After a tragic, fifty light-year voyage, sole survivor Mat crash lands on a beautiful, sometimes hostile alien world... the planet Earth!
The X-Files meets Arrival
Set in the timeframe of 1954-1969, Mission 51 is a historical science fiction using the mythology of Area 51 to tell the story of an alien immigrant, as told to the author by the alien's translator. This post-World War II, post-Korean War, Cold War period piece subtly weaves themes of intolerance, resistance, fear, isolationism, human virtues and character defects, and the inevitability of change, while maintaining the fun of an alien Sci-Fi narrative.
Gattaca meets Village of the Damned
The anticipated book 2 in this series will take the Mission 51 story into the present and near future when our alien protagonists have successfully changed humans "for the better" by modifying the genetic code. Groups of altered humans are now cooperating better with each other in some ways while continuing their self-destructive behaviors in others. Are these post-humans better, worse, or just different? Is directed evolution better than evolution by random mutation and natural selection? Are we regular humans doomed to go the way of the Neanderthal?
Mission 51 is an immigrant story that is out of this world!
A Note from the Author
I met Dr. Linda Deltare during a birding festival at West Virginia’s New River Gorge in the spring of 2010. I was struck by the enthusiasm of this elegant, elderly lady who was following a constellation of plain old Starlings at the time. She looked away from her binoculars and exclaimed to anyone in earshot, and that would be just me, “Did you see how they all responded to the leader’s chip call!?”
Since no one else was nearby, and since I was uncertain whether her question was rhetorical or not, I felt obliged to respond. “No, I didn’t. To be honest, I’m not that tuned-in to communication behavior in flight.”
She started an animated ramble about flock movement until she stopped herself short, apologizing. “I’m sorry. I get carried away by that sort of thing. I have been interested in communication theory since my college days, part of my Master’s work and doctoral thesis.”
“Oh, please go on,” I told her. “I may not know much about it, but I’m interested. I love learning new things about bird behavior.” What I said was true. I was interested. I never lied to Dr. Deltare - or almost never.
So we had a nice conversation about this and other similar avian topics as we worked our way back to our group of fellow birders. We then encountered each other on and off for the next few days, establishing a comfortable acquaintance. At the end of the festival, we exchanged the typical farewells. “I hope we run into each other again some day at another birding event.” I meant it. She impressed me as a smart, pleasant and interesting lady.
Curiously, we did run into each other, time and time again over the next few years, at almost every birding event I ever attended! I saw her at the Cape May Maygration in New Jersey. I saw her at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in the North Carolina Outer Banks. I saw her at Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, at Merritt Island in Florida, at Magee Marsh in northwest Ohio, and again at the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Our little acquaintance gradually grew into a warm friendship. We shared each other’s cell phone numbers and email addresses. So after that, I was not as surprised to see her at other birding events, as we both obviously shared the hobby and passion. But really, looking back, it was a little weird seeing her everywhere I went.
One day, she even showed up in my home town of Winston Salem, at one of our regular Audubon activities at Bethabara Park. I was really taken aback at her presence, surprised at how far she must have come for such an unimportant event. After an enjoyable morning of birding, I asked her to join me for lunch and she readily accepted. It was then that she finally unloaded the burden she had been carrying, and for whatever reason, she had apparently decided to hand it over to me.
“Ferd,” she said with a coarse cough, while lighting up a new cigarette using the dying ash of the one she had just finished, “I have something very important I need to tell you. I have never told...