Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The more often I read these statements, the more arrogant and insensate they appear to me. These people may be creationists for all I know, but they apparently are fervent supporters of the concept of survival of the fittest! And they may be "good Christians," but if they are, they have forgotten two New Testament admonitions (Mythmaker philosophy is eclectic, willing to extract whatever is valuable from any spiritual writing):
These same people are probably anti-abortion, but why care for a fetus any more than you would care for your Alzheimer-stricken parent -- neither can take care of itself or has any ability to contribute to society or its own welfare. The argument would be -- but the fetus has the potential to contribute. OK, but don't we owe something to our parent, for the contribution it made to our own lives in the past? Do we simply lay our failing family members out on the curb and sit rocking on the porch, sipping lemonade and watching while they die? Quite a reality show, yes?
So, the empathy that impels us to care for the weak and less fortunate -- those who can't take of themselves -- is a distinctly human trait. This may be to our detriment as a species, because it throws off the balance of nature (there are too many humans on the Earth and we are very good at finding ways to keep ourselves alive), but however that may be, I would not want to exist in a world where the dominant intelligent species lacks qualities of compassion and empathy and the instinct to take care of the less fortunate.
The next Mythmaker post will delve more deeply into what it means to be human.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Peter Bell was born in 1959 and died from the complications of HIV in 1994. He studied languages and traveled extensively, served in the Peace Corps, and taught at the French American International School in San Francisco for a number of years. He wrote both fiction and poetry but never published his writings. Now his former partner, Raymond Boyington, has taken on the task of editing and publishing his works.Jack A. Urquhart’s insightful review states all the pertinent facts about this collection, so I will turn immediately to my own eminently favorable impressions.
I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys well-written short fiction. Peter Bell displays a true affinity for his craft and it is indeed a sad loss to literature (and on many levels) that he lived only to the age of 35. Now, however, thanks to the collection’s editor and publisher Raymond Boyington, Peter Bell’s achievements will not be forgotten.
You can buy Nocturne (Kindle edition) on Amazon. I also recommend Jack A. Urquhart's collection of short fiction entitled So They Say, also available at Amazon.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
But the precept doesn't define "love." The word is one of the most ambiguous in the English language. I addressed that in "Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder," where Kaitrin Oliva is discussing the concept of love with the Kal Communicator Hetsip-dohná:
"It was under the apple trees,” mumbled Robbie.
Prf. Doone made a little throat noise as if she were attempting to laugh, or trying not to. “The important word there is vows. Did you and Sharlina make any vows?”
“No,” he said somewhat disgustedly. “We just … did it. There were a few empty words, though. More like grunts.”
Prf. Doone appeared to be strangling again. “The point of that Precept is that ceremonial words or contracts can’t make a union holy. When two people can achieve a truly holy union, it’s a highly intangible and fragile thing, spiritually blessed and very personal and unique. That state can be called marriage, whether there is a ceremony or not."
“That never happened,” he said. “I’m not sure that sort of thing exists.”
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
I'm presenting here Chapter 2 of my unfinished novel, "The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars." It's a fictionalized biography of Capt. Robbin Nikalishin, the starship Captain who made the first contact with extraterrestrials in the 28th century (some 2.5 centuries before the time of "The Termite Queen"). I already posted the Prologue to that book, which you can read here, and Chapter 1, available here. At that latter link, you can see my drawing of Capt. Nikalishin.
Chapter 2: How Robbin Nikalishin Got His Name
Barsilia Section, South Ammerik)
His mother bore the name of Sterling Nikalishin. Her ancestors had come from Russa, migrating into Western Uropia during the time of the Techno-Warlords, then fleeing to Britan when the bombs that had wiped out the Franco-Jerman Federation began to fall. That had been over 300 years ago and the Nikalishin lineage had become stoutly British, although the family had resisted the pressure to “anglify” its name during the 27th century’s Campaign of Cultural Unification.
Upon completing prep, Sterling attended a tech school, studying Spainish and information technology with the intent of becoming an interpreter and transcriptionist. She hungered for an adventure in a far-away place and hoped to get a posting in an overseas installation. The Earth Unification Charter was less than forty years old at that time, and the implementation of a Pan-Global government remained a work in progress. Segments of the Earth such as Britan and Midammerik that prided themselves on possessing an unusually enlightened heritage had not quite lost their distrust for the less homogenized lands in other sectors of the Earth and still maintained delegations in those parts to keep an eye on their interests there. Sterling had gazed in fascination at the llamas and scarlet macaws in the Lunden Zoological Park and became infatuated with the prospect of visiting them on their home turf.
When she received her assignment, however, she found herself nowhere near llamas and parrots, but in Bunair in Arentina Section, the capital of the Southwest Quadrisphere, a cosmopolitan city with a decent climate. She ventured on a couple of excursions to the Andean West and the tropical North and quickly became disillusioned and quite relieved to return to a comfortable city life. She was put to work as a translator in QuadGov’s Agribusiness Division and planned to return to Britan in a year when her contract expired. Then she met Manual Vargas.
He was a rough-talking, sexy outdoorsman, quite different from any man she had ever known, and before she could fully understand what was happening, she was pregnant. She made a fuss and Manual gave in and signed a nuptial contract with her. He had family living in Mount Vid and so, when the baby was born, they were waiting in that precinct for Manual’s next assignment to come through.
And so Sterling found herself transplanted to that tropical North that she found disagreeable, dwelling in a village complex prosaically called Plantação das Palmas, número dois, or simply Dois Palmas, some two hours by rail from Bell Horizon. Fortunately, Vargas was a supervisor and so the young family was allocated a cottage to themselves and was spared the need to live in the communal barracks with the native field workers and overseers.
The plantation had been purposely located at no great distance from the Devastation Zone of Regioneiro so as to study the effects of slightly contaminated soil and water on the crops. During the Apocalyptical the city of Regioneiro itself had been pelted by so many radiant bombs that 350 years later it still remained too “hot” for rehabilitation. All the food and water necessary for human consumption was transported into Dois Palmas; the surrounding environment had been certified safe for habitation, but a good deal of controversy still lingered about that. Half the population of Bell Horizon had died during the Wars even though the city itself had escaped a direct attack, and the entire surrounding Prefecture continued to suffer a cancer rate three times higher than normal. The local population was impoverished and poorly educated, speaking little Inge and only the pidgin dialect of Spainish native to Barsilia, which Sterling could hardly understand. Hatred for the situation in which she had trapped herself soon began to smolder within her.