m not a psychologist, and partly because I don’t want to imply that others given that label would descend into criminality. I think many so-called disorders are simply personality types that occur naturally as a percentage of the population. Whatever else he is, Roed demonstrates some classic introvert traits such as being more comfortable living inside his head than taking in what’s going on around in his external environment and interacting with it. As with many writers, artists, and musicians, there’s a danger of slipping into his own fantasy land and neglecting the real world. Thank goodness for close connections with a few extroverts to help us out!

Laws Here, Laws There

This excerpt picks up where the previous one left off. It made me think of how laws made by one set of beings can make no sense to another. Sometimes they don’t seem to make sense even for those who made them. Not everyone who breaks a law is a bad being. Especially if the law is bad!

The Jungle

Sorry for the short excerpt. It's hot off the press as I ready for the final leg of the trip home after helping my Mom write condolences and donation for a cousin tragically taken too soon by cancer. Life is tenuous! I recently enjoyed a rock scramble at the top of volcano Baru in Boquete, Panama. There was genuine danger, but I felt confident in the guide who watched where we chose to place our feet. The scramble was an easy one, but if it went wrong, the consequences would have been dire. I chose to concentrate on the local footing and the distant peaks, and not linger on the sheer drop that at times was only a foot away. The line between living and not is immovable, and we hope to stay on the right side of it for as long as possible. As a writer I hope to use all the experiences on this side to enrich what my characters go through. Here Ramone is finding terrain on an alien world that is reminiscent of his homeland.

Stop Stereotyping

I've noticed the first thing people ask when they meet you is, "What do you do?" Then you can see them quickly deciding just from that if they want to talk to you more. It's a shame what kinds of assumptions people make, and how quickly they wnt to place you in a category. Perhaps we should skip the srereotyping and discuss interests instead. We might just learn what we've been missing!

Therapy, or Modifying to Taste?

The world of psychiatry has a list of personality disorders – psychopathy, narcissism, obsessive-compulsive . . . the list goes on. Things we’re scared of, things we don’t understand. Sometimes things that just make us uncomfortable. Take for example, “Histrionic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves.” Oh dear, someone gets upset and draws attention to themselves. What a crime! We must change that person to be something the majority are comfortable with. What is a disorder, anyway? Medlineplus says they’re a group of mental illnesses. However, according to Cambridge, an illness occurs when “. . . an organ or part is unable to work as it usually does. For those born without empathy, their brain is working as it usually does. They’re a type that is a normal percentage of the population. Should we change them, or learn how to become comfortable with them? Why not treat them like other minorities? The characters discussing Roed’s treatment do have some thinking to do!

Fighting for Scientific Freedom

Here’s a little excerpt fresh out of the pen (so to speak), that I wanted to talk about. It speaks to the debate about enhancements to humans. What should we allow? Heart transplants but not brain transplants? Of course, a brain transplant would have to be a functional brain from a non functional body into a new body (biological or android). I think anyone would agree that if someone’s brain is irreversibly destroyed, by disease or accident, that person is dead. So why not do brain transplants, if we can physically do them? How about an extra arm or two? At first it might look and feel odd, but if it was useful, why not? Surgical solutions are perhaps less debatable than genetic alterations that might be heritable. Indeed, that’s a whole other 3D chess game. A topic for another time, I think.

Subliminally Controlled Lover

Is it a crime to influence someone’s actions with subliminal codes if the recipient is a knowing participant in using it as a cozy couple messaging system? Is it abusive manipulation or an intimate sharing of like minds? It might be debatable in a normal couple. However, in Ripped Genes, book two of the trilogy that opens up a universe of space adventure, genius Roed invented and carried out illicit brain surgery on his unconscious former fiancée. Highly illegal, of course! Now she is again alive and enjoying it, and aiding important research. Unfortunately, that can’t be allowed to continue. A perfect partnership must be broken up, because it’s only perfect for the one who created it to be that way. Will the victim ever be free of the love that was implanted in her brain?

Rangers in a Strange Land

Not everyone you meet when you travel pulls out a laser gun on you. That’s fortunate for this party visiting a planet from the medical research spaceship Chiron. They have enough on their plate already, trying to complete their life-saving mission for Earth. They must pick the brains of the beings living in the solar system where Earth’s infection originated. Of course, when dealing with an alien culture, not all is comfy and fun. An extremely bad smell that makes the stomach turn, buggy food bothering the brain … and hoping not to offend anyone badly has to be continually on the radar. You wouldn’t want to lose vital intel from the beings living in the zone by being sent packing from the planet! Hence, even if there are no guns blazing around every corner, you deal with the dozens of small things to accomplish the big one!

Human Experimentation

Many patients sign up to participate in human trials, hoping for a cure for what ails them. If I had an incurable disease, I might volunteer myself. However, history has seen a lot of clandestine and unauthorised experiments on people. The Nazis and others carried out horrendous experiments. Not all examples are so extreme or evil, though. Could experiments carried out by a secretive genius with the best of intentions reap positive results in the end? Obviously, they have no right to mess with people without permission, but what if the results aid a vital mission to save Earth? What if the victims themselves decide they like having special powers? Is what the mysterious hands, finally associated with an identity in this trilogy-wrapping novel, did really so bad?

Mysteries Resolved

Though I won’t reveal it except in the novel, the mystery in this excerpt will soon be resolved! I’m excited to be bringing the mystery hands and other plot threads to conclusion as I continue book three. Book one started with a health crisis on Earth; I can’t wait to resolve that as prepare to pick up on threads I’ve dangled throughout the “opening trilogy” in future works. There is so much more to explore in the universe! Just as in real life, for every mystery that’s solved, many others pop out of the fabric of the universe, waiting to be explored.

Herbal Medicine of the Galaxy

I love the scent of fresh herbs from the garden. I simmer and savour their flavour. Herbs are more than just tasty, though. They’re vital around the world as medicine. In a recent trip to the science center in Toronto, I read that eighty percent of the world depends on herbs as their sole source of medicine! Thus it makes a lot of sense for people travelling the galaxy to make use of herbs on whatever planet on which they might find themselves in need. Sometimes, however, it’s preferable to be able to pop a pill; using whole herbs can give unnecessary side effects. In a lab, one can remove the desired chemical and give only that to the patient in a calculated dose. Herbal medicine is fascinating and often necessary, though, as it was for Dr. Kendrick in this novel excerpt. If aliens have removed all your modern medicine tools, you have to make do. Any doctor in space should learn some of the herbal medicine available throughout the galaxy!

A very telling tale

Today I’ve presented the intro to a telling of a high-action adventure by a character. (I’ve included an edited portion at the end that I previously showed, to complete the segment – so have fun playing spot the difference and seeing how the edits (hopefully) improved the passage from the version in the bubble titled “Characters Drive the Space Ship-ing.” It’s not usually my preference to have a story from the past told, since it generates less suspense, but I didn’t want to stop the flow of the action in book two to present this part in detail, and this seemed like a good place to fill in the blanks. Enjoy!

Mad Minds

The human brain is amazing, puzzling, and challenging. It can dream and disorient us, and it can confound others. Everyone dreams. Research continues into the mysteries of their powers. However, the thought processes that make us relate to others in certain ways get us labelled as one personality or another. We’re born with a personality, and though we can learn to modify it, we can’t change it. Should we have to change a personality to suit others – or is it up to everyone to accept and deal with even the more challenging types? I think we should at least understand the generally frowned on ones such as the psychopathy. Criminal behaviour such as Roed exhibited can be considered a choice, but how much should society accommodate the natural tendencies that go along with different personalities? A little tolerance of mad minds could bring some interesting, new ways of solving humanities problems – or we could all go mad trying to deal with it all.

Imprisoned by Aliens

Athletes, musicians, business people and others have experienced the horror here on Earth of imprisonment in a foreign land. Sometimes they’ve been guilty of crimes that are minor or not crimes at all in their own lands. Sometimes they’re not guilty of anything at all. The feelings of isolation and uncertainty must be tenfold if you travel to an alien planet to make friends and find yourself confined by them for reasons you can’t understand. Decisions must be made that walk just the right line between obtaining freedom and maintaining good relations. On Earth we have all kind of tricks like prisoner exchanges, legal fenagling, and engineered escapes using extrapolated intelligence. Procedures are in place, and known around the world. On a new planet in the depth of space, procedures are very unknown. Imagine what it must be like to forge a truly new path to get to the door; if you even knew what a door looked like!

Strange New World

It’s so much fun to adventure on a planet far, far away. There’s nothing like exploring someone’s home to help you understand who they really are. When I was twelve I discovered many new worlds by poring through stacks of Star Trek episodes in James Blish’s TV episode adaptations. Reading every episode before seeing them forever coloured my interpretations of that adventurous universe. To me, everything is a bit richer when read than watched. I was so enthralled that my imagination spoke to me of them, quite literally. Kirk and Spock were speaking in my head, and I started writing it down. Eventually it became clear that it was best to work in my own universe, uncluttered by inconsistencies and mandated parameters. My passion for that universe will never die, but it’s refreshing to visit the vast possibilities beyond.

Experimenting with Mysterious DNA

Would you experiment on yourself if you were doomed to die without answers? Or if you’re not a scientist, which most of us aren’t, would you let doctors put you in a risky trial that was your only chance, but could go very wrong? Troy, like his brother before him, had to wrestle with that dilemma. Someone always has to be the first to take new medicine, or have a new procedure. Without the dreamers and hopefuls, how would medicine progress?

The Trouble with Aliens

Our world is full of diversity, but imagine a multitude of planets in the picture. The differences between humans become trivial compared to all the possible forms of sentient beings. It’s a nice reminder of how unimportant different shades of skin, textures of hair, or minor variance of features really are. For the sake of fun fiction, I try to choose interesting, dangerous, or amusingly troublesome traits for aliens. From a human perspective, that is. For each opinion we have of a difference, the other being has one right back. It’s all a matter of perspective. To someone out there, we’re probably puzzling, toxic to touch, or just plain stinky.

Crimes in Space

Basic human nature hasn’t changed for thousands of years, and is unlikely to change in the next thousand. The dog-eat-dog realities of survival and natural selection favor a certain amount of selfishness and aggressions; and theft. Thus, the suitability of mixing in a bit of crime-solving mystery into a science fiction space adventure set in 2066. The side query aboard the medical research ship Chiron tasked with curing an alien pandemic asks who is behind the mysterious hands that flit about the ship doing unauthorized experiments and snitching supplies?

Is Virtual Reality Dangerous?

Whether it’s a VR visor or an on-screen roll playing game or imagined second life via avatar, the people of Earth are spending more and more time in fantasy lands. It can be great for a temporary distraction during a stressful medical procedure or similar scenarios, but are we spending so much time in make-believe land that we forget to live? Are people neglecting to get together for an evening of cards or board games in which there is chat and hosting in a real, new environment? I wonder if the ability to brainstorm things to do, and actually get real things done is being lost. Before all the gaming, imagination was needed to find something to do in spare time. Building a fort, painting, gathering neighbours for Red Rover or Jail, or for adults, poker or charades … conversation always slips in, based on reality, and interesting discussion lead to action on charities and community events. The reality has been lost entirely from virtual reality. People can forget there is one. They learn to live only for themselves, or worse, for their imagined self.

A Top Gun Wokking into Trouble

Having just watched Top Gun mark 2, I noticed similar tropes to what I wrote in book two, Ripped Genes: The hero taking off on a heroic mission against orders, risking it all. Faked static. Darn, it’s been done before, and will be done again. They say there are no new ideas, just new ways of presenting them. Thankfully, each time something old is used, it’s new again. Each character, plot, and set of emotional circumstances is refreshingly different. This excerpt of the coming book three, Shoot for Earth fleshes out Woon’s tale of what happened with his alien adventure, from his point of view instead of the Captain’s view we saw in Ripped Genes. The narrative style here is different from most of the novel, using Woon’s personal way of thinking. So if you find the Asian cooking theme overdone you can blame Woon Takahashi, not me! With this being a pre-publication excerpt, there’s still a chance to change it. Feel free to have your say. You can find a list of places to do so on the “Comment” page of the MedSci Missions website. All input is welcome. Or simply enjoy this twist on things.

Alien Job Throws a Curve Ball

If you were banished from your spaceship to work on an alien planet, would you be brave enough to pop out a weapon to help a police chase? Or perhaps foolish enough? How strange it must be to suddenly live and work on an alien world, with new alien friends and colleagues – but it’s also the adventure of a lifetime! It excites the imagination to wonder about the daily life and adventures. No longer a guest, a visitor sailing by on a ship, but an integral part of a completely different society. That’s what science fiction adventures are all about; discovering and embracing the differences. What they will be in this case is still in discovery, so it’s exciting for me as they pop out of the pen, so to speak.

To See or Not to See

That is the question Captain Walsh hopes to get an answer to. The world of artificial organs and limbs has such potential I believe one day we will not longer have people who feel handicapped. Instead they will be enhanced humans. Some might be squeamish, though at the thought of trading in for artificial. There’s something about the real, original organic that we love. Why buy a perfect silk rose infused with scent that will never wilt or fade, when you can pick the real thing? The artificial one is superior, but is it as desirable? Why do we covet real, natural, and organic even when it’s inferior? Perhaps attitudes will change over time as the technology moves. Perhaps we’ll have to discourage people from trading in organic eyes for cybernetic ones. Remember what the bionic man could do? In any case, despite Walsh’s decision, he’s in for a surprise when he wakes up!

Weird Forces and Flying People

Out in space, the crew of Chiron need special force field generators to pull them to the deck. Finding a force that makes them fly is all too easy. Add in an engine that’s risky to use, and we’ve got a ship load of trouble!

Characters Drive the Space Ship-ing

There’s a fun term, ‘shipping’ created by fans, which reinforces what every writer is told: whether or not you have people driving a ship, they certainly drive the story. In this snippet, I chose to recap some character drama from book two, Ripped Genes, by having a main character, Woon, tell the tale of an adventure that took place during the timeframe of book two. I decided to tell only the result of the mission in book two in order to keep the flow of the main plot cleaner and have something to tell later to get readers back into the adventure. Enjoy!

Is Scientific Freedom Alien?

It’s unfortunate that scientific freedom is only science fiction. All my life I’ve listened to the frustration of family and friends as they push to do basic research that could enlighten the world. I briefly experienced it; listing materials I would need and justifying my intended project for an upper year microbiology class. Then the search for sources while on Christmas break. I was lucky that family were trying to set me up with a young scientist at their work place. I got back from hunting and told my grandma excitedly, “He gave me some sewage!” My grandma thought it was hilarious, but I was glad to have procured a good sample for my test of where different species of bacteria were found. I sympathize with the struggle for supplies. Hence, in my fictional world, I imagined scientists set free from paperwork and hassles, and able to just dream up new possibilities. Kind of like writing science fiction, only for real. Too bad it only happens on alien worlds.

Taking Risks to Help other Beings

Debates fly about whether countries not involved in a vicious war should step in with physical force to stop atrocities. Interventions might succeed, but at a cost of outside soldiers and equipment. There might be a net decrease in loss of soldier lives, so if you’re not one of the sacrificed soldiers’ loved ones, it seems the best of the bad options. The question gets more complicated if one or more of the enemies involved in a conflict has an unknown or unpredictable psyche. Aliens encountered in fiction, or a human megalomaniac or psychopath in charge of a dictatorship can change the danger level. Armed intervention might start out successful, but then the unknown element, being of alien or unknown psyche, might behave in a horrific manner. If they see that they will lose, they might throw out all the rules. The rules are for humans who have agreed to them, and will follow them. An unknown might, for example, send off the equivalent of nuclear bombs to wreak as much havoc as possible to appease rage. Aliens might have different rules entirely, so the danger of getting involved, or even of simply offering aid to injured individuals is a risk. Hopefully one worth taking!

The Party of the Gods

The Party of the Gods

Science Fiction & Fantasy

A group of gods who indulge in a drunken party game create a planet that’s not quite right. Down on the surface, a young man discovers powers the gods didn’t realize they’d imbued. Along with those who can gain abilities from a powerful potion, he must discover how to lead fellow Humans to better, richer, and safer lives.

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from The Party of the Gods

A Grand Awakening in the Works

Lince Locsei is a powerful landowner, but he’s never seen the likes of this strange lady he met at a festive gathering. He can’t imagine what kind of distant land she and her magnificent steed could come from. In a world where all believe the sky is just a ceiling, the concept that she could have out-of-the-world powers is still unthinkable. Lince and the rest of the world are in for a grand awakening! Enjoy this excerpt of a coming fantasy novel. Meanwhile, you can check out my science fiction books available now. (click to view my profile to see them.)

Source of Magic Revealed

Magic is so much fun. For those reading about it – not so much for someone sweating to learn how to do it, then discovering they’ve tapped into powers they didn’t know existed. Enjoy this excerpt of a coming tale of creation and discovery. Meanwhile, you can check out my Science fiction novels available now.

A God Comes to Power

People are always striving for power, but sometimes when the prospect of it is imminent it doesn’t seem so appealing. Here, our protagonist, half-God Reginal Locksei, is faced with the reality of a world of responsibility. He’s felt his natural power surge throughout his body, and revelled in the forces he can command. But now that a former foe has found cause to worship him, how does he move forward?

The Ultimate Helicopter Parent

Observers of modern society complain of a phenomenon in which parents become too involved in their children’s lives. They watch all, hover, and interfere. Normally, no good can come of all that. Imagine, however, if your mother were a goddess watching all on the planet from heaven on high. A goddess with the power to not just prevent horrors from happening, but to bring you back to life. Is that such a bad thing?

Writing my Passions

Not a steamy romance in this case, though I bear those no prejudice. One of my passions is creating art from the equine form, so this excerpt excites my mind to painting possibilities. As soon as I’ve completed and published my third science fiction space adventure, I feel a unicorn art binge coming on. I look forward to it! Meanwhile, back to crafting more words!

The Horror of Death

Death is all around us, every day. Whatever one’s beliefs about an after life, and souls, a person taken physically from this Earth has no more presence on it. No chance to hug loved ones, and hear and speak with them as they did. The death of a father is especially horrible for a young son with plans to live a connected life with him. Now Rejinal Lockseye must forge his own future alone, with all his father’s foes becoming his.

In Suspense from My Own Novel

I see from the date I wrote the chapter this excerpt was from, that it was done about a month before my beloved firstborn child threw my schedule into havoc. I’m slowly reading though and editing in between writing sessions for book three of my science fiction series. I really hope others enjoy reading it as much as I am. I haven’t been changing very much yet as I go along on this first read through in more than twenty-five years. The novel is complete, yet I don’t really know what happens in it. I do remember the main ending, but many threads are a mystery to me as I come to therm. How fun! Then comes the hard part of the polish edits and publication and publicizing . . . but for now, I can imagine how other readers might enjoy the story. It looks like there’s an advantage to waiting a quarter of a century after writing something to do something with it!

Magical Horses Bucking the Myth

Ones of my loves, since childhood, had been the beauty of horses and being in partnership with one. I took many lessons and rode many trails before painting many magnificent specimens. With my love of fantasy and science fiction, it was natural to delve into the world of unicorns. A book I bought on the history of unicorns indicated that historically, the mythical beast has cloven hoofs and lion’s tail. For this fantasy world, I’ve chosen to have creatures of purely equine form, but superior to the regular horses of Hume. Like patches of the planet, some creatures naturally have Power particles built into them, giving them innate magical characteristics. I hope you will enjoy exploring this version of unicorns with me

Are Good Manners Important?

In the olden days, children were strapped or whacked with sticks if they were rude or disobedient. Did they grow up to be better adults than ones raised as they are today, with time-outs and lectures? Probably not. In my mind, it’s not the manners themselves that are important, but the attitude behind them. Holding a door open should be an act of kindness when someone’s hands are full, not a trained obligation. So in the lesson being taught in the excerpt, our protagonist Rejinal goes through the motions, not the feeling. What feelings will arise when he’s in the presence of the head God for real? Let’s hope most people, young or old, carry out polite actions out of sincerity!

Discovering Magic Inside

What would you do if you discovered you had magic? In a world where the only people with it have undergone an operation, discovering you already possess it is a bit of a shock. I had fun imagining the puzzlement the characters would feel. I’m looking forward to hearing from readers explore this journey of discovery with Reginal and his friends and mentors.

The Method in his Magic

When an eccentric genius discovers how to tap into the power of the Gods, fellow humans realize there is method to his madness. Now his challenge is to teach the theory to those who might be suited to taking the special potion to enable it all. Little does he know, there is one on the planet who doesn’t need the potion to send forth the Power. I can only imagine how it would feel to be able to channel magical powers. Imagined I have, though, so I’ve shared it with you in this excerpt. Enjoy living the experience with our protagonist as he discovers the method in his magic.

Freedom for Cats

Feline freedom is a contested issue. I’m lucky to live in the country, so I have a cat door that allows the little beasts to come and go as they please. Mostly they stay near the house now that they’re getting on in age. As in they self-regulate their activities as any mature adult does. If we had a house fire, they’d have a chance to escape, even if we weren’t home. I do agree the situation is different in a city. Traffic is more of an issue, and people being bothered by other people’s cats. It’s one of those unfortunate realities that in some places, keeping cats contained makes more sense. I hope for catios in those cases. Cats love to look, if they can’t go! Our protagonist’s panther is an unusual case. In my mind, only Rejinal’s innate, special talent allows such a relationship. In most cases, those who are born free should stay free.

Timing is Everything

I drafted this fantasy novel many years ago, before Harry Potter was published. I’ve since written and published a couple of science fiction novels with a different, well received flavour. It’s time, though, to re-live and release this adventure. After I’ve put out book three of the SF “opening trilogy,” it’s time to finally get this one out there. I was editing and working on making it “perfect” when the Potter series took the world by a storm, with its magic school scenario. I enjoyed the grammatically incorrect adventures greatly, but also realised the time was not right for me to publish my fantasy novel. With a magic school and other coming-of-age elements, I knew I would be accused of copying the talented Rowlings. It’s not that mine is all that similar; it just seemed that anything put out there that involved a magic school would be accused of trying to ride the wave. The wave has settled though, so here is a bit of the coming adventure.

So Politically Un-Correct

I wrote this scene entailing literally raw emotion almost thirty years ago, before the age of political correctness, and before I had children. I don’t think I would have written it quite like this now, but it fits the setting and characters, so I changed very little. Today, on Earth, Lince would have been spoken to by social services about getting talk therapy for his anger issues. His son Rejinal would have been sent to have a big time out. I’m all for such things in the real world, but the harsh environment the characters live in lends itself to bursts of violence and decisive action. Not all people are as we’d want them to be, and it’s the same with fictional characters; so they remain as they are.

Touching Godly Powers

Having a touch of godly powers might be nice, in a world where such exists. One of the protagonists of Party of the Gods has been a self-made successful lord of a manor since earning that right the hard way. After his genius assistant discovered how to harness Celestial Particles that had been sent forth by the creators of the world, all that he had thought he knew changed. Just as today we wonder how amazing new technologies such as artificial intelligence will change out existence, do did he. He has come to a point when he realises it’s best to go with the flow and appreciate what is available. For our real world on Earth, too, we must look ahead and fear not. Are the ‘Godly Powers of AI soon to be touching us all? It could be a good thing -- perhaps before long, we can ask Mr. AI “How can we fix global warming?” Or Mr. AI might just decide we human aren’t worthy of looking after the world, and decide he must take over the job…

Tears for a Goddess

Not many on planet Hume are touched by a goddess, let alone have a child with one – but it’s not possible to have and to hold something so glorious forever. That brings to question the old adage that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Can a man ever find another to replace a divine being? Especially one whose life energy is so great it helped create Human kind even while subdued by too much wine. Surely her young child will suffer, even if she never truly abandons him. Could his hurt be deeper than if he’d never known his magical Mom? One has to wonder, while learning the wonders of a new world where carelessly thrown celestial powers take on lives of their own.

Still Partying on Earth

You would think a goddess would learn. Having been sent down to Earth to closely study a Human accidentally made clever enough to discover the power of the gods, you would think she could behave herself. Yet she finds herself carrying a human child. She can’t argue with a decree to stay on Earth to look after yet another being created by a partying god; but how will she fit in? How will she hide her powers for years, while making sure the clever one doesn’t use his for ill?

A Down to Earth Goddess

Parties are fun – the aftermath not so much. When a goddess partakes in festivities that create a coming crisis on the planet of mortals, she has to help prevent it. Torn away from her happy existence in heaven, she must go down to planet Hume to direct the actions of beings no one planned to make. How can she set things right?

How is Magic Made?

Wizardry has to start somewhere. When a character has powerful magic, the power comes from somewhere. Often, we’re left to wonder, but I decided it would be wondrous to know. I had fun turning the Celestial particles sent from a group of partying gods that formed a world with unintended powers into something that could be harnessed by someone smart enough to do it. Now the fun will be to watch what he does with it!

A Human Creation Myth

Imagine Humans living in a universe in which partying gods created a planet they are now forced to look after by the head god. What if the Humans think all energy comes from the sun, a giant fire in the sky, and know nothing about gods, heaven, or magical celestial energy. They think it’s the sun alone that has warmed some patches of the surface better than others, giving the wintery and warm regions that are randomly all over the planet. Those on the planet must pack winter wear and bathing suits as they traverse areas endowed generously with Celestial Particles, then cross into a patch of the planets crust bereft of particles. I hope you will follow the adventure as Humans discover how best to survive in the wacky world created by a bunch of drunks.

What Would Gods Create in a Wild Party?

In a fantasy land where young gods get bored and party it up, what might they set in motion? Imagine if human creation were all a party game – at least until head god Aurumus hears about it! Enjoy this first excerpt from a fantasy novel I’ve been looking forward to bringing forth for some time now.

A Christmas Invasion and other infestive poems

A Christmas Invasion and other infestive poems

Science Fiction & Fantasy

A collection of festive poems mirroring the classics, with a science fiction twist. 

Rough-Cut Book Bubbles from A Christmas Invasion and other infestive poems

Tiny Tim’s New Years Tale

*Limited time special price In US and UK on the author’s SF novel Ripped Genes 0.99 Dec 26, 2023 Through Jan 1, 2024 A new year is coming, and I truly believe there is hope for the world and its woes. Humans are smart, on the whole. A few are geniuses. As with the one in my science fiction novels, it only takes one with revolutionary ideas to enable an array of inspired thoughts and solutions. We have flown the stars, delved the depths of the oceans, climbed every mountain. Surely, we can scale up our air purifiers and water filters, and vacuum clean the Earth.

Oiling a Christmas Classic

*Limited time special price In US and UK on the author’s SF novels: Earth and Beyond 0.99 Thurs Dec 21 through 27, 2023; Ripped Genes 0.99 Dec 26, 2023 Through Jan 1, 2024 I love the classic tunes of Christmas, and how the rhythm of the lyrics plays in the mind. The beautiful melody of “We Three Kings” (Three Kings of Orient) is perfect to describe how the people of Earth can move beyond the wars for the right to make excessive use of toxic, polluting substances. We can reach beyond the old ways to imaginative new technologies that both improve the standard of living and the ecological impact of creating energy for those technologies. The combined powers of science and technology can leave us the ancient beauties of the world and add to them instead of destroying them.

Stop Buying Everything from China

I love the people of China, and every other country in the world. However, some governments, including the Chinese one, are usurious of their own citizens. Wealthy elites run the country with what is apparently world domination ambitions, leaving many people living there dutifully working in repetitive production jobs. Would you want your child’s career to be painting the same brush stroke over and over for a mass-produced art reproduction? That’s a reality for many. Don’t blame the people of a nation, blame the situation they’re in. The government and corporations get away with it because people buy it. China is slowly buying the world. No need to bomb us when they can buy out our industries and land, which they are indeed doing. They’re winning an economic war that hasn’t even been declared. The Canadian government sent a survey recently asking if we should stop Chinese purchases of our energy resources. About 95% have answered yes so far. But we can’t leave it all to the government. It’s up to us to check the “made in” tag on those great deals we find on-line. They’re great deals for a reason. Having China make everything and others buying everything isn’t sensible or sustainable. Let’s enjoy a beautiful Christmas season knowing we’ve gifted the right things! Maybe some home-made things!

How Santa Really was Created

Is Santa of this Earth, or is he perhaps an alien? In this fun re-imagining, dear Father Christmas didn’t start out quite the way we know him. Click through to the exciting conclusion to find the Santa we know and love.

Retirement for Christmas

With the busy Christmas season upon us, some might be wishing for retirement. Perhaps with a little magic, it’s possible to pass the buck, and relax! In my version of a classic, Rudolph has been busy for years, then a burst of work sees him finding his replacements. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, with many more books to write, I’m not planning on retiring anytime soon!

A Christmas Twist

This week I'm sharing a complete story, as a festive season treat. You will soon recognize the rhythm of the poem as paralleling a very famous classic. Though I assure you the ending leads to holiday happiness, you might want to be cautious about reading it to young believers. The story is in keeping with the exploration of space theme of my novels, but is much more far-fetched! It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to write, but it was a lot of fun. I’m not an experienced poet, but I do have a few other, more serious-themed ones in my files. I must admit that I’m a fan of rhyming poems. Some snort their noses at them, but I love the rhythm and flow of them. Free verse and other forms can be beautiful, but I prefer to slip in what might (or might not, you tell me) be considered poetic prose into novels when it comes to freer forms. I hope you enjoy this little break from bits. Watch for some of those to appear from the coming book three in the new year, as well as more from the two that are available. Stay safe, and have some fun!

Earth and Beyond

Science Fiction & Fantasy

A utopian future is disrupted by the arrival of mysterious aliens. After a bizarre robot occupation and all-out war, humanity is threatened by an alien mutagen. Headed by clever Ambassador Karen O’Bien, the world’s top scientists must venture into deep space on a pulse-pounding medical mission to cure the pandemic sweeping the Earth.

Book Bubbles from Earth and Beyond

The Origins of the Universe-Saving

As the future Captain of spaceship Chiron explores the origins of the universe, the reader discovers the origins of key crew members in the first installment of this science fiction space adventure series. Walsh’s first love of astronomy, and his service in combatting a surprise alien invasion make him a stellar choice to run Earth’s first deep space exploration vessel as it sets out on a mission to cure Earth. Sophie ultimately plays an important role as she lives again and again in hearts and minds. Meanwhile, we see a young version of her here as she starts a life-changing friendship. Roed, who will invent the revolutionary Quantum Displacement Drive that enables deep space travel, finds an unexpectedly troublesome effect from an experimental machine that landed him a special spot at the Earth Coalition University. Together, the trio work it out, and start forming the bonds that Earth will depend on.

Future or Past Gardening is a Present

Seeing small sprouts packed with nutrition emerge from bare soil gives me a feeling of peace and security. If the trucks stopped rolling at least there would be that. In the past, it was vital to grow food locally. Later, ships brought spices from far lands. Then came the age of luxury for those living in the right locations. Gleefully, people left the toil of the fields as convenience food was delivered daily. Food production turned from each household’s manure fed crops to massive fields enriched with chemical fertilizers. Food aplenty for the fortunate came with a cost. Today with droughts, floods, fires, pandemics, and wars around the world, fear has grown about a break-down in the system we’ve grown to depend on. We diligently back up our computer files, perhaps a back up for food is now in order. A great back up for food can be the back yard. In the future, on Earth or a spaceship, an efficient hydroponic garden might be essential back up to recycling and synthesizing. Maintaining the ability to grow food the old-fashioned way from seeds brings more benefits than just security. It can also bring a place of beauty and restoration for bodies and minds. In the future, producing food from emptiness will be a vital present to the world.

The Blog is Mightier than the Bomb

Wherever you are in the world, you can help Ukraine and other countries, regions, and individuals. Every one of us can bombard the world with pleas for peace. What is peace, anyway? What are we asking for? A sense of safety, of being settled and able to reach for happiness is what we seek for all. It’s not simple to achieve. When you walk into nature on a sunny day and hear only the chirp of birds and gentle rustle of leave, it’s easy to think there is peace. It’s a personal peace, however, not brought to the rabbit hiding in a hole waiting for you to leave so he can get back to lunch. Perhaps following a path is a compromise giving both rabbit and human some freedom and security. A sense of peace for Putin would be knowing he has successfully invaded Ukraine, and he has power over them. His personal peace means agony for others. Let’s find compromises, follow a path that brings some peace for others as well as ourselves. Look for the lurking dangers, the insidious disintegration of structure. Ask yourself what real action you can ask of others and yourself to help bring that peace, then put it out there. The cumulative effects of the personal peace that will bring will better the bombs.

Freedom Around the World

What is freedom? The carefree feeling of walking down a street safely because people are not free to attack you? Running your own business so you have no boss telling you what to do?—but wait, you actually have a million bosses, called customers. Does individual freedom depend on someone else not being free? We’re free to hike in the wilderness—or are we? In order to do so, we have to buy land or pay a park fee, or pay taxes for keeping the land “free.” Then we have to strap on a pack with water and bear spray, then slather bug repellant. Is anyone in the world ever free? Let’s say someone chose to do none of those preparatory steps. Woo hoo, freedom! Just roll out of bed and take off through the woods. Oops, brush so dense you can’t go where you had wanted. Now having to wave arms madly to chase bugs, then finally, climbing a tree and remaining there stuck, as a bear waits below. Ain’t freedom wonderful? Will there be more or less freedom around the world in 2066 when mission specialists must search space to cure an alien infection? With a world government in place, formed by hackers in an eVoices revolution, does the future de facto belong to the individual?

Those Lucky Charmers

No, I’m not talking about breakfast cereal, though as a teen I did get laughed at by a whole class for admitting I ate it. “Here comes Lucky Charms,” they said ever after. Despite that nick-name, I’m not one of those lucky charmers. I have my moments, but more usually I’m asked by someone “Why didn’t you say hi? You walked right by me!” I apologise sincerely and try to explain I live inside my head a lot, and forget to notice what’s outside of it. I do have something people like. All my life perfect strangers have complimented my hair. Don’t ask me what colour it is – it’s been called red, blond, strawberry blond, cherry blond, copper, gold, titian, and even pink, though the guy was a little drunk at the time. A charmer would find something appropriate to say back and make a connection. I manage a smile and a thankyou. I chose to make a central character of my MedSci Missions series charming. We need charming people – they become politicians, moderators, and caregivers; or get hired as the Ambassador heading up a mission in space to cure an alien pandemic. I’m not saying I’d trade the characteristics that make me uniquely me, but a lot of things are easier for those lucky charmers.

Dangerous Shopping

The Ambassador who leads the mission to cure an alien pandemic on Earth found a normal grocery shopping trip more dangerous than expected. Unfortunately, with a real pandemic raging on Earth, we all have hazardous grocery trips. There’s no stopping anyone from going. We can outlaw theaters, but grocery stores are today’s hunting ground for food; we need to go to survive. Hence, anyone in a city who has the virus in them or on them traipses through. Luckily, we can minimize the risks. Like in past post apocalyptic movies, everyone has to mask up, sanitize, and keep their distance. It really hits you that we’re living the movie when somewhere as normal, bright, and delicious as the cake aisle looks like an infectious disease ward. It’s still a bit shocking to think of, with the worst continual danger of my formative years being a cold war that was easy to ignore with some good music blasting. I feel bad for the youth of today stripped of carefree partying. At least they can group like bandits in the grocery store for ad hoc conflabs. Perhaps some will discover the pleasures of a quiet night with a good book. With caution, not all trips to the store have to lead to the hospital like my unlucky Ambassador’s did.

Finding Joy in Dark Times

Whether it be thundering live theater, gripping videos, or a great book, using entertainment to distract and refresh is an age-old coping mechanism for daily distress, and disasters. Kings of old hired court jesters to lend levity to their demanding lives, understanding intuitively that everyone needs a break. Something to lift the spirits, take you away from it all. The designers of medical ship Chiron understood that. A generous rec hall, sports facilities, and even a sim swim pool were included in the hugely expensive vessel encompassing Earth’s hope for a brighter future. No expense was spared in enticing the world’s best medical scientists away from secure, well-paid jobs on Earth. While the crew sweat to run the dangerous Quantum Displacement Drive and ship’s systems, the mission specialists can take a breather on the basketball court, or let loose with some karaoke. Leaving the day to day worrying to the Captain’s people lets those who have to cure Earth’s pandemic focus on their research. A few minutes of fun has regenerative powers to refuel their powerful minds. The same is true for all of us. Let the fun flow; allow it to wash away reality, so our minds will have the energy to make it better.

Being Beyond Human

Evolution is slow. Why not help it? My character got into a bit of trouble being distracted by glowing enhancements in this excerpt, but the possibilities for genuinely useful improvements are endless. Even when enhancements are used for aesthetics, it saves on world resources. Many people feel the need to coat their skin in creams and colors that have to be created. Perfumes and powders are packed and shipped worldwide, and much time is spent daily on applying them artistically to maximize perceived desirability. Instead, if people require these kinds of additions to themselves in order to bolster confidence, why not do a one-time installation of a smart system that automatically presents a person the way they want? Beyond that, think of hearing aids that don’t fall out, glasses that don’t fall off or need continual washing and application, embedded antimicrobials to save on wash water. Mind you, it’s likely that adding android bits to bodies actually makes human evolution even slower. If people aren’t selected against bad eyes, more are born with them; but does it matter? If we have modern methods that skirt around natural selection I’d say it’s a plus. We need not cry over split milk genes, we just go get a nanode replacement.

Fictional Hope for Pandemic Cure

In this novel I wrote before we had a real pandemic to deal with, a literally far-out solution is sought. It seemed like fun fiction at the time. Don’t worry, it’s still fun fiction, but I’m afraid the chances of us really finding a cure in deep space is somewhat remote. So, while you might not get ideas for how to go about your pandemic research on these pages, there’s still a lot of interesting science to contemplate; and of course, alien obstacles to overcome and battle to win. So why did I choose to cause a pandemic? People need an incentive to do anything that’s really expensive, especially if it’s also dangerous. An infectious DNA strand that affects a random Pandora’s box of organs or tissues serves that purpose. Hence, there was finally a motive for taking a serious look at a bizarre Quantum Displacement Drive proposal from one of my main characters. Unlike COVID, my Pandora pandemic also came from space, so it’s the logical place to look for a solution. An infectious DNA strand is not like the virus we have running rampant. There’s no viral casing, just DNA flying about. It’s a real thing you can explore, but if microbes aren’t your madness you can skim past it to get to the juicy action. Enjoy!

Too Many Disasters – Dam them all?

Friends and family are in floods; forests have been decimated by fires; a world-wide pandemic won’t give up its grip. Is it time to dam up the flow of disasters and have a little fun, at least for a nice long weekend? For those of us who aren’t in the thick of building new dykes or giving shots, maybe it’s time to party it up so we can come back refreshed and imagine a future with fun. Before med-ship Chiron underwent the dangerous Quantum Displacement to send mission specialist on their quest for a cure, they partied. The crew hired to ferry them and keep them safe were suffering the grim tension of preparations, but everyone else was asked to relax and get acquainted. Now, a room full of geeks doesn’t really knows how to party properly, but they tried. Shooting though ramps, tunnels and corners in some 3D pool, live monster shoot-outs you can step into with your team, some BB, karaoke, or old-fashioned cards. Fun! More than just fun, though, partying plays a vital role in our survival. What would be the purpose of humans living without enjoyment? How would we carry on continually cognizant of horrors and suffering? We need a break from it. A video binge, perhaps. Maybe a good book (grin.)

Hope for Future War Amputees

War is horrible, there’s no doubting that – but in the future, it could be less horrible. Today’s excerpt entails repairing dire damage. Jack Henson moves on with his new awesome robo-legs. At a push of a button, they hiss together so he can bounce on them like a powerful pogo stick. Don’t play basketball against him! Due to this horrifying war-past incident Jack is very loyal to his rescuer Captain Walsh. He can be a bit grumpy and stubborn with other members of Chiron’s crew, and even the mission specialists they’ve been hired to serve and protect; but if the Ambassador calls for war action he turns kick-ass robo-Rambo. There’s no way he’d let anyone call him handicapped. In this circ. 2066 story, he’s an enhanced human. Why not make the best of a bad situation? In this future fiction, there are factions who think humans should stay natural, but the transhumanists want to pump us up all they can. The ideologies furtively battle it out while the mission to cure earth of a pandemic plays out. With the advent of the real pandemic, today’s situation is not so different – but I say let’s embrace technology to move forward with enabling the disabled!

Desperation Drives Deep Space Travel

Is deep space travel actually possible? Creative consultant BJ Hansen makes it sound so. Is simulating a massless quantum particle in deep space dangerous? Ok, yes, I’m not sure I want to do it, but I’m glad the heroes in my novel do. Whether we humans really deserve to be doing it is another question…I do understand the objections of those who say rocket science causes unjustifiable pollution. We have an urgent need to use our scientific minds to save our own planet. Ultimately, though, I believe humankind will use spacefaring knowledge for good. In fiction it’s exciting to throw in space battles, but in reality, I don’t think real roving has to be that way. Real roving you say? As if I believe we can get around the speed of light problem. Well, more than one real possibility has come up for that. Fictionally, BJ’s engine on board Chiron generates a Quantum Displacement Field within which everything will Displace. In the novels, it’s an inspirational invention by Dr. Markus Røed, (“Red”), considered crazy by others at first, then funded out of desperation. Desperation is the key to pushing ahead in real life, too. History has shown that as a species, we step up as needed to survive and move onward and upward!

A Future for Struggling Wildlife?

I’m a practical person, really. I accept the cruelties of nature. I eat meat occasionally. I don’t think food hunting is evil – but I long for Disney Zootopia world. We’re so close to being able to manufacture meat in labs, I can (almost) taste it. People have removed themselves from the horrors of nature, with houses and projectile weapons. If a lion manages to maul a human child, it’s all over the news as a horrific event. Yet every day the same lion rips apart fawns and bunnies, and no one bats an eye. It’s natural, people say, innocently not recognising the selfishness of ‘better them than us.’ There are even laws in places saying we must not feed wild animals, nor stop them from tearing into each other alive. On the other hand, ages ago we selected out a few wild animals to partner with, and let them evolve into domestic dogs and cats that we get fined or jailed for not looking after and feeding enough. A strange irony. In this snippet of a science fiction adventure, I’ve dared to dream of a future Earth in which we’re learning to remove other animals from the terror of attacks. Technology and science are the keys to not just our future survival, but just maybe for other species as well.

The Art of Marshalling Bravery in Sci-Fi

Sometimes characters, like any other person, can make horrible mistakes – mistakes that can drive depression, horror, and even a desire to end it all. Martial arts are ancient, very real, and very dangerous skills. Ancient samurai and modern soldiers boldly battle as they must, but true bravery is being able to rise above agony, to live with intense regret and move beyond instead of indulging in a quick release. Circumstantial depression can be healed, through skilled treatment, and those in need must seek it out. Those who are witnesses must reach out. Artistry can lead to madness, but the science of the mind, or a deep intuition of it can cure. Woon Takahashi trained to a high level of artistry; built powerful muscles of body and mind. With awards for such, and proof of success, we might expect euphoria – but sometimes winning a battle is not the want. Winning the war takes much more, so he must, join together with shipmates who can direct his talents to play a vital part in a winning team.

Starting the Characters as Troublesome Teens

Since the characters are the heart and soul of my story, I made a creative decision that I suspected would make marketing a challenge; I wanted to start the main characters, the crew and specialists of spaceship Chiron, off as teens or young adults on Earth. Through their actions and struggles I could show the lead-up to the crisis that saw them speed into space to solve, and let the reader live in real time the back histories that grow each into the adventuring heroes they become. Roed will be the Chief Engineer on board, after inventing the revolutionary Quantum Displacement Drive that enables Earth to venture into deep space. The man, however, and especially the teen, has a challenging personality type. Though he’s a genius on the level of Einstein or Hawking, he’s socially awkward in the extreme, and suffers from some level of autism and more than one disorder, namely narcissism. Walsh is destined to Captain the mission, so learning to deal with Roed is a crucial part of his life experience. Sophie will be on board Chiron as well, but not in a way that you might suspect.

Ripped Genes

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mission specialists on revolutionary research hospital ship Chiron seek a cure for Earth’s remarkably strange alien pandemic. On their way to a distant planet, they must deal with tricky aliens, weird wildlife, and science gone awry. When they follow their map to meet the aliens of Fabar, unimaginable problems arise. Bits of humour are blended into darker matters that must be taken care of on a pulse-pounding planetary adventure to forge relationships with aliens who might have answers Earth needs. How do they deal with the dilemma of clones who shouldn’t be, but are essential for the success of their medical mission? How can they save one who doesn’t want to be saved? *You can fully enjoy this book if you haven’t yet read the origin story, Earth and Beyond: MedSci Missions 1.

Book Bubbles from Ripped Genes

The Super Cold of Space

Now the fun really begins. The ship has launched into deep space, with no easy way to get back home as they try to befriend the aliens who seem to be responsible for the infection ravaging Earth. Meanwhile, they have to live with a nasty cold that one of their own created. Annoying, but nothing compared to what the genius creator of the Quantum Displacement Drive will get up to in order to be with the one he loves. The opening sequence shows how I love to play around with mysterious science for brief bits, intermixed with plenty of action and adventure. My imaginings like to pull up a blend of down to Earth Robin Cook and other medical thrillers, then fire off to space for new discoveries. This Excerpt from Chapter One picks up where we left off from Earth and Beyond. Sorry for the cliff hanger, but book three, Shoot for Earth, which will bring the pandemic to a close, progresses!

A Human Creation Secret

The greater question of human creation is of biblical proportions, and I can’t begin to cover it in a couple hundred words. In my mind, and many, it boils down to a series of happy accidents leading to us being alive to contemplate such things. Another question entirely is the how and why of the creation of Ramone Roberto, geneticist extraordinaire and much more. Just how much more becomes clear to computer specialist Sufra Shahar as her friendship evolves. She soon finds there are some more interested in his side talent than the science research he must do to help cure Earth of an alien disease.

Alien Intrigue

I’ve always loved spy novels full of deception, mystery, and even murder. All terrible things, but so much fun in fiction. Thus, I couldn’t help but add an element of spy thriller into my science fiction novels. Our main alien protagonist, Naysha, has a complicated life, which needs a complicated solution. I’ll say no more for fear of spoiling your fun, except that I’ve had mine and now it’s your turn!

Hungry for Humans

At times like Thanksgiving, many people have a chance to gather with family. Not so for Captain Walsh of the spaceship Chiron. He’s stuck out in deep space, able only to think of his children and wonder about them. With long distance communication not yet working on this maiden voyage to search for a cure for a disease, the need to deal with a crisis on board must seem like a welcome distraction!

Dangerous Diplomacy

On Earth we have an international system in place to protect travelling diplomats. There are still unfortunate dangers for others who represent countries such as athletes and musicians; it seems immunity should be extended to team members and others who do countries proud. After a basketball player is imprisoned simply for having a vial of cannabis oil, future teams will be reluctant to enrich host countries with their presence and prowess. If deep space travel were real, the dangers for first encounters would be considerable. With no long-established rules, alien officials could be expected to do anything, from feeding you, to shooting first then asking questions. In the Ripped Genes novel, it’s vital that the specialists make contact with the Fabarian aliens. Feeling out the risks and coming up with a visitation plan wouldn’t be boring!

Alien Refugee

Should a spaceship on a vital medical mission for Earth pause to rescue a refugee in deep space? Morally, it seems the right thing to do. Are there dangers involved? Certainly! There is risk in most rescues; entering water to save a floundering victim, flying a chopper close to a supposed climber dangling from a cliff…the list goes on. Suffice it to say that a ship full of medical people and researchers is likely to want to pick up a stranger in need, despite doubts and dangers. They might even learn some vital facts about that corner of the galaxy!

Zombie Surgery

Any time is spooky time on the spaceship Chrion. How would a person behave after having partial brain replacement surgery? While we wince, the brain is really just another organ. Why do we replace livers, kidneys, hearts, and more, but balk at the brain? With medical advancements it should be possible to do brain transplants without ending up with a zombie. However, with the Ripped Genes novel set in the near future, it’s understandable that mixing tissue from the dead would still seem Frankensteinish, and result in bizarre behaviour. The future might hold great things for the human mind, but for now, the Chiron crew have a spooky problem on their hands!

The Gravity of the Situation

On a planet, falling and hurting yourself is natural. The gravity of it depends on how far you fall, and what you land on. Luckily, we’ve developed medical interventions to pick people up again. In space, ironically, we can damage ourselves from forces we’ve artificially created to simulate gravity. Instead of floating harmlessly around a spaceship, a force field generator that pulls you down to the floor can pull you faster and farther than you want! Hence, even in space, people continue to fall. We’ve caused the medical drama we can’t avoid on Earth to follow us into space. Whether we’ve caused the problem or not, we still have to deal with it. With our man-made medical interventions, some of our space exploration heroes who fall will rise again.

Imagining Things in the Night

There’s something about the black of night that strikes fear in all of us. What might be lurking in the dark? If you can’t see it, anything could be there – or anything you need could disappear. The imagination goes into overdrive, but with good reason. If you can imagine a problem, you have time to imagine a solution before the crisis actually happens. Imagination is a vital tool for preventing disaster. If a mother imagines a child getting run over on the road, they will take their hand or pick them up before they have a chance to run into danger’s way; so that creepy feeling and imagined scenarios we get from unknown sounds and loss of sight is a good thing!

Secrets Amongst Sailors

People sailing through space together depend on one another for their lives – so what happens when some of them harbour secrets from the rest of them? Imagine getting hired to Captain the ship, then finding out the government representative on board had kept secrets about space faring projects carried out by the Earth Coalition Government before the ship had launched? Chiron’s Captain, Richard Walsh, has to come to terms with that, and more, as he finds out that even underlings are privy to important facts! Are there valid reasons, though, for a government to keep intel from those with their feet on the Force Field floor?

Illicit Experimentation

The crimes against the likes of Henrietta Lacks are renowned. Even if racism isn’t involved in the choice of the victim, the thought of someone doing something to a body without permission is horrifying. The character with the mysterious hands must be evil. Or are they? If an experiment is well set up to give legitimate results and the motive behind running it is well intentioned, things aren’t so black and white. Some very interesting things could result. If the recipients of an unauthorised procedure end up being happy with the gained info or changes, was it all right for the person to do whatever they did? In real life, probably not, but it sure makes for thought provoking fun in fiction.

Alien Coercion

Sometimes a little coercion could turn out well. Being forced into a visit with unknown, intimidating beings could bring a whole new world of knowledge and experience. Though fear might grip you at the thought of leaving the known wonders, hazards and horrors or Earth for mysterious ways and weird things, exploration could enrich you in ways you can’t imagine. On the other hand, or paw or craw, a little coercion could turn out very un-well!

Experimenting on People

Stories abound about abductions by aliens, usually grey with large eyes. Perhaps the tales are true, or perhaps once the ideas got around, everyone’s imaginations were seeded. In any case, have the greys done any real harm? People are returned, albeit with a few creepy memories. Whatever it is they’re doing (or not) doesn’t seem any worse than what we do ourselves to further bio research. As one of too many examples, the horrors of genetic experiments by Nazis are far worse than most descriptions of alien encounters. Even the legitimate medical research by human doctors that follows strict protocols can involve dangerous chemics and invasive procedures, from which the subject might not even benefit. Further, we’re guilty of doing many experiments on so-called lesser species on our planet. If Greys are so far advanced they can travel to Earth, we are analogous to chimps or guinea pigs in comparison to them. So, should we really complain about some discomfort as we further the knowledge of our neighbours from the stars?

Should Science Fiction be Literature?

The heart of science fiction is, or should be, science; but should the words needed to tell a story that creatively uses real or imagined facts and extrapolations be strung together in an artistic way as well? The term ‘literary’ first brings to mind classes that analyzed grim works full of long descriptions and much human suffering in excruciating detail. In my youth I eschewed literary techniques, like those in my sphere of influence. Over time I came to appreciate many of the elements of the classics I’d studied. I formulate exercises to study them in my local writing group and attempt to incorporate them into my work. Word choice can slip out unconsciously, especially in the first draft, but I’ve seen it’s worthwhile to make a conscious effort to slip in things to read between the line, give food for thought, make an attempt an eloquence. Not all science fiction writers put, or want to put, carefully massaged text with literary techniques such as alliteration, symbolism, allegory. Simply stated action and ideas that stretch science can suffice. Styles differ, but perhaps striving to go beyond pure entertainment, and putting a bit of art in with the science is superior.

Is Seppuku Suicide Really Honourable?

An ancient samurai tradition was to commit honourable suicide. For a Japanese historian-turned-defender, it could seem like an easy way out of the doghouse. Woon pushed beyond limits to have a successful mission, but ultimately, disobeying orders brought guilt and shame. Normally an officer being disciplined wouldn’t lead to suicidal thoughts, but when the guilty party was already on the brink from committing unintentional murder in his youth, performing an act ingrained in his culture slipped easily into the mind. Though he didn’t throw the first blow in the fight leading to death, accepting mandatory army service instead of court justice meant he didn’t have a chance to accept judgement for the crime. Thus, the guilt lives on. Will he?

Surgeons of war

As we engage in war, so must we repair the havoc wreaked by it. One vital element of the horrific cycle of destruction and reconstruction is emergency surgery. On a spaceship in the future, the surgeon will have technical advantages over today’s practitioners, but also additional challenges. As I studied bio-sci at Guelph U, I developed a close friendship with a vet student in my dorm, with whom I had many fascinating discussions. When not obsessing over the objects of our romantic ambitions, we delved into theology, the meaning of beauty, and of course, medicine. It was pointed out that a veterinarian needs knowledge of incredibly diverse species. To graduate, one must be competent in everything from pet turtles to beef cattle. As I set about creating my star surgeon for this series, I realized vet studies would make him an ideal candidate for dealing with aliens. In the after-battles the surgeons fight, he must be ready to make instant decisions to enable almost instant action on unfamiliar beings. Extrapolation is a key skill for the future war surgeons of space, as I imagine them. Perhaps one day we’ll find out if I’m right.

Once a Warrior, Once a Doctor

The past never leaves us. All our traumas come back to haunt us, in dreams or living nightmares. Training drilled into us is so entwined into our nerves that the screws pushed into place pop out whenever need arises, but reset as we sleep for the rest of our healthy days. Captain Walsh, like many on Earth, was involved in combatting the alien robot occupation that eventually led to war. Unfortunately, battles tend to stick in brains, bringing forth memories and reactions at awkward times. On a more positive note, years of learning how to save lives never leaves the soul. Dr. Heather McTavish might not practice by choice, but a first officer who can double as a doctor is a valuable resource indeed. Past skills that arise in times of need didn’t happen by accident on Chiron. Ambassador O’Bien scoured Earth for multi-talented individuals. When people resources are limited to 199, finding those who were once another can essentially double the personnel count!

What are the rules for alien encounters?

Trust is vital in any relationship. Does that mean humans would be well advised to reveal what makes us tick? Perhaps trust is a human concept, and doesn’t even apply to aliens. Maybe it’s more important to connect to an alien in any way possible – to show them anything but the door. Though humans feel incomplete without them, set protocols for how to deal with aliens are probably a bad idea. Each being will be different, even within the same species. So perhaps Roed’s seeming naivety really was an innate ability for perceptive judgement. If more meetings were left to logical scientist bent only on learning, perhaps the galaxy would be a better place.

Horror and Hope

I didn’t think I was a horror writer, but after a reader commented on Online Bookclub that Ripped Genes was macabre, I realized parts of it are indeed intended to shock. Horror isn’t my favourite to read, so it puzzles me that I sometimes like the idea of readers gasping and cringing for a bit. Mostly, I want to convey a sense of wonder, and optimism for the future. Just like in real life, though, there are bumps in the black of night or deep space on the route to happiness or at least success.

Introducing Spin-off Characters in a Novel

In order to bring readers richly developed characters, sometimes you want to flesh them out fully before having them play a cameo, so to speak. That’s when it’s time to let them play their part in the story, and make notes for further adventures with them. The reader can be treated to a depth that comes from time spent on development and imaginings even though they play a small but important roll in a particular story. That was the case here, except it was always the plan to have further stories using the set of characters who take off from the main ship Chiron. Further adventures were initially planned for comic format, but the logistics and expense of that are large (but hopefully not insurmountable). Meanwhile, it’s fun to kick them off so they can have a whole new set of adventures while not distracting from the plot of the novel that introduces them. I hope you enjoy wondering about these Metasapians (mutated humans with odd abilities) as much as I and other dreamers.

What will cryogenically frozen people wake to

Imagine waking to a future world of wonder or horror. Would you have a functional body? How would you live? What a challenge to find a new job, a place for yourself; unless you arranged a home ahead of time, an expensive sounding proposition. What if you didn’t ask to be frozen, and someone messed with your brain? The possibilities are endless. Placement in a drone sounds more practical. One could fly around like an angel, observing, sending and receiving messages. With a solar charged battery, people could flit about like angels with very little cost to themselves or society. Sophie in the story here awakes in outer space after getting infected with an alien infectious DNA strand on Earth. She’s not quite the person she was, though.…

To Push or Not to Push

That is the question. If you see a button, do you have the urge to push it? I’m betting most of us do. Whether it’s red, green, or indefinable, its very presence is a mystery waiting to be solved. People famously can’t help touching fresh paint when there’s a large sign declaring it as such. Perhaps it’s a reluctance to take someone else’s word for something. Maybe the paint was fresh when the sign was put up, but now it’s not. There’s only one way to find out; or so we tell ourselves, when faced with it. So if you were on an alien planet and a button presented itself, would you push it?

Cats in Space

If you were setting off for a long trip into space, would you take your cat? For all the reasons we have them in our homes on Earth, I’d recommend it, though only if a positive environment could be provided. If you lost the cat, though, would you clone it? Grow a new kitten using an incubator? How about throwing in some genetic modification? Perhaps you would get a GMO whether you wanted to or not. A unique feline that could be the start of a new line in a colony; or if the changes were deemed dangerous, it could be neutered or left as the sole member of its species. The feline on spaceship Chiron will eventually force the humans to answer some of those questions. Whether or not it should exist, it does, and it wants its cuddling! Once created, the methodology of its conception is moot. Its humans are morally obliged to embrace its oddities and consider letting the species evolve to a point no felines have gone to before.

Laughing away the Stress

Whether you’re wanting to laugh away the disasters and wars of the world, or the pressures of completing a mission in space to save lives, laughter is restorative medicine. The metaphorical Martians wreaking havoc on Earth definitely aren’t funny, but humour has been used to alleviate stress for centuries. It makes sense it would still be used in futuristic medicine and a space faring medical research vessel. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a comedy spiel script, and the perfect place came along in this novel. It was fun to gather family quips and jokes, and miscellaneous thoughts to put together a psychiatrist's side hobby therapy effort. Hopefully it lightens the mood for readers and lifts a bit of the weight of the world.

Our Nature to Fight

It’s human nature to fight, but why don’t we all fight to save nature? Instead of mining brimstone and sending it forth to others, we could put all that hostile energy into joining forces against the almost biblical fires, storms, and floods wreaking havoc on all our lands. Only then will we have the future many of us dream of in science fiction space adventures. What might that future look like? There will be beauty, but unknown dangers aplenty. Perhaps by then we will have learned how to work with galactic friends to battle weird anomalies. Conflict with others, be they human or alien, is inevitable, but not insurmountable. With inventive minds, technology could be our savior. The device used to help Captain Rod is a system to collect the ambient energy floating around in space. That clever bit of engineering means the spaceship will seldom run out of energy. Along with labs that grow mean, and efficient hydroponics, living in space circa 2066 can have a low footprint indeed. That leaves energy to share resources in the fight against natural disasters. Humans get aggressive when there isn’t enough to go around, whether it be land, food, love, or anything else. With technology and all of space to explore, the problem is pretty much moot!

Rush’n into War

With Russia rushing into Ukraine, and China buying the world a bit at a time, one has to wonder what the world will look like in forty years. Time and time again, groups try to change the rest of the world to their way of thinking, or grab land for living or income. Why don’t they realise diversity and independence develop many more possibilities for solving problems? It seems that evolution has forced domination for survival, and now that we’re supposedly civilized, we’ve been unable to get away from that mindset. I imagine a future under a world banner tuned to the wants of the world, not to the desires of dictators. How that all happens, exactly, might make a full novel some day. For now, the concepts bring us to a different future. Would beings on other planets really be bent on invading Earth and dominating it? That’s a common theme in much science fiction, but would they really think like humans? As with humans, there would probably be individuals and groups breaking away from the norms of their society. Thus, it’s possible, to play future aliens as friendly, yet, feature bang-up action now and then. I have hopes for peace despite the rush in wars, so while exciting fiction frees the mind, my characters don’t rush into it!

Mixing Macabre into the Works

I was surprised when a reviewer said my Sci-Fi Medical Thriller was macabre – then I remembered a scene in it that definitely is. I started wondering at the wisdom of mixing macabre into what is mostly an adventurous story of discovery with a goal of curing an alien pandemic. I’ll admit I had a lot of fun going gruesome on illicit surgery. Subsequently, though, I got as much satisfaction finding a character in a tight spot, literally, and being able to laugh it up a bit. Perhaps it’s marketing madness to insert such a wide spectrum of moods, but with characters having different personalities and agendas, some proper, some personal, that’s the way they wrote themselves. I’m not alone in mixing a dash of macabre into medical mystery. I grew up reading Robin Cook’s Medical Thrillers, along with stacks of Star Trek and an eclectic string of other stories. Cook’s macabre descriptions of warehoused bodies in Coma planted seeds somewhere within the folds of my grey matter, and once sprouted, slowly wound their way into what I was creating. Exactly how the firing of neurons creates fiction is a topic for science, which I used to dabble in. All I can say as a writer of fictionalized science is that mixing in macabre felt morbidly right.

Losing the Lava

Lava is deadly and dangerous, there’s no doubt about that – but recent studies show the Earth’s core is cooling quickly. In my novel Ripped Genes an organism digs deep to pull lava from the core to use as a weapon. On Earth, lava naturally erupts and burns everything in its path. However, in only two or three billion years, that’s likely to change. Every time a volcano erupts with a spectacular release of heat onto the surface, or an alien sucks lava and spits it out, the core is cooled a bit. Eventually, Earth will turn into a barren rock. By that time, I have faith that humans will have found a way to continue. While the author of Sapiens thinks humans will only survive a million years, I’ve noticed that throughout history, we step up to overcome disaster and live on as a race. That’s what it’s all about, this being alive thing – reaching out, exploring, imagining new ways and solutions. Each of us has a role to play in bettering humans or the planet in some way. Solving with science, educating, charming into peace and goodwill…all talents are useful. Earth might be slowly losing its lava, but future generations will find ways to warm hearts, minds, and a home, wherever it might be.

Fun with Mysteries in the Sci-Fi

I’ve been having fun with a character temporarily called “Mystery hands.” Starting in book one Earth and Beyond, and continuing in Ripped Genes, there is a series of short scenes in which hands carry out suspicious activities in a lab or medical setting. I look forward to the reveal in book three! Meanwhile, the idea is to personify the hands themselves. Why would I do that? Purely for the mysterious fun. The questions asked by the reader are not just “What is going on,” but also, “Who is doing this?” Since characters are the heart and soul of the MedSci Missions stories, the “who” is as important as “What in the galaxy is going on?” The hint I’ll give is that the hands belong to a character known to the reader. As for the science, I can’t say too much without giving away one of the long-term plot threads. I can say that BinDNA is described at the beginning of Ripped Genes as “bound DNA.” That means the alien infectious DNA has a chemical additive that binds up portions of the single-stranded alien DNA so it can’t pair up with human DNA and infect people. Thus, the BinDNA is safe to use in the lab as the scientists try to solve the big mystery, Earth’s pandemic.

Profanity in Science Fiction

You might wonder about my use of sound-alike swear words. Why would I do that? I personally hate having the F-bomb thrown everywhere; I suppose because I grew up hearing it only from school yard ruffians. More importantly, I wanted to make the series family-friendly like original Star Trek was. It really bothers me to hear curses in newer series that don’t fit into the Trek Universe because of the language. Not only does it limit the audience, but it makes a lack of consistency. Also, it’s just plain fun to make up new expressions. Why would future phrases be all the same as crude or religious or planet-bound ones we use today? I chose to explain the prevalence of expressions such as “sucking black holes” as being popularized by a 50’s holo-vid. (a 2050’s “tv show.”) Otherwise, it would be unlikely that people would speak galactically before they had deep space travel available to them. It’s only halfway through book one that a theoretical, dangerous Quantum Displacement Drive is built for a quest to cure an alien pandemic; so the additional fiction enabled the out of this world expletives I wanted for a space series. Why not stay clean and get creative instead of offending portions of the population?

Dragon or Sci-Fi Beast?

Fantasy and Science fiction are two quite different genres. While both fall under speculative fiction, and both need rules to follow, fantasy can fully leap into the imaginary. Sci-Fi, though, must (or should!) be a logical extrapolation of real science. While Woon doesn’t know much about his foe at this juncture, I can give you some enrichment; the beast does indeed “breathe fire,” using lungs near the shoulders like the humanoid Fabaris have. However, it’s due to an exothermic reaction involving burning his saliva. For ignition, Slatas must depend on energy stored in an organic battery from solar energy-collecting scales. The tongue and tunnels are coated in a material similar to asbestos. Another genre blend here is martial arts. The Zap suit referred to is for hand-fighting with electrified body parts. As a teen, I didn’t know when I read a book on karate techniques that by the time I was in my thirties I’d have a couple of black belts. I signed up to encourage our son when my husband got a bad back. Blending genres can expand and enrich a story. I love fantasy books, games, and creatures. I love karate and well done fight scenes. With solid science available to explain those elements, why not slip them into my science fiction?

Seasoning the Writing

A change from fall to winter means a drastic switch in my lifestyle; from working the earth to full writing mode. With the advent of crunchy crystals on frozen plant stalks, I look away. I turn inward and create my own reality, which I work hard to share with all of you; imagining, drafting, and massaging text for others to enjoy as flakes fall mostly unnoticed. With so much dark in the day, my work hours get wonky. Day or night, snow or sleet, it doesn’t matter – my world is now coming from inside. In the real world, nature is the one in control, but writing gives one that same power. The weather is whatever you make it. In my novels, old Joe is the one with that power. Is he a lowly maintenance man, or a god? Does he revel in the power or is it a chore he churns out? Considering he stand silently in the centre of his creations you might conclude the former; or is he just taking a “smoke break?” Enjoy imagining taking control of the environment, and turning frigid to sunny in a blink. Most of us can’t fiddle with physics, but in our own minds we control all. You can think away cold thoughts and be sunny.

Musician Madness in Space

I had a lot of fun with this cloned musician character. Don’t ask me who it is, legally it’s no one in real history. I’m a fan of many musicians, and have eclectic tastes, so really he’s a compilation of characteristics that famous performers tend to have in common. The challenge for Ramone is to overcome trauma induced by aliens, which leads him to unearth a buried talent. He finds himself in trouble, but through counselling and music gets on the right track (figuratively and literally). His genetic makeup has been hidden from him so he won’t feel pressure to become a famous icon. A personal journey of discovery leads him to his own path as he carries on vital genetics research for the ship’s mission to cure an alien pandemic. Through Ramone’s growing musical proficiency, crew and specialists on board get a bit carried away with partying in the karaoke bar, and measures have to be taken to keep the normally studious scientists on track. Not as bad as spores up Spock’s nose, but you get the idea. Should cloning of sentient beings be allowed? That becomes an important question to the mission specialists and the aliens of Fbar as they start what will be a lasting friendship.

Alien Intrigue

This opening scene snippet introduces the aliens the mission specialists of Chiron get to know intimately over time. The Fabaris are humanoid, with two main races that evolved separately, like Neanderthal vs Homo Sapiens, and at least one slightly different island race. The eyes do some dramatic things, and humans can easily learn to interpret moods and expressions. The Fabaris sport a prehensile tail with two fingers and an opposing thumb at the end. Photosynthetic strands in varying percentages streak through hair falling from the tops of their heads, giving shiny green highlights in most. Fifty percent streaking is average. The skin is pale gold, smooth, and soft looking. The tail is able to swing in any direction, wrap completely around another Fabaris, and squeeze or pull. The tail can bend around a corner to allow the digits to grasp something. The tail can also loop around a pole or branch and hold firm long enough for them to hang comfortably for an hour or so, depending on their fitness level. The photosynthetic strands provide energy directly to the brain – for that reason, Fabaris hair is usually kept as long as possible on both males and females. I look forward to developing these exciting aliens more as book three moves along.

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