In my two-volume series about a twin Earth, RETRO STAR, Chronicles of A World, Sun, and Solar System Under Siege, a world collides unwittingly with a hostile, more powerful, non-human higher intelligence crystalized in a red, starlike jewel (followed by nine other siblings of the same malevolence and great power). Humanity, unable to detect the first Alien, reacts counter- productively. The undeclared war heats up until it is an all-out engagement, waged over many centuries, several continents, and across the Solar System to far-flung galaxies. It is either the Alien(s) or humanity. Both cannot occupy the same universe, it seems. Atlanteans, left-over from the destruction of the continent of Atlantis, also put their oar in, as they see advantages develop that might return them to world preeminence.
Charles M. Duke, Air Force general, Apollo Moon Mission Astronaut, and author of a recent autobiography (Thomas Nelson Publishers), wrote the foreword to my first book Walk in the Light (1987) recommending it as a thrilling story. Portions of this book are included in the series.
Gloria Chisholm, Writer’s Digest editor and WD conference/seminar/workshop coordinator, Parents of Teenagers magazine editor (published in Three Sisters, Oregon), teacher, and author of Andrea and Jocelyn, The Gift of Encouragement, When You Can’t Get Along, and Huddle Up, plus hundreds of short stories and articles in national publications. She was WD short story course instructor for seven years, and writing teacher at conferences, workshops and seminars across the nation. She made this observation: “You write well, Ron. In each book outline, you’ve identified the characters and conflict and how it all fits together.” She wrote “Excellent” at the end of the outlines.
In an overview of popular literature and recent world events, a very big market exists for this series among teen-agers, young adults, and adults because it covers a wide spectrum of topics that have already proven lucrative among those age groups.
1. All three age groups want to read and learn about disasters. The bigger they are the more people are interested and are likely to involve themselves. The Three Mile Island/Chernobyl fiascoes, the Kobe earthquake and seismic hyperactivity on the Pacific Rim, the world-wide AIDS plague, the hole in the ozone canopy, Iraq, the ecological crisis, the UFO-related abductions, the lethal drugs-gangs-violence triad, the tandem decline in Earth’s base frequency and the magnetic field, Iran-based and funded terrorism on a global scale, the recent report of cesium materials hidden around Moscow to force Chechnya independence with the threat of their being blown up, rendering Moscow largely uninhabitable--these and more disasters or disasters in the making cause people to wonder what can happen to them. So they look for any information and find it by going to bookstores, seminars, radio talk personalities such as Art Bell, and experts of all kinds. They demand plausible explanations on the causes and also how to cope with the disasters.
My series provides these readers a unique laboratory experience of what they see happening around them but cannot fully explain or predict. My series, step by step, puts the puzzle together, gigantic as it is, so that a solution can be sought amidst the chaos. They can read about an Earth going through much the same trauma we are experiencing, only the chronicles take the process far into the future, so they can see how things turn out.
2. Young adults and adults are extremely interested in genetics as the new bio-engineering relates to human survival. Ordinary people everywhere are asking the big question of human survival on a deteriorating planet, so they think maybe genetics can design a window of escape for mankind. The issue of how to control it with basic human values is an explosive issue. The early diagnosis of birth defects is one thing, but where does it stop and not become a re-design of the human animal into a new, unknown species that could render the current Homo sapiens obsolete? It is a major question of the times. Would we be faced with a war of extinction like the Cro-Magnons waged against Neandertals (new spelling), only this time fought between an advanced, genetically-engineered laboratory species and us, the “old humanity”?
My series explores the issue by way of showing how a non-human higher intelligence confronts Homo sapiens. It shows how humanity, when it finally discovers the alien in its midst, reacts. In the process of fighting for its survival, the character of humanity, not so much its science/technology or intelligence or weaponry, becomes the vital difference in deciding whether humanity ultimately wins or loses. Tactical losses seem to doom mankind, but human values, strategically, play an increasingly powerful role in the struggle against the alien, just as Winston Churchill, embodying the English people’s love of liberty, fairness, and endurance against tyranny and hardship, dared to challenge the seemingly overwhelming might and firepower of the Third Reich.
3. Teen-age and young adult readers want to read and learn about their fantasies. Many young people dream of being supermen or superwomen, empowered to overcome every obstacle in life. I give readers great heroes--Professor Pikkard, his niece Anne de Kilpaison, and the Supercomputer, a Cray that helps Dr. Pikkard in a game strategy against the alien to save the world, the Solar System, and the Universe. These individuals make a tremendous difference. Without them the world and the Universe are surely doomed.
4. All three age groups are intrigued with monsters of all shapes, kinds, colors, and degrees of intelligence and menace. All ages adore dinosaurs, if Steven Spielberg’s megabuster Jurassic Park has something to say about it. My series has monsters too--a world dictator, a mastermind terrorist, Underworld monsters, a spider-scorpion with a third, lethal parasite riding it in to Earth from the Algol, or The Demon Head star system, and many other villains, human and non-human.
5. Young adults, adults, and increasing numbers of teen-agers are acutely conscious of the growing world-wide eco-crisis and want fiction with possible moral/spiritual solutions. It’s more than recurring spills like the Valdez. It’s more than the hole in the ozone canopy and the ultraviolet and cosmic ray threat. It’s more than the catastrophic depletion of the rain forests and catastrophic extinction of biodiverse species. It’s more than the new volcano in Mexico and a possible new one in California. It’s more than the quest for ethnicity and roots. People are seeking how to morally and spiritually relate to these changes. If the world continues to break down and collapse, they know they must somehow gather inner strength and guidance to survive. Beaver Chief, a Northwest singer and thinker of Washington State’s Salish tribe recently stated on a radio show interview that his people might decide to pack up one of these days and leave the planet. All things that can burn are going to burn, he said--it’s that simple. The Hopi seer, Robert Morningsky, is not so inflammatory, identifying a great change coming in the near future, which signals the close of a cycle, rather than the destruction of the world. Art Bell of the “Coast to Coast” and “Dreamland” radio series identifies an acceleration of change in world society which he calls “The Quickening.” Bell too does not see it as intrinsically bad, just that great change is in the offing for humanity. Evenso, to many observers our great megacities are perceived as traps. How can people escape them? What alternative lifestyles are there beyond city limits? The flight to the country has involved millions. It has been going on for some time, with well-armed, somewhat self-sufficient mini-Americas being founded as a prelude to the balkanization of the country?
Tom Brown Junior’s The Tracker and Christopher Manes’ Green Rage followed Castaneda’s successful Don Juan series depicting spirit quest and spirit power against an increasingly bewildering, hostile environment. My series offers a number of spirit-questing individuals who tackle the greatest threat to Earth and humanity they have ever known. Dr. Pikkard, Anne his niece, Orfeo d’Avignon, all the way to Quinn the Bluebird of a Sequel Chronicle, carry the torch of the quest for the individual’s place in things. Beaver Chief comments about the Indianization of the whites, and the “whiting” of the Indians. It is simply people of every tribe and nation exploring new paths to survival and fulfillment because the old ways are no longer working.
6. Adults down to young adults are obsessed with Atlantis, the lost island-continent. Lemuria, the Pacific island-continent which may have sunk before Atlantis, is not the attraction Atlantis continues to be. James Churchward’s series popularized Lemuria, or Mu, but Atlantis lore and commentary could fill an entire library, and the bibiliography grows daily as researchers plow new ground for confirmation of their Atlantean theses. When the Sky Fell (1995), offered on Radio Talk Show host Laura Lee’s program is the product of two British librarians who did eighteen years of research on Atlantis. It is perhaps the most documented treatise on Atlantis since Professor Charles Hapgood’s work (Einstein was very interested in Hapgood’s writings). When the Sky Fell promotes the authors’ hypothesis that Lesser Antarctica is the site of Atlantis, not the mid-Atlantic. Just as current is Gene Hancock’s book, Fingerprints of the Gods, which supports the thesis that a great civilization pre-dated any in the Ancient World. Finally, there is Atlantis Rising magazine appealing to this vast readership.
My series features Atlantis from the first chronicles, when Harold Carter the archeologist, long curious about the “Egyptian connection” with Atlantis, discovers Atlantean archives in Egypt (this is my own material, I might add, though Doomsday prophets and various geologists speaking on Art Bell’s “Dreamland” radio series have said virtually the same thing). Actually, Carter is led to them after his spectacular “find” of the golden treasure of Tutankhamun’s tomb in ANNO 1924. And the Atlantean chambers are located beneath the hindquarters of the Sphinx, not in front, as is being said at present.
Losing most of its continents in a cataclysm, the loss is made up with the rebirth of the Atlantean island-continent. It is on this reborn continent that the major portion of the series evolves, providing the venue for fighting the alien and its spin-off siblings.
7. Adults and young adults are increasingly curious about the Underworld and the Afterlife. Historically, it has been portrayed in the Iliad, Aeneid, the Divine Comedy, and the Bible. Lately, we have the fantasy series, The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Bantam Books, 1991). In it the hero Haplo struggles through a labyrinth and Death Gate, crosses a bridge of enchantment, and enters four different realms separated by ancient magical spells. Exploration and exploitation of the Underworld, then, is acted out on both a physical and deeply spiritual level. This same interest gives rise to the great popularity of Art Bell’s “Dreamland” radio program featuring the latter-day, apocalyptic visions of Doomsday prophets. Laura Lee’s show has much the same content of “Dreamland” at times. Both programs are introduced by references to the deep stirrings and resources of the individual psyche, which somehow are related to the terra-forming of a new world that appears to be going on.
In my series main characters descend into the Underworld where Centaurs still exist. In the Underworld are various, distinct regions. One region holds monsters fallen into obsolescence, such as the Centauri once popularized in Greek mythology. Another holds the damned souls of Hades, another the souls of the righteous awaiting liberation. The Upperworld and the Underworld interact in the series in a dynamic way. The Underworld may be shadowy, but it is more real than many of its denizens would want it to be.
8. Young adults and adults are drawn to the Unknown, the Mysterious, and Prophetic Visions of Futurity: Nostradamus is increasing his readership, as we know. Endless books capitalize on the public’s thirst for explanations for the Big Question: What is the Shape and Nature of the Future? Hundreds of prophets or wannabe prophets parade their answers on talk shows, in books, seminars, and in large Christian venues.
My series contains almost all future, for it quickly leaves the 20th Century and proceeds all the way to the 60th. The future as the series portrays it is credible, well-documented and researched, as far as you can research the topic. Projections are based on research, not mere speculation, as much as possible. When I began the series, I wrote about a socialist Ethiopia, and later it did turn socialist! That was at a time when no one was even thinking about the country. I also used the word “video” ten years before it became a marketing term equal to Television. My futuristic videos were televisions that could operate without transmissions from transmitting stations--precisely what has occurred in the technology.
9. Adult readers, daily impacted by assassinations and terrorist-threats from the Middle East, devour books on its politics, history, culture, people. It never loses interest and romantic appeal to Westerners, not since T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and the movie Lawrence of Arabia fanned the appeal to a passion. James A. Michener has exploited the theme often, with Caravans and The Source and other books on the area. Indiana Jones’ adventures and the Dunes series have become classics. Caravaneering, treachery, beautiful harem women, cobra-filled pits in Egypt and Lost Arks--the mystique of the Near East has grown and will continue to allure vast numbers.
My series exploits the mystique by re-creating Eastern cultures on the second Atlantis. The introductory chronicles begin with “modern” Eastern culture and the main body of the series is located in ancient Eastern cultures. Prime Minister Rabin’s assassination, however regrettable for a promoter of peace and rapprochement with the Palestinian Arabs, is but one event in an unfolding drama that intimately involves the whole world, whether the world wishes it or not.
10. Teenagers on to adult readers are insatiable in their demand for books with action set in jungles, exotic cultures, and eerie pre-Columbian ruins draped with strangler vines and guarded by tarantulas, killer bees, and ancient mantraps. From Hudson’s The Purple Mountains to Indiana Jones (again!), Welles’ Sentinels of Silence to Gosnell’s story filmed in Firewalker and the Indiana Jones movies, the demand seemingly cannot be saturated. Video games exploit this genre as well, with games like “Amazon: Guardians of the Lost Eden by Access (reviewed by John Dorsey, The Data Line, July 1993, page 5).
My series offers journeys and expeditions into immense tropical Terra Incognitos, above and below ground. Man-eating jaguars, freak storms, blood-thirsty creatures of all kinds contrast violently with the paradisal beauty of the scenery.
11. All three age groups are increasingly fascinated by Amerindians and secret wisdom. The White Indian series of Donald Clayton Porter, Castaneda’s books, Stephen R. Donaldson’s series, the Don Coldsmith series of the Spanish Bit Saga, even William Sander’s The Wild Blue and the Gray with its Cherokee Indian hero, testify to the best-selling properties of the theme. My series contains Amerindians, secret wisdom, and “White Indians.” The Amerindian characters in the series hold pivotal positions in the plot.
12. All three age groups are enamored of intricate time travel yarns. Poul Anderson’s The Shield of Time (1990) is still current reading. Time travel also figures in The Wild Blue and the Gray and Rose Estes’ The Hunter on Arena (1990). Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys” cinematic nightmare world of the future connects with an almost equally macabre past in order for the time-traveler to discover a way to save his future world from a Doomsday Plague that has killed billions of people and put the survivors in sewers. In my series we have a planet spinning, technologically, back in time. It plunges from the zenith of the 22nd Century Crystal Age to wind-powered society, and thence to the tooth and claw of Dark Age society and a era dominated by alien spider-scorpions and superhuman mutants. The series spans over 5,000 years, which gives plenty of scope for the action, while communication takes place between both ends of the time continuum, connecting the 20th Century to the 60th!
13. Adults and growing numbers of young adults suspect there is a giant conspiracy in the scientific-political arena. My series is timely and will be judged so by millions of Americans who have grown increasingly aware of the dominant and clandestine position non-partisan elitist establishments--who enjoy “Black Project” status and nearly unlimited funding for their projects--enjoy and have enjoyed for many decades in this society. This question is openly discussed on radio and people are very concerned, many of them very angered and frustrated. The HARP project on Alaska’s North Slope is but one instance of dozens of billion-dollar mega-projects they see as evidence of an elite that no one seems able to control. The conspiracy syndrome, clearly shown in the latest film on the Kennedy assassination, fuels some of this unrest, no doubt. Even though the media (not including radio) have maintained a strange silence regarding the subject, the existence of an American elite, operating quite like the former Soviet Union’s notorious “Nomenclatura ,” has been well-documented. Dr. Nick Begich, co-author of Angels Don’t Play This Harp (1995), is a prime example of the latest breed of muck-rakers. The book would not have been written if only money was involved. It concerns the abuse of public trust by the government and the special elites it favors, not to mention the possible catastrophic effects secret research facilities such as HARP may have on people and the environment.
14. Adults and young adults have tuned into the sciences, particularly those dealing with radio, terrestrial, and human body/mind frequencies. Widespread research is being conducted on these subjects, with experts and books proliferating. The HARP project, again, is but one example. Years ago Dr. Patrick Flanagan invented the “neurophone” by which digitized radio waves could be broadcast directly into mental processes to change moods and thoughts (exactly what many fear the HARP facility is already doing to the American public). His was the earliest of the new wave of “brain entrainment technologies.” Valerie Hunt, a neurospecialist by description, authored The Infinite Mind: The Science of Human Vibration, which illustrates the “auras” that plants, animals, and humans emit with varying frequencies. Every person is a radio transmitter and receiver, interacting with terrestrial auras and also those of the wider Universe. Hunt states that particular individuals are more in tune with auras. One such “biosensitive” gave warning of the Mt. St. Helens’ eruption before the scientists and geophysicists were concerned.
A Chronicles character, Marty Gantry Yeager (M.G.Y.), initiates the series by emitting a radio frequency that draws the alien. His broadcast was preceded by one that took place long before. The distress signals given by Yeager and others continues to play a part in the series from beginning to end, for the signal is composed of the call letters “MGY” that comprise a signature shared by a great doomed ship, a planet, various murder victims, and even those who inadvertently draw the monster to the feast.
15. Needless to say, the Titanic figures in contemporary society as the most famous ship that ever sailed, and adults and young adults continue to devour articles, films, videos, anything that can possibly shed light on the drama, cause, and enduring mystery of its sinking. Books and movies are too numerous and well-known to warrant mention here, but the Titanic’s tremendous mystique and ability to draw audiences is currently demonstrated by a fresh spate of jokes in popular magazines, Danielle Steel’s Titanic shipboard romance No Greater Love on the bestseller list, and continuing research on the disaster, as evidenced in an article from Popular Science’s February 1995 issue, “What Really Sank the Titanic.” My series begins with a crime on board the ship when it is still in dry-dock. It is this crime this enables the Alien to pinpoint the planet’s location. After that the ship’s sinking proceeds, but with a twist no one at the time lives to appreciate.
16. Though not all elements of this series are developed here (we could easily add the revival of Ethnicity in America and the bi-polarization of the races that have emigrated here or existed here since time immemorial), the author can say that many readers of all three age groups will read science fiction/fantasy of this kind because: the series is attuned to their aspiration, imagination, and spirit of adventure, not just their anxieties, fears, and suspicions. My characters, which number in the dozens, find excitement and fulfillment in this life and, in some cases, find meaning in the hellish Underworld as well.
RETRO STAR is certain to appeal to a vast readership among primary age groups because, like Columbus, Marco Polo, the Apollo astronauts, the various new explorers of cyberspace--it demonstrates enough nerve and guts to show what stuff humanity is truly made of. It seeks the Unknown of human potential, to show that human beings can achieve mastery in insuperable difficulties and not passively resign to a fate beyond human influence. From eight to eighty, people today are game to develop their hidden potentials and abilities, and this series provides a window on humanity, its wretched lows and its glorious highs.
17. The Protagonist, Scale, and Huge Array of Characters set this series apart. Science fiction and fantasy has always centered on space exploration, depicting alien worlds and species, and the struggle between humans and aliens. Certainly, innumerable books on this theme have already been written, but are their protagonists as formidable as Wormstar--the Destroyer of whole universes? And do such books contain such people as Gabriel Tall Chief, Dr. Pikkard, Pieter, Anne, Nilsson, Chillingsworth, Orfeo, Dr. Garcia, and a host of others like them? They are not cardboard cut-outs either. This series presents not only a super-alien beyond anything yet created but an unforgettable cast of characters.
The scope of the series, about five thousand years, demonstrates both the scale and, hopefully, the mastery required in any such undertaking. Many years of research and writing have produced a product that the author himself could not find on the shelves. If the author had found a series or a book in any way equivalent to RETRO STAR, he certainly would not have written it. He also believes that science fiction and fantasy buffs--imaginations sparked by Star Trek and Superman and Cyber-space Virtual Reality--are just waiting for something like this. Beyond the Looking Glass of Carroll’s series, beyond the Wardrobe the Attic of C.S. Lewis, beyond the raft on the Mississippi, beyond the Muscovite cotillions and battlegrounds of Napoleonic Russia, beyond them lies a Blue Room with a door to marvels and terrors few people have dreamt of. The teen-aged Virgil of this series, CP patient Gabriel Tall Chief, unlocks that door to readers.
Some practical steps to market the series to all three age groups are to target:
1. Radio: Marketing for this series can easily tap the potential of the radio audiences, which are vast and growing larger all the time as the huge syndicated television and comsat networks fail to deal substantively with the themes that intrigue, alarm, fascinate, excite, and obsess Americans. The populist and subcultural aspect of this media cannot be overlooked (Nostradamus has a large following among the listeners), but it is growing at such a rate it will cease very soon to carry that stigma and engulf the so-called mainstream culture. The series should be sent to radio talk show impresarios from Laura Lee to Mike Reagan to Art Bell. Their audiences extend to the whole nation, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Virgin Islands, not to mention, Canada. There is something in this series for everyone.
2. Television talk shows will pick up on it too, but radio should be first and easiest to penetrate. Film scripting will not be unlikely, for the major plots of the Chronicles, all strung on a single alien for the first volume, invite a panoramic treatment such as Steven Spielberg gave the public in the Star Wars series (and Roddenberry with his classic Star Trek, followed by the Star Trek movie series and the Second Generation spin-off on television and video).
3. The vast video market is also a great potential market. The RETRO STAR series, however, despite its appeal to popular themes already exploited, is inclusive of what has happened in the past and is also unique, setting out in new directions. All a person has to do to decide the fairness of that statement is to begin reading. He or she is immediately confronted with an Super Alien that puts Star Wars’ Death Star and the evil genius, Darth Vader, on the rack with Barbi Doll and the Muppets. It is the same thing as when a new paradigm hits the old established order founded on an old paradigm. They cannot coexist. One has go, and sooner or later the new paradigm displaces the old. This series, then, has movie and video potential, for people are looking for the entirely new, not another spin-off. The series offers dozens of great characters and dramatic canvasses for action stretching across galaxies and much of the Universe, with timeframes covering thousands of years.
4. Bookstores. Signing of books remains effective marketing strategy. College or off-campus writer’s classes can be offered the chronicler’s appearance, with more signing of already purchased books.
5. Newspaper/magazine book reviewers can be given the book, and it will excite their attention. They won’t be able to resist reviewing the series, for its treatment of major crises, moral, ethical, ecological, spiritual; and the major movements of terrorism, world government, the “dumbing” of an entire generation of young people by so-called educational institutions like high schools and universities through inflated SATs will command their pens.
6. News media coverage: The controversial nature of the series will also ignite news. Jesus appears again as the Jewish Messiah--an epoch-making personage who cannot be left out of any account of human development, as the phenomenal success of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST has once again proved at the box office.
7. College classes and seminars can be given on the series, since notoriety will cause many to sign up. I taught at colleges in Kansas, Washington, and Oregon. Also, some colleges and universities I have attended and can contact are Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington. Pacific Lutheran has a highly-rated radio station that covers the Puget Sound Region where over half of Washington’s four million people reside.
8. Social-intellectual-religious-psychological controversy: Jesus Christ on Atlantis II, the issue of nationalism and world government, the depiction of thought-weapons, the Dark Aging of society brought on by the alien with the connivance of dogmatic and purblind universities, the idea that character and virtue are the only safeguards of civilized people and humane society, the morally ambivalent role Atlantis has played in human cultural development, the role of divine agency (and agencies) in human development and society, the question of the viability of mutated humanity, dehumanization through destruction of ethical codes, mores, and patriotic “icons, ” the series hypothesis that an alien of superhuman cunning and powers invades Earth and serves as the catalyst for tremendous social breakdown and ultimate destruction of the world, the Solar System, and even the Universe--these and many more issues will stimulate controversy and interest in the series.
9. Internet and the World Wide Web cannot be ignored by any marketing strategy. A published selection of the series with selected synopses of the chronicles can be offered without compromising the series’ copyright. These synopses can generate sales of the book, for retail outlets can (by arrangement) be listed.
10. Trend-setting quality in the political and ethical arena: Since the series takes a stand against world governmentalism, many people in the Moral Majority (which enlists millions of Americans) will support the book . Sales prove that there exists a tremendous, growing market for books with moral tone and idealism. Millions of citizens, not necessarily members of the Moral Majority, also fear a conspiracy by government and clandestine elites to seize full control and annihilate freedom in this country. These people will identify with the series as well. Yet the series promotes values of the sort that are not confined to one group but will be identified with by both liberals and conservatives. Adventure, suspense, mystery, plot should be sufficient to create common ground among readers of every political stripe.