Friday, November 6, 2015

Free through the end of November: of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems

All eBook versions of my first book of poems, Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems, is available 
for free download for all major eBook readers only until the end of November from Smashwords. It will also be available for free download within a day or two from iBooks and Barnes and Noble.
The direct link to the book's Smashwords  page is I hope you enjoy it.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Free Mindscapes audiobook download with free trial membership from Audible

Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories | [Victor D. Lopez] The audio book version of my Mindscapes short story collection is available for free download ($14.95 regular price) with a free, no obligation one-month subscription to Audible. You can view the details at the book's page on Audible here. The book is also available in paperback and all major eBook file versions through a variety of vendors, including Amazon (Audio, Kindle and paperback versions), CreateSpace (paperback), Barnes and Noble (Nook version), iBooks/iTunes  (iBook and Audio versions), Smashwords (all major eBook formats) and many other retailers. 

Links to this month's free short story download are also available through all of the above retailers except Amazon. If science fiction, speculative fiction and contemporary fiction do not interest you, please consider forwarding this to any friends who might find it of interest. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September free short story download

September free download:

Two Speculative Fiction Short Stories: Justice and The Riddle of the Sphinx: Solved available from iTunes,   Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Just click on the links and scroll until you find the title.If you're not interested in fiction, please consider forwarding this on to anyone who may be interested in contemporary fiction, science fiction or speculative fiction. Thank you!

Description (from B&N page):


This publication is a compilation of two science fiction/speculative fiction short stories. It is reprinted from Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories (C) 2014 by Victor D. López.
In the first short story, "Justice", a man is being tried for the last remaining capital offense in a kinder, gentler, truly unified world in the not too distant future. In the second, "Riddle of the Sphinx: Solved" the secrets of the Sphinx are finally revealed to a curious world in prime time by the world's most famous Egyptologist in a live event reminiscent of the disastrous, much hyped opening of Al Capone's vault by Geraldo Rivera in prime time some years back. No empty bottle will be found in the chamber beneath the right paw of the Sphinx. No, not this time. Alas.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Of pain and Ecstacy -- Collected Poems - Sample reading by the author of...

Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories

Free Short Story Download through August 31

There is a common thread in many of my short stories and even in my poetry about the nature of reality and the relationship between sleep and wakefulness and the conscious and subconscious mind. As is the case with a number of my short stories, this was inspired by a dream. It delves into one possible explanation for what lurks in the dark recesses of our mind for which science has yet to discover a clear use.

This short story (2,792 words) is reprinted from Book of Dreams: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories, (C) Victor D. Lopez 2011, Book of Dreams Second Edition: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories (C) Victor D. Lopez 2012, and Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories (C) 2014 by Victor D. López.

Through the end of August 2015, you can download this short story free of charge here: The short story will also be available for free download later this month at Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords and other leading retailers. I hope you enjoy it. (Note: for retailers other than Smashwords, it may take a day or so for the story to be listed as free.)

Also from Smashwords and other leading retailers:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Free book of poems available through July 31, 2015

Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems is a collection of some of my poetry from my late teens through middle age. It is an eclectic mix of sonnets, free verse and blank verse that like much of my fiction deals with the duality of human nature and the transcendent, transformative power of love that can help the heart soar to the heavens and dash our dreams onto the rocks. Hope and despair, joy and sorrow, dreams and reality, and the innocence of youth rent out of us in our  painful, bloody second rebirth into adulthood are rendered in the too few pages of an unremarkable life laid open.

You can download the book from Smashwords by clicking on its cover above or on the link in this sentence. The book will also be available for free download from iBooks and Barnes and Noble in a day or two, but only for the next two weeks.

If you’d like to hear my reading selections from the book, you can click on the following link (Youtube) and scroll down for some sample unedited readings. For a newer reading of six sonnets from the book, you can also click here. The latter is a VoiceThread presentation. If prompted, click the "I do not have an account" option that will open the presentation (no need to register). You can advance each poem (back and forth) by clicking the arrows at the lower right hand of the screen. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Women Rule!

A society that all too often looks for heroes in all the wrong places would do well to look to the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team for inspiration. Their awesome victory last night is but the icing on the cake for these largely unsung heroes who have much to teach us all about "the right stuff."

I've been a fan of football all my life (Sorry folks, that's the sport's true name everywhere but here where a reworked version of rugby bears the name--call that hybrid sport "pigskin toss" for all I care--Football is THE world sport, and the name is taken.) I follow the World Cup with glee every four years--and the buildup to it, of course, rooting for the U.S., Spain (where all of my family hails from) and Argentina (the country of my birth). My wife and I (she is more fanatical than I in rooting for the U.S. (her country of birth), Spain (where all of her family hails from as well) and even Argentina (for my sake). We also always watch the Women's Football World Cup, rooting as always firsts for the U.S. and then for Spain and Argentina. (likewise in the Olympics) For me, women's Football is a purer form of the sport; it is understated, full of quiet confidence and selfless sportsmanship, focused on a team much more than on the highly paid athletes and "win at all cost" foul-riddled male version of the sport by extraordinary underpaid and generally undervalued athletes who for the most part play the game for the love of the sport and not for personal glory and personal gain.

In nearly 50 years of watching football, I never felt more inspired, awed or proud of a team than I did last night. My heart soared and sank in sympathy for other great teams during the tournament--England, France, Germany and the fledgling national team of Spain that with little support and even less fanfare qualified for the first time in history. It was a grand spectacle--as it is always. But yesterday's finish brought tears to my eyes for the exceptional skill, sportsmanship and magic on the field. It was the highest rated TV sports event of all time--stick that in your pipe and smoke it aficionados of that other misnamed game. Keep the Superbowl with its deflationgate nonsense, ridiculously overpaid players and idiot sponsors paying millions to tout beer and sodapop. Give me the Supergirls instead--no capes, no tights and no fear of Kryptonite for these women, heroes all and finally not unsung ones. Well done. Well done indeed!

See article from The Guardian

Saturday, June 13, 2015

On conservatism, liberalism, religion and gay marrige

There are too many conservatives who would impose their religious views on others. There are also too many atheists for whom religion is an affront and who with a straight face make patently idiotic statements like "Lets take Christ out of Christmas" and, if they could do it, would eradicate the "blight" of religion from the face of the earth, and all religious symbols along with it. That said, these are outliers, not the norm, and one has as much right to decry the right for having "too many" of one as the left for having "too many" of the other. They are at heart the same intolerant beings.

Religion is not the bright dividing line between conservatives and liberals, though. The onion needs to be peeled back a few more layers to get to the core differences between the two. The propaganda from the left firmly believed by all Kool-aid  drinkers and sold daily by the media with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer is that conservatives are selfish, Bible-thumping, gun toting brutes who care only for themselves. The truth is that there are selfish cons and selfish libs and hypocrites aplenty on both sides of the aisle.

Although most of my friends and professional acquaintances are middle class, I've had many, many friends over the years from working class and poor families through truly wealthy individuals both of the newly minted and old moneyed varieties.  I've known vipers and scoundrels and saintly individuals in more or less equal proportion in all of these classes (and among cons and libs as well). The only real difference is that the professional and wealthy folks boast better educations, better manners, better grooming and a better ability to hide their nefarious natures than do the poor and lower middle class folks. I've found that to be true also in more or less equal measure on three continents in my limited travels abroad. Money, privilege and empowerment do not eradicate the innate flaws in some human beings, nor do privation, prejudice and hardship destroy the better nature in human beings whose proclivity is for good. Good and evil do exist in most all human beings, but we are by no means equal at birth in our potential to gravitate to one or the other any more than we are equal in our potential to be great athletes, great thinkers or great scoundrels. Conservatives know this not because religion tells them human beings are flawed by nature, rather because the evidence is overwhelming and all around them. Nature plants the seeds at conception of our potential and nurture determines how well that potential develops. If you plant an acorn you will only get an oak. It may be a great oak or a small one; it may thrive or it may wither and die depending on its environment. But it will never become a redwood, or a fir or a maple. All thinking conservatives strive to make every single human being able to reach its full potential given its innate capabilities and proclivities. We owe that to every person. Every thinking liberal strives to make every human being anything it wants to be at any cost because they reject out of hand with little more than the justifications provided by Marxist ideology that we are all equal and it is society, our nurturing, that determines whether we succeed or fail.

Only racists believe that there are innate qualitative differences among the races. There is no credible scientific evidence to which anyone can point that would give that belief any credence. The under-performance of groups is the direct result of nurture, not nature. Poverty, broken homes, cultural preferences, and government efforts at social engineering that condemn the poor to multi-generational dependence on government handouts and provide greater assistance to one parent families (effectively punishing the poor who live in two-parent households) are the root causes of under-performance in poor minority communities.  Conservatives see that as clearly as the sun at midday in the desert. Liberals look at the problem and see only the need for more government programs to get people out of poverty that further reinforce the problem  and create unsafe neighborhoods and generations of tragically and needlessly wasted lives.

Liberals believe that if we take families from broken homes with troubled children and transplant them from a dangerous, impoverished  neighborhood in the inner city to a stable, safe, clean, stable middle class or upper middle class neighborhood in the suburbs, provide them with more generous assistance and the children with access to great schools the problem of poverty would be solved. Conservatives know that doing so would almost certainly lead to the deterioration of the new neighborhood over time if there is no change in the values and behavior of the underprivileged families involved.

Both conservatives and liberals want a stable economy, safe streets, reasonable wages and fair treatment of their follow citizens. The disagreement is not on the address of the promised land, but rather on the directions for getting there. Conservatives believe that there is such a thing as right and wrong and good and evil, that people must be held accountable for their actions, that civil and criminal laws must be enforced and order maintained in order to prevent society from spiraling into chaos. They believe it is the primary function of government to protect the people from foreign and domestic threats and to establish and enforce laws that foster the stability of society and allow people to prosper through their hard work--and by making the right choices in life. Liberals do not share the belief that there is such a thing as right and wrong, and reject the idea that anyone is inherently evil or bad. They believe that all people are intrinsically the same--that we are all born with an equal potential for greatness, and an equal potentiality for good or evil depending on nurture rather than nature. It follows, then, that society is responsible for creating criminals and poverty, and lack of education, and prejudice are the root cause of all social ills. Liberals, especially humanists who reject religion, reject the existence of any absolute ethical imperatives, embracing teleology/relativistic ethics. They believe that good and evil as abstractions are meaningless, and that we can only judge the ethical value of an act by looking into the underlying circumstances and motivation of the actor. Stealing a loaf of bread to a conservative has always been and will always be both a crime (petty theft) and immoral (and a sin for those who derive their ethics from a Judeo-Christian [or Islamic] perspective). A "real" liberal will never judge the act of stealing bread as a sin, immoral or even a crime without knowing why the bread was stolen. For them, you can never judge a person unless you've walked many miles in their shoes. So stealing bread to give to a starving child if you cannot afford to buy it is no sin but a laudable act, and good luck on getting a jury of liberals to convict anyone for the "crime" regardless of how clear the law is or the evidence of the theft. thus liberals have little trouble ignoring laws they do not like--even liberal Presidents who knowingly misuse their executive power because they believe that the ends justify the means.

Conservatives believe that if you are a failure in life, the chances are very high that is is YOUR FAULT. Liberals believe that if you are a failure in life it is SOCIETY's FAULT. Conservatives define fairness as equality of opportunity. Liberals define it as equality of results. Conservatives are prone to applaud anyone who succeeds in life through their industry and honestly comes by wealth. Liberals are prone to look at anyone who has obtained success as having done so at the expense of the less fortunate in society [unless the person is a liberal, of course]. Conservatives genuinely believe that taxing everyone as little as possible and allowing people to invest their wealth creates jobs and greater opportunity for everyone, creating a tide that raises all boats. Liberals believe that everyone, but especially the "wealthy", must be forced to share their wealth through confiscatory tax policies, and they also believe that government can be better trusted to "invest" the money it confiscates by way of an endless stream of taxes to create jobs and stimulate the economy than private business and individuals can. Conservatives generally believe that government is best which governs least while  liberals believe that government is best which governs most. Conservatives are individualists. Liberals are collectivists.

Defining the labels we casually throw around helps. But more importantly, what gets lost in all of this is that there are really very few "true" conservatives or "true" liberals out there. Most of us--myself included--are somewhere in the middle. We are reasonable, flexible, and pragmatic. We compromise. Unfortunately, the "true believers" who are all-in to the inflexible dictates of their world view do not. They don't want an honest discussion that makes them have to explain why they believe what they believe, or why the people who believe differently from them are wrong. It is far easier and effective to marginalize people with an opposing view by misrepresenting them as extremists, heartless, and selfish than it is to explain one's position or engage them in a debate in which they are actually allowed to articulate their point of view.

What does all of this have to do with gay marriage? A lot actually. Marriage has always been defined as one man and one woman. It is not for me to defend why this needs to remain so, but rather for those who would change it to make a compelling argument for changing some 6,000 years of history and legal precedent, religious issues aside. Not incidentally, states have always been the final arbiter of defining marriage--who can and can't marry based on age, familial relationship, etc. The federal government has not traditional been involved in the issue and nothing in the Constitution requires it to become involved now, as President Obama well knew when he opposed gay marriage before changing his mind and supporting it during the last election cycle. The silent battle being waged is about much more than legal rights for gays and lesbians which I for one most certainly support. It is about undermining traditional values and taking society further down the slippery slope of ethical relativism where anything goes and everyone had damned well better accept it. Civil unions provide all the protections to gay and lesbian couples that marriage provides, except for the name. There ends any reasonable "need" to change 6,000 years of legal precedent.

On conservatism, liberalism, ethical relativism and the lessons from Woodstock

Ethical relativism has run amock. There are few standards left and those are under attack by those who reject order and question everything either intentionally (e.g., anarchists) or unintentionally (well meaning people who are reticent to judge the actions of others, especially if they are outside the mainstream). Children show little respect for parents--or anyone else. Self-expression, however meaningless, is encouraged rather than self-edification in the democratization of ideas where everyone is entitled to believe and do anything they like and every person's ideas and values are exactly as valid as that of anyone else. The new societal paradigm holds that right and wrong are outdated concepts foisted on the masses by false religions whose sole purpose is to keep people down and prevent them from self-actualization. If any religion has flaws (all do) such as the undervaluing of women, then the baby must be thrown out with the bathwater rather than the text reinterpreted in view of a more enlightened culture.  Standards= REPRESSION. Rules=OPPRESSION. Judgment=PREJUDICE.

I recently visited the original site of the Woodstock concert of 1969 with my wife (see the museum's official page here: A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VENUE!). There is a lovely museum there and the surrounding area in New York's Catskill Mountains is truly beautiful. I've said it before that I am a lousy conservative because I hate conformity for conformity's sake and value rebels (but ONLY rebels WITH A CLUE). The organizers of the original concert had to move it at the last minute only weeks before it took place because people in the original New York community venue rebelled at the idea of hippies invading their small town with unbridled sex, drugs and rock and roll. Bethel Woods hosted the event at the last minute in a staunchly conservative, sleepy, small, country farming hamlet in the Catskills. The owner of the farm, a conservative, took a great deal of heat from the locals for allowing the hoards of hippies and their sympathizers  the venue. He did not agree with the anti war, anti establishment leanings of the movement that saw the zenith of its momentum at the three-day concert, but stated publicly that he believed the hippies had a right to express their views and deserved a venue for doing so. When some more than 200,000 people showed up on the first day of the concert and thousands of others kept right on coming, the local roads were overwhelmed. The local CONSERVATIVE townspeople saw a real humanitarian crisis for the young attendees who coalesced there with little or no money and with whom they shared little by way of values or lifestyles. But they did not reach for their Bibles to lecture the misguided hoards about the perils of free love and drug abuse, or reach for their guns to protect their homes. Instead, when one of the greatest traffic jams in New York history ensued, local residents flooded their local markets and bought thousands upon thousands of loaves of bread and non-perishable supplies, made sandwiches carried water and provided  food and drink to the hungry hordes of flower children and music lovers from all over the country that found themselves without food or shelter on their way to making history, going among the hoards of people to distribute food and drink as they were stuck in traffic with nowhere to go for endless hours. These mostly working class farmers that today are labeled as "selfish, haters, bigoted, Bible-thumping, gun toting REPUBLICANS" gave out tens of thousands of sandwiches, sodas, fruit and other essential nourishment and REFUSED TO TAKE PAYMENT WHEN IT WAS OFFERED. There was no price gouging and no profiteering from those with whom they fundamentally disagreed and likely disliked and distrusted, rather compassion and a helping hand in a truly CHRISTIAN, REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE fashion. And though the concert was remarkably peaceful and free of significant violence despite the hundreds of thousands of attendees, lousy weather and lack of sufficient sanitary facilities, it was the make love not war, love-bead garnished attendees that ransacked the too few food concessions, "liberated" the food and burned down some 20 food stands.

These are facts, my friends. Think carefully on them. And think carefully of where we've come as a society since then--how much has changed and how much has not. Good luck on finding out about the incredible generosity of the conservative locals or the open-mindedness of the conservative owner of the farm unless you visit the museum or talk to a local historian. Some 50 years later, I don't know whether the conservative locals would do it again. One can only turn the other cheek a limited number of times before sighing deeply, blocking the blows and punching back.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The two shortest stories in my Mindscapes short story collection are available free of charge through the end of June. Click on the book cover below to download “The Riddle of the Sphinx: Solved” and “Justice” from Smashwords. These will also be available for free download for the month from iBooks and Barnes & Noble.

Please check out my other current titles from Smashwords and other leading retailers. You can also find previews of my two current business law and legal environment of business textbooks at my publisher’s site: Textbook Media Publishing. These are among the most affordable, student-centered textbooks available. If you are a colleague who teaches business law or related legal studies courses, please request a review copy from my publisher of either Business Law: an Introduction 2e orThe Legal Environment of Business 2e.
Other Books currently available:
Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories | Victor D. Lopez
(Note: Mindscapes is available free of charge with a new Audible free trial membership.)
Available in Paperback and eBook Editions:
Available in various eBook editions from Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, barnes & Noble and other leading retailers:

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Memorial Day Message

Once again, Memorial Day approaches. My wife and I spent Saturday enjoying the pleasure of her brother and dad’s company—both veterans we are so very grateful returned home from too many battlefields from Korea and from the much more recent past. Too many of their brothers and sisters in arms did not, their legacy a marker and a flag at home and in distant shores–and our freedom, paid for in full by their priceless sacrifice. Think of them these brave men and women too many of whom left this life before fully crossing the threshold of adulthood on Memorial Day. Think of them when you see Old Glory fluttering in the winds of freedom. Think of them when you see a flag signifying their service and their sacrifice on their graves in every cemetery. Think of them when you hear the liquid cascades of children’s care-free laughter. Think of them when you thank God for your blessings. Never forget them or their families who forever feel the tangible pain of their absence. May God bless our fallen warriors and may He look after their families. And may God bless all of our men and women in uniform, active duty and retired, who have served and serve with honor.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Short Story Preview: End of Days

End of Days

Victor D. López

Copyright Victor D. López 2014
Published at Smashwords

Victor D. López is a tenured Associate Professor of Legal Studies in Business at Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law and a B.A. from Queens College, C.U.N.Y. (English Honors Program – Writing) and is a member of the New York State Bar, New York State Bar Association, the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB) and the North East Academy of Legal Studies in Business (NEALSB). He has been an academic for more than 25 years and, prior to joining the Hofstra University faculty, he served as a tenured Professor of Business, as Dean of Business and Business Information Technologies, and as Academic Dean in urban, suburban and rural public and private academic institutions.

Professor López is the author of several textbooks and trade books and has written poetry and fiction throughout most of his life, some of which has been published in anthologies and literary magazines.

Book of Dreams 2ndEdition: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories (Printed through CreateSpace and Kindle Direct, 2012)

OfPain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems (Printed through Kindle Book Publishing and CreateSpace, Summer 2011)

IntellectualProperty Law: A Practical Guide to Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks and TradeSecrets (Printed through Kindle Book Publishing and CreateSpace, Summer 2011)

Business Law: An Introduction 2e, Textbook Media, 2011. (text, test bank, and instructor’s manual) Available at

Business Law and the Legal Environment of Business 2e, Textbook Media 2010. (text, test bank, and instructor’s manual) Available at

Free and Low Cost Software for the PC, McFarland & Company 2000. [out of print]

Legal Environment of Business, Prentice Hall 1997. (text, test bank and instructor’s resource manual) [out of print]

Business Law: An Introduction, Richard D. Irwin/Mirror Press 1993. (text, test bank and instructor’s resource manual) [out of print]

End of Days

God spoke to me last night. No, I am not schizophrenic or a Jesus freak. Nor am I a conspiracy theorist (well, except for JFK’s assassination, of course--unless the principles of quantum mechanics somehow apply to bullets fired from book depositories with inhuman rapidity to perform a dance macabre through the bodies of governors before striking their intended target), but I know precisely the series of events that will result in the end of the world and will eventually give birth to a new universe. It came to me in a dream. No, really, it did.
It all started pretty much like a bad Hollywood disaster flick (sorry, I know that’s redundant) with well funded mad scientists doing what comes natural in fiction as well as in fact. “Build us a big Hadron Supercollider, and we’ll find the elusive Higgs boson God particle. Maybe we’ll even come up with a unified theory that incorporates the pesky behavior of subatomic particles and allows us to demystify quantum mechanics once and for all.” It turns out, not surprising to anyone, other than scientists of course, that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that allowing children to play unsupervised in a chemistry lab or with a super-duper, neat-o particle accelerator is not such a good thing after all. Who’d have thunk it?
The first hint that something was just a bit off-kilter came in the form of assurances by project scientists delivered with the smug expressions and thinly veiled contempt with which they usually approach any communication with the unwashed masses, that yes, miniature black holes could probably be created by subatomic particles accelerated at nearly light speed through a 17-mile circular particle accelerator and forced to collide in a massive release of energy, but such black holes would quickly dissipate. “No,” they smiled complacently, “there is absolutely no danger in these experiments.”
The second hint of a problem (and by hint I mean claxons going off, red lights flashing, and Robby the Robot’s accordion arms waving wildly while proclaiming “danger, Will Robinson!”) came when the Hadron Supercollider suffered some unspecified problems that caused it to be shut down for months on end after its first full-scale test. When the 17-mile supercollider was once again brought back on line, headlines proclaimed the countdown would begin again for the end of the world. Smile, snicker, hah-hah. What was not reported was the actual reason for the shutdown, since no one, including the geniuses running the experiments, knew the real cause: a miniature black hole that did not quickly dissipate in the lab as expected and caused a nearly catastrophic shutdown as it drilled an invisible hole a few molecules wide, eagerly sucking up anything that crossed its tiny event horizon, as it accelerated slowly but inexorably downward, worming its way through the containment chamber, rapidly vacuuming vital bits of the temperamental equipment on its way to the center of the earth.
Not to worry, though, it is still relatively small despite its voracious, unquenchable appetite, though it is exponentially increasing its mass as it swings like a pendulum through the earth’s core and beyond it in decreasing arcs that will eventually settle it at the earth’s core. It will be many months and perhaps years before we begin to feel the cataclysmic seismic effects of its inexorable violation of the earth’s core, and longer still before the entire planet and every living thing in it is sucked into its vortex, followed thereafter by the moon, and then the outer planets as the growing black hole continues its feeding frenzy, eventually consuming the entire solar system and Sol itself.
But that would be many years, perhaps millennia, in the future given the diminutive size of the black hole at present. And scientists still believe that the equipment failure was unrelated to its actual cause since the unreported black hole the initial full-scale test produced dissipated soon after its formation according to their classified reports. Therefore, the supercollider was repaired, and billions or Euros later, the scientists have their plaything once more and science is free to continue its happy march towards oblivion. If it ended here, we’d have little to worry about in the short term, other than perhaps ever-increasing seismic activity. Even the hungriest little black hole needs a great deal of time to ingest a planet from the inside out, and if later laboratory-created black holes don’t ingest other vital pieces of sensitive equipment on their way to joining their older brother down the rabbit hole in their inexorable journey to swallow our blue planet, we’d probably kill off our species through war, pestilence, famine or other forms of humanity’s endless capacity for galloping stupidity long before daddy’s and mommy’s little darlings consumed the world.
If my prescient dream had ended there, I’d shake it off with a smile and go about my day without another thought, compartmentalizing the certain knowledge of future doom in the nether regions of my mind, right next to the knowledge of the unsustainability of our ballooning federal and state deficits and the possibility of an asteroid hit that would once again eradicate most plant and animal life on this planet.
Unfortunately, scientists are not the only ones who like to play God. They are just more tragic and contemptible in their efforts at doing so because they should know better. They are like amoebas attempting to extrapolate the secrets of the universe by examining in minutest detail the drop of fetid swamp water atop a floating leaf that they inhabit. In a very real sense, scientists are among the smartest amoebas, all hail their boundless wisdom! But others like to play in the hedonistic God sandbox, too. And here is where my prescient dream grows infinitely darker.
It so happens that terrorists pay attention to science. Science, after all, brought us TNT, the A-bomb, the H-bomb, weaponized anthrax and lots of other cool goodies that are wonderful additions to the terrorists’ toolkits. As it happens, one particularly well funded, well connected group in the Middle East thinks it a grand idea to blow Israel off the face of the earth before that even better funded, and better connected state has the chance to do the same to them or to their proxy states. They have acquired a gaggle of disaffected, under-employed Russian physicists and funded them generously to come up with “outside-the-box” ideas for a doomsday device on the cheap. They did not have 17-mile supercolliders to play with, and Jihadist physicists are a rare breed. But not to worry, they had something better: money, lots of it, and the ability to entice scientists who view themselves above pedantic, bourgeois notions of ethics and for whom science is the only religion.
Undaunted by any notions of right and wrong and guided by the simple principle that “if it can be done, it must be done,” these brilliant men and women soon developed a working experiment that presented an elegant solution that their benefactors immediately approved.
Their plan was exquisitely simple and required very little by way of resources beyond two suitcase nukes that could be easily obtained either from Russia (cheap, old-world loose nukes listed simply as “missing” from the former Soviet inventory), or spanking new, state-of-the-art but untried ones from the secret Pakistani stash. They opted for the Russian suitcase nukes, in part because they did not want a trusted ally compromised in the event that their experiment failed to attain the desired end. 
[ ***** END OF PREVIEW ***** ]
Author's Web Page: http://www.victordlopez.com

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Smashwords Interview - Question #13: What are you working on next?

I'm winding down a sabbatical leave as I write this. This semester I completed research on usury laws in all 50 states and how these are in effect undermined by federal law. The research was started last summer and completed in late January, with a paper completed in early April and presented at the NEALSB annual conference in late April. It is now out for a first round of reviews in selected first-tier journals and law reviews. I am also currently in the process of researching "good Samaritan" statutes in all 50 states, a project that will continue beyond the summer and will form the foundation for a paper completed before the end of the fall 2015 semester. This summer, I will also work on a new, expanded 3rd edition on my Business Law and the Legal Environment of Business for my current publisher, Textbook Media Publishing, that should be out early next year. Not much time for fiction or poetry projects in the coming year, I'm afraid, nor for work on my first novel that has been mostly on hold in mid-stream for the better part of a decade due to time constraints.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Eternal Quest short story free during the month of May

This is my first and still favorite short story.

On its surface, this speculative fiction short story (7,800 words) deals with one man's obsessive quest for knowledge and the devastating price he must pay for the knowledge he ultimately acquires. Beneath the surface, this story is about deep friendships complicated by unrequited love, split loyalties, the interplay of id, ego and superego, (or Plato's appetites, reason and the spirited element that Freud "borrowed" and "re-labeled") and existentialist lessons learned much too late in life.
It is about looking for truth and meaning in all the wrong places and about the deep tragedy of misdirected efforts in the single-minded pursuit of all the wrong things. It is also about love, and the noble and often tragic self-sacrifice that true friendship requires, about the pain of unrequited love and split loyalties, and ultimately the very real tragedy of too many lives spent in the single-minded pursuit of lesser important things. Nothing else I have ever written since those happy, productive days as a college sophomore means more to me, and it remains little changed from the original.

Through the end of May 2015, you can download this short story free of charge here:
Smashwords - Eternal Quest. The short story will also be available for free download later this month at Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Amazon and other leading retailers. I hope you enjoy it.

Also from Smashwords and other leading retailers: