Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Added to my e-bookshelf … Cyan

The passage of time in the course of advanced space travel – the way that passage varies between the travelers and those they leave behind, and the effect on even the strongest of relationships touched by that variation – has been a popular topic in fantasy and science fiction for a long, long … uh … time.

I remember watching “The Twilight Zone” as a youth, where an episode called ‘The Long Morrow‘ touched upon that effect. And I’ve enjoyed plenty of other treatments of that topic, in a variety of media, in the decades since … including Cynthia Felice’s “Downtime,” which I reviewed for LibraryThing a couple of years ago.

Now comes “Cyan,” written by Syd Logsdon, published by EDGE-Lite and Hades Publications … and a welcome addition to my shelf.

The story begins on Earth, in a not-distant-enough future. It is a world dealing with a variety of problems, many of which can be traced back to what you and I are doing right here, right now. As the population grows and resources dwindle, more and more are convinced that, truly, ‘the end is nigh’ and that the only viable solution is NOT to be found on this planet.

So where is this solution to be found, and how do we get there? What do we find when – if! – we arrive there, and can we truly handle it? Could we adapt, or would we just adhere to the mindset that got us into the problems to begin with?

And I’m not just talking about global issues, but small, personal, even intimate relational issues between individuals, as well. Borrowing a line from Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?”

In “Cyan,” Logsdon provides answers to these and other questions that arise in the course of his story. They are answers that ‘grow’ the story and your interest in it … though there are times when the answers are less-than-encouraging, even as they develop the story -and your interest – further.

Along the way, the reader will meet a cast of characters that run the full gamut of humanity – and more. As the story progresses, two of these characters will emerge as leading protagonists, each with a vision for humanity’s future, and the path to realize that vision … but at what cost? There will be a confrontation of course, though its ultimate resolution might surprise you … it surprised me, and was one of the favorite parts of my read.

I recommend this read. I think Logsdon has brought a new and fresh approach to an established trope of the science fiction genre … and crafted a good story, too.

Will we see some more in the future? Time will tell.


NOTE: I received a free e-copy of this work through LibraryThing in exchange for a review.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

I am PCUSA … and PRO-Fossil Fuel … Pt. 1

• Part 1 of my argument AGAINST blanket divestment

As the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA meets in St. Louis this year and considers demands for an immediate and total, blanket divestment of the denomination’s investment funds from “fossil fuel producers,” I have to ask … is blanket divestment the answer? Shouldn’t we, instead, consider reinvestment of those funds into responsible – even moral – fossil fuel producers?

Let me give you some idea of my background – the context in which I am composing this post, and future posts on this topic. It’s important to the consideration – if any! – that you will give to what follows …

For the past 34 years, I have lived and worked in and around the city of Midland, in the western region of Texas … smack-dab in the middle of what they call ‘the oil patch.’ There is some cattle and some cotton in the foundation of this community, but most of Midland today is built upon the energy industry, and the production of oil and natural gas plays a major -even predominant role – in our local economy.

I do not work directly for the energy industry … though I have been happily married those same 34 years to someone who is. As for me, I first worked in in this part of Texas as a contract archaeologist … but my vocation has changed more than once with the ups and downs – especially the downs! – in the energy industry over the past three decades. So I have also worked as a television writer/producer, a newspaper reporter/editor, a website/social media manager, and for the past ten years as a website editor for a community college.

This has given me a tremendous opportunity to observe the industry ‘up-close and personal,’ as we used to say in the news business. I suggest that I might have more insight than some others into the industry, its people, its technology and practices, and the changes in said technology and practices. I have seen, reported-on and learned from – to borrow a phrase from a movie title – the good, the bad and the ugly of fossil fuel production … and the beautiful, as well.

Let me qualify that last paragraph, though … my experience observing fossil fuel producers has been exclusively with oil and natural gas. I have no such current experience with the coal industry, and I am not qualified to comment upon changes that may have taken place in their technology and practices. When it comes to coal, all I have to go on are the 55-year-old memories I have of that industry – actually, the remnants of that industry – in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area of northeastern Pennsylvania … observations which helped to firmly set my course down the environmentalism path as a teenager way-back-when.

Anyway, that is where I come from. Where I am going, in the weeks ahead, is to develop my pro-fossil fuel thesis, and to suggest options for a position within the Presbyterian Church USA that still promotes protection and restoration of God’s creation, yet encourages responsible – even moral – energy production that includes fossil fuels. Thank you for your time in reading the above. I welcome any comments you wish to make in the space below … regardless of your stance on fossil fuel production. It is my hope that this will be the start of a discussion among those who ultimately share a common goal, a common destination … though for now, we may be reaching it by different paths.