January 29, 2015


The Cold War between the Kiiote and the Yown’Hoo has become a shooting war.  On Earth, there are three Triads one each in Minneapolis, Estados United; Pune, India; and Harbin, China. Protected by the Triad Corporation, they intend to integrate not only the three peoples and stop the war that threatens to break loose and slaughter Humans and devastate their world.; but to stop the war that consumes Kiiote economy and Yown’Hoo moral fiber. The Yown’Hoo know about the extra-Universe Braider, aliens whose own “civil war” mirrors the Cold War. The Braiders accidentally created a resonance wave that will destroy the Milky Way and the only way to stop it is to physically construct a sort of membrane that will produce a canceling wave – generated from the rim of the Galaxy inward. The Braiders don’t DO physical stuff on that scale – the Yown’Hoo-Kiiote-Human Triads may be their only chance of creating a solution. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society may produce a stability capable of launching incredible expansion, creativity, longevity and wealth – and building the Membrane to stop the wave.

The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans –two; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven. On nursery farms and ranches away from the TC cities, Humans have tended young Yown’Hoo and Kiiote in secret for decades, allowing the two warring people to reproduce and grow far from their home worlds. Grendl, Manitoba is one such place. No one but the Triad Company has ever heard of it and the physical plant goes by the unobtrusive name of Organic Prairie Dairy.

The city Triads never hear of anything they aren’t spoon fed in their luxury worlds and have heard only rumors of the farms and ranches. Surrounded by a Humanity that has degenerated into a “duck-and-cover” society as the Big Boys fight their war, the Triads don’t care about anything but their own lives. Oblivious, cocooned, manipulated, they have no idea that their privileges are about to be violently curtailed and all of their biology ransacked for the correct Membrane pattern. (update: 5/2/2014)

“What enemy forces?” whispered Kashayla from my neck.

I jerked the wheel hard again – but not hard enough to override the autodriver. “What are you doing up here?”

“Asking questions. What does it sound like?”

Qap, the male pack leader – and my best friend on Earth – said, “She asks because we all ask. We deserve to know what enemies hunt us.”

Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret) nodded slowly then said, “You do deserve it.” He looked through the windshield as I turned a corner. “But we don’t have time for me to tell you what you really need to know.”

“Why not?” asked Dao-hi, our Herd mother, leaning into the conference space in the front of the truck.

He pursed his lips, “We just don’t have time. Not yet.”

“When will we have time?” ‘Shay asked.

Lieutenant Retired shook his head and lifted his chin. I looked outside. It was dark. “What do you notice right now, kids?”

“What do you mean, Elder Human?” asked Dao-hi.

I said, “It’s getting darker.”

“It always gets dark at night,” said ‘Shay.

“Not that kind of dark,” I said. “The city lights aren’t lit.” Nobody said anything for a while. “They don’t light the rest of the city, do they, Lieutenant?”

He shook his head, “They don’t, Oscar.” I hated it when he used my real name. It made me sound like a dork. “You two Humans – and the other four of the Human Triad members, along with most of your handlers, are among the richest Humans on Earth.”

“What?” exclaimed ‘Shay. “I’m not rich! I don’t have anything!”

Shaking his head, Lieutenant Retired said, “You have incredible resources backing you, young lady.”

“Still, they are nothing compared to the resources that back us,” said Dao-hi. “We are a rich people…” The lieutenant laughed. Dao-hi had been raised with us and studied us. She knew exactly what laughter meant. And he had a sharp, snarky edge to it. He was being sarcastic. “Why do you laugh, Human?” Her tentacles lifted out of their sheathes and the Herd behind her started to press forward, smelling her threatened scent.

He said, “Humans have been carrying you for the past three years, Herd Mother.”

“What?” she whistled angrily. The other ten, even the tiny, immatures, Lan-mai-ti, Ked-sah-ti, and Eel-go-pot managed to squeeze under the hooves of their elders.

“Quiet!” Lieutenant Bakhsh snarled as the engine cut off and we were all plunged into darkness and cold.

January 28, 2015



Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

SF Trope: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AceCustom (An ace custom is a piece of technology that differs from the normal model due to being tweaked in order to better fit its user...typically Ace Pilots...)
Current Event: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn, http://usvsth3m.com/post/78650868521/a-13-year-old-boy-in-preston-just-successfully-built-a

Zsigmond Alajos Becskei pursed his lips to stare at the old man in the wheelchair in the distance and said, “How old did you say he was?”

Sissinnguaq Âviâja, standing beside him, tapped her tablet computer. The answer popped up in front of them and she said, “Sixty-one.”

Zsigmond shook his head, “Looks like he’s a hundred.”

“Radiation exposure can do that to a person,” she paused, “I think he looks sad.”

Zsigmond snorted, “You’d look old, too if you were playing with radioactive materials in your backyard when you were sixteen, too.”

Sissinnguaq shook her head, “We didn’t have back yards in Iceland. They kept getting covered in volcanic ash.”

“At least you had something interesting going on in your country. My parents moved here because they were bored.”

“That’s stupid.”

“You’re stupid.”

“Right,” said Sissinnguaq, “Maybe we should talk to him before he dies. Like in a couple of minutes.”

“Can’t argue with that.” Zsigmond swallowed nervously even though he walked along the sidewalk and up to the nursing home’s security station.

The guard behind the window looked up and slid the palm scanned under the slot and said, “Name and purpose.”

Zsigmond hesitated – this would be the true test of his forgery – and covered it by saying, “I’ve never seen my grandfather before. What if I want to leave before I have to talk to him.”

The guard, who’d been looking bored up to now, shook his head. “Old age ain’t a disease kid. He’s not contagious. He’s your ma or your pa’s dad. You ain’t gonna catch nothing.”

Sissinnguaq leaned and said, “My boyfriend’s not afraid of his grandfather in that way. He’s just never seen anyone…”

“Save it, girl. Are you guys going in or are you gonna run away scared like most of the other snot-noses?”

“You are an incredibly rude man,” she said, slapping her hand down on the scanner.

“I didn’t get to be eighty-three by being a sweetheart.” He looked at Zsigmond, “Either slap the ID pad or get out of here, kid. I ain’t gettin’ younger.”
Zsigmond sighed and laid his hand on the scanner. A moment later the guard pulled it back under, looked at the ID and raised his eyebrows, saying, “Good thing you’re here. I don’t think Dave has many more days left in him.” He typed at his solid keyboard and the first entry door swung open. Zsigmond and Sissinnguaq waited for the second door while the entryway disinfected them. A moment later, the guard said, “Computer says he’s out in the courtyard.”

“Thanks,” said Zsigmond. The headed into the nursing home as the door swung slowly inward. He whispered, “Now if he’ll only be able to remember the last step he screwed up, we can get the reactor started tonight and blow up the city in the morning...”

Names: ♀ Native, Iceland ; Hungary    

January 25, 2015

POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY: Can Science Fiction Art Have Any Influence On the Real Future?

http://ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00IXGU7XI&Format=_SL250_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=chrisfnet-21 http://application.denofgeek.com/images/m/21st-Century-Foss.jpg

Using the panel discussions of the most recent World Science Fiction Convention in London this past August, I will jump off, jump on, rail against, and shamelessly agree with the BRIEF DESCRIPTION given in the pdf copy of the Program Guide. The link is provided below…

“Art Panel Chris Foss - Art and Influence

Chris Foss’s battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Hear how our Guest of Honour’s work affected the field, and the work of a generation of artists.”

Can science fiction ART have any influence on the “real” future?


It’s obvious when you look at something like these two pictures. The first was artistic license that really had no basis in fact but made plot easier that became profound reality forty years later:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2023/2331942024_91f14ed3a3_m.jpg http://blog.inner-active.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Siri-promo-video-Woman-asks-for-weather.jpeg

The most profound SF art for me came from reading ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT. The covers from the 1970s when I started reading the magazine to the present served to inspire me into science.

No – I’m not a “scientist”, I am that breed of scientists that teaches others on their way to greatness. Truth be told, I did in fact, have a hand in educating a thirteen-year-old young lady who eventually went to CalTech and later worked on the Large Hadron Collider. Another several came through my science classes and went on to med school. Of COURSE I don’t take “credit” for their success. But I was a brief stopping point on their journey.

I believe art in science fiction serves to inspire people to careers in the sciences. While I can’t point to Kelly Freas, John Shoenherr, or Janet Aulisio and say that “I am the person I am today because of their art”, I can say without hesitation that the following three covers STILL set my heart to pounding:



The first image made me realize that space travel should be for anyone, no matter how backward they are perceived.

The second brought home a belief rarely acknowledged in the SF world – our greatest fear about meeting intelligent alien life is that we won’t be anything to them, worth as much attention as you pay to the cows of Montana when you eat at McDonalds. Certainly not a threat, in fact, their actions are incomprehensible because we believe that aliens are responding to us and their driving factor is something beyond us.

The third echoed the first – space travel and colonization is for anyone. China should be as free to conquer space as the US. Lesotho should have that freedom as well. What do you think the US, Russia, China, Europe, India, and all the others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_government_space_agencies) would do if AfriSpace managed to get itself into space and land on Mars? What kind of response would there be say, if SpaceX  responded positively to a clandestine offer to relocate to... (http://pages.au.int/sites/default/files/CITMC-4%20Working%20Document-Eng-Final-29082012-MY.pdf)

Science fiction art has inspired me – how about you?

Program Book: http://www.loncon3.org/documents/ReadMe_LR.pd
Images: http://ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00IXGU7XI&Format=_SL250_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=chrisfnet-21, http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515vgBBr0KL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg, https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/66/36/27/6636276bdeea67b54e7f594f9d874feb.jpg, http://www.sfcovers.net/Magazines/ASF/ASF_0732.jpg

January 22, 2015

MARTIAN HOLIDAY 64: Aster of Opportunity

On a well-settled Mars, the five major city Council regimes struggle to meld into a stable, working government. Embracing an official Unified Faith In Humanity, the Councils are teetering on the verge of pogrom directed against Christians, Molesters, Jews, Rapists, Buddhists, Murderers, Muslims, Thieves, Hindu, Embezzlers and Artificial Humans – anyone who threatens the official Faith and the consolidating power of the Councils. It makes good sense, right – get rid of religion and Human divisiveness on a societal level will disappear? An instrument of such a pogrom might just be a Roman holiday...To see the rest of the chapters, go to SCIENCE FICTION: Martian Holiday on the right and scroll to the bottom for the first story.

Aster Theilen, late the consort of the Mayor of one of the five largest Domes on Mars, was the one woman who stood the best chance to make changes. The first change would be to somehow inspire the rest of the planet to donate their hard-earned, hard-inherited credits to support children and young adults who had been an experiment in genetic engineering. The Martian Child Foundation worked tirelessly to provide for children who were supposed to be the future of Mars – who ended up being an embarrassment to all Humanity.

She looked up toward the surface of Mars. Opportunity was largely underground with fields, research, recreation and manufacturing under the Dome but still on the surface. In the center, a vertical shaft plunged nearly a kilometer into the crust of Mars. The first five hundred meters of the shaft was wrapped in a gently sloping ramp, broad and nearly transparent to allow the light from the surface – magnified by Solar collectors – to stream to the floor far below.

Coming down from the Administrative Offices, Hanam vo’Maddux had stopped to snipe at Aster a bit. The woman was crazy jealous of Aster. vo’Maddux thought that SHE was the woman for Mayor Etaraxis. In fact, Aster was certain that the Mayor’s head of security thought that she was The Woman for Opportunity. Mayor-for-life seemed to be the title she was angling for.

Aster sighed. She didn’t exactly love the Mayor, but it was clear to her now that she didn’t exactly hate him, either. He was a product of the environment; a politician no different than the first politician on Earth to climb out of the primordial ooze and tell a group of people what to do. But there were some things he was right about. She stood a bit straighter as the group of children made their way down the ramp. The children’s query marker guru smiling, laughing, and doing his darnedest to keep the passel of multi-toned kindergartners under control turned to walk backward and waved to her. The children did the same, smiling and waving with every bit of energy a kindergartner could muster. Every one of them was an orphan of a system that had created then discarded them. “No different than anyone else,” Aster muttered to herself.

Squinting, she imagined what a swirling mass of children would do to woo the local politicians –especially if they were mixed with the local wealthy. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if there’s any difference.” Frowning, she pulled out her tablet-computer and lifted an image from the screen to make the air glow in front of her.
There’d be no trouble finding a venue – all she had to do was mention the Mayor’s name. She could have any place she wanted. But she needed a place that wouldn’t intimidate the children, either. And something elegant. The event could echo the Solstmas Ball – but be for common folk as well.

Common folk – what if she ran two events, one for the elite; one for normal people like herself and her father. She could certainly be a both places. In fact, she might use one place on the surface, one place underground. The children could start above, playing in one of the gigantic parks...

By the time she’d started texting the appropriate people, she was humming. When she got to the Mayor’s office, FardusAH was hard at work. When she looked up and saw Aster, she wiped he hand through her workscreen and said, “Your Majesty!”

“I told you to never call me that in public,” Aster said with mock severity.

FardusAH grinned and said, “Of course, Your Majesty.”

A vividly purple Artificial Human, FardusAH had become one of her few friends in the Mayor’s Office. She’d be the  perfect person to bounce ideas off of. And the PERFECT person to institute a bit of rebellion into an otherwise staid occasion. Aster said, “Listen, I have some...things I have to run by you…”

FardusAH’s eyebrows rose as she said, “Some ‘things’, eh, Your Majesty? These I can’t wait to hear!”