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.

45 Republicans vote against Paul Ryan nomination

The Republicans have nominated Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) for Speaker of the House with only 200 of 245 votes.

Those 45 members are enough to block him from getting the Speakership during the partisan floor vote on Thursday — if the 45 GOP legislators maintain their opposition, and if Ryan is not aided by a last-minute bloc of Democratic votes.

During the closed-door conference, Ryan won just 200 votes for the nomination. Former Florida House Speaker Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) earned a whopping 43 votes. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — who isn’t officially running for Speaker — received one vote. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who dropped out of the Speakership race a couple weeks ago, got one vote as well.

The failure on Ryan’s part to win 218 votes—the threshold for anyone to win the Speakership on the House floor assuming every member of the House is present and voting for a person—is a major embarrassment on his part.

If those who opposed Ryan in this Republican vote maintain that opposition when the whole House votes, the only way Ryan can become Speaker is if he gets Democratic votes. If that happens than either he won’t become Speaker or the Republican Party faces a breakup.

Based on recent events with the budget deal, it might make sense for some of these fake conservatives in the Republican Party to admit their real loyalty and join the Democrats. The conservatives would then probably lose control of Congress, but at least we would know where people honestly stood.

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:

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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

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  • Phill O

    Consider this; the left will not compromise so the right is the side that always compromises to get things done. Being able to work across the aisle is touted as good, but it means the right always has to compromise. The things John B. indicates he won on against the Dems were all small ticket items. The stuff that really matters, they have caved on. When one governs on the right (things that are good for the country) one loses power as seen in Canada with Stephen Harper in the past election. Why? Basic personal greed! Folk will always vote for the things that matter to them, not the good of the country. The politicians know this and their motivation is power. In order to keep power, they will give people stuff.

    Those who look out for the country’s good are looking at long term benefit to themselves. In a healthy economy, there are jobs and people have buying power. One can run a viable business within a country when people have buying power.

    I am somewhat surprised at how quickly Ryan bought into the Washington power grab.

    What we are seeing is worldwide. Remember the French revolution; we are seeing something similar in that the masses are voting for what they can get for themselves. Greece is a good example of this and that there is no compromise by the masses.

  • Cotour


    You always wanted to know how the politically empowered among us become so wealthy, right?

    Paul Ryan, big government RINO and anti Trumper, is moving back to Washington D.C., a place that he “Despises”. (Really?)

    Why? I am certain to be a lobbyist and fixer and to work for the Fox corporation.

    What else will be be doing?

    Funneling the remaining $7 MILLION dollars left in his campaign funds to his Foundation “The American Idea Foundation”. (What an original name)

    And now we understand why there are sooooo many Democrat candidates in the race, all of that dirty filthy money that has been sent to them in support for their presidential campaign now is giant nest egg that pays and pays for years to come carrying salaries and overhead for their “Foundations”.

    Its really quite a scam, all while these ex politicos of both party’s rake in millions in fees and salaries as a result of their new careers, usually further selling out the American people who has generously funnded their activities.

    Does that satisfy your curiosity about how politicians become so wealthy? Now you know.

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