Although the leaves aren’t completely off all trees yet — our red maple seems to be hanging on to its leaves with grim determination — there’s no doubt that we’re sliding headlong into winter. On Sunday, we enjoyed a long walk, to take advantage of the blue skies and sunshine, even though it was windy, and I remarked to my wife that the light already had a wintery quality, with early afternoon feeling like the supper hour was just around the corner.

Yesterday, I performed the annual ritual of cleaning out and reorganizing the garage so my wife could park her car in it on snow days, and we’ve started talking with growing enthusiasm about our next scuba diving trip, now that I’ve made the final payment to our travel agent. In past years, I would be facing the string of social events at work during the lead up to Christmas. They represented a sort of checklist of things that must be done before escaping into the holidays, but now, the only Christmas office parties will be in my own kitchen, with a dog who won’t insist on congratulatory speeches although a treat or two are expected.

Even though I’m a writer living in my own imagination most of the time, I’m not immune to the constant media bombardment of current event news. I often wonder how much they influence my story development, even though my protagonists won’t be born for another four or five hundred years. But then, as a lifelong student of history, I also know that humanity has a tendency to repeat mistakes over and over because human nature has changed little over millennia. Lust for wealth, power, sex, and fame are still today as they were when first discussed by the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. Religious fanaticism has existed since the first humans disagreed on the nature of God or the gods. Corrupt, self-serving politicians are a given, even in the most advanced trust-based societies, let alone those still based on kinship or tribalism.

As a result, it’s difficult to write about future societies without seeming, in the eyes of some readers, to make reference to and comment on present day events. The odd reader might even deduce (for the most part erroneously) my own political leanings. However, since I do not believe in the perfectibility of humankind, I expect our descendants, even centuries in the future, to act in ways not all that different from today. It’s a theme I explored in Like Stars in Heaven (albeit heavily influenced by Arnold Toynbee, to whom I was exposed in my college history classes.) and it’s become a common thread in the Decker’s War series.

Anyways, enough philosophizing. I’m most of the way through the final revision of Howling Stars in preparation for the submission to my editor. Another day or two of sustained effort and I’ll be done.