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Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

You may have noticed I haven’t posted in a while. It’s not that I’ve been idle. This year I’ve done a lot of traveling, besides to Djibouti in January. During the summer, I traveled as far as upstate New York for a family reunion and spent time with my children and grandchildren in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. Then in October, I realized one of my life-long dreams and went to Greece—Athens, the Parthenon, and beautiful islands in the Aegean Sea.

As if that wasn’t enough, in November I joined my sister Sue in Connecticut for a genealogy expedition. This was the first time since childhood that I ventured to a northern clime during winter. I survived. When my granddaughter was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains in December, I braved snow and ice for this happy occasion.

So I have many adventures to write about, including the rest of my journey to Djibouti. I promise to deliver.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, because I have. I’m polishing a novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo a few years ago, while another simmers on the back burner. One of my short stories was published in Bacopa Literary Review this fall. But what I’m excited about today is the novel I just released, Trials by Fire, which is the first volume of a trilogy, The Long Road to Namai.

This story has been down a long road itself. When I was a kid, my sisters and brothers and I would camp out in the backyard on summer nights and tell ghost stories. This was science fiction, not a ghost story, and it was so long ago I don’t remember much about the original version. During college, I developed the story a little more. Through the intervening years, I wrote at least one short story which bears little resemblance to the present incarnation. None of these previous efforts bore fruit.

Then I retired and spent a month writing the first novel length version. I went so far as to self-publish it, but gave away more copies than I sold. A few years later I reread the book and thought, “What a great story, but what lousy writing!” I took it off the market and totally recrafted the whole thing. The story was still good and the writing much better, but it was too long and I couldn’t get the word count down without sacrificing important elements.

I decided to follow the suggestions of friends to divide the story into at least two parts and market it to Young Adult readers. I won’t bore you with all the details involved in getting a book market-ready, but as one person warned me, it takes longer than you think. Finally, here it is.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy this novel even if you’re not into science fiction. It’s also a human interest story and unlike anything else you’ve read. During the coming year, I will finish parts two and three and release them for your reading pleasure. Stay tuned.

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            You know those plastic tubs margarine and cottage cheese come in? They make handy storage containers for leftovers. As good caretakers of the Earth, we don’t throw them in the garbage. We wash them and store them in the cupboards until they are needed. After holiday dinners, the excess from the feast can go home with guests and no one needs to worry about returning bowls. But if virtue is its own reward, that’s about as far as it goes. How many times have you fished one of these tubs out of the cabinet only to be unable to locate its lid? Conversely, how often have you found a lid that fits no container?

            When my children lived at home, I always had someone to blame. I would accuse them of throwing out a bowl or a cover, but not both, instead of washing them. Or they would carry off one part or the other for some unknown reason and never return it. I would be left with useless, mis-matched dishes. One of the joys of parenthood is having someone else to blame.

            After the last of my offspring moved out for the last time, and I had the house to myself, I set about righting wrongs, bringing order out of chaos. I went through my cupboards and paired every storage container with its lid. The lids with no mates, I discarded. The bowls with no covers were sent to the garden shed. They make handy flower pots and saucers. Order had been restored to my kitchen.

            Or so I thought. As the only cook and consumer, I had total control over what was in my cabinets, right? Wrong. The sad day came when the lid for just the right size tub for a certain volume of leftovers was nowhere to be found. Again, I went through the cupboards making matches. I was astounded by the number of pieces that had lost their mates. Unless my kids came in when I was asleep and purposely removed them, they could not be blamed. How, then, could I account for this enigma?

            One day, I was in my church’s kitchen putting away leftovers after a dinner. In the cabinet labeled “storage containers” I found a neat stack of Cool Whip and hummus tubs. Next to it was a basket full of lids. Not one matched! I was not the only victim of this mysterious occurrence.

            Finally, I have figured it out. You have heard about wormholes in space? You see them all the time in science fiction movies, and serious scientists believe they actually exist. They have no proof, but they have theories. Wormholes would be shortcuts in space-time that would allow travel from one part of the universe to another, or from one universe to another. These theories aren’t even new. Almost 100 years ago, a mathematician named Hermann Weyl had such an idea.

            The reason the scientists have as yet no proof of wormholes’ existence is that they are looking in the wrong place. I have no better theory about my disappearing containers and lids than the existence of a wormhole somewhere in my cupboards. It’s a small wormhole, too small for a space ship. Other kitchens have them as well, including the one at my church. Maybe you have one, too. From time to time a bowl or its cover will slip through the wormhole and end up in some other kitchen. Since I have found unfamiliar containers and lids in mine, I know it works both ways. Maybe this is where the idea of flying saucers came from.

            If only we could figure out which kitchens are connected to which others by these wormholes, we might be able to retrieve our prodigal dishes. A thorough study of this phenomenon could result in a major breakthrough in physics. It might even win a Nobel Prize. I invite any serious scientist to come explore my cupboards.

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