Thursday, November 16, 2017

Old Time SF Rock and Roll--A Choice of Gods

A Choice of Gods is classic Simak. Who? Right. Clifford Simak is one of the champions of early science fiction. He is credited with creating the “pastoral science fiction” genre, sci-fi set in the countryside. Heinlein once said, “to read science fiction is to read Simak. Anyone who doesn’t like Simak doesn’t like science fiction.” 

It would be hard to find many who agree with that sentiment today. Though his book, Way Station, won the Hugo, and four other books, including A Choice of Gods, were nominated for the Hugo, most of Simak’s books are out of print. He is largely ignored. And he is one of the neglected masters of the form.

You will not find space battles, swords, sorcery, blasters, urban dystopias, or zombies in A Choice of Gods. What you will find is a tale set on planet earth, in the far future, with bucolic descriptions of rural life. A tale of country folk who encounter extraordinary events. A beautifully written, well-conceived story that moves right along without seeming hurried. It’s old-school writing. And pastoral. He takes time to smell the flowers. And it may annoy some modern readers.

But to put some perspective on it, it was published in 1972. And he talks about travelling to other planets in the galaxy by the parapsychic power of the mind alone. He brings mysticism and fantasy into his science fiction picture. And AI. And sentient robots. And musical trees. And truly alien aliens. He sprinkles non-chronological journal entries into the narrative—something we modernists take for granted today. On the downside, his anti-technological stance is a bit heavy-handed, even illogical—there’s a small army of robots to do the manual labor in this rural paradise. And a lot of the significant action occurs off-stage, and is reported later in conversations. Finally, his pleasant pastoral style may be a bit too bucolic for some of today’s hyper-wired readers.


But to my mind, it’s well worth haunting second-hand bookstores to find copies of Simak’s work. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

If thought-provoking, neo-retro SF is your cup of astro-tea

The sentient moon Alvar discovers that the danger of creating a savior is he will be his own person. He will do what he will. And whether his acts are judged good or bad will only be known in the unrolling of time.  A New Novel by Award Winning Author, Charles Freedom Long. NOW 99 CENTS for a limited time. If thought-provoking, neo-retro science fiction is your cup of astro-tea, get yours at: http://myBook.to/alvarspear


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What It Means To Be An Empath

Being an empath is when you are affected by other people's energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others' desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is quite a bit more than being a highly sensitive person (HSP) and it's not limited to emotions. There are Physical Empaths, Emotional Empaths and Intuitive Empaths. And then numerous sub-categories of each. For example, at least seven different types of Intuitive Empaths have been identified. (Mediums are empaths).
There has been a lot written about the challenges that introverts and highly sensitive people (HSP) face in a society that values intellect and disdains sensitivity.
Empaths, however, take the experience of HSP (highly sensitive person) further. They can sense subtle energy, and they absorb this energy into their own minds and bodies.
For days before a disturbing event—like the recent one in Las Vegas—some empaths will feel sensory overload, out of sorts, drained, even disturbed to the point where they simply cannot live their “normal” life. They will find coping mechanisms, good or bad as it turns out. And when the event occurs, and the national mood is disturbed, will finally understand what has been happening to them. Empaths need to have good boundaries and the ability to say no, to distance from toxic relationships, to recognize and circumvent the different destructive ways they try to cope with the overload. My positive strategies are to avoid the (negative) news media, turn my phone off, actively release negative thoughts and feelings, take walks, get some time in nature, and above all else a need to be alone. My negative coping mechanisms are alcohol and overeating, and maybe saying something that disturbs other people’s sense of reality.

Being an empath and “not fitting in” to what is considered “normal” society, is both a blessing and a curse. But, “If you feel as if you don’t fit in this world, then you’re here to create a better one.” 

Monday, August 7, 2017


We had a visit from a FIDO Master, whom some of you will recognize from this photo, taken just as he announced "mate in three," playing black in a recent game where he employed the little known Russian Wolfhound Gambit to great success.

Gracious in victory or defeat, except for the occasionally over-exuberant moment when he is apt to seize upon his opponent's King and give it a good shaking, the FIDO Master's appearance at the board is a welcome sign to all.  Renowned for their aggressive and vociferous approach to the game of chess, FIDO Masters are virtuosos at intimidating opponents. Occasionally going so far as demonstrating their disdain for an opponent’s blunder by lifting their leg on the errant piece.


Unfortunately, The FIDO Master will not be attending any upcoming club meetings in the near future.. He’s been barred from local establishments after an unfortunate series of events best left unmentioned involving a rare steak, a lady's hat and a small child's ice cream sundae. For the time being, the FIDO Master must relegate his over-the-board play to non-food-related establishments, but he said he is looking forward to some chess sessions over cigars in the cabana.