“Did you know all this about Home?” Vic asked.
“Very little of it,” Eileen admitted. “Mostly, I knew that it and the Moon colonies are the only places that have no regulation of life extension therapies.”
“And yet we have the public cameras on the corridors and places like the cafeteria and docks,” Vic said. “Even without regulation I don’t see freaks like China produces.”
“Technically China has regulation, thousands and thousands of pages of it I gave up trying to wade through,” Eileen said. “It doesn’t prohibit stupid modifications like webbed hands and feet. That would be great for Olympic swimmers if any other country would allow them in. But it doesn’t have much to do with extending a normal life.”
“It doesn’t seem like Home has much regulation of anything,” Vic said. “They certainly don’t regulate banking. There are basically two banks, a couple of payday lending companies and some odd little companies, usually individuals, who buy and sell currencies, stocks, jewelry, lift tickets and such sort of like pawn brokers. But pawn brokers aren’t regulated either. On the plus side, I admit the interest rates for those kinds of services aren’t ruinous like here. It’s still scary to have no deposit insurance.”
“Shouldn’t it be just the opposite?” Eileen asked.
Vic opened his mouth, blinked, and shut it.
Eileen looked worried at his reaction. “I mean, the purpose of regulation is to keep unscrupulous people from taking advantage of the public, isn’t it?”
“In theory,” Vic admitted, frowning.
“And in reality?” Eileen asked. “I never learned much about business. I was still in school when The Day so rudely interrupted that. I’ve never even had a job.”
“In reality, it’s often about sucking in more fees for the government creating the regulations. Also for creating a body of merchants beholden to the regulators for keeping the barriers to starting a business high so they have little competition.”
Think about it,” Vic invited. “How many people do you think died of dirty combs because barbers were once unregulated? They once did minor surgery too. That’s where the red strip running down a barber sign comes form. But that was when a real surgeon hardly existed and you were lucky to have a barber who had the tools and would help you. They were pretty much gone by the end of the nineteenth century. But barbers and hair braiders and nail salons are all regulated. If you can see a shop isn’t clean you can go elsewhere. In truth, under regulation the banks can charge more for credit card debt than just going to a loan shark you know is part of organized crime and paying their vig.
“We’ve spent the past couple of years with no regulation. Instead of everybody being anxious for it to start up again we’re worried about them taking our radio net off the air and finding ways to pay sales and income tax when that starts up again. Maybe the Spacers have the right of it. They just went so completely radical that it was a shock to read about it.”
“I don’t know how you know all this stuff,” Eileen said. “It took me forever and learning how to get past the net censors just to find out about life extension. I’ll be too old to go back to school by the time they open. I’m too busy to go back anyway.”
“I didn’t really learn all that stuff in school,” Vic said. “My head is stuffed full of irrelevant and usually useless facts because I read everything I could in books and so many web sites.”
“Our teachers constantly warned us away from reading the web,” Eileen said. “They told us we didn’t have the tools to know what was right or wrong.”
Did they tell you they had the tools to do so? Or give you any idea when they intended to gift you with these mystery tools?” Vic asked.
“We were kids. I can see that was pretty self-serving, now. It was just a way to say believe me, because I say so. If somebody I trusted hadn’t told me the official view of life extension was a lie I’d have never made the huge effort to investigate it. It does make me wonder what else is a lie. Once somebody lies to me I don’t trust them again.”
“See? You have good instincts,” Vic said. “I’ve seen you immediately not trust somebody right when you meet them. Some people never learn that, skill of identifying a liar or a crook from the subtle signs when you meet them. Just like face to face, there’s all kinds of tells online that somebody is self-serving or lying. I can tell you have the capacity already. You don’t immediately believe gossip and you reasoned out why it was not in our gold refiner’s self interest to cheat us. We’ll do some lessons in the evening. Not dry school subjects. I’ll more formally introduce you to what constitutes critical thinking. Consider it getting ready to live up there. I’m pretty sure Home is short on stupid people to deal with. If you want something like math that isn’t opinion based there’s lots of free university level courses online. We don’t have to be frugal with data now.”
“I’d like that. Maybe you aren’t too old to consider taking some?” Eileen suggested.
“Maybe,” was as far as Vic would go.
How wonderful to stumble across this today – what a nice Christmas gift!
Thanks for this and I hope you and yours have a Happy Christmas and a good New Year.
I have 90% of your books and enjoy them so much that I often re-read them and look forward to the next one you release. the way you have interwoven the April series with the family law series was masterful and I hope they continue.
Merry Christmas and a happy and fortuitous new year to you and yours!
Thanks, Mac! And Merry Christmas!
Thanks ‘Mac! Great Christmas gift!
I most recently read through Family Law, so I was halfway through this wondering why Vic and Eileen were having this conversation and then realized we were in the April timeframe. Rookie mistake on my part! The snippet totally made sense when I realized they were both still on earth.
Looking forward to the book!
Thanks for the Christmas snippet! I can’t wait to read the finished book! Merry Christmas!
Thank you for the snippet. I really enjoy Eileen and Vic’s story. You have a wonderful way of telling a story. Enjoy NC weather!
Thanks! Have a Happy New Year!
Thank you everybody.
Happy new year..
And many happy returns.
I hope you are doing well and live long and prosper.
I’m looking forward to your April 14.
Oh good, can’t wait. Sounds like a fun read.
Happy New Year to you and all your other loyal fans.
excellent snippet and several of my favorite characters.
Mac I keep hoping your prediction of an ever increasing stranglehold of PCidness will get more push back…but then the USA today article today on the Stanford University list of “Bad Words” was posted today. So many people looking for relevance by announcing something new we can all be offended by.
I have purchased most of your books and love them. More please!
I’m working on it. Thanks.
I have enjoyed the universe that you have created. I am really happy that Vic and Eileen finally get to space because their story so far has been my least favorite part of the April series.
Thanks. Some folks really like them.
Those two would be worthy of their own solo books.
Their story presents what is happening in the former USA and why Earth is the Slimeball (in the stories). Necessary but not pretty. Soon it will be a small part of the evolving story since only the moon kingdom has any relevance.
Looking forward to the new books.
Thank you; another book in this series to look forward to. Would love to buy the complete series in Hardcopy.
Would love to sell them to you but sad truth is they don’t pay enough to cover their costs.
As a matter of interest, do you make much from your books?
From the quality of the stories you should be a millionaire.
Other authors have become wealthy from their books and I think yours are better.
Could the April/Family Law books be made into a TV show, or film?
I enjoy writing. I don’t need the money to live but it’s enough to allow me some luxuries – like buying a new car instead of a two or three year old car. I don’t want to start making it work with deadlines and pre-sales. We just moved from Michigan to North Carolina and having my writing as a demanding full time job would have been very difficult. I’m not going to do that. If somebody asks for movie or TV rights I’d consider that. At 75 I’m not looking at it the same way as somebody who is middle aged.
Have you ever talked to Graphic Audio about licensing the series (s) to them? They do an amazing job of dramatizing (like the old radio dramas) with a full cast so that every character is recognizable and distinct. Also sound effects and background/theme music. So far they only have a few of my favorite authors’ works, but I buy the GA version in addition to the original audio version. They are available direct from GA, Audible, and Scribd. Either series would be fabulous on GA! https://www.graphicaudio.net/our-productions/upcoming-releases.html
No I never heard of them until now. Being deaf I don’t research audio books much. Tantor approached me to license them. That sounds very expensive to produce. I’ll go look at their site.
From what I have gathered, it’s different from regular audio book production. The author licenses the book to GA, and they handle all of the production. The author has input on things like voices, but is not responsible for managing the actual recording. I just think your wonderful books would be terrific in their format. I love the Family Law audio books and would love to have April as regular audio—which I know is a burden on the author to produce— or as Graphic Audio. As far as cost, I THINK that is born by Graphic Audio, but I don’t know for sure.
Back in the 90s several British banks were guilted into lower rates because loan sharks had better. I’m remember Barclays Bank and Lloyds Bank dropping their rates after news articles embarrassed them.