Month: September 2012

Doctor Who Has Become Fan Wank

Doctor Who Has Become Fan Wank

This article is going to make many people angry. I don’t care because it needs to be said. Doctor Who has become fan wank. I am not slamming the performance of Matt Smith who I think is brilliant as the Doctor. I am slamming this current season’s writing staff and their inability to craft a believable Doctor Who story.

I hate to do this, but I am going to blame Steven Moffat and Neil Gaiman. Steven Moffat has crafted some of the most brilliant new Doctor Who villains in years. Both the “Silence”and the “Weeping Angels” are masterpieces of horror. Either of these creatures could be taken out of Doctor Who and stand alone as iconic monsters. I can imagine future generations of kids screaming when they see a statue or avoiding being alone for fear of a visit from the “Silence”. As for Neil Gaimen his episode last season entitled “The Doctor’s Wife” was beyond phenomenal. It embodied what Doctor Who fans had suspected about the TARDIS all along. You can’t ask for a better hour of Who.

The problem rests in the fact that even these two writers will have a hard time topping what they have done and the other writers on the show can’t even come close.  The current season is the doldrums. It is not even second best when compared to past shows. I was ready to be blown away by this season and instead I have been utterly disappointed. Even Moffat’s work on the season opener was almost fan wankish. The Daleks? Again? If the first episode was almost fan wankish, the next three have been utter fan fiction nightmares. “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and a “Town Called Mercy” were substandard place-mat episodes. Basically they were both long drawn out lectures in which the Doctor droned on an on about the futility of using violence to solve problems and the evil of genocide. THE EVIL OF GENOCIDE the Doctor doesn’t have any right to lecture anyone on that topic. As to the uselessness of violence in solving problems. That utterly stupid line drips like sweet wisdom from the lips of a man who constantly uses violence to solve problems. Admittedly he often uses surrogates as the means of that violence, but this is the most violent man in the Universe. There is a reason the Daleks call him “the Predator”.

This brings me to this past weekend’s episode “The Power of Three”. It was utter rubbish. We are introduced at the end of the episode to a race that are supposed to be the boogie men of Time Lord society. Great, sounds like a good idea. It would have been had it made any sense and was presented in a logical manner. We don’t know why this race considers humans a pest, we get about two seconds of exposition on who these guys are and what they represent and then the episode is over. I hate when a show stops for too much exposition, but either explain more fully who these guys are and what they want or just leave them a mystery to explore later. Instead, we get fan wank about how horrifying and terrible these guys are because they scare Time Lords.(and yes I am using that term fan wank alot). For a race that is so powerful the Doctor Defeats them in about ten seconds of air time. So much for the boogie man.

Moffat better step up to his “A” game for the rest of the season because I am not sure how much more of this…….wait for it……..FAN WANK I can stomach.

 

The Lucifer’s Hammer Scenario – Part 2 – Aftermath

I finished reading Lucifer’s Hammer (review forthcoming soon) and the last part of the book is by far the most intriguing.  The main issue is the initial struggles of the survivors and the attempt to rebuild society.  There is basically a war between two ideals — one which favors technology and the one that wants to see technology destroyed.  The first is of course led by the reasonable people and the second by religious environmentalist types.   In the end, the technologists win out, but even they have a final struggle within themselves as to whether to save electrical power from a nuclear plant.  In the end they go for it all and win out.

That is not to say that other societal ideas are not present in the book.

1) Wanderers: guys who just try to survive on their own with just their wits to guide them.

2) Tribal society: mountain men types who band with other mountain men types to create basic survival societies.

3) Farming communities – peasants who simply try to get a small standard of living from the earth.

These are all presented.  I find this part of the aftermath of any worldwide disaster, plague, war, etc. scenario the most interesting part of these stories.  What vision of the future is there when people go through a time of just getting to the next day is the goal.  Now what do you do that the peace is won and survival more assured?  I believe there are two main issues: what government would such a society have and what is the minimum technological level that would survive?

I like the idea of a group of people dedicated to preserving technology but what government would they have?  Like it or not democracies act very slowly and do not respond to crisis as well as other forms.  I would lay odds on some form of feudal dictatorship somewhere.  I would also say that oligarchies, rule by a group of people, are possible.  I hate to say it, but democracy would not make it at least not at first.  In crisis the real leaders rise to the surface and take over out of necessity.  The book did a great job with this truth.

The technology question is a little more complicated.  As much as I got the concern that electrical power be preserved by saving the nuke plant from the book, I also have to say that electrical power would survive in some form on planet earth.  Too many people know how electricity is generated and how to get it to work for them.  The question to me is degree.  Medicine is a different story.  I don’t think people realize how fragile this part of modern technology is.  The real kicker with medical technology is you need people with medical knowledge.  So you have an MRI machine, useless if someone does not know how to run it.  Ditto for laboratory gear.  Truth is the internet and smart phones might simply become useless.  Computers might survive, but eventually without replacement parts, they too will fail eventually.  I really can see us being looked at in a couple of generations as some form of ancients whose knowledge is shrouded in mystery.

Knowledge is my chief concern and it is based on how it is stored.  Digital knowledge is fragile in its many forms.  If the internet fails that knowledge is lost.  Everything on optical or magnetic disk can be corrupted or destroyed.  I would also point out if there is no way to read an optical disc because all the readers are lost or the knowledge of how to use them is lost, that knowledge is useless.  In some ways good old-fashioned paper books have better durability and accessibility.  Knowledge, must be recorded and copied over time and copied again and again to be preserved.  If people lose the ability to do this, this will cause society to go backwards.  The book did not really dwell on this because at the time it was written books and microfilm were the modes of storage.  For us, this is critical.

What do I see as the typical community?  A baron guiding a small town to small city in size with may be a town council to handle the day-to-day stuff.  The town has some means of generating electrical power and to be honest, I think the size of the community will be based on how much it can generate.  The place might have a clinic, food storage and library.  The library might have a computer to access digital information but from discs not the internet.  All of these things are more fragile and as such need to be maintained and defended with utmost care.  Everyone is armed in some way as everyone may be needed to defend the community from attack.  I can see the tech level being somewhat like the 1950s, but with some stuff a little further than that.  Transportation would depend on a lot of factors. most notably fuel.  Ultimately the societies that survive the best and generate the most advantages will absorb the others.

The question remains about survival of the human race.  One of the book’s main points is that we need to spread out to other worlds so the whole race cannot be wiped out in one disaster.  Heinlein’s all our eggs in one basket quote is used a couple of times in the book.  This is the real science fiction part of the book, the desire to get across to others this painful truth that we can be wiped out and we need to do something to make sure that does not happen.

Would Super Villains Do a Better Job Running the Country Than Obama?

Would Super Villains Do a Better Job Running the Country Than Obama?

 

By any honest measurement Barack Hussein Obama has been a dismal failure as a President. Few if any Presidents have been given as much power in their first term as Obama and done so little. In fact for two years he had an unassailable super majority in congress and still his administration has been unable to do something as simple as craft a budget much less control runaway unemployment, a crippling deficit, and the terrorist overthrow of the middle east. While contemplating how anyone could do much worse than Obama, it came to me: Obama is such a failure that he makes traditional super villains and science fiction dictators look good in comparison. I thought I would compare the achievements of some of the worst bad guys in sci-fi history to Obama. I will rank each villain as low, moderate, or high in four different categories and see how Obama stacks up.

Lex Luthor

Political Experience: High-  Lex has been the President of the United States and brought it back from the verge of economic collapse. Lex used technology from his own company to rebuild cities in the wake of an alien invasion gaining some massive domestic political brownie points.

Unemployment/Economy: High- Unemployment was basically low to nonexistent during Lex’s term as President. His technological advances put America far ahead of other world competitors. Economic prosperity was the top priority of the Luthor presidency and he worked to ensure America would be the capitalist power house of the world.

Morality: Moderate- He attempted to have a political opponent killed and neglected to warn the world about an alien invasion to maintain the reigns of power.

Foreign Policy: High- He formed an intergalactic alliance to fight an alien invasion and he was able to preside over lasting peace treaties between the United States, Russia, and Atlantis.

Victor Von Doom alias Doctor Doom

Political Experience: High- Has been the emperor of the small country of Latveria for over half a century.

Unemployment/Economy: Moderate- While Latveria maintains a very low rate of unemployment and is moderately prosperous economically, Doom loses points because the society has very little upward mobility. With the exception of a small aristocracy, Latveria is a society where all people are equal. They are cared for by the government from cradle to grave. This is a liberal paradise in which government controls all aspects of life.

Morality: High- Doom may be a villain, but he plays by a very exacting set of  rules and code of personal conduct. When the United States Government destroyed Latveria in a war, Doom used a time machine of his own invention to restore the country and it’s people (let’s see Obama pull that off). While Doom may be the absolute monarch no one could accuse him of not loving his country and its people.

Foreign Policy: Low- Doom doesn’t do foreign policy. He built a force field that protects his nation from nuclear assault as well as cuts it off from the outside world. He has gone to war with other countries and individuals over small and often personal slights. He has however sided with other nations and individuals in defending the planet from outside threats.

Scorpius

Political Experience: Moderate- Scorpius has acted as a field commander for multiple Peacekeepers armadas and the chief scientific officer for the entire Peacekeeper empire.   He is used to commanding large contingents of men in battle situations. He has acted as a diplomatic envoy as well and is versed in political espionage.

Unemployment/Economy: LowScorpius has very little economic experience at a national level, but his scientific genius has led to many advancements that could have economically  important ramifications. He has also amassed a personal fortune so he must have some knowledge of economics.

Morality: High- everything Scorpius does is in service to saving the galaxy from the Scarrans. He would beg, borrow, steal or even torture people to do that. We really can’t blame him. The alternative makes a Muslim takeover of the US look favorable in comparison. The Scarrans are evil with a capitol “E” and have no qualms about genetically re-engineering races they conquer to make them more useful and servile to themselves.

Foreign Policy: High- Scorpius has advanced training in dealing with multiple aliens races. He has shown himself a master of political intrigue often getting what he wants in the most precarious of situations. There is probably no one on this list with higher foreign policy credentials.

Anakin Skywalker alias Darth Vader

Experience: High- Second in command of an intergalactic empire. Commander of the entire Imperial battle fleet as well as seasoned soldier, fighter pilot, and diplomat. He has been groomed for command since he was 10 years old.

Unemployment/Economy: High- There seems to have been very little human unemployment during Vader’s period of influence. Also Vader oversaw the conversion of the Imperial army from a slave clone army, that had served the previous Republic, to the freely recruited army of the late Empire. Vader managed several high profile military projects that employed millions of workers.

Morality: Moderate- Vader almost scores a High, but there is the little matter of murdering children when he was a teen. Vader does seem to have ended slavery on Tatooine, outlawed drug dealing, and drove the mafia underground.

Foreign Policy: Low- While Vader’s first job in government was as a diplomatic envoy these diplomatic skills are not as evident in later years. He is unable to stop a rebellion of displaced aristocrats and religious fanatics and even his own children turn against him. Had he made more of an effort to include alien races in the galactic empire he may have had more influence and been able to crush the rebellion.

Barry Soetoro alias Barack Hussein Obama

Political Experience: Low- He barely had any experience as a Senator before becoming President. Most people would not hire this community organizer to manage a hot dog stand after watching the lazy and inept way he treats the office of president. He deserves a none, but showing up on occasion between vacations gets him a low.

Unemployment/Economy: LowNot in the sense that unemployment is low. Obama has presided over the worse unemployment since the great depression. The economy has gone steadily downhill instead of getting better, and for a man who said he would not deserve another term in office if he didn’t fix the problem in three years, he is running pretty hard. Of course, all he knows how to do is campaign…leadership would be nice once in awhile.

Morality: Low- Probably the most corrupt administration in the history of Washington and that is really saying something. He has ignored court orders, covered up scandals by his justice department through the use of executive privilege, and used the power of his office to curry political favors. He is constantly on the campaign trail to such an extent that he has ignored attacks on American embassies and the murder of an ambassador. He prefers to shift the blame from himself to anyone and everyone and will not defend American interests on the international stage.

Foreign Policy: None- We can’t in good conscious give him even a low score in this arena.  For a man who is supposed to be as worldly and cosmopolitan as Obama he is the most miserable failure in the foreign policy department that you could ever imagine. He is so bad that his brother who grew up in a hut in an African ghetto sounds like a foreign policy expert compared to Obama. His first year in office Obama went on a round the world apology tour thinking that debasing America to the third world will garner favor with Islamists. His show of weakness has resulted in the rise of terrorist activity across the globe.

 

I think we can state without any equivocation that any of the super villains we featured here would do a better job as President than Obama.

How Not To Turn a Novel Into a Movie – Case Study: Starship Troopers

Script Writers are an interesting breed especially if they are the kind that attempt to turn novels into movies.  This is particularly true of writers who deal in science fiction and fantasy script writing.  I have had my share of experiences of heading to a movie that was based on a favorite book of mine but none more disappointing than Starship Troopers.

As I have pointed out in an earlier post, this was my first Robert Heinlein novel ever.  I read it and fell hopelessly in love with it and everything Robert Heinlein’s typewriter produced.  You can imagine my excitement when I saw that Starship Troopers was coming to the movies in 1997.

I was so excited, I completely avoided watching the trailers because I wanted everything to be a surprise.  I went to the theater stoked and left it completely disappointed.  To be fair, the movie did OK enough at the box office to spawn two sequels: Starship Troopers 2 and Starship Troopers 3:Marauder but the fact was they had completely destroyed Robert Heinlein’s work.  The story was changed and to be completely honest the whole movie series was a teenage bloodfest crossed with boobfest.  In fact, the only thing truly Heinlein about the thing was the communal nudity scenes even though they actually do not appear in the novel.  I think the CGI and the naked women saved it.

The problem I had with the thing was the total abandonment of Heinlein’s philosophy which bordered on lampooning Heinlein’s beliefs.  To me, this bordered on sacrilege.  So to future screenwriters I offer my advice to you based on this case study in the form of rules.

Rule #1: Be Humble – there is probably a few reasons why the novel was successful and a million plus copy seller so don’t think you can improve on it.  In fact, if you really want your movie to draw the crowds the closer you make the movie to the novel the better.  I understand their may be things you can’t do in the movie that the writer did in the book, but that is no excuse for not trying to make it work.  The people like the story of the novel so don’t think you are going to improve it.  Looking at the Starship Trooper series, the whole story was almost abandoned.  Rico never really has any love interest in the girl after becoming a trooper.  They date in the book once later, but both of them realize that things have changed.  Only the first movie ends much the same with the capture of a brain bug, but the rest of them are completely new stories.  The rest of the first movie is missing the relationships between Rico and his father, his time in officer’s school, etc.  A lot of the human element was left out of the movie as part of the movie’s mechanism to attack fascism.  Truth is the script writers missed the real theme and it shows.

Rule #2: Your Movie and the Novel Should Have the Same Theme – This is where the movie Starship Troopers raped Robert Heinlein.  Robert Heinlein’s politics in general could be somewhat summed up as conservative as far as military and economics were concerned.  He did support Republican candidate Barry Goldwater for President.  As far as morals were concerned he would probably be considered liberal in the libertarian sense of the word.  He was a nudist and for the most part a non religious person.  He was definitely a believer in limited government.  The movie of Starship Troopers ignored this and seemed to be more concerned in making political statements in the opposite direction. Particularly the movie took aim at the idea of military service being a requirement to vote.  They presented that this would lead to a fascist government.  The book really does not say military service was required but government service.  Rico’s friend for instance wants to join the research branch of government.  What Heinlein was simply posing, and it wasn’t even the main question, was why do we assume a person should be allowed to vote simply because they breathe air.  Ultimately in the third movie, religion becomes the focus.  Heinlein in his books does not really take a religious stance.  Honestly, I simple see him as a person who thought all religions were bunk although he seems to admire people of faith who actually live their creed.  Stranger in a Strange Land makes some pretty bold statements on religion as Heinlein constantly challenges the idea of a personal god or God in that book.  Honestly, I don’t think Heinlein really cared what people believed about the divine a long as they didn’t force it on him.  He definitely viewed religious dictatorship in any form the worst type of government.

The BIG point to be made here is this: The book Starship Troopers, according to Heinlein himself in Grumbles From the Grave in letter to a fan, was asking the serious question: “Why do men fight?” I cannot see that the scriptwriters even addressed the question in the series of movies.  The closest they come is in the second movie and basically their answer was: survival?!?  In the book, the answer is much more complicated.  The fact this question is not even posed and thus not answered, was sacrilege to me.

Rule #3: If the Writer Writes Smartly, Write Your Movie Smartly.  This goes to the technical star of the book — powered armor.  It also goes to the tactics that such power armor would change in a future setting.  This was completely blown in the movie series.  Power armor does not even appear until the third movie and then suspiciously looks like Japanese mechs.  That is not the picture you get when you read the book’s description.  The idea you get is an oversize Iron Man suit with a helluva lot of firepower.  Each trooper had the same firepower as a battalion including nukes. This was what in truth allowed the troopers to go toe to toe with the bugs and survive.  Along with this, the troopers fought smartly with good tactics.  In the movie every solution was not smart tactics but more firepower sprayed in a haphazard manner.  The solution in all the movies seemed to be more men and more guns.  The book did not portray this, but instead showed how mankind’s intelligence and ingenuity could beat superior numbers.  The fact is the screenwriters missed a golden opportunity to have ‘Iron man’  like stuff ten plus years before Iron Man came out.  They blew it.

There it is, my rules to screenwriters who turn novels into movies.  I don’t think it will be listened to however.  Screenwriters seems to have egos too large, politics too liberal and a lack of intelligence to understand the brilliance of other writers. So, here is to hope instead.

Algernon Blackwood Master of Unspeakable Horror

Algernon Blackwood Master of Unspeakable Horror

When most people talk about the early writers of horror they invariably discuss H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was the master of crafting tales of unspeakable dread, but he learned that craft from another. In fact Lovecraft’s entire body of work would have probably never been written without the influence of one man.

Algernon Blackwood is the English equivalent of Lovecraft and if you haven’t heard of him and you love the idea of eldritch horror or Gothic horror than you are missing out on one of the greatest masters.

If you are just learning of Blackwood and have not read any of his stories yet I would suggest you read “The Man Who Found Out” first. Some of his other fiction is more esoteric in nature and difficult to read. If you have read Lovecraft this type of story is very familiar. A character learns an unspeakable secret and goes insane. Blackwood mixes both science and magic in this story and suggests that the two are linked. I believe this attitude was very common in the period and the story plays on the fears of scientific revelation. The reader seeing this story in 1912 would have been inundated with new scientific revelations which had turned their world upside down. It was not unthinkable at that time that a scientist may discover a secret of the universe that could unhinge people or make them suicidally depressed. The horror of the story works very well on that level. I equate this type of horror with the rise of the science fiction horror movies in the mid 1950’s where the mad scientist creates unspeakable monsters or discovers some atomic secret that could destroy the world. This idea that somethings are better left unknown factors into horror tales in almost every generation.

 

After having read Blackwood I am almost tempted to call Lovecraft a literary thief. This is not to say Lovecraft wasn’t a brilliant author. In my estimation he is a much better writer than Blackwood, but many of the themes Lovecraft explored are found in Blackwood’s earlier works. Maybe thief is too strong. Lovecraft was a genius, but he wrote much of his fiction into the same universe described by Blackwood. Lovecraft merely fills in some of the gaps in that universe.

The Lucifer’s Hammer Scenario

I am currently reading Lucifer’s Hammer and I definitely find it fascinating.  I am usually turned off by disaster stories because there always seems to be a resolution where everything goes back to the way it was with very little if any change.  This book is definitely not that at all.  If anything this is one of the most realistic ‘future’ views of such a disaster.  A comet (or similar body) striking earth is most definitely a real scenario civilization may have to face at anytime.

The book was published in 1977, so the technology has changed and the space programs of the various nations have moved on.  The questions I began to pose to myself were many. What would be different if Lucifer’s Hammer were to descend on Earth today?  Are we better prepared today than we were in 1977 when the book was first published? Could humanity and civilization survive better now than then?

Firstly, my thoughts would say we would not only have earlier warning of such an event but a better idea of whether or not such an object would hit us.  I know that even those who track asteroids and comets admit they could miss something, I figure the comet described here would be large enough not to be missed.  With the ability to computer model such events, I think we would not only have a pretty good idea about if it would hit us, but we also would have a good idea of when and how.

Secondly, my thoughts turn to human response to this event.  This is where I get a little worried.  How exactly do you stop a comet from hitting the Earth especially one with multiple heads like a hydra of destruction?  Nukes? I don’t know just cracking it into multiple pieces may actually compound the problem further. Honestly, I am not sure if a comet is big enough that we can do much about it.

Third, the aftermath of such an event gives me worries.  If someone were to ask: are you a prepper?  I would answer: Yes to a point.  I am very prepared, as much as possible, from a mental point of view of what would be involved in surviving.  Most of it involves the realization that you cannot survive alone, you’re going to need a community dedicated to the thought of reviving civilization.  You can have all the stuff, but eventually that is going to run out and your going to have to rebuild society or build a new one.

One of the things that causes me concern here is how much more dependent we are on civilization for everything.  Trust me, I see this every day as I stock shelves at Wal-mart.  My most conservative guess is that is civilization went belly up, 95% of people would have absolutely no clue or personal knowledge of what to do.  How do you get food?  You go to Wal-mart.  If you need something?  Go to Wal-mart.  If you are sick?  Go to the doctor.  One thing America has created is a large dependent class and these people have absolutely know clue as to what to do if the government checks stop arriving in the mail.  I can realistically see them sitting at home and starving to death waiting for government intervention.

In the book, one scientist decries how little people understood about how things work and where things come from.  I would say this has become even more acute since its writing not just in terms of addition, but multiplication.  We know a lot more things but we have become ignorant of a whole bunch more. It seems every time we gain new knowledge we discard some of the old and that may be a bad move.

Once I am finished with the book I plan on writing a review that may prove interesting.  In the meantime, I pose a question:  What would happen in the Lucifer’s Hammer scenario today?

Sorcery, Steam, and Steel – The Second SteamGoth Anthology

Sorcery, Steam, and Steel – The Second SteamGoth Anthology

Since this is the 100th post on the Freehold I thought I would celebrate with a little unbridled capitalism. Some of you know that I started a small publishing company (Baird publishing) a few months ago. Our first independent title will be published on October 15th. It is entitled Sorcery, Steam, and Steel and was written by some very talented artists from across the US and Canada.

What is SteamGoth/SteamPunk?

SteamPunk is an alternate version of the Victorian period. In the universe of steampunk science advances using steam power and culture becomes stuck in the nineteenth century. SteamGoth is a subgenre of steampunk. It is darker and it encompasses the magical and paranormal side of this alternate Victorian society. The easiest way to distinguish the two is to think of steampunk as science fiction and steamgoth as horror and fantasy. Of course the lines are often blurred between the two.

This is the second in a series of steamgoth anthologies. The first anthology was produced in association with Amazon.com’s publishing house and is published through them. The new book will be published through Baird Publishing. While Amazon will still do the physical printing, the book itself will be an independently owned publication.

The first anthology Monsters, Magic, and Machines was a dry run to see how the publishing industry worked and if we could bring together the appropriate talent to create the anthology. It will be reissued in November directly through Baird Publishing. The reissuing process has created some problems for us. We have not been able  to secure the rights to one of the original stories for the reissue. This means that we have had to replace one story and there will be new content added. We are leaving the original for sale at Amazon through the first of November.  So if you want a copy of the original run without the changes please buy it now because it will not be available after November 1st in any form. Click here to buy Monsters, Magic, and Machines in softback or Kindle versions.

 

The Enquiring Hitchhiker Interviews Dr. William Forstchen Author of “One Second After”

The Enquiring Hitchhiker Interviews Dr. William Forstchen Author of “One Second After”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend I visited the “Self Reliance Expo” in Hickory North Carolina. My main goal in coming to the convention was to meet Dr. Forstchen and hopefully interview him for the Freehold. The interview happened but was not conducted under the best of circumstances.  I taped the interview but it was conducted in the convention hall and the sound quality is not the greatest. Below is a transcript of the interview and I will make available an audio version and host it on The Freehold Radio and Podcast page later in the week.

Dr. Forstchen is a professor of military history at Montreat college. His novel One Second After details the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse and how it affects the citizens of the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. The book reached number eleven on the New York times bestseller list when it debuted in 2009. Dr. Forstchen is also a good friend of Newt Gingrich and they have written a number of books together.

The Hitchhiker asks…

 

Question 1. Has writing the book One Second After made you more appreciative of the prepper movement in America?

Absolutely.

Question 2. What do you believe is the most important thing to be prepared for after an EMP event?

It’s like Maslow’s  hierarchy of needs. Water, Food, medication, security, and then recovery.

Question 3. I have not had a chance to read the book yet but I have been told that refugees come from Charlotte and cities to the east into the mountains. Do you think they would actually head toward the mountains rather than the coasts?

Yes, there seems to be a homing instinct that people think mountains are going to be safe.

Question 4. You spoke to me earlier about your next book. The one about a space elevator. Do you think that is what is going to finally open up space to business?

Yes, One hundred percent. That is why I am writing the book. The technology is already here.

Question 5. Many people on our site are fans of Newt Gingrich (especially me). We wanted Newt to win the nomination. Tell us a little about your political affiliation and your affiliation with Newt?

Newt and I have been friends for twenty years. We’ve written nine books together. I think he would have made a fabulous President (I concur). He has been a  very close personal friend as well. I have a deep love and admiration for him.

Thank you for your time Dr. Forstchen ad I hope we can one day do an interview in a less hectic environment.

Horror Hosts- World of the Weird Monster Show

 

I love horror host shows. The bad production values, the horrible dialogue, and even the cheesy special effects. My favorite Horror Host show is currently  World of the Weird Monster  Show. They have been on for seven years in the Chicago area. I found them online and while I live no where near Chicago I have been able to follow them for the past five years online. Now they have moved to The Monster Channel an online 24 hour television station. Check them out on you tube or on the Monster Channel. I’m not sure the humor is to everyone’s taste, but I love this kind of outside the box production. They are not afraid to take chances. Sometimes it flops but more often than not their humor works well.

Space Colonization – It Ain’t Like Dusting Crops

If mankind is going to reach for the stars, it is most certainly going to involve some way to travel faster than light speed.  A recent post on this very site, reported the fact that certain scientists are considering warp drive as a possibility.  I am skeptical of such things but then again I am not a scientist.  My thoughts are that this is going to take a while regardless but there two basic schools of thought on how this is going to develop.  1) That we are going to have to colonize our own solar system and that through that colonization we may learn what it is going to take to head to new stars.  2) There are others though that propose that we skip the colonization of our own solar system because the prospects for terraforming, say Mars, are bleak at best.  I suppose that there are those that think we need to just do both because we need to do it.  These two opinions seem to be the basis though for all the rest.  Myself, I take the first route, because I believe mankind has a lot to learn before it can reach to the stars.

Hypothetically, lets take a trip to a star with our goal to colonize a world on it and at the moment of arrival we need to face the problems in doing so.  What is going to happen at that moment.

1) Conventional Drive Propulsion:  Even to survey such a system to find a suitable world is going to require  getting around that system far faster than we have been currently able to get around our own.  Even if we send a robot drone to do this, it is going to have to move.  Current missions to survey our own solar system have been slow and cumbersome taking years to do.  Depending on how we arrive, we may need to survey the system quickly or far in advance.  The need to get around a solar system quickly becomes apparent regardless because we can’t take all day finding the place to colonize.  We might be able to use our faster than light propulsion for this but there is also a possibility that we may not.

2) Communication: The recent Mars mission highlighted this problem.  Even in our own solar system time lag problems can be fatal.  Even if we follow a mothership with drone survey ships model, time lag can be difficult to get the colony going right away.  Some form of faster than light communication would be helpful, but more than likely we are going to have to deal with time lag and that means problems we are going to have to overcome.  I would rather practice this closer to home before we start sliding to other stars.

3) Terraforming:  It may be that as we send out robot ships out that we may to find much in the way of worlds we can colonize.  There is a real possibility that we may not find something better than Mars.  If so, I would rather have how to deal with such a world all worked out before I get there.

Then there are the issues of how we build such a colony ship in the first place.  Questions arise: Do we have all the resources we need to do so here on planet earth or are we going to have to exploit other planets and moons in our solar system to have the materials we need? That means at least robot mining colonies to do this.  What is the best way and place to build this starship.  Building it in space would help, but that means manufacturing technology is going to have to go to no gravity or low gravity environs.  The list of questions also includes environmental controls, life support, self sufficient technologies, etc. It is a long list of questions.

The main fact we have to face with this issue is that all we have done is gone to the moon and back and sent robot probes into or local neighborhood.  All this qualifies us for is that we have gotten off our belly and are on all fours.  We really have not even learned to crawl, let alone walk or run.  It may be that there is a giant leap in the near future that will help, but we cannot count on it.  In the meantime, questions can be answered by addressing the learning curve we need to face in the local neighborhood of our own solar system.  It becomes a great testing ground and nursery to learn to crawl and then walk.

I am hoping to hear the other side on this one, because maybe their objections to this have merit.  I am after all not a scientist or engineer.  My thoughts are that we may have many barriers to break before we break the speed of light barrier and that to break them we may have to look and experiment in our own back yard first before the stars can be reached.  I just don’t think this is going to be like dusting crops; it is far more complicated than what we would like it to be.