Alien life!

Terran Union predicted (the possibility of) life on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.  Just sayin’…

Free online stories!

Introducing a new feature on this website: Stories!  So far, this page includes Sinon and Prisoners of Time.  In the future, the list of stories will grow to include more online published works.

 

Terran Union

The first e-book of the Terran Union series is available now!

FREE on Google Play, iTunes, Kobo,and Nook.  ($1 on Kindle.  Hopefully it’ll also be free soon.)

Progress?

On the NeoSparta front, I haven’t heard back from any literary agents, so I’m about to query book publishers directly.

Also wrote a short story called Sinon.  Submitted it to a handful of magazines.  If they pass on it, I’ll cast a wider net and send it to several more magazines.

In the meantime while I‘m waiting for responses for NeoSparta and Sinon, I’m working on the first “episode” of my sci-fi serial (codename: Jame-O Shot).

To be continued…

NeoSparta

What if the ancient military city-state of Sparta existed, even thrived, until modern times?  That’s the premise of my completed novella, NeoSparta.

Currently peddling the manuscript to literary agents.  Wish me luck!

The Trip

I’m squatting on the knuckle of a giant earthen hand, whose fingers are lazily swaying in a lake of fluid mercury.  The deep blue sky is littered with the ivory skeletons of soldiers clashing with the endless vertebrae of serpents.  I feel like a point of light.  Sometimes, I forget I’m even here.

Someone’s behind me.  It’s her—Impossible!—standing away from the shore, watching me.  I scurry over a bed of skyward faces, their mouths gaped open.  Falling to my knees, I embrace her, resting my head between her pale breasts.  Oh god, I loved you so much…  I did this because of you…  Her skin becomes bone, unyielding, cold.  Cracks worm up her body.  I look up at her.  Her chiseled face looks straight away.  Chunks of her head are missing.

Pulling away, I’m startled at the sight of my arms, surprised I have a body.  The pinpricks inside my arm are still bleeding a little.  Bubbles under my skin travel to the punctures, slowly at first, then faster.  Much faster.  Snakes geyser out of the holes, snapping at my face.

Pain slices through my chest, dropping me on my back.  I open my tearing eyes to a blood sky.  Purple lava spurts out of the side of a nearby hill, threatening to overtake me.  Tribal drums beat in the distance, the beat in sync with the throb of pain.  She finally moves, peering down at me, smiling, her head whole.  The beat grows irregular.  I smile as I cross the thin line between everything and nothing.

David Downey
1997

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This vignette, as well as several other short stories, are published in Goddess.

 

Goldilocks

As a fanatical atheist (previous post), bitter that I “wasted” my life being a fanatical Christian (previouser post), I anointed science as my new god.  Unlike religion, science was empirical.  Unlike religion, science provided proof.  And unlike religion, science invited, even encouraged, questions to its authority.

Or so I thought.

According to the boffins, the universe is accelerating in its expansion; instead of all the galaxies eventually slowing down due to their gravitational attraction to one another, they’re actually speeding away from each other faster and faster.  This phenomenon is due to something called dark energy, which supposedly makes up nearly 3/4 of the entire universe.  (About 1/4 of the universe is dark matter.  A tiny sliver is ordinary matter, which makes up all of our perceived reality: the stars, the planets, your home, your car, you, your cat, a rock in Kolkata…)

But this rate of acceleration is very finely tuned.  If it was minutely faster, individual molecules would have long since scattered away from one another, never having the chance to gather together to form the stars, planets, your home, your car, you, your cat, a rock in Kolkata.  But if the acceleration was minutely slower, all the ordinary matter of the universe would’ve long since clumped together into one big omni-ball.

So how could the universe be so perfectly tuned to allow for life to exist?  Does this imply the existence of a meticulous Creator?

Of course not! the boffins contend.  The reason is because we live in one of several universes.  The universe we inhabit just happens to have the perfect rate of acceleration.  There are many other universes with faster rates of acceleration (scattered molecules).  And several others with slower rates (omni-balls).

“Very cool theory!  How can we test it?” I want to know.

Er, well we have computer models.  We’re still coming up with experiments, the boffins reply.  In the meantime, just take our word for it.

I left Christianity due to its adherence to blind faith.  I went from one dubious god to another.

So where am I now, spiritually?  Well, religion wasn’t the answer.  But neither fully is science.

I do earnestly hope there is a caring god out there.  I hope there is an afterlife.  And I hope that my teeny tiny life matters in the mind-numbingly large celestial scheme of things.

But if all those hopes are for naught, I’m finally OK with that too.

Fanatical atheist

In the throes of hardcore Christianity in my early 20s (see my previous post), I finally decided to read the Bible.  I figured If I was going to dedicate my life (and afterlife) to its teachings, I should probably actually read it. So I reverently opened my NIV study Bible and began reading Genesis 1:1.

And after I finished reading the last words of Revelation 22:21, I knelt down and prayed.  For many things in the bible didn’t make sense to me.  And many more things profoundly disturbed me.*  So I asked God to help me understand his word.

Then I proceeded to read the bible again.**

And this time when I was done, I didn’t kneel down and pray.  For instead of feeling like I read a book inspired by a perfect loving god, I knew I just read a work patched together by primitive ignorant humans.  Though I still loved god with my heart, I no longer loved him with my mind.

My Christian friends tried explaining to me that that was why my belief in god was referred to as a “Faith”, for it transcended reason.  But that argument further confused me: why would god create me with a brain, only to expect me to disregard it?

From a fanatical Christian, I became a fanatical atheist.

The next ten years of my life were my most turbulent.  No longer knowing my place in Creation and what was expected of me, I was an unanchored unbattened boat tossed in the stormy ocean of life.  I was angry that I wasted my entire life to blind faith.***

However, I owe the existence of The Alpha And The Omega to my fanatical Christianity and fanatical atheism.  I couldn’t have come up with the its plot if it wasn’t for my Christianity.  And I wouldn’t have wrote it as a secular (i.e. over-the-top horror) novel if it wasn’t for my atheism.

To be continued…

* What exact biblical concerns I had are outside the scope of this particular post.  But I’m willing to divulge them if enough blog commenters ask.


** Including all the excruciating “…X the father of Y, Y the father of Z…”s in Genesis and Mathew.


*** This doesn’t mean I believe all people of faith are living a lie.  Events in my life have led me to my current (ir)religious state.  Not having experienced another’s life, I have no right to pass judgment on his/her spiritual journey.

How the End Times will unfold

…is chronicled in The Alpha And The Omega.  Or at least, that’s what I thought when I was a fervent Christian.

My father is Methodist and my mother practices Shinto.  So naturally, I became a Southern Baptist.  (Being brought up in the Bible Belt during my formative years may have had something to do with it too.)

In second grade, I literally cried with joy when I was Saved at Grace Baptist Church.

Living in the dorms at Cal Poly, my standard greeting to strangers was “Hey, would you like to hear about how I met Christ?”  (Though, I did pass on the occasional invitation from my fellow collegiate Christians to protest at the local Planned Parenthood.)

When the Bible stated God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, I believed it was six days.  Not a figurative “biblical day” that equaled an epoch of a billion, or even a thousand, years.  No, six fucking days.  Because my God, an infinitely-powerful god, could easily create the entire universe in less than a week.

So when I came up with the idea of writing a book about the impending End Times, it was easy.  To me, the plot of The Alpha And The Omega wasn’t fiction: it was cautionary non-fiction.  It was how I earnestly thought the world was going to end…

To be continued…

Big in Britain! (Part II)

As mentioned in my previous Big in Britain! post, I’m selling five times as many copies of A&O per capita in the UK than in the US. To get to the bottom of this, I decided to take a week-long investigative trip to London. (Plus, I desperately needed a vacation (or “holiday”, as the Europeans call it). And I’ve never been to Europe.)

Before my trip, I assumed Britain was far more secular than Christian America. Since England was roughly 800 years older than young pup America, I believed it had gone through its heated religious adolescence centuries earlier. And now, while the US was going through its own religious fervor, the UK’s had long since cooled into a detached secularism.

And my trip seemed to confirm this. God, religion, or spirituality never entered into my conversations with Londoners. And though I came across many majestic cathedrals in the London megalopolis, all were centuries old. And most were crumbling.

So I still don’t know why Christian apocalyptic A&O sells so well in the mostly godless UK. I may need to follow-up with another month-long vacation—er, I mean fact-finding mission.

 

IMG_20140920_184039

For me, this picture (which I snapped in Dublin) captures the state of religion in the British Isles: An old steeple in disrepair, against the backdrop of a shiny futuristic spire piercing the heavens.

OUT NOW!

NeoSparta
By David Downey