Fog Of War

I’m tired. Today, while trying to write I was struck by a weird combination of anxiety and mourning, for no reason I can figure out, except perhaps exhaustion. It kept me checking the news every 2 minutes, also for no discernible reason.

And when I sat down to write a post, it seemed like I couldn’t find a theme, until started searching for a post to use as a blast from the past. And then I ran across this post from 2015 which I excerpted bellow.

I was suddenly and startlingly aware that this must be said (again) and that it explains why we’re all exhausted, and why even people of good will on the left can’t seem to understand they’re not fighting the monsters that exist only in their imaginations, and why if we engage them and they’re at risk of having their world view upended they become hysterically defensive.

And why they, so often, rewrite overnight.

It’s not that they’re NPCs. It’s not that they’re less human than we are. It is that they belong to a culture, they were taught a history, and given a mission. Their mission, their view of themselves in this world history makes them who they are and gives their world meaning.

We’re humans. None of us sees the world unaided by the lenses of our culture. This is why acculturation is so difficult, and will leave scars, and why it feels like going insane. In many ways it is like going insane. Your entire view of the world dissolves, and another replaces it. It’s like reality dissolving before your eyes.

Which is why the human solution to absorbing another culture — and perhaps the most human solution. Stop staring at me like I’m crazy. I’ve been thinking really strange things all day, and perhaps I am — is to kill the adults and raise the kids in the winning culture. No, I’m not suggesting anyone do that, but it is what was done throughout history. (Sometimes women were kept too, but that wasn’t the kinder fate.)

[I can see in my future a sword and sorcery story from early times, that I don’t want to write, but probably will. Because I’m trying to puzzle these mechanics out and I think in fiction. I think by running imaginary scenarios.]

THIS is the excerpt that gelled my thoughts such as they are, on our national moment. It is from deep in the puppy years, and it…. feels like it. I’m cutting out the name of the person I’m talking about, not to ressurrect old fights, because this is NOT about that.


But one thing is to know it instinctively – and even then when I write about it, people email me to tell me that I am wrong and “paranoid” and yeah, one is always afraid – and another to have one’s nose rubbed in it in the form of a supposed adult saying with the simplicity of a 12 year old that the people who oppose her are “racist, sexist, homophobic” and “bad to reprehensible” even before the “poopy-head” level classification of “neo-nazis.”

Look, it is the fact that [NAME OMITTED] is sincere and, in her own mind, fighting on the side of angels, that is shocking and scary. And it fits perfectly with what I’ve seen in the publishing world (other than Baen, natch) in my years working as a professional writer.

These people don’t live in the world we live in.

Most of us – well, some of us – went through excellent universities, and read voraciously, and were subjected to the barrage of media that projected the same mental picture [NAME OMITTED] has: the left is eternally right (when they were wrong, their mistakes – like segregation – are now attributed to the right) and the future is a bright socialist utopia (really communist, but we’ll call it socialist so as not to scare the squares) and anyone who stands against it is an evil right winger, a fascist, a neo nazi and by definition racist, sexist, homophobic.

The thing is that this view was propagated pretty uniformly from the academic/media/entertainment complex for most of the twentieth century and people absorbed it to some extent. But most people in the real world come across enough stuff that doesn’t fit, or perhaps read enough about the fall of the Soviet Union to know it’s not just “this time it will be different” but the system itself is flawed.

And some of us come to view individual rights, individual conscience and individual freedom as the only best system (not perfect. No system is perfect.)

But that’s because the places we work in, the world we move in isn’t a unified front. Those who stay in academia, those who go into the arts or into publishing, though, move from a world of being fed a message into a world of being fed the same message. Not only is there no incentive to doubt, but doubting or showing any wobbling of belief will be detrimental to you. You stay within that world because it’s safe and because it’s what everyone around you believes. How can everything you know be wrong.

Shadowdancer in her excellent post about why “Nazi” is not a word to throw around lightly mentions her years in East Germany:

This was particularly emphasized by the fact that the Second World War was excised entirely from East German education at the time, and they were only taught about ‘The Great War’ – what the rest of the world was calling World War I. Socialist Germany was a big exercise in erasing the past and reconstructing it in a great big lie – and somewhat inconveniently, there were still people who remembered WWII. It was a verboten subject, and the younger generation knew nothing of it. They didn’t believe that someone as evil as Hitler could have ever existed.

Dad, the Aristotlean gadfly that he was, liked to smuggle in copies of Mein Kampf and give it away as gifts, his own little subversive fight for the truth. I know he horrified one of our babysitters with it, who was a college student and an avowed Marxist who enjoyed being able to pit wills and philosophical arguments with ‘someone unfortunate enough not to be educated in Socialist education.’ It was her awakening into questioning what she knew.

One of the people working at the consulate fell in love with an East German woman. The only way they could marry was if she escaped East Berlin, and so he smuggled her out. The details of that I don’t know, but I remember my dad saying she was struck dumb for three days from sheer culture shock after she saw West Berlin for the first time – and realized that everything she’d been raised to believe, and had known as truth was in fact a carefully manufactured and maintained lie that was possible only through total control of information. Everything had to be spoon fed. They had to develop a disdain, to instill contempt, pity and aversion to Capitalism, America and other countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

In a way [NAME OMITTED] lives in a similar world. A world in which some verities are so absolute they can’t ever be questioned.


Other people have said this. Other people have talked about the “two different movies” in the head of the left and the right.

Would that it was only that; that it was only superficial indoctrination. But it’s not. It’s something more than that, something that reaches far, far back, and that in the west, in the current time and place, had hardened into a complete encasing reality and culture that can’t and won’t be challenged. Because if it’s challenged, people defend it harder. It’s the only way they can stay sane within their own views, their culture.

This is why in the culture wars when we call out gross and horrifying evil from the other side, we find ourselves accused of things that don’t even make sense.

Take the whole puppy thing, (Please, not actually, because Larry has threatened anyone who picks it up under that name with the wrath of Larry) but look at it.

We were a gonzo band of idealists, half of us — more or less. I never actually counted, partly because there was the inner ring, the outer ring, the outer, outer ring, and the ululating multitudes — women, the other half … well, men of such varied backgrounds that they can’t be lumped as anything in particular. However, one thing is sure certain: not a single one of us was an editor. Not a single one of us was a publisher. Not a single one of us — even — was wealthy. I don’t know the background of every single one of the 100 or so people I interacted with that year, and at any rate those three years or so are very foggy because I had major surgery that had problems healing, and took more painkillers than at any other time in my life (Not opiates, which make me ill, but pain and pain killers are both exhausting.) However, I don’t think a single one of them was born wealthy or from a powerful family, though some were bestselling authors and doing relatively well. (In a profession where you can make a lot of money one year and none the next, mind.)

In our simple and frankly simple-minded way we tried to rally the fans themselves to rescue an award that had been won by people we respected from thralldom to pseudo literary pretentiousness.

Against us, everything was marshaled, from international publications, to whispers in private gatherings. From claims of our origins which made no sense, to weirder things, including threats to our children and spouses. The truth which we didn’t realize at the time, is that we were threatening people’s paychecks. You see we, innocents that we were, were all workers in the word vineyards, creating something for the masses to consume, for which we wanted to be paid. But the top tiers of our field, the revered ones, were those who were writing not to be read, but to receive awards for their correct world view, which in turns translated into either amazingly well paid academia and consultant jobs and/or Hollywood jobs.

We were chumps who believed in writing for readers’ enjoyment. But our insanity in trying to give awards to people we enjoyed reading was threatening their livelihood.

NOTE that all of them were powerful people, with contacts well beyond ours. They might not make much money from writing, but they all had well known names as “smart” (leftism is a positional good) defenders of leftist ideology. They COULD get us slandered in international publications. We mostly took to our blogs.

If this starts to look like our current political situation, you’re not wrong.

However, over all, and still subsisting in many official pages the most bizarre and strangest thing is the narrative they peddled, and which people believed:

That we were powerful people, afraid to lose our power, and therefore we were trying to keep “women, gays, people of color” (some of which were in our number, some even in the inner circles) from writing science fiction. And that our entire effort was this repressive attempt to keep minorities down, so we could remain powerful.

It is bizarre that this narrative was ever accepted, since we were writers, who in the general run of the publishing world have the right to only two things: sell the work of their minds, and get paid for it.

One of the amusing after-shots of this whole mess was the writer who accused me of getting him blacklisted at Baen (this after I was dumped by Baen, incidentally.) This was someone nominally on our side, and I could only stare at the level of sheer insanity.

Sure, maybe Larry who makes most of their money could get someone blacklisted at Baen. Frankly, I doubt it. I doubt it, because publishers don’t like it when you dictate to them. I mean, not that Larry would do that to anyone, but if they had another, less scrupulous bestseller who tried to do it, I doubt it would work.

But except for Larry, the rest of us were at best midlisters. maybe midlisters with some following, but you know, none of us was a major figure.

So what power were we afraid to lose? Supposing we were racist, sexist and homophobic (the people who read me and can say that with a straight face need their heads examined) and wanted to keep minorities from being published, what were we intending to do to bring this about? Stop them getting awards? Shit, honeychild, none of us at that point had got any awards. If not getting awards kept you from getting published, none of us would be published. (Oh, sorry, I’d got the Prometheus. And I love my Prometheus win. But it wasn’t the make or break for “I’ll continue writing” or I’d have given up in the 12 years since.)

The idea that we were these powerful beings, jealous of our power and wanting to keep it, was so crazy bizarro — particularly when one of our major opponents was the largest publishing house in the business — that it should have been laughed out of the room.

That it wasn’t tells you how deep the indoctrination is.

We were saying that preachy lefty fiction is not the best fiction, and therefore in the culture of the left, honed and polished over a century in all institutions of learning and in all arts and publishing and mass communication, we must be on the side of oppressors. We must be racist/sexist/homophobic. HAD TO BE. Because otherwise reality would dissolve.

And so people, good bad and indifferent, and of all levels of intelligence, piously repeated a story which rationally, on the face of it wouldn’t fool my cat Havelock, who is, frankly, mentally disabled.

They had to. Because if they didn’t, the world was not what they thought, and they couldn’t go on. They just couldn’t.

And if you’re thinking of all the people, good bad and indifferent and everything in between who piously believe that BLM really was about black lives — and who also, despite video evidence — believe Kyle Rittenhouse killed black men, not white psychopaths. Or piously believe a guided tour of the Capitol by unarmed people was “an insurrection.” Or who really, piously believe that Covid 19 was the worst thing ever, fully deserving the Covidiocy treatment. Or–

Yeah. That’s what it is. They have to believe the institutions and means of information they always trusted, otherwise their world will dissolve. And they’ll swallow the most ridiculous lies to keep their world and their guideposts intact. Because otherwise they’ll undergo a mental experience much like a primitive whose tribe has lost a war and who is unfortunate enough not to be killed: he’ll have to change everything about himself involuntarily.

This is not invincible. It’s getting broken little by little.

What level of cognitive dissonance does it take for it to break?

Well, it didn’t break for the Germans when they could smell the smoke of the burning human bodies down the road. It didn’t break for them when their nation became desperate enough to recruit old, broken down men and beardless youths.

They still believed in the glorious Reich of a 1000 years. It’s just fewer believed it every day, and that the daily breakdown of civilization was exposing more and more of them to the fact they believed a lie.

Now, some never stopped believing it. I heard them mutter darkly in German about the horrible Americans who had destroyed the German dream. Not shaved-head neo-nazis, but normal guys, in a pub, after hours.

But the problem isn’t that. The vast majority of them did give it up. The problem rather is what they boomeranged into, because of the underpinnings of their culture.

They still believed in their own superiority. As well go back to the Germanic tribes, and uproot that. They still believed in strong-man government. They just fell into soft and increasingly hardening socialism.

Now, we’re not quite as bad as the Germans were, and the underpinning of our culture are different — thank heavens — and more and more people are waking every day — thank heavens on that too — because the people who took over in the color revolution are the most bumbling, bizarrely incompetent bunch of aspiring-morons in the history of humanity.

We used to marvel at some of the Roman Emperors and how they managed to stay in power, but the Romans didn’t have fast means to distribute individual opinion. We do. And yet we’re suffering through the reign of someone more imbecile and self-adoring than Commodus.

People are waking up.

Again, calm the effe down, they’re not the majority. if they were the majority, they would not have bothered developing the most exhaustive means of stealing elections ever known or turned our elections into a mockery of the word. My best estimate is that they are about 20 to 25% of the population. Because if they were any more than that they wouldn’t need so many crazy ways to circumvent our voting.

But 20 to 25% is a huge number, given what we know, what we’ve seen. It’s a massive number of people who believe a narrative that’s patently and obviously false.

In this war we’re fighting to save our nation, people who otherwise would be on our side, are fighting on the other side, convinced we’re some kind of ogre coming to devour everything good and worth fighting for. They see us through a deep fog of lies and distortions. Many of the, perhaps, are aware of what they’ve become and assume we must be the same only worse.

Imagine how hard you’d fight someone who had all of your worst characteristics magnified.

In the end we win they lose.

But Lord, the magnitude of destruction that will be needed to lift that fog of lies.

And Lord, how many good people we will lose fighting on both sides.

And even so, may the fog be lifted. May we see clearly.

And may we have the courage not to close our eyes.

And Words Are All I Have

I am a woman of words.

“Of course,” you’ll say, “You have to be. It’s your job.” Meh. It is and it isn’t.

Being good with words is a good bonus for a fiction writer. Though honestly, it is not only not needed but it’s a double edged blessing. I mean, it makes it easier to produce readable wordage relatively quickly and easily, but on the other hand, you can get tempted to use too many of them and make them way too important for the book. So your story gets submerged in words, gasping for air.

But I like words. I will read something in a language I speak, but a different dialect or time-slang, like say regency thieves cant, and will cheerfully absorb it with no effort at all.

So it annoys me very much that the left both attributes impossible power to words. They think “As we say it, so it will be” and earnestly believe that words can control reality and the world.

They keep changing the meaning of words, and demanding we use the words they want us to, because they think if only everyone is using the same words, it will control everyone’s thoughts, and then automagically the world will change and be a paradise.

In case you have missed this about the left, they have a lot of these hare-brained ideas that go something like:

Crazy theory or idea that was never that way, ever, in the story of ever — ????– paradise.

I think, personally, the whole problem is that they think that paradise is obtainable with “this one simple trick” and that the only reason not everything is perfect all the time is that someone is fighting them. And the people who oppose them must be educated or re-educated or thwarted by all possible means.

Of all their crusades nothing is funnier and more tragic than their war with language.

Take their war on “retarded” — “retarded” was supposed to be the kinder, gentler word. I’m not sure what the words for those who simply weren’t developing properly were before but I think it was “defective” and the like while “retarded” merely implies that people are slow in developing and will slowly catch up and be normal or close to it (which to be fair applies to some real developmental issues). But of course, retarded started being used as the equivalent of “stupid.” It started with kids, but people of course picked it up.

So now we’re not supposed to use that. We’re supposed to use “developmentally disabled” because that will fix everything. Give it a nicer, kinder name, and unfortunate people will stop being born with issues, and other humans will stop being mean about it. Sure. Why not?

Or take handicapped. Remember the silly thing about “handicapable?”

That was supposed to eliminate any disability. Automagically. When it didn’t catch on, because of course handicapped people are handicapped and it doesn’t make any difference if you call them “capable.” Some will be QUITE CAPABLE of course. Particularly in this day and age, when there are various aids to and helps for your problems, and you can live a full and useful life, but you need to work harder. You have a handicap. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable, just that they don’t have as easy a time as other people. It certainly isn’t an insult.

But when the handicapable silliness didn’t catch on, they changed to “disabled” which is terrible. We went from handicapped, but potentially functional to people being disabled, and forever in need of assistance or having things done for them. They’re not able. They’re disabled, like a software function turned off.

Then we have the whole nonsense of Privileged. Privilege is private law, that is a law that treats you better than other people. I don’t know about you, but unless you are a maven of the democratic party or the relation of one — coughs in “Hunter” — you are going to have the law brought down on you with all the power possible.

So when they fling privileged around to mean anything from education to you having a little more money than you need to survive, to the ability to do math, to saving money instead of spending it all, it is meaningless, and merely sort of an incantation to tell us why we should all be equal and if we’re not, if we have an ounce more of gumption or intelligence or will power, then we’re privileged and should feel guilty and use it all in the service of others.

And please, don’t get me started on advantaged and disadvantaged. You see, sure, some of us have something more than others in terms of brain or agility or imagination or even physical strength.

But when you say someone is “advantaged” you imply that they have all the advantages. this is bullshit. If you want to see me completely helpless, present me with a plumbing problem. Of course my plumber can’t write a novel. (And why should he want to? He makes more.)

The same way when you say someone is disadvantaged usually to mean they’re criminal or broke, you imply it was these disadvantages that led them there. Now someone being a ridiculous-ass aggressive idiot, or a drug or alcohol addict who will murder for his vice, or a murderous SOB MIGHT be a disadvantage, but it doesn’t mean someone inflicted it on them. There’s usually volition and a choice to take that path because it’s easy or enjoyable.

Calling them disadvantaged implies someone advantaged others. It’s ridiculous.

And don’t get me started on calling the merely poor “disadvantaged.” Some of the greatest achieving people in the word grew up unimaginably poor. Heinlein might have been right that the worst you can do to your kids is make their lives too easy.

And you all know I find the inanity of pronouns — third person, so never used to you! — completely ridiculous.

Most of all, though, I’m offended. I’m offended on behalf of the words they insist on torturing. I’m offended by their half baked ideas. Good Lord. I could come up with better world building and plot on three hours of sleep, while dead drunk.

Do they really believe if they call seamstresses sewists or — heaven help us and defend us — sewers (I swear I’ve seen it) women who sew will feel all important and empowered? Why? WHY Would ERASING THE NAME OF A FEMALE PROFESSION BE EMPOWERING? Have they gone after taylor? I mean it’s a profession that comes in two gender varieties. Why would they eliminate the female one? How does that empower women?

It doesn’t. In fact eliminating women across the board seems to be a great trick of the equalizers. Also any minorities in any brand image need to be eliminated to free minorities, apparently.

And don’t get me started on why People of Color is fine and Colored People isn’t, and heaven forfend I ever meet a colorless person. I mean, they’d be transparent, I’d never see them coming.

On behalf of the language I want to protest. Words are lovely things and they shouldn’t be raped.

Yes, language changes, but it shouldn’t be changed as the instrument of a deranged utopian sect who can’t tell its ass from chocolate ice cream with candy sprinkles and doesn’t know if it’s ass or breakfast time.

I fell in love with the English language, before I fell in love with America, before I fell in love with my husband.

It is my language of choice, my own. Stop playing with it.

I have a keyboard and I’m not afraid to use it.

Book Promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH

WITH STORIES BY BOTH DANIEL M. HOYT AND SARAH A. HOYT: both of which are probably the start of series, and Sarah’s being one that you maniacs wished on her. (The muse murder mysteries. I blame you.):

Bonds of Valor

A private eye saves his dead friend.

The Black Company deals with something fishy.

Deathmages, space mages, and forgotten magic.

It’s all here in fourteen stories of valor, heroism, and bonds that tie folk together, for good or ill. There are bonds of love, oaths to gods, and life-long friends.

Will the old, crusty worn-out veteran find his new partner just might be something? Will the knight learn humility from those who serve him? Will Indrajit and Fix restore the path of true love?

Or will the bonds between characters break under the pressure of evil wizards, ancient enemies, or massive dragons?

FROM CELIA HAYES: Lone Star Blood: Another Volume of the Entertaining and Mostly If Not Always True Adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his Blood-Brother Delaware Scout Toby Shaw

The Continuing adventures of Texas Ranger Jim Reade and his blood-brother Toby Shaw in the days of the Republic of Texas! A pair of eccentric English explorers ask for a guide into a dangerous country, seeking not a fortune … but something more! There is the mystery of a haunted house on Galveston Island to unravel, and the safety of a beneficiary to an unusual will — and more! The old wild west rides again in this continuing set of adventures from the pen of historical novelist Celia Hayes!

FROM J. L. CURTIS: Nothing but Time

Old habits die hard.

Life at the Frog Pond Bar was usually quiet, aside from a few Marine versus SEAL fights. Its owner, Hal Gleason, referred to it as the best way for him to slowly go broke in retirement.

But trouble doesn’t just happen on deployment, and when the wife of an active duty SEAL comes to him after some toughs try to kidnap her daughter, he starts getting the team back together again.

The more he digs, the more he finds that the kidnapping attempt was just the tip of a star-spanning criminal cartel. They have untold money, guns, and drugs… and Hal has old age, treachery, connections, and more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

They shouldn’t have disturbed the still waters…

20000 word novella

BY GEORGES SURDEZ, BROUGHT BACK BY D. JASON FLEMING: Ladies of the Legion (Annotated): Two French Foreign Legion Pulp Adventures

A short novel and a short story exploring two very different effects of the feminine element on Legionnaires, told by the master of Foreign Legion adventure!

Lady of the Legion

She came in over the wall of a lonely French fort in the Sahara one night. And the commander decided to sacrifice himself and his men, rather than give her up to an Arab bridegroom.

Madame Takes Over

Rules Of Engagement don’t apply to the widow of a Legionnaire…

    This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving the stories genre and historical context.

FROM C.V.WALTER, D. LAWDOG AND OTHERS: Space Cowboys 2: Electric Rodeo

Something about the rugged individualism of the cowboy strikes a chord in us all. A certain romanticism exists in the feeling that cowboys inhabit a simpler world; one that’s clearer, brighter and makes more sense than our day to day existence.

Cowboys have a certain reckless reputation and that doesn’t fade away when you move them into space and onto alien worlds. Men and women who face hardships and rope a living out of an unforgiving landscape without waiting for orders from a distant authority. They do what needs to be done and take care of their animals, their people, and themselves.

Join us for ten more stories about cowboys who have headed for the stars and distant planets.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: K.A.T. Antiques (Fall of the Alliance Book 11)

In a brutal cross-dimensional Empire where everything is about ownership and control, and the strongest mentalists rule . . .
Karl Traeger has a problem.

His elderly father has died, and sixteen-year-old Karl is going to be at the mercy of very unsavory relatives.
And since he’s the oldest of his generation—ahead of his cousins in the line of inheritance—he knows his uncle will never Present him: never allow him to demonstrate his fitness for the title of Lord. No, he’ll be one more brain-chipped servant.
But maybe if he moves quickly, before anyone knows his father is dead . . . he can save himself, then get to work saving the people he cares about—maybe even save his budding antiques business.

A stand alone novella in the Fall of the Alliance Series.

FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Language of the Land: A Steampunk Fantasy

Antalia — Where queens and Huntresses rule.
Antalia — Where magic is anathema and men obey women.
Antalia — Where land, water, and people tremble at the break-point!

Since the Conquest, queens and their Hunters rule Antalia, banishing all magic in favor of technology—steam and sparks. Men, too impulsive and irrational to govern, live in respectful obedience lest more disasters befall their people. Andre Kalisson, an engineer and hydrologist by trade and dutiful royal employee, tumbles into a secret that could unmake his world. The people who once lived in Antalia used magic, magic that threatens to break its bounds and destroy the land in the process.

Antalia — Where an unwilling mage, a printer, and an archivist can change everything!

FROM C. V. WALTER: Healed by His Alien Nurse

Captain Michael LaGrange and Damina have been negotiating over their future together since the day they met. Both stubborn, both cautious, neither wants to make a decision either of them will regret. Desire and friendship build into a need they can’t ignore any longer.
Unfortunately, duty has to come first and they find themselves on a good will tour prior to the Prince’s wedding.
When something goes wrong at an event, they’re forced apart, and into the machinations of a shadowy conspiracy. Kidnapping, injury and a mysterious illness conspire to keep them apart. To get together they’ll have to get away but they’re surrounded by enemies and good allies are hard to find.

FROM KARL K. GALLAGHER: Swim Among the People (Fall of the Censor Book 5)

Fiera’s victories angered the Censor into deploying the force needed to retake his lost worlds. Marcus Landry is now trapped on an occupied world, trying to fight back against the Censorate. Can he win without hurting the innocent civilians trapped in the crossfire, including his wife and child?

FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Other Side of Midnight

Life has been a nightmare for Mitya ever since he was arrested on trumped-up charges and exiled to Siberia. But this labor camp in the far north of Magadan Oblast hides a secret far more terrible than the merely human evils of the Great Terror. For the universe we know is not the only one, and there are places where it interpenetrates with universes where the laws of nature as we know them do not operate, where humanity has no place. Worlds inhabited by beings ancient and terrible, to whom humanity are slaves, playthings, food.

FROM PATRICK CHILES: Escape Orbit (2) (Eccentric Orbits)

A Thrilling New Space Adventure

Five years ago, astronaut Jack Templeton took the spacecraft Magellan to the farthest reaches of our solar system, never to be heard from again.

Until now.

When the Magellan suddenly reappears where an undiscovered planet was suspected to be, it poses more questions than answers. How did Jack survive all this time? Can he make it back to Earth before his life support runs out? And what is the object long thought to be the elusive “Planet Nine”?

In a race against time, Jack’s former crewmate Traci Keene spearheads a desperate effort to outfit a rescue mission. But she has competition. Agencies of both American and foreign governments have their own agendas, and saving rogue astronauts isn’t among them.

And at the edge of all that is known, a gateway to the unknown awaits.


Jetay must destroy the Spiderstar…with or without his new allies! The psychic warrior Jetay has freed himself and his brother from slavery, and joined Lady Lanati and the Partisans in their interstellar war against the evil Red Knights. Unfortunately the Partisan military is an undisciplined, poorly led force, and the Red Knights grow ever closer to their goal of unleashing the ancient, deadly weapon known as the Spiderstar. Lanati has a plan to destroy the Spiderstar, but it would force Jetay to choose between love and duty. Even worse, he might have to use the same memory removal techniques which were once used against him….

FROM MARY CATELLI: The Princess Seeks Her Fortune

In a land where ten thousand fairy tales come true, Alissandra knows she is in one when an encounter with a strange woman gives her magical gifts, and another gives her sisters a curse.

And she knows that despite the prospects of enchantments, cursed dances, marvelous birds, and work as a scullery maid, it is wise of her to set out, and seek her fortune.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: DIVERGENT*

*I swear I thought I’d put it up, but I’m on four hours of sleep and things slid. Of course you can carry on with silliness!

It’s Memerific

Yeah, yeah, I know, but for various reasons I’m late on everything and developing a sore throat too. (Mostly because the guy I sleep with has been keeping crazy hours, and after 37 years, I’m really bad at sleeping when he’s not in bed, BUT I personally don’t function well on less than 6 hours a night.)

So, I’m stealing this explanation:

And now, some news from clown world, in which the Babylon Bee is the best paper:

Democrats Vow To Arrest As Many Political Opponents As It Takes To Defeat Fascism | Babylon Bee

Say it with me “Damn it, Bee.”

Now we’re done with that, always remember:

And while on it:

Also news from the parallel universe in which they were stupid enough to arrest Trump this week:

Of course, if they did that, it would end this way. Which frankly would be an improvement for Manhattan at this point:

MMGA — Make Manhattan Great Again!

Meanwhile, in the clownworld timeline:

However, kindly remember you’re American and act like it:

And then, you know, for those of you who pilot rigs across this great nation, I have bad news. (I blame Canadians.)

And our diversions are interesting too:

Frankly, I need this novel. Holly Chism, are you free?

Socially conscious gamers:

I don’t know. I think it’s about perfect.

I have enough problems with the name “Nora” which means “daughter in law” in Portuguese. Also, a type of well. No, seriously.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk meme-ing.

Till next week (tomorrow is promo post) keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

No Blame

When I was younger I had a lot of friends who used the i-ching (a Chinese divination book, also called The Book of Changes.) It is believed also that Phillip K. Dick used it plotting the Man in the High Castle.

Anyway, there is one line that keeps surfacing in there. It will predict/describe a bunch of horrible things and end with “no blame.”

Which goes to prove that an ancient Chinese oracle is saner than the Marxism that’s been inculcated into most of the minds in the West since the turn of the twentieth century, just about.

And if you’re going to tell me there’s no Marxism in your head, think again. I still keep finding bits of it in my own head, though I’ve done all I can to clear it out. It’s in the history you were taught, it’s in the reasoning of various agencies that have power over us, and a bit of it trickles into our head also.

The Marxism I keep finding on the right is the bizarre idea that the elaborate plans of the planners are coming through perfectly; that something planned by he Soviet Union in the sixties is now coming to fruition. For the love of Bob, give me a break. Those people could never make anything they wanted happen, which is why life in the Soviet union was brutal and miserable. Yeah, some of the breakage might look sort of kind of like that, but it’s not. Not if you dig behind. What you’re seeing is people on the left taking credit for the working of their plan.

They work that way. They might be learning to do it ahead of time Now there’s something calling itself a name I can’t recall but which amounts to “Market ruin socialism.”

The other thing that infects the right, and honestly probably is amplified by connecting to some of the more miserable Christian puritan strains, is the bizarre idea that being wealthy is bad and leads to ruin and downfall.

Rome fell not because it was wealthy, but because it had a large, oppressive, centralized state that trampled all over citizens. No, that’s not what they taught you. Because the Soviet Union put out the idea that wealth itself was bad and would destroy a country. They did it to defend themselves against the accusation we were more wealthy. You’re not required to believe it. And you shouldn’t. Because frankly we’ve been crazy-wealthy for about 100 years. And by Roman, or medieval, or even current Chinese standards, even the Soviet Union was wealthy. None of which had anything to do with any kind of decadence. Equaling wealth with decadence ties in with making envy a virtue, which is pure Marxism.

However, the Marxism running rampant through our society and creating strife, and driving most of us insane is the idea that “there always has to be someone to blame.”

No, I’m not going to tell you that no one is to blame for the mess that the Bidentia has made of the nation and world. We were all here, we all know the blame. And we know who the blame lies with for the stolen election too. That’s not the point.

The point is the big movements of history. Equity makes sense to the left, because, if someone had it badly in the past, some other group — not an individual or a small group, not a system of belief but another group, definable as a group by some characteristic the left gives a hang about, like skin color, or sex, or who you like to sleep with — has to have been oppressing them.

This is crazy cakes.

Instead of seeing humans who at times, in some places, had a terrible time due to this or that, they see that if a group — say black people — were enslaved the fault must be of another group, as Americans in the 20th century would identify a different group.

So, for instance, slavery, they’re convinced was invented by white people to enslave black people. Because– I don’t know. Because the only way to triumph is to drive someone else down?

This ignores the fact slaves were abundant when they were because of vast tribal wars and movements in Africa. As in most tribal societies, the people taken prisoner were either enslaved or killed. So, arguably black people were enslaving black people in Africa. The fact that there was some place to sell them after might have saved their lives. (Though mostly slaves only survived well in the US and maybe parts of Europe. Being sent to South America or the Caribbean was a death sentence, just slower like being sent to Siberia would be later.)

So while there were massive injustices committed, the worst were committed by the group that the left identifies as all one, against itself. These things happen. Again, from the top, every race has enslaved every other race at some time. And it is only in our country right now and in other parts of the west that it’s illegal. (Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. That wide open border is very useful for human trafficking, as well as drugs. And it’s not any particular race, even.)

Or take the “women have been oppressed throughout history.” I agree. Women have. But the problem here is that men were oppressed too.

Most of the things they point to as female oppression came from the fact that there was no way to stop a woman of fertile age from getting pregnant — by rape even — except by circumscribing her to a small circle of people who knew and cared for her. Women didn’t go to war (yes, a few did under cover, and yes, there were always camp followers, and yes, those sometimes fought in ancient and medieval battles, but it’s not the same thing) because a battalion of women if captured became breeders for the enemy, something that people didn’t want happening to their wives and daughters. Women didn’t go to war, because pregnant women are not as functional as men. Women didn’t go to war because our upper body strength is smaller. Etc. Etc. Etc. Women could command in war, and often did, if born to a position that enabled them to do so. But they were profoundly unsuited to the scrum.

Women didn’t learn in general. There were exceptions. But yeah, the vast majority of women weren’t educated.

Here’s the secret: neither were the vast majority of men.

Even in the early twentieth century in Portugal a lot of older adults had never been taught to read and write. They had jobs that didn’t involve writing, and women in particularly were often almost bizarrely busy, because minding the baby, cooking (not to mention gathering the food and often growing it) and weaving it were all activities of normal every day women, in addition to brewing (water not being safe most people drank alcohol all the time, even if “just” beer.) In addition, wives of craftsmen often helped in the craft in various ways.

Yes, women were oppressed.

But the left, infected with Marxism, imagines that this is because men stood around, twirling their moustaches and plotting the next point of oppression.

I can’t tell you how many times, when I was in lefty chat groups, some woman would wring her hands and wonder how we could keep men from “taking us back there again”, “back there” being some hell of submission and un-personhood.

When I’d started to open the door to the political closet, I’d say things like “by giving as much freedom and rights to each individual regardless of sex and making everyone equal under the law.” You know that cartoon where the guy saying the obvious thing gets tossed out the window? That’s what happened.

Because in Marxism, due to the fact Marx’s mind was small, and probably rat infested, In his small, grifty (totally a word) if someone was a victim, someone else was victimizing them. And the someone was a different class. (Which in the hands of Gramsci became a skin color or being female. And in the hands of the current craziness extended to sexual preference or coming from a country they approve of or–)

And our educational institutions being soaked with it have taught generations to think “Women had it bad in the past because men were oppressed. Then heroic feminists marched shoulder to shoulder, and now we’re free, but those evil men are gathering and plotting and will enslave us again any minute.”

The problem with this type of thought is that it works in a movie (maybe. Barely) but it can’t work in reality. It’s like that stupid meme on facebook saying that since the middle ages women’s garments were forbidden to have pockets, because men were afraid the women would put spells in them!

People with an education. People who read and think and try to have a life of the mind share that meme and piously believe it. Now think about it for two seconds.

The middle ages WHERE? because even if you restrict it to Europe, culture and clothing were radically different. Also WHO forbid it? Not “men”. In the middle ages the average man as much say in governance as the average cat. And suppose a king was crazy enough to dictate women’s garments should be made without pockets. How is he going to enforce it? the fabric was spun, cut and sewn by women. It was mostly a private activity of women for women, often themselves and their families. Sure, there were fashions, but they might actually be hyper-local. If a fashion spread it was usually because of an advance in either fabric or dress making technique that made the clothes more becoming, more comfortable, or preferably both.

Also, most women had pockets. The pockets were usually tie-on and hanging from a belt. Also, if you read anything written by pre-modern women (yeah, some knew how to write.) they carried stuff in their sleeves, and … well…. between their boobs a lot, depending on the level of security they wanted. If they really were carrying spells, (or poisons, or whatever) that’s where they’d put them, not their pockets. The pockets were for money, keys, a drop loom, or knitting or whatever they were doing at the time.

But women who are educated and smarter than the average rock share that meme and feel so smart, because it plays to the idea “women were oppressed” (or are, due to the lack of pockets in most modern female clothing) so it must be the men’s fault. REEEEEEEEE.

In point of fact, the lack of pockets in most female clothing is because most women don’t like their silhouette with bulges. I’m old enough and fat enough I couldn’t care less, and I’m also ADD AF and have locked myself out of the house enough that I carry my keys in my pockets everywhere. I also carry my phone, because if I grabbed the wrong keys (say) that way I can call Dan.

However, I remember being young and attractive and not wanting bulges on my person.

So in the matter of pockets, the people oppressing women are mostly women.

For a lot of the other stuff, from the fact that we’re more likely to get raped, to the fact that we give birth in pain, etc. the culprit is biology. And you can rail and scream about biology all you want to. The only modifications you can do are after-market and they don’t work.

Thinking that in the middle ages or at any time, women were enslaved by a male conspiracy is both hilarious and sad. Do they imagine all men know each other? communicate through mental telegraph? Send notes to each other? “Bob, we understand you haven’t beaten your wife in three months. Do better.”

Yeah, women had fewer of the rights we consider important — not necessarily them, though — because their functions were less public, and more having to do with keeping the household running, and keeping the kids alive. If you value the public stuff over the household stuff, it’s because you’re living in a post-contraceptive world of such abundance that you know you can birth a single child and your odds he’ll outlive you are enormous. It wasn’t so. Arguably women had the more important job.

Were they beaten and treated like chattel?

Oh, you sweet summer child. Everyone was beaten and treated like chattel. Maybe not the king or the prince heir. (Even then depended where and when.) Men who worked for others could and did get beaten and abused. So did apprentices who were basically sold to their masters and if they got a bad one were treated like little better than slaves.

It is the sad tendency of humans to hurt other humans. Not all humans, of course, but a significant enough majority to cause untold tragedy. And when life was closer to the bone and resources scarcer, the tendency to abuse others was higher. But this wasn’t something done or decided as a group; it’s not passed on by some corruption of the blood; and ALL of us are descended from victims and perpetrators, who were all races, sexes, creeds and orientations.

So… Sometimes things suck. No blame.

Take the places where the Marxist thinking is outright insane today.

Take science fiction. (Remember to give it back. I’m running a month late, so still doing mystery, but sf will be next.)

We hear much about how women were/are terribly discriminated against because the percentage of them who are published/do well is tiny, compared to 51% of the population.

But I was the weird girl who read science fiction, before I wrote it. I wanted to talk about space travel and the best way to create space colonies, and the pitfalls, and– I wanted to discuss if time travel was even possible, and how it could be implemented, and– I wanted to discuss robots and artificial intelligence. I wanted to discuss how if aliens existed we might not even know they were there, because they’d be so different…

Yep, it’s the cartoon with the guy being tossed out the window again. Most of the women in my classes — and I was in gifted classes from 7th grade on — read either romances or historical fiction. Sometimes mystery. Keep in mind that reading for pleasure was already a minority thing (still is. Has always been.) Most of them actually only read newspapers, magazines and non-fiction in their subjects. So the ones who read for fun were already considered weird. But those of us — who am I kidding, for most of that time it was one of me — who read science fiction were the weirdos own weirdos, looked at as though we’d spontaneously grown extra heads and tentacles.

Most of my science fiction reading friends were male, and for a while older. Most of them I met waiting outside book stores on Heinlein release day, but I’ve seen pictures of that time. It wasn’t as stark in the Us, because it’s a huge country, so even a small interest group is big enough to make a showing, but most SF conventions until I want to say the eighties or so were mostly guys.

And even today, you find most women are fans of the TV shows, or of anime, or of fantasy. If you had an SF only con, written only con, it would still be 75% male. And a few of us weirdos.

My question is: why should people who have no interest in reading the stuff be well represented among its writers? What sense does that make?

Well, because if there’s fewer women, they’re oppressed. And that means that someone is oppressing them.

… Because Marxism is a binary and infantile view of reality, and therefore it doesn’t realize that “no blame” exists.

What set me on this path of thought was some disabled activist claiming that difficulties the disabled face would be much less without the normal people.

Think about this for a moment. it’s a group that’s literally defined by being less able to move/do stuff in the real world. But of course, if they are a group, and things aren’t wonderful for them, someone has to be to blame, and it must be their polar opposite. So, if the disabled (differently abled is a lie) have problems, it must, perforce be because the able-bodied are conspiring to keep them down.

Only a mind exquisitely indoctrinated in Marxism can think that way.

Sometimes life just sucks. Sometimes there’s no blame. In fact, probably most of the time.

Every time you come across one of these, ask them in logical steps how this can be the other group’s fault, and what evidence they have.

Because it’s important to get at the cult programing of Marxism and dig under.

Particularly in your own mind.

The Cuckoo In Our Nest

I first read about the cuckoo and what it does to other birds in a miserable little book of would-be Aesop fables, but written by cruel buffoons.

I’m not that fond of Aesop, as is, since most of the tales are “there you have it, evil got away with it” stories, but this story of cuckoo was told in an absolutely horrible way, calling the parents stupid who don’t identify the intruder egg laid in their nest, even as it murders their children and who exhaust themselves trying to feed an enormous hatchling, till they also die.

I was horrified when I found out is is actually the reproductive strategy of cuckoo. But even at seven I knew it wasn’t that the parents were stupid. It’s that their senses, and the information they used to defend themselves and their nest failed them.

I had gone on enough nature walks with dad, and had things explained to me, to know that birds are simple creatures and a lot of them operate by “zones.” If you are in the “safe zone.” Outside the nest, they’d attack the cuckoo hatchling as a menace, but it is in their nest so to their bird brains it is their baby, even if very large and acting strangely.

The deception is particularly cruel, because it takes advantage of admirable bird characteristics — the care for hatchling and nest — to kill them and their offspring.

And yeah, I think this is the most accurate depiction of the color revolution that took place in the US most blatantly in 2020. (Though probably before. They just never needed to fraud that hard. However from the passing of motor voter and the loosening of voting rules to happen early enough the left knew exactly how much to fraud, our elections were probably mostly fraud. And the fraud is always on the left side. Which is why I have to say they are a tiny minority, because each year they have to fraud more.)

What happened in 2020 — in 2022 it was more covert though still obvious — was clear enough that our mechanisms of defense should have snapped into place. The courts should have delayed confirmation, and every possible case of vote fraud should have been crawled over like an army of fire ants looking for a sugar cube.

Only the left had been very careful to bypass our legal defenses, both by suborning of the courts with the installation of Marxist clowns and the scaring and intimidating of other judicial clowns with the displays of faux-black-rage (seriously, the BLM protesters, by and largest were lighter than DIL IT and she’s the lightest person I ever met) all summer, so they knew if they so much as said boo, they and everything they loved would burn. So the results were never examined, and all the way to the SC (with two exceptions) the country was handed over to Chinese-puppets. (Yes, I can say so. So can anyone who looks into the Bidens background.)

They also, having already taken over the regular news, played fast and loose with social media, and the ability of people to communicate, so we couldn’t fully sound the alarm.

And the cuckoo in our nest is killing — or at least destroying — our children, and trying to stop us from feeding ourselves. And exhausting us. We’re all so tired.

In 2022 they provided themselves with the flimsiest of excuses for why anyone would have voted their kakistocracy back into power by making a big hullabaloo of the demise of federal enforcement of no-limit abortion, and the fact that most states went back to rules that are still laxer than those in Europe. Has anyone heard about Ruth Sent Us since the midterms? No? Well, you see, they fulfilled their purpose: to make it seem like all women were up in arms about abortion and would definitely vote for democrats. Of course there was never any such thing, since in fact abortions have been falling year over year, and are increasingly confined to the minorities upon whom the eugenicists of Planned Parenthood prey.

Now of course they’re running the DeSantis Trump thing — and shame on DeSantis for letting himself be manipulated into covert attacks, until it turned into a war. But it’s obvious his head is turned and he thinks he is all that — because they don’t understand that most conservatives would crawl through broken glass to vote for anyone running against the Bidentia. (One exception. I don’t think I’d vote for Pence, who must be the stupidest person in the world, because he thinks these people are secure enough to keep a controlled opposition. Instead, he’ll be used and discarded, because they don’t trust anyone but themselves in power. Which is why they’ll run Joe and the Ho again.)

But I guess the polls showing that DeSantis in fact only has penetration among pundits and bien-pensants (I’ve told them) make it imperative for them to find a more likely fig leaf for their victory in 2024, despite the fact that they’re killing us and most of us (80 million and likely more, since they switched some Trump vote, of voting age and capable) know they’re killing us. So, they planned, perhaps still plan to arrest Trump and charge him with a felony. Because they want to say “You’d never vote for a felon.”

Expect them to hit all blogs, including this one, to scream about the terrible felony of Trump (which isn’t even a misdemeanor but is obscure enough most people don’t understand that.)

What they want is not to actually turn us, but to make it plausible we’d have turned. So the LIVs (there are still some) say “Oh, those stupid split republicans” and not “We were robbed.”

Don’t give it to them. Have the responses ready “Sure. You voted for an enemy agent. A mere felon is a vast improvement.”

However, if they hit you with polls, just tell them you’ll vote for Biden. The best chance we have is catching them with their pants down, though these days electronic vote means they can still “fix” it.

1 – Keep voting against them. I know this seems silly. No, you don’t vote because you expect to win (though there’s always the chance of catching them with their pants down.) You vote for them because when their candidate wins with a larger number of votes than there can be adults in the US, it will be open and everyone’s faces. Even the stupid ones.

2- In the measure of possible, in your own areas, try to fight vote fraud. And your conservative friends? Get to them, and explain: Vote as late as possible, vote paper. It’s amazing how many people haven’t got the message.

3- And this is very important: if you can avoid feeding them, stop feeding them.
Look, we can’t withdraw from everything. By the nature of my business I have to work with Amazon, I still have paypal.

On the other hand, what is going through paypal is now minimal, compared to the business I did before. And the same with Amazon, if I can find an alternative. (And I’ll notice they keep firing employees.)

And I’ll probably use Stripe, until I find someone not beholden to the overlords. (Almost typed overlards, which is what they are: a conspiracy of fat asses sucking the good off the land. A horrible mosquitocracy crying out for DDT.) Because they’re not quite as bad. Sometimes the “not quite as bad” is the best one can do.

More important even than cutting off the enemy when possible is to support our side. As I’m fond of saying, they have the billionaires, and the institutions that they’ve corrupted and taken over. We have each other. This is why I have the book promo on Sundays. It promotes people who are not afraid of being associated with us. And there will be a page, as soon as I have a day to revamp the site, with goods and services sold by our people, so when you’re looking, you give your money to them preferentially.

Yes, I know, it rankles for us on the right to use the any criteria but competence, but the people linked will be competent. For one, our side gives value. It’s who we are. And heaven knows we had to claw hard enough to get there.

There’s dark days ahead, and our side is small and exhausted. Save some comfort and food for us, and let the gigantic cuckoo starve and scream.

Until we can evict him.

Ah, To Be Extreme Now That Spring Is Here – a bLAST fROM tHE pAST fROM mARCH 2021

Things have been drifting my way that make me raise eyebrows and say with Inigo Montoya: I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Apparently believing abortion is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing gay marriage is wrong is out of the mainstream; believing transexuality isn’t the load of hogswallow that our society is being fed is out of the mainstream; being a Christian is out of the mainstream; and being convinced that you have rights as an individual which were granted to you by G-d and the government can’t take away is out of the mainstream.

What they aren’t actually telling us is: Out of the mainstream WHERE?

I mean, of course all of those are out of the mainstream in our better universities, where no one would go so far as to espouse one of those opinions, where they might be overheard and mocked — mocked! — as being gauche by their fellow socialist pudding heads.

And some of them are out of the mainstream in various places around the world. I wouldn’t advise you to go to a non-European Catholic country where faith is taken seriously and start babbling about how men can be women, women can be men, and it’s all about just saying so.

For that matter, I wouldn’t advise you to go and be flamboyantly gay or trans in an European country, out of the hangouts of the bien pensant, and where the authorities can’t hear you. Take it from someone who has crossed Europe, inconspicuously speaking the local language, and too poor to stay in even medium-expensive places: the urbane European is a myth. The woke European is a myth. There might be a few, again, in the academic hangouts, but if you get them to let their hair down and speak frankly, after hours, you’re going to find yourself blinking and being rather puzzled. Because the imaginary “hatey” rednecks of leftism’s fevered imagination have absolutely nothing on a “Sophisticated” European when it comes to hating anyone who sticks out and is not “normal for local populations. A lot of naive Americans have found that to their shock.

As for most of Africa and the Middle East? Well, you know, local tribal customs might vary on what is homosexuality and transexuality throughout Africa (and trust me, okay? EVEN what looks like transexuality to western eyes often isn’t and is in fact a rather horrible situation that works — maybe — as well as anything works where you live close to the bone and life is a constant struggle. It ain’t because they’re “enlightened” or “more tolerant.”)

In the middle East…. I have absolutely no idea what Islam’s view on abortion is, though judging from some of its other dictates, I presume it’s a child if the father wants it, and not if the father doesn’t. But pretty much all the other things, other than individual rights — and individual rights aren’t believed in anywhere out of the West, and even there…. mostly in the US — are not just “disapproved of” in Islam. They’re crimes. Punishable by death.

So, yeah, I do realize the US is out of the mainstream with most of the world. At least in believing in individual rights.

Because we believe in individual rights, we’re also way more tolerant of individual quirks. Mostly gay marriage didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. I mean, a lot of us would get pissed off at forcing churches to officiate at gay weddings, and don’t get me started on the idiotic lawfare against Christian Bakers (Look, it’s idiotic on both sides, okay? You’re allowed to think a “gay marriage” isn’t a real marriage, but realize it’s real to the people celebrating and do the cake on that principle. Like, I have a friend who is Hindu, but he’s okay with buying fake leather sofas, okay? I have no idea if he’d design one for them, but I imagine if his avocation ran to couture he’d be quite happy to make a fake leather jacket. Now, when it comes to stupid cakes with the devil and dildos? The chick engaging in that lawfare should be taken out and beaten in the public square for having the worst taste since Hillary Clinton wore a yellow pant suit. And OF COURSE if someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for sale — for any reason or none — the client should go elsewhere. THAT frankly is the biggest stupidity ever. The courts should throw all those cases out for the plaintiffs being too stupid to not drown when it rains. “Waitaminute…. you know this person disapproves of your choice, but what will make your day complete is having him bake your cake. You’re either dumber than your common garden rock or you are trying to get someone to engage in bondage and domination play with you without their consent. I do suggest you withdraw the suit, before I throw you in jail for rape.” ….. yeah, I know, I have beautiful dreams.)

Sure. A lot of people think is a sin, but they also know they, themselves are sinners. Among my inner circle are gay couples and committed Christians, and believe it or not no bonfires have been lit when we all get together; no one has dragged anyone to the roof, or dropped walls on them. Actually, I don’t remember any harsh words. Mind you, the subjects under discussion are usually science fiction, fantasy, politics (and our POLITICS) tend to be in tune or house decorating, not what anyone does in bed. Because seriously, who discusses that at a barbecue? The essence of it being that most Christians would think their engaging in it is wrong (though some still do, because they’re human and broken) but they’re not going to judge, lest they should be judged. And we’re wealthy and well mannered enough to live and let live.

In the same way if you come into our group, claiming to be a sex you obviously aren’t, most people will shrug and go along, because why not? I mean this was true in the eighties when a six foot seven Marine who looked like his face was ripped with an ax off a mountain crag lived under the charming delusion that when he dressed in a dress or skirt, with a wig EVERYONE thought he was a beautiful woman. Even though he wore size 14 wide seven inch heels.

Our group of rather introverted geeks would shrug and go “sure, why not. At least he doesn’t think he’s Napoleon. Addressing him as Emperor with a French accent would get old.” I objected to his hitting on me in the kitchen, but not because at the moment he was wearing a dress and thought he was female. I objected to it because he was coming on to a married woman and being obtuse about getting it through his head I really meant “no.” (No touching, otherwise I’d have done something interesting with a knife — even though he was a marine — but really stupidly persistent.)

Was he really trans? Don’t know. Don’t care. I’m not paid to evaluate the minds of others.

I do sternly object to having children on puberty blockers, because I know someone whose children have to be on these due to a rare genetic condition. When they were first prescribed he acquainted us with all the side effects. And you know what? NO ONE SHOULD SUBJECT A MINOR TO THAT UNLESS IT REALLY IS NEEDED FOR A PHYSICAL, NOT A PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION. Adults? Well…. if one of my kids were considering it, I’d argue like hell against it, not just because they’d make the world’s ugliest women, bar none, but because — seriously — even in cases of “real” gender dysphoria, in the present state of science it’s a very high price to pay to be a pretend version of what your mind tells you that you are.

ONLY if you absolutely have no other choice, should you consider it. And if you really want kids, have kids before. I’m not going to say there aren’t cases in which transitioning isn’t actually warranted. I’m not other people. I don’t know. But I’m going to say the process is horrific, and most people end up stuck somewhere neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. That means for a lot of the rest of their lives, they’re going to be given very weird looks. And feel out of place. Still, as someone who immigrated and also inhabits a limbo region, at least as soon as she opens her mouth, I’m not going to say some people won’t prefer that to the natural self. I’m not them.

And I think most Americans are kind of in the same place.

Abortion? I am out of the mainstream here, for various reasons. And have changed my mind on it over my life time. I don’t think anyone should have an abortion, unless it’s medically required. There’s a ton of reasons, including the fact that I knew within five minutes I’d conceived older son and that he was a boy. Never wavered. And never had that before, despite trying for six years. Younger son, OTOH? Well, I still can’t “sense” him. Possibly because he’s too much like me. Who knows? Anyway, between that, the fact that I’ve seen women in abusive relationships get bullied into abortions, and the fact that there is quite safe contraception generally available, I think the bar for “I want an abortion” should be much higher.

BUT note, please, that I’m out of the American (and possibly the west) mainstream here. Most of America believes an abortion is okay up to ten weeks, and after that it should be restricted/forbidden. Or at least that’s what polls keep coming up with. That is in fact the law in most countries that allow abortion.

The crazy “abortion at any point for any reason” is not majority opinion here or anywhere in the world. So Governor Northam and his post birth abortion can go right to extremist hell.

As for being a Christian, it is, if not a majority belief certainly a widespread one worldwide. It is still a majority in America. How can something most people believe make you an extremist? I don’t know. Ask them.

Then there’s believing in individual rights. And they’ve got us dead to rights, there, boys: in a world filled with absolute monarchs, satraps, petty despots, totalitarian horrors (and Methodists! — reference joke) we are indeed unique and “Extreme.”

Should we suppress our extremist beliefs that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unhindered by an abusive and intrusive government?


The first question, of course, is who benefits. Certainly not individual Americans. So, why should we do it? In which way is it good for us?

Looking around at other countries where the belief doesn’t exist, what is in it for us?

I say often that the future comes from America. You might not get what I mean by that, but trust me. Almost all the innovations that make our life fat and comfortable started out in America. Sometimes Israel pitches in and more rarely another anglophone country.

However, most of what the rest of the world does is take what we invent and develop, or write, or put on screen, and try to give it some kind of a personal spin. But without us? none of it would exist.

Now, because America is a multi-racial nation, picking up the best from all over the world (and keeping it) this can’t be due to our vaunted blood lines.

So what is it due to?

Unless you’ve visited Europe, and, say, been sealed into a rapidly heating train in summer, despite the railway company knowing that the air conditioning is out in that carriage, you don’t appreciate how much that belief that individuals get to make their own choices matters in America.

The rest of the world, and those who are no longer our countrymen rail against central heating and air conditioning. Now, part of it is that none of these winnies know the climates most of us deal with. Sure, Portugal can go without central heating. Come over to my town and try it, in the dead of winter. Go to North Carolina in the heat of a very humid Summer without air conditioning. Then come and talk to us.

But the other part is “because we can.” And because individuals can choose to be comfortable. And most do.

Could we survive without those creature comforts? Sure. The pioneers did. And I once lived through a summer in Columbia South Carolina without air conditioning. You don’t want to know. Weirdly, too, I did no work all that summer.

And I remember being in Portugal — which is temperate if anything is — without air conditioning and/or heat, and let’s say most of my year was a lot less productive than it could be, because you’re not functioning very well when you’re dealing with extremes in weather.

So the American “extremism” of believing in individual rights is both more comfortable and more productive.

Therefore why call it “extreme” or try to suppress it. Unless you want to take those rights away so you can have absolute power, of course.

In which case you need to be aware you’re not G-d. Either real or imaginary. Your wants are not the law to me (no, not even if you’re a fat bastard who said that you believe in the rule of law and what you say is law. It ain’t. And I’m forever surprised you are smart enough to remember to exhale after each breath.) Nor should they be.

I’m not extreme. You are. You are an extreme, out of control loon who thinks that if everyone did what he/she said the world would be perfect.

I recommend you amend your extremism. Because in the path you’re taking us careening down, tolerance vanishes, and things get very very bad.

Places where there’s no bread, everyone argues, no one is right. Or if you prefer, societies that live close to the bone don’t believe in individual freedom. They also don’t believe in much of individual anything.

And the table is always set at the cannibal banquet.

Before you declare the US is “extreme” consider, in your heart of hearts what might happen to you if we weren’t.

And then, unless you’re as stupid as paste-eating Polis, you might consider giving thanks on your knees and fasting, that the rest of us are not in fact “extremist.”

Equity or the Hundred Thousand Dollar Egg

This administration, like decrepit, idiotic inheritors of the philosophy of the French revolution has declared “Equity” its top goal.

That’s because “equality of results” is both harder to type and because they hope whole word readers will read that as “equality”. They might also think of equity as something they have in their houses, and therefore, something vaguely nice.

In practical fact, it’s the left’s insane idea that it’s the government’s job to make up for not just your personal failures and foibles, but for those of all your ancestors, going back presumably where the descendants of Abel get a big payout from Cain due to their ur-ancestor’s death, in the mists of myth and history.

Only of course, it’s not that way. Because they have no actual way of telling if anyone’s ancestors were discriminated against or hobbled, what they’re trying to do is compensate for PRESUMED discrimination against your ancestors.

Which is there they come up with beauties like San Francisco — a city that never authorized slavery — giving reparations to people who were never slaves paid for by people who never owned slaves.

Actually it’s almost impossible to say none of your ancestors ever owned slaves. And I don’t care what color your skin is. Contrary to the popular historical fiction peddled in our schools that white people enslaved black people because they were that racist and this was the first occurrence of slavery, people have been enslaving each other since… well, since they were people. Some zoologists have identified slavery-like arrangements in chimpanzees, so honestly, it might go further than that.

And if you’re there on the other side of this screen, breathing, have four fingers and a thumb or belong to a species that normally has those, you’re descended from slavers. You’re descended from slavers, murderers, rapists, warlords, pirates, conmen (and women) and you’re descended from their victims. You’re descended from saints, too, and heroes, and kings, and judges, and upright people, and a lot of men and women who were neither, but, in the common run of humanity were decent enough and honest enough and meant no one harm.

So…. what is this equity, and why are there groups that get priority under it to correct “past injustices.” And do note please that one of the groups is recent immigrants because you know, being oppressed in another country gets you rewards here.

Well, the first thing you have to understand is that the left has issues processing the fact individuals exist. Not just that individuals are different, but that they exist at all.

The fact that my elementary school class: all girls, born and raised in the village, and frankly in the way of Portuguese looking much alike, has had radically different outcomes (at least two died young, to my certain knowledge. The vast majority of them are mothers and housewives and two of us work in intellectual professions, very different ones, in different countries and on opposing sides of the culture war) is not in fact something they can process. It doesn’t compute. An homogeneous group must have the same outcomes, right?

If they were forced to confront it, they’d go looking for oppression. (More the fool them. One of the few that were seriously disadvantaged — being barely smart enough to learn to read (no, not me. Giggle) — has had the most successful kids. So, you know…) For “group stuff” that is, to justify the disparity.

The truth is that a lot of people who were once my peers are massive failures compared to me, and others massive successes. It doesn’t even correlate to IQ or anything you can see. If you really dig into that person’s life, you might find it was the ability to buckle down and do something difficult at a time I couldn’t, and that made them very successful. Others had a run of luck (as far as it exists, defined as being in the right place at the right time.) But for that you need to study the individual. And honestly? You can’t equalize that. The fact that I’m ADD AF has cost me tons of opportunities not to mention creating health hazards through irregular eating habits and medicine taking. Otoh being ADD seems to be a characteristic of a certain type of creative and they might be linked. Fix that, and maybe I’m massively successful. Or maybe I’m just not me.

It’s even harder to attribute success of failure to the fact I tan, or that I have an accent in speech, or happen to be female, or any of the other things the left would think gives me protected minority status.

The truth? People are people. And every group has… people. Some successful, some not.

If looking at the fact some groups are more successful than others in the US, it might be better to look at group culture, and what the overculture tells them. When you are convinced, through public school, that the only reason you don’t have As is because your teacher is racist or sexist, you’re not going to do the best you can. Instead, you’re going to recline in victimhood and helplessness. Which is another way to fail.

But anyway, the mondo Marxist brains of the Biden Junta — he might be the brightest of them. I mean have you heard Commie La Whorish? Or the others? — think they can solve everything by discriminating against the people they think are succeeding because they have it easy, and are promoted on characteristics that have nothing to do with ability.

While I’m the first to agree we shouldn’t throw jobs and honors at people who mouth Marxism most fervently, that’s not what the idiots mean.

No, they think white males have it easy and have always had it easy — failing to explain why my sons who are arguably white-ish have it easier than Barrack Obama’s pampered spawn — so they should be discriminated against. And then white women, and then black men, and then– the hierarchy. The most oppression points, based on nothing but what is in the head of the Gramscian-indoctrinated komissar administering these various boondoggles and having no point of contact with reality, the more you’ll be advanced, lauded, and given jobs.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, accounts for the fact that the Biden administration doesn’t have a single competent appointee. Not.A.Single.One. Which should be hard, but is what you get when you hire for any reason other than merit, but particularly when you hire to make people who haven’t been very successful successful.

By this merry path to hell, we’ve corrupted — already — our arts, our sciences, our literature. (No, dear idiots, I don’t want to hear that so and so is a writer of color. I don’t read writers, I read the books. The books are either good or bad. And if they’re long whines about what I can only call aspirational victimhood — the victimhood the author wishes she had experienced, so she’d be fully virtuous — they’re bad books. And that’s all there is to it.)

Now it’s corrupting our government.

The price of eggs has eased a little. A little.

But at their continued rate of hiring to promote supposed past discrimination, the truth is that eggs will get expensive again.

Everything will.

If they continue under the illusion that they can make outcomes equal they will.

When eggs are 100 thousand dollars apiece, we all starve equally.

An Update on Rewards

Oh, look, it’s March. And I’m really late on all the rewards.

It’s not that we haven’t tried. We have. This was after all — as I warned you — the year of working the kinks out.

One kink we didn’t count on was not being able to send the “simple” things, the one I had put the onus on: sending out the electronic stuff.

Turns out various anti-spam measures mean most of our emails didn’t even go out, and if they did they disappeared. I know how to get around that for this year. I will require people to send an email to which I can answer. For this year that would probably not work because half the people will not get the message.

We are going to try something this week, using substack. We’ll see. If it works you’ll get something from a newsletter called something involving Rewards and Hoyt.

For the other stuff, we’ll be trying to mail everything that needs to be snail mailed in the next month.

If you donated enough for a critique or a tuckerization, please email me either at the email everyone knows or at the book promo email (in the patter at the beginning of yesterday’s post) and we’ll organize it. So far I have one tuckerization and one mentoring scheduled.

I want to get through all this by mid April, if all possible.

Some delay on the further stuff was due to the head of Team Hoyt, aka younger son going from unemployed to double-employed at the end of last year. We’re finding alternate ways to deal with it, but we were very unorganized for a while.

Of course, I still have absolutely no idea what donation system to use for this year.

We’ll figure it out. Probably.

Anyway, there will be something this week, at least the beginning of something, hopefully.

And then everything else by the by.

Again, so sorry. We didn’t count on infallible spam protection thwarting us.

And now excuse me while I type furiously on the next Dyce book.

Oh, yeah, DIL in training is doing audio for it. About the Refinishing Mysteries.

This sample is nowhere near final. She says it’s “muddy” and it needs a pop filter, so she’s redoing it. But I love the voice she gave Dyce.

Book Promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Sorry this is so late. WordPress ARGH.-SAH

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH

Honestly, some authors and their pushy self promo…. ahem:
FROM SARAH A HOYT: Lights Out and Cry (The Shifter Series Book 5)

It is New Year’s Day in Goldport Colorado, the most shifter-infested town in the known universe.
At the George — the diner where shifters gather — Kyrie is about to give birth, Tom is getting psychic messages from the Great Sky Dragon and Rafiel is looking for information on why the mayor exploded.
Fasten your seat belts. This is going to be a fast ride into adventure and shape-shifting, after which things will never be the same.

FROM LAWDOG: The LawDog Files: Revised and Expanded

The entire sworn personnel complement of the department consisted of the Sheriff, the Chief Deputy and two patrol deputies.

That was it.

I miss that county.

To me, law enforcement is tracking an Alzheimer’s patient for four hours through the boonies after he wandered away from home; answering a 911 call because a rattlesnake is about to eat a nest full of baby birds; and scaring off ghosts because the lady of the house lost her husband ten years ago, her children live out of state, and you are the only outside contact she gets.

For me, being a cop is about keeping an eye out for a black-and-white dog of indeterminate ancestry, red bandanna, whose 9-year-old owner is crying his eyes out.

Most new officers will start out in medium-to-large cities/counties and never know what it’s like to patrol when your only back-up is 45 miles away as the cruiser drives – and asleep in bed, to boot.

So, I tell stories and hope that through those, the Gentle Reader can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a Western small-town, rural Peace Officer

FROM MARY CATELLI: Through A Mirror, Darkly

What lies behind a reflection?

Powers have filled the world with both heroes and villains.  Helen, despite her own powers, had acquired the name Sanddollar but stayed out of the fights.

When the enigmatic chess masters create a mirrored world reflecting her own home and the world about it, it’s not so easy to escape.  All the more in that the people of that world are a dark reflection of all those she knows.

BY J. ALLAN DUNN, BROUGHT BACK BY D. JASON FLEMING: 3 Western Adventurers: A pulp omnibus

Three western-set adventures by masterpulp adventurer J. Allan Dunn!

Dead Man’s Gold

The old prospector knew he was dying when he shared his secret, in parts.Now four friends have to work together to find his rich vein of gold, fighting the elements, claim jumpers, angry Indians, and each other.

Turquoise Cañon

Jimmy Hollister just lost everything he hadin a stock market crash. After a life of polo and caviar, he cheerfully starts building up his life again, eventually following a girl to Arizona and starting a goat ranch. But hostile neighbors want to make dead sure he never learns the secret of Turquoise Cañon!

The Man Trap

When Jimmy Crewe returned from his prospecting expedition, he discovered that his best friend (and the man who funded his expedition) had disappeared. As he looked into it more, he found that a series of men, in several cities across the country, all with certain similarities, went missing in circumstances that, when compared, roused the suspicious mind. Now, Jimmy is going to find the answer to this mystery — what is the man trap, who is luring these men in, and why?

    This iktaPOP Media omnibus edition includes introductions giving genre and historical context to the three novels within it.

BY EDMOND HAMILTON, BROUGHT BACK BY D. JASON FLEMING: Corsairs of the Cosmos (Annotated): The Interstellar Patrol Volume 3: The classic pulp scifi space opera

In 1930, Edmond Hamilton wrote three more installments of his Interstellar Patrol series of stories for Weird Tales before taking a break from galaxy-spanning space opera. In 1934, he wrote one last story for the series, and then left space opera alone for most of a decade.

Corsairs of the Cosmos collects these final four stories, in which the Milky Way galaxy is menaced by a rogue comet(!), a mysterious cancellation of gravity that threatens to rip apart the galaxy, and an attack from within a “cloud”, inside of which visible light cannot exist, along with the titular final tale, recounting the time when the Patrol had to deal with intergalactic pirates stealing stars out of the galaxy to rekindle their own.

    This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving genre and historical context to the collected stories.

FROM KAREN MYERS: Second Sight: A Science Fiction Short Story

A Science Fiction Short Story


Samar Dix, the inventor of the popular DixOcular replacement eyes with their numerous enhancements, has run out of ideas and needs another hit. Engaging a visionary painter to create the first in a series of Artist models promises to yield an entirely new way of looking at his world.

But looking through another’s eyes isn’t quite as simple as he thinks, and no amount of tweaking will yield entirely predictable, or safe, results.

FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Wolf and the Well-Tempered Clavier

With the coronation fast approaching, the Cathedral of St. George the Dragonslayer cannot afford trouble. But come it does, while the cathedral choir director is at the Dragon’s Breath Organ, practicing the anthem he wrote at King William’s own request. While explaining some technical terms to his understudy, the choir director decides to show off a little.

In the process, he releases an ancient menace from long before humanity came through the worldgate to this place. An entity that strikes him blind, and threatens further harm to anyone who tries to play the Dragon’s Breath Organ.

However, they dare not disappoint His Majesty, not on the most momentous day of his reign. Someone must cleanse the Dragon’s Breath Organ of this malicious entity, and the choir director cannot. So the task falls to Miss Anne Teesdale, understudy organist.

Now she must delve into the history of the cathedral, and the mysterious ancient magic that fills the organ’s windchest. A secret that may well cost this young woman her life.

Or worse, her sanity.

An Ixilon story.

FROM FRANK HOOD: The Devil’s Due

A controversial aging rocker reminisices about his start in the 70’s and tries to set the record straight about his mysterious, unknown love.

FROM HOLLY CHISM: Normalcy Bias: Look closer…things aren’t always what they seem to be.

Look closer. The things that you’re assuming you’re seeing? May not be what you think. Is that really a mouse, or is it a Brownie? Is that really an owl? Is that polished gemstone a stone…or an egg?

We take so many things for granted. Some of them may be harmless, but many are a lot less so. I wonder how many people ignore red flags every day, because they only see what they expect to see?

This collection takes what’s “normal” and asks “What if it’s something more?”


While removing a prototype sensor from the prow of her new Alliance battleship, the Ausa, Captain Elizabeth Goodwin and her crew encounter a setback when one of the engineers sent to remove and stow the device is injured in an accident. Before the other engineer can help the man, the two are surrounded by amoeboid creatures which seem immune to the effects of vacuum.

Thought to be hallucinations experienced by early spacers who had been alone in deep space too long, these creatures – known as “angel fish” – startle the crew by their sudden appearance. Despite her misgivings, Goodwin allows three of the aliens to be taken aboard for study. But less than an hour after the aliens have been brought on the ship, one of Goodwin’s men is killed and another is seriously wounded.

Her search for both the murderer and the escaped “angels” soon leads to a disturbing revelation. Eventually, Goodwin must decide which threat is greater: an old enemy of the Alliance, or the fabled “angels” encountered by the first explorers from Terra.

FROM SABRINA CHASE: Red Wolf: Exile Part 1

Same map, different world.
Nic Duncan must prove she has what it takes to follow her uncle into the Special Forces. To get his backing she infiltrates a lawless area of postwar Asia posing as an adrenaline-junkie hiker. Checking out a newly discovered cave follows naturally as part of her cover.
But in that cave she encounters a strange artifact—and when she emerges, the world she knows no longer exists. While the terrain remains the same, every sign of civilization has disappeared. No road, no power lines, no GPS, nothing.
Starving and desperately searching for a way back, Nic discovers the relics of the past have vanished too – and the pre-technology people she encounters either terrified of outsiders or ruthless killers.

Can Nic find any safety in this strange yet familiar world … and what must she sacrifice to get it?

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Dangerous