They co-evolved with us. They are unknown to mankind, and have our external physical appearance, with one difference: They phase from one gender to the other, as part of their reproductive cycle, seducing unwitting humans of both genders. Their continued survival as a species depends on taking their offspring from duped human mothers and in regarding mankind as a useful tool. They call themselves “Intermediates”. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XB7RKSS/
When Toby and Laura decided that only one of them wanted children, divorce seemed like the only answer. But, current technology provided another solution. Toby’s older and old-fashioned sister, Jennie, never liked it. Ten years later, Laura’s career has changed, bringing her closer to her husband -but can Jennie accept the change when she barely accepted their decision to separate marriage from parenthood in the first place? (About 16,000 words.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XCS41PT
Hugh looked up the length of the pipe. From his position, it really could be considered “up” because centripetal acceleration was at a maximum here. The pipe was a uniform two meters in diameter, and it ran from where he stood, on the inside of the outermost wall of the crew habitat, all the way to the engine. The crew habitat of the interplanetary space ship Maine was like a large, circular bicycle wheel with a long metal cylinder, about a fourth its diameter, running through and perpendicular to its center. The crew habitat spun relative to the cylinder, which was the unmanned, fusion-powered engine of the Maine. One end of the pipe Hugh was in terminated when it reached the engine cylinder. The other end of the pipe terminated in the irsing door that Hugh currently stood on. When the Maine was in “dry-dock” for engine repairs, and the crew habitat wasn’t spinning, the pipe could give quick access to an entry hatch on the engine. When the crew habitat was spinning relative to the engine, the entry hatch could periodically be seen by an observer inside the pipe as it passed over the hatch, but it would be impossible to open in the short time it was in proper position.
While the ship was traveling in space, the pipe Hugh was in served a less glamorous function. All along the pipe were small openings that allowed the material collected from the ship’s human-waste-removal units to empty into it. Centrifugal force and air pressure than forced the waste material towards the irising door, which was periodically opened to empty the material into space. It was Hugh’s job to see to it that the tunnel remained clear of obstructions and clogs. Every Tuesday, Hugh would clean a different section of the pipe, 15 meters ahead of the section he had cleaned the previous week. By custom, all of the apprentices on ship were supposed to take turns at this weekly duty, but the Junior Crewman in charge of making the duty roster each week had decided that Hugh would always clean the pipe. The J.C. had a grudge against Hugh because his father had once been laid off by the company Hugh’s father used to own, before the Chinese Prosperity Alliance Space Expeditionary Force had annexed the Earth’s moon and nationalized all non-C.P.A.-owned businesses.
(Read More: judgingMen-2017)
I’ve decided that I have a “love/hate” relationship with Robert Heinlein’s fiction. I read “Tunnel in the Sky” the summer after eighth grade, and thought it was one of the best books I’d ever read. It was about a student in the future who takes a wilderness survival class, and the final exam is to be transported to another planet via teleportation to survive for a week -but something goes wrong and he and other students are trapped there indefinitely. At the time I was really into wilderness survival and science fiction, so I loved that book.
The “Door Into Summer” is a great novel about a brilliant inventor whose ideas are stolen, and his use of cryonics and time travel to get back what is his, as well as to meet the love of his life. It was a touching novel that almost moved me to tears.
“Orphans of the Sky” is about a “generation star ship” where the inhabitants have forgotten they are on a star ship and think that the “universe” consists of just the ship. The main character learns the truth, but the others don’t believe him -similar to Galileo. Also a great book about human institutions and superstitions in conflict with the facts of reality.
However, two of Heinlein’s books are quite possibly some of the most vicious science fiction novels I’ve ever read. First, there is “Stranger in a Strange Land” -arguably Heinlein’s most popular novel, but I absolutely hate it. It involves mysticism, non-monogamous “free love”, cannibalism, and some sort of mystical epistemology (“groking”). Heinlein said he wrote it to challenge every central tenet of Western Civilization. It was Charles Manson’s favorite novel with good reason, and, from what I’ve heard, Heinlein refused to take any responsibility for intellectually “aiding and abetting” that deranged mind.
“Waldo” is a shorter novella, and at the end of it I thought: “I’m not sure I want to believe Heinlein meant what I think this novella stands for.” Basically the main character is a misanthropic genius who is severely, physically disabled. At the end, he discovers some mystical power that lets him become physically fit again, and then slowly has pieces of his brain removed and becomes a vapid “every man” who gets along with everyone. What I took as the theme of the novel was: “You can either be intelligent, miserable, and physically deformed or you can be happy, stupid, and physically fit -but not both.” It seemed like a complete “mind-body false dichotomy” to me.
I saw “The Martian” last night. I won’t do any plot spoilers, but it was pretty great, overall. A sufficiently faithful adaptation of the book that I was pleased. The overall theme -that reason is man’s means of survival- was translated to the movie fairly well.
They cut out some sub-plots that I would have liked to see, but I understand that has to be done in the interests of time. They also made a reference to religion -the rocket launch scene- that wasn’t in the original book (as best I can recall), but the book is such a powerful statement about the power of human reason that I’m sure the Hollywood PR people were nervous about how that would go over in middle America.
The other thing that really annoys me is how Hollywood has treated this movie. It got some sort of award for “Best Comedy”, which I think is a total back-handed compliment. The movie and the book definitely do have humor in them. You often laugh with the main character as he uses his reasoning skills to solve problems, but to describe the movie as a comedy is a slight on the part of the Hollywood elite in my opinion. It makes it clear in my mind that people in Hollywood don’t just have a left-wing bias, they have an “anti-man” bias. This translates into an anti-reason bias -because they don’t believe man is efficacious and capable of solving problems through the use of his reason. (This is also why Hollywood is so left wing -they think we need a nanny-state to take care of us.) They hate those who want to live life as men, they hate the faculty that is man’s means of survival -his reason, and they hate success. As a result, the movie is not fully “real” or “dramatic” to the Hollywood elite. In their minds, the idea that anybody could use their reason to promote their own individual survival is not fully real -hence the “comedy” label.
“What do we do now? We’ve pushed through the executive order outlawing the Republican Party, and managed to blame the previous President’s assassination on NRA-extremists.”
“Yes, and the purge of the last of the reactionaries from our own, now-renamed Green-Democratic party is complete. But, we need something really flashy that will show that we intend to make the Earth a garden again, and to destroy this industrial society that has become a cancer on Mother Earth.”
“What about an executive order outlawing all experimentation on animals?”
“No, unfortunately, there are still too many selfish people in our society. They won’t stand for not getting their precious pharmaceuticals. The same goes for all of the people who didn’t become vegetarians until after we banned the killing of domestic animals for food. Their time will eventually come, but we have to ease into it.”
“What about a ban on genetically modified crops?”
“Well, the 200% sales tax we’ve imposed on any food that isn’t organic has already effectively done away with G.M. crops anyway….which reminds me, exactly how bad is the famine in Southern California?”
“You’re actually concerned about the starvation there?”
“Ha! No, of course not, the Earth’s population is going to have to be reduced to under a billion people, so we might as well start with the Southwestern US. I just wanted to know if there is a possibility of revolt in Southern California. We can’t have anyone getting it into their heads that they should try and secede from the Union.”
“Oh, no worries there. We just call anyone who suggests secession a neo-Confederate racist. Besides, the Prefect of California had some of the strictest gun control laws even before our Green Revolution overthrew the corrupt capitalist regime that existed under that document that was a legacy of the white male hetero-patriarchy known as the Constitution.”
“I’m glad to hear it won’t be a problem. Now, back to the issue at hand. We need something ‘splashy’ that will make good headlines in the state-controlled news channel, MSNBC. By the way, have you noticed that MSNBC’s reporting is exactly the same as it was prior to the Green Revolution? We had to purge people from the other news channels, but everyone at MSNBC was already on board with us. Just goes to show you that MSNBC was right -or, should I say ‘left’? HA!- all along. Anyway, what I am thinking is this: We go after the hunters.”
“The hunters? What’s that?”
“Oh, back before they imposed nation-wide gun control under the old regime, and back when that barbaric notion of private property existed, say more than 20 years ago, there were people who used to hunt our brother and sister animals with weapons for sport or for food. It was a horrible crime against mother Earth. Since we are all agreed that there is no difference between a man and an animal, those people are really no different from people who commit crimes against humanity, and they are a small minority group, so no one will complain too much if they are liquidated.”
“How will we find them?”
“We will just go through the old records and round up anyone who ever applied for a hunting license. It’s the same tactic we used to liquidate the gun-owners, just check the government registry. The previous regime’s largely useless attempts to prevent criminals from getting guns did at least make it easy for us to eventually round up that group of undesirables.”
“What will we do with them once we find them?”
“The gas chamber for every last one of them. Like I said, the world has an excess human population, and we might as well get rid of the troublemakers.”
“What about a trial?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. No due process for fascists! We’ll just issue another executive order.”