Author Archive

Literary Envy and the Last Redoubt

Posted July 31, 2014 By John C Wright

Over at Armed and Dangerous, a topic very near and dear to my heart is being debated. The author, Eric Raymond, begins thus:

I’ve been aware for some time of a culture war simmering in the SF world. And trying to ignore it, as I believed it was largely irrelevant to any of my concerns and I have friends on both sides of the divide. Recently, for a number of reasons I may go into in a later post, I’ve been forced to take a closer look at it. And now I’m going to have to weigh in, because it seems to me that the side I might otherwise be most sympathetic to has made a rather basic error in its analysis. That error bears on something I do very much care about, which is the health of the SF genre as a whole.

Both sides in this war believe they’re fighting about politics. I consider this evaluation a serious mistake by at least one of the sides.

He then identifies the two sides

On the one hand, you have a faction that is broadly left-wing in its politics and believes it has a mission to purge SF of authors who are reactionary, racist, sexist et weary cetera. This faction now includes the editors at every major SF publishing imprint except Baen and all of the magazines except Analog and controls the Science Fiction Writers of America (as demonstrated by their recent political purging of Theodore Beale, aka Vox Day). This group is generally frightened of and hostile to indie publishing. Notable figures include Patrick & Theresa Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi. I’ll call this faction the Rabbits, after Scalzi’s “Gamma Rabbit” T-shirt and Vox Day’s extended metaphor about rabbits and rabbit warrens.

On the other hand, you have a faction that is broadly conservative or libertarian in its politics. Its members deny, mostly truthfully, being the bad things the Rabbits accuse them of. It counteraccuses the Rabbits of being Gramscian-damaged cod-Marxists who are throwing away SF’s future by churning out politically-correct message fiction that, judging by Amazon rankings and other sales measures, fans don’t actually want to read. This group tends to either fort up around Baen Books or be gung-ho for indie- and self-publishing. Notable figures include Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Tom Kratman, John C. Wright, and Vox Day. I’ll call this group the Evil League of Evil, because Correia suggested it and other leading figures have adopted the label with snarky glee.

I can speak authoritatively for the United Underworld of the Evil League of Evil, since I (with some help from Batman and Dr Horrible) coined the term. We do not believe we are fighting about politics.

Politics is the least part of the struggle. None of my stories mention it, nor do those of our dishonorable and craven opposition.

We of the United Underworld have said what we are fighting about. Larry Correia wrote our manifesto: We believe story comes before message.

We are entertainers first and crusaders second.

Our opponents are crusaders first, or, to be precise, anticrusaders, because instead of fighting for the holiness and righteousness as the crusaders did of old, these creatures fight against everything holy and right and instead fight for socialism, totalitarianism, feminism, perversions sexual and otherwise, atheism, nihilism, irrationalism, Ismism, and every other ism one can name.

We say you can put a message in your story if you insist, but story comes first. Space Princesses come second, at least for me. I think way cool guns come second for Larry Correia. Message comes third for both of us.

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The Wright Perspective: Seven Right Ideas (Faith)

Posted July 30, 2014 By John C Wright

My latest is up at EveryJoe: This is the last in my series on the Seven Right Ideas on which Conservativism is founded, and it is the more difficult idea because it is a mystery.

Faith is as impossible to define in fullness as love, but it includes the idea that you owe a personal loyalty to truth, virtue and beauty, and that the mysterious source of truth, virtue and beauty will reward that loyalty and faithfully reciprocate.

Faith is the opposite of nihilism, which is the idea that there are no metaphysical truths, no supernatural reality, no innate purpose to life.

The point of faith is often misunderstood, and, frankly, often lied about. Matters of faith are neither illogical nor do they lack evidence.

The confusion comes because no other decision in life (even such all-embracing decisions as the decision to marry or to join the army) requires loyalty from every part of your soul and every nook of your psychology; including the part that decides.

All other decisions but this one allow you a place to stand, a neutral ground, a judge’s bench, where you can weigh the arguments for and against and make the decision according to rules that are themselves not part of the decision. But in this case, whether you become a Christian or become a Political Correction Cultist, there is no neutral ground.

You cannot make the decision based on the truth of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of truth whereas Christianity says Christ is truth.

You cannot make the decision based on the virtue of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of virtue, and says that all moral good or evil is a human invention, or the imposition of mindless genetic processes.

You cannot make a decision based on the beauty of the claims, because Political Correctness rejects the concept of beauty as trivial and trite, and rejects the concept that beauty reflects truth.

You cannot make the decision based on the rationality of the claim, because Political Correctness rejects the idea of objective reason whereas Christianity says Christ is Logos, a Greek term which means, among other things, reason, account or logic. We worship a rational God who created a rational universe in which he placed men to whom he granted the gift of reason.

You cannot even use your free will to make the decision because Political Correctness casts grave doubt on the freedom of the will, or denies it altogether.

Between the Christian universe and the anti-Christian universe, there is no way to be objective and dispassionate between the two universes. There is no third universe in which to stand while you make the choice. Either you are a member of one or a member of the other.

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Hugo voting ends Tomorrow

Posted July 30, 2014 By John C Wright

Reminder from Larry Correia:

The Hugo voting ends shortly, so if you joined the crusade to combat the scourge of Puppy Related Sadness don’t forget to get your votes in.

Related — Vox Day posts his suggested sample ballot:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/07/2014-hugo-award-recommendations.html

Myself I have no opinion on the current voting, but on the retro-Hugos, allow me to suggest:

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Fooled by Heinlein for 40 Years

Posted July 30, 2014 By John C Wright

This is a reprint of an article of mine from 2003. I bring it to the attention of my current readers. My opinions on this point have not changed:

Here is my Heinlein tale, which I pass along only to show that one’s most cherished beliefs can sometimes be revised by experience:

There is a scene in Robert Heinlein’s GLORY ROAD, where the hero, Oscar Gordon, is traveling among barbarians from some outer dimension. Their custom is to share their daughters’ love (or wives’) with traveling heroes for a night or two, in hopes of fathering good stock. Oscar the hero unwittingly offends the custom by refusing the copulate with the daughter of the local lord, his host. For this he is tongue-lashed by the heroine for being provincial, backward, rude and stupid; at some personal risk to himself, he returns to the mansion of the barbarian lord, apologizes manfully, commits orgy, fornicates with gusto, and goes on his way with the heroine on his arm, her eyes shining with admiration. This heroine is named Star; the names of the nice young ladies with whom he ruts are nowhere mentioned.

Even as a youth, I prided myself (and my pride was immoderate when I was young, I am afraid, and may not be moderate now) on being a careful and skeptical thinker. But it was not until I was 41, some three decades after first reading that scene, that I thought, for the first time, there was something wrong with the picture Mr. Heinlein paints.

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Architect of Aeons Cover

Posted July 28, 2014 By John C Wright

My next volume of my Count to the Eschaton Sequence is scheduled to go on sale, according to one source, in April of 2015. This is not the official announcement from the publisher, so it is possible someone is jumping the gun.

Cover below the cut. Personally, I think this is great cover art:

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Polyatheism is Disbelief in Many Gods

Posted July 26, 2014 By John C Wright

A reader with the grandiose name of Zaklog the Great calls me to the witness stand. He asks:

When you were an atheist yourself, did you consider Christians in particular your enemies, or was Christianity merely one (comically wrong) religion among many? If Christians in particular were the problem, why so?

Second, having heard the story of how you became a Christian a few times, I have a question which may be unanswerable, or just silly. If not, however, it may be interesting. Once you had offered your pro forma prayer, had a heart attack, been healed by prayer and had the visions, do you believe you had a choice as to whether to become a Christian, or had the moment of choice been passed? Do you think it was possible, having experienced all of that, to have chosen otherwise?

Like I said, I’m aware that that last question may not have a meaningful answer. You chose as you did, and that may be all the answer we can have.

I am happy to answer. But you may not be happy with my answer, since I will say both yes and no. There is an old saying ‘go not to philosophers for counsel, for they will act you to define your terms.’  Or we are subtle and quick to anger. Or something.

So, on the one hand, the answer is yes:

When I was an atheist, I was an asupernaturalist, which means, I did not believe in anything supernatural, parapsychological, or supernal. (I was not, however, a materialist, because I was not prone to whatever insanity it is that makes a man pretend he is a meat robot, or a poached egg.) So gods, ghosts, witchcrafts, and (aside from stage magic) magic or miracles of any kind I dismissed on the grounds of the metaphysical incoherence of asserting that supernature could exist if nature existed.

After all, no matter what it is, a supernatural realm or being would by philosophical necessity be governed by its laws of nature. A supernatural realm or being would have a ‘nature’ because it had a definition. If a thing is what it is, and is not what it is not, it is defined; and whatever principle defines it, that principle is its nature.

Since I was convince nothing supernatural could possibly exist, I was convinced no gods (defined as supernatural beings) could possibly exist.

So, I was an equal opportunity atheist. On a rational level, I disbelieved in gods as much as I disbelieved in God, and for the same reasons.

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The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success

Posted July 26, 2014 By John C Wright

I hope any reader of mine will also become a reader of Larry Correia. We do not write the same sort of books, but we have the same sort of attitude.

He has posted a humorous look at the A-List through Z-List of authors, and what are their identifying marks. Some of this is inside joke that I don’t get, albeit you may. I surely recognized the last person listed, however, as well as the first.

The Official Alphabetical List of Author Success

A List – High upon Mount Olympus They Gaze Down Upon the Pathetic Mortals = All the $

  • Authors who are worth more than the GDP of some countries.
  • Authors who build their houses out of gold bars.
  • Characters from their books get their own theme parks.
  • The lady who wrote Twilight.

B List – The King(s) =$$$$$$$$$$

  • Authors who have TV shows about their books starring Peter Dinklage.
  • Authors who sleep on large piles of money.
  • Politicians who get illegal campaign contributions masquerading as advances.
  • Oprah’s Book Club.

C List – The Perpetual Bestsellers =$$$$$$$$$

  • Authors who play poker with Castle.
  • Authors who have lesser TV shows not starring Peter Dinklage.
  • Authors who always get sold in airport bookstores.
  • Authors who are rich enough to have sex scandals and it actually makes the news.

D List – My Wallet Says Bad Motherfucker = $$$$$$$$

  • Authors whose quarterly tax withholdings are sufficient to purchase a new Mercedes Benz.
  • Authors who’ve written a shit load of books for a whole lot of years.
  • Snooki
  • The International Lord of Hate.

And so on in like manner. Read and enjoy.

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Here follows a column by Allen West. I reprint the whole without comment, not trusting myself to speak.

With all the horrible news for Christians in Iraq and elsewhere, there is one bright spot.

While we slept, Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim arrived in Italy. As the UK Telegraph reports, the 27-year-old woman, who was spared a death sentence for apostasy in June for refusing to renounce Christianity, landed in Rome where she is to meet Pope Francis before traveling to the U.S.

I know she will appreciate all of you who prayed for her and her children and her perseverance through an almost year long-ordeal. Ibrahim and her family were flown to Italy in a government aircraft to Rome accompanied by Italy’s deputy minister for foreign affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who flew to Sudan to collect her late Wednesday.

There are many more Christians in Sudan who deserve our prayers. As the Telegraph reports, “Olivia Warham, director of Waging Peace, a UK NGO that campaigns against genocide and systematic human rights violations in Sudan, said millions of Sudanese Christians faced daily brutality and ethnic cleansing by the Sudanese regime.”

“Three years ago President Omar al-Bashir made it plain there would be no room for non-Muslims in his Islamist Sudan. He has been good to his word, crushing dissent and systematically killing ethnic and religious minorities. Regular aerial bombardment by the Sudanese armed forces destroys communities and Christian hospitals, forcing people to flee from their fields to hide in the Nuba mountains,” she said.”

“It is shocking that Bashir’s ideology of elimination provokes nothing more than the occasional words of regret from the international community, when we should be applying targeted smart sanctions on the architects of these atrocities.” As we reported yesterday, there is scant comment on the complete elimination of Christians in the Mosul in Iraq.

The Italian government and the Vatican led the way in securing Ibrahim’s release, something I wish our own American government had done. As we’ve written here, she is married to a naturalized American citizen and therefore her two children are American citizens.

I hope she is given the same compassion here in America – legally — as those who are entering illegally.

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The Logic of Illogic

Posted July 23, 2014 By John C Wright

Why is modern Science Fiction so bad? Why are modern comic books so bad?

Why is modern art so very, very, very bad? One would almost think these things are being made bad on purpose.

And one would be right!

But the answer to the simple question of why SF sucks is a complex answer, leading all the way from the zenith of the universe to the nadir, all the long road from heaven to hell.

Even a cursory inspection of modern art shows that beauty, which is the particular province and goal of the arts, is not merely avoided by modern artists, but despised. They are not producing poorly executed works of repugnant nonsense and blasphemous lumpish, retarded, asymmetrical obscenity by mistake or through indifference. The diametric opposite of beauty, namely, the revolting, the ugly, the aberrant, whatever is foul and vile, whatever causes a visceral sense of disorientation and disgust, that and precisely that is the goal of the Modern.

As exhibit A, let me introduce This film on the nature of ugliness. It is much like an essay I wrote recently on the EveryJoe website, but, I think, makes the point more clearly than do I.

Understand this point, and you will begin to understand the downfall and collapse of establishment SFF.

Vox Day, in his illimitable fashion, calls Establishment SF ‘Pink SF’ but whether this refers to the girlish, effete nature of establishment thinking, or their infatuation with Communism, or both, I have never been bold to ask.

Establishment SF is Politically Correct SF, in that it pays slavish homage to all the tired tropes and foolish dogmas of Political Correctness. With its emphasis on collective rights, victimology, and radical egalitarianism, there is no place in the PC SF universe for things like heroes, adventures, inventors, exotic locations, space princesses, or technology portrayed as beneficial.

Politically Correct SF is astonishingly parochial, because it is always assumed that the society of the future will be caught in the grip of the selfsame political controversies as the Victorian Age, which is the age when this worldview was first formulated by Marx. Hence, for all other SF stories, the future differs from the present. For PC SF, the future is just like the past, and nothing changes.

In other words, the stories of PC SF promote the opposite of SF.

SF is about a sense of wonder. PC is about a sense of despair. The two are opposite. Hence, PC SF is a contradiction in terms. What it produces is simply not science fiction.

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The Wright Perspective: On Liberty

Posted July 23, 2014 By John C Wright

My latest at Every Joe is up ( http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/07/23/politics/liberals-mass-neurosis-political-correctness/)

Tyranny is the default state of mankind.

From the first primitive tribes under the paternal leadership of their elders to the most decadent years of the Pharaohs of Egypt or the God-Kings of Babylon, the Emperors of Rome or of Japan, the default assumption was that the great men were ordained by heaven to rule over the lesser men, allegedly for their own good. The idea that men were unequal, not just in wealth and rank, but in their innate, inner worth, their spiritual worth, is universal and worldwide.

Only with the coming of Christendom is a new concept introduced into human history: the concept of individualism, of equality. Christian princes held a higher rank than a pauper, but both knew that both would be naked on Judgment Day. Both knew that Saint Louis was no more nor less a saint than Saint Francis, albeit one was a prince and the other a pauper; both knew the laws of God applied equally to both. This concept was clarified and refined through the ages until, in America, a second new concept was introduced into human history, the concept of the people acting as their own prince, acting without a prince, merely with the law as their leader, and the state would be ordained by men, not by heaven, to act only in a limited sphere. It was an ideal of a small and limited government ruled by rules rather than by princes.

The mass neurosis called Political Correctness (sometimes called Leftism or Liberalism or Progressivism or Morlockery) is the old days back again. It is the old system of government we had in the Stone Ages, where the tribal chief acted as father and priest and god-king, and in his expert wisdom, decided each detail of anything that concerned the tribe. Political Correctness is the old corrupt system of the Pharaohs and Tyrants and Sultans of the East, unlimited government, government by courtiers, government by cronies, government in every nook and smallest crevasse of life.

It is the claim that we have persons who have an innate and inner superiority to us. By happy coincidence, our superiors happen to be them, the very people who lust over power over us and over each last tiny details of our lives and thought.

Read the test here – http://www.everyjoe.com/2014/07/23/politics/liberals-mass-neurosis-political-correctness/

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