Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Out-of-This-World Halloween!

In the spirit of Halloween, literally, I thought I'd talk about something a little…different. Like how Halloween might be celebrated on other planets. Talk about weird science! In my strange mind I kind of see it in the same vein (no paranormal pun intended) as The Ugly Bug Ball by Burl Ives:

Come on let's crawl
Gotta crawl, gotta crawl,
To the ugly bug ball
To the ball, to the ball
And a happy time we'll have there
One and all!
At the ugly bug ball!

I can imagine an interstellar station hanging in some galaxy hosting an inter-species gala on October 31, 2177 or whatever date it is on their calendars. I can also imagine some truly unusual guests at that party too. Hmm, the question is what the heck do they dress up as? I mean, they already look rather creepy in their skins. So what to do? Maybe they could all dress up as each other, as much as their anatomy allows or perhaps they could dress up as humans, though we all pretty much look the same except for the details like eyes, hair, etc. Or what if they're the sentient intellectual types, like intergalactic professors dressing up as the non-sentient "bugs" if you will, that they inspect with such intensity? Hey what if they made up something? I'm guessing they could come up with some really, really weird costumes!

Here's to hoping they can communicate well with others—other species that is—I'd hate to foot the bill for that many interpreters but I'm also hoping that by 2177 we'd all have figured out how to shoot the solar breeze. Can you imagine the buzz of "voices" as species gather in the ballroom waiting for the music to begin? Music? What the nebula does that mean for all these party goers? More importantly, who the hell could DJ this shindig? Oh, you want live entertainment? How about the band from the Cantina in Star Wars? Personally, I'm hoping Katy Perry shows up to belt out "E.T."

And then there's the requisite open bar (and I do mean open): tanks of various fluids, gases, who knows what else all either shaken not stirred via tubes and vials or straight up on the rocks (moon). Can you imagine how some of these beings behave when drunk? I don't even want to think about whom wakes up with who or what in the morning…

I was going to write a short story based on this premise/post specifically for The Writer Limits but my brain is fried and I'm trying to scrape off the crust…maybe next year…

Excuse me right now I'm going to get another bottle of Mars Red to toast the Gala(ctic) Party!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Space Cowboy

Oh, I love me a good space cowboy. I know for sure that when we do finally get out there into the stars, the cowboys will be some of the first pioneers to buy a ticket. They'll push the boundaries of the cosmic plains and blaze the path for civilization to follow.

I've never seen space or alien planets as a sanitary, scientific place. Nope, it's always been rugged and wild lands waiting to be explored and conquered.

My interest was piqued first when I read the short story, The "Tale of the Adopted Daughter" included in Robert Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love". Then there was, of course, "Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future" by Mike Resnick.

(If I remember right, this came out a couple years after Star Wars and my Han Solo crush.)

Actually, most Mike Resnick novels have a distinct western feel to it if you're looking for some good reads.

For the final installment in The Telomere Trilogy, "End of Eternity", I knew I had to insert a crusty old space cowboy. Hence, Lane Rafferty, from the desert city of Ballarat on the planet of Inyo.

And Lane has a grudge to settle with the immortal space captain, Noah Bonney. He tracks her across two galaxies just to get it.

The old door across his office slammed shut. From below his black, curved brimmed hat Laken Rafferty lifted his head enough to see who'd entered. Little Vick, the mousy small man, squirmed and wrung his hands. Rafferty sighed, kicked his crossed feet off the desk, and tipped his hat back.

"What you want? I'm busy." Rafferty sneered as the dim idiot looked on, confused. "I was joking, you jackass."

"Oh," Little Vick managed a weak smile, "yeah."

After a moment of silence, Rafferty narrowed his eyes to glare at him. Little Vick jumped as if electrocuted and stumbled forward closer to the desk, the sand from his boots grinded against the wood floor.

"Message in from Reilly, sir." Little Vick tapped on the desk cube and an old, old image popped up. "She's on her way into the region, sir. To this system to be exact."

Rafferty stood, placed his fists on the desk, and bent forward. "She's in the region? You sure?" Vick's head bobbed up and down in eagerness. "Silver Fish... interesting."

"Passin' through is more like it. Hoppin' from Space Leap 589 to Space Leap 425. More interesting, she has her daughter with her. Recently confirmed as one to."

Rafferty's body jerked in shock. "His and hers?"

"Yup. Reilly himself notified they raided one of his sites about a week or so ago and are now headin' this direction."

Rafferty didn't like Reilly, but an ends to a means was an end to a means. No matter the devils you had to play with to get there.

"But..." Vick wavered and then added with a quiver in his voice, "They in league with the Demons of Asatru, sir." He shivered and touched his chest before pointing to the sky with a prayer. "The demons will be meeting them at Space Leap 589 to deliver somethin', from what I understand."

Rafferty wouldn't go into battle with the demons, knew no one who would. It didn't mean he couldn't wait 'em out... way clear of the delivery. Quite a distance, a good five rotations from space leap to space leap. "Get on it and prep two mid-size vessels ordered from Gatro. Set up my Bat Ray and tell Reilly I'm headed out. I'll fly solo to meet the vessels."

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Well, I hope you liked the excerpt. Sometime in the future I'll do a full length novel set completely in the space western subgenre.

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