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Don’t Panic…wise words at any time.

Times are tough


It seems with the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus that the world has gone a little bit, well, panicky.


Suddenly washing hands with soapy water is in vogue (is personal hygiene a new thing for some people?) and it is even becoming socially acceptable to stay home from work if you are not feeling well (instead of the bizarre practise of passing your 'happiness' on to your school mates, co-workers or fellow travellers in the flying petri dishes that we call airplanes. Trust me, this kind of sharing has not ever been particularly caring).



“Don't Panic.”

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The (not so great) challenge of staying at home...

There are a lot of very intelligent people  offer advise on how to hunker down and weather the storm (not the politicians or the talking heads on TV...ignore them).  We should listen to the experts on this kind of stuff.

I'm not a health official, so anything I say should fall in the same category as the above mentioned politicians, but,

I have a plan:

During this uncertain time, I intend to limit the amount of time I spend in public places like malls and shopping centres (basically, any place that there is a reasonable chance a total stranger will sneeze on me, or cough out a lung while I sit next to their booth in a restaurant). I will wash my hands regularly and keep them away from my face. I'm also going to stay home if I feel unwell.


When I think about it, this is the same kind of stuff I do every flu season. 


Of course, in this day and age, being confined at home is not really such a great hardship. Many of us do so with an antisocial regularity, anyway.

  • I can socialize on facebook,  instagram, or Twitter; 
  • bust some dance moves on Tik Tok (I've never done it, but I understand that it's a 'thing');
  • shop from home on the ubiquitous Amazon;
  • binge watch any possible television series or movie ever produced, and;
  • read the sum total of all of human writings on my iPad. 

Naturally, being an author, I will have no excuse for not exceeding my daily word count (except for the above noted distractions).


Heck, I don't even have to leave my home for years... 


Okay, maybe that was a little much. My point is, remaining at home when unwell is not nearly the hardship it once might have been, even a decade ago, and in my particular case, can add to my productivity.

Whatever your particular situation, not panicking is probably a good first step.

 

If you are ill, please seek out medical advice and take care of yourself. Be considerate of others by not playing the heroic employee of the year. Stay home... trust me, they will survive a few days without you and appreciate that you didn't give anything to the rest of the staff. Maintain good hygiene and if you have to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or your elbow. Others will thank you.

Here's something you can do even if you are not ill and confined to your home...

If you are reading this, chances are that you are not only a science fiction fan, but you also might enjoy my books. I've just released my latest Space Opera, called Armstrong Station. You can check it out at Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, Apple Books or Barnes & Noble.

About the author

D.M. (Doug) Pruden

Science Fiction Author


I am the author of several science fiction series and short stories. I like to make sure that my characters are real, their adventures are riveting and,  being an erstwhile professional scientist, I like to make sure the science is right. You can check out my home page here, where you can download a free novella and get to know me a little better.

 

Sneak Peak at Kaine’s Sanction : Part 1

​Well, now you've done it. You've stumbled upon something that should be hidden from small children and vulnerable animals. It is an actual video of me reading from my latest book, Kaine's Sanction.

In case you are the queasy type, or reading this at work and don't want the boss to peak into your cubicle to find out why the latest sales report is late, I've included the text of the reading below, thus rendering the value of the video content to ​an amusing distraction...

Like watching somebody try to pick up a quarter glued to the floor and then laughing at (with) them. Seriously, this thing is THAT ​entertaining.

One last note: At the end of the video I try to stumble through giving you a website location. This is a lot harder to do than one might imagine. Anyway, the website I try to muddle through describing is ​https://books2read.com/kaines-sanction. It is where you can pick up a copy of the book.



“Action stations!” ordered the captain.

The bridge lighting dimmed, replaced by red, night-vision illumination.

“Helm, accelerate to point 15 c. Heading: toward the nearest rock in the asteroid belt.”

“Targeting data is being forwarded to tactical,” said Hayden, unable to suppress the stress in his voice.

“Estimates, XO?”

“Our triangulation is preliminary, sir. I think they figured out what we were up to and made their move before we could nail down their position.”

“Hmph. We got caught with our pants down.” The captain rotated his chair to address the tactical officer. “Gunney, is there a firing solution computed?”

“No precise positioning info, Cap’n, but there is enough for a spread of laser fire with a good chance of hitting home.”

Pavlovich looked sternly at Hayden. “Now I only need to decide if I’m going to shoot first. What does your fancy academy education suggest, XO?”

Perspiration ran down Hayden’s cheek. His only exposure to this type of situation had been simulations, and he had never performed well in them.

He addressed Bates. “Comm, is there any kind of signal from astern? Any sign they are trying to hail us?”

“Not a peep, Lieutenant.”

Hayden returned Pavlovich’s dark, angry stare, then made a decision. “Their actions are provocative, sir. I recommend we fire.”

“It took you long enough. Okay, Gunney, give it to ’em.”

The lighting on the bridge dimmed further, and Scimitar’s hull vibrated as the ship’s stern array of twelve, 500-exawatt X-ray lasers fired at their pursuer. The barrage continued for twenty-seconds before stopping to allow the weapons to recharge.

“Status of target?” asked the captain.

“No indications of impact, energy discharge, or debris.”

“You mean we missed?”

“Not bloody likely, sir,” said Gunney.

The ship lurched and the pull of the gravity plating weakened. The lights winked out, and only emergency illumination prevented them from plunging into total darkness.

“Status report!” said Pavlovich.

Hayden futilely tried to access his disconnected implant.

Cora’s hands flew across the manual interface at her station, and she scrutinized the readouts. “We’ve been damaged astern. Engine two is inoperative, and number four is barely hanging on. Attitude control is offline…give me a second.” Her fingers danced over the keyboard, and a moment later Hayden felt himself being pushed sideways by an invisible force. He grabbed the captain’s console to steady himself.

“Okay, attitude control reestablished.”

The hull hummed again with another barrage of laser fire. Pavlovich turned expectantly to Gunney, who shook his head.

“How the hell did you miss?”

Anger flared in Gunney’s human eye. “There is no bloody way I missed, Cap’n. The lasers ain’t touching them.”

Cora examined her readouts in more detail. “No hull breach, but magnetic plating didn’t do much to stop whatever they hit us with. We’ve got a lot of structural damage on ventral decks six through nine.”

“Evacuate all noncritical personnel to the central core. Clear the compromised sections and vent whichever ones are unoccupied. I don’t want any explosive decompressions.”

Pavlovich activated ship-wide address. “All hands: prep for possible zero-g battle conditions.” He addressed Cora. “I didn’t like how the plating responded to that last hit, Engineer.”

“Yes, sir, I’m doing my best but…” She shook her head.

“Analysis. What the hell did they use on us?”

With his link to no longer talking to ship’s systems, Hayden had migrated to an unoccupied console and strapped himself into the chair.

“Whatever it was didn’t register with the bugs.”

The ship was rocked a second time. Hayden’s stomach lurched as the pull of gravity vanished.

Cora called out a litany of damages. “Power to grav-plating is out; damage to stern laser array elements six through eight; aft rail gun is destroyed; structural breaches on decks nine and ten; engines four and three and two offline…”

“I need a solution, people!”

Hayden shouted above the noise, “Captain, the fact that we can’t see them and our lasers don’t affect them…”

Pavlovich stared at him. “Well? Go on?”

He swallowed then said, “Try using projectile weapons. Fire a volley as they approach us; they’ll be within one hundred klicks in fifteen seconds.”

“Our aft array is gone, boy!” said Gunney.

“Attitude control is functional. Bring us around and present our forward guns,” said Kaine.

“Helm, do it!” said Pavlovich.

The cyborg returned his attention to his tactical console. Hayden felt himself pulled sideways as Kwok rotated the ship to face the invisible attacker. Before the rotational movement stopped, the sound and shaking of the forward rail gun being unleashed vibrated the deck.

Anxious, he monitored the sensor drone readouts for any indication of an impact.

“We hit them!” he shouted. “Registered three hits. Some damage, I think. I read some kind of gas venting. They are breaking off and heading away from us.”

A cheer arose on the bridge from everyone except Pavlovich.

“Where did they go, Kaine?”

“They accelerated and left our drone range at high speed. We’ve lost them.”

“Great, so we only hurt them. Who knows when they’ll come back and maybe bring reinforcements?”

“Cap’n, we’ve got some serious damage repairs to make,” said Cora.

He nodded at her, and she unbuckled herself and floated to the hatchway.

“We’re going to need a place to hide while we repair ourselves and come up with a plan of action,” said the captain...

​"​...a nice job combining elements of different sci-fi subgenres, from space opera to hard sci-fi. Really good stuff." Read Kaine's Sanction by @prudenauthor https://books2read.com/kaines-sanction

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The Isolating Internet

Digital Illustration of a surreal Woman

As time passes, I find myself more often than not feeling old. This is particularly true when I have interactions with people under the age of forty. 

First, let me state for the record that I am not old. 

I will be 59 on my next birthday, which according to my master plan, means I have not yet entered middle age. Yet as time passes, I am finding more reasons to feel disconnected from people born in the last three decades.

When my peers and I used to socialize, back in the Cretaceous period, a polite introductory conversation might have sounded like this”

“Hi, I’m Doug.”

“Hi Doug, I’m John.”

“Pleased to meet you. I haven’t seen you at this golf course before. Do you play here often?”

“Once or twice a week. How about yourself?”

“I try to get on the course three times a week.”

“Wow, you must have a lot of work flexibility to be able to play like that.”

“Yes, I am semi retired and like to play as much as possible. How about yourself. What do you do for a living?”

What you may or may not have gleaned from this hypothetical conversation is that there is a passing back and forth between the speakers, each one prompting the other to contribute and reveal a bit about himself. Sort of like a serve and return in tennis or badminton. This sort of interaction happens easily between people of my generation and older. In fact, it seems to happen this way for most people who did not grow up using social media. Social norms have changed, and I blame the internet for the problem.

When I try to engage people in Gen Y or Gen Z in conversation, it seems to be very one sided. I will introduce myself and they will respond with their own name, but they rarely initiate any conversation beyond that. They do not usually make polite inquiries of me or what I do, but are more than happy to tell me everything about themselves when I ask. They seem to have lost the skills for common social interaction, and give the impression they don’t give a damn about anyone else, but I do not believe that is the case. I think social media has trained them to this behaviour.

Gen Y & Z grew up with the internet and are intimately connected to social media. The hallmark of conversation on Facebook or Twitter amounts to a person making a posting about themselves: “I went to the Brave’s game tonight. Boy, did they play poorly.” 

The response to this from their online friends is to react to the original posting and the focus of the conversation remains, for the most part, centred on the topic or the original poster. The communication becomes one sided and if any of the friends wants the world to know about their current life activities, it behooves them to declare it in a post of their own. Social interaction has become an exercise in standing in the town square and shouting out the news about your life.

The result of all this seems to be a generation of people whose norm of social interaction consists of self declaration and little apparent interest in the lives of others unless they choose to declare. It all comes across as self absorbed and is a sad testament to where the internet is taking us.

It is ironic that something called social media seems to be contributing to the decline of social interaction. I wonder what other two edged benefits of our interconnectivity have yet to reveal themselves? It’s good fodder for a science fiction author.

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