Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My new book


KIRKUS REVIEW A sci-fi saga of an alien world, recounting its wars, its near-destruction and its risky restoration. Fans of such whimsical fantasy settings as Piers Anthony’s Xanth or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld may be equally impressed by Fisher’s audacious creation. Inchoate is a planet made of dark matter that occupies a point in space inside the Earth but that’s slightly out of phase in time. As a result, the two independent, evolving environments don’t (normally) interact. Inhabitants of Inchoate are one-sixth the size of Homo sapiens, with a quasi-feudal social structure, advanced technology, and a penchant for befriending talking animals such as jackalopes, rats, dogs and spiders. Successive, advanced alien races have visited Inchoate and used it as a key station in their intergalactic teleportation network. This inspires an act of wartime sabotage that causes Inchoate to be accidentally transmitted several light years away; its people awaken from long-term suspended animation to find themselves in a double-star system in Sirius, where they rebuild over the next thousand years. Fisher further stirs the pot by telling his three-part tale out of chronological order, starting in the middle, proceeding to the prologue and then reaching the finale. The major connecting thread between them is the resourceful troubleshooter Naksarben, aka John Narrowpath, aka Brother Nathan, who weaves his way through palace intrigues and virtuous secret operations against tyrants who rely on religious fundamentalism and militarism to gain power. A final, twist ending about the character’s true origin is a head-scratcher, but by then, readers will have bought into the novel’s blend of quantum mechanics and fairy tale. The author, who also contributes scattered maps, diagrams and illustrations, is a master punster, offering character names such as Hans Pholde, Shellson Carapace, a philosophy professor named Eponymous Muser, a scientist and professor named Prudence DeCysseve, a librarian called Reed Tomes, an order called the Monastery of the Inevitable Whens and a capital city dubbed Distopia. A fetching, seriocomic fantasy of faith, politics, science and death that never succumbs to cuteness.

3rd Edition: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1453519615
Page count: 514pp
Publisher: Xlibris
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Oct. 31st, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Truly Horribles

The stars of Orion marshaled the last night of October to feast on those who walked alone with the frost coxing them indoors to a warm fire.

I was going to start a story for you with that as its first line but found it too frightening. Let’s start again.

The Truly Horribles were misfit spirits. They really wanted to frighten people but didn’t have the knack. To begin with, they didn’t look frightening, or even like spirits. They looked more like lumpy clowns in soiled baggy green pants, red suspenders to hold up the baggy pants, polka dotted blue shirts, purple bow ties (imagine, bow ties in this day and age!) and yellow bowler hats. Downright silly! They tried walking like zombies, with their eyes wide, their tongues lolling, and their limp hands straight out in front. People laughed, “Look the circus must be in town and the show can’t be very good. Just look at those foolish clowns.”

They tried disguises. When they wore sheets they forgot the eyeholes and couldn’t see. When they wore costumes over their clothes they looked like balloons from a Thanksgiving Day parade. When they put on invisible paint no one could see them.

Even their tricks for Trick or Treat were lame. They would ring a door bell and forget to run and hide. When they threw a pie it ended in their own face. When they tried to roll a garbage can down the hill, they would run in front and ended up crashing into the stone wall at the bottom. When they chased someone in the cemetery they would trip on the tomb stones.

To top it off, the Truly Horribles weren’t really even spirits. They were the misfit boys from down the street. None they less, they wished everyone a Happy Halloween, and I do too. BOO! So there!

Friday, October 3, 2014

M'slle Hepzeba in our back yard

A social outcast crept into our back yard a night or two ago. She was ill and hungry and in need of solitude. We gave that to her as best we could. She has wolfed down sunflower seeds and shuffled off under a neighbor's porch. Nature is what it is, and we can't foresee her future, nor ours for that matter. Perhaps Pogo and Albert will come to her rescue.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The onset of Autumn 2014

On September 22, at 10:29 P.M. EDT. Autumn began. I like Autumn and Winter best, followed by Spring. Summer is okay, but I get even more cranky than usual when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, and with global warming a reality, future summers will sizzle.

Where we are in the circle of the year depends on where we stand, just as how we will vote does. Since we live in the northern hemisphere it seems logical to leap from the middle of Michigan to a point “above” the center of our orbit. You may recall the solar clock with the Winter Solstice at 12 o’clock, the Vernal Equinox at 9 o’clock, the Summer Solstice at 6 o’clock, and the Autumnal Equinox at 3 o’clock. We are just past 3, moving counterclockwise at about 67 thousand miles per hour.

On the day of the equinox the Sun shines directly on the equator, where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night. Where we live day and night are not exactly equal but no one notices. The daylight hours become shorter and will continue to do so until the first day of Winter, December 21.

In ancient times, the Autumn Equinox brought a variety of pagan festivals. The Welsh celebrated the birth of Mabon, the son of Mordon, the goddess of the Earth. Mabon simply means Son. His full name was Mabon ap Mordon, son of the goddess of the Earth.

“The only myth we have about Mabon says that within minutes of his birth, he was stolen from between his mother’s side and the wall next to which she lay. By whom, is not known. He was imprisoned in a castle, on an island in a lake, until his uncle, King Arthur, obeying a prophecy, freed him to participate in the adventure called The Wooing of Olwen.” (See Dana Corby, www.widdershins.org.)

Many cities and areas have Fall Festivals, particularly in places like Michigan, where leaves turn to gold, yellow, scarlet, russet, burnt umber, and raw sienna. We here in the middle of the mitten don’t have to travel very far for great color tours. We see the leaves by light from the sun, and it took about eight minutes for each photon from the sun to reflect off the leaves into our eyes.

Another wonderful aspect of Fall is the harvest. For thousands of years farmers have gathered crops to last the long Winter ahead. Our Farmers’ Market features pumpkins, and hardy squashes such as acorn, butternut, blue Hokkaido, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti, turban, and my favorite, Hubbard. Fall apples, such as honey crisp, are also available. Other vegetables that store well include potatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, and onions. To celebrate the harvest families often gather to share a wonderful meal and enjoy each other’s company.

  Enjoy the onset of the beautiful mid Michigan Autumn as she unfolds her wonders. Crisp, fresh air, the glory of the trees preparing themselves for Winter, glittering frost on the lawn, roof and every twig, the freshness of the harvest, good friends, and peaceful memories are yours for the taking.