In memory of…

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.

A evening pause: It is important to remind ourselves repeatedly of the lengths that evil people will go to exert their will on innocents, merely for the sake of power.

The song, “Wake me up when September ends,” is by Green Day.


Every July, to celebrate the anniversary of the start of Behind the Black in 2010, I hold a month-long fund-raising campaign to make it possible for me to continue my work here for another year.

This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

Therefore, I hope you will 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:

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


  • R. Reed

    Forgetfulness is our greatest sin.
    As has been said by someone, somewhere, at some time.

    Memories eternal.

  • Cotour

    “It is important to remind ourselves repeatedly of the lengths that evil people will go to exert their will on innocents, merely for the sake of power.” ( Well said, sounds familiar. Have you done some independent evidence reviewing and truly independent objective thinking?)

    On September 11th, as I have now done for the past 10 or so years, I hang two very large American flags over the two front windows of my building symbolizing the two towers as a reminder. People will stop me and tell me how they respect the display. BUT, as time goes on I seem to be the only person that does so. There are less and less every year, it seems.

    In the morning the other day I went to my local dinner and as I waited for my order I picked up the Daily news and noticed within the list of the names of the people that disappeared, through no fault of their own other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time on the morning of September 11th, 2001. The print was small and the list fully filled four pages, its a lot of names that represented real living and breathing people. Not to mention all the rest who will die from exposure to the poisonous atmosphere as they rummaged through it all during the rescue and clean up.

    I understood long ago that really any one of us could have worked or had some essential business in those buildings on that morning. Or any one of us could have been on any one of those planes that morning, traveling here or there for business or pleasure. Timing truly is everything in life. At the wrong place at the wrong time and through no fault of your own you get to be introduced to the ultimate question (and answer) that humanity has pondered since humanity pondered.

    Here today, fully alive and engaged in the details of life, the good, the bad and the ugly, and through no fault of your own, gone tomorrow. I take a very existential point of view on some of these things. The universe and existence ultimately is really a cold and brutal deal, mother nature is a harsh bitch, and we will all some day, at some moment, know the answer to the ultimate question. And we (Humans) however are able to disconnect from many of the harsh realities of existence because we are “special”, we are “different”, so we think.

    Let none of us be naive and may we understand the obligation that we (Humans) have to understand, to use our individual common sense, and as a general rule lets allow no one to deprive any of us indiscriminately of our existence. Not without knowing the truth real truth of how and why, anyway. Its the least we can do.

  • Cotour wrote, “Well said, sounds familiar. Have you done some independent evidence reviewing and truly independent objective thinking?”

    As usual, you begin your comment with a condescending air, implying that I, your host, is generally stupid and thick-headed, and this one time appears to have used his brain. You also imply that without your wise advise I could never think for myself.

    This is not the way you persuade people. This is how you turn them off. And you have succeeded quite well.

  • Cotour

    And when you do the same, assume a “condescending air” that is a “good” thing? When you put words in my mouth, that is acceptable?

    Discount my not so veiled sarcasm and discard your need to be stroked (ego) and we may make some progress here. I must assume that you have your own curiosities on the subject and have done some pondering, but you know what is said about assuming.

    My arguments and persuading on any subject that I choose to comment on is done through laying down hard to argue with logic and understanding. Disagree? Want to refute it? Go right ahead, I encourage it. I am not here to hold anyone’s hand. Nor do I want my hand held.

  • wayne

    60% of communication is non-verbal and all anyone has to go on here, is the text they read. Way too much nuance is loss in Text.
    (You might have struck 2-3 sentences, and it would have come across infinitely better. And Yes– it had a bit of that condescending flair, that you do enjoy.)

    on the upside– good deal with the Flags.

  • Cotour

    In the context of the forum that we find ourselves I do not have time to communicate in any other way other than directly and without ambiguity. And that appears to be my natural style, which I modify to certain degrees, but I fully embrace it. Boiled down its meant to be confrontational to status quo thinking and thought provoking.

    Yes, the flags are a large and an appropriate touch, its the least I can do.

    (its all on the upside on this side)

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