Saturday, January 26, 2008

Real Science Fiction

I am trying to be a new voice writing Science Fiction, but I want to do in the old way because I honor that way - a way almost ignored today.

Classic science fiction essentially went into remission when Neil Armstrong planted his foot on the moon. When he took that step, Neil and NASA stripped all the mystery away from space travel. Not the glory, just the mystery.

Tolkin’s LOTR came at the right time soon thereafter (whether calculated or not) and captured the huge Sci fi reading audience that craved mystery over fact and felt empty (disenfranchised even) and floating in space. This audience, I submit, became disoriented by the new and harsh reality. The reality that space travel was here now and something they could never dream about, ever again…

Classic science fiction authors really wrote commentaries on the problems they saw in society by selecting one aspect that troubled them, and extrapolating its possible effects into a suggested future. Huxley did this in “Brave New World” and Orwell did it in “1984”, and Pohl and Kornbluth did in “Space Merchants”, to point out just three classic writers of what I call `real’ science fiction.

I have tried to do the same, by writing from the present and looking toward a possible future. I have observed today’s world and now I give you a frightening vision of what our children might face in two hundred and fifty years hence.

“Puss & Boots in The 23rd Century” is a dark tale of my vision – but also of what I see as our ultimate hope as well. Hang on to your straps Gang, because this is one hell of a read!

Jack McClure

Saturday, January 12, 2008

On the European Origins of Eastern Woodland American Indians

I have always been mildly fascinated with the culture of American Indians, first by those of the Western Plains because that is what Hollywood gave us (read “Noble Redskins”), but then as I got more into the subject I began looking at the Eastern Indians. Being from Kentucky, yclept “The Dark and Bloody Ground”, or “The Happy Hunting Ground”, (your choice), I sorta’ got interested.

The more I learned the more interested I became, because of factoids I found about them like:
  1. When Daniel Boone came into Kentucky for the first time in the early 1780s, he visited an Indian town at a place in East-Central Kentucky now known as “Indian Old Fields”. Boone noted that it had over 2,000 inhabitants that were what we now as the Adena Culture of central Kentucky Amerinds;
  2. When he came back to Kentucky on his second trip of exploration some twenty years later, he found that the town was deserted and the long houses were abandoned and falling apart, if they had not been burned.

I then learned that the distruction Dan Boone saw at Indian Old Fields was the result of an agreement between the Mohawks of Western New York and the Cherokees of North Georgia, to “ethnically cleanse” the indigenous Adena culture in Kentucky and so allow the land to be a joint hunting preserve for their two tribes. They then sent war parties to Kentucky in the interval between Boone’s first and second trips that were very effective in carrying out their mission of offing the Adena…

I was not interested in the origins of Amerinds when I was younger, since I believed the standard dictat of the Established Experts of a Mongolian origin for them. Then I found some years later about the real origins of the Eastern Woodland Indians, postulated by Dennis Stafford who has been studying the evidence for a number of years. Dr. Stafford is with the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in Washington. He told me in a personal communication in 2001 that the prehistoric Indian populations on the East Coast have “a mitrochondrial DNA haplogroup known as X… which has not been found in Asia, but occurs in Western Europe, and has been found in some Algonkian speakers,” to paraphrase his words.

This finding seems to substantiate, or at least support the proposal of Farley Mowait’s book, “The Farfarrers” in which he postulates a settlement in Newfoundland by post-Cro-Magnons via a mechanism of following the retreating edge of the Wrum glacier across the northern edge of the North Atlantic some 5,000 years ago.

Based on this information, perhaps I may be allowed to suggest that Pocahontas felt puppy love for John Smith because he was her long-lost cousin, as well as the power dude of the new-coming English...