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Introduce Yourself > T. Jackson King

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message 1: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Hi everyone. I'm T. Jackson King, a combat sci-fi and hard sci-fi author since 1988, when my first novel Retread Shop came out from Warner Books. Since then I've had seven SF/F novels come out plus a book of poetry.

My Goodreads web page is at: T. Jackson King
My Amazon page is at: http://www.amazon.com/author/tjackson...
My personal author page is at: http://www.sff.net/people/t-jackson-king

You can find me on Facebook, Librarything and LinkedIn as T. Jackson King. I keep my chats mostly to my Facebook page. Don't have a real blog unlike J.D. Hallowell--the guy who sucked me into this nice maelstorm!

Oh, my current combat sci-fi novel is Stellar Assassin, which is priced low for the kindle folks.

Would love to hear from readers and fellow authors of science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Also interested in folks views on plausible alien species out there in the Milky Way. Tom.


message 2: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments To get things going about aliens in the Milky Way, here is my thinking on it.

I am of the conviction that when humans reach the stars, we will find them crowded with space-going aliens. We will be the New Kids On The Block. This theme appears in much of my short fiction and novel writing.

Oh, FYI, I use evolutionary biology and cross-cultural anthropology to develop plausible aliens and alien cultures with their own motivations and values.

The above said, I do think we humans will have the following in common with aliens: greed, hunger for food, territoriality, some kind of sexual reproduction, and curiosity.

What do you folks think? Tom.


message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments Welcome, T! You have landed in an alien environment - a forum open to all points of view. I look forward to debating some of your philosophies in the future, though no time today.

It is not lost on me that while writing this, white smoke has just risen from the Vatican. Will be interesting to see if this signifies a new 'age' of Catholic philosophy...


message 4: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Sharon, super Howdy! Or just basic Hello! Sure glad to get a visit from a spiritual explorer like yourself. Your book The Storyteller looks quite interesting! Congrats on finishing it and getting it out there to the reading public. And your life career background reads very interesting, along with a nice author photo. Fine job in presenting your book and yourself on Goodreads!

Re spirituality, yeah, we will have stuff to discuss. Myself, I am a Happy Buddhist of the Theravada non-deistic school of Buddhism. Visited a Zen Buddhist monastery in Japan while doing a college year in Tokyo. Also, the protagonist in Stellar Assassin is a Zen Buddhist forced to become violent in order to survive in an alien-dominated star system. He ends up talking Truth with the native aliens, the Mokelians, while trying to reconcile his human desires with the Five Fold Path of the Buddha.

And re Catholicism, I like Pope Francis' focus on poverty and humility, tho it is sad he is so doctrinally rigid, based on early news reports. Should be interesting to see if he can bring "the Church" into the modern era and make it more relevant to folks of all ages and all cultures. Tom.


message 5: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) Welcome.


message 6: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments JA, good to see a paranormal romance author here! Congrats on your two novels out and the many reviews you have earned on Goodreads! Myself, I'm happy to get three or four written reviews on Goodreads. And a wandering soul is, to me, an asset to any author! Tom.


message 7: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments On plausible alien species in the Milky Way galaxy, I tend to believe there will be thousands of them. Why? Because of these factors:

1.There are up to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Most of those stars are in the G, K and M spectral categories where there is enough light for humans to be OK with the likely warmth.

2. The Kepler Sky Survey, looking at a tiny portion of the Milky Way, has documented around 2,700 likely planets around 2,000 or so stars. In short, it is now argued by some astronmers that nearly all stars in the Milky Way will have one or more planets circling it.

3. Plentiful planets circling singleton or paired stars means there are plenty of habitats for life to occur. And believe it or not, planets have been found circling pulsars and white dwarf stars, where no astronomer thought they would exist. And gas giant plents are found way closer to a star than we see in our solar system.

4. Amino acids exist everywhere in space, including in giant gas clouds. Those gas clouds eventually produce nodules of matter that form the core of a future star, with leftover dust and gas becoming planets.

5. Any star that last for at least a billion years and has planets exists for a long enough time for bacterial life to evolve, based on our own record of life existing on Earth since 3.8 billion years ago, on a planet formed 4.54 billion years ago.

6. It is likely that life is present everywhere in the Milky Way galaxy, with a minority of planets being in star systems where intelligent life can eventually evolve. Since we expect intelligent life to be curious, territorial, food hungry and energy expending, we can expect that intelligent aliens will eventually travel out into space to other worlds.

7. In my Forty-Seventh Florescence galactic civilization of aliens, I project that physical travel star to star will be sublight, using fusion drive propulsion with an antimatter overdrive that will allow a starship to reach nine-tenths of the speed of light, assuming a gathering of hydrogen for fusion from interstellar gases. I suggest that communcation, tho, will take place instantly using what I call Tachyon Pylons. Tachyons are subatomic particles that are postulated to be unable to travel as slow as light speed.

8. So, a galactic culture with slow boat travel and instant chatting allows one to build, over great time spans, a method of visiting, Trading and discovering other alien species. And since I think Greed is a universal among all territorial species, my novels suggest the galactic culture will be like a bazaar at Marrakesh in Morocco--a riot of competing traders, each looking to their own interest.

9. Finally, I see prior alien civilizations as existing since Type 3 stars like our sun became the majority of stars in the galaxy, going back about 5 billions years. Thus, there will be many ancient and pre-existing alien cultures that are space going. Humans will be the New Kids On The Block, constantly having to prove our bona fides to alien folks who have "seen it all, heard it all, done most of it all."

10. Sooo, what kind of aliens and alien cultures do any of you folks think are likely to exist in the Milky Way galaxy? Tom.


message 8: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) T. wrote: "JA, good to see a paranormal romance author here! Congrats on your two novels out and the many reviews you have earned on Goodreads! Myself, I'm happy to get three or four written reviews on Goodre..."

I'm not the only one of that particular species in Robust. :)


message 9: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) I've always been more of a minimal alien type myself. That is, I tend to suspect the universal is probably teeming with single-celled life, but not as much large multi-cellular life and intelligent life. Plus, I tend t suspect that they'll be so radically different that actual interaction may be barely possible either just because of radical physiological/psychological e differences or massive differences in advancement (e.g., the ants vs. humans-type scale differences),

Though, that being said, I love fiction full of interstellar politics and interactions. I hope that modern sci-fi shakes off some of the transhumanist/singularity obsession.


message 10: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Welcome!

I read SciFi as a kid - my favorite authors are all the older ones - Heinlein, Norton, Asimov, Herbert.

I, too, think the universe is teaming with life. If there are other intelligent species - I think they will avoid us at all costs. (Which would prove how intelligent they are. LOL)

We're a bit rough and tumble to be 'civilized' on a galactic scale.

I'm currently working on a zombie apocalypse series of novellas, so I'm not around as much as I used to be.


message 11: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments @JA, I agree with your point that single celled life will likely be very very common in the galaxy. And I see that life occupying places beyond the Goldie Locks zone, as in Europa and Enceladus in our outer solar system. Oceans buried beneath ice caps but warmed by hydrothermal vents from volcanic activity may be the "norm" around stars, especially early on. And while I agree the chances for misunderstanding will be high between Humans and Aliens, still, where there is a motivation There Is A Way. We Humans started out with barter trade and hand signs to communicate with folks who did not speak our "lingo". The same with Aliens, I believe.

And re rollicking galactic adventures with interstellar politics and interactions, I'm there with you! I love that. And there is a lot of that in my recent combat sci-fi/hard SF novel Stellar Assassin. Tom.


message 12: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments @KA, thanks for visiting! And yeah, the classic issue of Why No Contact Yet may be due to the point you make. Myself, I think intelligent critters don't get "interesting" to other Alien critters until we travel beyond our local star system. Then we "know" the other folks are similar to us in drive, motivations and curiosity. And yeah, I long ago loved Andre Norton, who I was lucky to meet a few times at scifi conventions. And I too have long loved the Classic authors you name. Some really good recent authors who present great Aliens and Alien cultures are David Brin and James White. Congrats on your dozen or more book titles and good luck on your zombie apocalypse series! Look forward to seeing you around here and elsewhere! Tom.


message 13: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
It would be arrogant to think we are alone out there.

Has anyone read Religion Explained? That's my religious philosophy.

And hello.


message 14: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Claudine, welcome! Good to see a South Afraicn reader here. And you made the point I have looooong thought true--given the immensity of the universe and the diversity of planets and environments, it is arrogant to think we are alone. Must be Lots Of People out there, in my opinion.

Re the book Religion Explained, can you give an author and a Link maybe?

Oh, we have in common liking of Kate Elliott. And our Unitarian minister just loves Terry Pratchett's books. He often cites passages from them in his sermons. Tom.


message 15: by Claudine (last edited Mar 14, 2013 06:42AM) (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Pascal Boyer is the author. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78...

It reads like a dry doctoral thesis but I found it perfectly explained the concept of a spiritual belief, how religion, all of them, came about.

UUs love Terry Pratchett!


message 16: by Claudine (last edited Mar 14, 2013 06:53AM) (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
I went back and reread my opinion of the book. I'm uneducated as far as uni and college goes. I passed grade 12 / matric at school but was unable to study further. It was my ambition to go into archeology but life happened. Some of the reviews make it sound nearly impossible to understand Boyer's words but I didn't have that problem. His book just sounded like common sense to me, more so than Dawson.


message 17: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Claudine, sympathize with you on high-falutin language. If Boyer reads easier than Richard Dawkns, then it may interest me. I like -some- of what Dawkins has written. And glad you like archaeology and had hoped to get into it as a career. I was lucky. Got my degree and got work with the National Park Service right after graduating, then went on to work with several fed agencies. Uh, my scifi novel Ancestor's World is a Salvage Arky Dig In Space On An Alien World story! You might enjoy it. Available in kindle and in print. Tom


message 18: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Welcome, Tom. Sorry I'm a bit late but I've been away at the races.


message 19: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Hi Andre! Congrats on so many books and on your new kid! You will love having grandkids, years down the road. Are all of your books non-fiction, or a mix of that and thrillers? Liked your Goodreads author bio and all its juicy details of your background. Nicely done! So what does the former intelligence guy think about the likelihood of smart aliens out in the galaxy? Tom.


message 20: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
When the aliens land, they will walk right past the dignitaries gathered to greet them, make straight for the cockroach in the shadows, snap to attention and say to him, "Take me to your leader."


message 21: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Andre, just too many chuckles to catch my breath! Tom.


message 22: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Tom, Boyer's book is a difficult read, it reads like a doctoral thesis and is quite dry in that regard. Dawkins' book is much easier to read as it speaks to the layman in everyone. Boyer doesn't. He assumes you are familiar with certain topics and I think with your background you will find it an interesting read. Look, I have no idea about archeological or anthropological theories. I read a lot, I like watching shows on the History channel with my son that are all about where we as humans came from and how we evolved. I like that kind of thing, I always have. Along the way obviously I've picked up a lot of layman's knowledge and in my mind these things make sense. To others it won't. For that reason, Boyer's book made sense to me. His examples and theories jelled with what I was going through at the time in my own spiritual journey.

Pesonally I find Dawkins an oversmug, arrogant man. He talks down to people, he doesn't treat them as equals even when they don't agree with his pov. I read The God Delusion and it left me feeling as insignificant as an insect on the floor of atheism. I didn't like what he had to say in the way he said it. While he certainly has some valid theories, I found his approach plain rude. I read it before the Boyer book and I'm sorry I wasted the money buying it.


message 23: by Daniel (last edited Mar 15, 2013 10:47AM) (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments T. wrote: "To get things going about aliens in the Milky Way, here is my thinking on it.

I am of the conviction that when humans reach the stars, we will find them crowded with space-going aliens. We will be..."


Nice to meet you! I've been busy myself, so apologies for coming to this late as well.

My take on aliens in the galaxy is 100% understood the moment we stood on the moon and gazed back at Earth. At that point in time, a life form, Earth born or not doesn't matter, was looking from one planet to another planet, both having life on its surface.

Now as for 'other' life forms, of course they're out there. We're here on a giant mudball, so the example is already set. Wondering if we're the only ones is akin to watching a tree full of squirels looking across a lake, wondering if the distant trees also harbor furry life forms or not.

When Aliens visit Earth, the first thing I would ask them, "Are you edible?" You know, sort of get it into their heads that we might serve them for food before they decide they should serve us as food.

Naw... I wouldn't be that bad. I hope!

I don't think we're going to get a visit like that. I think they deciphered our languages long ago, and have Earth quarantined as a planet filled with psychotic creatures hell bent on war and self destruction.

That is only my 2 cents on the subject. ^_^ Tomorrow, I may spend a nickel of mind matter and speculate some more, but for now, I got to get back to work.

Nice to have you aboard!


message 24: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments @Claudine, thanks for the info on Boyer. And on Dawkins' latest book. I know the title but not the content. Based on your evaluation, I will not spend my time with it. I find a universe that is both scientific rational and mystically spiritual to be the kind of universe I like, and which I think is plausible. And re the History channel, yeah, me too re it, Animal Planet and Nova! Tom.


message 25: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Claudine wrote: "Personally I find Dawkins an oversmug, arrogant man. He talks down to people, he doesn't treat them as equals even when they don't agree with his pov. I read The God Delusion and it left me feeling as insignificant as an insect on the floor of atheism."

Really? I have no problem with Dawkins. I've met him. That's just his manner. It arises from a deepseated insecurity. His logic is impeccable science, of course, but he has zero understanding of the emotional drives of people, of the fears that must be overcome before the triumph of reason.

I'll look into Boyer's book.


message 26: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
When aliens land here, by definition their science will be further advanced than ours, or we would be landing on their planet instead.

The chances are that they will regard us as food and our planet as a mine of H2O, CO2 and methane.


message 27: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments @Daniel, thanks for dropping in! And thanks especially for sharing your views on aliens Out There. Loved your image of squirrels in a single tree looking across a lake and wondering if the other trees are inhabited? Perfect parallelism!

As for us being quarantined, well, that is possible. But only in the way we now avoid "rough" neighborhoods in a town. We just don't travel through that stretch of the city. Same in space, I believe. Space critters just cruise on by us, since our radio and TV stuff (early strong radio since 1932), has gotten out to 80 light years from Earth, or a globe of stars that is 160 light years across. Soooo, anyone cruising by and listening at the right wave band will hear us. May even bother to decipher our stuff. Then just shake their pseudopods in disbelief and cruise on? Tom.


message 28: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments @Andre, thanks for clarifying the background of Dawkins. I have read a couple of his earlier books, which do come across as a bit "lecturing to the masses", but your clarification of his personality makes clear why that appearance happens. Yes, I agree he is logical. Course, logic may not be the end all and be all of existence. :-) Tom.


message 29: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Andre I listened to an interview he did. That was after I read God Delusion. He came across like that to me not only in that book but in the interview as well. He just struck a bad note with me. Other people I know who have read the same book thought the same thing.

The Boyer book is not everyone's thing, I feel that I have to warn people upfront before they read it that it is such a technical text. It has put people off reading it because it is such a dry script.

And yes, your logic of when aliens lands here makes perfect sense. :)


message 30: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Andre, re Earth being a mine of water, carbon dioxide and methane, well, with global warming yup, there will be lots more. Speaking more seriously, such gases are readily avaiable from gas giants closer to their home, or in systems with no critters like us. I think. tom.


message 31: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
They may be there already. We may be on the edge of their empire, next to be colonized.


message 32: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Andre Jute wrote: "They may be there already. We may be on the edge of their empire, next to be colonized."

Anyone read L Ron Hubbard's badly written epic saga Battlefield Earth? And no don't go watch the John Travolta movie! Strip mining at it's best.


message 33: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Andre and Claudine, actually, this theme of humans being "strip-mined" or "used" by aliens is a theme that I find somewhat plausible. In my Forty-Seven Florescence novels and in Star Vigilante, I refer to Earth being hit by "genome slavers" whose aim thirty years from was to capture a breeding group of humans, then to extract the eggs and sperm and creat techwomb-grown humans to serve as indentured slaves. I refer to them as 'techwomb clones". My character Al in Vigilante and other characters will make nearly any deal with an alien, except to sell human DNA or gametes to an alien, because they "know" they would be allowing an alien to create "human" slaves. What do you folks think? Tom.


message 34: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I think I have to stop all this indie shit and go back to work, writing.


message 35: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 97 comments Andre Jute wrote: "Welcome, Tom. Sorry I'm a bit late but I've been away at the races."

No better place for you to be this time of year, Andre.


message 36: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 97 comments Andre Jute wrote: "When the aliens land, they will walk right past the dignitaries gathered to greet them, make straight for the cockroach in the shadows, snap to attention and say to him, "Take me to your leader.""

They are clearly the dominant species.


message 37: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 97 comments T. wrote: "...Earth being a mine of water, carbon dioxide and methane, well, with global warming yup, there will be lots more. Speaking more seriously, such gases are readily avaiable from gas giants closer to their home, or in systems with no critters like us. I think..."

I would think that rare biologically-derived chemicals (or the DNA to manufacture them in bulk through genetic engineering - splicing the genes into bacteria or yeast and growing them in vats, like we do now with insulin, HGH, and some other hormones) would be a more likely resource target.

Aliens capable of traversing interstellar distances wouldn't need organic slaves: they'd have programmable robots.


message 38: by J.D. (last edited Mar 15, 2013 08:48PM) (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 97 comments Andre Jute wrote: "I think I have to stop all this indie shit and go back to work, writing."

I have to get back to writing, too. Talking about this has given me some great story ideas...like I needed one more project to add to the dozen I have going now.


message 39: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
As a sci fi/fantasy reader, some ideas :

JD said that aliens wouldn't need organic slaves, they'd use robots. How about going back to organic slaves bred for specific purposes. Robots are so overdone. Messing with human DNA / stem cell research are all pushing current boundaries. Go a step beyond that in your storyline. Do the forbidden and take it where human beings don't want it to go currently. That other movie comes to mind, the one with Jude Law, Gattaca I think. The one where humans with perceived flaws are thought of as less than. Push that boundary. Race, disabilities, differences - hot buttons with people who are trying oh so very hard to be oh so very PC.

The Thing - expand on the theme. I love that movie. Not many other movies have even come close to expanding on it. But do it justice. I don't think I've read a book dealing with a shapeshifting killing machine in a decent way in a long time.

The last Alien vs Predator movie - humans bred as gladiators in the stars. Violent and bloody. True readers of sci fi shouldn't be put off of our basic human need to see others suffer.

Now off you lot go, make me happy :D


message 40: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Don't worry chaps. She isn't allowed to whip you more often than Tuesdays and Fridays.


message 41: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
You forgot. I also burn at the stake on Sundays.


message 42: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Claudine, I very much like your Gattaca reference. And yes, actually, I have done just what you refer to in my YA sci-fi novel Little Brother's Worldwhere I posit a future human colony world where the genengineers are the bosses. In this world, everyone is judged by the gene code tatooed on their wrist at birth. Those with perfect gene codes, called Breeds, are at the top of society, while everyone else with lesser codes does peasant work, merchant work, sales work, etc. While there is a civil emperor with a society based on a Brazilian template, the genedocs run rampant as the Church of the Flesh.

Spider Robinson loved this novel and gave me a great review that is on my author webpage at http://www.sff.net/people/t-jackson-king . You might enjoy checking out the free first chapter.

And Claudine, I think I got you for two out of three. My new release combat sci-fi novel Stellar Assassin has a lot of "blood and guts" events in multiple combat scenes that feature lots of weird aliens, some of them pretty nasty. Kind of like a "Merchants run Wild" thingie! A major conflict is that of Zen Buddhis/anthropologist Al Lancaster, shipwrecked among aliens, who finds that he can survive only by selling himself as a "hit man" or alien "enforcer" or "industrial thief" type of person. That conflicts badly with his Buddhist convictions. Fortunately, to his surprise, he finds a love interest in the alien cat-woman Delo Quar Anken.

Enough about my novels, folks. You got any other book examples that look deeply at plausible aliens in a Milky Way galaxy that has a pre-existing alien society? I do--I highly recommend Rebecca Ore's First Contact SF novel Becoming Alien . Check it out. Tom.


message 43: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Claudine wrote: "You forgot. I also burn at the stake on Sundays."

Nah, I didn't forget. I deliberately didn't mention it.


message 44: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Andre, sounds like you and Claudine have a prior history. Bound at the stake together in a past life? Tom.


message 45: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
We met here on ROBUST. But we have similar backgrounds.


message 46: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Andre, Claudine, JD, Daniel, KA and Sharon, thank you all for visiting my thread! I love to chat on aliens, the Milky Way galaxy, science fiction, What If scenarios, and to explore the thoughts and speculations of other folks. Do feel free to bring up any subject, tho I have my personal preferences like we all do. Best, Tom.


message 47: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
I'll certainly check out your books Tom.


message 48: by T. (new)

T. (tjacksonking) | 38 comments Claudine, thanks for the support. Uh,Stellar Assassin has now reached No. 13 on the Amazon kindle "Hot New Releases In Space Opera Science Fiction." You can see the listing by clicking on http://www.amazon.com/gp/new-releases... Hope everyone has a fine day! Tom.


message 49: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) Congrats, Tom.


message 50: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Congratulations, Tom.


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