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Savage Survival

 

Bainstorming

Darrell Bain's Newsletter

October 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 © October 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:  
Book sale, Tonto again, The Long Way Home, Stupid priorities, Short prose offered to the public, Sexual function in women with elevated lipids, Newsweek article, Book report, Road to hell, Progress report, Conservative talk shows, World Trade Center, Excerpt from The Long Way Home

 

Book Sale!
One of my publishers, Twilight Times Books, is offering a Special Sale October 1st through November 15th. This is a great deal! See Below:

Oct 1 to Nov 15 only
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/print_books101509sale.html

Buy Savage Survival in Limited Edition hardcover for $21.00 and get one of Darrell Bain's popular trade paperbacks at a 50% discount
Doggie Biscuit! - $7.50
Life on Santa Claus Lane - $7.75
Strange Valley - $7.75
The Melanin Apocalypse - $8.50
http://twilighttimesbooks.com/print_books101509special.html

Tonto Again
The escapades of our ADHD, cross-eyed little miniature dachshund provides something to write about almost every newsletter. Last month I think it was playing with rabbits. This month I'll tell about his fascination with water. Any time Betty touches the water hose he is right there, turning in circles and jumping up and down in his eagerness to take a bite out of the stream of water coming from the hose. He never learns that he can't bite water but he never stops trying, either. And when Betty is finished watering and lays the hose down he bites at the water coming from it until she turns it off and then he drinks from the hose until the last drop of water has run out. When he drinks from his water bowl he apparently forgets what he's doing and laps and laps water until he finally chokes and spits up. He won't go out into the rain to do his business but if he's caught outside when it's raining he just stands in it, puzzled about where it's coming from, too dumb to come in out of the rain until we call him. He loves any source of water and likes nothing better than to investigate puddles after it has rained. As you may guess, Tonto frequently comes into the house all wet. We keep a towel handy to dry him off and he loves to have us to do it. Some days we think he likes to get wet so much because he likes to be dried off so much!

The Long Way Home
I'm pleased to announce the print edition ofThe Long Way Home is now available. It may be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or bookstores. It is the highest rated book by fans I've ever written, and I've turned out about 50 books in my career so far.

Stupid priorities
Our congress found money for a stimulus of almost a trillion dollars and another trillion or two to bail out our banks and auto companies but for some reason can't seem to find three billion a year to keep our nation in the forefront of manned space exploration. Space is teeming with economic non- polluting opportunities. Why is it so difficult for our leaders to realize how much science and technology means, not just to the nation but for all of us? And that's not even considering that space exploration would keep the pioneering and innovative spirit alive in the United States. Trillions for our idiot banks and bankers but no return to the moon and hardly any further manned exploration. I feel a great anger about this.

Short prose
The following may be used by anyone if my name is listed as the source.

Go young heroes,

into the night, the dark eternity,

and bring back some stars.

Darrell Bain

Sexual function in women with elevated lipids
It has been known for some time that elevated lipid levels in men impairs their sexual function to a certain extent but until recently no research had been done in this area with women as the focus. I just read a recent report on a study. It found that elevated lipid levels in women reduced their ability to reach orgasm, their capacity for arousal and the amount of lubrication produced. For men, this means that there might be another reason why your spouse isn't functioning sexually at the same level as in the past. It doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't love you any more. She may just have an elevated lipid level that is affecting her sexual function to an extent.

Newsweek article
Newsweek had a lead article recently titled "A Nation of Liars." Well, true, because everyone lies, most of us several times a day. However, the article was looking at the deeper meaning, at how so many lies by prominent people and institutions hurt the very social fabric of America. Lying also includes epidemic cheating which begins in school and continues into adult life. This pervading sense of lying and cheating is sucking the very soul out of our nation and liars, thieves and cheats in business, religion, the military and particularly congress lead the way. Was it ever any different? I like to think so but I'm not sure. I do know that when I was in school there were cheats but I don't believe there was the wholesale epidemic and endemic cheating that is reported now. Or perhaps our technology has made it easier to lie and cheat? Could that be it? I don't know but I do know I don't like it. When so many of the leaders of our country and the managers of our institutions and businesses consist of a bunch of liars I don't know if there's much hope left.

Book Report
I've done a lot of reading this past month. As always, I only report on books that are so good I think most anyone would enjoy them regardless of which genre they normally prefer.

Slow Train To Arcturas is a nifty science fiction novel with a really new twist. It took a few chapters to really get into it but after that I was enthralled. Meeting alien species is not new, of course, but the way they meet in this book is what makes it so good. A fine job by Eric Flint and Dave Freer.

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch is a well known character, a superlative but unorthodox detective. In Brass Verdict, he plays a subordinate role but that's okay; defense attorney Mickey Haller and his crew serve very well to keep the action rolling while Harry works in the background. Haller is just coming back to the law after a year away from it and suddenly has all the cases of a murdered lawyer dumped on him, including that of a movie mogul accused of a double murder.

Another by Michael Connelly is The Black Echo. I hadn't read it in a long time but it was as good as I remembered. He won the Edgar Award for this first mystery novel. It features Harry Bosch as a young detective.

The Course of Empire by Eric Flint and K.D. Wentworth is another rather unusual science fiction novel in that it thoroughly explores the alien viewpoint as well as the human. The alien characters are equally as lovable and hateful as the human ones. A good mix in a great novel of an earth conquered but still resentful. There seems to be no end to Flint's writing talents and Wentworth appears to be a fine addition.

On the Grind is Stephen J. Cannell's newest Shane Scully novel (or the newest I've read) and is a bit different in that this time Scully goes underground by being thrown off the police force and thrown out the house by his wife with only three people knowing it's all a sham. This keeps Scully's name in the mud and provides a good background to mix with some nefarious and crooked cops and politicians. It keeps the tension going all the way through. Just about anything by Cannell is a good read.

Steve Martini writes legal thrillers in a matter of fact prose, detailing legal affairs in terms easy to understand. Shadow of Power is about a supposedly missing letter by Thomas Jefferson that could undermine our understanding of Slavery and our constitution. A really good read, I thought. There were a couple of pages where his analysis of what has occurred after the passage of one of the amendments to the constitution bears quoting. See Road to Hell, below.

And one more by Michael Connelly. Echo Park is one of his newer ones. The plot has Harry Bosch thinking a mistake he made years ago kept a serial killer free and led to the deaths of nine more women. I like the way the novels by Connelly are partly driven by the conflict between Bosch's free-wheeling ways and the political minds of the upper echelon of the police department.

Road to Hell
It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe there is a lot of truth to that. I can't say that good intentions were what drove passage of the constitutional amendment allowing the government to impose an income tax on citizens or not but here's a quote from Steve Martini's novel Shadow of Power:

Only the insane of the eighteenth century could foresee that a bleak two lines added to the Constitution a century after its creation, authorizing the collection of a federal income tax, could result in a seventy year rampage by government to mentally rape it's own citizens with millions of pages of totally unintelligible tax laws, rules, regulations and forms.

Today we have special federal tax courts because the law is so convoluted that ordinary federal judges are presumed too ignorant and unschooled to understand the complexities of laws and forms that every citizen down to the village janitor is required to understand, to obey, and to sign under penalty of perjury and threat of imprisonment.

Pretty scary, huh? Perhaps next month I'll tell you what Martini has to say about the way Social Security is run, quoting from the same book, Shadow of Power.

Progress Report
The e-book edition of The Best of Bainstorming got lost somewhere. It has been submitted to th Fictionwise, Kindle and Sony ebook web sites again and should be available by October 5th at the latest.

The Long Way Home continues near the top of the science fiction best seller list and also continues to be the highest rated book by fans that I've ever written.

After a vacation of a month or so I've finally begun another book. It has no title yet but perhaps I'll have one for you by next month.

Conservative Talk Shows
Anyone who has read my books or followed the Bainstorming newsletter knows that my political beliefs are rather conservative. I used to like listening to Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and the like but they are fast losing their appeal for me. It seems that they have become increasingly strident, so much so that they appear to be straining to find any bad thing to say about the Obama administration. That I could stand, although I don't care much for stridency, but they have also begun, IMHO, to distort quotes from newspaper articles, speeches and/or pending and past legislative offerings in order to convey meanings the authors in no way intended, in much the same manner they accuse liberals of doing. I can't say I'm a fan of Obama, nor the Democrats, Republicans and congress in general, but their opponents should at least stick to facts when opposing other viewpoints.

World Trade Center

I just recently read that the World Trade Center took seven years to build. Eight years after its destruction there is still nothing there but a depressing pit. What does this say about the present state of America? With the way litigation and politics govern our actions these days it might be another eight years before anything is done. How sad.

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
October 2009

 

Excerpt from The Long Way Home

 

"XO, Astrogator, take us out of here on a path opposite from the once we came in on," Beauchamp ordered. Her voice was shaky but firm. There was nothing else she could do and she wasn't going to risk her other longboat boat or any more of her crew trying to communicate with those xenophobes. It was time to go home to earth and report what they'd found. Even then she intended to zig zag a bit to throw off any pursuit in case they left noticeable traces of their passage. No sense in taking chances and no telling when a Monkeyclaw interstellar ship might show up. Best to start for Earth while they could.

"Vector is set, Captain," Joyce Chambers said. "We can warp out of here in two hours to the next primary we had targeted."

"Good. We'll get away from here then we can start picking the primaries to get us home," Beauchamp responded. She felt sick inside. The loss of more then sixty men and women was her fault. She should never have sent the longboat to the surface, not before getting a positive response. She knew now that it would never have come. These aliens were either scared shitless of contact or were so paranoid they shot at anything coming close to them. Or maybe they were evolved for xenophobic behavior. Whatever, it made no difference to those who had died.

"XO, I'll be in my cabin for a few minutes. If I'm not-"

"Contact! Vampires! Vampires!"

Chapter Two

XO Gordon Roxley's shouted warning rang through the control room. It was replaced seconds later by the urgent tones of General Quarters reverberating through the ship.

Beauchamp turned her head so quickly that her loosely gathered mane of hair couldn't keep up. It brushed across her shoulders then fell into place as she shouted the first essential command of any encounter in space.

"Shields up! Thrusters on!"

Her reaction was the result of hours upon hours of simulations but never for an instant had she thought to hear the warning cry of incoming hostile missiles on an exploration voyage, or hear herself utter the defensive words with such fearful urgency.

She may as well have saved her breath. Gordon Roxley was already moving, his fingers flying as he brought the shields up and asked the control computer to give them options for anti-missile fire. While his fingers and voice communicated with the computer she stared at the holotank, fiercely willing it to be wrong. Unfortunately, there was no mistake. An alien spaceship had suddenly come into detection range. She knew it had to have been either stealthed or hiding somewhere on the other side of the big moon. Not that it mattered now. It had started shooting at them the instant it appeared, or perhaps even sooner if its detection instruments were better than Sam Johnston's.

"Fire Missiles One and Two!" Beauchamp ordered the instant Roxley's parameters appeared in the tank. Her words came out much more calmly than her first yell for the shields. She kept her eyes glued to the holoscreen and the two evil red icons distancing themselves from the other ship and heading toward them. She noted figures telling her the alien ship was even larger than Sam Johnston and that made her wonder what the enemy missiles would do to them. Their vector left no doubt of the target. They were heading for Sam Johnston and she had no idea of their power or whether their shields would hold against them. Neither did she know whether their defensive fire would be effective.

Only seconds after her order to fire anti-missiles two clusters of green point sources appeared in the tank. Those were their own with vectors pointing toward the hostile icons still blinking a lethal red as they advanced rapidly toward the ship. And less than a minute after that the emblems of her defensive missiles disappeared in pinprick bursts of light while the alien missiles came on, not bothered in the least.

Roxley's face was a startled mask. "Shit!" he said vehemently. "How in hell did they do that?" He glanced at Beauchamp with so much ire in his visage one would have thought he was blaming the Captain for the way his anti-missiles had been destroyed. He

turned back to his screen just in time to see the enemy missiles loose multiple energy pulses. The icons showing the balls of plasma energy winked rapidly as they came roiling at them at twice the speed of their source.

Beauchamp tensed. Her frozen features held for a moment then blanched. She staggered and sat down abruptly in her command chair as explosions ripped across Sam Johnston's shield walls with unexpected violence. The stern shield went down immediately. Raw energy hit the hull and bored through, tearing into the ship's thrusters. The bow and loading bay shields held, but barely. She knew they couldn't take another hit and began swiftly running through her options.

Her expression was controlled but tiny muscles at her jaw line were twitching, a sign of furious thought. She was rapidly going back over all their encounters with the Monkeyclaws, hoping something would occur to her to stop this obscene horror. This was the second system in the region of space they were exploring and the third attempted contact where the aliens had attacked without warning or response to their contact protocols which were almost pleading for a peaceful meeting. Two of the previous times it had been scouts the Sam Johnston carried that were attacked, and those from two different locations on what appeared to be a thinly settled world. They had been destroyed with no warning and for no apparent reason other than, perhaps, xenophobia on the part of the aliens. She had taken her ship out of the star system where it happened, thinking that as a colony world, perhaps they were too defense-minded to chance a meeting with unknown aliens.

In this new system, against the advice of her top officers, she had gone in deep then sent one of their two longboats to parley while she provided backup. It also appeared to be a colony world and was inhabited by the same species. She thought it was possible she hadn't taken enough time before initiating contact. For this encounter there shouldn't have been a doubt, not after a week of broadcasting. She wouldn't have come in this close had there been any sign of an interstellar ship in the system. She was merely trying to point out to the aliens that the longboat belonged to Sam Johnston. And she had ordered it to appear openly, unstealthed, so there could be no mistake.

The recordings from Shannon put a horrifying end to the mistaken idea. Scenes of the action had been.gruesome. The Monkeyclaws had swarmed over the remains of the boat after rendering it inoperable, tearing and rending the crew. Some of them had still been living. Beauchamp had shaken her head sadly after the scuttling and began retreating from the system. And now they were being fired on again. The alien starship was clearly bent on exterminating them. Or worse.

"Give it another try, Roxy," she said, and without waiting on him to answer she turned to Lt. Wesley Bonner.

"Wes, get the other longboat manned and provisioned with everything it can carry. Have them ready to launch on a moment's notice. Begin downloading all the information we have on these things to the boat then start a general download of our data store. And hurry. I don't think we have much time."

"What.?"

"In case they manage to disable the other thrusters and try to board," she said, nodding at the screen. "There! They just killed our second missile launch and the next time they hit us we'll lose our shields completely. Even if they don't board they're going to kill us. The longboat is going to be the only chance to tell earth about these psychopathic bastards. Now go!" The description fitted the aliens, at least from the human viewpoint, although their actions might be quite normal from their perspective. Whatever, she knew now that it had been a mistake to come in so far from the area of the primary's gravity well that she could use to transit from the system. Backing up the number one longboat had seemed a good idea at the time but now she knew she should have kept the ship well back from the star where they could escape quickly but.she hadn't. There had been no sign of an enemy starship then and now it looked as if most, if not all of the crew were going to pay the price of her error.

Wesley stared at the captain for a moment then hurried away. How in hell does she know the aliens are going to board? It was only after entering the drop shaft toward the bay that the significance hit him. If they board, she'll have to scuttle! Standing orders from Exploration Headquarters required the Commanding Officer to safeguard the location of earth and its colonies at all costs despite prevailing opinion that an intelligent species would be friendly, should one ever be found. No one these days thought those orders would ever have to be carried out. It would be a simple matter, though. Overloading either of the fusion power plants would kill the ship and everyone on it should it or any of its personnel be taken prisoner with no chance of rescue.

"Joy, I want you put us on a bearing of three one niner, all speed with what we have left, then leave us and join the longboat. They'll need a better astrogator than Joseph Whistler if they manage to get away. Tell them to be ready at an instant's notice and make a random translation." The captain was still speaking calmly. Only someone who knew her well would be able to distinguish the bleak resolution beneath her composed voice.

Characteristically, Joyce Chambers carried out her orders before turning back to the captain. "What are you planning?"

Beauchamp looked as if she were studying the holotank but it was only a method of keeping her attention focused while she decided on what to tell the control room crew. She knew to the fraction of a light second the relative positions and speed of Sam Johnston and the other ship.

"Assuming they plan on boarding rather than just killing us and be done with it, I'm going to try getting the other longboat away. We can launch it while the ship itself shields it and by the time it's loose and under thrust, we'll both be behind the Jovian planet. That should cover us another seven or eight minutes. We have too much mass for its gravity well to transit from here but the longboat doesn't. With its momentum from us and on our present vector, Hurricane Jack can use the Jovian to transit farther out of the system almost immediately. After that they can utilize the primary's gravity well to get the hell out of this region of space. Hopefully, our friends there will let us get away with it. Also hopefully, they won't detect the longboat when it transits." She shrugged, knowing there was no way to tell how precise or accurate the aliens' detection and scanning systems were, although the accuracy of their missiles left little doubt it was as least as good as their own.

Joyce Chambers took one last look at the plot and nodded. "They can do it if Joe doesn't try to argue.

"See to it that he doesn't. We can't give them even a hint that we're from the Orion arm or where the home worlds are located. The boat needs to get well away from this region before heading for earth. Go now, and good luck. Get them back home, Joy."

"I will, Skipper. Godspeed." She brushed a stray tress of blonde hair back over her shoulder and departed before the captain could see her tears. She heard the all-ship com begin calling as she hit the drop shaft.

 

 

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