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Savage Survival



Darrell Bain's Newsletter

July 2009

This newsletter may be copied and sent to both friends and enemies with the stipulation that the source www.darrellbain.com is noted and the copyright notice is noted and included as follows:
Bainstorming: Darrell's Bain's Newsletter.
Copyright © July 2009, By Darrell Bain

Responses to subjects brought up by this newsletter are welcome. I can be contacted by e-mailing me from my website.

  Subjects this month:  
Human By Choice a finalist, Re-readable Books, Tonto Antics, Progress Report, Why we kiss, Weird sound, Memorable Phrase, Book Report, Guest contribution by Gary Bain, Excerpt from Galactic Frontiers .


Human By Choice a Finalist
I'm pleased to announce that Human by Choice is a finalist for the 2008 Dream Realm Award in Science Fiction. Travis S. Taylor, PhD is a co-authored the book with me. The winner will be announced at the Armadillocon in Austin this coming August.

Re-readable books and why
Betty and I were having a discussion about how we re-read books so often and it segued on into what it is that makes a book re-readable. Of course it has to have a good plot and interesting, well-drawn characters but we agreed there must be more to it than that. The discussion ended indecisively but we did settle on one other factor that might make a book re-readable. If it brings tears to the eyes at any point, it might be in the re-readable category.

Tonto Antics
Betty bought some Knockout roses to plant. Once planted they did exactly as advertised and began blooming. She was out one day with her little basket, picking some roses to display in the house. She set the basket down for a moment in order to use her clippers to get a couple more. She collected them and turned to put them in her basket. There was Tonto, with rose petals dripping from his mouth beside an empty basket. She said he looked up at her with his big brown eyes like the most innocent floppy-eared, snuffly-nosed, short-legged little dog in the world and she didn't have the heart to scold him.

Sometimes Tonto comes into the bedroom and watches me undress. He cocks his head and looks at me as if to say, "Dude, how in hell do you mange to take your fur off every night? I'd like to learn that trick."

Progress Report
Quanty and Starship Down are now available in trade paperback. Both are best selling e-books. Quanty is doing exceptionally well.

Two new short stories are available together at the Kindle bookstore, Retribution and Cure for an Ailing Alien. They should also be available at Fictionwise before long.

I've finished editing the first newsletter collection, The Best of Bainstorming. It will cover highlights from August 05 through December 06. Publication is scheduled for the middle of July.

I just finished The Long Way Home and sent it to the editor. It is a novel of an unprecedented journey through space by the longboat of a destroyed starship. The boat and its crew are the only hope of warning earth of implacably hostile aliens.

Preparations are underway for the third book in the Cresperian (Human by Choice) Universe. It will be co-authored with Stephanie Osborn. Stephanie is the author of Burnout: the mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281 and co-author with me of The Y Factor.

Why We Kiss?
Anthropologists and psychologists have written a bazillion scholarly papers attempting to explain why humans kiss. They've used up a lot of paper with their theories. I hereby add my own explanation for them: People kiss because it feels good, dummies!

Someone recently sent me some quotes from an old farmer. Among them was this one: "A bumblebee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor." A bumblebee is also considerably faster than a Kubota tractor, too. I know that for a fact. While I was still growing Christmas trees I ran over a buried stump where a lot of bumblebees had gotten together and made a nest. I abandoned the tractor and ran for my life!

Weird sound
The first day while Betty was gone to visit an old friend for what will almost certainly be the last time, I had an experience. For a while I thought the house was haunted. From morning until night the first day she was gone I kept hearing a periodic loud knocking sound coming from the kitchen. Sometimes the knocking sound was combined with a rapid thudding noise. At first I thought one of the appliances was going bonkers but I examined them and couldn't find anything wrong. The sound kept on. Every time I heard it I'd go into the kitchen to try finding out what in hell was causing it. I'd hear the noise even while I was in the kitchen sometimes, but still couldn't figure out where it was originating. I began thinking of ghosts and poltergeists, especially when it started getting towards night time. Then finally, I happened to look at the kitchen window just when the noise happened again. It was a little yellow bird that had been pecking at that window all day long! The rapid thudding noise was when it tried to fly against the window! I have no idea what it wanted but it sure was determined to come into the house. It was back at it the next morning but finally stopped. However, it was still hanging around close when Betty returned three days later. She got a real chuckle out of my hysterics.

Memorable Phrase
Every now and then I create a sentence or a phrase I particularly like. This is one from my latest book, The Long Way Home, now being edited:

Space was an unforgiving realm, an empty eternity speckled with tiny lights so far away as to be unimaginable

As soon as I wrote it, I knew I'd remember it for a while!

Book Report
I just re-visited Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. This time there was an introduction by the author I particularly liked because it agreed with my thesis of what a 12 year old girl could accomplish in my novel Savage Survival, especially with a bit of unknown help. I also got more out of Ender's Game this rime around. A very good book about kids placed under exceedingly tough stress.

This month I got involved in Shane Scully series of novels by Stephen J. Cannell. I had previously read Hollywood Tough but didn't realize at the time there were other books in the series. I've read all but one of them now. Shane is a detective always operating right at the edge of legality in order to put the bad guys away. He gets in a lot of trouble and fixes, as you might guess with Cannell writing the books.

In Her Defense by Stephen Horn is a re-read. I enjoyed it just as much this time as when I first read it. A lawyer and his estranged wife, a father-in-law who cares, a beautiful woman accused of murder who admits she did it. That's all I'll say except it is a very good book.

I've also read three more of the mysteries by John Mackie, featuring Detective Sgt. Thorn Savage. They are all very good.


Guest Contribution: A Gathering of Warriors (From my brother, Gary Bain)

A few days after a reporter had published an article in the Lincoln County Oklahoma newspaper about the 40 year reunion of my rescuers I received a phone call. I was invited to attend a small gathering of veterans which was last night. Hesitant to accept the invitation I reluctantly decided at the last minute to go ahead and go because the gentleman that had called me had gone to the trouble to look me up.

As I was driving down an old dirt road I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. And then as I approached this old school building that had been constructed of native Oklahoma stone in the 1930's I saw all the cars and I knew I was at the right place. The parking lot was full and an overflow of cars were parked on each side of the road.

As I walked inside I saw that every seat was taken and there was a band up front. Refreshments, including a cake that had "Thanks to our Veterans" written on it, were spread on a table at the entrance. I walked over to the side aisle and looked over the crowd. Some wore military uniforms, some had caps on that indicated their branch of service, and most were accompanied by their wives.

Then I asked around to find the gentleman that had called me. I introduced myself to him when I found him to let him know I had made it. The event had already started and I realized from what he told me that this was a belated Veteran's day as there were so many people that were involved in other things over the Memorial Day holidays.

The band took a break and the man that had invited me got on the stage and asked each veteran to stand and say a few words. As they each spoke I could hardly believe what I was in the midst of. From WWII through Iraq each veteran spoke. All of the services were represented, one from the "Battle of the Bulge", another that had been present at the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, some that had seen service in three theaters of war, a Marine with two purple hearts, four brothers that had served in Vietnam, and on it went until all had spoken, about 20 in all, with applause after each. Then I was asked to say a few words. All I could think of to say was just what an honor it was, and how humbling it was, to be in the midst of all these heroes and what an honor it would be to meet and shake the hand of each and every one of them.

The ceremony continued and at one point a WWII vet, that had also seen service in Korea and Vietnam, took the flag up to the stage. Another veteran, proud of his 85 years of age, that was in the band and in uniform and was the veteran from the Battle of the Bulge, sang "God bless America". As I stood there with my hand over my heart I couldn't hold it back as tears flowed down my cheeks. Then the person that had invited me recited every word of "This Ragged Old Flag" without missing a beat. I was overwhelmed with pride as I looked over this crowd and realized just what this meant. Here I was in the midst of what America is supposed to be all about. There was no talk of politics, no talk of the economy, just a simple ceremony to honor veterans.

As I drove home I reflected on what I had just witnessed and participated in and tears came once again. Then I wondered to myself about the future of America. And then I smiled as I realized that there will be future heroes that will fill the shoes of those that have gone before us and they will pull us out of the abyss that we are so mired in. And in small towns across America there will always be another

"Gathering of Warriors".

"Let us not forget"

By Gary Bain, Captain, USMC, Ret.

Bridge Mix
Betty and I went to the book store then came home and did something we haven't done for a while: overdosed on chocolate while reading our new books. Neither of us should do that (eat a lot of chocolate, not read books) but heck, we're old enough to indulge once in a while. Neither of us is interested in chocolate today, though. Wonder why?

Thanks for reading.

Darrell Bain
Shepherd, Texas
July 2009


Excerpt from Galactic Frontiers


Chapter One


"Sage! Sage, wait!"


I recognized the voice. It was Drew Cortez, my brother in law, and there was urgency in his hail.


I turned back from where I was about to step on the slidewalk to the maglev station and saw Drew hurrying my way. I waited.


"Damn, Sage, I'm glad I caught you before you started. Come on." He grabbed my arm and began hustling me back the way I'd come, then dragged me onto a different slidewalk. I tried to resist but he's a big man and it was like trying to wrestle with a gorilla. I could have used some moves and resisted but it might have hurt him.


"Drew, I'll miss my train!" I cried, looking at the schedule. The time for my train was blinking red, telling me I had only minutes before it left.


"Good thing, too, or you'd have wound up being held as a hostage. Hurry along, now. There's no time to waste."


Hostage? What in hell was he talking about? Just then a couple of UN soldiers in their pale blue uniforms passed us. Their faces were stony and unsmiling, as if intent on a mission of grave importance.


"Drew, this was my farewell party from the gang. We were going to--"


"I know where you were going, Sage. So did those Unnie goons who just passed us unless I miss my guess." He loosed his hold on me, probably knowing I had no chance to catch my train now.


"They weren't after me were they?" I couldn't imagine why anyone would think I was important. Hell, I'd just turned seventeen recently. Even if that did betoken my majority I hadn't done anything illegal. And even if I had, the UN only had limited authority within our borders. We hadn't surrendered completely to them like so many other countries.

"Almost certainly. They were going to hold you to try keeping our ship from leaving. I guess you've been so busy getting ready for your weekend party you haven't been following the news."


"No, but I stopped following politics once you told me we were migrating."


"It doesn't matter now. There's our ride."


My eyes widened as we stepped off the walk. A private combo was waiting. Someone inside must have told the door to open. I couldn't see who was driving at first because our view of the front was opaqued. Then he dropped it but I still didn't know the man. Nor did Drew introduce me. He shoved me in and slid in beside me. Without him saying a word the combo surged forward. It made a few twists and turns along the boulevards of Sunrise City until it came to a flight area. I was pressed back in my seat by the acceleration as it took to the air. After that I was so excited for a few minutes I forgot what had happened. I'd never been in a combo before, much less one that was airborne.


"Don't get taken away," Drew said in his deep voice. "We'll be landing at the spaceport in a moment."


"Really?" I tore my gaze away from the window and stared at Drew's solemn face. "Tell me what's going on," I said.


"In a word, we're leaving early. The senate ratified the Destination Disclosure treaty allowing the UN to place trackers in all United States ships. We're going to get away before they put one in ours."


Trackers were something there'd been a huge debate about in the countries that hadn't yet given over complete sovereignty to the U.N. They were integrated into the Casimer Drives in a way that left a traceable signal each time the drive was activated and could not be removed except by installing a whole new impeller. The purported purpose of the trackers were to assure a "Continuity of Mankind" among the stars. What it really meant, according to a minority in congress was that the UN wanted to know where every planet settled was located so that as soon as they had the strength and political backing the colony worlds would come under their sway.


"You mean we're leaving today?"


"That's right. At least we're leaving as quickly as everyone is safely aboard."


"You don't mean there could be trouble if we ignored the treaty, do you?"


I could feel the combo begin its descent. Drew didn't answer immediately. He was busy talking to someone on his comphone. I heard him say something about UN troops and then he mentioned the name of another family I knew were part of our crew. I'd met one of the boys, a year younger than me although he was already heavier and taller. I take after Mom rather than Dad. Both his other brothers were larger even than Drew. Dad was the runt of the family.


"I'm afraid there's going to a confrontation if we don't get moving quickly. The UN has the right of free passage in the country and that includes troops and vehicles so long as they are lightly armed and don't travel in groups of more than two dozen."


"Yeah, I know that," I said. That treaty had been in effect for a number of years already. So far it hadn't meant much even though there was a lot of grumbling over armed UN soldiers running around the country.


"Well, I fully expect to see the Unnies begin enforcing the new treaty. I have it on good authority that they've been primed for this and have teams standing by. What's more, I've gotten word that they'll be enforcing their right to place trackers on United States ships selectively. To begin with, that is."


"What does that mean, Uncle Drew?" I still called him that sometimes.


"It means they don't like the politics of our group and we're one of the first. Listen, we're going to be landing in a few minutes. Take this but don't be waving it around and don't use it unless it's absolutely necessary. We're going to try to leave peacefully."


He handed me a small needler. I took it while I felt my heart begin to thump. It felt as if Drew ought to be able to hear the pounding in my chest. It was that hard. I examined the needler to be sure it was on safety as I'd been taught then took another look. It was the latest design, capable of penetrating body armor. I felt my hands begin to tremble. Drew noticed but didn't say anything. When we landed at the spaceport five minutes later I had the laser tucked safely out of sight but I'd activated the power charge. All it would take to fire would be snapping the safety off.




Places to find my books

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