Friday, April 3, 2020

Awesome Gang Feature

Ifscapes: Empires and Androids can now be viewed on Awesome Gang's book promotions page! Available on Amazon, the ebook is marked down to 0.99 through noon (PDT) on April 4 and then will be available for 1.99 until 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on April 7. Thanks to Awesome Gang for the feature! Click here to follow the link.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Video Update (April 2020)

At long last, a video update of walking forward with the Lifeglider!  This recording dates to earlier this year (February). 

As a general note, it's inevitable that the COVID-19 situation is affecting people's opportunities for physical therapy and recovery.  Unfortunately, some with spinal cord injuries are also having even more serious problems finding help with everyday tasks and maintaining routines essential to daily health.  Due to coronavirus, they may have caregivers who are ill or unable to come, for instance, and they have to take extra precautions from the contagion.  Many of the same people already suffer in silence from ongoing isolation.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers!

Ifscapes Markdown

On sale April 1 — April 8

Ifscapes: Empires and Androids

0.99, April 1 until noon on April 4
1.99, noon on April 4 until 11:59 p.m. on April 7


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Coronavirus, the COVID-19 Outbreak, and Science Fiction

A global pandemic sounds like, and occasionally has been, the stuff of science fiction.  Science fiction is all about asking questions and pushing boundaries, speculating and considering, positing and challenging, making social commentary, dreaming up worlds or taking them apart.  Suppose the already dangerous COVID-19 was even more dangerous and that it was unleashed on a society in the near future.  Then push the idea further.  What would happen if a massive plague were to spread across the world as an unstoppable force, causing destruction and chaos wherever it went, in a time when the world was the capitol of a galactic empire?  Or when humanity was busy colonizing other planets?  What if the disease was discovered in another system and accidentally — or intentionally — carried back to the homeworld?  And then expand on that: what if the pandemic lingered?  What if the virus mutated into something else altogether, not a flu or cold or respiratory attack, but something that altered the thought patterns or anatomy of its victims?

Science fiction tackles these types of questions head-on.  The genre compels us to journey through scenarios that actually can happen or those that seem much too far-fetched to be real.  Sometimes, reading SF (science fiction, not San Francisco) leads us to think completely differently.  Mind-bending twists and turns, feats of the imagination, amazing technology, virtually everything is possible in the narrative.  Of course, the science fiction story may be an overtly speculative story, and it might pose a situation just like the one we have happening in our world right now: a worldwide pandemic of unknown impact.  COVID-19 is going to shape generations and societies one way or another, like it or not.  How?  Science fiction is not afraid to ask the question and to explore a multitude of answers.

Maybe you're finding yourself wanting to escape the pandemic by exploring other questions and answers in science fiction.  Perhaps you're itching for some excitement and travel, and need a good book or short story to launch you on your way.  Or maybe you stumbled on this post by accident looking for more information on Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, in pre-production for Apple TV+, or on Arthur C. Clarke's vision of the space elevator.  Whatever the case, here's a short list of some great classic science fiction titles to help you get started with the genre or pass the time while in  Coronavirus quarantine.  If you're a veteran of SF, this list has some classics you might have missed.  Murray Leinster and E. E. "Doc" Smith, anyone?

A Quarantine Short List of Science Fiction:

Against the Fall of Night, by Arthur C. Clarke
Citizen of the Galaxy, by Robert A. Heinlein
Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
Lensman Series, by E. E. "Doc" Smith
Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp
"The New Utopia," by Jerome K. Jerome
"Sidewise in Time," by Murray Leinster
"Slips Take Over," by Miriam Allen deFord
Space Trilogy, by C. S. Lewis
Time Patrol Series, by Poul Anderson

"Times Without Number," by John Brunner
"To Serve Man," by Damon Knight

Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19 and SCIs

With COVID-19 going around, it's an especially good idea to practice good hygiene and to be cautious about where you go and what you do.  But in the meantime, since people with spinal cord injuries are technically included in the "higher risk" groups for contracting Coronavirus, today's links lead to some resources specifically geared toward SCIs and COVID-19. 

Have you found other sites with really helpful information about SCI and COVID-19?
Please contact me or comment below!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Book Announcement: "Ifscapes: Empires and Androids" on Amazon

Happy Leap Day! To celebrate February 29 this year, I’m releasing my first short story collection, Ifscapes: Empires and Androids, featuring meta-myth, science fiction, and fantasy stories inspired by the ancient world. The book is exclusively available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon for $2.99. Please consider downloading a copy and leaving a review. Thank you to my readers and reviewers!
From the book description: "Alternate history, possible worlds, parallel universes, and counterfactuals/ contrafactuals come together in these speculative reimaginings of classical history, myths, and characters. Twelve stories feature a wide array of themes and translated excerpts from actual Greek and Roman texts, all injected into visionary future-pasts. This collection is for anybody with a taste for adventure, enthusiasm for the unknown, a penchant for science fiction or fantasy, or just a passing interest in antiquity or its literature and languages."

Monday, February 17, 2020

TruST Force Field

In this study from Columbia Engineering, researchers are designing a new rehabilitation device to help people who have limited trunk control. Trunk-Support Trainer, or TruST, is a unique idea: it's an assistive tool intended to increase users' sitting and balance abilities over time by retraining better postural control. Depending on the level of spinal cord injury (or on the severity of certain other neurological conditions or diseases), lack of torso control can represent a serious issue in everyday life. In response to the problem, TruST is supposed to help users improve their posture and regain more mobility. Researchers are calling it a "force field." Not quite the typical science fiction type of force field, but it's a clever concept, and I hope it turns out to be a useful one.