A barbarian Legionary, later a Roman citizen, and later still an equestrian knight, Arminius led an army of tribal warriors to victory in a famous battle that annihilated three entire Roman legions. Certain contemporary historians revere this distant figure from the shadows of European antiquity as a liberating crusader; others as, “The noble savage gone wrong.” This tale of Imperial Rome and ancient Germania centers on the travails, defeats, and victories of a Cheruscan tribal princeling Roman scribes referred to by the Latinized name Arminius. A culture hero—possibly even the legendary Wagnerian hero of heroes, Siegfried—he is credited with organizing and consummating the total destruction of three Roman legions in a crucial battle, thereby conceivably changing the course of European history by making Caesar Augustus leery of resuming the conquest of a vast territory extending from the Rhine in the west to the Elbe in the east, and transforming the region and its peoples into one or more Roman provinces. Unfortunately, what little is known of the man himself derives from sketchy, surviving portions of Roman literature written by historians naturally biased in favor of Roman culture.
A more immediate threat than climate change, the mid-21st century energy dilemma inspires reclusive trillionaire Lyman Dysart, called “The Stockholder” by his privately owned company’s employees, to finance the research and development of humanity’s ultimate energy panacea: controlled nuclear fusion. Plasma constituents of the patented “Omega Pinch” process are plentiful deuterium and an ultra-scarce, fusible helium isotope found in quantity only on the Moon, which necessitates expensively strip-mining 3He from the lunar regolith. Semi-panic ensues in the minds and wallets of the OPEC/conventional energy cartel led by Vonex Chairman Belkin Reichert, who brandishes behind-the-scenes political influence to suborn fusion’s advent by promoting solar energy, and eventually nationalization of the newborn industry. The battle of wills and tactics climaxes when Dysart attempts to defeat nationalization by holding hostage his lunar mining venture, while his nuclear fusion propaganda campaign captures the public imagination by describing the innovative system as . . . A plasma containment shell surrounded by huge cables, monstrous electromagnets and sophisticated ancillary equipments, at its heart a dervish of semi-vacuum burning so furiously that it emulates temperatures reigning at the center of the Sun, yet gives forth no light, but presumes to light the world in a beneficent, utopian glow.
It’s lighter than air! In his rollicking “tour de farce” CATCH-22, Joseph Heller used black humor to illustrate the inanities and insanities experienced by men at war. In a similar vein, this novel employs plain vanilla humor to satirize the idiocies and frustrations afflicting individuals employed in an industry the author, a former aerospace engineer, knew only too well. You will encounter a plethora of outrageous characters—a one time porn queen who’s into blackmail; the wealthy great-grandson of a Russian aviation pioneer who is obsessed with re-acquiring the giant aerospace corporation he insists was “stolen” from his family; an ex-Air Force lieutenant colonel who reinvents himself as a totally inept management favorite; a wannabe Western film actor who has never been within fifty yards of a horse; an ultra-paranoid executive vice president; a nymphomaniacal lady manager and sundry others, all of whom are embroiled in pluperfectly Quixotic situations ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, and beyond. Enjoy!
It is year 142 of the German World Empire, as reckoned from 1933 when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor and the vilified Nazi régime was born. Tenured history professor and seasoned retrotemporal researcher Dr. James Silverthorne reluctantly accepts the key role in a desperate conspiracy aimed at obliterating Deutschesweltanreich tyrrany in retrospect by making a desperate, clandestine retrotemporal return to wartime Berlin, where he strives to locate and thwart the efforts of SS hero of heroes Erich Lustmann. Sent back to 1939 Berlin decades after the war’s end by Odessa expatriates in Argentina, former SS "Deathshead" officer Lustmann, armed with prescient knowledge of actual wartime situations and events, is detemined to “rectify” via decidedly outré means Hitler’s meddlesome misdirection of the war that culminated in erroneous, fanciful military decisions, and thereby ensure a Nazi victory in WW II. Fearing his “mission impossible” is just that, Silverthorne nevertheless doggedly pursues his world-changing crusade in an exciting time travel adventure grand in scope and world-changing in purpose.
An obscure medical researcher develops Bevvinase, the “miracle enzyme” capable of driving carbon dioxide-oxygen conversion within the cell tissue proper, a radical innovation that opens the hostile Martian environment to permanent colonization. Decades later, with the Burroughs enclave teetering on the brink of becoming a "lost colony," former intelligence officer and alpinist Jesperson, together with his partner Barnes, a convicted felon, are among the few hundred “Marsrats” (Mars-rationalized, CO2-breathing humans) dwelling within the pressurized, roofed-crater housing the enclave in the shadow of the immense Olympus Mons shield volcano and its vast aqueduct system, the sole source of essential water. A violent eruption and quake cause unknown damage to the aqueduct, while at the same time an earthly economic crisis is brewing, and the enclave's former sponsor, giant conglomerate Vonex Corporation, officially hands over absentee governance of the colony to the United Nations Organization. Struggling against vigorous opposition, with homeworld aid unavailable, Jesperson and Barnes lead a semi-suicidal trek to the volcano’s heights in a desperate attempt to repair the aqueduct and save the colony.
Be fruitful, advises Judeo-Christian Scripture, and multiply, and replenish the earth. How diligently have we complied with this 11th Commandment! Eight centuries BCE, the estimated global population was inferred to be about five millions, soaring to roughly 250 millions when Julius Caesar fell, and then escalated in the mid-17th century to around a half billion. A significant global benchmark of roughly one billion was reached in 1850, doubling to two billions circa 1930. By 2001 six billions-plus crowded the world, and the fragile environment began to show definite signs of a marginal ability to sustain them. Despite wars, famines, pestilence, the effects of climate change and a plethora of natural disasters, the relentless numbers keep marching upward at an alarming, exponential rate of three or four births per second, eleven or twelve thousand per hour, hence the global population is again due to double in a relatively short span. But what lies beyond the crucial nexus when our planet can no longer tolerate the succeeding multitudes? Learn the draconian population control tactic illustrated in TRIAGE, and pray that this fictional account never becomes a reality.
Chin Zhonghua Renmin Gonghehuo,the Peoples Republic of China, achieves a technological triumph with its inspired “Great Leap Upward,” the late 21st century deployment of a “space elevator” rising from an equatorial mountain peak in Borneo to an enormous microgravity production satellite in geosynchronous orbit, and starward to a spacecraft inertial launch and retrieval complex, a radical, ultra-innovative system which permits the importation of lunar products at negligible cost. Blackmailed into performing a “suicide” mission aimed at penetrating the space elevator’s closely guarded secrets to temporarily sabotage operations, United Nations Intelligence Agency asset Rodolfo “Rudy” Cateel becomes unwittingly embroiled in a subterfuge hatched by China’s Counterintelligence Director, who is terrified to think economic overkill might result in a thermonuclear holocaust perpetrated by the Western powers. Elevator repair and rework are deemed mandatory, yet he believes simulating an artificial hiatus in operation will allow China to “save face.” The intel op goes awry when a Nipponese double-agent is ordered to do away with Cateel and effect totally destructive sabotage. The fast-paced action takes place in California, Borneo, Tokyo, and on-orbit when Cateel rides the space elevator.
Perplexed by the inexplicable appearances of an unearthly stranger, Cosmologist Roger Shore becomes further dismayed when the alien entity questions him pointedly about faster-than-light spacecraft development, and is baffled when only his voice registers on a recording of the exchange. Shore is fascinated when his superior reluctantly reveals the existence of Project Demeter, a covert effort to develop FTL interstellar flight inspired by the technological quantum leap achieved by an obscure physicist, and sponsored by a wealthy heiress, the daughter of the revered Nobel Laureate who “fathered” practical nuclear fusion power systems. The program's remote base in the asteroid Ceres leaves Demeter's personnel vulnerable to hindrance and near-lethal interference from a malicious, dedicated alien exotic. Shore and his associates discover that the stakes surrounding a successful FTL venture are infinitely greater than imagined. Reaching the nearest stellar system, a supreme technological triumph in itself, also seems to be considered a major culture-maturation benchmark that will apparently qualify humanity for inclusion in a nameless forum composed of myriad, diverse galactic intelligences.
Klavik, Security Director of Kraan, a massive world governed by the only remaining monarchy in far-flung neohuman interstellar society, has been conditioned to acutely perceive the emotional state of others. After Kraan’s reigning monarch is assassinated while on holiday in parsecs-distant Eden, a terraformed pleasure world operated by a distant alien syndicate, a pair of companions force themselves upon Klavik during his investigative sojourn in Eden: Kraan’s crusty Prime Minister and adolescent Prince Royal. Employing his “sixth sense,” Klavik fastens on a nervous Eden official as the prime prospect for interrogation, but is frustrated at every turn because his energies must be channeled toward protecting his illustrious charges. Emil Shatterhand, Eden’s planetary director, ushers the threesome into a “hall of mirrors” where nothing is as it seems. After feints and ploys designed to distract or frighten away the trio, Klavik senses sly “nibblings” at the limbic fringes of his mind and gradually becomes aware that an alien exotic is present. Sly mental assaults and induced nightmares invoking sleeplessness persist. When his charges are taken hostage, Klavik is forced to accede to psychic “evaluation” by the exotic, and the ultimate confrontation erupts in a rapacious battle of wills.
Millennia after a thermonuclear holocaust, the myriad, mutated children of Earth spread their wings and colonize the galaxy’s near reaches. Governed by an elite neohuman minority, Imperium Terrestriana fosters Convention, a body of civil law that features Code Duello, which encourages interpersonal differences to seek unnatural equilibrium as trillions of eligible patricians and plebes wield their swords in order to settle private disputes. Imperial explorers discover parsecs-distant Dan, an idyllic, green and golden planet ripe for colonization, where enigmatic, apparently ancient indigenes of obviously superior intellect come and go like shadows, yet lack habitations or any visible form of infrastructure. Abhoring violence, the telepathic Danii look on askance as colonization begins in earnest, and are horrified when sequestered convicts begin to arrive and duelists start vanishing before the eyes of terrified colonials. The Danii repeatedly explain how mysterious beings referred to as “Higher Ones” are appalled by the wanton destruction of life wrought by victorious duelists, and therefore have taken the miscreant smallswordsmen “into their gentle care.” The unseen Higher Ones make their acute displeasure known through precipitate action in a chilling, ironic climax that raises provocative questions about neohumankind’s place in the eternal scheme of things.