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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Some squeals from the right: Don’t cut defense

Some squeals from the right: Don’t cut defense.

As much as I think it necessary to aggressively fight the wars we are in, I have no doubt that the budget of the Defense Department could be trimmed by significant amounts, without harming our capabilities in the slightest.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


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


If Patreon or Paypal don'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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Kelly Starks

    Have to disagree with you here Bob. I think Defense (though done wastefully in many ways like acquisitions) is one place we’ve really been underfunding. Hence, to few solders deployed for to long, obsolete and deteriorating aircraft, ships, ground craft – etc.

    We could argue about not wasting so much on gov pork and such — but unless your going to completely redo how congress and the US contracts for things (politically – good luck with that) cuts will likely do real harm, and increase the confidence and agressivnes of everyone from Islamofacists – to China.

  • To get a fix on the magnitude of the task facing reforming Defense acquisitions, understand this. The process is governed by thousands upon thousands of pages of laws, each yielding reams upon reams of administrative regulation. In addition, you’ve on the order of a hundred thousand judicially enforceable contracts. Every step of the acquisition exposes itself to litigation.

    We simply don’t know what happens when you start taking a hatchet to this overgrown thicket, and unlike NASA the Department of Defense performs a vital, constitutionally mandated function of government.

  • Kelly Starks

    Just a nit – but we do know what it was like without all these regulations — since we purchased things BEFoRE we wrote them.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *