SoCS – Rhymes with posy

From the Diary of Dr Thompson

I have often wondered what would happen if there were a world-wide catastrophe. People have entirely different ways of reacting to events and, often, their reaction is completely different from what you expected from that particular person.

I remember when a friend of mine’s company was involved in a corporate scandal. He was a corporate financier, whose job involved debt restructuring and business turnarounds. You would have thought a guy like that would have reacted with quiet calm to a difficult situation like this. He was one of a number of purportedly top innovative people who worked for this firm. None of them reacted as I expected. I was surprised to watch how they ran around in meaningless circles, trying to get things done with no real plan or purpose to their actions. They did not have the creativity to think broadly and find innovative solutions to the crisis. This cycle of disastrous chaos and confusion went on for months before the company finally started to stabilize. It was miraculous, considering that lack of proper planning and cohesion among the leaders, that it ever pulled though at all. It completely undermined my confidence in the abilities of professional people like lawyers and accountants to deliver on any of their promises to their clients.

Lack of innovation is one of the main causes of this war mankind is now embroiled in. Prior to the introduction of advanced digitization, the World Government attempted to provide guidance to less developed countries to help them become more innovative, as this was known to be a key driver of Fourth Industrial Revolution readiness. The sub-governments of individual countries and their business leaders where encouraged to promote creativity by empowering employees and challenging them to create, challenge and experiment. Programmes were developed to up-skill workers and give them the abilities thought necessary to survive in a fully digitalised society.

A lack of understanding of cultures, including patriarchal and hierarchical societies, led to failure in this area and the ultimate inability for these economies to adapt efficient to changing parameters. The inequality gap increased, plunging numerous countries into poverty and resulting in the creation of the ghetto system where the poor were given accommodation and other basics to help them survive but dooming them to a life lacking any opportunities for change and future employment. The frustration and anger of the masses was underestimate, much to the detriment of the World Government which is now collapsing in the most spectacular way.

As I watch from my window, seeing the chaos and confusion of the devastated city and witnessing the tumultuous masses trying to flee, in any way they can, I know that only the innovative will survive the post apocalyptic world that awaits them. Without the daily guidance provided by their microchip implants, the rest will all die.

***

This little meander through the diary of Dr Thompson, was written for Linda G Hill’s weekly SoCS challenge. This week it is rhymes with rosy.

I asked my husband for a word that rhymed with rosy and he said cosy and posy. I asked my son, Gregory, and he said nosy. None of theses words inspired me to I looked on Rhyming Hippo and that had a few more interesting ideas, including through me and catastrophe. I chose catastrophe.

You can join in the challenge here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/05/24/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-25-19/

 

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#Bookreview – The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

book reviews

What Amazon says

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

My review

The Gemini Connection is a most intriguing book which weaves the human emotions of frustration, anger, jealousy, resentment, self depreciation and love like colourful threads through the greater fabric of an exciting and unique science fiction novel.

The book features twins who live in a futuristic dystopian world where the inhabitants of the planet have exhausted many of its resources and what remains is being decimated by unknown and untreatable diseases. Scientists and other clever and inventive people, who are able to contribute towards findings solutions for the salvation of a society that is in the process of failing, are held up as heroes and are the recipients of accolades for their societal contributions as well as better food and lifestyles. The twins parents fall into this category and, at the beginning of the story, spend all their time and energy on saving their people and planet. This complete change in their focus from their family and two sons to the quest for glory in the guise of saving their planet changes life significantly for Simon and Evan. The backstory of their evolution into scientists, obsessed with their work, and the related increasing disdain for ordinary people who are not able to contribute towards saving the planet in the same way due to different talents and aspirations, is an important theme of the story and sets the scene for the unfortunate events that come to pass in the book.

Simon has a brilliant mind and is following in the footsteps of his illustrious parents. Evan is not as intellectual and demonstrates more physical and sporty gifts. This makes Simon the child of their parents dreams and Evan the disappointing child they cannot relate to or understand. This attitude by their parents results in Evan becoming a young man who lacks confidence and belief in himself and who feels inferior to his cleverer brother. Despite this unfortunate home environment, Simon and Evan are very close and share a unique bond that enables them to both “feel” the other’s presence and emotional state. When Simon disappears soon after discovering a sordid and dark secret by one of his mentors in his job, Evan feels responsible and sets off on a path of emotional self destruction. However, Evan has a talent of his own which enables him to access the minds of other people and help them sort out their chaotic thoughts. This talent gives him to tools track down and help save his brother but it also serves as the gateway to his own possible destruction. Will Evan be able to detect their joint enemies and stop their evil plans in time to save his brother and return him home? I enjoyed this book’s fresh take on a science fiction story.

Purchase The Gemini Connection

#Writephoto – The Siren Witch

Sue Vincent has provided a most interesting photograph this week and it has inspired me to write a short story called The Siren Witch. This is the beginning.

The woman, who stood alongside the isolated dock, was not beautiful. Her nose was slightly too hooked, her body marginally too large-boned and her dark eyes fractionally too almond shaped to meet the traditional requirements of beauty. Her long and curling dark hair, overly ample bosom and pouting mouth gave a suggestion of wanton sexuality to her still figure, which rose up out of the mist like the proud prow of a ship. Her powerful voice floated across the water as she sang of love found and lost.

“Oi, look at that,” said Richard, pointing in the direction of the shadowy figure. The distance between their small fishing vessel, in the middle of the delta, and the shape on the shore was sufficiently far for the two unsophisticated fishermen on the boat to miss the cat-like shine of her eyes in the grey dankness, and the satisfied curl of her lips. The notes of her pure voice caressed them, encircling them in its swirling and enchanting embrace.

George met Richard’s eyes and smirked. “This looks like a good place to stop for the night.” The men were sailing homeward after a long day’s fishing out at sea. They would usually have returned long before dusk, but a sudden storm had blown up making the sea rough and stormy and the sailing slow and challenging. Their wives and children were waiting patiently for their return, but Richard, whose mind was lost to the words of passion dancing on the wind, only nodded in agreement. Any random thoughts of their families or caution were thrown aside as the men maneuvered the small sailing boat towards the shoreline and the perceived pleasures that lay thereupon.

As they drew closer, the passionate words and lusty singing seemed to beckon them closer. Alluring and heavy with promise, the sound acted like wine on the minds of the two victims. Tying the boat to the old and rotting dock, they lurched onto land, literally drunk with desire.

The woman stood and continued to sing as the men shuffled towards her, grinning and gibbering with excitement and anticipation, completely unaware of the huge knife hidden within the folds of her cloak. George reached her first, followed closely by an enthusiastic Richard. Neither of them saw the knife come up, dull and indiscernible in the dimness. It flashed downwards in a deadly arc.

George screamed as the great knife slashed through his shoulder, its downward journey stopped by the grinding of metal on his rib bones. He collapsed forward onto his hands and knees, braying great, wrenching sobs of fear and pain. Richard watched, dazed, as the she-devil grasp the haft of the knife, wrenched it free, and swung it outwards and across his body with great strength. His eyes widened momentarily, as his belly split open like a ripe melon, spilling out his dark and writhing guts. The singing stopped and the laughing began as the woman, her unnaturally bright and hawk like eyes reveling in the gushing blood, slashed George’s throat, abruptly ending the awful noise. Silence descended as the river continued its slow and meandering movement towards the sea.

You can join in the challenge here: https://scvincent.com/2019/05/16/thursday-photo-prompt-wicker-writephoto/

SoCS – Brilliantly creative minds

Brilliantly creative minds seem to abound in the world of literature. Some writers seem to effortlessly capture immensely complex ideas on paper in such an interesting and enlightening way that I find their words quite remarkable. When I read classics which demonstrate this superior planning of character development and plot I feel awed by the author’s mastery of his/her art and the agility of their mental processes.

One writer I have included in my category of brilliantly creative minds is H.G. Wells. He is, of course, a famous and international known writer and his books have been made into movies, but I did not appreciate his sheer brilliance as a philosopher and analysis of human behaviour until I listened to the audio books of, firstly, War of the Worlds, and secondly, The Time Machine, over the past few weeks.

The movies of both of these books do not focus on their philosophical elements  which, to me, were the most amazing and intriguing ideas in the books. H.G. Wells depiction of the Martians as beings that have evolved into such highly complex and intellectual creatures that they no longer require a body astonished me in it’s cleverness.

If you think about it, machines are always superior in strength and endurance to any physical being and if you are able to create machines to do all the tasks you require, why would you need to bother with maintaining a physical body? The Martians are merely brains with large eyes and hand-like tentacles which enable them to operate their many amazing machines. In order to focus only on intellectual pursuits, the Martians have eliminated emotions from their genetic make-up and they do not feel empathy, sadness, joy, fear or any of the other emotions that distract human beings. They are creatures of logic and their decisions are not hampered by emotion, sexual desire or even pleasure in eating and drinking. They do not eat but rather inject blood from a living being directly into their own veins. This really made me think as people with unusually high IQ’s often have low EQ’s and find it difficult relating to other people. What would our world be like if all of humanity were genetically engineered to create only geniuses?

The Time Machine also demonstrates and unusual understanding of the factors that drive human intelligence. In this book, the Time Traveler goes many thousands of years forward in time. He finally arrives at an age which, on the surface, appears to be a golden age where men have managed to achieve a purely communistic society where everyone enjoys the same benefits. There is no hunger, suffering or deprivation in this far distant time. The Time Traveler, however, soon discovers that the price man has paid for this Utopian world is his intelligence. The human-like creatures that inhabit the upper world have the mentality of children and lack any motivation to produce or create anything. H.G. Wells’ explanation is that if all your needs are met and there is no need to use intelligence to survive through means such as building shelter, storing food and fighting attackers, the intelligence will become obsolete through lack of challenge and use.

I thought these two ideas on the evolution of society were fascinating. What do you think? What brilliantly creative minds have you come across through reading fiction?

This post was written for Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday challenge: https://lindaghill.com/2019/05/17/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-18-19/

#Flashfiction – Trees

The enormous tree drew her. Its branches reached up into the bright, blue sky, far above its fellows. She knew only too well that all of the trees were nourished with the flesh of humans deemed by society to be wasteful squanderers, but she still admire this particular tree’s tenacity in beating its competition and achieving such great proportions. She thought of another tree. The one she had seen on the eve of the Great War after the bombs had rained down. She recalled the tendrils of fire running up its wide trunk and licking greedily at its branches.

May 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

You can join in the prompt here: https://carrotranch.com/2019/05/16/may-16-flash-fiction-challenge/

#Flashfiction – Aging

Would you really want to live for longer? It is an appealing idea to slow down the aging process and retain the good looks and vibrant good health of your 20s, but there is a down side. Imagine having to work for double the amount of years. Instead of spending 40 years of your life caught up in the turmoil and intensity of paid employment, 80 years would be required. After that amount of time, even the most interesting job could become mundane. Maybe we would have to switch careers and go through learning and training years again. Ug!

The above 99-word flash was written for Charli Mills’ weekly flash fiction challenge. You can join in here: https://carrotranch.com/2019/05/10/may-9-flash-fiction-challenge/

Charli’s prompt also inspired the following longer piece:

From the diary of Dr Thompson

It is interesting to see how people cling to life. No matter how dire their circumstances or how old and dependent they are, they don’t want to die. Maybe it is because they are familiar with their current lives and can hope that their circumstances will improve, whereas death is the great unknown. Some people, of course, do not find succumbing to death to be a great leap of faith, but to many, the lack of clarity beyond the grave is disturbing.

I warned the World Government that they could not obviously favour one grouping of people over another when it came to the extension of life. This was more controversial in my view than their plan of  genetic engineering to increase human intelligence. In my experience, not all people aspire to intellectual greatness.

The idea of the World Government was simple. Individuals who demonstrated the characteristics of higher performance and productivity were singled out and their personal identification microchips were programmed to use available biotechnology to change the genetic makeup of such individuals’ cells, slowing down their aging process and reversing the negative effects of heart disease and other stress and anxiety related health problems caused by their ambitious, rigidly organised, anxious and proactive personalities. This programme had two major effects on the selected individuals: they aged at a slower rate than their peers and their productive work lives increase from approximately 40 years to over 80 years and the genes that resulted in their high-functioning abilities were exacerbated in their children.

It did not take many years for the people living in the compounds for the unemployed to notice that their working peers were not aging at the same rate as they were. Men and women in high pressure jobs maintained the smooth skin and full bodied and richly coloured hair of their youth for many years. When the effects of time did finally start manifesting in their faces, the changes were subtle. They also maintained their robust good health and did not suffer arthritis, osteoporosis and other debilitating aging diseases. The rumblings of discontent in the ghettos and compounds increased as the inhabitants slowly came to the realisation that they were missing out on the opportunity of an extended life. The World Government denied any intervention in this area of humanity; it was not economical to have the unemployed living for longer. It only made sense for those people who would use this longer life for the benefit of society by increasing their skills and remain productive for longer.

The uprising, demonstration and unrest continued and the government resorted to using the military, a privileged group of men and women with unusually strong bodies, high endurance as well as high intelligence, to control the masses through whatever means they deemed necessary.

The other major issue that arose as a result of this genetic manipulation was that the human characteristics of anxiety and stress, which frequently went hand in hand with high performance and greater intelligence, increased in the children of the genetically engineered workers. Mental illnesses such as depression, PTSD, OCD, panic attacks and other, similar disorders became more apparent and troublesome among the working population. These negative effects had to be controlled through the use of an additional microchip implant aimed at controlling the amount of serotonin in sufferers brains but, the scientists soon realised, that the microchip and other medications only worked to a certain extent. They had a problem on their hands and it was not easily solvable as removing these negative aspects of human behaviour would also remove the personality traits government wanted desperately to retain.