Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mutants as Aliens in Sime~Gen

As I mentioned in passing a few weeks ago, I recently stumbled upon a blog entry from a reader in Australia who reread Unto Zeor, Forever (my second Sime~Gen novel published and my first Award Winner) recently and she identified the reason she had been fascinated by this novel years ago upon first reading. 

Unto Zeor, Forever is actually SFR where mutation generates the Alien in Alien Romance. 

Here's the blog post that started me thinking: 

This was before I found romance. And looking back, the only one on the list that’s really a romance (and probably the only one of all the books I read at the time) is Unto Zeor Forever. Interesting that it was the romance that I obsessed abut the most, yes?
------end quote-------

Unto Zeor, Forever is a novel that stands about among its contemporaries because the plot is relationship driven.  It's typical SF in that the plot puts the fate of the world in jeopardy and appoints one particular individual to exceed his personal limits of capability (to sacrifice himself to near destruction, and even beyond destruction of everything dear to him in life) in order to Save The World.

It's a "first contact" novel.  Two people from distant societies isolated from each other first learn about the other, find the "other" unbearably strange, and must adjust.

It's a "Mutant Novel" - in that it's set in the far future when humanity has mutated into two strains.  It's set beyond the point where they each intend to kill the other side off, and at the cusp of the point where they begin true acceptance instead of an uneasy truce.

Acceptance means destruction of social orders on each side of their borders, so it's sociological science fiction.

It's "hard SF" in the sense that the main plot problem is a scientific puzzle that can be solved only by scientific experiment, investigation, amassing statistics, understanding the inscrutible nature of the two kinds of human biology (Sime and Gen). 

The resolution of the plot happens only because of a scientific breakthrough.  But the "science" is entirely "made up" - totally imaginary.  It simply fills the spot in their society that our science fills in ours.

All of those kinds of SF novel were extant and very popular at the time Unto Zeor, Forever was first published in hardcover (1978).

What was unusual, perhaps even anti-commercial publishing, was that all these types of SF novel were jumbled together in one novel, a "cross-sub-genre" novel. 

What you see when you read this novel depends on what you expect to see, what you want to see, and maybe also on your ability to follow a complex piece of writing.  It simply would never make a movie.  It's way too "deep." 

Unto Zeor, Forever is also a trope-busting novel, another reason it was shoved aside and shunned by vast sections of the publisher's target readership.

What trope did it bust?  SCIENCE FICTION must never contain ROMANCE, and ROMANCE must never contant SCIENCE FICTION.

The structure of Unto Zeor, Forever is basically SFR, and the blend is crafted in such a way that, unless you're well practiced at analyzing novels, you will have a hard time deciding if it's SF that contains Romance or Romance that contains SF. 

Romance drives the plot, but not via sexuality.  (but some readers can't tell that).

Science drives the plot, but not via "real" science or even extrapolation of existing science. 

Because the science is totally made up, this novel published as SF then might today be published as FANTASY!  (the field of futuristic fantasy didn't exist at that time so publishers had no way to market such a misfit novel)

What is the science made up of, though?  The material underlying the made-up science of the Sime~Gen Universe is material no self-respecting SF writer (such as Robert J. Sawyer who had the grace to drop a very insightful comment on my post about his fabulous SF novel, WWW: WATCH
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2010/06/wwwwatch-by-robert-j-sawyer.html ) would touch.

As the success of STAR TREK (slow to start as it was) illustrated, one core value of SF decades ago was the total rejection of the model of the universe in which God runs things, up close and personal.

In STAR TREK, all divine beings turn out to be frauds. 

At the time the Sime~Gen Universe world was built, STAR TREK had not yet been conceived, at least not in the form we eventually saw it take.

Science Fiction which I surveyed and analyzed had left the entire realm of human psychology, the human spirit, and the yearning for real touch with the Divine out of every story.

The philosophical premise of the SF field was simply that science can explain everything about humans (and non-humans) simply by studying biology, biochemistry, physics, and hard sciences. 

The premise that there exists and Divine force, that souls are real, was discarded before the worldbuilding began.

The Sime~Gen premise is "real SF" because it takes that blind assumption of all the writers and readers of the field, and challenges it from the blind spot.

That's right, Sime~Gen was deliberately crafted to blindside readers, hit where no one had hit before.

The science and worldbuilding of Sime~Gen is rooted in psychic sciences, spiritual sciences (karma, reincarnation), anthropology, linguistics, social sciences, psychology, and even religion. 

But in order to sell it, none of that could be allowed to show on the surface in the early novels.  (and to date, one novel where it's tackled head-on, has not made it into publication, The Farris Channel).

As a result of hiding the premises, and deliberately blindsiding the readership, half the fans drawn to the books really dislike the whole psychic, ESP, other dimensional aspects of the worldbuilding. 

Two Sime~Gen Novels allow some of that "The Soul Is Real" premise to trickle through into reader consciousness. 

Unto Zeor, Forever by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and First Channel by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg are both blatant "Soul Mate" stories. 

First Channel was recently singled out in this Romance blog:


While First Channel is not a romance, the story is propelled by Rimon and Kadi's feelings for each other. Other characters fall in love as well, some with tragic consequences. Events unfold over several years, giving it a more realistic feeling than in so many stories where everything is resolved in a relationship in a week or two. The setting was so unique that I am planning to read some of the other books in the series to find out what the future holds for the Sime and Gen.
-----end quote-----

It's more than "the story" that's propelled by the young couple's feelings for one another.  It's the plot of the book, AND the fate of the entire human species, Sime and Gen alike, as love itself cracks a scientific puzzle that has locked humanity into a decline into primitive warfare where 30 years old is ancient. 

Both these novels detail the meeting and mating of two people who are Soul Mates, Destined for each other.  Their decisions actually change history, change the world, at a deeply personal cost.

Jean Lorrah, after analyzing and dissecting an early draft of Unto Zeor, Forever, penetrated to the core of the matter with her premise that ONLY LOVE could ever have taught a Sime how not-to-Kill Gens. 

Buried deep inside Unto Zeor, Forever is the Great Theme of all Romance, "Love Conquers All" but it's not revealed until Jean Lorrah came along and detailed it in First Channel. 

Each member of each couple makes certain independent free will choices, and the cascading results of those choices tumble them willy nilly into the annals of History. 

As mentioned above, "The Soul Is Real" concept leads directly to REINCARNATION IS REAL in the Sime~Gen Universe. 

So if you know how to read these novels, if you know the unpublished secrets behind what's really happening, you can see that you are reading a series of LIFETIMES lived by the same souls, taking different relationships to each other, learning from past errors, making up for the untoward results of their previous actions. 

And in some lifetimes, the souls are rewarded by finding their Soul Mates and achieving spiritual goals -- all without knowing it, just like in our real lives. 

None of these novels could ever have been published if all that "Fantasy stuff" and that "Romance stuff" had been blatantly displayed on the surface.  And in fact, the merest whiff of these matters disqualified these novels from becoming publisher's "Lead Title" (the only one ever put on book shelves in chain stores or supermarkets). 

So even though Unto Zeor, Forever ends in a tragedy of monumental proportions, and heads into a hiatus of spiritual progress for one of the souls, you can see that the tragedy had a past-life cause and will generate a future HEA when you reread the series of 8 novels in different orders. 

Making a spiritual premise (Human Nature can change, and for the better too -- all humans are Good at the core) into the "Science" in the Science part of Science Fiction challenges the very definition of what SF really is. 

That subliminal challenge offends some, and awakens others to the vast possibilities SF of previous decades left unconsidered.

That awakening is starting to explode into our world with Vampire Romance, with female lead characters in Urban Fantasy, with warfare against Evil led by women. 

Here is a collection of links to links to my previous posts on the "science" upon which Sime~Gen's worldbuilding rests, included here because someone just wrote to me saying she'd found my first non-fiction book on the Tarot and wanted the rest.





And here's an exchange from twitter:

@JLichtenberg: @Azrael52 Novels now come in serials just like TV shows "story arc" - everything pubs send me is bk#X in YYseries #scifichat

@michaelspence @JLichtenberg (And whose fault is that? YOU were the first writer I read who talked in terms of series rather than individual stories! :^) )

I always find it amazing when other professional writers say they've read some of my novels, or even just Star Trek Lives!

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com (currently available)
http://www.simegen.com/jl/ (complete bio-biblio)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Open letter to John Scalzi, Scott Turow, Allison Kelley.

Dear Scott Turow, Allison Kelley, John Scalzi,

Thank you very much for everything you do  on behalf of Authors' Guild, Romance Writers Of America, and Science Fiction Writers of America to defend authors' copyrights against copyright infringement. We very much appreciate having an address to which to send our complaints, and the comfort of knowing that you compile a database of the most egregious "pirates" and pirate sites.

Despite small triumphs, ignorance persists among honest readers; lies about the legality of "sharing" go unchallenged, and the problem is getting much worse.

Please Scott Turow (Authors' Guild), Allison Kelley (Romance Writers of America), John Scalzi (Science Fiction Writers Of America) will you talk to one another, set up one powerhouse task force, meet regularly, share resources, engage your members, give authors one central "Go To" address where we can submit complaints, report piracy sites, blogs and yahoogroups, cc our own individual take-down notices.

One forceful industry voice could shut down an entire infringing account and insist on a hosting site complying with their own TOS where their TOS has been repeatedly violated, instead of individual authors taking down one file at a time.

Thank you.

Rowena Cherry (for Authors Without A Yacht)
Friend of ePublishing Award 2010

Permission granted to forward, share, repost,

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The other day I caught the last few minutes of a TV program about Oliver, an elderly chimpanzee now retired to a primate sanctuary, who spent many years as a freak show exhibit, labeled the world's only "humanzee," half human, half chimp. Here's an article about him:


He does look strangely near-human for an ape, as you can see from the picture. Also, he chose to walk upright (until crippled by arthritis) and had many other human-like habits. He preferred the company of our species over his own and only recently started learning to get along with other chimps. DNA testing finally revealed that he has the same number of chromosomes as any other chimpanzee and definitely belongs to that species. Scientists quoted on the TV special, however, suggested that his genetic makeup contains some unique features that may indicate he's a mutant or a member of a very rare subspecies.

Interestingly, one reason he had to leave the home environment where he lived for a long time was that, not being exposed to the company of his own kind, he became sexually imprinted on human females. When he started trying to mate with women, he became dangerous.

The notion of a human-chimpanzee hybrid would have sounded much more plausible in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some anthropologists of that era seriously proposed that non-white races were missing links between lower primates and Homo sapiens. Edgar Rice Burroughs, in the episodes of his Tarzan series set in the lost city of Opar, seemed to think his readers would have no trouble accepting that the degenerate inhabitants of the ruined city descended from interbreeding between human beings and great apes.

The plight of Oliver reminds me of Robert Heinlein's 1947 novella "Jerry Was a Man," set in a future when many kinds of genetically engineered animals are commercially available. A rich woman buys Jerry, a worn-out working chimpanzee with enhanced intelligence and some capacity for speech, to save him from being euthanized now that he has become economically useless. The TV anthology series MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION filmed an infuriatingly distorted adaptation of this story. To begin with, the script made Jerry an android, thus abandoning one of the story's major philosophical issues, the question of the boundary between animal and human. And the androids in the show didn't even make sense; the only job we actually saw them performing was walking a grid across a mine field in the role of animated explosive detectors. As if a society capable of constructing artificial human beings would waste them by letting them blow themselves up in a task equally doable by much simpler and cheaper robots! Worse, in Heinlein's novella Jerry the intelligent chimp proves his right to be classified as a "man" by demonstrating his desire for freedom and appreciation for music. In the film, the humanity of Jerry the android is demonstrated by his willingness to lie—where Jerry the chimp shows in court that he not only knows the difference between truth and falsehood but also prefers truth—and his readiness to shove one of his fellow workers into the path of a live mine so he can survive. Once again I wonder what, if anything, TV writers are thinking. (Yeah, okay, I can take a good guess: They think a cynical, fight-for-survival view of "humanity" will impress the audience as more credible than a sentimental, uplifting one. Haven't they ever heard of the altruistic behavior found even within societies of "lower" animals? Aargh.)

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where Expert Romance Writers Fail

I often hang out at chats on twitter, especially those frequented by writers and fiction readers/viewers.

#scifichat is held at mid-day on Fridays (Eastern Time) and goes for 2 hours. Near the end of #scifichat on June 4th, 2010, the moderator asked the 7th of the 8 Questions in the format:

@scifichat #scifichat Q7: Can we envision a day when all disabilities are overcome? Utopia, or dystopia? #disability #progress #scifi #fantasy #books 12:31 PM Jun 4th via API

@PennyAsh Q7 I would say dystopia is more likely #scifichat 12:34 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

All my inner alarm bells went off reading @PennyAsh's comment. She's a Romance Writer. She thinks dystopia is more likely.

I've found that she and I share a lot of interests in common, books, TV shows. She's been writing fantasy romance, vampires, steam punk, and other SF/F stories. She's well trained in how to cast a story into a plot line.

Yet, the moderator's question during a discussion of Disabilities in SF triggered a lazy reversion to a non-thinking, non-SF, non-imaginative answer.

True, in the reality we live in, dystopia seems to be the norm, and "more likely."

But this is #scifichat and that means it's about science fiction and fantasy and imagination.

The point of reading the literature of the fantastic is to learn to think "outside the box" - to break through cultural blinders -- to contemplate the impossible, the improbable, the unthinkable, the "unlikely" -- and to use those thoughts to change the world in such a way that those limits don't exist anymore.

In the 1950's, if you thought humans would actually walk on Earth's Moon, you were considered somewhere near the edge of sanity. Your opinion on everything else was automatically discounted. What was known to be impossible, was indeed impossible because it was known to be impossible (and disabled people were not treated well at all.)

In the 1960's - the decade of the first Star Trek TV series - not only was the idea that we could walk on the moon now considered possible and even do-able, but the idea that anything was actually impossible became suspect!

The 1970's was an era when even unfettered male dominance of everything important could be changed.

Science Fiction has been defined by an attitude, a "Sense of Wonder" that is deeply rooted in a philosophy that says:

What Humans Can Imagine; Humans Can Do

And the corollary is true. If you can't imagine it, you can't do it.

Science Fiction led the way out of the 1950's into a Golden Age for SF where more and more titles sold more and more copies - where real SF finally came to TV (not kiddie fare, and not comedy like My Favorite Martian, but Real SF like Star Trek).

The teens who grew up on SF novels that acknowledged no limits to the imagination, created the Internet, the World Wide Web, and many generations of computer chips, to wireless networks, and on and on into massive connectivity, not to mention GPS and Satellite weather reports (if you don't remember the 1950's, you don't appreciate today's weather reporting at all).

All that progress turned on just one tiny bit of philosophy.

If you've been reading my blogs here, you know that I place an inordinate emphasis on Philosophy.

Philosophy is far more important in human personal existence, cultural existence, societal existence and even the existence of our entire technological Civilization, than most people can imagine.

Writers, however, all have to be world class philosophers.

The entire art and craft of worldbuilding, and the whole power of the writer's knack of sucking a reader into a world not their own, rests on artistic manipulation of philosophy.

Philosophy turns up in every nook and cranny of a story, but dominates the THEME component.

There is one philosophical point that is the prime signature of the SF Genre, and it is bedrock basic to Romance Genre as well.

It's a very simple point, which means it's far more profound than most people would ever want to believe. Very personal.

It cuts to the quick. It twangs the heartstrings. It makes life worth while. It scares the shit out of most humans, so they won't think about it. I just said it above - do you remember or did you skip it?

What Humans Can Imagine; Humans Can Do

And the corollary. If you can't imagine it, you can't do it.

Now how does this apply to both SF and Romance?

Look at Star Trek: The Original Series. Captain Kirk was the only one to graduate the Academy having passed the Kobiyashi Maru exam.

How he did that is revealed. He cheated. He saw it was a no-win scenario, held in his heart the absolute conviction that there is no such thing as a no-win scenario, and he CHANGED THE RULES (hacked the computer and changed the program) so he could win.

That incident so defines Star Trek as PURE SF (despite all the compromises necessary to get it onto prime time TV where SF was totally disallowed) that the incident is recounted in the 2009 Star Trek movie.

In the movie, produced forty years after the first TV show, we see the young Kirk of an alternate universe rig the computer simulator and win the Kobiyashi Maru test.

It is made clear this is an alternate universe, so they could have just said this Kirk never cheated to win his commission. But they kept that incident intact because it defines the character. All Kirks in all universes think this way because it defines Kirk, and defines Star Trek as SF.

"Kirk" is the essence of science fiction because he does not accept limits on what is possible. If necessary, he'll change the structure of reality itself to actualize what he imagines.

Think hard about that attitude.

It's a very powerful philosophy, but it's also very dangerous. Scary.

Think about it, and see if it isn't the essence of what makes humans human, and that very essence is what scares (terrifies) many people, possibly to the point of being disabled in the ability to Love.

From the caveman inventing the wheel (which was independently invented, I think three times in different parts of the world) to some college students and professors inventing the internet -- just for fun, just to play computer games they programmed, toying with the stuff they worked on seriously in their day-jobs -- humans refuse to accept "impossible" for very long.

Now, think about the core essence of Romance.

Essentially, Romance is the pathway or open doorway to HAPPILY EVER AFTER, the HEA ending. You can't get to HEA without going through Romance.

What's the point of all the heart-rending, harrowing, emotional roller coaster plot if it does NOT produce an HEA ending?

Any sensible person will tell you that the HEA ending is a ridiculous cliche because in "real" life, it's impossible. Because! It's ridiculous because it's impossible.


We have found a juncture, a point of identity between SF and Romance as genres.

Both kinds of stories must end at achieving the IMPOSSIBLE -- and thereby changing the very definition of what is possible.

Once "the impossible" has been achieved, it becomes possible, and the boundaries that circumscribe our mental lives must expand to include this new achievement.

Philosophically, SF and Romance are identical.

So why is Romance still unworthy of vast public respect?

See my blog entry (also based on a Twitter conversation - this one on #scriptchat )

Read the comments on that blog entry and you'll find a comment about the HEA ending.

Note that if it's true that both SF and Romance must generate endings that violate the absolute boundaries of consensus reality, then the two genres are not now and never have been separate genres.

So there's no such thing as SFR.

You can't "mix" genres that are already identical.

If you mix two things that are identical, you end up with more of that one thing.

So SF has "proved itself" by having moved the boundaries of reality for many people now living. So they accept this new reality of iphones and thus most SF no longer seems ridiculous or crazy.

But apparently, no such "proof" yet exists for Romance.

Well, look at the state of the Family in the USA (maybe worldwide). Divorce is commonplace, over 50% in some demographics. And a famous couple ostensible happy for 40 years just announced a separation.

"Falling in Love" has led to bitter disappointment for many who married because of a romantic experience.

In their reality, there is no such thing as HEA.

And they've convinced all their friends and family there's no such thing as an HEA.

Anyone who believes there is such a thing as an HEA in real life is as "crazy" as those idiots in 1950 who kept writing stories about humans walking on other planets.

So, why do people accept "hard evidence" (the divorce rate) to "prove" their belief that something is impossible?

Hard evidence showed that people could not go into space because there was no material that could withstand the forces required to climb out of the gravity well of Earth. Not only that, but hard calculations showed clearly there was no fuel that could provide the thrust. The whole idea was stupid because it's impossible to do it.

So a generation got to work and produced materials and fuel, and political backing to get funding -- and we did it. We did the impossible. We did what had only been imagined by crazy people.

Do people today perhaps think that imagining the internet and making the Web happen is just about the Web, and not about human imagination?

Do they think the change in "reality" was just a fluke? Now we just adjust to a new reality, and it'll never change again -- certainly not as a result of crazy people imagining stuff?

Do they think "reality" is now fixed and you just have to live with it -- even if they are Star Trek fans, even Kirk fans?

How do people get such fixed notions about what is possible?

Do you suppose it's inculcated by the fiction they imbibe in youth?

And where does that fiction come from?


We have a whole new generation of writers (and their near-cousins, editors) trying to find a way to make a living within the rules set down by a publishing industry now suddenly owned and operated by big corporations who think publishing should make a profit. (it never has in human history, but they're determined to do the impossible)

Therefore, in their pursuit of the impossibility of a profitable publishing industry, they have laid down the law about what is or is not possible in the fiction they've published.

Writers, accordingly, are trained by their editors to produce fiction that conforms to those rules of what is possible.

It's not so much the rules themselves that are sacred, but the entire attitude of conforming that has become untouchable.

I was astonished to run into that hard, fast, shiny, impenetrable barrier on (of all places!) #scifichat on twitter -- the one high-tech playground where one would suppose the philosophy of the internet founders (imagine the impossible; do it) would hold sway.

Of course the 140 character limit on twitter is not my native mode of expression, but I did my best and still had a hard time breaking a mental barrier composed of *EPIC FAIL* of writerly imagination.

You want to figure out why Romance doesn't get the respect it deserves as a genre - read this exchange I accidentally started in answer to @PennyAsh's comment on dystopia being more likely.

Think about the "impossible" HEA, where the HEA is a type of "Utopia" and think about how and why general readers reject all of romance because of the HEA while fans of romance read it because of the HEA.

Should we shrug and wall ourselves off into our own little corner of the universe? Or should we analyze what's really going on?

I had no intention probing for data to analyze when I made the following casual remark in answer @PennyAsh's response to the moderator's question about dystopia and utopia.

And I suspect few on #scifichat were thinking what I was thinking when I made this remark -- that the inability to "love," to fall in love, or to experience ROMANCE, is actually a very serious handicap, a disability of the most crippling kind. I said:

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat Frankly I'm more for utopia as a VISION -- but it's not the utopia that fails but the envisioner.

This started a long-long exchange with several people -- none of whom apparenly understood what I had meant (in 140 characters) by failure of the envisioner. All of these answers are (to me) clearly confined within a tiny box created by our culture's assumptions which must not be challenged.

So @MoonWolf95 commented back at me:

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg One man's Utopia is another man's Nine Hells #scifichat

to which @PennyAsh answered

@PennyAsh @MoonWolf95 I agree, in a utopia we do not grow #scifichat

My hair stood on end. Writer's *EPIC FAIL* of imagination! How in the world can you discuss such abstract philosophical matters in 140 character bursts? So I said:

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat Naturally I disagree - at point of UTOPIA we actually finally START TO GROW (species infancy now) STARGATE ASCENSION
12:43 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg exactly, human nature will out. #scifichat
12:44 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat utopia concept - think Lensman Series, Arisians, visualization of the macrocosmic all. A utopia does growth starts
12:44 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

The next question was dropped in by the moderator:

@scifichat #scifichat Q8: Can cybernetic interfaces be a #disability themselves? #scifi #cyberpunk #computers #robot #science
12:45 PM Jun 4th via API

I thought that was the end of that exchange on Utopia. Nope.

@GeneDoucette #scifichat Utopia for ALL would A: be boring, B: be impossible to believe. Utopia for some at the cost of many would be more believable.
12:46 PM Jun 4th via web

Gene Ducette is a writer I'm going to be reading soon. David Rozansky answered my comment.

@DavidRozansky @JLichtenberg Brave New World? #scifichat
12:45 PM Jun 4th via TweetGrid in reply to JLichtenberg

So I'm thinking the Romance genre HEA really is saying "you can have this too" - i.e. Utopia for all. Boring? Impossible to believe? Enforced like BRAVE NEW WORLD?

*EPIC FAIL* of writerly imagination. How to explain that in 140 characters? And I'm talking to the smartest, most imaginative people around. How could this be happening?

Another writer/artist I'd just met last week, @MoonWolf95 adds:

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg One man's Utopia is another man's Nine Hells #scifichat
12:43 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@MoonWolf95, as @PennyAsh, likes the same books, authors, TV, that I do.

So @PennyAsh answers:

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Utopia makes a wonderful vision problem is there's always someone who wants to enforce their vision on all #scifichat
12:47 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

And I'm thinking, "No, not in a real Utopia there isn't." But that's unimaginable, unthinkable, and probably unpublishable, right?

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 @PennyAsh #scifichat "1's utopia; another's hell" - see, that's failure of writer's imagination! Stuck in past.
12:47 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

While the whole discussion veered into the next question and topic, I was stuck on this Utopia vision problem.

@JLichtenberg #scifichat 2 create NEW SF take unchallenged ancient truth and CHALLENGE IT (1 man's utopia; another's Hell)
12:48 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

Remember, every post of mine goes to maybe 1200 people who aren't "listening" to #scifichat and so have no clue what I'm talking about. So I often RT (retweet) the comment I'm answering AND try to include the nucleus of the comment in my comment so it makes sense "out of the blue" to someone not interested in SF. Most of my followers are interested in writing and the whole entertainment industry from creation to business model.

So I said:

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat But what if NOBODY wanted to force their vision on others? THAT is essence of an SF question. WHAT IF...?
12:49 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg We need things to overcome otherwise we stagnate. It's a catch 22, utopia achieved breeds dissatisfaction #scifichat
12:49 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg The cycle starts all over again #scifichat
12:49 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

David Rozandky caught up with this side-chatter while main discussion went on with Disabilities and technology.

@DavidRozansky @JLichtenberg So Utopia, like myopia, is a vision disabiltiy. #scifichat
12:49 PM Jun 4th via TweetGrid in reply to JLichtenberg

And another writer chimed in answering me:

@madpoet @JLichtenberg I wouldn't call that a failure of writer's imagination. I'd call it an acknowledgment of human nature. @PennyAsh #scifichat
12:49 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

But I was busy answering David Rozansky:

@JLichtenberg @DavidRozansky #scifichat Yes, a "vision disability" afflicts our readers, and SF writers job is to open their eyes to unthinkable possib
12:51 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to DavidRozansky

To which @PennyAsh replied:

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg I'll have to ponder this more :) might fit in my Frankenstein story #scifichat
12:51 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

And I finally saw and responded to @madpoet

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat the whole point of SF/F is to NOT ACKNOWLEDGE LIMITS OF HUMAN NATURE - go where no man/person has gone b4
12:51 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

And another writer chimed in (side-topic kept exploding)

@teresajusino @JLichtenberg #scifichat Not an ancient truth about SF so much as a truth about human nature. & yes, you can ignore that in SF, but why?
12:50 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

Why!!??? Ignore???? Oh, no, no -- but how to answer that?

@JLichtenberg @teresajusino #scifichat no, not "ignore" human nature, QUESTION OUR CONVICTION ABOUT WHAT IT IS. Always question!
12:52 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to teresajusino

And to @PennyAsh I finally answered:

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat Yes, it's definitely a Frankietein archetype challenge
12:52 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@GeneDoucette @JLichtenberg I think I'd like a definition of "utopia" before going on. #scifichat
12:53 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

The rest of the folks had been discussing disabilities created by technology, so I connected the two threads of discussion thusly:

@JLichtenberg #scifichat disability created by science - the scholarly conviction that we KNOW human nature
12:53 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

Again I was challenging the entire concept of "the impossible" being set up by academics, experts, or "everyone knows."

Meanwhile MoonWolf95 has been thinking hard:

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg But human nature can be considered a disability by itself too? #scifichat
12:53 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

But I was busy answering @GeneDoucette

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat tweet-size defn of utopia is opp of dystopia, I'd guess
12:54 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

@madpoet is still pursuing another line of thought and everyone's talking at once:

@madpoet @JLichtenberg Then we're no longer writing about humans at all. One branch of SF is the exploration of human reaction to the new. #scifichat
12:54 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@DavidRozansky @MoonWolf95 That's flawed thinking, don't you think? #scifichat
12:54 PM Jun 4th via TweetGrid in reply to MoonWolf95

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 #scifichat human "nature" could be a LIMITATION which say, soul-spirit could fight to overcome. ESSENCE OF STORY IS CONFLICT
12:55 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@GeneDoucette @JLichtenberg because if it's a variant of "everyone's happy and content" well... #scifichat
12:55 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

David Rozansky makes a brilliant remark

@DavidRozansky Utopia is world of no problems. Impossible to reach, yet we as humans always progress to solving problems. Paradox? #scifichat
12:55 PM Jun 4th via TweetGrid

@PennyAsh RT @JLichtenberg: @MoonWolf95 I see it more as a cycle moving society to the next level, either up or down #scifichat
12:56 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

And I finally got back to @madpoet

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat this chat was about how disability is treated in SF/F which means not limited to "humans" no?
12:56 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

@PennyAsh @MoonWolf95 Resistance to change and stagnation #scifichat
12:56 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Absolutely or what if no one wanted to rebel? What if no one wants to have a revolution? #scifichat
12:58 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@MoonWolf95 @PennyAsh Oddly I finished a convo w/char in that very position this morning. #scifichat
12:58 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to PennyAsh

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat well, yes, "what if" there's no conflict -- crippled writer thinks "but must have; so can't be true" -- but WHAT IF???
12:59 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

I was trying to jar everyone out of their writerly training (that I'd participated in drumming into them) - THERE MUST BE CONFLICT and there is a very short menu of where to find conflict.

I was trying to get them to imagine Utopia and some serious thinking was going on in some minds.

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg I have my romance theme for Frankenstein, this will give a nice framework #scifichat
1:00 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

I was grinning as I answered @GeneDoucette

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat I disagree. Utopia doesn't have to be boring. Can be huge challenges, projects, things to learn, levels to master
1:01 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

The moderator calls TIME! And I was way, way behind by this point.

@scifichat Tweet! That's the official end of #scifichat. But feel free to keep the conversation going.
1:01 PM Jun 4th via API

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat I got onto Utopia just being my usual abrasive, contrary, disagreeable self. Whatever "everyone" knows is untrue!
1:02 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg If you know this, by your own logic it too must be untrue :) #scifichat 1:03 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

Oho! I seem to have gotten a point across in 140 characters or less!

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 #scifichat precisely - now you're getting it!
1:04 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

But, no, not yet as Gene has been thinking like a well trained writer who carefully stays within publishable bounds:

@Gene Doucette @JLichtenberg but where is your conflict? Heroes are nominally non-conformists. #scifichat
1:05 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat mtlitudinous conflicts in utopia - think ARISIANS vs. BOSKONE
1:07 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Almost makes me want to write a utopian story :) #scifichat
1:08 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

Oho- SUCCESS! @PennyAsh is getting my point - thousands of novels about dystopia, not much about utopia except ones that reveal the flaw and destroy the Utopia or show it up for a sham. Utopia is Virgin territory (you should excuse the pun) for SF writers!

@madpoet @JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette Hang on - Boskone was a utopia? #scifichat
1:08 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

I do love talking to people who have read the books I've read!

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat -- no Arisians had evolved to a point where their lives were utopian (from our POV, not theirs)
1:10 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg My to be written list is getting longer #scifichat
1:11 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg There's another good utopia/dystopia question, who's pov are we in? #scifichat
1:11 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

I also love talking to writers - whose point of view indeed! Love it!

@madpoet @JLichtenberg weren't they secretly manipulating humanity to develop the children of the lens? #scifichat
1:12 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat Yes, Arisians bred human (and other) Lensmen to combat Boskone which ALSO manip'd human history 1:13 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

@GeneDoucette @MoonWolf95 Fair enuf. I find utopian societies inherently unrealistic, and so tend to look for proof of dystopian underpinnings #scifichat
1:14 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to MoonWolf95

@MoonWolf95 @GeneDoucette To be honest, I think a Utopian society would implode from within naturally #scifichat
1:15 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to GeneDoucette

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat yes, and idea human nature is unchangeable and inescapable is preconceived idea
1:15 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@MoonWolf95 @GeneDoucette But it comes back around to the potential causes, both of Utopia and its fall #scifichat
1:16 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to GeneDoucette

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat a real disability would be the 1 human whose "nature" was NOT what we learn in Lit classes frm Shakespear etc
1:16 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg Enough so that whatever breaks out of the cycle of human nature by definition will no longer be "human" #scifichat
1:17 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Good point :) How about utopia from the pov of those unhappy with it #scifichat
1:17 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@GeneDoucette @MoonWolf95 yes. Being discontent is an important aspect of being human. Either human and not utopian, or vice versa. #scifichat
1:17 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to MoonWolf95

Now earlier, discussing how to pitch novels @GeneDoucette had answered something I said with this comment:

@GeneDoucette @JLichtenberg ..I did that when I started with "okay, my narrator is a 60,000 y/o man." But I HATE the delimiting nature of genre #scifichat

"hate the delimiting nature of genre" - you all know where I stand on that, but I didn't have any time to open that topic with @GeneDoucette. His comment stuck in my mind, but I mis-remembered and attributed it to @madpoet so addressed this comment to @madpoet.

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #scifichat U dislike "genre delimiters" so I led U OUTof a limit U didn't know U were in (I'm so mean)
1:19 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

Then I went back to bugging @MoonWolf95 (who didn't deserve it)

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 #scifichat Well, are we so parochial that whatever breaks out of cycle of human history is so OTHER to be non-human?
1:20 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Yes, not "normal" to be dissatisfied with your society/situation #scifichat
1:20 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg To be honest - yes. Look at MacCaffrey's "Pegasus", or X-Men comix #scifichat
1:21 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat POV of those unhappy with utopia - THAT is failure of imagination
1:22 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg So far yep :) Still pondering :) #scifichat
1:23 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat "old us vs. them question" -- precisely my point OLD QUESTION. We need NEW QUESTION.
1:24 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

Of course I was thinking of a Romance genre new question. But others were finally thinking.

@madpoet @JLichtenberg Would it be fair to say that the Utopians would regard that unhappiness as a disability? #BringinItBackAround #scifichat
1:24 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg "We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us" - us vs us question :) #scifichat
1:25 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @madpoet #BringinItBackAround #scifichat in a routine ho-hum SF story, Utopians wld regard unhappiness as disability.
1:25 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to madpoet

And more writers thinking hard-hard-HARD.

@Agiliste @JLichtenberg: @PennyAsh #scifichat "old us vs. them question" -- New Question: What if THEM is the way to go. Rampant individualism?
1:26 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@MoonWolf95 So what if a Utopian considered their world/life to not be Utopia and it should go further? #scifichat
1:26 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 #scifichat "us vs. us" also been done to death and studied by academics. Give them something they can't understand
1:26 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg The WHAT IFs are beginning to come together... #scifichat
1:26 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @Agiliste #scifichat "What if THEM is the way to go?" now Ur thinking SF/F!!! Don't stop thinking. Say what has never been said.
1:27 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to Agiliste

@PennyAsh I like it RT @Agiliste: @JLichtenberg: @PennyAsh #scifichat New Question: What if THEM is the way to go. Rampant individualism?
1:28 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

@GeneDoucette @MoonWolf95 Fair enuf. I find utopian societies inherently unrealistic, and so tend to look for proof of dystopian underpinnings #scifichat
1:14 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to MoonWolf95

@MoonWolf95 @PennyAsh That's what we *do* at the end of the day - we play "What if?" with the Universe. Better than dice :) #scifichat
1:28 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to PennyAsh

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat YOU GOT IT - U find utopia unrealistic. NOW write what would convince U you're wrong
1:29 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg Here's a WHAT IF: Utopia has achieved immortality. What if you don't want to live forever? #scifichat
1:30 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 @GeneDoucette #scifichat MoonWolf shld then write what would PREVENT utopia from imploding, see my point?
1:30 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@JLichtenberg @PennyAsh #scifichat "what if you don't want to live forever" -- that is routine, grind the crank, writer-ly thinking. Find a NEW QUESTION
1:31 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to PennyAsh

@GeneDoucette @MoonWolf95 yes. Being discontent is an important aspect of being human. Either human and not utopian, or vice versa. #scifichat
1:17 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to MoonWolf95

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat what if human nature changed so that discontent was NOT necessarily integral (it is now - show us NEW)
1:32 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg You'd only end up with a paradox discovery - anything you do to preserve Utopia only hastens its collapse :) #scifichat
1:33 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @MoonWolf95 #scifichat SF thinking means to CHALLENGE that wall in Ur mind saying "only leads to collapse"
1:34 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to MoonWolf95

@DavidRozansky @JLichtenberg Human trait of needing to search for new things is vital part of us. So seeking unobtainable utopia is...utopia. #scifichat
1:35 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@GeneDoucette @JLichtenberg Now that's a nice writing exercise. #scifichat "NOW write what would convince U you're wrong"
1:35 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg The crank is grinding :) have a fledgeling plot in mind #scifichat
1:36 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@Agiliste RT @JLichtenberg: @Agiliste #scifichat now Ur thinking SF/F!!! << The voices in my head are suggesting that may head towards Mad Max...
1:37 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

@JLichtenberg @GeneDoucette #scifichat having new horizons could be utopia -- but WHAT IF UTOPIA IS ACTUALLY ATTAINABLE?
1:38 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to GeneDoucette

@GeneDoucette @JLichtenberg I think the Talking Heads said it best: "heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." #scifichat
1:38 PM Jun 4th via web in reply to JLichtenberg

@JLichtenberg @DavidRozansky #scifichat Here's a heretical thought - suppose our world 2day is actually utopia for humans? (been done, I think)
1:39 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to DavidRozansky

@MoonWolf95 @JLichtenberg Utopia is what you decide it is for you. The rest of the world can go find its own :) #scifichat
1:39 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat in reply to JLichtenberg

@DavidRozansky Can't wait to put #Dystopia on the list for #scifichat topics.
1:41 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

@MoonWolf95 *wonders if @JLichtenberg is a clone of Jubal Harsaw* *grins* #scifichat
1:42 PM Jun 4th via TweetChat

(no, actually I'm just mean and relentless when I get into a writing brainstorming session)

@PennyAsh So does Utopia = Happy and Dystopia = Unhappy? Methinks not :) #scifichat
1:44 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck

@johndejordy Utopia is attainable for the individual, not a group because everyone's concept of what it might be differs. #scifichat
1:44 PM Jun 4th via web

@PennyAsh @johndejordy But what if it is attainable for a group? #scifichat
1:48 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to johndejordy

@PennyAsh @JLichtenberg So, what if the only people granted immortality are lifers. The general public isn't allowed it #scifichat
1:51 PM Jun 4th via TweetDeck in reply to JLichtenberg

@johndejordy That is why I say utopia would be for the individual. Mine would is simplistic, to live without any physical pain - and ice cream #scifichat
1:57 PM Jun 4th via web

We were all posting so hot and heavy that twitter blocked us out of posting more. The chat only went an hour or so beyond the stopping time!

Look over that discussion substituting "HEA" for Utopia.

As noted in the comments to my blog post on "Why Do "They" Hate Romance?"

--- the world out there puts the HEA outside of the bounds of the possible. HEA is impossible just like Utopia.

Even the most imaginative SF writers can't encompass the basic concept. How could you expect their readers to approach it?

Worse, it's not just the HEA concept that's outside the bounds of thinkable thoughts -- it's the very idea of thinking outside the bounds of the thinkable that's unthinkable.

Reverse your point of view to looking at the SFR field from the side of the Romance writer, and you'll find exactly the same problem.

The romance writer imagination *Epic Fail* comes in trying to imagine the world WITHOUT the HEA -- and at the same time can't even think of the possibility of a technological advance (an SF postulate) that might challenge or involve the HEA concept.

We can mash in the Horror genre with Romance and SF if we begin to think about the reason that the general readership rejects the HEA (it's implausible).

"What if ..." the inability to fall in love, to experience Romance, to navigate that blurry mental state into the safe haven of an HEA life (for real) using the force of Love is actually a very widespread inability.

"What if ..." a huge portion of today's people are suffering from this disability - a disability so widespread that it's considered the norm?

If that were the case, what could fiction writers do about it?

We'd have a big job ahead of us.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Discover: "Earth On Fire"

Science and politics seem to be inextricably entwined, don't they? Let's call them bedfellows.... if only to tie in with the alien Romances theme of this blog.

Why do politicians want to try, impeach, hold hearings and legislate when the sensible approach would be to put the fire out first?

Apparently, it is --or may be-- because we are led by lawyers.  (See "The Lawyers' Party" by Bruce Walker at the end of this post, if interested in my source for that assertion.) It would be interesting to analyse why we elect lawyers, when lawyers are said to be among the least liked, respected and trusted professions.

Possibly, eloquence has something to do with it.

Personally, I like lawyers (and politicians). I think they make fascinating alien heroes and alien villains for my speculative romances. But, I digress. Trustworthiness and likability are optional. It's effectiveness that counts.

You cannot put out a fire by talking about or at it.

There are fires to be put out, and our political and corporate leaders (some of whom say they are working 24/7) are holding hearings on weekdays and indulging in various, expensive and exclusive sporting activities on weekends, if one can believe the cameras. If one must be seen to play... maybe one should turn it into a fund-raiser for the less fortunate? Just a thought. One could multi-task. One the other hand, could one do it well?

As my character Grievous said (and he wasn't the first to say it) "It's hard to keep your mind on draining the swamp, when you're up to your arse in alligators."

According to the July/August 2010 issue of DISCOVER MAGAZINE Kristin Ohlson writes "Thousands of hidden fires smoulder and rage through the world's coal deposits, quietly releasing gases that can ruin health, devastate communities, and heat the planet."

So, let me recap that. Parts of the planet are on fire. And our leaders' solution is to tax us... not mind you, to pay for a task force to put out the coal fires in Mongolia, or in Centralia, Pennsylvania,  or in Hazard, Kentucky.

Nor do I imagine that Copenhagen mandated tax money would be used to buy up what's left of the rain forests so that local would-be farmers won't burn them to the ground.

We have to stop squandering.

Why don't we know about these fires? Apparently, one coal fire in Kentucky has been burning for the last three years. It's being studied. Measured. According to Ms Ohlson, there's a coal fire in Australia that has been burning for six millenia. Six millenia!

There are 112 underground fires in the USA, and the result is pollution in the air, and contamination in the ground water.

Allegedly, after spending $4 million on trying to put out the Centralia fire, the government has decided it's too expensive and too difficult. Compare that $4 million with BP's offer to put $20 billion into escrow.

Where's the compensation and clean up fund from big coal for their fires, then? Are the coal fires in the ground "man made"? Maybe not all of them, but if the fires are being fed because there's air in the mine shafts (as is alleged), maybe the mines need to be filled until there is no air.

We've got enough trash in the world. There's an island of floating plastic debris the size of a good-sized country suspended in the middle of the Pacific.

Not to rant too much, but why is a government take-over of the auto industry and the imposition of speed limits and fuel efficiency standards and taxes so much more essential to stop "climate change" than an effort to put out the fires?

Maybe we wouldn't be as sick (and in need of so much Health Care) if we had clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.... and fewer chemical additives in our food and in our cosmetics and toiletries.

All this doesn't sound very romantic, and it's too depressing to be the inspiration for whatever the 2012 equivalent of steam punk may be. "Eco- punk"??? But, it does have one ingredient that we writers do well to bear in mind.

Pollution arouses passions.

The Lawyers' Party 
By Bruce Walker 

The Democratic Party has become the Lawyers' Party .  
Barack Obama is a lawyer. 
Michelle Obama is a lawyer. 
Hillary Clinton is a lawyer.  
Bill Clinton is a lawyer. 
John Edwards is a lawyer.  
Elizabeth Edwards is a lawyer. 
Every Democrat nominee since 1984 went to law school (although Gore did not graduate). 
Every Democrat vice presidential nominee since 1976, except for Lloyd Bentsen, went to law school. 
Look at leaders of the Democrat Party in Congress:  
Harry Reid is a lawyer.  
Nancy Pelosi is a lawyer. 

The Republican Party is different.  
President Bush is a businessman.  
Vice President Cheney is a businessman. 
The leaders of the Republican Revolution:  
Newt Gingrich was a history professor. 
Tom Delay was an exterminator. Dick Armey was an economist.  
House Minority Leader Boehner was a plastic manufacturer.  
The former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is a heart surgeon. 
Who was the last Republican president who was a lawyer?  Gerald Ford, who left office 31 years ago and who barely won the Republican nomination as a sitting president, running against Ronald Reagan in 1976.  

The Republican Party is made up of real people doing real work, who are often the targets of lawyers. 

The Democrat Party is made up of lawyers.  Democrats mock and scorn men who create wealth, like Bush and Cheney, or who heal the sick, like Frist, or who immerse themselves in history, like Gingrich. 

The Lawyers' Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America .  And, so we have seen the procession of official enemies, in the eyes of the Lawyers' Party, grow.. 

Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail?  Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers, and anyone producing anything of value in our nation. 

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers.  
Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case t he American people.  
Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side. 

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine.  But it is an awful way to govern a great nation.  
When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all-consuming.  Some Americans become "adverse parties" of our very government.  We are not all litigants in some vast social class-action suit.  We are citizens of a republic that promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers. 

Today, we are drowning in laws; we are contorted by judicial decisions; we are driven to distraction by omnipresent lawyers in all parts of our once private lives.   America  has a place for law s and lawyers, but that place is modest and reasonable, not vast and unchecked.  When the most important decision for our next president is whom he will appoint to the Supreme Court, the role of lawyers and the law in  America  is too big.  When lawyers use criminal prosecution as a continuation of politics by other means, as happened in the lynching of Scooter Libby and Tom Delay, then the power of lawyers in America is too great.  When House Democrats sue  America  in order to hamstring our efforts to learn what our enemies are planning to do to us, then the role of litigation in  America  has become crushing. 

We cannot expect the Lawyers' Party to provide real change, real reform or real hope in America Most Americans know that a republic in which every major government action must be blessed by nine unelected judges is not what  Washington intended in 1789.  Most Americans grasp that we cannot fight a w ar when ACLU lawsuits snap at the heels of our defenders.  Most Americans intuit that more lawyers and judges will not restore declining moral values or spark the spirit of enterprise in our economy. 

Perhaps Americans will understand that change cannot be brought to our nation by those lawyers who already largely dictate American society and business.  Perhaps Americans will see that hope does not come from the mouths of lawyers but from personal dreams nourished by hard work.  Perhaps Americans will embrace the truth that more lawyers with more power will only make our problems worse. 

The  United States  has 5% of the world's population and 66% of the world's lawyers! Tort (Legal) reform legislation has been introduced in congress several times in the last several years to limit punitive damages in ridiculous lawsuits such as "spilling hot coffee on yourself and suing the establishment that sold it to you" and also to limit punitive damages in huge medical malpractice lawsuits. This legislation has continually been blocked from even being voted on by the Democrat Party. When you see that 97% of the political contributions from the American Trial Lawyers Association goes to the Democrat Party, then you realize who is responsible for our medical and product costs being so high! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aliens Within Us

(Warning: If you're more than normally squicked by multi-legged creatures, read no further.)

Have you heard of eyelash mites? Official name "Demodex folliculorum," they have a lifespan of 14 to 18 days, measure between 0.3 and 0.4 millimeters in length (visible only under high magnification), and live in human hair follicles. About one-third of all children, half of adults, and two-thirds of elderly people harbor eyelash mites. They're usually harmless. In fact, they perform a useful job, cleaning up fluids and dead skin cells that might otherwise cause pores to clog.

Here's a page with pictures. (Look at your own risk.):

Eyelash Mites

These tiny "bugs" are only one of the myriads of creatures that inhabit our bodies. Between 500 and 1000 species of bacteria live in the human digestive system. Some of them serve vital functions, while most have no effect on our health at all; they just find our entrails a suitable habitat, I guess. A similar number live on our skin, and human beings also host "microflora" in the mouth, nose, vagina, etc. (If a woman's vaginal ecosystem gets temporarily disrupted by antibiotics, she becomes more susceptible to yeast infections. So be thankful to your bacteria.) It's estimated that the human body contains at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells. We're a minority inside our own flesh!

This fact, by the way, undermines any assumption that intelligent extraterrestrials living on Earth-like planets will necessarily be humanoid. Not only do we share our external environment with thousands of animal species whose appearance and physiology differ from ours, millions of nonhumanoids happily inhabit our own bodies, and you couldn't get a much more compatible environment than that. (Still, I'd rather read and write about aliens who resemble us closely enough to have relationships with, so I'm happy to fall back on convergent evolution to justify human-sized and -shaped ETs.)

In Madeleine L'Engle's A WIND IN THE DOOR (the first sequel to her award-winning A WRINKLE IN TIME), heroine Meg becomes sub-microscopic and goes on an expedition into one of her sick little brother's cells to save his life. She meets a mouselike creature who lives inside one of his mitochondria. To this being, Meg's brother is not a person but a galaxy. Consider the millions and millions of living things for which each of us comprises the entire known universe.

This image brings to mind the opposite end of the scale, with the idea that our galaxy might be a sentient being. If it were, how would we know? Would a galactic mind, for that matter, have any notion that we're conscious and intelligent? Would any communication be possible? If our bodies' inhabitants included intelligent creatures like the nano-scale entities in A WIND IN THE DOOR, could we ever become aware of them or vice versa? And suppose one of them had a mystical revelation of its host "galaxy" as a sentient person. If that sub-microscopic prophet tried to share its insight with its companions, they might consider the "humanity hypothesis" as wacky as our mainstream culture considers the "Gaea hypothesis" (the idea that the Earth is a vast living organism).

When Walt Whitman wrote, "I am large, I contain multitudes," he probably had no idea he was stating fact, not metaphor.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

Monday, June 14, 2010

WWW:WATCH by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is the author of the novel FLASHFORWARD upon which the TV Series FLASHFORWARD is based.

OK, FLASHFORWARD is not Romance at all - it's very mundane and very simplistic SF with a mystery plot.

That's why it got made into a TV show by a network, not even scifi channel. It's aimed at that broad audience we've been talking about luring into the Romance genre with mixing genres.

Sawyer is an excellent writer, a seasoned craftsman and major award winner in the spotlight, which is another reason he got a novel made into a TV show by a network.

He doesn't write ROMANCE, or even Intimate Adventure actually, but he has been starting to toy with adding Relationship genre motifs to his SF.

And that could be why his SF is thriving while many other brands are wilting.

Last week, Tuesday June 8, 2010, on aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com my post was about a question asked of me for an interview on SF Signal's mind-meld feature.


The question was about whether there is an inherent incompatibility between SF and Romance genres which causes a taboo response by SF readers to Romance elements.

My response was like this:

Ten years from now, nobody will remember that it was ever possible to write SF or Romance as separate genres.

The reason for that is that both SF(including Fantasy) and Romance are "Wish Fulfillment Fantasy" genres.

We enjoy the stories that show us how to get our heart's desire.

SF delivers the heart's desire of someone who wants to be loved as the one person who actually understands what's going on and can solve the problem innovatively, thinking outside the box.

Romance delivers the heart's desire of someone who wants to be loved because they are more important than war, work, politics or sports - loved, admired and valued because they are understood completely (no matter how far outside the box the guy has to think in order to grasp the intricate complexities of who this very special person (me!) is.

Now you explain to me how those could possibly be incompatible objectives?

Robert J. Sawyer has captured the essence of that blend of wishfulfillment in his WWW trilogy.

DISCLAIMER: the publisher sends me these novels free for my professional review column. But many publishers send me many novels, as I have discussed here:


I don't bring you all or even a substantial part of what I read.

Sawyer's work however is of interest in our analysis of how to raise the prestige level of mixed-genre-Romance in the eyes of the gatekeepers and the general public. Go to Amazon and read the customer (somewhat mixed) comments on these novels and think about the reader resistance to adding relationship threads.

WWW: Wake (WWW Trilogy)

and now

WWW: Watch

...soon be followed by WWW:WONDER

The worldbuilding premise is geekish wish fulfillment. The lost packets floating around the World Wide Web somehow reach critical mass and WAKE to become conscious, an AI personality, that is in the second book WATCHED by USA and other national intelligence agencies. A political decision is made to kill the AI.

The main human character is a blind, geekish (math whiz) girl of 16 who is given an implant behind one eye which allows her to see. The signal for her eye streams through the web, and she participates in the waking (and watching) of the AI.

She acquires a boyfriend who is also a math whiz, off the charts kind of guy, whose face is deformed by a birth defect and so he's also a social outsider in the teen world, not just for his brains.

WATCH is really the story of the AI learning to read everything floating on the Web (even private email) and interact with humans. The girl is his main tutor, and this project (bring up AI) becomes her main interest until she falls for the boyfriend.

So a boy and girl geek interact with an AI that emerges to consciousness and developes a personality -- while the Authorities of the world try to kill it. Pretty much a 1950's Heinlein plot.

There is a B-story that hasn't matured yet, about some scientists who have taught a Bonobo-Chimpanzee crossbreed American Sign Language, and had him sign via web-cam with an Orangutan. That thread seems intrusive and annoying at times, even though it's intrinsically interesting. Thematically, it's tightly related to the emerging AI because it's all about the definition of "person" of "consciousness" and "self-awareness." Very philosophical, symbolic, and scientific.

The AI does interact with the Bonobo-Chimp without humans knowing.

I expect that thread, along with some political actions from Japan and China to climax in the third novel.

But here in the second novel (which as you can see from Amazon didn't satisfy all readers expectations raised in the first novel) we have a very smooth integration of human sexual emergence (boy meets girl) with the geekish "raise an AI to self-awareness" story.

Thematically, the two are related, and there is an expository lump or two making sure the reader can see the relationship between genetics, evolution, survival of the fittest, survival of the species, and the survival value of consciousness itself.

As boy and girl start to make out in the girl's parents basement office, they discuss the reasons she doesn't want to have children, and how evolution has allowed self-aware consciousness to continue to exist because conscious decisions can over-ride genetic-survival of me-and-mine for the greater good.

There is also a tutorial on games theory included, all subjects of intrinsic fascination for geekish math types, but also philosophically integral with the artistic worldbuilding, not overly long, and not boring to the general reader.

However, that one kissing scene is cut strategically short when the AI tells them that "he" is under attack.

Yes, the girl chooses to regard Webmind (the AI) as a "he." And that is not properly discussed or explained.

But here's the thing. This very SF, very geekish novel has a pattern of RELATIONSHIPS rooted in deep characterization -- and that pattern actually resembles the pattern formed by the packets that are the substance of the AI's consciousness.

There is symmetry within symmetry.

And the whole, very sophisticated, very philosophical, very abstract, very geekish novel is set in an absolutely contemporary (Obama Administration - the Obama name as President is actually mentioned once in print) setting.

The worldbuilding is totally mundane, just like FLASHFORWARD, except for one thing that the ordinary science going on today MIGHT POSSIBLY produce.

Sawyer has created a formula for engaging the general, non-SF audience, in SF. Contemporary, mundane setting (just like many urban fantasies), plus detailed characterization -- and now adding just a hint of Relationship.

If you study these novels carefully, noting how Sawyer handles the geekish expository lumps, how long they are, what precedes them, what is built later on the knowledge imparted to the reader (the lumps include only the barest essence of what you need to know to understand what comes next) -- then in your mind substitute the typical ROMANCE GENRE passages of emotional introspection and speculation about others feelings, and the conversations about emotions -- you will come up with a pacing formula that could let Romance reach a broader general audience.

Sawyer's success is built on his firm grasp of this purely mechanical pacing technique together with the artistic and philosophical symmetry, and symbolism.

For example, our geek-girl heroine's father is an autistic Physicist at the very top of the field of Physics (works with Stephen Hawkings). Her mother is a Ph.D. in economics who specializes in games theory.

The geek-girl's mother and father exemplify an Alien Romance relationship. The geek-girl's relationship with the AI exemplifies an Alien Romance (but just in the way the girl's affections are engaged) that reminds me of Hal Clement's MISSION OF GRAVITY where a human male interacts with a very alien Alien developing an inter-dependency.

That kind of Relationship is exemplified on another level between the geek-girl and the geek-boy. While at another point, the Bonobo-Chimp hybrid declares he wants to be a father (he's being threatened with castration).

The loving, stable, emotional Relationship between the geek-girl's parents (which allows her to engage them in fostering the AI) mirrors all the other Relationships, and continues to probe the question of what is self-awareness and what has awareness of OTHERS to do with self-awareness.
What is the role of consciousness in Relationship?

Watch FLASHFORWARD (it's about to be cancelled, but I'm sure it will be on DVD, online, and rerun) and/or read the novel. Study the WWW Trilogy. Apply the lessons you learn to Alien Romance, and we may have the start of a formula for changing the perception of the genre.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com (current availability)
http://www.simegen.com/jl/ (complete biblio-bio)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bottom Seal, Earth Day Irony, and Ripping Sci-Fi

Can an ambitious writer rip stories from the headlines, and still be a person of good taste and discretion?

That question bothers me very much, and I'm sure it is one reason why a lot of really terrific tales go unwritten. There's also the fact that I write Romance and Humor (speculative romantic facetiae). It doesn't seem right to embark on a light weight, alien rom-hum project for commercial gain based on the real life misery and suffering of so many people and animals.

Conspiracy theories can be fun to read and write, but when does The Allowed Fool (a medieval concept best known in Shakespeare's plays involving European aristocracy) become a dangerous fool?
'That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool - that he is no fool at all.'
Isaac Asimov, Guide to Shakespeare.[4]

Having established that I don't plan to write hum-rom or rom-hum for profit and gain any time in the near future about political events of the last three years, I should like to comment on "Bottom Seal".

Who thinks of these names? I suppose we should be grateful that it did not occur to anyone to use "Plug" instead! (Until I came along, but I don't count. I don't have nuclear scientific chops.)

OK. An unfinished foreign war. An embattled President. A global company with a bullseye on its back. An accident waiting to happen (or be set off). Nuclear bombs. Suicide bombers. Secret swat teams. International Treaty violations. The worst environmental pollution catastrophe to date...

It all sounds like the ingredients for a novel by either Clive Cussler, Clive Cussler or Dan Brown or Jeffrey Archer. (That is two Clive Cussler links).

All one needs is a mad scientist, a way to tie in  Eyjafjallajokull, and some sex....

Here are links to some of the fascinating potential story-starters:

GunBroker.com Message Forums - Oil rig attack?(C&P)


Is this what the "relief well" is for?
It's due to be ready in August, but will the decision be so momentous that the bomb isn't detonated until 2012 and the world as we know it will end? Could end. You cannot write science fiction in which some hero doesn't save the day/Gulf/world.

Or maybe you could. I wonder what gender mix is on the International Space Station at the moment. "They" should put some young women astronauts up there, along with a desirable selection of the worlds' best deep frozen semen donations.

Gosh! If you were planning for 2012 and beyond, whose junk would you want to preserve for potential posterity? Who would you nominate for the "Adam 2" award?

Imagine the squabbles in high places. Would the current President of every nation insist that "some of his" should be sent up? (Too much, I think!) Sportsmen? Musicians? Famous investors and business genuises?

Would the frozen vials be labelled? If so, the female astronauts might be able to pick and choose. Morally, should they have that right?

Should we "flag"the vials by age of donor? By race? By blood type?

There might be practical reasons why they should. Genetics. The probability of a healthy outcome for both mother and child, remembering that medical intervention might not be possible.

One of the women astronauts needs a crash course in mid-wifery.

At this point, it becomes irrelevant whether North Korea, or Bin Laden, or BP, or an unfortunate planetary alignment, or a UFO caused the Deepwater Horizon to blow up. I've written off the Earth and found a way to offend everyone of importance anywhere on our planet.

I probably should not write this book. What do you think?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Furry Aliens in Our Homes

Reading Dean Koontz's A BIG LITTLE LIFE, the story of his first Golden Retriever, Trixie, I was struck by her almost preternatural level of intelligence and intuition. As described by Koontz, at least, Trixie was smarter than her master. If even half of the incidents are reported accurately, Trixie's behavior was often nothing short of uncanny. In one episode, this normally friendly dog shunned an acquaintance the Koontzes then had no reason to distrust. The man eventually proved himself to be downright creepy. This incident shows just one example of the way dogs (like all animals to varying degrees) see the world differently from us. Their extraordinary sense of smell, orders of magnitude keener than ours, must give them a very different picture of the environment. They also, of course, see colors differently from us and hear different pitches of sound, not to mention their lack of forward-looking binocular vision. And in the absence of verbal speech, they depend much more on body language for communication than we do. (Maybe that's how Trixie sensed the visitor's "wrongness.")

Yet dogs, as pack animals, understand us fairly well. They make the effort to bridge the communication gap, because they see human housemates as pack members and alphas. Cats, unlike dogs and Homo sapiens, aren't gregarious. Their view of the universe must lie further from ours than that of our canine companions. A cat with human-level intelligence would probably turn out like the feline Kzinti, among whom a father feels proud when his sons grow mature enough to try to kill him—or the completely solitary aliens of Jacqueline's pseudonymous novel HERO. Devoid of any pack instinct, they interpret "heroism" as "suicidal insanity" (if I remember correctly). Although I must admit I had trouble accepting this premise to its fullest extent—they're mammals! Infants must go through a period of helplessness while they're cared for by the mother. If females had no instinct to risk their lives to protect their young, the species would die out. Surely these aliens could understand the human protective impulse toward companions as an analogy with a mother-child relationship, even if they couldn't comprehend it emotionally.

Cats and dogs, of course, aren't the only nonhuman species we live with. The world-views of pet fish, birds, reptiles, and insects (e.g., the crickets kept for good luck in Asian cultures) must be even more alien to ours. Think of Granny in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series projecting her mind to "borrow" the bodies of animals and how strange it feels for her to share the hive consciousness of bees. We don't have far to go to find alien intelligence.

"To Converse with Dumb Beasts," a story in Vivian Vande Velde's collection CURSES, INC., questions whether we'd really want to know what our pets are thinking. A kindhearted peasant receives the gift of understanding the languages of animals. When birds and squirrels in the woods prove disappointingly one-track-minded, he goes home, sure the conversation of his cat and dog will be more interesting. The dog barks excited variations on the theme, "Welcome, Master, am I cute? Do you love me?" The cat wants to know only, "Is he here to feed us?" and "Do you really think he's sick? If he dies, do you think we should eat him?" Snoopy labels Charlie Brown "the round-headed kid." In the Garfield comic strip, Garfield thinks of his owner Jon as "the man who cleans my litter box." Maybe we're better off clinging to some of our illusions about the aliens in our houses.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Is there a taboo against romance in science fiction?



just did a Question which they asked me (among others) to answer.

Here's the Question they emailed me.
[INTRO] From Star Wars to Avatar, stories blending science fiction and romance have persisted for decades in books, films, fan fiction, and even videogames. However, despite such evidence, there are those who believe the two genres can’t, or shouldn’t, be combined.

Q: Is there a taboo against romance in science fiction? What does romance bring to the SF genre? What are some good examples of romance in SF that illustrate this?

So I emailed back and asked how much room do I have? And can I cheat by including links?

(they had NO IDEA of the size of this topic!!!!)

They emailed back and answered 1,000 words max and yes I can use links.

So I cheated my way through the answer, but I wanted to share it with you here because last week, my blog post here was titled: "Why do "they" despise Romance?"


That post is based on a discussion on a twitter chat #scriptchat (I also attend and often blog about #scifichat ) about the Romantic Comedy film subgenre. That post answers this SFSignals question at length.

Here's my brief answer.

For at least twenty years, Romance writers have sought to inject elements of SF and Fantasy into Romance novels.

Lately, SF writers have begun to blend Romance motifs into novels.

Certain editors and mass market publishers have found a receptive readership for this kind of mixed-genre product, and others have just bounced right out of the market entirely.

This is a marketing puzzle, a writer's business model puzzle, and a reader's dilemma. Why do these two fields repel each other?

Solve that puzzle and make a fortune because Romance is huge and SF is shrinking.

My exploration of this puzzle has caught the imagination of Heather Massey at http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/ and she has compiled a pair of posts about how hard it is to mix SF and Romance.

followed by

There she focused on my 1978 Award winning novel, UNTO ZEOR, FOREVER -- published when there was an absolute, blast-barrier wall between SF and Romance, a taboo stronger than the taboo against words like hell and damn in books sold to libraries (almost all of my fiction, so it doesn't contain much English invective).

In 2010, I found my name mentioned (via feeddemon search) in an Australian blog and discovered a woman who had read UNTO ZEOR, FOREVER years ago, and only now, on re-reading realized that it is indeed SCIENCE FICTION ROMANCE and belongs with the modern books she likes. That's why UNTO stood out to the point where she had obsessed over it. At that time, it was almost unique "Alien Romance" - and now it's a genre.


So in 1978, SF readers were starting to accept a romance driven plot.

By 1985, Romance readers started to accept an SF driven plot.

The first novel in my DUSHAU TRILOGY, DUSHAU (now available on Kindle) won the first Romantic Times Award for Science Fiction and shocked the socks off my agent who was marketing me as an SF writer.

Today, if you read the comments on Heather Massey's two posts cited above, you'll see that readers of SFR and Paranormal Romance are devouring novels by a writer who admired some of my novels and founded a career "writing like that" -- SF with a solid romance driving the plot and story, Linnea Sinclair (I adore her books!).

Linnea likes my Vampire Romances, THOSE OF MY BLOOD and DREAMSPY, too.

And there's a generation of writers (and readers) now working to replicate the magic Linnea Sinclair has created who have never heard of me.

Ten years from now, nobody will remember that it was ever possible to write SF or Romance as separate genres.

The reason for that is that both SF(including Fantasy) and Romance are "Wish Fulfillment Fantasy" genres.

We enjoy the stories that show us how to get our heart's desire.

SF delivers the heart's desire of someone who wants to be loved as the one person who actually understands what's going on and can solve the problem innovatively, thinking outside the box.

Romance delivers the heart's desire of someone who wants to be loved because they are more important than war, work, politics or sports - loved, admired and valued because they are understood completely (no matter how far outside the box the guy has to think in order to grasp the intricate complexities of who this very special person (me!) is.

Now you explain to me how those could possibly be incompatible objectives?

Here is a more complete explanation and a long list of examples in the early years of how to blend these two genres

For more examples in current novels:
http://www.simegen.com/reviews/rereadablebooks/ (my prof review column archive)

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://www.simegen.com/jl/ (full bio biblio)
http://jacquelinelichtenberg.com (current availability & free chaps)
Can be followed on twitter.com/jlichtenberg
Or facebook.com/jacqueline.lichtenberg
Or friendfeed.com as jlichtenberg


Jacqueline Lichtenberg, a life member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, ( http://www.sfwa.org ). She is creator of the Sime~Gen Universe with a vibrant fan following ( http://www.simegen.com/writers/simegen/ ), primary author of the Bantam paperback Star Trek Lives! which blew the lid on Star Trek fandom, founder of the Star Trek Welcommittee, creator of the genre term Intimate Adventure, winner of the Galaxy Award for Spirituality in Science Fiction with her second novel, and the first Romantic Times Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel with her later novel Dushau, now in Kindle. Her fiction has been in audio-dramatization on XM Satellite Radio. She has been the sf/f reviewer for a professional magazine since 1993. She teaches sf/f writing online while turning to her first love, screenwriting focused on selling to the feature film market.
Screenwriting: http://www.slantedconcept.com