Things That Interest Me

These are things that have gotten my attention lately, listed in no particular order. For the most part, they are people, ideas or technologies that are influencing what I write.

  • Bajau: This is a culture of marine nomads that mostly hang out in the tropical waters around the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Some of them live in pole houses off the coastlines of land masses, but many live on houseboats or other vessels.I love seeing and reading about these people because they’re giving me insights into how some cultures will adapt to sea level rise in a climate changed world.
  • Bamboo Railroad: I first learned of these abandoned rail lines running through the hinterlands of Cambodia when I randomly found the video below. Seems the rails are a relic of French colonialism that the indigenous people have turned around for their own benefit.Apparently, the rail cars are mostly constructed from bamboo. The wheels and axles are often scavenged from tanks left over from Cambodia’s eight-year-long civil war. The complexity of the social system that allows operation of these simple carts has to be amazing to witness. How you flag a cart down? How do carts pass one another on the same line? Who manages line maintenance? What happens in the event of a washout or flood?Technological primacy in a post-climate-change world is what I getting from here. Imagine what we’ll scavenge and convert when the power of our government is severely limited by its current ineptitudes.
  • Mycotecture: The material science of growing things out of mushroom mycelium. There’s so much potential for sustainable and even innovative goods being quietly developed these days. Other than the sterility requirements, accomplishing this on your own appears to be completely within reach which means that open sourced techniques for developing your own material — say, interlocking bricks for building or “leather” for clothing — are right around the corner.
  • States’ Rights: By concentrating power at the state level, proponents of “states’ rights” believe that policy can be more accurately tailored towards the needs of that locality’s citizens. But the concept of States’ Rights was incubated in a world that was not simultaneously host to multi-national corporations or the influences of fast and ubiquitous global trade. When considered from the vantage point of the general welfare of a country it’s easy to see that this ideology is both self-concerned and short sighted.The problem is that this ideology has become the dominant paradigm in American government. Hell, we just elected the Oompa-Loompa and Chief and he’s seen fit to use what little mandate is in his possession to fill each of his cabinet posts with an antithetical choice of what that post requires. In other words, Donald Trump is very much like Casey Jones except that he intends the wreck.

    The power will, then necessarily reside at lower levels of government. Whatever will we do?

    As I’ve said previously, I think the thing to do, given the situation, is to adapt. So I’m exploring ways in which people, and by consequence, myself can adapt to a major shift in government. Places with long traditions of bigotry, authoritarianism, and ignorance will likely become more like those places. But that social geography doesn’t prevail throughout the land, does it?

    I also imagine “Cascadia” rising from the trees and frankly, I think that this is where people should be building coalitions and doing their best work. Working this into fiction is more or less my full-time job.

Atlatl Teaser

by Zane Kinney

by Zane Kinney

The eminently talented Zane Kinney has handed over cover work for the next episode of Up Slope, but I’m going to tease you all with it for a while because I’m not yet through copy edits on the manuscript.

Muh ha ha ha ha haaaaaa!

He’s also handed me a couple of pencil sketches which I daresay may sate your building anticipation. I get to meter these out.

The Atlatl making a Jupiter shot.

IOTD

“If you look into the eyes of a person that you discriminate against or that you think is so different than you that they deserve less rights than you then it becomes almost impossible to deny their humanity. The complicated part of that is — and I’m not trying to say that we are all the same — what I’m trying to say is we are all completely different, and that’s the beauty of it.”

-iO Tillett Wright

This interview was an incredible insight in my opinion. I found it almost right after watching a pair of “Trumpettes” extolling the god-like virtues of their favorite demagog so that you can imagine I was a little upset. Then I got to this part:

“The most dignified gift you can give them as a human, as part of their family, as part of their family-of-friends is the right to change.”

The scope of this statement is so broad, so much impact and truth. iO hit this one out of the park.

IOTD

“Yes! ‘Never play to the gallery,’ I think. But you never learn that until much later on, I think. But never work for other people in what you do. Always … always remember that the reason you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt, that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society.”

Cliché

Cover Art from Danny Flynn for "Starship Troopers"

Cover Art from Danny Flynn for “Starship Troopers”

I have to tell someone. I am becoming weary of contemporary fiction outlets reviewing the works of dead science fiction authors. Every time I see another article like this, I’m reminded of the old men who frequented my coffee shop. They’d habitually sit around shooting the shit, sipping their cuppa, while comparing anything and everything of today to their bygone era.

It is statements like this that chap my hide.

“When examining military science fiction, all roads, at one point or another, lead to Starship Troopers, written by Robert A. Heinlein in 1959 and rooted in his service in the U.S. Navy.”

Good grief! All roads? Really?

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that there is an abundance of military science fiction available today. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to stroll the SFF section of your local library or bookstore with your hand outstretched on the spines without touching a story that doesn’t at least make use of organized conflict as a primary theme. The idea that Heinlein influenced all of these latter-day authors is just ludicrous.

My problem isn’t with Heinlein or any of the Golden Age writers. Rather, I’m taking umbrage with our community’s insistence that we continue to pay these guys homage. They had their day and, point in fact, made a reasonable living from their words. Yes, their stories are memorable, and they may even influence some of us when we put pen to paper, but their contributions to the genre canon are, at best, dated.

At worst, is the idea that Science Fiction has become a historical study. Are we so frightened of the future that we’re eternally fixated on old stories, endlessly rehashing comfortable clichés?

ALT.Chronicles Legacy Fleet

 

ALT.Chronicles Legacy Fleet

ALT.Chronicles Legacy Fleet

Sometime last night another anthology dropped. This one is a little different and very special as a result. It’s already hit #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle Worlds > Science Fiction & Fantasy and we got there in less than 24 hours which may be a new record for a Peralta gig.

Featuring stories by Nick Webb, Will Swardstrom, J.E. Mac, David Adams, Ralph Kern, Patrice Fitzgerald, Kev Heritage, Jon Frater, Matthew Alan Thyer, Peter Cawdron, K.J. Fieler, Joseph Robert Lewis, Christopher J. Valin, and Felix R. Savage. Edited by Therin Knite. 

These are the untold stories from the Legacy Fleet universe – a universe of conflict , of alien invasion, and of human resistance and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.Spanning a time between the First Swarm War – and humanity’s first devastating encounter with the alien race – and the events of the Legacy Fleet trilogy, these fourteen stories chart the human drama behind an epic 75-year vista of Earth’s expansion in space, and the dawn of the Second Swarm War.Stories like these:

A man mentally linked to the alien Swarm weighs the cost of reaching out to them through the link, to stave off humanity’s destruction…

A group of friends in the Air National Defense discover firsthand the terror in mankind’s first encounter with the deadly Swarm…

A destroyer discovers a dormant Swarm carrier, that suddenly awakens…

A training academy cadet finds her legendary strategy in ship-to-ship battle simulation inexorably changing her own life…

A flight engineer begins to uncover the truth behind a decades old conspiracy theory, that now threatens the survival of the human race…

…And nine more stories, from the creator and authors of The Future Chronicles, the #1 bestselling speculative fiction anthology series on Amazon today.

If you loved the movie, if you loved Legacy Fleet, you’ll love the television series. Because here it is, the entire season, this amazing collection of episodes, of short stories–Alt.Chronicles: Legacy Fleet.

The early reviews are excellent too. Take for example:

ACLF_Review

People are enjoying the stories, that’s great news. Right now the anthology is selling for $3.99 US which is about a dime cheaper than the cup of awful coffee I just paid for. I poured it out and will replace it as soon as I can get to the good coffee shop. Take a good, long look at that cup you’re holding in your hand. Can you afford to support the arts? Probably.