Let’s Talk About Survival…

Let’s talk about survival…

Humans are, by nature, determined to survive.  We are built to find ways to adapt or change as though bargaining with the unseen forces of the universe.  For millennia, survival was everything.  Before language, before societies, and before ethics, there was survival.  A few thousand years ago, thinkers like Socrates and Plato started to talk about ethics, and ask questions like, “Just because we can do something, SHOULD we?”

Enter the 21st Century.  Never before have we had such an ability to exact change on our own genome, shoot high definition video of far off worlds, or manipulate viruses in order to find cures.

In my novelette, The Chosen, the reader joins a world in the process of going extinct.  HIV has drastically mutated, allowing it to infect billions of people.  Rather, it eventually infects all but .5% of the population.  Those ‘lucky’ people begin to be known as The Chosen.  It is in this world that pharmaceutical restrictions and all standards of ethics are thrown out the window.  After all, the whole of humanity is at stake.

Later, the reader will see just what it takes to make a cure in this twisted world.  It begs the question, to what lengths are you willing to go to create a cure?  Are there times when the cure is worse than the disease?  If a cure is made, who decides who will receive it, and how much will be made?  The situation is precarious at best and this nightmare scenario should force you to ask a lot of questions which need to be asked.Let's Talk About Survival

In real life, great strides are being made in the race to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.  Just recently, researchers have created a pill which effectively prevents the spread of the virus as well as very effective antiretrovirals. amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, believes that a cure can be found within the next five years.  To this end, 50% of all profits I receive from the sale of The Chosen will go directly to amfAR, who gives promising research teams the funding they need to find a cure for AIDS.  To donate to my Crowdrise fundraiser to benefit amfAR, click here.

Asteroid Mining Will Mint First Trillionaire Says Astrophysicist

Asteroid Mining Basics:

Asteroid Mining has been the topic of many science fiction novels for decades, but now, it seems only a matter of time before this fiction becomes reality. The first company to successfully find a way to mine precious metals and minerals from asteroids and return them to Earth will be worth a lot of money. The technology to accomplish this is nascent, and companies exist today with the stated goal of accomplishing this mission. Like this one or this one. The technology needed to bring these materials back to Earth will rapidly advance the rest of our space program. While we may wait for an asteroid to pass by Earth, another option is going to the Asteroid Belt. Doing so would prove more difficult than getting to Mars and in the near term would certainly include an automated craft rather than a manned one.

Asteroids can be an abundant source of goldiridiumsilverosmiumpalladiumplatinumrheniumrhodiumruthenium and tungsten.

What the Scientists are Saying:

In an interview with CNBC’s “On the Money,” Neil Degrasse Tyson, acclaimed astrophysicist, said, “an engineer comes out with a new patent to take you to a place, intellectually, physically, that has never been reached before, those become the engines of tomorrow’s economy.”

The innovations of NASA since its inception should be enough for us to see the impact of asteroid mining. In addition to better diapers and space blankets, here’s a list of 26 inventions we take for granted every day. Tyson later went on to say, “The first trillionaire there will ever be is the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids.”

Vesta Corporation:

Why am I talking about asteroid mining? It happens to be one of the central points in my series, The Corsair Uprising. In the series, set 130 years in the future, a company known as Vesta Corporation was the first to mine the asteroid belt. They quickly reached $1 Trillion in valuation but subsequently became corrupt. They have undue influence over political offices and the Terran Military (a multi-planetary force that keeps the peace between Earth and the colonies of Mars). This is just the backdrop of my first novel, The Azure Key, but Vesta Corporation is something I see as ever-present. A force of nature.

Asteroid Mining could very well prove to be a net gain for Earth with new materials floating into our infrastructure and new technologies created to make it all possible. In my fictional world, great power comes from this which influences every subsequent event. As of this writing, books 1 and 2 in The Corsair Uprising are available and book 3 is due for release in Summer 2015.

Science Sunday: NASA’s Chief Scientist Predicts We’ll Find Alien Life by 2025

In a recent panel discussion, NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan predicted we would find evidence of alien life within a decade, followed by definitive proof within the next 20 to 30 years. I’ve talked about this previously, but it seems more and more respected scientists are coming out and talking about this. Now, I don’t believe NASA will find intelligent life within 20 to 30 years, but I can definitely see us finding microbes or vegetation of some kind.

However, there is one thing that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that bothers me. If we do find some form of alien life, in whatever form it happens to come in, how will that affect Science Fiction? Will our visions of the future be limited by what we know? Will the futures we write about be extrapolations of this ‘new’ world where knowledge of alien life exists already?

The premise behind a lot of Science Fiction is that alien life surfaces and most or all people don’t believe in it. If it starts being taken as a given that alien life exists, it will affect, necessarily, how authors write. If we do find alien life, there will surely be doubters, there will be new cults or religions formed, some may flee the religions that are currently out there while some others might flock to the religions to seek answers. There’s a number of ways this could go from a storytelling standpoint as well as from a ‘realistic’ standpoint.  After watching the Batman V Superman trailer, it seems like Science Fiction is already changing to become more realistic given what we know.

Do you think we’ll find alien life? If so, in what form will we find it? How will the human race react? Has NASA lost it? Is Science Fiction doomed? So many questions! Leave your comments below!