Darrell Bain's Newsletter
From the disorganized office that's long overdue for a going over.
Note: Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.
Gazelle and Music, Book Sale, Current Projects, Book PDF Sampler, Book Report and more.
GAZELLE AND MUSIC
Internet radio has a use. I do my exercise on the Gazelle machine, and have found it's lots easier and far less boring if I have some music to go with it. I've found a station where I can pick the artist and it will play songs by him/her or songs similar. It's free except for the advertising, but the ads appear on my computer screen while I'm on the other side of the room so who cares? I don't see them; all I do is hear the music.
Music, Each Generation
Speaking of music, I remember when I was sixteen and heard my first rock and roll song. It was Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets. I remember how mesmerized I was. The music was like nothing I had ever heard before. It grabbed my attention immediately. I couldn't wait to hear the song again and again, and music similar to it. However...I don't care for any rock music after the early sixties. Too loud, too brutal, and too much screaming that I can't understand. Each generation has its own type of music. You can just about define how old a person is by asking what kind of music they like.
Book Sale on Web Site
A number of my books can be ordered from my web site. Click on Book Sale in the menu and see which ones. Any books ordered from my web site will be autographed. Who knows? They may become collector's items one of these days and be worth a lot of money. When I was searching for copies of books I'd read as a younger man, I had to buy a number of them from collectors. They were rather pricey, but worth even more money now. For instance, I have "City in the Sea" by Wilson Tucker, an autographed copy that's worth a bundle now. Also I bought one of the limited editions of David Brin's "Startide Rising" in hard cover that my heirs will appreciate. And so on. Remember, just click on Book Sale in the menu at the top of the page.
Born as We Are
Now and then I've wondered why I was born an American, with all the advantages in life that entails, and not someone in a third world country subject to famine, war, terror, lack of medicine, no freedom to say or write what they want to, and so forth. How come I'm not an African or Sumatran or Iranian? Do those kind of people wonder why they had to be born into a society or world with so many strikes against them in the first place? Who or what orders these things? Random chance? A supreme being? Quantum effects? It's probably useless to ponder such unexplainable things but I have the kind of mind that eternally wonders why and how. From the time I was eight or nine years old I've been pondering the imponderable and come to no better conclusion than that the big questions are unanswerable. Or unanswerable to my type of mind, I should say. Some people let religion explain things and seem content to do so. The problem is, there's a plethora of religions and they each claim to have the right answer. Personally, I don't think I'm smart enough to sort them out, even if one of them is right. So I guess I'll go on pondering the rest of my life.
Book PDF Sampler
Twilight Times, one of my major publishers, has put together an 84 page sampler of my books they've published. It contains introductory excerpts of nine of my books in Adobe Reader format. If you'd like a copy of this, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask me for the sampler. I'll be very pleased to send it to you, free of charge.
Corn Syrup in Food
Do you ever look closely at the ingredients in your food? Ever wonder where the epidemic of obesity comes from? Or why the multitude of patients with high cholesterol? Look at the list of ingredients in packaged food. Almost all of them have contain corn syrup. I first noticed this when I became a diabetic and needed to know what I was eating. My diabetes apparently resulted from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. That's what the VA says, and it's probably true. There's no diabetes on either side of my family as far back as I could check and I've never been overweight. Yet a few years ago my blood sugar started rising and a glucose tolerance test was definitive for diabetes. Anyway, my doctor says the ingredients in food have a lot to do with obesity and the rise in diabetes. I think he's probably right, to an extent.
*Note: I had already written this when I was perusing Piers Anthony's current newsletter and found essentially the same information there. Great minds?
I'm still working on my memoirs. The fifth and sixth installments are available now. They can be accessed right here on the web page. Just look in the menu and click Memoirs if you're interested. As noted in the first installment, I began the project in response to a number of fans who wanted to know something about my past life and how I became a writer and it sort of grew from there.
Special Synopsis and Ordering Information
*Note: Ordinarily when describing one of my books, I don't give away so much information, including what happens at the end. I'm making an exception for The Pet Plague Trilogy's anniversary edition. I don't think it will lessen the impact of the books any. In fact, I hope the synopsis of these three novels will entice you into picking up the book.
The following is a synopsis of all three novels of the popular Pet Plague Trilogy. These three novels are now available in one volume in an anniversary edition, with an introduction to the series I wrote especially for this publication. This is a very good looking book, with larger than normal print, and will make a nice addition to your bookshelf. The price is only $26.99 for all three books in one. (The trilogy is also available as an ebook at Fictionwise.com and eReader.com). The synopsis follows.
You may order the print trilogy at http://www.lulu.com/content/174576
Synopsis of The Pet Plague Trilogy
The three novels in the Pet Plague trilogy consist of two with the same characters and one book written later as a prequel. Altered Humans (the prequel) is first in this trilogy, followed by the original book, The Pet Plague, then wrapping up with Space Pets.
In a world where enhanced animals with near human intelligence have gotten loose in the wilds and altered the ecology beyond repair, the great protective enclaves around major cities are beginning to be built.
Gary is a mammalian geneticist who married the daughter of a religious fanatic who wants all enhanced animals killed, including Gary's pet cat, Booger Bear. His wife sets it up so her brother can gain access to their home and kill Booger while she and Gary are at a reception being held by Amelia's religious parents. Instead, Gary gets into an argument with her father, a Deacon in a church influential in politics. He breaks up with Amelia at the reception and heads for home. There, he catches Amelia's brother and kills him to prevent him from killing Booger. Knowing that the Deacon's influence will make him into a criminal, he takes booger, his car, some money and runs, heading to Montrose, a seedy area in Houston where altered humans and animals are welcome.
In Montrose, Gary meets another person on the run, an altered human, a woman with feline characteristics who had taken refuge in the same dive. Maria had been raised to become a sex slave for rich men with odd tastes. In the dive, they meet while she is making friends with Booger, who loves her immediately for her feline nature. The owner has lured Maria there with a promise of refuge after her escape from Mexico, but now comes and tells her she must submit to customers who want her, knowing she is an illegal alien and will have no choice. Gary saves her from this by again being forced to kill, twice now in the same day.
Gary follows Maria's lead since she is used to being a fugitive. With money gained from sale of his car (Amelia cleaned out their bank account before he thought of it), she shows him how to buy passage to Dallas on one of the huge transport trucks, one of the few vehicles that can safely move on the dilapidated highways without being ambushed by enhanced intelligent animals who have nearly taken over the countryside.
On the way to Dallas with the female driver, Lea (who has her altered characteristics concealed, a golden skin, token from her sun-worshipping parents), they are ambushed by a security patrol of two officers. During the gunfight, they overcome them, but laser beams set the truck on fire and they find themselves stranded a long way from Dallas, with not much chance to make it. Nevertheless, the three of them try.
They make it part way then come upon a passenger floater, the air transport craft, downed because of a failure in the fuel cell and cloudy weather. Unable to call for help because the moon colony controls space and all satellites, they have to wait for the solar cells to charge.
The pilot has been hauling VIP passengers from the east coast to the west coast, men intent on taking power after the recent election. They didn't listen when the pilot told them to stay inside and are attacked by a pack of enhanced wolves, intent on a meal. Most of the passengers had been killed when Gary, Maria and Lea arrive and turn the tide. The Pilot, Jake Douglas, thanks them and tells them that laws have just been passed outlawing all altered humans, but in thanks for saving his life, says he can get them to Dallas as soon as the floater is charged. While waiting, one of the VIPs tries to rape Maria and is beaten and expelled into the wilds for his trouble. The next day they leave the few VIPs and continue on to Dallas. Jake uses a ruse to get them past Security and takes them home. His neighbor wants to buy his house and Jake wants to be a trucker. They make a deal, he and Lea will travel together hauling freight, but before they start, he uses his influence to get Gary and Maria accepted for immigration to the moon, hoping to give the young people a chance for life that he and Lea can't have, being too old.
Unfortunately, before they get to the spaceport, riots begin because the Dallas spaceport is going to be closed, the city is expelling all altered humans and they get caught up in riots. They miss their last chance to leave earth.
Jake and Lea offer them a life on the road and the possibility of finding a small town where the barricades against intelligent animals aren't being built and altered humans can live in peace. They accept and head east, toward a place Jake thinks he knows.
The first book ends here.
The Pet Plague
The Pet Plague begins decades later when major cities have all been turned into giant enclaves and the countryside left to enhanced and intelligent animals. Sexual and social mores changed during the great migration to the cities and the massive human die-off as they were consolidated. The population wound up with far too many women in proportion to men, leaving the way open to all kinds of marriages, multiple partners, etc. although as time passed, conditions weren't as drastic and normal marriages again became part of the norm as the proportion of male to females becomes more nearly normal.
Jamie Da Cruz is an agricultural geneticist, intent on using his knowledge to make every inch of soil inside the barricade of the Houston Enclave produce food crops with animal protein in them.
One day Jamie is investigating some aberrations in his hambean fields near the edge of the barricade when he notices a breach in the barrier. Tracks indicate a feral dog has entered the enclave. Some enhanced pets are allowed in order to keep down the rodent population, such as Jamie's cat, Fuzzy Britches and dog, Woggley, but they must keep their place and serve the enclave, including hunting down feral intruders.
This causes Jamie a giant surprise, because when he returns home, he finds that Fuzz and Wogg have allowed the feral dog to enter his home!
When Jamie confronts his pets for answers, with gun drawn, they tell him the feral dog has a message from a "great being". The dog Conan comes forward and indicates Jamie is to hold a small blue metallic looking disk dangling from his collar in his hand. When Jamie does, his mind is immediately assaulted with images of a planet slowly dying from an encroaching dust cloud, where the beings have used the last of their resources to construct a spaceship, traveling at less than light speed. During their voyage have discovered a method of FTL travelbut can't apply it to their ship. They have also contacted some disease on the last stages of their voyage and most of them are dying. The craft is in orbit around Saturn and a lander has been sent to earth to request aid for them and their planet, using the FTL process they have discovered. The lander crashes in the wilds at the site of a feral human settlement, one protected by feral dogs from other creatures. The pilot and the feral humans sent several dogs to the nearest enclaves with the thought disks, but Conan knows only that it is a ten day journey from Houston, not where it is.
Jamie calls his office (and his girlfriend who works there) and reports the breach in the barrier and also notifies security that he has important information. Security sends a female Ranger, ones who patrol the wilds, to his home. Jamie's girlfriend Jeanie decides to come over, then his boss, who is aging and not up to his job decides to come to Jamie's home and confront him. In the meanwhile Alvarez notifies security yet again, which impels the big boss to decide to go to his home.
A contretemps arises with all the people, a jealousy develops between Jeannie and Kristi the female ranger.
The conclusion by Security Section is that an overland expedition must be mounted to follow the dog back to the scene of the crash in order to recover the alien technology, which might benefit an earth slowly being taken over by intelligent animals.
Jamie doesn't want to go, but is finally convinced. The ranger Captain Masters will lead a contingent of scientists and rangers to the site. Jeannie, jealous of Kristi, wants to go along, but is told no.
In the meantime, Alvarez has carelessly left a description of the events on his computer. A spy reporting to moon city has sent them the information about the impending expedition, impelling the space people to try for the technology, too. They must use mercenaries since the only persons able to stand earth's gravity are spaceship pilots, operating the ships for the trade still necessary for both sides.
The Dallas enclave is failing and the head of Moon City space operations decides to lead an expedition from there, using the lure of immigration to the moon as payment for the mercenary troops.
During the trip, Kristi and Jamie become lovers, even though Kristi usually prefers women and would like to have Jeannie.
The two competing expeditions arrive at the site of the crash, but the Houston force is a day ahead. Jamie has just seen the alien and been given a personal thought disk, one with all the specifications for construction of a FTL spaceship, when the Dallas expedition arrives.
Jamie and Kristi are ordered to leave quickly while Masters calls for help, knowing the coordinates of the site now. The rest of the rangers will fight a rear guard action. A rocket hits the crashed landing craft and blows it up. The Dallas expedition captures everything of value except Jamie and his thought disk. Masters and a couple of other rangers get away and try to make contact with Jamie and Kristi.
Back in Houston, Jeannie has used the defender program at Jamie's home to trap Cadena, the Moon City spy, who has gone there looking for more useful information. Jeannie uses his information to force the security director to let her hitch a ride on a supply run, a single floater. It arrives and is shot down by the arriving Dallas force, the pilot is killed and Jeannie is alone in the Wilds.
Jeannie is attacked by intelligent rats, half starved by overpopulation. She drives them off the first time by surprise, but they gather for another attack, wanting both her and the dead pilot for food.
Masters makes contact with Jamie and Kristi and they hear Jeannie's screams and gunshots as rats attack the crashed landing craft for the second time. They arrive just in time to save her, but then disaster strikes again.
The Dallas expedition discovers them and the leader lands, disgorging a force large enough to kill or capture them all. Jamie is captured and Kristi is badly wounded, but the Houston relief expedition of floaters arrives and defeats the Dallas group of covering floaters. During the distraction, Jamie manages to escape and wounds the Dallas leader, the Moon city representative, who seeing defeat, still thought he could use Jamie to negotiate.
Masters gets Jamie, the pets and the wounded Kristi into the captured floater, leaving the Moon City leader for the rats and heads for Houston Enclave at top speed. Kristi stops breathing as they arrive but they get her going again and save her.
Jamie is secreted at Security Headquarters because he alone can access the thought disk given to him by the alien.
He works for a week passing data to scientists then revolts, demanding to go home. He isn't allowed to do that, but he and Jeannie and the pets are given a ground floor apartment with outside access for the pets.
Jamie, Jeannie and Kristi form a threesome and Jamie has to make plans for going into space when the ship is completed, even though he would much rather stay on earth.
A deal is made with Moon City to supply some crucial help in return for allowing some them to go along on the expedition into space.
In Space Pets, Jamie Da Cruz and his buxom girlfriends, along with his loyal animal companions, Fuzzy Britches the multihued cat and Woggly the dog are forced by circumstances into exploring other worlds suitable for humans in an untested spaceship. Their quest is complicated by the small contingent from Moon City aboard who want the ship for themselves and will use any means--including sexual seduction of Jamie--to capture it.
The first stop is Saturn, where the Alien spaceship is still orbiting. When the Ranger force, taken along for security, attempts to explore inside, they find the flora and fauna has gotten completely out of control with only dead aliens aboard and they are forced to leave it alone for the present.
What they are really interested in is finding a world like earth, where humans can start over and control the genetic experimentation that ruined the home planet for humans.
They explore a number of worlds and observe many more from space as the FTL ship works its way inward toward the thicker part of the spiral arm that contains earth's sun. They find many signs of past intelligence and some planets where non-technical species has apparently wiped out tool users.
The explorers also stop at the alien's home world on the way inward and discover there is no dust cloud there, but genetic experimentation had ruined the planet and the aliens were looking for any kind of help. The story about a dust cloud obscuring their planet had been a lie.
After looking at so many worlds and facing danger and death on many, a conclusion is reached that where intelligent tool users rise, they inevitably spoil their planet, either through genetics gone awry or war.
Along the way, an attempt is made by the Moon City contingent aboard to hijack the ship. It fails because of Fuzzy Britches and Woggly's intervention at the right moment. The captain decides to return to earth.
While the ship is gone, Moon City has been preparing a reception in case the coup aboard ship failed. Suspecting just such a thing might happen after the Moon City personnel tried taking over the ship, the Rangers are prepared and defeat it after a brutal battle.
While on the trip, Masters has joined Jamie's family, as well as the woman who attempted to seduce him and get the ship for her fellows.
The end comes when Fuzzy Britches suggests that humans start over and see if they can work with instead of against the enhanced animals of earth. A start is made when the cat contacts other felines outside the Enclave walls and a small human settlement is attempted. No one knows if it will work, but Jamie is determined to stay on earth and let others keep exploring. He thinks that if anyone can figure out how to make peace with the animals in the wilds, it will be Fuzzy Britches.
This sets the stage for the final volume of the series, tentatively titled Earth Pets. It can be written for the publisher who takes the trilogy.
Order the trilogy at http://www.lulu.com/content/174576
This past month, I read another Dan Mahoney detective novel, "Hyde." There's still several of his books I haven't read, but I've about burned out on him for the present. I tried another of David Weber's military science fiction, a two volume set. It was as good as his others. These were "In Death Ground" and "The Shiva Option." I recommend David Weber highly if you like military science fiction with a tinge of space opera. Along the way, I re-read "Carrion Comfort," by Dan Simmons. I don't like all his work, but "Carrion Comfort" is one hell of a book. The blurb lists it as horror, but it isn't. It's science fiction. It covers so much ground that it's hard to describe, but I really like the book. I also re-read another of John R. Maxim's suspense/thriller novels, "Mosaic." Maxim sure can come up with some original plots and themes. "Mosaic" is about multiple personality and how the military/psychiatrists try using them for their own benefit.
I also re-read the capstone of S.M. Stirling's alternate history series about the Tories from the revolutionary war starting over in South Africa and going on to make a continent spanning empire in conflict with the western hemisphere. The title of the novel is "Drakon." You need not read the other three volumes in the series. This book stands alone as well as any novel and it is exciting and thought provoking. He uses the theme of pheromones and a species derived from humans of the old Domination of the Drakon empire very well in a character thrown back from their time to our present day. A great alternate universe book.
And, what with all the upset in the Middle East right now, I took out the first of the two volume set of Herman Wouk's fictional history of Israel again. It is extremely good historical fiction and depicts Israel from inception of nationhood up through the six-day war. Wouk also wrote a giant two volume fictional history of WWII that's good, too. In fact, just about anything he's ever written is good.
Another re-read was "King Con" by Stephen J. Cannell, about a con artist. He obviously did a lot of research for the book. It's a grand read, and inspired me to go back and re-read my own novel of a bunko man, "Hotline to Heaven." It's sort of a love story as well. I really enjoyed writing it. Just as an aside, it's also one of the books you can buy from my web site and have autographed before I mail it.
Betty and I went to the book store during the month. I didn't do very well. No keepers.
That's all for this month. The next newsletter will have an ironic little chuckler about how times change, the usual book report, and whatever else comes to mind during the next month.
Thanks for reading.
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This page last updated 08-23-06.