Analog’s One Thousandth Cover

Posted May 14, 2015 By John C Wright

Analog magazine, originally Amazing Stories, came out with its one thousandth issue. Here is the original January 1930 cover, showing an aeronaut fending off a bug monster with manly fisticuffs from a cowering cavegirl:

analog old

Here is the June 2015 cover, , showing an spacegirl fending off a bug monster with Amazonian yet slender-wristed blow from a dull-faced cavehunk:

analog new

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Reviewer Praise for ARCHITECT OF AEONS

Posted May 14, 2015 By John C Wright

Reviewer Dave Hallquest gives the nod of approval to my latest humble offering: Against vast worlds of intellect, what can mortal man do? 

http://superversivesf.com/2015/05/10/architect-aeons-review/

John Wright takes on a fantastic ride though time and space, showing us wonders and terrors. My principle issue is the one I often have with John Wright’s work: I wanted to see more of the wonders so briefly glimpsed and passed, shining for but a moment and then gone.

Always leave them wanting more.

And there is more to come: VINDICATION OF MAN is on the editor’s desk at the time of this writing, and as soon as I am done writing this sentence, I am going back to writing COUNT TO INFINITY, since, at the time of this writing, it is time for me to continue writing.

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Suggested Reading for Sad Puppy Backstory

Posted May 13, 2015 By John C Wright

Some of you came in to this theater late, and did not catch the first act.

For those of you puzzled or dazed or disgusted with the goings-on, allow me to provide a partial (and admittedly partial) list of the backstory on Puppy Related Sadness.

From Larry Correia you can get links to his original announcements of Sad Puppies 1,2,and 3. Allow me, at the risk of seeming egomaniacal, of listing only my own contributions to the movement and the columns leading up to it.

This is my recollection of the argument, rebuttal and counterrebuttal:

1. PostBinary Gender [sic] in SF by MacFarlane ( http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/post-binary-gender-in-sf-introduction)

2. Larry Correia’s rebuttal ( http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/01/28/ending-binary-gender-in-fiction-or-how-to-murder-your-writing-career/)

3. Daimian Walter, a loathly fellow from the Guardian newspaper, leaps into the fray to slander Larry Correia here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/11/science-fiction-needs-to-reflect-queer-fluid-gender-identity
(The loathly Mr Walter references a fisking by Jim C Hines. I include it for reasons of completeness: http://www.jimchines.com/2014/01/fiskception)
4. Larry takes up the moniker of ‘International Lord of Hate’ in reply here, and fisks the loathly Mr Walter: ( http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/04/15/larry-f-correia-international-lord-of-hate/)

4. My report on the matter, and the origin of the word Morlock to describe the persons I later learned were called ‘social justice warriors’, that is, racist anti-liberals exploiting liberal vocabulary.(http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/04/a-marvel-from-a-d-801702/)

5. Here is where I announce the creation of the Evil League of Evil (Later changed to the Evil Legion of Evil) http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/06/the-evil-league-of-evil-is-given-pious-advice/
dated June 2, 2014
6. Here is my announcement of the formation of the Evil Legion of Evil as a particular literary movement with a particular purpose, initially called the United Underworld, later called the Sad Puppies. http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/06/united-underworld-literary-movement-manifesto/
dated June 3, 2014

At the risk of quoting myself, allow me to point out that I have been libeled by many persons for having untoward or vile motives, when my motives were announced at the outset, and repeatedly and clearly, and by no action and no word showed any insincerity to the statement:

This new movement shall be one where the writer is allowed to put a message in his story, provided it entertains the reader, and provided he does not sabotage or ignore the story trying to shoehorn a message into it. Story telling comes first in stories.
All stories will be judged on their merit, rather than on the skin color of the author or authoress.
The writers are the servants of the readers, who are their patrons and patronesses. We are not the teachers, not the preachers, and not the parents and certainly not the masters of the readers. We are not social engineers with permission to manipulate the readers, nor subject them to indoctrination nor propaganda disguised as entertainment.
In sum, the three ideas of the so-called reactionary Evil Legion of Evil are that that Science Fiction stories should be workmanlike, honest, and fun. Stories should serve the reader rather than lecture, sucker-punch, subvert, or hector him. Stories should give the reader what he paid for.

Dear reader, do you understand that these three principles, these three points of simple common sense and common decency, these three principles are what the Leftist ideologues, who untruthfully claim to be fighting for the underdog, untruthfully call evil?

These are the principles our foes reject, and why we (including you, our readers) are subject to shrill yet tedious tongue-lashings by the scolds and shrews of these craven and no-talent know-nothings.

Does that sound like a new literary movement? It is older than Homer.”

7. Sarah Hoyt joined in this announcement here ( http://accordingtohoyt.com/2014/04/13/i-need-a-secret-lair-and-minions-and-piranhas/) and I amplified the comment and called us the World Crime League here ( http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/05/instapundit-and-the-world-crime-league/)

8. She gives her reasons for supporting the movement here ( http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/04/why-we-fight/)

9. My general rebuttal to all the libels is here ( http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/03/tor-editor-libels-tor-author/)

I need not to repeat the rebuttal, since not a single new argument has been leveled against me or the Sad Puppies which is not simply an assertion of hidden bad motives, racism, bigotry, homophobia, cheating on some alleged gentleman’s agreement to which I was never a party, and which conveniently never was mentioned erenow.

The idea of keeping a gentleman’s agreement with these dishonest and whining brats is less than risible. It is pathetic. My most recent column debunks that notion: (http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/05/on-the-unwritten-code/)

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Atheism, Nihilism, Woe, and Ire

Posted May 13, 2015 By John C Wright

I think we have the answer to the question we have been pondering here these last few days. It is not a complete answer, but it will do for now.

One of the few people on the Internet with a human name, Mr Hess, writes as follows:

(Quoting me) “I would like someone to volunteer to show me, in simple steps, how to get from statement (a) there is nothing of eternal meaning to statement (c) there is nothing of meaning. ”

I can’t. But I can say if (a) there is nothing of eternal meaning then (b) the meaning one gets is dimmer and much less motivating or inspiring than eternal meaning.

This discussion is clarifying for me. I have a bit arrogantly taken the view that life without faith in the eternal is just meaningless. That is not correct, as this thread abundantly shows.

However, the meaning that most people can get without faith in the eternal is thin gruel as compared to what they can get with it. It has heavy short-term bias. It tends to lead one toward more selfish decisions. It tends to lead one toward smaller, more temporary goals. It tends to fail or be weak in the face of adversity.

Building nations or institutions or even families that will be good or great after one is gone is difficult, suffering work. Standing up for truth in the face of pressure and ridicule is difficult. I think experience shows that those with little or no faith in the eternal do not do as well as those with faith in the eternal.

Examples abound. Compare the Cathedrals of Europe with Communist-era architecture. Compare the Britain when it was gloriously animated by Victorian-era faith with the Britain of today. Witness the achievements of past scientists with the craven modern scientists who are unwilling to confront even the most ridiculous and easily-disproved things if it means confronting the left. Witness the fear of men to commit as compared to men of the past.

It is clear to me in these and many other examples that modern man with weak faith lacks greatly in drive, courage, ambition and much else.

My comment: hear, hear, and I completely agree.

I suspect if you looked through the lists of who commits suicide, and who performs self-destructive behaviors as a slow substitute for suicide, such as drug abuse, divorce, and indulgence in sexual deviancy, and compared it to the list of married couples with children who regularly contribute to charity, you will find the Christians living much more meaningful lives and toying with self destruction far less.

“However, the meaning that most people can get without faith in the eternal is thin gruel as compared to what they can get with it. ”

Thin gruel indeed, and it will not nourish.

Without God, you either end up as a Stoic, a man who is bitter but does his duty without complaint, or as a Hedonist, a man who seeks every fewer false pleasures with ever more fervor and ever less reward. At the end of either the Stoic road or the Hedonist treadmill is the same void, which can be filled only with wrath or sorrow. Read Homer. Read the writings of the Buddhists. Pagans are a grim people. They talk about resignation, renunciation, loss, sorrow, defeat, and the futility of pride. Atheists have not even the comforts of paganism.

“It is clear to me in these and many other examples that modern man with weak faith lacks greatly in drive, courage, ambition and much else.”

Amen.

I think the case cannot be made that an atheism logically implies nihilism, but I do think it is easy to make the case that atheism is gray and damp and sad compared to the bright scarlet and dazzling white of the martyrs and saints, the gleaming gold of halos and crowns, the savor of the bread, the heady scent of wine, the flowers in a bridal bouquet, the laughter of the feast and lamentations of the fasts, the clatter of prayer beads in the solemn stillness, the peal of the bells in the steeple. Even their crusades are bland and inquisitions are dull compared to ours.

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Superversive Blog: the Age of Nagging

Posted May 13, 2015 By John C Wright

My lovely and talented wife has written an eye-opening column, and one that explains much of the madness of modern moral hypocrisy, now that we live in the Age of Nagging.

Read the whole thing: http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2015/05/13/superversive-blog-trigger-warning-or-smelling-salts/

The Victorians are renowned for their hypocrisy—but you have to shoot high, to have noble standards, to have whole portions of society bother trying to pretend to live up to them. And for all those who only pretended to be virtuous, or Christian, or caring, there were those who actually did live up to these noble goals. Those who helped fight slavery or poverty or a thousand other ills.

The Victorians might have been judgmental, but they valued rationality and carried themselves with dignity.

They had the virtues of their vices.

Not so the Neo-Victorians (Neo-Vics for short), by which I mean this new brand of social do-gooder that is so popular today. Like the Victorians, they make a career out of rushing around and trying to improve things by pushing their noses into other people’s business. Unlike the Victorians, they are totally lacking in dignity.

They do not have the virtues of their vices.

But there is another way in which the Neo-Vics are like their predecessors. Victorian women are famous for their delicacy. Women of earlier eras did not faint away at the sight of a mouse or at an uncouth word. (Pioneer women, for instance, did not faint away at anything.) Nor did the ladies of, say, Queen Elizabeth’s day.

Fainting spells and hysterics came from two things: one, tight corsets—not a problem we have today. (Thank, God!) Two, hysterics were a way to show disapproval. If one fainted away at the very mention of something, men at least had to keep it out of the drawing rooms.

Sadly, we are seeing that again today.

Colleges used to be a place where people went to confront daring ideas and learn from them. Now, even 2000 year old Ovid’s Metamorphoses is so objectionable that students are demanding that they not be asked to read it unless the university provides them with atrigger warning, to prepare them ahead of time for the vile humanity reflected within.

But is it really a trigger warning they need…or smelling salts?

My comment: The tight corsets things is a myth, by the way. Victorian women fainted because they were proud of their delicacy, in order to be proud of the manliness of their menfolk.

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On the Unwritten Code

Posted May 13, 2015 By John C Wright

A meme currently circulating among the Social Justice Warriors in their relentless attempts to made poor, poor big-eyed puppies sad with their heaping awards upon talent-free uberleftist message fiction is that Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen and Vox Day, merely by asking fans to read and nominate worthy works, have violated the strict and scrupulously observed unwritten code of gentlemen forbidding the crassness of asking for votes in public.

Asking for votes in private, or if you are a Politically Correct leftist in good standing, of course, provokes no furor, as it is evidently not a violation.

I call it a meme because it is a thoughtless and absurd white noise of words, a self replicating sentence phrase that means nothing and says nothing. It is an accusation leveled because the accusers have run out of other, more credible, accusations, and they are not well behaved enough to shut their mouths with dignity after their case has been argued and lost.

Need I answer this hairball of absurdity they have coughed up?

No, but I shall:

I do not consider myself to be bound by an unwritten code that binds only me and leaves rivals and illwishers free to work their will as they see fit.

The unwritten code did not protect me when I and mine were grossly libeled in the Guardian, Slate, Salon, io9 and Entertainment Weekly with the most outrageous and perfidious defamation imaginable.

My crime is that I have a sufficient number of fans who admire my work to put me on the ballot. It was all aboveboard, scrupulously honest, legal, cricket, and according to Hoyle.

In return, I am accused of being a White Supremacist motivated by race-hatred, being a sexist motivated by misogyny,  being a homophone (or whatever their make-believe word is) motivated by a psychopathological paranoia, and being a flying purple people eater motivated by aerial aubergine anthropophagy.

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An Answer

Posted May 12, 2015 By John C Wright

From a disappointed fan of mine:

“I remember discovering your fantasy novel Last Guardians of Everness with a
great deal of delight. Here was a new author who could write with a fine
and imaginative hand. Then I came upon the Golden Oecumene series and was
totally blown away. What a great vision! This was classic stuff. I wondered
why I hadn’t heard more about you. So I picked up the Eschaton books and
read on.

Then came the Rabid Puppy/Sad Puppy debacle and I was heartbroken. Not
because your beliefs and mine are so different, but because you and your
fellow Puppies were so *rude*. You, Vox, Day, and Torgenson tore into the
heart of fandom out of sheer cussedness and that’s it. Your arguments for
nominating a slate and violating the unwritten code underlying the Hugos
were irrational and make no sense outside of the right-wing “reality
bubble.”

And as I use No Award to wipe the Hugo Awards clean of the lame and useless
Puppy nominees that you claim are “award-winning” (and I looked too), I
look back at the Golden Oecumene and remember when you were someone I
admired.

Yours,

Rob Thornton
Catonsville, MD”

It is a hard letter to read. I aim to please by readers, and when I fail, the fault is mine.

Nonetheless, it merits an answer. My answer is this:
http://www.apex-magazine.com/if-you-were-a-dinosaur-my-love/

and

http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/11/the-queen-of-the-tyrant-lizards/

 

 

 

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Attach Watch – Reprise

Posted May 12, 2015 By John C Wright

The denial of service attack launched by parties unknown against my site has been fended off by the bravery and persistence of my webgoblin. However, host has not done what he requested as yet, so it’s possible that some of the recent commenters will not be able to log in. We hope that can be fixed tomorrow.

At the moment, we are back open for business.

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Virtuous Atheism and Partial Truth

Posted May 8, 2015 By John C Wright

Part of an ongoing discussion. Regarding the debate over atheism and nihilism, a reader with the military but vandalistic name of Stilicho comments:

The question here is whether the honest atheist who believes in an absolute and objective standard of morality is committing a logical contradiction?”

It comes down to whether you think that an atheist can deduce objective morality from nature without reference to nature’s God. I think our hypothetical atheist CAN do so, honestly and incorrectly. The problem lies in the fact that this atheist MUST choose a standard for what is good or moral. Utilitarian– most benefit for the most people? Selfish–most benefit for me? Natural order– this is what I can observe in how nature functions (leaving aside the question of the source of observable natural law)? Some other standard? These can all be viewed as rational, logical choices, but choices they remain.

“Ultimately, the atheist’s choice is self-referential because he chooses the standard that appeals to him. In that sense, the atheist is not a nihilist using your definitions above, but instead of saying there is no meaning, he says my choices impart meaning.”

Now here you raise a very interesting problem. The rational atheists I know or knew personally could both deduce, rationally and without error from first principles, either a duty-based or a pleasure-based system of ethics, that is, stoicism or hedonism.

The Stoic did not chose his metrics based on personal preference, but the Hedonist did. Both could (using different chains of reasoning) deduce and justify the classical virtues of Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.

But neither could explain acts of self-sacrifice, and both called them immoral rather than moral. Neither could deduce the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

If we define ‘ethics’ as including only the cardinal virtues and called the Christian virtues ‘super-ethics’ or some higher form of moral thinking, then we can say that an ethical atheist is possible.

If, however, we are a little more honest in our definition, and we call all virtues ‘ethics’ then the atheist is only able to deduce the pagan ethics which serve only on sunny days when self sacrifice is not called for. A peacetime ethics, as it were, but no good for storms or emergencies; an ethic good enough for every day of your life except the last.

Anyone persuaded that this is a valid approach must admit that an atheist can be mostly ethical, for example, as ethical as Aristotle, who famously fled Athens when the democracy turned on him. He can be a great souled man. He cannot rationally account for being as ethical as Socrates, who did not flee, and for whom truth was more important than life. He cannot be a saint.

But the harder argument to make is to show that the atheist, or, for that matter, the virtuous pagan, the great souled man, commits a logical self contradiction if he rejects nihilism. I have yet to see such an argument.

Stilicho concludes:

“A truly objective standard of morality, on the other hand, must be determined outside of influences that exist upon the stage where the standard is imposed. Our hypothetical atheist does not get to that level of inquiry because while he may deduce the existence of an objective morality, he does not pursue that to its origins, but, instead, stops his inquiry when he chooses his metrics.

Our hypothetical atheist does not get to that level of inquiry because while he may deduce the existence of an objective morality, he does not pursue that to its origins, but, instead, stops his inquiry when he chooses his metrics.”

I think this is exactly right, and have nothing to add. The virtuous atheist, like the virtuous pagan, sees part of the picture, and that part, he sees rightly.

But he lacks the whole picture. It is not illogical, but it is incomplete.

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Attack Watch

Posted May 7, 2015 By John C Wright

My website is under attack by hostile hackers, so there will be delays and hiccups and slowdowns.

If I do not get a chance to answer any interest question, particularly on the philosophical discussion about atheism and nihilism (a topic that fascinates me) please be assured that this is not due to neglect nor contempt on my part.

Please be patient.

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