Life Imitating Art? Last year I published Mars: Genesis 2.0, a short story set in the very near future that deals with efforts to set up a small colony on Mars before an unavoidable extinction event on earth. No, we don't have a massive asteroid with our number on it destined to hit us in 666 days (as far as I know), but NASA announced yesterday that an oxygen reclamation system will soon head to Mars that will turn CO2 into oxygen in preparation for a future mission. My idea for reclaiming O2 and hydrogen from the Martian atmosphere through atmospheric reclamation units as the means to provide both water and a breathable air (also methane and carbon for fuel and building materials) was based on some rudimentary scientific knowledge and was not a novel concept. But if NASA announces that it is exploring ancient dry aquifers and/or lava tubes by dry lake beds as a site for a colony I'm suing the agency for plagiarism.
Now, given the current situation in the Middle East I sincerely hope that terrorists are not into fiction as my "End of Days" short story also published last year is keeping me up nights.
If I were Stephen King, I'd write a novel about a mild mannered university prof driven to write prophetic warnings on his demonically possessed laptop that nobody reads. The end is near. Fade to black.
Since the above tongue-in-cheek posting, two other articles that appeared yesterday and today across various newspapers make me wonder. First, a near earth asteroid that was not detected until very recently will score a near miss today, skimming by us at some 25,000 miles or about ten times closer than the Moon. Second, and even more ominous for me, Professor Stephen Hawking is quoted today as saying that the search for the elusive Higgs boson "God particle" by scientists using supercolliders could bring about the end of the universe. (read one such article my wife was kind enough to forward to me here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2746727/Maybe-shouldn-t-looking-quite-hard-God-particle-destroy-universe-warns-Stephen-Hawking.html).
Dr. Hawking, whose name I mention alongside Dr. Einstein as synonymous with genius in my short story "End of Days", has a somewhat different take on how the search for the Higgs boson may bring about the end of the universe from my own, but it's still close ENOUGH to to be more than a little troubling. And, though we are assured that no supercollider powerful enough to bring about professor Hawkings end of the universe scenario currently exists, I'm afraid my own scenario for achieving the same effect with a poor-man's super duper supercollider by using two suitcase nukes and a modified airliner is still, unfortunately, on the table. You'll have to read my short story to see my own novel view of cosmology and how terrorists might create the mother of all improvised explosive devices to bring about the end of our universe in a scenario that also rings far too true for anyone that takes even a cursory glance at the current state of the Middle East. Better yet, don't if you like to continue enjoying a peaceful night's rest.
All kidding aside, the intersection of the news and the newest two stories in my Mindscapes collection written last year is really more than a little creepy. "End of Days" which directly relates to today's news and Profesor Hawking's article in a very unsettling way is the only story I've ever written that so angered my wife because of its content that she yelled at me and refused to finish it. I've actually toned down some of the scenes as a result of her non-review-review. (I like being married.) Though in fairness the story is, after all, titled End of Days--not exactly a title that calls to mind a snuggly (if odd-looking) alien from a far-off place who can heal kids with a glowing finger and take them on exciting flying bicycle rides through the night sky in a delightful quest to phone home.
So, how about it, Mr. Spielberg? Are you ready for some Amazing Stories of a very different kind? And are you willing to read each one to the end before giving in to the urge of throwing the neighbor's cat at me?