Tales From The Loop

Have you ever wished for something to come true… and it did? That is how I felt when I saw this promo of, Tales From The Loop, to be released on Amazon Prime. I have been such a obsessive fan of Simon Stalenhag’s work– which has inspired my own writing of SciFi– and have read all of his recent works including Tales From The Loop.

 

MEME

“Meme.” Having been a student of Marine Biology, spending countless semesters and personal time focused on physiology of species, animal behavior, genetics, the ecology of biological systems, and so on and so on, I had my light bulb moment—that moment in time where one’s mental capacity jumps up several notches—upon studying the science and observations of Robert Ricklefs (Ecology, etc.) and Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, etc.). It was as if I had stumbled upon a jumbled pile of puzzle pieces and began to see the image forming before me. That is how much of a light-bulb moment these individuals have had upon my learning and I began to unravel the social behavior of genetics.

Now back to the word, meme. Coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins (from the Greek word mimeme – imitate). Remember it as this. Gene is to blue eyes as meme is to Santa Claus; both passed from one generation to the next. Ask yourself, why exactly do we intentionally lie to our offspring about the existence of Santa Claus?

So something odd has evolved here: a means to propagate information much faster than genetics. But all may not appear, as it seems. Take one of Richard Dawkins observations in ants, where some ants he observed climbed to the top of a leaf or blade of grass, something that put that ant in a vulnerable situation, exposing itself to predators or grazing animals. What would explain such behavior? Martyrism? Social acceptance? Fecundity? It turns out in that ant example it was the lancet fluke– a virus affecting the ant’s brain, putting the ant on a course of action beneficial to the virus. The virus required a grazing animal to complete its life cycle, securing its ability to pass on its genetics—it couldn’t care less about using the ant to get there.

So… why am I bringing this up? Are you the ant or the lancet fluke? I suppose I am both, for I see posts, propagated, as one’s personal gain. This one included 😉

Case in point:

The alien in my sci-fi novella, November Seed, was based upon the fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps – which takes control of an ant’s brain, producing an antenna of spores and turning the ant into a zombie for it’s selfish quest.

What exactly would the meme be for that? All I can picture are Santa’s reindeers, all with antlers, pulling his sleigh bearing gifts.

“Merry Christmas all! And to all a good night……”

If you are looking for a good Christmas story to watch, try Rare Exports: A Christmas story, free on Amazon Prime

What would aliens actually look like?

It is quite easy for a Sci-Fi author to make their aliens very human-like (guilty of charged– as in my upcoming novel, Silversides); trying to write a story where they are nothing like humans creates a lot more work for the author, even if that alien does not have a speaking part.

November Seed

Alien in, November Seed

Both of my novellas (November Seed & From Europa With Love) have aliens that are not human-like and have no dialogue, so to make these stories credible, the biology has to be right.  It helped me immensely that in my former life I was a Marine Biologist–I had been studying alien life forms my entire life it seems and it is not by coincidence that in both my novellas the alien life forms are marine in nature.

Representation of alien in, From Europa With Love

But if you are new to writing Sci-Fi and do not have a background in Marine Biology, there are countless videos like this excellent BBC short from the BBC Ideas section to start you on your way.

So where does a new writer of Sci-Fi get started with understanding alien life?  Below are some good short video to get you on your way.  maybe, just maybe will will find out in our lifetime when we can get a probe below the surface of Europa to explore its thermal vents…. but then again, maybe we do not want to go three.  Europa seems to be a focus for NASA and other scientists as a first strike for alien hunting.  And why not?  t was mine in From Europa With love.

 


Are we living in a Blade Runner World?

I was reading an article on BBC, “Are we living in Blade Runner World,”by David Barnett, about the 1982 flick directed by Ridley Scott, sparked by Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” The article’s author goes on to explain that the depiction of LA (at the time of the movie) was not far off from today and draws some comparisons.

The article then drifts into why writers of science fiction write what they do; are they writing to predict the future? Find out. The article is a great read for anyone who has put off reading Sci-Fi because they think the stories are of weird aliens (which there are), with unpronounceable names and places (guilty as charged), where the dialogue is robotic in cadence, which is false… except for maybe a few newbie writers of Sci-Fi that self publishing has afforded– a terrific thing by the way.

The article shows great insight from Sci-Fi authors, Matthew Kressel and Mary Robinette Kowal, both who have created great works. Do authors of sci-fi write to predict the future? I’m sure many do, but based upon my own experience, I like to think we write depictions based upon current, hyper-social events; like smashing atoms and looking for the sub-particles we expect to see, and spin it from there.

 

Cassiopeia

 

This short story is an entry in one of Wattpad’s plethora of writing contests (Comet’s Tale) in collaboration with Children’s Fiction on Wattpad.

This is a story about Isomerism. In chemistry it represents a chemical structure with the same number and types of atoms as another chemical structure but with different properties due to a slight difference in the arrangement of atoms. Isomerization can arise spontaneously depending on whether the energy of the configurations i. I love to use this concept in my writing of Sci-Fi–when something appears identical, but is not–like one’s reflection in the mirror

The chemical structure of Cyclohexane has always remained one of my favorite structures of Organic Chem, this structure often referred to as, ‘the Woman in the Chair,’ named after the star constellation, Cassiopeia.


“Mom… Is there anyone out there just like me?” asked Phia.  “Someone who has the same name, someone who has the same blue and green eyes like I do?”

 “Yes,” her mother answered as they sat on the edge of the bed, looking up through the dome and into the stars beyond.

 “Exactly like me?”  

“Well… yes,” Her mother hesitated. “Your left eye is blue, but the other Phia’s left eye is green.”

“What about the freckles on my shoulder?” Phia asked.  “The ones in the pattern of the constellation, Cassiopeia, does the other Phia have that?”

“Yes. But for you, those freckles are on your right shoulder and hers are on the left.”

“So she is not exactly like me,” Phia said scrunching her brows.

“But indeed she is,” her mother insisted.  “If the other Phia were standing in front of you, no one could tell the two of you apart.”

“But everything seems different, I don’t understand?”

“Let me show you,” her mother said and commanded the home’s A.I. to bring up the portal of planet Isomer on the other side of the galaxy.  The two watched as the air began to ripple, then swirl until it thickened into a circular gateway.

Phia leaned into her mother, perplexed by what appeared in the room.

”There is nothing to fear,” her mother giggled.  “Now stand up,” she said nudging her daughter forward. “Go meet the other Phia.”

Phia slipped off the edge of the bed and faced the portal, stepping closer until she was staring back at who she believed was herself.

“But that’s me!” she said turning back to face her mother.

“No.  That’s the other Phia.  Now raise your left hand,” she encouraged her daughter.

Phia once again faced the portal and raised her left hand.

“Do you see now who I am talking about?” Her mother asked.

“No.  I see me,” Phia said still holding up her left arm and wiggling her fingers in the air as the Phia in the portal matched every move.

“Look more closely,” her mother instructed.  “Which arm is the Phia before you holding up?”

Her daughter studied the girl before her, then realized the other Phia was holding up her right arm. She stepped closer until their noses were almost touching, looking directly into each other’s eyes that were reversed in color.  Phia pulled her tee shirt off her shoulder to reveal the freckles as the Phia in the portal matched her every opposite move.

“Now do you see?” her Mother said from behind.  

Her daughter nodded and placed the palm of her hand upon the surface of the portal until she could feel the other Phia pressing back with equal force.

Her mother looked on at the two of them, not concerned about her daughter slipping through to the other side, because no matter how hard she tried, she could never find her way around the Phia in the portal, who matched her every move.

“I can feel her!” Phia said to her mother as she watched and listened to the Phia before her say exactly the same thing.

“Now say good night to her— it’s time for both of you to go to bed.”

The girls waved to each other, opposite but the same.  “I’ll see you tomorrow,” they each said and turned away, but quickly, each turning quickly to see if the other did the same, smiling when they did.

 

Nothing more feared than the US Mail

As the heavy door slid shut and the echo of steel on steel reverberated in the small concrete space, the new inmate did not make eye contact with his cellmate, instead, he walked quietly to his cot and sat down, his folded blanket and pillow in his lap.

 

“Whadaya in for?” the cellmate asked after the guard left.

“You don’t want to know.” he said quietly into his pillow.

“You a wise guy or something?  the cellmate asked, the threat in his voice was unmistakable.  “How ’bout you answer my question or I get up and come over there.”

The new inmate did not flinch or say anything.  He just sat there on his cot, his hands and stare focused on his pillow.

The cellmate started to get up–

“Possession of a US mail bin…..”

The guy sat down hard, as if the wind had been knocked out of him.

The new inmate turned slowly, catching a glance from his cellmate who quickly turned away and was breathing rapidly while nervously smoothing the non-existent wrinkles from his pant leg.  He tried to form words but nothing came out of his mouth.

“I was carrying Costco items in it…” the new inmate continued, each word spoken slowly and deliberately.

The cellmate nervously stood then walked in clipped steps to the front of the cell, placing his large hands around the rungs, squeezing them until his knuckles were white.  He took a few deep breaths and closed his eyes before screaming out—

“Guards! Guards!” he shouted while looking back over his shoulder; the new inmate lowered his head without breaking eye contact..

“It was pretty heavy….” the new inmate added, and could see the dark stain of urine spreading out along the seat of his cellmate’s pants.

“Guards! Guards!… guar–” the cellmate shouted, his voice choked back by a sobbing cry.  “Help me… please God help me he said, his head hung low beneath the sliding grip of the bars as he sank to the floor, his forehead resting against the cold steel.

“That’s when my mail carrier, Angie, spotted me…. I had almost made it to the garage…” the new inmate said getting up to approach his cellmate before lowering himself then his voice to a whisper, the last of his words pounding in his cellmate’s ear like nails in a coffin as his hands came up and clasped on the pate of his bald head, feeling inches away from his extinguishing life.

“What’s going on here?” the guard asked unconcerned, his arm crossing casually over his belt to rest both hands on the baton at his side.

“Nothing,” the new inmate said… “Just getting to know each other,” he added with a smile then patting his cellmate on the shoulder as he stood and walked back to his cot.

“Well… get up and clean yourself off.  You better figure out how to get along, because the new guy’s in for another three years.”

********

During our recent trip out west and then continuing with a NE loop, we had our mail held.  When I got back, they handed me this US mail bin, which has made for some uneasy night’s sleeping until I know it has been returned.  I was more concerned with this than I was with Dorian. 

 

neuroSTAT

There’s one thing about a cat 5 sitting off the coast as you wait for the power to drop…. you are left with only your own imagination.  

 

 

SYNOPSIS FOR S SCI-FI: In a future society where people’s emotions are held in check by software implants (neuroSTAT),  a digital drug (landScape) begins to make its way through the floating commune of Peck Lake in South Florida where its effects reach beyond the limits of the inhabitants emotional governors.

                             ***

During a king tide with a cat 5 off the coast, the sea level along the Intracoastal stays high all day, as if the moon has stopped in its tracks demanding more attention than the storm. On days like this it makes it difficult for me to pick up supplies along the mangroves, so I sit in the sling of my floater, facing the water, away from the mune,  skimming through my pane, listening to casts from the button times. Casts about clunkers having drivers in them— yeah… it’s true. They moved hangers of product from point A to B… slippers, watches, sexBots and shit like that. The demand at the onset of the button clicking generation had pushed pilots of the clunkers beyond their enhancers where they frequently drifted off and were awakened only when they crushed a centipede of  people pods. So the convention stepped in, mandating every clunker have a neuroSTAT installed to keep them afloat. I’m beginning to think that’s where it all started. Lately, after a dissolve, I can feel the edge of my own neuroSTSAT and I’m beginning to feel shit… shit like happy stuff… but mostly sad shit– things I’m not used to. My meuf’s been feeling the same shit so I know I’m not going crazy. It seems to be spreading along our mune for those of us uploading the most recent dissolve –some shit called landScape– but no one knows what bench they got it from.

 

More at some point in time after the power drops and I still have a charge on my iPad……

 

If you like this idea, let me know….

Mangrove Seedpods

Lately I have noticed the consistent march of mangrove seedpods in the water off the dock–more than normal. These king tides reach higher up into the mangroves, where the pods detach and begin to float vertically in the water, the tides shuttling them to far away places. A soaking of the pod softens the outside shell and it begins to peels away, allowing the seedpod to germinate. The vertical position is by design so when the tide drops the seeds settle upright in the soft muds along the banks, providing the ideal location to spread. I cannot help but think how closely these pods remind me of the seeds of Phragmites, releasing at once, wondering if these mangrove pods are also carrying the alien contagion.

November Seed

November Seed

 

The fun side of A.I.

I was trying to open the tumblr app today and the app got confused on network connections and presented me this pop up. What I find amazing is the logic behind the programming, first identifying me by name as well as pulling up this famous quote associated with my name and reasoning that I write SciFi and finally addressing the issue. I love it..