May 30, 2019

LOVE IN A TIME OF ALIEN INVASION: CHAPTER 107 The Trials of Team Two – 7


On Earth, there are three Triads intending 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. All three intelligences hover on the edge of extinction. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society might not only save all three – but become something not even they could predict. Something entirely new...

The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans – Oscar and Xiaomara; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six, pack leaders Qap and Xurf; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven, Dao-hi the Herd mother. 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 at great profit to Humanity. Then the war spilled over on to the Human homeworld and all three are threatened with extinction…

Choral Reading
STAGE DIRECTION: (Spotlight falls on each as they speak then shuts off, illuminating the next; then all three spotlights fall on them as they chorus together.)

Yown’Hoo: “The literal decay of the fiber of Yown’Hoo morality accelerated when we refused peace with Kiiote.”
Kiiote: “Interbreeding, internecine war, and ritual cannibalism devoured us in resisting harmony with Yown’Hoo.”
Human: “Material gain from both Yown’Hoo and Kiiote fed our greed, so concord held no profit.”
All: “We might do something none of us alone can do, we might braid an unbreakable cord of unity.” (4/6/2019)

The Pack sent by Commander Patrick Bakhsh (ret), leader of the Triad refugees from the Twin Cities had Kiiote, Xurf and a temporary Herd Mother, Zei-go. With them were the maturing Herd members, Hil-hi-el, Jus-hi-el, Pack members Fax, and Doj, and the mere potential intelligence, Herd member Eel-go-el. They listened with Kiiote ears pricked up and Yown’Hoo earholes cupped with pilo-ridges. A Human adolescent dressed in well-tanned hide trimmed with fur was saying, “The dude was a mechanic; much older than me. I would ask questions, but be would only shake his head…”

“What is ‘dude’?” Zei-go interrupted.

“A young male,” Kendi said, scowling.

“You just said he was older than you,” said Eel-go-el.

The Herd Mother aimed a kick at the potential intelligence. In this Triad, there was none lower that it. It dodged. “I am confused!” it cried.

“You will be confused more often as you grow into intelligence. Until then, remain silent, watch, and learn.”

“You, what is your name?” The son of Khadijah and Morrison; grandson of Song and Rey and Abbas and Julianna; great grandson of St. Admiral, Marvel Louise Williams-Frederick, had been their contact in the deep wilderness of Minnesota State. But he had not been expecting them, and they’d no idea who they were to contact on the mission The Commander had set for them. The potential, addressed by a Human they needed to complete their mission, answered. Zei-go aimed another kick, deliberately missing, emphasizing the potential’s place in the Triad.

Xurf spoke instead, seeing the point the smallest Yown’Hoo was asking about, “Why would that make any difference?”

“He’s a…a…honorary ‘dude’. He doesn’t act like the oldsters I’m known before.”

Zei-go said, “How many Humans are in your Tribe?”

“My Tribe?”

“Yes, Humans live in Tribes of two or more. This is what we’ve always been taught,” said Xurf.

Kendi snorted, “I don’t know where you got your information from. Most of us out here live alone. Too many of us get together, and the Forces come to take us out.”

“Who are the Forces?” said Zei-go.

Kendi shook his head, “I thought you Triad people were supposed to be geniuses. That’s what the Commander said.”

Xurf and Zei-go looked at each other. Finally Xurf said, “We like to think so, but we have never been out of the Twin Cities. We know of nothing but what we were brought up in.”

Kendi sighed, then said, “The mechanic said that all boys know how to work with machines like this ‘tank’. I can’t be a boy because I can’t make it work…” he hung his head, shaking it. The Pack Leader and the Herd Mother knew the motion well. Both Xio and ‘Car used it when they were about to give up.

Xurf softened his voice, lowering himself a bit closer to the ground as he said, “We may not know your world outside of the Twin Cities, but the gift of the Triad is that we each have strengths that will play to the others. Show us this ‘tank’. Together, perhaps we can make it work again.”

Kendi lifted his head, nodded and said, “It’s not close.”

Xurf looked to Zei-go and said, “I have no doubt your Herd can make the trip no matter how grueling, but if the Pack falters, would you be willing to help us?”

She freed the tip of a tentacle to snap an emphatic agreement. “Commander Baksh sent us together. I cannot believe that he would do so without expecting our skills would mesh and we would experience success. Of course we will.”

Xurf snapped his jaws in surprise. He’d not seen this side of the Yown’Hoo. He sneezed, of course he hadn’t seen anything like it – she was junior to the Herd Mother, Dao-hi. This was her first command. He looked to the wild Human and said, “We agree together that we will follow you.”

Kendi bowed and said, “Follow me.”

The Triad fell into single file, beneath trees laden with snow. “There wasn’t this much snow in the Twin Cities,” said Fax.

Xurf growled at the pup then said, “You are ‘Car’s friend. We understand, but you need to act less Human.”

“That’s not why I made the statement,” Fax said, farting in irritation.

“Why then?” asked Herd Mother.

“Beings – Humans, Yown’Hoo, even Kiiote leave tracks in the snow. The more snow, the more obvious the tracks.”

Kendi stopped in front of them and came back. Squatting, he faced Fax, “You see something I don’t?”

Fax flattened to the ground then rose a bit. This Human smelled nearly the same as Oscar, young, exciting, anxious, and daring all at once. Fax said, “Not what I see – you Humans have better vision than Yown’Hoo and Kiiote. But in scent, we are unassailable.”

“What do you smell?” said Kendi immediately.

“I smell burning plastic.”

The Human stood, spun in the direction they had been going and said, “That’s not plastic, it’s oil.” He looked down at Fax, “We need to hurry. Something may be wrong.” He headed into the woods an after a moment of hesitation, the Triad followed.


May 29, 2019

IDEAS ON TUESDAYS 401


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: Isaac Asimov’s Three Kinds Of Science Fiction: “Gadget sci-fi: Man invents car, holds lecture on how it works.”

Khünbish Qureshi said, “Once we drill through the ice, we can begin extract the uranium. But we have to do it fast.” He tapped the wide pipe with his heavily armored hand. While there was no true atmosphere and the surface of the moon was exposed to the radiation sleet from Jupiter, they both wore flexible suits and had ridden to the surface on little more than a hovering plate.

“You think extracting a few metric tonnes of uranium from this moon would have any kind of effect at all?” asked Yelizavta Zaya. She bounced a few meters back after stomping her foot.

“I can’t say for sure.”

“Why not?”

“I’m a geologist...”

“You mean a Eurologist?”

“That makes me sound like a bladder specialist!”

“Well, it’s not Earth, so you can’t be a ‘geologist’.”

“There’s not a bladder in sight, either!”

Beneath their feet, the ice sang. On any other world, it would have been a quake, but here the ice vibrated, shifting, sliding along cracked edges. Immense crevasses sang bass that shook the world like a drum head; smaller ones sang faint hymns of joy; the smallest sang beyond the hearing of Humans.

Khünbish slapped the pipe again and said, “If there were living things under the surface, maybe my sucking the lifeblood from the water will make them sit up and take notice.”

“I doubt there’re sitting beings under our feet, Khun.”

He grimaced at the diminutive – Americans and Loonies made a habit of lopping parts of people’s names off willy-nilly – and said, “Whatever they’re doing, I’m hoping they notice.”

“And if there’s nothing under our feet but ice, water, uranium?”

“Then we stand to make a fortune and retire wherever we want to.” He bounced back as the ice began to sing again. As he fell to the surface, he grimaced and said, “Can you hear that?”

Names: ♀ Russia, Mongolian; ♂ Mongolian, Pakistan   
Image:

May 26, 2019

Elements of Cron and Korea #8: Misbeliefs And Creating A Science Fiction Future


I may  have mentioned that one of my goals is to increase my writing output, increase my publication rate, and increase the relevance of my writing. In my WRITING ADVICE column, I had started using an article my sister sent me by Lisa Cron. She has worked as a literary agent, TV producer, and story consultant for Warner Brothers, the William Morris Agency, and others. She is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, and a story coach for writers, educators, and journalists. I am going to fuse the advice from her book WIRED FOR STORY with my recent trip to South Korea. Why? I made a discovery there. You’ll hear more about it in the future as I work to integrate what I’m learning from the book, the startling things I found in South Korea, and try and alter how I write in order to create characters that people will care about, characters that will speak the Truth, and characters that will clearly illustrate what I’m writing about.

“Remember when Luke has to drop the bomb into the small vent on the Death Star? The story writer faces a similar challenge of penetrating the brain of the reader. This book gives the blueprints.” – David Eagleman

Oddly enough, I’m writing this as my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren are preparing to leave South Korea. They’ll stop off here for a month or two, then move to their new permanent home on the East Coast. They’ll be back on the same continent finally and we couldn’t be happier!

So, without further ado advice from Lisa Cron and how it tangles with South Korea: The reader expects the protagonist will have a longstanding misbelief that has kept her from easily achieving that goal.

“Aha! This is what the story is actually about, to wit: How the plot forces the protagonist to recognize, reevaluate — and hopefully — overcome the longstanding misbelief that has long kept her from achieving her goal. It’s this inner change that, as readers, we’re innately tracking from the first page forward.

“To be very clear, we’re talking about a misbelief about human nature, rather than something factual. It’s not: ‘I thought the world was flat, and guess what, it’s round!’ Rather it’s: ‘I thought that no one could ever love the “real me,” but I’ve discovered that that’s exactly what makes me loveable!’

I suppose the…well, not shock…most startling thing I experienced while I was in South Korea was that the country’s attitude is entirely different than the one we have here in the US.

Oh, I’m not talking politically – Korean politics are FASCINATINGLY complex, especially when you factor in the South’s democratically elected government, and government by divine appointment in the North (for a fascinating explanation of WHY the Kim family has ruled for three generations and why that won’t be changing any time soon, you need to understand “juche” – https://s3.amazonaws.com/berkley-center/030101LeePoliticalPhilosophyJuche.pdf)

Please remember, that while the USA has a total (including the initial multiple colonial incursions) history that’s barely half a millennia, Korea has almost FIVE MILLENIA of history as an advanced, literate people.

Never thought of that? Neither did I.

After decades of watching the TV show, M*A*S*H (which I still love!), my impression of what the place they were at – Uijeongbu, South Korea was, looked like is this: 
 https://www.mash4077tv.com/images/features/camp_henry_home.jpg

The FACT of the matter is that this is Uijeongbu today: 
 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/U_Line_Train.jpg/1024px-U_Line_Train.jpg

Further, the Koreans were exploring the stars long before Americans were. Cheomseongdae was constructed in the mid-600’s AD. (Europe, well, let’s just say that Stonehenge (as we see the ruins today), the keystone of European pride when it comes to astronomy, while it was laid out about the same time the Koreans were unifying their peninsula, didn’t lead to much in the way of astronomy and the religion that spawned it, practically speaking, was gone by the time the ruins were rediscovered) I was here; I took the picture: 
 https://scontent.ffcm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/37488640_10155234640596324_589781009256415232_n.jpg?_nc_cat=111&_nc_ht=scontent.ffcm1-1.fna&oh=2ccb9d510c145525a851cefb6ada7212&oe=5D51BBE2

But for some reason, mostly because I’d never thought about it, I didn’t realize that South Korea today is on par – and more advanced than – we are here. This is one of three radio telescopes (this is the one on Jeju Island, I took this picture as well) of the Korean Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network: 
https://scontent.ffcm1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/38734786_10155220047726324_6386585295063613440_n.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_ht=scontent.ffcm1-1.fna&oh=498274ef7841f904692af51bbbbbd99f&oe=5D5341DB

So, how does this all tie into expectations motivating a main character?

A story I sent out recently for consideration, is an incident that takes place a few years from “now” and involves the sparking of a new space race, not by some warrish super power, but by the technologically advanced Koreans. It’s the opening bid in a story series I’m thinking about – all because my long-standing misbelief, which I will transfer to a main character once I start writing, stood very MUCH in the way of seeing the world the way it really is…

UPDATE: I sold "Komsahamnida, America" to ANALOG SF! I'll let you know when to expect it.


May 23, 2019

MARTIAN HOLIDAY 146: Stepan of Burroughs


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. If you’d like to read it from beginning to end (100,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.

QuinnAH tightened his arm around Stepan’s waist and said, “You can come back when the people aren’t going to murder you and feed you to Mayor Peta Nasseri.”

Squirming, Stepan finally gave up to hang limply over Quinn’s shoulder. “You know I have to…”

“You have to live today so you can come back and keep doing your God’s work!” Quinn threw Stepan over his shoulder. “You’re gonna go down the chute…” Quinn opened the floor chute and kissed Stepan on the cheek, then shoved him into the chute and slammed it shut. Outside the crowd got uglier. Looking at the door, Quinn sighed, then hurried to the secret stairway door. A moment later, the warehouse was empty.

Half way down to the stuffcap tubes, he stopped on a landing. “Wasn’t here before,” he muttered. All Artificial Humans had perception enhancement – it made them more useful to Born Humans. He could see into both the infrared and the ultraviolet. His hearing range had also been altered. Where Humans could hear sounds between low-pitched speaker hum, up to a high-pitched, nearly unheard squeal – not volume, but sound, felt more than heard. AH’s couldn’t quite hear the low hum, but could hear dog whistles, which some Humans used to “call them”.

He heard a sound, just at the edge of his hearing – and he had better hearing than most of his friends. An oldster had quipped, “New model upgrade!” and slapped him on the back of the head.

Quinn stopped in the dark, kneeling, and felt around. An object, roughly spherical but…he rubbed his hands over it…dented and smooth now, but maybe with a rough surface once a long time ago. He dropped the sphere. What if it was something that had belonged to the alien who’d been in the weird space suit Stepan had found and given to the older Artificials? What if this was another artifact? He reached gingerly out and found it, picking it up. Maybe it would be worth a lot of money? Maybe her could buy his freedom. He tucked it into his pants and continued down into the underground as the tunnel of the stuffcap shook around him.



Stepan hadn’t intended to lie to Quinn, but God had laid a call on his heart, not only to feed the poor here on the Rim, but to bring hope to the hopeless. He was fairly certain that the rioters outside the warehouse had been set up for this by his father – if not personally, then set up by agents acting for the Home Owners District. He just didn’t know if the mob was made up of Rimmers or hired thugs from the HOD. He shook his head. There was only one way to find out and Quinn tossing him down the chute had taken that chance away. He sighed. Not that he could have fought himself free.

He had no idea what Quinn would think of him if he knew he’d once been a HODder himself. For an instant, he felt like he should spend some time praying, then smiled. An old Christian he’d known had been leading an underground – literally underground, in the maintenance tunnels under the stuffcap tubes – service when Security blundered into one of their alarms.

The smile faded. If he couldn’t be honest with the boy, who could he be honest with? He needed an…agent…in the area. Someone to speak to his honesty…realizing the irony of that thought made him shake his head and sigh.

First chance he had, he’d tell Quinn everything. This time he did stop and get down on his knees, holding up the entire situation to God, and asking Him to both orchestrate the moment and prepare Quinn’s heart.

And his own.


May 21, 2019

IDEAS ON TUESDAYS 400


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.

H Trope: Demonic Possession, Police Work (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DemonicPossession)                  
Adding a Dash Of Humor: A little lightness never hurt anyone…(It worked for Rebecca Roanhorse’s novel, TRAIL OF LIGHTNING. I loved this book and eagerly await reading the next one, STORM OF LOCUSTS, due out this summer!)

Beck Wagamese stared up at the castle on the crag. Lightning flashed through the sky behind it. She sighed.

Beside her, Xavier Zhuk whispered, “What?”

“This is too much of a cliché,” Beck gestured at the set.

“What is?”

“The setting. The country –”

“What’s wrong with being in the Ultra Silvam?” Xavier snorted. Beck knew he was rolling his eyes. “What is wrong with you?”

“You don’t think it’s weird,” she said, “that a couple of American demon cops are assigned to investigate the disappearance of a Midwestern scientist in the Transylvanian Alps where neo-Nazis have set up quantum energy experiments in the basement of an ancient castle?” She snorted, adding, “It probably belonged to Baron von Frankenstein.”

He almost laughed, but that was what he was looking for; he wanted to distract her from the investigation. There were not only international connections, but there was a substantial interplanetary investment by the Confederation of Asteroid Duchys – the CAD. He said, keeping his tone conversational, despite the rain dripping from his poncho visor, “Frankenstein was Austrian and Dracula was a Romanian lord who lived in a castle in the Transylvanian Mountains.”

“What’s your point?” Beck said, adding, “Oh, and we’re both Apparated Demons. It’s like this a 1930s monster movie waiting to happen.”

He knew what she was hoping he’d do: make a joke or tell her to shut up. Better yet, if he used his usual epithet to shut him up, “Go to hell,” that would just feed into her dark humor. Instead, he said “I love the old movies! My favorite was, ‘I Was A Teenage Werewolf.” He turned to her, fluttering his nearly invisible, blonde eyelashes. “Do you think so?”

She shook his head, muttering, “You’re weird.”

A bolt of lightning clashed the sky, as the rain abruptly turned to snow. “Great. Now we’ll be trapped in the Alps during a blizzard. And I forgot…” his words died in his mouth as the castle began to glow. “What’s going on?” He looked at his partner, “You’re the one who was majoring in quantum physics before you got possessed. What are they doing?” She used language very appropriate for a cop, but inappropriate for a woman he’d never heard use those words. He said, “I take it you know what’s going on?”

“Opening a gateway,” she said as she stood, making complicated movements with her hands, sometimes with fingers crooked, others with fingers rigid. She was muttering as well.

He said, “I didn’t know you could speak Russian. You should have told me! I have some great jokes…”

A ghostly firearm apparated into the air above her waiting hands. She looked down at him and said, “I think we just jumped out of frying pan of police work and into the fire of Doomsday Weapons.” She lifted her chin, “I suggest you conjure a uranium 238 explosive slug thrower. You can distract the kidnappers with that while I punch a hole into Heaven with the transdimensional field generator.”

He nodded, stood up and began the incantations they’d need.

Names: Hebrew, Ojibwe; ♂ Spain, Russia          

May 19, 2019

Slice of PIE POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS: ALIEN Sin…Hmmm


NOT using the panel discussions of the most recent World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, CA in August 2018 (to which I be unable to go (until I retire from education)), I would jump off, jump on, rail against, and shamelessly agree with the BRIEF DESCRIPTION given in the pdf copy of the Program Guide. But not today. This explanation is reserved for when I dash “off topic”, sometimes reviewing movies, sometimes reviewing books, and other times taking up the spirit of a blog an old friend of mine used to keep called THE RANTING ROOM…

“From the Inside Out”
(Hillsong UNITED)

“Your light will shine when all else fades
…never ending,
Your glory goes beyond all fame.
In my heart and my soul
Consume me from the inside out…”


The same night we sang that song, Pastor M spoke about how not ONLY do we need to confess our sins, but that we need to seek the root of that sin.

Jesus clearly knew and understood our pain and the author of the Book of Hebrews is clear when they write: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with us, rather, one who was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

How did all of this get tangled in my head?

Funny you should ask.

I love science fiction and dozens of years ago, ALIEN hit the big screen. It wasn’t part of a “franchise”, it wouldn’t intersect with the PREDATOR “franchise” for another quarter century or so. The original movie had some basis in reality as the titular aliens reproduce by laying eggs in warm-blooded hosts. The idea took its lead from the life cycle of the Ichneumonoids (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichneumonoidea), insects who lay their eggs in or on other insects. The eggs hatch and eat their way out of the host insect, continuing their life cycle when the host is dead.

In my thought process, Satan is a member of the Ichneumonoid family and lays an egg in each Human, it is a sin (or a suite of sins) that are set to plague us for the rest of our lives.

Even the pillar of the New Testament, the Apostle, Paul, experienced this, writing, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” (Romans 7: 18-20)

While it is an admittedly bizarre connection, it illustrates for me the nature of sin in my own life.

Imagine that my sin is gluttony. Initially, my life is simple, I eat to live. But, as my life grows more and more complex, the simple act of eating to live grows into the parasite in which I live to eat. Something normal has become something abnormal, an alien so-to-speak. The Apostle Paul was non-specific regarding his “thorn-in-the-flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [c]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with [d]insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”; but I have my suspicions that it was something normal that grew to overtake him to a point where he begged God to remove it. Clearly, God did not, and Paul grew to understand that in his weakness, God was creating a stronger him.

In ALIEN, the alien deposits an egg in Executive Officer Kane after melting through his helmet and covering his face with a weirdly pulsing, skin-covered, spider-ish creature that drops off dead with its done depositing egg in his chest cavity. It grows and eventually kills its host when it hatches in a scene that is impossible to excise from the memory of anyone who has ever seen it. (Remember that while it has become iconic, it was shocking then and like nothing anyone had ever seen in 1979. It left an indelible impression on me and also led to endless jokes with the friend who saw it with me…)

So, the synthesis is clear in my brain: we are born into sin (Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.”)

That sin grows within me, breaking out into all of its myriad perversity (definition: “the quality of being contrary to accepted standards or practice.”, bursting out into my life.

Then the Hillsong verse, “Lord I give You control/Consume me from the inside out…” The egg is inside, we were born with it and Satan encourages us to feed it. The ONLY way to destroy that sin is to allow the Lord access to the depths of who we are where He fills us with the Holy Spirit and instead of the sin consuming us, breaking out, and not only killing us, but threatening those around us; the sin itself is consumed.

Of course, the movie is quite clear that even though Kane died, the Alien was a threat to everyone who remained on the Nostromo. The ending is clear – the Alien is swept out of Warrant Officer Ripley’s escape pod and blasted into gas by the ship’s exhaust. But I remember mutterings among my friends…had the alien laid an egg in Ripley?

Even when I am cleansed by the Holy Spirit, the possibility exists that sin can once again grow in my, therefore the Scriptural injunction in James 5:16, “…confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”; and 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” will keep us confessing our daily sins to one another – and to receive the forgiveness of Christ.

I know…convoluted…but that was where these thoughts led me!


May 16, 2019

LOVE IN A TIME OF ALIEN INVASION: CHAPTER 106 The Trials of Team One – 7


On Earth, there are three Triads intending 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. All three intelligences hover on the edge of extinction. The merger of Human-Kiiote-Yown’Hoo into a van der Walls Society might not only save all three – but become something not even they could predict. Something entirely new...

The young experimental Triads are made up of the smallest primate tribe of Humans – Oscar and Xiaomara; the smallest canine pack of Kiiote – six, pack leaders Qap and Xurf; and the smallest camelid herd of Yown’Hoo – a prime eleven, Dao-hi the Herd mother. 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 at great profit to Humanity. Then the war spilled over on to the Human homeworld and all three are threatened with extinction…

Choral Reading
STAGE DIRECTION: (Spotlight falls on each as they speak then shuts off, illuminating the next; then all three spotlights fall on them as they chorus together.)

Yown’Hoo: “The literal decay of the fiber of Yown’Hoo morality accelerated when we refused peace with Kiiote.”
Kiiote: “Interbreeding, internecine war, and ritual cannibalism devoured us in resisting harmony with Yown’Hoo.”
Human: “Material gain from both Yown’Hoo and Kiiote fed our greed, so concord held no profit.”
All: “We might do something none of us alone can do, we might braid an unbreakable cord of unity.” (4/6/2019)

Qilf had a horrible thought. She said, “You don’t think this idiot creature is leading us to some sort of decrepit Human aircraft, do you?”

Qap farted derision, adding a double jaw snap of certainty. She said in Growl-Snap, “It knows something; and Retired would not have sent us here for no reason, so he must know something about this flying vehicle.”

“Can we possibly fly such a thing?”

The Pack ran in silence before Qap finally ventured, “The basics shouldn’t be difficult. But the practice seems particularly daunting. I do not think our passengers would be able to operate a flying machine built for adult Humans.”

Qilf said, “In our bipedal form we might, but it would still be difficult. Humans have incredibly slender digits.”

They kept running until Kang dropped back a bit, and said, “We need to take an extended break. The young Humans will be cold despite their coverings, and I need to both catch my breath and find the best path.”

Qap threw Qilf a look to say, “Keep an eye on her.” She slowed to Kang’s pace, which slowed further until the Pack – Qap, female Pack lead and Qilf, male Pack second after Xurf, stood panting beneath the branches of an enormous pine. Two very young Humans, the older a female called Cynthia; the younger a male called Kobey. Kang appeared to be a semi-barbarian Kiiote, possibly even born on Earth, growing among Humans, or worse, alone. This presented major problems as Retired had taught the Triad that there were only a limited number of Earth-born Pack on Earth at any given time, and their whereabouts and skills known and tested.

Neither issue was one she could deal with at the moment, and even thought Qilf was Pack Second, Qap had no desire to make any decisions without discussion with Xurf. Human-Kiiote interactions were his specialty. Hers was and continued to be Human technology. It was why Retired had sent her on this mission. She drew a deep breath and said, “This plant is among my most favorite on Earth.”

There was movement above…Qap came to full bipedal mode in an instant as it was clear anything coming from a tree had to be Human, whose descent from arboreal primates was both well-known and disgusting. She snatched Kobey’s spear and said to Cynthia, “Protect yourselves!”

Qap scurried backward and a moment later, Qilf was beside her.

Instead of assassins or warriors dropping from the branches though, two Humans, size-equivalent of Oscar and Xiomara, slid to the ground with their arms extended down, palms up, the Human equivalent of a Kiiote gesture of submission. Qap barked surprise and said in English, “How is it you know such communication?”

The female Human said, “We have spent many years curled as disciples at the feet of Zir, She Who Caused Peace With Humans.”

Qap fought to hold her bipedal shape and only barely succeeded. Qilf did not, instead collapsing his frame to press belly-first to the frozen, needle strewn ground. He even whimpered. Qap swallowed hard, her tongue accidentally protruding to pant, then regained control and said, “How do you know the Great Pack Leader?”

The male said, “We suckled at the teat of her wisdom as we grew.”

Qap shuddered, fighting to keep her bipedal shape. Beside her, Qilf whimpered. Qap said, “Who are you?”

The female stepped forward. She was dressed in heavy, insulating gear, Qap sniffed, made from deer hide. Impressive. ‘Car and Xio would have no idea how to perform such efforts to create clothing. These two seemed comfortable in the animal skins. “I am Selene. My friend is Marama. We were warned that you were coming…”

“How could you have known that?” Qap snarled.

Neither Human showed fear in scent or facial expression. The male, Marama, said, “We were warned of your arrival.”

Qap snapped her jaw, sending a growl and fart to Qilf demanding he gather his wits. She said, “Retired warned you?”

Selene laughed, “Hardly. Our operatives in the Cities sent word that the Triad was under attack. The Great Pack Mother had long-laid plans for this. It was, in fact expected. She trained our small group for its contingency. We know you have need to rendezvous north with the rest of the Triad. And we know that we will be joining you and the other Triad Corps to head for Grendl, Manitoba.”

Qap barked in stunned surprise. The place in Manitoba was a tightly held secret. Retired, more properly, Lieutenant Commander Patrick Bakhsh, had repeatedly emphasized the secrecy surrounding the place. None of the Triad from the Cities knew what it was precisely, except a place. “What is it?” she asked.

The Humans glanced at each other then they shrugged in unison, a peculiar, species specific movement Qap had struggled to recognize but now knew it was indicative of deep mystery for Humans. They rarely shrugged. Almost never in unison. Marama said, “Great Pack Mother only left directions for us to follow to reach the dune forest – whatever that is – and to take you there.”

Selene added, “We thought the direction was nonsense.” She shook her head slowly, “We see now that we are sadly mistaken.” She sighed, “And we see that we’re going to have to take you there. Right after we blow up our home.”


May 14, 2019

IDEAS ON TUESDAYS 399


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. Regarding Fantasy, this insight was startling: “I see the fantasy genre as an ever-shifting metaphor for life in this world, an innocuous medium that allows the author to examine difficult, even controversial, subjects with impunity. Honor, religion, politics, nobility, integrity, greed—we’ve an endless list of ideals to be dissected and explored. And maybe learned from.” – Melissa McPhail.

F Trope: Comic Fantasy

Sein Ryoo held Yi Ling Guinto’s hand tightly as she spun out from him. The light panel, extremely sensitive to the magic generated by motion, glowed a cool, mint green.

They were both panting. Yi Ling bent over, planting her fists on her knees. A few minutes later, she said, “If we want to get on ‘You Think YOU Got Dance Magic?’, then we’re gonna have to turn that traffic light green – and just as intense.”

Trying to pretend there was no stitch in his side, Sein said, “We’ve been working all summer. Dance Magic’s gonna be here in forty-eight hours. What can we do in two days the we haven’t done in three months?”

With a flick of her finger, Yi Ling changed music tracks on her tablet computer from the sober beginning of the fandango to the wild exuberance of her current favorite metal band, Cursed For Cash. Sein whooped, grabbed her arms and they danced until the panel glowed like a magic spotlight. They collapsed into each other’s arms, laughing. She kissed Sein’s cheek and he pushed away, laughing as well. He said, “You know better than that!”

“I keep hoping,” she said, stepped forward and hugged him. “Let’s call it quits for today. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Mom says to tell your dad that we’ll be there at five am.”

“Ugh!”

Yi Ling sniffed then said, “If we lived in a real city, we wouldn’t have to drive so far.” She sighed, for the thousandth time, wishing she lived somewhere other than Duluth, Minnesota. Hardly a hotbed of dance magic, she was glad she at least had Sein. She relented, “But then we would never have met.”

He hugged her back, “I’ve got no idea what I’d have done if you weren’t here.” He shook his head. “Not only would I NOT be heading to the Dance Magic tryouts and I would have failed pre-calculus and physics.”

“No,” said Yi Ling, “I would have failed.”

“No, I would have,” they headed home. As the magic faded from their practice room, the panel grew dark, only occasionally flickering as flocks of Canadian geese flew their ancient dance to the south, overhead and far away.



Sein’s dad shot over his shoulder, “Five more kilometers to Chicago!”

In the back, Sein and Yi Ling squirmed. The ceiling light flared for an instant as did the dash light. Yi Ling’s mom sighed as her tablet readers glared brightly for an instant. “Stop it back there!” If the two of you keep back-seat dancing, you’re going to short out every light from here to New York!”

Sein’s dad squealed with laughter and squirmed in his own seat. But no lights flickered. The illumination stayed the same. Sein blushed furiously, pale skin under red-dyed and permed hair. Leaning to Yi Ling, he whispered, “I hate it when he screams like a girl.”

She pushed him back, saying, “I don’t sound like that when...”

“That’s cause you hardly ever scream.”

Sein’s dad heard nothing as he exclaimed, “Chicago’s flashing like a lighthouse beacon!”

Looking between the front seat headrests, Sein and Yi Ling gasped as golden light pulsed from the Windy City – as if welcoming them home.

Names: ♀Singapore, Philippines ; Burma, South Korea

May 12, 2019

WRITING ADVICE: Can This Story Be SAVED? #23, “God Bless You Gravity Modification” (Submitted 10 Times Since 2006, Revised Once)


In September of 2007, I started this blog with a bit of writing advice. A little over a year later, I discovered how little I knew about writing after hearing children’s writer, In April of 2014, I figured I’d gotten enough publications that I could share some of the things I did “right”. I’ll keep that up, but I’m running out of pro-published stories. I don’t write full-time, nor do I make enough money with my writing to live off of it, but someone pays for and publishes ten percent of what I write. Hemingway’s quote above will remain unchanged as I work to increase my writing output and sales, but I’m adding this new series of posts because I want to carefully look at what I’ve done WRONG and see if I can fix it. As always, your comments are welcome!

ANALOG Tag Line: We always thinks about how paradigm changes will affect “society”, but what about how will it affect the “little people”?

Elevator Pitch (What Did I Think I Was Trying To Say?)
For the first time ever, I drew on my missionary experiences from my eight months in Nigeria, Cameroun, and Liberia. I wanted to imagine what the introduction of gravity modification would do in a situation of rebuilding after war – war that the “big countries” had never paid much attention to. I was modeling the story on John Brunner’s ANALOG March 1973 short story, “Who Steals My Purse?” In THAT one, repurposed ICBMs are used to drop small TVs on Vietnam along with tools, seeds, and other developmental material that the people could use to raise their quality of living (and presumably grow to love Americans and overthrow the communist regime…)

Opening Line:
“Gordon Oyeyemi Daboh huffed, shaking his head.”

Onward:
“He said, ‘Building five new schools here in God Bless You isn’t impossible. We have clay, concrete, straw, lumber, paint, and bamboo.’ He flicked his hand at the meager supplies piled near the edge of the burned-out clearing. The faint concrete outline of the original elementary school was visible through a layer of fine ash. A pile of debris loomed on the edge of the gravel boulevard, waiting for removal or reuse. ‘But we don’t have time, and we have few volunteers. We have limited building supplies! Your, your,” he karate chopped the air in front of the young woman standing before him. Her eyes widened and she stepped back, ‘handwavium is as useless to us as our three buckets of glow-in-the-dark paint!’”

What Was I Trying To Say?
I wanted to communicate that technology, even when it’s incremental, can be used to dramatically change the lives of normal people for the better. (It contains the obligatory warning against the military machine…the fact is that my son, my father, two of my nephews, and some of my best friends have served and DO currently serve in all of the branches of the military. I STILL stand by my statement.)

The Rest of the Story:
Gordon and Comfort butt heads almost immediately. The shoestring operation of rebuilding the schools (the original title was “The Everyday Use of Gravity Modification in Rebuilding Liberian Schools”) is fraught and gets worse when a squad of wandering mercenaries get wind of Comfort’s gmod device. Expecting to easily find it, they have no idea it’s woven into strips of hook and loop (for a fascinating AND HUMOROUS (I REALLY appreciate the humor!) take on hook and loop and its registered trademark, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRi8LptvFZY) that are easily applied to pallets. There are accidents – and then a kidnapping of the village Elder and his daughters – and Gordon has to use the soldiering skills he swore off of to rescue them and get back on track…)

End Analysis:
OK, so writing the synopsis up above, I just realized what my problem is…Lisa Cron’s rules from her book WIRED FOR STORY clearly spell out the mistakes I made:

2) Grab the reader, something is at stake from the first page.
5) Plot (what happens) makes characters confront internal and external issues to confront their inner demons.
9) Start: character’s worldview is knocked down.
11) Character is action and anything they do makes things worse.
17) Challenges start small and end huge.
19) Character becomes one by doing something heroic.

First line has no grab; Gordon’s inner demon is NOT clear (“I REFUSE to ever be a soldier again!”), external circumstances don’t slam into internal issues (He wants to be JUST a teacher! He didn’t even want to be a principal!); his worldview stays pretty much the same – it should start with him thinking he’s escaped notice and that quitting Lagos’ special operations unit of cloning soldiers after meeting his has set him free; he can’t do everything right from the moment he leaves to rescue the Elder and his daughters, he has to screw up.

OK – I get it. I didn’t know about Cron’s advice when I wrote this one. Now that I DO, I can rewrite the story with the “rules” (she didn’t call them rules, I did…) in mind; which of course, answers the question below:

Can This Story Be Saved?
Simple answer – “Yes.”

BUT…if anyone would like a copy of the current work, and if you would read it AND maybe help me figure out a new name for it AND if you promise to be brutally honest with me…I would be in your debt.

Later.


May 9, 2019

MARTIAN HOLIDAY 145: Paolo and DaneelAH & Company Enroute to Cydonia


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 (They are HanAH, the security expert (m); DaneelAH, xenoarchaeologist (m); AzAH, language expert (f); MishAH, pattern recognition (f).) – 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 and I’m sorry, but a number of them got deleted from the blog – go to SCIENCE FICTION: Martian Holiday on the right and scroll to the bottom for the first story. If you’d like to read it from beginning to end (100,000+ words as of now), drop me a line and I’ll send you the unedited version.

“It’s not that complicated,” MishAH cut off HanAH’s rant. “I’ve seen other things stirring on this rusty pinball.” DaneelAH sat as well, looking up at her with interest. He couldn’t remember the last time she’d turned her considerable skills to a problem outside of agriculture, population studies, and local politics. She smiled at him, shot a superior look at her other brother and said, “There’s something going on in Opportunity.”

Paolo Marcillon, sitting in the pilot’s seat, looked thoughtful then said, “I’d probably go back to Burroughs just to meet your friend Stepan; maybe take a side trip to Opportunity.” He leaned forward suddenly and all four vatmates leaned away as he said, “Except that I’m headed for Cydonia – because I’ve found more evidence that your friend Stepan seems to have added to. There were aliens on Mars long ago, when the North was still covered by an ocean, and I think they may be a key to a Martian reformation.”

HanAH couldn’t help himself, he laughed out loud and said, “That’s absurd! There’s no such things as aliens!”

Paolo made a thoughtful face then said, “Two hundred years ago, someone might have thought you four were aliens.”

HanAH snorted. AzAH slugged him in the shoulder. She said, “In most languages, the word for ‘alien’ and ‘stranger’ are closely related. I would testify that there are very few people who are stranger than you.” She smiled, though as far as Paolo could tell it had more to do with a canine’s warning snarl than a sibling’s affectionate grimace.

HanAH shook his head, scowling at her. Seeing that his vatmates agreed, he subsided. DaneelAH pursed his lips then, “You’re on a quest to Cydonia to recover artifacts, correct?”

Paolo inclined his head, adding, “It wasn’t what I started out to do, but I seem to have collected a few.”

“As have we,” said MishAH. She paused then said abruptly, “What artifacts have you found?”

He hesitated then said, “How do I know the four of you won’t kill me and take the artifacts by force?”

HanAH smirked. “Not much faith in your god, huh?”

MishAH elbowed him, but Paolo smiled. “Touché, Mr. Security Specialist.”

HanAH’s jaw dropped. He shook his head. “Why would you think that?”

“That was more a confirmation than a denial, so I’ll take it that while you’re not the leader,” he nodded at DaneelAH, “he is, your opinion carries weight.” He nodded at MishAH, “Thought less than hers.”

HanAH eyes flashed angrily and he said, “We don’t…” The other three burst out laughing and his skin darkened to purple. “This isn’t…”

DaneelAH said, “Where are going to hide?”

HanAH glared at each one before crossing his arms over his chest, and turning away, as if shunning them. He said from his position, “Answer the question, christian man!”

Paolo nodded, “It’s a fair question. I am afraid…”

HanAH spun and snapped, “Aha! ‘O ye of little faith!’”

Paolo’s eyebrows arched, “Luke twelve, verse twenty-eight. I thought you didn’t hold with religious teachings as such. They’re illegal. Even saying that could get you arrested in some of the Domes.”

He blushed again, stammering, “I didn’t mean anything by it! It’s just a colloquialism…”

“…that has its basis in the scripture I hold dear.”

Flustered, HanAH turned back around, looking for a seat. Paolo stood and the artificial human sat down and rested his head in his hands. “I think my head is about to explode.”

Paolo nodded, looked at MishAH and said, “You’ve all seen the Stele at Burroughs?” DaneelAH nodded. “I have a few bones from what appears to be the fin of a cetacean.” HanAH looked up and made a raspberry, then held his head again. Paolo smiled, adding, “I also collected a satellite that isn’t of Human design.”

“How do you know that?” AzAH asked, suddenly interested.

“It appears featureless until you spray it with ultrasound between a hundred fifty kilohertz and two hundred and fifty kilohertz.”

AzAH whistled. “Then what?”

“You can see it’s covered with symbols.”

“A language?”

Paolo shrugged, “No idea.” He grinned suddenly, “But I aim to find out. That’s why I’m headed to Cydonia.”

AzAH said, “Then we’ll come with you.”

HanAH looked up, “It’s going to get a little crowded over the next few weeks while we drive up there. There’s not exactly a paved highway to that part of Mars.” The looks they gave him made him laugh. He stood up and said, “Glad I finally was able to say something that got everyone’s attention.” He nodded. “We need to get ourselves an exploration vehicle.”

From the speaker, Fifty-seven exclaimed, “I beg your pardon!”