03 November 2014

Michael McDermott For New York State Governor 2014

Please consider voting for Michael McDermott for New York Governor on November 4th. While victory is a long-shot, getting over 50,000 votes will give the Libertarian Party of New York ballot access. That will allow them to challenge the Republicans and Democrats in areas where they run unopposed.

If you do vote for him, please be careful filling out the ballot. The board of elections is screwing us again by having us share a line with another party.

Thank you for your consideration.

08 September 2014

Short Story - Corpse of Mars

copyright 2013 by Sean Sherman

March 4, 1866
He was a veteran of the War of Northern Aggression. The Army of Northern Virginia. The war was over, a loss for his adopted state. Now he and his partner traveled across the west, mercenaries and prospectors.

Things had gone poorly when they prospected in Arizona territory. His partner was killed while on a supply run, a victim of the Tonto Apache. After an insane charge into the Apache camp to recover the body he made his way to a cave in what was sacred ground to the natives.

The Apache pursued him in force, but they began to slow as they approached the sacred ground. The shaman urged the warriors forward, they would be forgiven for violating the ground if they dealt with the white-skinned invader.

The Virginian carried his dead friend's body up the path into a cave. He then turned and took cover behind a boulder, awaiting the Apache. Shortly after they arrived a gun fight began.

The defender's only near hit almost killed one of the braves if not for the interdiction of the bullet by a startled bird. The explosion of blood and feathers made it clear to the brave that he was saved, but for what purpose he did not know. Less than a decade later his tribe would be scattered and he would be the partner of a white Texas Ranger turned vigilante.

The white man realized he was doomed. Outnumbered and outgunned with no hope of rescue. He drew a bead on the shaman who was approaching closer to the cave. He then held his fire when he saw the look of terror on the Apache's face. As the shaman fled, the braves followed closely behind him. What had happened? Given that he was still alive there was little reason to be concerned with the details.

Staring up in the sky he could make out a tiny light rising over the horizon. It was a light he knew well. Mars was rising. Mars, the god of war. That other world always had a hold on his imagination. Being a warrior and a mercenary himself he would dream about what life might be like on Earth's neighbor. As exhaustion finally embraced him and he drifted off to sleep his thoughts were of the red planet.

(image from NASA)

Something happened. Something impossible. Suddenly awoken the man found himself transported to the surface of Mars! His body quickly went into agony in the frigid thin air. The liquids of his body began to quickly evaporate in the low pressure of the alien world. Within moments the thick sludge his blood had become could no longer maintain his body's vital functions, but with the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere serviceable blood would have been worthless. His freezing, unseeing eyes never closed as he collapsed as quickly as he had risen his hand clutching a handful of martian dirt.

4 March AD 2429
Marte 1, the first manned mission to Mars, landed on the red planet. Minutes later the hatch opened and a space-suited man, Comandante Mendelez, emerged. After a few brief steps on the alien world the man plants the flag of Sul Aliança into the dirt. Over four centuries of rebuilding and humanity now, officially, had surpassed its former glory.

Flag of Sul Aliança

Mendelez looked around the new world in awe of his surroundings. The other two men of his mission team take their first steps on Mars. Something caught the Comandante's eye. Over behind the rocks.

As he moved around to look at the strange object he swore. His profane language transmitted to nearly every radio and television receiver on Earth minutes later. What he saw defied all logic, the desiccated corpse of a human! Examining the corpse and its possessions it was apparent that it was a man from nineteenth century United States. An impossibility.

It would be a mystery humanity would never be able to solve.


07 September 2014

13 of the top 10 books that stuck with me

I've been tagged me with the challenge of listing the 10 books that have stayed with me. I read a lot of books every year so the list would be very long. I'm sure I've forgotten some important ones that should be included, but I'm already over my limit. Given my natural generosity and disdain for rules I'll be giving a list of 13 instead of 10:

1) AD&D Player's Handbook (1st edition) – by Gary Gygax: This probably had the most influence on me overall, the others will be in no particular order.

2) Tarzan Alive – by Philip Jose Farmer: Farmer is one of my favorite authors. While the first of his books I read were in the Riverworld series Tarzan Alive helped increase my interest in his works and the concept of the Wold Newton Universe.

3) How to Start Your Own Country – by Erwin S. Strauss: A great book on micronation. I've been hooked on the topic ever since. 4) The Art of War – by Sun Tzu

5) A Princess of Mars – by Edgar Rice Burroughs: This one covers all of Burroughs works and my general love of old pulps.

6) For Want of a Nail – by Robert Sobel: My introduction into the area of alternate history. Written as an actual history book from that alternate timeline. I've now read a multitue of alt history books and even have a blog on the topic.

7) The Pity of War – by Niall Ferguson: World War I is a topic I've read dozens of books on. There are so many good ones. This one isn't the best, but it is very good and did get me thinking about things a little differently.

8) Of the City of the Saved – by Philip Purser-Hallard: One of my favorite books in the Faction Paradox series. Faction Paradox is what Doctor Who could be if they got some really creative people working on it.

9) The Crying of Lot 49 – by Thomas Pynchon: Equal parts bizarre and awesome. Also has the kind of ending I love and tends to annoy many others.

10) Physics of the Future – by Michio Kaku: One of my favorite books from my favorite scientist.

11) In the Country of the Blind – by Michael Flynn: A book filled with interesting characters, conspiracies, and great supplemental material in the back. Winner of the 1991 Prometheus Award.

12) 1632 – by Eric Flint: In 2000 a West Virginian mining town is transported to the middle of the Thirty Years War. Amazing start to a large series.

13) The Seychelles Affair – by Mike Hoare: I like Mike's various memoirs and articles especially about his experiences in the Congo. This book covers a failed operation and time in a South African prison. Some insights in this one not in his other books.

As for challenging anyone else to listing their top 10 books - I challenge anyone who actually feels like doing so.
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