War Is For Grownups

[Warning: fiction ahead] Pining for one big happy united world does not jive with the fact that we would not want to be in the same room with a hefty percentage of the seven billion people we share it with. Just step outside our little bubble and that’s clear. At best, you and I might feel at one with several million or so.Well if Earthlings cannot be one big happy seven-billion member family then much less can we become one big happy united Universe. You see there are whole worlds operating on premises more alienating than Earthlings who belong to the wrong political party.

It just so happens I stopped in one such goofy planet that made me curious in spite of myself. They have a way to keep war at a minimum, but by means most Earthlings would find unpalatable. Like many places on Earth, the inhabitants have a life-span of approximately seventy to ninety years. But no one may join the military until they are at least sixty years of age. I know this because my tour guide Buroh explained this to me when I remarked how peaceful their planet is. The creature said, “This policy has many benefits. Top on the list of course is that wars are infrequent and short. Old people don’t have much stamina for prolonged conflict, and with the perspective of their years, often keep a cool head to avoid wars in the first place. Another great thing is that by either training for war or in extreme cases going to fight, the ancients have something to do once they retire. And lastly, when our people are young and most fit, they apply all that energy to their occupations and family life instead of wasting it on wounding and killing. On Earth, you take such a foolish risk of wasting citizen resources when they are at their most valuable. That is so inefficient; it’s hard for me to relate to your species.  Doesn’t it make more sense to let the young live decades more whereas an old person has already given their best years and risks losing at most about ten years of life?”

No doubt their way of life has its charms, but I was too polite to say to my guide that rare is the Earthling who would countenance having the elderly endure the physical and mental strain of say, driving a tank over bumpy terrain. More fundamentally, we like to get bad things over with in our lives and look forward to taking it easy as we wrap things up.  A united Universe? What were we thinking?

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If you like this whimsical sort of satire blended with science fiction, then you might like my gentle sci-fi book, Curiosity Seekers, about an endearing old-fashioned couple in the future who sometimes has trouble feeling united with each other let alone with the larger society. See reviews and a free chapter on Amazon. It is available on Kindle and as a paperback and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

Curiosity Seekers: Spiritual Science Fiction

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If you were offbeat enough to  find my first book “oddly entertaining,” then you might enjoy Curiosity Seekers  all the more.  It is a gentle science fiction work about a retro couple in the near future who gets into and out of various predicaments. Now that’s a lot more fun than hospice, isn’t it? One of the main characters is Gomer Ackerman, who repairs and beautifies material books which are becoming more and more scarce. The other main character is his wife Muriel, who designs one-of-a-kind greeting cards each intended for only one recipient. Their financial planner Virginia Boyden is more conventional, but things go awry after she gets dementia and becomes one of the first people cured of the disease. The catch is, as she gets better and better, an unexpected side effect comes up. In another story  Gomer becomes a widower and deals with his wife’s death by buying a robot that looks and acts like her, even in intimate matters. Ahem! He then suffers immense remorse and comes up with one ridiculous plan after another to atone.  You will also meet the Ackermans’ great niece Beatriz, who finds creatures on a different solar system that have to be very sparing with their words in order to survive.

Here is an excerpt for the readers of this blog, when Virginia describes part of her recovery: “When I had dementia, it’s like all the words in the English language had flown away from me into space, all the way to another solar system in another part of the Milky Way you could say. Then I called to them  to all please come back home, and they did, at first a few at a time, and then bunches of them at a time, each batch making a perfect landing in its own proper dear little spot in my brain, like birds finding the nests of their young days.”

You may wonder why a chaplain has written science fiction. One of my reviewers explains:

“Kaplan’s sci-fi will appeal to readers who like their spaceships and androids served with a side of spiritual contemplation.” — Mystery writer Mindy Quigley, author of The Burnt Island Burial Ground

You can see more about these interrelated stories on amazon:  http://amzn.to/2mjXpR0