Saturday, December 31, 2016
It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction. But, what happens when truth is completely replaced by fiction?
Such a question was once limited to science fiction, but no more. In an age when cyber technology afflicts society with a barrage of "fake news," when unsupported opinion and even outright fabrication are presented as fact in a cybernetically generated alternate reality -- in which so many immerse themselves -- what then is accepted as reality? Reality, it seems, is whatever the majority chooses to embrace. Truth or fiction. Bright, idealized vision, or horrific nightmare.
Our current president-elect seems to create his own reality quite handily, conjuring phantom enemies and allies at will. And, concealing any reality he chooses not to see.
His own intelligence officers insist the evidence is overwhelming that the current Russian dictatorship is attacking this country at will in cyber space, attempting to affect the course of our national destiny as far as current cyber technology will allow. Yet, our chosen leader simply refuses to accept that reality. Why he refuses to accept it, only he knows. But, as George Orwell pointed out in his dystopian future novel "1984", truth becomes malleable in the hands of a dictatorial regime which controls the flow of information. Nothing...not even the statement that 2 + 2 = 4 can be considered absolute. The human mind is our only instrument for discerning truth, after all, and that faulty instrument can be twisted.
President-elect Trump refers to fellow Americans who oppose him as his enemies, and treats a foreign dictatorship like Russia as a friend, even as they demonstrably attack us. All manner of horrific scenarios of back-room dealing and international intrigue spring readily to mind and haunt our nightmares as we speculate as to the true nature of our new leader's relationship with the great bear across the sea. But, the true reality, like the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain, remains hidden.
Like the Russian doll, shells within shells of false realities may regress infinitely inward. What we find at the center may be the most horrific reality of all.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
What is humanity's future beyond the safety of Earth?
Lillicat Publishers presents:
The Visions Series
Exciting science fiction which explores the possibilities of space travel, from near-earth space to the remotest galaxies, and beyond...
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
And, night has fallen.
The light of reason and hope ebbs and so begins a long, dark night of hatred, fear and hopelessness. A night of walls, of bigotry and fear and "extreme vetting." Of hating the outsider in trying to make ourselves feel greater.
A step has been taken backward. Back toward reversing a woman's right to control her life. Back toward reversing marriage equality and relegating an entire group of people to an assigned caste of perpetual inferiority and alienation.
Families may be torn asunder, chasms may widen between nations and religions. But, will our nation endure? Will we still recognize it...and, each other...when the long dark night is over?
And, when will it be over? Can darkness endure forever? Hatred does. War does. Bigotry does. How much more easily those things come to the human heart than love. How much more easily to the human mind than reason.
So easy to revel in our own hatred. Love of war. Love of torture. Hatred of the outsider. Are these our creeds now? Will any of our soul or national character survive in the cold, deepening shadow of a wall that blocks out the sunlight of hope?
All talk now is of healing and reconciliation. Is that even possible in a regime that has fed and grown on division, fear and hate? That depends on these things to continue to grow and prosper? That would fill its ranks with those that would widen the gulf between authority and community? That would move the law backwards while half the country longs to move forward? Can we even try or want to support our elected leader if his goals include only more division, more fear, more inequality and more hatred? When the leader's goals conflict with those of half the governed, then where does healing begin?
The protest marches have already begun. Will they dissipate, or spark violent counter-protests, a taste of which we've already seen throughout the exhausting election behind us?
This election was spawned by a complete lack of hope. By a blind desire for change at any cost. Like the foolish frogs of Greek myth who demanded a king. Zeus gave them a log for a king, because it did no harm, and they were outraged in their boredom. "Give us a king who does something," they cried, and Zeus gave them a crane for a king. As the crane devoured them, they begged to have the log back. But, it was too late.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
If a tree falls and no one is there to hear, does it make a noise? And, if historic events fall on deaf ears and uncaring minds...is history made at all?
We stand now at a crossroads of history. In a tiny march of days, either we'll have the first female president in U.S. history, or...we go backwards, perhaps. We succumb to cynicism, hatred and complete and utter loss of faith in our system and our way of life. "Make America Great Again," is the rallying cry of the madman leading the opposition to reality. No specific date is offered as to when exactly America stopped being great. Though, one suspects that crowd sees it as the day we elected a black president. That was the day they started dressing up in colonial Halloween costumes and screaming about the Constitution. Something they never seem to give a damn about when phones are being tapped or people are being tortured in secret prisons. Only when a black man sits in the White House. They compared Obama with Hitler, supposedly because they didn't like his healthcare plan. A convenient way to vent their racist fury without admitting (even to themselves perhaps) the true source of their anger. Obama's election was a moment in history they desperately tried to drown out with background static and period costumes. They wanted to bury the true meaning of that election with petty grievances that couldn't in a million years elicit such fury with a white president at the center of it.
So it is now with this election. The fact we could have our first female head of state is buried under petty gripes about emails and dusty law files. The election of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Presidency could be a moment in history, yet the forces of reaction, cynicism and moral despondency insist on seeing it as "more of the same". "Business as usual." They have lost faith in America's system of government, so they would elect a brutish clown, a testosterone-driven Neanderthal who plays on their fear and hatred of the outsider. Their fear of the future most of all. Those who embrace Donald Trump as the symbol of yesterday's American dream revitalized...the white, cigar-chewing, swaggering, arrogant dominant male American dream... are like children afraid of change, afraid of growth, afraid of the future. They want to escape into the past. More than that, they simply refuse to acknowledge that they live and breathe a moment of American history. Our first woman President. They don't dare to see her that way. They hide behind cheap shots and name-calling rather than see the bigger picture.
That's not to say we should want to elect just any woman to the presidency, of course. But, it does mean something. It means we as a people haven't given up on the future. It means we can take a step forward, as we did with Obama. It means we haven't given up hope in the capacity of societies to grow and improve.
The Trump campaign is rebellion against reality. Against the future. Against our maturation as a people and as a nation. Adolescent escapism in the form of a misogynistic, racist, dirty old man out of the past. Trump feeds our darker angels, our fear and bigotry and xenophobia and misogyny, yet he hides it skillfully behind locker room insolence and petty gripes. With him, the angry white male gets to indulge his hatred without really acknowledging it. The enemy is always external, always in the ill-defined form of rigged systems and nameless, faceless corruption. It's never about race or gender.
But, let's face it: It damn well always is. What happens next will, one way or the other, change the course of history. The question is, will anybody notice?
Barnes & Noble
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Welcome to the cover reveal for Sharon Ledwith's upcoming new novel, The Last Time Keepers and the Dark Secret!
Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret
Series: The Last Timekeepers, Book 2
Author Name: Sharon Ledwith
Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, WWII
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com)
About The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret:
Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.
With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.
Read an Excerpt:
“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.
Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”
“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.
Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.
“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.
“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.
“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.
“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?"
Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.
“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.
“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.
“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”
Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.
Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”
Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”
Meet the Author:
Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time.
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Connect with Sharon:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bEsmM0
Goodreads Author Page:
Publisher Website: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com
Author's Website: http://sharonledwith.com/
Friday, July 8, 2016
Today, it seems, the dream withers and humanity seems to be receding backwards into darkness, rather than forward into light.
The European Union was a dream. For some of us, the first step towards a United States of Europe. Of the world, perhaps. But, fear, selfishness, tribalism, cynicism and feelings of alienation triumphed over the newer human qualities of hope and idealism. Reversion to fear and anger killed at least part of that dream when England, to the shock of the world, withdrew from the E.U.
Some blame the failure on bigotry; the same fear of the outsider, of the stranger who is different from you and me, the primal fear in all of us that drives police bullets into black suspects (and now, perhaps the reverse) and fuels Donald Trump's wall-building frenzy. Trump builds walls against Mexicans and Muslims, the Israelis build walls against Palestinians. Now, the English want to build walls against all foreigners. Walls are going up all over. Is it just bigotry?
Partly. But, others blame elitism. Decades of the rich and the powerful ignoring the working class. There's truth in that. What we are seeing now, worldwide is in many ways a worker's revolt. Sad, that all that unfocused anger, festering for so long had to find its focus in the blind hatred of the outsider.
So, is this the end of the dream? Has humanity made the final U-turn? We are never to stand as one in reaching for the stars, but only cower behind our damned walls, fearing foreigners and killing each other, ultimately turning not outward to new frontiers, but inward to the caves?
Maybe. But, then again, it would be naïve to expect human progress to be a straight line from the caves to the stars. It never has been. History has always been a crooked line. There have always been great rises and falls. Advances followed by grave disappointments. The dream of a United States of America was delayed, after all, by a civil war fueled by both economic conflict and racism. Many would contend the former eclipsed the latter. America simply had to unite, in spite of its divisive racial hatreds and fears, because larger forces demanded it. And after re-unification, the dream and the struggle continued, and still continues today, through all the senseless hatred and violence. The line is crooked yes, but it does seem to move forward, however haltingly. The same may yet prove true in Europe and elsewhere. Only time will tell.
Perhaps today's sad failure will be tomorrow's wake-up call. Perhaps a house divided against itself truly cannot stand. Maybe it took something like this to wake the world up to the fact that elitism is not the road to the future. The workers must have a hand in the future they are called upon to build. A truly united Europe...or ultimately a united Earth... must be one that includes the votes and voices of the common people. But, for that to happen, education must take the next generation beyond its tribal fears and isolationist instincts. The vote to exit the E.U. was largely a vote of the old over the objections of the young. The last gasp of a dying generation? We'll see. Where there's life, there's hope.
Lessons learned, and tomorrow's another day. Maybe.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Sloane Taylor hosts my SCIENCE FICTION guest post on her fine blog:
Sweet as Honey...Hotter Than Hell!
Check it out: