Stop The World, I Want To Get On (Editorial – May 2024).

Hello everyone,

Leaders are the weakest point in any society. People look up to them, for instance, because of their elevated position. They serve not only as positive role models but also as cautionary tales for those who struggle to make wise choices that safeguard society’s most vulnerable members. I assume you may be thinking similarly. Mind you, there will always be people for whom we set good and bad standards by comparing ourselves. It gets more complicated or confusing than that depending on political affiliation and whether any leader or political party is working for the interests of all the country’s people or just those who voted them in, but you get the drift. Leaders don’t necessarily have to be political leaders; celebrities tend to attract some people, too. Expertise in one area does not necessarily translate to expertise in other areas, nor does the number of staff members required to maintain such an image. PR tends to hide their flaws, which really makes them worse. Publishers, attracted to ‘names’ that sell, often ghostwrite many successful best-selling celebrity-turned-writers. Having the two combined tends to give mixed signals. You need to earn leadership, not just by liking someone’s appearance on TV or in movies.

The man or woman on the pedestal, hopefully making the right decisions, influences everything. Things are far more public these days, and all for the good. It prevents information from being concealed for extended periods of time. Democracy functions effectively due to the ability to vote out leaders who do not extend their tenure. Dictatorships will ultimately fail because they depend on one person. He dies. Always a ‘he’ so far. Shame, short of assassination or fleeing, takes a long time. The regime is then vulnerable to overthrow, either through a military takeover or another method of power grab. Eventually, even democracy may emerge in such countries. Occasionally, even democracy is thought of so the people can choose, although even that can be faked. A proper voting system certainly does not limit the choices for removal.

If anything, the degree of sociopathy can measure the difference in leadership. Even when using tax-payer money, some decisions must be more difficult than others, but if done correctly, they should always prioritise the needs of the less well-off over the wealthy. A lot of it is down to choices.

Stop The World, I Want To Get On (Editorial – May 2024).
Stop The World, I Want To Get On (Editorial – May 2024).

A lot of political parties think having lower taxes on their manifestos is a vote-pleaser until it comes to where does the money come from to finance needed public services, so they end up calling money collected anything but tax thinking it fools the public. Hah! It then becomes more a game of semantics than honesty. It’s understandable that people question politicians’ honesty when they engage in this game. If you want public facilities, then the public needs to know what they are contributing to and that they are getting it, and tax is not seen as a dirty word if taken fairly and proportionately.

Leadership should take responsibility for looking after a country’s people first rather than extending beyond the borders. There should be no excessive retaliation against innocent individuals within another country’s territory. Giving war rules to play by really makes excuses to be broken.

So why do I want to say it on this planet? Short of an alien abduction, it’s better than not. To stop or terminate life prematurely should give anyone, let alone leaders, time to reflect on their actions. We need to encourage that feeling across the world. The problem is that such sentiments won’t deter dictators, who tend to ignore them. The world needs to change. We should not limit this change to one side, but it should encompass all. In the past few years, there have just been too many innocent deaths to say it represents freedom.

I’ve previously commented that we are unlikely to attract the best sentient extraterrestrial communication if all we do is fight amongst ourselves. All they will see is a species that is just as likely to attack them as we are. Unlike our terrestrial wars, we try them against a superior species; they would quickly put us in our place in the universe. Totally insignificant. As an intelligent species, we don’t look like a good risk.

How close are we to another world war, especially considering that some parties have access to nuclear weapons? Again, we are in SF reality; do we want the ultimate trope to really happen? The thing is, the aftermath could end up with the leaders getting out of their bunkers and ordering their wars to continue, learning nothing. Hardly a good type of leader. While we haven’t witnessed such a scenario in SF, it’s not difficult to imagine, given that several of them would genuinely desire their people to fight until the very end. So much for the peace experience. The nearest comparison is the original ‘Star Trek’ episode, ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield’. I’m confident that none of these scenarios will ever resonate with us.

Wars on Earth have always been about religion, ideology, or territory, in any order. Fighting to the end is probably not the best strategy. It is preferable to defend against an aggressive country than to succumb to one that could have learned from its mistakes and reduced its losses. People have always believed that World War Two would have made many countries realise the importance of not repeating the same mistakes, but now we find ourselves in a situation where a powder key could potentially burst at any moment, either intentionally or by accident. I don’t care which side initiates it, because, in essence, there are no valid excuses.

If we explore scenarios, it would probably make sense that if the leaders want a fight, then they should do the fighting, not send their people to do it. When you consider their various ages and the likely lack of real fighting experience they have, it would never be a fair fight, even if they chose a proxy representation. You can see the losers disputing the decision for all manner of reasons.

Wars are generally unfair and unbalanced. Even with pacts and cooperation from countries on ‘their side’, as we have seen so far, there is a limit on what is tolerated. Something we haven’t seen yet is allies giving up on one of the protagonists, but that isn’t far off. Likewise, a country’s ally views an opportunity to take over the protagonist as an easily won battle. I’m not mentioning names in all of this to avoid any search engine making SFC a target just for being right.

Being on the brink of a possible third-world war has become increasingly precarious. With the current state of the world, increasing wars, and the mounting death count, far too many innocents are living somewhat shorter lives than they deserve. I wonder how long before one of the dictators is going to say, ‘My war is bigger than your war’ and press the equivalent of the red button. The finality of an SF reality leaves no one to say, ‘This wasn’t a good option.’ I’m not sure if I want to be the only one on this planet to convey that message, but someone will eventually find themselves in that situation.

The problem with Armageddon is that there are never any winners. This has been consistently demonstrated in all forms of science fiction. It won’t end happily for mankind. It won’t stop global warming right away; just replace it with radioactive waste, which will no doubt make many animals extinct. We wouldn’t be alone in that respect. Nature will shrug its shoulders and carry on. No one will care what the wars were about, which puts everything in perspective. Nature doesn’t care.

Thank you, take care, and good night. Life requires a chance.

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: Wars prevent people from dying.

What qualities does a geek have? Question everything. Don’t believe everything without checking.

The revelation: Chemicals are the building blocks of all food. You can’t make it from anything else, although toxicity varies.

The revelation: Do you hear sounds when you dream?


Observation: Advertisements using complicated words, especially those related to hair products, are just to hoodwink you and not question what they are really about. So why buy something you don’t understand?

Computer Observation: Have you ever experienced a lost connection between eBay and your email server? According to online information, the website is undergoing repairs or sending too many communication messages. I tend to store all business with them in a directory. It might just be a fluke or two, but I did get access to the site by using one of their links, which, in turn, turned on all the links.

Computer Observation: How long does it take you to learn how to reboot software in order to get it working properly?

Feeling stressed? You’ve got reason to be.


If you think having free books to review isn’t enough, how about reading them months ahead of everyone else? I mean, real months. It outperforms a time machine. There might actually be a future out there.

I did think that having a lot of text about submitting material to SFCrowsnest would attract those with a compulsion to read and understand things the geek way. The main problem with the Internet is that it tends to encourage less reading, so it’s time to take a different approach. Although the links are unlikely to function, we will retain the original notes in the July 2009 editorial.

With your cover email, tell me something about yourself so I don’t work in a vacuum. Stephen Hunt, the boss in the tower, refers to me as a ‘Dutch Uncle’ because of my ability to provide sound advice and explanations when I identify errors. You should leave your egos at the door, as my sole focus is on your talent and potential for improvement.


I always have a clarification call for new reviewers, and if you have the desire to learn, you’ll quickly get the hang of it, even if you’ve never done it before. However, you must show me a sample, especially if you can follow my guidelines effectively. We can usually get paper-based books in the UK, but if you live abroad, then you might have to stick with ebooks. Use the SFC search engine first if you’ve chosen a book we haven’t reviewed, but I need to see how you would write for us first.

The obvious qualification is a desire to read regularly and tell others about the book without giving away too many spoilers. The benefit is that you can get free books in exchange for a review.

I want to give you the opportunity to get things right, so look up the Review Guidelines link: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-want-to-write-reviews-for-sfcrowsnest-what-you-need-to-know-by-geoff-willmetts/.


Although we can’t pay for submissions, what we do make up for is exposure. Only the Sci-Fi Channel gets more hits than us, so it’s worthwhile getting us on your writer’s CV. Please avoid sampling from books you might be writing or have had in print elsewhere, as I do check. Whether I accept or reject your new original work, I will point out any errors I find to ensure your best appearance and a grammar check that meets professional standards. Even the boss finds me scarily accurate.

Flash or One-Page Fiction:

Speaks for itself. Writing the shortest fiction possible is also the most challenging because every word counts.

For more information, please click here: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/one-page-stories-or-flash-fiction-submissions-instructions-by-gf-willmetts/.

Short Stories:-

The definition of a short story is anything up to 30 pages, and then it becomes a novella. Bear in mind that if you want other people to read it online, stay somewhere between 5 and 20 pages. At least digitally, you don’t have to go double-line, as HTML will do that automatically, but think about being concise. If you want to send an attachment with these, then ask first and send it as a TXT file, as it removes most tetchy virus codes.

Look up the Short Stories link by linking here: https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/so-you-really-want-to-write-an-sf-story-an-update-by-gf-willmetts/


The poor grammar is the worst problem I see in any sample. Although I don’t want you to think I seek perfection, the less work I have to do, the easier it is to focus on other problems you might have. It will also be beneficial if you ever approach paper-based publishers, as they will reject any poor grammar samples due to time constraints.

Any writer’s tool is good grammar. Don’t just depend on what you remember doing at school. There are plenty of decent grammar books out there, so remind yourself of the rules. If you think there are far too many to remember, get the major ones right before moving on to the next, so it becomes second nature.

This link, www.sfcrowsnest.info/the-guide-to-better-grammar-from-the-harrowed-hand-of-gf-willmetts/, will show you the common problems.

To submit, use our email address by joining the spaces as shown here: letters@SFcrowsnest.info, and use the subject matter as to what you’re submitting.

Tell me about any activities you enjoy doing to pass the time while in captivity, and we’ll see if we can turn them into an article.

Directly related comments to reviews should continue to function as before.

Good luck



Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.