The Origins of the Beta-Earth Chronicles
By Wesley Britton
One simple idea inspired the Beta-Earth series. One afternoon, I thought about the many stories where ordinary humans were drawn against their will into extraordinary circumstances. Sometimes they were pulled to alternate universes or to distant planets. But what if one such human was blinded in the process of being captured by scientists on a different earth? How could a blind alien cope with a world he couldn’t see, how could he comprehend what was happening if he couldn’t understand anything that was said to him? How could he describe another planet when so much was so different from what was familiar?
That was the starting point. From that concept so many early ideas sprouted. How could the blinded Malcolm Renbourn of our earth evaluate the size of buildings or gauge distances? Facial expressions, gestures, body language would all be lost on him. How could he learn a new language when the only useable tools would be objects he could hold and hear described? If a glass bottle was placed in his hand, how could he know which spoken term applied to the container’s function and which applied to what the bottle was made of? Could he be certain what he thought was glass was actually glass? And that’s just the beginning of our hero’s travails.
Then I wondered what kind of people would populate this second earth. What sort of culture was our unhappy traveler trapped in? From the beginning, I knew I wanted to have the Alpha man the subject of a long epic. But what would make him so valuable that he would become the center of ongoing struggles? It couldn’t be any objects he brought with him—they’d have been taken from him right after his capture. I couldn’t think of any special knowledge that he’d carry. I didn’t want him to have super-powers as I wanted Malcolm Renbourn to remain off-balance, confused, vulnerable, desperately trying to adapt to completely, well, alien cultures. So if there was going to be anything special about Malcolm Renbourn, it would have to be something to do with his body.
And that’s when the Plague-With-No-Name came to me. That plague set up so many possibilities. What if, on Beta earth, that ancient curse killed three out of four male babies their first year? Curing that plague would be a central quest of the planet’s scientists. Surely, learning of the gender balance on our planet, scientists would wonder ifMalcolm’s biology might carry the cure that might change their planet. Naturally, they’d want to keep the blind alien in some sort of confinement to monitor him as a resource for study. Certainly, Malcolm would have other ideas.
At the same time, the Plague opened the door for creating Beta’s social structure. If women outnumbered men by a margin of four-to-one, obviously polygamy would be the norm. Thus came Beta’s tribal system. Being joined to a male would be competitive. Bondings would often be arranged to make alliances between tribes. Power and prosperity could be built by wise alliances.
So, with these abstractions, my fantasies began to take form. A cast of characters then quickly gave these concepts meaning. But that’s another story . . .
Dr. Wesley Britton,
Author, The Beta Earth Chronicles
The Blind Alien
The Beta Earth Chronicles Book 1
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
"The Blind Alien is a story with a highly original concept, fascinating characters, and not-too-subtle but truthful allegories. Don't let the sci-fi label or alternate Earth setting fool you--this is a compelling and contemporarily relevant story about race, sex, and social classes."--Raymond Benson, Former James Bond novelist and author of the Black Stiletto books
Told with one of the most original styles you'll ever experience, The Blind Alien begins when Dr. Malcolm Renbourn, a young history teacher, walks into an ordinary bank on an ordinary day. Suddenly, he feels excruciating pain. Unexpectedly, he loses his sight and discovers he has been drawn against his will across the multi-verse to a slave-holding country on a parallel earth. He doesn't understand a single word he hears, but he soon learns Betan scientists hope his body carries the cure to an ancient plague that kills 3
out of 4 male babies their first year.
Branded state property, he must escape, but where can a blind man in a strange world dominated by desperate scientists run? And on a world where polygamy is the norm, how can a fugitive alien adapt into becoming the husband of five independent wives who never expected to be the mothers of a generation a planet hopes carry the genes that will change everything? How can Tribe Renbourn survive the aftermath of a catastrophic explosion that kills thousands?
And that's just part of the story.
"A most commendable and unique novel. I can honestly say I have not come across anything quite like it. The Blind Alien follows the life of an unremarkable man who by some twist of fate is pulled from his world, into that of one parallel . . . What follows is a story of rebellion, politics, love, science, and religion . . . without a doubt, this is an admirably well crafted piece of work, that was both entertaining and very thought
provoking."--Tosin Coker, author of The Chronicles of Zauba'ah
Blind Alien is free on KU and only 99c to buy.
NOTE: The following story is told in the form of an oral history. This means a series of alternating voices will share a variety of perspectives. Many
of these voices speak in dialects from Beta Earth, and are not phrased in Standard Alpha English.
I Bergarten Arrivals
Bar: True said, I was raised not to do the things I have done. None like me expect to see the things I have seen. Deep in my womb, I still fear to share my memories of the shakings of two earths. Deep in my womb, I would prefer to keep our private memories within our tribe. But the lies, the distortions rage on. So our skolings begin.
For my part, in 5 of 1720, in the 24th year of my being, I had honored to complete my training at Stadsem Wostra for Independent Literates. As I was an orphaned blue-skin with no family linkages, my Brown Shapers had determined I was marriageable. This possibled, they told me, only if I became skilled enough to secure a position where my talents could be shown at their best advantage. Still, I stunned when I was told to report to Director-Shaprim Uneld Kharg at the Central Science Institute in Bergarten just hours after collecting my certificates. I had expected not my first assignment to be in such an important place, in the middle of the capital of Balnakin. Few blues worked at such Institutes, at least in the mid-level positions. This was no mere task
as a scribe assisting some Brown Master. Instead, this was a call to go to the core of my country.
I doubt anyone, in those days, could go to the great Bergarten Institutional Collective without feeling awe at what had been built there. As a blue slave, all my life I'd been accustomed to tight, functional four-square buildings that were clean, mobile, ecologically sound. All my nights had been spent in cramped sleeping slots where six, seven, eight girls shared space waiting the results of our tests and how they met the needs of our exacting masters.
Now, on this day while I walked through Bergarten for the first time, I stared skyward at the immense round structures of stone and crystal. They were all spacious, permanent, imposingly beautiful. True said, Bergarten architecture had not the dignity or aged looks of similar cities across the Philosea on the Old Continent. There, wooden stack-modules showed every human where civilization had begun. here In Bergarten, the awe was in the size of the smooth walls that cried power and grandeur. Here, there were no age cracks in the stones. Here, the rounded Sojoa-sheets bulging from each window, drawing power from Our God reflecting light and energy, seemed to say without words — "Here grows the future."
Entering my assigned building through the back arches for Blue Professionals, I surprised even more when the Security Op looked at my papers, scanned my travel-satchel, and then personally escorted me to the sixth level. I certained I was in some trouble — why would any Brown escort a mere applicant through an easy, if winding maze? More amazing, waiting not, she marched me into a long room where four dignified Browns sat behind a thick, long shining frost-white desk full of skols and skol-books. Bright without shadows, this room was lit by a long, wall-to-wall Sojoa-sheet pulsating with energy behind the Shaper's table. The other walls were mellow, white-spine wood connected by plush, silenting brown-rope carpet. Everything was polished, new, a place of importance.
Walking to the table, I marked that all four women wore the short-hair and bare ear shells of females who'd never bonded by choice or had been found unsuitable. None were young. Considering where they sat, I presumed all four were there by choice and lacked not in solid tribal Alliances. I could see not their tunics
with their tribal sewings on their breasts, because of the piles of skols on the table. I kept my eyes proper low and looked not at the faces contemplating my future.
At first, the committee talked among themselves and ignored me in the customary way important Shaprims and Maprims always deal with blues in their presence.
Then, with no introductions, the four went quiet and the eldest Brown in the middle, the taut, long-armed woman who I knew must be Shaprim Kharg, sat back and studied me. With a face full of doubt and isapproval, she looked like an old monument, crows-feet crowding the skin above her cheeks.
"Give ear!" she commanded sharp. "Come child." I
"Turn and show," she ordered.
I spun the proper slow turn for the group. I ended with my head kneeled with the gesture of open palms to show my deference.
"Speak child," she commanded. "Say anything. Let us hear your voice."
Puzzled, I recited my gratitude greeting, staring at my open hands. Shaprim Kharg barked for me to stop. It was so hard for me to avert my eyes, so intense was her stare. I focused on her thick face muscles which made her words seem like sounds coming from a dark machine.
"Think you," she asked, turning her head to the long-cheeked graying Brown to her right, "our guest will like this fleshy Bar Tine?"
Gazing at me with sad eyes, The second Shaprim measured me as if choosing house ornaments. She sounded neutral as she shrugged, "Who can tell? Tine carries the bearing of innocence. As non-threatening as we could ask."
These notions were strange to hear. But I said nothing as I awaited my first assignment.
Immerse yourself in an extraordinary universe revealed by the most original storytelling you’ll ever experience. “Science fiction yes, but so much more.”
Besides his 33 years in the classroom, Dr. Wesley Britton considers his Beta-Earth Chronicles the most important work he’s ever done. “I suppose an author profile is intended to be a good little biography,” Britton says, “but the best way to know who I am is to read my novels.”
Still, a few things you might like to know about Wes include the fact he’s the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in the media, most notably The Encyclopedia of TV Spies (2009). Beginning in 1983, he was a widely published poet, article writer for a number of encyclopedias, and was a noted scholar of American literature. Since those days, for sites like BlogCritics.org and BookPleasures.com, Britton wrote over 500 music, book, and movie reviews. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio's Dave White Presents for which he contributed celebrity interviews with musicians, authors, actors, and entertainment insiders.
Starting in fall 2015, his science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted with The Blind Alien. Throughout 2016, four sequels followed including The Blood of Balnakin, When War Returns, A Throne for an Alien, and The Third Earth. Return to Alpha will be the sixth volume of this multi-planetary epic.
Britton earned his doctorate in American Literature at the University of North Texas in 1990. He taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College until his retirement in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania. He lives with his one and only wife, Betty, in Harrisburg, PA.
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