Monday, November 28, 2011

Misguided Love?

                I love my family.  I live in another state so I don’t see them as much as should or could but I love them.  And I know they love and support me regardless of what I do.  If they found out about my travels to other worlds, they would still support me even if they knew all of the details.  If I quit being an accountant and started serving drinks at the local bar they would still love and support me.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful thing.  I think we each need this sanity in our busy lives and we each, in turn, try to return the sentiment to our own family members.
                However, some of my travels have led me to cross paths with some nasty creatures on nasty planets.  That got me thinking.  Let’s just take here on Earth as an example.  Don’t murderers, rapists, and dictators have families too?  What does a dictator’s mom say when she sees her son?  “I love you dear.  You are such a powerful man.  Your genocide plan is ahead of schedule.  Your father would be so proud of you if he could see you today.” 
                Would this type of support be misguided, misplaced?  Would this be enough to give such a man the strength to continue with evil behavior that the rest of the world is telling him is wrong?  Or is it completely acceptable, even encouraged given our cultural norms?  Everyone wants their own personal support system but does everyone deserve to have one?
                What are your thoughts?  Any comments?


Monday, November 21, 2011


                I know I’m always going on and on about traveling to other worlds and meeting other species, but you wouldn’t believe this wonderful technological device that I uh, found on one of my trips in the portal system.  This alien device has several features to it.  There’s invisibility, a protective shield (so far, I’ve tested it with hammers and knives and nothing seems to penetrate it), a translation feature (how cool is that?  I can talk to aliens!), and some others.  I’ll let you read about my adventures with these other features in my official report to David Englund in his book, Upsetting the Tides.  Today I want to tell you about my favorite feature, flying.  Yes, this device actually allows me to fly!  It works both here and on other worlds.
  You might think it’s all fun and games, but, well, I guess I do too.  My point is, there are issues with trying to fly.  You have to deal with things like sudden down drafts, all sorts of types of birds, and my biggest fear, being seen by someone.  You would think it’s all wide open space up there once you get past the trees and power lines.  I learned the hard way that this isn’t quite the case.  Like the time when I went out flying at night and didn’t pay attention to where I was or which direction flights were coming into town from.  As you know, about once every two or three weeks, the wind patterns force flights to come in from the northwest.  Anyway, without trying, I drifted pretty high over the city and I almost got hit by a large plane coming into town.  I panicked and dove toward the ground to get out of the way, only that put me almost directly in its jet wash.  That turned out to be a miserable experience as I spiraled toward the ground for awhile.  Thankfully, I was able to recover into level flight again.  Needless to say, I won’t be making that mistake again and there’s really no reason to include that episode in the reports. 
It’s on other worlds that I can really cut loose.  But I have to be careful.  I’m learning that every planet doesn’t have the same gravity or wind patterns that we do here.  Sometimes it takes a little getting used to.  I have to tell you, most of the time it’s incredibly fun.  The phone device (I call it that because it opens up like a flip phone) enhances the entire experience of traveling to other worlds. 

The First Book Review!

The first book review is in on Amazon!  And I don't know this reviewer.  Clark will update his adventure with his usual Monday post later today.  ~ David

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Sliders with a Twist, November 18, 2011
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This review is from: Upsetting the Tides (Kindle Edition)
An ordinary guy in the heartland of America finds a portal in his backyard. Putting aside his reservations, Clark Jackson walks through interconnecting passages to portals to other worlds. Upsetting the Tides is a story of exploration and adventure, and a man's dealing with the unintended consequences of his actions.

The narrative is quite different. Everything is told from the viewpoint of Clark the portal traveler, but a lot of scenes and actions are described through the protagonist's thoughts (denoted in italics). And the rest of the time he is involved in conversations with co-workers, aliens, etc. It takes a while to get used to this style of writing, but eventually it became second nature to me.

The story itself has an unexpected bit of action and deaths, and leads to an action by the main character that you could either support or oppose. In any event, Upsetting the Tides is an interesting story that will appeal to fans of the Sliders television show.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snake World

           I went to another new world today.  I wish there was a map of all these places.  This one was nasty.  I should have just turned around right away.  I didn’t report this planet in my report in Upsetting the Tides.  It wasn’t worth describing in the book, but I wanted to tell you about it because it disturbed me and I can’t stop thinking about it.
I couldn’t tell what color the sky was because there was a fog or mist everywhere.  I would have flown up for a better look, but as you know, I can only use one feature on the phone device at a time and I wasn’t turning off the shield on this trip.  It smelled terrible too.  At first, I thought it smelled like raw eggs but not quite.  Then, maybe sauerkraut.   Anyway, it smelled and it was difficult to see.  I kept my shield on the entire time.
                The only culture I came across was a group of snake-like creatures.  They must have been twenty feet long and a good two feet in diameter.  They were dark green and grayish with black spots on them.  Ugly and disgusting.  I hate snakes, so I really didn’t want to stick around to discover too much about those creatures.  If they had any cities, I didn’t see them with all the mist.  I followed them for a little while, hiding behind trees.  For one brief moment I saw the eyes on one of them.  There was a devious intelligence in there.
All I witnessed was a massacre.  There were a good ten to fifteen of them that herded a group of beasts into an ambush.  I wouldn’t want to go up against these horned, moose-like creatures but the snakes surrounded them and subdued them for dinner in no time.  They just might be the dominant species on that planet but I doubt they would consent to a conversation with me to discuss it.  In the middle of the slaughter I think one of the snakes looked up and saw me.  He just smiled and then went back to eating.  Smiled!  How does a snake smile anyway?  Uhhh.  That was my cue to high-tail it out of there. 
                I would have visited another world after that if I had thought to mark the portal entrance.  I walked back and forth and back and forth looking for the portal for over an hour.  It’s a miracle the snakes didn’t come after me.  I finally did find it and made my way home.  You can see why I left this episode out of my report.  I’ll just add that place to my do not return to list.   Maybe this was one of the places that Tr’zez visited and got beat up.  I’ll have to ask him about that.  

Monday, November 7, 2011


                I know I’ve told you how excited I am to meet aliens from other planets but so far it’s not such a great thing.  You should see this beast of an alien I met.  This guy is such a jerk!  His name is Tr’zez.  He’s a grouchy, rude, antagonistic bully.  If you can picture an eight foot, purple, hairy Neanderthal in your head, you’d be close to reality with this guy.  It’s all me, me, me with him.  No patience or compassion whatsoever.  I hate working for him but as you’ve read in my report to David J. Englund in his book, Upsetting the Tides, I need him.
                Tr’zez is much more experienced in the portal system than I am but he won’t share any information with me.  At least now we can tolerate each other.  Things didn’t start off so well, considering the first thing he did was try to kill me.
                The following didn’t quite make into my report, but I had some revenge of sorts with the guy.  Tr’zez sits around most of the time and ponders.  Yet, I can’t get a glimpse into his thoughts.  On the rare occasion he stands in front of me, it feels like he towers over me.  He’s very imposing with his bulging muscles.  I hate to say it, but he actually frightens me.  All I can see in his eyes is hate.  Intense hate.  I wonder what has happened to him to make him burn so.  His village is so peaceful.  No one else around him is like this.  Could something have happened in the portal system?  Should I be concerned for my own travels in the system?
                It seems like he’s just one bad day away from exploding.  I feel bad for him.  I don’t know what to do except maybe bring him some fiber.  He treats me with contempt even when I try to be nice to him.
  Anyway, I got him.  At least, for a little while.  I taught him how to play Tic Tac Toe and I won.  Now he has to call me sir every time I see him.  Man, is he furious.  He keeps demanding a rematch of my “feeble” game, but I think I want to milk this for awhile.  He also thinks we should enjoy a “real” contest like a challenge of Granun or Skluhah.  He tells me then we’ll find out who the real man is.  I hate to ask what those could possibly be.  I thought about teaching him a board game like Risk but he’d probably throw the board up in the air at the first hint of losing.  Man, I love making him call me sir.  He still scares me though.