Responses to subjects brought up by this blog are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Subjects this month: Census Counting Illegal Immigrants?; We’re supposed to respect Islamic nations?; Coming Soon, Rogue Program, the book fans of Lyda Brightner have been waiting on!; Sometimes the Law is Wrong; Media bias; Book reviews; DEA harming older patients; State of America: Poverty, real poverty, employment and unemployment; Balkanizing of America and the World; Excerpt from Rogue Program.
Census Counting Illegal Immigrants?
Did the past census count illegal immigrants in the total? Of course they did. And those counts will and have been used in reapportioning the number of representatives each state will have in congress. What a travesty!
We’re Supposed to Respect Islamic Nations?
The new Egyptian President says America should respect Islamic beliefs and their sensitivity to their religion. Right. We should. Just as soon as all those nations quit rioting, burning the American flag, teaching their kids how bad America is, disrespecting us on their main television station, threatening to destroy Israel, Imans telling their congregation we’re the great Satan and they should wage jihad on us and carrying out innumerable terrorists attacks on us and our representatives overseas. When they stop all that and begin denouncing terrorism carried out by Muslims then maybe I’ll give them a little respect. Not until then. I’m not holding my breath waiting and I suggest you not do so either. You’ll die of from lack of air before it happens if it ever does. And for all the European nations catering to every little demand of their Muslim immigrants I suggest they read Tom Kratman’s Caliphate. It’s an eye-opener!!!!
Coming Soon, the book fans of Lyda Brightner have been waiting on!
Rogue Program is more than a sequel to my popular novel, Savage Survival. The original novel has been revised and expanded by 30,000 more words and then combined with the sequel to make one giant book, Rogue Program, essentially two books for the price of one!Almost from the time Savage Survival was published, fans and readers wrote asking, “What happened next?” This novel not only answers the question but includes a greatly expanded and revised version of the original novelwhich then segues directly into the sequel of that book. The two together make up Rogue Program. This is the longest work I’ve attempted and I’ve worked hard to make it both interesting, exciting and different from the usual run of science fiction. Lyda Brightner is a female protagonist anyone can identify with as she grows up with millions of other human captives of an unknown Alien species. Conditions are so harsh and change so often that death is a constant companion, winnowing the captives inexorably down to only a few thousand survivors out of fifteen million before they are returned to Earth. And then comes the hard part, trying to divine the motives of the Aliens who have never been seen. Only their mechanical avatars have been intermittently present during five long years of terrible struggles to live, with each change bringing ever-harsher conditions. What do the Aliens want? Why did they push millions of captive humans into environments where Survive or Die was the only option? What do they intend to do next now that the Survivors are back? Read about Lyda Brightner and how she manages to survive by her quick wits, her innate bravery, her compassion for those weaker than herself and a determination never to give in to the tortures of captivity that leave so many older and physically stronger than her by the wayside. Rogue Program is a coming of age novel like no other and Lyda is a character you’ll remember for a long, long time. Follow her life from a privileged tween into an unimagined hell where she must constantly fight for her life, and on to an Enclave on the moon left by the Aliens, where the biggest puzzle of the galaxy waits to be solved by the few Survivors of alien captivity. Failure to find the answer of this last test may mean oblivion not only for Lyda and her fellow survivors but for the whole human race. Don’t miss Rogue Program! Coming Soon! Watch my Website, www.darrellbain.com and the next Bainstorming for the announcement.
Sometimes the Law is Wrong
We’re told we should obey the law but how often have laws proven to be bad in the end and finally revoked? Lawful segregation was a bad law everyone remembers, although some of the ways it was discarded were and are almost as bad as the law was to begin with. How about quotas and special privileges or busing because of past wrongs, for example? Probably not enough bad laws are discarded because many are still on the books. And others have yet to be passed even though proposed. How about the Dream Act, offering a path to citizenship for people brought into the country illegally when they were too young to have a say about it and have lived here ever since? Yes, they are here illegally but certainly not by their own intentions. These people should be granted outright citizenship in my opinion so long as they have worked or paid taxes or been good students and caused no problems. To send them home to a country they know nothing about is cruel and unusual punishment. How would you like it if, for instance, you were sent back to Lebanon or Russia because your parents brought you here illegally when you were a year old? You’d say it was stupid and cruel, wouldn’t you? Then why are some members of congress making such a fuss? Damned if I know, other than maybe they think the erstwhile kids would vote against them or something like that. That’s a good example of a law that should be passed. Now here’s an example of a bad law that should be revoked. The directive to put ethanol into our gas which sends up grocery prices, causes additional pollution from fertilizer runoff and uses up as much or more energy to finally get it into gas tanks as the energy it was supposed to save. That’s a stupid law.
Personally, I think every law passed ought to have a sunset provision in it that would automatically render it null and void after a certain length of time. That way if it proved to be a bad law it could be removed. If good enough it could be passed again. Simple, probably too simple for Congress.
I am neither a Republican nor Democrat. I am conservative on some issues and more liberal on others. I like my news straight, without it being slanted one way or another by leaving out parts of sentences or reporting what’s said completely out of context to make it sound one way or another. Is it too much to ask reporters to live up to their standards and give us the news without any bias to it? Apparently so. What a shame. Our nation was founded on principles, not propaganda. Reporters are supposed to have principles. I bet if one of those talking heads would go off the script just once and tell how the boss requires him/her to report the news another job offer would be on their table within minutes. Believe it or not, people respect honesty. Or they used to, anyway.
I just finished The Medical Book, from witch doctors to robot surgeons, 250 milestones in the history of medicine by Clifford Pickover. For anyone who is the least bit interested in Medicine and how we got from Witch Doctors to the present day technological marvels in medicine, this is the book for you. In fact, if you just like history, it’s a great book. It is non-technical so that those who haven’t worked in the medical field can still enjoy reading it. It is well organized and beautifully illustrated. As both an author and an inveterate reader, I can just about guarantee that anyone who picks up this book and begins it will finish it and keep it on their bookshelf. That’s how good it is.
Alien Seeds is a book written by myself, Darrell Bain. I had fun with it because I based the two principal characters partly on myself and my next younger brother. Don’t believe everything about us that I wrote, just enjoy the adventure when one gold-prospecting brother finds more than he bargained for. If you like those real wild yarns by Koontz or Rollins, you’ll almost certainly like Alien Seeds.
David Weber’s Safehold series is somewhat akin to his Honor Harrington series other than it takes place on a planet that is the last stronghold of humanity where a theocratic government has to be overthrown and the population freed from a monstrous lie that has governed their world for almost a thousand years, holding the level of technology to that which can be driven by wind, water or muscle power only. So far he’s written five books in the series and the sixth was just released. It is a great series. My only complaint is the way he has the names spelled of all the characters. To me it makes them hard to remember but once you get past that you’ll really enjoy it, especially if you like tales from the age of sail. My only question is did Weber do all his research on sailing and sail warfare or did he have help? Not that it matters. I love the way he is gradually introducing new technology from its origin in a new empire that is challenging the theocratic rulers of the world. And I like that it’s a long series. However, at the rate it’s progressing in getting htat world back on the right track, I hop ehe lives long enough to finish the series. Heck, I hope I live long enough to finish it!
Friday by Robert A. Heinlein portrays a future in which America has become balkanized and international corporations actually rule the world. For a book written 30 years ago he was unusually prescient since it seems to me that the world and the United States are going in exactly that direction. One of the statements by a character in the book describes a sick and declining nation as one where people identify with their own groups much more than they do as citizens of their nation. Does that sound like where America is going? It does to me.
DEA harming older patients
The DEA is so focused on removing prescription pain killers from the black market that they are harming patients who really need the narcotics but can’t get them. Family practitioners are scared to death of the DEA, especially when it comes to Oxycontin, which is paradoxically, one of the least habit-forming narcotics when used as directed. The normal dosage for chronic severe pain is two 40 mg. tablets per day, usually taken morning and afternoon or evening. However, try getting that much for arthritis, back pain and so on which is chronic and long lasting, especially if you can’t take a regular muscle relaxing drug like Robaxin that has been around for half a century and have to rely on valium, and see how much of a hassle it is. The DEA bureaucrats shouldn’t have any problems distinguishing between a Family Practitioner doing his/her best to relieve their patients from chronic pain and a pill mill where everyone who comes in gets whatever they want but apparently the DEA isn‘t that smart. About par for the course with bureaucratic nannies.
State of America Series: Poverty, Real Poverty, Employment and Unemployment.
I guess just about everyone has seen reports on how many of our citizens are living in “poverty”. Folks, most Americans have no idea what real poverty is. Our idea of poverty for a family of four is an income of under $22,000 dollars. Granted, you’re not going to live high on the hog with that kind of money but you can get along. You just don’t have as many luxuries as most people who earn more money. I’ve seen real poverty. Kids with their ribs sticking out. Old people and cripples living on the street and begging for pennies. People subsisting on rice and little else. Shanties for shelter, frequently with whole families living in one room. No running water, no sewage system. And so on. Now that’s what I call poverty. Here in America we give “poor” people food stamps. These vouchers aren’t just for staple foods. You can also buy soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, ice cream and a host of other foods that I could only dream about when I was a kid. And I see those items being purchased all the time with food stamps.
When I was a teenager I thought nothing at all of going to the Good Will and shopping for clothes. Heck, they wore just as good as new ones for the most part and hardly anyone knew the difference.
And think about this: when was the last time you saw anyone starving in this country other than as deliberate abuse of kids by parents or stepparents? Rarely if ever. Right? Now go to India. Or Africa, especially. You can find all kinds of starving people. They have no social supportive net at all the way we do. Probably there are a couple of billion people in the world right now who would feel as if they were living like kings if they could have what our “poverty” population does.
I feel sorry for anyone who’s out of a job through no fault of their own. I don’t feel sorry for anyone who is unemployed but won’t get out and hustle when jobs are available and won’t take jobs that are “beneath” them. I swear, most of these people who are unemployed would starve to death before they would even try picking tomatoes or doing common labor. For all our unemployed, you can go to any place where day laborers gather hoping for some kind of work, any kind, and know what you’ll see? Almost exclusively people of Hispanic origin, probably most of them here illegally and most of them damn glad when they get a day’s work, and practically hysterical with happiness if they happen to run into a job that will last for a few weeks or months.
At the time of this writing, Newt Gingrich was running for the Republican nomination for president. He said one thing I totally agreed with: Give the teenagers jobs in schools as janitors. It certainly wouldn’t hurt them, might help them develop good work habits and would give them pocket money and something useful to do instead of getting into trouble. I worked in the school cafeteria in grade school to pay for my meals and threw a morning and evening paper route once I turned thirteen. It didn’t hurt me a bit and I bought my own clothes and paid for my school lunches and whatever extras I had. I’m sure many kids would jump at the opportunity for some work. Unfortunately, schools won’t allow this any more, or should I say that the federal government which controls the schools and has nannyized them won’t allow it? That would be closer to the truth.
In the last Bainstorming I wrote about food trucks going into poor neighborhoods (notice I said poor, not disadvantaged. I call a spade a spade) and selling 95% junk food paid for 95% of the time with a food stamp card. Today there are something like 50 million or so Americans getting food stamps. Where in hell does it stop? I have no quarrel with food stamps aiding the unemployed, physically disabled and those working at minimum wage with kids. But I definitely don’t agree with what they are allowed to buy with those food stamps. The stamps should be used for staple foods, period. It would provide healthier nutrition and might even impel some of the people to seek employment or better employment. Because you see, most of them aren’t really poor, not when compared to real poverty.
Balkanizing of America and the World
In the book review section I mentioned a book written way back when that saw the balkanization of America coming. He also saw the international corporations wielding power across national borders. If you’ve followed the news for a lifetime like I have you’ve seen how the world is breaking up into smaller and smaller groups. Just look at how many nations there are now compared to right after WWII. The same thing is true of America. We haven’t broken up yet, but like Heinlein, I can see it coming. Every single minority group in America is loyal to their group first and the nation second. Politicians have aided and abetted this by catering to so-called minority groups, giving them just about every little thing their hearts desire in order to hopefully, capture their votes. Look at second language instruction and the pitiful notion that ballots should be in many different languages when English is the language of the nation and the language the constitution and its laws are written in. It is a sad situation, watching the decline of a once proud and mighty nation. I hope I don’t live to see America breaking up into different groups but I can sure see it coming.
Excerpt From Rogue Program (coming soon!)
Lyda wanted to turn away, to not watch the fight but she was as mesmerized as a bird held in thrall by the pitiless eyes of a hungry snake. The movements of both were blurringly fast and determined. Their bodies met briefly then separated, met again in a tangle of arms and legs and flashing knife blades and a splatter of blood. The man staggered then fell, victim of an opened abdomen. His guts were spilling out along with a rush of blood from a slashed artery. The woman stood and watched warily, unhurt but for a cut on one arm. The wall between Lyda and the fighters became opaque again.
This then, had been a demonstration of what was to come for her and probably many others. Just another way for the aliens to thin the ranks of humans, and in their usual fashion. Only the strongest and smartest and the fastest thinkers would survive. This was the most terrible alien environment of them all. Good God, she thought to herself. Don’t they understand that there is room for differences in human temperament? We can’t all be superior leader-types. We need other kind of people too, damn it! But she was unable to carry her reflections further because the wall opposite her opened and a woman a good ten inches taller than her was shoved into the room by an unseen force. Knives dropped to the floor beside each of them.
Lyda was thinking even as she saw the falling knives. Rather than take time to bend and scoop up the one by her she attacked bare-handed. Just as the woman was raising up with her knife, Lyda lashed out with a kick that caught her opponent’s kneecap before she had her balance. Bone crushed and her leg bent at an awkward angle. A second kick hit her knife hand, knocking it loose and causing her to shift her weight on to her mangled knee. She fell and Lyda fell with her, knee planted squarely in her solar plexus, leaving her gasping and straining for air. Only then did Lyda pick up a knife, her opponent’s rather than her own.
Had the woman’s eyes pleaded against her impending death Lyda was not sure she could have completed the fight. As it was, she simply turned her head away and waited on the killing blow. Lyda waited, then looked up and saw the sharp spikes begin descending downward, and realized there was no choice. A wound didn’t finish the fight. Only death of one or the other within a ten minute limit would satisfy the Aliens, and damn them to hell and back. Lyda delivered the death blow with a slash across the throat, ducking to avoid the spurting blood from the woman’s carotid artery. Less than two minutes later she breathed her last.
Lyda stood up slowly, tears in her eyes, sorry almost beyond despair at what she had been forced to do. But there was no rest. Part of the floor itself whisked the body away through a suddenly open exit in a wall, and a man was shoved through it, knife already in hand. He sported a bruised cheek as his only wound from what she thought must have been his fight. He was breathing faster than normal.
Lyda saw her chance and attacked while the man was still partially winded. He was bigger but not quite as strong and she was still fresh, having exerted hardly any energy during her short fight to the death. She got in one swift blow that bruised his knife arm, then moved in a way that would conserve her energy while making him spend even more. Seeing what was happening and becoming desperate, he tried to force the action to a conclusion, the worst thing he could have done. Using his tiring muscles to her own advantage, she moved swiftly aside and tripped him as he passed then buried her knife in his neck at the base of his skull where he was least expecting it. She felt the crushing impact as the blade drove upward through the cervical vertebrae and the base of his skull. He was dead before she wrenched the knife free.
Again there was little rest. She was barely given time to think before the body was moved away and a living being replaced it, but this time she did think to recover the dead man’s knife before it was removed, too. She shoved it through the belt at the back of her pants to use as a spare. She was startled for a moment because it was no human who replaced the dead man. She found herself facing something like a hairy ape about her own size, but it had four arms rather than two. Her mind worked quickly, analyzing what advantages and disadvantages four arms would give the creature. It held only one knife in a lower arm while it had claws like a cat’s extended from the fingers of the other lower arm. The two top ones had their hands doubled into fists to use as weapons. She shuffled away from its first snarling charge while watching both sets of arms and trying to guess which set or even which one would be used when she saw it shift its eyes.
She guessed right. It was able to use both sets of arms at once. She thought it would use the top set to try clubbing her face or head while coming in low with the knife in its left lower hand and claws in the right lower one, making slashing movements intended to disembowel her. There was no way to handle all four arms at once. She met its charge with ducked head, purposely absorbing the punishment of a blow while catching its knife hand with her own left. Its claws merely scraped her arm as she kept its knife from her middle by the simple expedient of meeting the hand holding it with her own knife and hamstringing it at the wrist. The creature’s knife dropped to the floor. It cried, an anguishing howl, when it knew the fight was lost. The howl diminished to a gurgle with the force of Lyda striking upward with her blade between its lower ribs and into its heart and lungs. She wrenched her knife free and shoved the animal away from her. She couldn’t work up any sympathy for it as she had for the humans she had just killed, nor was there much time for it.
Lyda wiped her arm where the claws of the non-human creature had opened a row of shallow cuts several inches long. The wound had already stopped bleeding. She was breathing a bit faster now as she set herself for her next opponent and wondered how many she would ultimately have to fight before she was done. She gave no thought at all to dying herself. She knew the least little diminution of self-confidence might be fatal.
The ape man’s body was gone and a man almost twice Lyda’s size entered the room. He stared at her for a moment and grinned, then for the first time one of her foes spoke to her.
“Shit, little girl, I’d almost have time to fuck you before cutting your gizzard out.”
Lyda had been fighting so fast and furious that she hadn’t even considered trying to sense her opponent’s minds in order to judge what they intended, nor had she thought it necessary yet. This time she did, quickly, while the huge man hesitated. Size didn’t count for everything but such a huge disparity interposed a quality to him over and above whatever strength and intelligence he might possess. It seemed as though he filled half the room. She moved back a step while touching his mind with her own and found his strategy within seconds, the same he had already used to dispose of three opponents. He simply intended to come forward and use his mighty left arm to interpose it between himself and her knife. He had removed his shirt and wrapped it tightly around his forearm. It was slashed in a couple of places but evidently his size had so intimidated the opposing fighters that their blows had barely broken his skin. Some blood had seeped through the cloth but not much.
What to do? She circled out of reach while considering several ideas. He followed, attempting to force her into a corner. She decided to accept the gambit by pretending to be trapped. She glanced frantically from side to side as he came closer, then, sensing the right moment, she dove directly between his pillar-like legs, rolling onto her back as she did and kicking violently upward. Both feet hit his testicles. He gasped sharply with a drawn-in breath then doubled over with a deep moaning sound. Lyda was already on her feet. She plunged her knife into his kidney, wrenched it loose, then side-stepped and stabbed again at the other one. By then, even though he was still not mortally wounded, he was suffering such incredible pain that he was as helpless as a child. She finished him off by stabbing into the back of his neck and severing the spinal cord high enough up that he could no longer breathe nor move anything below his neck.
Lyda stood with her feet apart, drawing in deep draughts of air to replenish her oxygen while she allowed her arms to dangle and regain some strength.
Oh, how I wish it were an alien I could stick a knife into, she thought. I swear I would die happy if I could make just one of the damned malicious beings, whoever or whatever they are, suffer for all the misery and heartbreak they’ve caused us. I absolutely hate them. They are vile, sorry things and no matter what their purpose is they could have gone about it in a different way. They have to be that intelligent, what with the technology they control, so far beyond what we know. If I live long enough to see the end of their depraved, despicable purpose I want to hear an explanation for it―if any kind is possible, which I doubt.She shook her head and forced her mind away from that kind of thinking. It did no good and might even be wrong. What was the definition of Alien except Alien, different from the human way of thinking? Has to be, and I want to live to find it.
For some reason there was a short interval before the next fight. She used the time to try to reason out how the gladiator style bouts would continue. She thought she would probably be matched each time against someone with a different style of fighting or perhaps someone even bigger than her last opponent. Maybe even another non-human. Whatever, she took the much appreciated time to hurriedly run though her mind the gamut of all the possible ways she might be attacked and figure out a counter for each. So quickly and efficiently did her mind work now that the whole process took little more than moments. She sighed, drew a deep breath and got ready for whatever might come next.
Chapter Twenty Eight
It was well that she had thought to reason out all the ways in which she might have to defend herself as well as how to counterattack each. The death duels went on and on, gradually sapping the strength of both her mind and body. However, she noted that her opponents were in the same condition. One or two came to her in such bad shape, wounded or winded so badly, that she felt guilty at having to kill them to preserve her own life. However, the very fact of winning and having to kill each time ate into her soul, tiring her more than mere physical exertion ever could. The only factor that kept her going was figuring out that every one of her adversaries had some mental or physical flaw that neither she, nor any of the really good leaders she had met, cared for. Withdrawing her knife from between the breasts of a slight, very pretty woman who looked to be barely out of her teens but who had fought so savagely and intelligently that it almost cost her own life caused a violent nausea. All that had really been wrong with the young woman was that she used sex so much to gain her ends. The brief contact of minds made Lyda think she had been perfectly capable of attaining the same goals without prostituting herself but it was too late for her now.
She wiped the blade on her own trousers rather than touch the body. Looking into the pale blue lifeless eyes as she cleaned her blade made her stomach erupt and empty its contents. She gagged again and again, so sick she thought she would never recover. It was all she could do to swallow what gorge she had left in time to meet the next person intent on killing her, not with violent malice but just as she had been doing, taking the life of her foes in order to go on living.
Lyda was trembling with exhaustion and blood loss from several wounds. Even though the knife cuts soon stopped bleeding there had been two times when an artery had been cut, and once the femoral vessel was nicked at the juncture of her left thigh. It spurted blood in a thin arc that half-blinded the man she was in combat with at the time. That gave her a chance to end his life quickly and put pressure on the deep pulsing artery while she waited for the next fight. It was then that she came the closest yet to losing―and dying.
The man who faced her was a slim oriental no bigger than herself but he was completely unmarked and unarmed. He grinned with even white teeth, then very carefully bowed to her. She knew immediately it was the type of combat she had been dreading. She was going to have to face a master of martial arts and fight him while she was in a weakened state of mind and body. She gritted her teeth, then forced herself to give him a smile in return for his big grin, all she could manage. She bowed to him in the formal ritual, then deliberately tossed her knife into a far corner of the room and hurriedly backed away. She gathered all she knew of the art but still despaired. She was tired almost unto death while he appeared as fresh as if he were just beginning his first fight. But, she suddenly thought, perhaps his mental state might not be as good. She knew that the true masters made it a point of honor to never be the cause of another person’s death, and she knew positively that she was facing one who had just killed not once, but a number of times. She knew that point of honor was probably her one slim chance to overcome him.
“Aren’t you tired of killing yet?” Lyda asked in as even a voice as possible. “You look as if you’re happy that you’ve had a chance to kill a bunch of people.”
The slight smile he had been holding in place collapsed into an expression of anguish. She saw an even more agonized torment in his mind at the pinpoint accuracy of her analysis and she chose that moment to attack.
Lyda drew on the reserve of strength and steel determination that had sustained her for so long, buoying her mind to a state of superlative quickness that surpassed anything that had come before. It allowed her to resist the impulse to wait and watch for an opening against a clearly superior opponent. She attacked with a swarm of kicks and blows while using her mind to beat down his attempts to reverse the course of the fight and attack. She would not allow it. She vowed not to relent, not to let his mind recover from those two devastating questions she threw at him before the duel began. Mind controls the body and she would not let his mind give strength to his body, not now when it was in such a state of confused distress over the loss of his own self-respect, the broken sense of honor that had driven him to the heights of his profession. It was too much for him. She heard him groan with the agony of knowing defeat was coming on the wings of her superior mind. At the end he simply gave up and let her strike a final killing blow that ruptured his larynx and cut off his ability to breathe. Gasping for breath, she drew the spare knife from its place at the small of her back and gave him a quick grace to end his suffering.
For a long time Lyda stood bowed, her hands resting on her knees and her head hanging down. Her long hair had come loose during the final torrential flurry of movement and hung in sweat-soaked strands. She thought she might never be able to raise her head again but finally, slowly, she stood upright and waited. She didn’t know if she was even capable of fighting again but she finally gathered the remnants of her strength and the soundness of her abused mind and put them back together, waiting for whatever came next. She would never know whether she could have fought again, because that was the last bout.