Iron Chamber of Memory

Posted January 15, 2016 By John C Wright

Sneak peak for my beloved readers. Here is the cover art for my next book, due out in two weeks, in electronic edition only from Castalia House. The perfect gift for Candlemas!

ICoM_960

This book is my submission to the field of “supernatural thriller” after the fashion of Charles Williams, Tim Powers or Gene Wolfe. A supernatural thriller is one where the mystery is not who committed the crime, but what is the nature of reality. This tale suggests a strange new answer to an old question of life, dream, myth, death, or older questions of ghosts, recollections, love and sorrow.

The central the conceit is taken unchanged from A HAUNTED WOMAN by David Lindsay, but my answer to the old question is the opposite of his.

Two young lovers, Henry and Laureline, only recall and know their burning love for each other when standing in the mysterious Rose Crystal Chamber of the High House of Wrongerwood on the island of Sark in the English Channel. Outside that one room, they blithely forget their love and all promises made within the Chamber.

And she is betrothed within the month to marry Manfred, who is the master of the High House and the Seigneur of Sark, Lord of the Island and the last of the feudal governments left anywhere in Europe. The local tenants under his rule whisper fearful rumors of the death of the previous Lady of the Isle, and all her near kin, that elevated the new lord so suddenly to his post.

And so far all attempts by Henry and Laureline to remind or warn their amnesia-cursed out-of-doors selves have failed. The time seems ready for more desperate measures, unlawful and unholy …

You see? The spell is very subtle. It not only sponges out memories, it covers them over with false ones. It explains away little inconsistencies. It made you forget this house entirely this last time. Before, you were able to remember the house and the outside of the chamber. It is getting stronger, not weaker. It is an enemy, and a cunning one…

Oddly enough, the setting for this fantastic novel is real.

Sark is a ‘Dark Sky’ Island, where the showing of outdoor lamps at night is forbidden, and no motor vehicles are permitted on the roads. There are abandoned silver mines beneath the island, and tunnels dug by Nazis when they ruled their during the war. The natives speak a dialect which has never been written down.

Sark is the was the last feudal landhold in Europe. By ancient law, only the Seigneur is permitted to own a hound, or to keep doves.

The High House called La Seigneurie is also real, albeit the author has taken artistic license to assume that its true position, size and shape are never seen by mortal men, nor how deep go its roots.

This book has a special and mysterious place in the author’s heart, because the whole thing from start to finish, all the scenes and much of the dialog, came to me in a dream not long after my conversion, and I spent the whole of the next day writing down before it escaped me. Those notes rested on my desk for  decade. Only now did I have the time to compose them into a novel.

This work was not written according to my own thoughts, ideas, or preconceptions. I offer it to the reader as it was given to me.

Opening below:
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A Good Story is Hard to Find

Posted January 14, 2016 By John C Wright

The fine folks over at A GOOD STORY IS HARD TO FIND, who share my passion for all things Catholic as well as all things Scientific-Fictional, did me the honor of interviewing me for their broadcast. It was one of the best conversations I have had with fellow fans recently, and, like always, I am afraid I talked too much

http://agoodstoryishardtofind.blogspot.com/2016/01/good-story-124-star-wars.html

I tried to explain my love-hate for THE FORCE AWAKENS, and I fear I failed. I loved the movie as a fan, but as a writer, I could see every creaking joint, every lose nail that should have been nailed down tight, every Granny Knot that should have been tied as a Trucker’s Hitch. Because it is easier to complain than to compliment, I hope no one doubts how much I liked this film, hearing how much I complained. Think of me as Lincoln’s nagging wife, under whose tongue lashing, the Union and hence Western Civilization was preserved.

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Our Distant Cousins by Lord Dunsany

Posted January 14, 2016 By John C Wright

I had discovered the writings of Lord Dunsany in my school library in college. This editions were raced with the Sidney H. Sime illustrations, which, to my mind, are as much a part of reading Lord Dunsany as the illustrations of John R. Neill are an integral part of the experience of reading L. Frank Baum.

Lord Dunsany was a pioneer of the fantasy field, capturing a sense of strange, ironic, oriental and haunting that reflects the fin de siecle perfectly, both the cynicism and ennui, but also the wish for escape into long lost fairylands. His short stories display his genius better than his longer work, albeit any reader’s life is duller is he has never read THE KING OF ELFLAND’S DAUGHTER.

What I did not know was that Lord Dunsany was also a pioneer of science fiction. Well all know, I hope, that John Carter of Virginia was one of the first earthlings to visit that far sphere, but only dedicated aficionados of early SF will recognize the visits of Thomas Edison or Gullivar (sic) Jones.

I found this story only today, thanks to the wonders of the electronic age:

http://www.michaelbroschat.com/Dunsany/OurDistantCousins.pdf

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Arrow, Season 2, Episode 9

Posted January 14, 2016 By John C Wright

I have just been binge-watching the second season of ARROW on Netflicks, which is not just the best live action adaption of Green Arrow I’ve ever seen, it is one of the best adaption of comic books to the big screen of any character. I am pleased to live in a time when there are so many cartoons, shows, and films starring superheroes that this question is a difficult one.

However, it seems a bit rough on minor characters. A police sergeant just got killed by Brother Blood’s minion.

And there was this police scientists guy who only shows up for a show to two, who gets struck by lightning and thrown threw a rack of chemicals. Seems kind of a pointless death. He was a likable fellow, with a pretty complex back story, so I wonder what the writers had in mind killing him off?

His name was Barry Allen or Wally West or something like that.

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The Downfall of the West

Posted January 13, 2016 By John C Wright

The must-read column for today is here:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/01/musings-on-immigration-part-i.html

This is one of the most insightful columns on the immigrant disaster in Europe I have yet seen, and it offers an explanation on two points otherwise inexplicable to me:

First, the appeal of Islam was made clear to me. I don’t know if this is the reason, but it certainly is reasonable, if you take my meaning:

Indeed, one explanation for the spread of radical Islam to the young is that it has an appeal to children who are otherwise tightly controlled by their parents. They find that they can embrace the religion and use it to shame their parents who are not practicing Muslims.

Second, I thought the inexplicable behavior of all European powers after the Second World War incomprehensible. The explanation offered here is again reasonable, fitting in with ordinary human motives and fears. (1) Europe had lost faith in herself and (2) Europe feared that, even if America won the Soviet-NATO atomic wars so often predicted in postwar science fiction, she would be obliterated. America could win, but Europe would be destroyed.

The Second World War did immense physical and psychological damage to Europe.  Physically, the continent lay in ruins; France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway had been invaded and occupied, Germany had been crushed and then split in two, Britain had escaped occupation, but had exhausted itself trying to win the war.  Psychologically, the continent’s self-confidence had been destroyed.  Nationalism and militarism had been thoroughly discredited.  Worse, perhaps, Europe was no longer a power in the world.  Power had passed firmly to the USA and the USSR.

Emphasis mine. We Americans have never lived in, and can hardly imagine, living in a nation that is not dedicated to an ideal.

We have no idea what it is like to live in a land that stands for nothing, means nothing, and has no future. Small wonder Science Fiction is dominated by the Americans and, to a lesser extent, by the Japanese. In Britain, science fiction has long grown pale on the tall shadow of Michael Moorcock and his New Wave, that is, socially relevant, bitter, and unappealing futurism. The Michael Palin movie BRAZIL is of this same spirit, if not of the same camp.

The grim and boring Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials has the same social message, even though it is fantasy, not science fiction: since there is no God, hope is for chumps, therefore stay in school and be kind to people in small things.

In Europe, there are no great things to do or to defend.

America stands for something: the bold and daring experiment in human liberty, for liberty is a condition to which Man is not by nature or temperament suited. Slavery is much more comfortable and better fitted to the passions and predispositions of the human race.

European nations in the Middle Ages stood for an equally bold experiment seen nowhere else on Earth: a secular order guided by but not ruled by a spiritual order, that is local kings with circumscribed powers ruling over classes. Slavery was abolished, and the gladiatorial games, and divorce. The classes were not equal, but each man had rights not to be overstepped. A serf was not equal to a noble, but he could not be evicted from his land, for example. And the Church was universal and international even at a time before nations properly so called existed.

Again, between the Reformation and the French Revolution another bold experiment was tried: the civil and the spiritual power would be held (in Protestant nations) or dominated (in Catholic) by the secular authority, whose role was sacred. Nations were to have their own language and culture. National pride as a concept was born.

The French Revolution with its universal aspirations, and likewise the Russian Revolution, were utter failures in the attempt to remove the spiritual element from civic life in Europe.

The ideal of sacred kingship was dead by the time of World War One, as were hopes for a peaceful secular world order based on mutual self interest.

National Socialism, a sort of hybrid form of the French and Russian ideas, attempted to place race and national fervor as a substitute religion, but by its nature Nazism cannot coexist peacefully with other nation-states for the same reason Islam cannot: it is a religion of conquest.

The bizarre and inhuman reaction of European leaders to the rape, groping, and harassment of their womenfolk at the hands of Islam, namely, to turn water hoses on the Europeans, and to cover up the crime and defend the barbarian, is incomprehensible, unless regarded as he behavior of men who are spiritually dead, broken, and without pride.

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Why I Like Christendom

Posted January 13, 2016 By John C Wright

I like Christendom because we have cool doors! (There are other reasons, of course.)

CYEnFy1WAAAn2TO (1)

A reader (and houseguest, and alum, and one of the numberless army of unverified Milo Yiannopoloi of Twitgate) with the erudite but doughty name of Scholar-at-Arms sent this pic, noting the resemblance to the doors of Moria in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

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EveryJoe Column: End of Unreason

Posted January 12, 2016 By John C Wright

Here are some snippets from my weekly EveryJoe column:

I propose a New Year’s Resolution, not for myself, but for the world.

Let us, all together, make 2016 the Year of Reason, when logic came back from its long exile in human affairs and was restored to its proper throne in the human soul.

Let emotion, passion, hysteria, wishful thinking, be reduced, once again, to their proper subordinate station, no longer running wild, but domesticated.

Any feminist reading these words must be elated, yet doubtful, for no doubt she thinks, “But feminism, the doctrine that holds men and women to be equal in the eyes of the law, is as conformable to reason as the opening of the Declaration of Independence! A return to reason would not just favor our cause, but coronate it with instant victory, would it not?”

No, miss. What is called feminism these days is Cultural Marxism …

To defend [feminists] shibboliths from contradiction, they must be defended from examination, and pondering outlawed.

This is done by coining a meaningless term, “sexism” which is some sort of race hatred alleged to exist between the sexes (despite their obvious affection for each other), and by asserting that all examination into the differences between the sexes, and all thought and debate about how best to arrange a society to accommodate two sexes that are as nearly opposite as one can be and still be members of the same species, are merely declared to be “sexist” which is, for some reason, is held to be a sin.

Unlike, say … envy.

Meanwhile envy, especially female envy of all things masculine, is held not to be a sin, but to be laudable.

…Would a return to reason usher in an age of libertarian Capitalism, where everything, from baby organs to harlot’s sexual services, could be bought and sold?

Much as I admire libertarians (and I do admire them a great deal!) I notice they claim reason to be on their side more than any philosophy, and yet they too from time to time have recourse to this same name-calling technique to rule certain questions out of bounds, and not open to reason: those who oppose Ayn Rand are looters and moochers and vampires, particularly we so called ‘Mystics of the Spirit’ who believe in God and who think the main problem in the world is lack of sanctity, not lack of greed.

…Again, any socialist reading of our proposed New Year’s Resolution to Reason must likewise be elated, for he deems socialism to be the very paragon of scientific and rational thinking.

However, the errors inherent in socialist schemes have been known since at least the days of Aristotle, who remarked that when a state holds all property in common, or when men as a group raise all children in common, no man cares for what is not his, and no child is reared…. By fiat, by axiom, in socialism, all criticism of socialism is decreed to be beyond the pale. But what is really driving socialism is a gluttony for material goods…

The word ‘homophobia’ places all discussion of marriage and chastity, decency and perversion, mental health and mental illness, beyond the pale. Anyone who reasons on these issues is disqualified without a hearing on the grounds that no legitimate difference of opinion can possibly exist….What is really going on, of course, is that the unchaste, adulterous and porn-addicted wretches cast up as the flotsam and jetsam of the so-called Sexual Revolution cannot logically ask homosexuals to be chaste when they themselves, the unchaste, are not. Lust, not reason, is the main driver of this absurdity.

The word ‘racist’ places not only questions of race beyond the pale of discussion, but any political or economic issue whatsoever… What is really going on is that the same party that supported slavery and supported Jim Crow now creates, sustains, and milks hatred, wrath and ire between the races for political advantage … Wrath, not reason, is the main driver of this absurdity.

The word  ‘Islamophobia’ places all rational discussion of the best way to fight the rising tide of Islamic terrorism and open of covert Jihad beyond the pale. It is not that the politically correct actually want to see their women in trash bags, and their gay voters thrown off rooftops; it is just that they have no concern for spiritual reality at all.

They cannot see a holy war when they are in it. Sloth, not reason, is the main driver here, and by sloth I do not mean laziness, I mean indifference to spiritual reality.

Finally, my atheist friends are also no doubt caught halfway between elation and dismay, for they no doubt also are saying, “But, surely Mr. Wright, surely it is you who are guilty of acts of blind faith! Surely our doubt of things perfectly obvious even to a child is the paragon and epitome of reason rightly understood, and your supernaturalism is irrational, blind faith!”

No, my friends. The first part of the New Year’s Resolution of returning to reason shall be the call things hereafter by their right names, and to draw conclusions based on the logic and logic alone, not on emotions. This includes the emotion of pride, including intellectual pride.

The atheist cannot account for the origin of the universe, if it has an origin, and cannot account for its eternity if it does not. … The atheist cannot account for the objective nature of morality… the atheist worldview cannot account for the nonatheist save by dismissing the vast majority of all men for the vast majority of all time as suffering atrocious lunacy…

 

No, the reason why atheism is and always has been the province of antisocial and unempathic social outliers and outcasts, is for the same reason that the Flat Earth Society has fewer members than the National Geographic Society: theism explains more of human existence than atheism. It is robust, it is elegant, it requires no absurdities like assuming all history is false and all men are mad…

So, the sad news for the New Year to all my feminist, libertarian, socialist, sexually liberated, racially progressive, and multiculturalist, and atheist friends is this: reason is not on your side. On your side are envy, avarice, gluttony, lust, ire, sloth and pride.

On your side is blindness.

On your side is an argument, or, rather, an eructation, that only proceeds by ruling thought out of bounds via magic words and magic name-calling. It is an argument whose only tactic is to escape rational question by attacking the questioner rather than addressing their questions.

Reason is on our side.

 

It is one of my better columns, and I am proud of it.

Read more: http://www.everyjoe.com/2016/01/06/lifestyle/new-years-resolution-end-unreason/#ixzz3x38x8v6D

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This is from two years back, and it is a website I haunt, so I am a wee surprised I did not see it. High praise indeed from Free Northerner
(http://freenortherner.com/2014/11/23/the-bookshelf-john-c-wright/).

Let me quote the opening paragraph of each review. Go to Free Northerner to read the whole thing:

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#JeSuisMilo Part Deux

Posted January 9, 2016 By John C Wright

Milo says: Twitter’s hate speech policy is that they hate speech.

More on Twitterbraingate:

Sign the petition and help right this social media injustice!

The Twitter employee who made the decision was finally identified: a Morlock who took exception to an anti-feminist message by Milo. So it was just an arbitrary insult delivered by a leftnut in order to intimate a non-leftnuts.

It was Thought Policework. It was “Shut Up, he explained.” It was and is the only argument ever offered by the Leftnuts: a demand that the rest of the shut up and let Leftnut lies flourish unchallenged. Because global warming will kill us all, but Islamic Jihadists flooding your country unchecked will never rape your sister, wife, daughter and son, and you are as racist as f*** for fearing they might.

Isn’t this the same twitter that refuses to suspend ISIS terrorist accounts?

And Twitter, as per Vox’s Three Rules of SJWs, simply doubled down. When the hashtag #JeSuisMilo topped number one, Twitter simply stopped reporting its popularity.

Here is the Breitbart article.

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/01/09/twitter-declares-war-on-conservative-media-unverifies-breitbart-tech-editor/

There is continued concern that Twitter’s user growth is flatlining, and this will not be helped by a perception that it is biased against critics of progressivism and feminism like Yiannopoulos, particularly at a time when both movements are increasingly unpopular with the public.

My comment:  I hate bullies because they are cruel, and I hate crybabbies because they are weak. The modern Morlock and SocJus Thoughtcop manages to combine both into one freakish package of ghastly brainlard, heavily salted with hypocrisy, humorlessness, and a love of whatever is sick, ugly, filthy, perverse, or hellish.

That they moreover think of themselves as smarter than their fathers but they are parochial, provincial, unlettered just makes them both dreary and dangerous. They are the Yahoos of Houyhnhnmland.

(Too frequently these self anointed geniuses are dogmatic materialists too stump-stupid to see the self-disproving nature of their dogma.)

John Stossel on a related topic (h/t to Mike Flynn)

http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/2015/10/08/censored-america

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Guest Column THE COMEDIANS

Posted January 9, 2016 By John C Wright

A reader sent me this letter, which, with his permission, I reprint here as a guest column and review of this book.

Note that Moorlockery, Social Justice, Postmodernism, Postrationalism, Self-Important Holier-Than-Thou Jabberwocky, Cultural Marxism, Coprophagy, or whatever you want to call this moral and mental disease that has corrupted our society not only destroys comic books (Female Thor, Negro Johnny Storm and Jimmy Olsen, Islamic Batman and Ms Marvel) and science fiction (If You Were an Ancillary Pronoun Wereseal, My Love) and politics (CNN, MSNBC) but indeed render the Morlock incapable of any work or act requiring even a modicum of honesty and integrity. 

The Moorlock cannot even write a book about stand up comics without ruining it. 

THE COMEDIANS by Kliph Nesteroff

Review by ‘The Conductor’

My wife and I usually exchange “wish lists” before Christmas to give each other gift ideas. One idea that I gave my wife was a book I saw online that I thought looked like it would be a good read – THE COMEDIANS by Kliph Nesteroff. It was advertised as a history of stand-up comedy, which I thought would be a fascinating and light-hearted subject for a holiday-time read. My wife happily presented me with the book on Christmas morning.

It turns out I should have done some more research.

The beginning of the book was actually quite good. The origins of stand-up comedy in vaudeville were every bit as interesting as I thought they would be, and the story remained engaging straight through the 1940s, with such great names as Jack Benny and Abbott and Costello highlighting the saga.

The first sign of trouble came when the author arrived at the late 1940s, when the subject of so-called “blacklisting” came up. I found myself unable to cry a tear of sympathy over people who were unable to work in Hollywood for a few years because of their support of regimes that killed millions of their own citizens. But nonetheless, I thought the nod to “McCarthyism” was a boilerplate gesture and that the interesting and funny narrative would resume.

Then we hit the 1950s and 1960s.

At that point the author ripped off his mask and revealed himself to be a Morlock through and through. He hit every left-wing touchstone, with determination, like a guy trying to get one of those club cards punched enough times to get himself a free hot dog.

He raved over Lenny Bruce, who, he declared, was influential to a degree impossible to overstate. He’s probably right, although I am far less gleeful about that notion than he was.

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