Toward Totalitarianism by James E Keenan

This appeared today in the Frederick News Post. I have three questions about it.

The original is here: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/politics_and_government/toward-totalitarianism/article_284c1de7-64d5-5a04-90b3-e1bea4b4e725.html?mode=jqm

Recently, there has been controversy about control of certain elements of the nation’s press and news media. While the president’s plan to place government monitors in newsrooms is temporarily on hold, it must be revived at some future time. The administration needs to act to prevent divisiveness and bias by controlling the information that is given to the American people.

There are some on the far right who will continue their prattle about freedom of the press or freedom of speech or freedom of religion. But even a cursory reading of our outdated Constitution shows that the so-called Bill of Rights restricts only laws passed by Congress. Continue reading

Posted in Musings, Only Posting a Link | 15 Comments

Mystery Men Role Playing Game: The Wrath of Pops Racecar!

To dispel any notion that in my free time between writing novels, I do anything becoming to a man my age, like reading Papal encyclicals, or translating Aristotle, or even ice fishing, I’d like to make it clear I have the same hobby as the nearsighted asthmatic teenager working in your local gaming store, to wit, I play role playing games. This is a game called Mystery Men, based loosely on the movie, based loosely on the comic book.

You play a squad of between four to six incompetent super heroes.  Below is a description of my third turn. This should be the last entry in this particular line of posts for about a month.

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Posted in Drollery | 1 Comment

Mystery Men Role Playing Game: When Strikes the Super President!

To dispel any notion that I could become your next world leader, or even Beadle of Brampton, I’d like to share a private part of my life with you: I play role playing games. I believe this disqualifies me under the United Nations Organization charter from holding public office or serving on juries. This is a game called Mystery Men, based loosely on the movie, based loosely on the comic book.

You play a squad of between four to six incompetent super heroes.  Below is a description of my second turn.

Continue reading

Posted in Drollery | 10 Comments

Mystery Men Role Playing Game: Behold A Santa!

Lest there be some readers who think I am too fine to play something geekerific like role playing games, I’d like to share a private part of my life with you. This is a game called Mystery Men, based loosely on the movie, based loosely on the comic book.

You play a squad of between four to six incompetent super heroes.  Below is a description of my first turn.

Continue reading

Posted in Drollery | 8 Comments

Mystery Men Role Playing Game: Intro

Just so that my readers do not think I have a real life, I’d like to share a private part of my meager existence with you. I am currently playing in a game called Mystery Men, based loosely on the movie, based loosely on the comic book.

You play a squad of between four to six incompetent super heroes.  Below is a description of my hero team. I will post the write up of my first few turns (which I wrote out at length for the amusement of the moderator and my fellow players — this is not actually part of the game) for those few readers who might be interested in such arrant nonsense.

This what I do when I am not losing games are Arimaa to my eleven year old, one after another, or writing space epics, one after another.

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Posted in Drollery | 4 Comments

Baroque

It is amazing what you can find on the internet. There is a chess variant game called Baroque that my older brother Steven and his patrolleader Scott Turpin once showed me in my youth. I showed this game to my oldest and youngest boy, and both have played it with me and against each other.

For years and indeed for decades, through all my youth and almost all of my adult life,  I thought he and Scott had made it up out of their own heads. I cannot tell you the sense of disorientation it created to discover this was not the case.

Only quite recently, a year or two ago, did I discover that the game was invented by the mathematician named Robert Abbott (who has a web page here http://www.logicmazes.com/ and an article on how incredibly stupid modern video games are is here http://www.logicmazes.com/s7g2k/video.html). The game was first published in Recreational Mathematics Magazine in August 1962, under the title ??? since Abbott had not yet given it a name. A contest was run, and Baroque was the winning name.

I do not think my brother and Scott were trying to deceive me, it is just that as a small boy I no doubt paid no attention to the origin the things, and the topic of who invented the game never came up, and I never met anyone who had ever heard of it.

There is also a description of the game here, http://www.chessvariants.org/other.dir/ultima.html where it is called Ultima, a name that makes no sense, and was added by some editor in later years. This page also has moving illustrations of the capture moves.

There are only minor differences between the game my brother taught me and the game as described. For example, we called the Immobilizers ‘Freezers’ and called the Pawn ‘Squeezers’ and called the Withdrawers ‘Reversers’  — all of which, in my humble opinion, are much better names. For example, ‘A frozen Squeezer can squeeze the Freezer freezing him’ is more fun to say than ‘A frozen Pawn can pinch the Immobilizer immobilizing him.’

I did not know about the frozen suicide move rule, which would have prevented a stalemate in the last game I just played with my son, and I also thought the point of the game was to capture all enemy pieces, not check the King.

So, if you want to play a game that is played regularly in the Wright household, and do go something with the kids not involving an electronic screen of some sort, here from the original article are the rules to Baroque. (I still think you should use my names rather than Abbott’s, however.) Continue reading

Posted in Musings | 44 Comments

The Autumn People and the Winter’s Tale

This is among the best movie, if not THE best I have ever seen. The critics panned it, no one went to see it, and it is already gone from the theaters.

What went wrong?

Continue reading

Posted in Fancies, Musings, Reviews | 51 Comments

Matt Walsh asks: If I call it a lifestyle will the bigots back off?

With Ash Wednesday being next Wednesday, now is a good time to link to a Matt Walsh article from last year on Easter: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/03/30/on-easter/

And it is an even better time to remind the faithful what we face, and hold up a mirror to show the compassionate love-filled Left what hateful monsters they are. http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/03/31/if-i-call-it-a-lifestyle-will-the-bigots-back-off/

I hope it is not a breech of net etiquette if I quote the whole thing. It is a short piece from a year ago, but please feel free to visit Matt Walsh’s blog and leave a donation:

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Posted in Only Posting a Link | 10 Comments

Why the Rats Conquer Empires

It is darker than you think. Perhaps you have heard about speech codes on campus, about the intolerance of the Left, about their mob tactics, their fetid hypocrisy, and you thought we who complain about it were exaggerating.

You perhaps thought that, at least here in America, certain ideals and values were so much a part of our way of life, so deeply embedded into the hearts of the people, that there was no real threat to our beloved freedoms.

Those ideals and values are not a part of our way of life any longer. They have not been for twenty or thirty years. We are past the tipping point, and it will be a very, very difficult struggle to get back up the pebbly slope to the brink of the cliff down which we fell.

I could list any number of examples from my own field, starting with the expulsion of Theodore Beale from SWFA based on a false accusation by a leftist, going through my editor at Tor books having his child taken from him based on a false accusation, and ending with my agent at Tor books being fired due to a false accusation by a leftist.

I will content myself with a single item of evidence; you can find countless additional items from sources as wide ranging as the monstrous Peter Singer to the absurd Pajama Boy Ethan Krupp.

A creature named Korn writing in the Harvard Crimson calls for an end to Academic freedom.

I am not kidding, I am not exaggerating, and I am not making this up. Here is the link:

http://www.thecrimson.com/column/the-red-line/article/2014/2/18/academic-freedom-justice/?page=single#

Allow me to quote at length, lest I be accused of misrepresenting the true sewer depth of evil being promoted here, the bland banality of the call for chains and gags.

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Posted in Musings, Reasonings | 78 Comments

Thou Know’st Us Happy

Is there sex in heaven? A reader asks:

On this earth, we’re never going to run away from the problem of fidelity, whether sexual or emotional, and it may be prudent to err on the side of caution in terms of forming friendships with members of the opposite sex especially after one is married. So, for example, even if I begin to form a friendship with another woman, I imagine it would be prudent to limit interaction with the other person to situations where the wife is around, and to also avoid disclosing information I may freely disclose to my male friends.

What do you imagine this would look like in heaven? Will there still be the  sexual tension that requires this sort of caution? Or will we be able to  share our lives with each other freely without getting ourselves into the  kind of emotional messes that plague us down here? Or will we just be as  prudent in heaven without feeling like we’re being denied something – that  is, the situation in heaven will be much like what it is here except that we will just think that having ‘restricted’ relationships is the normal thing to do and accept it with contentment?

A word of warning: for earthly men to speculate of heavenly things is like seven-year-olds debating what their parent’s wedding night was like, dealing with concepts hidden from them, or not understood. We can only grope with metaphors and strained analogies, while yet we know all metaphors are false, and all analogies are incomplete.

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Posted in Apologetics, Musings | 28 Comments

Announcing the Call for Beta Readers!

UPDATE: For better or worse, a dozen readers have written me and asked to be beta readers. I think that is enough, and I thank you all for your attention. If you are someone in the field, like a technical writer or a professional editor, and you want to get in on the action, you can write me.

—————————————–

Dear Friends and Loyal Customer (Hi, Nick!) It occurs to me that if any of you have free time and a kind heart, you could help me with my current project. As anyone not dyslexic can tell, my essays are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors which I never seem to catch.

The new collection of essays, TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN will consist of nothing other than the essays that have appeared here on this blog, but I need someone to help me copy edit them, and catch mistakes my defective brain seems never to see. I could pay you nothing but a hearty thankyou and put your name in the Dedication page.

Drop me a line here or at john-c-wright@sff.net, and I will send you the manuscript electronically, or give you access to a Box folder where it is kept.

 

 

 

Posted in Announcement, Blogbegging | 10 Comments

ANNOUNCING THE ESSAY COLLECTION!

Here is the announcement from the fine fellows at Castalia House:

http://www.castaliahouse.com/john-c-wright-collection/

We are very pleased to announce that we will be publishing a select collection of John C. Wright’s insightful essays, entitled TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth. Mr. Wright was a finalist for the 2005 Nebula Award for Best Novel and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent”.

The essays are a compelling series of John C. Wright’s always-insightful observations concerning faith, philosophy, and the field in which he is an acknowledged master, science fiction. TRANSHUMAN AND SUBHUMAN is scheduled to be released in April 2014.

Ignite the skyrockets! Let sound the trumpets their brassy blast! Bring on the Dancing Maidens! Light the Pyre! Release the Kragen! Summon the Tornado! Collide the Worlds! Shoot LIGHT from your Mouth! Let the Hysteria of Frantic Rejoicing begin!

PDVD_117

Posted in Announcement | 17 Comments

Wright’s Writing Corner: Long Live Exposition

The beautiful and talented Mrs Wright wishes to share her tragic and joyful writing experiences, and describe a rather good idea on how to decide where to put one’s inevitable blocks of discursive information or exposition:

Last week, I had to move a large chuck of exposition. It was stuck in the middle of a rather active scene and more than one reader had complained it was awkward and dull.

I realized tat it had to be moved. But where? Ideally, I wanted it in a place where it would increase the readers interest, rather than bore them. But how to find such a place? I thought it was fascinating.

How could I tell when readers would agree with me, and when they would groan and pull out their hair?

In the end, I divided it into four pieces, putting each part into a place where it added to the scene rather than subtracting from it.

I wish I could tell you I did it gracefully.

But I can’t.

I dissolved into a puddle.

When I recovered from puddlehood, I had an insight that will, God willing, help me avoid the puddle fate in the future. It was about how to evaluate a passage to decide if a given piece of exposition would increase or decrease the reader’s interest. This insight revolved around the Japanese girls video game: Long Live the Queen.

For the rest of the exposition on exposition, click the link:

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2014/02/26/wrights-writing-corner-new-writing-tip-long-live-exposition/

 

Posted in Wisdom | Leave a comment

The Orcs and the Books

One Lynn Shepherd (in a Huffington Post article to which I will not link) writes that J.K. Rowling should stop writing novels outside children’s fare on the grounds that it unfairly leave no bookshelf space in the bookstores for talented new writers unfairly squeezed out, like herself, the unfairly treated Lynn Shepherd. And this is unfair.

The luminous Sarah Hoyt has a guest post by Amanda Green, who has of this day won my eternal admiration, for she dares to speak Truth to Whiny:

http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/24/you-are-not-entitled-a-guest-post-by-amanda-green/

The doughty Larry Correia addresses the same evil nonsense, laying on with hard-handed and heavy swordstrokes.

http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/fisking-the-huffpo-because-jk-rowling-is-nice-and-im-not/

Okay, aspiring and new writers, nobody owes you shit. Deal with it. You are an entertainer. Nothing more. If you get really good at entertaining people they will pay you money for your work, so then you need to go find the people who will give you money for your work. If you want more fans, you better keep on improving. As the number of fans grows, you will make more money and sell more books. How you accomplish this is irrelevant, because no matter what, the burden of success is on you and you alone.

JK Rowling making a dollar does not take a dollar out of your pocket. That is loser talk. Quite the contrary, she has grown our market, and brought more readers into genre fiction, so she’s actually put dollars IN your pocket.

It is difficult for me to type these next words, because I hurt my hands with the enthusiasm of my applause for this sound and righteous common sense. Against such towering eloquence, no great contribution by me is needed. I will contribute a lesser word, and say only two things.

First, of the seven deadly sins, six give or promise to give some sort of short term pleasure to the sinner: for with pride we are inflated, with gluttony we are fattened, with lust we slake selfish passions; wrath promises pain to enemies, avarice promises lucre in many glittering forms; sloth lures us with the promise of sleepy indifference to all high things.

Envy is sorrow at the good enjoyed by another. Only envy, of all the filthy and demeaning things one can do to oneself to damage the mind and damn the soul, only envy gives nothing whatever to the sinner. It is like swallowing a porcupine.

I cannot generate an atom of envy for the success of better writers than I. As my very wise friend David B Coe once observed when he overheard snobs mocking Robert Jordon: that writer makes enough money for my publisher so that my publisher can pay me.

To which I must add: that writer, along with a long line of writers from Howard to Burroughs to Tolkien to Morris, that all the right-thinking snobs disdain and mock, that writer also created my audience, yea, created my field. For writers like me, to feel envy of my betters is use the well in the dry wasteland as a latrine. If I befoul it, wherefrom shall I drink?

Second, some readers might wonder why a loyal Catholic zealot like myself has such affection for a adulterous heretic like Ayn Rand, the Apostle of the Sin of Pride. Our philosophies are opposite. I say that the greatest evil in the world is to turn away from that self-sacrificing love which is like God and which is God. She says the greatest evil in the world is to live for another or to allow another to live for you.

Well, despite all differences, here is why I like her: Every time I am tempted to think the bizarre and grotesque portrayals of the collectivist villains in her novels are exaggerations, or are simplistic, or are unrealistic, real life sharply checks me.

Every time I think that the jeering gargoyles she portrays in her books could not possibly exist in real life, a Gothic rainspout shakes itself awake and speaks.

Continue reading

Posted in Musings, Only Posting a Link | 23 Comments

Winter’s Tale

This is a difficult review to write, perhaps impossible, because the very act of saying anything about this movie runs the risk of decreasing your odds of enjoying it as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Even praising it as it merits being praised will ruin it for some; because many a man is disappointed by expectations raised too high. I had no such curse, because I walked into the theater with no notion whatsoever what kind of film it was, or how good or bad, my heart was like snow on which no footprint has fallen, and everything happened just as it was meant to be.

It is as if every movie has a miracle meant for one, only one, who sits in the audience to watch and be carried away. This may be that movie for you. It may be your golden story. It was mine.

It is called WINTER’S TALE.

For everyone there is one story, one precious story, that lives in the heart forever like a golden lamp, the living source of warmth when the imagination is filled with shapes of frost, but also the light in whose gleam all other stories are judged. The golden story is usually encountered in first youth, and never at my age, unless heaven opens a particular gift for you, just for you.

Such movies are rare as gems, as strange and wondrous as white magic, as heartrending as new love.

So, if you are willing to take me on faith, completely on faith, without reading another word, and go out this evening with your best gal and see this film, you will enjoy it more than if you read the rest of this article, where I discuss the film, and try to persuade you to go. It is that rich and that deep and that poignant, and I assure you that if I even tell you what genre this movie is, it will ruin part of the surprise, perhaps a crucial part.

Trust me: I speak in sober judgment. Go now, quickly, to the theater, without even returning first to your house for your coat. You will thank me. I would wager the price of a ticket, and offer to repay any man who takes me at my word and finds himself disappointed, and so remove the element of risk from your decision, but, alas, I am a poor man, and no gambler. But I will risk my word, which is more precious to me.

For those of you who are unconvinced, read on! But the diminution of your pleasure should I persuade you to go is now no longer on my conscience.

Continue reading

Posted in Fancies, Reviews | 37 Comments

Why it is a Good Time to be a Writer

A guest post on the website of my lovely and talented wife penned by Mr Michael J Sullivan.

At any given time there are plenty of Chicken Little wannabes proclaiming how the sky is falling when it comes to the business of books. I’m sure the scribes of Guttenberg’s days weren’t too happy about the disruptive technology of movable type. And despite much gnashing of teeth about the introduction of e-readers, ebooks are proving to be a boon for authors and publishers alike. Both of these technologies are making it easier for readers to obtain books, and significantly increasing the number of titles available. When the environment is good for the reader, ultimately writers and publishers thrive, but that’s just one of the reasons why now is such a good time for authors. Let’s look at some others.

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2014/02/19/wrights-writing-corner-guest-post-from-best-selling-author-michael-j-sullivan/

Posted in Only Posting a Link, Wisdom | 3 Comments

The Era of False Witness

From the pen of Matt Walsh:

The latest case in Boston is just one example.

Justina Pelletier is a young teenage girl with mitochondrial disease. The doctors at Tufts Medical Center diagnosed her with the condition a few years ago. They put her on a series of medications and vitamins, and her condition seemed to improve.

Back in February of 2013, Justina came down with a bad case of the flu. She was taken by ambulance to Boston Children’s Hospital. The folks at BCH did a work up on Justina and came to a conclusion that conflicts with the doctors at Tufts; they said that she doesn’t have a physical condition at all. They said that she has a psychological problem — in other words, it’s all in her head. It’s a psychosomatic issue. They recommended that her medication regimen should be “simplified” and that she should be treated for the mental problem that causes her to think she’s in pain.

Her parents disagreed. Strongly. They attempted to remove her from the hospital and take her back to her doctors at Tufts. But Boston Children’s Hospital would not tolerate such defiance. They refused to release her, called the cops, and accused the parents of “abusing” their child by “overmedicating” her.

Child Protective Services — or “the Department of Children and Families” — seized custody of Justina. She was locked in a psychiatric ward at the hospital, taken off most of her medications, and her parents were only allowed supervised visits once a week. A gag order was placed on her family, but her father has gone against it.

Continue reading

Posted in Musings, Only Posting a Link | 32 Comments

The Sense of Wonder

Someone asked me what was the sense of wonder of which so many science fiction readers speak and so many science fiction writers attempt to capture. Its a question that requires a long essay to answer adequately, so I will be able to give only an inadequate answer:

The years of the Industrial and Scientific Revolution ushered in a new view of the universe remarkably different from the universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy. The Earth was no longer the center. In a dizzying swoop, Copernicus swept it to the side and placed the sun at the center. Then, with a jar, Kepler announced that the orbit was not an epicycle riding a circle, but an oval. Next, the division between the mundane world of change and decay and the superlunary world of everlasting and divine aether was shattered by Newton like the ceiling of a cathedral collapsing. The Blessed Father Nicolas Steno ushered in the era of modern geography, and the age of the world suddenly stretched backward to remote eons like the famous scene in Hitchcock’s VERTIGO where the grounds seems to swoop away from the dangling feet of Jimmy Stewart.

The first thing to notice about this, is that nearly all these men were Churchmen in Catholic orders. So much for the war between Faith and Science.

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Posted in Fancies, Musings | 20 Comments

Book Review: STORY AND YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS by Ted Chiang

This is a reprint of my review, which I posted to Amazon.com, of Ted Chiang’s STORY OF YOUR LIFE AND OTHERS. It was written a few years ago, back when I was an atheist:

(WARNING! I am a science-fiction writer in economic competition with Mr. Chiang. All my gripes must be taken with a grain of salt.)

Eight well-crafted stories with engaging and interesting ideas are marred by weak endings. Each story ends with tepid pessimism.

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Posted in Fancies, Reviews | 22 Comments

Warren Defies the Empire of Lies

David Warren tells of the profound lesson he learned on a filthy, stinking, overcrowded traincar in India many years ago.

For the next eight hours we rolled towards Raxaul, on the Nepalese frontier. I did not share a language with these people, who tried to address me in their musical Bengali, then included me in their glances after giving up on speech. While clearly allowing that I came from another planet, they adopted me for the duration of their trip. When they produced chapatis and fishpaste out of a battered tin container, I was casually offered my share; and one of the little boys fell asleep on my lap. They were ragged people, there were lice in the boy’s hair; they were ludicrously poor, and I the pampered child of Canadian parents (who could wire home for money if I ever really needed it). For only these few hours, we lived, this extended family and I, in a state of equality.

This by way of explaining what I learnt on that cattle-car. It was something which contradicted everything I, as a product of the post-industrial West, had expected about human nature. Without ever having been told in so many words, I had come to believe that people who live in poverty and squalor must be miserable and in some sense, oppressed. And surely the pressure and uncertainty of migration would make this all the more oppressive. Let me concede this may well be the case, for the migrant or refugee who is alone. Yet these people were profoundly contented and — I shall never deny this — profoundly free. They were — all of them, but especially that serene, pregnant woman, at the centre of them all — quite possibly the happiest people I had ever met, to my tender age of eighteen. They seemed to exist perfectly for each other.

Please by all means read the whole thing:http://www.davidwarrenonline.com/2014/02/15/breeding-instructions-revisited/

I want to make a comment on the ending of the article, but it would be a crime against letters for me to quote out of context that powerful crescendo of the essayists art.

It is a crime I must commit in order for my comment to make sense, but all I can do by way of penance is is ask, nay, beg the reader not to read any further until you have clicked the link and read the essay in its full and subtle power.

Please do not click below the link until you have read this short essay. It is but a few paragraphs, but worth the five minutes it will take to read. Continue reading

Posted in Musings, Only Posting a Link | 37 Comments

On Martian Vampires

Here is a question I never tire of answering, albeit I am sure others grow tired of hearing it answered:

Let me start out by mentioning that I am a faithful Catholic. I believe in the empty tomb, and I accept that your revelation was the genuine article. I just can’t shake the sense that there is a flaw in the argument “An apparently supernatural event occurred (whether resurrection or revelation), therefore the event was the work of God.”

So, to be clear, I am largely coming from a Devil’s Advocate position here. I don’t actually believe the Resurrection was the work of Martian Vampires. I am trying to understand why an omnipotent god is a logically superior explanation to a potent god.

It doesn’t seem to me that my argument applies in general circumstances like you describe (me-as-robot, or discarding any conclusions in any field), because the hypothetical trickster that I’m talking about is definitely an inferior explanation, IF a non-supernatural alternative exists. In other words, I’m not saying that magical tricksters provide a superior explanation to general observations, I’m saying that they might provide a superior explanation to the existence of an omnipotent God.

[quoting me] A theory that does not contain an ad hoc entity, created only for the sake of argument and abandoned immediately thereafter, is weightier than one that does.

But don’t both theories contain an ad hoc entity? The difference is that yours is infinite and mine is finite. Further, your theory includes the existence of supernatural, superintelligent entities who are hellbent on spreading deceit.

Also, please don’t feel any obligation to indulge this thread any further. I know you’ve got more important things to do with your time.

No, I do not have anything more important to do with my time. I am not a novelist who philosophizes, I am a philosopher who writes novels. You are asking me a philosophical question about a matter of the deepest possible seriousness on the loftiest imaginable topic. I am delighted to write to you. I hope only I do not bore or offend you with my enthusiasm for philosophy.

Let us deal with your points in order: Continue reading

Posted in Musings | 9 Comments

Hoyt Defies the Empire of Lies

On the feast day of St. Catherine de Ricci, an Incorruptable, Feb 13, Sarah A Hoyt has penned a fascinating piece on the decision to speak the truth while dwelling in the Empire of Lies: http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/02/13/and-shame-the-devil/

To speak or not to speak?

Imagine that you are in a situation where everything you hear around you, all the points of accepted truth are carefully manufactured from above.  From your own experience, from the things you’ve seen yourself, you know that they’re not true.

Can you say anything?

Of course you can’t.  People will think you’re crazy.  In fact, you might start thinking you’re crazy yourself.

For years I seesawed on this point.  I knew that there were things I’d seen, things I’d lived through that no one in the US would believe if told (I imagine it’s much like someone who is for a democratic government in the Arab world now trying to tell the truth in the US about the Arab Spring.  Even with blogs, unless he’s very lucky, people will think he’s crazy or a supporter of a repressive regime.  Because everyone they hear about the Arab Spring tells them how chocolatesprinklesawesome it was.  And how it was populist and pro-democracy.) Heck, most people in Portugal, save the few who’d been there with me would believe it. And even SOME of those had gone into believing in the official version.  Because it’s easier.  Because then you don’t feel crazy.  And even if you can’t bring yourself to believe in it, you talk as if you do, in public, because you don’t want anyone to think you’re crazy.

This subtle disconnect followed me to the US, where I found that to get ahead in life you needed to be as far left as you could be, or at least make noises like you were, and yet where every single TV show and TV report and book and magazine shouted that the left was downtrodden and the right firmly in control of government and everything else.  Oh, and the rich were all right wing.  (Guys, for those people who are my age, this was never the truth.  Not even in Europe.  The rich are more likely to be extreme left.  And it’s not guilt.  It’s that they know what is the end result of communism:  a sort of techno feudalism. They want that.  In its end stage, communism is a complete reversal of the anti-nobility revolutions of the eighteenth century.  And that’s why the upper classes support it.  By their fruits, etc, as a wise man once said.)

By all means read the whole thing. Continue reading

Posted in Fancies, Musings, Only Posting a Link | 13 Comments

HASTEN FORTH AND PURCHASE JUDGE OF AGES

Having been puzzled and annoyed by the less than stellar review eructated by Kirkus for JUDGE OF AGES, I thought it only fair to give the opposing point of view by someone more qualified to have an opinion, our own Deiseach. What follows is an intermediate review (written before she reached the end of the book) and then a final review:

Dear Mr Wright, I go off-topic to express my delight with “Judge of Ages”, the most recent volume of the “Count to a Trillion” series.

I am still only half-way through it, and I spent my time reading equally divided between laughter and “WHAT????”

I can certainly say I never saw the plot convolutions coming.

Menelaus is as wonderful as ever :-)

I definitely see the family resemblance between him and Scipio, though I fear I may be racking up the time in Purgatory between the pair of them and their oaths as I’m mentally voicing them as I read – as Chaucer says in “The Parson’s Tale”:

For cristes
Sake, ne swereth nat so synfully in dismembrynge
of crist by soule, herte, bones, and
Body.

Though I am glad to apprehend Menelaus’ tasteful restraint – indeed, more than 2% of the interior of the Earth would be ostentatious and over-the-top :-)

Dear Sir Guiden: were you not already a happily true-married man, I would be throwing myself at you. There were tears and smiles as I read Oenoe’s account of how she fell in love with her husband.

Dear Mickey the Witch: as a person of a spherical contour of bodily form myself, I appreciate the cunning use to which you put your superfluity of tissue. Also, I agree: the best way to sum up what Menelaus and his opponents are doing is “magic” ;-)

I’m probably way off here, but did I detect the slightest hint of jealousy in Exarchel about Menelaus giving Mickey a nickname? Almost as if it/he were thinking “I’m the only one he gives a nickname! I’m his Blackie!”

Good grief: between the double-, triple- and quadruple-backstabbing and intrigue, and the fact that Menelaus planned most or all of this, I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next, and I love every minute of it.

Also! You are making me like your characters! Soorm is charming, if one can say that of a Hormagaunt (licking up the brains and all), and dash my wig, if Reyes y Pastor died in defence of the Blessed Sacrament, I’ll have to pray for his soul. I already like Ximen much too much. And Illiance was already the best of a bad lot, so what you did with him – grrr, can a girl not have at least one villain to boo and hiss?

Can I please assume (not yet having come to the end of the book) that Naar at least comes to a sticky end? I don’t like Naar one bit, and if he reforms and all, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself.

Finally, I appreciate your use of language. The names you give the Hermeticists (and others) are beautiful; they may be villains and rogues and traitors to humanity, but they have such absolutely lovely names: Sarmento i Illa d’Or is a scoundrel, but his name is gorgeous to say and to see. Continue reading

Posted in Crowing, Fancies | 106 Comments

THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Tolkien

I loved the first Hobbit movie and hated, hated, hated the second. It was stupid on every level of stupidity. It is rightly to be called THE DESOLATION OF TOLKIEN.

Before swan-diving into the sewer of total stupidity that is the DESOLATION movie, my intractable Southern courtesy requires that I say something good about this movie. Well, as it happens, there was not just one thing good about this movie, there were three: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage. They played their parts so well, that I feel I have met the real Gandalf, Bilbo and Thorin.

Sylvester McCoy did his best with what he was given, but the movie maker put bird poop in his hair. Which is not, come to think of it, so very different from what the movie maker did to us, his audience. This was to make Rhadaghast the Brown, the divine and august Istari who journeyed from the Blessed Lands beyond the Uttermost West to aid Middle Earth in its dark hour, to be as silly-looking a human whoopee cushion as possible.

On to what I hated with a nerdrageous passion that knows no sense of proportion: let us start at the beginning.

Continue reading

Posted in Drollery, Fancies, Reviews | 105 Comments

A message from the Beautiful and Talented Mrs. Wright

I was asked to write a Story Behind the Story article for my novel PROSPERO REGAINED. I had great fun doing it and the site loved it.

Should any of you wish to read it, here is the link:

http://upcoming4.me/news/book-news/story-behind-prospero-regained-by-l-jagi-lamplighter

Posted in Other | 1 Comment