Wednesday, June 27, 2007


You can read Koshka, a new flash-fiction by Viktor Kuprin at It's another Kosmosflot universe story in which a star has unexpectedly become unstable, threatening an inhabited planet and forcing the Commonwealth of Independent Stars' military forces to evacuate all the world's inhabitants.

365 tomorrows is a collaborative project designed to present readers with a new piece of short speculative fiction each day. Utilizing the broad palette of science fiction, our vision of the future creates a diverse pool of stories with something for everyone to enjoy.

I hope you enjoy it. Any comments would be welcomed.

D'os Vadanya,

Captain Kosmos

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Day of Silence - Save Internet Radio

I had hoped today would not arrive, but it's here: The Day of Silence. Internet radio webcasters and some public radio stations across the United States have turned off their regular music programming in protest of the federal Copyright Royalty Board's unacceptable new per-song/per-user royalty fees.


The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger!

Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!). If the increased rates remain unchanged, the majority of webcasters will go bankrupt and silent on this date. Internet radio needs your help!

The Internet Radio Equality Act has recently been introduced in both the House and Senate to save the Internet radio industry. Please call your senators and your representative to ask them to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act

Two of my favorite webcasters, Delicious Agony Progressive Progressive Rock Radio and Prog Palace Radio are silent, and I'm sad for it. Please help save Internet radio. Visit Call your reps in Congress and let them know you don't want corporate greed to destroy the music. Spasiba!

Raketonosci – Missile Carriers

If your preferred Internet radio webcaster is offline today, you can listen and watch "Raketonosci", filled with some of Captain Kosmos' favorite jet aircraft: the USSR's Tupolev-16 Badger, Tu-22 Blinder, and Tu-22M Backfire bombers, set to a rousing Russian tune about the "Missile Carriers."

Until next time, D’os Vadanya.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Collagen Lips, Man Into Space, SF Conventions, and Two Universes

Rise of the Silver Surfer, No Galactus, and Very Big Lips

Privyet Kosmonati,

Captain Kosmos enjoyed a great Father's Day celebration with his 23-year-old daughter, Holly and 5-year-old son, Ronnie. We headed to the local cineplex to see The Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer. Yes, the film is an improvement over the first one, and the computer-generated special effects are above-average for this type of movie. The scene of confrontation between Victor Von Doom and the Silver Surfer is particularly impressive.

During the scene where Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) is speaking with Ben Grimm's blind girlfriend, Alicia (Kerry Washington), the two gals' collagen-pumped lips were, well, quite obvious, causing one wag in the audience to yell out "CATFISH!" Why such beautiful girls pay Hollywood plastic surgeons to inject their lips to the point of deformation, I don't understand. Do they really think that 3-centimeter-thick upper lips are attractive? I can only guess it's somewhat like the Michael Jackson syndrome.

As a kid I had read the original Silver Surfer introduction in Fantastic Four comics, issues 48 through 50, the "Galactus Trilogy," drawn by Jack Kirby, perhaps the greatest comic book artist of all time. Maybe it's because of my familiarity with the original story that I was so disappointed by the film's finale. The Silver Surfer's cosmic boss and one of Marvel's most charismatic bad guys, Galactus, is never shown! Instead we see a maelstrom of space rocks, dust, and a bit of flame that looks like a lousy outtake from Twister! Ben Grimm, The Thing character, gets short shrift in the story, too. I was hoping he'd at least get to land a punch or two on the Surfer, but it didn't happen. They say Hollywood never gets it right when they adapt classic comic characters to the silver screen, and, unfortunately, Rise of the Silver Surfer is no exception. It gets a Bad Borscht Award from Captain Kosmos for its let-down ending.

Disney's Man Into Space

Another treasured comic book that helped to steer Captain Kosmos to the stars was Dell's Man Into Space, adapted from the 1957 Walt Disney's Disneyland TV shows. Though I was too young to have seen the original programs, the comic book was one of my favorites, particularly the flight-around-the-moon segment featuring the RM-1 Lunar Recon Vehicle. Disney released a limited-edition of the Man Into Space programs in its Walt Disney Treasures - Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond DVD set. Watch it will you can, here is a embed of my second-favorite part of the series, Mars and Beyond. Alas, this was the future that I was hoping for!

SF Conventions:
ConGlomeration 2007 and Context 20

Captain Kosmos had a great time at the DucKon SF convention. Getting to meet great writers like Alan Dean Foster and Roland Green is a rare and memorable treat. I'll be guiding my Soyuz-TMA spacecraft to the upcoming ConGlomeration 2007 (August 10-12, Louisville, Kentucky) and Context 20 (September 28-30, Columbus, Ohio) conventions. ConGlomeration's Author Guest of Honors will be Ben Bova and Allen Steele; the Artist Guest of Honor will be Daniel Dos Santos. VIPs attending Context 20 will be authors Tim Powers, Mike Resnick, special guest Juanita Coulson and more. Though my first volume of Kosmosflot fiction probably won't be available by those dates, I may get to distribute some (free!) Kosmosflot-related materials at the cons. If you've never experienced a SF convention, they can be fun, informative, tiring, and even sometimes shocking, depending on where you wander. I used to be a regular at the Indianapolis InConjunction con some years ago, but stopped going because of the lewd, not-appropriate-for-families-with-kids behavior of some of the participants. I'm very pleased that the organizers of DucKon, ConGlomeration, and Context recognize the importance of making these events family friendly. After all, children are the future readers and fans of SF books and films. There should be a place for them at the conventions, too.

Writing and the Kosmosflot Universe

I have submitted two new Kosmosflot flash fictions to, and am halfway through a short story draft, entitled Caterwaul. The tale takes place on the homeworld of the Tsoor, one of my favorite jellyfish-like alien races who play some major roles in the Kosmosflot universe. What's a Tsoor to do when a small, uninvited visitor from Earth manages to scamper out of a starship's luggage compartment and into their planet's major aerospace port? Can a Tsoor even pronounce the name "Fluffy"? We shall see …

Alan Dean Foster's Founding of the Commonwealth Trilogy

Even though I should be dedicating all my spare time to writing, it is, after all, summertime, and even a cosmonaut like Captain Kosmos is allowed some R&R summer books to read. After being inspired by Alan Dean Foster at the DucKon SF convention, I obtained copies of his Founding of the Commonwealth trilogy, and am greatly enjoying them. Foster is a master writer, and I've become hooked on his Humanx Universe. Here's my summer reading list, in order:

Phylogenesis (1999), ISBN 0-345-41862-X
In the years after first contact, humans and the intelligent insect like Thranx agree to a tentative sharing of ideas and cultures despite the ingrained repulsion they have yet to overcome. Thus, a slow, lengthy process of limited contact begins. Yet they never plan for a chance meeting between a misfit artist and a petty thief. Desvendapur is a talented Thranx poet who is bored with his life and needs new inspiration for his work. Venturing beyond the familiar, Desvendapur runs into Cheelo Montoya, a small–time criminal with big dreams of making a fast buck. Together they will embark upon a journey that will forever change their beliefs, their futures, and their worlds …

Dirge (2000), ISBN 0-345-41864-6
In the second half of the twenty–fourth century, diplomatic relations proceed cautiously between thranx and humans. But the insectlike beings are nearly forgotten with the sudden discovery of an ideal planet to colonize—Argus V—and the startling appearance of a new race of space–faring aliens. People are dazzled by the beautiful, glamorous Pitar. Then tragedy strikes. The entire human population on Argus V is brutally slaughtered. Not a single clue remains to identify the unseen executioners. But from a tiny inner moon of Argus V comes a faint signal. On that insignificant chunk of rubble lies the key to the crime—setting in motion a cataclysmic chain of events with deadly consequences for thranx, pitar, and human alike. For their worlds will be changed forever by a colossal battle that is their future and their destiny …

Diuturnity's Dawn (2002), ISBN 0-345-41865-4
From the beginning, while sharing the Orion Arm of the galaxy, contact between humankind and the thranx has been tenuous at best. Yet nearly a century after first contact, the likelihood of closer human/thranx relations is as far away as ever. Humans still find these insectlike beings physically repulsive, a distaste the thranx return in kind. At times the cordial veneer barely conceals the suspicion and distrust boiling just below the surface. Yet idealists on both sides refuse to surrender their dreams of achieving a thranx/human alliance. Among the most dedicated are a minor diplomat named Fanielle Anjou and her thranx counterpart. Others intend to make sure such a liaison never comes to pass... by any means necessary.

For these xenophobes, the upcoming Humanx Inter-Cultural Fair, the first wholly cross-species event, is a hideous confirmation of their worst fears. Zealots on both sides vow it will be the last of its kind, no matter how many must die. In the coming conflagration Fanielle holds the key to triumph but only if she can outwit those desperate to silence her forever. Meanwhile, on a faraway planet, the duplicitous AAnn watch intently as archaeologists labor to discover what happened to an advanced human race that perished thousands of years ago. For the answers contain grave consequences for human, thranx, and AAnn alike...

Until next time, D’os Vadanya.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Captain Kosmos Calling Earth

DucKon 16's Guest of Honor: Alan Dean Foster

Privyet! The old Salyut space station's high-gain antenna is working again, and Captain Kosmos is back from hiatus. In fact, I touched down last weekend at the annual DucKon SF convention held in Naperville, Illinois. The guest of honor was Alan Dean Foster, creator of the Commonwealth Universe and author of many Hollywood movie novelizations including the recently released Transformers

( Alan participated in many of the DucKon Writer's Track panels, and it was a real treat to hear him speak about the craft of SF writing, his Hollywood experiences, as well as his many travel adventures around the globe. Alan's outstanding web site can be found at Be sure to visit it.

Roland J. Green, Master of Military SF

Also attending DucKon was one of the Captain's favorite authors of military SF, Chicago's own Roland J. Green, whose Starcruiser Shenandoah and Peacekeepers series are some of the best of the genre. His rich prose and amazing knowledge of military operations, hardware, organization and tactics is matchless. One of the DucKon panel presentations asked the question, "What makes a great book?" One definition offered was that a great book is one that makes you want to read it again and again, and I know that, for me, that is true when it comes to Roland's military SF.

Here are the covers of Roland Green's Starcruiser Shenandoah and Peacekeeper series, along with his most recent hardback book, Voyage to Eneh.

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Starcruiser Shenandoah

When the United Federation of Starworlds receives a call for aid from a world divided between the Federation and its most powerful competitor, Captain Rose Liddell readies the battle cruiser Shenandoah in an attempt to halt the breakout of interstellar war.

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Division of the Spoils

An unidentified force fuels a rebellion that could spark interstellar war.

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The Sum of Things

As rebellion flares, a war-torn world mobilizes to face the threat.

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Vain Command

On planet Victoria, intelligence agents and military officials fight to stop a crisis from becoming a war.

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The Painful Field

Someone was out to overturn the precarious balance of power between humans and aliens.

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Warriors for the Working Day

The final conflict between the human Federation and the alien Coordination was about to begin.

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Peace Company

Ever armed and always ready to stop or start a war! Introducing the toughest band of mercenaries the future has to offer.

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These Green Foreign Hills

Peace Force hits the jungle of planet Greenhouse ... to stop an interspecies bloodbath.

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The Mountain Walks

Peace Force takes on a planet that's war-torn, blood-soaked, and hell-bent for Armageddon.

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Voyage to Eneh

Ehoma Tuomitti is the feisty deck-watch chief of the Kertovan battleship Byubr, at war on the high seas of the island planet Kilmoyn. Tuomitti has her hands full fighting both fog and enemy ships as well as juggling an upstart lover -- and then Sean Lincoln Borland and his crew fall from the sky into the complex political upheaval on the Kilmoyn landscape. Kilmoyn has long been colonized by various other races and alien interests, but now the Native Kilmoyns are beginning to fight back, and the stranded humans are quickly pulled into the conflict. When Borlund rescues a Kilmoyn woman and her baby from certain death, he and his crew find themselves under fire. Desperate to repair their vessel and return to Earth, he has no choice but to accept the help of Tuomitti and her cohorts -- and the responsibility that comes with it. Voyage to Eneh is a marvel of military storytelling, its battle scenes are both wonders of science fiction and masterpieces of the art of modern warfare. It is a complex tale of a planet in turmoil, a story that speaks to humanity's history of colonization, genocide, and, ultimately, redemption.

At any SF convention, a guest author's schedule is hectic, but Roland took the time to speak to me and others at the con, and we even briefly discussed the Tupolev-160, Russia's big strategic bomber (which uses enhanced Tupolev-144 "Concordski" engines!). I urged Roland to take us back into space soon in his future writing projects, and I look forward to reading them. I hope it will be soon.

Todd Stone's Novelist's Boot Camp

Todd Stone was at DucKon, too, with his Novelist's Boot Camp presentation. Anyone interested in writing, in any genre, should read his Boot Camp book. No, I didn't have to do any pushups during Todd's basic training (thank heaven, after being in zero-gee for so long!), but after hearing his inspirational and informative briefing for writers, I look forward to my future writing missions. You can check out Todd's web site at:

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Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Some great news from Criterion Collection: scheduled for DVD release in 2007 is Robinson Crusoe on Mars, starring Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin, Mona the Wooly Monkey, and, briefly, Adam West. You can read an exceptional analysis of RCOM by Walter Rankin at

My dear grandfather took me to see this film when it was released in 1964, and even though “papaw” preferred John Ford westerns, he found RCOM very entertaining. It is a magical memory from my childhood. From the opening scenes of the Mars Gravity Probe ship flashing past the screen as it enters Mars orbit, until the finale at Mars' polar ice cap, this movie had my total attention. Paul Mantee gives a tour de force as Navy astronaut Christopher "Kit" Draper, the Robinson Crusoe of the film who is stranded alone on the Red Planet. The scenes where he confronts the psychological challenges of isolation on Mars are disturbing and totally believable. Unique, too, is the portrayal of Draper's personal faith, done in a way that is respectful, human, and appropriate in the context of the movie’s plot. Fans of RCOM have been waiting patiently for this DVD release for a very long time. If you enjoy space movies, be sure to see Robinson Crusoe on Mars! It is simply one of the best ever made.

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Atomic Age Cinema's Dark Carnival Film Festival

The Dark Carnival Film Festival of independent horror films is coming to Bloomington, Indiana, on August 24 and 25, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Part of the proceeds from the festival will help raise funds for Cinephile Film Arts, a non-profit arts group that supports local independent filmmaking. The festival is organized by a group of people "who have a long, notorious history of providing quality horror entertainment to the local (Bloomington, Indiana) community." Two of those "people" are the hosts of the Atomic Age Cinema's Saturday night horror shows at The Cinemat video rental and screening room, Baron Mardi and Doctor Calamari. At the stroke of midnight, out of the darkness they appear to present such horror classics as Deranged (1974, Ed Gein-inspired), The Horror of Party Beach, and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies! And, best of all, scheduled to attend this festival of horror is Indiana's legendary host of WTTV's Nightmare Theater, Sammy Terry! Yes, THE Sammy Terry! Tickets go on sale on August 1: Don't miss it!

D'os Vadanya,

Captain Kosmos