David Bennett Laing, born 1940 in Hanover, NH, is an Aspie (has Asperger's syndrome) and is the only child of the novelists and poets Dilys Bennett Laing and Alexander Laing. A native of Wales, Dilys was a prolific poet who published frequently in the New Yorker and other prominent magazines. She was an early feminist. Alex was mainly a writer of historical fiction and books on sailing ships. He taught English at Dartmouth College. In his youth, David was strongly influenced by his Nature-loving mother and his druidic maternal grandmother. Although passionately interested in biology, he chose instead to major in geology at Dartmouth College because of his unwillingness to dissect animals, but his extensive readings in biology convinced him that Earth itself is, in many respects, a living being, a theme that has recently gained a respectable following in the young, cross-disciplinary fields of biogeology and geobiology. After obtaining his master's degree from Harvard, David entered a variety of professions, from park ranger naturalist through forest ranger, preparatory school teacher, college professor, consulting geologist, and environmental educator to technical copy editor. In addition to various journal and magazine articles, he has published two books, Aspen High Country: The Geology (Thunder River Press, 1980) and a college Earth science textbook The Earth System (Wm C Brown Publishers 1991). In 1977, he published Magic Mountain, a record album of original environmental songs (Folkways Records) and in 1980 a second album, Equilibrium, The National Audubon Society's Album of Songs of Nature and Humanity, with his daughter Robin, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie (posthumously), and Tom Wisner (Folkways Records). David is retired and living an active life with his wife Margaret on the Maine coast, where he indulges in Nature study, sailing, and skiing. A few years ago, David discovered that he has lived his somewhat unorthodox life under the influence of Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism which has no deleterious effects on intelligence or cognition, but that confers on those so blessed a view of the world that is virtually uninfluenced by social conventions and preconceptions. 'Aspies' have very poorly developed social skills, as a result of which they tend to view the world as it really is rather than as the weight of present and past authority decrees it to be. Readers of this work might benefit from understanding this particular foible of its author.
Beautyworldby david laing
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15,800 AD (Old Christian Calendar): The Sidereal Commonwealth has mined out the mineral resources of the Solar System that have fueled its phenomenal growth within vast, Sun-orbiting space colonies. Gone are the asteroid belt, the rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, the planetoid Pluto and its moon Charon, and the rocky moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Commonwealth now faces an ultimate crisis that threatens to halt forever its further expansion and to usher in a new regimen of draconian population stabilization and recycling. The only minable mineral resources still remaining in the Solar System reside in the planet Earth and its rocky Moon, both of which are sacred to the immortal Lords and Ladies of the Earth-based Tellurian Union.
The Tellurians, numbering 144,000, dwell in 57 self-contained, crystal-domed habitats isolated from wild Nature. They are immortal, youthful in appearance, and they are all the same age: 15,800 years old, plus or minus a decade or two. They are technologically and aesthetically advanced, and they are the guardians of Earth, Moon, and Nature. Before they became Tellurians, they were, for the most part, geriatric patients in nursing homes. The American geneticist Vincent Marx Bloink changed all that when he circularized their chromosomes, and his own. Through his ongoing research, Bloink later developed the procedures of metaphysiology, whereby one's physical appearance could be altered with genetic manipulation rather than plastic surgery.
The Sidereals abandoned Earth in the 21st century of the Old Christian Calendar to live in their immense, artificial space colonies orbiting Sun. They are a diverse, reproducing population with a commercially based lifestyle and an average life expectancy of 75 years. There are approximately 41 trillion of them, and counting.
As the Beautyworld narrative begins, 15,750 years from now, the resource depletion crisis is shaking the foundations of the Sidereal Commonwealth. The Sidereals have just elected as president a charismatic young politician named Deneb Kush, who has promised to solve that crisis by finding new resources.
Earth and Moon, of course, remain off limits.
Or do they?
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Beautyworld was a very pleasant surprise. Expecting a possible war of the worlds book was not what this turned out to be. David Laing has taken a favorite topic and accomplished a fresh new look at potentials for our worn out world. The story describes in plausable details a world we can truley imagine ourselves a part. It continues onward in the plot to bring on intrigue, mystery and adventure. Some authors supply an endless description of the surroundings...David Laing has presented this story with just enough detail that we can fill in as much or as little as we wish while following the plot. I finished the book in three enthralled short sittings. Looking forward to Book Two! - J. Walter