Archive for future

The Only Certainty

Posted in eBooks, future, Scifi, Short Stories with tags , on April 29, 2015 by oneoveralpha

CertaintyOn The Day, for reasons still unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake as someone new. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

In those first hours, leaders from around the world asked in vain for people to remain calm; as if waking up in a different body was something normal, to be expected. But they were quickly drowned out by the theorists. Some claimed this had to be an act of a forgotten, mischievous god while others thought it was clearly the prelude to an alien invasion, and still others opted for it being some bizarre science experiment gone awry. Worse yet, nobody knew if this was a one-time event, or if it would keep happening every time people fell asleep. In those early hours the only thing obvious was that nobody had a clue.

And in this mass of confusion came the first video of The Change. Somewhere in Russia, a group of people had gathered together in an apartment to help each other stay awake. They were filming – the translator explained – last messages for their families. Then, in a corner, an old, frail woman fell asleep. They went to wake her only to see her skin become fluid and her body shrink even more. A few seconds later a young Chinese girl lay before them.

The camera whipped around to see several people running from the apartment. After about a minute of arguing between those who remained, the girl was shaken awake. She opened her eyes and talked to them, in Russian. According to the translators, this young Chinese girl knew everything the old, Russian woman had known.

For hours, Derrick and Carol watched the news and talked with her mother. But eventually, her mother’s phone died, and they were left alone. They sat on their couch watching the world end; holding each other and drinking cup after cup of coffee.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “The Only Certainty” on Kindle.

Duty

Posted in eBooks, future, Scifi, Short Stories with tags , , , on April 22, 2015 by oneoveralpha

duty

For safety reasons, and to avoid paradoxes, Time Travel Incorporated assigns a Guardian to all its travelers. So when there is an accident during political historian Roj Hasol’s trip back to 1968, it’s his Guardian Susan who sets out on the arduous task of cleaning up the mess.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

Number 1

As the sun rose over the ocean’s edge, Roj Hasol washed ashore in a dark blue, serge suit, a thin, navy blue tie and black wing tips. His body remembered to cough out the seawater and breathe. His body had to do this on its own for his mind was scrambled.

A few minutes later, a two-meter tall, lithe woman with pale skin, jade eyes, and short dark hair walked towards him along the beach. She wore a black body suit that fit seamlessly into her black gloves and black boots. On her hip was a holster.

Dropping to one knee she rolled Roj onto his back. “Mister Hasol, do you remember me? I’m your Guardian, Susan.”

Roj just looked over her shoulder, unaware of her existence.

“If you can hear me, I’m here to help you.” She took a small device from her belt and held it to his chest. It buzzed for a few seconds, then an indicator light turned red.

Putting the scanner away, she drew her blaster. “I’m sorry,” she said and placed the muzzle to his temple.

Number 9

The wind blew snowflakes into Susan’s face. Looking around all she saw was snow. But then a small mound at her feet drew her attention. She knelt and brushed away some snow to reveal a black wing tip. Moving to the other end of the mound, she uncovered the frozen face of Roj Hasol.

She took her scanner out and held it against his forehead. It buzzed for a few seconds, then the light turned red. Returning it to her belt, she drew her blaster and vaporized the corpse. The snow held the shape of Roj for a second, then collapsed into the now empty cavity.

As Susan stood up, she heard a bellow in the distance; a herd of mammoths were on the march.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Duty” on Kindle.

Lonely Phoenix

Posted in eBooks, Scifi, Short Stories with tags , , , on April 15, 2015 by oneoveralpha

LP1

Partway to a new colony world, board member Geoffrey Ames is woken from hibernation by the caretaking crew of the Lucian. They require him to look into the matter of their fellow crewman Morgan Heller. Morgan’s claims – such as being over 1500 years old – would normally land him in the psychiatric ward, except he can back up some of his other claims.

Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:

Delara and Geoffrey entered the cell. Along the far wall were a bed and a toilet. A small table had been placed between the bed and door, along with three folding chairs. Without ceremony, Delara set the first aid kit on the table and sat down. Geoffrey paused and studied the prisoner who stood on the other side of the table. Morgan Heller was below average height, but with plenty of muscle.

Morgan grinned and waved to the chair beside Delara. “Please, sit down.”

Geoffrey looked from him to Delara, but her face was turned away. He looked back to Morgan and nodded before sitting down.

“I’d offer you a drink, but,” Morgan spread his hands, “I must have misplaced the key to the wine cellar.” He chuckled to himself then sat down.

Geoffrey began, “Mister Heller–”

“Please, call me Morgan.”

“Mister Heller,” Geoffrey continued, gaining a smirk from Morgan, “my name is Geoffrey Ames. I’m a member of the Board of Directors woken to look into this … situation.”

“Good morning, Mister Ames.”

After a pause, Geoffrey asked, “Mister Heller, why do they have you locked up in here?”

Morgan frowned and glanced at Delara, who replied, “I thought it best if he hears your story without any preconceived notions.”

“I see.” Morgan turned back to Geoffrey and stated, “The reason they have me locked in here is because of what I am.”

When he didn’t immediately continue, Geoffrey prompted, “Which is?”

“I don’t know. The closest word for what I am is … vampire.”

For several seconds there was only silence. Then Geoffrey nodded and turned to Delara. “You woke me for this?”

Delara only smiled and opened the first aid kit. She took out a pair of scissors and held them up in front of Geoffrey. She opened and closed them a few times, and turned them around so he could see both sides. “What are you doing?” he asked.

Instead of replying, she slid them across the table to Morgan.

Morgan sighed. He picked up the scissors, opened them, and then swept a blade across his forearm.

Geoffrey jumped up, knocking over his chair. “What the hell is going on here?”

Delara stood and put her hand on his shoulder. “Geoffrey, look at his arm.”

Against his better judgment, Geoffrey turned to look at Morgan’s arm. The wound wasn’t deep, with only a little bit of blood. But then he watched as the wound closed. The edges of the skin just rejoined.

Delara sat back down and took a wipe from the kit and passed it to Morgan, who cleaned the blood from his arm. A light pink scar was the only indication something had happened.

Apparently none the worse, Morgan looked up to Geoffrey and explained, “I heal very quickly. That’s why I’m in here. There was an accident that several people witnessed. They saw me gravely injured, and then I healed right before their eyes.”

“There is security footage of the accident as well as his healing,” Delara stated.

Geoffrey looked from Morgan’s arm, to the scissors, to Delara, then to Morgan’s smiling face. “If you’ll excuse me,” Geoffrey said, then he turned and left.

***

If you are at all curious, you can find “Lonely Phoenix” on Kindle.

The Future is Coming

Posted in eBooks, essay, future, Scifi with tags , , , on February 25, 2015 by oneoveralpha

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. I came up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Since I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. The point of these essays is to get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

Here’s one of the essays, which was first published as a blog post.

“Cloning Humans”

Someday – almost certainly sooner than anyone suspects – a human will be cloned. There will be protests, boycotts, marches, condemnations, congressional hearings, etc., all for this one minor event. I say minor event, and here is why.

The short term issues

The biggest problem human clones will face comes from people watching too many bad science fiction movies. In those movies, 99.9% of what they show of cloning is utter crap. In reality, clones will not be mindless automatons who will blindly follow the orders of some megalomaniac out for galactic domination. Nor will you run the risk of walking into an alley where someone will jump you, and ten minutes later a clone will walk out of the alley to steal your identity. And clones will not “remember” the lives of their donors and do … whatever. A clone will just be another human. That’s it. If they can escape the mental scaring caused by “parents” or guardians bent on making them into exact duplicates of the people who donated some DNA, they will be no more screwed up than the rest of us.

Cloning will – especially at first – be extremely expensive. That combined with the fact that we already have over seven billion humans made the old fashion way begs the question, what need is there to create clones? Seriously, what will be the point? Yes, grieving families will want to replace loved ones, and companies will take their money to give them a clone who will have the same DNA as the person they lost. But the clone – because they will have lived a different life – will not be the same person. And yes, some historical figures will be cloned as well as the best and brightest of various fields, but when the Einstein clone takes up poetry instead of physics, what will be the point of continuing?

There will be clones, but they will make up a miniscule fraction of the population. But a ton of legal and ethical questions will surround them. Will the donor of the DNA have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent? What recompense will people have if they are cloned against their wishes? Will the donor be able to abort the clone, and if so, how far into the cloning process will they be able to do that? If the donor is Canadian but the cloning is done in the United States, will the clone be Canadian, American, or have dual citizenship? Will a clone be able to become President? It’s probably a safe bet that few – if any – of these questions will be answered by the time human clones walk among us.

The long term issues

Above, I said that the fictional instaclones that are ready in a few minutes or hours you often see in movies is utter crap. In the short term, that is entirely true. The technology to rapidly copy a person may be possible, but probably not for several decades at best. As such, the day may come where you could walk into an alley and ten minutes later a clone walks out to steal your identity. That could happen, but since cloning won’t be the only technology to advance, I’d think it would be far easier for the bad guys to steal your identity by hacking into your computer implants and turning you into a puppet. That will be easier then going through the process of taking a genetic sample, growing the instaclone, and then somehow giving it enough of your memories for it to pass as you.

About the only possible reason I can think of for large scale clone production, will be for people to download themselves into younger bodies. There are two ways I can see this happening. The first is a brain transplant. Now, if the clone has to grow up so the brain will fit, that will only work if the clone can be grown without a brain. But if you could make brainless, instaclones, then that may be a viable option. The second way is some sort of electronic transfer. You make a digital copy of yourself, then install it in a clone with an undeveloped brain. Of course, if you can upload your consciousness into some electronic format, then why not keep it as that in either a virtual world or by downloading it into a mechanical body? As I said, cloning won’t be the only technology that advances.

#

Basically, at some point in the not too distant future, a human will be cloned. A great deal of time will be spent demonizing that fact, but in the long run human cloning will almost certainly just be a fad.

***

If you’re curious, you can find “The Future is Coming” on Kindle.

A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories

Posted in eBooks, humor, Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2014 by oneoveralpha

Cloudy

A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of putting out minianthologies – collections of five to ten stories – on Kindle as a way to use up some of my stories and to let people know I exist.  Well, I have just put out my latest minianthology – “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories.” It contains five stories set upon the moon.  The blurb I have for it is as follows:

Hopefully, in the not too distant future humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, create farms and factories, and live, love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains five short stories set upon the moon. They give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us there. 

 I hope you’ll check it out, and if it strikes your fancy you can download it for only $0.99.  I hope you’ll enjoy.

#

The story behind this minianthology is somewhat long.  Part of the idea behind my minianthologies is to show people a sampling of my writing, but I also like to group similar stories.  When I realized I had several stories set on the moon, it was natural to put them together.  A couple of these were published before – I’ve revised them for this – but I also wanted a couple new stories.  I had one story that involved time travel, and I haven’t figured out how to make it work.  So I would start working on this collection, only to get stuck on this story, set it aside to let my creative juices flow, only to then get caught up in some other project.  It was probably almost two years ago that I started this project, but I didn’t really get anywhere with it until about four months ago.

About four months ago was when I learned my story “The Reluctant Host” would appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What? which would be published now.  (See my previous blog post.)  You know what would be good, I thought?  If I had a Kindle book come out at the same time to get some of that chicken soup splashover

Of my dozen or so projects, “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” was the closest to being finished, so I set out to finish it.  One problem was this time travel story I couldn’t make work.  Fortunately, I had recently come up with a new story idea also set upon the moon, “Putting Down Roots.” Since I could finish that story, and since the other stories in the collection were more grounded scifi (no warp drive or aliens) the time travel story kind of stood out.  So I swapped the stories and set to work finishing it.

I was making steady progress, when in early July I smacked my forehead because I had missed something.  July 20 marked the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.  What better time to put out a collection of stories set on the moon?  I debated for a bit if I should change my publication plans, but I couldn’t finish it in time.

As it turns out, this later publication date may actually be better.  One thing am really passionate about is setting up a permanent human presence in space, such as at a moon base.  If I had published this a month ago, it probably would have been lost in all the hoopla for Apollo 11, which I believe all faded into obscurity on July 21st.  But with this ebook coming out a month later, it can help advance my goal of moon bases in my lifetime by showing people the moon isn’t just something to get excited about on big anniversaries. 

At least, that’s what I tell myself to keep from smashing my forehead for missing such an obvious connection.

Thoughts on a cover and blurb

Posted in eBooks, Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2014 by oneoveralpha

I’m hoping to get an ebook out in a couple of weeks.  Here’s my take on the cover I’ve made and my blurb for it.

Cloudy

Hopefully in the not too distant future, humans will return to the moon. We will build bases and colonies, create farms and factories, and live and love and learn. “A Cabin Under a Cloudy Sea and other stories” contains six stories set upon the moon and give the tiniest glimpse of the possibilities awaiting us.

Grab my Kindle story “Lonely Phoenix” for free!

Posted in eBooks, Give away, Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2014 by oneoveralpha

LP1

This weekend, Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th, you’ll be able to download my scifi story “Lonely Phoenix” for free. The story is set onboard an interstellar colony ship in its centuries long voyage to a new star. And it involves a … vampire? Well, not like any vampire you know about, that’s just the closest word we have for what he is.

To find out more, you’ll have to download, which you can do all for the price of a click.

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