Blue #writephoto

Blue

light

 

So far away… Yet this is now home, the shelter where we can repair, rebuild our strength. 

Here they won’t find us, such a small planet, and a pale star, insignificant: on the edge of the known world, and the sea…

The blue ocean will hide us, we will build a village on these shores, our children will learn here, they will learn about Earth, and the Republic.

Then, one day, perhaps in generations, they will take again to the stars, and leave this world.

But, for now, the blue planet is our home.

 

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s last photo prompt of 2017, and a viewing of The Last Jedi.

Wisp #writephoto

Inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday’s photo prompt

wisps

 

“There are many universes…” she said, in the voice of a factual statement, “and, sometime, voices filter, from one to another. Then one has to know how to read the signs.”

I waited, hoping for an explanation. The clouds formation, above the rocky landscape, was turning weird. The air was icy cold.

“If you want to learn the way,” she resumed in a lower tone, “then I can show you, but there is a price.”

“Let’s assume I am prepared to pay that price…” I said, wanting to sound confident, and surer of myself than I really was.

“It’s not a matter of assumption,” came her reply, now uncompromising. “Do you want to learn, or not: that is your choice.”

I paused. I’d met the woman during the long hike, through a landscape that felt as if it belonged to another world. We’d talked about the scenery, then about alien worlds. And now, the sky, the wisp. Wasn’t that ice formation, high up, close to the upper atmosphere?

“I do want to learn. What is the price?”

“O, this is very simple, in order to teach you, I have to take you to where I come from…”

A reading of Seveneves

Seveneves, a novel by Neal Stephenson

 

From times immemorial, we have dreamed about it, painted it on caves walls, written fiction and speculations, prayed for it not to happen: it is mankind’s common nightmare, Armageddon, the end of our world, the end of our species. Will it be caused by our own misbehaviour, a punishment from our creator, our poisoning of the Earth, our Mother, or a nuclear holocaust? Neal Stephenson’s novel tells the story, of Armageddon from Space, from an unknown source, by an unknown “Agent”. This book, perhaps his best work to-date, is an uncompromising account of our destruction, down to, literally, a dwindling group of survivors, pitiful remnants of a once arrogant civilisation, ours, now hiding in tin cans orbiting the once beautiful planet. The story is, also, of a possible rebirth, couched in such a way as making the reader wonder: has this happened before? For, in some ways, haven’t we been there: the fire from the sky, the flight, the long terror, the survival of the few?

The description of the destruction of the old Earth by the “Hard Rain”, and of the hopeless, harrowing, and ultimately pathetic struggle of those, chosen to escape to Space, occupies the first and larger part of the novel. We learn of the heroic sacrifices of a few, of human nature, once again, leading to disaster after disaster. The males of the species are wiped out, leaving to the seven Eves the final decisions as to the future of humanity. This prepares the reader for the rebirth, the renewal of mankind from the shelter of the asteroid where the Eves have found refuge.

The second part of the book has a distinctly Arthur C-Clarkian flavour to it, as we sweep through five thousand years of post Zero history: mankind lives mostly on a ring of spatial habitats orbiting the Earth; the “New-Earth” is being seeded with recreated creatures and plants; the descendants of the seven Eves, from whose genes the two billions of “Spacers” derive from, have developed separate cultures, in each of the seven genomes legated by the Eves. This is a world of partial segregation between “races”, where orbital mechanics, robotics and genetics dominate science. The description of the “Cradle” reminded me of the “Fountains of Paradise“, but this legacy is not acknowledged in Stephenson’s notes, so it must be an association of ideas. This world is evidently very different (but very classical in terms of the science fiction literature) from ours, and yet the same old rivalries have reappeared (Blue versus Red).

The reader, after a long journey, is left with many unanswered questions. Stephenson, like Clarke before him, holds the human female as more adapted to the conditions of Space: better able to cope with cramped living conditions, isolation and solitude, biologically superior. The novel shows that the decisions made at the Council of the Seven Eves, to fundamentally conduct a differentiated genetics-enabled rebirth of mankind, initially through parthenogenesis, endure after five millennia. As the Spacers come to meet some of the “rootstock” survivors on the surface of New Earth, will they be considered as alien mutants, cowards who abandoned ship,  and unwelcome intruders, or a curiosity from Space? As we remain baffled by the “Purpose”, the nature of the Agent likewise remains veiled in mystery: judgement of God, random micro blackhole, or, simply, destiny?

Seveneves is a fantastic read, from end to finish. The world Stephenson created, its appeal and at the same time repulsive logic, will stay with us forever. So will the Seven.

 

Sound #DailyPrompt #WritersWednesday

The Prompt

93435d68-f901-11e4-b106-bd39ccd745b8-1020x1563

 

For some days I have been deep in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves, perhaps one of the most daunting reads of the past decade. I intend to review the novel on my Goodreads page, but for now, suffice to say that sounds have a role in that astounding saga of the end, and rebirth, of mankind. Space is silent, but not those tiny cramped tins, where survivors hide waiting for death… And then…

The source of the dappled light, as she now saw, was sunlight sparkling from waves on the lake below, shooting rays through the branches of trees, perhaps a hundred meters down the slope from her, that were beginning to stir in the morning breeze, making soft noises, as when a sleeping lover exhales.

The light of the sun, the sound of waves, violin notes in the evening air… The symphony of Peace.

Image: “Seveneves: the end and beginning of life on Earth”, The Seattle Times

Vegetal #DailyPrompt

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum RTBG.jpg

They surround us, little by little: first on the balcony, an array of dark greens and colourful shoots, but also in the living room – ha what a space for us! – the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and one other (Ficus Ali), all good for the air we breath! Then there are the little ones, squeezed between windows, nesting comfortably against the rigour of the eastern winter. We shall wait for their arrival for Christmas.

We will have more, as we believe in their power. No Triffid, of course, only the friendly and beneficial type!

Image: Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum), Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Tasmania, Australia Camera data Camera Canon EOS 400D Lens Tamron EF 180mm f3.5 1:1 Macro Focal length 180 mm Aperture f/8 Exposure time 1/3 s Sensivity ISO 100 ~ By JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Base #DailyPost #amwriting

Today’s Prompt

dsc_0525

 

Our place is hard to get to, but so cosy when one gets there! The word “Raum” is just right to qualify the space, the light, the feeling of freedom. And what a view! The tree-lined avenue, the park, the eagle high in the corner house (as a matter of fact, early mornings may witness aerial and apparently friendly combats between crows and buzzards…)

And then there is so much life, down below. We follow the daily changes to the flow of people and traffic, the seemingly random patterns, the interference of lights and colours, the sounds of the City.

In the meantime the book is waiting, the characters slowly waking to their new surroundings, or is it THE surroundings? As if they emerged from a deep dream. Soon, soon now, this work is going to restart, anew.

#VisDare 114: Prepared #WritersWednesday

PreparedOn this far-away horizon we fly, age-old balloonists, at peace. I long thought, in the moonless nights, reading, dreaming, of those eons ahead of us – the universe ‘s infinity, the long journeys, our transformation, progressive, imperceptible, on the shores of time.

Old-fashioned I am – we are – in the eyes of the past centuries, albeit not our own: fashionable we might become, on those alien planets we visit in the midst of our everlasting sleep.

Explorers, yes, young still, without the edge of possible awake, for we will never return, to the old world, to the mother ship: lost we are, willing prisoners of an endless tale, one many times recounted – till now.

Now, we live the dream, sliding by foreign stars, through the intricacies of space, as we were convinced we would, one day, not by magic, but driven, prepared, accepting the fate of those who deny their own mortality…

#FiveSentenceFiction: S(team)punk

CaptainShe’s a great captain: in her world, perhaps the most decorated of them all, besides being a beauty.

Sailing is her life, through the eery oceans of virgin planets, observed by multiple stars, and by alien, voracious and concupiscent eyes.

Adulated by her crew – and what a crew! of crustacean giants, sea spiders and weird creatures from the depth…

She’s feared by her rivals, but does she have any, or just jealous dwarves?

For she, who will conquer them all, is inviolable, the true mistress of Space.