KAO

I recently watched an episode of Electric Dreams (Sci-fi shorts based on stories by Philip Dick) titled, “Kill All Others.” This episode was about a man hanging dead from a billboard while people walked by as if this were the ordinary–just typical shock marketing. But after ‘The Candidate’, a politician (Vera Farmiga), makes a shocking statement encouraging violence to Others, I found myself feeling a bit anxious because of its relevance to today’s current events. Now a lot of you who will watch this might say, “This is Trump!, the DNC, The NYT, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, AntiFa, etc.

But take a deep breath…. It’s not about any of them….. It is about all of us….

This Scj-Fi short has something In common with my current work under wraps, I have a group of Earthlings on another planet referred to as The Others…. This episode has made me think about a few edits. Do I take it down the path of Philip Dick’s propensity to paranoia? Hmmm. I’m not sure I want to wander down too many of these paths because it fills my dreams with the same. And that did not turn out well for Philip Dick–God rest his tortured soul….

But this episode….. This episode was about us. About us being brainwashed by Media and Politics–keeping us focussed on the non-essential so those in charge can go on with their plans, battling each other out for power. You see… nothing has really changed since the days of Henry the VIIII, except today’s tactics are not as vicious. In the end there are those in the high castle and those that are not and those that are not never feel safe because they are so fearful of the amplified views being spread.

I was pulling for poor Philbert Noyce….. one of us………

The power required to read this post

There was an expression my father always used: “Nihil liberum est.” My dad was big on Latin, and it means, “Nothing Is Free.”  But if the attached video does not quite do the job and you need to understand what the cost of data might look like in a dark future, read the Sci-Fi trilogy by Peter Watts:  The Rifters Series.

The Rifters series (Starfish, Maelstrom, and βehemoth (which in itself was published in two parts: βehemoth: β-Max , βehemoth: Seppuku) became the catalyst to me becoming an author of Sci-Fi and getting the stories in my head down on digital paper.

The Rifters series underlines the cost of powering the internet, led by a powerful female protagonist, who, if Sci-Fi has a kick-ass water goddess, it is Lenie Clarke.   His character in this series inspired my latest work in progress, Silversides, with an equally strong female protagonist, Nori Matsui, an Exoplanet Marine Biologist.  

As an aside:  When I was living in NYC, searching the shelves of Sci-Fi in the NY Public Library, looking for my next read and stumbling across a paperback by Peter Wats called, Mealstrom, I later discovered it was the 2nd book of a series.  So after reading this page-turner, I went on-line to the NY Public Library system, tracked down books One and Three and had them delivered to my local branch.  Oddly, reading books One and Two out of order made no difference to me, so much so that I wrote to Peter Watts to tell him that.  However, his response to me was not what I expected–– he was a bit upset that I read book two first.   I had explained to him that I was a former Marine Biologist and that reading book One after book TWO was a real treat because book TWO takes place completely under water in the deep see vents of the Pacific.  Oh well…..  His work is brilliant.

 

 

 

A Picture Is Worth… Nothing….

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” was plagiarized and para-phrased after Henrik Johan Ibsen’s death in 1906.  Henrik was a playwright and director who once said; “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” 

So it is fitting that I now say, the plagiarized and para-phrased version you know today has been hi-jacked.  I shouldn’t care, but this is so comically fractal it leaves me wondering about humanity.  What I am seeing on Social Media is disturbing, where a picture now takes well over a thousand words to correctly depict its intension… 

For example:  Here is a picture, I took, In Queens NY one day.  Yes, perfect timing… I just happened to be in the right place at the right time soaking in images on my phone when I came around a corner and saw a body sailing through the air…. HOLY CRAP! WHF!  Now…. If I let that image stand on its own and never showed you what happened  a 1/16th of a second before, well, you would be none the wiser.    

And this is my point.  This is the state of Social Media today.  

So before you post, repost, critique, or look for the result you are searching for…. Remember these images and question what might have happened a 1/16th of a second before or after.  Things are never what they appear.  Take the time and research what you repost.  Don’t just hit the green button—there is no reward…. Just shock…

The image of the falling man was taken at an outdoor fair, presented by the Museum Of Moving Images, Astoria, Queens, New York City.  If you have never been there—it is a must.

Reach over and just turn on that switch–you can do it….

Up to this point, we have been blinded by consumption because our global economy is based upon consumption. But the energy to maintain such a model is proving unsustainable. This virus underlines that zero growth is not the end — as this brilliant video presents it. Zero growth means that we are in equilibrium–it is a much better financial model because it follows how things in the natural world thrive The moment an organism begins to outpace this balance, it sets itself up for disaster; specialization in species is a clear path to extinction.

There is always casualty with change–it is built into the physical laws of the universe. So here we have a chance to make this change better than the thing before it.

Wouldn’t you rather live in a world like this? I do…

To my fellow Sci-Fi writers of Dystopia.... this video presents quite a beautiful twist to catastrophic events… doesn’t it? We have an opportunity to change the view…….

We are the heaven of yesterday

Why now? I mean why would the Pentagon release and confirm the authenticity of these videos–granted, these were leaked back in 2017. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with our Alexa, just recently, starting to refer to us by name…. Good morning David…. Thank you Meredith… I had been waiting for that moment, the day we start to accept the future form of humanity. Look in the mirror folks; we we are the heaven of yesterday. It is one of those evolutionary bumps, which needs to happen slowly, as though it had always been there and we just never noticed it.I wonder… when will biological viruses like COVID-19 pass the baton to to digital viruses like SVC_prog.TRIX20?Enjoy everyone…. Another day of living.

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.