Mastodons on Mars - excerpt below.....

Mastodons on Mars
The four stories in this sci-fi compilation, all have a similar theme, yet each is totally unique. Former pets evolve to become masters, and humans devolve to become their pets or slaves. Each scenario features two intelligent species. After reading this, you'll never look at dogs, horses elephants, or pigs the same. Read how humans devolved to servile apes-like beings, while their former pets developed analytical thinking abilities - and the ensuing interactions.

For less than ten buckaroonies, you can download and enjoy this totally unique, thought-provoking, fast paced and enjoyable e-book. E-book: $9 

About the author: Ken Albertsen appears to be on a westward journey through life. Started out in Denmark in 1952, then on to Washington D.C. At 22, Ken headed out to California in a beat up 64 chevy p.u. truck, knowing no one there. 25 years later, Ken packed up and moved to northernmost Thailand, again, with no prior contacts, and where he's been residing 15 years and counting. He's had 12 books published on as many topics, including political satire, fasting, Tibetan Buddhism, organic orcharding, and some sci-fi.

     Below are the first few paragraphs excerpted from each of the four stories in the book......

 1. Elemen and Peophants

    Elephants, like all species, have to adapt to survive. Their predecessors, mastodons and mammoths, evolved to large or small sizes, depending on what was best suited to their varied environments. Early in the 21st century, Asian elephants became extinct in the wild, as did pygmy elephants in central parts of Africa. A few decades later, the remaining larger African elephants ceased to exist in the wild. The last free roaming herd to die off was a herd of long legged elephants ruggedly adapted to the deserts of Namibia. 

    A wildlife center near San Diego, California, had large walled yards.  It was designed in the early part of the 21st century with the concept of enabling people to visit while slowly moving along above, on mag-lev observation vehicles. The center was divvied in to sections, representing major habitat regions of the world: Southeast Asia, Mongolian desert, South American mountains, Amazon jungle, European forests, Central African jungle, Saharan desert, North American forests,  North American desert, Australia, New Guinea, and Pacific Islands.

    Pygmy elephants from the African Jungle section were having a population boom. Re-introducing them in to their native habitat was not a realistic option, because there simply was not enough habitat left for large beasts to thrive in central Africa. A solution presented itself in the form of a companion park, 22 miles away, with enough room to accommodate generations of pygmies. Soon after that, a research facility was built alongside, which endeavored to enhance the elephants' thinking abilities. Elephants’ already-large brains were challenged, over generations, to think analytically, and to pass parents' knowledge on to offspring. 

    Within three generations, resident elephants were using computers with oversized colored keys to do basic communication, such as order meals or request their pens be cleaned. Four generations further on, rudimentary speech started to develop, with some particularly bright elephants having 100 word vocabularies. Dumber offspring were channeled back to the original outdoor park to devolve back to their recent ancestors' level of existence That way, the gene pool was manipulated to favor those individuals which progressed fastest. In so doing, the smartest pygmy elephants at the research facility were continually challenged to improve their cognitive abilities. Somehow, they  also found time to mate and make baby elephants to continue the trend.

    Concurrently, Mars was being terraformed. Technology had progressed to the point where ever larger and more sophisticated probes were being sent. Payload weight became less of a challenge than earlier years due to improvements in gravity mitigating technology. It didn't actually lessen gravity, but instead used centrifugal forces to redirect gravitational forces. At first it was called the yo-yo method, because of long thin carbon tethers which spun around, with self-propelled weights at their ends. In combination with way-stations on the Moon, heavier payloads were able to be transported to many destinations within the solar system. 

.......continued in the book

2. Horples and Peopreses

    Horples were a horse-like species which lived on a continent far removed from the other continents. They developed analytical intelligence and sensed there was more world to discover.  A horple named Van demonstrated, with assistants, how the planet was curved and therefore spherical, by using weights hung from strings. She measured the discrepancies of their shadows, at long distance intervals concurrently, when the sun was directly overhead. Other groups of horples had developed floating vessels, but trying to navigate the thousands of rocky islands which surrounded their continent proved to hazardous. Horples eventually developed hot air balloon technology.  Rather than having a basket, their balloons had stout straps, within which horples could be securely slung underneath. The strapping still allowed the guide to manipulate the floatation and steering mechanisms.  Using one such hot air balloon, a group of three horples stumbled upon their first group of peopreses.

    It happened one day as the balloon was gliding over a distant unexplored shore, and hovered over a hilltop. The horples on board noticed beasts below and motioned for the craft to land. It needed to land regardless, because both fuel and drinking water were low.  The beings on the ground were alternatively hunched over, and standing on pairs of stubby legs. One was pacing and appeared to be the leader. The horples lay low on the hilltop, unseen, while sharing a spyglass to observe the never-before-viewed animals in the field below. They chose to name this new species 'peopreses.'

    The guide suggested to the others that they announce their presence, but was met with snorts of 'no.' Further observation indicated the peopreses were not actually grazing, as initially thought, but rather, were putting parts of plants in large pockets which slung over the tops of their upper limbs. When an individual had a full pocket, he would take the plant material and deposit it in a cart at one end of the field.  The alpha peopres would alternately stand upright on two limbs or alternately sit on the upper parts of its hind legs, but was not observed stooping over like the others.

    The exploratory group decided to depart and report back to their fellow horples. Their return flight was eventful, and included an episode where they ditched the balloon on a rocky island, yet they all got back to Horpleland with only a few scratches. It was determined that peopreses could be useful beasts of burden, so within a year of spreading the news, a hundred hot air balloons were built, and a flotilla was sent out to capture some for experimentation. There was some debate among chief horples, as to what best to do with the ape-like beings, once they were brought back.  The flotilla wasn't able to stay grouped together, due to wind variations, yet a small group of balloons did manage to find and land near a peopres village. It wasn't the same area the pioneer horples had found, but it would suffice. In spite of peopreses running away in panic, some stragglers were rounded up.

.......continued in the book

3. Houndples and Humogs


        Not all humogs were ferocious enough for the job. So a certain faction of the intelligent ape humogs were bred for the purpose of jumping off attacking boats, just before the boat hit the beach at whatever village happened to be unlucky enough to be the day's target.

    Houndples were the masters, and their raids were made easier by simply observing where fishing boats were beached at night. Many boats snug on sand, indicated a large village. Raiding boats would then clandestinely recede to anchor, and spend the night out at sea, hoping the weather would not turn inclement.

    At dawn, most of the humog fishing boats would lazily make their way out to sea, oblivious to how close danger lurked. The raiders would lay low, hoping to remain unseen. A short while later, the raiders would glide to shore, while serving as much wine to the attack-trained humogs as they could ingest.

    Houndple warriors would follow close behind their vanguard of yelling humogs. Waving arms, screaming, and picking up rocks to heave - were all part of the melee this particular breed of humogs were famous for. Few villagers could offer resistance, as most of the male humog villagers were now far out at sea.  The attack humogs had no sympathy for village humogs. Any sentiments of empathy had been bred out of them decades earlier. Neither did the attack humogs care for bounty.  No, their whole purpose in those adrenaline-packed moments was to terrorize the villagers.  The thrill of instilling terror was reward in itself – though experienced attack humogs knew there would be added meat on their plates after a successful raid.

.......continued in the book

4. Boarmen and Peopogs

    On planet Porcine, there evolved a type of boar which stood on its hind legs, which enabled it to use its forelimbs as arms. Over generations, the hooves on its arms each evolved to form three fingers with opposing thumbs. Its rear feet gradually changed to adapt to its upright stature. It's backbone developed a pronounced concave arc leading to its tail. It's spine would, from that time onward, cause problems.

    Back pain become endemic among the species, now known as boarmen. Also on planet Porcine were several varieties of primates. One type evolved to the degree of developing analytical thinking, which enabled it to make stone tools, and engage in basic types of pictographs and crude art. That type, known as peopogs, had also evolved to walk in an upright gait for short distances, though it just as often walked on all-fours, using the knuckles of its fore-limbs. 

   Boarmen ancestors were grizzley bear-sized boars with a vicious reputation. In those far gone times, they were hairier and would terrorize any other animals they could catch. Comparative size was no impediment. Even if they came across a mastodon several times their size, a pack of them would simply run straight at it, and find vulnerable body parts to sink seven inch tusks in to. They would then immediately shake their heads violently to remove flesh from bone as quickly as they could. 

    The transition to bipedalism from quadrupedal took place over a span of tens of centuries, and was necessitated partly by being able to scan farther landscapes when standing, and by the advantage of being able to use forelimbs to make tools, start fires, and to carry weapons.

    As boars evolved to boarmen, their diet changed from all-meat to a combination of meat and grains and vegetable matter. Boarmen progressed in other aspects of the evolutionary scheme of things, having developed analytical thinking skills several hundred thousand years before the ape-like peopogs which roamed similar territory.

.......continued in the book

remember, the paragraphs above are just excerpts. If you want to read all four chapters in their entirety, you're welcome to order the fun & fast-paced e-book for only $9 - about the cost of a couple cups of fancy coffee, and the e-book will last longer, and won't give you any eebie jeebie caffeine buzz.

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