About Dave

Surfer, Marine Biologist and Technologist = The ingredients of writing the perfect Sci-Fi

Do you get nightmares from your writing?

As I’m writing several novels at once (probably not a good idea), there is one in particular (HUM) giving me nightmares. I think I can speak for most writers in that we become so immersed in the writing it feels as though we are there. In my case, dreamtime is an opportunity to play out the plot, sometimes shocked to awakenedness if there was such a word. I have been long imprinted by the movie Alien (original), knowing it took some unbelievable writing to make something so terrifyingly beautiful. The art of Alien can be attributed to less graphic violence–– very Hitchcockian–– and preying upon a person’s inner fears, not to mention the protagonists you thought were protagonists die off one-by-one leaving Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) a rising star. But the real star of Alien is the alien itself: No backstory, no speaking parts and a relentless pursuit without pause or remorse. Think about the plots of most Hollywood movies where the antagonist gets the protagonist tied up in a chair at gunpoint and pauses to tell the protagonist their entire remorseful story giving the protagonist time to untie the knots and turn the table.

My first novella, NOVEMBER SEED, was an experiment to try out this Alien-like genre, but with a twist. It was very successful and gave me the courage to try and surpass Alien in Alienees, but with a comedic twist, in my current work in progress, HUM. So far so good, but the nightmares (moaning and leg twitching) are keeping my wife awake while I dream on, editing the plot. LOL.

HUM (synopsis)

Saul Sicola had been a successful nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos Labs in New Mexico, up until he was caught stealing some nuclear fuel for a DYI project to stop scorpions from entering his home.  

Jobless, ghosted, and landing on Homeland Security’s federal watch list, most days Saul is playing bad golf or sitting at his assigned stool in his favorite bar.  His life is uncomplicated, every day the same as the day before, until a bar fly convinces Saul to follow him to a nearby cave where he thinks he has discovered a new species of bat.  The horror of what the barfly had discovered was not of this world and the super-organism amassed on the cave wall is without pause or conscience.  When Saul discovers how the organism arrived on Earth, he also discovers they are a beacon for more to follow. 

With no one taking him seriously, he sets out to save the world… but only after trying to save his name.  To carry out his crazy plan, one that will surely attract the attention of Homeland Security, Saul will  require the help of an unlikely duo:  an alluring and peculiar girl on a watchlist of her own and his therapist, who just happens to be his Ex.

That said, I stumbled across a 2022 trailer of a movie I have not heard nor have I seen, It looks promising, but do I need more nightmares: (Crimes Of The Future). Disturbing enough that you need to be redirected to Youtube due to it’s graphic nature and age-related rating. My feeling of movies like this is that the graphic nature is a distraction for a weak plot.

Long Live the Nautilus

Specialization leads to extinction; it is the governing law behind evolution and why some last longer than others. Applied to social media, idiocracy is the accelerant for which sites like TikTok, Facebook/Meta, Instagram and Twitter will submerge. Long live the Nautilus.

Manuae, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LUCY, I’m home!

We interrupt this program to bring you breaking news:

The LUCY mission is named after the fossilized skeleton of pre-human ancestry, which gave us a breakthrough understanding of our own human origin. The LUCY mission will do the same, giving us a much greater understanding of the formation of planets in our own solar system. When you see what this mission entails, it is truly magnificent that humans can think through the complications of this flight plan and execute it. Everything else in the news is a distraction to lower us to the least common denominator— to become complacent and ignorant. If every citizen would watch and understand this endeavor, converse with others, become curious and work together to question our surroundings and question our own existence…. well …. our government and its media arm do not want you to think this way.

Now back to our regular programming: Depp-Amber Trial……

The Department of Homeland Security’s creation of a Disinformation Governance Board?

I find it ironic that George Orwell–– a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist–– warned us about this. In his dystopian Sci-Fi novel, 1984 (written in 1949). He warns us about totalitarianism, mass surveillance, perpetual war, suppression of free speech, historical negotiation (also known as denialism, which is the falsification of facts and distortion of historical record! If that does not ring a bell with you then I’m afraid 2 + 2 =5

Why Am I Here?

Have you ever asked anyone: “At what point did you recognize yourself as an adult?” I think the answer to that question, at least for me, was when I asked myself, “Am I really here? In the universe, on this tiny fragile little spec, sitting at a table, eating cereal?” I mean, in that moment my mind expanded tenfold. That I could contemplate the existence of myself—but why was I here, why?”

For decades I tried to figure this out on my own, focusing on science in school, understanding the ecology of life and the mechanics of space time, holding a career in information technologies. But it wasn’t until I started writing science fiction that I figured it out. Like anything, if you want to get good at something you need to practice it, over and over. Writing science fiction is that practice— it forced me to think in the future tense— leaning into that part of the brain of extrapolation. Something that separates humanity from every other living object on this planet. It is the reason we invent tools because we see a need to invent something to get something greater in return.

Back to my answer to a lifetime question. Why was I here?

We— human beings— are tools for the universe asking the same question, we give consciousness to the universe, for the universe to understand why it is here.

Mosquitos biting through my genes

With guidance and permission from the EPA, The Biotech firm, Oxitec, has released a mosquito into the Florida Keys carrying genetically modified genes. Now the state of CA has given approval to do the same. 

There is no doubt that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are carriers to diseases such as: Fellow Fever, Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, to name a few. So putting an end to those diseases would be good for humankind, right?

On paper is works like this: The modified genes are loaded into the male species, which carry the lethal cargo that kills female progeny in early larval stages. As more females die, the Aedes aegypti population should dwindle. That’s the deal and it worked well in a lab.

But released into the wild, Barry Commoner’s first law of Ecology comes into play: Everything is connected to everything else. A set of laws that guide my life and what made me such a good diagnostician in the field of Informational Technologies–– knowing that if I mucked with something, its effect would be felt somewhere else.

So what’s the worse that can happen?

BITTEN

Chapter One:

I was scratching away at a mosquito bite, leaning against the dock railing looking down into the turquoise waters at the confused tarpon swimming upside down, tricked by the submerged floodlights shining up from below. A friend had invited me to this swanky party along the mangroves, one of her clients, and we were deep into a conversation about the state of idiocracy in this country, when she noticed I was bleeding and lifted my palm to see the tips of my fingers wet with blood and my forearm bearing tiny rivulets of the same.  

“My God! You’re bleeding,” she said straightening up.

“I must have scratched a mosquito bite a little too hard,” I replied. Offering me her cocktail napkin, embarrassed, I said I would be fine and placed my thumb at the bite. She gave me a sideways look and dabbed away as I tried to pick up where we left off, but I could tell she wasn’t listening, her eyes darting towards my arm.  Removing my thumb she placed the napkin over the bite but it soaked through relatively quickly.

A nearby server offering an appetizer of wasabi glazed Tuna, was startled to see my forearm tattooed with blood as he nervously handed us a wad of napkins, asking if he needed to call for help. I too quickly thanked him and said it was just a mosquito bite that I had scratched a little too hard and laughed it off.  Skeptical but satisfied he moved on. We placed several napkins over the bite but I could feel the adrenaline pumping beneath and the warming of blood seeping up through the tissues.   My friend insisted we head towards the house to ask the host for some bandages and a bathroom to dress this properly.  Her advice sounded like a good idea at this point, so I held my palm firmly against the bite; not believing it got this far this quickly.  As we walked, I could feel the blood slipping around the gasket of my hold— this is crazy— blood now dripping onto my designer jeans and powder blue sneakers, leaving a trail of dark red beads in the shaved Bermuda grass. We heard a scream behind us, followed by a shout that someone needs to call 911.  Glancing over our shoulders, we could see a body slumped onto the dock with several guests gathered around, some backing away and holding their hands to their mouth.  We looked down to my arm then back at each other–– fear in her eyes and panic in my own (TBC).

A Dog named Dally

Our street, it seems, every one has a dog, which says much about what great neighbors we have. And sometimes the chorus becomes hysterical— a gathering crescendo of barking started by one — the Metallica equivalent of a canine concert.  Then adding to the biophony, their care givers open their back doors and the barks begin to wane under the whistling, clapping of hands or a holler from humans.  I’m not sure which is more amusing.  

Often I am asked if I have a dog?  My answer is — I love dogs, yes but no. sort of…..

May I present to you, “Dally” my dog. Dally the Dalmatian (Steiff) is responsible for my second, long term, memory at the age of two, I can still see myself, holding my mother’s hand and walking up the steps to FAO Schwarz in NYC, my French mother in a white hat and sunglasses, a Polka Dot dress and a throw coat over her shoulders. Me… I was in an itchy wool brown outfit, “bumpy1” socks in brown shoes but I didn’t care. It was my birthday and I was going to FAO Schwarz! Once inside, my mother let go of my hand and followed me trough the stands of towering stuffed horses and giant teddy bears while battery-powered kid driven Stutz Bearcats meandered the isles under the displays that reached to the ceiling. I was oblivious to all that and zeroed in on Dally the Dalmatian (by Steiff). There was something about the tilt of Dally’s head, the wagging mouth and the texture of his fur. That was all I saw that day, somehow knowing Dally would follow me throughout life. Dally is still with me and a little worn for wear, but aren’t we all. Friendship is forever.

I joke with my wife that if the house were to ever catch fire, I promised her I would make sure she was safely outside, first, but after that I was going back in for Dally and my titanium crypto pass phrase hardware wallet, in that order.

1Bumpy: I would drive my mother crazy after she manhandled me into that brown itchy wool outfit and socks, then wedging my feet into the stiff leather brown shoes and tying the laces as if to batten down the hatches before a storm she would look me over from head to tow, satisfied of her work. But her smile would not last very long as I proceeded to tell her that my socks were bumpy. With an exhale of,”Mais Mon Dieu!” under her breath (My first long term memory) she would untie my laces, slip off the shoes, smooth out my socks and repeat. Whenever my wife sees me shifting around in a suit these days she asks if my socks are bumpy? But I know she has no intention of untying my shoes.

A War of 1’s and 0’s

The war Russia has brought to the Ukraine is everything horrific about war–– that one person’s life lost is one too many. War is sorrow and fear, the roar of jet-craft overhead, the sound of explosions from artillery and missiles heard everywhere.

But as wars evolve they seem to be more contained, with fewer deaths–– a side-effect of technology.

Hardly mentioned is what is going on, silently over the internet. Here is an article that begins to reveal what is happening at the 1’s and 0’s. Take out communications and you stop a modern war in it’s tracks.

https://www.audacy.com/kywnewsradio/news/business/cyberattacks-accompany-russian-military-assault-on-ukraine

With Anonymous declaring war on Russia, this is becoming very real that future wars just might be silent. How will victory be claimed? It reminds me of the Star Trek episode (#023), “A Taste Of Armageddon;” A war between two planets that on one hand removes the horrors and destruction of war but those victims of computer simulation are required to report to their nearest disintegration chambers, of which they obediently do.

We are an aggressive species, seemingly comfortable walking that fine line of both survival and extinction.

The novel I have been working on (Silversides) is based upon the fact that we, as humans, seen to depict extraterrestrial contact as an invasion; a nightmare for us all. I truly believe it is because we are in denial–– that we can’t help ourselves, that to look in the mirror we see who we are as a species–– we are those extraterrestrials–– someone else’s nightmare.

I have little doubt the UFO sightings we are seeing are real, but they are just monitoring agents, making sure we don’t leave home.

“Science Fiction is fact that just hasn’t happened, yet.”

I’m Living In Fiction

if I had told myself, back when I was in my early teens (pre everything) that I would one day be able to step outside my back door and look up to see a space launch on a weekly basis–– yeah… I would believe it, because I was such a SciFi geek then and now–– but I would not know how much of a thrill I would feel each and every launch. The cool thing is hearing the rumble almost 10 minutes later. I never get tired of this

I’m looking forward to next week’s, Atlas V 541 Launch on March 1st @ 4:32 PM.

#elonmusk SpaceX #scifi #NASA

This morning’s SpaceX Launch (02.21.22 @ 9:42 AM)