Moving the Mountain


Well, with the old writing partner showing up and revisiting older materials, I thought I should go looking for the old notes and such and bone up on the material.

I should have taken my shots first, before venturing into that jungle!

Is there really that much DUST in the world? About half of it is now taking up residence in my lungs!

Note to self: “do not ever store older writings in those conditions again!!”

As harrowing as the venture was, I’m glad I risked life and limb to pull the stuff out of the deepest darkest recesses of the large storage shed.

(You know the type of shed… the one where you put things that you “might need someday” but suspect you won’t, so you won’t care if some random fire takes it all.)

This reminds me of a cartoon I saw on Abstruse Goose some time ago. (I’ll have to look for the link.)

Jesus is pointing to a mountain and says that of you have faith, the mountain will move.

Some heckler stands up and says, “Prove it!”

Then Jesus sighs and leads his followers away. They return driving bulldozers.

The heckler says, “Oh, you meant that kind of faith.”

The statement at the bottom says: Jesus, the most misunderstood man in history.

Seems I got the wording a little wrong but here’s the link:

In any event, I moved my mountain only to present myself with a mountain of pages to go through.

I sure hope this is worth it!


Partners in Clime

My ancient writing partner has recently returned to Phoenix after many years of residing (and not writing) in Minnesota.

Now that he has retired, he is interested in resurrecting the story production.

The original story was developed by a gang of four in Phoenix in 1972 and though the “silent two” did not lend a hand in the writing of the stories they did support the creation of plotlines, characters and such.

If the thing had sold in Hollywood, they would have been involved in some aspect.

When the project remained unsold, we each went on with our lives and the other three found other interests. Survival requires such things.

I continued to write on the Lycron subject but did not have much luck selling any portion of it. Still, though, it might be lucrative in the future and I kept up with additions to the canon.

One of the group never left Phoenix. One moved to North Dakota and has begun writing on his own, and doing quite well. One is returning to the hot desert of Arizona and I am living in climatological comfort in Northern Virginia.

Climate probably has nothing to do with writing.

And the fact that two of the original group are back in the heat where it all began probably does not mean much either.

More important, of course, is time enough to write. But even that is not the most important.

I think that would be the need to say something.

And that is the only climate that matters.

Out of the Frying Pan


My co-author for the Lycron stories picked a bad time to move back to Phoenix.

He has resided in the relative cool of Minneapolis for the past twenty-five years while he worked for a company that had relocated him from Phoenix.

Now, retired, he returns to the home of his childhood…

…during one of the hottest heat-waves in Arizona history!

I remember life in Phoenix and the sweltering heat. Days are so hot there that most people cannot survive with “air-conditioning”. The houses in Phoenix are “refrigerated”, not conditioned.

The hottest I ever had in the city was 128 degrees (the record at that time) and it came on March 22nd of that year… yes, the first full day of spring!

So, as hot as it is currently, I am certain he will re-acclimatize rather quickly.

And I am sure he knows to stay indoors!

Exit Chavez


Well, another “third world leader” has left us.

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, has succumbed to a bronchial infection and departed the realm of the living.

For all the bad press he has gotten in America, he seems to have done quite well by his own country. The people truly loved the guy and he seems to have been making a positive difference with all the problems there.

I wish we had a president who could take a stand against the oil companies and end the strangle-hold they have over us. While the economy flounders, the gas prices keep going up and up, giving them record profits again while the rest of us have to readjust our finances to afford getting to work on a daily basis.

In Venezuela, gas is only four cents a gallon. Yes, $0.04 as opposed to the near $4.00 a gallon we are paying. A couple of years ago, when the winter was really bad and the fuel oil prices were over the moon, Venezuelan tankers brought fuel oil for distribution to many in the Northeast United States too strapped to pay the high prices.

And the oil was free.

Imagine, America receiving aid from a third world nation. Or rather, Americans receiving aid from him.

My hope is that someday we too can have a leader like that.

Re-Doing Older Material

My publisher is of the opinion that the older Lycron material originally written for a proposed television series should be published as the scripts they are.

I was hesitant to agree.

Reading them so absolutely dates the material and it will probably only be useful to anyone as an historical exercise. Whatever.

Meanwhile, I am updating the stories to be published in novel form. The characters – very progressive in the seventies – now seem a little stale, so they all have to be updated as well.

And though the stories are basically sound, there is a lot of changes that have to be made in them as well.

Science fiction has changed by large degrees since the days of “Star Trek”. The science fiction movies of the fifties (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “The Mysterians”, “Fifty Foot Bride of Candy Rock”) cannot be watched by anyone today without a few chuckles. The science fiction fanbase has gotten so broad with the “Star Wars” films, the “Alien” series, and the more recent “Avatar”, that the stories have got to be a little more sophisticated than would once stand.

And so it was with the material we created in the early days of television sci-fi. The stuff is dated and needs a generous shot in the arm to be palpable. Or salable.

The first episode “Check, Check, Checkmate!” was our attempt to introduce the primary characters and the political situation behind the series. There are obvious holes in the politics as written.

The second offering, “Someone Out There Hates Me” was a bit cheesy at the time… and seems so much more cheesy today. I have half a mind to skip this one entirely.

The third script, “My Angry Friends” was – I believe – the best story of the three as it deals with a hitherto unknown civilization and a completely different form of life. And it brings out the personality of one of the major characters quite nicely, which the previous offering failed to do for another of the major players.

Anyway, it will be fun to readdress the stories in a new light.

And then, perhaps there will be some need for the Lycron Federation Manuals and handbooks I have written over the years.

Yeah, I know… dream on…

Thankfully Over

Another glorious holiday is over. Although the kids are grown, they always reappear this time of year to partake of the feast.

This year, the daughter even dragged along a couple of her friends (who apparently had no other party to attend). Their presence was unannounced but not upsetting. We usually load up the table with way too much food.

The guys of the group sat in the den and railed at the football games, the bad calls (which there are… always!) and the poor playing decisions (which there are… always!). But a pleasant time was had by all.

Meanwhile, the female persuasion assisted Mother in the kitchen and talked. And talked. I’m sure it was all very important stuff. It usually is, though the importance would probably be lost on the male of the species.

The food was on the table and the dinner bell was rung just as the first game of the day reached halftime. My wife keeps track of that “two minute warning” and uses it wisely. Not that she needed to follow the game, seeing the “menfolk” lumber out of the den/cave to use the facilities and pass by and smell the aromas emanating from the kitchen was enough to tell her where it was in the game.

After the feasting, the game was midway through the third quarter and the younger folk relaxed in the den while I helped the missus clear the table and pack up the food. I have always been the designated dishwasher around the house and I’ve got it down to an artform.

While I was sudsing away, Mother put most the food in plastic containers set up on the table, to use for a buffet line if anyone should feel a little nibbly later – and someone always was, it seems – but the plastic containers also serve as traveling containers.

In years passed, leftover turkey would be a staple of our post-holiday diet for at least a week. Nowadays, we avoid that torture on our tastebuds by sending the goodies away with the guests. Split enough ways, each can have turkey for a couple of days and no one has to suffer through an entire week. Everyone can share the memories of the feast.

After the day’s excitement, feasting, football, and visiting with family and friends – new and old – we relaxed in front of a fire. No television. Both of us in our books…

Her reading one on her kindle, me writing one on my laptop.

We always enjoy the excitement of the day, but we are always a bit relived when it is over and all the hard work has paid off.

Thankfully, all the fuss is only one day a year.

Even if the thanks are a daily occurrence.

Welcome to My World(s)

I have been reading and writing science fiction for about as long as I can remember.

And way back in 1972 – in a universe, now far, far away – I went with a friend, William Jonson II, to present our science fiction television series proposal to the lights in Hollywood. We had gotten the proposal and the three trial scripts registered with the Writers Guild of America – West before we took our little trip. We had heard that such was standard practice.

Gene Roddenberry was very pleasant, but he was busy with his new series “Planet Earth” (a re-do of his earlier “Genesis II”) and suggested another producer who would like the continuity of our stories, Earl Hamner.

I don’t know why Gene thought the producer of “the Waltons” might be interested in such a thing but we took it to him as well. But he was busy on his own next series and wished us luck.

And that was the end of the adventures in marketing our TV series.

Though Bill and I had discussed reworking the scripts as books, we could not seem to get back together to work on it. I continued working on the “background” material for the series – whether in print or televised – and wrote three of the ten proposed manuals.

We lost touch over the years and I am now preparing to get back to work on the novels.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of William Jonson II, I would love to get back in touch with him. Meanwhile, though, I will continue writing the tales.