Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review of RETURNING


Returning by Pat Whitaker, 233 pp.

Review by Thomas C. Stone

New Zealand author Pat Whitaker creates a spellbinding science fiction story in Returning, delivering an alternative historical narrative based on thought-provoking scenarios. With an intriguing premise, Whitaker takes us from the tundra of Siberia to war torn Europe in a pursuit of rocket technology and Nazi political manipulations. The central character is Arthys, an intelligent alien parasite capable of attaching to any biological lifeform. Arthys is from an advanced civilization and has been banished to Earth for unspecified crimes. The impetus for the story arises in Arthys’ efforts to make his way back to his home-world.

Returning gives Whitaker the opportunity to explore several topics – animal consciousness, the depravity of war, human morality and motivation, and not least, the power of human love to lend meaning to life. The reader is treated to private discussions between the leaders of the Nazi hierarchy as Arthys travels from one host to another. Whitaker handles the transitions gracefully with a thorough knowledge of all the players. Indeed, so thorough was the historical accuracy, I found myself thumbing through Bullock’s Hitler: A Study in Tyranny to check the facts. Included in Returning is a fairly detailed exposition of the Nazi rocket program at Peenemunde that is also historically accurate.

The science fiction of Returning does not end with the parasite Arthys and his impact on history, but additionally we are treated to a clear and fascinating look at interstellar travel by an alien civilization thousands of years in advance of our own. As usual, Whitaker is scientifically up-to-date in his speculations.

Returning is a thoughtful read with enough intrigue to satisfy any reader. Whitaker’s prose style is straightforward and accessible, a great relief from some current authors whose works might leave you pondering as to the intent of their stories. Whether one is a connoisseur of science fiction or simply a casual reader, Returning is a must-read.

Available in hard-copy or ebook. whitakerbooks.wordpress.com

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Be Careful What You Say

As a young man, I boldly ran my mouth with my opinions and my desires, many times getting myself into problems that could have been avoided if I had just remained silent. As I grew older, opinions and desires changed. I found I was not as sure of things as I had been. The more knowledge I gained the less certain I was of the surety of my place in the universe. I was admonished as a young man by parents and reminded by my mother to be careful of what I said, that once it was out of my mouth I could never retrieve it, never correct it. Of course, I tried correcting my errors through apology, through argument, through pleading, but none of that really worked. Once it’s out there you can’t reel it back in.

The same goes for negative thoughts that are voiced. Once the words are spoken, the negative influence remains out in the world. I would even go so far as to say, negative thoughts that precede verbalization influence the thinker and taint the actualization of positive results.

Somewhere in Hemingway’s writings, he has one of his character’s reply to another character’s negative comment by saying, “Don’t put your mouth on it.” It’s a caution against voicing negative thoughts, against sending out fears into the outside world where the world can hear you and then respond by giving you exactly that which you are trying to avoid.

Words are powerful things. They are more than indicators of our thought processes. They are influencers of unfolding reality. So, be careful what you say.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Procrastination Guidelines for Writers


Anyone who has ever set out to write something of merit understands that distractions are the bane of writing. To that end, a writer must understand the pitfalls of starting a project. To avoid the quicksand of a wandering mind, the following rules have been formulated. They have been written in order but feel free to experiment.

1. Get comfortable before beginning your project. Get whatever you need that will help you sit for hours so you won’t have an excuse to get up and search for whatever it is. Food, drinks, candy, coffee, cigarettes, whatever.
2. Play a computer game to get the feel of the computer.
3. When using a word processor, spend time at the beginning of your project learning about style sheets. This will occupy you for hours and most likely you still won’t understand everything you need to know.
4. Buy a manual for the word processor and wait for it to arrive before writing. You need to understand style sheets.
5. Research for project. Surf the internet and/or read a book.
6. Create style sheets, decide on which font to use and size (Times, 12 pt. is suggested.), double space lines, indent paragraphs, margin sizes, header and footer and enter info into style sheets. Feel good about your progress.
7. Take a break.
8. Remember at least one story idea and write it down before actually working on your project.
9. You may need music or radio in the background. Experiment with different music genres and radio talk shows. You’ll think you work better, and that’s what it’s all about.
10. Look for your outline. If you can’t find it or don’t have one, stare at the blinking cursor on your monitor.

Do not forget you have a telephone nearby. Feel free to call friends and family, not necessarily to talk about your project, but to loosen up the mind for writing. It is not recommended to watch television while trying to write but if something good is on, go ahead and tune in. You may see something you can write into your story. If it helps, call it research.

Fruitful procrastination is, of course, an art form. If you find yourself bored during procrastination, rest assured you’re doing it wrong. Meaningful procrastination takes time. Practice your craft. When you can devout a full day to preparing to write, you’re almost ready.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Myth-Perceptions of the Apocalypse


Four Myth-Perceptions of the Apocalypse [Taken fm Bruce Lipton]

* The world or universe is Newtonian in nature-- based on physical matter, and materialistic values. This is being disproved by quantum physics, which shows that an invisible realm is involved in shaping matter, and points to the connection between science and spirituality.
* We're a victim of our genes. We're not a victim of heredity, but can actively participate in the health of our cells/genes through our perceptions and thoughts, and breaking free from subconscious programming.
* The world is based on competition. This kind of Darwinian thinking keeps us armed, guarded and stressed. Evolution actually favors community and cooperation.
* Random evolution occurred. Organisms were designed to bring harmony to the environment; they are adaptive, not random.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Writing

Good writing doesn’t always sell, but it certainly prevails over bad writing. So then, what is the difference between good and bad writing? That’s easy to answer. Good writing delivers a message clearly and succinctly, and sometimes even in a thought-provoking, meaningful manner. Bad writing muddies the waters of comprehension and delivers a message that cannot be readily grasped.

There are rules for writing that will allow you to have a command over language. Using the rules correctly, you will have the power of written persuasion at your fingertips. You will be able to summon forth an ability to communicate like none other. You will be able to analyze problems, find solutions, win arguments, and gain recognition. Just follow the rules. We who ply the trade of writing call these rules grammar. Good grammar is following the rules. Bad grammar is not following the rules. Remember, if your reader can’t understand what you’re trying to say, you have failed.

Are there shortcuts to good grammar? Sure, it’s called reading. All successful writers have a superior sense of good grammar and I guarantee none of them developed their craft by watching television. They read before ever attempting a paragraph. They read everything, especially those subjects that interest them.

People often come to me with an idea for a story. Additionally, it’s always an undeveloped idea. Then they suggest I “flesh it out” and “put it into words”. Magnanimously, they add, “When it makes a million, you can split the proceeds with me.” My reply is that a story idea is nothing without someone to write it. It’s their idea they insist. Try copyrighting an idea I suggest.

Good writing is not only worthwhile, it is worth dollars and worthy of reward. Good writing is recognizable as such, as is bad writing. Good writers practice their vocation. Bad writers posture, speculate, and probably watch too much television.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Japanese First Lady Claims Alien Abduction

The title does not say it all. To read the article, go here. She really sounds like she's a lot of fun.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good News for eBook Guys (Me)

You know how much it costs to print a hundred+ books? Well, it depends on a few things, but generally you can't get it done for much less than $2400. So, you can see why eBooks are so attractive to writers who want to market their stories on their nickel. eBooks are cheaper to produce, way cheaper. Of course, traditional publishers don't like it at all. Here's the latest on the changing book media.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Am I the Only One Concerned?

Man, I've got a short list of friends but I have to say none seem terribly concerned about the state of the economy. When I tell them it appears things are going to get much, much worse, they pooh-pooh and tell me how negative I am. "You're giving off bad vibes," they say. Well, maybe I am, but it's the way I see it. Employment figures are awful, lots of folks saying bad stuff about the government, no money to go around, and no end in sight. Why should I believe otherwise? And lots of end-of-the-world stuff at the movies too. Anybody else notice? Hey, how about that trailer for 2012? Surfin' over the Himalayas. The Beach Boys would be proud.

Saw District-9. Two thumbs up.
Watched Surveillance last night. Grisly, but still two thumbs up. It's from the same folks who brought us The Last House On The Left (David and Jessica Lynch).
Now waiting for Avatar (Dec 18) which they say is going to change they way we watch media altogether. But what the heck, I just want to see a good sci-fi story.

I think I've got the PayPal stuff working on my website (www.thomascstone.com) finally. Please go there and buy a book or two or three so I can eat next week.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healthcare

Hey, I'm for universal healthcare. It's a great idea to alleviate suffering, help the poor and rich alike, and teach people how to live happier, healthier lives. With that said, I do not want to see a corrupt political system administer such a system especially during a worldwide economic depression. Why do we have to do it now? Just another example of the power elite using a crisis to further their agenda. The politics of crowd-control. Everybody line up and take a number. It's a power grab that will severely limit our freedom with far-reaching consequences.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Thoughts


  • Read a news article predicting the next collapse at the end of August. More likely in October.
  • Another news item saying the latest unemployment figures were wrong and numbers are still rising. I wish they'd get it right.
  • District-9 comes out tomorrow. Kind of excited about that. Hope to catch a matinee.
  • Haven't had a TV for three years and not really missing it except for MMA. Of course, I rent more movies now. Speaking of which, saw Frost/Nixon last weekend and thought it was very good no matter which side of the aisle you're from.
  • By 2011, most Americans will be upside-down in their houses. That is, their mortgages will greatly exceed the value of their houses. Still, people gotta live somewhere.
  • I wonder who the most evil person in our government is?
  • If we discovered another habitable planet, would you endorse an exploratory mission?
  • I think kids have way too much freedom these days. Ah, but what you gonna do with only one parent around?
  • I think kids and grown-ups are way spoiled these days. Looks like all that may be coming to an end.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Explain My Problems

OK, after jacking around with forum stuff for months and never getting it to work properly (hey, thanks a lot GoDaddy), I decided to link up to my little-used blog. It won't have quite the same effect, but it sure will be easier for me. I'm going to assume you webophiles know how to post a response to blog. If not, it's fairly self-evident.

OK, let the posting begin.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Surviving Economic Collapse

Step1 Read. Educate yourself before hand if possible. Read everything you can on how to survive a total economic collapse. Start with "Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of the 21st Century" and "Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis", both by William Bonner, for a historical perspective and very well-written analysis of the current situation. Also read "The Great Bust Ahead: The Greatest Depression in American History" by Daniel A. Arnold. (See the Resources section, below.)

Step2 Plan. Make a plan for how to survive a total economic collapse. List your debts and assets. How quickly can you pay down your debt, while still purchasing necessary supplies? Your goals should include no debt and the procurement and storage of valuable assets. Your preparation timetable should be as short as possible.

Step3 Nix debt. Pay off debt and avoid new debt by paying with cash instead of credit cards. Concentrate on paying off high-interest debt, loans with adjustable rates and unsecured debts first. Sell expensive vehicles that have loans to pay off what you owe, and buy cheaper replacements using cash. In order to survive a total economic collapse, you need to have assets, not liabilities. (Note: storing food and resources are higher priority than paying down debt for families of modest means.)
Step4 Buy Silver. Change liquid savings into silver and gold. If the dollar collapses, having precious metals will preserve your money and it can be used as currency or exchanged for a currency with value, such as Swiss francs. As the dollar continues to lose value, silver dollars preserve their value or go up in value, thus protecting your assets in the event of a economic recession, allowing you to financially survive a recession or depression.

Step5 Invest wisely. Re-evaluate your stocks and mutual funds. In order to financially survive a total economic collapse, your investments must be secure. Consider putting some of your stocks into gold (GLD) or opening a precious metals IRA. Research stocks that will survive a total economic collapse through sites like Daily Reckoning Day.

Step6 Store grain. Purchase goods and valuables such as guns for hunting and personal protection, and basic food supplies such as whole grains and legumes, which are easy to store. Invest in water purification bottles and tablets, and keep some bottled water on hand to meet immediate needs in the event of a shortage. All of these will make it more possible to survive a total economic collapse.

Step7 First aid. Prepare a First Aid Kit, sewing kit and other practical necessities of daily life to aid in survival of a total economic collapse. These are good things to have on hand anyway, for regular daily life as well as unforeseen emergencies.

Step8 Build community. Get to know your neighbors and build a community wherever you are. In the event of total economic collapse, life will become very local and survival will depend on working together with others, beginning with families.

Step9 Grow food. Grow some of your own food and raise animals for meat. Chickens and rabbits are small and easy to tend. Chickens provide eggs as well as meat and are excellent sources of protein and fat, both critical for survival. In economic downturns such as a recession or depression, being able to produce food is a important skill to have.

Step10 Barter. Learn how to barter, and stock items to trade. Think about necessities (wool blankets, soap, boots, duct tape, ammunition) as well as luxuries (chocolate, tobacco, alcohol). Useful tools will be more valuable than money if there is a currency collapse. Useful barter items will be helpful to have on hand as you prepare to survive an economic collapse.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars last night in the annual Hollywood cinema love fest. I saw Batman but none of the rest because, of course, how can anyone afford to go the movies these days? The late Heath Ledger got Best Supporting Actor for his Joker portrayal in Batman and the homophobic Sean Penn ironically won Best Actor for his role as Harvey Milk, gay activist. Once again, the academy snubbed Rob Zombie for Best Director.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What I Did During The Depression

  • Stock markets continue to fall. Still looking for the bottom.
  • Oilfield operations in North Texas are slowing.
  • Keeping a blog while not having an internet connection is difficult, but not impossible.
  • Robot insects designed for military purposes. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,456384,00.html
  • 1/3 of all homeless adults in the US served in the military.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Ongoing news indicates the greatest shift of wealth in world history is proceeding nicely. The common man is in a downhill slide that will last for years to come. Poverty and deprivation will likely reach new lows. The results? More dependence on government, less freedom, less choice.

Ah, but we had a grand Super Bowl, eh? The Steelers and the Cards were locked in a titanic display of might that afforded us a distraction from our woes for a few hours. In between the action scenes we were bombarded by displays of materiality and ads for new movies. In all, it was a thrilling evening on the couch.

The Dow is still playing with the 8000 point watershed.

Who killed Kennedy? Does anybody care anymore?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Numero Uno

Hey, wow, look at this, I can spout my nonsense without time-consuming programming and purchasing web space. Maybe things are turning around after all. Anyhoo, this is the first post on this space. Historic.