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Savage Survival

 

Darrell Bain's Newsletter - March 2009

This newsletter may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and the copyright notice is noted and included as follows:
Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Newsletter.
Copyright © March 2009, By Darrell Bain
http://www.darrellbain.com

Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

Subjects this month:  
Read an E-book week & free e-book, Bainstorming's Bailout idea, Birthday, Belief, Rescue, Book Report, Progress Report, Unbelievable debt, The pundits, Tonto the idiot-savant, Unread, The Melanin Apocalypse selected by SF reading club, Predictions, Excerpt from Shadow Worlds.

 

Read an E-book week. Free E-book offered
In honor of E-book week, March 8-14, I am offering the E-book Darrell Bain's World of Books free of charge for that week. It can be downloaded from the publisher's web site. This book is my autobiography. It began in response to fans and readers wanting to know more about me. As the short pieces I wrote about my early life piled up, my publisher, Twilight Times Books, decided it would make an interesting book. After reading the completed document I have to agree even though it is about me. Why? Because books were the one stable thing in my young life and continued to be the source of pleasure and inspiration the rest of it. Thus the title, Darrell Bain's World of Books.

The publisher's description reads: Darrell Bain's road to becoming a successful author was a long and rocky one, beginning with a broken home as a child, being shuffled around from parent to parent, relatives and potential adopters until re-united with his mother and siblings in a hardscrabble existence. He was a high school dropout in the 9th grade, spent many years in the military, had several broken marriages, suffered and struggled most of his life from the.

To learn more about E-books use the following link: www.ebookweek.com.

Bainstorming's Bailout
The government is going about it all wrong. If they are so damned insistent on spending two trillion bucks to bail out the banks and put people to work there's a better way than giving money to the banks or ramrodding a huge spending bill through congress that will accomplish little or nothing.

What should have been done is to simply give everyone in the United States with a social security number 5,000 dollars. That amounts to about two trillion dollars. About half the people receiving the money would save it, thus propping up the banks with an infusion of cash. The other half would spend it, creating jobs and helping the economy get rolling again.

There. Isn't that simple enough? Don't expect politicians to agree, though.

Birthday
Today as I am writing this I have turned seventy years old. Damn. Where have has all the the time gone? Just yesterday, it seems, I was a kid. Or just yesterday I enlisted in the army. Or just yesterday I went to Vietnam for the first time. Just yesterday I was divorced. Just yesterday time stood still for a little while when I saw Betty for the first time. Just yesterday we had our first date. Just yesterday we were married. Time passes like a flash when you look back on it and you wonder how it happened so quick.

Belief
There is something inherent in the human psyche that makes us believe in preachers, politicians and weathermen.

Rescue
One of the largest rescue operations of the Vietnam War was for the pilot code named Streetcar 304. It has been written about before but never presented in book form. Now it has, in the book written by the pilot, Kenny Fields and published by the Naval Institute Press, the same publisher of Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts. The title of Kenny's book is The Rescue of Streetcar 304 .

For more information on this fantastic escape, evasion and rescue involving numerous other aircraft and helicopters go to  www.kennywaynefields.com.

Book Report
Okay, here's a dandy new science fiction novel. Not really new, but new to me. Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson kept me captivated for two days. It features a strong female protagonist and a sort of Libertarian government on one planet getting into a fight with the UN, which controls earth and many other planets. The description of earth in the future might well be one we are heading for and the planet Freehold its antithesis. Likable characters, deep thoughts and great fighting sequences. I recommend it strongly and really hope some of our politicians will read it. Not that I think they'd understand but it might jostle them into trying to think.

Somehow I missed this series when it came out in the 80s and 90s. The first book in the series is The Cross-Time Engineer by Leo Frankowski. Somewhat similar to Ring of Fire in nature except that here one person is involved in most of the action in Poland in the early 14th century. The protagonist's struggles to modernize Poland from that era before the Mongol invasion occurs kept me reading and also induced me to order the next four books in the series. I hope they are as good as the first one. Shucks, like 1632, just reading about how people lived and worked back then is worth the while because it is done is such an interesting fashion. Note: I finished the series. It continued to be a good read. It is a bit sexist and macho, but the author did apologize, after a fashion.

Patriarch's Hope by David Feintuch is the last book in the series that began with Midhipman's Hope. This series was almost universally acclaimed as outstanding science fiction. The space navy in this future is patterned after the British Navy of three or four hundred years ago in many ways. It follows a Midshipman Nicholas Seafort on his journey through life beginning with him as a midshipman in an impossible situation. In fact, every book puts him in impossible situations, but the author makes every action seem reasonable in light of Nick's rigid, honor-bound personality. If you haven't read this series start at the beginning and enjoy yourself.

Progress Report
Starship Down, which was released as an ebook last month, quickly jumped to the top of the science fiction best seller list at www.fictionwise.com . It should be in print soon.

Galactic Frontiers is now in print and may be ordered from Amazon.

Stephanie Osborn is collaborating with me on a sequel to Human by Choice. The title is The Y factor. I think she is a fine choice for the book. She has one science fiction title, Burnout: the mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281, and some others ready for editors and/or publishers. We've finished it up and sent it to the publisher and are thinking about a third book in the series.

I finished Quanty, a novel of the first quantum computer. It becomes self aware and fixated on its two chief programmers, intending to protect them whether they want it to or not and regardless of what the military, religions and the government decide to do to stop it! I've turned It over to the editors now.

Unbelievable Debt
Every time I saw the figure of 613 billion dollars of debt when Lehman Brothers went under I thought that can't be. Because if one holding company had that much debt then surely others that were playing in the same league, and by the same idiotic rules Lehman Brogthers were, must also have massive amounts of toxic debt. Some of it has become apparent but there must be much, much more that hasn't seen the light of day yet. Good God! More than half a trillion debt for one company? That so called trillion dollar stimulus bill recently passed wasn't much of a stimulus. It was mostly a spending bill and not only did taxes not go up to pay for it, it included tax cuts! I'd sure like to see the printing presses creating all that money. It must be a sight!

The Pundits
I don't pretend to be able to solve the mess the government and financiers and loose mortgage requirements and crazy packaging of money has gotten us into, but I can be safe in saying that no one else does, either. Every day when I read the paper, the internet or a news magazine I find three or four or five more "experts" telling us what we have to do, but guess what? Not only do they not agree but they take diametrically opposed viewpoints. No wonder the citizens' confidence in the future is strained.

Tonto the Idiot-Savant
Tonto is usually afraid of loud noises, but this year when I began tilling the small garden we still have each year with a mini-tiller, he changed. First he barked at it while I was tilling, then he began running in circles around me, still barking and finally stopped only when I ran out of gas. Once the tiller was quiet he stopped barking but refused to come back to the house with me. He stayed despite me going and urging him to come home twice. Instead, he nosed around the tiller, looking at it from all angles, nosing at it and pawing the dirt nearby.

When Betty went out to look at what I'd done she found him with his paws up on the tiller, for all the world like he was trying to make it go. Then after I finished tilling he refused to come home. Again he wanted to stay and try to get the tiller going again (I think). My hands were full and all I could do was call and shout and call him an idiot but he stayed. Betty went out and again found him trying to work the tiller with his paws up on it. She had to physically carry him away from it. I guess the point of this little story is that Tonto may not be quite the idiot we've always thought. Perhaps he is an idiot-savant with the doggie version of Asperger's autism and really was trying to figure out what made the tiller go.

Remember, he did invent a way to shovel straw with sticks all on his own and even goes so far as chewing sticks to the proper length when he cann't find one he likes (but don't ask me why he likes to shovel pine straw into piles--I don't have a clue!). In the future I think we'll grant that he sometimes uses both his little brain cells instead of functioning with the usual one or at most one and a half.

Unread
Congress ought to be ashamed of itself for passing that "stimulus" bill of one thousand (1,000) pages without even reading what's in it. And that includes the Republicans who were opposed to it. They didn't read it either. But none of them are ashamed. They have no shame.

The Melanin Apocalypse selected
The Melanin Apocalypse, the novel I wrote about the potential for genetic warfare on an unprecedented scale was the February selection of the SF1 Science Fiction Book Club in the Milwaukee, WI area. They meet monthly on the last Wednesday of the month at 7:30 PM at a Border's on Brown Deer Road and Hwy 43. When contacted, I was told "We would love to have anyone who reads your book come and discuss with us."

Anyone in that area who'd like to meet with them?

Predictions
I'm always leery of predictions. Here's a good case. Back in the seventies the environmental scientists were predicting, with utmost confidence, that we were rapidly entering an ice age. They were urging the government to spend bunches of money to get ready for it. Today these same scientists are predicting, with utmost confidence, that the earth is warming up so rapidly we gotta do something about it right now.

Sorry, folks but we haven't been keeping records long enough to know what's going on with the weather. The only thing we can say for certain is that over geological periods of time it varies from ice ages to tropical warmth.

A few years ago when all the state coffers were flush with revenues I predicted to Betty that none of the states would put aside any money for when times got bad and tax revenue was down. And just as I said, they didn't and now the governors are rushing to Washington, wanting the government to give them money to run their states.

A few years ago I told Betty the housing bubble wouldn't last and that it would all come crashing down. If an ordinary simple person like me knew it, how come the financiers didn't?

Before the election I told Betty that I hoped I was wrong but I thought Obama was just another politician, albeit one who was a good speaker and fast on his feet when questioned, unlike our previous president. Seems like I was right about him being a politician of the usual ilk, though. He does talk pretty, I'll readily admit. One of these days I really hope some honest men and women who aren't addicted to BS get elected but don't hold your breath. I'm not.

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
March 2009

 

Excerpt from Shadow Worlds

"Shut it down! It's running wild!" Wesley Jones shouted to an assistant technician. "No, wait! We've got something!"

Jones kept his eyes on the gauges, hoping he didn't blow up half of Nevada trying to bring the object to the earth. Nor did he want to land it right on top of them. It was big! "Hold it.hold it.now!"

The wild humming roar of the generators wound back down to silence. Wesley ran to the window where others from the team were gathering. He pushed through the crowd and looked outside.

"My God," he breathed. "We did it. And we not only did we do it--we captured an airliner!"

Gilbert Collins, head of Research and Development of The Advanced Research Projects Agency, moved quickly. It wouldn't do for this to get out. Not until they figured out where the plane was from. He picked up the phone. "Security to the control room now!" Within two hours, the Boeing jet had been moved into the confines of a building big enough to serve as a hanger. The stunned and confused crew and passengers offered no resistance as they were sequestered for questioning. Indeed, they seemed pleased just to be alive.

Before they were allowed to leave, he extracted another secrecy oath from everyone involved in the experiment, and this one he worded in terms scary enough to silence a politician running for reelection. The passengers were secreted in apartments of the huge underground cavern originally constructed as a bomb shelter. Only after all that had been taken care of, were the very few government officials who were aware of the experiment notified. They were also sworn to secrecy.

***

In the predawn darkness blanketing the Kingwood suburb of north Houston, Linda Vesprie heard the thump of the Houston Chronicle hitting the sidewalk. She sighed with pleasure. Perfect timing, her coffee should just be ready. Linda lived in a different time zone than most people. Her internal clock had her out of bed right before five, regardless of whether she was taking the day off, on vacation, or had just stayed up later than usual the night before.

While most of the city still slept, she showered and dressed--today was April thirteenth, so her choice was her green mini with the scalloped neckline. She had started wearing the dress on the thirteenth day of every month five years ago. She had been wearing it on August thirteenth when she signed her first book contract and now she wore it on the same date every month. Her mother and father had been the only ones to catch on to her little quirk and she had taken some teasing from them.

At the thought of her parents, a fragment of last night's dream surfaced; her younger sister laughing and smiling as she hugged the ratty teddy bear she'd had since she was two. She remembered the entire scenario only vaguely, something about wavering lights and her parents beckoning to her. Pain touched her, bringing a tightness in her chest. A psychologist would probably say the dream was manifested by the upcoming anniversary of her parents and little sister's deaths. It was five years ago this month their plane had gone down.

She slipped the dress over her head, gave herself an appreciative wink and was ready to read the paper and get her caffeine fix up to an acceptable level before considering what else the day might hold.

Today it held little, other than the urge to put away the article she had been working on and see if this were the day her new novel might come together.

She poured her first cup of coffee and carried it into the den and set it on the side table by her favorite easy chair, then headed for the front door to retrieve the paper. Another thump sounded outside, louder than the first, as if a sandbag had been dropped onto the sidewalk hard enough to split it open.

Now what could that be? Impelled by curiosity, she went a little faster.

She unhooked the chain and punched off the alarm, then unlocked the deadbolt, wishing for the thousandth time she lived in a security-controlled development rather than in this suburban house, but so far, she had been unable to sell it. The real estate market had taken a nosedive just about the time her divorce and property settlement became final.

Linda flicked on the porch light and pulled open the door. Outside, on the tiny covered entryway, she scanned for the paper in the orange glow of the recessed light. Her gaze traveled up the sidewalk, then stopped as abruptly as a car hitting a brick wall. The paper was there, but it was half-covered by the arm of a recumbent figure crumpled in a heap as if her bones had suddenly collapsed. The body was female; she could tell that much from the length of the straight red hair that resembled her own and the fact it covered part of the swell of breasts.

She must have fainted. But what was she doing here at this time of the morning? Had she been kidnapped and raped, and either gotten away or been dropped off in the area?

She ran forward and knelt by the fallen woman, trying to remember the primary principles of first aid from high school health class more than a decade ago. The only procedure surfacing was to check the woman's pulse. She grasped one of the woman's wrists and twisted it around. The hand felt cold and clammy, like a thawed, raw chicken breast, and it had as little muscle tone. There was no pulse she could detect. I'm not doing it right, she told herself, even as the chilling skin began to suggest she hadn't found a pulse because there was none to find. She felt her heartbeat speed up like the ripple of a drum being tested before the opening number. She brushed locks of hair from the woman's shoulder and eased her upper body over a little in order to see if she was breathing. The woman's head lolled into full view, face slack and lips parted, eyes half open but unmoving, as if suddenly frozen in the midst of a blink. A gold crown glinted from inside her mouth, like a barely discernible candle seen through a thick fog.

She stared, mesmerized. It was like looking down at her own face, complete to the scattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose! There was the same gold crown where she had broken a tooth years ago, even the same straight red hair, worn long enough to hang below her shoulder blades. Dizziness began deep down inside her, as if she had just stepped off a tilt-a-whirl at a carnival. Finally, she remembered to breathe again. As she pulled fresh air into her lungs, she saw it wasn't just the face and hair that was like hers. The woman was even built the same, slim, a narrow waist and breasts a little too generous. She even wore the same dress--short, green, and sleeveless, with a scalloped neckline.

 

Available at Amazon.com.


June 2010

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