Wednesday 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happier New Year 2021!


Happy Social Distancing Christmas 2020! Folks, it's a tough one. The year ends in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty. For so many, the Holiday Season will be anything but a holiday.
This artwork is by Edmund Alexander Emshwiller and appeared on the cover of Galaxy Science Fiction, December issue 1954. The magazine cost 35 cents. I stumbled across it online, as one does, and it seemed fitting, funny and poignant. I enjoyed it, and hope you will too.
Writing continues over here and in January a new book will be available. An action-packed sci-fi adventure for readers of all ages.
Merry Christmas to you, dear friends, such as it can be. May 2021 be a Happier New Year for us all.

Friday 18 December 2020


The hastily scribbled words read, ‘Project and our lives in danger. Whatever happens, know I love you always. Dad.'

Nova ran her fingers over the tattered note. Refolding it carefully she returned it to her chest pocket and leaned back. Looked out the cockpit window. The answers had to be out there, somewhere. In the never-ending darkness of space.

Bernard broke the silence.

   “Since receiving that message two months ago, you have read it eighty-two times. More than once a day. By now you should have memorized it. Still, you bring it out, over and over again, as if you expect to see something you haven’t noticed. Each time I sense increased blood pressure, a shift in your cardiovascular system, and both tear ducts perform their inexplicable service. Why don’t you share with me the contents? I am your friend.”

A calm shake of the head. “You’re a machine, Bernard. You would never understand.”

   “I should like to try.”

   “You’re also my friend,” said Nova after a deep sigh. “And I love you for that. Without you I’d have no-one.”

Diodes flashed softly, as if Bernard blinked in thought.

   “Once again, a hard-to-interpret response. Typical of that paradox of a species known as humans. Liable to cause provocation overload, if unprepared. I resign myself to a simple ‘thank you.’ And believe me, it’s a gamble at that.”

Here Bernard paused for a sigh of sorts. A long sloping blip.

   “Nova, I appreciate you too. Perhaps one day I shall understand what human love is. Honestly, I hope I’m spared.”

She had to smile at Bernard’s algorithmic dilemma. Something in the distance caught her eye. She reached for the binoculars.

   “Ah, the target of our dubious detour is within visual range,” Bernard said. “How unfortunate.”

   “Looks kinda divey.”

   “I could have told you that! We must return to our original course at once and head for home!”

Laying down the binoculars, Nova grabbed the bag of pastries and smelled them. They looked delicious.

   “I’m sure it’s fine. Stay on course.”

Wednesday 16 December 2020


   “I’m a complete fiasco!” Vesper moaned, making good use of the tissue Exodus handed him. “The entire funeral! Nothing but one big fiasco!”

   “Funeral?” asked Breinz, her loudspeaker rasping with sudden interest.

   “Yes! This morning! I almost buried a living person! The man wasn’t dead! He was in a coma! But the family wanted him in the ground. The sooner the better. I came this close to being an accessory to murder! Can you comprehend the shame!?”

   “How did you know he was in a coma?” Exodus asked.

   “How dare you let a detail like that prevent you from doing your duty?” Breinz demanded.

   “I was leading a ceremony! Somberly, with dignity! As befits the laying of a person to final rest.”

   “You were too slow.”

   Vesper made a lame gesture. “The old man woke up. Hit his head on the lid and fell back and screamed. I heard the noise and I-- I don’t know. Reacted on instinct!”

   Exodus looked lost. “You mean, yours?”

   “Yes! As did he, I imagine. Waking up in a coffin must be a shocking thing.”

   “I wouldn’t mind,” said Breinz. “And mine wouldn’t have to be that big.”

   Vesper went on. “I walked over, opened it up and looked inside. There he lay, screaming, arms flailing. That’s when people started fainting. Oh my word, I can’t even repeat whom he mistook me for!”

   “The devil incarnate?” offered Breinz.

   “What, he was there too?” said Exodus.

   “You might say. The family, all the heirs, the lust of their eyes consumed with his wealth. They knew he wasn’t dead! They wanted him gone, quickly, cleanly--”

   “With dignity,” cut in Breinz.

   “Absolutely. Before it was too late! But I was--”

   “Too slow.”

   “Too many psalms,” said Vesper in hopeless summary. He sighed. “Greed and yet more greed. Makes the world go around. Eats people up from inside.”

   “Never done me no harm.”