FOUNTABLE

This is a blog for the fans of the Fountable series of science fiction stories.

Whether your interest is in the characters and their quirky behavior or if you are more intrigued by the new brand of math and science they are busy developing, you’ve come to the right place.

I will try to keep the articles short and to the point – although I usually delight in rambling on and on – and I hope your comments will be concise as well… unless, of course, they are more involved and convoluted that an Edmund Hamilton plotline.

But I am certain we will be able to sort all of it out.

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the Odd Dalmas-Martin Connection



When someone exits this world, a lot of the stories you knew can come flooding back. In the case of John Dalmas, I cannot recall one that wasn’t funny or heartwarming.

He was particularly fond of telling tales of Swedes and lumberjacks – as he was both – and seemed to have not the slightest unkind bone in his body. Everyone I know who met the man, liked him; often describing him as a large puppy.

The connection between my father and John went back many years, surprisingly, even to years before they actually met in this physical plane.

Dad had long been a reader of science fiction and hoped to one day write such novels himself. Naturally, he subscribed to Analog magazine for many years.

When we moved – once again – to continue our “adventures in Scientology”, there was limited space and we had to trim the fat, so to speak, and travel light. Dad resigned himself to dumping his years-long collection of Analog magazines and let all of them go except for two issues. These two issues contained a serialized novel that he had read over and over and could still not part with it.

The novel in question was The Yngling by a first time author, John Dalmas.

Several years later, setting up shop in Flagstaff, Arizona, dad met a forestry professor named John Jones and talked for several hours about many subjects. My older brother had painted some space scenes and these paintings were hanging up in the house. Naturally, John commented on them. Dad mentioned that he was a big fan of science fiction. That’s when John mentioned having published one novel, The Yngling.

Dad got up and went to his bedroom, returning a moment later with the two issues of Analog. “This Yngling?” he asked. John was surprised but confirmed that he was indeed the author under a pseudonym.

I don’t know if John had intended to finish his life as a forest ecologist or if he planned to ever get down to writing full time, but after talking with my father for many months, that’s the path he chose.

Years later, my parents moved to a deserty landscape near Phoenix where John would visit them on occasion. This formed the setting for one of his later novels, The Reality Matrix, naming the characters who were my parents Vic and Tory Merlin.

Dad and John’s connection was strong. It formed before they met and I am certain it continues for both currently in whatever realm they now reside.



John Dalmas, 1926-June 15, 2017

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In deep sorrow…



Most people may not have heard of John Dalmas but few who read science fiction in the last decades of the twentieth century can have missed his marvelous books of The Lion of Farside books, the Fanglith Series, or his military science fiction works, The Regiment, &c.

I first met the author while he was a university professor in the College of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. He attended a Scientology lecture on campus presented by my father, Rod Martin, and soon became a frequent visitor at our house.

Learning of my interest in writing, he invited me to a community writers’ workshop held once a week at the public library in Flagstaff. He would often read selections of his one published novel, at that time, The Yngling, as well as other projects he had underway.

He co-authored a novel with my brother, Carl Martin (Touch the Stars: Emergence, Tor Books, 1983), as well as one with my father, Rod Martin (The Playmasters, Baen Books, 1987), and he even used a chart devised by another of my brothers, the late Larry Martin, to assist the readers’ understanding the philosophy of the T’sel in the novel The Regiment (on p.209, Baen, 1987). He was gracious enough to proof-read a couple of my early novels and I had the pleasure of proofing a couple of his.

I only met his son, Jack, once but knew his daughter Jude well enough as my first wife was one of her best friends.

We stayed in touch over the years after I left Flagstaff, and he left as well to go to Seattle, where I got a chance to visit him and his wife, Gail.

Over the years I have been able to keep up with his output at the local bookstore. This was before the internet and I had no complete listing of his works, just nabbed one up when I found it. One day I picked up one called Walkaway Clause in a used bookstore. I wrote him and mentioned the find – it was several years old by that time – and he wrote back and asked if he could have it. Seems he did not get the usual author copies of that volume when it was released and he had never seen it. It took me a couple of years to find another copy in a used bookstore to fill out my collection.

Over the years, our communications have, quite naturally, gotten further and further between as his health declined.

I was hoping to hear soon that one of his historical novels from Swedish history had finally made it to print but it seems, now, that may never be happening.

If you have never read his works, I recommend you check them out. Some are available free online. All of them are good reads, in my opinion. I will probably be re-reading my collection again in the near future.

Those volumes and my memories are all that’s left of him on this side of the pale.

Thank you, John, and farewell.



Friends Long Past – Two

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Most of the people I knew in Scientology back then have been gone from the picture for some time.

Many were older at the time and the passage of fifty years is enough to remove them from this plane. Others are probably still around but no longer involved in Scientology.

Ray Kemp ran the Tustin franchise. He was a friend of our family. Ken and Julia Salmen ran the LA Org at the time and they, too, were great friends.

Bill Banka was an old-timer even then as was Gibby Niehus, Scott Paige, Pem and Roz Wall, Fred and Melissa Payer, Ron and Connie Broadbent… so many more I don’t think I can remember them all much less list them all.

And so many of these people were ushered out of the Church about the same time that my parents were excommunicated.


Some went on to found ex-Scientology groups, some simply faded away.

Yet all of them will be sorely missed from the completion of the mission to save the world.

Even if now the mission is to save the world from Scientology…

…and David Miscavige’s reign of terror.


Friends Long Past

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This is the New ASHO Building – I cannot locate an image of the older one on Temple Street

Having spent so much time in the Church of Scientology, I got to know a lot of the people at a lot of the different orgs and centers.

When I worked at A.S.H.O. I was in the Public Divisions and got to help organize several different “congresses” – their annual get-togethers to celebrate the accomplishments of the year passed.

Once, on a Saturday, my boss and his boss, the Public Exec Sec, were both gone for the day as was the Captain of the org (it was operated by the Sea Org* by that time) when a call came in from the Church in Mexico City.

The call was routed to me as I was the senior Public Division person in the building and, as such (as it turned out) I was also the temporary Head of the Church of Scientology for the Western Hemisphere.

The fact surprised the heck out of me (and I think they have changed it since then, thank goodness!) but I was given a problem to solve. I gave them my take on what to do and they asked for a telex confirmation of the order – yes, this was long before email, fax, or any of those things.

On Monday morning, the Public Exec Sec was upset that I had “usurped” her authority but in the midst of her reaming me out, the Captain came in and gave me a letter: a hand-written commendation for taking charge in a situation “above my pay grade” and making everything go right.

He then ordered her to his office.

The shouting could be heard throughout the building.

And she was wearing a gray rag tied around her arm for a couple of days.


As you can imagine, things got really tense in that department after that and the Captain very graciously transferred me to a less hostile division.

Scientology may have the answers in a lot of areas but even back then the organization was home to several rather psychotic managers.


* – explaining what the Sea Org is would take pages and can be easily searched online. Basically it was the elite arm of Scientology dedicated to “clearing” (i.e. saving) the planet.


Fun Times

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I may have been an early example of someone raised in the Church of Scientology but my brothers and I were not alone. There were quite a few other teens I knew whose parents had been involved in the Church for several years.

The obvious ones were Hubbard’s kids. I knew Diana, Arthur and Suzette on the Flagship and had corresponded with Quentin for several years before that. But Hubbard had kids before those four. Nibs (LRH Jr – later changed to L Ron DeWolfe) and his sister, Katie, were also around. Her children were also in the Church which would make them third generation Scientologists. I don’t remember the daughter’s name but her son, Lance, was a friend.

Phil Spickler arrived at A.S.H.O. with his wife, Teri, and his daughter, Mimi. And while Phil and Teri were on course, Mimi got a job to work at the Org. She was only fourteen but she turned heads. (Later, she married Tom Cruise after her divorce from Mr. Rogers.) She is still acting, I hear.

Fred and Steve Crivello came with their parents from New Jersey – I think – and then stayed out longer while mom and dad went back home. They became very good friends while they were there. Sadly, I heard that Steve had passed on a couple of years ago… and I believe it was one of those cases where the Church did not look so good.

Speaking of Good, there was the rather large Good/Konkle family as well. Maggie was a marvelous person and had quite a few great kids who I am still in communication with today.

There was one other second-generation kid that came along though I never did meet the fellow. He seemed to make more of himself than of the other kids I knew.

His name was David Miscavige.


Celebrity Spokespersons

There are a lot of enterprises who enlist the aid of celebrities to endorse their products and such. Many of these endorsements do not usually mean that the endorser actually uses the products they pitch.

With Scientology, it is different. These celebrity endorsers come from the ranks of the practitioners. Yes, they actually DO use the stuff.

But how good can it be, really? How many people do you think Tom Cruise has pulled in? Let’s face it, with his three failed marriages one would have to think twice about how successful his life is really going. Sure, he’s got money and fame but not much else!

I should think they would put their time and money on someone with a little less baggage if you know what I mean.

Another thing about these “celebrities”… the original idea to encourage their membership in the Church and to give them “special treatment” was that these people would become “opinion leaders”. I don’t see a lot of that going on. Sure we get that they are famous and they are Scientologists. Other than Cruise’s rant about wanting to outlaw psychiatry I haven’t seen a very large push toward any “opinion leadership” from these people.


Mostly what the Church has gotten from these people is a distraction.

With all the really bad news coming out about the Church and its mis-management, they can point to these bastions of humanity and say, “Hey! These great people are members. How bad can it be?”

And it seems to have worked so far.


Name Dropper

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The Church of Scientology is very big on big names. It was not that way in the early days because Hubbard was THE name that mattered.

Somewhere along the way, the Church in Los Angeles noticed they were attracting a few of the “lights” of nearby Hollywood. Someone got the notion that such people should not have to wait in line like the rest of us especially as the rest of us were staring.

So, a special place was created: very clean, very artsy, and called “the Celebrity Center”. I was fortunate enough to have worked there for a time under Yvonne Gilham, its first director.

The big names we worked with are probably no one you have ever heard of today but Stephen Boyd, Geoffrey Lewis, Chick Correa, Jim McMullan, Helene Ireland, and Amanda Ambrose were all fairly substantial stars at the time.

And one must recall that at that time, John Travolta was finishing high school, Tom Cruise was not even in high school, and the Ribisi twins were not even a dual twinkle in their daddy’s eye.

Speaking of them, I remember the father very well. There were a couple of up and coming rock bands in Scientology at the time. One was Orange Colored Sky and the other was People! The latter group had a #1 hit song called “I Love You” and they were at the height of their fame at that time.

Working at the American Saint Hill Org, I got to meet the band. The Levin brothers seemed to be most people’s favorite as they were the photogenic group. Denny I didn’t get to know too well but the nerdier one of the group, Al Ribisi, I found easier to get along with.

Not that we were best buds or anything but we did talk a bit. I believe his sister, Soo, joined the Sea Org the next year and she was as friendly as Al, and even a bit better looking (no offense, Al).

Al is still in the Church and his three children were raised in Scientology and seem to be doing quite well for themselves.


From the rather small and humble beginnings of encouraging celebrities to try Scientology, we have come to the place where they have become – for better or worse – the public face of the Church.

Still, something about jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch doesn’t make a very sane or solemn impression.

What do you think?