Find out how this airline pilot’s UFO sighting led to a bestselling novel. Did you know I modeled the movements of the strange ship in the first scene of my bestselling sci-fi novel, Ambush, after the flight profile of a UFO I saw above Fort Hood, Texas?
In this blog, I’ll lay out exactly what we saw and where. I’ll also tell you what it might have been and how that ties into my novel’s backstory.
You can now purchase signed, hardcover editions of my books in my online store. Currently, only Solitude is available. However, soon, I’ll offer signed editions of all my novels.
Many of you asked for it, and it’s finally here. Visit my online store to purchase signed hardcover copies of Solitude safely and securely. You can stipulate how and to whom it’s endorsed. I ship internationally and offer several shipping choices. The credit card transactions are processed by Square. They keep your information private and secure. Even I cannot access nor see your credit card data.
Hello, my copilots. Popping in to let you know that R.C. Bray remade the Sector 64 audiobooks for Ambush and Retribution, books one and two. Ambush is available here, and Retribution here. Next, we’ll release Amplitude, the third book in the Dimension Space series, in the first quarter of 2020.
That’s three R.C. Bray narrated audiobooks in as many months! Set aside a few Audible credits. I’ll post updates here and on my Facebook Page.
Free R. C. Bray Prequel Novella
(Tap The Image To Get Your Free Audiobook)
While you’re waiting, you can listen to Bob Bray’s excellent performance of First Contact, the audiobook for the Sector 64 prequel novella, for free. Get your copy here.
I’ll let you know as more details come available. Till then, cheers!
Dean M. Cole
PS: A quick note about why we remade the Sector 64 audiobooks. Ambush and Retribution were previously recorded by a different narrator, Mike Oretgo. He did a great job. However, R.C. Bray did the prequel, and he’ll be doing the future books in the series, so he is redoing books one and two so that the complete series will have one voice.
Solitude was one of only five science fiction audiobooks nominated for the 2017 title. The awards ceremony takes place November 5 at The Lincoln Center in New York, so it looks like Donna and I will be doing some traveling this fall.
For the backstory of my SECTOR 64 series, I put forth an alien first-contact scenario that my readers find very plausible, some even wondering aloud if this could be our current reality.
Let’s imagine that elsewhere in the galaxy a species elevated itself from the primordial soup a million years ahead of us. Making the most of that thousand-millennia head start, they master physics, achieve faster than light (FTL) travel, and populate thousands of star systems.
Always looking for burgeoning technological societies to bring into the galactic government, they populate the galaxy with a network of detectors designed to watch for certain markers thought to be key indicators, i.e.: unnaturally organized radio waves or light waves (laser beams) and unnatural fission reactions (nuclear detonations). Some, like radio waves, would probably just be annotated for future research. Others, like nuclear detonations, would require a more urgent investigation.
While they’ve mastered FTL travel and communications, their sensors are still limited to detecting occurrences at the speed of light. In other words, if a burgeoning society starts blasting radio waves or nuclear electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) across the cosmos, our curious aliens wouldn’t detect it until the wave traveled at the speed of light to the nearest sensor. Then it could use their FTL sub-space communication network to pass on the news.
To comprehend the logistics involved, we must have a full appreciation of the galaxy’s size. It’s a BIG galaxy. If our curious aliens only wanted to deploy ten million sensors, they would have to disperse them throughout the galaxy on a grid with one-hundred light-year spacing. The Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across and one thousand light-years thick. That means if you could travel across the entire width of the galaxy at the speed of light, the Earth would circle the Sun 100,000 times during your trek. (Note: these are external observations. The hypothetical FTL traveler would experience this time quite differently, but that’s a subject for a future blog.) Even if you could travel at an incredible 100,000 times the speed of light, an Earth year would pass in the time it took you to traverse the galaxy.
When it comes to jaunting about the Milky Way, your FTL travel would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the speed of light to be of any appreciable use. Scientist and sci-fi writers often employ wormholes due to their hypothetical ability to fold space. Joining two points of space-time, like folding a paper in half, brings two remote locations together, rendering interstellar travel as simple as stepping through a door.
Back to our first contact scenario. Because of the aforementioned galactic scale, our fictional aliens have quite a few (read: ten million) sensors spread throughout the Milky Way. One day, they receive a signal indicating that a nuclear device detonated on a planet in the remote portion of the galaxy identified as SECTOR 64. They discover the signal originated from a medium-sized rocky planet in a solar system only two light-years from the sensor. (That would be very fortuitous, remember our one-hundred light-year spacing.)
So our curious aliens fold space-time and dispatch a scout ship to SECTOR 64. Arriving only a few days after their sensor detected the first nuclear blast, they get to the planet the locals (humans) call Earth in a year the humans have designated as one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven or 1947. Because of the sensor’s two light-year distance from the planet, two Earth years have passed since their original nuclear detonations in 1945.
Our curious alien scouts travel to the only place on the planet where they detect nuclear weapons. It happens to be relatively close to where the first nuclear detonation occurred. The humans call the region New Mexico.
In 1947 only one nuclear-armed bomber squadron existed, the 509th Bomber Group based at an Army Air Corp Base known as Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF).
Yep, you guessed it. That’s near an infamous small town named Roswell, New Mexico.
In a tragic accident, the scout ship is knocked down by a surprisingly powerful thunderstorm.
After a series of nearly calamitous events, the aliens do make first-contact with world leaders of the day.
How We’d Integrate Into a Hypothetical Galactic Government.
In Part I, I laid out the plausible alien first contact scenario that forms the backstory of my novel, SECTOR 64: Ambush. As promised at the end of that post, I’m back to postulate how things would pan out post-contact.
In a Popular Science article, SETI director Seth Shostak said he believes we’ll detect alien life in the next twenty years. He listed a few ways in which this may come about. Primarily, he believes that SETI’s improving technology and its anticipated ability to search a million star systems over the next twenty years provides the most likely avenue for success.
He also touched on the idea that an alien race might detect the radio signals we’ve been emitting for decades and send a reply. Minimizing the possibility, he pointed out that only a few tens of thousands of stars have been exposed to our transmissions.
If one employs conservative/pessimistic numbers in the Drake Equation, then life is probably too rare and scattered to expect a reply anytime in the next several thousand years. However, if you plug slightly more optimistic values into the equation, you see a galaxy teaming with life.
This later scenario presents exciting possibilities and is an area that warrants further consideration.
Given the relatively slow speed of light (relative to the size of the galaxy) only a tiny fraction of the Milky Way may know we exist. Arguably the most powerful unnatural radio signals humanity ever sent out were our above ground nuclear detonations. Restricted to 186,000 miles per second, that energy has blazed across the galaxy and covered a whopping 66 light-year radius in the intervening 66 years. That’s a bubble of information roughly 122 light-years across.
Not really, it’s only 3/100,000 of 1 % (0.000003%) of the galaxy.
Difficult to visualize? Imagine you shrunk the galaxy down to the volume of the Superdome. Now imagine you’re up in the nosebleed section. At that scale, picture a four-foot-wide beach ball at mid-field. That sphere, a few centimeters over a meter, would represent the 122 light-year bubble of stars exposed to the energy waves emitted from the planet in 1945. It’s unlikely anything outside of that beach ball even knows we exist.
Our galaxy is not as boxy as a stadium. The Superdome’s interior volume is roughly as tall as it is wide. At 100,000 light-years across and only 1,000 light-years thick, the width-to-height ratio of our galaxy is 100:1 Now picture that four-foot sphere from a mile away instead of the upper-deck. And remember that if you’re not in that bubble, all you hear from its center point is cosmic white noise.
Knowing how small the portion of the galaxy is that may know of our existence, consider this: every day that sphere’s radius grows, its surface grows exponentially. In other words, the potential pool of star systems learning of our existence is growing daily, and at an ever-increasing rate.
Complicating the issue is the time a reply would take to reach us. If a civilization decides to beam an instant reply, it will take just as long for us to receive it as our signal took to get to them.
What if 33 years ago—back when that bubble was the size of a basketball—a relatively advanced civilization in our galactic backyard received the signal and blasted a return message our way? We’ll receive it thirty-three years later (today). Therefore, any instant replies beamed in the last 32+ years are still en route.
And that is only if they decide to reply immediately. Considering the signal they received was a nuclear detonation, they may want to listen for a while. After a few decades of I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, Cheers, Seinfeld, and Lost, they decide, ‘what-the-hell let’s say hello to our wacky neighbors.’
Side note: I often muse over the idea that somewhere there’s an alien race agonizing over who shot JR as they painfully wait for the next season of Dallas to reach their planet. Who knows, there may even be a cultural niche of Elvis Presley fans on some remote rock (there’s some bad news heading their way circa 1976).
People and politicians often ask, ‘Why should we spend money listening for aliens? It’s not like they’ll balance the federal budget for us.’ That’s tantamount to a five-year-old saying, ‘Why should I go to school? There’s nothing they can teach me.’ Setting aside man’s innate curiosity and our desire to answer the burning questions—Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?—there are more practical reasons to search.
In regards to social and scientific development, we are assuredly babes in the galactic woods. Any data gathered from alien contact would probably be more enlightening than Pythagoras’ Theorem. Spanning decades, it would be an inefficient discussion, but likely, we would be the prime beneficiary of that interaction. Thus, a tiny-tiny-tiny-minuscule investment (relative to GDP) lands us invaluable knowledge.
In Carl Sagan’s Contact, aliens send us blueprints for a wormhole generator. But saving that, what if they merely said, ‘Hello, here’s the perfect mouse trap’ or ‘free energy and the cure to world hunger’?