Friday, January 23, 2015

Coming Soon

Some years ago, on a whim, I visited the UFO Museum at Roswell.  It's a bit schmaltzy but the shear bulk of material they offer is rather compelling.  When I walked back into the New Mexico sunlight I had the oddest feeling and asked myself, "What if it actually happened?"  What could possibly have been so terrible that it had to be squelched for so many years?  Soon you will know the answer.  Check out this excerpt from Dark Matter.

SS January 23, 2015





Carrie took a call daily from Georgia Turnbull inquiring whether she had spoken with the aliens.  “Not a peep out of them.  How are things going in California?”

“We’ve delivered twelve SM-3 missiles with tactical nuclear warheads to SpaceX at Vandenberg Air Force Base and their shop in Hawthorne is working around the clock to fabricate explosive bolt brackets to attach them to the capsule.  SpaceX made the thing with a cowling that will cover them for takeoff and can be jettisoned later—it’s perfect.  You know, of course, you are not in the need to know for any of this?”

“At least you know I won’t be flapping my jaws in the White House pressroom.”

“Call me as soon as that phone rings.  How do feel about it?”

“Scared shitless.”

“You’ll do fine.”

Carrie aimed the remote at the television and spent a few minutes with the sound muted watching coverage of a crowd in Times Square.  Some carried signs but most wandered looking up occasionally as if expecting to see flying saucers descending on them.  “Poor bastards,” she said aloud, “if they only knew.”
 
She left the office but did not go home.  Instead she stopped at a sports bar near her house in Georgetown.  Her DC uniform—black pantsuit—drew suspicious looks from some of the more disreputable looking patrons.  She ordered chardonnay and glanced around at the flat screens.  Most displayed sports but a couple had news feeds of the people milling in front of the White House.

The barmaid noticed where she was looking and said when she parked the wineglass in front of her, “What do they think they’re going to accomplish out there?”

Carrie said without thinking, “They just want to be with other human beings.”

“Yeah, maybe.  What do you think they look like?”

Carrie could not help smiling.  “I think they are going to look like the aliens we see in the tabloids, little guys with big heads and big black teardrop eyes.”

“Huh.  Well, I suppose that image had to come from somewhere.  I wonder if they’re gonna make contact this time or just fly around some more.”

“My gut tells me this time there will be contact.”

“I hope you’re wrong.  The idea gives me the creeps.  It’s good for business, though.”  She moved on to take other drink orders.

Carrie felt her phone vibrate.  When she looked at the caller ID in the display, it was gibberish.  Her heart slammed against her diaphragm.   She chugged half the wine, put a napkin on top of the glass and ran outside before the call could go to voicemail.  On the sidewalk she tapped the icon and said the normal greeting of the alien language, “Come.”

It took forever for the signal to go and return from interplanetary space.  “Come,” a voice said.  “You are a very clever creature.  Are there many like you now?”

“I am the only person on this planet who can talk to you.”

“How did you manage it?”

“We found your reading device.”  She realized that her heart was still racing.  “We know why you are coming.”

“It would have been better if you did not.”

“Not for us.  We are prepared now to stop you.”

“And how ever could you do that?”

“And why would I be fool enough to tell you?”

“It does make us proud to see how bright our creation has become, but that spark is precisely the reason we must prevent you from getting any smarter.”

“What exactly are you afraid of?”

“We did so well at making you ingenious, but we failed completely at making you passive.”

“That is right, and that is why we are not going to let you destroy us.”

“We are not going to destroy anyone.  Look at it this way, everyone will be free to fornicate without need of contraception.”

“Is that your idea of a joke?”

“Actually, I was being serious.”

“What would we have to do to convince you that destroying us is unnecessary?”  In the back of her mind she found it surreal to be negotiating for the survival of the species.

“It would not be up to us to make that decision.  We have been sent here with orders that must be obeyed.”

“Look, we know where you are.  We have the means to intercept and destroy you.”

“You see, it is exactly that belligerence that is the problem.”

“You don’t leave us a choice.  You engineered us to survive and that is what we intend to do.”

“I will be interested to see what you attempt, but alas, it will fail.”

“Do not be so sure.  We have had seventy years to develop our defenses since you were here.”

“We too have had the equivalent of your seventy planetary revolutions to develop our defenses.  There will not be an incident like the last time.  Apparently those oafs did not know how to fly.”

“How do you know we did not shoot them down?”

“We know.”

“All right.  Do not say I did not warn you.”

“You are a very plucky example of your species, but I am afraid I can see that it is a bluff.  I have enjoyed talking with you and look forward to doing so again.  Now, I have work to do.  Going.”

“Going.”  She disconnected and slumped against the wall.

Back at the bar she swilled the last half of her wine and asked for whiskey neat.  A man two stools away said, “That was some strange language you were speaking.  What is it?”

She had not even noticed him pass her on the sidewalk.  For a moment she felt panicky, then she said, “It’s the language of the Dogon people of Mali.”

“Yeah?  How’d you ever pick that up?”

“I’m a missionary and a nun.”

That quashed his interest.



Dark Matter is in the beta read phase.  Anyone interested in offering to beta read it, please contact me via www.Scott Skipper.com   The "Contact Me" page is under the "More" tab.  Leave an address and let me know what ebook format you prefer.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Stuff of Legends



Peter Claydon, Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, nearly walked in on an SS beating and murder of a British radar technician.  A French Nazi collaborator with access to top secret radar technology and two German thugs were attempting to beat classified information from the hapless Englishman.  Claydon stumbles upon the scene seconds after the shooting—nearly getting himself shot—and receives a message from the dying man.  The message excites a great deal of interest in the intelligence community.  Then, a week later, Claydon spots the same French turncoat in the background of a photograph taken from the body of a Luftwaffe pilot.  Being the only person able to recognize this dangerous traitor, Claydon is assigned the task of assassinating M. Passy.  He is then sent back to France in the company of the daring M. Carnac to locate and eliminate this threat to the secret of that vital new defensive weapon, radar.

This extraordinary story has an equally extraordinary history. D.M. Crook was the grandfather of the modern day publisher of Pursuit of Passy. He has chosen to offer this magnificent book for free which deeply puzzles this reviewer. It is a noteworthy piece of fiction with intrinsic value and I would have been happy to pay for it. In league with Fredrick Forsythe and Ken Follet, Pursuit of Passy is a great book that deserves commensurate attention.

76,610 Words

Free at Smashwords / $.99 at Amazon

Horse Sense



Riley Grannan was a bookie. He so excelled at his craft that he could earn a fortune in an afternoon, or lose one.
Eleven-year-old Dayton Shannon was the motherless son of an abusive father until his Uncle Tom agreed to teach him the ropes of bookmaking. Dayton had a natural affinity and his uncle taught him well enough that the renowned Riley Grannan hired him to assist in his betting operation. At the age of twelve Day got to travel the racing circuit, see the world and earn more in a year than in a lifetime of shining shoes at the train station.

This is the most peculiar book that I ever enjoyed. Many years ago I learned that horseracing is not only a beautiful spectacle, but it is a beautiful way to lose money. Since I shun the odds makers much of the bookmakers’ jargon was lost on me—I don’t even fully understand the title—and I can’t deny that one-hundred and twenty year old racing statistics are an arcane topic, but this story is irresistible. It is told from multiple viewpoints that at times made it hard to remember who was telling the story, and it is not conventionally edited, but none of that detracted from my enjoyment. The characters carry this tale of high stakes, fast living, corruption and redemption in the 1890’s. It is a nostalgic look at racing from the standpoint of that often-unsavory character, the bookie.

117,980 Words
Price $3.99 / $1.99 at Amazon

 Buy at Smashwords 
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan by Winston Churchill


A war, with little popular support, perpetrated by the strongest military force on earth, utilizing indigenous troops, for the purpose of liberating an Arab country from radical Islamists sounds like current events.  And certainly it is, but it is also old news.  Sudan (spelled ‘Soudan’ in this text) languished under the heel of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad.  Even the false prophet’s sudden death did not spare the long suffering land from abuse at the hands of greedy, brutal, slave trading emirs.  After years of hand wringing Britain could no longer stand idly on the Egyptian border.  Their solution has become a familiar tactic: send a small expeditionary force, recruit local battalions, deploy state of the art weaponry, and then they did something unique to the late nineteenth century—they built a railroad.  In northern Sudan the Nile makes a tremendous loop adding hundreds of miles to it course, and river traffic is further delayed by a series of cataracts, so Sir H. Kitchener, moved his troops and matériel twenty miles per day on newly laid tracks, in a direct line across the desert, while the Kalipha and his emirs watched their doom approach from behind the walls of Omdurman.  The allied combatants consisted of Egyptian and Sudanese infantry, cavalry and camelry (yes, there is such a word even if Microsoft disagrees).  One member of the British cavalry was a young subaltern named Winston Spencer Churchill who participated in a sabre charge against Sudanese Dervishes and survived to become the leader of a nuclear power.

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, is an extraordinary period piece and a lesson that generation after generation of world leaders cannot learn.  When radical Islam becomes entrenched, it must be annihilated.  Wherever Islam is unchecked will be terrorism, slavery, imperialism and brutal misogyny.  Copyrighted in 1902, Churchill was only four years beyond his participation in this rather sanguine conflict, thus his meticulous detail and transporting description draws the reader into this fight on the Nile.  This remarkable book can be found in all electronic formats, absolutely free, at the Gutenberg Project.  Of course, donations are appreciated.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Limelight Literature



 LE Fitzpatrick, a blogger from Wales, was kind enough to give Face of the Angel shot in the arm today by publishing a character interview with the much misunderstood Doctor Josef Mengele.

Limelight Literature features unique content from self-published authors.  Check it out.


See what the good doctor had to say then scroll down and see who else Lynzie Fitzpatrick is featuring.

Doctor Josef Mengele, medical researcher, surgeon, anthropologist, geneticist and Auschwitz Angel of Death, hid in plain sight for forty years while dozens of professional Nazi hunters blundered around the world trying to capture him. Face of the Angel tells how an educated man of wit, charm and mayhem languished for decades in fear, loneliness and delusion in South America while his pursuers invented preposterous tales about him.

Only $2.99

Buy at Smashwords 



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In Paperback at Createspace

Monday, October 6, 2014

13 Hours in Benghazi



Since the embassy is in Tripoli, the United States Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi did not fall under the guidelines of the State Department’s standards for embassy security; therefore, the niceties of bulletproof glass and secure air supply went overlooked in the main residential villa used by Ambassador Chris Stevens during his stay in Libya’s second city.  That was the first blunder.  The second was keeping the American security contractors at a second compound, known as the Annex and controlled by the CIA, ten minutes distant.  Probably the most fatal security breach was employing Libyans as guards.  Most sentient persons know of the storming of the diplomatic compound and the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans, on September 11, 2012, but the truthful details of what happened are less clear.  While six heavily armed, expertly trained and highly motivated American security men chafed under the temporizing yoke of the mysterious CIA operative, “Bob,” Islamic terrorists had free range to set alight the Ambassador’s villa with himself and communications officer, Sean Smith, trapped inside the “safe haven.”

13 Hours in Benghazi lifts the cloud of political obfuscation from the facts of this American tragedy.  Mr. Zuckoff’s collaboration with five of the surviving security contractors is an even handed, if gritty, depiction of that catastrophic night in Benghazi.  Failing to do the right things, from the President to the Secretary of State to the embassy staff in Tripoli to the CIA head of station, Benghazi, is a national disgrace.  Furthermore, the still ongoing denials and cover-ups by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their spokespersons, is nothing less than calling five American heroes liars and denigrating the memory of the four deceased.


This should be required reading for all Americans.  The story is told through the various viewpoints of the participants.  It is concise and well paced.  Sadly, the prose is, shall I say pedestrian—no, I should say atrocious.  One has the sense that a race to market took precedence over good writing.


Buy at Amazon

Friday, September 12, 2014

Will there be Life After Obama?


On September 10, 2014, the president of the United States wasted twenty-one hundred perfectly good words to tell the world that he is not going to do anything new about the Islamic terrorist group, ISIL.  This same president who was perfectly willing to tell the Taliban to lay low until 2015, was unable to say specifically what he is going to do to prevent these Muslim miscreants from establishing a Sharia state from Iran to the Mediterranean.  We will make air strikes, he says.  Well, we are already making air strikes.  We will get somebody else to do the dirty work on the ground.  We are already browbeating the Iraqis and the Kurds to do the dirty work.  We will give them support and training.  Really?  Like what?  How much and when?

Could ever a speech have been less thinly veiled political hogwash?  The gist of the plan is to do nothing to alarm the electorate before Tuesday, November 4.  This twinkle toes commander-in-chief sees votes in the Senate as more urgent than annihilating an ascendant army of rabid jihadists, who may very well succeed in their goal before the 2016 elections, which is the soonest we can hope—and only hope—for a viable leader.


In deconstructing what he said and did not say, permit me to start with the phrase: “...drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year.”  Our combat mission will certainly not end on December 31, 2014.  Obama is simply pulling the plug and thus negating the unfinished work of twelve years of painful warfare.  A BBC correspondent recently interviewed a band Taliban fighters who candidly admitted that they were interested in joining ISIL.  Who is going to prevent them?  The Afghans can’t even count their ballots.  No one has pacified Afghanistan since Alexander the Great.  The British couldn’t do it, the Russians couldn’t do, and now, we are going to simply say, after more than three-thousand deaths and close to twenty-thousand wounded, that it is just too hard.


Consider Obama’s observation: “...small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.”  This is especially true when they have U.S. tanks and machineguns that they wrested from an impotent Iraqi army.  Reportedly ISIL took Mosul, Iraq's second city, with one-hundred and fifty men.  Then we were told,  “At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa...”  Although this may have seemed to be the ‘Duh! Moment,’ it gives no weight to Muslim depredations in South Asia and the Philippines.  I guess the fact that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim state should be overlooked because of Obama’s fond memories of boyhood there.


By far the most enlightening thing that he said was: “Now let’s make two things clear:”  What he proceeded to make clear is that he takes us for fools.  The two clarifications he made are: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” and, “ISIL is certainly not a state.”  So does he think they might be Jews on holiday?  That our president is a Muslim apologist is a national embarrassment, but it is not half as demeaning to our country as him standing in front of the world making such a ridiculous statement.  If they are indeed not a state and no one recognizes them, how does Obama account for the territory they control, the taxes they collect and the nine-thousand barrels of oil that the BBC claims they export every day?  Those who are buying that oil recognize them as something.  Obama’s justification for denying the Islamic heart of ISIL, “No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” not only indicates that Barry Soetoro did not pay attention when he attended Islamic school in Indonesia, but the second half of the sentence even denigrates the value of the life of a Muslim.  Is he saying that we shouldn’t worry about ISIL because they mainly kill Muslims?  Perhaps we should give arms to ISIL.


“And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”  Again the President of the United States showed his ignorance.  ISIL—formerly ISIS, the ‘IL’ indicates growing designs on the Levant—has a clearly stated goal of establishing a caliphate in the territories of Iraq and Syria.  Still he wouldn’t stop.  “...these terrorists are unique in their brutality.  They execute captured prisoners.  They kill children.  They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage.”  Barack, this is what the Koran tells Muslims to do.  You really were asleep back at the madrasa, weren’t you?  Furthermore, if you believe atrocities are unique to ISIL, try to remember who beheaded Daniel Pearl, and who dragged the defiled body of Ambassador Stevens through the streets of Benghazi, and who beheaded eight Afghan police officers last spring.  Evidently ISIL really gets around.


“...these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.”  Gee, do you really think so?  Not only is it their mandate, they have financial motivation.  “Jihad is one of the meritorious acts in the eye of Islam and it is the best source of earnings.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Sunni holy book).  “Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem.” (Koran, Surah 9:5)  As for the tepid ‘could try to return,’ I’d like to remind everyone that the United States can’t keep little kids from crossing the border, and these homegrown jihadi jackasses have U.S. passports.


The great Bush basher missed an opportunity when he said, “...we cannot do for the Iraqis what they must do for themselves...”  If I recall correctly, we put Iraq into its present condition and it was Obama’s arch fiend, George Bush who instigated it.  Then blithely skipping alone the revisionist trail he claims, “...we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”  This will no doubt will occur the same way we destroyed the Taliban and al-Qaida.  Let us not forget that al-Qaida, which is very much alive, spawned ISIL.


I was particularly moved by: "This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”  That is unless you happen to be Edward Snowden or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who confessed to beheading Daniel Pearl and is still comfortably ensconced at Guantanamo Bay awaiting prosecution which is not likely to come on Obama’s watch.


Our beloved president herein indulged in much self-congratulation.  ”I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq...”  Well, it was two-hundred and seventy-five.  In fact, the last five-hundred words had little to do with ISIL and were heavily slathered with self-love.  “I will chair a meeting of the UN...”; “My administration has also secured bipartisan support...”; “I have the authority...”; “I welcome congressional support...”; “I outlined earlier this year...”; “I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different...”  Why didn’t he make this speech at the Reflecting Pool so he could have made his exit by walking across it?


Backtracking slightly, we also had to endure this: “This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for the own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.”  A few sentences later he said, “Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world.”  I hope Ukraine got a copy of this.


Let us hope that the Kurds and the Iraqis weren’t listening when he said, “This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”  It would have been more succinct to say, “We’ll throw you to the wolves while we buzz around at thirty-thousand feet.”  Using the word ‘successful’ in the same sentence with Yemen and Somalia simply defies belief.


In the subsequent “How great I am” section he tells us, “...America is better positioned to seize the future than any other country on Earth.”  Well, maybe, but we certainly aren’t seizing much of anything.  Who do we pay to carry astronauts to the Space Station?  Then, “Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades.”  It is?  Even if it might be, that doesn’t mean we will ever achieve it.  God forbid we should drill a hole or build a pipeline.


I choked when he had the gall to say, “It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny.”  So, Poroshenko old man, how is the rally working for you?  Right after that we had to listen to: “It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons.”  Unfortunately it was Putin who floated the idea, the program is woefully behind schedule and that little word ‘declared’ wafts the scent of chlorine across the Syrian sky.


By far the most depressing sentence in the fourteen minute, thirty second stammer session was, “And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.”  When he says ‘around the world’ does he mean Dearborn?  And what’s that ‘opportunity?’  EBT cards?  This is referring to Obama’s personal pro-Islamic agenda, not anything the American people are clamoring to do.


There is no doubt in my mind that ISIL will thrive and entrench themselves until at least 2016, at which time, if we know what is good for us, we could conceivably elect a real president.