Schizoid – A Sci-fi novel – A tale of control and manipulation – investigating different social and political models for society and the intrigue that results.

Schizoid

 Opher April 22, 2020

The sequel to Quantum Fever.

Three hundred years have passed.

The aliens are ruining the planet Terra and are on the brink of war.

Children of the Primitives on planet Hope are rebelling …

President Woud of The System is angered.

The Consortium is stirring up trouble………

Extract

Prologue

In many ways the Chromus solar system was a bold experiment. Nowhere else did such a thing exist. The three habitable planets in the Chromus system were all vastly different. Throughout the rest of the Galactic System – all one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven inhabited planets – every other planet was identical.

You could say that this displayed a lack of drive or imagination and you would largely be right. Culture, science and technology within the system had been stagnant for thousands of years. Where was the need to develop? They had found a formula that worked and were content to pursue it. They were not a progressive people. Dynamism had been sacrificed on the altar of population control.

But in the Chromus solar system the pattern had been disrupted. There was no uniformity whatsoever. Only Nubilum conformed to the System’s model. This was a standard tiered world with layers of doms housing over two trillion people. It had its beltways, jumptubes and infrastructure built on the standard pattern. You could easily have swapped Nubilum for any other planet in the System and nobody would have noticed.

Terra, on the other hand, was completely different. The planet had been given over to the aliens – that extinct race of intelligent beings that had been discovered as petrified relics on that very planet. Both they and the flora and fauna of their world had been reconstituted from the DNA in their fossil remains. The planet had been reinvented as it was back in the days when the aliens had first evolved. The reconstructed aliens had been given a level of technology on a par with their earliest civilised development and released into their natural surrounds – just a few hundred thousand of them.

In the past their race, through their own stupidity, had destroyed themselves along with their planet. Now they had been given a second chance.

Staggeringly, within a mere three hundred years that three hundred thousand had increased in numbers to total in excess of four billion. They had developed their science and technology to the point where they had mastered the internal combustion engine, flight, energy production as well as producing a huge variety of machines and instruments. It was true that a lot of this progress was stimulated by, and related to, military one-upmanship, as they strove to outdo each other in warfare, in domination and control, but none-the-less it was impressive.

The scientists, who were studying the development of these aliens, were convinced that they were on the cusp of major strides forward in both science and technology. Within a short while they would go from primitive flight to space travel and beyond, from simple electricity to fission, from simple machines to highly sophisticated electronics and computing. Their rate of progress was staggering. Unfortunately, their social progress was not of the same spectacular order. They remained superstitious, tribal and competitive, with a lack of respect for life and a propensity towards violence and cruelty. It remained to be seen whether they would continue to use their development in a belligerent manner or whether they would learn to temper their aggressive natures.

For now, they were a great and growing concern.

The third planet, Hope, had been recreated for a group of dissidents from the System. They had rebelled against the social control and uniformity of the System, with its drugs and immersive tridee, and had wanted to live in a more natural lifestyle. After much upheaval with the Consortium, a group of elitist capitalist profiteers, the planet now called Hope had been given to them. The ancient flora and fauna of Haven, the initial home planet of the System, had been reconstituted. The dissidents, known colloquially as ‘Primitives’, lived a more natural life, harmoniously with nature. Their population on the planet, through the constitution set up by its founder, Hari Tarn, in order to retain its harmony with nature, was limited to a mere three billion.

So, the three planets existed alongside each other and their effect on each other was the focus of conjecture.

The scientists and psychologists were fascinated by this arrangement. The permutations were enormous. Three totally dissimilar planets to study. Three cultures to observe. They could not wait to see how they might interact with one another.

What would be the effect on the alien psychology to discover there was a superior, intelligent form of life inhabiting their own solar system? How would that impact on their development? Would it make them more or less aggressive? Would it undermine their drive? Or would it drive them forward into a competitive mode?

Likewise, what would be the impact of the presence of such a dynamic alien race on the System’s culture? Would it act as a spur and introduce more dynamism into the System’s moribund culture? Or would it create a negative reaction?

Then there were the ‘Primitives’ to consider. Would their natural way of living have a psychological impact on the rest of the system? Or would they gradually be subsumed back into the mainstream culture?

Never before had such an interesting dynamic arisen. The scientists themselves were invigorated by the arrangement.

For the politicians it was another matter altogether. These two maverick planets had a destabilising effect. Politicians preferred everything nice and orderly. Uniformity was excellent. Variety was problematic.

They viewed the alien culture with suspicion and fear. These aliens were so very different. They were lively, individualistic and highly aggressive. The politicians were sceptical, they could foresee problems ahead.

This dynamism and individuality did not fit easy with the way of the System. President Woud Nussio liked the population she was in charge of quiescent and contented.

It was all very simple right now. The aliens were contained on their planet with no means of interacting with the System. They only possessed rudimentary technology. But their rate of progress was alarming. Within mere decades, if the computer modelling was to be believed, they could be developing nuclear power, space travel and hugely destructive weapons that could certainly threaten the other two planets in their solar system. Would the System have to start developing protection against threats from Terra? From missiles and nuclear devices? The thought was horrifying. They had never had to develop weapons or defences throughout the entirety of their civilised existence. The idea of having to do that now was alarming.

The question being posed was – would it not be better to nip this little experiment in the bud? Terminate the project before it was allowed to become too advanced? Or at least to step in now and control the aliens before they became a threat? A number of the elite thought so.

Then there was Hope. It had proved quite useful in its inception – a dumping ground for all the troublesome ‘Primitives’ who were causing so many problems at the time. But then it had ceased to be of much use. The limit of a population of three billion meant that the System could not really deposit its problems there. The number of dissidents it bred far exceeded the number it could ship To Hope. The situation was most unhelpful. Indeed, there was much evidence that the very presence of such a place in their midst was acting as a stimulus to further disaffect. Hope was actively breeding disaffection. Far from being a solution it had become an instigator of trouble.

If President Woud Nussio had her way she would conclude both experiments. She would rest happier with a uniform System. Life would be so much easier.

She liked the easy life.

For now, she was merely pressing for a few million more dissidents to be sent to Hope. It would alleviate her problem and maybe lead to the planet being properly developed, like everywhere else.

Chapter 1

Else Tarn had left home, run away to Liberty.

-*-

The newly risen sun streamed through the Plexiglas of the front of the dom waking Erghat Tarn. ‘The polluxing Grand Council Meeting’, the first thought that came into his head, ‘polloxing Else’, the second. He silently cursed as he flexed the knotted muscles of his bronzed torso, rolling his shoulders and tilting his head. He sighed, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the mirroglaz and grimaced. Still with the boyish features but not so young looking these days. His curls and beard now tinged with grey and his face heavily lined. Tres told him that it made him look distinguished. Erghat was not so sure. Nothing felt right these days. He did not like what he saw one bit.

He frowned and turned away. He knew he looked weary. There were dark bags under his eyes. Once again, he had hardly slept. As usual he had woken with his stomach churning and his mind in turmoil. For the thousandth time he cursed his distant ancestor Hari Tarn, the man who had not only designed this dom so that the sun ensured nobody slept in late, but also implemented the system of government that was now making his life so miserable.

The dom was large, consisting of an interconnecting series of geodesic domes, all ultratransparent, so that the greenery, with its multitude of creatures all around, some vines actually festooned across it, left one with the impression of not just being in the midst of nature, but actually in it and part of it. By System standards it was palatial. A hundred System doms could fit in this place, though, at this moment, Erghat might well have swapped the airy spaciousness and scent of wild flowers and foliage for the dark, cramped staleness of a standard System dom with its artificial air and synthetic food, if it allowed him a bit more sleep and a few less worries.

Erghat put aside his fear of the Grand Council, and their desire to take over Hope, and then managed to push his daughter Else out of his mind. He started to worry about the business of today’s meeting. The usual nerves started to jangle.

It did not help to know that as soon as he took his place in the chamber, and the business was underway, the nerves would dissipate and he would feel totally in control. Erghat Tarn was a born worrier. He knew that he actually did a good job, but that did not help either. There were so many grey areas, so many things that could go wrong, so many of his decisions that could adversely affect people. What if he was wrong? What if he made a wrong decision?

The business of governing was ageing him prematurely.

Then, what of Else? He could not prevent his mind from straying back to her.

He sighed again, and cursed her again. Else was not his favourite person at this moment in time.

Scowling, he tried to kick his metabolism into gear and clear the mussiness from his mind. Time was pressing. He had to be in for the council meeting.

Looking across at the angelic, unlined face of his partner he envied Tres her stress-free life. If only he had the day to himself. He could have been outside composing and playing music, or even join Tres for the day painting. He could be care-free. His life could be so very different.

Once again, as he lay on his back, he found his mind straying onto Else and what to do about the Else crisis. There was no easy answer. The problem with Else was eating away at both of them. It had to be solved. He knew things would not get back to normal until Else was back home. Since Else had gone, nothing was right.

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Poetry – Civilisation

Civilisation

A thin veneer.

A film of ice.

A wall of paper.

A tissue of lies.

A gossamer thread.

Civilisation is an illusion.

Through the thin skin

We can see the maggots squirm.

Pierce the fragile epidermis

And release reality.

It is peace that is unusual.

It is violence that is the norm.

All it takes is a nudge

To release the hate;

A prod or two

To elicit fury.

Inside, the tribal prejudice

Lies dormant,

Waiting for the spark,

To entice it into a blaze.

Always there are those

Who, for personal gain,

Are eager to release the beast,

To set it free

And profit from the carnage

In its wake.

For war is the normality of humanity.

Opher – 14.10.2019

I watch the racist thugs at the football stadia, the rise of Neo-Nazis, the division and hatred created by Johnson and Trump, and the nastiness of the far-right and I know – humanity is a violent, stupid species.

Throughout our history, we create wars, torture and enjoy abusing animals for fun. We have a nasty, brutal streak.

We love pain.

We are arrogant.

We love violence.

We never learn.

There is always someone who wants power or wealth at any cost. We are trashing the planet for personal gain. There is always someone who wants it all without wanting to put in the effort.

Our history is one of bloodshed and crime.

Civilisation is a chimera.

What makes a Great Society???

Robin Burton asked the question. In the wake of Trump and his ‘Make America Great Again’ (which seems to do exactly the opposite and should be MATLSOTW – Make America The Laughing Stock Of the World). Certainly, seeing someone as uncouth and ignorant as Trump getting elected says something about America.

It raise the question – what is a Great Society?

To me, in order to be considered GREAT a society needs the following criteria:

  1. To protect its citizens
  2. To promote an equal society in which all people of whatever colour, race, gender or religion are valued
  3. To be tolerant
  4. To be outward-looking
  5. To protect nature and value the natural world
  6. To be honest and extinguish nepotism, corruption, unfairness, racism, sexism and gross inequality
  7. To help the rest of the world develop
  8. To allow individual freedom, expression of views, expression of religion
  9. To allow freedom of speech while combating hate speech
  10. To remove all violence, aggression or belligerence
  11. To have a non-aggressive foreign policy
  12. To provide the basic needs for all people – food, water, power, clean air, health care, homes, support during sickness and old age and maternity
  13. To provide excellent education for all
  14. To provide power through sustainable means
  15. Not to pollute or produce harm to the natural world and to respect the wonders around us
  16. To promote awe and wonder
  17. To police in a way that is conducive to the local community
  18. To tax fairly in order to pay for quality services and infrastructure
  19. To ensure that the rich and powerful do not exert undue influence or gain advantage, but are treated equally
  20. To have a justice system that does not discriminate against any group nor favour any group and applies justice fairly and reasonably.
  21. To have politicians who are accountable and held responsible for their actions
  22. To have a media that is unbiased and holds all those in power to account
  23. To provide an environment that is safe for its citizens, healthy, clean and respects people, property, animals and all nature.
  24. To have fair work conditions with generous hours, holidays, fair pay and sickness benefits.
  25. To have a basic level of income for all
  26. To have a welfare system that provides for those in need
  27. To have pensions so that people can live to a reasonable level in old age
  28. To provide the spiritual well-being of its citizens
  29. To have a transport system that is efficient, cheap and clean

I have probably missed out loads but at least it gets the ball rolling.

Looking at my list I think the UK fails on a number of issues but the USA fails on most and what Trump is promoting makes everything worse.

Make America Great Again seems to only look at making the rich richer the rest is a con.

Am I British or European?

Am I British or European?

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2400 year ago Britain was inhabited by the Celtic tribes who came across from Europe in 300 BC. So the first Britons were European.

The Angles and Saxons came across from Germany, Netherlands and Denmark to displace the Celts.

Then the Romans came across from Italy, the Vikings (mainly in the north) from Norway, Denmark and Sweden and the Normans from France.

Then there were the major mass immigrations – the Huguenots from France and Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe.

The trade links of the British Empire opened up trade routes and there was an influx of people from further afield – Arabs, Indians, Africans, Chinese and hosts of others.

In the 20th century we had further waves of immigration from Jamaica, Pakistan, India, Africa, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East.

The stand out thing about the British is that we are mongrels, full of hybrid vigour. All these people have contributed greatly to our culture. Our language is the best example. It is basically German/Danish but with much French, Italian, Indian, Jewish, Arabic and Dutch imports. This provides the richness of language that enables nuance and an array of subtleties that most other languages do not have. It is this richness that gives us writers like Shakespeare.

To be British is truly to be European in every sense of the word.

Rituals, Odes and Mystic Anxieties – My seventh Poetry Book – now available on Kindle.

Rituals, Odes & Mystic anxieties

I continue to produce poetry about all the issues that touch my heart and ignite my passions. This is not really a book of poetry so much as writings about the subjects that pluck at my emotions. There’s all manner of writing over topics such as the environment, society, war, love and friendship. It also has my secular rituals.

Quote 7 – Woody Guthrie – This machine kills fascists

Woody Guthrie rambled round in the thirties, forties and fifties in America. He travelled with black and white alike. He stood for fairness and justice. He stood on picket lines with working men striking for a fair wage and fair treatment. He opposed injustice, racism, sexism and elitism.

He wrote songs like nobody had ever heard before.

The quote I am going to give from him is the one he painted on his guitar –

‘This machine kills fascists’

Woody Guthrie

It is a simple concept for a complex issue. He was saying that you do not destroy poisonous ideology like fascism and fundamentalism with guns – you destroy them with music, with words, with education. You change the minds not blow up the bodies.

That has informed my life.

Music is a powerful tool for changing people’s minds and awakening their humanity and love of their fellow men and women. The guitar was Woody’s weapon and a powerful one it was too.

Education is the other tool.

We won’t defeat ISIS on the battlefield alone – we need to educate the fools who believe in violence.

I nominate the following people;

Mary is into the environment with beautiful photos. I’m sure she could come up with a quote or two.

https://marybmaulsby.wordpress.com/

Matt is full of Beat poetry – Bukowski is his scene – though a bit of Kerouac and Ginsberg are not far awa.

http://beat.company/the-end/

Georgina writes about the incredible nature in Spain and Portugal.

https://navasolanature.wordpress.com/

If you would like to try one of my books they are all available on Amazon.

In Britain :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Opher-Goodwin/e/B00MSHUX6Y/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1461306850&sr=1-2-ent

In America:

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In all other countries around the world check out your regional Amazon site and Opher Goodwin books.

Poetry – Once Upon A Time

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Once Upon A Time

It seems to me that mankind’s intellect has outgrown his instinct. Where once we roamed freely in small numbers using all our intelligence and skills to battle the elements, fight of predators, feed and clothe ourselves and stay alive, now we are in the business of sanitising life.

In the plastic universe of our creation, where nature is banned or tamed, we are shackled by our laws. We still have the tribal instincts. The skills, camaraderie and bravery that once meant life and death for all the tribe now count for nothing. Health and Safety rules. Life has to be saved. But life has no substance or meaning.

Our young people are aimlessly drifting.

It is no wonder that some of them drift into religion as an answer. They are searching for purpose. They want more than gang violence and the endless, vacuous night out on the town.

 

Once Upon A Time 

Once a tiny tribe

Roamed, following the meat,

Now a teeming mass

With more than it can eat.

Once wild and free,

Bonding in brotherhood.

Now restrained by law,

Rampaging in the neighbourhood.

Once master of skills,

Living by their wits.

Now a gang of fools

With whom no purpose sits.

Once proud, strong and true,

Now posturing on corners, wondering what to do.

 

In the concrete and plastic

Of a man-made universe,

Where decisions are all drastic

And answers perverse,

The human race has come to this –

A smoke, a shag and a lot of piss.

 

Opher 19.12.2015

Poetry – 4th Poetry Anthology – Stanzas and Stances – is now available in paperback on Amazon.

AppleMark

This is the artwork I used for the cover (one of my paintings)

This is how it came out:

Stanzas and Stances cover

What do you think?

Incredible it appears that my paperback version is now available before the kindle version is ready.

In the UK it is available on the link below. In the States it should be out on Amazon.com USA. It would be nice if you gave it a try. It is selling for £5.99.

Please give me a bit of feedback.

Thank you

Cheers – Opher

Your Unreliable Brain

The unreliability of the brain is worrying. We reinvent our memories. Make up things that we think are real. Create Gods, It is most worrying in courts of law. Nobody is an impartial witness. We recreate our memories!!

Sensible solutions to problem drinking

brain

A couple of weeks ago while out cycling I decided to visit a small hamlet near where I live. I knew what to expect as I’d been there before, there were a few houses, church and a little green area with a little track around it. Imagine my surprise when I got there and found some of the houses had been removed and the the little track had disappeared. Most surprisingly the church had been moved several hundred yards away.

Of course that didn’t happen at all. My useless brain had let me down again. I had misremembered the location, the raw ingredients were there but I had, in my mind, rearranged them a bit and then convinced myself that my memory was real.

The concept of our brain’s being faulty is a difficult one to live with. We could accept a dodgy knee without taking it too personally but…

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