Disturbing Scifi from the 1960s #sciencefiction #mentalhealthcare #scifi

I recently read a story by Philip K. Dick, a scifi author from the Golden Age. Buck Rogers it ain’t!

Science ficiton book cover - Martian Time SlipDick explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. wikipedia

I read every word, all the way through, but “fun” is not the right description.  Mild spoilers follow.

The book comes from 1964. I think the right approach today is to view the story as the alternative history of a Mars colony in 1950s. Mars is barely habitable in shirt sleeves, with sparse plants and animals and a nearly-extinct race of Martians. Colonists use mimeograph machines and secretaries take dictation with a pad and pencil. Fascinating robotic teachers indoctrinate children in proper earthly culture.

Less adorably, one of the main characters makes remarks that are homophobic, misogynistic, and racist. He’s the villain, and casually cruel to everyone, but this can be off-putting. He uses the n-word to describe Martians who apparently look very much like African Saan people (another term for these people, Bushmen, is sometimes considered derogatory, depending on the usage.) There’s a brief suggestion that Martians and Humans were both seeded by some alien intelligence and so are related.

Despite the Martian setting, the story is about schizophrenia, which has become much more common on Mars than it is in real-life today. That term and “autism” are both used, and Dick presents his scifi interpretation of them – those effected experience multiple times in the past and future, which prevents them from relating to “normal” people. The visions these people experience (and we get to see through their eyes) are gruesome and apocalyptic, even for people with mundane lives. Dick gives a striking feel for such disconnects with repeated scenes, sometimes out of sequence, from different characters in the scene. The story shows sympathy for it’s characters, even the unsavory ones.

While it’s not an action-packed tale, terrible things happen in this story. There is guilt and shame from the father of an autistic boy. There is infidelity. There is suicide, and given Dick’s own dark life experiences, I wonder if this comes from something more real than imagination. That will keep me thinking about the book for a long time.

Cover of scifi magazine Galaxy

Dick wrote the cover story for this edition

I know a lot has changed in American culture since the story was written. I suspect a lot has changed in our understanding of schizophrenia and autism too, but I have no idea how readers familiar with these conditions will feel about the story. Please leave a comment and let me know.

The book, republished in 2012, is popular on Amazon and has 4 stars, where several reviewers find it’s look at mental illness to be kindly and sympathetic.

BTW, you know Dick’s work. The movies Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report are based on his writings.

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New Mars Covers are Here – big deal for me, so hope you like them #scifiart #mars #

Colony on Mars book covers“They” claim you decide whether to click in a fraction of a second, so covers determine whether you look at a book. No matter how good the story, if you don’t click, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve been dithering over new covers for my Mars Colony series and finally pushed the button. I hope you like them. You’ll find the new covers on Amazon today and other favorite stores by the end of the week.

Intrigued? Good. If you haven’t joined me on Mars yet, click today 🙂

Button - Click Itscience fiction book covers - Kate Rauner

It’s Not Too Late to Own a Piece of Classic of Scifi History #scifi #movies #history

Wonders of the Galaxy! May 14, 2019, starting 1:00 pm PDT. Robby the Movie poster for scifi classic Forbidden PlanetRobot was sold in 2017, but there’s more memorabilia up for auction from the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, from the estate of collector Wes Shank.

Props, costumes, blueprints – all sorts of things from a classic movie. Some of the first ray gun props that actually lit up, long before CGI. Costumes from the spaceship’s crew, though no longer the original gray. Some thrifty producer dyed them brown for a later movie (I wonder which one?)

I won’t be bidding, but maybe I can dig up a copy of Forbidden Planet.  It’s still enjoyable, with an  extinct alien race that reaches across eons to threaten  an obsessive scientist, his beautiful daughter, and intrepid spacemen. Yes, spaceMEN, because this was 1956, but the woman isn’t as badly cliched as you might fear (despite the poster), and the secret of the alien’s extinction is chilling. And, of course, there’s Robby the Robot, a character with personality and not simply a tin can on legs. You can’t beat a real classic.

Thanks to newatlas.com

Welcome to the Star Shepard BLOG HOP TOUR #scifi #sciencefiction #book #ebook

scifi book cover Star ShepherdPlease get yourself comfortable as we take a daily tour through these fabulous blogs, listed below.

Each blog you visit will entertain you with exclusive articles and excerpts from this fantastic new book. Get an insight into the character’s head with interviews and profile images.

Then hunt down the mystery word inthis post to get you one step closer to the $10 Amazon Gift Card. Hurry! Only one day left to enter!

You are here to celebrate the release of Star Shepard, book one of the space western series, Shepherd of Light, by R.R.Virdi.

Star Shepherd knows a raw deal when he sees one. And he’s got the worst one in the galaxy: to deliver a mysterious package to a rebellion to change the scales of power in favor of the common man. As he meets with an old friend to seek much-needed help, he draws the attention of a genocidal admiral willing to destroy entire worlds if it means catching Star Shepherd.

Will Star survive the chase and bring hope to the rebellion, or deliver a gift into the hands of a worse power, tipping the galaxy into further chaos? amazon.com/Star-Shepherd

R.R. Virdi is the two time Dragon Award–Nominated author. Once, for his series The Grave Report, a paranormal investigator series set in the great state of New York. The second nomination coming for Dangerous Ways, book one of The Books of Winter, an epic urban fantasy series set in the same overall universe as his Grave Report novels. He has worked in the automotive industry as a mechanic, retail, and in the custom gaming computer world. He’s an avid car nut with a special love for American Ship classics.

The hardest challenge for him up to this point has been fooling most of society into believing he’s a completely sane member of the general public.

Follow him on his website. http://rrvirdi.com/
Or twitter: @rrvirdi or https://twitter.com/rrvirdi

Don’t forget to visit all the blogs and collect the 10 hidden words for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
Send your completed word list to  kkantasauthorassist@gmail.com today! Only one day left to enter!

Starting on this date – but don’t worry – still available!
Tuesday 19th –  https://rrvirdi.com
Wednesday 20thhttp://indiescififantasy.com
Thursday 21sthttps://readcommendations.com
Friday 22ndhttps://mmcquillen44.wixsite.com/themadhouse
Saturday 23rdhttps://www.authorerikamszabo.com/my-thinking-board
Sunday 24thhttps://rainne15.wordpress.com
Monday 25th –  https://www.maryrwoldering.com
Tuesday 26thhttps://karensbookbuzz.wordpress.com
Wednesday 27thhttps://katerauner.wordpress.com/
Thursday 28thhttps://celthric.com

Blog Hop Tour organized by Author Assist

I’ve never hosted a blog hop before – what do you think? Is it fun? Do you like the givewaway with a word hunt? Did you figure out what the mystery word is? If people like this, I’ll do more. Thanks!

You Could Fly Like a Bird – Is That a Reason to Colonize a Frozen Moon? #NASA #planet #Saturn #moon

Titan - science fiction book cover

Titan’s a great place for science fiction, like my latest release. A cult thinks their colony will become paradise, but not if things keep going like this!

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has an atmosphere so dense and gravity so low, you could strap wings to your arms and fly like a bird.

That atmosphere will protect you from cosmic radiation too, and so from resulting cancer and brain damage, but  you can’t breathe it. There’s no oxygen. But even if there was, one breath would freeze your lungs. There is water ice, so if you had enough power you could electrolyze (electrolysize?) yourself some oxygen.

Titan is the only place besides Earth known to have liquids in the form of lakes and seas on its surface. These liquids are made of methane but, armed with the right kind of protective gear, one could theoretically be able to swim without harm! NASA’s Janelle Wellons futurism.com

Hmm… if you used oxygen to burn a stream of liquid methane from the plentiful lakes, could you generate enough electrical power to keep the cycle going and still produce heat and light for your habitat? Other chemical reactions might work better, like hydrogen/acetylene, or maybe turbines running on tides in the larger lakes. Saturn is so far from the sun that solar panels aren’t efficient, but there is sunlight. A sort of perpetual sunset – orange, thanks to the hydrocarbon haze.

True color image of atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan

True color image of atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan

For a research station, perhaps you could carry everything you need with you, but for a colony you’ll need resources. There’s plenty of hydrocarbon feed so expect everything possible to be made of plastic, but what about minerals and metals? Titan may have a rocky core, but it’s buried under ice hundreds of kilometers thick. Saturn’s not hopeful either. Its outer layers are hydrogen and helium, and if you dive very deep you’ll never get out again. Maybe you’ll find meteors and asteroids captured in the rings.

Good luck!

Excuse My Bragging (she blushes modestly) But Woo Hoo! Grab My Top Ranked Scifi Book While It’s Free #scifi

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

#1 New Release on Amazon in its First Week

Titan – a cult colonizes Saturn’s moon – Woo Hoo – #3 in its Kindle scifi category! And it’s FREE through Feb 16th.

Don’t miss this new release. Are you reading this post after the 16th? Don’t despair. You can read it on Kindle Unlimited. (Or, shoot – just buy it.)

Want to say thanks? Please leave a review. A sentence or two is all it takes to help other readers find me. You’re doing me a big favor 🙂 Thank you 😉

Fynn learns the Kin’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod.

He’s not going back to college, he’s going with his father’s cult to settle on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Halfway across the solar system, cut off from Earth, the Kin believe they’ll create a paradise. But their leader’s bizarre behavior may be more dangerous than the profoundly cold moon with its dense, unbreathable atmosphere.

Scifi Book Titan Ranks #3 in its Kindle Category

I love proving it

 

Earth is Heating Up – Humans Cause It – Do We Dare to Take Action? #climateaction #Geoengineering #books

I ran across this freebie story: the tale of  an eco-warrior.

Sicfi Book Cover Last March for Planet Earth

Free for a limited time

Together with his fellow student activists, Ben traveled to London on Earth Day to take one last stand. To make a final plea for an environmental solution to save the planet. Time is up on combating climate change. Humanity’s choice is about to be made. And most are choosing to leave the fate of the world to a mysterious geoengineering experiment.

Goengineering is a fascinating and terrifying idea. Humanity’s been changing the Earth for eons, and especially since the Industrial Revolution, without any plan. Would we do better if we had a plan? What about the law of unintended consequences? And what if we addressed one aspect of Climate Change, like land surface temperatures, but ignored others, like ocean acidification? There are a lot of apocalyptic dystopian stories to be spun from here, and I don’t want to live in one of them.

Here’s an article Anna Kucirkova suggested to me on geoengineering. I can’t vouch for the story or the article, but this is a topic that deserves discussion. I don’t expect to find a silver bullet. No solution that would fit inside a one-hour TV episode (not even of Star Trek TOS.)

I don’t see anything that allows humanity to go merrily on its way with fossil fuels, land and animal use, and economic inequality as usual. What do you think of our precarious future?