Who’s Out There? The Importance of Getting Real3 min read

What I love about this site is that it is “where science meets science fiction.” Here we can let our imaginations fly with wonderful stories that explore who we are. We push open new doors, while, at the same time, we stay in touch with our real limits. That’s why the aliens in my books (if you’ll excuse the plug) live close to Earth and resemble
Carbon life. They challenge what we should know with what we haven’t yet learned.

Currently the Santa Fe Institute is taking on that challenge with their program called the October Interplanetary Series. It faces three myths that science fiction has made seem so real they easily warp our sense of reality–the size of the universe, the meaning of time in life’s living, and the impact of energy requirements on our hopes for the future.

A huge challenge to physicists came in the last decades of the 20th Century. First it was fun with the Mandelbrot Set, then the early books distinguished chaos from complexity. The brilliant clarification by Per Bak and many others expanded the complex realm into every facet of human thought, including practical sociology.

The habit of finding answers in the equations of increasingly exquisite theory struggled hard with the notion that natural complex systems were often unpredictable in this way or that. The learning process continues as we find useful handles on complex systems and distinguish reality from fiction. This is where I see that the Santa Fe Institute is challenged—in its program called the October Interplanetary Series.

Parallax, the newsletter of the Santa Fe Institute (Spring and Summer 2017) states that the October Interplanetary Series will run October 13 to 17 at SITE Santa Fe’s future Shock Exhibit. A panel discussion will be held July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Art Center in Santa Fe New Mexico.

What threw me while reading Parallax was the focus that asked, “What will it take to become an interplanetary civilization…?” Given the broad reach of the Institute, their history of engaging thought from experts in every human endeavor, I can only hope they will stay tuned to the reality of Earth’s position in space. There is hope in the project’s question, “How should we address the most pressing problems of Earth to
tackle a challenge at this scale?”

My questions for that project arise when it goes beyond reality, with hopes for our becoming “…an interplanetary civilization.” They say we need “…to activate the collective intelligence on our first planet Earth.”(italics mine).

Can’t we find a way to avoid being overcome by cognitive dissonance in preserving the dreams of conquering space–the imaginary imprinting supplied by most science fiction? I hope the Institute will confront our failure to comprehend the reality of time, distance and energy requirements of space travel implied by such an “interplanetary
Project?” SFI’s focus on the nuances and genius of complex systems is needed to guide us inhabitants of Earth toward healing, so we can make the most of the million or more years it has left.

Author of The Archives of Varok
The View Beyond Earth (Book 1.)
The Webs of Varok (Book 2.)
Nautilus Silver Award 2013 YA
ForeWord IBPA finalist 2012 adult SF
The Alien Effect (Book 3.)
An Alien’s Quest (Book 4. Released Nov.21, 2016)

Excerpts, Synopses, Reviews, On Writing, Characters and More-
Reviews of significant books- www.goodreads.com/Cary_Neeper
How the Hen House Turns- www.ladailypost.com
Complexity, Bio, Bibliography and Links- caryneeper.com
Astrobiologyastronaut.com search:Who’s Out There


Cary Neeper is an avid student of complexity theory, sustainability, steady-state economics, and the impact of cosmology on issues of science and religion. She grew up in the foothills of Hayward, California, where she helped rack dried fruit on her father’s 40-acre apricot ranch. After studying zoology/chemistry and religion at Pomona College and medical microbiology at the University of Wisconsin, she moved with her husband to northern New Mexico, where they raised their family. The Neepers still live in the Southwest with a friendly menagerie of dogs, fish, chickens, geese, ducks and a turkey called Little Bear. Cary plays string bass with local folk, symphony and jazz groups and tennis with local retired physicists. She paints landscapes in acrylics, including the cover art for her first Penscript title, The Webs of Varok. Cary's first novel and Webs of Varok prequel A Place Beyond Man was originally published in 1975 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, Dell, and Millington, London. Cary re-released A Place Beyond Man as an Author’s Guild Backinprint edition, now available from online booksellers. Its themes of sustainability and interspecies cooperation have now grown into new adventures for its human, elll and varok family as they travel the alternate 21st century Solar System in the five-volume Archives of Varok, coming from Penscript Publishing House in 2012–2014. Cary’s other works include two musical science fiction comedies “U.F.F.D.A.!” and “Petra and the Jay,” as well as newspaper and magazine articles, essays, short stories, and book reviews for The Christian Science Monitor.

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