Short Story Review: “Staking a Claim”

“Staking a Claim” by Travis J. I. CorcoranTravis J. I. Corcoran’s Aristillus novelsThe Powers of the Earth and Causes of Separation, are modern masterpieces of science fiction, with a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist core that surpasses Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in showing how free people can turn a wasteland into prosperity for all who seek liberty and defend itself against the envy and greed of those who would loot what they had created and put them back in chains.  The two novels in the series so far won the Prometheus Award for best novel in 2018 and 2019, the first self-published novels to win that award and the first back-to-back best novel winners in the four decades the prize has been awarded.  They were jointly fiction winners of my Books of the Year for 2019.

One of the factors which contributed to the success of the anarcho-libertarian lunar settlement at Aristillus was the origin of the crater in which it was founded, which, in the story was, 1.3 billion years before the present, by the impact of a 1.4 kilometre metallic asteroid in the eastern part of Mare Imbrium.  The portion of its mass which did not vaporise on impact was thrown up into the triple-peaked mountain at the centre of the 55 km crater, where its payload of iron, nickel, and other heavy metals differentiated as the magma solidified.  The Moon’s crust, formed from a mix of that of the Earth and the Mars-sized impactor (sometimes called “Theia”), is impoverished in heavy metals, which had already sunk to the cores of the impacting bodies and were not disrupted in the collision, so the impact which formed Aristillus was fortuitous, creating a concentrated source of material otherwise difficult to obtain on the Moon.... [Read More]


Looking Out My Office Window and Taking In the Scene

So here I am, musing and wondering.

It has been a heckuva week. The dental products business was beginning to blossom and now has hit a stall due to dental offices being closed. My other main income source is construction in the state below where the Governor issues cryptic edits which leave business owners confused. I had the owner call me looking for advice on how to handle an employee who faked having Coronavirus.... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-29: A Tale of Two Cities

I was reminded this morning of this quote from Charles Dickens.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.... [Read More]



These are individual photos, via iPhone 11, of my better half’s plantings that live on our deck for our joy and amusement whilst sipping the fruit of the vine, listening to classical music, and totally ignoring the meretricious current news.  With even Tucker Carlson firmly seated in the exaggeration and fear mongering train, it’s time to meld with the natural world’s bounty.  Pix are from yesterday; Ma Nature is definitely waking up!

An overview from my perch.
Our totem guards the Wa.
Koi-themed succulent group.
My Bonsai, half pruned.
Yabu, our latest adoptee.
Gwinnie views it all from warm comfort.


Incredible Hulks

I have an idea….it’s crazy, just..might…WORK!  Okay, you know all those vacant cruise ships?  Well, fortunately both NY and Fla are coastal cities.  Let’s use them as prison vessels, like they used decommissioned ships in 19th Century England !  (See Great Expectations, if you don’t get the “hulks” reference. ). Evacuate the population of New York City, and of Florida (pretty much the same people, after all)  off-shore and onto these floating concentration camps.

Fox reported this morning that police (police!) in Rhode Island are going door to door inquiring whether the residents are hiding any New Yorkers.... [Read More]


A Pretty Good Cat

My siblings are bonkers about cats. I’m used to that. I’ve borne years of anthropomorphic fantasies about a line of household pets that included a sensitive and gorgeous special breed, country cross-varieties vaguely named after T.S. Eliot characters, and a few city “patio cats.” I’ve witnessed naming deliberations for new kitties that drag on for weeks, with “Pockets” being a near winner and a friend begging them not to saddle it with a noun handle for life. They eventually settled on human names for their animals, which pleased everyone: Eleanor, Titus. Titus, nearly two decades old, is still with us, and shows up occasionally in pictures, like the time he was sporting a small wide tie that my brother said made him think of “a night manager at Denny’s.”

What has just dawned on me, however, is that another family member has been something of a dark horse when it comes to passion for felines. I mean, I knew my dad liked cats, but I finally realized the degree of this affinity today when my mom texted us with a charming innovation my dad used to solve a problem with their old cat.... [Read More]


The Other China Possibility

What if China’s virus numbers and the 21 million cell phone account reduction are telling the same story?  Along with the expulsion of foreign journalists, the disappearing of online critics, and the utter silence from anybody except Xi?

What if China “liquidated” huge numbers of people to contain the virus?... [Read More]


There Actually Is Leadership In Our Midst

Congressman Thomas Massie–who I can assure you is hated by both the Left and the Right–is making a stand for Liberty by requiring that the vote on the $2.2 trillion money grab coming out of DC be a recorded vote and not a voice vote. Good job Congressman Massie.


Book Review: Collapse

“Collapse” by Kurt SchlichterIn his 2016 novel People’s Republic, the author describes North America in the early 2030s, a decade after the present Cold Civil War turned hot and the United States split into the People’s Republic of North America (PRNA) on the coasts and the upper Midwest, with the rest continuing to call itself the United States, its capital now in Dallas, purging itself of the “progressive” corruption which was now unleashed without limits in the PRNA. In that book we met Kelly Turnbull, retired from the military and veteran of the border conflicts at the time of the Split, who made his living performing perilous missions in the PRNA to rescue those trapped inside its borders.

In this, the fourth Kelly Turnbull novel (I have not yet read the second, Indian Country, nor the third, Wildfire), the situation in the PRNA has, as inevitably happens in socialist paradises, continued to deteriorate, and by 2035 its sullen population is growing increasingly restive and willing to go to extremes to escape to Mexico, which has built a big, beautiful wall to keep the starving hordes from El Norte overrunning their country. Cartels smuggle refugees from the PRNA into Mexico where they are exploited in factories where they work for peanuts but where, unlike in the PRNA, you could at least buy peanuts.... [Read More]