We invented the Crusade and the Inquisition

Mr. Eich has been fired as CEO of Mozilla because his opinions are heretical according to the Magisterium of the Mob.

For those of you who do not recognize his name, he is the inventor of the Javascript scripting language. If you don’t know what that is, it is the thing that makes your web browser able to do things that interact with the user.

The facts, in sum, are these: Mr Eich gave a thousand dollar donation to the cause of Proposition 8 in California, which confirms the purely logical proposition that marriage is marriage, and therefore not a legally-recognized alliance of persons to engage in what the law delicately calls ‘unnatural sexual acts’, which is the diametric opposite of marriage.

At the time when Mr. Eich gave, such donations were not a matter of public records. At the time when he gave, the Koch Brothers were in favor of Gay so-called Marriage, and Obama and Biden were opposed. At the time, a majority of California voters were opposed. The measure passed. It was struck down by an incompetent District Court level Judge who incorrectly identified the Declaration of Independence with the Preamble of the Constitution.

With the stroke of a pen, all the voters of California were disenfranchised of their right to amend their state constitution, and establish their laws on the basis of Common Law or common sense.

The names of those who donated to Proposition 8 were leaked by the IRS in 2012 to the pro-perversion Human Rights Campaign who then posted those returns on their website, so that political retaliation could be had against those who donated and supported the measure.

The greatest support had come from Blacks, but the Left dare not offend them, so the Mormons, whose numbers were smaller, and, more importantly, were not a special interest the Left supports, were selected for the purge. The betrayal of trust and the publication of the donors’ names allows for political retaliation.

The Sexual-Deviance-is-a-Civil-Right Lobby failed miserably in their efforts to boycott Chick-fil-A and the television show DUCK DYNASTY and the movie ENDER’S GAME. If you want to reciprocate, if you want to uninstall Firefox, you might want to install another browser, and you might want to write and tell Mozilla how you feel.

As for the unwisdom and incivility of engaging Americans, Christians, the Decent and the Normal in a war of intolerance by the Unamerican, Anti-Christian, the Indecent and the Abnormal, the illimitable and caustic Vox Day puts it this way:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2014/04/spelling-it-out.html

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Posted in Musings, Only Posting a Link | 42 Comments

John Galt Writes a Car Commercial

Frankly, since a young age, I have felt nothing but immense distaste toward advertisements, mostly because my icy and dispassionate Houyhnhnm mind could see the logical errors in the presentation, the appeals to emotion, and so on. I understood that customers need and want to be informed of the benefits of one’s commercial product, but the distaste remained.

Until now. I finally saw a commercial which had created so much enmity among Leftists, and generated so much raw hate and scorn, so much undisguised hatred for America and for work and for ethics, that for this reason alone it merits praise.

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Posted in Musings | 28 Comments

Urgent Message to Beta Readers

Dear Readers,
Everyone who helped me Beta Read my new collection of Essays, TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN, I realize that my list of people who help me consists of some real names, some email abbreviations, and some online nicknames.

I want to thank you by name. Please send it to me.

Posted in Announcement | 2 Comments

Steven J on Greydanus on Wright on Noah

I have not had time yet to reply to Mr Greydanus’ thoughtful rebuttal to some of the claims I made in my review of NOAH, but with so many wise and literate fellows replying for me, I may have no need. This is from Steven, whose thinking runs parallel with mine:

Dear Mr. Greydanus,

As a fan of and frequent relier upon your reviews (and with much appreciation and remaining fully so for both), I have to admit that your review was also part of what got me to go see the film, though I’d read enough far more hostile reviews to have some idea of what I’d be seeing. In the end, I think, I come down more in agreement with Mr. Wright’s analysis than yours for the following reasons — most of which, I think, must be attributed to the actual execution of the film rather than what can reasonably be inferred from the script.

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Posted in Fancies, Reviews | 1 Comment

Greydanus on Noah

Steven Greydanus, a film reviewer I respect above all others in the world, has done me the honor of asking my opinion of the movie NOAH and offering his own in return. He also asked a number of pointed questions about my review, which was considerably more negative than his.

Here I am out of my league. He is skilled and insightful when it comes to film, and I am not. Nonetheless, since he had done me the honor of taking my opinion seriously, I will answer  the questions he raises — when time permits. One hopes I will have the leisure to answer in days to come.

His letter is reprinted below:

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Posted in Fancies, Reviews | 9 Comments

On Contraception

I received a somewhat odd letter from a reader code-named Thomas Binu which I here reprint in full:

This is off-topic, but I couldn’t find a place to email you this directly, hence posting it here. I just happened to visit your blog today, and found it interesting enough to spend most of my free (and some more) time here. I have a question about Catholic position on contraception from a philosophical perspective. (I am a practicing Catholic, btw, just so you know).

Church is against artificial contraception on the argument that the activity of sex is meant for procreation. I get it. But then, I also understand that the Church allows natural family planning. My question is: how morally upright is the position that natural family panning is okay, while the artificial one is not?

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Posted in Apologetics | 43 Comments

Ahead of the World

A reader with the Romano-militant yet trisdekaphilic name of Centurion13 writes his opinion of the sour Leftists who anoint themselves our elite:

“No wonder they hate Christianity so. Not only does it deny everything they are; it pulls the mask off them and calls them what they are and have always been – merely more fallen men sunk into wickedness.”

What I notice is that any man whose is unwise and uneducated, if he merely read the Bible, will know this fact which even all the wise and great do not know, and will understand what is going on in life.

Likewise, Aristotle, and all astronomers and physicists until Hubble, thought and taught that the universe was infinitely old, without beginning, uncreated. Our humble Bible-reader would have known what modern science teaches, which is that the universe does have an origin point, anywhere from fifty to five thousand years ahead of time.

During the Clinton scandal, I was an atheist, and I could not understand how any honest, intelligent man could fail to be outraged at the adultery, at the lying, at the lying under oath. I happened by mistake (or providence) to overhear a preacher with the thickest Southern hill-country accent — he sounded like a parody, or someone from central casting auditioning for a part in a remake of Beverly Hillbillies — but he said the only wise thing I heard anyone, Dem or GOP, say about the scandal. He said that all these men are defending Clinton because their sins are like his sins. They do not want him to be criticized for the filth in his soul because they love the filth in their own soul.

It made perfect sense. And yet all the pundits and commentators and radio talkshow hosts could not explain it.

So, speaking as a man with a rather broad and deep education, let me assure anyone that a man with a fifth grade education who reads and understand the Bible will know as much as I do, or know more, and be correct on issues ranging from the origin of the universe to the origin of the Clinton scandal. The world with call you a fool, because you will be between fifty to five thousand years ahead of where the world is.

Posted in Musings | 11 Comments

Addendum to the Unified Field Theory of Madness

Deep thought and sudden insight inspired me to add another point to my theory:

If we could also explain why the Rich, who are routinely vilified by the Left number among its most ardent supporters, or the secular Jews, our theory would be very potent in its explanatory power.

8. The Paradoxes of the Wealthy Socialist and the Antisemitic Jew.

While it is not one of the main paradoxes addressed above, one must be curious why so many of the Left seem to have joined a movement with a worldview that is innately hostile to what appears to be their self-interests.

But recall what the Unified Field Theory of Madness predicts: From the roots of the compassionate epistemology, which forbids them from holding any opinion based on judgment, we have seen how this flowers into to the judgments all opponents are evil, all lovely things hateful, no war is just, no independence of thought is to be tolerated, no success to go unpunished, and no truth to be admitted.

To whom would this naturally appeal? What sort of man wants the laurels due to an intelligent man, without doing the work of actually using his intellect? What sort wants the palm leaf due an honest man, without shouldering the burden of honesty? What sort wants the ovations due a hero, without the danger or bloodshed of heroism? Who wants other people’s wealth, but not for himself, nor, apparently, for anyone, merely wasted in a vast display of public pomp?

And why are they so angry? Why so vehement? Why so arrogant? Why do they always attack the person, and never the argument, during any disagreement?

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Posted in Musings | 18 Comments

Deluge as Earthday

Aronofsky’s NOAH would be a fine movie for Earthday, or as a source for ideas for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Aside from this, the movie was bad, and bad, and bad.

First, it was bad in my eyes for reasons which are simply a matter of my expectations and tastes, which I would not necessarily expect anyone else to share.

On that basis, I can only warn away men who share my particular tastes and quirks, which may be no one. I thought the look of the movie was colorless, unappealing, unmemorable. It was drab.

Second, it was bad as story, bad for reasons which even judges who like the movie for other reasons will agree are bad as story telling: bad on technical grounds.

On that basis, I can warn away anyone who likes a well-crafted story, or even a poorly-crafted story trying to tell a story. The story-telling sank during the second half of the film, and the plot snarled into a knot of nonsense. It was bad.

Third, it was bad as a Bible story, bad for reasons which only Christians, or Conservatives, or both would consider bad, but which tree-hugging misanthropic miscreants on the Left would like.

On that basis, I can warn away anyone who is Christian as a well as any non-Christians who do not bow the knee in pious reverence at the ugly Leftist altars of man-hating Gaea-worship. Vegetarians yearning for the destruction of mankind might like this movie; and also vehement anti-Christians and anti-Semites who want to see Bible stories mocked and deconstructed. The movie was a sneer against God and Man and everything good in life. I rarely find movies morally offensive; this movie was. It was evil.

Let us give the devil his due: I would not hate this movie so much if it had been entirely bad, bad through and through, bad like STARSHIP TROOPERS or PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE. There were some good things in the first half of the film.

No, I will say that more strongly: there were some great, some wonderful moments in the first half of the film, things that made me want to doff my hat and salute the film maker.

But these good things, some of which were brilliant, were entirely undermined by the second half.

So some of you who read these words might like the film. For you, the good might outweigh the bad. I cannot condemn the film wholly.

But I can condemn it halfly, if that is a word:  If you go, please walk out of the theater once it starts raining.

Because the Deluge that follows is a flood of bad writing. Better yet, stuff popcorn in your ears, and ignore the dialog, once they get on the Ark. Maybe pull the popcorn out to hear the retelling of the Creation story by Noah to his kids.

Let us start, as all fair-minded reviews should start, with the good, and move on to the drab, the bad, and the evil.

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Posted in Reviews | 105 Comments

An Example of Progressive Morality in Action

I received many nice comments on my article on the Unified Field Theory of Liberal Madness recently published in this space.

Most of the compliments, of course, should be passed along to Evan Sayet (KinderGarden of Eden), who came up with the theory, with a little help from Allan Bloom (Closing of the American Mind), CS Lewis (The Abolition of Man) and GK Chesterton (Orthodoxy).

Of the criticisms, only two had any weight. One was that I did not provide any examples to show that the Left acting with less than average moral stature; the other was that I did not define my terms.

There is no lack of examples of the moral stature of the Left even from today’s headlines. I will select but one, and it must stand for all others. This one is clear enough and trenchant enough to give honest men pause for thought, or pause for vomiting. Dishonest men will not listen to their own thoughts whether they pause or not.

Allow me to have Mr Bill Whittle speak up on my behalf.
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Posted in Musings | 43 Comments

Reviewer Praise for AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND

Mr Andy Robertson, who is the editor that first published my Night Lands stories written in homage to William Hope Hodgson, writes a memoir of his effort, fueled by his personal loss, to bring Hodgson’s flawed masterworks back into the public’s attention.

http://www.thenightland.co.uk/nightANL.html

All of my short stories and novellas set in the Night Land background are soon to be published in a volume soon to be released by the small but fierce Castalia House titled AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND. Each tale had been previously published by Andy Robertson, so he knows them.

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Posted in Crowing | 8 Comments

Mere Christians Audio Book

I contributed to a tribute to C. S. Lewis, called Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis (Baker, 2009). It is now available as an audio book.

It is available through Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, OasisAudio.com or wherever audio books and media are sold. John F. Schuurman and Jaynn Tobias-Johnson, voice actors, provided the male and female testimonials respectively.

C.S. Lewis continues to hold remarkable appeal to people from all walks of life, with books by and about Lewis remaining perennially popular. Arguably, no author of the twentieth century has had a greater spiritual impact on more people than C.S. Lewis.

Mere Christians explores this influence through personal accounts from 55 Christians whose spiritual lives have been dramatically altered by reading Lewis’s books. The contributors include ordinary laypeople as well as well-known leaders and writers including Charles Colson, Anne Rice, Jill Briscoe, George Gallup Jr., Philip Yancy, and many more. This unique collection shines new light on the impact of Lewis’s work and will be of wide interest to his many fans.

So if you want to hear John Schuurman reading something while pretending to be me, purchase the audio book today!

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No to Noah

I saw the movie NOAH just now. What a load of horse manure. In days to come, time permitting, I will pen a more thorough review, but for now, let me just say: Christian men, save your money. Go see GOD’S NOT DEAD. Tell Hollywood we don’t like movies about Biblical figures that mock the source material.

To any pagans or infidels reading this, you can go see it. The first half of the movie is not just okay, but actually good. One or two scenes are not just good, but great.

At the point in the film where Noah refuses to save the wife of Ham from a bear trap, so that he will live and die childless, and Africa go unpeopled forever, is the point when to walk out of the theater, because the second half of the film is not just bad, it is totally dumbtastic.

I should have gone to see the teen Dystopia movie instead, whatever it is called.

 

Posted in Reviews | 42 Comments

The Unified Field Theory of Madness

Do not be deceived: Leftism is an enigma. We need a theorem that explains not one or two aspects of Leftism, but all their traits.

The theory must explain, first, the honest decency of the modern liberals combined with their astonishing indifference, nay, hostility to facts, common sense, and evidence; second, it must explain their high self-esteem (or, to be blunt, their pathological narcissism) combined not merely with an utter lack of accomplishment, but with their utter devotion to destructiveness, a yearning to ruin everything they touch; third, it must explain their sanctimoniousness combined with their applause, praise, support, and tireless efforts to spread all perversions (especially sexual), moral decay, vulgarity, and every form of desecration; fourth, their pretense of intellectual superiority combined with their notorious mental fecklessness; fifth, it must explain both their violence and their pacifism; sixth, the theory must explain why they hate the very things they should love most; seventh, the theory must explain why they are incapable of comprehending an honest disagreement or any honorable foe.

And, while we are at it, if we could also explain why the Rich, who are routinely vilified by the Left number among its most ardent supporters, or the secular Jews, our theory would be very potent in its explanatory power.

There is such an explanation. I make no claim to have discovered this theory. It was discovered by Alan Bloom, back in the 1980′s, in his book THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, which he wrote to explain why the generation of the 1970′s was suddenly and remarkably stupider than any previous decade of his students.

The theory was popularized recently by Evan Sayet in his book KINDER GARDEN OF EDEN. Roots of this theory go back further yet: you will find an early articulation by C.S. Lewis in his seminal THE ABOLITION OF MAN, written a generation prior. And no doubt he learned his ideas from G.K. Chesterton in his ORTHODOXY, who wrote a generation prior again, and first diagnosed the error involved in Freethinkers (as they were called then) doubting one’s own ability to think.

Let us examine each one in order.

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Posted in Musings | 96 Comments

Mrs Hoyt and Miss Mugwump

The luminous Sarah Hoyt has an entertaining and insightful diatribe here on the phenomena which we might call “My Elves Are Different” — wherein Hoyt hears with disgust the moral preening of some lady novelist pretending to be daring and original just where the writing is most trite and predictable. http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/03/21/were-the-pinnacle-of-civilization-just-like-everyone-else/

Here is the main contention of her article:

It struck me for the first time a few years ago on that Tor symposium on Heinlein that humans – perhaps all humans – have a necessity to view history as a ladder and themselves – or their generation, their kind, their club, their kin – at its pinnacle [….] What I’ve seen is that when material civilization and objective markers of achievement have marched backwards, we tend to compensate with moral preening.

[...] the people who object to “male dominated science fiction” – these people are not in fact comparing themselves to any science fiction that exists or existed.

[...] And yet, today, women can without a trace of irony make the following statements, (I’ve heard them, in panels) – my novel is totally different. It has a strong female main character. (No, really? Astound us. Is there a strong male character that’s not legacy still being published? In recent years?) and “I’m not like all those old pulp science fiction novels. I care about ideas and what they mean to people.” (You mean, like whether an ant-like civilization would be preferable to human; or what happens when a supercomputer runs the world; or what happens when a cloud becomes intelligent; or the complexities of rebuilding a civilization built on the Catholic church after a nuclear holocaust; or whether our dreams exist in another dimension; or – Those pulp non-ideas?)

[...] Do they really believe this? Are they so devoid of knowledge of the field that they believe that all that lies behind there is cartoon-like sci fi, not even rising to the level of Star Trek?

[...] Will studying the masters fix the problem? Probably not.

My comment: Brava! Well said!

I would not dream of disagreeing with anything Sarah Hoyt says here, but I would venture to suggest, albeit with hesitant deference, that she does not go far enough. She does not dig deep enough to identify the roots of this particular weed. It is not innocent human folly on the part of her lady space-fiction novelist quoted, nor a mere lapse of judgment.

Let us take as granted at the outset that Mrs Hoyt is correct that studying the masters will not correct the outrageous nature of the falsehood believed here by the lady space-fiction novelist (whom, for the sake of convenience, we will refer hereafter by the invented name of Miss Floriferous Quoin Mugwump of Asperity, Oregon).

I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs Hoyt. But I go beyond her by saying no study of any form of fact whatever will have any influence on the worldview of Miss Mugwump whatsoever: hers is a worldview is designed not to react to facts.

Is there any doubt whatsoever what is the worldview of Sarah Hoyt’s lady space-fiction novelist? Miss Mugwump is a Politically Correct modern Liberal.

Miss Mugwump believes that all prior novelists were too craven to pen a strong female character, and that the early magazine writers were barren of ideas significant to people for one reason only: Political Correctness encourages, nay, it requires a false-to-facts belief, founded on nothing but illusion and wishful thinking, which promotes self-flattery, and allows for self-congratulation and moral preening.

Mugwump would be too shy to say that she is prettier than Helen of Troy, nor that her books are better written than Shakespeare; but she is oddly not too shy to say that she serves the cause of feminine equality as no woman ever before, or the cause of bringing the enlightenment of significant ideas to the benighted.

In reality, boasting oneself to be prettier than Helen or wittier than Shakespeare is no less absurd than boasting oneself to be a more female sci-fi writer than Leigh Brackett or Ursula K Le Guin, or penning female characters stronger than C.L.Moore’s Jirel of Joiry or Asimov’s Bayta Darell, or more pointedly, Jael Reasoner from Joanna Russ.

(For those of you keeping track, Jael is from the 70′s, over forty years past; Beyta is from 50′s, over sixty years past, Jirel is from 30′s, over seventy. I do not want to tell you what year Britomart or Camilla, Penelope or Deborah hail from. Strong female main characters did not begin with Miss Mugwump, unless she is older than Spencer, Virgil, Homer and Moses.)

But here, in the madness in the mind of Miss Mugwump, she is willing to say the third boast, about her moral superiority, but not the first two, a physical or mental superiority. Why is that?

Allow me to propose that there is one overarching theory, let us call it the Universal Field Theory of Madness, to explain the Politically Correct mind-set of the Modern Liberal.

I suggest that there is a certain philosophy (or antiphilosophy) called Political Correctness, technically called Nihilism, which has crept like some vast amoeboid slime from the torture hells of Lenin to the ivory towers of Academia, from thence sloshing into the poppy field of literature and the swamp of popular entertainment and now runs along main street of our common conversation like an open sewer.
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Posted in Musings | 6 Comments

Paleophobia and Futurophilia

I came across this quote by Robert Heinlein, the Dean of Science Fiction.

“The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands…with tools…with horse sense and science and engineering.”
―Robert A. Heinlein, DOOR INTO SUMMER (1956)

The Heinlein quote is pure hooey, of course. Even he would not say that Communist Russia was better than Czarist Russia just because it came later, or life in Dark Ages Britain of the Sixth Century was better than Roman Britain in the Fourth. I doubt he would say that living after the Space Age, in an era of failure, was better than living during the Space Age, an era of triumph.

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Posted in Drollery, Fancies, Musings | 7 Comments

Pray on March 25th

A message from CatholicVote.org, which I pass along:

At this moment in Washington D.C., nine Supreme Court justices are listening to oral arguments in two cases by for-profit
corporations challenging the HHS mandate.

Our case – Autocam v. Sebelius – is being held by the Court pending the outcome of these two cases (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Co.)

Please pray with us. Go to: http://catholicvote.org/prayonmarch25

Pray for the attorneys responsible for presenting the arguments in these cases. Pray for the Justices. Pray that God in His infinite wisdom, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, will grant our prayers and protect the religious freedom of every American.

But today we are asking you to join us in the most powerful
weapon of all — prayer.

All of these historic fights for the freedom to practice our faith are both temporal and spiritual battles. The media will miss the spiritual battle altogether. Yet that battle is the fight that matters most.

Please pray with us right now.

St. Thomas More, patron of religious liberty,
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas,
pray for us and for the United States of America.

Posted in Blogbegging | 10 Comments

A Nice Warm Cup of Shut the Hell Up, Served by Correia

Larry Correia, that rough-cut but priceless gem of a man, responds to a review from some lumpish subhuman who did not read the book allegedly being reviewed. It seems the reviewer merely wanted to rant some economically illiterate gibberish about how electronic novellas should be priced, and to demean Mr Correia’s fine and worthy readers as chumps.

But, behold, the fighting spirit of ten irate devils arises in fire in Mr Correia’s eye at this, the gloves of nicety come off, and the bare-knuckle barroom brawn of words begins! Savor the whole thing, please: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/03/21/this-is-the-kind-of-crap-authors-have-to-put-up-with/

Below the cut is a choice quote where Mr Correia is verbally sliding his hapless opponent facefirst down the bar across beer mugs and puddles into the bottles and plate glass mirror behind the bar while the showgirls shriek. WARNING,  a saloon is not a venue for ladies or youngsters or men of gentle breeding, so the language is a little salty.

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Posted in Fancies, Only Posting a Link | 14 Comments

Time Shifters / Thrill Seekers

For those of you that might have heard a rumor of this and were curious, here is my movie:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1Z5RjuB78

It is ‘mine’ only in the rather limited sense that my friend Kurt Inderbitzen (the executive producer) asked me for an idea for a time travel story, and I came up with the basic idea and the opening scene.  I did not write the script, or even a detailed outline, but he did buy the idea from me, for money, which makes it (as far as I am concerned) a professional sale.

And now you can watch it on the computer free of charge!

The only other movie connected with me is one in which I appeared: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1325014/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

I play a character with the odd name of ‘Himself’. I have exactly one half a line of spoken monologue.

 

Posted in Fancies, Free Fic | 5 Comments

No Writer Save Flynn

A short story by a non-anonymous contributor:

no writer, not even the accomplished Mike Flynn, can draw deep water from a shallow pond.

Moonlight flashed off the still surface of the pond where the OFloinn stood hesitantly with the wooden bucket in hand. Full moon. He cast an eye about the woods and adjoining meadow and let out a cautious breath. Things walked the night under a full moon’s embrace; but at least you could see them coming. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? Or was it only a thing.

Plumblack Pond was hardly deserving of the name, being more puddle than pond. Faith was not required to walk across it, as one would sink at most to the ankles. It was not deep enough to harbor frogs, let alone fish, and insects skittered over it in fearless abandon.

The Shadow, Seancey Wight, required a bucket of water from the center of Plumblack Pond taken at the seventh hour of the night; but it seemed to the OFloinn that a bucket would empty it out entirely. He sighed and glanced at the handle of the little dipper and judged by the celestial clock face that the appointed time had come.

He had tied a two-fathom length of sturdy hemp to the bucket’s handle so he could throw it into the center of the pond without stepping through the sucking mud. Now he swung the bucket experimentally and, on the third swing, let fly.

The bucket fell dead center in the pond and sat there. How can I draw deep water from such a shallow pond? the OFloinn wondered.

But just at that moment, the water beneath the bucket seemed to give way and the vessel sank out of sight. Well, he thought, that solves that problem, although he did think it curious that the bucket could go under in such a shallow pond.

He began to haul back on the rope to collect the water, but the bucket proved remarkably heavy. He grunted and strained and the lip of the bucket just broke the black surface of the water.

But for just a moment. The two hands as dark as hunter’s green emerged from the pond and seized the bucket by its mouth and pulled it under. The OFloinn had a moment to ponder this sight when he was reminded that he had wrapped the rope around his arms for leverage.

The rope pulled him into the pond, sliding across the mucky pond-bottom, plowing from its slimy embrace grey worms and nameless creatures, drawing him toward the center where the rope was raveling rapidly under the waters.

But that is impossible, he thought. Unless…. Unless the pond were the surface of an n-dimensional hypersphere and he, like an unfortunate Flatlander peeled from his 2-dimensional sheet, were being pulled into a fourth dimension.

How can that be? he wondered. This is a fantasy, not science fiction! That’s mixing genres!

But the only answer was the maniacal laughter of the Wight, who had tempted him into this misadventure. At the last he realized the truth. The pond was not plum-black, but plumb-lack, and its waters were very deep indeed.

no writer, not even the accomplished Mike Flynn, can draw deep water from a shallow pond.

Sez who?

Posted in Free Fic | 7 Comments

The Eternal Whiner

Let no one be deceived by my last essay into thinking I have less than great respect for the fiction writing of Michael Moorcock. It is the essays of Michael Moorcock I despise.

There are several Moorcock books I like, and, indeed, like a great deal. He is an author that is almost good enough to write pulp like Robert E Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The idea of Elric is a cunning inversion of all the tropes and stereotypes of Robert E Howard’s Conan. Conan is a healthy barbarian who is basically decent and never complains, whereas Elric is a sickly and overcivilized albino who is basically decadent and never stops whining. The idea of the antibarbarian is a stroke of genius. It is very witty. I wish I had come up with the concept.

He then invented the multiverse — a wonderful word — and used it as the backdrop and an excuse to tell what is basically the same story with the same few cast of characters over and over again: the eternally whiny hero fighting for a cause that is pointless or fighting for hopes that will betray him, leading followers he will betray, his stalwart companion, a girl named Una, who is his incestuous lover, the evil brother who has her drugged or enchanted who is his incestuous rival … The Eternal Whiner stories is an elegant cheat, a solution to the writer’s dilemma of how to give the readers something that is fresh-and-new while somehow being more of what the readers like in your last book.

It is all very clever and imaginative on the surface, full of sound and fury, and indulges in profound ideas like the idea that fear (represented by a black vampire sword or a black jewel in the skull) is a bad thing.

And who does not like the masked and insane lords of Grenbretan (Great Britain) marching on an ancient bridge that spans the Channel, their mechanical ornithopters met by knights on giant flamingos from the marshes of Kamarg (Camargue)?

Michael Moorcock writes light, escapist fare that has nothing whatever to say about real problems in real life.

Deep he is not.

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Posted in Fancies | 23 Comments

Writing Down the Dragon

A reader named Paul LaMontagne draws our attention to a simply excellent book of essays by Tom Simon. Here I reprint Mr LaMontagne’s comment in full, as this is the best way I can imagine to have my readers rush out immediately and buy Mr Simon’s book.

The bold text is Mr LaMontagne, the italics is Mr Moorcock, and the regular text is Mr Simon.

… Have you read Tom Simon’s excellent collection of essays “Writing Down The Dragon”? In “Moorcock, Saruman, and the Dragon’s Tail” (link to essay below) he also addresses and analyzes Moorcock’s infamous essay. Interestingly, at the end of the below passage he applies to Moorcock an analogy you yesterday applied to Edmund Wilson:

“…He [Moorcock] raises against Tolkien (and even more specifically against Heinlein) the old, threadbare charge of ‘escapism’:

‘The laboured irony, as it were, of the pulp hero or heroine, this deadly levity in the fact of genuine experience, which serves not to point up the dramatic effect of the narrative, but to reduce it — and to make the experience described comfortingly ‘unreal’ — is the trick of the truly escapist author who pretends to be writing about fundamental truths and is in fact telling fundamental lies.’

There, I think, is where the shoe pinches. Let us look at some of the ‘fundamental lies’ Tolkien offers us:

*Power is addictive.

*The habitual exercise of power corrodes the will and blunts the moral sense.

*There is evil in the world that we cannot hope to overcome, but it will never be overcome unless we do what we can to resist it.

*By conquering nature, we dehumanize ourselves, but by appreciating nature and preserving it, we supply a deep spiritual need.

*Good cannot be achieved by evil means. Moreover, evil itself cannot achieve the particular ends it desires by evil means: ‘Oft evil will shall evil mar.’

*There is no good excuse for cooperating with a tyrant. If you think he will spare you because of it, you are fooling yourself.

*It is better to resist evil, even if it means war, than submit peacefully to be enslaved and slaughtered.

*The desire for immortality is a cheat, for no matter how much power you have, you will never have power over death.

*If we oppose evil to the limit of our strength, though that in itself is inadequate, there is a Providence that can make our victory possible.

I think it is this last point above all that offends Moorcock. He is bitterly hostile to religion, and to Christianity in particular, and his own fiction does not suggest that he has a well-developed sense of ethics. The great struggle in the Elric books is not between Good and Evil, nor even between better and worse impulses in the human mind, but between Law and Chaos, either of which can be served just as well by evil means as by good. Actually it is a false dichotomy, as Fabio P. Barbieri has pointed out. Chaos can only occur in a context of order, and order, by the laws of thermodynamics, inevitably decays into chaos. The alternative to an ordered society is not a state of complete anarchy, but death; and everything that exists, however disorderly it may appear, is strictly subject to the laws that make its existence possible. As William Blake said, ‘Reason is the circumference of energy’: they require each other, like the poles of a magnet. But since neither law nor chaos can exist alone, there can be no final victory or defeat in any war between them. The combatants can go on fighting for ever, or at least until they grow tired and discover that the whole donnybrook was fundamentally silly.

Elric makes a pact with Arioch, a Lord of Chaos, who gives him the sword Stormbringer. Stormbringer gives its wielder great power, but also turns him, in effect, into a vampire, who must slay other living souls merely to stay alive. Nowhere in the Elric books is there any indication that Moorcock’s hero regrets his pact, or feels that his victims have any worth comparable to his own. In the end he builds up an army of barbarians, returns to Melniboné, kills the cousin who usurped his throne, destroys the entire city, and then betrays his allies to destruction themselves. From all this slaughter and betrayal he walks away more or less smiling, if the desperately melancholy Elric can ever be said to smile. It is a celebration of heroic nihilism so blatant that even Nietzsche might have averted his eyes in shame. All this is worlds away from the strict Judaeo-Christian ethics and Catholic sense of grace that permeate Tolkien’s work. Moorcock is not the only critic to have scented the presence of grace and reacted like Gollum to lembas: ‘Leaves out of the elf-country, gah! Dust and ashes, we can’t eat that.’ It is significant that Moorcock is a strong admirer of Philip Pullman, whose entire oeuvre is essentially an attack on a Gnosticized strawman version of Christianity.”

Here is a link to the whole essay, but the entire collection is, in my humble opinion, worth purchasing:

http://www.bondwine.com/essays/dragonstail/dragonstail.html

Your humble opinion is the same as my proud opinion, and I salute Mr Simon as inspired by a particular genius of insight. I strongly, strongly recommend his essays to anyone who wants to enjoy a thoughtful conversation about Tolkien.

Posted in Fancies, Reviews | 6 Comments

Epic Pooh-poohing

As an apt follow up to our last topic, this is but a brief but telling quote from Michael Moorcock concerning Professor Tolkien:

Like Chesterton, and other orthodox Christian writers who substituted Faith for artistic rigour he [Tolkien] sees the petit bourgeoisie, the honest artisans and peasants, as the bulwark against Chaos. These people are always sentimentalized in such fiction because, traditionally, they are always the last to complain about any deficiencies in the social status quo. They are a type familiar to anyone who ever watched an English film of the thirties and forties, particularly a war-film, where they are represented solid good sense opposed to a perverted intellectualism. — from Michael Moorcock, EPIC POOH

The paragraph come from an essay by Mr Moorcock, author of the Elric stories, where he attempt to prove, ah, pardon me, I misspoke, where he asserts without even making a token attempt at proving so as to buffalo the unwary, that Professor Tolkien’s popularity can be explained by saying the childish rhythm of Tolkien’s language lulls we admirers of Tolkien into sleep. Because we Tolkien fans are stupid and infantile fools, dontcha know.

The paragraph is exceptional in that it contains an error or two in every line. Let us  note them, line by line.

First, we orthodox Christian writers do not substitute faith for artistic rigor, whatever that means. The comment is merely a slander, or a sneer, meant to create the impression that Christianity (which can properly take credit for the novel, the cathedral, and polyphonic music) is naturally unartistic, and that antichristianity (which can properly take credit for absurdism, cubism, atonal music) is artistic.

If it is objected that Moorcock here means only that some orthodox Christians substitute faith for artistic rigor, and G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien are among those few, the comment is a slander or a sneer delivered against two men of letters of considerably more accomplishment than enjoyed by the author of SWORDS OF MARS.

To be fair, Mr Moorcock wrote considerably more books than this, or, to be precise, endless variations of the same book, all with the same main character, the Eternal Champion, and the same dreary plot, that life is a disappointing betrayal. The themes and plots are predigested. I know of no author in the fantasy field who exercises less artistic rigor.

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Posted in Fancies | 33 Comments

Interview with Liberty Voice

Douglas Cobb of Liberty Voice does me the honor of interviewing me, asking me about my Count to the Eschaton Sequence.

Read the whole thing here: http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/john-c-wright-on-the-judge-of-ages-and-more-interview/

The basic inspiration for the story came, oddly enough, from fans of my previous series, THE GOLDEN AGE. It seems there is a certain club or cult of folks, called Transhumanists, who take science fiction more seriously than I do, and they believe that the various marvels I predicted in that book, such as the ability to record human brain information, copy it, edit it, and download it into bodies much more durable than flesh and blood, are all to be discovered within the lifetime of men now living.  In several conversations I tried to point out that the main problem was a moral one, not a technological one, although the technological problems themselves are insurmountable. (We do not even, for example, have a precise scientific definition of human thought, nor any way to reduce it to measurement).

As the conversation progressed the transhumanists (or at least those with whom I spoke) began making ever more astonishing and even absurd claims. An astonishing one was that any superior intelligence created by humans should not be educated according to any human moral standard, but allowed by trial and error to fall into any sort of moral philosophy it saw fit.  This was based on an unspoken assumption that humans were so wicked that anything we tried to teach, even something as simple as the Golden Rule, would corrupt the pristine perfection of the Frankenstein’s Monster.  An absurd claim was that entropy itself could someday be reversed. At this point I realized I was not dealing a scientific speculation, but cultic emotionalism.

Fairness requires I emphasize that not every man calling himself a Transhumanist buys into those last two ideas. For all I know, only the man who said it believes it, and, as time passes, maybe not even him. But it pointed out to me the easy way a man who idolizes intellect over moral sentiments, a man who prizes genius over saintliness, will easily be tempted to make an artificial intellect an idol, complete with human sacrifice.

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Posted in Announcement, Crowing | 4 Comments

Oo, Those Awful Orcs !

It is with the same disquiet that one might feel stepping into a cold morgue, where a body killed after continuous pain from some deadly nerve gas he inhaled on purpose might be seen laying on a steel slab, to reread the words of the dismissive review by Edmund Wilson on what history has since decreed unambiguously to be the best novel of the modern era.

The kind reader may well wonder why any time or effort should be spent on dissecting a review over half a century old, worthy of no attention and no memory. That we must answer only after reading the review itself.

From The Nation, April 14, 1956.

            Oo, THOSE AWFUL ORCS !
By Edmund Wilson

            J. R. R. Tolkien: The Fellowship of the Ring.
            Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings, Allen and Unwin. 21s.

            In 1937, Dr. J. R. R. Tolkien, an Oxford don, published a children’s book called The Hobbit, which had an immense success. The Hobbits are a not quite human race who inhabit an imaginary country called the Shire and who combine the characteristics of certain English animals – they live in burrows like rabbits and badgers – with the traits of English country-dwellers, ranging from rustic to tweedy (the name seems a telescoping of rabbit and Hobbs.) They have Elves, Trolls and Dwarfs as neighbours, and they are associated with a magician called Gandalph [sic] and a slimy water-creature called Gollum. Dr. Tolkien became interested in his fairy-tale country and has gone on from this little story to elaborate a long romance, which has appeared, under the general title, The Lord of the Rings, in three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. All volumes are accompanied with maps, and Dr. Tolkien, who is a philologist, professor at Merton College of English Language and Literature, has equipped the last volume with a scholarly apparatus of appendices, explaining the alphabets and grammars of the various tongues spoken by his characters, and giving full genealogies and tables of historical chronology. Dr. Tolkien has announced that this series – the hypertrophic sequel to The Hobbit – is intended for adults rather than children, and it has had a resounding reception at the hands of a number of critics who are certainly grown-up in years. Continue reading

Posted in Fancies, Musings | 101 Comments