Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

Pan and Zheng (short short story)

February 5, 2019

Pan and Zheng

1.

This is a story by Shao Baojian. I have changed the details but it turns out the same.

The setting is a mid sized, smog filled, city; in a medium sized country with a quickly growing population.

Some old people there remembered a time, not too far back, when it was against the law to show affection in public. Yes, women could cuddle their children, and old men could embrace and hug after being reunited, but no more than that!

Now public displays of affection between a man and a woman was allowed, but frowned on as being forward, or foreign!

2.

Picture at the end of a half paved road, crowded with tiny stores, and multi family houses, a small apartment building.

This building was somewhat bland and unadorned, but well kept up. It was rectangle shaped, two story, and had ten apartments. Eight of those were families and two housed singles.

Looking at the front of the building the two singles lived on the upper floor on the far left side. Second from the end lived a bachelor named Zheng Ruokui. And at the end was a spinster named Pan Xuee.

Each morning the two would meet on the stairs on their way to work. He would speak first by saying, “Good morning,” with a pleasant smile. Then she would respond by asking, “Going out?” with another smile.

These were the only two sentences anyone in the neighborhood ever heard from them! And that is all the more surprising when one learns that some living here were gossips of the first rank!

3.

Pan was a woman in her late 30’s or early 40’s. Her cute features had lost a little of their softness from age. Her skin had tightened and her muscles had gotten leaner from repeated work. Her face was oval with balanced features. She had a fine complexion, pretty teeth, big eyes, and rich black, long, straight, hair. Her build was a bit skinny and fragile looking; but she was always ready to roll up her sleeves and lend a hand to the neighborhood.

She worked at the big flower shop on Western Street, the wide road that led to downtown.

Zheng was in his mid 40’s. He looked older with a bit of a stoop, black rimmed glasses, messy matted hair, and always a breakout or two on his face, that he’d scratch. He had medium height and weight with, narrow shoulders. His fingers were long and thin, and he often held his hands behind his back when he talked. But he was also bright, alert, and he had a way of telling news with a laugh, like it was a story.

Zheng worked for a theater chain. The job of his team was to paint murals on the walls. There wasn’t much originality in the work, because he had to follow a specific pattern that was the same in every theater.

Besides a movie now and then, Zheng didn’t go out much. He liked to stay at home and read, or paint watercolors. Many hung on his walls, and one had won him a prize in an amateur painting contest.

His room had a narrow bed, two straight backed chairs, a large and a small table, and in the center against the thick wall that he shared with Pan, a very large bookcase as tall as a man.

Those who came to his apartment always commented on the huge bookcase. It stood out. Besides books, magazines, and letters, the bookcase had a shoulder high shelf in the middle, near the top, that was perfect for displaying his precious flower vase.

He owned a blue translucent, family heirloom, flower vase, that he made sure was always clean, polished, and filled with fresh flowers.

4.

One cloudy drizzly day Pan and Zheng met on the stairs, talked as they always did, and separated. That was the last time they met.

Later that day, Zheng was painting on a scaffold when his heart beat became irregular. He called for help. His co workers rushed him to the hospital, but he lost consciousness and died in route.

Soon everyone at the apartments had heard the awful news. Zheng had died. Pan said nothing but her eyes were very red and puffy.

5.

People brought flowers to remember Zheng. The largest bouquet was from Pan. A few days later she quickly packed and suddenly moved away.

One week later family, friends, and neighbors, came together to go through Zheng’s belongings. They were surprised at what they saw.

Dust was layered on everything except the blue vase. That was sparkling clean and full of still fresh, white, chrysanthemums.

When some of the men pulled the large bookcase from the wall they got another surprise. Behind it was a door – an elegant, big, red, door with a bright polished brass handle!

Tongues wagged! The place buzzed like a beehive – noisy with the news that quickly passed through the crowd!

As people talked, the mood changed, and those who had felt kind respect for the bachelor; now felt betrayed; as if he had secretly made fools of them all, and had led a double life …

But then just as quickly, came another surprise. A boy tried to open the door. The brass handle was flat and smooth as the wall itself. So was the frame and the hinges!

The door was painted on the wall!

Why Aliens will look like Earthlings

January 10, 2019

Why will ALIENS almost surely look like EARTHLINGS?

Two words, CONVERGENT EVOLUTION – in this case it works for two planets!

For life to start there must be a planet in the Goldilocks zone. That includes a temperature range that allows for liquid water.

But it must also have a certain atmosphere.
When the planet is too big, like Jupiter, it has the wrong atmosphere. When the planet is too small, like our Moon, it doesn’t hold in an atmosphere. Wrong atmosphere, wrong chemistry – no life.

That means that life planets always have THE SAME GRAVITY!

That means that the life on those watery planets with the same gravity will have life that faces the same natural selection as our planet.

That means that life anywhere will evolve to the best ways to: SWIM, WALK, FLY, and BURROW!

Convergent evolution means they will come up with virtually the same solutions to how to best swim, walk, fly, and burrow, that life did on Earth.

SO, if aliens are ever found, they should be much the same as life on Earth – CONVERGENT EVOLUTION!


Please see my sci-fi novel, Writings in Science, a History of the Future, for much more on all things under the Sun or any star! Streaming everywhere. TomHendricks.us

Review: Carter Ward, Space Rat

January 7, 2019

Carter Ward, Space Rat,
by Gregory K. HG. Bryant
Review 1/6/19

For many years Gregory K. H. Bryant contributed essays to my zine Musea. Later I found out what an accomplished artist and photographer he was. Now add author to that list with the release of his big trade paperback, “Carter Ward, Space Rat”

The 500 pages here introduce us to the adventures of Carter Ward; but it’s far from his last adventure as his story continues online.

Carter Ward is a crusty loner that survives in the outback of space between Mars and the Asteroid Belt, where the laws there are seldom followed!

His ship, 08-111 is a one of a kind marvel with all the necessary, rigged up, extras like his visual companion and a favorite character of mine, Dimara, who helps him out of scrapes more than once!

Besides Dimara, others intrude on his life more than he wants! There’s lots of characters here from the evil Mokem Bet and his Scroungers, to little Emily that has a crush on Carter.

All this adds up to lots of close calls – like the time he died – and even some tender moments when he lets down his guard – slightly!

Lots of space opera adventures here, that are not only fine writing, but fun reading!
I recommend this.

Tom Hendricks
Editor of Musea since 1992.
TomHendricks.us

Vision Poems 1/1/19

January 1, 2019

VISION POEMS

(What is a Vision Poem – see below*)

I built a birdhouse then
he built one for me.

you live
somewhere else
don’t you?

Gum for mortar!

the songbird
stopped singing
turned his head to the Sun
setting…

“You can’t just run wild!”
said I to my listening toys.

3 Blues
for your portrait!

I lived in Scotland
until a sudden
noise shattered
my daydream!

The Church of Spring Blossoms

The “Magic mountain”
children’s version!

My Zen calendar
burnt up!
What day is that?

look in …
any direction!

.

*What is a VISION POEM?
WARNING: This is not ‘Poetry 101’. This is advanced. Vision Poetry does not rhyme (most of the time), and it’s not what you are used to. If for any reason, after reading two or three of these short poems, you don’t ‘GET IT’; please, fold up the zine page , replace it on the stack where you found it, and slowly back away from your computer.

Now that we’ve gotten rid of the neophytes, let’s continue. Vision poems are part koan, part hallucination, part vision, slightly enlightening, and peppered with occasional eureka moments. They are word pictures, dreams, fantasies, jokes, lightning strikes, and kafkaesque situations. Read them with a sense of adventure. Then see if the startling images – somewhat like what a painter might see in his mind before beginning his new work – suggests anything deeper or more profound. Enjoy and let me hear what you think.

Direction in Evolution

December 20, 2018

Read any biology text and it’ll say the same thing:

THERE IS NO DIRECTION TO EVOLUTION.
THERE IS NO DIRECTION TO NATURAL SELECTION.

But I say that is WRONG. I say there is a direction to evolution, and I think that once I tell you, you will agree and prove the textbooks are not correct.

The process of evolution always goes toward better CATABOLIC, and, ANABOLIC processes.

Natural selection does not select worse CATABOLIC, or ANABOLIC processes..

(This is also in my sci-fi novel, “Writings In Science, a History of the Future.”)

Take this further:

Mutation that is positive to a catabolic process will enhance anabolic processes.
Mutation that is negative to a catabolic process will be mitigated by anabolic processes – and vice versa. So not only is there a direction to evolution, but there is support from the other half of the catabolic or anabolic processes when mutations happen.

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