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Showing posts by: Mark Alpert click to see Mark Alpert's profile
Feb 8 2016 10:00am

The Orion Plan: New Excerpt

Mark Alpert

The Orion Plan by Mark Alpert is an extraterrestrial thriller that sees an alien species find a way to send a probe across hundreds of light-years to begin the process of colonizing Earth unless NASA scientist Sarah Pooley and her team can stop them  (Available February 16, 2016). 

Scientists thought that Earth was safe from invasion. The distance between stars is so great that it seemed impossible for even the most advanced civilizations to send a large spaceship from one star system to another.

But now an alien species―from a planet hundreds of light-years from Earth―has found a way.

A small spherical probe lands in an empty corner of New York City. It soon drills into the ground underneath, drawing electricity from the power lines to jump-start its automated expansion and prepare for alien colonization.

When the government proves slow to react, NASA scientist Dr. Sarah Pooley realizes she must lead the effort to stop the probe before it becomes too powerful. Meanwhile, the first people who encounter the alien device are discovering just how insidious this interstellar intruder can be.


Ventura, California | June 20, 2016 | 12:09 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time

Sarah didn’t see the asteroid until it was too late. By the time she glimpsed it on her laptop’s screen, the rock was just an hour away from impact.

She wouldn’t have seen it at all if her neighbor’s dog hadn’t woken her. The stupid mutt had started barking at midnight for no reason. Unable to fall back to sleep, Sarah had turned on her MacBook and downloaded the latest images from the Sky Survey observatory. The telescope was five hundred miles away, in southern Arizona, but all the members of the Sky Survey team had twenty-four hour access to its observations. Although Sarah loved her work, this particular task—looking for slight changes in the pixilated images of the constellations—was tedious and tiring. After just ten minutes of squinting at her laptop she was usually ready to return to bed.

But not tonight. Instead, she stared in bewilderment at a sequence of images of the Scorpius constellation. In the first picture, captured by the telescope at 9:24 P.M. Pacific daylight time, a faint dot appeared next to Antares, the star at the center of the scorpion’s body. The next five images showed the dot drifting eastward and growing steadily brighter. In the last picture, taken just before midnight, the object glared like a spotlight above the scorpion’s tail.

[Read more of The Orion Plan here...]

Mar 12 2015 11:00am

A Glimpse of Hemingway: Visiting the Windemere Cottage

My fifteen-year-old son is reading Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories for his high-school English class. He started with “Indian Camp,” the story in which Nick and his father leave their summer cottage in the Michigan woods and row across Walloon Lake to help a Native American woman give birth. My son could easily picture their journey because he’s seen that lake and the summer home beside it. Through a lucky literary accident, our family has become friendly with Hemingway’s nephew, Ernie Mainland, who inherited the iconic Nick Adams cottage.

Ernie’s mother, Sunny, was Hemingway’s favorite sister. (He had three other sisters and a brother too.) She was the model for Littless, Nick Adams’s devoted younger sibling in the unfinished story “The Last Good Country.” The real-life Sunny married Kenneth Mainland in 1938, and when she had a son, she named him after her famous brother. Ernest Hemingway Mainland, though, didn’t become a writer; instead he remained in northern Michigan and went into the insurance business in the nearby town of Petoskey. I got to know him because Ernie and my father-in-law were both members of the Petoskey Rotary Club.

[Sometimes, you're just lucky...]