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


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.

Trying Something Different…

Having written a couple of volumes in the “Fountable Series”, and received some good feedback – though only one review – I have decided to start doing a little more on the marketing end rather than just writing the next volume in the series.

It would certainly appear to be what you would call a “no-brainer” but it is not my task of choice… no, I would rather be writing. I guess that’s why I am a writer and not a marketer, huh? Go figure.

The Martian Publishing website has been up and running for over a year and the Facebook page was started in April and almost as quickly started gathering dust. Even trying to think of what to do or say there was a strain.

Then my wife came along and said, “Why not just make it fun?”

And so, the Facebook page is dusted off and growing, one bad joke at a time. It seems a very enjoyable way to end the day, post a few jokes and innocuous thoughts for others to get a chuckle.

We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

It hasn’t sold any books yet but it certainly is a heckuva lot more entertaining than trying to “market” anything.

a Brand New Year

Well, 2013 is finally here and I can imagine there’s quite a few people who were surprised to see the calendar roll over to this year.

And it looks pretty much like 2012 did, actually. The news sources have pulp to fill the feeding troughs and the politicians have the usual problems to overcome. And there is a new M. Night Shyamalan film coming out this summer to look forward to. Well, that is if you like that sort of thing.

And there is more to be written, and I am coming close to the conclusion of the third volume in the Fountable series. While working on it, plot threads have been extended to become the groundwork for volumes four and five in the series, but I really haven’t done much to develop those tales yet. I am trying to concentrate on this ONE volume first.

Hopefully, I can get it done before springtime turns my fancy to outdoor activities.

I’m not much of a winter person. I love the snow but through the window from the warm comfort of my armchair. And we have had quite a bit of snow already this year, a little bit everyday since Christmas Eve, it seems.

But, enough of the day dreaming…

Back to work.

On the Horizon

I keep dropping little teasers here and there about the coming volumes in the series but I have not gone too deeply into any of it.

That is, until now.

Fountable III has gone into final edit and it completes the originally planned three volumes (though as I mentioned before, not anything like the original outline from the 70’s). Volume four of the series has already been started and is called The Rings of Ojeelah. Perhaps I just got tired of naming each successive book with a number, or it could be because in the original outline, volume four was called that name, though the source of the rings was completely different in that earlier version.

In volume four, the group has finished setting up their teleportation business and moved off to do further research on their next endeavor.

What they cannot imagine is that anyone would take exception to their success… but, of course, someone does and the teleportation hub at Ojeelah is disrupted as the ring-gates are sabotaged.

Furzana immediately suspects her brother has some part in it but she still harbors a grudge against him for what happened in volume one, and she is not ready to let him off the hook as easily as Tervan seems to have.

Prince Acoordes will be exonerated from any complicity as they investigate the attack. What they discover – eventually – is far more shocking than any mere imperial plot or any slighted business competitor. It seems they have stepped on the toes of one too many scientist on their way to reconfiguring the laws of the universe.

And the most heinous crime was not getting any of it peer-reviewed.

That is, of course, a thumbnail sketch of the forthcoming adventure and it may change in several details before arriving at the finish line, but that is the present outline. More background details will be brought up about several different members of the group and some will be more involved than in previous volumes whereas others will see less activity. They are each developing their own lives to live as well.

In volume five, as yet untitled and far from being completely outlined, we will see the young boy, Hasitha, who recalled saving Tervan’s life in a previous life, returns again to make good on his earlier prophecy, saving Tervan’s life. Which will, by the questions it brings up, push their scientific inquiry into yet another realm.

Other volumes in the series are even more tentative in outline form and will probably only become further developed as the need arises. If the series loses readership, it will probably disappear before the last volume currently anticipated (#12, if you must know).

But we shall see what the future brings.

One thing I will mention, however, is that the end of the original trilogy was Tervan’s death. But as he was being murdered, his soul was transferred into a mechanized body.

Whether or not I will include that plot-line in this latest incarnation is still up in the air. If I do, it will certainly be nothing on the order as in the original – political intense – plot-line.

For the present, I am having too much fun with Tervan – as he is – to worry about killing him – or anyone else – off.

BAD Science Fiction

I have read a lot of Science Fiction in my life.

There have been volumes where I have found myself at odds with the science in the book.

Other times I have found myself fighting through too many conflicting strands in one tale.

So though I may have issues with either the science or the fiction, I have never read any BAD science fiction. Some poorly written science fiction, on occasion, but BAD? Never.

The ability of any person to predict – no matter how poorly – a possible future is really a gift.

Clarke and Heinlein were great writers but the futures they predicted have – in most respects – been wrongly conceived.

Yes, they were wrong. The writers who pushed the future further out – like in the 23rd or 25th century – may be proven wrong as well, but we’ll have to wait a time for the ballots to be counted, the hanging chads swept under the rug.

All fiction opens your mind to the possible and science fiction pries it open even further.

It is a gift of awakening to possibilities you or I may have never imagined in our wildest – or darkest – dreams.

Even the most lame framework for a story that creates possibilities cannot be called BAD, even if poorly written.

And the possibilities are, after all, the only future there is.

Politics, Politics

Although Tervan has little to no regard for politics, even when he keeps being through into the midst of it, he tries to extricate himself as quickly from that arena as possible, and takes a long hot shower as soon as possible to remove the “stench”.

So, though he has no particular regard for the subject, I have to. Since it is the one thing that really irks him, it will quite naturally keep popping up and impinging on his life until he works out some method for living with that beast.

And it will keep popping up until the story no longer requires its presence – of course!

But, of course, there is not any sort of news bureau that handles this sort of news for me, I have to create it all, and make it messy enough to give Tervan the shudders. If politics were more pleasant and easy-going, he might actually get involved in it and that is not about the happen. I’ll let other writers take the lead on politically-oriented science fiction.

The Fountable series is decidedly apolitical.

Still, the world of politics is not confined to the hallowed halls of the imperial government and there is a lot of politicking that goes on elsewhere as well.

Once the kids (now young adults) have established their own enterprise, they find politics runs rampant through the business world as well.

And, if they did not glimpse it previously, they will find politics is a fairly strong influence in the world of science as well.

Tervan et al may be able to avoid the politics of the imperial sort, and pay someone to deal with the business politics, but they are standing alone to defend their new theories against the politics of the status quo.

(Stay tuned for that volume.)

Apology for “Taking Up Space”

I’m not really much of a blogger.

I’ve cruised around and read a lot of interesting things but everyone seems to have so many more interesting things going on in their lives than I or simply the pressing need to remark on everything that happens in their daily routines.

I even have some blogging friends that can get worked up about things to rant, long and hard, about… all sorts of things. Some find humor in almost everything and have a way to make light of the daily grind.

That’s not me.

If something interesting happens to me, I’ll probably mention it. Something like getting run over or winning the Hugo… I think my odds are about the same either way.

Other than that, I don’t get worked up over the news. In fact, I don’t even listen to the news. Wife and I banned television and radio several years ago and haven’t looked back. Our lives are so much calmer now.

Friends tell us we are missing out on what is going on.

Let me guess: somebody won an election, there’s been some murders, some terrorists threats, some bombing somewhere, people getting ripped off by conmen and corporate greed…

Oh, yes, and the taxes are going up along with the gas prices.

Same news I’ve been listening to for forty years. It ain’t new and it ain’t news.

And most anything I have to say that is of any interest is in my writings.

That’s where my heart and soul come out. My joys, my dreams, my best expectations for man.

Yes, it is FICTION.

But I can still dream, can’t I?

On the Relative “Costs” of Teleportation

One of the early readers of the first volume commented after completing the volume that I should go back and make it clear to the reader about the relative costs of teleporting at greater distances.

He said, “The energy resources would be taxed to a greater degree when teleporting farther and the energy to teleport something halfway across the galaxy like you have should require more energy than you show being used.”

While it is true that has been the case in every science fiction novel I have seen to date on the subject of teleportation, the reader seems to have missed the crux of the new mathematics being used in the volume.

And since the story is based on the new formula for the collapsibility of space itself, the energy required to send something across a room is exactly the same as sending it halfway across the galaxy. Why? Because the space itself has been collapsed, the apparent “distance” removed.

With the space collapsed, farther distances are as close as the adjacent area of space. That is the entire purpose of their little exercise in the mathematics, the whole reason for introducing Leptiri’s theorem at all.

If the result of the adventure into psychic telepathy has resulted in the collapsibility of space, just think what else might be discovered by extension of the same concept into other areas of our universal “laws”.

Oh, except for time-travel. Tervan strictly forbids any delving into that hornet’s nest.

(At least for the present.)

the Psychic Link as a Basis for the New Mathematics

Although the novel was not intended to be very heavy on the “romance” angle – and I don’t think it is, is it? – the psychic link developed by Tervan with his wife, the Princess Furzana, was crucial in the development of the story.

It is rather humorous that the outline I had so diligently created for the development of this ability fell quickly by the wayside. I originally planned to have him develop it some weeks after their arrival on the first prison world. I won’t bore you with the details; enough to say it was discarded.

So, during the journey into exile, Tervan begins thinking he could perhaps contact his wife since he had felt they were “so close”. That was to be the start of the process but then I wrote how his mind was breaking the thing down, into its separate mechanical parts, and the thing took on a life of its own. Bingo! Telepathy born.

In our modern world, a scientist telling his colleagues he has developed his own ability in this area would probably be met with looks askance and a few murmured whispers behind his back. It is not an area normally delved into by the rational.

But this group of kids, still young enough to believe in dreams – or the rightness of their cause against all rational thought, as noted by their all being exiled – there is still a touch of the believer in myths as well as a touch of the romantic in most of them.

When they hear of his development of telepathic abilities, they immediately take it on as a new science project.

Later, they realize that what they are doing actually runs counter to the science they were taught. Old laws and theories are being ground underfoot as they playfully and exuberantly construct their own universes.

In studies done on Earth, in the present, telepathy has been shown to be as close to simultaneous as we can measure. Of course, not all studies even confirm the existence of such an ability but those that do also show it can be instant, even though not all measured transfers have been thus.

Of course, the distances such thought-transferrals go on this planet would not be enough to topple any scientific laws but in the vast reaches of space covered by the novel, it is tantamount to sacrilege.

Hence the development of a completely new mathematical construct of the universe, and a new science.

If you would like to discuss any more on this aspect of the story, please ask away.