We haven't visited the old Idea Mill for some time. To be honest, I've been busy, and the articles haven't really caught the attention of my Muse. I finally have three, so it's time to truck them out again.
For my new readers, I use push feeds to get the kind of news I want to read. This pushes archeology, cutting edge science, and even a few creepy feeds directly to me. I bookmark those that have some merit and share them here. There is an Idea Mill category in my sidebar if you want to skim the old ones.
Our first article is about a ship called the SS Baychimo. In 1931 she got stuck in the ice. This was the last time she had a crew. That didn't stop her from sailing the arctic without a crew. She was spotted for years, and there were several attempts to salvage her, but she was having none of it. She was last seen in 1969. I'll let the article do the math, and it says 38 years. You can read more here.
I like this, because it happened. It isn't some fantasy idea concocted by an author, and it lends real credibility to any ghost ship fiction you might want to write. You could give her a personality and write a kids book about her finishing her mission without a crew. You could also haunt the crap out of her and it's a perfect setting for a horror story. Isolation is a must for a good horror story, and hundreds of miles at sea is pretty isolated.
This one almost didn't make the list, but I decided to add it at the last minute. It's about gene splicing and designer babies. For you deep researchers out there, there are some great scientific terms that would be a great place to start your research. Read all about it here.
Let's face it, superheroes and their supervillains are all the rage right now. This seems like a great backstory for those characters. Maybe you prefer a different spin and develop a world where everyone is tall and attractive. Messing with nature could lead to unintended consequences. I have a bulldog for crying out loud. They are famous for the health issues associated with overbreeding. Take this to a human level, and perfect specimens might be more susceptible to health issues from pollution, or the common cold, or can't process sunlight into vitamins.
Finally, this one is more of a story element than something that would drive a whole plot. (In my mind. Your mind might be better.) There is a liquid that people can breathe in. It sounds pretty high tech, but it's called perfluorocarbon. I did a bit of digging, and found out it's also used in makeup and as a potential artificial blood. Read all about it here. Apparently it carries oxygen really well.
The first thing that comes to my mind is Mr. Freeze's wife in her liquid filled tube to preserve her life. Luke Skywalker went through some of this too. I have a need in a future story for a situation like this, and may have to use the word to explain how it's done. Thank God, I have it saved forever in The Idea Mill. Maybe it would make a great preservative for those deep space journeys to another planet. You know, the ones that take twenty years.
So part of these posts involves me outlining a corny story using all three. Let's see where this goes.
In a planet filled with designer perfect people, someone discovers the SS Baychimo. By now it is an archeological treasure to be explored and preserved. Unfortunately the researchers catch some ancient disease like Measles from the wreck. Their immune systems are compromised and any of the ancient vaccines aren't going to work. Make sure to make a political statement one way or the other about vaccinations. Doesn't matter to me which way, but this kind of story should make a hot-button point.
With a looming shortage of perfluorocarbon to preserve the dying, someone needs to act fast. This is where the second class citizens, produced the old fashioned way, will come into play. They are heartier and can work around the sick and dying with less risk. They are on the verge of a vaccine that will save the day. They've been treated like second class citizens for centuries, and there is some doubt about whether they will act, or simply let nature take it's course and rid them of the designer population.
How about it, you guys. Do any of these kick your Muse in the rear? Maybe you prefer a vat of designer babies, preserved in perfluorocarbon, being shipped to a distant planet. Their spaceship is called the SS Baychimo. Someone discovers them a thousand years later, and they're all still alive. What would you write based upon one of these?
I've been toying with where to pigeonhole The Yak Guy Project when I finally finish it. It occurred to me there are a whole bunch of new categories that I might explore.
It all started with cyberpunk. It soon branched out into some of these other genres:
It seems to me the common denominator is punk. A big part of this is because everyone likes to make up new words. It's like a word for a celebrity couple, like Benifer or Kimye. In other words, it doesn't mean squat. Oh, and it also all seems to involve one of the speculative genres.
Let's pretend there is something to all this for a moment. These things involve alternate realities. Heck, I could get into that. I write stuff like that. They generally involve whatever fictional world being under complete control of the first half of the term. Steampunk = Steam, get it.
The punk part usually means that some fringe person or group doesn't agree with the status quo. They go on to face the villain using their mastery of the same technology everyone else has.
All in all it isn't a bad way of telling a story. I just don't love the terms. They tell me something about the era, and give me an idea of what to expect though. Dieselpunk means I expect a specific era in time, say from WWI to about the birth of the atomic age, after that it's atompunk.
Maybe my novel will spawn a whole new genre, yakpunk. In fact, I can see a whole bunch of new genres in my future, providing they don't already exist:
Monsterpunk – Frankenstein, darn.
Robotpunk – I Robot.
Alright, let me try again:
Hold on to your hats everyone. You've found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show in the universe that interviews the characters from the books you love. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me in the studio today is Henri, the Executive Chef on Galactic Cruise Lines' ship the SS Malpais.
What you can't see, is that Henri is an Alturan. He's nearly seven feet tall, and is a cephalopod type lifeform. I'm talking tentacles all over the place, and three eye-stalks. We've been enjoying a cup of Alturan tea before the broadcast, and he's really an interesting person. “Welcome to the show, Henri.”
“Hello, Lisa. It’s good to be here. I hope you enjoyed the Bascula tea I brought. It can cause hallucinations in some species, but not Alturans. I hope it doesn’t affect you adversely.”
“Oh, don't worry about that. I don't think robot girls can get hallucinations. Now, my bio says that one of your best friends is in security for the cruise line, and that he's an Elf. I find that fascinating. How did you two meet?”
“Baudwin Llewellyn isn’t just in security, he’s Galactic Cruise Lines Chief Sleuthhound. He’s a top notch investigator. We’ve been friends for years. I’m not sure I can even remember exactly where we met. I think some friends introduced us when we were all hanging out at a suit fighting match.”
“That sounds fascinating, Henri. What's a suit fighting competition, and do you hold those on the ship too?”
“We haven’t yet hosted a suit fighting competition on the Malpais, but I may suggest that to Kat when I get back to the ship. Suit fighting features two competitors remotely controlling robots that fight each other. It used to be popular mostly with young men in the robotics community, but recently Retired General Marta Aymar, the wife of Prince Lucien of the Ventos Prime elves, made it to the league finals. Since then, the sport has become much more popular and has attracted a lot of young female fans and participants.”
“That's terrible. Those poor robots. You did get the memo that say's I'm a robot didn't you?”
“I don't believe those robots are sentient like you. They are merely remote controlled equipment.”
“Alright, back to the interview. My bio says you met in the Elf Marines, an organization similar to the French Foreign Legion. Are you sure you don't remember?”
“As I said, Chief Llewellyn and I have been friends a long time. Did you have questions about what it’s like to be a chef on a cruise ship?”
“Sorry, Henri. Let me make it up to you with this Nutribar. I picked up the anchovy flavor, I hope it's alright.”
“Thanks Lisa. We Alturans love our nutribars. This is delicious.”
“There, all better. Well if it wasn't the Elf Marines, maybe you met Chief Llewellyn at Zed23, during your spy days.”
“Zed23. Right. Do I look like James Bond to you? I’m a chef not a spy, definitely not a spy. I’m famous for my wombat stew and triple chocolate cake. Those are two of the most popular dishes on the Malpais.”
“That's part of what makes you so interesting. With all your diverse background, you still had the time to work up a five star recipe for wombat stew. I'd think wombats are hard to come by in space.”
“Not really. I can use either Mathusian or Malturan wombats in my stew. I’m not sure which is better. I’m happy to use either. Well truth be told I’m happy cooking. It doesn’t matter what or where.”
“Every boy needs a hobby, and it looks like you found a way to make yours pay the bills. Here, have another Nutribar and tell us about the murders that occurred aboard the Malpais.”
“It is dreadful to think about, isn’t it? Sometimes people die on the ship just because their time has come, but if it was murder then that’s a whole different level of awful. I’m not aware of any incidents like that on the Malpais.”
“You might find this interesting, but I reached out to Baldwin Llewelyn and Ren Listripan, both deeply involved in cruise line security, and they don't seem to know anything about murders on the Malpais either. Somehow, these passengers turned up dead, but that seems to be the only available fact.”
“The Malpais has been hosting these competition cruises this year. They’ve been great fun. We had a ballroom dance one, an acapella singing one, and my favorite the baking competition. We’ve had some excitement during the competitions, but everyone has enjoyed them. Of course, not everyone agrees on who should win in any competition. I certainly had my favorites during the baking, but you know what they say, one species’ dessert is another’s poison.”
“When I spoke with Baudwin Llewellyn he mentioned that you’re cooking all the food for his upcoming wedding. He’s marrying the Malpais’ associate cruise director Kat Mitchell, right?”
“That's right, Lisa. I’m very excited. Both Baudwin and Kat are dear friends and I’m glad to play a role in their bonding.”
“I’ve heard that there will be royalty at the wedding.”
“General Royce Aymar of the EMEF is going to be Baudwin’s best elf for the ceremony and his wife is Queen Losira. It should be a wonderful celebration.”
“It's been an honor having you here, Henri. Let's have another cup of that wonderful tea, and maybe another Nutribar. Any last thoughts for our listeners?”
“Being a chef on a Galactic Cruise Lines ship is exciting. I’ve made good friends on the ship and I enjoy cooking for so many different species.”
“Henri is a recurring character in Jo Carey’s Galactic Cruise Lines series.
“Don't forget to click those sharing links on your way out. I know Henri will appreciate it, and you will too when your character appears on a future Lisa Burton Radio.”
Jo Carey writes faced-paced, character-driven stories in a variety of genres from medical thrillers to space operas and cozy mysteries. Her novels are action-packed tales that often feature strong female leads surrounded by plenty of hunky male heroes. Jo's stories always include healthy doses of humor and romance.
Quote from Jo: “I write what I like to read–stories with happy endings and appealing heroes and heroines.”
Some of Jo's books are set in the League of Planetary Systems, a universe created by Frank and Jo Carey as the setting for many of their books. Each Book in the League can be read as a standalone novel, but if you'd like to read all of the LPS books in order you can find the sequence at
Hey there all you androids and extra terrestrials, you've landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there that interviews the characters you love from the books you have to read. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me in the studio today is Lacy Dawn. “Welcome to the show, Lacy.”
“Thanks for having me, Lisa. I hope that you’re not disappointed ‘cause I’m not a very important person like Harry Potter or Steve Harvey or someone famous.”
“I think you're very important, Lacy. My bio says you are not a chosen one, like so many characters. You're actually a designed one, using DNA manipulation. That's pretty interesting. What can you tell our listeners about that?”
“Yeah, I know that it’s hard to believe. I didn’t believe it myself except Bucky would never lie to me. He’s this guy who lives in a spaceship hidden in a cave up the hill from my house. I’ll tell you about the first time that we met. My daddy was drunk and mad. I knew that I was gonna’ get a switching ‘cause that’s how he gets rid of his own anger – takes it out on me and mommy. Anyway, I hid under my parent’s bed where daddy was bound to find me sooner or later. I was scared and shaking when I heard this voice. It was coming from an old clock radio, one that only the clock part still worked, so that was weird too, Lisa. The voice told me to climb inside this trunk under the bed that had my dad’s Playboy collection in it. I guess that I wasn’t thinking straight because I opened the lid to the trunk and it was empty. I got inside and stayed there until my dad had passed out. Pretty cool, huh?
“I was five then but I’ve grown up. I’m twelve and a half now and almost old enough to have a boyfriend. After the voice on the radio told me about the spaceship, I’ve been going up there to visit Bucky almost every day. He put this port under my hairline in the back. See? He plugs me into a cable and he also teaches me all kinds of stuff, like calculus and geography and about all these other planets out-of-state. One day, he asked me if I wanted to see a movie. I’d never been to a real movie before. So, of course, how could I turn that down!? It was boring at first – all this data about extracting mineral from planets designated to be shrunk. But, then the movie got exciting. After it was over, I thanked Bucky and told him that I’d learned a lot. It was time to go home for supper. Bucky measured something about my mom and told me that I had a couple minutes to discuss the movie before I left. It turned out that I was the main star in the movie! It was about a time before people were on Earth. My name was Smaller then. After Larger bonked me on the head a few times and after I woke up a few times from that, I ended up making Larger give me some food to take to other folks that were all living in the giant green bean casserole type building, vines everyplace and giant beans, way bigger than we pick out of our garden. So, maybe I am a movie star. Thanks again for interviewing me, Lisa.
“I’ve got a crush on Bucky. I know that he’s not a real boy. He’s better. He doesn’t laugh about the loudest fart in class. Yuck! Heck, he doesn’t even want to see my panties if I had a good pair on. Best, he ain’t got no private parts, well, not when we first met. He’ll make a perfect husband one of these days!”
“I've got to stop you there. Isn't Bucky actually an android named DotCom?”
“Well, yes, but I know that he loves me even if he doesn’t feel it all the way yet. I asked him about that stupid name, DotCom. The trees that talk to me in the Woods also asked about his name. They said that it sounded like a third grade internet class, as if a hardwood would know anything about cyberspace. Bucky said something about spamming the universe and that’s what his name meant, but I still haven’t figured it out. I changed his name to Bucky so he would fit when I introduced him to my family and friends. One of these days, like when I’m in junior high, I bet that he asks me out on a date to go to the school dance. I needed a better name than DotCom for him and he doesn’t mind. Ask him, Lisa. Oh, sorry, I have to help him stay hid.”
“You'll get no judgment from me. I'm a robot girl, and struggle to gain acceptance every day. I think it's cute that you two basically grew up together, and it seems natural that you would grow attached to each other.
“Now you and Bucky assemble quite a team to save the universe. Besides you two, it looks like you have a pothead, and a ghost. Why do they make good teammates when such a lot is on the line?”
“I used to cry a lot about Faith, even before her daddy murdered her. He was a mean man who did awful, terrible things to her that I don’t want to talk about. I’m glad that he’s now in prison where he belongs. I’d almost gotten Faith to the point where she was going to tell somebody. All that she ever hoped for in life was to be put in special education class where the work was easier and the teacher let you do puzzles. Then, after we studied one day in my clubhouse, a cardboard box that my grandma’s new refrigerator had come in, Faith took a risk and got 100% on a spelling quiz. She wrote a little joke to the teacher on her quiz before it had been turned in to grade. It was a hint about S E X and her knowing about it. She didn’t want to just come out and say it because she knew that welfare would come to her house and take her away and put her in a foster home or somewhere worse, like back in that mental health place where she was locked up when she was nine.
“One day Roundabend when I was gliding up the path to Bucky’s spaceship, Faith hollered at me. Shocked, I stop dead in my tracks, so to speak since I don’t have to make tracks anymore unless I want to. My tennis shoes are never muddy. I knew that Faith was dead, but she told me that I couldn’t get rid of her that easy. We’re still best friends. She lives in the Woods, inside of rocks and logs and even got inside Maple once. Maple is another one of my friends. She’s soooo sweet. I’d introduce you but she won’t talk to you since you ain’t been abused. Trees only talk to kids who have been maltreated. That’s their main job – to help us.
“Tom would talk to you, but he would believe that you’re a robot girl. He’d just think that he’d gotten too high. Tom’s my neighbor and my daddy’s best friend. In my opinion, they both smoke too much pot, but my dad says that it helps his PTSD and Tom says that it helps his Bipolar Disorder. That’s the main reason that Tom moved to the holler. He said that Big City life aggravated his problems.”
“Just say Shop 'Till You Drop, everyone else does. I’ve only been there once so far. It’s the main planet where universal governance is located – a giant shopping mall. Bucky told me that he wants to hire me for a very important job, but I’m still trying to figure out what the heck he’s talking about. My trainings involve going there. It was the first time that I’d ever been out-of-state. One thing that I am certain of is that I’m not going to help save the universe, whatever that means, unless Bucky helps me cure my parents. After that stupid President sent my father to the Gulf War, I don’t remember because I was just a baby, mommy says that he ain’t been the same since. I’m supposed to figure out what the heck the problem is, diagnose it, some kind of big threat, like everything will be destroyed if I don’t stop it. Since you’re a girl, don’t you think that the big boss of everything could come up with a better plan than for me to fix stuff? Besides, if someone wants to hire you for a job, and I can’t afford to turn down much of anything that pays good money, don’t you think that the boss should tell you exactly what to do in order to get paid? I’m supposed to go back to Shptiludrp to study on it some more.”
“So Shop 'Till You Drop is facing some kind imminent threat? What else do you know about the nature of this threat?”
“At this point, I don’t know a heck of a lot. Bucky has a boss who recalled him once to be reprogrammed. When Bucky came back to Earth, he had forgotten how to love. Can you feel love, Lisa? It always comes with pain, but it’s so worth it if you can talk your maker into installing feeling programs. Bucky couldn’t figure out how he started to feel stuff. It just happened. He said that there was no precedent in the Universal Database. When Bucky came back home empty after being gone so long that time, I got really pissed. Can you feel pissed, Lisa? I refused to do anything more on this big and important job that we were talking about until I had my man back, my real man the way he was before reprogramming. He got fixed. Anyway, Bucky mentioned once that his boss’s name was Mr. Prump and that all he thinks about is making more money, more and more money. I’ve studied extreme capitalism as part of my lesson plans, as well as every other political and economic ideology practiced on every planet in the universe. Mr. Prump lives in a fancy apartment in a high rise tower type building, the only one on planet Shptiludrp. At some point, I expect to be invited there to negotiate according to the Art of the Deal rules. One thing that I do know for sure – Shptiludrp is strictly by invitation only. Mr. Prump don’t allow illegal immigrants, refugees from other planets even if he is about to exploit their planet for its minerals, and he absolutely hates socialists. But, he’s probably not as mean as it all sounds. If I figure out all this stuff and the universe survives, I’ll let you know what I think of Mr. Prump after I get to know him. Maybe you and I can have lunch. Do you ever eat, Lisa? Bucky ate part of a cookie once, and even pooped it back out, a tiny brown ball. Sorry. Bucky was so proud that he put the ball in his shirt pocket. lol That was a while back when he was still growing up. I made him flush it down the toilet and wash his hands real good. I hope that I didn’t gross you out. If you can develop an appetite, Lisa, you’ve probably lost it now.”
“Lacy, this show has been on the air for a while now. I've met characters with high stakes, like the world, or even the universe before. I'm sure you have a trick or two to pull all this off. What I want to know is what's next for you and Bucky? I guess, deep in my processors, I'm your basic romantic.”
“One of these days, after he finishes growing up, Bucky and I are going to get married. I have it all planned. We’re going to adopt babies because, although he’s started to grow private parts, it’ll probably take so long for all of his systems to join with carbon that I don’t want to wait. He’s too immature now to get married. Plus, he’s afraid of his boss, Mr. Prump, and does everything that he’s instructed. Heck with that! My mommy has had lots of problems, and she’s getting stronger, but I know from her and my grandmas for as long as forever, the wife is the boss in the family, period. I’m sure that you agree, Lisa.”
“It all seems kind of old fashioned, but in a cute way. I'm really cheering for you guys. Any final words for our listeners today?”
“Yes, unless I’m totally off-base, you and every other sentient being had better hope that I figure out this mess and save the universe. I didn’t ask for this job but I’m going to do my best to fulfill my destiny. Centuries of protests about the Prump administration have failed. He is no longer loved but has retained a firm grip on power. Now, Prump is up against the wall that he built and his ass is mine. On behalf of everybody, I’ll negotiate the best deal that I can. Thanks for inviting me. It was fun.”
“There you have it folks. Pick up Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleston to find out if Lacy and her friends can save the universe. I'm interested in whether she and Bucky can find a way to be together.
“Don't forget to hit those sharing buttons on the way out. Robert and Lacy will appreciate it, and you will too when your character appears on Lisa Burton Radio.”
Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children's Story. For Adults.
“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)
About the Author: I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia. After coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin its self-promotion of this project. Most of the successes listed above have been achieved in the last fifteen months following my retirement. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html.
My second Experimental Notebook got its own review too. I’m so glad everyone is enjoying these stories.
A wonderful new review for The Playground. Actually, it would be fun to see one of my stories turned into a feature film.
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