. “I want to be a cyborg.” –Sam Bellotto Jr (cover art by Peter Saga for 12-Feb-2014 Perihelion Science Fiction) #GottaLove Robots byPeterSaga!
Me too! We all do, Sam – certainly, all we who feel the effects of gravity on our aging bodies, the toll of living on a planet that doesn’t yet have E.T.’s magic fingertip healing all our injuries and ills. (More on that in a minute.)
“IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS, I am going to turn 70,” Sam wrote in his 12-Sept-2016 editorial While My Left Wrist Heals at Perihelion Science Fiction. “I’m quite healthy for an old geezer. One of the front liners of the Baby Boom generation. I like to flip the Grim Reaper the bird.” Alas, Sam, hubris (not to mention mere optimism) never goes unpunished.
“I realized that my left hand hurt like a sonofabitch,” Sam continued. “It wasn’t swollen, or discolored. But I couldn’t use it. Even tying my shoes was incredibly painful. I saw my doctor. X-rays were taken. Nothing of any great concern showed up on the radiography. Meds prescribed…I should take the pain medication as directed and get plenty of rest.”
On the bright side, all work on the 12-SEPT-2016 issue of “Perihelion” was done, except for the Editorial. “I have no more desire to type one-handed,” he said, so he posted excerpts from a golden age of editorials, including this:
February, 2014. “A Cyborg’s Life for Me.”
When I get out of bed, my knees hurt. My toes hurt, too. Lack of cartilage in the joints. The bones rub against each other, and this is painful. My mother suffered from osteoarthritis for a good chunk of her life. She had a number of surgeries to alleviate the condition. But I don’t want the doctors to replace bone with the equivalent in titanium. I want to be a cyborg. Cyborg, cyborg man, I gotta be a cyborg man!
D. Strologo, 9-12-2013 Perihelion cover
Sam continued typing one-handed, noticed his swollen knee getting even more swollen, and figured it was nothing he couldn’t handle. Until the pain was more than he can handle. He summoned an ambulance, got neighbors to watch over his Labrador Retriever, and nearly died before Emergency Room could lance his knee, drain a nasty infection, get him on antibiotics and painkillers, and fight to keep Sam’s heart from being the next stop on that evil staphylococcus bug’s tour of Sam’s body.
It was a dark and scary time. Thanks to all who sent their wishes for a speedy recovery. Sam has several weeks of emails to catch up on, but at least he can type well enough to get the November issue out (just not to reply to everything in his inbox).
The October 2016 Perihelion was delayed a month. Sam could only be administered so much pain medication, so it took some time in physical therapy before Sam was finally sent home. (Yes, his dog is overjoyed.) Founded in 1967 by Sam Bellotto and Eric Jones as college students who published Dean Koontz before anyone else did, and scoring interviews with Asimov and others, Perihelion resumed publication in November, 2012. Fitting that after the October near-death incident, Perihelion will resume in November, 2016, with an all-new issue full of fresh, original stories, reviews, comics, articles, and artwork by Peter Saga, one of my personal favorites. A little bird told me PENGUINS find their way onto the November cover. #Ican’tWait!
A review of Joseph Green’s anthology will go live the twelfth of November. Yes, *the* Joseph Green, a peer of Asimov, Clarke, and all those golden-agers, is still writing! He has a new novel coming down the pike, and he’ll anthologize half a dozen short stories written in recent years as Perihelion exclusives. #GottaLoveJoeGreen!
Wildside Press (4-Sept-2016)
The amazing Chet Gottfried, novelist, short story writer and contributor to Perihelion, will share some of his secrets for capturing incredible, gorgeous, and amazing images of bugs (not the staph kind, but spidery and insecty bugs). #This I gotta see!
Also coming in November or December, a new cartoon from Betsy Streeter to go with a just-for-fun exploration on How to Destroy the Earth from various Perihelion authors – and an article on UFOs from Preston Dennett. No spoilers from me on what’s in it, but I’m hoping Dennett has more evidence of UFO Healings: True Accounts of People Healed by Extraterrestrials . You can also see and hear Dennett via his video at youtube: Extraterrestrials Healing Humans. Now, to get these ETs to visit Sam and cure him of his arthritis, if not grant his wish and make a cyborg out of him.
Back to that 2014 editorial. Sam wrote:
I don’t want to see my original leg with a lengthy scar over the knee. I want to see a glistening metal leg that makes a faint whirring noise when it moves, powered by an internal pencil-point-sized nuclear reactor. The advantages are numerous; aside from being impervious to mosquito bites, the cybernetic leg would never tire. I could stand on it for hours. It would also contain a programmable GPS system that I could set for a specific route or destination, and let the leg do all the walking. Okay, my other real leg would still be required, primarily for balance, but that’s significantly less work than it does right now. Using a cyborg leg would be almost like driving a car. I could relax, enjoy the scenery, maybe even grab a short snooze while the leg gets me to my destination, on the right.
Let’s not stop there. I’ve a bit of arthritis in my elbows and wrists, too. My arms have never been all that strong. During my 30s when I was probably in the best physical shape I ever was, I jogged three miles per day, but could only manage twenty pull-ups (pronated grip). I’m right-handed, so I am looking to replace my right arm assembly. In addition to the benefits of no more pain and extra strength, I would like to weaponize that arm. Legally licensed, of course. I’m thinking small arms, something in a 9mm automatic that fires from the wrist. I wouldn’t want to replace the hand itself. Four fingers and an opposable thumb are still one of the greatest inventions of the Cenozoic Era. With programmable digits that can fly across the keyboard at lightning speed, however, I’d be able to write, typo-free, and simultaneously use my left hand for drinking coffee.
I approve. Sign me up, too!
“I can put cataract surgery in my Amazon Wish List for my eightieth birthday,” Sam wrote in his September 2016 editorial, before he had any inkling he’d wind up at death’s door before his seventieth birthday. “Contributions are welcome.”
Unless, of course, Dennett dispatches those miracle-healer ETs before then…
I’m one of many wishing you a belated Happy Birthday (!) and a complete recovery, Sam! Sssshh, Don’t Tell, but here is the most recent photo I’ve seen of Sam 🙂 – classic!