So you can read my books

Saturday, March 2, 2013

BACK FROM THE FUTURE ... to Meilori's.

M Pax is teaming up with the lovely Suze of Subliminal Coffee, and Nicki Elson,
for the Back from the Future Blogfest. Friday, March 1st!

Night died unwillingly at Meilori's. The palms by my table stood vigil as their leaves
hissed through the shadows like claws through sand.

Sherlock Holmes scowled over the chess board at me. "McCord, you play a ducedly unpredictable game."

He started as Father Renfield silently appeared to my right, handing me a large shoebox.

"Sam, this was in front of Meilori's. It's addressed to you ...
in your own handwriting."

Holmes studied the address. "It is hand-stamped 2023. Obviously, the future's technology has de-voled."

I opened it slowly. I placed the lid down gently. Holmes plucked out a yellowed newspaper.

He frowned. "The London Times. From the looks of it, the newspaper was produced by a crude printing press, but the date reads March 1, 2023."

Renfield read the headline softly. "LAST EDITION FOR THE LAST DAYS."

Renfield arched an eyebrow at me.  "Sam, I've always said
you made life hard for yourself, but this ruddy stunt is going

Paper-clipped to the newspaper was a note scrawled in brown ink. Renfield sniffed the air. "Blood."

In my own handwriting were the words. "These are the only clues I can give you to stop the end of days."

Holmes pulled out a test tube of yellow-green fluid marked: H2O circa 2023. It was wrapped in a green breath mask

He squeezed the bridge of his long nose and said low,

"Thanks to advances in bio-technology, it will become
increasingly possible to custom-tailor a pathogen's lethality.

The 1918 flu epidemic killed 80 million people in those less
densely packed times.

A similar outbreak would now kill 210 million.  Such a loss
of life would cripple civilization as we know it ...

much to the delight of no end of terrorists."

 Padre gingerly pulled out a charred tourist brochure of
Yellowstone National Park, and I shivered.

"Old Faithful is a time-bomb powered by geo-thermal
energy radiating up from a subterranean plug of magma.

Every 500,000 years or so, this super-volcano explodes,
raining lava and ash for hundreds of miles.

Global air traffic would be stopped for months ...
if not years."

Holmes' eyes glinted in the gloom.  "Once again crippling
civilization and isolating fear-crazed humanity."

I peered into the box and pulled out a stained copy of
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL dated March 15, 2019.

There was a strange silicon chip pasted to it.  Its headline read:

The tinier headline went on:


I frowned at Renfield, who loved every new gadget science
spat out, and the Padre murmured,

"Sam, computers are evolving every year until one day, I
would not be surprised if one gained sentience."

Holmes' eyes brightened.  "Yes, of course.  A non-human
sentience would be just that ... not human, finding concern
not where we would but only in perspectives totally alien
to us.

If not foolishly given control by us, they might well wrest it
from us, making life for Man as alien and cold as they."

I muttered, "It just keeps getting better and better."

I dug out an odd metallic glove with a note pinned to it in my
own handwriting:

"And we were worried about global warming.  We should
have been concerned about Yellowstone exploding."

Holmes drily smiled. 
"Yes, fallout from such a super-volcano would hurl enough
debris into the atmosphere to block out much of our sunlight
and plunge surface temperatures.

If our planet was covered in enough ice, most of the incoming
solar radiation would be reflected back out into space,
shivering the planet to an average temperature of -50 degrees

Padre pulled out a strange pair of bulky sunglasses and made
a face.  "Why the bloody hell not.  Solar storms."

I frowned, and Holmes depressingly enlightened me.

"In 1859, you will recall that during our worst solar storm
ever recorded, the sun's particle currents were so strong
that telegraph lines actually burst into flames."

I went cold to the marrow of my bones and whispered,

"If such a storm happened today, months would pass 
without electricity.

And damnation, the world's economy would collapse from

I stiffened as cruel laughter echoed from the now-empty
box.  It was the voice of DayStar, the essence of eternal night
and my very own Moriarty. 

"Only one of those crises ended life as you know it.  It will take
all ten years to stop that one.  Choose incorrectly, and all life
delightfully suffers, wastes away, and dies."

DayStar's chuckling was like the breaking of brittle bones.

"Or you could always ask me."

Renfield glowered.  "When bloody hell freezes over."

DayStar mocked, "Or when your dung-heap of a world does.
But by then, it will be too late, will it not?  Happy choosing,
talking monkeys."

I tugged down on the brim of my Stetson and looked down at
the clues.


In Amazon's 100 best selling New Orleans fantasy, right under Anne Rice's THE WITCHING
HOUR is #40: THE RIVAL, staring Victor Standish and his mentor, Samuel McCord:


  1. Alex commented:
    Your mission, should you choose to accept it - stop Yellowstone from exploding.
    And you have to succeed, because my electric guitars do not sound as good without the electricity.

    My reply:
    Sam certainly has his work cut out for himself. But then, that is his usual kind of day!

    Yes, no electricity would pretty much cripple civilization as we know it!

    D.G. said:
    Fantastic take on the box from the future Roland, with a twist that fits your style of writing. I loved it!!

    For entertainment, I love the AI angle - robots are as dear to me as hobbits.

    I think Yellowstone could be the one that's possible. When Mt. St. Helen's blew years ago, it was scary how dark the sky became in Washington and some parts of the Lower Mainland.

    Glad you joined the blogfest, and thanks for the comment on my post!

    My reply:
    Thanks for liking my take on the blog-hop.

    Yes, we trust our computers too much sometimes.

    Yellowstone will happen -- it is only a matter of when. Man always lives in denial, but some explosions can't be ignored!

    I thought your post was fun, Roland

  2. Oh good, I'm not the only one having blogger comment problems. Misery loves company Roland, and I don't mind your company :)

    This was a great entry, and yes, so exactly your style. I would say the only disaster Sam would be able to avert would be the AI. He may be imaginative - and powerful - enough to avert a natural disaster though.

    Love the history lesson in this excerpt. And every time I listen to Adiemus I think it my favorite Enya song. But there are so many beautiful ones its hard. I'll have to ignore the cost one day and purchase a few CDs.

    Thanks for the controversial topic about Blogging. It is timely and helps with some of my own struggles right now.

    Have a good weekend Roland.


  3. So maybe I'm not actually having the computer problems I suspected I was having?

    Yours was a very different entry from anything I've read so far. You really put a lot of time into this. I've heard some of the Yellowstone disaster scenario theories and having visited there many times I would not discount the possibilities.

    Writers Workshop
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  4. Donna:
    Every now and then, Blogger decides to teach me humility! And I always enjoy your company, too. :-)

    Yes, I had fun researching this post. Imagine the havoc the 1859 solar storm wrought with those telegraph lines. Now, with all the lines strung from coast to coast and our microwave tech, a similar storm would be a nightmare.

    I mention in the 1853 adventures of Sam that his wealth is literally endless. He can do much with those resources. But the unforseen consequences of such power make him reluctant to use it.

    In END OF DAYS, he, Alice, and a rag-tag group of misfits took on a fae and extra-dimensional invasion. It was certainly a blow-out though with mass casualties.

    Adiemus runs through my mind so often, and it did last night when I wrote this, so I shared. It is no surprise that you like it too. :-)

    Blogging and I are having issues right now. LOL. So I thought others might be in the same boat.

    May your weekend be healing and fun. Roland

    Thanks for seeing the research I put into this and enjoying it especially! :-)

    At 3 A.M. I fumed at myself for putting such labor into something so few would read. But I had fun doing it, despite the heavy eyes!

    The Yellowstone disaster will happen -- it is just a matter of when.

    Have you ever read LUCIFER'S HAMMER by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle? It was written years before SUDDEN IMPACT and ARMAGEDDEON. Scary in its scientific detail and realism.

  5. Great writing, as always, Roland!

    And I guess misery loves company because I thought I was the only one having problems commenting.

    About your comment, hmm, Ben Afleck comes to mind.

    Roland, I think it's time to consider a by-invitation-only blog for native Louisianians and brainstorm connections and so on. I've got some stuff I could bring to the table, you probably do and so on. We just need to match it all up. Louisianians are very good about that in real life. Why not in Blogville? Please e-mail me:

  6. Kittie:
    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, with that beard, Ben Afleck could play McCord (everyone, that is from my comment on her BACK TO THE FUTURE post). Mr. Afleck could even be the director! :-) Dreamer, me.

    I would be glad to write you! This one day off is so filled with obligations that I might be late in emailing. Thanks for the thought. Roland

  7. You certainly did put a lot of time and effort into this post! You always sound so well-researched where I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants type of blogger. ;)

    I have never visited Yellowstone but would love to someday.

  8. Trisha:
    Each of us has her or his own style. No one is the best. :-)

    Let's hope when you do visit Yellowstone, it doesn't go BOOM! It's probably waiting for me.

    Jeez, I've lost two more followers! Am I that unlikable? :-(

  9. Did you KNOW I have a family vacation planned to Yellowstone this summer, did you? And do you further know that I'll be contemplating THIS post and wondering who's right while attempting to sleep in my hotel room which overlooks Old-freaking-Faithful?!? Haha.

    Your take on this blogfest is delightfully creative, and I was smiling from the moment I read "Sherlock."

    I'm so happy you joined the fest.

  10. Nicki:
    You have a family vacation planned for Yellowstone this summer?

    Well, Old Faithful will go boom one year -- hopefully not the time you visit! Every 500,000 years or so gives you a lot of leeway in visiting safely! :-)

    I'm glad you liked my take on this blogfest. I try to make my entries in things like this imaginative and "fun" -- if a Mission Impossible Armageddeon can be considered be "fun." LOL!

    Sherlock Holmes was bound to show up sooner or later in the front of Meilori's. As readers of Victor's adventures know, Sherlock likes to frequent the back of the haunted jazz club -- more challenges to surmount!

    I'm happy I joined, too. :-)

  11. "It is hand-stamped 2023. Obviously, the future's technology has de-voled."

    Ha ha!

    I'm going with the computers gaining sentience theory. That scared the hell out of me in Terminator. (Especially if the computer looks like Ahnold!)

    Great video. :-)

  12. Jennifer:
    Computers gaining sentience would, indeed, be scary but something able to be fought -- Yellowstone exploding or terrorist germ warfare would be harder!

    Poor Ahnold. Now, he's going with a 38 year old physical therapist. The possible jokes are endless. :-)

  13. I think you should use the energy in the volcano some how to keep the world from running out of electricity.

    Reading your book. 8% in. Love your voice. Are you from the UK, by chance?

    Hugs and chocolate,

  14. A lot of science in this fiction, Roland! I vote for the Terminator theory -- if Sam goes up against them in the future, that would be freakin' awesome.

  15. Shelly:
    The explosion would be enormous -- much greater than Mt. St. Helens -- but you are thinking along Sam's lines: to channel that tremendous explossive force and debris elsewhere.

    I am so happy that you like my book so far. I went to the university with several British friends, but I am Detroit bred and Louisiana transplanted. :-)

    I'm glad you liked the science in my fiction. I have scribbled some on a novel where a short-skirted Meilori (his absent wife) wisks him from the "present" to a future where there are flying cars, teleportation, and where enemies have become reluctant allies against a sentient computer called CERN whose domain stretches from Itay to England.

    A grown Victor and Alice join him in his battles alongside his mysterious wife and hi-jinks ensue.

    Unless my novels take off, however, it will probably never get written. But I amuse myself along the highways with tinkering with it. :-)

  16. This was tremendous fun- Yellowstone gets this talking monkey's vote! Thank you for the entertainment :-)

  17. Lily Tequila:
    I really happy you enjoyed this little bit of science fiction whimsy! And thanks for following, too! Roland

  18. you really got into it!
    fun suspenseful story!