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Showing posts from July, 2012

A Curious Inversion of History

I'm thinking mainly of African history. Driving in Tanzania last month, I caught view of mountains that reminded me of the Alps in their sudden steepness, their general outline, and beauty. Of course at the base of the mountains was an entirely different world from the Alps, with palm trees and donkey carts, some paved roads, yes, but still mostly dirt roads, some modern buildings along the main thoroughfares, but thatched roof huts off in the not-very remote areas. Women carrying goods on their heads met my sight, some of them covered from head to toe in the partially Islamic area through which I rode as a passenger in a big Toyota Land Cruiser. It occurred to me that the main difference in appearance between the mountains I saw and the Alps is that the Alps are covered with castles and the Tanzanian mountains were not…and then in a flash of imagination, I saw everything around me differently. What if for the purposes of a story, Africa had been settled by medieval Europeans

Evil Entropy, Son of Chaos

Chaos is the villain? Chaos tries to limit your choices down to just one? Last post Greg Mitchell told us about his novel Rift Jump , in which he portrayed Chaos in precisely that way.  I haven't read Greg's book yet  (shame on me), so maybe that particular statement wouldn't have struck me as fundamentally wrong if I'd read it in context. But among all the things he said, that one particular thing did strike me as off. I think that's because so much of what I see as doing good comes down to restricting your choices. For example, if you see a small turtle crossing a road, there are dozens of things you can do. "Nothing" would be the most boring, but think of how many free choices there are that hurt the turtle. You can stomp on it or set it on fire or throw it in a vat of acid or wait for an oncoming car and throw it under its wheels. But a good person rejects all the options that cause unneeded suffering (some people would strike the word "unneed

Rift Jump--A war against Chaos, a multiverse of personal choice, and God in a Stetson...

Greg Mitchell, who is, like me, an  Avenir Eclectia  author and who also like me, has  Splashdown Books  as his publisher, has just come out with a new book I'm happy to promote because of its boldly original take on a story multiverse. I'll let him tell you about it: It begins with Choice. You are the culmination of Choice. If you think back to your life, to the lives of your parents, your grandparents, and all the way back to the Garden of Eden, choices beyond your control have shaped your path. If any number of those things had been different—if your ancestors located on a different continent, how different might your world look to you today? What if the cure for cancer was found in 1756? What if electricity wasn’t discovered until 3018? What if Earth was devastated by atomic wars? What if Earth didn’t exist at all? Yet, where does that leave the spiritual realm? Are there multiple incarnations of God? Is the Devil a good guy in some realities? What happens w

Star Trek Propaganda II: The Wrath of...

Imagine the idea raised in the last post—that Star Trek was inspired by Federation propaganda—as the basis for a story plot with a twist. What would Star Trek look like if it had been inspired by Klingon propaganda? What if a series of Star Trek existed in which shooting first and asking question later was always shown to be the right choice? Where oppressing aliens was shown to be sensible? An episode could feature a bleeding-heart Klingon wanting to treat an alien races as equals, only to have them betray him and eat his liver or something—him dying without honor. A series in which the honor of personal combat is always shown as mattering more than anything else? Episodes could feature lives full regret from those who failed to die in battle or from having rejected the Klingon way. Or what would Star Trek look like as Romulan propaganda? Stealth and treachery are commended and always work out for the greater good…Or Cardassian...the state always knows best? Or Ferengi, gree

Star Trek Propaganda

For Star Trek fans out there, have you ever noticed the continual drumbeat in all Star Trek TV series and films that the United Federation of Planets is a good institution? With certain relatively minor exceptions, have you noticed that these “good guys” always win? That they rarely suffer any combat losses of anybody important to the story? Their principles are shown again and again to work perfectly? And that almost everyone in their future society is perfectly happy to never be paid in money, to work just for personal enrichment? Doesn’t that sound just a bit like stuff from a propaganda film? Like a Soviet Union-era film showing square-jawed Russians stalwartly doing right, marching forward to brilliant success with only minor losses, repudiating base capitalistic greed, and embracing an international brotherhood where all nations and races are accepted? Any downside to the system is brushed aside, the stories moving from one triumph of the “good” system to the next? Well