Twenty-one years after fleeing Earth due to a genetic plague that decimated the population, the Galileo Colony Ship Kutanga arrives at Gaia, an Earth-like world in the Alpha Centauri system. The ship carries the memories and DNA of 4,492 human survivors and Aneni, the ship’s AI commander, is on a mission to save them. But she has a problem—instead of finding an uninhabited world, devoid of intelligent life and ready to receive her precious cargo, she finds a planet populated by ten’s of millions of people. The people of Gaia are primitive by Earth standards, with most living simple, agrarian lives in small towns and villages. Some are even less advanced—surviving as nomadic hunter-gatherers. The four races have little contact with one another, but all share a common legend of a fifth race that once lived among them. The fifth race was an inquisitive species and, as their knowledge grew, so too did their hubris and cruelty. They enslaved millions and brought destruction and war to a world that had previously known only harmony and peace. And they would have done far worse, were it not for the Creators. Aneni faces increasingly difficult choices as she explores this new world: Does she establish a human colony on Gaia and complete her mission? Or does she leave Gaia to its native inhabitants as the mysterious Creators intended? Her decision may mean the survival of one species and the destruction of another.
Let’s face it, 2020 has been a difficult year. As a nation, we find ourselves divided by our politics, our beliefs, and even science. We find ourselves facing a pandemic of epic proportions and many of us have not seen family or friends for months, and some have lived in near solitary confinement. Sadly, the oldest and most vulnerable among us have suffered the worst. And yet, as the new year dawns, most of us still find reasons to hope. We hope that 2021 will restore some sense of normalcy, although we do not know what our new "normal" will look like. At a minimum, we hope that we will be able to spend time with friends and loved ones without fear. At best, we hope to travel freely once again, and to go to movies, plays, sport events, or concerts with our friends and thousands of our fellow fans. The reality is that it will probably be several years before those things are true, but that is no reason to give up hope. We must hold on to the time-tested adage that “this too shall pass” and the optimistic belief that our “our best days lie ahead”. Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2021 bring you all the health and happiness you deserve, and more.
Dr. Evan Feldman was a visionary, and he liked to dream about the future. He dreamt of a new Golden Age of mankind where cloning and genetic manipulation would alleviate all human suffering and sickness. He envisioned a new world where medical science and technology no longer focused on treating the symptoms of disease, but instead focused on helping people to live longer, happier, more productive lives. Unfortunately, he died before he could see his dream become reality. The year is 2075, and Dr. Evan Feldman has just been restored to life after fifty-two years of non-existence. And the world is nothing like he imagined it. The technologies he’d dreamt about are real, but they've resulted in global famine, a third world war, and the deaths of billions. Worse yet, a mysterious plague has affected those that remain, and humanity is on the verge of extinction. The world's most powerful CEOs have a plan to save the human race, but they are going to have to break the law to do it. Evan’s granddaughter, Aubrey, is one of those CEOs, and she believes Evan is the key to humanity's survival. With the weight of the world hanging in the balance, can one man really make a difference?
I love to read, and I always have. As a child I read the greats, like Tolkien, CS Lewis, Asimov, Heinlein, Twain, and Hemingway. I had a fertile imagination and I loved being able to spend hours (or even days) engrossed in the worlds those authors created. As an adult, I continued to read voraciously and I attribute my love of reading for my ability to be successful in several different careers. I would be far less capable as a writer were it not for the countless hours spent reading the finely crafted words of others. My first book, Restoration, is my attempt do for others what was done for me. I want to take you on a journey to a not-so-distant future where the bill for decades of passing the buck has finally come due. I want you to imagine yourselves in that world, confronted with the same difficult choices as my characters, and ponder the choices you might make. Given the recent pandemic, I think it will (sadly) be far easier for readers to imagine the future I paint, but I hope that what I describe never comes to be. Rather, I hope we will make different choices—choices that result in a far happier future than the one I imagined. Stay healthy my friends and keep reading!
How many times in life have you said that? For me, it’s kind of a go-to. I’m not a big crier, so laughing is the next best alternative. For example, there was this time a few years back when we bought a Roomba. The first few days went well. Our three little dogs didn’t seem to mind Roomba, and the amount of dog hair on the floor decreased exponentially. Now, our dogs are exceptionally well trained, and they rarely mess in the house. We let them out often, and they’re good at holding it when we have to be away for an extended period. But the occasional “accident” did happen, as it did on that fateful day. We walked in and immediately knew something was wrong. There was an odd, unpleasant smell in the air, and two sets of brown tracks winding back and forth across our white tile floor…and across the teal-on-white rug in front of the couch. It was a mess, and it took us the better part of an hour to clean it up. We laughed the whole time. What else were we supposed to do? We couldn’t punish Roomba, and the dogs all swore under oath it wasn’t them. We never did solve the mystery of who started “Poo-a-geddon” but, thankfully, that hasn’t happened since.
For most of us, our world has come to a grinding halt. No more going to work, no more socializing with colleagues at lunch or after work, and no more sharing a meal with friends and loved ones at our favorite restaurant. Our children don’t go to school and aren’t allowed to play with their friends, and sporting events and other forms of public entertainment have been cancelled en masse. The result: Hours upon hours of found time. Who among us hasn’t asked for more time? How many occasions have there been in your life when you wished for just one more day, hour, or even minute? Well, my friends, today is the day that all those wishes come true. What will you do with your allotment of “extra” time? Will you spend it sitting alone, in the dark, worried about things beyond your control? Or will you spend it doing those things you’ve always said you’d do if you just had more time? Perhaps you’ll write a novel (or read one), or paint a portrait of someone you love, or write a song…or maybe you’ll call all those friends and family members who you haven’t seen or spoken to in years? It’s entirely up to you, the choice is yours. Thank you for reading, I sincerely appreciate your time!
Most of our lives are made up of habits and routines. We tend to live each day the same, barring any unexpected, disruptive event—like coronavirus, and we prefer to remain securely tucked within whatever bubble we have defined as our personal comfort zone. For some, being pushed out of one’s comfort zone is unpleasant at the least and traumatic at the worst. For others, interruptions of daily life are seen as opportunities to make changes and redefine boundaries. The recent global pandemic has, I believe, forced nearly everyone to reevaluate their routines and priorities. As a writer, I live a fairly solitary existence anyway. My days are spent writing and my evenings are spent socializing with my wife, or the occasional friend or family member that stops by. The weekends are my opportunity to get out of the house and go places, visit people, and socialize. Now, I don’t have even that but, for me, the impact has been pretty minimal overall and my routine hasn’t changed all that much. The one thing that has changed is my wife is home more than usual because her company has banned all travel for at least thirty days. The good news is that my wife is also my best friend and we enjoy each other’s company immensely. Stay healthy my friends!
One of the things that makes humans unique is our ability to manifest hope. No other animal can transform fear into hopeful optimism the way we can, and no other species comes together in times of crisis like we do. That ability is why we have survived for so long when so many other animals have been wiped out. And it is why I believe we will survive longer still. Now is the time to set aside our differences and focus on the things we have in common. We need to stop demonizing each other because of disagreements over religion, sexuality, or political ideology. It’s perfectly okay to have disagreements, but they should always be handled with civility, respect, and positive intent. Now more than ever we need our elected officials in Washington to set aside past disputes and partisan politics and focus on doing what is right for the American people. And not just a subset of people but ALL people. If the coronavirus has taught us nothing else it is that, as a society, we are only as secure as the most vulnerable among us. Let’s all do our part to take care of those that need the most help, and let’s tell our elected officials in no uncertain terms that we expect them to do the same.
A central question in Restoration is this: Will we ever learn from our mistakes and change our behavior, or are we doomed to repeat our mistakes over and over until we finally destroy ourselves? In the book, I suggest that we, more often than not, do things because we can without ever pausing to ask if we should. It is not hard to see examples of this in our daily lives—just look around. We overuse antibiotics and genetically modify our food supply without regard for the long-term consequences. We’re actively encroaching on and destroying the few natural habitats that remain—mindlessly unleashing the previously unknown bacteria and viruses that lurk there. And we’ve become overly complacent in our belief that our technology can solve almost any problem. We’ve forgotten the times not long past when diseases like the measles, typhus, and polio ravaged our population; and we’ve forgotten how—as recently as 102 years ago—a quarter of the world’s population became infected with a flu virus that killed tens of millions before it was over. Maybe the sudden appearance of this new coronavirus is a wakeup call—a chance to change now before it’s too late? Will we change? Can we change? Or will we all just go on as if nothing ever happened once the all-clear sounds?
I knew from the beginning that I wanted The Gaia Origin Series to feature strong, dynamic, female characters. Sci-fi (and especially hard sci-fi) has long been dominated by male characters and, although my fellow authors and screenwriters have made meaningful progress bridging the gap (think The Divergent Series, The Hunger Games, etc.), there are still lots of female-centric stories left to be told. Any good story has believable characters at its center, and I worked hard to deliver characters of both sexes that my readers could connect with. For inspiration, I drew upon fond memories of the many amazing women I have known. There was the CEO of a telecom company, the Chief Nurse of a hospital, the woman who refused to take “no” for answer and in doing so saved my life, the stay-at-home mother who put her children ahead of her career, and the grandmother who sacrificed her dream of early retirement and traveling the world in order to raise her drug-addicted daughter’s son. All of these women had one thing in common: A strong will coupled with the strength and determination to overcome every obstacle life put in front of them. This too is a trait shared by the women in my books--even those that aren't human.
We are at a tipping point—one of those moments in time when what we do today will have immeasurable impact on future generations. The wealthiest 1,000 people control greater wealth than the poorest 3 billion. The global climate is changing quickly, wether we choose to admit—or our role in it—or not. The Middle East is a smoldering coal that threatens to spark a Third World War. And the US Republic is fiercely divided along tribal lines and under constant assault by enemies both foreign and domestic. In Restoration, I envisage one possible future that might come from all of this. My hope, however, is that we will come together and take action long before it comes to that. The biggest lingering question—perhaps in all of human history—is: Will we come together before it's too late?
...but celebrate failure! Helmuth von Moltke once wrote "No plan survives first contact with the enemy." Of course, he was opining on military conflict with his neighbors, and he was really saying that war strategy can only ever be a pre-planned series of options since no one knows with any certainty what the other side will do at any given point in time. I have found that his theory applies well to life in general since none of us know exactly what tomorrow will bring. We plan, we dream, we strive for lives filled with health, happiness, and success but we inevitably find ourselves confronted with disappointment and, at times, complete failure. Although some try desperately to avoid failure, and others fall into deep despair when it happens, I have chosen to not only embrace but to celebrate my failures. Why? you ask. Because it is in times of failure that we learn the most, not only about the wisdom of our choices but also about our character. I celebrate my failures because they make me a wiser, kinder, more thoughtful person, and because they empower me to make better choices in the future. Of course, I also celebrate my successes … but only because they are evidence that I have indeed learned from my past mistakes. What do you celebrate?
The holidays are a time to connect with friends and family and celebrate the year's accomplishments, and sometimes mourn our losses. We all have our traditions and ways to celebrate, some more elaborate than others. My wife and I love to travel and giving each other the gift of travel has become our biggest holiday tradition. Opening that latest, coolest gadget or long desired piece of jewelry might bring a few minutes of joy but, eventually, those items find themselves relegated to the drawer with all the rest. Travel, on the other hand, leaves you with a lifetime of fond memories that you can relive over and over again. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. I think most people would be amazed at how much there is to see and do within an hour’s drive of where they live, if only they’d make the time to get out and explore. And that’s my wish for you this holiday season: Take someone you love and go explore. Visit the neighboring towns around you, drive the less-traveled roads, and see as much of the wider world as you possibly can. I promise, you won’t regret it. Travel is our holiday tradition, what are some of yours? Let me know in your tweets and comments. #holidays #happyholidays #holidayseason @BublishMe
Nobody's life is perfect, and we all encounter challenges and difficulties from time to time. My life is no exception. I won't bore you with the gory details but suffice to say that I didn't grow up in a "Leave it to Beaver" family (no, I'm not that old...but I have seen re-runs!). My childhood was difficult. Not as difficult as some, but certainly more difficult than I would have liked. I struggled with the emotional trauma of losing my mother (she and my father divorced when I was 5). I was angry...really angry. I acted out at home and in school. I did whatever I could to let the world know how pissed off I was. I wasn’t fun to be around. I spent a lot of time in my bedroom (usually because I was grounded). But then one day, shortly after my 19th birthday, I had a realization—one that probably saved my life. I realized that the past was the past and I had no control over it. What I could control was the present, and especially the decisions I make every day. I realized that if I didn't like my life then I needed to make different choices...and I did. The first choice I made was to forgive my parents. Then I forgave myself.
Restoration will challenge your beliefs about what makes us human while taking you on a wild ride to the Asteroid Belt and beyond. Spanning more than five decades, Restoration explores the moral, physical and ethical consequences of using advanced technologies without fully understanding their effects and implications for our species. It also challenges our definition of what it means to be alive, and it asks us to consider whether the entirety of who we are can be digitized and transferred from one body to another without losing any part of ourselves.
Writing Restoration was a labor of love. I've wanted to write nearly my entire adult life (my first attempt was in 1997!), but it just wasn't in the cards until recently. Mine wasn't a case of being afraid to chase my dreams. Rather, it was a case of having too many dreams and thinking that I had enough time to chase them all! As I’ve grown older (and, hopefully, a little wiser), I’ve come to realize that none of us know how much time we have, and that we have to prioritize how we spend each and every day if we are to live our best life. Maybe I will get a second chance, like Evan did, but I can’t count on it. At its core, Restoration is a morality tale wrapped inside of a sci-fi adventure story. It asks us to confront the questions of “Just because we can, should we?” and “What is it that makes us who we are?”. If someone brought you back to life 50 years from now, would you be happy about it? What if everything you knew was gone, and the body you inhabited wasn’t even your own? These are the questions that inspired me to write Restoration, and I hope that they will inspire you to read it!
I love words. Words are powerful, and our mastery of them makes us unique among all living things (at least on this planet). Their power comes from their ability to incite an emotional response within us. History is rife with tales of powerful orators who have moved entire populations to action through the sheer force of their words, and it is replete with writers who have accomplished the same thing simply by putting pen to paper (for proof of the latter you need look no further than the U.S. Constitution!). And in every case these powerful influencers derived their power not from spewing endless streams of facts and figures at their audiences but by tapping into their emotions—by creating a vision of a future state that the people believed in and wanted to be a part of. As a science fiction writer, I strive to write words that emotionally engage my audience. I want you to feel like you’re there. I want you to worry about the characters when things aren’t going well for them. I want you to cry when they are hurt or sad. And I want you to celebrate when they experience some joy or success. I often struggle to find the right words, but I believe that it’s worth the effort.
What are seasons? Well, it depends on who you ask! An astrophysicist might say that they are localized climate changes caused by perturbations of our planet's axial rotation as it travels around the sun. A meteorologist might simplify that some and say that they are weather phenomena caused by changes in the amount of sunlight a region receives. A spiritualist might simplify even further and say they are symbolic of the perpetual cycle of life and death that encompasses all of creation. What about the seasons of our lives? We all experience them. There are the highs and lows. The bright, happy times filled with hope and exuberance. And even the dark, dreary days filled with sadness and grief. But why do we experience these things? What is our purpose? Why are we here? Is suffering a necessary part of the human condition? Must we suffer the bad in order to appreciate the good in our lives? And, perhaps the greatest question of all: What should we do with the time we are given? For me, I plan to spend the summer finishing book two of the Restoration series. When I am not doing that, you’ll probably find me out on the nearest lake sunning or fishing. Thanks for reading and I wish you a bright and happy summer!
One of my goals for Restoration was that it be as realistic and believable as possible. This meant doing lots of research into the current state of dozens of technologies, and then synthesizing my understanding of them into a reasonably accurate portrayal of what they might become in the future. My other challenge was avoiding too many extraneous details. I worked hard to build a realistic world for my characters to occupy and interact with while leaving plenty to the reader's imagination. What do you think, did I find a good balance?
One of my biggest challenges writing "Restoration" was to realistically portray future events and technologies in ways that are believable based on what we know (or think we know) today. And, although I did tons of research, I had to get creative when it came to the restoration process because there is no hard science to support my ideas. Our science is still struggling with how to preserve someone in a way that would make future resuscitation possible, and nobody (to my knowledge) has made any real progress on the revival/restoration process. I believe that cloning and memory transfer will ultimately be the most viable means of significantly extending our lifespans, but only time will tell.
Doctor Evan Feldman is dead, and he wants his daughter, Lily, to continue his life's work. But he's asking a lot, and she's not sure that she can honor his last wishes. One of my goals when writing "Restoration" was to challenge our beliefs about what makes us human. Evan's request causes Lily to reflect on her own beliefs, and its sets off a series of events that will forever change our world. How might your beliefs change if you found yourself in her situation?
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