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.

No Zimmerman/Batchelor podcasts this week

For those who are eager to get their Zimmerman space updates by listening to my regular Tuesday and Thursday podcasts with John Batchelor, I am sorry to say that we likely will not have any this week.

I am suffering from a bad case of bronchitis which does not allow me to utter more than a sentence or two without going into a fit of coughing. Talking on the radio for twenty minutes is thus quite difficult. Last week I managed to get through two podcasts with John plus a two hour appearance on the Space Show, but this week the condition seems to have worsened.

I have done the doctor routine, and the condition is being addressed. If all goes as hoped and the meds do their job, things could be better as soon as Friday, which means John and I might do a podcast then. More likely it will have to wait until next week. Then, however, Batchelor will be on the road, so any podcast will be done live instead our normal taping, which means my throat will have to be even better. We shall have to wait to see how things go.

For me personally, the worst part of this is that it is occurring in July, during my annual fund-raising drive. Without question I have found that not being on the John Batchelor show has hurt the campaign. Thus, if you are reading this and have thought about donating to Behind the Black, this would especially be a good time to do so. Your support now would be doubly appreciated.

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, 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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c/o Robert Zimmerman
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  • Localfluff

    I’ve heard you having a cold since last week or so. Is it a cave virus? Get well!

  • t-dub

    Get well soon Robert!!!

  • Cotour

    Q: Do you believe that your condition might be related to your recent trip to the caves in Belize?

    Seeing that the doctors quarantined the young soccer team members for about a week before they were allowed to see their families because of concern for the possible bacterial lung infections they might have acquired in the cave, how much of a concern is it for you going to these caves as you do?

  • Cotour: There is a tiny, very unlikely possibility that I got a case of histoplasmosis while in Belize. I am having a blood test done, just in case. However, X-Rays should have shown it, and the symptoms don’t match.

    Thank you for your concern however.

  • Cotour

    Just one more reason to not go too far into a cave.

    1. Could become trapped by flooding.

    2. Could develop Histoplasmosis.


    3. And this is the one I remember from long ago that sticks in my head where a guy spelunking got stuck in a small passage head down and could not be rescued in time and expired there. Not for the claustrophobic for sure.

    Hope you recover soon.

  • Cotour: I have been trapped by flooding. It is not a reason not to go.

    In fact, the only reason not to do interesting and exciting and challenging things is because you wish to bury your head in the sand and live a life of fear. Forgive me if I don’t like the idea.

  • Cotour


  • wayne

    Cotour/Mr. Z.,
    I wouldn’t discount the airplane ride home from Belize nor navigating the airport as potential causation.
    They don’t filter airplane air all that much or control for the humidity. And…you only have to be coughed upon once, or touch something and then rub your eye to infect yourself.

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