Science Fiction and Imagined Science Fiction Laws.

Science Fiction and Imagined Science Fiction Laws.
Johannes Kepler

It’s 1608, Ladies and Gentlemen and a prescient mathematics teacher from Graz in Austria wrote his Somnium-the dream. I dream all the time and occasionally I find myself visualizing planets and stars or moons in my nocturnal journeys. Here in 2021 we’ve had decades of cinema productions with brilliant graphics and actual missions into orbit, to the moon, mars and the other celestial bodies in the solar system. Pixel after pixel is beamed through space producing stunning representations of other worlds. For this mathematics teacher in 1608 the only fuel for his dream were his study of the planets, his imagination, and a ferocious desire to reach beyond the bounds of earth.

Johannes Kepler spoke of traveling fifty thousand miles up- in the area above the terrestrial sphere, the aether to the island of Levania. And here it is: The Moon of course.

The Moon

Kepler writes about the extreme cold and about having to slow down as to not crash into the moon, which is indicative of spacecraft approaching the gravity of any celestial body. He visualizes perspective from celestial bodies- distance determining what we see which is not the actual size of the body. And eclipses. I’ll give him a pass for writing about plant growth on the moon and using exotic herbs to lift him skyward- but award him the Celestial Garden Club Award for creativity and imagination! I don’t intend to besmirch Kepler. After all the guy reasoned out the laws of planetary motion:

  1. Planets move around the Sun in ellipses, with the Sun at one focus
  2. The line connecting the Sun to a planet sweeps equal areas in equal times.
  3. The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube (3rd power) of the mean distance from the Sun.

In Galactic Command you will not read about Fitton’s Scientific Laws about anything. What you will get is imagination and humans working together in space.

Imagination Law # 1- How does that ESS ship of the future bring John Ross and his crew through space? Coils of course. Squeezing through the fabric of space utilizing a special power source.

 NASA researchers working on warp drive technology in the lab.

You can do anything you think you can.

-Christopher Reeve

Imagination Law # 2- Let’ just say there is a horrible medical condition in The Nebula Planet story and a brilliant way to cure it and other obstacles. It is only Dr. Pfeiffer’s tenacity that results in a new and different way to combat an incurable diseases and a perplexing problem for the crew of ESS-14.

An attempt at visualizing the Fourth Dimension: Take a point, stretch it into a line, curl it into a circle, twist it into a sphere, and punch through the sphere.

-Albert Einstein

I’ll do that. Thank you, Einstein.

Imagination Law # 3-Traveling or leaping through unseen dimensions. When I read about quantum physicists speaking of eleven dimensions, I start looking under the Oriental rug. Thus, there is a theoretical basis for dimensions. So, I took it a step further. Let’s hop inside one of those dimensions. Having a legendary Command scientist on call-Dr. Howard Ellison in the story facilitates this astounding breakthrough! Being able to see through this dimension is strategically beneficial to Commander Ross.

Dimensions exist all around us

A Dyson sphere originally was a thought experiment. How would space travelers from a home planet find a new source of energy when they can’t generate enough energy on the home planet? The sphere encapsulates the home planet and captures prodigious energy for the home planet. A Dyson Sphere is not new to science fiction but the reason for the enclosure around the Marsarvic People’s star is cause for concern.

Dyson Sphere Graphic

The power of an alien Civilization to transpose and disperse matter to another part of the universe is not just bizarre but frightening. The Marsarvic People have justification for utilizing this inconceivable technology. The idea for this transposition of matter came when personal computers were just on the scene and being able to move text around a document after years of typing on paper was like magic.

Cut and Past for real

There is no planet consisting of a nebula. Rather the Nebula Planet in the book is at the farthest end of the galaxy and is overshadowed by the massive nebula. Interesting to visualize that. Galactic Command has never encountered an alien civilization until this extremely long voyage. But there are only the extraterrestrial bodies are on the Nebula Planet. There is a whole lot more inside that nebula.

The Nebula Planet

Humans being human.

Just because men and woman go into space doesn’t mean they become new forms of themselves. Knitting together any story are the relationships. Commander Ross had a long friendship with correspondent, the bender Nancy Burke. Ross recounts their past experiences together. In an evolving way Ross develops relationships with his crew especially Lindy, his second in command. Even the crusty engineer Frank Muldoon and Ross are friends with mutual respect for each other’s abilities. This ups the stakes when ‘Crutch” Kuchinski, Ross’s security officer, arrests them at the beginning of the book. And we look into the past with Ross’s best friend Craig Duggan killed at the Battle of Maregualt against the Antarians. And although Dr. Pfeiffer is able to beat Ross in martial arts, Ross and Pfeiffer are still close friends. There are ancillary characters like the utility man, Rip or the sky pilot leader Jim Morris, but the crew remains a solidified and cohesive unit on and off the ship. But there are traitors, too.

And with humans being humans we have the despicable, the traitorous, and the self-serving Commander Jack Bragg, the typical commander gone bad. Bragg will seemingly be an obstacle to Ross now and forever more.

Ross’s family is important to him-his sister Deborah and his brothers Cappy and Wayne. It is Ross’s father John Ross, Sr., whose shadow follows Ross around the galaxy.

Last but not least: The ships computer Pelonis. The great thing about Pelonis is that he hates Frank Muldoon and the feeling is mutual. Muldoon will gladly work himself into a frenzy arguing with the machine, who tries to goat him at every opportunity. Pelonis is smart, able to solve problems, and somewhat emotional. And he transcends the ship into the transport vehicles and the crew’s personal computers.

And what about the Marsarvic People? I wanted the first contact to be unique and not what Galactic Command was expecting. Lifeforms do what they have to do.

Escape the sphere

RPF

PAPERBACK

AUDIO

Post Script:

A Cyborg with a Screw Loose

A young Harrison Ford looking for a Nexus-6 model replicant

There have been so many stories and movies about Cyborgs and androids. I remember comfortably sitting in my theater seat in front of a massive stage curtain in Pasadena California. It was 1983 and Harrison Ford had zoomed into stardom in the 70’s. The curtain opened ever so slowly to the largest movie screen I had ever seen before or since. I’m sure it was in 70mm. It was as if I were right there as bounty hunter Rick Deckard (Ford) pursues a gaggle of replicants, specifically the Nexus-6 model. They’ve just killed 23 people in a space colony.

We know Darth Vader’s penchant for revenge and violence. Nevertheless, Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One. Even when Anakin turns into Darth Vader, he remains the Chosen One. I first saw Darth Vader on a movie screen at the Mountain Farms Four Theaters in Hadley Massachusetts-the screen was not much larger than the TV in the front room 2021!

Live from the dark side!
Listed among the greatest villains and fictional characters ever!
A man just barely alive…

The Six Million Dollar(bionic) man was the first program I taped on a VCR. The Cylongs were in Battlestar Galactica.(2004 edition) I guess I’ll throw in Inspector Gadget.

Go Go Gadget!

Let’s not forget Arnold!

The Terminator
As governor of California he won’t be back.

I remember the end of the first Terminator movie when just a piece of that Cyborg was left to fight. Creepy. There is a an unmitigated fear of the all powerful. Harlan Ellison said he “loved the movie, was just blown away by it.”

WHO?

Who-Who-Who-

The Daleks and Cybermen

The Primary Motivation of a Dalek is to destroy anything that is not “like” even to the point of internal destruction when a “rogue” Dalek fails to conform. The Primary Motivation of a Cyberman is to create “like” as it’s now the only way to reproduce.

-Michael Daniel

I was reluctant to write an entire novel about a being who is a mixture of the human genetic structure and a conglomeration of advanced electronic substitutes and enhancements. Because it’s been done before. But not the way I put this book together. I wanted this ‘being’ to control a late twentieth century planet that also contains dramatic technological advances, prime of which is the cyvacing humans into compliant duplication of his body structure. Here’s what I did: The Galactic Command Merisheli Project creating this dumbell has messed up. So what we have is a cyborg type named Sol being who’s brain not working quite right and he rules the planet Scaeva Tengal.

Now it gets interesting because Sol has the power to move into the galaxy and cyvac entire populations. Sol manipulates the military for his own ends and keeps Sol City, that paradise personified, in a perpetual state of terrorism, destruction and death. Sol has cohorts that I won’t mention here.

The pit called Sol City

But I wanted a subplot, as important as the main plot, side angled into the morass on Scavea Tengal. This book is the second book in the Galactic Command series. Commander John Ross is scheduled for an extended vacation with his family on a space liner type of recreation vehicle. What Ross fears even more than his mortal enemies the Antarians is spending any time with his father. John Ross Sr. works for the Command Intelligence and his life has consisted of time away from his family. The old man is distant and has his own way of looking at the world. Ross asks his trusted second in command and closed friend Hugh Lindsay, ‘Lindy’ to accompany him on the vacation. A good portion of his crew will be working on an aqueduct project on a far away planet.

This isn’t a theme about the author not getting along with his father because my dad was always there for me. Setting up this scenario between these two men is asking for confrontation. And here’s the real problem for Ross. The ship carrying Commander Ross’s family has been captured by a tug drag beam to the planet Scavea Tengal. These elements along with Ross trying to evade Sol and his family at the risk of being turned into half humans, makes Reunion an exciting book. And remember Ross is forced into a situation where he has to speak with his father and confront his own demons as he joins forces with his father against Sol.

It was really fun to do Sol’s voice complete with his disjointed sentences and sketchy judgement. His temperament is edgy. And his decisions spread fear across the planet. This is why I like this book with the half human who is not all there but in charge! There is a tried and true doctor’s definition for Sol’s condition: Microdeckia – playing with less that a full deck.

That’s all Folks!

Post Script:

Poe’s The Man That was Used up…. A General who was desecrated by Indians- His hacked up body parts have been replaced by prostheses. Before appearing in public he must reinstall the prostheses into his body. The narrator now understands the General’s secret — Poe’s catch phrase: “was the man that was used up.”

Mary Shelly’s FrankensteinA fictional correspondence between Captain Robert Walton and his sister, Margaret Walton Saville.

www.fittonbooks.com

To the Next Generation of Dreamers

Sir Richard Branson stowing away on his own vessel Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft to the edge of outer space is what I dreamed of when I was a boy. Before John Glenn orbited the earth there were several holds and delays before the actual blastoff on February 20, 1962. So, what, Fitton? Those delays were slightly frustrating for fans of NASA’s Mercury Program. If you were an eleven-year-old kid, jammed inside a cardboard replica of Friendship 7, your feet propped up like John Glenn and your entire body motionless in the confined area, it might get challenging as the blood settled downward toward the brain. (lol) And the only thing to look at were lighted up bulbs arrayed across the control panel like the Mercury capsule. I actually found a photo of a kid looking out the portal window of that exact Mercury replica. Naturally I photoshopped that hotshot out of the picture and installed myself (a fourth-grade photo) into the Pseudo Friendship 7.  And I sprinkled in stars and nebulae from Hubble. There I am dreaming away.

Photoshop 7

I know my parents had their watchful eyes on my spaceflight that never left the ground. They probably talked about it with their friends as they wondered what their kid was doing inside a carboard ship in the living room. Glenn had a problem with his heat shield during reentry and I staggered out of my capsule feeling as if my eyes were going to pop out of my head. That was the first and last living room flight for astro-nut Fitton.

Living to see Branson fulfill his dream of going into space is awe inspiring. This isn’t a new TV series or a well-trained astronaut lifted above the earth’s curvature bordering dark space. It truly is just the beginning of spaceflight like a New Western Air Express commercial plane between cities in the early twentieth century.

Branson in zero G
July 12, 2021

Dreaming is important. There was Gene Roddenberry dreaming about the show as ‘Wagon Train to the stars.I would watch my father, a hard-working guy who rose at 4:00 AM in the morning to deliver milk, become comically apoplectic at the antics of the lazy double crossing opportunist Dr. Zachary Smith, the aberrant stowaway on Lost in Space. I have always like how Jonathan Harris stirred up trouble on the Jupiter 2 and beyond. But I was also captivated by the fact the Robinsons and Don West were on other planets and traveling occasionally in space. I wish John Robinson had let West unloaded on Smith-just once!

Dr. Smith at his best

If you’re going to dream about something you’d best be informed by those who know the subject. At the same time, I was laughing at Dr. Smith’s antics I was handed a copy of Science Digest from my grandfather where I began reading articles about science by Isaac Asimov. It was a mixture of inspiration and knowledge.

While in college I was ecstatic when I walked into the campus center at UMASS to listen to a lecture by Dr. Asimov. I have a portion of that talk, which I recorded.

Dr. Isaac Asimov

Today I am scratching my head about how Asimov was out to lunch on these predictions. But the respect is still there along with the inspiration.

I began writing when when my father was taken ill and eventually succumbed to cancer. I never talked to him about what he did and didn’t accomplish in his life. For me, I wanted to make up stories but the insurmountable challenges to getting stories out there kept those dreams inside my head. It was only in college when assigned to write a mythology story, I was shocked I could construct a story. The first novel I wrote was a Star Trek novel. I had a lot to learn about the mechanics of writing but the novel was picked up by an agent and made the rounds in New York City’s paperback publishing houses. Rewriting and copyright issues have sent “The Apex of Power” to freebee status on my web site!

I would have been happy writing Star Trek Novels all day long. There have been lots of novels written and a fabulous reboot of the original series Star Trek Continues by Vic Mignogna. But I decided I wanted my own take on space with my own characters. The effort is called Galactic Command. The Nebula Planet was the first novel and Reunion the second story.

There is no transporter in Galactic Command. The transporter is a great shortcut to a planet. I wanted that tension which results in rough rides with a ship, or trying to skirt enemies during a battle. In the distant future time is measured by a different calendar with a few of our months remaining. Aliens have never been discovered and the lifeforms that exists are genetically linked to humans and now have new qualities. The ship is powered by dimension bending coils that squeeze vessels at high velocity through the galaxy. And what about the crew of this ESS? (EXPLORER SPACESHIP) I have emphasized the interpersonal relations seen on Star Trek the Original Series. That’s the glue that holds everything else together. One more thing-In Star Trek there’s always a Captain whose gone bad or there’s a past to each character. I like that. Provides depth. That scenario runs throughout Galactic Command-i.e. Commander Jack Bragg.

Branson is offering two free tickets to travel into space! Just donate to Space for Humanity. Let’s take a video snoop at Branson and crew in zero G:

This is Fitton from Photoshop 7 -Good day!

Post Script:

Photos of Branson’s Flight

There’s No Place like Home

Good Monday Morning!

No, this post isn’t about Glinda the Good Witch and her spell sending Dorothy back to Kansas. But the phrase is most assuredly, unequivocally hijacked from the spell. Those words, There’s no place like home, written by L. Frank Baum over a century ago get to the heart of many a good Kansas man or woman. Looks as if Glinda was truly a ‘good deed doer!’ I’ll bet Glinda wouldn’t screw up the Pythagorean theorem like the scarecrow who proclaimed, “in an isosceles triangle, the sum of the square roots of two sides is the square root of the third side”. The Wizard set the bar real low. Not that I can snap off the Pythagorean theorem even at my best moment: ‘in any right-angle triangle, the sum of the squares on the two sides is equal to the square on the hypotenuse.

Duh…
The Wizard of OZ-MGM-1939
OH———-

The Wizard, who worked with the hot air balloons at the Kansas fair, didn’t even know how the thing worked.

Hold everything… this post is not about the Wizard of Oz. It’s about a short story I wrote when I was in California and is contained in the book Compilation with other short stories and novellas. A successful young man comes back with his fiancé to a part of his childhood that is best left in the shadows. Don Murdock has made a fatal mistake. Murdock insists that his fiancé return in a week while he gets Aunt Greta’s old house up for sale. What Don Murdock doesn’t know is that he has merged into the shadows where reality becomes past, present and future in an instant.

Wonder what I was watching on Los Angeles TV back then. Hmmm….. No place like Home fits the Twilight Zone format of entering an area beyond time and space. Letting our imaginations go wild is also the hallmark of the Twilight Zone. After meeting with old friends Murdock returns to Aunt Greta’s house. To his shock he sees his late Aunt Greta in one of the upper windows. Murdock searches the house but finds nothing. He hears noises around the house as he tries to sleep. But nightmares begin a cue as he nods off.

Through the week Murdock repairs the house, meets with his old buddies the Crandall boys, and enjoys being back. He would call the realtor tomorrow.

When Don Murdock wakes up the next morning something has happened. He soon realizes from the radio report it’s 1963 inside the house. November 22, 1963. Aunt Greta is alive and telling him to take his medicine as if he were a little boy. The situation is that unexplained confrontation with reality. Here’s how Rod Serling opened the first season of the Twilight Zone in 1959.

Rod Serling

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man … a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

Mark Lane

November 22, 1963the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas. I had begun studying the Kennedy Assassination after listening to Mark Lane at UMass and viewing the Zapruder Film. I walked out of the Campus Center realizing that Kennedy’s head and body was thrown backward-hardly the actions of a lone gunman.

 

Dealey Plaza

Today, after a congressional investigation and the AARB thousand of documents indicate a well orchestrated plot with elements of the CIA, portions of the anti-Castro paramilitary, and upper levels of government. And there was a massive and pervasive cover-up as Don Murdock will soon understand. The end for President Kennedy and Murdock is not good.

 

J. Edgar Hoover

Simply put in my short story the FBI has the info and does nothing. Since I wrote the story a teletype was found and dated before Dallas, warning of an assassination attempt on President Kennedy.

1963 twisted into the present like the strands of an infinity symbol leaving, Murdock’s fiancé wondering if she’s been living in a dream world.

Here is the complete audio of No Place Like Home:

In the book Compilation I have assembled short stories and novellas. Available in audio, paperback and kindle.

“Hey Wizard!”

“Shut up whippersnapper.”

“If there’s no place like home what the hell were you doing in OZ all these years?”

Ha ha ha
Ho ho ho
And a couple of tra la las

That’s how we laugh the day away
In the merry old land of Oz

” Idiot, Toto… I bet he can’t even fly this balloon.”

Cobb, Harry Cobb

Despite his lack of character Jason Rapp did not deserve a death sentence. I had enjoyed a pleasant shuttle flight from Orbitus to Mars until Rapp’s call rattled my zip connection. The wind howled and sand grains pattered against his rover’s bubble top, suggesting a severe dust storm. He said someone in a silver terrain suit, brandishing a pinpoint pulser, had hiked through the Martian ridge shadows. Rapp sensed murderous intent.

Beginning of the Dust of Mars

Curiosity Rover snaps a pic of a real dust storm on Mars.

When I was in grade school my first knowledge of Mars contained a catchy phrase: “The Red Planet.” Then somewhere somebody said Mars was the God of War. Were there Martian soldiers on the planet Mars? That required a trip to the library. That’s when I really got confused. (and rightly so) I opened an older hard cover book on Mars. What the hell was this? A Martian work force of Martian canal diggers? Who found out about the canals? I didn’t know about Percival Lowell the purveyor of that disinformation but the idea of canals on Mars remained in my head for a long time. With canals there MUST be Martians!

Schiaparelli’s depiction of the Martian surface.
Percival Lowell
Orson Welles

I heard about the War of the Worlds as adapted by Orson Welles. Add that to the Fitton consciousness. I think I was more impressed that Welles faked everybody out back in 1938 with his Mercury Theater of the air broadcast. And that dramatic voice…

Then I bought the pocket book of stars (and planets) Things changed. I didn’t see any interviews with Martians bragging about their canals. Perhaps there were dust storms and ice caps, maybe some type of atmosphere. A further distance from the sun. All scientific knowledge that was understandable. I saw the original Invaders from Mars around this time and happily suspended my disbelief to be scared by the movie.

Bill Bixby and Ray Walston

Sure, my Favorite Martian was not real but it was funny.

In college I took an elective course on Astronomy which included updated speculation about the actual planet Mars. By then the US had flown by and orbited Mars. The Soviets were the first to land but communication failed. It was Cosmos by Carl Sagan that gave us his personal journey to Mars as well as debunking Lowell. But he also traced the rocketry of Robert Goddard to the Viking I and II landings on Mars. By then I hadn’t lost my imagination with the exit of Lowell and the canals. Buttressed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs books about John Carter that Sagan read as a kid I thought about something different.

Blues for the Red Planet

Why not have a book with the solar system world two hundred years from now? I asked a mystery writer if I could mix a mystery with the sci fi. She was firmly on planet earth and I was reaching for the stars. But I did it anyway. Enter Harry Cobb.

The Dust of Mars

Here’s Podcast #1 of the Dust of Mars with the audio book. Complete audio is available at Audible.

Yes, Harry Cobb is in the future but I want humans to act like humans. Guess that’s why I started out with a murder. (Jason Rapp) And a murderer. (Not telling) Humans acting like humans. Cobb discovering an old love and the hardnosed former agent becoming flustered upon seeing her and enamored upon being with her. (Ariana) Loyalty-Cobb’s trusted associate Renee Coburn. ComraderyInspector Jahn Patenaude Harry Cobb’s friend of many years. Chicanery-It becomes evident.

Humans being human was a theme in the book but more than that- being able to bring  a narrative to the Martian surface and dome environments was rewarding. (one dome, Barsoom is named after Edgar Rice Burroughs designation by the natives for the planet Mars.)

As tropical storm Elsa swirls up the Atlantic Seaboard and over Cape Cod, I swirl into the weekend and return on Monday! Adios!

Post Script: Great artists’ renditions of Mars and the domes like the Harry Cobb Series.

 

Barsoom Dome?

 

Livingston Dome?

 

The Surface of Mars

 

The Turcotte Plant?

 

Time to go back to Livingston

Why is the 1939 New York World’s Fair so Important?

The 1939 World’s Fair
Robert P. Fitton audio with 1939 Glenn Miller Moonlight Serenade

There have been other fairs before and after the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The first time I became aware of the 1939 fair was in my grandmother’s attic which was walkable on a wood plank floor and the high gables of the Victorian house gave the attic a spacious aura. There were numerous books about geography and non-picture books that caught my eye, but what fascinated me was this astounding exposition of geometric structures with powerful names such as Westinghouse, General Electric, Ford, General Motors, and RCA. In my mind I walked the colored pathways under the omnipresent Trylon and Perisphere as seen on the book cover above. And the biggest impression at I got at age nine or ten was they were predicting the future and after the Great Depression they were speculating on a bright future.

Dawn of a new day by Horace Heidt-1939
The Capsule of the Cupaloy

As the years went by thoughts about the fair floated around my brain. I saw documentaries and films of this fair where they actually buried a time capsule in the ground to be opened 5000 years in the future. It wasn’t until I began acquiring a sense and knowledge of history that I revisited the New York World’s Fair. That fair posited a number of ideas that came into fruition. Super highways! In 1939 there was a freeway from Pasadena into L.A. or the Autobahn in Germany. Most of American roadways from what I’ve studied were in rough shape or nonexistent until Eisenhower’s interstate highway initiatives. And TV. TV was held up until World War II was over (Thanks a lot Hitler) but when the fair opened on  April 30, 1939 Roosevelt was on a broadcast to New York City. At the fair there was a robot named Elektro and communities mirroring the future suburban spread.

FDR Opens the Fair
NY Worlds Fair

So what? What’s the big deal? The time capsule is the big deal and the unabashed optimism promoted at the fair. When I put that together in my head I started wondering about the future and these people of 1939. Just look how society has changed in 82 yearsIf we go ahead into the distant future does humanity maintain freedom? Do we have standards? What about the technology of the fair-does it proceed into the future thoughtfully with consideration its ramifications? The catch phrase of the fair was: I have seen the future. What would we see if the future and even the distant future were on full display?

Iowa Corn Fields is a photograph by Bonfire Photography

And Iowa-1939. No, this isn’t Fitton’s version of the Field of Dreams but it’s not bad. I’m not talking about a perfect idyllic world. After all-the absence of electricity in many places forced an human connection. I am strongly making the point that some values such as integrity, justice and moral certitude existed in 1939 Iowa and in much of the country. I am not naïve in my understanding of society’s underbelly. However, there were societal norms. I’m not being sentimental either. Most of these norms protected everyone while technology eviscerated individual freedom in Andy Reese’s future world. Even more distant is the Enclave , escaped to Ganymede around Jupiter as they prepare to die and end human existence. Professor Geiger is the messiah, not of wiping out technology, but of paying attention to the collateral damage.

Andy Reese, an exoplanet astronomer living in the distant future contacts the Enclave, the last vestige of humanity. To stop the annihilation of the human race by the Seraph, post biological life forms, Reese is sent back along the timeline to prevent the evolution of the Seraph from computers. The link in time is an Iowa farm girl, Lucy Apel who has won a national contest to travel to the 1939 New York World’s Fair and Professor Herman Geiger a gifted scientist, writer, and social philosopher. To change history Reese must avert Geiger’s death at the fair. But the Seraph have other plans as they follow Reese back to 1939 to thwart changing history.

-Book description on Amazon

Back in time Andy meets and falls in love with a young woman, Lucy Apel who’s brilliance is apparent. Lucy’s future holds great prospects for her. Professor Geiger is her idol in the way he thinks about science and the future. Lucy gets to meet Geiger at the New York World’s Fair. But the Seraph is inhabiting human bodies and lurking–lurking–lurking.

Okay Fitton, can’t you make your point without bringing in this artificial intelligence and the lost humans on Ganymede? Sure, but bringing out the contrast between the time periods in a narrative, experienced by humans is an essential way to understand the future. Do humans have to battle the Seraph? Oh yes- because they are the products of the runaway technology. Is Professor Geiger really necessary? You bet he’s necessary. Geiger espouses the positive nature of humanity, using the human power to reason and understand the possibilities of technology but he cautions us to be aware of the side effects. As technologies advance, we must have that attitude. To think. “Nachdanken.”

Here is the complete podcast list for I Have Seen the Future, 7 episodes with the audio book sandwiched in between. The clean version of the book is at Audible-without the podcast:

RPF

Post Script: Color movies of the 1939 NY World’s Fair

Johnny’s Back in Town

Part Two

Jack Incognito Ripper
Johnny’s Back in Town-Part Two

It’s a good idea to murder somebody sooner rather than later. Sounds like a quote from Jack the Ripper. Unfortunately, we don’t have quotes from Jack the Ripper because Jack’s middle name was Incognito. Why is it we’re all fascinated with murder? Same reason we study the Civil War or the Kennedy Assassination. The good thing about being thrust into the world of the horrific, the vile and the despicable is we can exit out a door and step out of that world. For a breather anyway. The things that we can’t imagine being a part of or even witnessing is strangely tantalizing. Unless you’re one of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Then you’d better learn to run like hell.

In Johnny’s Back in Town I noticed, especially in the audio book, that there is a prolonged period in the beginning of the book before the murder is committed. I almost compressed chapters to get the murder underway. This is true for your normal murder-mystery but the Jones series isn’t normal and has other elements- townie humor, a subplot of a new dean at the college, and a focus on Cocoa. Cocoa’s ‘old man’ left his mother and brother when Cocoa was just a kid. Johnny Stefani bolted to Vegas to start a new life. It’s appropriate that the bowling tournament for the charity about kids losing their father is the centerpiece of the murder scene. Here’s where the story gets prolonged. The opportunity is for the Hamilton locals, as nutzo as they are, to be in their element with Cocoa’s temper flaring because he owns the bowling alley. Also, it is Cocoa’s insight not the cops that establishes the logistics of the murder.

When I was growing up my mother would have a billion stories and background information on everyone who lived in our hometown, complete with nicknames. In Hamilton there is always a backstory, usually told by Lark Larsen but Cocoa and the mob have backstories too. Of course, Jones sinks into that history. So, when I’m telling the backstory in Jones I’m probably engaging, albeit fiction, of my mother’s embellishing of the past.

Hamilton, New Hampshire is separated from the city of Prince William by the Devonshire Hills. Here are two markedly different geographical areas and lifestyles. The area is an amalgamation of Amherst, Massachusetts where I went to school and elements of North Easton, Massachusetts where I grew up. Amherst is separated by the Holyoke Range from the greater Springfield area and both Amherst and North Easton are next to the cities of Northampton and Brockton. Father Jim Gallagher, Jones’s priest, and good friend, bridges that gap between Hamilton and Prince William and conveniently allows Jones lodging when he doesn’t have his jeep. Gallagher is also the moral conscience of Matthias Jones while Jones tiptoes through the assortment of mob characters from Boston to Providence, New York, and Vegas. Most of the mob likes Jones!

A familiar motif develops In Johnny’s Back in Town. Jones, usually with Cocoa and possibly one of the town’s illustrious characters, investigates the murders and very often are drawn outside the Hamilton area. Be prepared for car chases and shoot outs. Remember, this is not reality. Rather, it is in a realm that most of us will never be in. Like riding a roller coaster. Hopefully, you’re riding at Six Flags and not on the highway.

Groucho and Margaret Dumont
You can’t take them anywhere
Must be Festivus

If you read or listen to the Matthias Jones books, you’ll see the ruthless, the arrogant, the boastful or snobbish know-it-alls’ always get their comeuppance. (The Marx Brothers, Moe Larry and Curly) And if you’re from New England you will particularly enjoy Arnie Dewars’s stunt at the end of the book. I think there is a direct correlation from watching Seinfeld over and over again.

I should mention Uncle Dullio. Dullio doesn’t say much but he is totally loyal to Cocoa and Jones. Waiting for an Uncle Dullio confrontation is well worth it. He started for Notre Dame in football and was in an elite military unit. Pushing three hundred pounds, mostly muscle, he’s always eating and consistently provides a Deus ex machina that even the gods would envy.

RPF

Johnny’s Back in Town

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Johnny’s Back in Town

Part One

Robert P. Fitton

“Murder, Mayhem, and Monkey Business.”

Last night I was happy to get my copy of the latest Matthias Jones book: Johnny’s Back in Town.

The Matthias Jones Series is not your typical murder-mystery.

(Ya think, Fitton?)

Hamilton College, Hamilton New Hampshire

Jones is a coach of three sports at Hamilton College in fictitious Hamilton New Hampshire. That’s what he was hired to do. By golly Jones just happens to be up to his eyeballs in murder investigations. Does Jones have a penchant for chasing after ambulances, fire trucks and police cars? No, that’s not it. He does however have a knack for tracking down murderers. Call that quality intuition or as Jones says: ‘a sideroad theory.’ Add persistence into the investigative mix. The college tolerates and accepts that Jones is called into action every time there is a murder. And the cops like the college have no problem with Jones in the middle of investigations. Let’s take the scenario a step further. Jones is best friends with Cocoa Stefani, a local hood, connected to the mob, and owner of the infamous Club Max in the neighboring city of Prince William. Sometimes in the course of investigations Jones and Cocoa are involved with the Boston mafia and other assorted thugs. So, Jones is out of town a lot but hark! He manages to conduct practices, play games, and have a superb winning record anyway. Jones’s fascination sounds like more than a hobby but less than an occupation. Investigating murders was the occupation of Jones’s father. When his father is murdered it is Jones along with Cocoa who solves Bill Jones’s murder.

The Matthias Jones Series is to Perry Mason as Hogan’s Heroes was to Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17. Hogan’s was not real yet it’s easy to suspend the disbelief because Hogan and the boys outwitted the Germans and it was fun-so were the characters. The premise of a counterinsurgency operating out of a POW camp is outrageous. It is the character flaws and egos as well as Hogan’s cunning that fuels the laughter. Every week a returning character or a new screwball appears in camp and is tied into the plot.

Matthias Jones started out very serious. I remember my cousin asking why Jones suddenly appeared at the scene of murders. I of course had no answer. Nor I did not exaggerate character traits early on. Jones was based on our coach in high school taking over from a nice guy who the small town loved. But that coach like Lark Larsen in the Jones series did not win many ball games. I met that other coach during my first year in college and ended up missing a class because he and I were still talking about the old days. Lark Larsen in the Jones series is a cartoon-like buffoon who like many of the whacko citizens of Hamilton and beyond have no clue they are abnormally bizarre weirdos operating in the real world. And they all have a nickname! There are many old-time radio shows as well as television comedies that have these dumbbells on the loose.

Newhart

Jones, although frustrated by characters such as lumberyard owner, the reckless Arnie Dewars or the know it all, untactful and incompetent Bucky Driscoll, puts up with the nonsensical behavior. Even with accentuated character flaws and poor judgement everyone has the potential to be proficient in something. So do the Jones characters. It’s easy to forget this in everyday life! Many of the underestimated Jones Series characters bring forth a certain insight that solves the murder.

One more thing:

Fletcher Patriarch Hamilton Fletcher controls the college and the town and is easily triggered which is the genesis of more humor. Fletcher’s character holds the Matthias Jones pretend world together on many levels. Cocoa Stefani is also a character who is easily annoyed. He likes to get to the point and is not going to waste time. But Jones is his best bud. And it is Cocoa’s long lost gangster father from Vegas who is back in town in the latest Matthias Jones book and wouldn’t you know… somebody is murdered.

RPF

Johnny’s Back in Town

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Hey, wait a minute… July 3rd… 50 years… Jim Morrison?

Paris-July 2, 1971

In the photo above Jim Morrison sits with Pam Courson at a Paris café table. James Douglas Morrison in hours would slip away forever. There are many accounts of how and why Jim Morrison died. From all that I’ve read- Occam’s Razor (the bad heroin mixed with Booze and bad health and substantiated physical injuries caused heart failure) is the best explanation. And let’s add a decade or more of substance abuse. Hey wait a minute that doesn’t sound like Occam’s Razor! Nothing Jim Morrison ever did was understandable in our everyday world.

At the time of Morrison’s death I was a pop Doors fan. Light my Fire–Love her Madly–Touch me. As I grew older (Jim would probably say ” And wiser”) The guy did have a sense of humor to the point of bizarre stunts on and off stage. I grew older and the voice drew me to other songs but not the complete repertoire. As I experienced the roller coaster of life there was a slow melding into the panoply of Doors material and appreciation of Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore. With the headphones on I hear the drums as a part of the music. And Ray’s jazzy rock gluing the songs together. Or the fingernail pickin’ Robbie Kreiger producing rock into the songs as if all the Doors were born from the same cosmic creature!

With other rock groups and singers, I appreciate the music with a- “That’s a good song” or ” Great Group.” I can play Beatles music for hours and grasp the talent and the variety of songs as well as the meaningful servings of four lads from Liverpool who rocked the world. With the Doors it’s remarkably different. But Morrison is the juice. Turn the volume up let’s say to L.A. Woman. I’m not just tapping my feet. With the Doors I’m sinking into the song. In Billy Joel’s Good Night Saigon the boys who were sent into the meat grinder called Vietnam had no cameras to shoot the landscape. They passed the hash pipe and played their Doors tapes. Say what? This is what I’m talking about. I have no hash pipe. The closest thing for me is Dunkin Donuts almond blend coffee. Those guys in Vietnam didn’t just listen- they experienced Morrison and the Doors. That’s what I mean when I say-sinking into the music.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Jim Morrison was an enigma. He will always be an enigma. I get a lot of facts and figures with I explore Morrison’s life in books or in documentaries. Something I may not have known. Chasing after the meaning of Jim Morrison is like Mr. Spock asking the computer to ascertain the value of pi. Like quantum physicists who change the placement of electrons by trying to measure them. Jim Morrison changes when you try to nail down exactly who he is. Folks, here’s the answer. Jim Morrison was and is like a Rubik’s Cube- Twist and turn. You never know what you’re going to get.

RPF

The Rubik’s Cube Enigma

Sometimes you have to take an objective look at what you’ve written.

The Objective Mr. Fitton

Ya Right! Who’s objective? The way I look at it is: Fitton you’d better be objective. So how do you know if what you’ve written is flowing along the way it should? I don’t have a little alarm bell in my head. It’s a meltdown device that drives me crazy when something isn’t right. Well, this morning that meltdown device sent me into a tizzy.

I had spent the beginning of the book up in the colony in Canada in 2047 telling the story of how Patch Kincaid is done thinking about the Kennedy Assassination. Kennedy was killed. That’s it! Right?

Oh no no no no…. He gets back in time and then is excited about finding those who committed the crime, etcetera. How can this writer from Cape Cod overlook the premise at the beginning of the book? Glad I woke up.

How to fix… How to fix.

First of all Patch has to make his feelings clear…. SNIP SNIP SNIP away ‘the turn on a dime Patch’ and create a little tension. Make him work to the conclusion that he hates the National Security State of the future which began in the 20th century. Overall-have his actions make sense which I did…

AND WHILE I’M AT IT- I never gave any clue to the reader as well as background info on what is coming up…. so I did. Little repairs that seamlessly blend into the story. Like to pick these intruders out of my story before I proceed too far. Don’t want to have to re-write hundreds of pages or change the storyline dramatically at the end. When I used a
typewriter early on re-writing was… well that’s why some of the audio on my site is known as a FREEBEE.

I think I’ll work on my cover for American Injustice as the fireworks explode not too far away.

We will see if I still like the cover by the time the novel is done sometime in the fall… Fireworks are DONE. Over and out.

RPF