Where are you from?

Is the person you just met unable to make small talk? Did she seem befuddled when you asked her if she were from the middle west? Did the fellow drinking mineral water near the bar express confusion when you asked him how the Lakers were doing? The answer is obvious, according to a new book from Oxford University Press. Although these people look human, maybe they are not.

The Ruins of Evolution proposes that given certain demands as far as mobility, cognition, etc., it is likely that extraterrestrials evolving on other worlds, probably developed to look like us. Here’s an article on the subject: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/forget-little-green-men–aliens-will-look-like-humans-says-cambridge-university-evolution-expert-10358164.html

I find the idea plain silly and an example of human arrogance. Just because we evolved certain ways does not mean that everything intelligent in the universe had to evolve the same way. In fact, I’m sure there are lots of planets we would deem uninhabitable that might support life. Maybe not life as we know it, but certainly intelligent life.

On the other hand, if you would like an example of aliens who do resemble us as well as some that definitely would make your skin crawl, read my new science fiction novel, Alien Love.

 

Predicting The Future While Living in the Present

I spent many years as a futurist. My job was to forecast future technology trends and product sales. Sounds easy, but I codified my future predictions in reports that our company sold to subscribers. We made an honest effort to keep track of just how accurate we were. If we were wrong too often, our clients would vote with their feet and find someone else to hire. Still, I had a very good record. Around 2002 I predicted handheld computers remarkably similar to what we have now with iPads. I forecast ubiquitous and free WiFi, and lo and behold, we have it in most places where there are commercial operations.

I also write science fiction as well as technology thrillers and mysteries. I try to make my science fiction as accurate as possible when it comes to science. That presents problems, of course. It’s relatively easy for a writer or film maker to invent some mumbo jumbo to explain how spaceships can fly across the universe and exceed the speed of light. It’s a bit harder to come up with something that is theoretically possible and yet still entertaining.

I wrote one novel where I envisioned a future in which everyone who reaches a certain age is fitted with a brain implant, a chip that provides 24-hour Internet access as well as email and other types of messaging. The children go through a period when they have to be hospitalized while they adjust to the noises in their heads. Imagine a thousand people talking to you at once. Some children go insane, but most manage to develop the discipline to control the flow of messages. Still, every time they go by a store, the merchandiser is likely to see if the IP address matches someone in their customer database. If it does, they will narrow cast a message with a customized sale offer featuring something the customer likes.

I subscribe to a newsletter that keeps me up to date on the latest in scientific breakthroughs. I learned yesterday that DARPA has been experimenting with implanting chips so that it can load information into someone’s head. Imagine how much easier that would be than having to go to school to learn certain skills. Here’s the article, if you’re curious: http://amzn.to/1dEcwQH

I frequently visit websites that provide the latest rumors about aliens, UFOs, etc. While I can dismiss many of these rumors, there are some that pass the sniff test. Those i explore in more depth by looking for other sources. Some of these rumors wound up in Alien Love, my latest science fiction novel. The rumors about alien activity on the Moon have existed now for decades. What if an a dying astronaut felt he had nothing to lose by being straight with the American people?

The problem with trying to be a futurist as well as a science fiction novelist is staying ahead of reality. What if decided to write about driverless cars? Oops, Google has beaten me to it. The same now is true of chip implants for intelligence and communications. How about a world in which the environment is failing? Oops, reality has intervened once again.

So, I’ll keep trying to noodle the future, but I better also keep reading the daily newspaper.alien love cover

 

Unleashing My Inner Geek

 

Okay, I admit I was a geek in high school. I immersed myself in science because at that time I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I played bridge and chess for fun, another black mark against me. Of course I read lots and lots of science fiction.

College unleashed even more geek from deep inside me. I carried my books in an ammunition bag I purchased from an army surplus store. At least I never had to worry about anyone stealing it. Arizona required a hat for protection, and I had a dandy –I wore a foam pith helmet I found somewhere. The result was a unique look, one that certainly wasn’t copied. I had a great summer job that gave me even more geek points. Imagine a job as an autopsy assistant at a county hospital.

Over the years I continued my life as a geek. I became infatuated with personal computers when they first came out and wound up in the industry. I sold them and wrote books about the early PCs. Since there were few if any applications at first, I developed customized apps for my customers. I even wrote a book on how to program games for the Commodore 64, a great little game computer. I moved into jobs in data communications and telecommunications and even network management and wrote college textbooks on those topics.

When I finally found the king of all geek jobs, I fell in love with it and spent two decades doing it. I was a technology research analyst. When my boss came by to give me my first paycheck in the job, I was stunned. I had forgotten that I was betting paid to do the work because it was so much fun. Imagine getting paid to read stuff I’d read for nothing and then getting paid to talk and write about technology. One of the best parts of the job was the role of futurist in which I had to forecast what would happen in technology several years out.

So, acting as a technology analyst required me to speculate about the future. What kind of devices would people be using in five or ten years? This type of thinking has come in handy when it comes to writing science fiction novels. My latest, Alien Love, was just published by Booktrope. What fascinates me is the idea of first contact between different races. How will we communicate when we have different standards of morality and ethics and probably think very differently. Would we find each other attractive as a race?

That might sound like a trivial question, but remember how we judge the value of various animals. We put the animals with “cute” faces in special categories while we feel no compunction when it comes to destroying other animals. Who could love a possum? Would you want to communicate with one or with a giant-sized rat? What if a large cockroach sidled down a gangplank from a spaceship and turned out to be a missionary? Would we find ourselves left out as a race when the insects in our world wildly embraced this visitor?

So, science fiction appeals to the geek in all of us by allowing us ask the questions that no one ever would ask otherwise. Will machines have any morality at all or will they stamp us out as vermin? Will robots serve as sexual surrogates for people who don’t want to go to the time and trouble to romance someone? Of course there are some very high-level geeky questions to consider such as how can we travel the immense distances required in a universe that seems to be bound by the laws of physics? If we conquer disease and live much longer lives, how would our world cope with the added population as well as the lack of jobs? Are the reports of aliens on the Moon accurate? Has Earth been visited before?

The list of questions goes on and on; meanwhile, the geek in me loves the challenge of turning speculation into speculative fiction.

UFOs: Say it Ain’t So, John

I was very disturbed today to read that John Pedesta has one real regret. He regrets that when he was in government he didn’t demand that the government disclose what it knows about UFOs. Think about why this very experienced politician said. The implication is that there is something to be disclosed. That flies right in the face of what the government has been telling us for years.

Podesta is very close to Hillary Clinton, so I wonder what would happen if he was asked to serve in her administration if she won. Would he continue to request full disclosure? I recently published an article from a government journal that implied that a message already has been received from space. That essay was written in the 1960’s. Who knows what has happened since?

I believe that scientists outside of government do not know anything. The scientists involved with SETI still seem very focused on looking for messages from space. The U.S. government announced a few months back that it was responsible for fooling people into thinking there were UFOs out there. Since few people believe anything the government says now, this “frank” confession struck most people as a way to suggest that people stop looking for unidentified flying objects.

I’ve already written about ex-astronauts who claim they saw alien activity on the Moon and were told not to say anything. Now we have a former very highly placed government official who claims there is something that should be disclosed. All of this lends credence to Alien Love, my science fiction novel that Booktropia will publish later this year where i suggest there has been a government conspiracy for years involving favored status for one particular group of aliens.

I’m not a conspiracy nut who claims that aliens gave us velcro in exchange for carte blanc to aliens to abduct people and experiment on them. I do believe that there is something to disclose, something that people have a right to know. Here’s the link to the article about John Padesta.

http://yhoo.it/1EoI8RR

What if Extraterrestrials Revealed Themselves in 2015?

Alien Love, the novel that Kindle Scout has placed on its website so people can decide if it should be printed http://goo.gl/E0I8Dz assumes that the government is now working closely with aliens. There are all kinds of rumors to that effect, including revelations by some former astronauts.

So, what if the world learned the truth in 2015? How would it impact the world as well as individual people? Let’s start with the major impacts:

RELIGION: Massive impact, particularly in the red states with evangelicals. If God created Man in his own image, what do the aliens represent? In my novel, one evangelical assumes it is really Lucifer’s fallen angels. Isn’t that a distinct possibility? Religious people will begin to question everything they took for granted such as Heaven. What if aliens have their own views of life after death as I suggest in my novel?

STOCK MARKET: Massive impact in certain sectors. I imagine traditional oil stocks will implode since everything I’ve read suggests that aliens have warned humans to stop destroying the planet with pollution and radiation. New energy sources from alien technology would mean we’d have to rethink our entire transportation industry. Some science fiction writers have suggested that the presence of aliens with advanced technology would have a negative impact on science. Why even try if the aliens already are so far ahead in figuring things out? Alien knowledge regarding medicine would have an enormous impact – -think of the drug industry if there’s no longer a need to cure cancer with traditional medicines. Research institutions would begin to question why they exist. Why should people give money to a research institution when the aliens are offering us their medical knowledge? What about the Koch brothers? There goes their coal mine empire when the aliens provide proof of the harm coal is doing to our planet and offer clean alternatives.

EDUCATION  Traditional majors might undergo a major devaluation. Does anyone really want to study aerospace engineering when the answers are already figured out and available? Of course new majors would appear because of the need for eco-biologists, as well as experts in alien psychology and culture. If the aliens have a way of piping information into our heads, then why spend four years in college?

THE ECONOMY  There are rumors that gold is widely available throughout the universe. If so, then currencies that rely on gold will lose all value. Unload your goldmine stock as quickly as possible. What if the aliens are like the universe in StarTrek, a post monetary society where there is no poverty and no need to worry about providing for oneself?

GOVERNMENT  Here’s the trickiest part to predict. Most people believe the government has kept aliens a secret for over fifty years. Why should people believe anything the government says? Once the aliens are out in the open, is there a need for more expensive secret funding of projects ensured to keep everything secret? It is likely that people will come forth and reveal secrets kept from the people that will cause many to lose faith in elected leaders. I believe we’d see two parties –one pledging its undying loyalty to humans and vowing not to trust the aliens (kind of an off-shoot of the No Nothing element in American politics) and a second party that pledges to work with aliens. The military would be caught in the middle since the brass probably hungers for more super weapons built upon alien technology while fearing a revolt by the American people that would do away with the current military structure.

It should be an interesting year.

 

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Reaching Out to Touch Someone

I’ve always been more of an observer than a participant. I think that’s natural for someone who loves to write. I’m the guy at the party holding a drink and listen while people talk. Of course I’ll add my views, but I’m likely not to initiate a conversation with a stranger. Being more of an introvert has advantages and disadvantages for a writer. For one thing, I can spend the day writing without feeling cut off from people. It would drive more social people like my wife crazy.

So, having noted the advantage, I have to tell you the disadvantage. If we lived in the old world book age when publishers did all the publicity and all a writer had to do was show up for a book tour, there really wouldn’t be a major disadvantage. Today, though, writers are expected to generate their own word of mouth publicity. That can be a major challenge with a limited budget.

Recently my book, Alien Love, found a place on the Kindle Scout website:

http://goo.gl/E0I8Dz

That’s great, but the problem is that the author is responsible for finding people to vote for the book. I began by reaching out to my friends and former colleagues. Where should I go after I’ve exhausted that pool? I do have a lot of interests, so I’ve been exploring Twitter and trying to identify people who seem to share my interests. I was floored when someone I had never met wrote and said he not only voted for my book but also retweeted to spread the word because he found the link I sent him to be interesting. I realized that Twitter had replaced the phone as a way to reach out and touch someone, even someone you never had met before.

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Vote for Alien Love

Provocative title, don’t you think? Kindle has just placed my new novel, Alien Love, in nomination for its Kindle Scout program. That means that people with Amazon accounts who live in the US can vote for the book they want to see published by Kindle. You have until around January 15th to select Alien Love at the link below.

The website includes an excerpt. You can read the novel’s introduction and first couple of chapters online. The book’s premise is that extraterrestrials are already living here disguised as humans. Our government has lied to us about this as well as about activity on the moon. Add a plot involving a former SEAL who falls in love with an alien female, and the fun begins!

http://goo.gl/E0I8Dz

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