SR-71 Blackbird panorama taken at Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ.
Created by digitally stitching 6 shots. I created a couple other versions of this using perspective correction that removed the distortion, but for some reason it was always chopping off either one side or other so I decided to upload this complete but distorted pano instead. I may upload the others later.
I wrote this “Twilight Zone”-like short story about a war diary handed down from soldier to soldier in 1989. This was shortly before I actually joined the military, so it’s attempt to communicate a soldier’s life is pretty much a product of my imagination and watching too many war movies. The very brief story and my inexperience may have made the characters some what shallow stereotypes, but my later experiences in the US Navy during the Gulf War and its aftermath make me think none of those stereotypes are too far off the mark.
As far as the writing goes… I had very little writing experience when I wrote it, but I had written enough at this point to make a fairly good job of it. That and the fact that the story cites two very powerful poems by actual soldier poets from World War I and World War II make it into one of the few bits of my writing that I am not completely embarrassed by sharing. I had gotten the original idea in a college poetry class probably back in 1987, and it had sat around in my notebook and in my imagination for a year or 2 before I actually attempted to write it.
You can download the story in an Adobe PDF document that you should be able to read on most computers, mobile devices and e-readers with the appropriate app. In the near future I hope to add epub and kindle formats too.
To download the ebook, right-click the link below and select, “Save Link As”, or simply click on the link to open the ebook in your computer’s Adobe Reader app.
As mentioned in my previous post Future History Lesson, a passing quote in the science-fiction novel “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein piqued my interest on two events in real history: ‘Horatius at the Bridge‘ and ‘The Death of the Bon Homme Richard‘. What I discovered in both cases I found so rich in story, that I had to explore them further. Below is what I discovered about Haratius. The surprising story of Bonhomme Richard can be found in Part 3 (coming soon).
Horatius at the Bridge
When first digging I could not find a specific work with this title, but there was a lot of information to be found on the person and the event. I eventually discovered that “Horatius at the Bridge” was the title of some editions of the narrative poem “Horatius“ by the Victorian Era historian Baron Thomas Abington Macaulay which was published in his book “Lays of Ancient Rome“ in 1842. It was very popular in England at the time, memorized and recited avidly, and taught in schools. Even close to a hundred years later Winston Churchill recalled memorizing it. You can download a free public domain digital ebook of the entire “Lays of Ancient Rome” via Project Gutenberg, available in multiple file formats. Continue reading Horatius at the Bridge
First, I’ve been a big fan of Heinlein for awhile, but strangely had never read this novel which many regard so highly. I had seen the crappy movie supposedly based on it, but let me say that movie really holds no similarities to the novel except for some characters’ and alien species’ names. Worse the movie turns some of the deeper but controversial aspects of the novel on their head, and turns the entire story into a farce. For example Heinlein’s novel portrays a democratic society in which suffrage is earned by a term of government service – in the case of the main characters this happened to be military service. The movie version portrays a fascist society where the only road to citizenship was through the military — kind of like non-citizen inhabitants of the early to mid Roman empire who could earn citizenship only after serving 25 years in the Roman legions.
I’m getting off the topic, which isn’t so much about the future the novel portrays, but about detailing some things I learned from a “future history lesson” today’s reading inspired me to take. Continue reading Future History Lesson