( “Baskerman! We’re tracking you, stay sharp!” )
“Get me out of here, Doug! The UIT’s got me!”
“Get that hat off his head. The boss said it’s some kind of radio gadget.” The head goon said flatly.
One of the goons tried to slap the fedora off his head. Its advanced technology kept it in place. He tried again, harder. Failing, the goon grabbed Baskerman’s fedora by the brim with both hands and tried yanking it off with no effect other than nearly dislodging him from his seat. The second goon moved in to lend a hand. They pulled him up in the small cabin, forcing his head down so they could get four hands on the brim. Twisting and turning, they wrenched him around to collide with the seats on one bulkhead, then the interior wall on the other. His fedora was secured to his center of mass by the same kind of Newtonian physics generator that allowed vehicles to fly with smooth rides, so it saved his scalp from being pulled loose, and the hat’s personal shield protected him from the kinetic energy of tumbling around the cabin, but none of that tech could save him from the assault to his dignity.
( “Mariam says to leave you in place! This is a bigger move than we first thought – we just heard there’s going to be a show trial! She says they must have lost their nut to overreach so far, and she wants to give you a chance to capitalize on any of their mistakes! She seems very confidant, so we agreed!” )
Giving up, the goons tossed him to tumble across the deck. One pulled a plasma knife off his vest and began hacking at the crown of his hat.
“Well, thank Mariam for looking out for me, Doug!” Baskerman cried out.
“Lay off with that knife!” The head goon shouted. “If you get through his shield, you’ll likely burn a split in his skull before you can stop! Put a gag on him.”
Can Baskerman the disillusioned Corporate Citizen save the world from the 1%? Full of slapstick, comic jabs at the culture of big business, politics, UFO conspiracy theory, dystopian futures, and even the iconic hero, Baskerman takes on a Quixotic quest to change the fate of human culture, without letting on to the rest of the planet what exactly he’s up to, or who's helping him pull the strings!
On a future Earth where big business and crooked deals have overtaken the governments of the world, where colluding corruption by the rich and powerful is the status quo, Baskerman is a sometimes-bumbling everyman with big ideas. He can see the ins and outs of how fortunes are made, but could never seem to take that self-serving leap to be one of the “smart players” and join the march of stepping on others to get ahead. Disillusioned, but judging there was little he could do about it without betraying his principals, he uses his business acumen in a haphazard manner, seeking only to keep himself one step removed from the general misery most of the world endured. One day, his more idealistic youth returns in the form of a potential client.
Earth has long ago passed the point where money, as a means of allocating resources, has ceased to have any meaning, but the financial machine keeps turning. The only real effect is that it keeps the wealthy powerful and the poor oppressed in misery. With readily available technology, there could easily be plenty for all and humanity could turn to fixing long-term problems, but as a race, we are stuck with what we know and are unable to re-invent ourselves without a little outside help. Whether it is help or harm, humanity has been contacted by two alien species unwittingly holding themselves up as examples. Earth has discovered it has neighbors, and members of that greater galactic community - some indifferent, some overly interested - authorize an effort to bring humanity into the fold as a sponsored pledge.
It’s time humans decided who they are beyond the rigors of the sometimes stark necessity of the past.
John A Webb
|Publisher:||John A Webb|
|File size:||180 KB|
About the Author
As a lifelong reader of science fiction and ‘good’ fantasy, I devoured the genre contents of three Southern California public libraries by the age of twelve. I wrote my first short story in the first grade and I followed with many others over my younger years. Penning my first novel in my early thirties, I launched a long, prolific career of rave reader reviews and slush pile rejections. Whatever that professional hurdle was, I never vaulted it. Throughout, I continued to write shorts, mostly as a way to exercise the ideas from my imagination. Well, life intrudes, and in all honesty, the glamorous life of plumbing, electrical, and kitchen remodeling dominated my time. With a career change, I find myself with the time and inclination to pursue my first passion… the Art of the Story. As a reader, I have found a place for both Science Fiction and Fantasy, but they are very different. Mentally reduced to their finest points, ‘Fantasy is about Escape’ and ‘SciFi is about Hope.’ Good stories are about people, and I’m delighted to be swept up in the scope of an author’s vision, but take notice that I have a built-in forgiveness when reading scifi stories, my favorite genre. In short, I prefer ‘Hope.’ Fantasy and magic has always been a harder sell for me and the bar for quality is set much higher. That being said, whimsy, magical surrealism, character stories, and a compelling narrative will capture my attention. Anything on the spectrum of Tolkien, to Neil Gaiman, to ‘John Dies at the End,’ will do it. As a writer, my sensibilities are reversed. Good, compelling, mind-bending scifi is serious business. The speculation drives me. Wondering where technology and society might go, and what might happen along the way keeps me reaching out to grasp and codify possibilities. I won’t reel off complex math to justify things like FTL travel or 11 dimensional mechanics, but my passion is for science fiction rooted in the possibility of actually coming to pass, so when I do world-building, I broadly extrapolate from a layman’s understanding of the work of real world researchers, theoretical physicists, and genetic engineers. Characters and action must also be right. Will the world, the character, the story, ring true and be interesting? Did I channel the inspiration properly? That idea brings me to why I would write in the fantasy genre, at all. The truth in some stories require logic, concrete facts, and physics to step aside. Some stories are hampered by the question, ‘why?’ These stories, as rare as they haunt me, naturally belong in the fantasy genre. Also, I occasionally enjoy a good sword fight. I stay true to what I believe to be good genre form, but when someone reads what I write, I want the genre and I to step out of the way. I don’t mind a reader pausing to take it all in, or to digest, but I don’t ever want a reader to pause in disbelief. As Joseph Campbell inferred, a good story brushes lightly against those Eternal Truths that inspire myth, even in science fiction. Myths – even minor, ancillary ones – can create themselves, we just need to pay attention and take note. Writing isn’t just about genre and words, it’s about the Cosmic Infinite… the Art of the Story. John A Webb www.thecosmicinfinite.com