Dispatches From Another World

*I apologize for the length of this post.  As you know I’m not feeling quite well, which means I’m more meandery (totally a word) than normal. However, the steroids are working, so…*

Yesterday I found what I think is an indie mystery series, (okay, only two books but I’m hoping she writes more. It’s published by Steel Magnolia press which seems to be on the level of Naked Reader when it was going full tilt) which reminded me of how much I love mysteries and which in a way, backwards, swung back towards the Hugo mess. Not as what is going on in the award but as a “what the situation is in traditional publishing.”

As you guys know I’ve been feeling poorly. Feeling poorly means hot chocolate and a glass of port wine in the evening and historical mystery books.

The… ah… vineyard of historical mystery books, much less “historical mystery books I can stand to read” has grown mighty dry since about twelve years ago. There was some sort of a shift in publishing where they decided historical didn’t sell (as they told me over and over again) and the spigot of historical – by which I mean before the 20th century, by the way. Sorry. I was raised in Europe. Less than 100 years old is not historical. For that matter, real historical is 500 years old — almost ran dry. And what there is…

Well, let’s just say that I started noticing two things in my historical mysteries: a) they often try to preach modern values to the time they are writing about. The women particularly are all modern women b) They make it a point of displaying their erudition, sometimes with lavish forewords. (I know why they’re there, I do. You’re dealing with an establishment that often “knows” wrong things about history and those lengthy forewords are self defense against the copyeditors who’ll correct you according to wicki.)

So, even though I adore books set between the wars in England – part of the attraction of Agatha Christie are the books set in that long summer holiday of history – and read almost an entire series set in it, around book 14 I got sick and tired of being in the head of a 21st century woman set in the past. It’s not just how she thought. Yeah, there were people like that at all times. New Age for instance has a long pedigree going back to the 19th century at least. No. It was what she noticed and didn’t notice. The character was, to put it bluntly, a graduate of a good university in the 21st century America who looked at the world in terms of classes but not as an Englishwoman of the time thought of class. The woman looked at the world in terms of “class struggle” and “privilege” and racism and sexism and… evaluated everything through this lens.

This was roughly the equivalent of a character in the 16th century whose guide to life is My Little Pony. Even if it could make for an interesting character if there were an explanation or time travel involved, since there wasn’t, it was just annoying a niggling itch that grew until it became unbearable and I abandoned the series.

Even series that aren’t that bad have this level of “tolerable annoyance.” I know from tolerable annoyance. I’ve had eczema since I was one and a half and I am rarely without a flare up. The high flare ups like right now are excruciating, but I learn to ignore the “slight itch” flare ups. And I’ve learned to ignore the occasional silliness or out of place observation in books – traditionally published books – since I know to some extent they’re there as writer insurance, and to some extent they’re there as a sort of reflex of excellently educated 21st century authors.

For instance, I know if a medieval churchman is introduced and I’m not in Ellis Peter’s world, he’s either a bad guy or he’s a secret agnostic, who got sent to the monastery for family reasons and who views religion with distrust. I know if someone is very rich he’ll be the villain. I know—

Well, I downloaded, not expecting much, a bunch of historical mysteries at 99c by various authors, some traditionally published. One of them I returned. Yeah, the one I mentioned a few days ago. The foreword was never ending, and by the end of it she’d managed to insult everyone not to the left of Stalin, which meant I knew I couldn’t trust her to guide me through her world.

The other one I haven’t returned yet – I hate returning 99c reads. It seems churlish – but probably will because heaven help us, it’s set in a 19th century that never existed. Like the mystery set in regency England, where you can kill peasants with impunity if you’re a nobleman, every detail of the setting jars. To make matters worse, like that other mystery, I realized on page 15 the character is female, though from the setup, manner of talking, etc, I expected it to be a man. (I probably should check if those are both written by the same person.)

The third one I started without great hopes. I’m going to say right here that it’s set in an era where I don’t spend much time – the time of Coeur de Leon in England – and therefore it could have mistakes I fail to see. However, I know enough by touch-feel that if it’s a truly clumsy effort it normally pushes me out and this one hasn’t. Now, I’m not saying it would pass Suburbanbanshee’s sniff test. But who knows? It might.

Anyway, against it even as I started was the fact that the day before yesterday I’d started feeling truly ill, so I couldn’t concentrate on much. The book starts with a convoluted Medieval sort of argy-bargy that left me cold, but the character had enough voice to draw me through.

I read it through in the next few hours, including through the night when I felt so bad. Halfway through the night I bought its sequel.

The books are The Season of the Raven and The Season of the Fox by Denise Domning, and they are highly recommended, even if those of you who know more about the middle ages than I do might find nits I didn’t.

They’re excellently convoluted mysteries, with an engaging protagonist, characters who come alive and who are not all bad or all good and who ring true to life, and with a lively enough voice to keep you reading. If you like Ellis Peters you’ll like these. The 99c sale must be done because they’re now 3.99, but it’s still an excellent price for historical mysteries.

I want to say something RIGHT HERE. I have no idea what the author’s politics are. And I don’t care. The characters have opinions I don’t necessarily agree with (there is a great scandal at usury for instance) but they’re perfectly in the time and place in which they’re set.

For the people who will inevitably be sent here to look for signs of recidivism or revanchism or reactionary thought or whatever, I’ll spell it as if in braile: The characters don’t need to agree with me or embody my beliefs. I can perfectly imagine reading an historical (what Americans consider Historical) mystery set in early communist Russia and loving it, even if the character is an avowed Leninist (at the time he’d have an excuse, since the horrors that always result hadn’t been proven by multiple experiments in multiple settings) because the character would be true to the time and to himself, and if the other characters (and that one too) were alive and individual, I can imagine enjoying the world and the plot.

What I object to is the intrusion of the “only correct way to view the world” projected into a past in which it never existed and also turning everything, no matter what the time period it’s set in into same old, same old.

If I read only books by libertarians, and what’s more by my flavor of libertarian, my library would be very tiny indeed, but more than that, it would be boring.

So, I enjoyed these mysteries, by this lady of whose politics I know nothing and whose ability to create characters made two very difficult days more bearable.

My one complaint is that she has only two books out, and now I’m done with them. I bought a trad. published 99c mystery and started it over breakfast. It starts with the obligatory erudite foreword. The beginning is good or at least not patently offensive, but… but I wish the other series had more. I already detect a defensive “I know what I’m talking about” tone in the writing of this other mystery that is setting my teeth on edge. And I’m afraid the hectoring about class or sexism or whatever will start at any minute. Mind you I can tolerate a certain amount of it if the rest is very good, but it grows wearisome.

And this is where we run into the Hugo thing. Or at least we run into Irene Gallo. I don’t know if it came across in Shout It From The Rooftops but what appalled me about her utterances was not what she said, as such. I mean what she said was strange and calumnious, but it was what has been repeated since entertainment weekly. No, what shocked me was the way she said it.

Look, I don’t think there’s any excuse for a thinking person of mature years to be a communist. Not after the history of the last 100 years. But I can excuse it in college kids, and people who mentally never left college. And I can excuse it in people for whom communism is sort of a family religion. People tend to be unable to reason through things they drank with mother’s milk. If I say “oh, he’s a communist” it’s usually with the feeling of rolled eyes, not with the feeling of “he’s Satan.” (With exceptions, of course.)

The way Irene Gallo said “Neo Nazis” though was more in the tone of “Satanist” for a medieval monk. She knows, on faith, these people exist and that they’re out there. And she’s been told by everyone she trusts that they’re “racist, sexist and homophobic” and she believes, because everyone around her believes.

She talked not as someone who had looked at the situation and come to the regretful conclusion that all these people were “bad to reprehensible” but as someone who’d heard it so much, and into whose inner narrative it fit so well that “of course this is the truth.” She didn’t need to examine it, any more than you need to run out the door and verify that the sky is still blue. You were taught it is blue, (even when it’s gray) and everyone you know says it’s blue. So, it’s blue.

My friend James Schardt said that she was utterly sincere, and he was right. The utter sincerity comes through. She’s not being insulting, she’s telling the truth as she knows it.

And that’s what appalled me about it. Oh, I knew it – sort of – from moving in these circles, at cons and from submitting/dealing with agents and editors for years. I knew what I had to do to pass, at an instinctive level, and I knew that any deviation would be interpreted as “right wing” even though I think the country in which I’d truly be “right wing” or “conservative” would be an improbable country populated by eccentrics. (Maybe Heinlein’s moon?)

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 Irene Gallo 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 Ms. Gallo 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 instil contempt, pity and aversion to Capitalism, America and other countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

In a way Irene Gallo lives in a similar world. A world in which some verities are so absolute they can’t ever be questioned. The same world as the person whose book I returned because her foreword went on and on about how there had always been “progressive” thought even in the middle ages, and made it clear that by progressive she meant the 21st century’s idea of it.

People are talking of boycotting Tor. That’s silly. This is not Tor. This is “all traditional publishing except for Baen” and a few authors at other houses. I will continue reading authors from Tor – Kevin Anderson, John C. Wright [Jim Butcher is Roc, and I even know that.  I’m just not functioning any too well. Thanks for the correction in comments.]– whose politics are of little concern to me because their worlds breathe and live.

But that’s part of the issue – people like Irene Gallo can’t help selecting authors who move and think within their construct-world. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just sense. If they think that’s the real world and there’s a side of angels and a side of devils and the devils are everyone outside the narrative, why would they encourage evil? If I were an editor, I probably wouldn’t buy any outright communist books (not the author, mind, the books) unless the author left enough holes that I could see doubt seeping in. I wouldn’t buy it because the pov would repel me, and because I tend to think 100 million sacrifices to the impossible ideal that always slips into medieval tyranny in the end are more than enough. It wouldn’t be a black list or an organized anything, but if every house were staffed with editors who felt about communism as I do, it would be impossible for a communist author to publish.

Now, I’d like to think my world view is complex enough that I wouldn’t be buying only authors whose villains are communists. However, my world view was formed in the real world.

The problem with the narrative construct pushed by the educational/media/entertainment complex is that its paper thin and that it leads its disciples to believe that bad think needs to be abjured, “consciousness must be raised” etc. I.e. they believe the only reasons someone would oppose them is because they’re either evil or insufficiently “informed”, so preaching is a great part of their work.

And this results in problems like the ones I have finding decent historical mysteries (and sometimes fantasy or science fiction) because there needs to be preaching in every book, and the preaching is not only counter-factual but and this is far worse, boring.

It never occurs to the Irene Gallos of the world that people who disagree with them might not disagree with their largely laudable objectives. It would shock her speechless to know that I personally would like equal rights for men and women (under the law) and that I think some accommodation must be made for different sexual expression in a world where sex and reproduction are increasingly divorced, and that I frankly think races are a construct with very little hold in reality. Where we disagree is where I – who read and study history – view governmental force as the worst way to attain those objectives. I also, with good and sufficient reason, view the government counterproductive (frankly) in attaining a fairer economic situation or in relieving the plight of the poor. (Of course, I also don’t believe all these problems have solutions. I believe at best most of them have palliative relief.)

They’ve been taught, they’ve heard from everyone they trust, that there is only one objective and one right way to get there. And those who disagree with them must be against their objectives/ideals and not against their methods.

The reality this creates is a publishing establishment that looks for markers of compliance from their authors and, depending on how much the authors are part of the establishment, in flat books about clichés.

This fight is not about the Hugos, nor about publishing, nor about a particular publishing house. This fight is about being able to create worlds that live and breathe, outside the rigid constraints of ideology and of “correct thought.”

The art of the Soviet Union and of Nazi Germany, no matter how much some people like it, had the same ridiculously flat and lifeless look, the same “I’m serving a larger ideal” tone. It came across boring and predictable.

Art or even JUST entertaining story telling requires looking at things another way. It requires creating characters we recognize. It requires a depth of emotion and observation that is impossible when it’s “in the service of a larger ideal.”

Which is why publishing has been in decline. Thank heavens for indie. Over time people with real stories and real characters will come back. Real story telling is always better than preaching to the choir.

Part of the screams we hear are a dying establishment struggling to convince us they still matter.

Ignore them and write and create. I need books to read. And the best way to destroy them is to outcreate them and outcompete them. And now we can.

Ça Ira.

488 responses to “Dispatches From Another World

  1. I believe the word is “meandacious” which leaves you open to the charge of “meandacity.”

  2. “No one’s in charge here. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist collective!” That movie, at least, had the benefit of being a comedy… and like Blazing Saddles, probably could not be made today.

    Shadowdancer’s post is absolutely wonderful and a must-read. Unfortunately she only has the feeble advantages of history, direct and family experience, so of course she has no grounds for arguing with a Lit. BA who heard all about this from a TA in that one class her freshman year…

  3. The reason historical mysteries stopped selling is they started pushing ahistorical mysteries at the audience. Contemporary characters in historical settings, thus giving us the worst of both. Revising the history to make the contemporary characters (fit) worked only if you were completely ignorant of the era and often not even then — it is akin to watching a movie set in Regency England but all the women have contemporary hairstyling: to suspend that much disbelief requires a derrick.

    Publisher complaints about this remind me of the time a local Mexican(ish) restaurant bought cheap cheese which wouldn’t melt if hit with nuclear radiation, then decided the reason the nachos weren’t moving was because customers were bored with the appetizer.

    • Although if the nachos were moving, that could be a problem 😉

    • I have heard readers complaining of a certain character because “they weren’t all like that back then!”

      And others complaining that a female character of a certain era would not actually list “expecting his marital rights” as a grievance against her husband, let alone as the central thing she brooded over, when she had, in fact, a whole list of grievances that fit the era.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        A Puritan woman (in New England) had the Right to expect sex from her husband and he would face Social Displeasure if he didn’t provide it. [Evil Grin]

        • A woman that has to resort to Social Displeasure to ensure that her husband fulfills his duties obviously has failed to resort to using the cast iron skillet sufficiently often enough!

        • Feather Blade

          Wasn’t there some woman who got her husband put in the stocks for exactly that?

          But I forget – women were libido-less victims of male desire for thousands of years until feminism happened.

          • That’s not quite the narrative with Puritans. With Puritans, it’s that they were killjoys who hated fun, and since sex is fun, they hated sex.
            Where the large Puritan families came from is anyone’s guess.

            • I’ve seen some hilarious moments on Catholics blogs where certain commenters with many children comment on the stereotypes that Catholics are all hung up about sex — and have large families.

              • “– and have large families”

                That is because they keep getting hung up.
                /ducks/

                • Turn the hose on ’em, they’ll come loose.

                  • While that is certainly one solution it is prudent to not be precipitate in acting. Please take into account their interpersonal chemistry might prove flammable.


                    Adding DiHydrogen Monoxide might have caustic results.

                    • One additional cautionary note:


                      Be aware that unregulated commercial use of this product poses severe health hazards. This chemical occurs in many beverages, industrial processes, car batteries and is an essential component in sewage treatment.

                    • It promotes mold growth, too.

            • Much like the allegedly-passionless Victorians — who also had large families. In the case of the early Victorians, at a time when childbirth was quite dangerous.

              Oh, but of course, they didn’t have cheap and easy contraceptives. So they never could have avoided making all those babies, as they, um … had no idea how sex worked? Because that was only discovered around 1950 or so?

        • That was pretty standard in both Jewish family law (as seen in Yentl) and a lot of canon and civil law. It wasn’t just a consummation thing; not having sex without mutual consent to not having it could be construed as cruelty, IIRC. I think it’s Shakespeare who talks about the “marriage debt,” but he wasn’t saying anything new.

          Puritans were quite a bit more upfront about it, though.

      • … which sort of makes me wonder if she grasped the concept of ‘marriage.’

    • Perhaps the restaurant in question (“queso-tin”?) was using the wrong frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Gamma rays and the like (“nuclear radiation”) will go through cheese without imparting much energy. RF radiation in the centimetric-wave band will impart much more energy into cheeselike substances, thus melting them with relative ease.

      Determining other potential problems with using gamma rays to melt cheese is left as an exercise for the student.

  4. For anybody here who might not yet have read them, Patrick O’Brian, in his Aubrey/Maturin novels, is absolutely brilliant at staying true to the actual perspectives and beliefs of his characters in period. But then he’s absolutely brilliant in most everything he does in those books. For example, he wonderfully straddles the great divide between “literary” writing and readable prose for the modern reader…

    • Birthday girl

      Those are the only dead-tree books I am determined to die owning. Wonderful on every level.

    • I’ve read that about O’Brian as a contrast to C.S. Forester and his Hornblower books, that I love. Yes, Hornblower is basically a man with modern sensibilities in a Napoleonic era, but the character recognizes that he’s an odd who has a revulsion to corporeal punishment, a free-thinker rather than a believer, and someone who actually indulges in the bizarre practice of showering/bathing daily. He knows darn well that nobody else around him shares those views.

      • I’ve said before, and I suppose I can say it again, that C S Forrester was a writer, Patrick O’Brien at his heart was a poet, and Dudley Pope was before anything a sailor.
        They all wrote the same era and used pretty much the same sources, but the difference is that Hornblower seemed more a stranger looking out at his world, Aubrey and Maturin were discovering the world they lived in, and Ramage sailed it.

      • Hornblower is, basically, a brave, brilliant and ethical weirdo. And is well aware of the fact that he is. The reason he works as a character is that C. S. Forester is also well aware that he is — Forester did not imagine for a moment that Hornblower was normal, even for a heroic character.

        • My judgment from reading the first two books was that Hornblower is an outright sociopath. The fact that ultimately he does the right thing doesn’t change this — because it’s done only for the good of Hornblower. It’s an insightful approach — a man who upholds honor and duty not for the common good, but solely for his own logical good.

          • I believe it was RAH who said the ideal society is one with an incentive structure that makes honesty the rational choice.

          • Terry Sanders

            I never got that impression. He always struck me as an Odd and more than a bit of a Whig, with a tendency to overthink *everything*.

            For instance, he never got over the sinking feeling in his stomach in the middle of a battle. So he assumed he was a coward, and hated himself for it. The fact that he always *went in anyway*, he considered completely irrelevant. Non-cowards don’t feel fear, right?…

            I still remember the way Forrester finally settled the tension between him and his wife, a good thirty years after their marriage. She’d done something out of sympathy for an “unfortunate” that would have sunk Admiral Hornblower’s career for good and all, and that he thought was foolish and counterproductive anyway. She confessed it, expecting him to do the proper, honorable, upperclass thing and turn his back on her for good. Then she realized that every muttered word and thought that followed was him trying to figure out how much trouble SHE was in, and how to make sure it didn’t hurt her.

            “You’re only thinking about me!”

            (Irritated) “Well, what else am I supposed to be thinking about?”

  5. Christopher M. Chupik

    Actually, Jim Butcher is Roc, not Tor.

    I know, I know. I pick at nits.

  6. “My friend James Schardt said that she was utterly sincere, and he was right.”
    Savonarola was utterly sincere.
    The Grand Inquisitor of Spain was utterly sincere.
    Cotton Mather was utterly sincere.
    Ned Ruffin was utterly sincere.
    The British and German university professors who ordered their students off to die in WWI were utterly sincere.
    The Boston Matrons who demanded that every American GI returning from WWII be confined to asylums until they were deemed fit for “decent society” were utterly sincere.
    Bull Conner was utterly sincere.
    Lester Maddox was utterly sincere.
    Sincerity don’t mean crap.

    • Sincerity means a lot when you’re looking not so much at the words but at what the words say about the person saying them. In this case, the sincerity is not a good thing. I would rather deal with a cunning and malicious foe, than a sincere one who genuinely believes they are right and they must rid whatever of me for the greater good. The former you can defeat by making the battle too expensive for him. The latter can only be defeated through more draconian, and ultimately more costly methods (for both sides.)

      • I am minded of the difference between the Friendlies and the Dorsai.

        Why yes, I did just re-read Soldier Ask Not (thanks Audible) — why do you ask?

        • Alas, I have only read Dorsai (and that long ago). I need to find the other books in the series.

          • Ah – I strongly suggest reading Soldier Ask Not and Tactics of Mistake together — the books are somewhat simultaneous, with certain events occurring in both, albeit from different perspectives.

            I am not sure which order works best, however, Alphabetical?

            • I would personally recommend Tactics of Mistake first, as it clears up some awkward things about Ian and Kensie Graeme that are in Soldier.

              At least, it was awkward for me, since Soldier was the very first of those books I read.

              • Every time I’ve read them it has been Tactics first, so it may be you are right. When in doubt,read in publication order?

              •         The Tactics of Mistake precedes Dorsai! and Soldier, Ask Not by centuries.  Dorsai! and Soldier, Ask Not overlap in time, with Soldier ending before Dorsai!.

                        I find it natural to read the series by internal chronology: Necromancer, The Tactics of Mistake, “Amanda Morgan,” “Warrior”, “Lost Dorsai,” Soldier, Ask Not, Young Bleys, “Brothers,” Dorsai!, The Final Enclycopedia, and The Chantry Guild.

                        Note that the above has almost no relationship to the order in which the novels and stories were written.

                • You’re right — I had transposed the stories of Tactics and Dorsai.

                  Dorsai and Soldier are set contemporaneously, with the death of Kensie Graeme and a reception for Donal Graeme occurring in both of them. Tactics featuring Cletus Grahame establishes the Dorsai as military “supermen” and occurs a couple generations prior.

                  There are … differences of opinion about the proper reading order, but at http://www.scifan.com/series/series.asp?SR_seriesid=179 the recommended sequence is:
                  Three to Dorsai! (1975)
                  Dorsai Spirit (2002 – omnibus)
                  1. Dorsai! (1960)
                  2. Necromancer (1962)
                  3. Soldier, Ask Not (1967)
                  4. Tactics of Mistake (1971)
                  5. Spirit of Dorsai, The (1979)
                  6. Lost Dorsai (1980)
                  7. Final Encyclopedia (Vol 1), The (1984)
                  8. Chantry Guild, The (1988)
                  9. Young Bleys (1991)
                  10. Other (1994)
                  11. Final Encyclopedia (Vol 2), The (1997)
                  12. Antagonist (2007)

                  Wiki advises:
                  The main sequence novels basically fall into four periods approximately a century apart.

                  Necromancer: Late 21st century, shortly before humanity begins star travel

                  Tactics of Mistake: Late 22nd century, in the early development of the splinter cultures. “Amanda Morgan” takes place at the same time as the crisis of this book.

                  Soldier, Ask Not and Dorsai! occur around the same time as each other, and overlap, with some events described in both novels. Late 23rd century, after the splinter cultures have fully developed.

                  The Final Encyclopedia, followed by The Chantry Guild: Mid-24th century, as the final conflict develops among the cultures.

                  The final planned volume, Childe, was to resolve the conflict which had been set up in the last two books. Its events would immediately follow the events of The Chantry Guild.

                  Wiki also notes that the Final Encyclopedia anticipated both Cyberspace and Wiki itself.

                  Whatever order you read them in you will likely a) have a great time and b) be slightly confused.

          • He wrote tons of other books including several short story collections.!

          • I highly recommend the novella “Lost Dorsai”. He explores a different side of the Dorsai there. Also “Spirit of Dorsai” collection is worth the money.

        • So glad to see that someone else here is a Gordy Dickson fan! Sounds like the Dorsai make better employees than the Friendlies.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Hmmm, have to get back to that series. Only read about half, and that was a while ago.

      • Paraphrasing Sir Terry –

        Always hope that it’s an evil man who holds you at swordpoint. He’ll stop and gloat before killing you, and you might get an opening. A good man will just kill you.

        The evil man is probably trying to kill you because you’re in his way, and it’s always possible that at some point you’ll be out of his way. The good man is trying to kill you because he firmly believes that you, personally, need to die.

        • *nod*
          This is part of why the bad people feel the need to lie. It’s how they get good people on their side.

          Part of why I like the Cardassians on Star Trek– especially Garak– is because I can very easily see them as good people who believe something sincerely wrong. (Well, lots of things, but you get the idea.)

          • Yes. The Cardassians weren’t bad guys; they were adherents of a different good. At least by their lights. I found it particularly interesting how Dukat became desperately eager to please, if only he thought he was being helpful.

      • “Of all tyrannies, one sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the worst” (C S Lewis)

    • I happen to be good friends with Bull Connor’s daughter. She maintains that Bull was doing his level best to give the voters who elected him what they wanted. She knows it was wrong, she admits that Bull eventually came to realize that it was wrong, but I have to agree that trying to look back in time and judge a person’s motivations is at best an iffy proposition.
      And from long experience and personal knowledge I can affirm that Bull’s daughter has not a single bit of racism in her makeup.

      • Thus the fallacy of imagining that “if you only <Iunderstood what I am striving for, you would support me.”

        It is possible to understand Adolph Schicklegruber’s sincere belief that “Der Juden” were the source of Germany’s suffering without agreeing with his solution.

        It is possible to understand that a person is sincerely so concerned about your immortal soul as to be indifferent to your bodily suffering without finding such a person admirable.

        Sincerity dictates how you attempt to reach them with persuasive arguments. It has nothing to do with agreeing to support their delusions</DEL beliefs.

        • (Hmph.) Please correct the above comment as follows:
          It has nothing to do with agreeing to support their delusions beliefs.

        • Three possible levels of “understanding”:
          have an idea of how their view would work,
          know how their view works, but don’t agree
          agree.

          For obvious reasons, many prefer to over-simplify to a single category where understanding means agreement. Depending on their reason, I fit “can’t understand” through the first two…..

    • “The Boston Matrons who demanded that every American GI returning from WWII be confined to asylums until they were deemed fit for “decent society” were utterly sincere.”

      Waitwaitwait…whaaaaaat? Seriously?

      • RealityObserver

        I have to ask for a specific link on that myself…

        Many WW II veterans were institutionalized – just like non-veterans who could not fit into society. Somewhat reasonable then, as the prevailing theory was that “normal” people who left the combat zone for a while would readjust without the continuing stimulus. So those who didn’t readjust had to be “abnormal.”

        I’ve never run across Bostonian matrons specifically insisting upon institutionalizing all veterans, though there were some “pacifists” who advocated just that.

      • This is bugging me. I KNOW I saw this in written histories, but 99% of my books are still boxed awaiting shelf space. I THINK it may have been in Stafford’s Little Ship, Big War or John Keegan, but I’m not sure…and Google has nothing on it I can find so far.

        Nevertheless, I stand by the existence of the event. If anyone can help a brutha out with references one way or the other I’d appreciate it,

      • Hmmm. In Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History, the author recounts how after every war, people reacted strongly to the returning vets. Cited a WWII cartoon where a headline recounts a minor offense by a vet and one character tells another there’s a multiple murder on page n — no vet involved.

        His point being that what made Vietnam different was the lack of pushback.

    • “The Boston Matrons who demanded that every American GI returning from WWII be confined to asylums until they were deemed fit for “decent society” were utterly sincere.”
      ???
      I missed that in history class. Let me guess- Liberal Democrat women?

      • It’s Boston. Their “Conservative Republicans” are most the rest of the nation’s Leftoids.

      • So far, plumbing the depths of the Internet has turned up this from over at Ace of Spades:

        “RM, I feel like I remember an article in LIFE or one of the ladies’ magazines of the time saying this very thing, like they needed to devulgarize their language and stop being trigger-happy.”

        • I remember similarly. It might have come from the temperance societies that becoming were all the rage (the first was formed in Boston some 90 years previous) and would shortly lead to Prohibition. And we all know how well that worked out!

          It occurs to me that today’s SJWs are akin to the temperance movement, and likely to come to parallel conclusions.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IMO the temperance movements were reacting to real problems even if their solutions were bad.

            I really doubt that the SJWs are reacting to real problems

            • I agree, but as someone pointed out, people who want to feel outraged will =find= something to be outraged about. Frex, there’s no longer enough =real= racism in America to satisfy that urge for outrage, so they make up racism. It’s real enough to them, even if it’s not real as fact.

              “I reject your reality, and substitute my own.”

              • There has long been that component of the Bostonian Soul, such that in my youth (and far closer to the time in dispute) the phrase “Banned in Boston” could still be used to market books of slightly salacious nature. It has been a minor source of amusement to note how that has inverted over time.

                Frankly, I blame the Kennedys.

                • In fairness, I should acknowledge that “when in doubt, blame the Kennedys” has long been one of my default options.

  7. William O. B'Livion

    This: http://www.denisedomning.com/ Denise Domning?

    • Yeah. I haven’t read her romances, but the mysteries are great.

      • I’ve read most of her “Dame Frevisse” mysteries. She’s not nearly as good as Ellis Peters with medieval religion but she’s not bad.

        • GAH. Never mind. I asked kobo for “Denise Domning” and they included “Margaret Frazier” as well.

          • Denise is better, IMHO

            • > Denise is better, IMHO
              I’ll add her to my list.
              [checking to get this right]
              I’ve been enjoying Sarah Woodbury’s series. The Gareth & Gwen series is mystery set in 12th century Wales. It’s contemporary with the end of Cadfael (Summer of the Danes) but from the other side. After Cilmeri is time travel to 13th century Wales. There’s also some King Arthur stories but I’m burned out on King Arthur. I don’t know anything really about Wales but it seems reasonably historical.

              • I’ll look up Woodbury. What are the Arthur stories?

                • “Lion of Wales” series is near the end of Arthur’s life. Cold My Heart /The Oaken Door /Of Men and Dragons
                  The Last Pendragon/Pendragon’s Quest is about Arthur’s heir.
                  Woodbury is using the idea that Arthur was a Welsh king and hero and the English stole his legend.

              • Oooh, my Welsh parts are tingling. Thanks for the recommendation!

                I fall right into Cadfael’s world like I was born there, and after a time observed that I think like a Welshman…. come to find out my dad’s family was largely Welsh. 😀

          • Mary Monica Pulver aka Margaret Frazer is the one who was also the author of the SCA/horse/police officer mysteries (as Pulver), and you can buy them as ebooks now.

            (And she’s allegedly the basis for Mary Em the short fighter chick in the Dream Park books, but I don’t know that for sure.)

            Gail Lynn Brown aka Margaret Frazer was her co-writer and then continued the Frazer books after Pulver’s sadly early death.

  8. Hi, Sarah. Great article! You make excellent points.

    The only place I disagree with you is concerning a boycott of Tor. Sure, other traditional publishers are as bad; sure, it’s a widespread problem. However, we can’t handle all of them at once. I’m from the African school of life. “How do you eat an elephant? Mouthful by mouthful.” I’m more than willing to make Tor the first mouthful.

    I’ve written a second, private letter to Tom Doherty, to amplify and extend what I said in my first, open letter posted on my blog. I’ve copied it to executives at Macmillan. I’ve stated bluntly that unless certain minimum steps have been taken by midday on Monday, I will publicly call for a boycott of Tor. I have every intention of doing so if those steps are not taken. I don’t think any of them are extreme (I don’t, for example, call for dismissals or resignations); but IMHO, the situation has deteriorated to the point where nothing less than drastic action will be sufficient. I may be wrong. We’ll see.

    • This.

      What do we have to gain from playing nicely with Tor?
      Absolutely nothing.
      Its executives will still openly hate our guts. And having gotten away with it, they’ll only be emboldened.

      If we put a stake through Tor’s heart and bury it at a crossroads, what have we lost?
      A concentration of power that hates our guts and attacks us.

      Tor delenda est.

      • The error here lies in the assumption that all Tor is not in partes tres. But the likely fact is that it has staff who sympathize with Ms Gallo (and certain other editors who need not be invoked by name), staff who agree with the Puppies that the Hugos have become too predictable for the wrong reasons, and a (likely majority) of the staff who don’t care and don’t want to have to care either way.

        Gallo & Friends are trying to drag the others over the cliff; our goal should not be to help her lean in and push when there is much worth saving in the company.

        • Then the employees and senior management can throw Gallo et al. over the cliff in self-defense.
          I will be satisfied with that, but I do not believe it will happen. Things would never have progressed this far without tacit consent.

          If the company is to be saved, it must be saved by those associated with the company.
          I have neither inclination nor ability to save it.
          I will, however, bring marshmallows to the auto-de-fe.

        • “Three times is enemy action” applies to large complex systems and organizations, not just people.

          By the time you have a third occurrence of , there is something inherent in the system.

          In the case of Tor, I highly doubt – as I said elsewhere – that Tom is heading this up. Far too many people who’s judgement I trust have vouchsafed him.

          That said, we have FOUR people in his organization who are willing to openly smear fans and deep-six works and authors of their very own publishing house for [being | being liked by] the wrong kind of people.

          One continues to flaunt the “private/company rep” division while making passive aggressive backhanded statements about us needing to consider how inherently hateful our goals must be if he-who-can-barely-be-named finds it a worthy cause, and how ignorant we must be if we could not see that.

          • In animal training we have a saying ‘once is an accident, twice is a learned behavior.’
            I’ve always felt that the ‘third time is enemy action’ was way too lenient myself.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Tor delenda est.

        I’m pretty sure that you are wrong.

        The passive periphrastic ‘delenda est’ is feminine and agrees with a feminine object. ‘Tor’ looks like it would be masculine. Compare Pastor and Castor.

        ‘delendus est’ would agree.

        Tor boicotizandus est
        looks like ‘Tor ought to be boycotted’.

        eradendus and exculpendus look to have similar meanings to delendus.

      • I think the only Tor series I read regularly is David Weber’s Armageddon Reef series…and I came to that late because I had developed a sense that TOR was not publishing books as a rule that I wanted to read. That may have cost Tor some money; for example, I didn’t pick up John C. Wright because, “Tor book, not for me.”

        I’d hate to have to start buying the Webers in used copies, but there’s really no evidence that the management at Tor wants my business.

  9. Clark E Myers

    Likely you’ve already read them all but if not I suggest the Judge Dee stories by Robert van Gulik. Granted it’s Ming dynasty society set in Tang dynasty time by deliberate intent but that’s part of the fun. Not likely to jar a non-expert Western reader and I understand amuses those who can get the in jokes.

    For quick reads George Simenon wrote an amazing number of books – best read in French though the Maigret books are well translated. George Simenon is about the only strictly European writer to do a traditional cowboy western and not annoy me.

    For a pulp approach to never never history that demands a light hearted approach consider Karl May in German. A useful reminder that just as Americans play SCA, Pennsic and the rest so too Germans buy a lot of hide and fur and porcupine quills to play cowboys and first nationals.

  10. c4c

  11. Compare how Alberto Iber of Miami was treated for his private opinions posted on a site other than his employers’.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article23616994.html

    • Problem is, we ALL hold opinions that someone else would like to silence by removing us from whatever post we hold in life. Whose opinions are silenced depends on who is in charge and whose voices against them get loud enough. It does not depend on the validity of the opinion. We could ALL become subject to such removal, were only circumstances a little different. Witness the example of Brandon Eich.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod. The problem with “anti-hate speech laws” is that they are actually used against people the government doesn’t like.

        It doesn’t matter “if it was intended as hate speech”, the government decides what hate speech is.

        Any intelligent person should wonder “if I use this “weapon”, can somebody use this “weapon” against me”.

        Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be enough intelligent people out there. [Frown]

        • Yep. I doubt there’s yet been a weapon that hasn’t ultimately been turned against whoever introduced it. And some folks who’d otherwise qualify as “intelligent people” seem all too inclined to ignore this, especially when caught up in, uh, revenge theory.

          As someone put it, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

          I like to quote this, all the more pungent because of who said it:

          “You should not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered.”
          — Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the U.S.

        • Not if I get them all first. So I must spend the rest of my life using. This weapon at every opportunity.

          Have I now explained SJW’s sufficiently?

        • That, and I always cringe when I hear that “anti-hate” laws are being applied.

          “The victim was found beaten, stabbed and robbed in his restaurant; he’s in the hospital in critical condition. Because he’s a homosexual, the police are investigating this as a hate crime.”

          Last I checked, you generally don’t beat, stab or rob people you love…

          Actually, you just might…in which case, you should get a *heavier* sentence, not a lighter one!

          •         H. Allen Smith gave an example of how newspapers used to say “attacked” when they meant “raped.”  A typical story might read:

                    “Miss Smith was walking late at night when a man jumped out of an alley and blackjacked her.  As she fell, he kicked her in the kidneys, than dropped on her, knees first, breaking three ribs.  Grabbing her neck, he choked her.  Then, as she was losing consciousness, he attacked her.”

                    It appears that stupidity is eternal.

          • Once reduced someone to absolute incoherence by observing that supporters of hate-crime laws think that some assaults, murders, etc. are ordinary, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill crimes. He was never capable of coming up with a way of rebutting that if A is more important than B, then B is less important than A.

            •         If they were honest, they’d readily admit that they regard some murders are less important than others, and acknowledge the reasons why they so consider them.  They might even come up with fairly good reasons for so regarding them.

                      Alas, intellectual honesty seems to be beyond them.

      • Heck, I occasionally express unpopular views which I do not hold, if only to ensure they are taken into account and rebutted rather than simply suppressed.

        There’s Glory for you.

  12. I can perfectly imagine reading an historical (what Americans consider Historical) mystery set in early communist Russia and loving it, even if the character is an avowed Leninist

    For some real ‘splody-head fun, imagine a police procedural set in … ummm, just post-Weimer Munich — say, late ’34 — exploring the mind of a police detective who is mildly supportive of the Nazi’s economic policies (I’d say “Who isn’t opposed to rampant inflation?” but too many of y’all would yell out: KRUGMAN!!!) and is mostly apolitical (typical veteran police officer — knows there’s plenty of corruption all sides of any issue.)

    The character arc could even involve his evolution from being mildly “Hitler’s not any worse than Bismarck was” to a vague premonition that “this could all end badly.” But if honest to time and place the whole Nazis = EVIL should not exist.

    • Ohhhhh, that would be fun! Not that I am volunteering to write it, of course … but accurately reflecting the contemporary values and opinions of a character in that setting and time without the benefit of hind-sight.

      • When I was in college I picked up history Germany covering the period leading up to WWII by Milton Mayer, published by the University of Chicago, titled They Thought They Were Free.

        But Then It Was Too Late

        “What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

        “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

        For more: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

      • I suspect it would be a very difficult thing to write, for just those reasons you cite. One could foreshadow, of course, but it would have to be with the lightest of touches.

        I doubt anybody would publish it. The research to capture the period probably dictates it is too much work to do for Indy.

        I would love to see what Andrew Klavan could do with the concept.

        • To be fair, Grandpapa Ratzinger (the pope emeritus’ dad) figured out pretty early that Hitler was evil. It’s part of why he got shuffled around through so many rural postings, and why he was perfectly happy to get shuffled. But he was the kind of Odd who smells trouble, and his wife was an equally smart cookie.

          • Sorry. Didn’t say he was in the Bavarian police, which is why this is topical. “Joseph Ratzinger Sr., was a regular reader, probably even subscriber, of the most radical Catholic anti-Nazi publication, “Der gerade Weg” (The Straight Path), whose editor, Fritz Michael Gerlich, was one of the first Catholic martyrs of Nazi Germany. …[He] was a police commander of a small town, Tittmoning, and he got into serious trouble even before the Nazi takeover, because he shut down Nazi meetings and confronted the Nazi SA several times. Eventually he was forced to step down from the career ladder and continue his service in a small village, Aschau.”

            Here’s another quote: “After Hitler’s election, Joseph Ratzinger Sr. told his family… “Soon we will have a war, so let’s buy a house” — which they did. He wanted to create security. They did not want to stay in an office flat of or for policemen. He foresaw a possible devaluation of money already earned and saved. And his retirement wasn’t a long way off.”

      • In fact, a handful of people went from ‘no worse than Bismarck’ via ‘this could al end badly’ all the way to ‘kill him before it is too late’ — and paid a terrible price for failure.

    • Uh, actually, some people really did see trouble coming early.

      “By far the stupidest thing done, not only in the last year [1933], but in the last two or three centuries, was the acceptance by the Germans of the Dictatorship of Hitler — to say nothing of Goering” — G. K. Chesterton

      Although, to be sure, if you read The End of the Armistance, Chesterton’s collected essays about the outbreak of WWII (he died in 1936, BTW), you get a view of what even an ardent anti-Nazi thought of Hitler at the time. It’s different.

      • Chesterton had, shall we say, certain advantages in his assessment of the Nazis? Such as being not immersed in that culture and being, well, Chesterton. Argumentum ad Chesterton is problematic.

        The point was not that nobody could anticipate the coming troubles, it was that a person could easily enough have not anticipated them.

        • The Holocaust, for instance, was completely unforeseen by the average citizen in most of the rest of the world. When the Soviets liberated Auschwitz, and announced it to the world, the general belief was apparently that the Soviets had just made it up as propaganda.

          It’s kind of like seeing all of those World War I propaganda posters (for instance, the ones that have German troops carrying dead civilians on their bayonets), and then discovering that the nation you’re at war with actually makes those posters look positive in comparison to what’s really been going on.

          • Many of the Allies thought the same. A (very distant, unfortunately) relative of mine rode into Dachau, didn’t like what he saw, and decided a whole bunch of people needed killin’. And he took a .30 caliber Browning machine gun and did exactly that.

            Not even his court-martial was able to determine how many SS camp guards Lt. Jack Bushyhead executed; dozens of other people claimed credit as well. Jack took the rap for all of them. The Army found him guilty, wagged the pointed finger severely, and sent him back to duty.

            Nowadays most people call him a “war criminal.” Back home on the reservation they called him “the liberator of Dachau.”

            It’s all in how you look at it…

        • You might get a bit of a kick out of this:
          http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/reactions-to-the-popes-encyclical-on-contraception

          Quick read; I don’t think you have to be too far in the Catholic weeds to get it, and I’m pretty sure that being familiar with Chesterton is enough.

          • I lost my ability to be surprised at folks ability to misunderstand a papal statement long since, back (counts fingers) three popes ago when folks got their togas all knotted up over papal admonition against viewing your spouse as a sex object.

            What the heck? Reducing to an object the one you love and have elected to become one flesh with might be a bad thing? Whodda thunk?

    • Night of the Generals? Been ages since I last watched it. Wikipedia tells me it’s set in 1942-44 though (a chunk of the story involves the policeman investigating his murder while Valkyrie is going off all around him).

      • My second favorite movie whose title begins Night of the…. A favorite of The Daughter as well. Based on a novel by Hans Hellmut Kirst … based on an incident written by James Hadley Chase — or so the credits go.

        Sharif gives a beautiful measured performance as Major Grau, an honest investigator — at a time when this can be decidedly inconvenient.

        • The first was Night of the Lepus, right?

          • Might be Night of the Comet

            • I considered Night of the Iguana, but I cannot believe that is anyone’s favorite “Night of the …” moving, so I will continue to hunt.

              Perhaps thre was a typo and the movie is Knight of the Woeful Countenance or some such? Night of the Woeful Continence sounds like a really crappy film, so I am sure that isn’t it.

              • Duuuuh! Right after I hit the “POST” button: Night of the Living Dead!

                Well the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry any more
                ‘Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door
                Think this through with me, let me know your mind
                Wo, oh, what I want to know, is are you kind

                It’s a buck dancer’s choice my friend better take my advice
                You know all the rules by now and the fire from the ice
                Will you come with me won’t you come with me
                Wo, oh, what I want to know, will you come with me

                Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like
                Their wall are built of cannonballs, their motto is don’t tread on me
                Come hear uncle John’s band playing to the tide
                Come with me, or go alone, he’s come to take his children home …

                Sigh. I’ve loved that movie’s theme, ever since first I heard it.

              • What is the name of the Karol Kapek novel about intelligent lizards? In Portuguese the title was The Night The Lizards Danced.

      • Yes, that was the concept I was thinking of, only rolled back enough to allow the Nazis to be viewed as “just another” political movement, back before fascists, jackboots and colored shirts went out of fashion.

        People today tend to be awfully ignorant of just how popular such movements once were.

        • Well, let’s be just. Hitler did roll back the antisemitism after the putsch. Many people thought he had gotten over it. So far over it that when anti-Semitic measures were implemented, some people claimed he had been forced to do so. (I cite End of the Armistice again; Chesterton’s observation was that it hardly matter whether he was personally in support or compelled by circumstances, as far as the measures went.)

    • I’ll be honest: what I want to write is an AH where there actually is a conspiracy like Hitler ranted about to destroy Germany, and someone gets to point out that destroying an entire people group because of the actions of a cabal is just plain wrong.
      Never get published, of course, and I can actually agree with some of the reasoning for that, but the meme that “Hitler was wrong because there wasn’t such a conspiracy” sticks in my craw.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Heinrich Muller. Do I have the name right?

    • I once read what I recall as a very good book set during WW2 aboard a German submarine, where by default at least some characters were in accord with the cause. Here’s hoping I can find it again when/if my books ever get unboxed, cuz now I’m curious what I’d think of it with a 40-year-older eye.

      • I haven’t gotten ’round to seeing it (but plan to) but I seem to recall the film Das Boot reportedly expresses similar elements; it was released in 1981, so perhaps that is connected to your book?

        • I was thinking “Sharks and Little Fish”; very similar. I only ever saw it in Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, though.

          • Clark E Myers

            U977 which either did or did not voyage to Argentina on snorkel had a crew that if not Nazi was mostly unwilling to stay in Germany or to surrender to the allies in general. An interesting book but an unreliable narrator.

  13. Sarah, have you ever encountered Max Allan Collins and his Nate Heller detective novels set in the ’20s through early ’60s? Max does a wonderful job of taking true historical events and slipping Heller into the thick of the action.
    On a similar note, I’m thinking that the new BBC series “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” may be of some interest. Set in England during the Napoleonic war period the premise is the effort to bring magic back to England after a 300 year absence. Started on the Beeb a month ago and premiering on BBC America later this month. Stephanie O. doesn’t get BBC-A so I promised her a DVD of the first couple episodes so she can tell if she wants to buy the set when it’s offered. It would be no bother to do one for you as well if you like. I plan to do the handoff at LC.

    • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a good book. Even if it does take scores of pages to get the plot moving, the world is wonderful enough to keep you looking.

      • I remember bouncing off it quite hard. But then I don’t tend to like literary fiction.

        • I can see that. However much I like it.

          Slow starting though the plot may be, however, it has a powerful plot leading up to a truly dramatic climax, so it’s hardly pure literary.

    • I don’t get bbc A either. And I rarely watch TV. And I haven’t read Max Allan Collins, but I’ll try him.

      • Max is a rather prolific mid-western author of mostly crime, mystery, and action adventure. First discovered him because much of his work is set in the same general area where I was born and raised, northern Illinois and eastern Iowa.
        Much as with your Darkship books, while his Heller novels can stand alone, they make better sense if read in order starting with True Detective.

    • If you haven’t read Collins’ “Road to …” series, starting in the Prohibition era and pausing in post-WWII America and the early Sixties, it is highly recommended (even if the first tale is a graphic novel.)

      Stuart M. Kaminsky’s Toby Peters stories are entertaining romps through (the underside of) Hollywood’s heyday. His Inspector Rostnikov series is an interesting effort to view the USSR from the inside and I hope to live long enough to read an entry in it.

      The important thing about Historical mysteries is that they are set in a different culture, with different values, motivations, incentives and memes. It would be as absurd to write a 19th Century NY cop with the values and perspective of a modern one as it would be for Tony Hillerman to write a Rez detective with the same sensibilities as a Chicago dick, or for Arthur Upfield to have written his Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte expressing the attitudes of NY Police commissioner Reagan.

      If the author isn’t accurately presenting the cultural differences, why bother setting it in a different culture?

      • Max Allen Collins is a bit pulpy — to effect.

        The first Road to Perdition — is best in the graphic form. Apparently the publishers of the novel format feared that the story would to be too complicated for the reader. I read it anyway. Have also read Road to Purgatory, which I enjoyed. Have not yet read Road to Paradise.

        • Road to Perdition was made into a pretty good movie, if your idea of a good time is watching Paul Newman, Tom Hanks and Daniel Craig walking about in circa 1930 tailored suits, shooting people.

  14. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I haven’t read (yet) Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series but I found it interesting that she tried to write the first book from the Point Of View of a woman of that time and found that she was writing from the Point of View of a Modern woman.

    So Ms Gabaldon made it into the story of a Modern woman who got thrown back in time. [Smile]

    • Well, that’s an excellent work-around, considering. Take a limitation, and make lemonade with it, metaphorically speaking.

    • Don’t.
      I got it way back when the science fiction bookclub decided that the unexplained time travel made it science fiction, and I didn’t return my “opt out” postcard in time.
      The protagonist is an amoral sociopath with few redeeming qualities. That it was so popular, and remains so even decades later, is a distressing commentary in and of itself.

  15. Irene Gallo is/was an art person. Art persons know a lot about art, but tend to be dumb as a bag of hammers about anything else.
    I also don’t care what an actor says, because they tend to be full of crap as well. Might be GREAT actors. Dumb, though.
    Same things is true with singers, dancers, anybody who is an entertainer.
    And that is my fever-fuelled pneumonia rant for today.

    • Always keep in mind that an actor is little more than a meat puppet. Successful ones just happen to be better than average at conveying the message of the writers and directors over to whatever medium they work in.
      Doesn’t mean that they’re bad or even wrong, just that their acting ability has no bearing on whatever opinions they might put forth.

      • The part that surprises me is how directors seem to think actors are widgets, that any actor can play any part, when obviously some are better at some types of roles.

      • RealityObserver

        Never make the mistake, either, that great ability in one field precludes political or social savvy. There are a few actors out there whose opinions I respect; some people in the graphic arts field, too. As well as some darn good writers (looking at our hostess).

        • Absolutely!
          But I always make that determination based on what they do and say outside of their chosen profession. The quality of their acting ability only impacts my regard for their performances, not otherwise.
          In other words, loved you in …, but what in hell does that have to do with your opinion on social issues?

    •         I am quite in agreement that Ms. Gallo is a fool.  That does not make her behavior excusable, or ignorable, or at least it does not for me.

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

    And they don’t want “us” living in their world. They may celebrate “diversity” but it is the sort of diversity addressed by a familiar Inigo Montoya line.

  17. Sarah, thank you for that quote. It wasn’t until AFTER I’d finished writing it and posted it that I realized that I’d drawn an unwitting parallel between what they tried with Communism and Socialism, and the current versions of the same.

    I didn’t include it in the essay, because it felt clunky, but the reason why I found out about World War II not being in the books was because of well, my being known in the whole school. I was literally the only ‘colored person’ there. EVERYONE knew my name.

    The fourth graders were doing one of those class project presentation displays in the main school hall; and I was still new enough that while I could communicate in German, and read in German, some words eluded me, so I was often in the company of a teacher who spoke English. One day, a bunch of boys ran past, pointing at me and yelled “It’s the Panzerkreuzer Aurora!!!”

    I was puzzled, so after scolding them and sending them off, the teacher decided to show me the class exhibits, saying I was too young for this part of education to be included in my lessons, and started talking about the Great War at the start of the century.

    “Oh, World War I,” I said. “I’ve only started reading about World War II.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “World War I. The one that came before World War II.”

    The teacher looked at me kindly. “Ah, I forget that the Philippines has been tainted by American lies. There was only ever the Great War, and they lost, so they have to make up that there was a Second World War where they won against an imaginary evil person.”

    “Hitler?”

    “That one. No German could ever be that evil. Don’t worry, you’ll learn the truth when you’re old enough.”

    I, being 7 years old, said: “But I saw pictures.”

    “Americans are clever at faking things. Its’ time for your class now.”

    And I remember it that well only because I made particular effort to remember it so I could ask my Dad about it. It REALLY stuck in my head.

    • I’ve heard that Japan did a similar thing with Pearl Harbor – a US exchange student told the story that when she was studying history in Japan, there was ZERO mention of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The US just started attacking Japanese interests and then dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • If there was no WW2 where did the word “panzer” come from. For that mater how did they explain why Berlin was all chewed up?

      • Panzerkreuzer means Battle Ship. The Panzerkreuzer Aurora was russian … iirc was built in 1900 or so and a blank fired signaled the attack on the Winter Palace

      • The word ‘panzer’ means ‘armor’. Modern minds link it with German tanks, but it existed long before tanks did.

        Technically, the German term for tank is ‘panzerkampfwagon’ (abbreviated Pzkw.), which I believe essentially means ‘armored battle vehicle’. Though since I’ve never studied German, I might be mistaken.

        • Correct.

        • Actually the original term for ‘tank’ in German, dating back to WWI, is 75 letters long and literally translates as ‘armored vehicle for crossing wire and crushing bunkers.’ Of course by the time you finished yelling it the tanks were past your position, so it got shortened in a hurry.

        •         ‘Panzerkampfwagon’ could also be translated as ‘Armored Fighting Vehicle’.  I’ve seen that term used in English, and abreviated AFV.  Some friends of some decades ago subscribed to a magazine entitled AFV-G2, whose subject is self-explanatory if you understand the abbreviations (‘G2’ is U.S. Army slang for intelligence.)

    • The Progressives are working towards having that much ability to change history. My worry is that they will achieve it 😦

    • Ugh… scary. And the Philippines totally imagined the entire war against the Japanese, too, no doubt.

      The interesting thing here is that any East German going to the USSR to study would obviously find out about the “Great Patriotic War” of WWII. But apparently a lot of weird things were going on in East Germany when you would have been there.

      • Yeah, that’s weird.

        World War 2 is a huge deal in Russia. As you note, it’s the “Great Patriotic War”, and ten percent of the population was killed. The idea that Moscow would permit the government in Berlin to pretend that World War 2 never happened is weird.

        • RealityObserver

          Local propaganda to appeal to the local population was one refinement of the system. Really wasn’t a problem – the ones allowed to go to the USSR from East Germany were already committed to the Party, no matter what inconsistencies might show up.

          My sister once hosted a group of Kazakhs (actually, Slavic settlers of same). No idea that the region had been conquered by the Czars – and a fixed idea that it had voluntarily joined the Union.

          • Late in the 80’s, Honecker started banning USSR stuff because he did not approve of glasnost. He wanted to do what Belorussia did, and go it alone as a Communist state.

    • He who controls the past, controls the future.
      Also:
      Give me the child, and I will show you the man.

      These are the things that the left understands and always tries to push.

    • I must say this takes the cake. They must really have considered “1984” a how to manual.

    • That is so creepy.

    • That’s fascinating.

      Methinks y’all ought to write a memoir. Would be a damn shame if this history were lost.

  18. Ah, thank you for the book rec–just grabbed “Season of the Raven” I’m not that fond of historical mysteries, but my mother is.

  19. those who disagree with them must be against their objectives/ideals and not against their methods

    This is a form of magical thinking, premised upon the fallacy that “if we all just think good thoughts, Tinkerbell will live!”

  20. Eww… Sarah said historicals….

    I don’t really mean that. It was just in case any of my old history professors stop by here. Historical fiction is hated because the details always get fudged. Seriously. I once read a thirty page scholarly paper about historical inconsitencies in The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. (For the record I’m not THAT big of a nerd. I just

    I guess my point in mentioning this is that I would expect things to be screwed up in historical fiction regardless of genre. To expect otherwise is to invite disappointment. That’s why when I do read/watch historicals I try to do it about a time/place (say France under Richellieu) that I know very little about. Either that or I read Alt Hist where everything is screwed up on purpose.

    • I would think that historians would love historical fiction. It does, after all, create an opening through which a scholar can drive a thirty page paper about historical inconsistencies.

      • So would I, dammit. (And I’ve held my own with the local historians, too.) HF is a gateway drug into serious history.
        And I research in, out, upside-down and sideways for my own books – although there is the lucky chance that I do the 19th century American frontier, of which there is a hell of a lot of documentation.

        • The problem that most historians have with HF is the inconsistencies themselves. I don’t know if you really can understand until you’ve heard people talk about the big fight at the end of The Last Samurai like it actually happened that way or talked to someone who (yes, this actually happened) thought that Apocalypse Now was a true story or thought that Saving Private Ryan was a true story when you damn well know better and PRIDE YOURSELF on knowing better. Granted, I have a degree and became interested in history through John Wayne , but yeah it gets ugly.

          • Of course, there was the time I was talking about Marcus Aurelius at a con, and got a startled reaction — you mean he’s real and not a character in Gladiator?

          • RealityObserver

            I think the problem with historical fiction (or historical non-fiction for that matter) is that trying to write from the POV of a person in that era is much like writing the POV of a being from the fourth planet of Tau Ceti. The vast majority of them might as well be aliens.

            Of course, that applies to the writing of contemporary pieces as well – the Irene Gallos of the world are aliens from another planet (actually, another dimension entirely), not the one we actually live on.

            • Well, that’s the fun of it – building a world, and the characters to act in it. Only instead of doing it entirely from scratch, you have historical documentation to assist. Well, fiendishly complicated and detailed documentation/instructions, visual aids, reminiscences and testaments from witnesses. Ok, so I am a fiendishly-devoted-to-the-tiniest-detail kind of person. Deal.

            • No she is from our solar system. The 7th planet to be specific 😉

            • Nonsense. Most beings from the fourth planet of Tau Ceti are closer to us than someone from that era, seeing as the first set is fictional and created by authors nearer to us.

      • That’s why I enjoy it. 😀

  21. Sorry, IMHO, James Schardt is a sanctimonious pompus *ss. When you distill his drivel to the basics he tells us:
    1 Ms Gallo truly believes SP are neo-Nazis.
    2 SP should not HATE her for her slander, because she truly believes this.
    3 Nothing here, move along.
    My post on his site, eagerly awaiting moderation:

    It is simple projection. Progressives believe the end justifies the means. Since their ‘ends’ are all so wonderful (in a naive fantasy based way), then anyone ‘opposing’ them must be Satan Incarnate.
    It is also a projection that after TOR and their ‘change the world for the better’ cohorts decided in some way, that readers want literary fiction and all stories told from the progressive trans-gendered-feminist point of view, then they ‘gamed’ the Hugos to substantiate their beliefs.
    Now that SP3, and worse the dread Vox Day have come in touched the nerve that, yes, the readers are madder than heck and they are tired of this feel good crap being shoved down their throats.
    Ms Gallo refuses to admit that her efforts at TOR over the last few years are not only wasted, but harmful to the company. Since she refuses to admit her failure, she must ascribe hateful evil traits to her opposition.
    This woman is sick and you are not helping.

    • I suggest you didn’t understand him properly. Also, even if he were pompous, how does that invalidate what he’s saying.

      • YMMV; however, SP3 were ‘bad’ because they never asked “Do you believe what you wrote?” What!?! It is perfectly acceptable for a person in a position of authority in the SFF publishing business to be bat-sh*t crazy, but as long as she ‘believes’ it, we just have to suck it up and understand her little special snowflake environment of white male oppression? Why? What she said is false and libelous, somebody needs to tell her the truth instead of pampering her in her lie/(false belief). Just because a lot of people believe alligators are green doesn’t make them right, are we to allow them to wallow in their ignorance?
        “This only means the fight over the Hugo Awards has reached a new low.” That is an opinion, and it is obvious who he considers ‘wrong’ in taking it to that low. I would suggest that the insiders that have cooked the awards for the last 5+ years are the Hugo’s low point, and SP3 will hopefully restore the Hugo’s to something RAH would be proud of. This point is arguable; however, you can not have a battle of wits with an unarmed woman. Schardt is telling us to suck it up and ‘pity’ her. It is kind of like ‘pitying’ the man who thinks he is an airline pilot. My pity stops when he decides to fly the plane. Ms Gallo is at least part of the navigation crew for TOR, and the ‘passengers’ deserve better.

        • He’s not saying they were bad, but that they never asked that, which reveals how much worse the rot is than if she were just evil.

          • We never asked that, because it’s utterly irrelevant.
            She’s crazy, evil, or both. Why would I care about the specific breakdown?

            • because she’s not any of those, actually Luke. It’s worse than that. She’s just a perfectly well adjusted member of her social clique where this view of the world is the NORMAL one.

              • I expect you won’t be surprised that Robert said it best:
                Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly. RAH
                Or her in this specific case. And, no, I see no earthly possibility of ever making friends with the hard left literary gestapo. So the other option, in effect removing their influence completely from our lives, is the best course of action.

              • Exactly — I’ve a sister-in-law who drops similar bombshells unknowingly; they’re considered wit (or at least polite jests) in her milieu. She know more realizes (and would be horrified to discover) how offensive it is than would your average Amherst professor considers it offensive to assume the lack of intelligence of her BMW mechanic.

                It isn’t an insult, it is just recognizing an undeniable fact.

                That it is the same fact Nazis recognized about Jews, plantation owners recognized about negroes or Romans recognized about the rest of the world is never recognized.

                •         Yeah, back in the early ’80s, I heard a female fan casually mention her disappointment that the attempt to murder Ronald Reagan had failed.  From her point of view, as she made clear in subsequent conversation, Reagan’s politics were unacceptable, so it would be perfectly fine if he were murdered.

                          That attitude is accurately described as “dictatorial.”  That she wished to see the people unable to make political choices she disapproved, and was thus in agreement with Hitler and Lenin was quite outside her mental horizon.

              • Studied ignorance does not alleviate guilt.

        • I read that, and maybe my perspective on that is different because I’ve been in contact with those people for so long. I think that Mr. Schadt’s point was that we have to understand that this is bigger than Ms. Gallo saying or believing that the SPs are all NAZIs. The puppy kickers went to that stance as a DEFAULT. They, as a result of the NYC cultural bubble they live in, that reads the NY Times, gets the news from NPR and thinks modern art is high culture and chases Banksy stencils can’t even believe that anybody but a NAZI could even not agree with their drive to diversity and the latest Progressive fad. So we must be NAZIs.

          • that’s what I read too.

          • My problem is still you must judge them by their actions, as well as their beliefs. Their beliefs are so entrenched they are unable to dispel the ‘glamour’ around them, or even recognize it. They now have even Sarah replying, “It’s just their way.” Indeed Mr Schardt may be correct that now is a new low for western civilization, but pity and acceptance, even understanding them will not fix the problems they have created and are unwilling to recognize and accept the responsibility for. I mean, even the dread VD only has thoughts and ideas. Is SFF now to become a safe space, where only happy thoughts are allowed? (I think VD could probably be engaged in a reasonable discussion of his ideas, this woman, I truly doubt. The sounds of her rhetoric are the sounds of a mind slamming closed.)
            I don’t really care how Ms Gallo feels or thinks about me, but in her little tweet, she libeled my sacred honor. All actions have consequences, I am sick and tired of Progressives being unwilling to accept responsibility for theirs. I’m sorry, but you are still a Nazi is not an apology. It is an attempt to spew hate and then deny the responsibility for your actions.

            • Apparently Ms. Gallo Libeled a BUNCH of people’s sacred honor. And the people at TOR still don’t get it.
              http://www.reddit.com/r/scifi/comments/396l6g/i_stand_by_irene_gallo_terribleminds_chuck_wendig/

              • Good grief, the tantrums they throw!

                I personally find the armor of sanctimony hot, uncomfortable and an impediment to nimbleness, but I guess those people need it.

              • “publicly dressed down in this manor”
                And just where, pray tell, is this manor whereof they speak?
                And what exactly was the manner of the dressing down that took place in this infamous manor?
                Sorry, I’m a bad bad man, but I simply could not restrain myself.

            • Out of curiosity, I occasionally read through the various conversations at Vox Populi; though I don’t join in because I simply don’t have the depth of knowledge any more or the time to research into things enough to feel caught up. They’ll talk about obscure data at times and scientific research that is unhindered by PC censoring which is why so many label him racist and evil, but I remember reading Vox saying he read that Asians have the largest skulls proportionally in terms of size at birth – whites came third. I forget who was second. They were discussing the possible reasons why there was such a variance, which lead to discussions about genetics, and how environments have an effect on genes. While they talked about tendencies, they talked about it on an analytical manner, noting that the Chinese have a long history of rewarding intellectual merits.

              Mind you, at no point was this discussion denigrating towards any ethnic group, they were looking at it from a purely biological perspective, indeed, from an evolutionary standpoint where health and nutrition, society and social values and norms can have small, noticeable effects on ethnic groups per their environment.

              Disagreement and arguments, I have to say, can erupt and are fine.

              • I claim that physics and chemistry are much more ‘tidy’ than biological/social sciences. PC censoring is an anathema to the scientific method. Most famous of controversies currently being ‘climate change’. The measured results fall below the 95% lower confidence limit of the models. This means the models are bad. Likewise in things such as human intelligence, natural skill sets, ‘nature vs nurture’ the results of studies that disagree with PC are held to the highest level of statistical scrutiny while the PC approved studies; correlation=causation, sample size of 10 that you like is more reliable than size of 1000 that gives the ‘wrong’ answer, conservatives are ‘fearful’.
                When the President of Harvard can be thrown off campus for suggesting that the standard deviation of male intelligence is greater than that of females because it is such a ‘horrible idea’ that the Woman’s Studies professors become nauseated; scientific discovery has been replaced by witchcraft and voodoo.
                I would recommend John Derbyshire’s web pages. He likes to examine contrarian topics as well as being ‘fired’ from National Review for upsetting the RINOs in charge.

                • The ultimate hilarity was when I was skimming through one of the comment streams at File 770; and someone there was making a defence of Chip Delany and his advocacy of NAMBLA, and that there should be the ability to discuss such things without fear of condemnation. In response to someone who said that being a father of small children, the normalization of child sex abuse is one of his greatest nightmares.

                  Soooo that courtesy is extended to kiddy diddlers and not Vox Day and the rest of us. Because Vooooox Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. And wrongthink.

                • “Climate change” – Lysenkoism for the 21st century!

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod.

        I didn’t “read” that we shouldn’t condemn her because she believe the garbage.

        IMO he was saying that she wasn’t “lying” when she called some of us neo-nazis.

        IE her statement was bad but she’s not a liar. [Sad Smile]

        • *nod* there’s a moral difference between spreading false information to cause harm, and spreading information because you think it’s true; there can be different tactics needed for the long-term response, too.

          • I’m more than willing to accept that to Ms. Gallo neo-nazi simply means really really bad person, her being a product of modern education so never having been exposed to much in the way of history.
            In much the same fashion I consider her a vicious deranged bitch, on a par with a couple ex girlfriends I’d rather forget. So, as her trigger statement instilled feelings of micro aggression within me, I will wait patiently in my safe zone for her to send me a formal apology.

        • This is how I see it too.

          The way to defeat an enemy is to understand an enemy after all.

          • I understand them fine. They can make any libelous lie/claim they want, and when confronted we’re scolded that what they believe/feel is more important than facts.
            Might makes right; the end justifies the means. Rational discourse is very ineffective in dealing with their irrational belief system. Indeed Ms Gallo ‘believes’ the bile and lies she is voicing; however, Schardt: “That Brad Torgersen has been in an interracial Marriage for 20+ years and is raising a child with this wonderful woman doesn’t matter.”
            This. Facts ‘don’t matter’. He then goes on to say that if you called a neo-Nazi a neo-Nazi that the neo-Nazi would deny that he was a neo-Nazi, just as the SP3 people are doing! Can I ask Ms Gallo if she has stopped raping young teenage girls, and when she denies it conclude by stating, well of course lesbian teenage rapists would ‘deny’ it too?
            There has to be common ground for understanding, and I see little ground in common.

            • There’s also a trust factor. Would you believe anything these people told you? Or rely on their words or actions?

              Lots of people, such as John Ringo in Last Centurion, keep pointing out the difference between high-trust and low-trust societies. I submit that it is FUNDAMENTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to build a high trust society with SJWs in it. The outcome is inevitable, and “against fate even the gods cannot fight.”

              • Kind of like, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

                • Isn’t that the modus operandi of current Proglodyte legislating: we won’t know what we can get away with until the courts have had at this bill? Well, the courts and the Administrative State. When originally passed nobody imagined the EPA would presume to regulate the Earth’s temperature.

                • “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

              • I trust them completely, trust them to remain true to their natures.

                (Rereads the fable of The Scorpion and the Frog)

                • In re: Their Natures

                  A Generation of Rachel Dolezals?
                  By Stanley Kurtz — June 13, 2015

                  A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about Rachel Dolezal. Well, the piece doesn’t actually mention Dolezal, but it does explain her. As Christian Adams points out, Dolezal’s case is far from isolated. Other activist leftists have tried to pose as racial minorities. But as I argued in 2013 in “The Wannabe Oppressed,” today’s campus climate activists, if only half-realizeing it, are actually trying to turn themselves into oppressed southern blacks from the 1950s. As I show in that piece, Bill McKibben, leader of the climate movement, even went through a brief Dolezal-like episode during his college years. Hans Fiene’s argument that “Selma envy” is driving the attacks on Christian religious freedom is a variation on the “wannabe oppressed” idea. We’ve raised a generation that thirsts for the sainthood conferred by racial oppression. Being well-off and free mustn’t be allowed to stand in the way. Ultimately, this is a question of religion, of needing a crusade to substitute for all that our increasingly secular millennials have lost.
                  http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/419733/generation-rachel-dolezals-stanley-kurtz

                  See original source for embedded links.

          • It depends on how you define defeat. If by defeat you mean to convert them to your side, to win them over, then yes, you must understand them.

            Otherwise, just cut ’em off at the ankles.

  22. I’m glad you’re feeling better, at least well enough to write.
    About heroes who are 21st century people walking in the past:
    I got a book a few months ago about the subject of the Games in the Colosseum. I hope I’m remembering this correctly. There was a passage about two issues involving gladiators that came up before Hadrian. A slave owner wanted to order a slave to become a gladiator. The Emperor’s reply, No, the slave would have to volunteer, he would have to convince my men he volunteered. There would have to be some compensation, offer of freedom or comfortable retirement after some period of time. Another issue, a gladiator who was a slave fought so well that at the victorious conclusion the crowd was screaming for the slave to be freed. Hadrian’s reply was No, the owner’s friends could persuade him to free the gladiator, someone could buy the gladiator’s freedom, but we cannot abrogate a citizen’s property rights because the crowd is shouting for it. The author observed that Hadrian was a man of his time and his ways were not our ways, many of the things he believed in such as slavery are horrifying to us, but these two cases clearly show a man with a solid sense of fair play and an instinctive dislike of anyone getting a raw deal.

  23. “They’ve been taught, they’ve heard from everyone they trust, that there is only one objective and one right way to get there. And those who disagree with them must be against their objectives/ideals and not against their methods.”

    BINGO. If there is one glitch-point in human thinking I have seen over and over again it is this: The belief that to object to the means amounts to rejecting the ends.

  24. If you haven’t tried it, might I suggest Murder in the Gunroom, by Piper.

  25. (I know why they’re there, I do. You’re dealing with an establishment that often “knows” wrong things about history and those lengthy forewords are self defense against the copyeditors who’ll correct you according to wicki.

    The Wrod of Wicki.

    Stealing it, FYI.

  26. On Gallo’s view– which I am persuaded is more accurately explained by the “she really thinks that” thing– a quote comes to mind.

    There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church—which is, of course, quite a different thing.

    As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

    From the foreword here:
    http://amzn.to/1I9y53q

    • Which leads in turn to one of the most common assertions made between opposing factions, not only here but in any passionate dispute: “Our understanding of your motives is right, but your understanding of our motives is wrong.”

      The natural reflex, unfortunately, when one side objects, “But those are not our motives,” is to answer with great disdain, “Of course that’s what you’d say — but look at what will happen if you get your way; anyone can tell from that what you really want.” Which is the fatal trap of bad faith: the only people who can provide the evidence to disprove your belief are the very people you have written off as untrustworthy to begin with.

      • Easily broken by ignoring what “will” happen, and looking at what has happened.

        As the meme we were passing around here the other day pointed out, if pro-self-defense folks were as violent as anti-gunners claim, then there would be no anti-gunners left.

        • A Rasmussen survey recently found:

          American Voters overwhelming prefer living in a neighborhood where they have the option of owning a gun than to live where nobody is allowed to be armed.

          A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 22% of Likely U.S. Voters would feel safer living in a neighborhood where nobody was allowed to own a gun over one where they could have a gun for their own protection. Sixty-eight percent (68%) would feel safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed, while 10% are not sure.
          http://www.nationalreview.com/node/419693/print

          • Of course the anti gun crowd claims that gun ownership is falling in the US because in spite of a near doubling in background checks (the federally mandated precursor to a sale from a licensed firearm dealer) their surveys where callers ask whether the household has guns are returning lower numbers of positives that in years before. And why on earth would anyone not answer that question truthfully when asked by an anonymous voice on the telephone?

            • Of course … someone asking me impertinent and invasive questions on the phone is going to get the “none of your d*amned business” reply and the phone slammed down in their ear. Of course – one cannot slam down a cellphone … but still … in this year of 2015 is there anyone on the conserve-libertarian spectrum who feels driven to answer honestly to some boiler-room drone? I can think of at least two reasons to cut them off, or to toy with them … as a cat plays with a live bird.
              Interesting times, indeed.

              • I just leave the phone on the counter and go about my business and hang up when that raucous fast-busy goes off.

                I am told the telemarketers don’t even get to dial their own phones now, the equipment dials them automatically so they don’t take more than the allotted down time between calls.

                I figure they need the soft time on the clock if they are willing to take it.

            • What? You did not mention the cannon on your roof or the nukes in your basement silo??

      • KAFKATRAP!

        Then explain what it means.

    • You think she is misguided or misinformed. She thinks you are evil. It is hard to come to a meeting of minds like that.

  27. I guess I am a maroon for not realizing that one could ‘return’ Kindle books. Typically I download the preview before buying though, so anything with such an asinine foreword as you describe doesn’t get bought.

    • I figured out how to do it when I got a couple really really terrible books that I didn’t ever want to see again. But it isn’t obvious you have to go looking for the option.

      • Sending back a book, even at $0.99, conveys an important message to its author.

        Alas, it is almost certain that the author will never grasp the content of that message.

        • I’ve had a couple of my ebooks sent back over the last couple of months. I just assumed the buyers were cheap bastiches who didn’t like the book, once they got farther into it than the free sample.

          • I expect a 0.5% return rate on the first-in-series books, and up to 3% on a new release in the first month. The first seems fairly standard in industry – for everyone that buys a new author, some folks just aren’t going to find it their cup of tea, and may return the book. I’d rather they get their money back and we part ways without hard feelings.

            On the new releases, as per anecdotes from readers, it’s a mix of people surfing the hot new releases list and not finding it their cup of tea, and people who accidentally hit “buy” when they wanted to borrow the book. (We’ve actually had readers email to apologize for the return, which I found very sweet of them. Not everybody out there can afford more books over and above their KU budget, and I’d rather they borrowed and enjoyed them than worry about the returns.)

            Are they people who abuse the return system to treat it as a library without paying the KU fee? Of course! There are also occasional people who buy and return just to get “verified purchase” before leaving hit reviews. However, there are far more good people than bad out there, and I choose not to let the rapscallions of the world live rent-free in my head.

      • I did find a “bought by accident?” link that I used once or twice — when I really had inadvertently pushed “buy” and hadn’t even started the book.

    • Randy Wilde

      I guess I am a maroon for not realizing that one could ‘return’ Kindle books.

      A couple of caveats…

      1. The return has to be done within 7 days of purchase
      2. If you return too many books, the privilege may be taken away.

      There have been occasional threads on the Kindle forums started by people complaining that they couldn’t return books any more… they turned out to be returning pretty much any book they didn’t like, after reading it. I think one person said he returned about 40% of his purchases.

      • Randy Wilde

        Oh yeah, how to return… go to the “manage your content and devices” page on the Amazon website (www.amazon.com/mycd) . The option should be under the “Actions” menu for the book. I can’t confirm that, though, since the last book I bought was just over a week ago.

    • Yeah, I only bought in advance, because I have a first generation paper white and buying from it isn’t always easy. So, since I had the kind of cough that often ensures sleepless nights (and sitting up to keep one’s husband from being driven nuts. Sitting up slows the cough, at least, but also doesn’t allow sleeping) I bought three or four books before going to bed.

      • I have a gen1PW myself. I enabled 1-click buying and order the previews from my computer. Then, when I’m in bed and hit the end of the preview and like the book, I just hit “buy” and in it comes. I really love that feature.

  28. > It never occurs to the Irene Gallos of the world that people who disagree with them might not disagree with their largely laudable objectives.

    If you dislike open ended welfare it must be because you hate poor people. It couldn’t be that you think that it is toxic and destructive to children, that it subsidizes poor decision making, that it creates an underclass who resents success, that it is economically unsustainable, that is is corrosive to family life…

    Nope, it must just be that you hate poor people.

    • “It couldn’t be that you think that it is toxic and destructive to children, that it subsidizes poor decision making, that it creates an underclass who resents success, that it is economically unsustainable, that is is corrosive to family life…”

      And that, just as an aside, the historical record universally supports that view.

    • Always enjoyed being told that I hated poor people when I was working a $20,000 or less a year job

      • reddragonhawk

        I’ve been told I don’t understand what it’s like to be poor. I’ve gone days without food, not because I was on a diet, but because all the food had been eaten and it was days until payday.

        • Eyup. My folks managed to feed and clothe 4 kids and themselves on $5,000 one year. And that was when they had me to feed when I was a teen and otherwise known as a bottomless pit. During the SNAP Challenge BS I got told how impossible it was to eat on that amount a day, and I easily have done it on less even when I didn’t need to (actually I should need to if only to drop a pound or 30 or 40). Get used to the same things repeated 2-3 times a day, but it is easily done.

          • Randy Wilde

            Get used to the same things repeated 2-3 times a day, but it is easily done.

            I think it was almost 20 years after leaving college before I would even THINK about eating ramen noodles. Last couple of weeks of the fall semester each year, when financial aid money for the first semester was running out, most of what I ate was generic brand ramen noodles, lettuce with generic mayonnaise as dressing, and grilled processed food slice sandwiches (the word “cheese” did not appear on the packaging).

            End of spring semester wasn’t as bad, since there were a lot of year-end parties all over campus, and if you stayed to help clean up you could score leftover pizzas, trays of Chinese food, etc. that the hosts didn’t want to store.

            • Randy Wilde

              and I apparently forget to close my italics tag…

            • we didn’t have Ramen growing up. we just did elbow macaroni with tomato juice, some salt and pepper to taste.
              We did get great cheeses from my uncle who was a master, but one does not use 8-12 year old Cheddar to make Mac-n-cheese.
              What we got most though was the occasional test of combos CoJack, pepper, sausage or herbs added to the cheese, Unc never went to the market with those (except the cojack) because he refused to use any preservatives, so his tests were not allowed to be sold, but they mostly tasted great (I wasn’t crazy about the peppers or one or two of the herbs he tried, but Dad loved them)

              • When Dad was driving the milk route, we could get block cheese straight from the plant. Plain old cheddar, nothing fancy, but good stuff.

                • Fresh Curd is the best, as in “a few minutes back it was still milk” fresh. Squeaks when you chew it. My uncles Aged Sharp Cheddar was the best. There is a guy in Flowers, WI who is as good. My aunt’s first words after trying some were “Oh my god, it tastes just like Jim’s”

        • Anybody with a 48″ TV and BluRay in their Section 8 housing better not tell me I don’t know what it’s like to be poor.

          • did several DirecTv installs or upgrades in Section 8 housing and the people had large screens, (Not HD, most rich places still had non-HD then) and cars that had wheels and tires that cost more than my work truck was worth. Those few actual likely poor folks places I did work at? Most had a job of some sort. People on a very low end of lower-middle class are far worse off than those not working at all.
            That is by design.

      • And us. When we had $50 a month for food.

    • Terry Sanders

      Someone once asked me what I thought of the Bork nomination. I explained the concept of judicial restraint in detail. He listened thoughtfully, then said, “Oh, I see. You want all the blacks back on the plantation and the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

      And the scary thing?As best I could tell he really thought he had gained an insight into my thinking.

      Now you know why I seldom discuss politics…

      • I don’t have to want them back on the plantation; Lyndon Johnson got them to put themselves back and stay there willingly. Next?

      • and the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.”

        That’s just plain ridiculous. If they stay in the kitchen, then who goes down to the river the beat the laundry with rocks? And it only makes sense to let them wear sandals, because you don’t want them to go lame stepping on some sharp rock… that cuts down on the amount of work you can get out of them.

        I know, I’m probably just a bleeding heart librul for thinking that, but there it is.

        • Would you mind if I posted the following on my facebook page?

          Wisdom from Randy Wilde:

                  “ Some say ‘Keep the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.’

                  “That’s just plain ridiculous. If they stay in the kitchen, then who goes down to the river the beat the laundry with rocks? And it only makes sense to let them wear sandals, because you don’t want them to go lame stepping on some sharp rock… that cuts down on the amount of work you can get out of them.

                  “I know, I’m probably just a bleeding heart librul for thinking that, but there it is.”

                  In either case, ROTFLMAO.

      • the reply is “No, I thought I explained I am not a Democrat”

      • He’d already decided what you thought, and was just cherry-picking words or phrases to confirm it.

        • Not so much cherry-picking as acting out that Far Side cartoon about What Dogs Hear:


          It doesn’t matter what you say to a Proglodyte, what it will hear is always processed through their decoder for proof you are current fashionable nasty word.

        • Terry Sanders

          Weirdly enough, I don’t think so. From what I can tell, he wasn’t even doing it that consciously. It was more like the words were running through a filter.

          IF (remark) != (correctness) THEN
          GOSUB PLANTATION
          GOSUB KITCHEN
          ENDIF

  29. Heh.


    Let the outrage roar.

    HT: Power Line discussion of the hullabaloo stirred up by English biochemist (and Nobel Prize winner) Tim Hunt, who

    said to the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls … three things happen when they are in the lab … You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry.”

    Hunt said he was in favour of single-sex labs, adding that he didn’t want to “stand in the way of women”.

    and is now out of work.
    powerlineblog[DOT]com/archives/2015/06/who-turned-the-crazy-machine-up-to-11.php

    • Not the most tasteful joke, and one I wouldn’t have made, but speak of a disproportionate punishment. “And those who push us down that they might climb… Is any killer worth more than his crime…”

  30. Christopher M. Chupik

    I dove into the cesspool of the File 770 comments and came across them arguing back and forth whether or not Sarah coined the term “glittery hoo-haa”.

    This discussion went on for a depressingly long time.

    • These people truly are parody-proof.

      • Not, I think, so much parody proof as self-parody.

        Very like Rachel Dolezal, especially the more we learn about her being raised in a teepee, her family hunting their food with bows and arrows, her mother and stepfather used to punish her with baboon whips, used to ward baboons away in South Africa. These whips would leave scars behind, “they were pretty similar to what was used as whips during slavery.”
        http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/06/the-strange-case-of-rachel-dolezal.php

        Born in Montana in a tee-pee,
        In the whitest state you’d ever see
        Raised in the woods so’s she knew ev’ry tree,
        Kilt her a b’ar when she was only three
        Rachel, Rachel Dolezal, queen of the N-doubleA-CP

        • Speaking as a Montana resident… after reading that, I began wondering if she’d ever actually set foot in Montana. But I’ve met people from Back East and Europe who honestly thought we were still having gunfights in the streets…. and they’d have believed pretty much anything we told ’em. Helps scare off the riffraff.

          • Amazing how many people decide not to visit Arkansas after I tell them about how schools of carnivorous walking catfish can pull down deer…

            City people usually claim to love “nature”, but past pets, pigeons, and squirrels, don’t seem to be awfully familiar with it. Which probably explains some of the DIY snuff videos recovered from places like Yellowstone.

          • Heck, a lot of my daughter’s Facebook friends in England are absolutely convinced that not only do we have regular gunfights in the streets in Texas, but that it’s all a dust-bowl desert, lit by kerosene lamps and we all have outhouses in back of our flimsy frame shacks.
            I don’t think some of them really believe it when she tries to tell them about our suburbs, malls and highways…

            • In Portugal they think we have two rapes and a break in a week here, as a matter of course.

              • So, the view from Portugal is more favorable than the one from Washington, DC?

                I mean, I don’t know how many college coeds there are, but if 1 in 5 is getting raped does two a week seem anywhere near adequate to reach that level of production?

                • There’s a strickly enforced schedule involved, requiring layers and layers of bureacrats to make sure things stay on track to make their 5-year plan numbers. If weekly targets get missed, the bureaucrats have to go find someone to retroactively reclassify something consensual to make up their stats.

                  It’s a neverending job keeping things on track, but the apparatchiks know they serve the greater good, so they don’t mind…

            • A friend’s wife is from the island nation of Grenada, which is basically a bunch of mountains sticking out of the sea. She moved to Montreal with some of her family before marrying Jay and settling in Memphis.

              Jay had to go from Memphis to Phoenix for some training classes, so he decided to drive. She had some time off work, so they decided to travel together.

              They made it across the Arkansas/Oklahoma line on Interstate 40 in the early morning, and then all she saw was horizon until it got dark. And the next day, more horizon. She was mildly freaked out.

              Later, back in Montreal, Jay overheard her trying to describe the trip to her sister.

              “It’s like… the sea. It just goes on and on…”

          • Where in MT?

  31. CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake’s series is pretty special. The first one is Dissolution. He writes in an era where I’ve done heaps of research, and his world building is excellent. His description of Matthew encountering Henry 8 and Katherine Howard on their northern pilgrimage was electric. How he created in me the sense of terror and awe in that moment is a master class of writing.

    As for the content of this post and various commenters thereupon – brava. Sometimes I am so dismayed I simply wish to disappear into a book forever.

  32. Also! Feel better soon!

  33. N.B., Today is the 28th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan challenging Gorbachev‏.

    Mr. Gorbachev, stick this wall where the sun doesn’t shine.

  34. MadRocketSci

    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 Ms. Gallo 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.

    I’ve noticed another version of this that also gets old really quick:

    If you depict any other future *but* a shining socialist utopia, the authors will make sure you know this because they will insist on it being “gritty”. So everyone’s doing their own thing in some capitalist free-for-all, not listening to the higher beings who would lead them to paradise? Okay, but their world will therefore inevitably be a nasty, dirty, violent hellhole circling the toilet drain. We gave you the opportunity to bow to your betters, but nooo, you wanted it to be ‘realistic’, so choke on your realism you worthless prole!

    Actually, the “author’s way or the highway” is something that really bugs me in fiction, even if the depticted societies aren’t aligned on any issue that I care about. Especially sci-fi. The universe is a dizzyingly mind-bendingly huge place: There should be *room* in it for people who don’t think like you/people you don’t necessarily like/agree with!

  35. Christopher M. Chupik

    Holy. Crap:

    “Legal reacted to terrorist tactics of the Puppies (who created bots and have sent thousands of threatening emails to various people in the company”

    Bots! Terrorist tactics!

    Not enough faces, not enough palms.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Oh, wow, I’m in the wrong part of the movement. I thought Amazon was doing all the decapitation, bombing, and analysis of vulnerable locations. I thought puppies was just writing letters, which I’m bad at and find takes too much of my energy to be worth it.

      If someone will put me in contact with the appropriate people, I think they will find that I can learn any of that sort of technical analysis that they care to set me to.

    • Not enough faces, not enough palms.

      I think there’s a bot for that.

      There is something amusing of being accused of an AstroTurf campaign by the side that hires folks (at sub-minimum wages) to populate their protests.

      • Actually, I’ve heard the wage for professional protesters is around $15/hour. Not bad for doing nothing useful.

        Now, what they pay local college kids hired to swell their numbers, that I don’t know, but I doubt it’s much.

        • Unions doing wage protests outside Walmart or the like – they’re the ones who hire homeless people for half minimum wage or lower. “Campus protesters” etc. get higher wages because they want people to look less working-class or scruffy.

          • That is if the protesters get paid — not always a sure thing.

            See:
            The Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter protesters are spilling the beans on the so-called “grassroots” movement.

            Earlier this week black protesters staged a protest at at the office of MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) on Thursday to press their claim that groups led by whites have collected tens of thousands of dollars in donations off of the Black Lives Matter movement without paying the Black participants their fair share.
            http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/05/breaking-ferguson-protest-leaders-paid-5000-a-month-to-disrupt-riot/

            Even Snopes had to admit that Soros funded the protests:
            Claim: George Soros donated $33 million to fund rioting Ferguson protest groups.

            MIXTURE
            TRUE: A grantmaking network founded by George Soros provided funding to some groups that engaged in Ferguson-related protest activities.

            FALSE: George Soros gave money to various groups for the express purpose of promoting Ferguson-related protests and riots.

            Snopes admits that funding for Soros’ OSF (Open Society Foundations) was sent to underwrite the protests but hedges by asserting we don’t know that Soros personally directed the funding or had knowledge of its usage.
            snopes[DOT]com/politics/business/sorosferguson.asp

            As (former) Rep. Allan West reported,
            Paid Ferguson protestors now protesting over not getting paid.
            Instead of being thankful for getting off the unemployment line for a few weeks and having a little fun protesting, the paid rioters who tore up Ferguson, MO, are protesting again.

            According to the Washington Times*, the “Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) has been paying protesters $5,000 a month to demonstrate in Ferguson. Last week, hired protesters who haven’t been paid held a sit-in at MORE’s offices and posted a demand letter online. Hired protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have started a #CutTheCheck hashtag and held a sit-in at the offices for the successor group to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Missouri after the group allegedly stopped paying them.”
            allenbwest[DOT]com/2015/05/paid-ferguson-protestors-now-protesting-over-not-getting-paid/

            *See:
            Hired Black Lives Matter protesters start #CutTheCheck after being stiffed by ACORN successor group
            By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times – Tuesday, May 19, 2015
            Hired protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have started a #CutTheCheck hashtag and held a sit-in at the offices for the successor group to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Missouri after the group allegedly stopped paying them.

            FrontPage Magazine reports that Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) has been paying protesters $5,000 a month to demonstrate in Ferguson. Last week, hired protesters who haven’t been paid held a sit-in at MORE’s offices and posted a demand letter online.

            MORE is the re-branded Missouri branch of ACORN, which filed for bankruptcy in late 2010, FrontPage reported. MORE and other groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have received millions of dollars from billionaire financier George Soros.

            The group Millennial Activists United posted a letter on their blog demanding MORE “cut the checks” to demonstrators.

            “Early in the movement, non-profit organization MORE, formerly known as the St. Louis chapter of ACORN, and local St. Louis organization Organization for Black Struggle created a joint account in which national donors from all over the world have donated over $150,000 to sustain the movement,” the letter read. “Since then, the poor black [sic] of this movement who served as cash generators to bring money into St. Louis have seen little to none of that money.

            “Questions have been raised as to how the movement is to sustain when white non-profits are hoarding monies collected of off [sic] black bodies? When we will [sic] hold the industry of black suffering accountable? The people of the community are fed up and the accountability begins here and now,” the statement said.

            “We NEED to be thinking about justice for black people,” it continued. “This means white people must renounce their loyalty to the social normalcy that maintains white power and control. If black lives really matter, justice and self-determination for black people would mean the black community would control [its] own political and economic resources. Moving forward, we are building a board of accountability within this movement. We must funnel economic into this movement through the hands of black people who are fighting with and for black life. More on this board will be discussed as we develop.”
            washingtontimes[DOT]com/news/2015/may/19/hired-black-lives-matter-protesters-start-cutthech/#ixzz3acmWpseK

    • “Only Hindu gods have enough hands for adequate facepalm.”

    • Apparently the Tor executives are now operating under the delusion that the e-mails they’re getting complaining about Gallo’s actions from outraged fans can’t possibly be real, so they must be some sort of cyber-attack. Oh, my …

      They’re going to run their company onto the reef at full steam ahead, aren’t they? Totally rip out the bottom and die crying “It’s a mirage” as the ice-cold water rushes into their lungs …?

    • He closed comments because he was afraid of “opening the sewer gates.” So Gallo aren’t only shutting their eyes to the rocks they’re driving their company upon, but also their ears to anyone who tries to point this out to them … how can they be so stupid?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        If we’re talking about closing comments for Tom Doherty’s post on tor.com, the “sewer gates” include garbage written by Gallo’s supporters. For that matter, garbage from Gallo’s supporters out-numbered any “garbage” from the pro-SP camp.

        Peter Grant was posted recent stuff on the internal “struggles” within Tor Books (it’s too early for me to look up the links).

        Apparently, Tor Books’ owners are getting involved.

  36. Ever read the Captain Alatriste novels of Arturo Perez-Reverte, Sara? They take place during the reign of Philip IV, contemporaneously with Dumas’ Musketeer books. They made a fine movie out of of them starring Viggo Mortensen:

  37. Astrosorceror

    Get well soon….

  38. Sarah, I can suggest the Manning Coles mysteries. Well,WWI – Cold War spy novels, and they weren’t really historical when they were written.

    The Tommy Hambledon spy novels.

  39. Hi,

    I’ve been reading your web page for some time now. I would characterise my politics as left-wing compared to your own. I’m from the UK and I like our health service, for example.

    I do like reading your side, though, to understand how people with different politics think. I find it helpful to resist being in a filter bubble.

    That said, I don’t have a side in the SP/SJW fight. I’d characterise my position as “can’t we all just get along?”

    Here’s my question, though, because this post really made me wonder if there ever will be a solution. I find myself agreeing with your analysis that some outliers from the SJW side think your side is evil. However, do you not think your own side has the same issues?

    For example, do you not find it at least a bit ironic that your post went up at a similar time to this one:

    http://www.scifiwright.com/2015/06/the-hatreds-of-the-left/

    My belief is that this is, apparently, a culture war. And in that war there are outliers on both sides honestly believing the other is evil. Not just on one side.

    My suggestion is that each side should watch this amazing TED talk:

    … and apply the lessons learned not to the other side, but to their own thinking.

    Anyway, I just thought I’d leave this post as a single data point about how you made one person think. Because you did indeed make me think. But I also believe there’s a mote in the eye of both sides, not just one.

    • I suggest you like your health service because you don’t know how great the squid farms could have been…

    • TED talks are very dangerous. That is how progressives rot their brains.
      The most traumatic and frightening week of my life was spent under the auspices of British Health Care. I trust my veterinarian more.

    •         Note that Mr. Wright defends his opinion at great length.  I believe him wrong on some things (for instance, he misunderstands Marx’s attitude towards capital; see CRITIQUE OF THE GOTHA PROGRAM, e.g.), but it is a rational argument, backed up by examples.

              Now look at Ms. Gallo.  She levels hateful accusation without argument, and when challenged to provide documentation, she posts pictures of cats.

              Or read David Horowitz’s autobiography Radical Son.  His Communist Party parents’ were motivated by hate in their politics.  Or look at my post above, about the woman who was disappointed that Ronald Reagan wasn’t murdered in office.  I’ll add in Eric Flint, whom I once heard casually say in public that he’d pay good money to watch the British Royal Family ‘executed.’  (No crime was mentioned, nor was their any mention of Britain’s lack of a death penalty for any crime.)

              And just this week, I read an interesting book, The Lost Literature of Socialism by the late George Watson of Cambridge University.  He claims the first people to ever advocate genocide in the history of Western Civilization were Marx and Engels in 1849, and that for the next century, every single person who advocated or practiced genocide self-identified as a socialist.  Every one of them, without exception.

              So no, I don’t think “my side” has the same problem to nearly the extent as “your side.”

  40. If I say “oh, he’s a communist” it’s usually with the feeling of rolled eyes, not with the feeling of “he’s Satan.”

    Sarah, thank you for this post. I hope you are well soon.

  41. For historical fiction done well try Jeff Shaara, Conn Iggulden, and the late William Safire.

  42. Christopher M. Chupik

    From the File 770 comments:

    “Hoyt moved to the U.S. in the mid-80s as an adult, so she missed all the U.S. History courses Americans get in Junior High and High School.

    She probably assumes that in the U.S., Republicans were always on the Right, and Democrats were always on the Left — and I am quite sure that she does not realize that today Nixon would likely be considered a Leftie, and that Obama’s political stance, rather than Democrat, is closer to what used to be Republican before the GOP in the U.S. went off the Far Right Deep End.

    But hey, as she is living in the Alternate Puppy Universe, no doubt Lefties have always been the Oppressors, and the Righties have always been the Liberators”

    • Civil War is inevitable, Exhibit #12, 987,345.

    • Patronizing douchebaggery by overcredentialed undereducated courtiers, part 1,048,576…

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        So yes, a “progressive” just said Sarah doesn’t understand America because she’s an immigrant.

        • I’ve seen the same behavior in Israel by the “Haaretz subscribers” (spit) towards relatively recent immigrant groups (Russians, Jews from Arab countries) when they vote “against their interests” (read: against the interests of the New Class).
          Scratch a “progressive”, find an oligarchic collectivist.

    • Giving credit where due, they spelled her name right. In fact, their spelling is about the only thing they got right.

      The lack of understanding about ur-anti-communist Nixon, defeater of Helen Gahagan Douglas and prosecutor of Alger Hiss explains why Hugh Hewitt always asks a new guest whether hiss was guilty.

      As for “the GOP in the U.S. went off the Far Right Deep End” — (is there a GOP outside the U.S.?) — that would probably explain how the party now controls two-thirds of state legislative seats and holds its largest majority in the US House in half a century: the whole country has gone off that same Far Right Deep End.

      Sigh – to these dweebs, Howard Zinn was too conservative.

      • Well, RES, but economically Nixon was a straight up lefty in today’s terms. Wage and price controls, etc. They’re right on that. Which still makes no sense to me. I mean, do they think I’m Republican right or wrong, and therefore if they prove Nixon was to the left I’ll… what? I’m not even Republican! (Well, registered that way but only because of primaries.)

        • Domestically Left, mostly. It was a complicated time, remember, when the GOP and Dems fought in the center (although the Dems were developing a powerful Left hook.) Keynes was yet to be discredited (okay, in some circles he still hasn’t been — make that “yet to be challenged.”) and government was still imagined to be the solution by most of the nation.

          My gawd, look through a list of Republican senators in the Sixties & Seventies and you find guys like Lowell Schweiker and Charles Percy — pols who would be in the center of the modern Dems.

          You have to read something like Craig Shirley’s excellent history of the 1976 Republican presidential primary, Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All, to properly appreciate the difference in the culture back then. Even for those of us who lived through it it is hard to believe how the politics have changed.

          But Nixon’s domestic policies were largely sops thrown to his Left, meant to appease them while he masterminded a policy which would counter the Soviet threat and eventually enable its defeat. He was also very much a “Law ‘n’ Order” guy, something the nation wanted following the riots that swept the nation in the late Sixties.

          As for their arguments making no sense, wellllll … they do, if you understand what they are actually arguing. They cannot engage in rational discussion of effects of policies, of economics, theories of law or the other routes folk like us take to determine beliefs. Instead, they argue from landmarks, from group identities and signifiers of “right-think” and thus we and they often talk right past one another.

    • Most of the “American History” courses I took were unconcealed propaganda. Though I did get to take pre-Soviet Russian history for American History credit.

      Whatever Sarah was told of American History in Portugal was probably no worse than the officially certified versions I was presented with in high school.

    • Except of course where history is my hobby, and yes, I know Nixon would be on the left — I have no respect for him — and OMG on Obama being on the right of anyone. He’s an euro-commie, straight up.
      Oh, and my degree included four years of American history. My G-d they’re idiots. Don’t they ever learn anything except as teens? So…

    • Oh, I also finished highschool here as an exchange student.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      1. The Confederates could be considered lefties.
      2. Ante- and post bellum, the south practiced gun control as a means of enabling racial violence.
      3. The GOP’s long standing opposition to gun control serves the end of preventing racist terrorism.
      4. Mosby’s efforts to frustrate discovery and attempts to keep records secret imply that the ‘misconduct’ motivating this year’s burning of minority neighborhoods in Baltimore is no more real than the ‘rape’ which motivated the 1921 burnings of minority neighborhoods in Tulsa. In both cases the Democrats were deeply involved.

    •         Nixon described himself as a “practical liberal”.

  43. Sorry if anyone touched on these (I was scanning) , but I adore Mel Starr’s Hugh de Singleton series, and slightly in the out of character female camp, but not intolerably: Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma series, Priscilla Royal’s Eleanor of Tyndall, and The Midwives Tale from Sam Thomas. To jump eras, M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco books are endearing, and fairly accurate in describing a woman working within the contemporary restrictions.

  44. > sky is blue

    …except half the time it’s black, and when it’s not black, it’s usually gray down here in haze-land. I can count the number of times I’ve seen blue sky without running out of fingers.

    Yes, I pointed those factoids out to a teacher in school, who apparently had trouble understanding that the sky also exists at night…

    • What? You didn’t focus on the fact that the sky is not blue, that it is translucent and only appears to be blue as a result of the irregular transmission of certain wavelengths of electromagnetic energies?

      You’re not an Odd!!!!!

      • Yeah, I can explain blue sky with all the usual scientific terminology, but there’s a simpler explanation.

        Look into a container of LOX and it’s sky-blue. Liquid nitrogen is transparent.

        So, the sky is blue because it contains oxygen, and oxygen is blue. QED.

  45. I continue to see most arguments about the socialization (political, economic, intellectual, and cultural) of the West as being much more simple than what I see in debated in endless blog pronouncements and postings.

    If you see the Socialist-Progressive-Liberal-Communist-Agnostic/Atheist Left as a combination of “haves” and “wanna-haves” who are willing to do almost anything to capture and retain preference and privilege by gutting and consuming a moribund Capitalistic-Conservative-Libertarian-Traditional-Religious Center and Right, then it all makes perfect sense.

    The Soviets had a word for it — apparatchik. An apparatchik is an agent of the apparatus — one who does its bidding in the hope of preference and reward. Logic has nothing to do with it; morality has nothing to do with it; consistency has nothing to do with it; law has nothing to do with it. The only thing that matters is being a better Party member than the other Party members.

    That this approach is ultimately, even quickly, suicide for an economy or a culture or a nation state is irrelevant. “I got mine right now and to hell with you getting yours” becomes the only measure of status and success. You might consider Europe as an example. It is a region and a culture that is killing itself with unfettered illegal immigration of foreign cultures that refuse to be assimilated. And it pays for grandiose social and “environmental” policies that obscenely enrich the few and barely provide for growing parasitic masses by borrowing and printing money and expropriating resources from those who produce and those who have saved. Whether the believers are true or not, they will parrot the current slogans and march jackbooted through the night, if it means they will benefit.

    One can look at the Hugos though the lens of this zeitgeist. A favored few control an award by created an atmosphere where only the “right” works are principally considered. The inside few are supported by a legion of “right-thinking” proles who are unleashed to demonstrate their goodthink by parroting the Party line and attacking whomever the Party identifies as — well, you know — homophobes, sexists, racists, etc. It does not matter what the logic of the SP’s was or is, it does not matter the method used, it does not matter their intentions. What matters is that they are attempting to change the way goodies are distributed — and for that they must be crushed.

    So, I generally ignore the measured and reasoned discussions. Because right and wrong and compromise and moderation are not relevant to the struggle underway. Getting stuff for me and mine at the expense of those that have it or control it is all that matters. While resolutely refusing to believe that, sooner or later, their stuff will also be expropriated — because they are the purest believers and the best of apparatchiks and have spend a lifetime crushing the counter-revolutionaries.

    Some folks don’t see that being the last person burned at the stake is not a victory. Ask the Old Bolsheviks. Well, if you could.

  46.         Sarah, I agree with almost everything you wrote, but I’m afraid I disagree with you about boycotting Tor, and Macmillan.

            I’ve had it.  I’ve been called a racist, a homophobe, and a Jew Hater once too often by people who work for Tor.  If Tor, and it’s parent Macmillan wish to employ such people, they are free to do so.  But I will not purchase anything they sell as long as Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder, or either Nielsen-Hayden works there.  I refuse to support those who insult me.

    • I’m starting to think that a boycott of Tor makes sense, because that’s about the only thing that will get Tor to fire people like Gallo. As thing stands, they’re still in the “bullshit and hope nobody notices” mode. They won’t get out of it until they see a major sales drop.

    • Saintonge — I’m not … how do I put this? I understand those hot to boycott. I think the repercussions to the field in general at this time will be a tsunami that will completely change the landscape some in ways we don’t like. BUT I’m not telling people not to follow their conscience. Only to proceed with open eyes and cautiously, and that I, myself, won’t be boycotting, though I will think twice before buying a new author from TOR. (I am quite capable of this. I only recently read Butcher, partly because I hated giving money to Penguin. I broke down for Butcher, but each new author from Penguin still has a pretty high bar because I hate giving the Random Penguin cash.)

      • On boycotting, I much prefer the conservative alternative: buycotting! As Larry Correia’s book bombs have shown, it is easier to focus conservatives on doing something positive. Besides, I think publishers react more to positive reinforcement.

        Instead of boycotting TOR, why not institute a buycott of TOR authors we support, such as John C. Wright? If the real importance of the Hugos is to promote books we enjoy, then the appropriate action to take is boosting sales of those we’ve nominated.

        Buycotting is also a more effective way of demonstrating our strength and numbers (presuming we have any and aren’t just drinking our own ink as much as the SJWs do.) It is easier to demonstrate a positive than a negative effect — a slight sag in sales (there is scant reason to believe a boycott of TOR would do much more than a 5 – 10% drop in sales, company-wide) while not insignificant is also easily attributed to “other” factors. Such as blaming innocent authors who had the misfortune of being picked-up by TOR.

        Boycotts also have the unfortunate effect of damaging innocent parties. I’ve worked a lot of places these last four decades and nary a one but didn’t have at least one jackass who would be better employed as mulch. I expect TOR has staffers who simply want to do their jobs, help authors produce exciting books and sell those books without these stupid games. There are authors (as mentioned above) who simply wish their editorial staff would, y’know — promote their books, rather than actively drive away potential readers. We don’t know to what extent the offending parties represent a vocal minority or a majority and frankly, should not concern ourselves with politics (again, that is their game: making the personal political.)

        Heck, even John C. Wright has praised Irene (boy! talk about ironic naming!) Gallo for her work in producing his books and making them commercially successful. She’s but one tree in a forest and even if she is sheltered by a few friends she is not the entire woods.

        ALL THAT SAID, the TOR imprint is damaged. Its appearance on a book is two strikes against that book, just as Baen’s imprint is a mark in any book’s favor. All other things being equal there is nothing wrong with deciding against any particular book because of the publisher. But calling for a boycott? The Social Conservatives tried that against Disneyworld some time ago — how’s that working out? The SJW crowd has been denouncing the “Princess Culture” for a decade or more — anyone seen any noticeable reduction in Princesses at Disney and beyond?

        If you threaten a boycott you always run the risk of exposing your ineffectiveness. Which is another reason to prefer buycotts.

        • Sarah, Res:
                  I repeat, I’m done with them.  I simply will not support a company that employs people who go out of their way to insult me this way.  It isn’t conscience, and it isn’t ‘Well, I’ll show THEM!’  It’s unadulterated rage.

                  Sorry about any authors that may be hurt, or employees aside from the Gang of Four, but I don’t control Tor, or Macmillan.  I do control me.  They want me to buy their product, they’ll need to hold a gun against my head.

  47. Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    I think with a lot of people, they start looking at then narrative and comparing it their daily experiences and the narrative just doesn’t hold up to reality.

  48. Speaking of historical fiction, have you encountered the Crispin Guest novels by Jeri Westerson?

    http://www.amazon.com/Veil-Lies-Medieval-Crispin-Novels/dp/0312580126/

    They’re noirs set in medieval London. The main character, Crispin, is a disgraced knight turned private eye, of a sort. One of the great folks at Mysterious Galaxy turned me on to the series, and I read the first one on deployment a few months ago. I liked it, and am proceeding through the rest now. Didn’t detect any of the kludges you mentioned that irritate you, but then I’m no medieval expert so I could be wrong.

  49. Pingback: Fun House Mirrors | According To Hoyt