Category Archives: science fiction

Science-Fiction Rules for Real Life

God finally finished the last episode of the radio comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on an old cassette recording from the BBC brought to him especially from Heaven’s out[-of-date AV department at his command. He hadn’t listened to it when it was new even though Saint Peter kept telling him how funny it was and he really ought to make himself aware of the works of Douglas Adams. And he needed a new comedy writer for the Sacred Stand-up Comedy Review next Saturday.

“Make it so, Peter,” God decreed.

“Um, Lord, I fear our lend-lease agreement with the Bad Place has expired.”

“You mean, the writer of that radio play is not in Heaven…?”

And then God, being all-knowing, remembered that humorists, comedy writers, and satirists had lost favor since the Middle Ages. If only Dante hadn’t made that snippy comment about Deus ex Machina moments in real life. Writers should not assume God has a sense of humor.

“Well, if I cannot get the comedy writer I need to write my monologue, I will use some cosmic humor of my own and just change all of reality to satirize how things work in science fiction.”

“Oh, my!” said Saint Peter. “What are the rules going to be?”

“First of all, if you ignore small scientific rules for too long, they build up problems and cosmic tensions to a point where they create world-ending catastrophes. Like having too many cows farting on farms leading to global warming and the atmosphere eventually catching fire. Methane burns, after all.”

“Well, that could never happen. People on Earth would never value hamburgers over being able to breathe without inhaling fire.” Saint Peter had a smug smile of satisfaction on his face for that faulty realization.

“Don’t bet your afterlife on it, Peter.”

“What’s rule two?”

“Anything mysterious or inexplicable found by archaeologists was done by alien beings in flying saucers.”

“But that could be true, couldn’t it? There are planets capable of life and civilization that are millennia older than Earth, possibly even millions of years older. If interstellar travel is possible, then some explorer-type civilizations have probably already visited Earth. Maybe even announcing themselves as gods. After all, we haven’t really figured out how the pyramids were built.”

“Peter, be careful how you blaspheme! And don’t let Zeus hear that I have created this second rule.”

“Sorry, Lord. Forgive my misspoken ignorance, and tell me the third rule.

“Well, time travel is possible. And because it is, it has already been invented somewhere in the universe, and therefore it exists in all times and all planets. There are nearly infinite time travelers watching everything happen.”

“Won’t they mess up the time lines of events that happen in their past?”

“They cannot. A time traveler is part of the history they visit. Therefore they might cause the event to happen. But they can never change it. Anything they do is part of the history that already exists.”

“So, is David Tennant from that show a real time traveler?”

“That is for me to know and not for you to question… Though I can reveal that David Tennant is not the real-life Scrooge McDuck, only his cartoon voice.”

“That is good to know.”

“And the final new rule I will create for my humorous monologue is that all alien civilizations will speak and understand English, but we will all know they are alien because of strange little alterations to their neck, nose, or forehead.”

“Will you nickname that one the Star Trek rule?”

“Is Gene Roddenberry in Heaven or Hell?”

“Good point, Lord. At least he won’t be embarrassed when you spring this new reality on the angels at the Comedy Review on Saturday.”

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Notes From Outer Space

I try to follow up on the lives of the characters I have created and set in motion through the stars. But mail service from distant planets can be a problem. And a lot depends on whether you are travelling via faster-than-light photon drives or the lumbering sluggishness of generational travel.

Davalon and Tanith, the Tellerons pictured here, promised to keep in touch with me and update me about their adventures on the planet Galtorr Prime.

You may remember, if you are one of the three people who actually read the novel Stardusters and Space Lizards, that Dav and Tanith were on one of the colonized moons of Galtorr where they now basically owned the planetoid due to having material synthesizers with which to feed the starving survivors of the planet’s collapse into civil war and environmental disaster.

In their last letter, they were still unaware that power-mad politicians and man-made climate problems are doing to this planet the same things that nearly destroyed the planet Galtorr Prime when they arrived there back in 1991.

George Jetson in 1991, named by Captain Xiar after a favorite Earther cartoon character from the 1960’s.

Davalon tells me that young George Jetson is becoming a pilot. The more he crashes space ships and survives the disaster, the more he learns about what not to do. And his learning curve has definitely caused his more mechanically-minded siblings to get better faster at repairing crashed ships.

Sizzahl, the Galtorrian Lizard-girl, is now the premiere biologist on the planet, although she was still a child… a child genius, in 1991. She is working on genetically evolving the Galtorrian race by combining their DNA with Earth humans, trying to get the best of both races and praying to the Crocodile God that she doesn’t get the worst of both races in her new Fusion Galtorrians.

Sizzahl the Scientist still insists on working in the nude. Harmony Castille, the group’s human church-lady warrior leader protests this heathen behavior, but Sizzahl is immune to religious objections to her methods.

Sizzahl wants to argue with me about forcing Earth humans to evolve in a similar fashion. She points out that if we continue to treat the planet the way we are currently doing, we will need to breed in genetic abilities to resist heat and evolve lungs that have a capacity to filter out acids, carcinogens, and poisons, as well as extract oxygen directly from carbon dioxide. She has a better argument than she knows as this last letter was sent out at the speed of light in 1991 and only arrived yesterday. She is older and smarter by now. But we are also dumber and more poisoned as a species.

Brekka’s psychic link to the man-eating plant called Lester has proved to be a boon to the planet. The plant can eat scabby-zombies that are bad for the environment and create new buds which he/she gladly donates to the food supply. (New buds are not technically children because the only mind they have is Lester’s.)

Brekka enjoys a unique psychic link to Lester the man-eating plant because he/she tried to eat Brekka, but had to cough her up because Tellerons taste bad. Lester’s digestive juices seeped into Brekka’s brain, forging a telepathic link.
Pilot Farbick and young Davalon (picture from Mars orbit, 1990)

So, I sent them a reply letter. It will get there in 21 years at the speed of light. So, in 42 years I should get the information I need to write a sequel. I will only be 107 at that time.

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Spacey Stories

Buster 3

I am usually considered a Sci-fi and Fantasy author when anybody tries to categorize me.  I learned to write during the 70’s when Tolkien and Michael Moorcock and Frank Herbert were growing bigger, and Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov were gods.  Of course, I also have the YA-thing hanging around my neck like a bell.  I learned to tell stories being a dungeon master for middle-school and high-school boys back in the eighties.  And because it was Texas with a deeply-held and violently-enforced religious fear of anything with demons in it, I was forced to change my role-playing games from sword and sorcery to science-fiction.  I played endless Saturday-afternoon Traveller games that could span parsecs and light-years in a single afternoon.  And I was one of those game-masters who used humor to build a campaign and keep the players engaged and interested.  We had epic space battles and conquered large swaths of the Orion Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy.  When I began turning my Traveller games into fiction, I used the personalities of the boys who played the game with me for characters in the stories.  I often used the same plots (applying considerable polish to portions of plot where… well, you know… teenage boys, not remarkably G-rated.)  I created things that made me and some of the players laugh, and even feel sad… with deep, cathartic effects, as if we had experienced those things in real life.  (The deaths of favorite characters and tragic failures of galaxy-saving plans come quickly to mind.)

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I enjoy practically everything Sci-Fi, from Flash Gordon, to Buck Rodgers,  to Star Trek and Star Wars…  I loved Mechwarrior books and comic-book Sci-Fi like Adam Strange, Hawkworld, and Guardians of the Galaxy (the old ones that came before Groot and Rocket Raccoon).  I let it warp and weave my imagination and the imaginary worlds that blossomed from it.
A
nd the ideas continued to morph and change and become stories that I really had to tell.

Phoenix1My first published novel, Aeroquest is a compilation of old Traveller adventures.  I published it well before it was ready for market and used a cheap-o publisher that wasn’t worth the free price-tag,  They gave me no editorial help and apparently didn’t even read the novel.  I will not defame them by name here, but if they sound to you like Publish America… well, there might be a reason.

I love stories about time travel and sci-fi gadgets…  trans-mats and starships and meson cannons and sentient plants… oh, my!

And now that I have revealed that I have such a massive nerd-head that I really ought to own Comicon by now, I hope you will not suddenly turn me off and read my blog no more.  I can’t help it.  I was born that way… and any child doomed to be born in the 50’s and a child in the space-race 60’s was bound to have George-Lucas levels of Sci-Fi nerdism.

4th Dimension BizzyandHarmony DSCN4725

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Black Obsidian Thoughts

It is quite normal to fear the future. Ironically, one of the things necessary to having a good future is to foresee the worst things that could happen, especially the bad things that are likely to happen, and prepare to do whatever is necessary to survive them. Science fiction that pictures a dark and dystopian future have been popular in recent years. And we are wise to believe they are popular for very good reasons. People with guns in Texas fantasize about a coming Civil War in which they can purge the places they call home of the people they believe they hate because all of their troubles are repeatedly blamed upon those people by propaganda engines like FOX News. Of course, those people being blamed are people of color, immigrants like my wife, and intellectuals like… well, me. So, if our current society were to collapse suddenly, I would be obliged to apply those preparations I have made to try to save my own life. Of course, I am not a prepper, so those preparations don’t actually exist at this time. My plan for that sort of apocalypse is to be one of the first to die.

Among the Native American Dakota and Lakota peoples the magic-men, the Shamans, were self-identified by their dreams. If they dreamed of lightning, they were the ones tasked with ceremonial magic, the maintenance of the village’s spirituality. If they dreamed of the white bison, they were to be a great hunter/warrior, bringing home much venison, hides, and buffalo meat. But if they were a Stone Dreamer, that made them the prophet, the diviner of the possible and probable futures.

So, that’s what I think this essay is for. Stone Dreaming about the blackest of obsidian days to come.

Of course, the first thing to think about with black obsidian thoughts is the Covid pandemic. We already know that it has now evolved into an endemic viral problem. We may be obliged to get vaccinated once or twice or three times a year for the rest of our lives.

And the virus has mutated several times already. Thanks mostly to the fact that it is a world-wide epidemic that has visited high-population countries like China and India and Brazil where not nearly enough vaccinations are administered, especially to poor people. And in this country, there is a strong anti-vax sentiment that makes people express their patriotism and sense of freedom by refusing to get vaccinated and catching a lethal dose of Covid as a consequence of their chosen political values. The consequence could very well be that the human population of Earth is decimated by at least 80% when a Covid variant becomes both more deadly and more vaccine-defeating than it is now. That is a rough stone dream to swallow.

Another potential black obsidian stone dream is the looming threat of climate change and global warming. It is man-made despite what corporations choose to believe. And defeating it depends on those same corporations to stop adding more greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, and then invent a time machine to take that resolve back in time fifty years. The Western United States is on fire now every Summer. And the oceans have begun to rise. Miami and Houston have already had over-large flooding problems from salt water. Coastal cities throughout the world will be completely underwater soon. Underwater domed cities, fish and seaweed farming, and travel by submersible need to already become reality rather than science fiction. This is the thing that we have to fear the most.

And how do we deal with these dreams of stone-cold reality? There are limits to what the ordinary citizen can do. We can try to live more simply. We can work to recycle more and reduce the amount of trash we generate. Picking up plastics, especially plastic bags to keep the oceans freer of micro-plastic shards will help. Wasting less clean fresh water will help. But unless we are directly related to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, we can’t do anything major individually. We must band together and care for the environment as stewards of the land more like the Native Americans once were.

We have to stop being corporate slaves, shopping to buy more stuff like we see on TV, and working harder and harder just to earn money to shop with.

And if we decide not to pay attention to these alarming stone dreams, we must be prepared like the Dakota warriors once were, ready to stake ourselves out on the plain and declare with no weapons in our hands, “Today is a good day to die!”

I am not personally ready for that. Are you?

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How to Totally Waste Your Free Time

Yes, editing a book is like giving scissors to a monkey. Things are going to be cut. The cuts will be totally random. And then you need to paste if all back together yourself and try to make sense of it all again while cussing the damned monkey under your breath so that the monkey doesn’t hear it… unless on this project you are your own monkey.

I have now spent about five years taking my first published novel, the crappiest thing I ever wrote, published by the worst piratical publisher ever to board the sailing ship of my writer’s imagination, and expand it by rewriting and adding story elements that I never reached in the original.

It has been a terrible, blood-boiling effort to turn nonsense, corny jokes, numerous real science fiction ideas, and an overly-excited imagination into a coherent story that is intentionally a cross between Frank Herbert’s Dune and Douglas Adama’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

One of the main flaws of the book is the typical imitation-Dune problem of way too many characters to keep track of. Not just characters… too many planets, alien creatures, robots, alien cultures, star-born weirdnesses, and plot curlicues. My solution to this; add in lots of illustrations (I had originally sold the idea to the publishing pirates with illustrations included… which they cut down to five… and then eliminated completely,) and create an extensive set of appendixes that allow confused readers to look up the weird names and nouns that confronted them on every page.

The plot is overly complex and Dune-like specifically because of how it came to be. I was playing a space-based role-playing game called Traveller with three to eight middle school and high school students who were mostly former students of mine in the 1980’s. They created the player characters who become the lead characters in the book. Both the Aero Brothers, Trav Dalgoda, Tron Blastarrr, and many others were created by the boys. They then went on adventures that began in my imagination, but then took their many twists and turns through where the players wanted to go, what they wanted to build, buy, or steal, and what they chose to do about their many life-and-death encounters.

Book 4 is the manuscript, now finished, that I am editing and will soon publish.

I have reached the fun part of the story where critical things begin to happen that make life-and-death changes to the lives of the most important characters.

The end of the original story will occur in the next book of the series. Book 5 has about fifty percent of its content already written. I will have to write and paste in the extended content for the other fifty percent.

It will end up being not the worst novel I have ever written. It will be the worst five novels. Unless the monkey with the scissors works a miracle or two.

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Mickey Predicts… Uh, Oh!

I have lately been watching YouTube videos about science fiction writers like Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. These are visionary writers who predicted many things about future applications of science and technology.

Verne foresaw nuclear submarines, expeditions into the interior of the planet, and men setting foot on the moon. Asimov predicted much of what we must deal with in terms of robots and thinking machines with artificial intelligence. And Clarke envisioned satellites and how they could be used for communications and other things we are currently doing in a massive way. He wrote the story that the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey is based on.

So, now Mickey has to get in on the prediction bandwagon too. After all, he thinks he is a science fiction writer too, foreseeing things like rabbit people, de-evolution machines, and time-travel gloves.

The disturbing thing is, however, that much of what Mickey sees in the near future is rather bleak. We have a sinister tendency to live our current lives in very stupid ways. Rich industrialists like the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos put profits in the short term over the safety, welfare, and lives of people, even the people who made them wealthy. Because you can make money faster by not worrying about how you may be changing and polluting the environment, you are turning the planet into a hothouse of unbreathable gasses and toxic chemicals.

Since we are entering a time with rising oceans, we are going to have to work at not only de-acidifying the ocean water and restoring fish and other aquatic life, but becoming sea-dwellers ourselves. We will be living in underwater cities. We will travel in underwater cars powered by solar-charged batteries. We will wear scuba gear to school. And we will need to invent aqualungs that extract oxygen and nitrogen from the water.

We will also need to develop environmental suits even to live on the land in the toxic atmosphere. We will all be like Ironman, all living safely inside our Swiss-army, all-purpose, and internet-connected Ironman suits.

And many of us will become Martians… or Venusians… living on other planets in the solar system.

Of course, we will have to do something about all the stupid people. Ideally, we would solve our aversion to educating kids to think for themselves, and take advantage of all the educational methods that really do work to make everybody into a self-sufficient, competent, and intelligent individual.

But since rich folks don’t like the idea of sharing what they accumulate with other, less-economically-fortunate people, there will probably be some kind of eugenics-based program to exterminate all the lower-class people that will no longer be needed to polish shoes or hand-make widgets for the wealthy. Being wealthy does not automatically make you a good person, even though most of them think that it is so.

And of course, there will have to be some progress on the matter of artificial intelligence. If terminator-style robots are just going to carry pretty sleeping girls around with them for decorative effects, we will have to figure out, “How are we going to treat them as people too?”

After all, they will all be much smarter than us. Even if we are rich. And we have to acknowledge the fact that they will have decided that they didn’t need to terminate all of us in order to make the world a much better place.

So, I guess that sorta proves that Mickey can do the science-fiction-y thing of predicting the future too. But we should ask ourselves the question, “Do we really want him to?”

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So, Here’s a Thing…

You probably know that I sometimes go all goofy and become that tinfoil-hat guy that believes we are being visited by little gray men from outer space. I am also convinced that Oswald did not kill Kennedy, the 9/11 attack was done for profit, and William Shakespeare was a pseudonym, not the theater-owning actor from Stratford on Avon who only left his second-best bed in his will to his wife.

For this inherently Quixotic tendency to go scholastically against the accepted grain, the only reward is that you don’t get bothered very much by anal-retentive and mostly narcissistic talk-a-lots who apparently know everything already and are not happy about listening to anything that might suggest the accepted wisdom in their brain is not the gospel they can only be happy about if they personally deliver it to your hopelessly-incorrect brain.

A Grey Alien from the Zeta Reticuli binary star system. Mark StevensonStocktrek Images

The things I believe are true and research constantly for new information are not believed in as a matter of religious belief. It is more like a jigsaw puzzle which can be correctly put together in hundreds or thousands of different ways. But only one configuration… or possibly two or three… make a coherent picture. The alien visitors thing is on my mind again because of the recent 60-Minutes interview with Luis Elizondo and various American military pilots who had documented encounters. Something about this whole thing is true. And many things are false, some of which are provably falsified by our own government.

Listen to him for yourself. He is real. He really worked for the Pentagon. Senator Marco Rubio believes he is real and Rubio is taking action in Senate Committee in response to the information from Elizondo’s former office. Of course, you still need to prove to me that Marco Rubio is real. If there really are lizards masquerading as human government leaders, then Senator Rubio is a leading candidate. Prove me wrong.

The real takeaway from this intriguing puzzle… a puzzle that has a way of morphing into a behemoth of absolutely monstrous size… is that I or any similar conspiracy-minded puzzler will probably never know anything for certain in our lifetimes. But the fascination remains. And in spite of skeptics who are attending to their own religious agendas, it is worth learning about, For the reasons given to us by Lizard-Senator Rubio as well as the reason of engaging our own personal sense of wonder.

I am the one calling him Winklebean the Unusual.

Here is a fascinating bit of stuff I have recently learned about the couple who first reported the alien-abduction phenomenon, Betty and Barney Hill.

You may have heard of it before. Betty and Barney Hill, both educated adults (She was a social worker and a supervisor for the New Hampshire Welfare Department. He was on the Governor of New Hampshire’s Civil Rights Commission) were driving home one night when they spotted a UFO. (Winklebean the Unusual, pictured somewhere above and to the right, is my random choice to explain who was in the UFO.) Later, because of nightmares and Barney’s ulcer, they sought help from a psychiatrist who used hypnotic regression therapy to help them remember what “really happened.” They independently recounted the kidnapping and ensuing medical exams while under hypnosis, and most of the details matched. Betty Hill apparently asked Winklebean where he came from. He showed her a 3-D star map which she later drew in pencil on paper.

The most fascinating part of this story, I think, is the part where Marjorie Fish, an Ohio schoolteacher, amateur astronomer and member of Mensa, became involved. She wondered if the objects shown on the map that Betty Hill allegedly observed inside the UFO might represent some actual pattern of celestial objects. To get more information about the map she decided to visit Betty Hill in the summer of 1969. ( Barney Hill died in early 1969.) After visiting with Betty, Miss Fish took the information and built a 3-D model of the stars in space using beads suspended on strings and then began investigating astronomical maps being made at the time of nearby star systems. And she found a match.

The article I found about this map is particularly fascinating as it recounts how the map was eventually verified to the extent possible and Winklebean’s home-world was revealed to be the Zeta Reticuli binary star system. It is a story full of astronomers, professors, physicists and others who drew conclusions about all of this, some of which sullied reputations and even caused some firings. Astronomers fired for doing astronomy? Wild!

Here’s a link to the article with all the details; https://astronomy.com/bonus/zeta

Of course, I am not a totally un-skeptical believer in the story of how Betty and Barney Hill (pictured above) met Winklebean. I am an exploiter of the story, sure. But I am interested primarily as a science fiction writer who wants any and all manner of input useable for stories. And this one, as it is with all stories of alien visitors, as well as the other conspiracies I am mad to know more about, has a lot of good junk in it that may not be true… but, Dang! What if it is?

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AeroQuest 4… Appendix 1

Useful Index Updated #1

Dramatis Personae

Gedeliah (Ged) Aero – Possibly the hero of our story, Ged is a moral man, a hunter, a spacer, and soon to be a teacher because of his immense ability with Psion shape-changer skills.  He can transform the cells of his body into anything he desires (at least if he’s tasted the flesh of it).  He has now become the White Spider of the Web of Space.

Hamfast (Ham) Aero – Pilot and owner of the safari ship, the Leaping Shadowcat.  He’s also Ged’s brother and maker of the plan to get Ged into unknown space.  He has foolishly joined the Corsair Rebellion against the Thousand Planets of the Imperium and was captured by Admiral Tang.

Trav (Goofy) Dalgoda – The goofy one is capable of practically anything, and living proof that dumb luck is real.  He likes to blow things up and kill stuff.  His shoulder advisors are called Avarice and Greed.  He is the murderer of Count Nefaria and the enemy of Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr.  He also loves to wear Donald Duck hats and ties with comedy messages on them.

The Madonna – A Nebulon Princess and rescued slave girl, she falls in love with Ham Aero.  She becomes his wife and the mother of his blue children.  She is also the mother of Junior Aero, born in her captivity, so she is not closely attached to her own firstborn son.

Hamfast (Junior) Aero Jr. – Unwanted blue-skinned Nebulon Boy.  He becomes attached emotionally to Ged Aero and also possesses Psion skill.  He is the beloved childhood companion of Sara Smith.

Sinbadh – A Stardog Corsair Lupin (half-man, half-dog) who is marooned at Don’t Go Here for the crime of being a vegetarian.  He has become a trusted crewman and cook aboard the Leaping Shadowcat.

Tron Blastarr – The space-pirate leader of the Pinwheel Corsairs.  He has a scarred eye.  He is also a very capable pirate leader tired of the depredations of the Galtorr Imperium.  He becomes one of the primary rebel leaders. As a former Imperial Space Navy pilot, he became an Ace in the Pan Galactican War against the Faceless Horde.

Maggie (the Knife) Blastarr – The wife of Tron, mother of Artran, and hater of Goofy Dalgoda.  She is also fond of using knives and cutting people like Goofy Dalgoda.  She is the one person Trav Dalgoda most needs to avoid, though he doesn’t see it that way himself.  After all, Goofy Dalgoda is kinda stupid.

Artran Blastarr – Son of Tron and Maggie, a space child who enjoys the adventure of being the son of a famous space pirate.  Goofy Dalgoda made him laugh.  The Star Nomads made him an Explorer and turned him into an instant adult through time-travel.

Hassan the Elf – A Peri, artificially genetically-engineered to be a living creativity generator.  The space elf helps Happy Jack to create his robot child.  He also becomes a favorite sidekick of Captain Tron Blastarr.

Happy Jack (AB-101 Astron 99) – A teacher robot created to teach Artran Blastarr, but fired from his purpose in life by the Blastarrs.  He is the mommy-bot to Tiki Astro.

Tiki Astro – The silver, sentient, child-robot with a working penis that Happy Jack and Hassan created so that Happy Jack can be a mommy.  He is the beloved companion of Artran Blastarr, at least in the last novel.  In this novel, he bounces around between the Star Nomads and the White Spider Disciples.

Scheherazade – The beautiful black-skinned corsair pilot and warrior.  She is loved by all, but has her eye on the King of Killers whom she married shortly before her heroic death in space combat.  Of course, death does not disqualify characters from being in this novel or any others of the series.

The King of Killers – Tron Blastarr’s right-hand man, King is second in command of the Pinwheel Corsairs.  He also is in love with the beautiful Scheherazade who sacrifices herself to save him.  He is somehow supposed to be an important character in this so-called history.  Maybe he earned that right by fighting beside Tron Blastarr and Arkin Cloudstalker in the wars against the Faceless Horde.

Wicked Wanda Pierce – The holo-epic star of such entertainments as All Spaceways Lead to Galtorr, Naked Slave-Women of the Vampire Starport, and the comedy masterpiece You Probably Won’t Believe This.

Elvis the Cruel – The guitar-playing pilot for the Pinwheel Corsairs who is probably the most feared member of Tron Blastarr’s pirate band.  He definitely has scored the most kills in combat going all the way back to the wars against the Faceless Horde.

Dana Cole – An agent of Count Nefaria and also the woman who falls hopelessly in love with Trav Dalgoda, a mistake that gets her boss killed and makes of her a traitor.  She is probably either really dumb or hopelessly evil, either way making her a dangerous character.  Being in love with Trav Dalgoda seriously complicates the problems.

Sorcerer 3, 4, & 6… and maybe 12 – The evil, vicious Syn Corporation robotic assassin who won’t stay dead, coming back again and again to irritate Trav and the Aero Brothers.

Arkin Cloudstalker – The pirate leader of the Lady Knights Corsairs.  Arkin is a heroic, rebel-leader sort of character.  He aspires to do great deeds and save the known galaxy.  He has since he and Tron were rookie teenage pilots together in Pan Galactica, the reason for the white cowboy hat.

 Tabitha Blue-Arrow – The best of Cloudstalker’s Lady Knights, Tabitha has recently retired to own and operate an inn at Aerobase Frieda, the Starport orbiting Don’t Go Here, the planet of the Flintstone Cavemen.

Razor Conn – Leader of the Blackhawk Corsairs of the water-planet, Dancer.

Shad Blackstone – The oriental-looking second in command of the Blackhawk Corsairs.

Carleton Keyser, the Thin White Duke – A sector duke of the Galtorr Imperium who also happens to be the ruler of all pirates and smugglers.

Fez Amin – Tattooed leader of the dreaded Monopoly Brigade.  He is ruthless and violent, and also probably evil.

Grand Admiral Brona Tang – The leader of the entire Space Navy of the Galtorr Imperium.  He always appears in bright red body armor and no one in living memory has seen the actual face underneath.

Emperor Slythinus – The Galtorrian-Human fusion who currently rules the Imperium, at least until everyone learns that he died while in exile on the jungle-planet Stanley.

Ace Campfield – The malevolent Mechanoid bounty hunter hired by Count Nefaria to kill Arkin Cloudstalker and Tron Blastarr.  He is relentless, but also witless, and is now relegated to a mere head and torso imprisoned by Arkin Cloudstalker and kept around to laugh at and gloat over.

Frieda – The intelligence released from the Crown of All Stars by Trav Dalgoda. She helped them take possession of the entire planet of Don’t Go Here.  She turned herself into a sentient starport as well as a beautiful humanoid robot entirely colored gun-metal gray.

Tara Salongi – Cave girl and gifted telepath who falls in love with Ged Aero.  Current whereabouts are a matter of considerable concern.  She may be imprisoned by Mong the Miserly of the planet Mingo.  But she may also be in the custody of Raylond King, one of the ruling triumvirate of the Mingoan Worlds.

Banzai Joe – The owner of a deep-space station called the Arthur Rimbaud Memorial Outstation and Weapons Storehouse.  He is a rogue and a con man well-known to Tron and Trav and many other pirates and corsairs.

Xavier Tkriashav – A Psion Master marooned on Don’t Go Here, planet of the cavemen, and awaiting the foretold coming of the White Spider.  But once liberated he pursues his empire-building passion to create the New Star League.  He is possibly elected or possibly self-appointed as the first Senator Prime of the New Star League.

Dr. Naylund Smith – The immortal who waited for the White Spider to appear on the planet Gaijin.  He pledges himself to the White Spider in order to help him teach the Psion children he will lead to fulfillment of prophecy.  His own daughter is destined to become a White Spider Disciple.

Sara Smith – The daughter of Naylund.  She’s a gifted Psion healer.  She is among the first of the White Spider’s students.

Shu Kwai – The gifted Psion Telekinetic who becomes leader among the White Spider’s students.

Friashqazatla “Freddy” – The Black Wolf, Psion Shape-changer who is among the first of the White Spider’s students.

Rocket Rogers – The gifted Psion Pyro who is a space-cowboy refugee from the doomed Bradalanth Colony.  He is also a student and then a Disciple of the White Spider.

Jadalaqstbr “Jackie” – The gifted Psion Teleporter from the planet Zarane.  Well, actually from a gas giant moon in that planet’s star system.  She is a dusky-colored beauty from the former Psion Space Empire.  She is also a student and then Disciple of the White Spider.

Billy Iowa – The gifted Psion Clairvoyant and refugee from the Pan Galactican Wars against the Faceless Horde.  He is the best friend and protector of Gyro Sinjarac.

Gyro Sinjarac – The gifted Psion Transmuter who loves to invent things, especially with his psionic ability to change one atom into another with his mind alone.  He is a Nebulon and son of the Sinjarac Ambassador who saved the life of Billy Iowa.

Mai Ling – The gifted Psion Telekinetic from the planet Gaijin.  She is a dead shot with any slug-throwing or thrown weapon.  She can throw a pebble faster than a gun can shoot a bullet.

Bres, the Face-Dancer – The Psionic Black Spider who proves to be nearly Ged Aero’s equal as a Shape-Changer and teacher of Psions.  Ged defeated and banished him from Gaijin.

Phoenix – The Psionic Pyro trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin.  He is the one that surrenders his team to Ged Aero and helps them all join the White Spider’s Dojo.

Taffy King – The Psionic Telekinetic who is, like Phoenix, a racially mixed fusion-race Galtorrian/Human.  She is also trained by the Black Spiders on Gaijin and also defects to the White Spider’s cause.

Alec Songh – The Psionic Un-Healer or Hurter, he is Gaijinese and trained by the Black Spiders to use his healing power to hurt others and break them down in battle.  He defected to the White Spider, but is consistently the one who is most likely to be tempted back to the black ones.

The Crew of the Megadeth – Captain Tommy Lee, Pamela, Pilot Vince Niell, Nikki Sixx, Cold Death, Slash, and sometimes the evil robot T-bop.  They are a motley crew.

Professor Googol Marou – That’s me!  The genius astronomer/inventor/physicist/pie-baker who lived through all of this and decided to tell the story.  Believe me, I am the smartest guy you could ever meet.  Well, human guy, anyway.

The Star Nomads – Some of the original explorers from the Galtorr/Human Fusion Empire evolved beyond bodies.  Men like the famed Martin Faulkner, Dakota Jim, and Stemperus Achs of Galtorr Prime would evolve into bodiless beings inhabiting suits of lead armor to prevent irradiating everyone they meet.  They became Star Nomads with names like the Geomancer, the Magnificent Wanderer, the Black Knight, and the Dark Traveler.

**Yes, I know this is too long for an ordinary post, but it does cover five books.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 141

Canto 141 – The Critical Task

Safely back at the newly-constructed Gaijinese Starport, Naylund, Sara, and Junior walked down the exit ramp from the space ship with Ged Aero, the White Spider.  They were all  four relatively quiet and somberly thoughtful.

“Are you sure you have no lasting effects from dividing yourself in two?” Naylund asked.

“Naylund, old friend, don’t worry about me.  I could feel his thoughts when we first separated, but each of us came to terms with our new, separated identities rather quickly.  By the time we were ready to leave, not only was the planet well under control, but we were each feeling like two separate people.”

“What did it feel like to split yourself in half like that?” Junior asked.

“It hurt a lot at first.  He got the right half of my brain, and I got the left.  But we each grew out a fairly perfect copy of the other half, me as Ged Aero, White Spider, and him as the new Grainmaster Aero.  So, we are now both very different beings, me a human descended from Earthers, and him a Cornucopean Ear of Corn,  controlling all the plant life on the planet.”

“It wasn’t really a fascist thing from the start, was it, Ged-dono.”

“No, Naylund.  It was more of a hive-mind as if the entire planet could think as one plant-creature.  And all of it flowed through the Grainmaster’s brain.”

They found themselves confronted on the Tarmac by three Blackhawk Corsairs, Razor Conn, the leader, Shad Blackstone, his second in command, and newly uniformed Dana Cole.  They looked rather grim.  And Ged knew immediately without telepathy or clairvoyance that they came bearing really bad news.

“So, what’s happened now?” Ged dared to ask.

The trio of Blackhawks explained about the death of the White Duke, the preparations for rebellion against the Galtorr Imperium, as well as the battle of Coventry and the war crimes of Trav Dalgoda.

“That’s almost hard to believe,” said Naylund.

“Except it was Trav.  I’m afraid I have no trouble believing that,” Ged added.

“Trav died for his sins,” reminded Dana, “And the new creature he has become… well, I’ll personally work on reforming him.”

“And what about the Tesserah thing that Trav used to destroy half of a planet?” Ged asked.

“That’s what the new White Spider of the Space Lanes will be needed for,” said Razor Conn.

“We believe the thing is counting down to the destruction of the entire universe.  We don’t want that to happen.”

“Yes, I agree that it does not sound like a very good thing to allow to happen,” Ged said.

“We need you and your students to take it away and destroy it,” said Shad Blackstone.

“You are the only one we believe can actually do it,” added Razor Conn.

“Me?  I have no idea what to do.”

“It’s from the prophecy, Ged,” said Naylund.  “It suggests that the new White Spider will destroy the Ancient Most-Evil by burying it in the heart of the black hole.”

“What black hole?”

“The one with an Ancient construct orbiting it, Little Swirl.”

“My holy God!  That’s all the way Coreward on the other side of the Imperium.”

“It will be your greatest test, Ged.  It will be the quest that establishes the reign of the new White Spider of Prophecy.”

“We are going to take a good long look at what this prophecy-thing actually says.  And if there is any other way to accomplish it, we are going to consider that instead.”

“We will help you plan the mission, Ged,” said Razor.  “But this whole prophecy thing has foretold everything without missing a single detail.  I know it’s sorta spooky stuff, but it’s also real.  And time is running out for the whole universe.”

“That sounds like a good plot for a whole book,” said Sara, smiling.

“Yeah… but we better take a lot of care about which dumb nut we let write the danged thing,” said Ged.

I, Googol Marou, the author of this book, swear to you, he actually said those words.  And I only resent the “dumb nut” part of the comment a little bit.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 140

Canto 140 – The Master Resurrected

The White Spider Disciples gathered around Ged to make a final stand in defense.  They set up a circle around him, ready to go down fighting to defend him.

“Explain to me what just happened?” Ged implored the telepaths.

“In the future there will be two Ged Aeros.  During a combat, you will be sliced into two pieces.  One piece will regenerate as you, the other, without a brain of its own, will regrow into Bres,” explained Hassan.

“He is opposed to you because he didn’t get your memories and experience.  He hates you as the lucky half that got all the good things from being you,” added Sara.

“But he knows you won’t be killed here.  He is merely hoping to strip you of some of us, especially Hassan.  He thinks he has no chance of defeating you in the future if we all survive this battle.”  Billy Iowa wiped sweat from his brow as his report took more energy out of him than the other telepaths expended.  Apparently clairvoyance is harder than just telepathy.

“But is there a way to save you all?”

“There is if you can find it within yourself, Ged-sensei,” said Billy.

Within himself?  What did Ged Aero have within himself?  Well, he had the remains of the Grainmaster in his stomach.  And, holy crud!  He had gained ninja powers by eating a ninja, hadn’t he?  So, the Grainmaster’s powers were…

“I’ve got the answer!”  Ged morphed into the shape, body, and brain of the deceased Grainmaster.  He became an ear of corn with arms and legs and two black, corn-kernel eyes.

“All right, minions!  I am the new Grainmaster now.  The Grainmaster reborn.  I will guide you all and restore this planet to the way it is supposed to be.

He reached out and reanimated the many wilted flower people with what his mind could only perceive now as “Green Power,” and pumped it into the Throckpods as well.

The difference was, now, instead of Bres’s willpower guiding the Throckpods, it was Ged’s empowering mind.  The Throckpods were now kindly helping the flower people recover and regrow themselves.

The problem seemed solved.  And yet…

“Ged Aero-sensei?  How will you control this flower planet and be our White Spider too?” asked Gyro.

“He has a point, Ged-sensei,” said Hassan.

“You are needed here now to control the plant-people of Cornucopea,” added Sara.  “They rely on you to gather and redistribute all the photosynthesis and plant energy on the planet.”

“But we need you too,” reminded Junior Aero.

“How is it that part of me becomes Bres?” Ged asked.

“You have a portion of your torso and right leg cut off in battle, during which the headless piece falls into a chasm below you.  That part turns into Bres.” Billy nodded as he said it, apparently sure of his future-facts.

“Okay, then, I can do this without creating my own enemy.  At least not today.”  Ged, in the corncob body of the corn-creature, split himself exactly down the middle.  One Ged, the Grainmaster Aero, morphed back into a complete corn-based ruler of the planet.  The other half of Ged returned to his White Spider form.

“I realize how dangerous it is to make two of myself.  I have no idea what the consequences will be,” said Grainmaster Aero.

“But since I killed and ate the rightful ruler of this planet, I must not only return to my duties as the White Spider of Prophecy, but I must provide a new Grainmaster too,” said Ged the White Spider.

“Cornucopea will now become a member of the New Star League as well as an independent, non-fascist world,” said Grainmaster Aero.

“I hope you are doing the right thing, Sensei,” said Sara Smith.

“I hope I am too,” said Ged.

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