Re-issued & Updated: “#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary”

My guest blog post on Tonya R. Moore‘s Sci-Fi site from July, 2014, re-issued/ updated today!

#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary

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image from http://www.nypl.org (New York Public Library)

Writers are often exhorted to “write the books we want to read,” especially when they seem not to exist, yet. I am following that advice with The Spanners Series. I know what I want to read and what I can’t find because I am a life-long, avid reader. I have probably read hundreds of thousands of books in my 60 years of reading independently and quickly, sometimes enjoying ten books a week. If I say that books like mine—–more utopian sci-fi/speculative fiction series like The Spanners—–don’t yet exist, I’m probably correct.

However, there is a long history of utopian sci-fi that spawned speculative fiction and inspired technological and biological/ medical breakthroughs/ inventions and social and political change over many centuries. Ann Grindley’s article from May, 2014, http://www.fact.co.uk/news-articles/2014/05/utopia,-limited-what-can-sci-fi-tell-us-about-our-future.aspx, “Utopia, Limited: What can sci fi tell us about our future?” offered these insights:

Civilisations that do demonstrate utopian qualities have surpassed our view on money, weaponry and material wealth and anxiety. They have matured past our inequalities and share a common goal. This goal is usually scientific, in a sense that they have discovered, created, and utilise technology which unites people globally.

I don’t know which “civilisations” Ann Grindley referred to, but I’d like to find them!

Grindley seemed to be quite supportive of my intentions when she stated: “I’d like to think utopia still requires creativity and pleasure through art, although maybe utopians won’t need escapism.”

Grindley also verbalized my heartfelt wish: “It is wonderful how even in our social and political density and under-development, that we can imagine an idyllic and model world…” But then, she recognized the possibility that “our ideas of utopian and dystopian futures are only limited to our current knowledge and understanding, and perhaps that is why, in reality, we’re yet to achieve the fantasy; the fiction in our science. Perhaps utopia is beyond our imagination as well as our means.”

Well, perhaps our imagination is not that limited! Check out these sci-fi/ speculative fiction inventions and ideas that have become “real” as researched by Annalee Newitz, from March, 2014: http://io9.com/7-utopias-that-changed-the-future-1541411068. Newitz described several utopian sci-fi books whose ideas or inventions have influenced our lives directly, including:

Communism by Karl Marx
“Marx’s powerful vision…inspired coups, union movements, and even hippie communes….Pop versions of Communism inspired many ‘soft’ revolutions in the uprisings of the 1960s,… often inspiring positive social changes and greater freedoms.”

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Herland is a lost island nation where everyone is equal, goods are plentiful, and war is unknown. It is an enlightened, scientifically advanced society where everyone is educated and healthy…[and it is all] run and populated entirely by women…. This idea, that woman leaders would create a far less cruel and authoritarian world than men have, has influenced everything from philosophy to feminist politics.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World…[influenced] the Occupy movement, which is in part a rebellion against capitalist societies that try to distract people with happy consumerism, instead of addressing problems with the disparity between rich and poor.”

Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
“Freed from the need for money and from the horrors of war, humans in the Star Trek universe devote their lives to exploration or productive work that is freely chosen. But of course, Star Trek‘s vision is almost as old as Thomas More’s. The Enterprise is a lot like the Isle of Utopia, with elements of de Toqueville’s America, Marx’s Communism, and even Gilman’s Herland thrown in.”

Newitz summed up the utility of utopian sci-fi so perfectly: “Utopia, after all, has always been a fiction. But it’s one that can inspire us to change our worlds —sometimes, if we’re lucky, in a way that brings us just a little closer to our ideals.”

In her list, Newitz, of course, included:

Utopia by Thomas More
“Thomas More was a British writer who invented the word ‘utopia’ — from a Greek pun that means both ‘no place’ and ‘good place’ — for this book about his idea of the perfect society. Published in 1516, the book is about a man who has returned from the Isle of Utopia, where many of England’s social ills don’t exist.”

Just to prove the point—that sci-fi and speculative fiction continue to influence us—let’s go further into more specifics from this ground-breaking novel with these fascinating recognitions, from Charlie Jane Anders, “Things from Thomas More’s Utopia That Have Come True Today” http://io9.com/5967561/things-from-thomas-mores-utopia-that-have-come-true-today:

—Before getting married, you should see your partner naked.
—Divorce is allowed for a married couple who ‘do not well agree.
—You’re under constant surveillance…….there’s no private property and everybody works for the common good when they’re not farming…
—Utopians eat in public….[which] basically means they eat out. All the time.
—Criminals are marked for life.
—Euthanasia is supported and even encouraged
—Husbands and wives go to war together.

In fact, we owe the term “utopia” to Thomas More! According to: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/utopias: “…[More] derived the word from ‘outopia’ (no place) rather than ‘eutopia’ (good place)….It can be argued that all utopias are sf, in that they are exercises in hypothetical sociology and political science….[A] significant shift in utopian thought took place when writers changed from talking about a better place (eutopia) to talking about a better time (euchronia)….[U]topias ceased to be imaginary constructions with which contemporary society might be compared, and began to be speculative statements about real future possibilities…”

I agree wholeheartedly with this, and sadly agree with this opinion as well: “[Some authors set out to show that] all utopian schemes are absurd, and that real people could not live in them.”

I think this explains a lot, particularly the reasons that dystopias are so much more prevalent in sci-fi: it’s easier to write about disaster and failure than to imagine what could actually work out for the best, since we almost never see “the best” occur IRL [In Real Life].

One researcher claimed: “Genre sf has never been strongly utopian…. they were often small enclaves facing imminent destruction”

I hold out for members of this “small enclave” to become leaders and inspirations in every generation.

These and others recognize the dilemmas we utopian writers of sci-fi and speculative fiction face: “The necessity for works of fiction to be dramatic and the fact that workable plots require conflict inhibit the use of sf to display utopian schemes.” I face this problem in my current series.

Because I don’t want to depict a lot of death, destruction, violence, apocalyptic futures and heartache, many readers request and editors demand that my series “show more conflict.” I resist. I do mention it and refer to it, but most of it happens off-camera, in the wings, so to speak, or in conversations between two or more characters rather than the ways most sci-fi authors and screenwriters choose to depict conflicts.

I can’t be the only one who is bored and disgusted by dystopias’ ubiquitous conflicts—large-scale, CGI “wars” and “battles,” martial arts “fights” resplendent with wires to create impossible acrobatics, and car or other vehicle chases—awful, because they supplant character development, plot depth and actual emotions. Am I wrong?

Unfortunately, dystopian futures abound in both fantasy and sci-fi. Most genre writers, even those that include romance in their stories, choose to depict increasingly worsening conditions on and around this planet and across their universes. In some imaginary incipient time, their “visions” of our future pile on the violence, showing increasing discord, more political and social unrest, deaths and destruction even worse than we have now.

We already have too much awfulness IRL for me to want to read about even worse to come.

Enough, already!

Fortunately, I am in good company. Conferences, seminars, webinars, zines and print currently devote a lot of time/space to these topics. I am encouraged, for example, by this exhortation to writers like me from a panel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/ moderated by Mary Robinette Kowal with Ursula K. Le Guin, Pat Cadigan, Ellen Datlow, and Nancy Kress, given in June, 2014, in which Kowal summed it up: “We write science fiction and imagine the future we want to live in. We want that future now.”

Kowal went on to say: “Seeing how the field has changed gives me perspective on the future that I’m living in and, hopefully, will help women writing today continue to destroy science fiction for subsequent generations of writers.”

Even more approval flows to us writers of utopian sci-fi when I saw that a July, 2014, Science-Fiction Symposium from the World Futures Society http://www.wfs.org had listed these events:

A. Panel Session: “Fiction as a Futuring Tool,” featuring Madeline Ashby, Trevor Haldenby, Glen Hiemstra, and Tom Lombardo. “The work of science fiction writers and futurists often informs, sometimes predicts, and occasionally affects the future.”

B. Panel discussion: “Hacking into Utopia: The Future of Optimistic Innovation,” featuring Ramez Naam (moderator), Gray Scott, Lindsea Wilbur, and Kevin Russell. “Science fiction writers have been talking about utopian futures for a long time. What are young writers and innovators doing right now to create such a future?”

C. Panel discussion: “What Current Science Fiction should Futurists Read?” featuring Vicki Stein (moderator) Glen Hiemstra, Brenda Cooper, Madeline Ashby, and Brad Aiken.

I wish I could have attended and I wished that they had put the discussions, above, online.

I believe we need some hope, ideas of how else things could go, whether or not I always believe they will take these turns. I am imagining routes for improvement for the entire multiverse.

I am not alone in believing in a more perfect future that, due to simultaneous time, is already “here.” Gray Scott, Futurist/Founder of SERIOUS WONDER™, http://www.seriouswonder.com/about/ and http://www.seriouswonder.com/category/scifi/, has this tagline on his website: “The future has already happened and technology is just the echo bouncing back at humanity.“ 

His “think-tank” self-describes in this way:

SERIOUS WONDER is a progressive future concept and technology website. We are obsessed with the future. Our mission is to bring our readers the best in futuristic ideas, technology, robotics, science, techno-philosophy, psychology, space travel, and modern concept design. Intense curiosity, positive intention and inspired imagination can transform our future. This future will be more magical and abundant than anyone could ever imagine. We are constantly looking for innovation and optimistic wonder. The future is our passion.

The future IS now!

Donna Dickens listed “science-fiction becomes science-fact” from 2012:
—Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
—Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years

And, from 2013:
—Two rats have their brains telepathically linked.
—Portable device allows users to see through walls.
—Program allows user to remotely move objects with their hands.
—The world’s first fully mind-controlled synthetic leg goes for a stroll.

If you like these “Science-Fiction-Becomes-Science-Facts” lists? Check out this great chart/ infographic:
http://io9.gizmodo.com/all-the-times-science-fiction-became-science-fact-in-on-1570282491

Here are some compelling reasons we need and want to have such optimistic creativity from writers of sci-fi:

The value of science fiction has been also recognised in the rise of a new method for designing technology, called design fiction. If science fiction stimulates the imagination about extraordinary views of the future, design fiction explores the futures that ordinary people would prefer. Design fictions—like short sci-fi films, prototypes and graphic novels—are provocative and engage people, encouraging them to envision, explain and raise questions about direction of future technology and society.

from https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/aug/13/science-fiction-reality-predicts-future-technology

Then, we have the incredible Raymond Kurzweil. I first read about him in Mike Floorwalker’s post from March, 2013: http://listverse.com/2013/03/15/10-ridiculously-specific-predictions-that-came-true/ Kurzweil is an inventor and a futurist who is also the Director of Engineering at Google. According to Floorwalker, Kurzweil has “made dozens of predictions over the several decades—–with an absolutely unbelievable rate of accuracy. Not only do Kurzweil’s predictions almost always come true, he usually can accurately predict WHEN they will come true.”

As if that’s not enough, “…[i]n his novel, The Age Of Intelligent Machines, Kurzweil predicted: the fall of the Soviet Union by 1991; a computer’s beating the best human players at chess by 2000; and, wireless Internet’s becoming practical for mainstream use in the early 21st century. In The Age Of Spiritual Machines (1999), Kurzweil predicted ebooks, facial recognition software, and nanotechnology…” among other things!

Floorwalker stunned me with these stats on Kurzweil: “Kurzweil stated that by 2009, 89 out of 108 predictions he had made were entirely correct. Of the rest, 13 were ‘essentially correct’—likely to come true within a few years. A re-evaluation in 2012 determined that Kurzweil’s prognostications are correct a ridiculous 86 percent of the time—and the good news is, this is a man who has predicted that it won’t be too long before we humans conquer death altogether.”

Kurzweil is beyond a genius: he reinforces the existence of simultaneous time. How else do you explain his timely “inventions” and uncanny “predictions”? Floorwalker informed us: “His inventions are numerous—–text reading software, speech-recognition devices—–and five of his novels have been bestsellers.”

We sci-fi writers should ALL be more like Kurzweil!

I like to believe that I am predicting, prognosticating, prophesying and foretelling, since my stories depict better times in every way. Even when things are “bad,” there is more “good” than bad. I am continuing my utopian illusions in The Spanners Series.

In my current and future multiverses, all communicative beings, including humans, will have more pervasive and lasting peace, better circumstances and conditions, and inner spiritual strengths that lead to harmonious living: we can have it all!

#Smashwords The Spanners Series’ #ebooks 75% off & #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% off for July!

JULY SALE! #Smashwords The Spanners Series’ #ebooks 75% off & #CreateSpace #paperbacks 25% off for July!

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This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

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This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Vol. II, The Spanners Series

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

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This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Vol. III, The Spanners Series

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change:
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For more information about Sally Ember, Ed.D., her bio, books, blog, video talk show (CHANGES conversations between authors), guest blog posts and guidelines, links to author interviews, book trailers and more: http://www.sallyember.com

Excerpt from This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series: CHAPTER ONE Interview with Zephyr Branon, 38, child of Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

CHAPTER ONE
Interview with Zephyr Branon, 38, son
of Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator

Excerpt from

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series
by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Copyright 2014 Sally Ember, Ed.D.
St. Louis, MO

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Interview Date: May 20, 2018

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ZEPHYR: Espe gives me and all my cousins this questionnaire and tells us she’s going to call us and interview us on these questions. She tells us that Earthers–—that’s what everyone on our planet is now referred to, including communicative and intelligent nonhuman species, like whales, squids, dolphins, orangutans, bonobos, chimps, parrots and gorillas–—want to know what The Transition is like from the points of view of younger people, particularly those close to my mom, the Chief Communicator. Well, I guess I’m the closest young person to Clara Branon, since I’m her only child.

I don’t feel that young, though. I am 32 when the MWC holos first come to her and I’m 38, now. But, I guess by Spanners’ standards, I’m young.

Espe is asking us to speak in the present tense (for those of us who understand that, I suppose), to keep with the timultaneity (HA! That’s MY word!) awareness that is everywhere, now. It’s weird, but I say I try. I know Espe fixes it afterward.

We are each responding to the same ten questions, which Espe tells me are like those “Ten Questions for….” famous people interviews that TIME magazine uses. That’s fine. But, I tell Espe I’m going to say what I want. If a question doesn’t lead me where I want to go, I’m going, anyway.

She agrees that my perspective is unique and I am generous to share it. Generous. Sure. Opinionated, more like it. And, very informed. My mom and I talk. A lot.

Most of my numerous cousins are significantly younger than I am. Lavi Ackerman is one year older and his brother, Agam, is one year younger than I, but the rest stair-step down from there, all the way to the Aunt Violet’s twins, Dara and Shira, over twenty years younger. This makes sense when you know that Violet is eleven years younger than my mom and has four children.

Uncle Thomas, one year older than my mom, also has four children. Cousin Lav is his eldest. Aunt Cassie, about six years younger than my mom, has three. [See Appendix E for Family Tree.] Basically, there are a lot of Ackermans.

Kayla Marsh, my wife, and I are married in 2015. She and I are together but we’re not married when The Transition starts.

So, Ten Questions for the twelve of us each to answer. We’ll see how that goes.

[Editor, Esperanza Enlace‘s, note: anything in printed square brackets or signaled at start and finish by the “bing” signal, for the vision-impaired or those who are listening rather than reading, are the Editor’s comments or explanations and not the Interviewee’s words.]

10 Questions for Clara Branon’s Son: the Transition, 5 Years Later

1. How old are you when the Transition begins, winter, 2013, and how old are you now?
ZEPHYR: I am 32 when The Band comes to my mom (I name the group that!), in late December, 2012. I am now 38, since this is mid-May, 2018, and my birthday is May 1. [Zephyr names the MWC delegation “The Band” since they all choose nicknames that belong to famous 1960’s pop or rock & roll band members: Led for Led Zeppelin; Ringo for Ringo Starr of the Beatles; Diana for Diana Ross; Mick for Mick Jagger; Janis for Janis Joplin.]

2. What is your favorite part of the changes since The Transition? Why?
ZEPHYR: I really love it when all the Xchanges begin, first Earth Physics & Astrophysics, in early 2014, then all Physical Sciences throughout that year, then Social Sciences and ESP [Excellent Skills Program] studies in 2015, along with Communication & Technological Innovations, Arts, Writing & Music, Cultural Collaborations.

They have one or two each season until we have them all in a regular rotation. I attend the first one of each Xchange, and now I go to about three a year. They’re like TED talks on acid!

My favorite ones are the Technology and Arts/Music ones, because I work in the first area and play in the second, but I like them all. Inventions/innovations are awesome. I especially like going when they have them on planets or locations that are new to me (all of them, almost!).

Space travel is the BEST! I hope every Earther gets to go off-planet at least once. Going “out” changes us. If anyone wants to know more about any Xchanges, use your iDs and Access them.

One story and then I’ll move on.

********

For the first Technology Xchange, which is on Kepler 22 d in the Earth summer month of July in 2016, I am one of only a handful of Earthers invited and able to attend. We travel there in various ways. I go with my mom, you [Espe], and a few others. When we arrive, many are not feeling so great, especially my mom and I. Something about our livers, a genetic predisposition to problems there for us both, affects us during the off-p traveling experiences.

Knowing that some of us are physically less than optimal seems to instigate a fly-over: We have on our OPTS [Optimal Personal/Positioning Travel/Temporary Suits] for the gravity differential (about 25%), but we’re carrying the head gear since the air is breathable and many of us are reducing our sleeves since the temperature is about 77F/25C.

Led and a few others who are there in physical form (our first time meeting most of them except as holos) come to the enclosure (which has no roof) in which we are staying and hover over us. While they are hovering, a kind of mist or drizzle of some bluish substance begins to emanate, falling towards us from their bodies. When it reaches our heads or arms or wherever it first touches us, it enters our systems via our pores, hair follicles and scalps.

We are immediately calmed, soothed, happy. We are also no longer nauseated, tired, or strained. I mean, like, in one second, human time, from contact to relief.

Amazing. Best drug, EVER. Not a high, but a very soothing relief.

********

I find out later that this is something they call, in English for our sake,”Travelers’ Juice,” even though it’s composed of something akin to nanobots suspended in a liquid medium. Hilarious.

Led tells us we could drink it, bathe in it, wear it or let it touch us: works in all those ways. Is Travelers’ Juice [TJ] something that falls within technology, health, science, chemistry, or what? You decide.

Whichever it is, Earthers start making and using it from that day onward, as we all know, now. For free. Anyone can go to a TJ bar or fountain. Stores that carry TJ offer it cheaply or free, the way people could get matches, napkins or water a while ago. Widely available.

TJ is a soother, kind of like aspirin if you have a headache, but better. No ill effects, no addiction possible. Excellent. Don’t leave Earth without it!

TJ also works for all types of motion or altitude sickness and depth diving since TJ balances nitrogen to oxygen and rectifies all neurotransmitting chemicals, inner ear workings and whatnot for humans. I have no idea what it does to other species, but all of us seem to dig it.

3. What Transition changes have been the hardest or least favorite for you, and why?
ZEPHYR: Well, it’s very weird having the CC [Chief Communicator] for a mom, or having my mom become the CC, however you want to look at it. It’s not all good or all bad. It’s unique.

People bug me a lot asking for information I don’t have or rudely invading my privacy. I can’t really blame that on The Transition, exactly, but I kind of have to, right? I mean, she wouldn’t be CC if there is no Public Contact. Anyway, I’m not the only one with this exact problem or situation, but I think it’s worth mentioning.

It’s also so WRONG, to make her into a doll or, worse, a teddy bear [Zephyr is referring to the “Clara-Bear,” which comes out as a toy and collectors’ item late in 2013]. Would you like to see one of your parents’ likenesses starting at you from a toy’s face, especially a bear’s? Downright spooky. On the other hand, our daughter, Kendall, who is almost eighteen months old, receives a few every month.

Kayla, my wife, laughs when I get all creeped out by having my mom’s face all over Kendall’s toys. For this, the CC’s son needs intensive therapy. Kidding.

Now that she can talk a little, Kendall calls these dolls or toys and my mom CAH-LAH, since she can’t manage “Clara,” yet. Kendall also calls my mom CeeCee ’cause she hears others call her that. My mom prefers “Grandma,” though. We’re working on it.

Unfortunately for my mom, I think “CAH-LAH” may become “Grandma” for my kids. It’s a tradition in my mom’s family that the oldest grandchild nicknames the grandparents, and since I’m my parents’ only child, it’s all on Kendall.

More seriously, about The Transition and my mom as CC: it is upsetting and scary to hear about all the deaths and psychotic episodes people are having during those first few weeks and even months, APC [After Public Contact]. My mom and I talk during this and she explains what’s going on, but, still, I am very unsettled by all that.

We all know people who die, go berserk, can’t handle the T [Transition]. My dad [Abraham Wood Branon] loses a lot of friends, mostly because his friends are a lot older than my mom, as he is [ten years older].

Some of my tech and music friends are cool with it, but a few are quite rigid in their thinking. Their minds can’t cope with the new info–—aliens, other species communications with fish on Earth, off-p travel–—the whole deal. They freak out.

Some join the Fraggers [Fragmenters] so they can find people who agree with them to join them in yelling or writing public letters about it. They’re angry, but mostly harmless. The scarier ones become Trenchers, fighting the T all the way until they get ReInvolved or Qed [Sequestered].

My cousin, Moran, and the other MWC Psi-Warriors plus my mom and The Band have a lot to do with how nonviolently this all goes down. I’m glad that almost no one is killed during the Psi Wars without a chance for ReInvolvement or the choice to be temporarily Qed.

I know my mom does everything she can in advance to help prevent and reduce the numbers of people adversely affected, so no one can say it is her fault or responsibility, although some people DO. Those must be the same people who blame President Obama for Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on the USA southern coastal cities even though he isn’t even President when it occurs, or who blame the hurricanes on homosexuality.

I know my mom still feels badly about not being able to save more people. She’s very sensitive that way. I understand that.

4. Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your mom is the liaison/Chief Communicator?
ZEPHYR: My reaction is not the same as anyone else’s because my mom starts sending me the “story” as if she’s writing science-fiction novels, in February, 2012. I have a feeling, knowing my mom, that a lot of it is true or about to be true. I don’t say anything like that, at first.

But, when things start happening for her and you, Espe, and for her and Epifanio, just as she writes, I ask her about the rest.

So, around October, 2012, she tells me the MWC are actually coming. I get about a two-months’ head start on most people, about a year to get mentally ready.

I’m all in favor of it. Membership in the MWC, I mean. Earth really needs help. No question.

I know how my mom explains it but I still do not understand why they choose her, of over seven billion humans and all the other, in my mind, more obvious choices among Earthers who could have been chosen. Why not one of the dolphins, for example? No offense, Mom.

But, I’m getting used to it and glad she is CC, in some ways. I get some really cool tips, “toys,” experiences and privileges as the CC’s only child that no one else gets.

5. How do you feel about Clara’s role when it starts? How are you affected immediately?
ZEPHYR: I think I previously answer this. Move on.

Oh, all right.

I feel downright special.

There. Happy, now?

[I nod.]

ZEPHYR: OK, wait. There is one thing. Some people I know start to treat me differently. The way I could compare it might be this: if I had won the lottery, certain people would come out of nowhere and claim to be my friend, but they just want money.

In that vein, some people I haven’t talked to or don’t know well are suddenly going on and on about what “good friends” we are. Some of them go on the media and talk about knowing me and my mom, being at our house when I was growing up, being my girlfriend or best friend, or hers, and stuff like that. When it’s true, I don’t mind. But, some of them are actually lying or wildly exaggerating and that burns me.

My mom convinces me to let them be, so I do. I just don’t get the point: are they that desperate for attention? What tools.

Something else occurs to me, right now, though: I’m glad I’m already with Kayla before all this happens, or I might never know why she’s really into me, right?

In the department of stalkerville: even though our relationship is long-term, committed, monogamous, and known to the public, I still get invitations, sexual and personal, almost every month or so, from some whack-job or another. My mom’s security team collects them; I don’t even read them. Every now and then, my mom or Moran or one of the other OSes tells me to BOLO [Be On the Look Out] for some of these “fans.” When they have show me what these oddballs write to me so I can recognize their “signatures,” I am appalled. That is some crazy shit.

6. How do you feel about Clara’s role, now, 5 years later? How does her role affect you now?
ZEPHYR: I will add to what I say before this question that I am very proud of my mom. I think she’s doing an amazing job. Really. I am a very strong critic, usually, especially of my parents. [Laughs.] She says if I think she’s doing “all right,” she must be doing great.

Sometimes we have disagreements about what to do, when to do it. She calls me her “best informal informant.” She comes to me quite often, especially when things are going down that affect those my age or younger.

Because of her hearing loss, we have hilarious misunderstandings. Once, recently, I tell her the reason she can’t hear me is that her ears are too far from her head. We both laugh about that for quite a while. Another time, because of her mis-hearing me, we go ’round and ’round and don’t get anywhere in our conversation. Exasperated, I say that talking to her is like talking to a bicycle. That sends us into gales of laughter for another few minutes. So it goes.

My aunt Violet, being so much younger than my mom and not at all hard of hearing, says talking to my mom is like using the auto-correct feature in early cell phones: many ridiculous messages transpire.

It’s a lot like that when my mom and I talk, because of the randomly occurring hearing loss effects. She hears some things perfectly clearly and others very garbled, but she doesn’t know how garbled until we talk about it.

I tell her: “Mom. Get a hearing aid.”

She answers something along the lines of: “When they make better ones, I do.”

Another age-related problem: increasingly silly texts are sent when my mom doesn’t wear her reading glasses when she’s typing or reading her texts. In 2015, when she gets her personally-adjustable, digital hearing aids and corneal transplants, we all breathe sighs of relief, across the multiverse.

The hearing aids amplify only what she needs exactly as much as she needs, which is what she is holding out for all along. She knows they’re coming so she won’t put up with the substandard ones before 2015.

We all suffer.

On a good note, she knows when she needs help and asks for it. My mom consults with me, some of my cousins and some of her younger friends for tech help and to discuss how current policy discussions might be perceived or impact non-Spanners (people around my age and younger). Most often, she talks to me and Epifanio for informal feedback or ideas.

The CC has all these advisors, contacts, others–—you know–—for formal consultations.

And, you, Espe. You’re great!

7. Which of the MWC members or other species visitors do you have contact with? How and why, and how is that for you?
ZEPHYR: Again, I’m in a unique position. The Band delegates are kind of like relatives to me, at this point, like uncles and aunts, almost. Not that I see them often, but I hear about them a lot and I am “with” them many times, as holos and off-p. I am one of the first non-OS trainees, adults, to be enrolled in ESP [Excellent/Extraordinary Skills Program] training, so Mick and I are quite close, I think, since he runs it.

When Kayla, Kendall and I move to California, right near The Campus, in the summer of 2015, that is right before The Campus has its big blow-out celebration for my mom’s birthday. So, we’re here for that. Things heat up, so to speak, right after that regarding the Psi Wars and lots of other stuff.

What I mean by that is, my family and I are spending a lot more time being directly involved in MWC activities and with things at The Campus now that we’re so close.

And, Espe, well, you’re like a sister. Right, E? You call me a lot, we hang out, we email and text.

When you have trouble understanding my mom, I am the translator. I think part of it is that we’re the same age, so we get each other. I often have to explain you to my mom as well.

[We both laugh.]

ZEPHYR: Plus, you and Kayla are great friends. Sometimes I think you and Kayla get together so you can vent about the Branons. I don’t blame you!

Of The Band, I think Mick and I are the most “in tune,” since he’s the main tech guy and he also, like me, is very into music. But, I really enjoy the pairPartners [Janis–—Diana], and since Kayla is a dancer, they groove with each other very well, too.

When I want to know more about how my mom’s doing or feeling: I ask Janis–—Diana.

When I have questions about protocol or Re-sets, issues or politics, Led is my man.

For the ESP training “insider” stuff, like cheats and shortcuts, I go to Ringo. Ringo also knows a lot about what’s happening back on the IGC [InterGalactic Council] mainframe, so to speak, so for up-to-the-minute news about Xchanges, innovations and such, I ask Mick or Ringo.

Most Earthers have to use their iDs, but because I’m, well, me, I have special Access to each of them, directly, you know, telepathically. Only Moran, my mom and I have that, I think. Or, maybe, Epifanio does. I don’t ask him about this, actually.

You can’t ‘path The Band, right E?

ESPE: I cannot. They can ‘path me, though. Usually, they don’t.

ZEPHYR: As far as communicating with other Earthers, especially non-humans, that depends on what I’m doing, I guess, and where I and they are at any given time. Some of the Primates make music with me. The best are the cephalopods, especially some of the octopi. They are remarkable!

I get together with musically inclined off-worlders at every Music Xchange. I record some of that, which is so cool. With music, we don’t even need to use the fish [Interspecies Communication System]. Tell listeners/readers to check out my music site, OK? [zephyrbranonmusic.mwcw]

8. What transforms your life more: your fish [Interspecies Communication System], your iD [Individual Access Devices Interface], or travel to other planets/moons? How?
ZEPHYR: Obviously, I love my iD and use it constantly. I love the way my iD has a wireless hook-up to my music players, both at home and when I’m out, so I can get music from ANYWHERE, any time. That is sweet.

I use the fish a lot when I travel or am out in nature. We use it at home to talk with our cat and dog, but not often as an ordinary translator. With telepathy, once I’m at Level 2 solidly, I can understand most species on Earth or off-p, one-on-one, without the fish.

Interplanetary and intergalactic travel are the most amazing addition to our lives that anyone could imagine, and I am still humbled and excited every time I get to go out. I never get tired of that and hope to make many more off-p trips. I want to bring my family on some, too.

We don’t do that, yet, although Kayla goes out and we make one trip together, also. Got to bring the kids, right? It’s what families do on a family vacation, like going to the Grand Canyon or whatever, only infinitely more cool.

As far as transforming my life…that’s harder to see, for me. I’m sure my life is transformed, and not only on the surface, but how to explain that?

I can’t imagine my life without it, all of it. Timulting isn’t my thing.

We change every day, every minute. How, specifically, does The Transition change me…? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

My dad has a hard time with some of it, like many people his age–—he’s ten years older than my mom, so almost 70 when she starts being the CC. They talk a lot, which I think helps, at first, but then she gets so busy she doesn’t check in as often, and he’s kind of a hermit-type.

I think my dad is kind of awed and mystified, but he is that a lot, anyway, about many things and people. He’s a Sufi. A mystic. He whirls. Like they do in Turkey. With the big hat and skirt with metal in the hem. Ever see him do that?

[Yes.]

I zoom in on him a lot these days, and I worry too much, probably. Try to imagine: my dad is one of the oldest Spanners, born in 1944. What he’s lived through, the changes he’s seen! I can’t really grok it, myself.

It’s harder for him after we move here, so I visit him a lot. That’s another thing I appreciate: off-p travel methods work on-p as well, so getting to and from, say, old California to old New Hampshire: just a thought and a movement away. No TJ needed, either!

9. How do your friends, family, wife and children feel about your mom as the CC and how does this affect your own relationships?
ZEPHYR: If you want to know how Kayla feels, you best ask her. Kendall has no clue, since she’s not even two. To Kendall, the famous Chief Communicator is just my mom and her grandmother.

My friends are mostly jealous. Completely.

Some of them say things like: “We’re so NOT surprised that your mom is doing this; she’s always been…unusual.” They’re right, of course. My mom is always the one who is way over in the red zone on the Strange Meter compared to my friends’ moms. Good strange, though, not awful strange.

I feel kind of badly when friends ask me stuff and I’m not allowed to say, but they understand, by now. I am allowed to talk to Kayla about things that I can’t talk to anyone else about (I get permission, and so does my mom, early on), and also, to my dad. My mom also talks directly with my dad, so that’s cool.

I don’t know what my dad tells his brother and sister; my grandparents on that side are dead already before the changes set in (my grandfather is dead almost ten years before; my grandmother is already demented and then dies early into The Transition), so, in a way, that’s good, or this would kill them, for sure. They never liked my mom.

I think this would be a lot harder without those permissions, though. That would suck. I know about that a little since I am not allowed to say anything to Kayla or my dad until December, when I know since October, in 2012. Those two months last FOREVER.

Once I am able to talk with them, though, especially Kayla, everything is much easier. She really helps me adjust to the “fame.” I am not expecting that. I blame my mom; she doesn’t put my fame problems in Volume I, which is the only one I see BPC [Before Public Contact]! [laughter]

I do have questions I can’t ask her. Here is one exchange I can share in which I ask some key questions.

********

During one of my ESP training sessions, I ask Mick: “Why does the MWC only come to one member of the dominant species on each member orb to be the Liaison for Transition and after that? Isn’t that a lot of pressure on that one being, their family and friends?”

Mick replies: “Every time we try working with more than one being as Liaison, we have to do extensive Re-sets. This happens on my planet, my CeeCee tells me [The Chief Communicator on Mick’s planet is a relative of his, like an uncle].”

“Problems are two-fold,” he continues. “One, consistency of information dissemination; two, reliability of witnesses.”

I start to ask a follow-up, but Mick’s on a roll, as he often is: “As soon as you have more than one individual telling any story, you run into contradictions and disparities. These widen out the further you go from each individual until the distortions are unacceptable. It’s like your game of ‘telephone,’ yes?”

I nod. I see the problem clearly as he describes it. I know he can tell I understand, because he nods and says: “So, one Transition, one Liaison. Information flows in a straight line from the MWC to the Liaison, from the Chief Communicator via her media contact to the orbs’ inhabitants. Works best. Protocol, now.”

I believe him.

Mick then gives me a nodding gesture with his headpiece and says,”You are our second choice.”

I feel as if he punches me in the gut with that. No way! I could never…

Then, Mick makes his laughing noise.

Whew! Just kidding!

********

Sick sense of humor. Gotta love that.

I do wonder who else is on their short list, though? No pun intended, Little Mom.

10. What else do you want to tell us about your experiences of Clara as the CC or the Transition?
ZEPHYR: When I am a kid, my mom and dad raise me to be different from mainstream people in about a hundred ways. For example, they really talk with me from a very young age and still do. They and all their friends raise kids the way they raised me, communication-wise. For a while, I don’t know how different I and my peers in this community are.

Then, at about fourteen, I go out “into the world,” away from the private, Waldorf-education-“bubble,” away from our hippie community, into public schools, cities, etc. I am amazed at how different I am from those teens and how far my families in our community are from those families. Values, lifestyles, attitudes, sex and relationships, personal choices, money use, decision-making processes, dealing with emotions, clothing, music, reading materials (that we read for fun at all!), cable TV vs. NPR [National Public Radio]: countless differences that, one at a time, don’t seem significant, but add them all up and we are worlds apart.

Being an adult seems to be more of that same experience: I still see a huge disparity between me and most people, even guys my age “Western” Earth societies. Kayla agrees: I am Clara’s son and it shows.

There is one guy I feel a kinship with, even though we’ve never met: Matt Damon. When I’m a kid, my mom tells me about this feminist researcher on gender roles who writes about her son who wants to wear barrettes in his long hair to keep it out of his face. Since I have long hair (my choice) from age three to sixteen, I am interested. She goes on. This writer explains how much crap the school teachers and others give them, but she and her son were quite happy with his choices. This writer/researcher/mom produces several books about masculinity, raising sons, war toys and other topics in the category of feminist parenting that are dear to my mother’s heart.

Who is that feminist parenting icon? You guessed it: Matt’s mom [Nancy Carlsson-Paige]. I know, if we ever get to talk, we find we have a lot in common.

With who my mom is and her being CeeCee, I feel unique, but this feeling is not unfamiliar, you see? For example, I can cook, do laundry, balance checkbooks, play with kids, plan a schedule, hold a job, manage my life, deal with emotions, communicate clearly (even though I do yell a lot for a while), all by the age of 16. We know people, especially men my age NOW, who can’t do most of those things.

Kayla says I am “the only man she’s ever known who… ” Fill in the blank, with about ten useful or appealing (to her) characteristics or behaviors. Her parents don’t know quite what to do with me or my mom, even now, five years later.

Kayla’s parents are nice, mainstream, good people. That’s the thing. Regular. I don’t mean commonplace or average, just, well, ordinary. Not unusual in any large ways. They are unique, of course; everyone is. But, you know what I mean? They blend.

My mom, even before she is CC, says about herself: “I’m so far from the mainstream, I can’t even hear the river running.”

So, imagine coming from a mainstream upbringing and marrying into this family? Holy shit! I hand it to Kayla: she’s courageous! I tell her, all the time. She laughs at me. In a nice way. With hugs.

Kayla and her parents are offered a trip out with me about two years ago, when Kayla is only a few months pregnant, to go to one of the Xchanges (Cultural collaborations) on Led’s planet, Gliese 581 d. Kayla says “yes” and she does go.

She really tries to talk her parents into coming, but they can’t wrap their minds around it. Won’t come. And, they’re younger than my mom, so it’s not age that’s making them less flexible, less open to change.

Also, Kayla’s parents seem kind of spooked by the whole ESP training and are uncomfortable around me in new ways once I’m in the Program. I think they believe I’m reading their minds or controlling Kayla or something. Sheesh.

The Transition and its opportunities are not for everyone to embrace equally.

Me? Mostly, I love it all. And, I love my mom.

I feel very lucky, all around.

Are we done?

This is fun, E. Thanks.

[hugs]


final cover print

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, of The Spanners Series.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman.

Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?

Sci-fi/romance/utopian/multiverse/psi/paranormal for adults, new adults, young adults, now in ebooks and paperbacks, Volumes I, II, III:
PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume II, $19.99 https://www.createspace.com/5844431 

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume I, $17.99 https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Ebook of Volume II is $3.99:
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Ebook of Volume I is PERMAFREE:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

And on ibooks, Kobo, nook: look right, scroll down for all links for Volumes I, II, III, interviews, book trailers, reviews, more:
http://www.sallyember.com

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

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All art for The Spanners Series by WillowRaven
http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Preorders @50% for #ebook This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series

#Preorders @ 50%, $1.99, for 11/1/15—-12-7/15 on #Smashwords, #Kobo, #iBooks and #nook as well as #Amazon is Sally Ember, Ed.D.’s third #scifi/ #romance/ #paranormal #ebook, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III of The Spanners Series, which releases 12/08/15 @$3.99.

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

Getting 4- and 5-Star #reviews in pre-pub: see snippets from reviews, below and links to reviews on http://www.sallyember.com (look right; scroll down).

Volume III, This Is /Is Not The Way I Want Things to Change
Pre-order and Purchase LINKS HERE
SMASHWORDS (all ebook formats): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331
AND
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177Z1KRM

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in This Is/Is Not The Way I Want Things to Change of The Spanners Series. The Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. To join, Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and the Psi-Warriors must prevail in their battles against the rebels.

Clara, continuing as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while managing and being one of the instructors of the psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them each to make difficult choices across multiple timelines while continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do you do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Volume III Book Trailer

REVIEWS of Volume III:
“Because this reads like documentation of actual events, I came away from it feeling like my own little life is petty and trivial and a waste of ‘time.’ Like, I’m not part of The Movement and I ought to run right out and start a victory garden or a recycling program or find an ESP trainer and get started learning how to TK or….
“The entire series is such an astounding creation it amazes me that it’s the production of just one person.”

—Devorah “Dee” Fox, Dee-Scoveries, fantasy/thriller author, journalist, columnist, 9/25/15

http://devorahfox.com

ALSO: Volumes I, II and III are soon available in both PRINT and ebooks versions by 12/8/15!

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This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, is Permafree in ebook format and $POD

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Volume I, This Changes Everything
PERMAFREE ebook LINKS HERE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos: train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers; communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet; eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries; convene a new group of Global Leaders; and, help Clara deal with her family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are you ready for the changes?

REVIEWS for Volume I:
“[This Changes Everything] is highly-imaginative, but for so many different reasons, and outside of the normal scope. There are times when I felt that I was reading an actual research report of true to life events. Honestly, I’m sitting at my laptop, questioning if Clara has provided this work to Ember, or if the two are one in the same. The experience is mind-altering, and would challenge readers to think beyond the bubble that we live in. I would surely recommend This Changes Everything to anyone that enjoys a a well-written and researched Sci-Fi series. I will point out that it pushes the envelope, and toys with one’s perception. Well done! 5 Stars.”

–Janice G. Ross, author, 11/11/13

http://jgrwriter.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/review-this-changes-everything-by-sally-ember-3/

This Changes Everything by Sally Ember is a well-written, complex work that is going to add a strong title to a genre that can sometimes become bogged down with the same old, same old. This Changes Everything is a book that I am very happy to have had the chance to read and I would recommend it to any sci-fi/fantasy fan.”

–Zach Tyo, Indie Reviews, 10/4/13

http://indiebookreviewer.blogspot.com/

“You have created your characters very well. I feel for Clara, I imagine her alienating a lot of people because her enthusiasm and drive and ability to push herself makes her someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I would have liked more of the reporter’s life and I didn’t like Epifanio at all. He sounded arrogant and selfish. I loved that the aliens were chosen by lottery. You had so many good touches like that, which made the book a continuing surprise. I…have to say it is one of the most challenging, exciting and original books I’ve read.”

–(Mary) Josephine O’Brien, author, Sharing Skies, 9/14/13

“You have written a wonderfully imaginative and original story with plenty of twists and turns. I really like your multiuniverse setting with different timelines and the concept of the ‘Many Worlds Collective.'”

–Sophekles, author, The Serotonin Transfer, 10/8/13

“I love your sense of humor. I literally laughed out loud when Clara said that she had given him the name ‘Led.’ I also like that this is an alien story where the aliens are helping, rather than trying to take over the world. It’s a refreshing angle.”

–S.M. Koz, author, Pangalax, 9/4/13

[after reading 1st 20 pages only] “…In a lot of ways I’m at a loss to critique this because it’s quite different than what I’m used to encountering. It’s a more immediate version of Stranger in Strange Land by Heinlein. Now, what I say next is strictly speaking off the cuff at 11 PM after a couple of rum and cokes, but as it stands I’d probably rate this either three or four stars, depending on how it develops. Once I got into the ideas behind it all, I found it personally fascinating. I’m not sure how that would translate to a broader readership, but it’s nifty stuff. I like alternate timelines and the like…”

–Alexander Crommich, reviewer @ Crommich Industries

“The writing is complex and done extremely well….There were times when I almost forgot I was reading a work of fiction and not a news account of real events, and I would consider that to be skilled writing indeed….[D]id I enjoy more of it than not? Yes. Four stars. Did I like the overall content? Most of the time. Three stars. Was the writing of good quality? Oh, definitely yes. Five stars. My overall rating: four of five stars.”

–Lynda Dietz, Easy Reader

ilovetoreadyourbooks.blogspot.com, 11/4/13

Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is $3.99 for ebooks and $POD.

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Volume II: This Changes My Family and My Life Forever [released 6/9/14, Smashwords, Amazon and elsewhere]
Ebook LINKS HERE:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, multiverse romances and planetary changes? Clara and the alien Band of holos are back. As Earth’s first Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet and for figuring out how to deal with simultaneous time and multiple timelines in the ever-changing multiverse.

Fighting to support these changes are the Psi-Warriors, led by its reluctant leader, Chief OverSeer Rabbi Moran Ackerman, against the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief. Moran reveals his struggles and successes with his Excellent Skills Program training experiences on the new Campus and at home.

Stories in This Changes My Family and My Life Forever come from younger Spanners as well as Clara via “Snapshots” of her earlier life with anecdotes from Epifanio Dang, her on/off lover, and Esperanza Enlaces, Earth’s Chief Media Contact, and others about the first five years of The Transition.

What would you do with the changes?

REVIEWS for Volume II:
5 Stars for This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series
“One thing I like very much about The Spanners Series is the message that we can all live together in peace, learn from each other, be there for each other. All differences (religious, racial, gender, and even between species and inhabitants of other planets) are overcome. I mean, how cool would that be to be able to communicate with animals – and not in a jokey, Eddie Murphy-Dr. Dolittle-kind of way, but accept them and their needs / interests as equal to humans? And those people who resist change (yes, there will always be those, even if it is clear that the change is for the better) will not be eliminated, but gently persuaded to recognise what is best for them.”

–Peggy Farooqi, The Pegster Reads, 5/31/14

http://thepegsterreads.blogspot.co.uk

About the Author
Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old. She’s won prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays. She began meditating (right after The Beatles) in 1972.

Now, Sally delights fans of paranormal and romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian, multiverse, science fiction and Buddhism. Her sci-fi /romance/ speculative fiction/ paranormal ebooks for New Adult/adult/YA audiences, The Spanners Series, are unique, exciting, thought-provoking and amusing.

Visit her Youtube Channel for book trailers, author readings, and a live Q & A with Sally plus more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w

Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally’s life has been infused with change. She is a long-time Buddhist meditator who writes, swims, reads and hosts her Google+ Hangout On Air (HOA) CHANGES conversations with authors, LIVE almost every Wednesday (but on hiatus for November & December, 2015), 10 – 11 AM Eastern time, USA. Join in the fun by commenting and asking questions during the live show on G+ or Youtube, or visit archived CHANGES shows: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq

If you are an author or know one, learn more about and get yourself scheduled on or recommend someone as a CHANGES guest: https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d

Sally blogs regularly on wide-ranging topics and includes reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and excerpts from her ebooks. Visit and comment, follow, “like,” and share! http://www.sallyember.com/blog

In her “other” professional life, Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits for over thirty-five years in New England (every state), New Mexico and the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to live in St. Louis, MO, in August, 2014. Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).

Interacting With and Finding Sally Online

Please write a review and give Volumes I and II and then this one, III, a rating on SMASHWORDS, iBooks, Kobo, nook, Amazon, whatever retailer you use for ebooks, as well as many other sites that bring readers to this book: Library Thing, Wattpad, Indiebooks, Goodreads, Booklikes, Shelfari, and her blog, http://www.sallyember.com/blog. Help bring people to The Spanners Series via any other website that invites readers to post comments and reviews of Sci-Fi novels, especially if you LOVE it!

Thank you for reading and considering the implications of The Spanners Series. Talk it up! Tweet! Post! Write to Sally! Blog your opinions and responses!

Sally wants her readers to know: ‘”I change my books based on readers’ suggestions! Also, I would be delighted to visit your Book Club or class if you are using one or more of the books in The Spanners Series. Ask me to co-develop curricula, projects and activities for your group/class members!”

You will want to visit on Facebook, where she is known as “Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember,” and has a Spanners Series page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber
or her website to find out when the next Volumes will be available.

She is also very active on Google+ as “Sally Sue Ember” and on her Spanners Series page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/115730970500394047116/115730970500394047116/about

Follow Sally on Twitter @sallyemberedd and please Tweet about this book and The Spanners Series!

For photos, images, music, bios and other memes relevant to Sally as an author and directly to The Spanners Series, please visit her boards on Pinterest: “The Spanners Series includes…”; “Inspirations for the Earth locations in The Spanners Series“; “Music of The Spanners Series“; “Space Shots I like”; “Books that changed my life”; “TV shows and movies I actually like”; “Writers I Love”;”Resonating Pins” (from others’ boards); “Blog Posts”; CHANGES Episodes; and, “Flora and Fauna that amaze me.” She also puts up promos for her own and other authors’ books on occasion via “Book Billboards ” and other sites favoring Indie Authors. Please follow her Boards on http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember.

News and Other Information

Sally is experimenting with CROWDCREATING sections or upcoming Volumes VIII (for and seeking youth and New Adults) and IX (for and seeking adults) of The Spanners Series. If you’d like to participate by making story or character suggestions, writing a portion or an entire chapter, or collaborating in other ways, please email sallyember at yahoo or ssfember at gmail and tell her a little about what Volume or portion you’d like to help create! Put “CROWDCREATOR” in the subject line.

Must contact Sally by January 1, 2017, for Volume VIII and July 1, 2017, for Volume IX to be considered for inclusion in the CROWDCREATION.

Sally is also running a CROWDFUNDING campaign to get her ebooks into print, improve the audio quality of her talk show, fund the next books covers and cover other expenses on Patreon. Donate $4 or more and get Rewards: a free ebook, discounts on her editing/proofreading/writing tutoring services and more: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember


The Spanners Series‘ covers and logo #art by WillowRaven: willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com

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Giveaway 2day only (7/4/15): Celebrate my topping 5K Tweeps and get #Free #scifi #Ebook!

To celebrate that I just topped 5K Tweeps (no ‘bots! no Twitter sharks!) on Twitter, I’m giving away one of my Spanners Series #ebooks!

Contact me: sallyember@yahoo DOT com for a coupon on ‪#‎Smashwords‬ to get Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, #free today, 7/4/15 only (usually $3.99)

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Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back in Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever of The Spanners Series. Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II. How would YOU do with the changes?

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

Vol I, This Changes Everything, is ‪#‎permafree‬

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Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of  beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse.  When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are. Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth? This Changes Everything begins the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series. Are YOU ready for the changes?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

‪#‎scifi‬ The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

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http://www.sallyember.com FMI, reviews, more links

Critical Review of This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series from the Starving Reviews site: Not a Fan!

Critical Review of This Changes Everything, Vol. I, The Spanners Series
from the Starving Reviews site: Not a Fan!

I am grateful to James B. Garner and every other reviewer who takes their time, makes the effort, reads indie authors’ books and writes thoughtful reviews: THANK YOU!

This is the first careful, thorough, critical review TCE has received in a long time, so I am sharing it in its entirety: so no one can say I “cherry-picked” his sentences or phrases. I haven’t changed one word.

I also post the link to the Starving Reviews site, below, so please visit there and comment!

And, for an alternative view of the type of social/utopian/speculative/visionary fiction I write, please also visit and watch/read: “Radical sci-fi by social activists ‘decolonizes the imagination,'”
by Laura Hudson http://boingboing.net/2015/04/02/octavias-brood.html


“Every once in a while, I feel like I have to break the rules set down for me by the Starving Reviews, LLC corporate office. So far, I have restrained myself because, well, I’m starving, darn it! I need this literary sustenance to flow and I dare not cut off my biggest supplier. Today, though, I may wind up breaking that creed, as today’s long-delayed culinary snack can’t be dissected without some SPOILERS!

This Changes Everything is, on the surface, a science fiction novel talking about an alternate future where aliens approach Earth and offer entrance into a galactic collective. This sort of treat, at first glance, looks scrumptious, offering a many-layered look at the interactions between our delightfully bizarre little planet and a vast series of societies and species. In some ways, Changes delivers on some aspects of that promise.

“The writing itself is solid, at least once you get used to the various styles employed. The book is comprised of many nuggets of scenes, each written in a different style and from different view points. It can be a bit jarring at first but is easy to get a grip on once you realize what’s going on.

“The plot … has problems. The majority of the rest of this review will touch on that, but let me get one thing out of the way. If you ever wanted a true definition of a Mary Sue, read Changes. You see, the Mary Sue concept isn’t one of abilities or perfection (though those help), it is the plot black hole they represent. The protagonist in this book is the most important person in the world (literally), receives almost universal praise from most quarters, gets pretty much everything she could desire, lives happily ever after, and nothing really bad, dramatic, or dangerous really happens. There is the hint of tension at several points but, as described below, there are certain story and structure elements that destroy all the drama before it even has a chance to start.

“The problems start to come in when the concepts of the ‘reality’ of how time and history work in this universe. The core concepts of the book (that all time exists simultaneously and that time lines can be altered and culled by anyone with the appropriate psychic training) do provide some interesting promise, but the way they are actualized in the story create a rolling cascade of issues that really break the book down as a fictional slice of cake.

“It boils down to a few major, seemingly paradoxical, concepts. First, the concept of all time being simultaneous doesn’t really hold out in how the events of the book work. The aliens, and later Earthlings, can alter time by changing events (which don’t often require them actually doing the actions, which is strangely dissatisfying) … but how does that work when all time is simultaneous, which suggests there cannot be true causality? Likewise, the book repeatedly talks about the existence of free will, but how can free will truly exist in a world where others can reset and alter their personal time lines, altering entire sequences of events, thereby altering those free will decisions? Finally, there are strange arbitrary limits on how often people can alter their time lines, with no mention on how this is enforced or even known to be. Maybe it’s something touched on later in what is supposed to turn into a ten book series, but arbitrary, unexplained limits on what is essentially a ‘magic’ system in a fictional world is always a bit of a distaste for me.

“The main story issue that this concept of time and time altering brings about is the total destruction of dramatic tension. Very early in Changes, we already know, from the characters that can see the future as well as future documents included, that everything turns out A-OK. The girl gets the boy, Earth turns out fantastic, and the main character gets a healthy, happy ending. We know this by (if I remember correctly) chapter 5 of a 30+ chapter book. Yes, you can argue that the meal can be no less tasty when you sneak in dessert early, but that’s usually not the case. Knowing everything turns out great turns every attempt at adding some drama or tension to any point of the novel fall flat.

“That is a key component of what really leeches the taste out of Changes. I could excuse the very strange time alteration parts (it is a fictional universe, after all) and roll with it, but the lack of dramatic tension, the lack of any real conflict and consequences (something that the writer tries to interject with the idea of ‘Psi-P’, the emotional backlash of choosing to go with time-lines that benefit others but are not the best for you personally, something that never gets written to have the real impact it could), just makes Changes a sludge of a book. It is simply tiring to read, with no real emotional high or pay-off. It’s just not entertaining and that is the biggest sin a work of fiction can have.

“You may be wondering where the spoilers were? Well, I saved that for last because I have to take a moment to chew the fat about something that may very well be opinion. This next bit isn’t a critique of the book, which is why it comes at the end, but a critique of some ideas in the book (a very different thing). Changes has some very insulting and, to me personally, dangerous ideas about what is good about humanity. Humans are depicted in some cases as being so unable to cope with the idea of actual alien contact that they die or go crazy from the news. Like significant swaths of the population, at least before the aliens change history again. Not to mention there is an Appendix, as well as mentions in the main text, where it is shown that many human achievements in many areas, from the Underground Railroad to splitting the atom to most major religious figures (Jesus, the Dahli [sic] Lama, and others) were directly influenced by this alien collective, either through dreams or direct intervention. It frankly made my gut curdle to see so much of humanity’s accomplishments turned into the results of alien meddling. Changes pains humans with a very savage and ignorant brush, laying our salvation and much of our past good points in the hands of our alien saviors. Now, about those aliens …

“The aliens in this world alter time repeatedly to change human history to make the Earth a better fit for their galactic collective. They banish people unable to conform with their way of doing things to a ‘prison’ alternate time line until they reform or die. They alter the biochemistry of the ENTIRE human race in one chapter to make them more receptive and peaceful without the consent of, well, anyone. They are fully telepathic and casually mind-read the main character (and the rest of humanity) for most of the book. In a different book, these aliens would be the worst kind of manipulative overlords. In this book, though, they are perfect, wonderful utopians. I find especially that their methods really don’t jive with that ‘free will’ concept. How can you have free will when aliens are altering your biochemistry, psychically manipulating you, and implanting thoughts, dreams, and knowledge into you?

“Wow, that went on for a while. Okay, so, how does this come together? This Changes Everything is a science fiction yarn that just has no drama or fun in it. Regardless of how you may feel about its philosophical or moral points, Changes breaks the cardinal rule of any fictional work, and that is to entertain. If you’re looking for good, interesting sci-fi, look elsewhere. If you, however, are looking for a very unusual tract on philosophy and morals, you might want to give this a read, just don’t expect to be entertained by it.

“FINAL VERDICT: ** (Heavy on philosophy and moral tracts, without a single tasty bit of fun!)”
Link to full review:
https://jbgarner58.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/starving-review-this-changes-everything-the-spanners-book-1-by-sally-ember/

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TCE is FREE everywhere ebooks are sold: http://www.sallyember.com has links to every TCE download/sale site as well as links and more reviews for it and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, is due out some time in 2015.

Latest #Author #Interview with Sally Ember, Ed.D., on Connie Dunn’s page, goes live TODAY!

Thanks for a fun and great #interview, Connie, conducted/recorded on September 4, 2014, despite numerous technical difficulties!

My interview goes live TODAY, September 29, 2014. We talked about #writing, #science-fiction, The Spanners Series and its #aliens, the Series’ #cover art and Aidana Willowraven as the cover artist,

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my #utopian views, writing in the present tense to emphasize the #multiverse/#paranormal/#psi elements, #science/#research, book #reviews, “crowd creating” and other #collaborations, ghost writing, #series writing, writing across #genres and for multiple audiences/age groups, inspiration/creativity, my writing history (from age 9 on), #editing, #indie publishing and much more.

http://publishwithconnie.com/mondaymorning is the link to Connie’s website. Please visit, look at her books and what she offers to authors!

From there, you can go listen to my interview: http://publishwithconnie.com/teleseminar-dashboard/sally-ember/