I am delighted and honored to advise that Mike Resnick has purchased my short story, "I Am Lonely" for Galaxy's Edge Magazine http://www.galaxysedge.com/ . Great way to start
I was a male girl scout before it was cool, well kinda.
Full Circle Ft Sumter (by Schellty Keefer) Girl Scouts folding the flag at revielle.
I was drafted to chaperone a girl scout troop to Patiots Point in Charleston SC http://www.patriotspoint.org for an overnight stay on USS Yorktown (CV-10) the second US carrier to bear that name. The girls were after their history merit badge and a friend of Schelly’s had asked for help with the troop. The chance to see Yorktown, Ft Sumter and the other vessels at the Point outweighed the perils of escorting a flock of pre-teenage girls.
After a day of touring and lectures, it was time to crash for the night. The girl scouts and the ladies were sent to the relatively luxurious petty officers quarters. I on the other hand was exiled to the ordinary seamen’s quarters with the Boy Scouts. I glumly surveyed my rack, narrow, lumpy and stacked five high and settled for the bottom bunk which gave me a spot between the bulkhead and my rack to store my gear.
It took quite a while for a pack of boys to drop off for the night being away from home and more interested in making loud farting noises and giggling madly then sleep. Eventually they settled down and I drifted off to sleep in the early morning hours… only to be woken in the early morning hours. Many of the Dad’s were apparently navy vets and determined to relive their navy days and inflict them on the next generation of young swabbies. As the dads rousted comatose and
resentful offspring out of their racks, I stared at my watch in disbelief. It was 4:30 AM or as the dads were loudly announcing to all and sundry 0430 which did not make me feel better about
One Dad walked by me peered down and said in the unwelcome cheerful voice of a morning person, “Rise and Shine, Mac.”
I cast a bleary eye at him and said. “Wrong outfit, Buddy, I’m with the girl scouts.
Call me in three hours.”
Dad was totally nonplussed with this announcement. “Sure Pal. Nothing wrong with that.
Whatever.” and beat a faster retreat then Admiral Nagumo in the Battle of the Phillipine Sea.
So I was a male Girl Scout before it was cool. :-)
Interesting morning. I was listening to an NPR article with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and was struck by something she said. She too had an alcoholic father and an uncertain childhood (far worse than what I went through) but she mentioned the "isolation of her father’s alcoholism" and that rang true for me. I realized that like her, I lived an isolated life because I was never sure what condition my father would be in, so I was reluctant to mix my home life with anything else I did and so I learned to live like a spaceman, in a series of airtight compartments.
I guess we all do the best we can and for my father who ,as a combat veteran of a generation that never talked about anything they felt, may have done the best he could. I always thought that his drinking never did really effect me after he was gone (for all I am very careful about drinking) but I see that was naïve.
The other similarity I noted between the Justice and me was that books were “her rocketship off the second floor apartment I lived in.” I too had a second floor apartment and books were my rocketship as well. I escaped chiefly into the worlds of Andre Norton, whose works center on isolated and disadvantaged young people who find their ways to their “places of belonging”despite the challenges thrown at them. Those books gave me hope and may be why I love them beyond their literary merit.
Anyway, deep thoughts on a Saturday morning, will write some fiction later. Time to get out in
the sunlight now. Andre Norton, wherever you are now, thanks. You are remembered well by this reader.
A review of “Prometheus,” or as I would prefer, “The Girl will the Dragon Tattoo Kicks Alien Butt” or “More Stupid Human Tricks.”
I wanted to like this movie, as l had earlier liked “Black Hawk Down.” I didn’t succeed. The Alien series has always been
problematic for me. They really aren’t Science-Fiction, they’re horror movies in SF trappings, by which I mean the point of the movie is to viscerally shock and horrify us. Not for people to behave as they actually would in the circumstances. In short, in a spaceship being haunted by a horrible monster I doubt people will split up to search dark places by themselves. Still I found the first hour of Alien very well done, before the sense of horror displaced the sense of wonder. Sigourney Weaver's epic battle with the alien elevates the movie from the ranks of Jason and chainsaw massacres to something Homeric.
Alien II did see as a science-Fiction Film with horror trappings and to me it is the best of the series. Alien III so provoked me with its death of Ripley that I never bothered to see it. Alien IV was back to the horror genre for me. but because it was Joss Whedon and an early and meaner version of the crew of Serenity I found it interesting. So it was special though I questioned many of the performances.
That brings us to Prometheus. It too started with a sense of wonder and his high adventure. But as with the First Alien it quickly descends into ugliness and horror.
It opem with a large alien male from the species that created both humans and the biological
ordnance that are the Aliens of the titles. This Predecessor, as I think of him, dissolves himself into a waterfall. Why? What sense does that make? Did his people not invent needles, IV's, spray dispersion? There could be cultural or religious reason for this act of self- slaughter but we are not given them. Since all living things desire to live, I think that not giving us an explanation is a mistake.
The movie then speeds up with the modern day discovery of cave painting and a voyage to the Predecessor homeworld. But it quickly begins to decay with Charlize Theron’s stereotypical portrayal of the corporate ice-queen; the previous line sums up the whole character-meaning you did not need an actress of her caliber to perform it. Noomi Rapace's performance is lackluster through this early -she has zero chemistry with her husband. This is odd. Anyone who saw her in the Tattoo movies knows she has the ability to generate sexual heat on screen for all her pale immobile face. She plays with fire in the second half.
Meanwhile the rest of the expedition starts with the stupid human tricks. This expedition has so much of the "wrong stuff" as to beggar the imagination. This bunch of bozos could get a Boy
Scout troop massacred at a jamboree. It would be tedious to list the stupidities of the film but to support the point:
1) The team brings no weapons-though it is bvious that the stone hives (which are rather absurdly revealed later as spacecraft hangers) are not inhabited by a technic society. It does not seem to occur to anyone that the local equivalent of bears, cougars, or wolverines could have moved into the ruins or that if there were primitive peoples they might be terrified and attack out of panic or
2) We all take our helmets off as what the hell; it’s an alien world what could happen?
Worse yet the lead fool taking his helmet off, believes this world is one where we share common DNA and hence potentially diseases, so again, hell, what could happen?
3) We lose two guys (who should not have been on the expedition due to temperament in the first place) who get lost in spite of the mapping spheres, GPS and other devices. No one at the ship leaves leaves anyone on duty to watch over them. They of course play "Crocodile Hunter”
with a hideous cobra-like creature they encounter in the dark. Not surprisingly their faces get sucked off if you didn’t see this coming a ½ hour before, you were asleep. They were issued red-shirts from the Enterprise Security Team.
We are expected to believe that Lizbeth Salander (whoops sorry, here it’s juts Elisabeth) having had a Cesarean by a sexist autodoc set only for males (what the hell sense does that make? The
greedy old bastard CEO may have been self-centered but his daughter is aboard if no one else) is to be capable of feats of Olympian strength after having been ripped open. Most of us might like, of say a week or two to recover.
I could go on but the ones cited area already fatal. Given the intelligence of Ridley Scott and the quality of the cast, how do you come go with this turkey?
The answer seems to be something that in my own perception is generally true of modern movie SF. It's as if the movies are cotton-candy, consumed for the moment with a sweet taste on the lips, but they cannot bear any consideration beyond that. To think about the movie is to start rewriting, recasting and redirecting the movie, whether Prometheus, the new star Trek or Star Wars Chapter Interminable. In this respect it seems the modern book eclipses the modern movie. One is cotton candy-the other is a barrel of good wine-it must bear the strain of time.
Interview with John Lawrence:
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Was Once a Hero was born one day when the image of an aerodynamic and ominous red
starship sliding over the surface of a world I knew was dead, came to my mind. I started wondering about that world and why it died. Then I began to wonder about who was on that ship and why they would risk a voyage to such a place. I decided while they had to be the sort of people who would logically, out of duty or avarice, go to such a place, eventually I settled on a mix of government people and privateers to cover both motivations. I did not want to have a crew of stalwarts under a Captain Adams, Kirk, or Picard but rather a diverse crew bringing with them the seeds of their own divisions beyond any dangers that they would find.
What genre does your book fall under?
That is a tougher question then it looks. Was Once a Hero is a science fiction story and the focus is on the action and the adventure, but there is a strong romance element in it as well as a
story of personal growth, destruction and redemption. Again I did not want to do the “heroic crew of the USS Whatever.” My main character is a formerly wealthy rich man, who has descended to the life of a privateer for no other reason than to find his wife, a lost naval officer. His journey is complicated by his involvement with his bella donna sans merci Shasti Rainhell, a genetically engineered assassin and refugee from her homeworld of Olympia.
In Fearful Symmetry, I added the elements of a political thriller to the mix and yet feel I never lost touch with the burgeoning love story that was nurtured in Hero, for all the bullets and beams flying around it.
The trilogy will complete in 2013 with Points of Departure, the last book, written and under contract but more about that later.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
For Was Once A Hero: A rag-tag crw of spacefarers battle each other and an ancient enemy on a murdered world.
For Fearful Symmetry: Fenaday and the deadly Shasti Rainhell have only one chance to stop the rise of a new master race.
Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
I a published through Hellfire publishing http://www.hellfirepublishing.com/hero.html. I am currently looking for an agent though
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
All my life. :-) I average about a year a novel and have eight written with four under contract. Hero took longer because it was the first the others came quicker
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Let me answer that one by way of saying who my inspirations are. My biggest is Andre Norton
followed closely by CJ Cherryh. I am a fan of Mike Resnick and Catherine Asaro's work as well as Larry Niven and some less well known authors: Brian Aldiss, Morgan Llewellyn, Jeff Sutton and Ken Bulmer. I am a huge anime fan and a lot of my SF is inspired by that source.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In a way it was a desire to read more of the sort of star-spanning planetary adventure that always enjoyed but which are not as common these days. Plus I read a bad book by a good author and thought, “Hey I can do better than that.” Remember the perils of hubris; it was WAY harder than I thought it would be.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the fact that there is a anime influence in my visual writing style, beyond that I feel it is the emphasis on the emotional existences of these characters, they are as real as I can reveal them to be, notice that I did not say make them. My characters make themselves.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Another toughie, while I only described Robert Fenaday as brown-haired and strongly
built and about thirty I did not imagine his face in great detail. My cover artist Michael Church, when he came up with the series of covers you see here, choose a face that I immediately said, “That’s it!” I realized that to some degree his image reminded me of Nathan Fillion. But more the Nathan of Firefly then the more amiable and roguish Castle.
Shasti Rainhell, well how many beautiful 6’ 9” athletic actresses do you know with
green eye,s long black hair and a slightly ivory complexion? Send me an email ;-)
Author Edward McKeown is a writer and editor