'Ancient Tales from the Distant Future' is a collection of Science Fiction Short Stories by Nicholas Mustelin, Writer, Musician and Educator. It is a collection of stories that deal with such subjects as Global Warming, androids and future possible events and scenarios. Some comical elements are also incorporated in the stories.
Some of the tales are clearly influenced by movies, as the author points out, such as Star Wars, Stranger than Fiction, Matrix and other films and Science Fiction Novels like 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov's Robot stories and in some cases modified dialogue from other films can be found within these stories.
At the end of the book, the author goes through each Tale, elaborating on ideas and influences:
Tale 1 – Transformation: This one is all me, a product of my vivid imagination. The idea for the colors of the orbs come from studying the MK luminosity classifications of stars, invented in the 1930‘s by the American astronomers William W. Morgan and Philip C. Keenan.
Tale 2 – Movies: The idea for this tale came to me when I remembered a story I had read a long time ago by Isaac Asimov. It was about a man or group of Scientists who, with the help of the super-computer Multivac, suspects that all jokes, humor and comedy is a result of an elaborate experiment on The Human Race, and after Multivac has processed large quantities of data, the Scientists then realize the truth, they cannot remember a single joke. Thanks Isaac for inspiring me yet again!
Tale 3 – The First Colony: This one is all me, a product of my wild imagination. I wanted to write this particular story as a report filed by an unknown person, perhaps someone in charge of the mission. I have also been very inspired by all the recent discoveries of exo-planets, that is, planets around distant stars in our Galaxy, the Milky Way. If there is life out there, what will it be like? Will they be anything remotely similar to us humans or completely different? Will we be able to communicate with them? These are the questions many Astronomers, Science Fiction enthusiasts, Philosophers and many others have pondered since ancient humans started to look at the stars in the night sky, wondering what those little twinkling lights were.
Tale 4 – The Therapist: In my late teens and early twenties, I saw a professional Psychoanalytical Therapist, in the hopes of curing me from my Human Condition. As far as I know, my Therapist was not an Extra-Terrestrial alien. And as far as I know, I was not cured, either. My Human Condition remains... Part of the dialog is a direct quote from ‘Star Wars, Episode VI: The Return of The Jedi’ by George Lucas. I thought it would be funny to place these two completely opposite scenarios in juxtaposition to see what happens. So I did, and let my fantasy take care of the rest.
Tale 5 – Good Morning?: Inspired from the movie ‘I Am Legend’, minus the vampires and virus. I have sometimes had the terrible thought and wondered: what if you woke up one morning and every human being and living creature was gone? How long would you survive? How would you cope being cut off by everyone? Then the thought of the flow of time being actually like a movie, with each second containing an enormous number of frames, sort of like an extremely long movie ever since the Big Bang. (See the story Infinity?) What if time stopped and you got caught in between these frames? This is where the Omnipotent Jovian Collective comes in, an entity that I will describe more in detail in future stories. After all, I AM their Ambassador for Mankind, one of many. Perhaps you are inhabited by One also, but have not yet discovered it...
Tale 6 – The End of the Beginning: Again, inspired by Isaac Asimov, the story of an advanced civilization whose sun is dying. In Asimov’s story, the projected individual was accidentally transferred into an infant human.
Tale 7 – The Beginning of the End The name of this story implies that this story is a continuation of the previous one, but it could be seen as an independent story also. In my mind I had the vision of that last being being transferred into a human being, the last survivor of an alien race. I was also inspired by certain scenes in the humorous - nay hilarious! - movie ‘Land of the Lost’ directed by Brad Silberling, where Magnificent Actor Will Ferrell is playing a pompous and irritating Scientist, Dr. Rick Marshall.
Tale 8 – When Harry Transferred: My homage to Harrison Ford, one of my favorite actors, from his role as Han Solo in Star Wars to the multitude of other films he has acted in. But what if his life simply was the product of some manipulation of his entire life? What if he was inserted from another time interval, another layer of dimensions, another reality? And how would such an insertion actually take place? I’ll let you, the reader, use your wildest imagination. Alternative History - also called Uchronia - is a much used concept in SF. In this story the split point in time was sometime during World War II, again an often used ploy and theme.
Tale 9 – Infinity?: This one is all me, a product of my unlimited imagination, pondering about the possible infinity of the Universe and Cosmos. I have been reading quite a lot about Quantum Theory, about the extremely small elementary particles and the components that they are made of. Maybe the deeper you go into the essence of matter you end up coming back to where you started, sort of like a curved universe where time and space and the multitudes of layers are interconnected in a way that most of us can not imagine? What if? That means that each one of us contains an enormous number of Universes, Cosmoses! Since we are all made of the same stuff as the stars, then why not? Like a certain famous little green character once said, in a Galaxy, far far away: “Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter!”
Tale 10.1 – Rain!: Global Warming, and the possible consequences thereof. The scenario in the beginning is just one estimate of our bleak future. We are destroying our own planet, the tiny blue dot, a little speck in Cosmos that we are so dependent on, a tiny blue dot that contains all the beautiful nature, animals and entities that we can not survive without. I am very concerned about the greedy nature of humans, out insatiable greed for more when we already have more than we can possibly imagine. I believe that a some of it is rooted in our fear of being alone or not being comfortable in ourselves, our need to be accepted and have power over others and the fear of the unknown, our innermost fundamental darkness. Perhaps. The character of George Ender was inspired by the fictional character Dr. John Hammond in Steven Spielberg’s movie ‘Jurassic Park’. The name for the character of Jack Headland is a combination of the name ‘Jack’ being a first name I like to use, as in my tale Freeze! or professor Jack Hall, a paleoclimatologist played by Dennis Quaid on an expedition in Antarctica in the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, directed by Roland Emmerich. The last name I took from the Hedland Institute in the same movie, a movie that came out around the same time as Al Gore’s slide show presentation ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim. Wikipedia quotes the following: The idea to document his (Al Gore’s) efforts came from producer Laurie David who saw his presentation at a town-hall meeting on global warming which coincided with the opening of The Day After Tomorrow. David was so inspired by Gore's slide show that she, with producer Lawrence Bender, met with Guggenheim to adapt the presentation into a film. The science in both the documentary and film has been criticized for its lack of accuracy, (and possible political motifs behind the makings of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’) but we are talking about events unprecedented in history, so who really knows how Mother Nature will react? I was greatly moved by that film and it touched me deeply; I was touched by the human drama, fabulous actors and superb special effects! I sincerely wish we, as a brother- and sister hood of human beings, can learn to mend our ways and treat this planet with the respect and humility that it deserves!!! Finally, ideas and inspirations worth mentioning is the spectacular submarine that I decided to put in after re-reading Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea’. The ‘Star Gate’ is a combination of the mysterious black monolith TMA1 from Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, a movie classic even in the future! Also the archeological artifact from the popular SF movie ‘Stargate’ directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Kurt Russell gave me some ideas.
Tale 10.2 – Virus: A free continuation of Tale 10.1 - Rain! that deals with what happens to Earth when The Black Ones appear from the depths of interstellar space. Some of the scenarios after the object reaches Earth were inspired by watching the remake of H.G. Wells novel ‘War of the Worlds’, directed by Steven Spielberg and staring and Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and many others. The Black Ones are a mysterious old alien race. I imagine them also in my tale number 14 - Actor where they appear at the end. They are mean creatures for sure, pure evil, probably an experiment gone wrong by one of the Ancient Civilizations. I must here also mention the book by Author L. Ron Hubbard named ‘Battlefield Earth’. It is a fantastic novel that describes an alien race, the Psychlos, that has ruled Earth for a millennium. The remainder of the human race are shattered tribes, mostly in the Rocky Mountains. I imagined the remainder of the human beings in my tale to be somewhat similar to those in L. Ron Hubbards SF Novel. By the way, if you read the book and saw the terrible movie, go home quickly and dip your head in a cold water bucket, take out the novel again and read it out loud to yourself. Then go to a mirror and say to yourself: “I did not see the movie, I did not see the movie”. Yes, unfortunately the movie was THAT BAD. Read more about it on Wikipedia and you’ll understand why...
Tale 11 – Android Andrea: What if AI (Artificial Intelligence) one day was developed and we could transfer our Minds into immortal synthetic bodies? Will our technology ever develop that far? Already we have humans with artificial body parts, even hearts, so who knows? Wether that will be a good thing or not, I honestly don’t know. I came up with the idea and plot as I was writing and imagined a continuation to Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey Series. I have read all four Novels numerous times and I still get swept away by the amazing vision of Sir Clarke, one of the Greatest Science Fiction Authors of modern times. At the end of ‘3001: The Final Odyssey’ the entity Halman - the merged A.I. Computer and Commander Bowman who turned into Star Child - is stored into a memory crystal, preserved for eternity and perhaps to be awakened in a distant future. The Novel also describes how entire humans can be stored on these crystals, and I imagine what the awakening of such a being, a human being, would be like.
Tale 12 – David versus Goliath: Isaac Asimov, an endless source of inspiration, wrote the Three Laws of Robotics and invented the Positronic Brain. This story is dedicated to Isaac Asimov, the Grand Master of Science Fiction. The confrontation of David and Goliath is from The Bible, and it is a story that continues to encourage people to stand up, be courageous and defeat the big and evil forces in our world. I also threw in a little bit of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character and the newer T1000 model from the same series, played by Robert Patrick in Terminator II: Judgement Day, directed by James Cameron.
Tale 13 – Freeze!: This one is mostly me, but again I’ve been influenced by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and his probably most popular Novel ‘Childhoods End’, especially the diabolic creatures that turn out to be entirely benign and misunderstood alien creatures. Thus Purple Satan is not an evil character, rather a bringer of good news! I’m playing again with frozen time frames and my love for Comics and Superhero Movies. I still wish, at my tender age of 46, that I could swing from rooftop to rooftop or do all the things Superman can do! Alas, since I can not, I write this story instead where I am Jack, contacted by The Jovian Collective through an emissary of sorts. But how I really got contacted by One, The Jovian Collective, is unfortunately a secret that I can not yet share with you. Perhaps when you are ready...
Tale 14 – Actor: My homage to Galaxy Quest, Star Wars and Star Trek. Again Harrison Ford is my focus of attention, as you, my dear reader, probably noticed. The transforming funny little aliens are an inspiration from Galaxy Quest, as is part of the concept, but with a slightly different treatment. Here again appear The Black Ones, as in Tale 10.2 - Virus. The names James T. Kirk and Spock are from the Star Trek series and films. The name Jabba is from the original Star Wars series, namely the villain Jabba the Hut, as is Guido, the squeaky-sounding, green snouted armed villain going after Han Solo in the cantina scene. I hope that the intelligent reader will recognize the rest of the influences, slightly altered names, various dialogue fragments and other pieces I’ve borrowed from here and there.
Tale 15 – Wristwatch: When I saw Marc Forster’s movie ‘Stranger than Fiction’, released in 2006 and starring Will Ferrell as the lonely, bored and magnificently portrayed Tax Auditor it immediately rose to my top ten list of best comedies ever done. Other actors and actresses in the movie are: Maggie Gyllenhaal as the cute and attractive baker Ana Pascal, whom Will Ferrell falls for; Emma Thompson as the utterly depressed and cynical Author of fiction Karen Eiffel; Queen Latifah as Karen Eiffel’s determined assistant Penny; Dustin Hoffman playing the absentminded and somewhat tragicomical university literature professor Jules Hilbert. This is my attempt at a continuation of the movie and my salute to all the creators and participants of that movie. Bravo! I have tried to capture’s Will Ferrell’s manner of speech in this movie and other’s. I also found it interesting to tell parts of the story from the viewpoint of Harold Crick’s wristwatch, which was one of the essential ploys used in the movie.
The stories are written in various styles: third person narration, first person past or present, as an official report, and occasionally imitate the way an extraterrestrial entity would think or communicate.
'Ancient Tales from the Distant Future' was published in October, 2012.
The author Nicholas Mustelin was born on February 6, 1966 in Helsinki, Finland. He currently lives in Jakarta, Indonesia
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