An Unexpected and Enlightened Review

Posted October 3, 2014 By John C Wright

My darling wife’s book, THE UNEXPECTED ENLIGHTENMENT OF RACHEL GRIFFIN is reviewed Allie O’Neal of Geek Girl:

Ever since the students of Hogwarts captured the imagination of children and adults alike, YA Fantasy has remained a favorite genre for bookworms of all ages. L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Rachel Griffin is an adorable answer for all of us who wished Hermione Granger had been the title character instead of Harry Potter.

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is an amusing YA adventure, set at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, on an island invisible to the Unwary, but the destination for the children of The Wise from all over the world


The students are of many origins, and it seems that many areas of the world have secret magical royalty. If Rachel brings to mind Hermione, Sigfried is her Harry, the orphan raised by nuns who has already defeated a dragon before even entering Sorcery school. His utter distrust of adults is a perfect foil for Rachel’s deep respect for authority. There’s also a budding romance between Rachel and one of the older students. I’m very interested to see how it plays out over the course of the series.

The book at once has a whirlwind pace, taking place over the space of just a few days, while slowing at times, nearly getting bogged down with details about every single person Rachel encounters. It’s also made apparent from the beginning that this world is not quite the one we live in; though it is inexplicable at first that Rachel can’t identify an angel on sight, more apparent gaps in the world begin to appear to be made somehow… on purpose. The story itself is full of surprises as Rachel and her friends work to uncover the mysteries that surround them and turn out to be connected in unexpected ways.

Readers are periodically treated to whimsical drawings, done by Lamplighter’s husband, John C. Wright.

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Curse of the Fifty Worlds!

Posted October 3, 2014 By John C Wright

You may have heard the wondrous news that Pluto is once again a planet, eight years after being relegated to the status of dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Plutonians, Rejoice!

I commanded the initiation of a worldwide nine-year long feast, festival, festivity and celebration, culminating in the ritual trampling of Tokyo by Godzilla and the celebratory re-ignition of Mount Vesuvius as a Jubilee, with all public executions cancelled, all slaves freed, and all debts cancelled in this announcement here:

Unfortunately, I lack the legal and real power to have these commandments carried out, but I wish I could do what they do in Katroo for birthdays to solemnize the rebirth of Pluto. (Yes, yes, I know the rebirth is not officially official, but I care not a tinker’s damn. I never heard of Dr. Wesley Mouch, or any of the other alleged experts who declared Pluto not a planet before they committed their jejune act of cosmic vandalism. The thing was done on the sly, after most of the delegates had left the convention.)

Erik1880 left a comment. He quotes the Pluto-haters thus:

“If Pluto is a planet, the number of planets in our solar system could rise to 25, “with the possibility of 50 or 100 within the next decade. Do we want schoolchildren to have to remember so many?”

Erik1880 quips (and, in my opinion, with some justice) ‘Really? Science would now operate on the criteria that “we take a position dependent on it not making the public have to think too much”. If so then astronomy would be in a race with psychology to see which of the two is the most useless “science”.

Well said, Mr. 1880. I must add a comment of my own, which by pure coincidence addresses just this issue.

Allow me to quote myself. This is from ARCHITECT OF AEONS, Part Six, Chapter Two:

When Montrose was born, there had been eight planets in the solar system. Two hundred years before that, there had been nine; and two hundred years before that, only six; in antique times, there had been seven, counting the Sun and the Moon as planets, but not Earth.

During that brief golden age when he had ruled, it had offended the majesty of Nobilissimus Del Azarchel that older generations had more worlds in their solar system than his, and so the Hermetic Order had decreed any object pulled by gravity into a sphere and greater than 250 miles in diameter was a planet.

Hence from those days onward were there fifty planets in the solar system, including Ceres, Orcus, Pluto, Ixion, Huya, Varuna, Quaoar, Eris and Sedna, and many other small, cold, outermost worlds named after small, cold, outermost gods: from Apollyon and Ahriman, through Ceto and Chemosh, Eurynomos and Erlig, to Orcus and O-Yama, to Pwcca and Proserpina and Typhon and Tunrida, and onward.

And schoolboys for many centuries after cursed Del Azarchel whenever they had to memorize and rattle off all fifty names, from Abaddon to Zipacna, no doubt wishing that all the hell gods from the various world mythologies whose names they recited would torment him.

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Posted October 3, 2014 By John C Wright

A reviewer named Malcolm the Cynic, no doubt a close disciple of Diogenes, pays me the finest imaginable compliment of buying the second volume:

Great book, and I just ordered the sequel off of Amazon. New characters zoom in at the speed of bullets, and everyone is interesting. Azrael de Gray is one of the most entertaining villains I’ve read about in a long time. This is one of the only fantasies I’ve read where instead of saying, “Wow, I wish I lived in a world like this!” I said “Wow, good thing I don’t live in a world like this!” And yet, I get the sense that we’re really heading toward a happy ending regardless, and honestly I like that.

The sequel’s summary tells me that the apparently deceased/incapacitated characters of Gaylen and Peter Waylock are going to be major players, so I’m curious to see how that happens. Wright ended “Guardians” with one Hell of a cliffhanger.

I don’t have too much more to say, really. Wright combines mythologies seamlessly and their is a nice strain of humor running through the book as well which helps lighten the mood. The character of Wendy could be a bit annoying early on, but I got used to her. My favorite character is Raven though. A badass former Russian sailor who also happens to be a crack shot. What’s not to like?

Really looking forward to the sequel.

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Pluto is a Planet Again!

Posted October 2, 2014 By John C Wright

Take THAT, you vile Pluto-Haters!

I, for one, rejoice that Planet X is once again a planet! I welcome our new Mi-Go overlords, I applaud the hideous and unspeakable Fungi from Yoggoth, cheer the colony of semifourthdimensional yet cowardly organisms from Palain VII while they are busily dextropobopping, acclaim the forward military base of the hivequeen creatures we call ‘Wormfaces,’ and greet the resting place of Kzanol the Slaver, who will arise an obliterate the Earth!

(Hmm … wait a minute…. I wonder if there is a downside to this ….)

Pluto is once again a planet, eight years after being relegated to the status of dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). At least, that is, according to the audience at a debate at Harvard. Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysicists (HSCFA) debated the topic “What is a planet?” The debate was needed following the confusion that arose once Pluto was deemed too small to be a planet. The defining characteristics of a planet (a round thing which orbits the Sun and has ‘cleared the neighborhood’ around its orbit) “baffled the public and classrooms around the country,” according to the HSCFA. “For one thing, it only applied to planets in our solar system. What about all those exoplanets orbiting other stars? Are they planets? And Pluto was booted from the planet club and called a dwarf planet. Is a dwarf planet a small planet? Not according to the IAU. Even though a dwarf fruit tree is still a small fruit tree, and a dwarf hamster is still a small hamster.”

Astronomer Owen Gingerich pointed out that the word “planet” (derived from the Greek for ‘wanderer’) “is a culturally defined word that has changed its meaning over the ages,” and that Pluto definitely meets the criterion set out by fellow debater Dr. Dimitar Sasselov as ‘the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants.” But Gareth Williams, associate director of the IAU’s Minor Planet Center (read: the baddies) argued that because there are many other solar bodies the same size as Pluto, they would have to also be considered planets, and that would be confusing for schoolchildren. If Pluto is a planet, the number of planets in our solar system could rise to 25, “with the possibility of 50 or 100 within the next decade. Do we want schoolchildren to have to remember so many? No, we want to keep the numbers low.” As an argument for keeping Pluto at the kiddies’ table, that seems pretty weak. The audience thought so too, and voted to restore Pluto to planet status

Plutonians, Rejoice!


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CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 for 99 cents Today Only!

Posted October 2, 2014 By John C Wright

Today Weightless Books is offering CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 for 99 cents.

Includes stories by Catherynne M. Valente, David Sandner, John Grant, Cat Rambo, Leah Bobet, Michael J. DeLuca, Laird Barron, Ekaterina Sedia, Cat Sparks, Tanith Lee, Marie Brennan, Jennifer Crow, Vandana Singh, John C. Wright, C.S. MacCath, Joanna Galbraith, Deborah Biancotti and Erin Hoffman.

Mathematically speaking, 99 cents is 6.1875 cents per author. Two are named ‘Cat’ and one is named ‘Crow’ and one named Grant and one is Tanith Lee, so you have a range of mammalian and avian writers, not to mention Confederate and Yankee general names between the covers. The anthology covers the whole range of beauty and strangeness.

One of my more ambitious novellas ‘Murder in Metachronopolis’ is also here, a time travel mystery and ethical conundrum about a detective finding his own murderer, and then finding he ought to not prevent himself from murdering himself if he wants to save himself. What he does next is a little confusing, since ‘next’ is a null concept where time travel is concerned, so the reader may have to read the story twice, or back-to-front, as you like.

Buy it here:

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Reviewer Praise for ‘The Ideal Machine’

Posted October 1, 2014 By John C Wright

The maiden voyage of the SciPhi Journal has embarked with Issue #1, and Mr. of Castalia House has reviewed it, giving it high praise indeed. According to the reviewer, even the weakest of the stories or articles provided food for thought, something not seen in science fiction since the 1980’s.

I was honored to be asked by the editor, Mr. Jason Rennie, to contribute a novella to the issue. Here is a snippet of the review:


The Ideal Machine by John C. Wright

Although Wright’s early characterization of two important characters is unusually off (at least at first) by Wright’s standards, The Ideal Machine is a novelette about the nature of this world and the one beyond. Also, aliens. Wright can and should be forgiven for not quite nailing the camaraderie of a pair of Lieutenants off the bat.

This tale is a very clever (clever in a good way) homage to Invaders from Mars-style pulp stories that ends up adding meaning to its predecessors. In subtle turns it provides an important and natural answer to both Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star while turning the philosophical principles of The Forbidden Planet beyond its Jungian vision. For the conspiratorial-minded, the heroic priest of the tale associates with Rossignol, the medieval poem about a secret affair that also overtly (in the text) ties to an “endless genealogy” worthy of the Templars. Wright leaves the impression that the fellow who stands on the borderland of The Rulers of Evil and the quiet Christian subservient to the civil authorities must, in either case, die to himself every day.

But don’t let the spook business confuse you. It is a fun read that happens to have depth and great action while surveying the landscape of superheroism, alien invasion, occult sorcery, federal degeneracy, and the Eschaton.

“We don’t have secret police in America,” said Hynkel.

The old priest shrugged. “Well, if you knew about them, they would not be a secret, I suppose. Before the police come here to kill me, which one of you would like to rule the world?”

-The Ideal Machine, John C. Wright

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SUPERVERSIVE: The Art of Courage

Posted October 1, 2014 By John C Wright

Blow the trumpets and sound the gong, ignite the skyrockets and release the kraken! The first essay of the Superversive Literary Movement is here.


The Art of Courage

by Tom Simon

Behold the Underminer! I am always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me!

The Incredibles

For about a hundred years now, ever since the First World War broke the confidence of Western civilization, it has been fashionable to praise subversion. Art, music, and literature, as many of the critics tell us, are not supposed to go chasing after obsolete values like truth or beauty; they are supposed to shock, to wound, to épater les bourgeois – to subvert the values of society. Here is a fairly typical example, from the literary critic, John Grant:

It must meddle with our thinking, it must delight in being controversial, it must hope to be condemned by authority (whatever authority one chooses to identify), it must be at the cutting edge of the imagination, it must flirt with madness, it must surprise.

Grant is prescribing goals for fantasy, but the same demand has been heard in every genre and every art form, much to the harm of the arts. Most people don’t share Grant’s ideological preoccupations; they see the arts not as vehicles of propaganda, but as entertainment. Trying to get yourself condemned by authority may be good sophomoric fun while you are doing it, but it makes a dull spectator sport. Considered as entertainment, it has no virtue except novelty; and it has not been novel since about the 1920s. This is one reason why the ‘serious’ arts see their audiences shrinking year after year, until they are only maintained in precarious existence by public subsidy.

Part of the trouble comes from that apparently blank cheque, ‘whatever authority one chooses to identify’. In practice, this always means the same authority: the ghost of Mrs. Grundy, the narrow-minded, puritanical, bourgeois authority that lost most of its power in 1914, and does not exist at all anymore. If you rebel against a different authority – the Chinese Communist Party, or the rulers of militant Islam – you will not find the critics so approving. They will call you reactionary or even neocon, and the hand of Buzzfeed will be raised against you.

For the world of art and literature is largely dominated by the Left, and the Left is dominated by people whose world-view is inherited from their great-grandfathers. In this view, we need labour unions to defend us against the peril of child labour, Big Government to defend us against Standard Oil. America is one false move away from theocracy and Jim Crow; Europe is one false move away from another World War. Nothing can save us except a wonderful new panacea called Socialism, which has never been tried before, and with which nothing can possibly go wrong. These, in the main, are the ideas of the Left even today; and the people who believe these things have the nerve to call themselves Progressives. They call for progress; but they are still trying to progress from 1914 into 1915. They call for subversion; but the thing they are trying to subvert no longer exists.

By all means, read the whole thing.

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When Christianity Recedes, Slavery Returns

Posted September 30, 2014 By John C Wright

Robert Oscar Lopez has an article over at The American Thinker everyone should read:

Children have an inalienable right to a mother and father, cannot be bought or sold, and are entitled to know their origins. Whether it is straight people or gay people using divorce, surrogacy, trafficking, or any other means to deny people these rights, I oppose it.

This is a teachable moment because it reveals a great deal about what makes the Human Rights Campaign tick. They’re after your kids, plain and simple; all their other issues are mere window dressing.

They have convinced themselves that gays are a tribe unto themselves, so their consuming goal is to populate the tribe so they don’t disappear.

Parenthood is their great white whale. They want to have children to love them and call them Mom and Dad. They need to get those children from you because biology prevents them from siring them naturally. Gentlemen readers, these folks are trying to find a way to get the sperm out of your testicles and into their laboratories; lady readers, these folks need to find a way to implant an embryo of their sperm in your womb, keep you obedient during the gestation, and take your baby away forever.

The main item on the gay lobby’s agenda is patently insane. People don’t generally want to let lesbians milk sperm out of their testicles. People don’t usually like the idea of gay men gestating babies in their wombs and then taking them away. (And no, “visitation” plans where these gamete donors get to see their progeny a few times a month are not a good arrangement; that stuff’s really creepy.)

And at least with me, these HRC lackeys cannot pull the old “are you saying my children are worth any less?” routine. Just because you control a human being doesn’t mean that’s your child. Even if someone is your child, criticizing you is not the same as insulting your child. This is basic, but somehow the HRC manages to whitewash the complexities. Despite all the choreographed photographs of happy gay couples with children, people generally do not like growing up and knowing that half of them was sold to a gay couple.

In America, a large segment of the population has been lulled into accepting same-sex parenting. Virtually everywhere else, there are roadblocks, as there should be. The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that gay marriage is not a human right. The U.N. Human Rights Council recently voted to affirm the centrality of the family in international law, citing the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, whose seventh and ninth articles would seem to nullify any legal basis for same-sex parenting.
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SciPhi Journal #1! On Sale Now!

Posted September 29, 2014 By John C Wright

Buy yourself a copy now, and two or three for friends and family, of the journal devoted to science fiction and philosophy, two great elements that combine into wonder!

Issue #1 of the Sci Phi Journal is now available at: and

It includes an original Novellete from John C. Wright, The Ideal Machine, a tale of aliens from a distant star come to visit an old country church and offer our world a chance for the future.

The Goodreads page for Sci Phi Journal: Issue #1 is at

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SUPERVERSIVE: Storming the Moral High Ground

Posted September 29, 2014 By John C Wright

Sarah Hoyt hosts a significant announcement by my lovely and talented wife:

“Why can’t we have more stories that don’t involve poop?

“You know, good stories? No anti-heroes. No dour nihilism. No descriptions of gross stuff for no particular reason except to produce a mood we didn’t want to read anyway. Just…action, adventure, heroism, even perhaps a few…I realize this is going way out on a limb and no one else wants to read this but me but…good Christians, or something really outrageous like that.

“But not pious stories mind you. I’ve never found those entertaining. No stories where good guys are squeaky clean, and only very, very obviously evil people who cackle and have warts are allowed to use magic.

“Why can’t we have good stories and good messages. The dreary, depressed literary crowd have held the moral high ground for far too long, I think some people have forgotten that good stories can get there, too.”

“So you want good stories? Heroism? Christian values? What we need is a literary movement.”

There was a pause in the moving car.

“Why don’t we start one. Let’s storm the moral high ground!”
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