Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ten reasons the Moon landing conspiracy theory is stupid


This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Moon landings. Sadly, there are some people who think we never went to the Moon. While I have a healthy mistrust of government, I find this conspiracy theory silly to say the least. Governments lie on a regular basis, especially the U.S. government, but that doesn't mean they lie all the time. Here are ten reasons that this conspiracy theory, peddled by people who want to make a quick buck off of public credulity, is total bullshit.

1. The testimony of thousands of people involved in the project.

2. The fact that none of them in the past 45 years have blown the lid on the "conspiracy", despite the potential to get millions for their story.

3. The hundreds of professional and amateur astronomers worldwide who saw the reflected light of the Apollo spacecraft through their telescopes, and the countless people they showed this wonder to.

4. The fact that the Soviet Union, despite its extensive spy network and a very big motive, never called the U.S. on the "lie."

5. The fact that no other nation hostile to the U.S. has done this in 45 years.

6. The hundreds of pounds of Moon rocks divided up and sent to researchers in dozens of countries, including Russia. Moon rocks are unlike any rocks found here on Earth. Where did the conspirators get them?

7. The fact that actually going to the Moon is not a great technological feat for an already space-faring nation, merely an economic challenge, and we're talking about the richest country in the world here.


8. A NASA satellite has photographed the Moon landing site from space. Of course they're part of the conspiracy, but are Japan and India?
http://www.squidoo.com/apollo-moon-landing-photos-from-space

9. The weak arguments in support of the "hoax" has been debunked in several venues. Here's one of the best.
http://www.xmission.com/~jwindley/

10. Given all the above reasons, it would be easier just to go to the Moon!


Photo of Charles Conrad Jr., Apollo 12 Commander, courtesy of NASA. This photo is not faked. People really can achieve amazing things when they try hard enough.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

My Worldcon Schedule

I've received my final schedule for Worldcon, the 72nd Annual World Science Fiction Convention, which is being hosted by Loncon in London this August. One nice surprise is that I have a book signing on my birthday!

Here's my lineup:

Refugees Have More to Worry About Than Revenge
Thursday, August 14, 16:30 - 18:00, London Suite 2 (ExCeL)
War stories in genre fiction tend to focus on the soldiers, but what about the effects of conflict on people living in war zones, or coping with the fallout once the battle is done? What roles are available for individual refugees in genre fiction, beyond victim or avenger? How are societies shown to respond to displacement, or the arrival of the displaced?

Autographing 7 - Sean McLachlan
Saturday, August 16, 15:00 - 16:30, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Asymmetric Warfare
Sunday, August 17, 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)
Despite massive military superiority, armies still lose out to insurgent forces who use asymmetric warfare techniques - some of which might be called terrorism - to pursue their goals away from conventional battlefields. How does this work, how does it win, and is there any way to fight against it?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Military History Photo Friday: U.S. Cavalry on the Trail

OK, this is a painting and not a photo, but it's from the great Frederic Remington so I think you'll forgive me. It's titled In the Desert and was painted around 1888, in the final stages of the U.S. Cavalry's struggle with the Apache.

I'm getting into the Old West mindset again. I just signed a contract with Osprey Publishing to write a new title for their Combat series on a soldier's-eye view of the fighting between Apache warriors and U.S. Cavalrymen. Luckily I'm in Oxford right now and the famous Bodleian Library has a huge American collection. I'm burying myself in Old West history all summer, except for the week I'm going to be attending Worldcon.

Having ridden through the desert on a hot Arizona day, I can tell you that Remington captured the feeling perfectly!

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Military History Photo Friday: Roman Gladiator Mosaics

OK, this isn't strictly military history, but these guys had a shorter lifespan than most combat units! Of course they got to be stars before being gutted in front of a cheering crowd, so that's some compensation I guess.

This mosaic shows a secutor fighting a retiarius and was found at a 3rd century AD site in Rome. The secutor is named Astyanax and the word "victor" is written next to him. The retiarius Kalendio has a crossed out O next to his name, which stands for "Obiit" (death).

The next mosaic is also from 3rd century Rome and shows a fight between two murmillones, Symmachus and Maternus. Symmachus killed Maternus, but is dubbed "a fortunate man", perhaps indicating that the bookies were against him!

These images come from the newly reopened Museo Arqueológico Nacional in Madrid. You can see more mosaics in an article I wrote for Black Gate Magazine.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Refugees from the Righteous Horde out now!


Book Two of my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series is out now! Refugees from the Righteous Horde picks up where Radio Hope left off. Here's the blurb:

When you only have one shot, you better aim true.
In a ravaged world, civilization’s last outpost is reeling after fighting off the fanatical warriors of the Righteous Horde. Sheriff Annette Cruz becomes New City’s long arm of vengeance as she sets off across the wildlands to take out the cult’s leader. All she has is a sniper’s rifle with one bullet and a former cultist with his own agenda.
Meanwhile, one of the cult’s escaped slaves makes a discovery that could tear New City apart. . .

Refugees from the Righteous Horde continues the Toxic World series started in Radio Hope, an ongoing narrative of humanity’s struggle to rebuild the world it ruined.

The book is available on all the Amazons and will soon have a print edition. If you could help me out by tweeting, blogging, and sharing this info, that would be awesome!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Blurb Version 2.0

I've done the final edits for Refugees from the Righteous Horde, sequel to Radio Hope and book two in my Toxic World post-apocalyptic series. Now I'm waiting for the cover art. In the meantime I've been fiddling with the blurb. I'd love to have your input!

When you only have one shot, you better aim true.
In a ravaged world, civilization’s last outpost is reeling after fighting off the fanatical warriors of the Righteous Horde. Sheriff Annette Cruz becomes New City’s long arm of vengeance as she sets off across the wildlands to take out the cult’s leader. All she has is a sniper’s rifle with one bullet and a former cultist with his own agenda.
Meanwhile, one of the cult’s escaped slaves makes a discovery that could tear New City apart. . .

Refugees from the Righteous Horde continues the Toxic World series started in Radio Hope, an ongoing narrative of humanity’s struggle to rebuild the world it ruined.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Old West Photo Friday: Apache Family


I've been thinking about my old home of Arizona lately and figured it was time to give you another Old West Photo Friday. This is an Apache band, probably an extended family, in 1873. They're in front of their wickiups, near Camp Apache, Arizona.
When this photograph was taken, the Apaches and U.S. Army were engaged in fierce fighting, with various Apache warrior bands fighting a guerrilla campaign against the thinly stretched U.S. forces. Reservations were one technique for breaking the Apache's independence.
Camp Apache had been founded as a reservation the year before. It was consolidated into the San Carlos Agency in 1876 when that agency assumed responsibility for the entire White Mountain Reservation. Camp Apache was renamed Fort Apache in 1879. The land is still a reservation today.
Here's a closeup of the two young people in the center.

Photo courtesy Library of Congress.


Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.