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Savage Survival

 

Bainstorming

Darrell Bain's Newsletter

May 2008

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 Monthly Newsletter.
Copyright © May 2008, 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:

Progress Report, Boomer Retirement? Not!, Bad Guys, Book Reviews, Mistletoe Meet, Science Fiction And Cern, Our Outstanding Medical System--Duh!, Bain Muses, Lost Books, Excerpts From Bark!

Progress Report
This has been a busy month. The e-book version of Human By Choice, written with Travis S. Taylor was released April 15th at www.fictionwise.com and should be out very soon at www.ereader.com

Two print books (which were previously out as e-books) were published in April. Those were Bark!, where a weenie dog saves the world from an alien invasion and The Melanin Apocalypse, where a man made virus has been released by a white supremacy group that is killing all the darker skinned persons in the world.

I am particularly pleased with the covers for Bark! and for a book forthcoming next month, The Focus Factor. Below is the cover for Bark! I'll print the cover for The Focus Factor next month.

The cover for Bark!

The first fifty (50) copies purchased through this url will be autographed:
http://www.ll-publications.com/bookstore.html .

You may use paypal or any major credit card. The book is now available at Amazon but not autographed as the copies purchased through the link above will be.

Boomer Retirement? Not.
I keep reading about all the Baby Boomer who are going to retire and what a problem it's gonna be. I'm not so sure it will be quite the problem the pundits think it will for one simple reason: there's not that many people who are able to loaf constructively. That's a quote from Heinlein, I think. Anyway, I believe there's a lot of truth to it. Sure, the Boomers will begin drawing social security, but I think many of them will enter a second occupation. Take me, for instance. I'm not able to do hardly any physical work any more because of my legs and back, but I can hardly stand being idle. Therefore, I do something I am capable of, to an extent: I write. Making money at it is nice in that it's a form of recognition of my ability, but the money is secondary. The activity, the desire to stay busy, is what really drives me. And by the way, neither of my disabilities are life-threatening so I'll be around for a while, I sincerely hope.

Bad Guys
A novel I read recently (see Book Reviews, below) made me start wondering. Why do we occasionally like it when the bad guy is the protagonist and he or she wins? A good example is the Godfather. Michael Corleone really doesn't have much good in him. To put it bluntly, he's a thug and a murderer and a thief. So why did millions of readers identify with him and like the book? Does identifying with a "nice" bad guy have anything to do with us also usually liking the underdog? Probably. Shucks, I understand there's now even a television show of a serial killer that has a big fan base. I don't really know why we like the bad guy or the underdog. I was just wondering. I suppose we identify with them in some way but that's about as far as I can go, although I'm sure psychologists would have any number of explanations if I asked.

Book Reviews
A Five Year Plan by Philip Kerr has an ex-con and ex-mobster as the good guy. All he wants is to hijack a bunch of drug money from yachts being transported across the Atlantic from a mob boss who has him on a hit list. A problem rises when a female FBI agent is also on the ship, believing drugs are in another of the yachts. On the way he falls in love with her, compounding his problem. A real fun read and you find yourself pulling for the bad guy.

I've just gotten into Steve Martini's legal mystery/thrillers and so far have enjoyed the two I've read, Double Tap and Compelling Evidence. I've ordered two more of his books. I like this type of book. I suppose because it's similar to an arena contest mixed with a mystery. And of course the courtroom is our surrogate for duels in some cases. Anyway, Martini does the genre extremely well, so if you like this type book I recommend him highly. Writing several days later, I've finished two others, The Attorney and The Judge. They are just as good as the first two I mentioned.

While collaborating with Doc Travis (Travis S. Taylor) on a new book, I thought of Fredrick Brown's The Mind Thing, where the protagonist is a scientist with a doctorate in Electronics. The character reminded me so much of Doc Travis that I took the book down from its shelf and re-read it. Fredrick Brown didn't write very many science fiction novels, but the ones he did write are very good. I have all of them. Immediately after reading The Mind Thing I also read his humorous science fiction spoof, Martians go Home. I love that book. The movie made from it is immanently forgettable, though. Any time you get a chance to read books by Fredrick Brown, do so. He's good. He also wrote mysteries and was an acknowledged master of the short, short story genre. He wrote hundreds of them, most of which have been collected into anthologies.

I read three of my own books which are in the process of print publication. All are available as ebooks. The Melanin Apocalypse, (now available in print) where a man-made virus is killing all people of color in the world was one. I posted an excerpt from it in last month's newsletter. And as I stated in the book, it is a novel I felt almost impelled to write and I sincerely hope none of the events depicted in the novel come to pass. Next was The Focus Factor where a scientist whose wife and son have just been killed by illegal immigrants turns his biological research into a method of not only solving the illegal immigrant problem but just about every other ill besetting America as well. One review source, Baryon Magazine, stated it should be required reading by anyone of voting age! And last was the just released Bark! where a little weenie dog is the only thing standing between us and an insidious alien invasion. Can he save the world? Read and find out, if you can stop laughing long enough (once you get into the book).

Mistletoe Meet
"Darrell met his wife Betty while he was working as a lab manager at a hospital in Texas. He trapped her under a mistletoe sprig and they were married a year later."

That's an excerpt from my biography, which appears on the back cover of most of the books I've had published in the last ten years. Here's the full story of how it happened.

Soon after taking the job of Chief Laboratory Technologist at the county hospital in Conroe, Texas in 1976, I spotted a neat looking nurse about my age in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. I became determined to meet her. First, I asked around and found out her name. Then, it being the season, I attached a sprig of mistletoe above the table where the laboratory specimen log book was kept. Next, I called Betty and told her that the last time she had signed a specimen in at the lab she had committed an error and needed to come immediately and correct it.

Betty couldn't imagine what kind of mistake she had made so she came running to the lab--where I lay in wait by the log book. When she arrived, I stopped her.

"Show me the mistake I made!" she demanded.

I pointed at the mistletoe. When she tilted her head up to look, I quickly leaned over and kissed her.

She was startled, but didn't appear displeased so the next day I called and asked her out. We had our first date on New Year's Eve and were married exactly a year later.

Betty remarked to friends afterward "If I hadn't been so surprised, I probably would have been more cooperative."

All I remember is the tickled smile she had on her face after being caught like that.

It's been well over thirty years now and we still laugh about how I tricked her--and how well it worked out! And it makes fun reading for all the fans of my books.

Science Fiction And Cern
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument, a particle accelerator, set to go on line soon at CERN, in Geneva. It promises to revolutionise our understanding of the miniscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.

Two beams of subatomic particles called 'hadrons' will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy. Teams of physicists from around the world will analyse the particles created in the collisions using special detectors in a number of experiments.

What I'm wondering is how many, if any, science ficiton stories and novels the findings will make obsolete.

One thing for certain, there are going to be new discoveries and some of them could be earth shaking in nature. And they're just around the corner. Isn't this an exciting time to be alive?

Our Outsanding Medical System--Duh!
Damn Crazy medical system. 1. Betty has toothache. 2. Goes to dentist. 3. Dentist can't do, goes to oral surgeon. 4. Oral surgeon can't do in office. Make appointment to have done in hospital. 5. Hospital can't do without doctor's okay. 6. Doctor can't okay without doing new physical, as if she hasn't been seeing him for umpty years. Make appt with doctor for physical exam, X-Ray, EKG and lab tests. 7. Clerk loses papers and hospital extraction delayed. 8. Papers found, forwarded to Oral Surgeon who says ten days later is as soon as tooth can be extracted. 8. Cancellation allows earlier date. 9. Tooth extracted.

Total time elapsed: six weeks. All this time, Betty is in pain, taking narcotics and antibiotics, which in turn upset her whole system, causing other aggravations. All for a single tooth.

Dentist, oral surgeon, general practitioner, pathologist, anesthesiologist, and the hospital all get a piece of her. Her money, that is. Or your tax money, rather.

There must be a better way!

And if that wasn't enough, she was just recovering from the extraction when she came down with the crud - and still has to have a root canal this week. I think she would just as soon have skipped April and May if she could have.

As of this writing, the 23rd of April, she had a relapse from the crud and had to cancel the root canal and our trip to see my brothers and sister.

Bain Muses
Upon reflection, I wonder if reading at the table contributed to my two divorces? Nah--couldn't be. Betty doesn't mind, so why should they have? Of course she reads at the table, too.

I've read that reading at the table is rude, but we sure don't see anything wrong with it. Personally, we both believe that relaxing at a meal with a good book helps digestion and contributes to a happy marriage. And even if it doesn't we both like it, so there!

Are you the type person who while reading a book is at the same time wondering how it's going to end? Or the sort who just reads and enjoys it as you go along and let the ending take care of itself? Betty is the first type; I'm the second. I have no idea whether this is a significant fact or not.

Lost Books
I sent a friend my only copy of The Mind Thing by Fredrick Brown. I can't find a used copy at Amazon. I've read it dozens of times but I wanted someone else to enjoy it. So many of the old books are being lost, really good ones. It makes me sad. I think sometimes that the digital age will keep that from happening again, but I'm not so sure. The way technology changes so fast, the method books are recorded has a lot to do with accessibility (actually, this applies to all information, not just books). Suppose technology changes enough that the way digital data is accessed can't be used on old books or data recorded digitally years ago unless they are constantly updated into the newer hardware and software. Remember the old five inch floppy disks? Would you be able to access information you stored on those things now? Some specialized computer sites might be able to but a regular person couldn't. I think more books will be lost. And I'm still sad about it.

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
May 2008

 

Excerpts From Bark!

The area of pine straw covering the place where the Testers were hiding while the injured one healed began shifting. A moment later the two Testers emerged, senses alert and ready to assume the shape of any nearby animal should they be threatened. There was nothing around to bother them at the moment..

..The aliens, in slow fits and starts, moved toward the Stone's house, driven by unconscious needs. Some went astray, or were eaten by predators, but the majority stayed close to where they sensed sapient beings, and close to the originals. The Testers weren't in a great hurry but they were implacable. They moved and reproduced as their peculiar genes dictated, aiming to eventually duplicate the most intelligent of the native fauna, the humans...

...Gordon Ruttledge was called Gordo by all his friends. They had met Gordo while working overseas right after they married. He was a genius who had once worked for NASA as a xenobiologist, but been fired for bringing his flask to work with him and uncapping it periodically during the day. As Gordo put it, "A little nip now and then keeps the creative juices bubbling. NASA is just too goddamned hidebound to see the advantages of stimulating the brain cells at timed intervals. I showed them figures but those MBAs these days don't understand simple math."...

...Gordo's calculations weren't understood even by the brightest minds at NASA. Most of them thought he was crazy and wondered how he had ever gotten a job there to begin with. After NASA fired him, he worked as a pharmacist in the Texas prison system for a while, making use of one of his many degrees. He was employed now at the University of Houston as a professor of biology, happily subverting freshmen and doing research no one else even remotely comprehended..

...Gordo noticed Tonto after they were inside, and greeted him after he had his hands on a beer, the first thing he always looked for wherever he went. "Well, hello, pup. You're new here. Come see old Gordo and I'll give you a sip of beer."

Tonto cocked his head and eyeballed the hairy apparition with his impaired vision. He approached cautiously, trying to decide if it was human or not. Gordo poured a dollop of cold beer into the palm of his hand and held it out. Tonto sniffed, circled the hand, and sniffed some more.

"Hurry up, dog, or I'll drink it myself."

Tonto touched his nose to the beer, then shook his head. He came back, touched it again, then gave it a lap. And another lap. In a couple of seconds he had Gordo's hand clean.

"Okay, I guess we can be friends now," Gordo said. "But you're a tiny little fellow; you better grow some more before we let you try the hard stuff."

Tonto left Gordo and bumped into the leg of a chair. He backed up then headed for the door. In his little addled doggie mind, it was time to go to work.

"Hey, Gordo, you have to see this," Damon said to their guest. "Our new pup is going to work."

"Work?" Gordo appeared to be horrified. "Poor little fellow, not even grown and already having to carry lunch buckets and punch fucking time clocks. What's the world coming to?"

They followed Tonto toward the back door. Damon opened it and Tonto bounded away, heading for the clear area of the tarmac behind the parked car and trucks.

"Now he's on the job," Damon told Gordo as he closed the door behind them. "You've never seen anything like it."

But instead of working, Tonto began barking, a frenzied torrent of shrill yelps neither Damon nor Beth had ever heard before..

..Tonto was having none of it. He knew that the human he owned was in dire danger and he had to protect him. He gave Damon a warning bark, trying to tell him to stay clear, then he attacked, accepting the punishment of the electrical shock he knew he would get. He yelped in agony as he passed the wire, then he was clear...

..."Don't be silly, Gordo," Beth said. "Jewels on a rabbit? You've had too much beer."

"I haven't even had a half a case today yet, not to mention that it's impossible to have too much. Too little maybe, but not too much. And this little fucker does have jewels, I shit you not. See?" He pointed to the upended rabbit cupped in his hand. Three tiny glittering, faceted jewels arranged in a triangular pattern adorned the dead animal's belly, large enough to be clearly seen in the fur. "What I want to know is why the little bastard thought it had to disguise itself as a regular rabbit when it's obviously something different. It's like it was a spy or an alien in enemy territory or . alien? Be goddamned. I bet."..

.."A one-balled wonder dog. Damon, you better guard him real close; he may be the only creature on Earth who can sniff out the aliens."

"Whoa! Aliens? Like from outer space?"

"Yeah. That's what I said. And notice I said it in fucking plural. Invaders don't usually try to conquer a world with one individual."...

...Two well trained freshmen biology majors, both female, came running at the sound of Gordo's whistle. He tossed the squirrel to the nearest of the pair.

"Eeeek!" She screamed and batted it fifty feet into the air.

"Goddamnit, Junie Mae, you grab that critter or back to school you go. That's a scientific specimen."

"Well, why didn't you say so?" Junie Mae pouted. She approached the dead squirrel, toed it with the tip of her tennis shoe then picked it up, acting as if she were sacrificing her virginity to the gods of science.

"Don't be so fucking ladylike, Junie Mae. Hold it like you would a hard dick and come along."

The other freshman co-ed snickered.

"What's the matter with you, Ruthie June? You never heard the term before?"

"You're crude, Dr. Ruttledge."

Her companion nodded. The two young women looked so much alike they could have been twins. Both had large breasts and wide hips and wore their hair gathered behind their necks and tied with scarves.

Apparently they were so low on the university food chain as to be unworthy of introduction; either that or Gordo simply forgot. He pretended that he hated having them around, an attitude which only made the co-eds think he was attractive and sexy. It was one problem Gordo had never been able to figure out.

"Come on in, ladies," Damon said. "I'm Damon Stone. My wife's name is Beth."

 

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