Black Petals Issue #83 Spring, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Door #2-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Inmate's Asylum-Fiction by Mark Joseph Kevlock
Nature Verses Nurture-Fiction by Donna J. W. Munro
Strange Music Follows Her Everywhere-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Surviving Montezuma, Conclusion-Serialized Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Corpse Grinder-Poem by Alexis Child
El Cuero-Four Poems by Richard Stevenson




By A.M. Stickel, Editor





My original editorial intent for BP #83 was to review Astronaut Scott Kelly’s out-of-this-world book, ENDURANCE (A YEAR IN SPACE. A LIFETIME OF DISCOVERY). His is one of those weighty tomes one thinks they’ll never get through, complete with pictures, both black- and-white and color, as well as an extensive index. At nearly 400 pages, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I hit the “pause” on the woes of aging long enough to read Kelly’s autobiography, almost without pause. But how could I possibly do justice to something so awesome?

National Public Radio (NPR) featured an interview of this author, which led me to request a gift copy in hard cover from Someone Special, who also read it. While female characters (like Kelly’s two daughters) are not neglected in ENDURANCE, it’s most definitely a “guy” thing. Originally, the main draw for me was the study of Kelly and his identical twin, and how space travel created at least temporary differences between the two. And, like many others, I was too interested in essential life support elements involving hygiene in a weightless environment.

In my early twenties, back when Star Trek was popular, I dreamed of being in the Space Program…or at least striving for World Peace. After being rejected for the Peace Corps, I aced a basic entrance exam offered to college graduates (even females) at the time by the Air Force. They decided my aptitude (then) was for cryptography (oh, yuck!). I decided to see Earth from the ground before making a final decision, and left for 99 days in Europe. Besides, I loathed taking orders (which also nixed any plans for joining a convent). I ended up going into a civilian field of medicine requiring licensure after a “boot camp” of an internship in a teaching hospital.

Now, with the hindsight of Old Age, comes the acceptance of past decisions, and a lot less envy for hotshot daredevils who do remarkable deeds. In the end it comes down to the Human Factor. The most impressive part of Scott Kelly’s many missions, to me, was not technical achievements, but friendly interactions with other astronauts, especially the Russians. So I feel just fine about taking out my LIVES OF THE SAINTS every day to learn from the ones who may never have gone to the stars, but will shine like stars forever.

Happy reading this spring, you heroes and heroines! Dream big. Wage peace.

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