Exciting review by Frank Kaminski of resilience.org
Review and detailed synopses of A Place Beyond Man and The Webs of Varok
Article in The Daly News by Cary Neeper--"The Power of Story for Changing the Economy"
Read it at steadystate.org
THE WEBS OF VAROK is the sequel to A PLACE BEYOND MAN. Tandra's newly committed mixed family returns to nearby Varok, hoping that its steady state will prove a good example for the stressed 21st Century Earth. Instead, they find Varok itself stressed, its steady state compromised by a vicious varokian beauty obsessed with the family's varok. In the end Tandra must choose between the planets' welfare and her beloved varok.
Click on the left sidebar title for the opening scene.
The five literary scifi novels of The Archives of Varok have been selected for publication, to be announced soon. The related but independent stories explore human assumptions about sexuality, meaning, and economics as they confront aliens too attractive, too similar, and living too close to Earth to ignore.
The first novel in the series, A PLACE BEYOND MAN, has been re-released, available online at iUiverse, Amazon and Barnes and Nobel and at local book stores. All are written for general and YA audiences who may or may not read science fiction but who love the idea of friendly aliens; who are interested in sustainability and steady state economics; in philosophy generated by complexity, systems, and chaos theory; in human self-identity; and in the concept of person-hood.
The Archives are unique on the science fiction book shelves for three reasons:
1) They explore what makes the steady state work and what makes it difficult. The five novels are not tales of doom and gloom . They focus on personal relationships and outlook, on mysteries to be solved, and on challenges to current practices.
2) The nine intelligent species of The Archives of Varok know they are stuck with each other, isolated from the rest of the universe by time, space, and limited available energy. They must do with what they have and who they are. For humans, the aliens are too close and too communicative to be ignored.
3) Instead of brain-dead violence, the characters enjoy their differences, celebrate their common features, and take up the psychological challenge of committed relationships across species.
"Petra and the Jay" was marvelous, thanks to the dedicated work of the staff, crew and inventive cast, who made my favorite aliens and some tough issues come to life in delightful ways. The signature costumes and script is available to communitiy theaters. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 2011:The book by Herman Daly and John Cobb "For the Common Good" is a detailed analysis of steady state economics contrasted with classical economic theory with its infinite substitution and necessity for growth. Though this was updated in 1994, it is still an excellent critique of economics and steady state thinking.
For the latest summary go to steadystate.org and check out "Enough is Enough" and the newsletter for CASSE (Center for the Advancement of Steady State Economy)
In a more recent book "The Necessary Revolution" Peter Senge (author of "The Fifth Discipline"), Senge tells encouraging stories about how large industries have turned around in their thinking. Using theories of how groups interact and paradigms change, Senge suggests practical ways of convincing businesses and other large groups to consider new options.
A must-read for my family is Donella Meadows "Thinking In Systems," the every-reader textbook I have been hoping to find. It is an easy read for anyone in any field of interest--critical for understanding complexity in every aspect of life and non-life. It does neglect the fun, unpredictable indicators of complex systems, like amplification and emergence, but those are treated in other books, also well written for non-scientists. See my Bibliography.
Note the links to Herman Daly's chapter on Steady-state Economics in dieoff.org, to Daly and Cobb's book "For the Common Good" and at the Sustainability Institute web site Donella Meadows' book "Thinking In Systems.
On this site, links to appropriate sections in the Bibliography can be found in the essays.
About complexity--a summary of indicators and common uses and awareness of complex systems is offered. Click on the last listing in subjects found on the left side column. If you are new to the subject, I recommend starting with Donella Meadows' book "Thinking in Systems, the latest books, and Per Bak's work. Then work backward once the distinction between chaos and complexity is clear to you.
I've also established a blog, this newsletter, and links to my Facebook wall and Twitter. Look for links to the subjects discussed on this site and others (in the right column).
For personal feedback and questions, please use the Contact page.
Click on the link at the top of the right column, to download "The View Beyond Earth," an edited version of "A Place Beyond Man." No charge, but I would ask you to send comments related to the writing.