Who is the Muggle and who is the Slan?

Posted February 18, 2015 By John C Wright

UPDATE NOTICE: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/02/18/book-bomb-novellas-from-the-sad-puppies-slate/

One of the Happy Kittens (as I hereby officially christen the self-declared foes of Sad Puppies) has decreed, speaking ex-cathedra from his bung hole, that we Evil Legionnaires of Evil who support the Sad Puppies ballot are not true, real, authentic fans of science fiction.

The esteemed Patrick Richardson expresses an opinion to the contrary, which is to say, the truth of the matter (https://otherwheregazette.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/not-a-real-fan/):

Not a real fan

Posted by Patrick Richardson

I started loving science fiction when I was all of three or four, watching the Apollo/Soyuz link-up with my parents on TV. It’s one of my earliest memories. I remember playing in the semi-finished basement of our home in Colby, Kansas, listening to Walter Cronkite as little lights showed the orbits converging.

I was hooked.

For forty years I’ve read or watched every scrap of SFF I could get my hands on.

But, according to the Anti Sad Puppy crowd, I’m not a real fan.

I read the Hobbit for the first time in Kindergarten.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

I chased the Delikon off Earth in fourth grade and followed Alice down the rabbit hole.

But I’m not a real fan.

I devoured the Chronicles of Prydain and watched the Dark rise in 5th grade.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

By sixth grade I was on my fifth run through of the Lord of the Rings.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

I discovered Col. Falkenberg and met the Moties in 7th grade.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

In the last 40 years I have read hundreds of SFF books, watched hundreds of movies, dreamed of flying on Serenity and riding Sue with Harry Dresden.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

You see, according to the Anti crowd I can’t be a real fan because I don’t go to cons. I’ve only been to one you see, not out of lack of desire, but lack of funds.

So I’m not a Real Fan.

See, to be a Real Fan, you have to agree with the liberal orthodoxy. You have to believe that SF is all about teaching us lessons, not about having fun. You also, apparently, have to go to cons and beat your breast about “privilege” and “diversity” and apparently apologize for having testicles.

The problem I see with this point of view is simple.

It’s bullshit.

Bravo, and Read the whole thing.

* * *

Keith Glass of the Otherwhere Gazette chimes in likewise:


…Our Betters have declared, that there IS a class structure in Fandom. Ask Mike Glyer or Kevin Standlee. Apparently we need to read fanzines, be a member of a formal club, be a collector, filk, and do cosplay.

And that you are a fan “in proportion to the effort you make to attach yourself to fandom”

Well, thank you very much for laying out the requirements, that was mighty Privileged of you to do so.

And so I say in return: Check your everlovin’ Fandom Privilege. You’re a Fan if you say you’re a fan. Period. Full Stop. No check off the boxes, no “attaching yourself to fandom”. No Secret handshakes. Not even any Propeller Beanies. . .

My comment: Who dares to tell me who is and is not a fan? By what standards? By what logic?

Is this groundworm who does not know the difference between rishathra and grokking frelling telling ME that I am am not a fan?

Has he even read one story by AE van Vogt, while I wrote a NOVEL by him? Can he name, in order, the Eighteen races of Man from Olaf Stapledon? Does he know who Arthur C Clarke is, or the real name of Cordwainer Smith? Ye gods!

May the great white apes of Barsoom bugger him and the thoat he rode in on.

(Answers below)

* * *

For those of you who came in late, the Hugo Awards since roughly the mid-90s have been dominated by Leftwingery, literary twitterings, and dreck instead of stories containing science fiction elements.

To use the example most ready to hand, the winning short story was a prose poem about the wife of a paleontologist indulging an a daydream of revenge against oddly gin-drinking bar patrons who beat her bridegroom into a coma: the vignette takes place apparently in the present day, and contains nothing science fictional at all. It is not a bad piece, but neither is it the best science fiction short story of the year by any measure. It is amateurish, even lazy.  For example, the authoress, instead of inventing real invectives that might erupt in a real bar fight, merely selected a grab-bag of what Leftist know-nothings dimly and risibly imagine the Rightwing boogieman hate, with the unintended consequence that the author has made the victim of the beating into a transgendered homosexual Mohammedan Mexican sissy.

Lest anyone accuse me of criticizing where I cannot do better, in one afternoon, I penned a tale using the same theme, but added a science fictional element.

Miss Swirsky’s tale, whatever its other merits, is a simplistic revenge fantasy against a Leftwing caricature  of Rightwingers, here portrayed as violent and drunken bigots. This is one example of a dozen works selected for their political orientation but not for their merit.

Likewise, ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie — as best I can tell — won the award not for the merit of the work but for the use by one character of a female pronoun as the default pronoun. I say “as best I can tell” on the evidence that three times I have challenged fans of this book to name one thing inventive or entertaining about it, aside from the book’s loyalty to feminist piety.

In each of the three cases, the response from three different fans of the book was the same: first, the fan hotly denied that the books only merit was its loyalty to feminist piety; second, the fan mentioned one or two ideas I had already handled in more depth in my own book THE GOLDEN AGE, not to mention the works other authors back to Sterling and Gibson who wrote in the 1980s; third, the fan praised the book’s loyalty to feminist piety.

One fan not only fulsomely praised the book’s loyalty to feminist piety, but then went into a frothing spasm of outrage, telling me that I must and should like and love the book, because to fail to do so would be to display my lack of loyalty to feminist piety. In other words, the reader is not the judge the book on its entertainment value, but instead bow as if to the holy book of some dark idol, and praise the book unread, lest he be found guilty of disloyalty to the idol. This fan owes an apology to Miss Leckie, because there is no insult more cutting to an author than to say the readers must force themselves to like it out of a sense of duty.

Let me be not misunderstood: I level no criticism of this novel, which I have not read and about which I form no opinion. I level a criticism at the voters who elevated this novel to the status of an award winner falsely, and under false pretenses. Whether or not Miss Leckie voices any political opinions right or left, the sad fact is that leftwing nutbags heaped false praises on her novel not because it was praiseworthy, but only because they wanted to exploit her novel as a billboard for their pet political agenda.

Likewise again, works by women and minorities are nominated because of the skin color of the author, or sex, or victimhood status, not the merit of the work.

Like all affirmative action schemes, the attempt is counterproductive. Instead of elevating the minority, by showing the minority can compete equally on a level playing field with the majority and win on his own merit, affirmative action tilts the playing field in favor of the minority, robbing any win of any meaning, and merely demeans the merit of the award. Any minority who does win on merit now is lost in a crowd of poseurs who won not on merit but on some trivial surface feature of the author of concern only to Leftists.

I am not the only one disheartened and disgusted by the Leftification of the Science Fiction field, and its hostile take-over by literati.

The honorable Larry Correia, wishing to re-introduce the Hugo Award to the fans who read real science fiction, half in jest, proposed a slate of popular works a year or two back, and, fully in jest, said that science fiction awards going to undeserving authors was the leading cause of sadness in puppies. To fight against moroseness in puppies, readers were urged to join WorldCon, and vote for stories based on the merit of the story, not the political leanings of the author.

For his rather mild and common sense observation that science fiction awards should go to, you know, science fiction stories only when they are stories and contain science fiction, Mr Correia’s character was slandered, mocked, derided, impugned, insulted, slurred, slimed, and villified.

He was denounced as a transgendered homosexual Mohammedan Mexican sissy.

So uncouth and over-the-top were the insane rantings of the Left, that he took upon himself the title and dignity of the International Lord of Hate.

Myself, using my dread and dreaded authority which derives from the King in Yellow, the Voorish Sign and the Living Fungi of Yuggoth, I decreed into existence the Evil Legion of Evil, the literary version of the World Crime League, and published our official manifesto (http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/06/united-underworld-literary-movement-manifesto/) to which Vox Day and Sarah Hoyt added their pens mightier than swords, and to which since has rallied a dozen other names, including Brad R. Torgersen and Lieutenant Colonel Tom Kratman.

* * *

Here is the updated sample ballot, with links:


Remember: only YOU can fight puppy sadness!

Best Novel
The Dark Between the Stars – Kevin J. Anderson – TOR
Trial by Fire – Charles E. Gannon – BAEN
Skin Game – Jim Butcher – ROC
Monster Hunter Nemesis – Larry Correia – BAEN
Lines of Departure – Marko Kloos – 47 North (Amazon)

Best Novella
“Flow” – Arlan Andrews Sr. – Analog magazine November 2014
One Bright Star to Guide Them – John C. Wright – Castalia House
Big Boys Don’t Cry – Tom Kratman – Castalia House

Best Novelette
“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” – Michael F. Flynn – Analog magazine June 2014
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” – Rajnar Vajra – Analog magazine July/Aug 2014
“Championship B’tok” – Edward M. Lerner – Analog magazine Sept 2014
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” – Gray Rinehart – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show

Best Short Story
“Goodnight Stars” – Annie Bellet – The Apocalypse Triptych
Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” – Megan Grey – Fireside Fiction
Totaled” – Kary English – Galaxy’s Edge magazine, July 2014
“On A Spiritual Plain” – Lou Antonelli – Sci Phi Journal #2
“A Single Samurai” – Steve Diamond – Baen Big Book of Monsters

Best Related Work
Letters from Gardner – Lou Antonelli – Merry Blacksmith Press
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth – John C. Wright – Castalia House
Wisdom From My Internet – Michael Z. Williamson
“Why Science is Never Settled” Part 1, Part 2 – Tedd Roberts – BAEN

Best Graphic Story
Reduce Reuse Reanimate (Zombie Nation book #2) – Carter Reid – (independent)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
“The Lego Movie” – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
“Guardians of the Galaxy” – James Gunn
“Interstellar” – Christopher Nolan
“The Maze Runner” – Wes Ball

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Grimm – ” Once We Were Gods” – NBC
The Flash – “The Flash (pilot)” – The CW
Adventure Time – “The Prince Who Wanted Everything” – Cartoon Network
Regular Show – “Saving Time” – Cartoon Network

Best Editor (Long Form)
Toni Weisskopf – BAEN
Jim Minz – BAEN
Anne Sowards – ACE/ROC
Sheila Gilbert – DAW

Best Editor (Short Form)
Mike Resnick – Galaxy’s Edge magazine
Edmund R. Schubert – Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
Jennifer Brozek (for Shattered Shields)
Bryan Thomas Schmidt (for Shattered Shields)

Best Professional Artist
Carter Reid
Jon Eno
Alan Pollack
Nick Greenwood

Best Semiprozine
Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
Abyss & Apex
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine

Best Fanzine
Tangent SF On-line – Dave Truesdale
Elitist Book Reviews – Steve Diamond
The Revenge of Hump Day –
Tim Bolgeo

Best Fancast
The Sci Phi Show” – Jason Rennie
Dungeon Crawlers Radio
Adventures in SF Publishing

Best Fan Writer
Matthew David Surridge (Black Gate)
Jeffro Johnson
Amanda Green
Cedar Sanderson
Dave Freer

The John W. Campbell Award
Jason Cordova
Kary English
Eric S. Raymond

* * *

Answers: Cordwainer Smith’s real name is Paul Anthony Linebarger. It is abnormally easy to name all the races of man in Olaf Stapledon, since they are numbered: The First Men, the Second Men, the Third Men, and so on.

 * * *

UPDATE NOTICE: http://monsterhunternation.com/2015/02/18/book-bomb-novellas-from-the-sad-puppies-slate/ :Larry Correia is holding an official BOOK BOMB to show the naysayers what’s what. Click through, and buy like crazy. Spend the rent money. Be unthrifty — because science fictional goodness like this is sadly hard to come by these days.

If you’ve already bought the book, post a review.

The International Lord of Hate says:

How a Book Bomb works is that we try to get as many people to buy them off of Amazon in the same day. Because they have a rolling average best seller list that updates hourly, this causes the book to move up the list. The higher it gets, the more people outside the Book Bomb see it, and check it out too. Success breeds success, and best of all, the author GETS PAID.

And all authors should have GET PAID on their mission statement.

Please tell your friends. Repost, reblog, tweet, whatever it is you are into. The key to Book Bombs is spreading the word. Thank you

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Count to a Trillion soundtrack

Posted February 14, 2015 By John C Wright

No one ever told me that once I grew to the stature of an obscure midlist writer, a fan out of the blue would write themesongs! It is the perfect music for reading my books, or, in my case, getting in the mood to complete the writing.

The composer is named Gina Sharp. I know almost nothing beside that, and I am very pleased to have been inspired to write a book that inspired a composition. If you like them, leave a comment on soundcloud. If you don’t like them, shut your poxy trap and learn some goddam manners.

The first is called ‘Walk from Bridge to Nowhere’

Second is Ximen Del Azarchel

The third is ‘Exarchel’

Fourth is called ‘Fr. Reyes y Pastor’

This one is called Rhadamanthus Tuxedo

And this is ‘Deeds of Renown Without Peer’

And of course the composure is a fan of Doctor Strange. I knew she had good taste.

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Why DID the Wicked Witch Melt?

Posted February 12, 2015 By John C Wright

It has long been assumed that the reason why the Wicked Witch of the West melted when splashed by a bucket of water was due to the particular nature of the Witch. It is that conclusion I wish now to dispute.

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Ex Opere Operato, or, On Repelling Vampires

Posted February 11, 2015 By John C Wright

A reader with the Celtic name of Deiseach writes:

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with that [nb: the concept that faith-based weapons depend on the faith of the wielder], possibly because I seem to incline to the Orthodox view on this, rather than the formal Catholic view (but I yield in filial obedience to Holy Mother Church and accept her teachings).

My problem with this is that it is too easily turned around to “Any symbol, if believed in fervently enough, will do” – as in an episode of Doctor Who with the Seventh Doctor and the Haemovores (that series’ version of vampires) who were repulsed by a Soviet soldier’s Red Star cap badge (he being a fervent believer in the ideals of the USSR and Mother Russia). Now, that was a very touching scene, but it (and similar ones in novels and movies and TV shows) enables the reduction of the crucifix or the Host (and often they have not the faintest clue what the Host is or means) to merely ‘it works because you believe in it and it just as well be a baseball trading card if you believed in it’. That is, it makes the faith, and not what is believed in, the important element. So I would prefer (and this is only personal preference) that a crucifix would turn aside a vampire or demon no matter who grabs it up, and that a copy of “The Origin of Species” would not do the same. And that a crucifix will work on a vampire out of any tradition, Christian or pagan. YMMV on whether you are writing a world where Buddhist red threads, or Taoist spells, are equally effective in their traditions.

The kind of attitude that is dismissive about “Pshaw, Christianity was only invented three hundred years ago but our Mystic Native Pagan Traditions have been around since the creation of the world and actually really work because they’re true”.

On the other hand, I would fully expect sacramental to work regardless of who used them. The most Dawkinsesque atheist who grabbed a bottle of holy water and splashed it on an attacking vampire should have it reduce the monster to a bubbling, shrieking, melting mess without any beating around the bush about “Ah, but do you really believe in it?”

And when it comes to the sacraments themselves, e.g. the Blessed Sacrament, I think even P.Z. Myers could flee for protection to the tabernacle even after all his shenanigans.

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Rating Wright for Christ-friendliness

Posted February 10, 2015 By John C Wright

Hmm. I do not score very well on this suggested Christian Rating Scale, parents. My wife told me sternly that I have to write a juvenile next. In my defense, let me say that half the books I wrote, I wrote when I was an atheist, and, second, I wrote them for grownups.

Vox Day was asked how books might be rated according to Christian content, to be used by parents who work two jobs hence lack the time or resources to read the two books a day their bookish teenagers are inhaling during their omnivorous reading phase.

His reply is here, which I reprint in part below the cut:

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Cliometric Predictions as to the Plot in ARCHITECT OF AEONS

Posted February 9, 2015 By John C Wright

Few authors in days past could indulge in one of our favorite pasttimes, which is overhearing what readers think is going to happen next. A reader with the nautical yet leonine name of HMSLion offers what I consider a harsh but fair criticism, and, using the six-million variable calculus of predictive extrapolation, also called Psychohistory, is willing to share his Visualization of the Cosmic All, and guess what might come next in the next three volumes. The next words are his.

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In a World….

Posted February 7, 2015 By John C Wright

Coming Soon!

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Too Good Not to Share

Posted February 7, 2015 By John C Wright

Over at Vox Day’s website, during a discussion about how often various races and sexes are represented in fiction, one reader with the bland yet optical name of Genericviews had this to say:


As a middle aged white guy who can’t turn into a were-creature, isn’t wealthy, isn’t a supergenius, isn’t descended from the royal family of an ancient alien empire, can’t perform magic, isn’t in command of hundreds of people, pays my bills on time, and never gets attacked by terrorists so I can shoot back…. I feel grossly under-represented by characters in fiction. THAT’S WHY I READ IT. Real life is boring.



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A Review from Kirkus

Posted February 6, 2015 By John C Wright

The review is almost yet not exactly flattering, but almost yet not exactly accurate either. I quote part of it below. The original is here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/john-c-wright/architect-of-aeons/


Two rival post-human supergeniuses, boorish libertarian Menelaus Montrose and supercilious totalitarian Ximen del Azarchel, laid plans against the Hyades and then retired into suspended animation to await the result.

… The truth, when they finally learn it—after what seems like hundreds of pages of tedious bickering—proves disastrous for both, since whatever they do, they seem constrained to carry out the Hyades’ designs. Worse, another invasion threatens, this time by the Hyades’ bosses, the Cahetel. Montrose prepares an elaborate fleet to combat them, while del Azarchel begins a process to transform the planet Jupiter into an intelligence 250 million times smarter than a baseline human. Montrose and del Azarchel will fight yet another duel. And at the end of it all, 17,000 years remain before a third post-human, Princess Rania, over whom they are fighting, returns from the remote globular star cluster where she has gone to confront the Hyades’ bosses’ bosses’ bosses. Once again Wright provides plenty of intellectual food for thought, with a useful chronology as an appendix, the intent being to emulate such works as Olaf Stapledon’s classic Last and First Men. Inevitably, what plot there is deteriorates into a series of revelations that test the characters—and challenge those readers tenacious enough to stick with it, especially knowing they’ll wait two more books before finding out what happens and who gets the girl.

Impressive, with dull intervals, but for the committed only.


Now, writers are not supposed to bellyache about bad reviews, but I think I have the right to point out that the reviewer is not playing straight with his readers here. If anyone else had read the story, he could speak up for me, but since it is not released yet, the task falls to me.

Of factual errors in a one paragraph review, I can see a few.

Ximen del Azarchel is not a totalitarian, but a monarchist, but this is a trivial error, a nuance of description. He is close enough to a totalitarian to earn the name.

Cahetel is a servant of Hyades, not its superior. Again, someone reading hastily might not catch that.

And the two men were not in suspended animation at that time, but exiled to the moons of Jupiter. But, again, this might not technically be an error, since presumably some of that time was spent in suspended animation.

Jupiter Brain is not something Del Azarchel is beginning the process of creating. Indeed, that happened in the last volume. In this volume is one scene from the middle part of the process, and many scenes, indeed, two thirds of the book, where the process has not only completed, but Jupiter is a sovereign ruling mankind. Again, this is a minor thing, something a rapid reading might overlook, if, for example, the last two thirds of the book was overlooked, or the main point driving the plot conflict has been for the past three volumes was overlooked.

There is at least one misleading statement not technically an error. The two main characters learn the truth about the results of the alien invasion in Chapter Two, which starts around page 30, and the two do indeed bicker.

But for how long? Chapter One is divided into eight subsections with subheadings, of which Montrose and Del Azarchel exchange barbed remarks in first and in the eighth, so, technically, there is bickering in those 30 page, albeit they are not one hundred, and it is not continuous.

In Chapter Two they learn the truth, before which this chapter is also crowded with events like them seeing a war, watching a world go blind, discovering an eerie mystery about the missing aliens, finding they have a mother, meeting the winged posthuman whose gaze stuns them, them hearing the entire history of the aliens and the terrible truth about their past deeds. That brings us up to page 80.

There is no bickering in Chapter Three, where the two men commit an act of piracy, meet a giant, and end up being threatened by the baleful moon, who is a person, and able to boil the ocean from stations in Tycho Crater. She orders, or invites, them to bring their mother to the moon, and they must sneak aboard a posthuman lifting vessel after a horrid sacrifice. That brings us up to page 95, which is not yet one hundred pages.

So, your mileage may differ, but if this seems like hundreds of boring pages of bickering rather than 95 pages of idea-jammed and action-crammed story with some bickering as comedy relief, that is a legitimate difference of opinion, and the reviewer should indeed warn people that the writer put too much salt in the soup. So, this is not an error, but neither is it an accurate statement.

Montrose and del Azarchel do not fight a duel in this volume. Montrose fights a somewhat more massive individual related to del Azarchel — very massive — but, again, that might be hard to distinguish, since I have clones and downloaded copies of people running around in this book. Maybe the reviewer forgot who was who. On the other hand, only someone who did not read the last third of the book would not know who Montrose duels.

And we find out who gets the girl at the beginning of the next book, but the reviewer could not know that.

Montrose is a boorish libertarian, however. The reviewer got that right.

Well, technically, not exactly a libertarian, since his dismissal of our age of history refers to the Internet as the Pornonet, so he is perhaps more like a Cowboy, but it is still a good line.

Here is a review that is only eleven lines long, seven of which contain either errors or misleading statements. (The accurate lines, which I do not here discuss, I have removed from the copy above, out of courtesy to Kirkus: you may click through the link to read them.)

I am not going to say the reviewer merely read the jacket copy and the first three chapters, but I will say a reviewer who did so could give about a review as clear, insightful, and error free as this.

A straightforward review would have said: “Too much bickering between the hero and the villain was tedious. Thin on plot. Too many revelations and plot twists. Too much plot. Too much background detail. Wright goes overboard in creating a fully-realized world. I could not follow what was going on because I read it quickly, while I was drunk …” or whatever the actual complaint actually was.

Instead, the reviewer here is performing verbal contortions in order to create the following effect: he describes what is actually in the first half of the book, which he cannot (however reluctantly) portray admit large-scale in scope and contains astonishing revelations that challenge the characters, while making it sound as if he had already made a withering and devastating complaint, a complaint which, if you reread the paragraph, is never actually stated.

And ‘for the committed only’? What, if I may borrow an expression from my hero, the plaguing pox does that mean?

Now, please note that there are some complimentary comments sprinkled here and there, for which I am grateful. I assume a careful reader would see that the book actually is written on the scale of LAST AND FIRST MEN, and that the effect is, as it was apparently so difficult for the reviewer here to note, impressive. Or impressive only to the truly committed — which denotes nothing, but, like his other remarks, has a negative connotation.

We should imagine him saying such complimentary comments as if through clenched teeth, his eyes narrowed with hate, and tears on his cheeks. Impressive, with dull intervals, but for the committed only…

* * *

UPDATED ON 02 09 2015: Kirkus has contacted my publisher and upbraided my discourtesy for publishing their whole review. Chastened, I remove those sections of the review not directly discussed here.

Also, one thing I thought was a mistake was not: Kirkus were merely listing the last book in the series, not saying it was the first. And one additional mistake I overlooked cropped up. I have revised the above column accordingly, and added a link, with apologies for my lapse of manners to the honorable reviewer.

Kirkus has gallantly volunteered to correct any errors in the review, for which they have my humble thanks, but since the corrections are all minor, they need not bother on my account.

They have not offered to correct the snide and misleading tone, which is a reality I accept with humble goodsportsmanship. The job of critics is to mock good works, and mine to write them: I pray life find them equally as joyful in their endeavors as am I in mine.

Since I have written reviews of my own, not a few, believe me, I understand the need to produce bad reviews, which are more entertaining to read than good ones.

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This is why I am Catholic

Posted February 6, 2015 By John C Wright

I can make no comment here, except to say, note the reaction of the mother when the father decided not to fling his child into an orphange; my Church does not allow for divorce.


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