Thursday, February 14, 2019

Author's Word - Fire Burning in the Wind

  This is about one of the short stories in my anthology Red Shadow and Other Stories.

  I considered making Fire Burning in the Wind into a novel, but I was already writing a post-civilization novel, Thunder Road- Ice and Fire.
  It’s a slightly different focus anyway.
  The way I considered expanding it didn’t sit well with me either. It mostly involved the girl being captured by the villagers and forced to stay with them, to adopt to their ways. The entire premise was that she was a tabula rasa, an empty vessel, and I wanted her to stay that way, wanted her to stay innocent throughout the story.
  I wanted her to stay primitive. She saved him. Staying with them and him in the village would have doomed her. They were ruined by a civilization gone long ago. She never would be.
  It didn’t matter what she had been before, only what she had become.
  Her being beaten and raped by the villagers would have changed the story completely.
  Her more or less voluntarily staying with the villagers would have been contrary to her very nature.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Pirate Project - roadmap

  Today’s society is too big and unmanageable. It dehumanizes the human being and destroys nature, destroys humanity’s very possibility of survival. The situation is dire and demands major, fundamental changes. There must be a scaling down, for starters. This is not bad. We should have done that long ago. Now, we have to. It can and should be an enormous enrichment if it’s done right, with a well-defined plan.
  The following can be done in any society, and has also been done many times before in older human history, but new technological achievements have also made it easier for today’s humans to do it, to adapt to a new reality.

 1. Centralization must be turned around completely. People must be encouraged to do as much as possible locally. The closing down of local hospitals must end. The development must be turned completely around compared to how it’s currently done. All societies should choose local government and livelihood. People must be more important than profit. Health, transport and other essential, primal needs must not be decided by profit. All crucial services should be public.

 2. Urban agriculture has an enormous potential, both as a reliable food and energy supply, and giving individuals and groups true autonomy from power centers. An entire city can be covered in plants. The Chinese has already planned such a city, and they plan on doing it everywhere. Rooftops and external walls can be covered. In addition to provide enormous amounts of food, the plants will also isolate the buildings. Internal plants can be used to produce food and energy. Individuals and groups can cultivate their own food, and no longer be dependent of stores. The advantages of zero transport are also obvious. Long transport should be a thing of the past.

 3. Solar panels as roof on homes and buildings are already similar in price to ordinary roof tiles and are actually a more solid, superior solution. A given house or a building using solar panels and other energy-saving efforts can actually produce more electricity than it needs. A win/win.
  At some point such a development will make power-producing companies and methods redundant. Any individual or group can produce as much energy as they need at any given time.

 4. We must truly invest in collective transport, far more so than what has been done to this point. The more local and high-speed, long-distance railways are used in transport of people and goods, the better. Planes become redundant, except between continents. First, collective transport must be extended to the point that it can be used for any purpose, for instance between homes and kindergarten. Then, the car should be a thing of the past in urban areas. To build new roads today has become an insane venture. There should be no new roads anywhere.

 5. An extended, all-encompassing, unequivocal «green new deal» shouldn’t be fought against or accepted reluctantly, but be embraced wholeheartedly. The country and/or area doing it first will not be burdened with it, but gain an enormous advantage. It will be ahead of everyone else.

 5a. All oil-production must cease as fast as humanly possible. To not do so is collective suicide. All production of plastic should also stop. Oil becomes yet another redundant resource.

 6. Every human being should be encouraged to true critical and independent thinking from the cradle. Half of the time at school should be used for this crucial purpose. Surveys have shown that children learn subjects easier in such a healthy environment.

 7. A Universal Basic Income without preconditions and that people can use to live, not only exist should be a part of a larger, flexible arrangement also dealing with the potential dangers to those receiving it.
  It will liberate us to live and create, but also liberate enormous resources wasted on bureaucracy. A small office used for emergency payments should remain.

  The objective is and should be people or groups of people that won’t be governed by either private or public power centers, and that will able to survive on their own. It is true that the further there is from the decision makers to those effected by the decision, the less satisfying the result.
  The world’s population is too dependent of events beyond their control. A given country’s self-sufficiency is lousy. A given individual’s self-reliance is lousy. We must take steps to implement everything described here with a flexible approach preparing for all hurdles in our path.
  Local government with true power versus centralized government is clearly the way to go. It needs to be a sturdy but flexible system able to take hits and bumps on its road, one of cooperation, not competition, of compassion, not cruelty.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Author's word - Death and the Maiden

  Death and the Maiden is one of the short stories in my anthology Red Shadow and Other Stories. I wrote it twenty years ago in an effort to cure myself from my fear of the dark. It worked great. Two days after having completed the story, I walked into the forest and stayed there for several nights. I didn’t have a campfire or any light. It was late fall and completely dark. I remember thinking that someone quiet could stand or sit or hover a step away from me, or above me, and I couldn’t possibly know if he/she/It did…

  But in a strange way, it didn’t really matter anymore.

  I scared myself completely shitless writing the story, but when I was done, I could write other scary stories (among them Alarums of Reality) without scaring myself shitless. I recommend such a catharsis for everyone.

  I could also walk long walks in the night on roads with no streetlights without constantly turning my head and tying my neck in knots.

  My fear was never crippling or anything like that, but it did bother me to the point that I decided to do something about it, to confront my fears, in all areas, really. You can say my fear of the dark inspired me in a backwards kind of way, doing so in more ways than one.

  To everyone scared shitless after having read the story; my insincere apologies.