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website themes: fiction about science --  environmental ethics -- environmental issues -- science journalism -- progress -- limits to growth -- women in science -- women in espionage -- dark side of science -- environmental language -- environmental writing --





above: How many Trucks are enough trucks? -- A technopolitana image






Stories of Human Science,
Progress, Destiny

Stories of the Dark Side of Human Science,Invention,
Progress & Destiny

 Read the opening section of the Technopolitana novel named >>>>





Was old man Edwards awake? Or were these flashes in his mind dreams? November 1945! Flash! Like flash news cameras. War over! Atom bombs! Demobilization! President Truman already in trouble. At the very personal level his son Gareth was home and alive. A new drug called penicillin had saved his life. Progress…            
Progress? Such pain for a life saving chemical. His description of the pain of the injections for this penicillin defied reason. As to his shoulder, there was no doubt he still had acute pain – nerves bones, everything had been shattered by the enemy shrapnel – Belgium a terrible winter ago -- and you heard him nights.  And yet it happened. The chemical saved his life. The senior doc had said about the woman.
            Which woman? Gareth’s voice had trailed off.
            His son shrugged and turned away. ‘Not like that, Dad,’ he said later. ‘The doc said ‘she changed’… Changed what?
            ‘Changed this chemical?’
             No answer. Woman? Chemicals? He's drowsy. Getting old.
Wake, man!. The eastbound train is coming The Baby Ben alarm clock was clanging and he put his hand out to stop it. Ed Senior was the stationman at the little high settlement of Alderson, West Virginia.

Read on >>>>

Or read about the background to the Technopolitana idea, below. There are other excerpts from the novel Penicillium -- this comes under the Technopolitana banner


My visit to Ireland, not meeting who I intended to see....then turned positive... meeting Francine, first hearing of Nathalie -- and of the Technopolitana idea



Unlikely location -- unlikely event. October 16, 2016. Worry about a friend. I remember this building. See left. Private Lake. Shore Fishing Only.... Something was not going to be right. 8 am I stopped the car by this fishing hut in Connemara, had some coffee in its shelter. I was going to visit 'Spy' Nielsen who lived north of here. He was a war zone reporter -- Bosnia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and now green issues, rain forest cut for palm oil, illegal logging in the USA. He was staying at a house his late father had bought in Ireland. He said he had stress. Did he just need a  rest or was he suffering from serious traumatic stress disorder? He'd seen the lot. I drove on.
Craggam Lodge, inherited from Spy's father, was larger than I remembered. How had his father acquired this place? Eventually, following a side branch off the main river of this story, the unhappy answer became clear.
       That's for later. I reached Craggam Lodge at 9.15, watery sun, leaves off the trees. Worries, even here. Can the environment get the attention it needs?  Mayhem in Syria? Why has Spy gone into the country?
      Park, go to the front door, knock. No Spy. No one home.
      Look to the left of the house.  Behind the bush, you can see the pale shadow of another white building where I met Francine.
       She had the story. She was from  Davis, California.
                                >> read right>>

   >>>>I walked up the river with her, glad to be out of the car. 'That's where I swim,' she said. (see left)
    'In October?' I asked.
    'You never know with fashion models,' she said. 'Spy walked out on me. He told me you'd come.'
     I was a friend of Spy's. I had never met her. She wanted to talk. She  came here four days ago. Spy had papers that showed her grandmother had had a false identity. 

A Technopolitana book

A novel >>>

Through meeting Francine, I met Nathalie Armstrong who had taken a false identity. And I met her backer, the man who helped to put her in as an an underground scientist -- a role that led to her being a player in the Pencicillium story.

The backer was the American reporter and documentarist, Bill Rutland. Rutland had invented the Planet Techolpolitana idea.

Francine asked me to help edit the first part of the grandmother's story which is called Penicillium



>>> link to writing from Penicillium & the background to Rutland and Technopolitana





Walking and Talking late with Francine  about Nathalie Armstrong -- a woman suppressed by history.

From western wilderness to penicillin: Rutland wrote in the 1920s on the destruction of US virgin forest, the exploitation of bird species for the hat trade and the need for wilderness. Determined not to be polemical, he moved to more generally writing about progress, about the benefits of oil versus the pollution caused by drilling, about mass production of automobiles versus the exploitation of the workforce, about the chemical industry and cancer, about the need for water and the Colorado River not getting to the sea. He invented Planet Technopolitana as a place where science and progress had a bright side and a dark side. In 1938 he was sent to London to look favorably at the dark side of technology: were the British paying enough attention brutal new weapons in order to fend off Hitler?
          It was an unusual mission and it led to him meeting a fiercely ambitious young woman scientist who needed to change course.
          This was Nathalie, grandmother of Francine.

This is a project where non-fiction, a factual basis, underlies fictional stories -- two books about the complex and controversial development of penicillin in World War II -- centered on the underground role of Nathalie. The penicillin story is in part about a bitter and deep Anglo-American rift. Nathalie was caught in this --  a woman scientist who history forgot until Francine was told by Spy of the existence of the papers in the Irish house.

Bill Rutland features in these books, a reporter who wrote about progress and about its dark side. Also forgotten, he is a critic of science and progress in a way that Francine and I consider important. Part of this website relates to attempts to address that.

If espionage stories feed on the underside of diplomacy, the Planet Technopolitana idea tries to do the same to the underside of what moves our lives -- science, progress & growth.




                                                                         Documentary basis of the
                                                                                        Penicillium novels. So secret
                                                                                        was this project & so bad the
                                                                                        Anglo-American tensions, that
                                                                                        even clinical reports were not declassified until
                                                                                        the 1990s. See US govt date 10/7/97 above.




Opening of Penicillium I  -- meeting Nathalie.. Five weeks earlier: Bill Rutland of the American weekly NOW! is sent to London on an unorthodox mission The unorthodox recruitment of an unsettled woman....
Bill Rutland, the last dying wolf and the sense humans were loosing touch..... The TEChNOPOLITANA fiction project -- some notes  

All this site and work within it is © copyright Francis James Gladstone  2019..


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