The Big House: Toronto General Hospital From 1972 to 1984 arose from a conversation between Hugh Cameron, an orthopedic surgeon, and Edna Quammie, an OR nurse, reminiscing about their shared memories. It was proposed at a dinner meeting of the Dinosaur Club, a group of doctors and nurses and technicians who worked in the operating room in Toronto General Hospital in the seventies and eighties.
It tells of the thrills and spills—sometimes funny, sometimes sad—about life in the OR at that time which followed Woodstock, which, in a sense, changed a North American generation. There are some larger-than-life characters, many now long gone. The group felt that this snapshot of history, this tale of their youth, should be written now while there were some left who would treasure these memories of times past.
To Slip The Surly Bonds Of Earth: Book 1
The West is entering its final phase, like the fall of Rome or the Late Merchant Phase of the various Chinese empires. It is slowly grinding to a halt as the inevitable problems multiply, with no obvious will to counter the decline. One man dreams of humanity becoming a multiplanet species in the hope of preserving the basics of human knowledge through the coming dark ages. The Great Powers have turned inward, and there is little political will for further space exploration. Funding is minimal, and technological innovation has slowed dramatically. He uses his skills as a fighter to fund his dreams and is, for a time, the heavyweight champion. Using his notoriety, he slowly gathers friends, seeking to find those who can make the dream a reality. Manon, who claws her way up from nothing to wealth; Elizabeth, the miner turned politician; and others help fund the space project. They set up a foundation to search for scientific geniuses in the most unlikely places, looking for children who perhaps can make the journey into space possible, but it is not clear that Earth has any interest in returning to the high frontier.
Against a background of indifference, competing interests, and active discouragement, they do manage to establish small independent colonies on the moon and Mars; but the odds are great, protection is difficult, and long-term success is by no means assured. And there are malevolent forces moving in the world.
To Slip The Surly Bonds Of Earth: Book 2
With small colonies established on the moon and on Mars, the Prometheus Group struggles to increase the number of people living off Earth before widespread breakdown of civilization occurs in the Western world and catastrophic numbers try to escape, leading inevitably to overcrowding and conflict, which would likely see the colonies fail. A major war on Earth would mean the loss of the ability to resupply space colonies, so establishing independence is a priority.
There is a continued search for children with extraordinary abilities to help with the space project. Some of the earliest of these children, now adults, realize unwillingly that space alone is not yet an option, and they will almost certainly have to fight a bloody rearguard action to retain, for a while, freedom in the free world to buy more time for the colonies. A major conflict on Earth is inevitable, and clearly, it will begin in Europe. The only question is, what will be the catalyst, and will it remain local or spread to involve the whole world?
The Prometheus Group believes that America is likely to remain a bastion of freedom, so it will be necessary to relocate from a dying Europe. The presidency of the US becomes of crucial importance for long-term survival. They feel it is crucial that the US stay out of the coming European civil war.
HAVE KNIFE, WILL TRAVEL
Pioneered by the Swiss trauma surgeons, a new way of teaching was introduced, and surgeon designers, funded by the companies who made the implants, set out around the world to teach these new concepts and new techniques.
This is the story of the development of these artificial joints, and how Hugh Cameron and a band of brothers known as Traveling Road Show crisscrossed the world teaching this new technology to thousands of other surgeons, to the benefit of millions of patients who now walk pain free as a result.
THE RAINBOW THROUGH THE RAIN
Sheila was born in Toronto, into a cold, unemotional family where she was an unexpected and not entirely welcome afterthought. Seeking parental attention, she embarked on a self-destructive path. Eventually, after many missteps, she pulled herself together, emigrated to the US, got a student loan, and graduated as a nurse. To pay her student loans, she joined the US military. During her deployment to Afghanistan, she was exposed to unspeakable horrors. She fell in love with an army surgeon who had his own emotional problems. In spite of suffering from obvious post-traumatic stress disorder, she resisted being invalided home in order to remain with him.
Attempting to rescue a child being sexually abused, she accidentally killed a man. In consequence, she was given another-than-honorable discharge (OTH) by the military. Suffering from PTSD and addiction problems, which she painfully overcame, she obtained work in a nursing home, where she fell under the spell of one of the residents who had a world-weary, cavalier view of life and who talked her into mercy killings, the first of which was to protect him from a demented, violent resident. She eventually reunited with her lover who had also been discharged from the military. They were beginning to settle down when, through a tangled series of events, she was arrested for the mercy killings and was jailed.
After she was freed from jail, they reunited and lived quietly and happily for a time before becoming involved in a violent denouement in a terrorist hostage situation.
At heart, this is a love story filled with all the dilemmas and uncertainties of death and the vicissitudes of life.
I love thee with the breath smiles tears of all my life.
And if God choose I shall but love thee better after death.
TO SLIP THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH: BOOK THREE. THE CLOUDS OF WAR
The West continues its precipitous decline. The ancient, magnificent, awe inspiring Christian Churches which had taken centuries to build, are burning all over Europe, and that tragedy and violence on the streets are becoming so commonplace that it barely is mentioned by the media. Even the most egregious terrorist outbreaks are passed over by politicians as something which occurs in big cities and the indigenous population should simply get used to it.
Policing in most of the West has sunk to an all-time low. Rape of women and children has reached unprecedented levels. Crimes against property and person are largely ignored. Break and Entry now no longer even merits a police inspection. Horrifying acid attacks, where acid is thrown on a young woman, destroying her face, never before seen in Europe, are barely mentioned. Any vestige of ‘Free Speech’ has become a thing of the past and there is a return to the Thought Police of the Communist era.
The Prometheus Group, a disparate collection of people who fear for the future of civilization, especially the unlikely Enlightenment concept of intrinsic individual human worth, have established small colonies on Mars and the moon. They continue to fly under the radar of public attention, as much as they can, while quickly expanding these colonies. The economic collapse of countries such as Greece had long been anticipated. Unsurprisingly, the economic situation in Canada suddenly deteriorates and the US President is forced to step in to prevent complete anarchy, which would threaten the undefended US northern border. Unwilling to involve the United States government directly, she asks the Prometheus Group for personnel to help oversee and assist the economic rescue of Canada, which the group agrees to with exceeding reluctance.
More of the exceptional children continue to be sought by the Prometheus Group, and continue to be found in the most unlikely places. As before, they are mainly seeking girls whose genius would otherwise be missed. These children are enlisted into the effort to produce the science which will get as many people as possible into space, and speed the terraforming of Mars, before the cataclysm of civil war, which is now inevitable in Europe, and will likely spread to involve the world. Any extension of war outside Europe will inevitably result in a nuclear exchange with unimaginable destruction, as a single nuclear airburst could produce such an electromagnetic pulse as to wipe out all computers within the blast area. This disaster, multiplied many times over, and almost certainly aided by biological warfare, would produce a possible reversion to primitivism, tribalism and savagery or the establishment of a dystopian rigid unchangeable medieval philosophy.
TO SLIP THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH: BOOK FOUR REDEMPTION
The development of fusion power in the small colony established on Mars leads to an explosive outward emigration from Earth to the moons of the solar system. On Earth, increasing civil unrest in Europe has led to the election to positions of authority of three strong women: Leda in Germany, Madeleine in France, and La Marquesa in Spain. With the assistance of others—including Tomiko from Japan and Hinchcliffe, with her paramilitary organization, the Legion—order is restored, at least temporarily.
The lives, loves, and deaths of these women are set against a world of conflict, hope, and despair, as they struggle to maintain civilization and allow further immigration to the high frontier in the face of malevolent opposition forces.
JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR (2020)
The original Journal of the Plague Year was written by Daniel Defoe in 1639. Plagues have been a recurrent fact of life since humans have existed. A virus or a bacterium makes the jump either from an animal or from a tribe who have long been habituated to the organism, and this novel infection races through the newly exposed populace, and a huge die-off of the new hosts occurs.
The last major event was the Spanish influenza at the end of WWI. There have been events of concern such as SARS and Ebola, with other lesser events such as H1N1, MERS, and Hong Kong flu. While these potentially were a major problem, the Wuhan virus has turned out to be a new plague of disastrous dimensions. It remains to be seen if the catastrophic subsequent events were due to the virus itself or the hysterical overreaction to it.
As an experienced doctor, with a large active clinical practice, I found I was often being asked the same questions as many patients were totally confused by the media and the changing and contradictory pronouncement from politicians and public health. I found I was answering so many questions in the office and on Facebook that it came to me, in April of 2020, that what I was doing was in fact compiling a “Journal of a Plague Year.”
This book is a collection of sequential posts, almost all completely unedited. Also included were some questions and my answers.