WHAT’S HOT features items and things that have generated a buzz around the internetz.
HOT: April 2013
There’s been a wave of interest in my new novel ICE which should be available for purchase in mid-April. ICE is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a mild-mannered, small town barber who steals a valuable necklace on a whim and then undergoes intense psychological terror as an insurance investigator tightens the noose. Before long the barber is on the run with the blood of numerous victims on his hands – or is he? Everything may not be as it seems.
HOT: March 2013
“Zany, goofy fun. Had me laughing out loud several times.” – Times Journal & Review
“‘Sciency-Fictiony’ humor at its best since Douglas Adams rode his thumb through the galaxy.” – Barton’s
Thanks to all of the recent asteroid and meteor and other celestial activity since late 2012, my novel “The Myoshi Effect” has suddenly gone from being a goofy tale about an asteroid headed toward earth sure to cause the end of the world, the splitting of the US in to two separate countries and an invasion of the US by Canada, until now seems almost prescient. Obviously, because I suppose everybody has asteroids and/or certain death on their minds, the sales of “The Myoshi Effect” have put it in the #1 spot on the “What’s Hot” chart. Here’s the first chapter and, like they always say “The first taste is free…”:
THE END IS NIGH
March 1st, 2020. The grand ballroom of the Hilton hotel in Nampho, North Korea was crowded with members of the press, bloggers, official delegates, distinguished scientists, dignitaries, high-tech visionaries, millionaires and billionaires and heads of state – all of who had had gathered, from far flung regions around the world, for the start of the Third Annual International Global Warming Conference. There was much work to be done that week, a lot of hard decisions to be made about how to move forward, but tonight was for fun, for catching-up; an evening of crystal chandeliers, elegantly appointed tables, lively discussion and flowing Champagne served by black-tied waiters.
The house lights then began to dim, everyone’s cue that the evening’s program was about to begin, and so the small clusters of conversation broke up and everyone went to find their assigned seats.
Dramatic music filled the room, a score written specially for the conference by the Oscar-winning music composer John Williams, as a massive L.E.D. viewing screen was lowered and then a filmed presentation on global warming began.
The chairman of the committee, Professor Ira Helsinki, sat alone at a small table near the edge of the stage and sipped at his vodka Martini. He gave the film scant attention – after all he had produced it – and instead he scanned the room, doing a little people watching, making mental note of everyone that was present and especially of those that were not.
He was pleased by the turnout. Al Gore was there (of course) and Bill Gates. There were several assorted influential senators and lobbyists, as well as the usual celebrity/activists, actors and musicians – but there were also a few surprises, like the noted Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens and that extremely right wing conservative radio host that always called global warming “a hoax; an attempt by the liberal left to codify their ideology as science.”
While it was quite probable that he was there just to start some trouble, the fact that he was wearing a disguise brought up the question as to where or not he actually believed the rot that he espoused on air, or whether he said it just to appeal to a lot of tin hat wearing morons that paid his salary, and that he secretly believed in climate change.
Helsinki smiled, knowing the surprise that he had in store for them. It was going to blow them all away, it was going to rock their world – hell, it was going to rock the entire planet! But most of all it was going to make him a celebrity, a household name. He was going to be somebody, a man of destiny.
He’d be on all of the television chat shows: Today, Good Morning America, the Tonight Show, the Daily Show… Hell, he might even get his own show, on the Science Channel or something or, at the very least, he’d get a book deal (did the public still read those? he wondered) and even some sort of medal wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. He’d done the calculations.
As the film drew to a close he rose from his chair and strode across the deep rose carpet, over to the podium, and waited for the house lights to come back up. When they did, and the audience applause finally died away and he had finished fiddling with some papers, he donned his reading glasses and then read a prepared statement:
“Three decades ago,” he began – he smiled inside, he was in fine form and the little bit of reverb on his voice sounded nice – “I stood at this very podium, along with my fellow scientists, and stated that there was little doubt that the planet was experiencing a ” – and here he made quotation mark fingers – “‘global warming’ – a new term at the time – and that over the last century Earth’s core temperature had risen by around 1-degree Fahrenheit – or 0.6 of a degree Celsius – and that this was the warmest the planet had been since the mid-1800’s.”
He paused as the clapping overtook him. It always amused him whenever people applauded that line. He knew that they weren’t applauding him for what he had said, because what he had said was a terrible truth – an inconvenient truth (he’d never forgive Gore for stealing that phrase from him) – but that they were applauding him because he was so brave for saying it. He knew all of that, but it still amused him.
He adjusted his glasses and then continued: “I also stated at that time that if nothing was done to prevent this trend, then the global temperatures would rise by 3 to 10-degrees Fahrenheit by the century’s end – enough for the polar caps to melt and submerge a vast majority of our countries borders under water.”
He took a sip of water and waited again for the applause to subside. He drew a deep breath, as he was about to blow their minds. “Today I stand here to report – happily – that through the committed and diligent efforts by our world leaders and by the citizens of planet Earth; through the use of hydrogen power, synthetic chemical fuels and, most importantly, the criminalization of aerosol cheese products: We have successfully reversed the planet’s warming trend; that the Earth is, in fact, cooling.”
As he’d expected, this drew enthusiastic, fervent applause, cheers and whistles from the crowd. Helsinki smiled and had to speak louder over the rising commotion: “The latest findings show that the icecaps have stopped melting; that sea levels have stabilized; that the rainforest is replenishing and that several very cute polar bear cubs have been born in the Artic!” He then put down his report and addressed the audience directly. “Ladies and gentlemen, the point is, for all intents and purposes, the war against global warming… is over. Earth is saved. We won!”
The crowd erupted in wild cheers and applause and whistles. Several people hugged and cried. Al Gore fell to his knees and wept like a baby. Bill Gates fainted. As more John Williams music reverberated through the room, Helsinki stood at the podium, his arms stretched out wide, and basked in the adulation. “We did it people…”
After a moment his aide, who had had to push her way through the shouting, dancing, singing crowd, reached the podium and she leaned over and whispered something into Helsinki’s ear. The professor’s face sank.
“Are you certain?” he whispered back to the aide. She nodded gravely and handed him a piece of paper. He scanned it quickly, his face growing more dour and somber as he read. Professor Helsinki then held up both of his hands in an effort to quiet the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” he shouted. “Ladies and gentlemen!” – but no one was listening. He pounded on the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen PLEASE! If I can have your attention please…” He took the microphone and placed it near one of the audio speakers. This caused an enormously loud audio feedback that squealed incessantly, like a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo, but it did the trick and eventually managed to silence the crowd.
Once he had their attention he held up the piece of paper that his aide had given him and waved it like a white flag. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve just been informed of some… very bad news…” He sighed. “Scientists and astronomers at both NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as at the Near Earth Object Information Centre in Great Britain, have just reported that… an asteroid, known as 2020-QQ47, has escaped from the star belt located between Mars and Jupiter… and that it is headed on a direct collision-course with plant Earth.”
There was a horrified gasping as the audience took in this terrible news. Helsinki continued: “2020-QQ47 is estimated to be roughly twenty-five-million-tons, 1.5 miles wide and that… on impact… it will have the effect of sixty-five million Hiroshima atomic bombs.” Horrible and terrified screams erupted, and the people began to run toward the nearest exit in complete panic.
“Impact is estimated to occur somewhere along a curving thirty-mile-wide swatch, stretching across Russia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America and on into the Atlantic. Managua, Nicaragua; San Jose, California; Mexico City and Carcass, Venezuela are all in line for a direct hit… and complete destruction.”
The screaming and shouting people were now violently pushing and shoving each other out of the way as they all struggled to exit the ballroom simultaneously. The actor, Brad Pitt, punched one of the members of the band, the Foo Fighters, in the nose after he had attempted to cut in front of him. The folk singer and activist Joan Baez, who had been scheduled to perform that evening, had her guitar smashed against a wall after she had tried to calm the crowd with a rendition of “Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man.”
Helsinki was still speaking at the podium; his voice was now low and laced with dread, distressed at both what he was saying and in the knowledge that what he was saying meant that his hopes and dreams for fame and fortune were now irrevocably shattered.
“The potential strike date is one month from today,” he mumbled. “in the afternoon hours of April 12th. Around two-ish.” He then tossed the paper into the air and gave out a sardonic laugh. “Well, out of the frying pan and into the fucking fire, huh?”
To purchase THE MYOSHI EFFECT click HERE
Copyright © 2012 by Jim Yoakum
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.