2022 had hardly begun when 2021 took a final shot at my wife and I, literally. Maybe I shouldn’t have given it the finger as it went out the door. And then this week…
I got a lovely email from the printer last week, and after a short investigation, I’m going to have to act on it. It seems that the cost for printing books is going up thanks to the second global great depression we have right now thanks to germophobicovidiocy caused shortages.
Unfortunately, it’s going up so much that it is forcing me to raise my prices on printed books to just keep pace. Mind you, my royalties are miniscule. I still make more per e-book downloaded than I do for these books which I shave off my profit margin to make sure I support local/small retailers allowing you lovely readers to order physical copies there.
I haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet, but it’s coming soon, and that means that the price on the back cover will not match because I don’t have the wherewithal at the moment to pay to have the books reset. Yes, to just change the barcode on the back costs me a set up fee. Six of them to be precise, and that’s not an expense I budgeted for, nor will any sales at the higher price cover it at the moment.
On a bit of positive news, I’m going to have details to announce of an upcoming podcast interview! I tape this week, and am not sure where I am in the podcast’s release schedule, but you’ll get more details once I know more.
And lastly…. Novella 3 for Tales from the Dream Nebula is now DONE! Yep, first draft in the can. It’s gone through some critiques and is now into my editorial passes. So far it’s been received by my early reader groups with great enthusiasm and excitement. That means although I’ve not released anything last year, I am setting up for rapid release starting (we hope) by sometime this Autumn 2022. If all things go well, we will also be looking at some interesting bonus extras to go with the releases! Gonna have to figure out how to set it up, and realizing that my website might have to change significantly in the not so distant future. Ugh, the business side of being an author. Hopefully I can keep things all together without getting too crazy.
…then again, isn’t crazy how things go, am I right?
I’m back safe and/or sound, though the rumors of my soundness seem to be greatly exaggerated. I know several of you are wondering why I don’t post stuff before or during RM when I go, but that’s purely for safety reasons. So I save it all for now.
I am so absolutely positively grateful to have been among my fellow Realmies again. I MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH! Awkward hugs and high fives all around.
The highlight in many ways was getting a chance to talk more than a couple times with Frank Piretti. I mean come on. As his keynote mentioned he felt like (and we all concurred) he is a professor emeritus of so many of us Christian authors out there. Particularly spec fic. I just wish I’d have gotten a picture with him, and not just with him talking to my wife at breakfast. (sorry, not sharing. too personal and private. Plus it’s a bad angle, for both.) So here’s a different candid shot. See if you can guess the author by their hands. LOL.. just kidding.
The best moments from cons like this are often the candid ones not in classes and just by happenstance. You also never know who you’re going to touch and who will touch you back. The Clevandence sisters (apologies if misspelled) made my night at the book fair when I asked her what her favorite scene was in my first book, and I loved the writing of that same (grisly) scene too. It was a real highlight for me to talk like that.
For those who don’t know or realize, authors often love hearing back from their readers personally. Especially for us small indie authors. Too often we publish into the void, like every author and never know if we touched your lives. To hear when we do brings us all a spark of joy. Of course if we ticked you off, sigh, please extend us grace. We’re sensitive souls and may know the thing that ticked you off wasn’t our best efforts to. Kinda like a sports star who has a famous bad play regrets their mistake too. But still, it reminds us we’re not alone. We are touching others out there. So never be shy with your (positive) feedback, and be gentle (but honest) with us when we goof.
This year, my darling bride got me to cosplay for the awards banquet. It was a spectacular time. She had a whole backstory about the 1950’s librarian who’s favorite hero came to life for her. The story evolved through the night and was quite quite cute. But I have several pictures I got with people I have a real soft spot for in my writing career. Some I can share.
I was very happy to be friends with two winners of the Realm Awards. Very proud of their achievements that night and had some great conversations with so many people.
All in all, going to Realm Makers was a wonderful reminder of the good things in life. This last 24 months since I was at RM in the flesh has been a rollercoaster. In many ways I’ve ended up in a far better place, but at times… just I’m reminded to be grateful for what I have.
Oh, and I have leftover paperbacks and a few hardcovers from the consignment store. I’m toying with doing something special with at least one set of the books, but am also considering selling a couple sets of autographed copies. What do y’all think about that? Of course, I’d have to figure out how to set up a store, paypal and all that. I dunno what options are available. We’ll see though. Of course, if you want to encourage me, let your thoughts be known in the poll below.
I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. Really really wasn’t, but I put it on the altar for the Lord to make the decision.
This last week I got my answer. The City and County of St. Louis dropped their masking mandates and the hotel is being all mealy mouthed on following local ordinances. So I’m going back to Realm Makers! (Those of you on my Discord channel learned about this last week of course.)
So cue up the house sitter so the cats don’t get lonely-
-aaaaaaaaand it’s time to go hang out with my fellow Realmies in the flesh again! I’m so glad it’s back in St. Louis, even if it’s now an extra 3 hours of drive time for me. At least the first half of it is going to be very pretty coming out of the mountains.
I’m not sure if I’m going to do the consignment store this year. I could, and I have something I can get for the gift bag if I can find a printer in time. I really didn’t prepare because I didn’t expect to go. Oh well, even if I don’t bring anything since finances will be tighter this year, it is still going to be very much worth my while.
I guess what made me the most enthused about this year is that the guest of honor is Frank Piretti. His “This Present Darkness” was the book that made me realize that you could write about the spiritual warfare side of Christianity in a refreshing and interesting way that was an evolution of a pair of my all time favorite Christian books, “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis. Seriously, if you’ve not read those two, check them out. Amazing stuff. Piretti took the concept and ran. If things are going berserk in your life and you have no idea why, I highly encourage you to read “This Present Darkness” too. It may make some personal sense to you.
As for my writing, I’ve been getting scolded for leaving Akiniwazisaga on the back burner too long in my alpha reader’s eyes, and I have another fan who’s been telling me to hurry up so she doesn’t run out of series to read. She doesn’t want to wait for the conclusion of the story. Thanks guys.
Lately the writing focus has continued on the third novella in the Tales From the Dream Nebula series. Making sure you all get your money’s worth out of it before I let it out the gate. The first two novellas have hit the editing stage, and once that’s complete, we look at doing the script for the graphic novels.
One big discussion that’s started up though has been merchandise. I’m curious to hear what others would love to see as merchandise to buy from Akiniwazisaga. Apparel is coming (yes I know I’ve said that for a while, but we’re finally getting ready to move on some of this. The easy answers are of course typical book merch like coffee mugs, posters and bookmarks. There’s been some talk of different things too (I personally want a life sized plush version of Bergamot, but oof, the cost of making custom toys. I don’t even want to think what it would take to make Popvinyl toys even. A much bigger fan base to be certain)
Anyway, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on merch ideas they’d love to see associated with Akiniwazisaga or the characters.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I pray you made it to today in once piece, more or less safe and sound, happy and hale.
So why do I call last year an onion? Because 2020 sure stank and made most of us cry! I’m firmly convinced that it will be looked back on as the year before we entered the next dark age or came into a Golden Age.
It has been a factory farmed dumpster fire… In a flood… During a hurricane… That busted through all our living room windows… And turned upside down… to wreak havoc in our lives.
Many of us weathered the year better than others. Some had to learn the truth of the “pandemic” the hard way, while others are still terrorized by it. As for myself and my family, it’s been a very rough year both in the terms of health and employment, and is part of the reason for this update.
Now, I am going to strive to keep my politics out of this save for this one blast of steam from the relief valve. It’s been extremely difficult to do anything these days (write, work, live) in the era of #Covidiocy, #stolenelections and #justus for the implementation of “The Great Reset” which is poised to re-establish a new neo-feudalist world order and turn us all into serfs of a Godless world police-state. With the amount of stress, anxiety and depression I’ve fought against, plus a few new things in my life has made it very difficult to focus on things that matter to me in a creative sense. To realize what I’ve accomplished so far is pretty surprising. At least I’ve survived this plague that only kills 0.03% of all who catch it with no lasting issues. I expect things to change for the better in the future, barring a full on civil war/revolution. Okay. So now you know that we’re all struggling in these days, depending on your nation and state, some worse than others. I pray you all have kept safe, healthy and sane enough to keep living life in accordance to your conscience, and that God bless you all as He knows you need. Amen?
Despite all these hardships, I’ve been able to make ends meet thanks to God’s grace from a variety of sources, and some lucky breaks on keeping money rolling with new day jobs and assignments. I’ve had to swallow my pride on more than a few occasions, but I’m very grateful for all the positive things that happened to keep me afloat and in my home, fed and safe. Happy is a relative term of course. I make sure to get my sourpuss curmudgeon card stamped daily by the news and current events.
There have also been some personal triumphs as well, but those are for a later date. It has distracted me a bit from writing, and I apologize. In the long run it will be helpful and maybe facilitate even more writing. They’re not ready for the big public reveal.
One year ago, book 3 of the Akiniwazisaga (Into the High Places) still on Amazon came out. I personally think it’s probably the best of the series to date. Don’t let the lack of reviews fool you. But if you haven’t bought a copy yet, come on! It’s there! You’ll love it!
Since then, I have gotten about 30% through Book 4 of the series before I had to shelve it to focus my creative power on a new project that I hoped to have farther along by now: Tales from the Dream Nebula.
As I talked about last blog. Positive side, two novellas are done. The third is percolating in my head and is about to start rolling out soon enough as I can get some obstacles out of the way on the mechanics of the plot. Some great ideas have come up that I can’t wait to implement.
I hope that I will be putting out either 4 novellas for Dream Nebula this year, or finally finish book 4 of Akiniwazisaga. At least that’s my aspirational goal. I’m not a big believer of resolutions. I always manage to blow through them like a small town red light at 3am. So why set myself up for failure. Just sharing what I hope to accomplish and bring into your lives. Otherwise, I’ve been working on music from time to time, though I’m not sure where to put it out there to share with you all. Youtube has been getting a tad…. persnickety and I’m not thrilled about that. We’ll see what comes up and share then. It’s some nice stuff. Still working on the first movement of an actual symphony. Yes… an actual honest to God symphony. We’ll see what comes of it. There’s been some great learning experiences with that so far.
But anyway, in the spirit of your enduring with me, I figured I’d give you an early look at one of the first pair of scenes of “Tales from the Dream Nebula” as a thank you to you all. Mind you, this is like a third draft before going to an editor, so we’re not even talking beta read level, but fans be fans, and one should give treats and surprises to them from time to time. Yep, I mean it. Your fandom is deeply appreciated. In this era more than ever.
Synopsis: Tales from the Dream Nebula “Series 1 : Omnipresence” Episode 1 : “Dreams Within Dreams”
Tales of the Dream Nebula is a high Sci Fi fantasy adventure in the vein of classic Raygun Gothic stories. Think Flash Gordon meets Smokey and the Bandit with many other cyberpunk, film/neo noir, space opera and classic suspense influences mixed in. Earth is no more. Conquered by Xiao the Eternal who came from somewhere deep in space and conquered the planet, breaking it up into pieces, where the chunks of the planet floated as islands in an endless sky of breathable air. Meet Winston A. Harper, pilot of the tug, Sierra Madre. A man who is haunted by his past, drifting with the circumstances of his life. His partner Billy Joe Bob, a sentient industrial mechanoid haul freight with their tug, the Sierra Madre through the skylands that make up the remnant of Earth, living small and unnoticed in the blind spots of the new nations of a humanity subjugated by Emperor Xiao, for now.
Note: this is an early version, copyright M. D. Boncher. Final product may contain changes.
Black and white flickers of an ancient film entranced Winston’s eyes showing him illusions of an Earth and a culture that no longer existed. Like his life, it was carved up and lost to the Dream. He took another long sip on his sweaty tumbler and shifted in his favorite green couch. Heavy ice cubes clanked in the cut glass. A smile wanted to touch his lips, but faded away. The detective on screen caught the dirty little stool pigeon in another lie and was giving him the third degree after a sharp sock to the jaw. The bug eyed mousey little man whined and groaned as he spilled his guts. “Winston?” came the call from somewhere behind him. He tried to ignore it. His daughter, Emmy continued to play her quiet game on the living room carpet, pushing her dolls around in cars, making up her own stories. “Winston!” the woman’s voice was sharper. Had she gotten in the house, he wondered. “Hun, I think Mother is here,” his wife’s voice drifted in from the kitchen. Valerie was making lunch for him. Now he smiled at the clanking of dishes and the whiff of her barbeque ham sandwiches. There was a terrific pounding at the door, as Mother battered it with her fist. “Winston-on-on-nn-stonn!” Mother’s voice stuttered as her connection to his virtual home instance lagged for a moment. He sighed, she had hacked her way into his local server again. “Go away, Mother!” he shouted back, taking his eyes off the movie. He could hear Valerie leaving the kitchen to let her in. “Val! Don’t let her in. I don’t want to deal with her cheis today. There’s a reason I have the instance set private.” “Okay, Hun,” Val replied and went back to her cooking. Emmy ignored the racket and Winston turned up the sound. “Oh for the love of…” came the growl and with a terrific splintering bang, Mother forced her way through the locked front door in a spray of pixels and static that rippled throughout the home. “Nahq it!” Winston hollered spilling his brandy Old-Fashioned. He shot up off his couch and glared at her angrily. “Nahq it, yourself! Billy Joe Bob and I have been trying to contact you for three hours. You know better than to log out when you’re being unloaded! I’m hardly surprised I found you here in your own little Levitown nightmare of a shrine watching old movies.” Mother looked like a woman in her forties today, like she could have stepped out of the movie Winston had just been watching. A sharp gray suit with A-Line skirt and a bright white blouse and a string of pearls, gliding in the room on impressive impractical heels. Her blond-turning-white hair was in a tight bun, with two strands of long bangs framing her face. “In costume today, Mother?” Winston sounded almost amused as his dispatch agent sneered at him. “No. it seems your behnging server came up with this. Blended my avatar code in with your stupid movie.” “And so what if I’ve been down for 3 hours on the dock? Those lumpers normally take my whole break to get me unloaded. I’ve got another five hours at this rate. “This was a hot load, Winston. They started offloading you the instant you bumped dock. They’ve been done for hours and have been screaming at me to get you moved so they can bring in the next one! I do not appreciate being screamed at by overclocked Wirey warehouse managers every five minutes while you play ‘Father Knows Bankruptcy’. Which is what you’re facing I might add!” Val came into the living room, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. Her apron which Winston bought her to tease her domestic skills giving off even more of that ancient film era’s vibe. “Hun, would you like me to escort her out?” her voice was pleasant, but with a hint of iron as Winston’s private server security protocols leaked into her subroutines. “Try it and I’ll turn you into a thermostat subroutine, missy!” Mother snapped with a sharp taloned finger thrust at the simulation. “Nahq it! Fine, mother!” Winston shouted. “All of you, shut up and I’ll get off the dock and get rolling!” “That’s all we ever wanted,” Mother smoothed. “Wait. They said I was unloaded, but they didn’t give me a backhaul?” Winston said as he readied to exit his home server instance. “They decided to go with a different vendor. Since you didn’t leave right away, that dock lead decided he couldn’t trust you to deliver on time or follow their rules any more.” Mother said, arms crossed. “For sleeping three hours on his dock?” Winston whined. “This isn’t the first time you’ve pulled this stunt with them,” Mother reminded him. “He warned you there would be consequences. Once you’re moving, contact the guardpost on the way out to get further instructions.” “And what does that mean?” Winston shouted. “They wouldn’t tell me. Said they’d only give it to you in person as it were. Winston let out a growl that escalated into a frustrated scream and exited from his home instance.
The snap back to his sleeper cabin was jarring. Winston peeled off the induction rig headband and threw it back onto his bed rack with a tired groan and rubbed his eyes. The sleeper was just big enough for a generous bed, a small shower and kitchenette with impractical storage under the mattress and in cupboards over his head. Billy Joe Bob was knocking on the locked door. “Hoss, y’all gonna get up in there?” came the autotuned voice of his lumper. Winston said nothing and swung his legs over the side. His flight suit rumpled and feeling dirty for sleeping in it. No time to shower, so Winston grabbed his hat and opened the door to the cockpit. Billy Joe Bob glided backwards and got out of Winston’s way. “Mother’s all sorts of mad, and that dock boss has been bangin on the windscreen off and on for an hour. Paint’s busted up on the side of the sleeper but nothin’ that cain’t be buffed out,” the industrial mechanoid prattled on, like a dutiful but rather clueless deputy. Billy Joe Bob’s rotund torso bulged like a beer gut that vanished into a glittering pile of volcanic sand that surfed silently across the floor, picking up after itself as it went. His humanoid chest and head rode on top of that bulky core with massive brawny arms and hands made of the same glittering charcoal sand that poked out at the shoulders like he wore a sleeveless tee shirt. The BJB series of industrial mechoid was an incongruous mix of metal and grit but created a lot of flexible utility, plus it humanized him enough to feel personable to most people. Although a biologically modeled head was less efficient as a sensor suite, most industrial mechanoids preferred them. Or as the sentient ones, called, Indus, did. It helped with inter-sentient interaction. Nothing seemed to freak out bionts faster than a giant insectoid or incomprehensible sensor suite for a head. The particle shield was down on the canopy leaving the cab dark, lit only by the monitors and blinking LEDs. An angry red pulse from the comm suite indicated Mother was on the line. The large number of missed messages snarled at him in a red insistent font Winston grunted at Billy Joe as he took the few steps to the pilot’s chair. The co-pilot and navigator’s seats remained empty. Ever since he bought the Sierra Madre after his life was destroyed, they were never filled. Billy Joe sure didn’t need to sit in one and he avoided the pretense of that level of humanity. Winston flopped down into the seat, and the crash frame slowly descended, and wrapped him securely in place, he started to do a quick instrument pre-trip checklist. There was a smooth vibration as the grav fans could be felt through the hull of his tractor. Green across the board. His pair of bulk trailers reported back their hitches were working proper with a double hook and they were free of the dock and station-keeping. They were go for departure. The message continued their accusatory glare, till with a sigh, Winston raised the particulate shield and the outside came into view in a bright golden glow. The clouds went on forever in all the colors of the sunset with darker blots of green, black and brown skylands drifting among them. Like the islands of Earth before it was conquered and consumed by the Dream and its lord and master, Xiao the Eternal. Closer in, the huge industrial anchorage of Omnifeed’s complex was peppered with other draymen waiting for their dock. Some had only one trailer hooked on to their tugs and tractors, others were pulling sky trains with over ten over sized containers. The windows of his cab’s canopy slowly revealed more of this busy scene as the shield retracted extending a little past him, revealing the four huge open maws of his grav fans that compressed gravity and sucked in air with their usual dull rainbow flicker when more substantial than gas was sucked through and mangled in the compression. Winston threw on the Sierra Madre’s running lights and fired up his nav computer’s course projector. “Hoss, look out.” A man was flying to him on his Bumblebee flight harness from a tug parked danger-close. “That jackass.” The man, landed on his canopy over his head and started yelling at him in a language Winston had no clue about. “Get the behng off my hull!” Winston shouted and slapped the horn. A low chord of ear shattering sound cut through the hull. The irate pilot grabbed his ears and staggered. Winston smiled as the fellow driver was no longer cussing at him in his gobbledy tongue. Apparently he decided to tell Winston off without putting on his proper protective gear. One hundred and forty decibels at close range will do that. “Shut down number four, Hoss,” Billy Joe Bob said quickly. The careless pilot had staggered too far back and was close to being dragged through the fan. “Way ahead of you, Bubby,” Winston said, his hand already hitting the emergency shutdown for the number four fan just as the gravity well plucked the careless pilot up and fired him through its maw. The tidal forces, though no longer fatal, shot the man through its open vortex guards at hundreds of klicks per hour out the other side, zipping past Winston’s trailers like a musketball. His flight harness’s emergency safety protocols protected him from impacting another object. At least the man could float back to his tractor, once he regained his senses. “Uhhh…” drawled Billy Joe Bob in horror as the monitor tracked the man through space. “This ain’t gonna… this… Aww cheis.” Panic shook Winston wide awake. He sounded the horn again signaling his departure from the dock with two shorts and a long blast. The Sierra Madre left her dock behind and followed her assigned path toward the guardpost, an irrational part of his mind hoped that by getting out of there fast would somehow absolve what just happened. Winston said nothing. His mind whirling on what just happened. It was not his fault, he rationalized. That pilot climbed onto his tractor without proper gear inside a restricted area. The fact he saved his life by shutting down the grav fan in time made it all just a near miss. No one was really hurt. Right? Just pride and ego. Cheis, cheis, cheis. “You think we’re in trouble?” Billy Joe asked. “We’ll find out soon enough, Bubby,” Winston said, as he eased the Sierra Madre into their prescribed flightpath. Another call was coming in to his comm suite, priority one. Winston tapped the channel open. “This is the Sierra Madre, receiving you. Over.” “Sierra Madre, this is Omnifeed Control,” came the professional sounding AI voice. Their voices had been modeled on the ancient art of flight controllers’ speech. No matter what, everyone was equal in their eyes, or so the timber of their voice implied. “Go ahead Omnifeed Control.” Winston squinted as he fought to keep the fear out of his voice. “You are hereby charged with violating site safety rules as well as professional rules of conduct on site for failing to leave dock when ordered.” “He climbed on my hull! Without safety gear! I shut down the fan but it was too late,” Winston complained. “Blame him!” “Understood and he will be dealt with accordingly,” Omnifeed Control replied. Winston could hear the ‘but’ hanging unsaid. “Regardless, you have four violations of loading dock policy in the last five weeks. Your company is hereby suspended from all Omnifeed facilities for six months due to those violations. After that time you may reapply to be a certified carrier.” “Aw, come on!” Winston shouted at the AI. “For the safety incident, you are hereby personally permabanned from this loading facility.” The passionless words were worse than being cussed at. “I’m being permabanned for him violating your loading dock policy? He climbed on me!” “His discipline is a private matter. Be glad he was essentially unharmed. Your legal information has already been exchanged with his agent for the incident, in case there is permanent harm and medical bills.” “You have no right to do that!” Winston protested and slammed his fist against the armrest. “That is the law in accordance with Xiao’s covenants and protocols of commerce. Hail, Xiao the Eternal.” the controller said in Pavlovian reflex. “We, as a third party witness, must report what was recorded to maintain good standing with the empire. Omnifeed maintains the highest rating and will protect it with all due legal effort.” Winston let out a defeated sigh, and as if she could hear it, his comm bleeped again as Mother tried to get through. “Copy all that Omnifeed Control. Sierra Madre out.” The other comm continued to blink as he sat there considering his situation. Was this to be the final plunge? Will he be rockbound and sucking on the Imperial dole because he just couldn’t find work after they impounded the Sierra Madre? This was his last regular client. It was all low paying spot work from here on out. Last second frantic runs to cover for people who dropped the ball. Sure you could look the hero doing that, but the hassle. Oh my Xiao! The hassle! Winston flipped the comm from Mother open but said nothing. “It isn’t as bad as you may think, Winston.” Mother’s words were gentle. “It certainly isn’t good. Did the payment process out?” “Yes. We’re paid in full, so there’s a little money in the kitty, but you can kiss your insurance goodbye. I have several texts to respond to from Omnifeed, and that pilot’s lawyer.” “Did you see Omnifeed’s evidence?” Winston said with a little hope. “I did. He was at fault and so I might be able to get my lawyer in to provide a good defense and resolve this with some lost time and wages from him.” “Mother, did I ever tell you that I loved you?” Winston said with a smirk. Behind him Billy Joe Bob let out an arpeggiated laugh. “Eugh!” Mother let out a strangled groan. “You Biomes and your erratic emotions.” Winston knew she appreciated his sentiment, otherwise she wouldn’t have called him such a racist name. AIs were often just as emotional as humans. “Okay, I know we’re on the bubble, so what’s next, Mother. Am I untouchable now?” “Give me a minute to put some feelers out,” Mother said. At least she hadn’t abandoned him. Winston knew he screwed up but really, it wasn’t like he had been impairing himself on the job. She knew he slept in his home instance. It kept his own dreams away. Controlled. He flipped through his cameras to watch the Omnifeed facility recede behind him on his way back home in Pseudomaha. The big nanofabrication feedstock tanks dwarfed the skyland they were originally built on as it consumed the natural and turned into an artificial station. And then the facility disappeared behind a cloying yellow cloud of sulfur dust. “Hoss, you want me doin’ anything right now?” Billy Joe Bob asked. “You got chores left?” Winston asked eyes glazed over on the traffic sensors. The little blobs of blue, green, yellow and red, slid past with neon trails in the holographic hud. “Naw. Not really. Containers are empty and undamaged. We have an extra free day with ‘em before getting them back to Consolidated Freight for maintenance.” Billy Joe said “Rog that,” Winston said. “I got nothing for you then. Go on off duty and enjoy yourself. We should still have access to Omnifeed’s network for another hour or two of flight time. We’re slow go till Mother gets back to me.” “Rog that, Hoss.” Billy Joe went back to his rack up in the engine compartment with a slithering hiss of his utility liquid skirt leaving Winston alone with his worries.
One of my fellow Realmies put forth this question in our group the other day, and after reading my response, I felt it was good enough to put here too and share with all you fine folks. It’s Spec Fic, not fantasy, so… there’s that.
Dave Withe’s H.G. Wells challenge to the Realmies.
“If not us, then who?”
I was “blessed” to grow up in the Golden Age of Science Fiction and Fantasy (that’s what they called Sf back in the 1950’s and 1960’s). The hard Sf writers back then foresaw many of the Whizz Bang tech that has transformed the world into what we have today. (NASA was actually working on Faster Than Light travel before the Big O turned NASA into the Muslim outreach agency.)
Question for Discussion:
With your futurist speculative hats on; Starting from existing trends, what kind of Speculative, Whizz-Bang tech can you imagineer for your stories which will revolutionize the world in the next century?
I call it “The Missing Next Step Analysis”, look at today’s capabilities, then extrapolate as much as you can with existing trends until you get to “The Missing Next Step” that can’t be extrapolated from existing technological / biological / Quantum / etc. knowledge.
Then, imagineer something to be that next step.
I started using Solid 3D Holographic Projected Keyboards several years ago in some of my stories; but that’s old news now, a Japanese company is currently developing that technology for commercial release within the next few years.
Let’s see if we can pull an H.G. Wells on the early 21st century world. (he foresaw nuclear power during the Age of Sail you know).
Are we not some of the most innovative inventors of new worlds. Step up your game people. Have done with recycled plot lines and stretch to ask the tough “What If” questions.
Let’s Imagineer the future.
My predictions of the future are pretty dystopian because I believe socio-economic failings of the globe will rewrite ourselves into a second dark age of barbarism and insanity similar to what came after the Fall of Rome… but worse. This will end up destroying our ability as a species to grow technologically for another 500 years (while saving our souls) till we clamber our way back up to even this level thanks to all the anti-intellectual insanity in the west, and zealous anti-enlightenment barbarism in the rest of the world. The only thing technology is going to do is accelerate the process by which this all happens and the thoroughness of the devastation. To paraphrase Einstein “I do not know by what weapons the next world war will be fought with, but I do know the one after that will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Ultimately, there are very few authors who envisioned what eventually came after their lifetimes. Victor Hugo (Submarine, Moon Landings to name a few) H.G. Wells as has been pointed out, but really there are none off the top of my head that I can point to that predicted future tech with any serious degree of credibility that wasn’t already being imagined in their epoch.
I’ve made this statement before, just not here, that the Spec Fic author is a captive of his time. Look at movies like “Metropolis”, or all the “Red Scare Sci Fi” of the 1950’s before the dawn of space flight. They were all victims of seeing the world through the lenses of the technology of that era. We too suffer the same problem, though we violate Clarke’s Law far more often or we now understand better the idea of technology so advanced it appears to be magic. All be it I’d call it dark magic at this point, and hence my first paragraph.
The older I get, the more I begin to realize that the world of “Thundarr the Barbarian” (pockets of super science and “magic” in the ruins of a world which suffered a global disaster) has almost as much chance to exist as Mad Max or 1984. We humans are too flawed to evolve a utopia. It may work on paper save for that one flaw of having humans involved. I also doubt very highly that AI or any other artificial life will be any more perfect beyond possibly having to eradicate all of humanity for its chance to survive.
The other elephant in the predictive realm is the “unforeseen outside factor”. What if aliens DO show up? What if Time Travel does get invented, or Faster than Light Drive? Things that are broad theory or fantasy that suddenly become reality. 50 years ago, the Internet was able to be predicted. So was nano-technology based on what was going on in that era. But that’s predicting one maybe two generations ahead, and mostly based on straight line predictions, which is ripe for much hilarity. Want proof? Look up the predictions from the first Earth Day in 1970. Cringeworthy. Mark Twain once told a parable on straight line predictions on how the passage from St. Louis and New Orleans by steamboat was shortening by a few hundred yards every year. In a few centuries, he “predicted”, the two cities would be neighbors.
But okay… if pressed, prediction time.
1. This assumes the west doesn’t collapse and technological advancement continues.
2. It also assumes Islam does not win the current 13th Jihad it is waging via immigration and the west somehow pulls it’s head out of its collective ass.
3. That the Deep State Technogarchy remains in power.
4. That Generation Snowflake and self loathing SJWism dies out thanks to objective reality being stronger than subjective madness (see Kipling’s Gods of the Copybook Headings).
A- Advanced nations will begin to devolve as their people, addicted to the internet and social media drop out into VR societies in an attempt to give the yearning for meaning a harmless outlet.
B- Automation increases, driving humans out of the workplace, requiring “A” to control them lest they destroy the powers that be due to idleness.
C- Human civilization grinds to a halt, replaced by AI control, reducing itself to cattle.
D- A slim chance that there will become a symbiosis between man and machine as cyborgs do become the next stage in “evolution”.
Nanofabrication will become household level tech. You won’t have to go to the store. Just buy and download the schematics, and have your home “nanofab” unit which will be the size of a refrigerator or garage workshop size tool, pour in the ingredients like a cake and make it there. You will have freebie apps and plans, as well as name brand sellers. Designing may become the only place left for human employment as men and women are reduced to nothing more than the creative thought processes of a new species. Good times, right?
“I have never seen a miracle of science
that did not turn from a blessing to a curse.”
And now, another addition of Orion’s Articles. The series of community commons licensed sci fi licensed material written originally for the shared Sci Fi community of “Orion’s Arm”.
Municipal Feedstock Utilities
One of the major challenges of widespread nanofabrication is keeping a consistent flow of feedstock to the nanofabrication units and protecting the local environment from becoming depleted. To combat this, many societies developed Municipal Feedstock Utilities that keep a constant flow of refined feedstock accessible to the public and industry on demand. Similar to municipal water works or ancient gas systems, the flow of feedstock solution is pumped from central holding reservoirs
and towers through pipes and into a reclamation system that then cycles back to a refinery that breaks down the “waste” feedstock and reintegrating it back into it’s reservoirs. These pipes are commonly subterranean or underwater in nature or coupled with other utility lines. Reservoirs are commonly built in sealed or underground lakes and pools to prevent contamination of the solution. In megastructures or tall buildings these reservoirs are often placed in the top floors of the building to assist with pressures and regulating speed of distribution.
The central benefit of this system is that it ensures all connected nanofabricators have access to the full spectrum of elements allowed by law, while preventing consumption of the local materials or property. Often this removes the need for citizens to gather or purchase feedstock on a separate basis, offering access for nominal exchange or fees. Some Feedstock Utilities offer a credit system for recycling and preventing material loss.
The typical system is designed to have a centrally located refinery and processing plant. From here, pipes are constructed that lead to reservoirs and tanks placed for optimum levels of distribution in the supplied municipality. These tanks are then routed through subterranean pipes to all customers, buildings and locations that require feedstock. After flowing through the nanofabrication suite, the feedstock effluent pipes then flow back to holding pools and then into the refinery where processing begins for re-integration into the reservoirs. The solution is magnetic in nature, and can be pushed smoothly by linear accelerator pumps. Even the nanofabricators are designed to not stop the flow or divert it completely but rather filter off any elements required by nanofabrication at time of operation. This constant motion prevents any chance of settling happening outside of designed traps and pools.
Feedstock Utilities can be of very small local design like a single building, or massive megastructures and even weaving their way through an entire Jupiter sized brain! How the system is fed varies greatly, but usually break down into three formats: Local, System or Wormhole.
A local style Utility relies totally on resources mined from the stellar object it is built on. Mines transport the base material from parts of the planet or asteroid to the refinery. There the raw
material is broken down, filtered out, or Pico-converted to essential matter and stored in large hoppers used to supplement the reservoirs at a rate that keeps the feedstock solution at a constant “richness” and proportions.
A System style supplied Municipal Feedstock Utility usually gains its raw materials from off-world or long outside of the municipality’s orbit. Although the matter still is in the orbit of the local star or
Oort Cloud. These items are mined, and usually refined out at its mining site. These items are then shipped back to the Utility via a magnetic accelerator or coil system similar to that used by Dusters or Squirts. The loose material appears like a stream a few millimeters to a few meters in width depending on the demand. These streams are then ducted through “targeting pump satellites” to an Orbital Receiving Facility. This is usually found in a stationary orbit or attached to an orbital station itself. It then prioritizes feedstock for where it needs to go and organizes delivery via a variety of systems and networks.
Wormhole Style Utilities are very similar to system fed utilities, but include small (5cm to 5m) wormholes to allow material being broken down in another system to be shipped similar to beamriders or linear accelerator to the purchasing utility. Once it exits the wormhole link, it then is treated and moved about like a normal system fed utility. Often these wormhole stations are located near or at the solar “poles” of a system so orbiting mines can always see them and
control streams better.
Once a society has access to stable Picofacture (The ability to manufacture atoms to order by mechanical control of sub atomic particles), and can manufacture their own elements, the supply systems quickly become local in nature and only deal with occasional loads of off site matter when they run low on total available matter to continue growth.
Written back in 2004, I participated in a shared hard Sci Fi community called Orion’s Arm. It was based on transhumanist theory and sci fi writing, something that over time I became increasingly uncomfortable with as my walk in my faith grew deeper and my politics diverged radically from the belief in a collective future. But during my time there, I put together a series of articles under a Creative Commons license. To that end, these items are open to the public to use, but I would love it if you give me a shout out that you used them.
Pandifico (pronounced: pan-diff-EYE-koe) is a powerful diamondoid composite that is constructed to be elastic and flexible like rubber. This diamondoid fiber is incredibly resistant to damage and almost impossible to shatter. It is fabricated with permaform manufacturing technology. When struck with hard kinetic force the elastic features allow the fiber structure to flex and bend in a manner similar to that of polymers and metals. Because of their design the fibers do not stay dented or bent and can pop out – on their own or with a little help – to their original form.
Pandifico can be tuned to have different degrees of hardness and flexibility. As with ancient composite bows the fibers can be made to stretch at different speeds according to the strength and direction of an applied force. For example, a sheet of Pandifico armor may stretch along it’s X axis at a rate of 1 cm per 100 joules while along it’s y axis it may stretch 1 meter for the same pressure and only move a micrometer for the same force along it’s z axis. Pandifico could also be capable of increasing or decreasing its resistance depending on its tension or distance stretched, thereby giving reduced resistance through the middle portion of the stretch while offering high or medium resistance as it approaches maximum stretch. Pandifico retains the strength of standard Diamondoid even when stretched to maximum tension.
Pandifico can be formulated in any color (including transparent) or molded into the same range of shapes as standard diamondoid without any loss of functionality. It can be made to conduct electricity or be an insulator depending on the specific chemical composition of the fiber structure. Some brand names of pandifico are “Pandiflex,” “Foreverform” and “Eternilam.”
(Diamondoid is a theorized class of materials made from mechanically assembled carbon atoms that have the strength of diamonds)