Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Ninth Anniversary Fund-Raising Drive for Behind the Black

This week marks the ninth anniversary since I began Behind the Black in 2010. To celebrate I am now holding my annual month-long anniversary fund-raising drive.

For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, or Twitter. They practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, conclusions apparently confirmed by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.

Thus, I must reluctantly beg for your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Without that support, which each year has been growing, I would not be able to continue this work. And without it, I will no longer be free to comment honestly about space, science, and culture, at a time where such commentary is crucial.

So, I ask you to please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar above or in the column to the right. You will have my eternal gratitude, and you will help me continue my work.

Readers! My Quick November Fund-Raiser for Behind the Black is now over

I cannot thank the numerous people who so generously donated or subscribed to Behind the Black during this fund drive. The response was remarkable, and reflected the steady growth and popularity of the work I have been doing here for the past ten-plus years.

Thank you again!

Though the find-raising campaign is officially over, and I am no longer plastering the main page with requests for help, if you like what you have read you can still contribute, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Tom

    Folks, Bob is providing us a unique service that is informative, educational and fascinating. We need to maintain this resource and keep this website, and Bob, humming on all eight. Be generous and lets get Bob the funds he needs to continue on.

  • Cotour


    Besides the donation route why not broaden things and selectively allow advertisers, totally approved, possibly used by and vetted by the Zman to advertise on the site? The Zmans integrity is the metric by which any product or service will be chosen.

    There would be no surrendering of autonomy or integrity and the products would have the stamp of approval of the Zman.

    No harm no foul, and the cash flow situation is vastly improved. A win, win situation. All that has to be accomplished is and adjustment in perspective with a clear plan of operation.

    You want to advertise on BTB and leverage the Zmans integrity / reputation on this space / science / politics genre web site? Bring it on.

  • F16 Guy

    Great idea Cotour.
    Maybe some of the news sites and science blogs, alrady featured in the right column, would like to advertise?
    Also seems like a lot of veteran owned businesses might find a home here. I recently heard of a vet owned and run cellular phone company.
    I’ve also heard good things about AARP’s big competitor, AMAC (the Assoc of Mature American Citizens).
    Anything to keep BTB up and running for many years!
    (ps, I have donated!)

  • wayne

    I vote no, on advertising.

  • I should let everyone know that the policy at BtB is not set by a vote. This isn’t a democracy (he says with a grin).

    If the right space-related vendors wanted to sponsor BtB in exchange for a box ad, I’d consider it, but none of them have so far offered, and I have not pursued them at all for many reasons, the most important being I do not wish any conflict of interest issues. I comment on these businesses, and I do not want anyone saying it is their money that is influencing me.

    Right now however my preference remains that this website will remain ad free. That means of course that I have to do these fund-raisers, which also means my readers need to express their support financially, thereby keeping food on my table. Such is reality.

  • commodude

    Score one for the benevolent dictatorship.

  • wayne

    Point well taken Mr. Z., I’ll see if I can get a check in the mail this week!

    “My Consumer Preference would be, no adverts.”
    I seem to recall when there was a google AdSense insert in the right hand column and I seriously doubt that generated more than a few cents a month.

  • Cotour


    Dicks Sporting Goods (Nope, NG)

    Are you getting the picture? Nothing here has anything to do with your subject, space. It does however have to do with your other passions, spelunking, the outdoors, camping, star watching, the best light sources in the outdoors, etc, etc, the list is long. Want to advertise on BTB? Maybe you will send the Zman a sample of a new product for evaluation?

    You get where I am going here. You talk about “Capitalism” in space, what about capitalism right here on terra firma? You have already developed the high integrity / credibility platform, now expand it. I can just imagine the John Batchelor promo that he will gladly do for you on his own show that is heard by millions. And you do not have to surrender one once of your integrity or objectivity. As a matter of fact you can raise it.

    My next question? What does Mrs. Zman have to say about this subject? Now that is I am certain an interesting question.

    IMO your cash flow problem is a very solvable one, you just have to practice what you preach, and do it all on YOUR terms. (PS: This is the Rush Limbaugh business model. He does not promote anything that he does not use and loves or has an extensive first hand knowledge of, he can not be bought either.

    (PS: When you adjust your brain to my suggestions I am expecting a full blown Hat Tip :)

  • Cotour: You are being condescending again. It is a very bad habit.

    1. Who said I had a cash flow problem? Please don’t spread unfounded rumors.

    2. And you seem not to have noticed something that to anyone should be very obvious: I already do everything on “my terms” and no one else’s.

  • Cotour

    You are correct, I should have said “Improve” or “Supplement” your income. I have not one clue as to your cash flow situation. But it is not unreasonable to assume that because you do have a fund raising drive that cash flow is an on going concern, just like it is for pretty much everyone who visits BTB or draws breath on planet earth. If you are in business, any business, cash flow or developing a new or different stream is always an ongoing consideration.

    And while you are doing things on your terms and have been doing so for all of this time and do not wish to create a conflict of interest there are reasonable adjustments that can be made to your business / no ads model that may well supplement your income and create an entire new aspect to your model. But that is certainly up to you.

    One slightly elongated scrolling advertising panel right under your books containing very specific Zman endorsed / approved items or services would not be objectionable to me.

    “Condescending”? I used a smiley face :)

  • F16 Guy

    I, personally, have no issues with RZ being the boss, and making 100% of the decisions, as it should be.
    However, I belong to a running group, and for years the ineffective leader only obtained 2-3 sponsors to help with costs. Last year a new guy took over, and already he has nearly 15 sponsors of the club. They provide dollars for advertising, nothing more. All it takes is a little persuasion, I guess. Admittedly, seeking advertisers can be a blessing or a curse !
    Robert, thanks for all you do.

  • Slatey Cleavage

    For continued support, Bob, a “thank you” would do wonders.

  • Slatey: Are you suggesting an individual thank you to each contributor? I would love to do this, but if I was I would either have no time for anything else, or be forced to send a stock form letter, which I dislike.

    I have been made it a point to thank everyone frequently both on the webpage and on the air for their generosity. I can’t express how grateful I am.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

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