Friday, August 14, 2015

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Somewhere in Space, Time, and Stereo


If a mere human could perceive this being it would appear to be a giant bat like entity with alien features and if that human could hear the name it would sound like Skippy.

And the being truly hated to be called Skippy.

And now it this point in space and time it would appear to be speaking to another being like itself.

“Les, we need to talk.”

The other being turned to reply.

“I’m not Les--I’m The Other Les.”

Skippy winced and replied in annoyance.

“I know that,” it said. “but we still need to talk.”

“What about?”

“It’s this new timeline of yours, The Committee was very clear that you were to do no more displacements.”

“It’s not a displacement--it’s a duplication.”

“What?”

“On the original timeline the Resolution will arrive at the intended destination and The Old Man will see what had happened to the Earth as a result of the Yellowstone Eruption and then expire. Then the ship’s company will bury him on the grounds of the old Fort Snelling National Cemetery with full military honors and with a printed American flag–The End.”

“What?” Said Skippy. “Why not bury him at the Arlington National Cemetery?”

“The Old Man is from the Twin Cities, it’s a Minnesota thing.”

To a solidly material being it would appear that Skippy had paused to think for a moment before speaking again.

“What The Committee is really upset about is that you didn’t finish your last project.”

“It was spinning out of control,” said The Other Les. “I didn’t expect the people in Tienanmen Square to lynch Chairman Mao.”

“And what did you expect?” Said Skippy, “The Spanish Inquisition?”

As if on cue the familiar red-clad figures of Cardinals Ximenez, Biggles, and Fang appeared at that point of space-time.



Skippy spun suddenly and shouted at them.

“GO AWAY!”

“Right...” Said Ximenez and they vanished just as suddenly.

Skippy was annoyed to no end. Ever since the Spanish Inquisition Sketch had been broadcast the three characters were popping up all over time and space. It was as if they were now an inherent component of space and time.

Skippy then returned to the matter at the immediate manipulator appendage.

“So you didn’t expect Mao to be lynched?”

“No,” said The Other Les, “the people loved him.”

Skippy replied.

“Les, what you have to remember is that totalitarian states operate on the principle of Doublethink--Freedom is Slavery, War is Peace, and so on--when the principle of Doublethink is applied to the concept of Love what comes out is Hate. And given what that terminal orifice did to the Chinese people it would have to be pure unalloyed hate.”

The Other Les nodded.

“Okay, I can see that.”

Skippy then spoke again.

“And the other thing The committee is upset about is the reboot of your current project--why?”

The Other Les replied.

“It’s easier to write from an objective perspective and I missed the opportunity to show an interesting meeting between historic figures.”

Who?” Said Skippy. “George Orwell and Ayn Rand?”

For a moment The Other Les stared out into the yet to be defined dimensions of time and space.

No, no, NO!” Skippy shouted. “DON”T YOU DARE!”

Saturday, August 01, 2015

A Decision

I've decided to follow the example set by Ayn Rand and place the novel I'm writing in a slightly different universe.

One difference is obvious.

On this evening it was beginning to snow.

In most respects it was just another Monday for Evelyn Alexander Keller.  After a day of classes at the Minneapolis Technical Institute he had just finished another two hours shift at the Fanny Farmer candy shop on the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Second Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis.  The part time job was the source of income that paid for the tuition and covered the financial burden of his hobbies.

And on the day before his twentieth birthday he decided to treat himself a bit early.  TSR had just released the Deities and Demigods book for Advanced Dungeons And Dragons.  Although his primary interest was in science fiction and the Traveller role playing game he was willing to play D&D on occasion.  And of course he kept himself up to date on the rule books.

His immediate destination was The Little Tin Soldier Shop.  This was a small store just off the southwest corner of Lake Street and Bryant Avenue in South Minneapolis.  The owner was a veteran of the Korean War and in the retail area up front he sold war games and miniature combatants to adults and role playing games to naive young fellows like myself.  In the back of the store was the gaming area with several folding tables where war games were played during business hours and on some nights after closing time.  Except on Thursday nights when the floor was open for gamers to try to sink each others carefully painted miniature warships with imaginary cannon fire.

When he arrived there was one copy remaining on display of the book.  As he picked it up someone spoke.  It was a teenage boy and by the accent and attire he had to be a rich kid from the Kenwood section of Minneapolis.
   
“I want it.”  He said.

Keller turned to the boy and replied.

“Kid, you should ask Don if he has any more copies in stock, or when the next shipment from TSR is due.”

The kid responded.

“Don?”

Keller replied.

“Don Valentine, that’s the gentleman behind the counter, and if it looks like he’s been through Hell it’s because he has.”


The kid looked at Don and then spoke to Keller again.

“My uncle’s the Vice President.”

Keller was not impressed, there were a number of things he could have said about outgoing Vice President Walter March, but he decided to be polite.

“Kid, one thing that you have to learn is that Reality is Real and that in reality you’re not entitled to a damned thing.  Your relatives and the social and economic status they have means absolutely nothing in the real universe.”

He then had a thought--and then a second thought--it may be a bit early to introduce the lad to Metaphysical Realism.

Keller spoke to him a last time.

“Kid, just to the the south of Lake and Hennepin is a store called Orr Books.  Take the money you were going to use for Deities and Demigods and ask the clerk for a copy of A Collection Of Essays by George Orwell.  And when you get home go straight to the essay titled Politics And the English Language, it’s a real eye opener.”

And it’s a real mind opener, too.  He thought.

With the conversation over he paid for the purchase, skipped the planned visit to a nearby record store and went directly home.  Upon arrival he went straight to his room and turned on the radio.  KQRS, the local album rock station was now reporting that John Lennon had just been shot to death in New York.

Shit.  Keller thought.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thought



Some procedures actually work.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Scene from The Novel

Carl Grant had arrived on Freya and checked into a hotel in one of the suburbs of Landfall..  But he had to wait a full local day for the scheduled meeting with the defense secretary as all local government offices were closed on what would have been a normal business day. 

Why was this?

Grant left the hotel early for the meeting and hailed one of the taxicabs waiting at the cab  stand.  It was a Ford Galaxy sedan that had seen service as a police car and was now painted in the company colors of red and white.  The driver appeared to be entering middle age with glasses, a mustache, and a fringe of blond hair.  And he wore his old style M1911A1 in a shoulder holster.

The driver asked a question.

“Where to, sir?”

“The Planetary Government Center in Landfall.”

“There are multiple buildings on the site,” said the driver, “so what department are you visiting?”

Grant answered.

“The Department of Planetary Security.”

“Okay.”

The driver switched on the meter and electric motors hummed as the cab pulled away from the hotel.  But something about the way the driver responded to him seemed a bit odd to Grant.  It was as if he were speaking with a long term veteran soldier.

“Is there a problem?”  He asked the driver.

“No sir, it’s just that the Founders wanted to call it the War Department, but the groundhogs
wouldn’t allow it.”

Grant responded.

“The Federation authorities?” 

“Yes.”  The driver replied.

And then the driver asked his own question.

“Are you a writer, sir?”

“Yes.”  He replied.  “Of military theory for the most part, of works such as On War by Clausewitz.”

The driver’s response was a surprise to him.

Vom Kriege by General Karl Maria von Clausewitz.”  He said.  “I tried several times to read the complete Standard English edition and the damned thing always put me to sleep.”

“Well military theory is not for everyone.”  Grant curtly replied.

The driver quickly and clearly responded.

“The thing is that Clausewitz began to write at a time when Kant was barely cold in the ground and Hegel had just started his emissions.  At that time the intellectual culture in Germany was already in deep trouble with clarity and brevity already going out of style.   

Grant had not expected a lecture on intellectual history from a common working man.

But he responded.

“I wrote a book on military doctrine titled Future Forces: Organization and Doctrine.”

“I’ve read it.”  Said the driver.

“So how do you feel about it?”

“I think Colonel Simmons wrote a fairly good review of it.  He clearly understood how the citizens out here on the colony worlds would respond to an invasion by your Future Force but didn’t explain the why...”

Grant sneered.

“Simmons...that moron...”

The driver solidly interrupted the sneer

“I served with him when he was a battalion commander in Afghanistan--and we don’t give out Sky Blue Berets as supermarket promotional items--even to West Point graduates.”

“So you were in the Quarantine Force and then retired out here?”

“No.”  The driver replied.  “I enlisted here and served on Earth.”

“Why?”

The driver smiled before answering.

“Because that’s where the enemy combatants are.”

Grant thought for a moment and then spoke again.

"Do you feel that the Quarantine Force are all true warriors?”

“Hell no!’  The driver suddenly snapped back.  “The goal of every warrior is to impose his will upon his victims.  And our mission in the Quarantine Force is to hunt down and kill warriors.”

Present tense.  Grant thought.  He spoke with hostility in the present tense.

Grant was now concerned for his own safety.

Is there a round in the chamber of his gun?

The cab then entered the main drive of the Planetary Government Center and stopped at the DPS Building.  Grant paid the fare in cash and without a gratuity.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another Thought

I could describe House Harkonnen (from Dune) as subhuman garbage fit only for extermination but that would be an insult to subhuman garbage for only for extermination.