5/5
5/5

OMG!! Early reviews say this is a blockbuster of a novel. Long-awaited next Rothstein novel coming June 3.  For sneak peak of Chapter 1, click on book cover.

5/5
political suspense novels

It’s Always Something

Remember Gilda Radner? Maybe not. That was nearly a half century and a thousand episodes of Saturday Night Live ago. She was one of the seven original cast members, memorable for playing so many comic characters, including her Rosannadana.

Rosannadana was a regular on the show’s “Weekend Update,” never failing to including “It’s always something. If it’s not this it’s that. If it’s not that, it’s this.” That doesn’t sound very funny as words on paper. But in Rosannadana’s telling, and everything she said following, and how she it said it, it was hysterical.

Gilda Radner died of cancer in 1987, five years after marrying comic actor Gene Wilder. Oh, how I would have loved an invitation to dinner at that home.

She’s been gone a long time, now, but the wisdom of ‘It’s Always Something,” lives on. Whether in our personal lives or a worldly view, “something” is always happening worth talking about or writing about.

So, I think it’s fitting that I channel Rosannadana in writing this column. Sometimes it will be light-hearted, sometimes earnestly serious. Whatever “something” happens to capture my attention.

For this inaugural edition, let’s start with a bit of shameless promotion about my new novel, “The Moment of Menace,” scheduled for May publication.

Here’s a bit of background on why I wrote this story.

A century ago, those who lived in the United States and other economically developed countries were experiencing an unprecedented wave of technological change. Electricity lit their homes. Telephones and radio revolutionized communications. Automobiles replaced horses. Airplanes created a whole new form of transportation for commerce and personal travel.

If you were alive then you did not need to know anything about electricity or the internal combustion engine or why heavier than air vehicles didn’t fall from the sky. You just knew that they worked and that you could light your home without candles, buy a car or make a telephone call. The changes were revolutionary, but you could understand them.

There was a dark side to those changes as well. Airplanes could carry bombs as well as the mail. Radio could be used by dictators to mobilize populations to go to war. The same technology that made automobiles possible could be used to build tanks.

And the dark side resulted in dreadful consequences. Multiple wars. Tens of millions dead. Destruction of cities and countries on a scale never before experienced.

In our own time we are experiencing an even more profound wave of change. Science has made it possible to manipulate the very building blocks of life. Artificial intelligence is creating a digital world well beyond the human brain’s capacity to perform. Robots are assuming ever more jobs we always considered part of the human domain. Quantum computing promises to move all of this and more into an even faster developing dimension.

Unlike past change, few of us understand any of this. We hear that mRNA manipulation has made a Covid vaccine possible much more quickly than past knowledge would have produced. We know that editing of human cells holds promise for curing disease. As the new techno-scientific world develops, we see opportunities to deploy all of this new knowledge to end hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, body-ravaging labor.

But there’s a dark side. And this dark side holds the threat not just to destroy cities, but human existence itself through ever more powerful weapons delivered by a computer program without human intervention. The same technology creating life-saving vaccines can be used to produce designer-babies unlike any born. In laboratories and research centers the world over, work is going on that moves the boundaries of what we’ve all considered human existence.

How does society reap the benefits without suffering the consequences? It’s a question seldom asked, but the consequences of a decision gone wrong, a serious mistake, a deadly power falling into malign hands, are all too imaginable.

Can democratic government provide the answers? That’s the question at the core of “Menace.”
Three decades ago, a meeting at Kyoto, Japan confirmed the threat of a warming planet and produced a plan for dealing with it. Three decades later, with unprecedented heat, fire, storm, flood, drought, and climate-related migration accelerating even beyond the Kyoto forecasts, governments still have not responded in a manner equal to the threat.

Eight decades ago, atomic bombs were used in warfare. The danger of their use again has not receded. More nations have them stockpiled. Delivery systems remain trigger-ready, and with delivery speeds now approaching hypersonic levels.

Even a technology seemingly as benign as the Internet has been transformed into the beating heart of political turmoil and repression.

I wrote The Moment of Menace and its prequel, The Salvation Project to imagine these threats in the context of fiction. But the question addressed is our reality. How does democracy survive in this age of advanced science?

The irony is that aside from nuclear weapons, much of what is being created can contribute to a golden age—a better life for all who come after us. Far from being bleak, the future can be glorious. Can it be both glorious and remain the democratic system most of us cherish? That’s the question The Moment of Menace addresses.

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Why I Write

Joe Rothstein’

Welcome to my corner of the Internet. It’s where I talk about my novels and about current events. I have a lot to discuss.

 

I sat down to write my first book when I was in my 20s. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could not write a book because I had nothing useful to say. I’d have to live my life first. Among other things, between then and now:

 

–I was the advance man for a traveling automobile stunt show. In the act I was “Suicide Saunders.” (That’s my next book). 

 

–I sat, as an aide to the governor of Alaska, in the private quarters of the top military commander in Alaska, while he clutched a red telephone expecting a call telling him we were at nuclear war with Russia over the Cuban missile crisis. 

 

–I experienced the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history, in Alaska, and worked on rebuilding in the aftermath.

 

–I became editor of a daily newspaper, The Anchorage Daily News, before I was 30.

 

–I flew as a passenger with the Navy’s Blue Angels (and have the photo to prove it).

 

—-As chief of staff of a United States Senator I was deeply involved in the Pentagon Papers episode.

 

–I was political consultant to Congressman Peter Rodino of New Jersey as he presided of Richard Nixon’s impeachment.

 

–I worked as strategist and media producer to help elect and re-elect nine U.S. Senators, dozens of members of Congress, and countless other candidates.

 

–I’ve started five businesses, one which went public, and another that’s become an important Internet news distribution service.

 

–Also, I’ve had the experience of raising four sons and, among other things, coaching their Little League baseball team, which was one of the most intense political experiences I’ve ever had.

 

And now, in my 80s, I’ve written three novels with two more in progress. Having something to say no longer is an obstacle.

 

My first three novels feature a charismatic Mexican-American heiress who becomes the president of the United States and is confronted with a series of events like none other in U.S. history.

 

I hope you enjoy them. And if my words and thoughts in these novels and my current events blogs prompt responses from you, please share them with me at jrothstein@rothstein.net.

Newsletter

Want Joe’s opinion blogs delivered by email. Just give us your address here.

It’s Always Something

political suspense novels

Remember Gilda Radner? Maybe not. That was nearly a half century and a thousand episodes of Saturday Night Live ago. She was one of the seven original cast members, memorable for playing so many comic characters, including her Rosannadana.

Rosannadana was a regular on the show’s “Weekend Update,” never failing to including “It’s always something. If it’s not this it’s that. If it’s not that, it’s this.” That doesn’t sound very funny as words on paper. But in Rosannadana’s telling, and everything she said following, and how she it said it, it was hysterical.

Gilda Radner died of cancer in 1987, five years after marrying comic actor Gene Wilder. Oh, how I would have loved an invitation to dinner at that home.

She’s been gone a long time, now, but the wisdom of ‘It’s Always Something,” lives on. Whether in our personal lives or a worldly view,

“something” is always happening worth talking about or writing about. So, I think it’s fitting that I channel Rosannadana in writing this column. Sometimes it will be light-hearted, sometimes earnestly serious. Whatever “something” happens to capture my attention.

For this inaugural edition, let’s start with a bit of shameless promotion about my new novel, “The Moment of Menace,” scheduled for May publication.

Here’s a bit of background on why I wrote this story.

A century ago, those who lived in the United States and other economically developed countries were experiencing an unprecedented wave of technological change. Electricity lit their homes. Telephones and radio revolutionized communications. Automobiles replaced horses. Airplanes created a whole new form of transportation for commerce and personal travel.

If you were alive then you did not need to know anything about electricity or the internal combustion engine or why heavier than air vehicles didn’t fall from the sky. You just knew that they worked and that you could light your home without candles, buy a car or make a telephone call. The changes were revolutionary, but you could understand them.

There was a dark side to those changes as well. Airplanes could carry bombs as well as the mail. Radio could be used by dictators to mobilize populations to go to war. The same technology that made automobiles possible could be used to build tanks.

And the dark side resulted in dreadful consequences. Multiple wars. Tens of millions dead. Destruction of cities and countries on a scale never before experienced.

In our own time we are experiencing an even more profound wave of change. Science has made it possible to manipulate the very building blocks of life. Artificial intelligence is creating a digital world well beyond the human brain’s capacity to perform. Robots are assuming ever more jobs we always considered part of the human domain. Quantum computing promises to move all of this and more into an even faster developing dimension.

Unlike past change, few of us understand any of this. We hear that mRNA manipulation has made a Covid vaccine possible much more quickly than past knowledge would have produced. We know that editing of human cells holds promise for curing disease. As the new techno-scientific world develops, we see opportunities to deploy all of this new knowledge to end hunger, homelessness, illiteracy, body-ravaging labor.

But there’s a dark side. And this dark side holds the threat not just to destroy cities, but human existence itself through ever more powerful weapons delivered by a computer program without human intervention. The same technology creating life-saving vaccines can be used to produce designer-babies unlike any born. In laboratories and research centers the world over, work is going on that moves the boundaries of what we’ve all considered human existence.

How does society reap the benefits without suffering the consequences? It’s a question seldom asked, but the consequences of a decision gone wrong, a serious mistake, a deadly power falling into malign hands, are all too imaginable.

Can democratic government provide the answers? That’s the question at the core of “Menace.”
Three decades ago, a meeting at Kyoto, Japan confirmed the threat of a warming planet and produced a plan for dealing with it. Three decades later, with unprecedented heat, fire, storm, flood, drought, and climate-related migration accelerating even beyond the Kyoto forecasts, governments still have not responded in a manner equal to the threat.

Eight decades ago, atomic bombs were used in warfare. The danger of their use again has not receded. More nations have them stockpiled. Delivery systems remain trigger-ready, and with delivery speeds now approaching hypersonic levels.

Even a technology seemingly as benign as the Internet has been transformed into the beating heart of political turmoil and repression.

I wrote The Moment of Menace and its prequel, The Salvation Project to imagine these threats in the context of fiction. But the question addressed is our reality. How does democracy survive in this age of advanced science?

The irony is that aside from nuclear weapons, much of what is being created can contribute to a golden age—a better life for all who come after us. Far from being bleak, the future can be glorious. Can it be both glorious and remain the democratic system most of us cherish? That’s the question The Moment of Menace addresses.

5/5
5/5

OMG!! Early reviews say this is a blockbuster of a novel. Long-awaited next Rothstein novel coming June 3.  For sneak peak of Chapter 1, click on book cover.

5/5

Why I Write

Joe Rothstein’

Welcome to my corner of the Internet. It’s where I talk about my novels and about current events. I have a lot to discuss.

 

I sat down to write my first book when I was in my 20s. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could not write a book because I had nothing useful to say. I’d have to live my life first. Among other things, between then and now:

 

–I was the advance man for a traveling automobile stunt show. In the act I was “Suicide Saunders.” (That’s my next book). 

 

–I sat, as an aide to the governor of Alaska, in the private quarters of the top military commander in Alaska, while he clutched a red telephone expecting a call telling him we were at nuclear war with Russia over the Cuban missile crisis. 

 

–I experienced the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history, in Alaska, and worked on rebuilding in the aftermath.

 

–I became editor of a daily newspaper, The Anchorage Daily News, before I was 30.

 

–I flew as a passenger with the Navy’s Blue Angels (and have the photo to prove it).

 

—-As chief of staff of a United States Senator I was deeply involved in the Pentagon Papers episode.

 

–I was political consultant to Congressman Peter Rodino of New Jersey as he presided of Richard Nixon’s impeachment.

 

–I worked as strategist and media producer to help elect and re-elect nine U.S. Senators, dozens of members of Congress, and countless other candidates.

 

–I’ve started five businesses, one which went public, and another that’s become an important Internet news distribution service.

 

–Also, I’ve had the experience of raising four sons and, among other things, coaching their Little League baseball team, which was one of the most intense political experiences I’ve ever had.

 

And now, in my 80s, I’ve written three novels with two more in progress. Having something to say no longer is an obstacle.

 

My first three novels feature a charismatic Mexican-American heiress who becomes the president of the United States and is confronted with a series of events like none other in U.S. history.

 

I hope you enjoy them. And if my words and thoughts in these novels and my current events blogs prompt responses from you, please share them with me at jrothstein@rothstein.net.

Newsletter

Want Joe’s opinion blogs delivered by email. Just give us your address here.