Author Archive

How to Decipher a Book Review

Posted September 22, 2014 By John C Wright


Over at the Vox Day website, one Bextor Fenwick asks a really good question:

I was looking to get my hands on a physical book of Wright’s. The only book they do carry is “Count to a Trillion”. But, the average review rating for that book on amazon is not all that great. So, because of that I’ve been holding off on buying it. However, you made some very favorable comments about that book. Why do you think it didn’t fare so well with the reviews on amazon??

Here is my theory, which should surprise no one. The book fared well with those whose tastes, preconceptions, worldview and attitudes it pleased, and fared poorly with those it displeased. That raises a deeper question of how to discover the tastes of the reviewer, what he is looking for in a book.

Please look at what the reviewers, positive and negative, found good and bad in the book, and try to guess whether their tastes and predispositions match yours.
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A Cover Update

Posted September 22, 2014 By John C Wright

An announcement from my publisher:

A cover update

We had a bit more trouble getting John C. Wright’s latest masterpiece out the door than usual due to the cover artist being temporarily knocked out of commission. Since the book was already late, JartStar stepped in and colorized the low-res greyscale comp that we had, which was why the initial cover was not quite up to our usual standard. Fortunately, the artist is back up to speed and last week he sent us the final image, which has now been incorporated into the ebooks on both the Castalia store and Amazon. If you wish to update your ebook accordingly, I believe Amazon does it automatically if your Kindle is set to permit it, while if you have purchased ONE BRIGHT STAR TO GUIDE THEM from the Castalia store, you already have the ability to download it again via the original download link provided. If, for some reason, it doesn’t work, email me from the same email you used to purchase it and I’ll send it to you.

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Posted September 20, 2014 By John C Wright

Forgive me for repeating a reader’s praise of my work, but if you recall my theory which I recently posted that the proper motive for writing is not fame nor money nor the applause of crowds, but merely to touch the heart of that one reader one might never know who knows what your work really means.

Here is a reader for whom I am happy to have done my work.

You may keep the applause of worlds for more popular books. I am writing for this one, and for anyone willing and able to be for me the one, the only one, for whom I write:

Bright Star,” indeed


It was very difficult for me to sort through my feelings in reading One Bright Star to Guide Them, for it is a complex book wrapped in a simple premise.

Many of us have read Narnia, watched Star Wars, or heard some other adventure story where the average joe hero is plucked from his simple and boring life to be taken on A Quest, usually taken out of his world (as was the case with Narnia) and thrust into an unknown environment to fight some evil or right some wrong. It’s a tale as old as the first heroic myths.

Ah, but what happens when the Quest ends? Lewis touched on it – very briefly – in The Last Battle. 3 of the 4 children from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe return to Narnia, but one sister got too wrapped up in the trappings of being “an adult.” She chose to forget. It quite probably was the greatest tragedy of that series. But that’s all we get about the Pevensies’ time after Narnia.

Mr. Wright takes us on the most bizarre of hero’s quests: the one that takes place AFTER the quest, and that takes place in the “real world.” In so doing, he brings back a bit of the magic of Narnia and – much like Lewis’ Chronicles were a parable to point the young reader to Jesus – One Bright Star reminds us that there is hope when youth has faded, innocence lost, and the black-and-white morality of a child seems but a memory. There is hope that a man can find “childlike faith” and find again the magic and joy of belief. That restoration of faith and hope is why I marked the book 5 stars; because it took me back to my First Love and reminded me of that otherworldly joy I felt when reading Lewis’ timeless novels.

ADDED LATER: I seem to have a second ‘one reader’. Here is shining praise indeed from another reviewer:

‘Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know
that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.’
G.K. Chesterton

I will admit to being a John C. Wright fanboy, and that I regard him as the finest prose stylist writing in SF/Fantasy today. With those biases admitted out front, I must say that this is Wright’s best piece of work I’ve yet read. John C. Wright is either taking dictation directly from Elfland, acting as Oberon and Titania’s personal scribe, being visited by the ghosts of Lewis, Tolkien and T. H. White, who whisper stories to him when the moon is full, or he has mastered the children’s fantasy story like no one since Madeline L’Engle, I don’t know which. Instead of his usual baroque filigreed prose, the writing in this story is stripped down, simpler, and yet retains the ability to imply depths and heights without directly glimpsing them. Wright weaves a tale of what happens after the quest is over, that is just as good as a story of the quest itself. For anyone who loves Fantasy, this is a must read. It will transport you to that far green country of your youth, where there was nothing more important on a Saturday afternoon than whether or not Frodo destroyed the ring, or if the Witch was defeated, or the rightful King Crowned.

Mr. Wright is the best in the field and fully deserving of the honorific of grandmaster. Mr Wright, I do not know how you do it, but you have brought us a story from the uttermost West, bathed in the light of the Two Trees.

Thank you.

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Posted September 20, 2014 By John C Wright

I am trying to concoct a German sounding name for a group in my next novel.


It is supposed to mean the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Night-dark Mist.

Does it? Anyone here speak German?

Their shorter form is Nachtritter, which I am hoping means Night-rider (or, literally Night-knight)

Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?


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The Wright Perspective: The Utopias of SF – The Crazy Years

Posted September 17, 2014 By John C Wright

My latest is up at Every Joe:

Most imaginary worlds are interesting places to read about, but few are places one would like to live. We continue our look at the Utopias of Science Fiction with an eye to which perfect world is the best place to live and raise a family.

In our last episode, we saw two utopias where the laws of economics were just ignored. The writers, LeGuin and Holland, simply assumed that stores and shops and factories would somehow run, even without policemen to prevent theft, the militia to prevent riots, or slavedrivers and taskmasters to prevent malingering, goldbricking and featherbedding.

The writers of the next era, or at least some of them, attempted at least some explanation of how corruption of their nearly perfect societies would be prevented: L. Neil Smith outlaws Congress, a prime source of corruption, and Iain M. Banks outlaws human ownership of the means of production, by having artificial intelligences control and distribute all property, so that mankind need no more work for a living than a housecat needs hunt for rats to earn her keep. But unless the artificial intelligences are as incorruptible as archangels, this just shifts the problem one remove. In Ken MacLeod’s world, the suggestion seems to be that if troublemakers are given powerful military hardware to play with, and told to mug a gas giant filled with post-singularity superintelligences, everything will somehow work out.

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Advert for ‘reliable workers’ banned as discrimination

Posted September 17, 2014 By John C Wright

‘Tis a sad day when news is indistinguishable from parody. (

Nicole Mamo, 48, wanted to post an advert for a £5.80-an-hour domestic cleaner on her local Jobcentre Plus website.

The text of the advert ended by stating that any applicants for the post ”must be very reliable and hard-working”.

But when Ms Mamo called the Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, the following day she was told that her advert would not be displayed instore.

A Jobcentre Plus worker claimed that the word ”reliable” meant they could be sued for discriminating against unreliable workers.

My comment: Science fiction writers often show the folly of some trend in modern life by envisioning a darkly humorous future where that trend is carried to an absurd extreme. When real life exceeds the imagined absurdity, my life as a science fiction writer grows difficult.

I cannot imagine anything this stupid.

The comedian Evan Sayet came up with the best explanation for this madness I have yet encountered. He says that the Leftists are mentally arrested at age five, the age at which they were told it was not nice to be not nice to people, and were told not nice means discrimination. They were told, in other words, that to make discriminating judgements, to be able to distinguish between similar but distinct cases, the ability tell, as on Sesame Street which things are not like the other, is evil and the source of evil.

They were told to condemn all condemnation, and to judge harshly any man who used his judgment. They were told that fair play is unfair.

They were told that thinking is a hate crime.

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Crossexamined by the Honey Badger Brigade

Posted September 17, 2014 By John C Wright

Here is the link of my interview with the fine ladies of the Honey Badgers, who are ardent anti-feminists hence pro-women. I was delighted to find such specimens still existed, but I was only able to speak from the depth of a cave, as you will detect from the audio quality.


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Posted September 16, 2014 By John C Wright

A reader named VunderGuyasks how we Christians and our allies among all men of goodwill shall win the Culture Wars?

How do we especially take back Hollywood? How do we take back academia? How do we take back the publishing world?

Another reader, Brian Niemeier, speaking on another topic, nonetheless answered this question so well, that I here quote him in full:

PC’s ability to perpetuate itself is limited by what Mr. Wright calls the Unreality Principle. In everyday life, real world experience slowly but inevitably “rebuilds the compiler”. That’s why the Left must cling to their control over academia and the media. They use these mouthpieces to constantly barrage us with PC propaganda while the government coerces our conformity via hate crimes legislation and affirmative action.

Human nature cannot be changed and always reasserts itself. The fire always burns no matter how often the PC Commissars insist that we can touch it without harm. If that weren’t the case, there would be no reason to oppose them. Read the remainder of this entry »

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The Superversive Literary Movement Stakes its First Claim

Posted September 15, 2014 By John C Wright

Intercollegiate Review has published a column wherein I wrest the glory of Harry Potter out of the grasping, flabby-fingered, pallid, moist, wormlike, and malodorous hands of the Leftwingers.

I hope I will be forgiven if I think my opening line sounds like Chesterton:

In reality, the best way to find reality is through fairyland.

Fairy tales of any sort are more truthful about the eternal verities of the human condition than many a tale told in the realistic style. Stories about a bold champion of Camelot or the enchantress of Aeaea, or the great dragon beneath the Lonely Mountain, will tell you more of sin and salvation, love and loss and love found again, than a yarn about a cuckold in turn-of-the-century Dublin, or a decadent drunk living in West Egg, Long Island. This is because so-called realistic tales deal only with the surface features of life, what we see with our eyes, so to speak; fairy tales touch the mystery and wonder at the core of life.

Harry Potter is the most successful book of all time next to Pilgrim’s Progress and the Sear’s Catalogue. And so, naturally, there is a certain cult, known in his world as Deatheaters, and in our world as Political Correctness, that seeks repulsively to claim that success as their own.

A recent article in i09 reports that Anthony Gierzynski, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, found that Harry Potter fans are more open to diversity and are more politically tolerant than nonfans. The fans are also less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture, more politically active, and more likely to have had a negative view of the Bush administration.

From this the conclusion is put forth (in a leap of logic that would make the cow jumping over the moon blush with shame) that Harry Potter draws children toward the political Left.

What an utter load of rubbish.

I have inspected neither Gierzynski’s data nor his methods, but I know blast-ended skrewt dung when I smell it.

This column brings the term ‘superversive’ (a neologism coined by Tom Simon) for which the Superversive Literary Movement, of which I am a founding member, is named.

Read the whole thing, click through the link several times a day, and write fourteen letters a piece to the editor of the Intercollegiate Review larding me with unlikely praise, and leave comments there.

Then build a ninety-one mile tall statue of me out of an admixture of gold, orichalcum, admantium and unobtainium, atop the magnetic north pole of Ellesmere Island, called by the Eskimo wizards Umingmak Nuna; and send seventy-one of the fairest virgins in the land to dance and sing to the sound of harp, viol, flute, cornet, pipe, psaltery, organ, dulcimer, timbrel, and sackbut, in adoration of me at the foot of the colossus; while captive kings, weeping while still crowned and robed in ermine above their helms and harnesses, are forced to fight with net and trident, or dirk or brutal hatchet, in the circus of gladiators against each other or against wild beasts becostumed in the heraldric animals of their fallen kingdoms, so that the Czar of Russia may be torn by bears, and the Queen of England gored by the unicorn and eaten by lions, while the hapless leader of America, nailed to a broken bell, will have his liver torn out by a trained bald eagle; and meanwhile masked and hooded priests serving nameless chthonic goddesses sacrifice to my glory a hecatomb of arctic whales, giant squid, and leviathans of the sea in a grisly aquatic ceremony!

Well, okay, never mind the giant statue, or the circus, or the sacrifices. Just read the article. I and don’t need seventy-one singing and dancing virgins. Only send seven fair virgins by my house to help my wife do the house cleaning, and we only need one or two to play the dulcimer and sackbut.

You have no idea how hard it is to find a really fair virgin who can play the sackbut these days.

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A message from the beautiful and talented Mrs Wright:
Hey folks.

I plan to start a new Wednesday Blog Feature:

Lighting the Lamp

A blog of the Superversive Literary Movement

because fiction should not be less glorious than life

This feature will include, but not be limited to:


  • Inspirational stories — to help us remember what we are writing for.
  • Stories of perseverance in sorrow – to remind us of the indomitable human spirit
  • Reviews of books, movies, etc that are inspiring, heroic, or merely good fun
  • Musings on literature, life, and other related topics — ranging widely

Anyone who would like to guest blog on some even vaguely related topic,
let me know:
At gmail Username: arhyalon


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