What a pleasant surprise to discover I’m the “Rising Writer” this month! I love this group! If you’re a writer looking for a group that provides great support check out RRBC and RWISA!
HOLIDAY SALE! All my books are only 99c/each until December 31. If you or someone you know likes science, this science fiction is just for them! As one reviewer stated, “Seamless integration of real science with an eye toward plausibility reminds me of Asimov.” The Terra Debacle, the story of a sentient plant stuck on Earth, will undoubtedly put a smile on the face of any botanists out there.
[NOTE:–OMG, it’s my turn in the Blog Tour! My offering is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Dark Circles, a slightly dark, hard sci-fi love story. No release date has been set. You know how I am with release dates. LOL! Those of you who have read “A Dark of Endless Days” may recognize what is going on in this scene. As an author, I have a really hard time letting good characters ride off into the sunset (or fly off into the stars, as the case may be). This novel will wrap it all up and tie everything together.]
Your Wildest Dreams
by Marcha Fox
I inhaled sharply when I recognized the introductory riff wafting from my favorite 80s station as Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues. Even though I had the original 45 RPM record, the album on cassette tape, and more recently, the CD, I kept them safely locked away so I wouldn’t binge on it. Nonetheless, when KPLV, 93.1 FM in Vegas, got around to playing it every few weeks or so, I’d indulge in a break, a delicious reminder of why I was here.
Consumed by ethereal and intimately familiar sound waves, I got up, closed the blinds, and even though it was unlikely the song’s strains would penetrate my office’s cinder block walls, plugged in my headset so I could crank it up—I mean really up. I melted back into my chair, eyes closed, with what was probably an idiotic smile on my face, savoring each note as the song segued into its lively, 142 BPM tempo. The next three minutes and forty-one seconds, I’d be in heaven.
Even though this song came out eight years after she left, the first time I heard it, back when I was still in college in ’86, I knew two things: One, it would always be “our song”; and Two, I had to find her.
My heart leapt with visions of galaxies beyond, of what might be out there, where she might be. I plunged headlong through space and time, besieged by memories burned into my heart as permanently and painfully as branding was to a newborn calf. Did she remember? Feel the same thing I did? Sense the enchantment of fate-entangled lives?
I memorize pretty easily, which comes in handy, especially with things like the Periodic Table or Maxwell’s equations. And of course, favorite songs. These particular lyrics struck me, hard and personal, from day one, certain it’d been written exclusively for me.
As my eyes teared up, logic intervened and yanked me back to planet Earth.
Grow up, Benson! What are you, a total schmaltz or what?
We were kids, for heaven sakes. A teenage crush. I should’ve gotten over it, but never did. No wonder. Girls like her are rare. One of a kind. She’d already experienced things I never would. Things that were part of my wildest dreams.
The admonition failed, pushed aside by that part of me that felt alive again, jammin’ like a total jerk, mouthing the words as I sang along in my head. It’s not like I’m a teenager anymore, though at the moment I felt like one. No, memories of the heart never die—can’t die, ever—even if you try to kill them.
I’d give anything to talk to her. Which of course I have, numerous times over the years, if only in my head. Okay, aloud more often than I care to admit. I could swear it even felt as if she answered a time or two. I suppose that’s how it is with your first love. Or your first kiss, even if it was only a peck on the cheek. It penetrates your soul and stays there forever.
That mid-summer day in ’78 hauling hay was as vivid as yesterday in my mind’s eye. The cloudless sky, sun hot on my neck, the aroma of first-crop alfalfa sweetening the mountain air. I scratched my shoulder, a reflex memory of itchy, stray leaves sticking through my T-shirt. My chest ached as I remembered tear tracks streaking her dust-covered face at something I’d said. Then, days later, that withering look when we lied about her ship.
The one we still have. What’s left of it quietly abandoned beneath a tarp in Building 15, here at Area 51.
How she knew we weren’t telling the truth, I’ll never know. Pretty funny it’s still sitting there. And I’m sure she’d think so, too. I can just hear her saying, “Stupid snurks, I knew they’d never figure it out.” Though actually they did, just didn’t find technology worth pursuing. Even contractors didn’t want it.
I had to admit it was pretty crazy, but she was my motivation to get where I was today: just short of a decade of college linked with serendipity that put me in the right place at the right time, hoping someday I’d find her. My life had changed a lot since then. How much had hers changed? Did she make it home? Was she still alive? With the effects of relativistic travel, which I understood only too well, she could still be a teenager, while I was easing into the infamous dirty thirties.
Not good. If I ever did find her, she’d probably think I was some lecherous old fart. Either that, or, with my luck, she’d be married with a bunch of kids. I winced with the thought.
My sentimental reverie vanished when my office door slammed open and Hector Buckhorn rolled in. Literally. Hec’s been stuck in a wheelchair ever since he crashed his hang glider into a New Mexico mountainside during spring break his last semester of college. He ridge soared a lot, particularly around Dulce, over restricted areas where he wasn’t supposed to be. Got caught a couple times, but being Native American, never got in trouble, even though it wasn’t his home reservation. He’s amazingly good at playing dumb, in spite of—or possibly because of—his 150ish IQ. He never talked about his accident, said he couldn’t remember. Makes sense, actually, given he suffered a massive concussion. The only time I ever saw him pissed him off was when he woke up in the hospital and discovered they’d shaved off his hair, since grown back beyond shoulder length.
I dropped the headset around my neck and faked a frown. “Don’t you ever knock, butthead?”
“Hey, man, wazzup?” he said, giving me a funny look. “You okay?”
I laughed. “Of course. Just thinking. Remembering. You know.”
“Ahhh. They played that song again, didn’t they?”
“Can’t hide anything from you, can I, Chief?”
“Nope. I figured you were up to somethin’ with your blinds closed.”
He wheeled over to the grey metal, government-issue table on the other side of the room and helped himself to a handful of peanut M&Ms. Once I’d realized during my PhD days at Cal Tech that, in a pinch, they made a pretty decent meal, I’d kept that old, wide-mouth canning jar full. He dumped them in his mouth, perusing me with knowing, dark eyes.
“You were sure enjoyin’ that song of yours,” he said, not even trying to stifle his crooked grin as he munched away.
“Yeah,” I replied, uncomfortable with the conversation’s direction.
“We’ve known each other a long time, Allen,” he said. “Don’t you think it’s time you told me about her?”
“Not much to tell.”
He let fly with a popular expletive related to bovine excrement. “C’mon! What’s her name?” he persisted.
I blew out my cheeks and sighed, knowing resistance was futile. “Creena,” I answered, surprising myself when, again, I got a little choked up. I avoided his eyes by likewise heading for the M&Ms.
“So find her,” he said.
“It’s not that simple,” I replied, pouring myself a handful. “I don’t know where she is.” A statement that was truer than he could possibly imagine.
“I have some resources who could help,” he offered with a conspiratorial wink.
I shook my head, then stalled by popping a few colorful orbs in my mouth.
“Why not? If she’s anywhere on this planet, these guys’ll find her.”
I swallowed hard and paused; met his gaze. “She’s not.”
He scowled, making him look a lot like those old pictures of Cochise. “Say again?”
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
He shrugged. “I assumed she’s dead. She must’ve been quite a girl.”
“She was. Is. She’s not dead. At least as far as I know.”
His jaw dropped, shocked expression broadcasting the fact he’d caught the implications. “You’re not kidding, are you?”
“Abductee?” he whispered.
“Nope,” I answered, raiding the candy jar again. “Immigrant.”
His eyes widened as he spewed an expletive that elevated excrement to sanctified status. “Don’t tell me she’s an EBE!”
I nearly spewed partially chewed M&Ms across the room. Extraterrestrial biological entity, indeed! Yet by definition, actually, she was.
I chuckled at his expression and shook my head. “No. Quite human. At least as far as I know.”
“Are you?” he added, chocolate-colored irises rimmed with white. His reaction surprised me—UFOs, even aliens, were no big deal in his culture, just business as usual with the Star People.
“C’mon, Chief! You’ve known me since tenth grade, running high school track!”
He leaned back, searching my face with more solemnity than I’d seen since I told him how Dad died. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, bro,” he said finally, shaking his head.
“You have no idea,” I said, throat constricting as scratchy lyrics from the headset, audible only to me, issued another reminder of why I was here.
* * *
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I’m happy to report that my latest novel has finally been released! If you’re a fan of UFOs, Area 51, or have read Beyond the Hidden Sky and/or A Dark of Endless Days, volumes I and II, respectively, of the Star Trails Tetralogy, you’ll enjoy this one.
Writing this story, which is a spin-off from the Star Trails Tetralogy, was quite a trip. Every time I thought it was done, I’d realize there was something missing. Usually that entailed more research, which took more time than the actual writing.
Nonetheless, it was an adventure and fun, especially getting to know a new character, Gabe Greenley, after spending so much time with the Brightstar clan.
For those of you who don’t know the premise of the story, here’s the Book Blurb:
In May 1978 a UFO lands at Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah. NASA astrobiologist, Gabe Greenley, is called in to investigate a strange plant found onboard. Psi-sensitive, he quickly learns the specimen is highly intelligent and potentially dangerous. Taunted by a ground-breaking discovery he can never share, his security oaths eventually result in an ethical dilemma with treasonous and deadly implications.
More information, including the promotional video, are on the Star Trails Tetralogy website.
I’m grateful to the author/bloggers who have given me of their time and talents in both reading, offering feedback, and ultimately reviewing the story, particularly Stephen Geez of Fresh Ink Group, who did a tremendous job editing, both the book and the video. You can read the blogs as well as some excerpts and find buy links to several online retailers below. A button to add the story to your Goodreads TBR list is there as well. Remember reviews are always welcome and the best way to thank an author if you enjoy their work.
Reviews and Blogs
Excerpts on Bublish
Today is your last chance to get your ecopy of the entire Star Trails Tetralogy for only 99c! The box set includes “Beyond the Hidden Sky,” “A Dark of Endless Days,” “A Psilent Place Below,” and “Refractions of Frozen Time” as well as “The Star Trails Compendium.” Descriptions of the individual books can be found below as well as at the series’ website, www.StarTrailsSaga.com.
STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY DESCRIPTION
Close families share everything. Including consequences. When one of the HIO’s premier terralogists refuses a job offer from a wannabe despot the chain of suspicious circumstances which quickly follow scatter his family across the galaxy. Torn apart by space and time, will each survive long enough to be united ever again?
Volume I: BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY
A move to another planet that goes horribly wrong. A power hungry man’s obsession with another’s abilities. Suspicious circumstances that scatter a family across the galaxy. Will rescue efforts succeed or make the situation even worse?
When the Brightstar family leaves fog-shrouded and predictable Mira III for Cyraria they have no idea their comfortable lifestyle is about to end forever. Even before the starcruiser arrives, shocking events transpire that comprise a parent’s worst nightmare. Not only is their fourteen year old daughter, Creena, missing but it’s clear her father’s ruthless and power-hungry nemesis plans to exploit the situation to promote his own selfish ambitions. Formidable and lethal challenges await as increasingly suspicious circumstances scatter them across the galaxy. Will they survive long enough to be together again?
“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:
“The story begins at warp speed as space travel and its theory weaves throughout the tale of a family separated by mishap and kept apart by intent.” – Editorial Review
“The author’s colorful and animated word sketches give the reader the feel of actually watching or being right in the mix of the story. She brings personality and quirks to the characters as they develop through expressive descriptions and dialogue.” – Amazon Reviewer
“I am an author as well as having taught junior high science for a number of years and think this read would be a fabulous addition to classroom libraries as well as “the hungry for sci-fi lovers” personal bookshelf.” – Amazon Reviewer
“Although geared for the YA market, it is suited for sci-fi audiences for all ages who will thoroughly enjoy the talented professional writing of Marcha Fox’s wonderful expeditions.” – Amazon Reviewer
“All her characters, even creatures on the planets, are outstanding examples of a writer totally in touch with the depths of the subconscious mind, all interacting with their roles of good and evil with hidden spiritual messages as one experiences their own individual growth of consciousness.” – Amazon Reviewer
Volume II: A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS
Opposition’s lethal temperatures are more than a simple ballome can’t withstand. Designing and building a heat-exchanger is the only way they’ll survive. Obtaining the needed components, however, is another story.
On a hostile planet like Cyraria terralogists are in high demand and Laren Brightstar is one of the best. Regional governors compete for positions at the territorial level based on their economic achievements, allowing those with terraforming skills to demand a high price. Refusing to work for those with devious intent, however, has an even higher price. Thus the Brightstar family discovers when they’re plunged into a web of political intrigue on a planet cursed with lethal weather where survival can never be taken for granted. Will their missing daughter return with help or will she remain trapped forever on an alien world?
“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:
“Young people can identify with the children in the family, but this series is for people of all ages. Marcha does transport you to outer space, way into the future, and you will believe you are there with the Brightstar family.” – Amazon Reviewer
“In the vein of old science fiction literature this story could end up as another classic. Its original, with all the components, technology, other world and races, and a contact with Earth.” – Amazon Reviewer
“Written in a technically proficient yet engaging style this book is sure to captivate science fiction lovers of all ages!” – Amazon Reviewer
“Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. I can’t turn a page without picturing the story in my mind and visualizing each character.” – Amazon Reviewer
Volume III: A PSILENT PLACE BELOW
Taking refuge in the Caverns is like a dream come true. But the dreams generated by their mysterious depths promise death or worse. Is forewarned really forearmed? Or another lure into the Integrator’s grasp?
Going underground to escape Cyraria’s harsh climate brings more than a few surprises besides the hospitality of an indigenous race known as the bnolar. The caverns feel strangely like home, but shortly after their arrival prophetic visions in the form of veridical dreams alert them to upcoming danger. Incarcerated in a territorial prison, Laren Brightstar is about to receive and refuse Augustus Troy’s final offer, after which he’ll be exiled permanently to a place from which there is no return. Will Dirck and Win’s rescue succeed?
“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:
“The specific and very detailed description of the places and of the characters say so much about the author’s capacity to depict all of it with words, making your imagination start running freely in the process.” – Amazon Reviewer
“[The author] has created an entire world and its inhabitants along with various languages and races that each have unique abilities and qualities. Her extensive knowledge in science is evident in the explanations that are utterly believable.” – Amazon Reviewer
“A highly intelligent and prolific read, you really get a feel for the authors experience given she had a career at NASA. Speaks to the insight and depth of the book, well thought out and concise.” – Amazon Reviewer
Volume IV: REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME
A discovery that links two dimensions of time. A prison ship’s dirty little secret. Esheron has answers but can they access them before it’s too late?
The discovery of a mineral that manipulates space and time provides the potential to reunite the Brightstar family at last. Controlling it, however, is another matter. With the Integrator closing in on the ability to destroy anyone for whom they have a mindprint, finding the secret of manipulating the two dimensions of time becomes a matter of life and death. But is time their ally or another enemy?
“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish
“Author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science. The detailed world she creates in the Star Trails Tetralogy is genius, so well thought out and crafted. As the Brightstar youngsters observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling, but when they break old habits and open their minds in order to survive this hostile planet they now call home, these children achieve the incredible. Quite Beautiful.” – Amazon Reviewer
“What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill ” space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon.” – Amazon Reviewer
“[The author’s] creativity and imagination never fall short but always leave me wanting more. Each character has been carefully crafted and developed. I enjoyed watching the children develop and grow from bickering teens to collaborative young adults. The final climax had me shivering as the forces of dark and light came hurtling together into an unexpected and shocking end.” – Amazon Reviewer
BOX SET BUY LINKS
Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo
Don’t you just hate serials? Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re deeply entrenched in a story then abruptly thrust to the edge of an annoying cliffhanger? Worse yet, when it means waiting months or even longer before the next book comes out!
With a box set those frustrations no longer exist. No waiting, no additional purchases, everything is right there, in this case 1500 pages of a hard sci-fi family saga ready to transport you to another realm. If you’re unfamiliar with this tetralogy, you can learn more at the series’ website or explore the individual stories in the excerpts included with the “Book Bubbles” at the author’s site on Bublish. If you’re already a fan, now’s your chance to get them all for a bargain price.
Each book has been released separately to 5-star reviews. In addition, this set includes the Star Trails Compendium with terms, definitions, and detailed background information on the stories’ planetary setting. As a physicist I’ve made science an inherent part of this series which the Compendium exploits in a special section for parents and educators with ready-made discussion ideas and lessons plans designed to stimulate interest in science and engineering.
Whether you’re simply a hard science fiction fan or a science teacher looking for a ready-made extra credit package, this series is for you! So what are you waiting for? Blast off now with the Brightstar family for a gripping interstellar ride across the galaxy!
Grab The Star Trails Tetralogy ebook Box Set while it’s only $0.99 and save $5.00!
Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo
In case you missed it earlier, here’s another reminder that the entire Star Trails Tetralogy, over 1500 pages of classic hard science fiction, is still on sale as a box set for only 99c from July 1 – 4. The price has NEVER been this low and won’t be again for a long time, so grab a copy now. Why? I’m celebrating the first anniversary of when the box set was released on July 3, 2015.
Each of the four novels are included as well as the Star Trails Compendium, which includes background information on Cyraria, a glossary of terms, and a section for parents and educators who want to use the series to stimulate discussions and learning of the various scientific principles. Remember, I’m a physicist and take great pains to assure the science is accurate, sci-fi excursions notwithstanding. You can learn more about the individual books at the series’ website.
Examples of what reviewers are saying:
“A magnificent space opera of epic proportions.”
“Master storyteller of the highest caliber.”
“In the vein of old #scifi literature this story could end up as another classic.”
“Drops us off in an imaginative world similar to Star Wars or Star Trek.”
“Anyone who loves hard science will lap this book up.”
“Sci-fi at its best. This space opera is fast paced and action packed and will leave you breathless.”
“Imaginative hard scifi with real-life characters.”
“Everything a good sci-fi book needs including an author who knows her stuff.”
If you love hard sci-fi, what do you have to lose for 99c?
Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo
Year, that is.
I suppose that title gives some clue to my age, at least to those who remember its context. They go by faster and faster. I’ve always liked the analogy comparing life to a roll of toilet paper, i.e. it goes faster toward the end. Scary but true.
Every December I always look back at the list of goals I made the previous year to see how I did. I usually achieve most of them, which is a testimony for writing them down so you don’t forget what they are. Of course that works both ways. If you don’t record it then you may forget to pursue it in the first place but on the other hand, if you finished something without listing it then it could slip into the past unnoticed, meaning you don’t take credit for it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need all the credit I can get.
Fortunately, I have tangible proof of at least some of the things I accomplished. Some have been hanging over my head for years. For example, finishing up my science fiction series, the Star Trails Tetralogy. I think I originally said the final volume would be coming out back in 2013. Hahahaha! That sure didn’t happen. But this year it finally did. Refractions of Frozen Time came out in March, about the same time my contractor, Tracy, finished up remodeling my sunroom into a guest room. I could have quit right there and taken pride in my achievements, with due credit to Tracy, of course. Both those goals had been on my list for years so those were biggies.
But once all four books were complete, then I set to work putting together the box set I’d envisioned ever since I realized my story would require more than one book to complete. I had some extra incentive to get that one accomplished when I agreed to share a book fair booth with three other authors. It took a lot more work than expected, but somehow I finished that one, too. Yay!
Then I had a couple nonfiction ebooks I wanted to get in print. Particularly Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology and The Family History Fun Factor. Done! I still have one more to go but plan to get that out by the first of 2016.
So I’m celebrating and invite you to join me.
I’m giving away 3 copies of the Star Trails Tetralogy Deluxe Box Set here. All books are autographed by yours truly and it includes a fun swag pack of goodies, too.
If you’re interested in astrology, sign up to win one of three autographed copies of Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology here.
Both giveaways end December 13 which will hopefully allow enough time for the winners to receive them by Christmas. (Sorry, USA only)
Here are some other deals you might like. If you have any sci-fi fans on your holiday gift list, remember you can always “gift” them a copy.
THE SAPPHIRAN AGENDA
The Sapphiran Agenda, backstory of Thyron, the telepathic walking plant everyone loves in Star Trails, is now FREE on Smashwords here.
BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY
Star Trails Volume 1, Beyond the Hidden Sky, is free if you join my Preferred Readers here.
STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY EBOOK BOX SET
Get the entire Star Trails Tetralogy box set electronically for half-price on Smashwords here.
Promotional price: $2.99
Use Coupon Code: VP22Z
Expires: January 5, 2016
WHOBEDA’S GUIDE TO BASIC ASTROLOGY
Get Whobeda’s Guide ebook for 75% off here.
Promotional price: $0.99
Use Coupon Code: QD49E
Expires: January 5, 2016
If you’d like a paperback copy you can get one for 20% off at Create Space here. Use Discount Code 4KCHSKEW
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you have a prosperous New Year! Meanwhile, I’m going to go back and work on that list for 2016. After I take a nap. I’m pretty tired after realizing how much I actually got done this year…
One of the biggest challenges for science fiction authors is keeping up with the technology. For those of you who have read my books, specifically the 2nd one in the series (“A Dark of Endless Days”) and beyond, you’ll remember Laren’s c-com, short for cerebral companion. This clever little device, essentially a smart phone on steroids, linked directly to his brain via psi link so he could access virtually any information in the Universe and likewise download his own thoughts. It could do just about anything, but there was one caveat, i.e., he had to ask it to do what he wanted. It wouldn’t volunteer information, as he discovered in “Refractions of Frozen Time.” And that’s enough of that before I get into spoiler territory.
As “high tech” as the c-com is, it’s nonetheless a little too easy to imagine such a device in the real world. I just saw an article in R&D Magazine (http://www.rdmag.com/news/2015/04/phone-ultimate-macro-feature) that reported there is now a device that can turn any smart phone into a “DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope.”
Holy cow, I want one!
No, that’s not exactly on my Amazon wish list, but I’m sure for geneticists and CSI types it would be.
Clearly science and engineering is well on its way toward developing a c-com, taking it from science fiction to science fact. When I first started writing sci-fi my fictitious world had the internet, the equivalent of Craig’s List as well as a currency comparable to Bitcoin, all before their time. It’s been said that whatever man can perceive he can achieve and there’s no doubt that science fiction has been the inspiration for several of the technological marvels you see today. Undoubtedly you’ve seen that picture circulating on Facebook of an old Radio Shack advertisement from twenty or so years back hawking the electronics of the time. It included a television, radio, cameras (both still and video), tape recorder, stereo, a desktop computer, and of course, telephones, with the caption that everything on that entire page had been replaced by the smart phone.
Charles Holland Duell (shown above), Commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 1898 to 1901, supposedly once said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” This has been debunked but what he did say was, “In my opinion, all previous advances in the various lines of invention will appear totally insignificant when compared with those which the present century will witness. I almost wish that I might live my life over again to see the wonders which are at the threshold.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
That was in 1902. He died in 1920. What do you think he would say about what’s out there today?
Case in point, my mother was born in 1906, the time when the Wright brothers were developing their flying machine into the first fixed-wing aircraft. She lived long enough to not only see men walk on the Moon but her daughter (yours truly) eventually work for NASA. She marveled at the internet and I shudder to think what her final years in a rest home would have been like without cable television. And that was just the 20th century. What can we expect in the 21st? What will top 3D printers?
You’ve probably heard of Moore’s Law which hypothesizes that technology doubles every two years. This statement originated back in 1965 with Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose original statement related to the complexity of integrated circuits but has applied remarkably well to technology in general which, of course, is largely driven by just that. The miniaturization of devices fits in there as well. This “law” has proven to be accurate enough that tech companies have used it for planning purposes.
Science fiction writers, including myself, would do well to bear that in mind. Technology doubles every two years! It can easily take longer than that to write a book! That’s an exponential rate that’s hard to grasp. We’re all quite aware of the present but have often forgotten much of the past. Can you remember what it was like before cell phones or the internet? How about computers? Were you even born yet???
Trying to imagine what will come next taxes your imagination, yet as sci-fi writers that’s our job, to not only keep up but surpass it! That, my friend, is easier said than done. And I certainly don’t mean to throw stones at my fellow writers, but when I read science fiction I thoroughly enjoy noting how different authors extrapolate technology to the future, especially the near-future, such as another fifty years. Gasoline fueled cars? Paper? Really? Ya think? When technology doubles every two years? I particularly enjoy reading about paper documents on planets equipped with interstellar vehicles. Uh huh. Right. I’m as guilty as anyone, hard as I may try. In my novels I had security devices I called “palm locks” to gain entry to a room. Science fiction is now science fact.
But there’s one area that science fiction writers can always pursue and that’s where technology will take us. Will it eventually all come crashing down? Then what? Are we really better off with our smart phones than we were without them? Or on a path to humanity’s demise? After all, there are those who use smart phones to trigger bombs and incendiary devices. Furthermore, a massive solar flare could destroy the power grid and all those cell towers. Then what? What if our addiction to electronics was forced into cold-turkey withdrawal?
No wonder dystopian stories are so popular these days. Such scenarios are easier to imagine. Which is scary as hell.
[Illustrations credit 123RF Stock Photos]
I’ve been a science fiction fan for as long as I can remember. It started when I was in grade school and discovered H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Robert A. Heinlein. I couldn’t even begin to name my favorite sci-fi books. The list would be far too long, though I did attempt to include a few on Amazon’s Listmania which you can find here: http:/www.amazon.com/Favorite-Science-Fiction-Stories/lm/R2ZY3ZD3AXZJXG/.
My love of the genre was further fueled by the original Star Trek TV series (yes, I’m that old), then years later by movies such as Star Wars and its sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. I absolutely loved Back to the Future I and III as well as ET: The Extraterrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind,and Alien which all maintain a solid grip on my list of favorites. Needless to say, these movies were popular upon release and continue to live on via cable and satellite TV, Net Flix and, of course, DVDs. Obviously, lots of people at least like sci-fi enough to be considered a fan. After all, the nerd population alone cannot explain the success these flicks enjoyed at the box office.
But there are fans and there are Fans. To be a Fan takes your dedication to the next level. I remember someone cozying up to me one time in church, no less, so she could whisper in my ear. I expected her to tell me my slip was showing or I had a massive run in my pantyhose but instead she asked somewhat conspiratorially, “Are you a trekkie?” I’m not sure how she could tell, but clearly it showed, if not my slip, and this otherwise rather spiritual woman recognized me as one of her own.
That alone probably doesn’t necessarily qualify me as a Fan, only weird. But I’m sufficiently obsessed with sci-fi that I’ve actually been to a few Sci-Fi Conferences, or Cons as they’re affectionately called. No, I wasn’t tromping around in chainmail (much less ONLY chainmail) or dressed like Princess Leia, but I definitely understand the humor behind Bimbos of the Death Sun. Surely you’ve heard of it–no? Okay, nevermind. Let’s just say it’s a cult classic in the Con crowd. And actually, quite a few people go to Cons, but would the truth be known, there are two different categories of attendees: After all, there wouldn’t be sci-fi fans (or Fans) without sci-fi authors.
I’m not saying this to brag, but I’ve been writing science fiction since 6th grade when I penned (or rather penciled) stories on lined, yellow paper explaining our teachers’ origins (at least the ones we didn’t like). This has continued, though it’s no longer teachers who populate my tales, placing me in the “author” category. This, in turn, takes me slightly beyond Fan and qualifies me as a FAN. Unless you’re a total masochist you’re not going to turn out over a thousand pages of science fiction, some of which was done on a manual typewriter, unless you’re also a huge FAN.
But beyond that there are FANS. These people (mostly) are the ones so totally obsessed with science fiction that they live it. I, my friend, am here to confess that I am one of those. Initiation into this category is not for everyone. At the least, it involves numerous long nights exerting mental effort sufficient to spawn a brain hemorrhage. It’s multivariable calculus applied to electro-magnetic theory. Orbital dynamics and reference frame transformations. Deriving Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity as well as General Relativity plus knowing the difference between the two.
These are not problems that the average Star Wars fan or Fan would recognize if they hit them upside the head, especially if it were presented in mathematical notation. These are typical problems that physics majors confront as they attempt to discover exactly what the science comprises behind science fiction. Which is exactly what a person totally obsessed with science fiction is likely to subject themselves to.
Yes, I am that weird. I got a bachelor’s degree in physics as part of my obsession for science fiction. Then I was lucky enough to work at NASA for over twenty years. And now I’m retired and finally get to fully return to my first love, science fiction.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “You don’t have to be crazy to work here but it helps.” To paraphrase, “You don’t have to be a physicist to write science fiction, but it helps.” Not only does it help but it provides you with a plethora of great ideas because the more you know about this stuff the weirder it gets. It’s a total blast. Writer’s block? Nah! Just read the latest research and you’ve got more ideas than you could develop in fifty lifetimes.
Surely not all science fiction fans are physicists but I would dare say that the converse is true and the vast majority of physicists are sci-fi fans, Fans, FANS or perhaps even FANS in that sci-fi’s effect on them was similar to mine. And I truly hope that my attempt at this genre brings my readers (and hopefully fans) even a nano-bit of enjoyment. Whether I could possibly inspire any of them to become FANS like those early sci-fi genre pioneers did for me I’ll probably never know, but I can always hope I run into one at a Con someday or maybe in a galaxy, far, far away. Until then, may you Live Long and Prosper (RIP, Mr. Spock), May the Force be with You, and may you feel inclined to find me at the links below.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Author Website: http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com
Bublish Author Page & Book Excerpts: https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111
Blog Page: https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/ (Be sure to check out my Physics Explained Blog)
YOU CAN FIND MY BOOKS ON:
BARNES & NOBLE:
AND FROM MOST ONLINE RETAILERS.