You Are Not Alone

This weekend I was in NYC, at the Calliope Writers’ workshop.  The Calliope Writers’ workshop, supported by the Talliesin Nexus and Liberty Island is a writers’ workshop.

If you’re saying “what, another one?” well… yes.  But it is much more too.

For the writers’ workshop part, I would encourage any of you, even those already making a living from writing, who WISH to make a greater living and who are “liberty minded” to apply and see if you get in.  The catch there is that it’s very … exclusive.  I was going to say “demanding.”  In 18 years of teaching, judging contests, etc, it was the first time I was confronted with writers who were thoroughly professional and whom I was supposed to advise.

Was I able to help them improve?  I think so.  Mind you, one can even help one’s peers, because the blind spots are always different; that is the point of writers’ groups, after all.  But there were other things I could give them insight into.  When you’ve been 20 years in the field, you’ve been 20 years in the field.  Not only have you managed your career and seen it rise and fall, but you’ve seen freinds establish careers and come and go.  Which brings us to things like “You’re not actually writing fantasy, you’re writing alternate history” or… other things.  You can help less experienced authors focus and go where they need to be.  Hopefully.

But what floored me and to an extent confused me (besides being exhausted, yesterday) and will take me months to potentially process is this: I cam out of it with a changed perspective on the field, on my career, on the future.

One of the speakers, I don’t remember who — because I didn’t take notes, just soaked it in — said this was the beginning of creating connections and structures of mutual help for libertarians and conservatives.  (More libertarian than conservative, but none of them crazy, that I could see.)  The left has always had their structures of help, their prestigious workshops, their sympathetic agents and publishers.  And before the other side sneers “always” — yes, always, since the beginning of popular mass publishing, give or take.  Certainly all my life and I’m more than half a century old (barely) so for our purposes and for purposes of the entertainment, news, industrial complex “always” — so that they can speak power to truth and continue yelling that they’re oppressed, even as they stomp hard on any dissent.

We who disagree need parallel structures.

And they’re right.  And this workshop more than anything I’ve taken part in has convinced me we have a chance.  I’m not a betting woman.  If it weren’t for other considerations, like love of country and love of liberty, I wouldn’t have thrown my lot in with this lot publicly, years ago, not when I thought we’d less than 10% chance of taking back the culture (or at least achieving parity) in my lifetime.

I didn’t think so, at least until this weekend.  Yes, yes, guys, in the long run we win they lose.  The technology is going our way, and besides, they are like elves.  They can imitate and exploit, but not really create.  The “Mind killing” (their term) necessary to accept the shibboleths of the left leaves them unable to create even if they are creative and intelligent people (and many of them are.)  They are so scared anything they say will get them thrown out of the cult it turns all their work into pap. Grey goo, if you wish.  Which is why the new and exciting way of evaluating works as “Does this advance progressivism” was born.  But that’s a digression.

I just thought it would take too long, and there would be a dark period of sorts before creators and builders could take over.  And I also knew this might entail death to Western civ as such, because the left is a suicidal cult that destroys the culture from within, leaving us wide open to the incursions of the real barbarians.

The real barbarians can’t hold us.  No, trust me.  They can’t.  But I thought in fact that we were at best sowing the seeds of victory in a real war our children and grandchildren would have to fight, both culturally and possibly physically.

Now I believe — or perhaps I gut-feel — we have a shot.  Not a huge shot, particularly not the way the overculture (and politics) have entered their final suicidal form.  But a shot of sorts.

There will still be a very bad period. We’ve bought ourselves that with our silence and acquiescence back in the bad old days when they had the megaphone and we were afraid to be considered stupid or worse.  But I might see the other end of this before I die.

But if what kept us quiet before was the isolation, the utter isolation and thinking we were the only ones seeing the holes in ideology and news stories, if now we can communicate and organize, WHY didn’t I have hope until this weekend, not at a gut level?

One of the first answers is, I think, “Humans are social animals.”  I knew almost all the mentors, and had brushed against some of the students on line.  BUT that’s one thing.  To be in a room with sixty people and be able to speak, be able to ARGUE without fear? That brings something home.

We’re all of us, despite this tenuous connection online, far too alone. Even for those employed in other fields, keeping your head down is the only alternative to being unemployed, because the shibboleths of the enemy hold the field, and it’s permissible to call those who disagree with you all sorts of names and impugn your character, and attack your livelihood.  And we don’t realize how that takes that sense of being an outcast into our very souls.

I’ve spoken before of Lloyd Biggle Jr’s The Still Small Voice of trumpets.  Without spoilering (you should read it) when an artist displeased the king for any reason or no reason at all, their arm was cut off and they were sent away to the “camps of amputees.”  The culture was such it couldn’t stand ugliness and worshiped beauty.  And their musical instruments were… harps.  Once your arm was off, you were done.  You were isolated.  Your very “deformity” made you invisible.  Until someone invented trumpets.  Then the worship of beauty forgave the deformity.

In many ways we who are to the right of Lenin in publishing have been like that.  We were told we had “bad numbers” or simply never bought again and people were left to assume we had bad numbers.  And we disappeared.  Our only existence was as “invisible” has beens.  Our voices had no place in national dialogue.  And even as publishing runs headed for the cellar, the “king” told us it was other reasons: games, videos at home, all sorts of reasons.  Anything but the fact that science fiction and fantasy had become purulent patronizing pap.

But ah, we do have the internet.  We have indie publishing.  And now that we’ve crawled out of the basement (or left the camp of the untouchables our cloaks floating behind us, our trumpets sounding) to ground zero, other people think it is worth to establish a beach head.  A counterculture insurgency.  And they’re willing to spend time and money on changing the culture, so that in twenty years politics too will be different.

And being there, at the center of it, you could feel the currents and the energy.

We might win, or we might lose.  But life, Liberty and this constitutional Republic we inherited are worth fighting for.

I’ve got my trumpet.  I came back with endless sheet music.  Things that must be written and other things.  Things I must to do facilitate connections and ease paths as mine could not be eased.  Because now it’s different and we have a chance.

Sound the trumpets. We declare the revolution.



367 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. “They shall not come with warships,
    They shall not waste with brands,
    But books be all their eating,
    And ink be on their hands.

    “Not with the humour of hunters
    Or savage skill in war,
    But ordering all things with dead words,
    Strings shall they make of beasts and birds,
    And wheels of wind and star.

    “They shall come mild as monkish clerks,
    With many a scroll and pen;
    And backward shall ye turn and gaze,
    Desiring one of Alfred’s days,
    When pagans still were men.”

    1. You do realize if that were EVEN VAGUELY as the crazy people (more or less on our side) are interpreting it people like my boss at insty, who is a lawyer, would be fighting it IN COURT, right?
      Let us not be crazier than we can help.
      The IP goes down, the cartridge box comes out, and I THINK they know that.

      1. I expect there will be less “heavy hand of authority” and more “nibble to death like ducks” to the process. Look at what is happening with FB and the arguments over their slanting newsfeeds, suppressing pictures (napalmed Vietnamese girl, e.g.) and at Twitter’s harassment of Milo, Adam and others. They will be very slow about bringing this pot aboil, but employ all the techniques of the bureaucrat to stifle deplorable views in cotton batting.

          1. No, I am sure that was simply the public’s lack of interest in her health. Surely we don’t want Twitter promoting nutty conspiracy theories?

            I do gather (via On The Record with Brit Hume, FNC) there was quite a bit of Twitter discussion about the brutally warm weather in NY city that morning, a blistering 77 degrees with the dew point sitting at a sweltering 72 degrees.

              1. In fairness, Hillary Milhouse Clinton was likely wearing armor under her jacket, which probably adds to heat’s effect. [Delete snark about our troops in the sandbox.]

                  1. Sir,
                    That is deeply offensive to the Insectarian community. The bug men may be a lot of things, but it is very rare than one of them is that reprehensible.

                    1. The Dowager Empress’ chitinous exoskeleton is genetically appropriative of the Insective community!

        1. I tend to believe that ICANN won’t change overnight. I think that we’ll see the prices of new Top Level Domains go up, and a continuation of the policy of not giving TLDs to groups, but making SOMEONE pay for them. Of course, as the price of TLDs goes up the price of individual domains will increase too.

          Meanwhile, as you say, we’ll be nibbled to death by ducks. But one day some nation will claim that a site violates their laws, and threaten the individual members of ICANN with arrest because they run the root servers and are ultimately responsible for allowing that illegal stuff on the net.

          If you’re removed from the root servers it propagates to all of the DNS (Domain Name Service, the computers that turns “” into so that computers can find it) then the site will vanish from the net.

          It’s been axiomatic that the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. But some alternate DNS service, probably using IPv6, will have to be developed for ordinary people to use it. Otherwise it will be like the current Darknet – Everybody reads about it, but almost nobody knows how to get there.

          1. It’s not quite that bad. There doesn’t need to be an alternate DNS system developed. All that is needed is alternate root servers. The software that is already out there can be used, even most of the domain servers that are out there can be used. All that has to change is about 5 lines in everyone’s configuration files.

            Of course eventually this will result in IP wars as UNICANN issues or reissues IP addresses and domain names to other people, but the new DNS servers ignore them. Routing especially may get VERY interesting.

              1. C’mon – didn’cha hear? Kerry and Putin have cut a deal in Syria that guarantees peace in (checks watch) our time.

      2. Case in point, BATFE slipped a little note into a bulletin they issue regularly. It redefined the definition and handling requirements for a precursor to smokeless powder that would have crippled the ammunition industry. Before the ink dried, metaphorically speaking, NRA, GOA, SAF, and like organizations had their legal guard dogs responding with pointed letters quoting pertinent legislation making their action illegal. And at the same time firing up their lobbyists to reach out to congress critters in case they needed to orchestrate an agency slapdown.
        Note: it’s not that they won’t try such stuff, it’s that there are now watchdogs and mechanisms in place to respond immediately and in force.

          1. I have seen reports, although I cannot recall where, that Trump is looking at eliminating (or possibly consolidating) at least three cabinet agencies. While that might prove politically difficult it would be amusing to watch.

            1. Can we pick which three? I’ll start buying lottery tickets on the off chance that I might win and be able to bid on HHS, Homeland Security, and Energy (or Education. Hard Choice).

              1. Ed, definitely. But I’d nominate IRS for elimination (at least three doesn’t mean no more than three, right?) too.

              2. I tried searching on it but didn’t get anything recent enough to be reliable. Somehow a Fall of 2015 Mother Jones story on Trump’s crazy plan to eliminate the deficit doesn’t fill me with confidence. What I did find indicated he wants to get rid of EPA and Education, so that seems a good start.

                Other indicators suggest that Trump wants to sell off a considerable amount of the government’s surplus buildings and facilities — not a surprising approach in an experienced real estate developer, eh?

                1. It occurs to me that one way of crashing EPA might be to follow the Obama Administration’s lead and tank the defense against suits for such disasters as the Gold King Mine flood. Heck, it might even be practical to fund grants for some aggrieved parties to sue the EPA for exceeding their legal authority.

                  Might be fun to find a suitable Country act to do a Gordon Lightfoot-like (see: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) song and video about the Gold King Mine Disaster …

                  1. How about the song, “The Shooting of LaVoy Finicum”? Lots of folks in the western US are upset about BLM overreach (and I don’t mean Black Lives Matter).

                  2. I’ll get us started…

                    The legend lives on from the Animas on down
                    Of the big mine they once called the Gold King
                    The mine, it was boxed in, and never gave up her toxins
                    ‘Til the do-gooders of the EPA came callin’

                    1. And what would be the problem with that scenario? It would make a great fireworks display…….

                    2. Sure it’s anti-energy, in its current form; the nugget of a decent reason for the EPA is that “don’t make a huge mess” is a valid consideration.

                      That they seem to confuse that with “do something we think is not nice”… well….

                  1. EPA should be under the ground. Six feet. It’s a bad idea whose time to be buried has come. Perhaps in a lead-lined coffin. (Note, for Vile 666 lurkers, I mean the idea not the people. Goes without saying, except for people with reading interpretation log in eye.)

                    1. You left out the part about stuffing its mouth with garlic, cutting off its head and driving a stake through its bureaucratic heart. And sprinkling wolfsbane in the coffin.

                      Once EPA was caught out providing grants to activists to enable their bringing suits inciting courts to increase EPA’s authority it was clear the agency had escaped the surly bonds of the Constitution and needed to be destroyed. Such impertinence in a subsidiary agency is not tolerable.

                    2. It didn’t hit the news so much, but they were also caught giving grants to the Tribes and some of their buddy-groups to post false propaganda billboards about cows contaminating water.

                      I think the only paper that covered that was the Capital Press…. (Thing Wall Street Journal for ag.)

            2. I like the implications of combining, as long as the combined agency has access to the combined budget of both former agencies for reprogramming less 10%. Something like consolidating DoD and Education, maybe – let them fight out the priorities between the new body armor and the latest esteem enhancement grants. Or EPA and HHS. Or Homeland Security and Interior… no, that wouldn’t work, they’d just put up TSA stations at all the National Parks. But pairings that generated a bit of bureaucratic tension – that would be entertaining.

              1. A hand-carved sign in a neatly trimmed yard, on my way to where I used to work:

                “If you can read this sign, thank a teacher. If you are reading this sign in English, thank a soldier.”

              2. I think we can agree that merging the EPA and Commerce would be a bad idea? Maybe if we give them a single knife …

                1. And tie them together by one wrist each with a 10 foot piece of rope?

                  (And put the Coasties back with DoD, at least for this experiment, then again….)

                  1. Coasties have only ever bee in DoD during times of declared war (then they are just part of the Navy). Up until the creation of the Department of Homeland Security they where part of the Treasury Department.

                    1. They’ll never be called that again RES; the Feds are incapable of putting the words “tax” and “cut” together anymore.

              3. “Or Homeland Security and Interior… no, that wouldn’t work, they’d just put up TSA stations at all the National Parks.”

                I think the National Parks already host the TSA (Tourist Stupidity Attractors), given the news stories that’ve emerged in recent months.

        1. But ICANN not operating as a US corporation with an exemption from US monopoly laws and with an expanded global membership won’t be subject to such pressures.

    2. Your task: Compare and contrast the ICANN, soon to be part of the UN, with the ITU and the ICAO, which have long been part of the UN.

      You should make it clear in your answer how ICANN being part of the UN affects the fact that the Internet runs on agreements that everybody in the middle makes with their upstreams, downstreams, and peers to carry everybody else’s traffic.

    3. Simple really; Why does the USA get .mil .edu .com .net .gov? Since the UN is transnational, the US shouldn’t get preferential addressing so all IP domains will have to append a .US.
      As the dramatic exhaustion of IP4 addresses continues, the UN will choose to reallocate the address space by a proportion of the world population per country. Enjoy your 4.5% USA.
      Then, there is taxing. ICANN is cheap compared to what the UN will be willing to charge.

      1. The USA doesn’t get exclusive use of those TLDs. It’s just that other countries often want to keep their users’ domains within their own controllable national TLDs.

      2. Actually, domains look like “”; since the Domain Name Servers and almost all the early traffic were in the US, they simplified things by making the default “.us” unless you specified otherwise.

        1. Speaking as someone who has been in the DNS code, this is not true. In fact iirc esr at an early meeting derailed the idea of geographical domain names by pointing out that people and organizations move and forcing them to change domain names when they do is a bad idea. In fact the us domain is relatively recent, certainly since the ‘net became commercial.

          1. When the Internet was first ‘invented’, everything was in the US, so no .US was required. Remember it is just a quaint little experiment to assure communications in the event a Nuclear War disrupts ATT (then known as Ma Bell).

            1. I think geographic domains didn’t used to be required because when Al Gore invented the internet he was a globalist, and that nation-states were outdated, so he didn’t bother to attach them to domain names.

          2. Geographic domains don’t seem to be available any more, but they used to be structured as city-state-country. I stood up a freenet server in in 1990 and ran it until 2003.

      3. Proposition: we should get rid of IPv4 anyway, and this may just force the jettisoning of that standard. We’ve known that IPv4 was going to become exhausted for a long while now, and we’ve even had the replacement available for a long time. It’s a standard that we’ve put too much effort in propping up.

        The only problem with IPv6 vs IPv4 (and it’s a very serious problem) is that it should have been IPv4-backwards compatible, so that everyone would have adopted it without noticing. But hindsight is what it is…

        Of course, that doesn’t address the issue of a defunct anti-human-rights organization taking control of ICANN; the world would be better off if we could jettison the UN while we’re at it. Heck, the world would be better off if we jettisoned the UN and kept IPv4!

        1. The UN is a malignant tumor. IPv4 is a clapped out Pontiac Iron Duke. It runs rougher than when new, and will need replacing, but keeps just managing to run

          1. IPv6 is desperately needed so my refrigerator in Virginia can talk to someone’s dishwasher in New Zealand. That is, it is something the ‘Internet of Things’ needs for marketing/advertising, and the rest of us really couldn’t care less.

            1. I know it’s probably not a concern for a lot of y’all, but for me, I really, really want IPv6.

              Why? IPv6 removes geolocation information from being specific and also encapsulates all packets within encryption. Also https is default
              for every connection, ever.

              Lucky for you guys, you don’t have someone who has malice in mind towards you.

              IPv6? I can dream about potentially chatting with people about book ideas, or be able to reciprocate by being sounding board, or a crapload of stuff that you can do without worrying about digital or online security.

              It’s pretty fucking lonely.

              1. Yeah, but a lot of the IPV6 implementations in hardware/firmware realy suck. I had to disable it on my network gateway to keep the darn box from repeatedly crashing and rebooting – so as nice as the actual IPV6 spec reads, I remain skeptical of how it will do in reality.

              2. I still can’t decide if the Internet of Things is going to be fantastic or horrible. Either way, it’s not something that’s on the radar for me…

                I worked for a little while in internet telephony; I became interested in IPv6 issues when we had to deal with getting one phone connected to another. Because we’ve been running out of IPv4 addresses for a very long time, we have a standard called NAT that allows us to “chain” IPv4 addresses in order to make it possible to “stretch” a single IPv4 address to be used by multiple devices. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) doesn’t handle NAT very well; if I recall correctly, the problem stems from the fact that SIP needs stable addresses in order to connect two devices (say, two telephones) together, and NAT doesn’t provide that.

                A lot of things become simpler once we go to IPv6, largely because trying to use IPv4 smacks of the epicircles on epicircles that the Ptolemy’s modelers introduced, in their insistence that everything travels in circles.

                The fact that IPv6 standard provides encryption is a big plus, too. (I seem to recall seeing complaints that it isn’t required, but even so, at least it’s there.)

              3. I’m not sure what “removes geolocation information from being specific” means. IPv6 addresses are supposed to be assigned in blocks of 2^64 addresses or bigger from a TLA (Top-Level Aggregator) or sub-TLA and they know who gets which block, so you can’t just hide because you have 18 quintillion addresses to choose from. They all are located in the same place. Network-wise at least. That’s equivalent to the information gained through IPv4. I suppose you could mean that the addresses are assigned by IANA to the TLA’s instead of to the regional addressing people, but I don’t see that as a particular advantage. The guys who assigned your address to you know who you are.

                IPv6 encapsulates all packets within encryption? Ummm, where did you get that idea? IPv6 packets CAN BE encrypted, but they typically aren’t, and IPv4 packets can be encrypted using a similar mechanism. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been able to get that to work, mostly because it’s intended for setting up VPN’s and stuff and I keep trying to do other things with it. The point is the other end has to be configured to deal with your encrypted stream or it doesn’t work, and few people do that.

                The “https” as default is just a trend that people are moving to, but it’s only weakly related to IPv6. It’s facilitated by switching to IPv6, because currently HTTP doesn’t have a “starttls” mechanism, although that’s in the RFC for HTTP 2.0. The problem being that, without a starttls mechanism, you don’t have any way to select which server you’re trying to talk to and, hence, which certificate the server should use, except by address. So having a bigger address space makes it easier for the server to know which certificate to serve up because you can assign an address per server rather than having several virtual servers share a single address.

                I’ve been running IPv6 on my networks since 1998 or so. I started back when all the available addresses started with 3FFE, I owned an ISP, and I got a tunnel to the 6bone through my Sprint upstream. I currently have a tunnel to HE’s aggregator and I hold the guru-level certification from them. I do network protocol design and implementation as a specialty. Not only that, but my day job uses IPv6 extensively, to the point where we had removed IPv4 support from the product. I got to put it back for version 2. Lucky me.

            2. The need for IPv6 is for more than that. The West got most of the IPv4 address space. This has led to technological nightmares in the developing world that are REALLY hard to troubleshoot. At a previous job I dealt with companies in India who were behind four layers of NAT (Network Address Translation, which maps addresses on a private network to the outside world, and tells traffic from outside where to go inside the private network.) I wish I was exaggerating, but that’s really how it is in some parts of the world.

          2. The big shakeout between IPng and IPv6 happened twenty years ago. But DHCP and sub-C networking came out then, stretching IPv4’s life out while the hardware industry didn’t show a whole lot of interest in putting IPv6 into consumer-grade routers.

            1. The guys who were doing the 6bone (I’m drawing a blank on the name) declared victory as soon as there was native IPv6 transport available in some places. That was, um, 2001, I think? That made me so mad because it was obvious to me that demand for addresses came from the leaves, and not from the backbone. Without demand from the end users, it was going to take a long time to take off.

        2. IPvN backwards compatible with IPv4? If you know how to do that, then you should be designing networking protocols. There simply isn’t a way to add bits to the address in a backwards-compatible way.

          1. It’s been a while since I’ve dealt with IPv6 vs IPv4 details, but I would expect that one way to create backward compatibility would have been to declare any IPv6 address of the form [xxxx::] (that is, the first 32 of 128 bytes) to be an IPv4 address. Then IPv4 would be a subset of IPv6 in a way that would be easy to convert back and forth between the two.

            As it is, there are systems that attempt to translate between the two types of address systems; I just think that introducing backwards compatibility would have helped make the transition go a little smoother.

            (Having said that, it’s been a long while since I’ve looked at the origins of IPv6 in any detail; I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen any explanation as to why backwards compatibility wasn’t a goal. I think I’m going to look that up right now.)

            1. In what sense does your scheme create backward compatibility? The other 96 bits of address information have to go in the IP header somewhere and there’s no place in there for them. I suppose you could have an extension header to hold the extra bits, and the history I read says that was considered, but how does that allow, for example, an IPv4-only computer to reach an IPv6-only computer? How does that allow a program that was written to deal with IPv4 addresses to deal with IPv6 addresses?

              This is not snark. I’m genuinely curious as to what you mean by “backwards compatibility.” How would that have eased IPv6 adoption?

              There is a convention for writing IPv4 addresses as IPv6 addresses (it’s ::a.b.c.d where “a.b.c.d” is the dotted quad we all know and love) but it caused more confusion than enlightenment and so it’s use is not widespread.

              1. It’s been a while since I’ve toyed with IPv4 vs IPv6, so I can’t definitively say how IPv4 could have been “expanded” to include IPv6 addresses, but I seem to recall that there are ways that could have made it possible, and still kept it natively IPv4.

                When I tried to find reasons why IPv6 wasn’t backwards compatible, all I could find, in my limited amount of time to look into it, was articles saying “the biggest mistake we made was to not make IPv6 backwards compatible”. The reason why it’s such a big mistake is that there’s a lot of perfectly functioning hardware out there that only uses IPv4, and due to various reasons cannot be updated to use IPv6 in any way…and since no one wants to give up on their investments, they don’t migrate to IPv6. Had these IPv4 devices been able to be plugged straight into IPv6 networks with no modification, no one would have given it a second thought to buying IPv6 network devices to augment and ultimately replace them.

  2. “It seems to me like a journey without end
    So many years, too many battles
    We’ve finally arrived, now we’re standing at the gates
    Heroes of the day, legends forever!”

    Dream Evil, “The Chosen Ones”

    I wouldn’t have thought I’d like a Swedish metal band, but they’re pretty good…

      1. Voluntary co-operative associations have always been the free market answer to any task that becomes too large to handle by one entity.
        Biggest stumbling block currently with indie publishing is the daunting number of tasks required to field a successful product. Spread those tasks over several people, each with their own talents and abilities and you have that classic case of many hands make the work go faster and better. Sort of like an Amish barn raising.

        1. That sounds to me like a prescription for successful independent contracting. If I was a good graphic designer with experience in book cover design, or an experienced book editor and proof-reader, I’d look at marketing my skills to indie writers. Those are some of the things that authors aren’t necessarily good at, and really shouldn’t need to spend their time learning when they can contract the task out.

          By the same token, a good book reviewer ought to be able to gain a following as someone whose tastes are known and who can sort through the firehose worth of indie books to find those he (and presumably his followers) find worth drinking.

          1. This is what I’ve been doing in the Tiny Publishing Bidness … coaching indy writers into being their own publishers. I’ll do a line and substantial edit, do a format for a set fee, getting a good cover design through my little brother the graphic designer, then I walk them through getting an ISBN through Bowker, and signing up with Ingram Spark or CreateSpace. Several other local indy authors with long track records are doing the same thing for less-experienced or first-time writers.

          2. Still early days, but there are already a fair number of folks doing exactly that. The danger is that there are also a fair number of scam artists who are little more than rebranded vanity press.
            Of course it’s like any other contracting job, you look at the track record of the service provider and make your judgement call from there.
            This is where the co-op concept of shared duties has a good bit of appeal.
            And too, a book is a very personal thing. No matter how talented someone else might be in their field, if they don’t mesh with your vision, it will not be a successful collaboration.

          3. … a good book reviewer ought to be able to gain a following as someone whose tastes are known

            This was the genius of Siskel & Ebert (for those of us old enough to remember when they came on the scene back when the Earth was young. You probably didn’t always agree with either one, but by knowing their tastes it became easy enough to triangulate with your own, sufficiently to offer a reliable guide to movies to seek and ones to avoid. For books a team review site might be able to provide adequate coverage to enable a similar process.

            A good initial step would involve posting reviews of “classics” in the genre — books which the reviewer(s) have already read and can thus put up a broad selection of reviews, and books with which visitors at the site can be expected to be largely familiar, enabling them to determine “windage” of the site reviewers. “Okay, Hoyt says this about Moon; that’s what my opinion was, too. But she says that about Foundation; I’d never thought of that but now I realize it is why I never much liked that book. And okay, I see why she doesn’t like Childhood’s End, but I like that in a book, so at least I know where our tastes diverge.”

            Most folk would be likely to browse reviews of favorite classics, so a reasonable visitor has a chance to get to know reviewer “hot” buttons and can apply that to newer books being reviewed.

        2. FWIW, I am a good fiction editor IM admittedly biased O. Decent copyeditor, good grammar editor, Really Damn Good at flow/style/professionalism. (I am still crying at the indie fantasy I just read where the author apparently neglected to get a beta-reader for the last 20 percent of her book and it got horrifically clunky.) I would love to get a foot in the door for indie editing, just don’t know how to go about it.

          1. Can you do editing in Spanish? My wife is an indie author, and finding an editor in Spanish has been essentially impossible for us.

            1. Sadly, no. My Spanish is pretty darn limited. But I will poke around with a couple of freelancers I know and see if they have ideas.

            1. That sounds like a great idea. Two questions:
              Is there any way I can help get it going?
              How does one get on this list?
              Our new business is growing too slowly for our bills, so I need to get my freelancing (software or editing) back up to speed or it’s back to hunting a day job for me.

          2. My sympathies. I’ve just metaphorically walled two new authors that first flabbergasted me, then ejected me from the book with force. I can forgive a lot for a good story…

            But if you are attempting mil-sf and continually fail to *show* leadership and simply *tell* the reader “this guy is a great leader of men…” And then proceed to not just break, but jump up and down on the mangled remains of the unwritten rules. I.e., “have a plan, or at least appear to even when you don’t,” “chew out in private, praise in public unless in extremis,” or “don’t panic, remain calm- both are contagious, but one is definitely superior.” I can understand flawed characters, but if your no one in your cast even *recognizes* basic flaws, they’re not characters, they are cardboard cut-outs.

            Sorry to rant. If I were beta reading for these two, there would be pointed questions. *chuckle* Good thing I’m not…

            1. Sheesh, even I know better than to do that. Although I am tempted every so often to drop in a semi-automatic revolver just to see if anyone notices . . . 😉 It would, of course, have a shoulder thing that goes up.

              1. Oo. A scary black tactical semi-fully-automatic assault revolver, with a bazillion round clip (sic), a frikken sword on the end, and shoulder thiny that goes up?!


                Someone would notice, knowing your readers (or even just the ones that comment here). But everybody makes mistakes. I hear even Ringo once put a manual safety on a Glock…

                1. Sadly, some of those errors could be authors…and some could be (NY) copy editors. Stuart Woods had his character wielding a .762 handgun, once. Robert B. Parker had Spencer using a 4.10 shotgun. (Don’t know HOW he carried the bloody thing!) And if I see one more .9mm (that isn’t a wiregun), I’m going to scream.

                  1. 4 gauge shotguns are actually not all that big, smaller then a .50 cal rifle. They are NSF items in the US though so either hard or expensive to get.

                    They are mostly old bird guns (illegal for bird hunting anymore) but the Russians (no surprise there) made a 4 gauge pump shotgun.


                    1. 4 gauges, and more commonly, 8 gauges were and to some extent still are, used in Africa. Loaded with slugs they make effective dangerous game stoppers.

                2. Your first description sounds like a mini-gun. As far as the manual saftey on a Glock (not counting the trigger saftey), the last time I saw that in a book I was looking forward to an AD that emptied the magazine in about 0.7 seconds. (The Glock 18 has something that looks like a saftey. It isn’t.)

                  1. *grin* A gatling gun, maybe, with one of those Singer sewing machine pedals…

                    Yeah, on the G18. It’s one of the few things I don’t like about Glocks. My slightly obsessive tendency is to always check for that, even though I know it won’t be there.

                    1. Oh, it’s not that hard. Getting the initial torque might need a bit of kick, but once it’s going, keeping the rotation at, say 40-60rpm wouldn’t be that difficult at all. My old Singer ran on a leather belt drive (needs to be replaced now) and turned a blankety-blank heavy cast-iron sewing machine wheel to run the needle. Pedal was a wide metal grate that only needed about 3 or four inches of rock to keep it humming right along.

                      Traverse and to a lesser extent elevation changes would be where you need more muscle power. If you have a nice little choke point and a well sighted in gun, you might not need all that much of either if your beaten zone sits snug in that gap.

                      Keys would then be keeping the links straight and not letting up on the rotation. You can even take your foot off the pedal and rest a beat here and there, inertia will keep the thing going. If you need the elevation/traverse, your loader could probably help (elevation might well just be a small wheel with a knob like a trucker’s wheel, set to turn a simple screw). Rotation means turning the whole gun, ammo (you DO NOT want that getting kinked. Bad things, I do not exaggerate, will happen), and *you-* a non-trivial mass- so plan on that being a pain.

                    2. We used to have one of the old Singers. I saw some really beautiful ones being sold – well kept heirlooms, with instruction manuals and table and everything. I said that if we were rich and we had the space, I’d buy one of the old ones.

                      Mental image I had a gatling being spun on a setup that kind of resembles the sewing machine one, but on a swinging pedestal allowing for some range. Younger kiddies helping with the belt and swing, some others sweeping brass away, older children with slings, rifles, bows and arrows, and Momma with her skirts hitched, bonnet on, firing away. I’m torn between zombies, or a werewolf pack trying to attack a log palisade.

                3. Are you sure that wasn’t simply a transposition error? Maybe it should be “a safety manual’ on a Glock”?

                  1) Always assume weapon is loaded.
                  2) If weapon appears unloaded, review step 1.
                  3) Always keep hole pointed away from you when using.

                  1. Well, it’s only hearsay from me. I heard it from John at Libertycon… last year I think it was. Maybe this year. Even knowing as little of the man as I do, it may well have been a simple transposition error. The man writes books like I used to write essays in college: butt in chair, hands on keyboard, open head and pour brain out.

                  2. I dispute number 1. The loudest sound is a soft “click” when you’d wanted a BANG. Thankfully for me it happened in competition and not during social work. But it was a very humbling lesson. All guns aren’t always loaded. A better mantra would be “All guns are in the worst possible condition unless you verify otherwise.” or more properly perhaps “Unless you have verified the gun’s condition you must assume it is in the condition you don’t want at that instant. If a gun has left your control after your verification, then you don’t know it’s condition anymore.”

                    I know that isn’t as sexy as “All guns are always loaded” but, and all respect to Col. Cooper who was a great shooter and thinker, but that was never a practical safety rule. Safety rules are things that don’t require you to ignore them when you ‘know’ it’s okay. If “all guns are always loaded” then it impossible to clean a gun without violating the rule since the second* step is “unload the gun”. Yes, we all know it’s okay then but THAT’S NOT HOW SAFETY RULES SHOULD WORK. It undermines making them a habit, which is often the key to safety when you are distracted or tired.

                    *First step being: make sure your backup gun is loaded. It is bad form to go into a gunfight with a disassembled gun. ( )

              2. If I thought for a moment you were serious I would introduce your mouth to a cake of good lye soap. Right after I billed you for the Kindle I just smashed against the far wall.

                1. No, I’m not serious, so your Kindle is safe (at least from that egregious of an error.) Besides, someone else has already done that one, so I’ll have to find my own “Duh!” mistakes to make. 🙂

                  1. Webley-Fosbery mod 1901. Ceased production in 1924. Used in _The Maltese Falcon_. Came in .455/6 round and .38ACP/8 round capacities, according to Wikipedia. Less than 5000 manufactured.

              3. Dashiell Hammet got away with it in The Maltese Falcon. Of course, he was talking about a Webley-Fosberry…

              4. All double action revolvers are “semi-automatic” by the ATF’s definition. (basically, goes bang each time the trigger is pulled, without manually operating another mechanism)

                Ruger Blackhawk: not semi-automatic
                Ruger Redhawk: semi-automatic

              5. A while ago I wrote a little passage for myself that started out with “The Confederate soldier pulled out his Glock and flipped the safety.” The piece goes downhill from there.

                I’d like to add egregious errors about horses into that passage, but I have no understanding about horses, while I have a fairly extensive (although not nearly extensive enough) understanding of guns.

                Someday I’m going to have to hunt down a “How to write about horses” book….

                1. Just have the horse catch it’s dewclaw on the log it is jumping. Or have a horse standing idly, chewing it’s cud.

            2. My “favorite” is leaders of an alliance who treat the other leaders like dirt— like, major public disrespect, he sits on a throne while they all stand around and wait permission to talk type stuff.

              And it’s a supposedly co-equal alliance, even though they’re letting him lead.


              1. Perhaps Iron Maiden type pointy questions. The issues, they were… many. Hat tip to James Young at MGC a few days ago, there were cases of psychological trauma not well addressed (watching your neighbors being butchered and eaten alive? Not just thinking, but *knowing* you are next? Yeah, that’s going to leave scars), more cases of the leadership “telling not showing,” and transitions that don’t transit well, Planet of Hats aliens, a villain without motivation or agenda…

                It’s a credit to the author that he had an actual, somewhat compelling, decent, worth reading story underneath all that. I’ve been spoiled by Baen. And by a lot of good indie.

                Author number two wasn’t as bad, but when the story you *don’t* tell gets to be more interesting than the story you are telling, it’s weird. I mean, there’s the story of turning the misfits into a solid team that didn’t get told (it happened automagically, we guess), the rekindling of lost love that just became kissy-face with no lead up, explanation, or reason (love potions! In a sci-fi mil-sf!), we could have delved into the twisty plot corridors of factions warring for control of the McGuffin (nope, it’s assassins and saboteurs all the day long)… All of those stories had close enough to beginnings, had promise, but those promises were never kept.

                You can get away with swiping Raymond Chandler in a detective story, and have a man with a gun burst in whenever there’s been too long without any action. It doesn’t work as well when your story is worlds spanning and focused on a whole shipload of people rather than one rusty paladin, down on his luck.

                Sorry. Ranting again. Wouldn’t happen if I didn’t think the guy had promise, though.

                  1. *grin* You betcha. Larry is a better craftsman, and did it well.

                    The Grimnoir Chronicles as a whole flows. It’s got the classic noir nods in the right places, it’s got period correct information (history geek in me loves this), and the pacing is never forced. Sullivan has reasons for his laconic style that suit the character. Other characters react like real people. Well, real people with superpowers. *chuckle*

                    The setting, the character himself, the pacing, and the plot all work together to give it that detective story feeling, where you get ambushed by the bad guys in just the right place. It doesn’t feel like There’s An Author Lurking, and He Needs To Distract You Right Now.

                    Not-Larry used this plot device as a crutch. It failed because it didn’t fit the story. Oh, it could have fit, and fit well, but it had no substance to back it up, and no exposition to make it real to the reader. It can be a mystery and fit the plot, but it’s got to work with that plot. It feels like “things are going too good for these characters, let’s shake them up” was said somewhere, and disposable tertiary (if that) characters get killed off screen to no discernible reaction from the primary and secondary characters other than “there’s a saboteur on board. Let’s find him and pound on him.”

                    Sure, pounding murdering saboteurs is good policy in general. But what was he going to sabotage? Why? Who sent him? How did he get there? Nobody asks these questions. They’re not even especially curious. They’re like wandering monsters in a cheap RPG, there to move you incrementally closer to The Goal and nothing more.

                    Larry’s a lot better natural storyteller than that. Not-Larry has some things going for him, but this one needs work. A good rewrite and edit would do wonders.

                    1. It is possible that Larry, prior to attempting his Grimnoir homage not only read the actual books he was referencing but made an effort to study them, analyse their technique and their memes.

                      It is possible that Not-Larry got confused over the difference between homage and fromage, a problem that seems common in many writers.

                1. As you say “metaphorically walled” I express the hope that these were Indie authors you were reading? Certainly not books professionally curated by highly skilled experienced editors? (If so I doubt you’d have gotten so far in before hitting that wall.)

                  1. Indie, this time. The “professionally curated” kind tend to not even make it into the door, lest I need new walls.

                    I may even peek at this author’s other work (the complaint piece was early 2013 work). The first one may have been a newt, but he might’ve got better…

  3. To be in a room with sixty people and be able to speak, be able to ARGUE without fear? That brings something home.

    There is the reason so many colleges are creating “safe spaces” and declaring all dissent from orthodoxy to be “hate speech” and “deplorable” — it is the only way to maintain their facade of superiority.

      1. Mustn’t permit the preference cascade when playing Cultural Jenga. There is a good reason Putin believes House of Cards to be a documentary.

    1. I will be interested to see how much those have spread if I get into grad school. I expect it to be non-existent where I’m headed if I get in given both the school and the fact it is a professional Masters as opposed to academicly oriented.

            1. Lots of colleges these days have shooting clubs; some even have sub-groups according to whether they’re shoot smack or something else. I know of several that are mainlining Marxism.

  4. Thank you. And thank you for your willingness to promote hope. You can’t fight very well unless there is at least a little bit of hope, if not for victory then at least for something, even if it is just the hope that your fight can reserve enough that the seeds for a maybe new, and maybe that time a more successful war to take back the culture and everything else in the future, someday, will survive.

    1. It’s the last little bit in Pandora’s box. After all the monsters got let out, the -isms, the paranoia, the divisive predilection for putting people into pigeon holes, the *in*tolerance, the willful ignorance, and the lies and gaslighting… There has to be hope. We’re somewhat less than fully human without it.

      1. I prefer the more Biblical route– faith, hope and caritas.

        (That’s usually translated charity in other places, love in this one, and is best described as the Christian virtue of love. Wishing the best for others.)

        They’re all important– hard to have hope without faith, hard to have hope without love, hard to have anything keep going for long without all three.

        They feed us.

        1. Speaking of feeding us, I misread your first line as “faith, hope and carnitas”. That sounds like my kind of church.

          1. SOMEBODY really needs to take that and run with it– for Catholics, I’d suggest a Meat Friday.


            1. It would have to be a Friday with a Solemnity on it, so all those of us who can’t think of charitable works to take care of Friday penitence can still go. 🙂

              Alternatively (and the fact that this never got common tells you how many people actually got instructed in the Vatican II “you can eat meat on non-Lent Fridays if you do something else penitent” American bishops’ idea), you would provide penitent or charitable activities at the same place as the dinner.

              1. So you could sit on the sidewalk outside McDonalds with a sign saying: “Will wash feet for a burger”?

              2. Thank you! I couldn’t remember the technical term for what makes a Meat Friday, and the one from Facebook stuck in my head. (thus, I keep saying Meat Friday.)

                Hm… isn’t instructing the ignorant one of the works of mercy? *grin*

                My usual alternative– when I’m not lazy and just cooking without carne– is to pray a rosary. Because I’m horrible at it.

  5. Today the dean was talking about how our students have the advantage that they’ve never been given safe spaces, and they have to deal with ideas they disagree with, and they come out stronger for it. (An alum returned and announced, “Compared to [school], college is easy.”)

  6. I heard, once, that the movie industry was originally based in New York, but certain people were actively excluded from participation. At which point those excluded said… Hey, I heard that California has really nice weather.

    1. The Motion Picture Patents Company, aka The Edison Trust,

      was a trust of all the major American film companies (Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph, Essanay, Selig Polyscope, Lubin Manufacturing, Kalem Company, Star Film Paris, American Pathé), the leading film distributor (George Kleine) and the biggest supplier of raw film stock, Eastman Kodak. The MPPC ended the domination of foreign films on American screens, standardized the manner in which films were distributed and exhibited in America, and improved the quality of American motion pictures by internal competition. But it also discouraged its members’ entry into feature film production, and the use of outside financing, both to its members’ eventual detriment.

      They actively used litigation and strongarm tactics to make sure no unlicensed films were made. This is nicely depicted in Peter Bogdonavich’s superb movie, Nickleodeon, providing the motive for his maverick moviemakers to travel West. Once established out West, the range of climate and greater daylight were an incentive for the production part of the industry to grow there.

      Note the foundation in Creators’ Rights, i.e., patents.

      1. Not creatures from the dungeon dimension luring weak minds out to an Ancient Burial grounds so that the moving picture makers could open a portal into our world?

        Because that explains the current state of Holy Wood better…

        1. Just for fun, there was a fantasy-historical by Barbara Hambly that went deep into those early days of the movies in Hollywood –

          I kind of like the cover to the original paperback edition, though – so very old-school thriller.

          1. IMO that cover was “very old-time movie poster”. 😉

            It is a very good read. 😀

    2. Yep – it was.Independent movie makers began moving to the LA area around 1910, to escape the Edison Trust – and because with the mild climate, and hugely varied scenery, they could film year-round outside.

      1. And close to the Mexican border so if Edison sent the Pinkerton pitbulls, the producers could jump across the borderand hide

        1. its about three hours to the Mexican border on modern freeways, iyt wouldn’t have been that close in 191x.

  7. It’s good to hear about this Sarah (strength in numbers and all), but I know I’m not alone in saying that even when very few around me were willing to contradict the prevailing groupthought, I was happy to do so. Not confrontationally necessarily, but to make sure the leftists realized that they weren’t universally agreed with.

    1. Cussedly stubborn, at least for me. Contrarian, perhaps. But damn doesn’t it feel good when you make ’em stop and think for once. The expression on their faces…! *chuckle*

  8. Honestly, it is sad that people need to silo themselves out. But when there is such a difference between both sides I guess it is needed. Only concern is how long it will take to get eaten.

  9. “We who disagree need parallel structures.”

    Yep. There you go. Where is the Conservative Twitter? Conservative Facebook? Conservative WordPress? Conservative TOR? (Yes, Baen there, done that.)

    Merely exposing existing bias is a game that’s lost all its traction. Now all these outlets are actively, deliberately and -obviously- in the tank, and nobody cares. Expose more bias? Whoop de doo.

    No, now is the period when we start making MONEY off the bias. Farm it like a cash crop. Can’t get published at Amazon because bias? Come to HoytBooks, we’ll publish your crap and you can make a buck or two better than Amazon to boot.

    Just let the big dudes get a little bit worse, and there will be money in an alternative Youtube, Facebook, Google etc. DuckDuckGo makes money off -not- tracking you, that’s a growth industry in the post-Snowden world.

    How about a whole independent infrastructure that runs outside the Web? Uses cellphones as a backbone, private servers, wifi and PC-based cloud services to move stuff off the telephone lines? Money waiting to be made.

    Next killer ap will be PRIVACY. Something that keeps Big Brother out of my sock drawer I’d be willing to pay for.

    In book writing, I wouldn’t mind some people to read my crap and tell me where I messed up. People I can trust not to screw me over, who are not raging communists.

    1. “How about a whole independent infrastructure that runs outside the Web?”
      Oh, like perhaps lighter than air or drone antennas (oops, requires FAA approval). Forget the entire electromagnetic spectrum, owned and operated by the FCC.
      If you can get started with gravity waves or perhaps quantum-entangled particle communication you stand a chance, otherwise forget all about it.

      1. Awards. Honest fan awards.

        What?! Prestige that isn’t controlled by the elite-wanna-bes? Is that even possible?

          1. While this is true I consider a Hugo a much better indicator of “never read” than an Amazon failure to recommend to me. YMMV.

            1. Ummmmm … yeah. I consider walking ito a B&N blindfolded and selecting a book at random a much more worthy indicator than a Hugo Award. At least such a random selection doesn’t absolutely guarantee a book which will have me contemplating ripping my eyes out after fifty pages.

      2. They just want money… That is the greatest equalizer of capitalism. As long as Amazon keeps the quality of service high enough, the only ‘bias’ at Amazon will be what sells and what doesn’t. And for e-books, the cost of inclusion for Amazon is pretty low, just some bits on a hard-drive and a template for the web.

      3. “So far there is no bias at Amazon.”

        I agree, and yet find the qualifier “so far” to be somewhat disturbing. ~:)

        We definitely need parallel stuff, if only so the Lefties will have someplace to get old and shuffle off their mortal coil in.

    2. Mememe! I read fast, do freelance editing, and I’m allergic to communism and have the Marx to prove it.

      1. How high a tolerance for English as used by a non-native speaker (funny mistakes…) do you have? And how much do you charge?

        I did get some inheritance money a couple of years ago. I have been planning to pay to get my books, the ones already on Amazon and the ones I am writing now, edited so that the English would be as correct as possible. Most of the complaints I have gotten for them is of the language, I am fairly fluent with English but I do make more mistakes than most of you, especially when writing a longer story. Story editing and criticism would be a plus, but the main thing is getting the English fixed.

        Now two years ago I put nearly half of the money on a bank account that I could not access for two years, then the rest, well, I paid off a couple of loans, bought a car, and then decided I really really wanted to visit USA right then and that took most of what was left of what I could use then.

        Now I also managed to get a second job which should get me enough that I can probably also pay for editing from my pay (after a couple more months – and I’m still on trial time for two and a half more months, but after that there should be some job security, it’s just cleaning and I’m experienced, reliable and don’t get sick often so I should be able to keep this…) and still leave that deposit untouched.

        So now it’s finally time to start looking for editors.

        1. My apologies for what I am about to do, as I have never been sufficiently fluent to make puns in any foreign language …

          the main thing is getting the English fixed.

          That is something the French and Germans have been working in vain to do for over a thousand years.

          1. The European Union has joined, as well, even thought they had them, but it appears that the English have now slipped their grip.

        2. Actually, non-native English editing is a bit of a specialty of mine, so that might work really well. I am about to go pick up my spawn from school and will get back to you ASAP. 🙂

            1. Silly time differences… I dropped you an e-mail at your yahoo address, so let me know if it vanishes into the ether or anything.

      2. So how many of us editors are there here? I know Uncle Lar does some editing, and Celia, and apparently you (I’d missed that until now, somehow). I’m just surrounded by competition here, aren’t I? 😛 Do send me your email, btw, so if I get an overflow I can send it your way. Hasn’t happened recently, but it does from time to time.

        1. I wouldn’t dare guess how many editors are around in a bunch of opinionated, introverted Odds.I am a glacially slow writer, but I read like lightning, so I concentrate on my strengths. 🙂

        2. Cats on keyboard cutting off my reply, argh. ANYway, most of my current editing is marketing or academic, so I don’t talk about it much, but I’m good at fiction and prefer it. (Mostly. Editing ads makes me giggle a lot.) And overflow’s a happy if it should show up – extra funding for the 1,001 garden projects on my horizon would be niiiiice. You can get a hold of me at (aggrokitty at properly-spelled-geemail dot com).

        3. I’ll need to figure out how to bookmark since I’ve currently eviscerated first half and am rewriting

        4. Totally not me. I’m (just barely) competition for the dumbest monkey still trying to figure out the space bar, not the folks here. *grin*

          Also, am resisting the current temptations to scribble. If I scribble, I lose time to sleep right now, so I can’t. Really. *looks at Shadowdancer, tempting me with Singer sewing machine gatling gun hybrids. Nope. Not gonna.*

          1. …*looks at Shadowdancer, tempting me with Singer sewing machine gatling gun hybrids. Nope. Not gonna.*

            Awww. Come on.

            Wouldn’t it be delightful.

          2. I’ve been thinking in my head of how it’d look like to draw the scene and the weapon in question.

            Describing the scene to my armorer husband, he smiled and said “I can just picture the belt of ammo coming out of an old fashioned water barrel.”

            *tempt tempt*

    3. Now all these outlets are actively, deliberately and -obviously- in the tank, and nobody cares. Expose more bias? Whoop de doo.

      Except that they’re not.

      Every year, a few more of my family and friends figure out that this or that is biased. The continued exposure is working— and it can’t be stopped, because when it is, well… today I was scanning and hit NPR with a talker going on about how “the woman who invented the notion of death panels” had done something or other. Listened long enough to establish that he wouldn’t ever actually quote her, or describe how she was countered, just lots of yelling that she was part of “Conservative Think Tanks” and had been “debunked over and over.”
      It takes folks showing, constantly, that publicly disagreeing with a statement isn’t “debunking.”


      On the flip side, I was on what was basically a sort of center-right Huffington post, but good.
      I left when they
      1) asked for extensive test-use and feedback, and then ignored it completely,
      2) started not enforcing the community standards based on ideology.

      Basically, liberals could get away with murder– in one exceptional case, a guy was banned for quoting, in a reply, what a liberal commenter had said. Because it was against the TOS. Their reasoning was that a variety of viewpoints was good… not that you were allowed to respond to those other viewpoints, but it was a greater good to have them around than to follow the supposedly iron clad “be decent” rules.

      A lot of conservative attempts at making an alternative to what’s already there suffer the same problem.

      We do quite well on talk radio, podcasts and being news sources.

    4. I seem to recall something about a Twitter competitor called “gab.” Don’t think it’s out of beta yet, but their tagline is supposed to be simple communication with no third parties. I.e., no selling you to advertisers, tracking you, your content, or your friends.

      The idea may have some traction. We’ll see.

      1. I’ve seen a few references to it of late, and have signed up to get on the waiting list, but so far am still waiting. We shall see. I won’t say it’s The One (to replace Twitter), but it’s a possibility at least.

      2. The site is and it’s still in invite-only beta testing at the moment. You give them your email address and they say “We’ll put you in the waiting list, and we’ll email you when your invite is ready.” I signed up maybe a week ago, and was told I was #20,000-something in the waiting list. Their founder has said that they’re sending out hundreds (or did he say thousands?) of invites per day, which means I probably have anywhere between 10 and 30-ish days to wait.

    5. That’s great… just go into it with your eyes open and contingency plans for the fact that once you become significant enough the exising YouTubeFacebookGoogle etc. notice you they will want to get rid of you. And since they ARE reading your mail on behalf of Big Brother they can call up Big Brother and have him lean on you all sorts of ways. There is probably a reason YouBookoogleetc. is in bed with Big Brother besides just philosophical leanings… they are scratching its back so that when Alt. YouTube shows up Big Brother will scratch for them.

      That’s not to say it can’t be done. Just that you should expect it will happen and be ready for it from the beginning. That may mean instead of making something you get to control and make money on you have to create something that quickly grows beyond any controls… so when BigBrother comes to you and says “give us the keys to this and btw secretly start tracking these people OR ELSE” you don’t have to count on having the courage and ability to stand up to them, you can simply say “I’d love to get out of this audit / felony charge / blackmail that way… but there ARE NO KEYS and I have no more way to track these people than anyone else.

    6. > Next killer ap will be PRIVACY.

      I dunno. Most of the people I know in my age group are all for privacy until it becomes the slightest bit inconvenient. Young adults who grew up under cameras and nannyware… most of the ones I’ve talked to have no particular desire for privacy.

      1. Momma grew up in a world of party line phones. She advised me – never say anything on the phone that you wouldn’t want posted on the front page of the paper.

        My modern version — never post anything on the net you wouldn’t want broadcast at the top of every half hour and on the front of the papers and mags that are kept along the check out line.

        1. Heck, I’m younger than you (I’m pretty sure, I know I’m significantly younger than your husband) and I grew up with a party line.

          I assume my cell phone (the only phone I have) is always a party line, with the distinct possibility that Big Brother down the road has picked up and is quietly listening in. Never, ever say something on the phone that you wouldn’t admit to in court.

          1. Your cell phone is “private” to the casual listener.

            IE you need special gear to listen in on a cell phone conversation but it is possible to do so.

            Now it is illegal for a private citizen to attempt to listen in on such of conversation and I’m not sure if a warrant is necessary for law enforcement to do so.

            Note, remember the “scandal” about Newt having a cell-phone conference call with other Republicans?

            While I’m not sure that Newt was doing anything illegal, the people who recorded the conference call were acting illegally but the News Media didn’t mention that. 👿

            1. My understanding is while it is illegal for me or you to listen to cell phone conversations (or at the very least, illegal to modify a receiver/transceiver to listen to cell phone frequencies, or to possess a receiver/transceiver capable of doing so) it is not so for law enforcement, because radio waves are not considered sufficiently private.

              1. Buy an old scanner radio, and you can listen to them all you want.
                I had a friend years ago who had a recording of a local cop talking about the cocaine he picked up for the party that night. He figured if he ever got arrested, it was his ‘get out of jail free’ card.
                I always figured that yeah, he’d get out of jail and right into the compost heap!

                1. I should have stressed the “modified” portion. Any scanner old enough to not need to be modified is legal to have, I’m unsure on the legalities of using it to listen to cell phone conversations, but believe that the existence of such scanners and the therefore “reasonable assumption of lack of privacy” is in large part what the decision that a warrant isn’t needed for law enforcement to listen to cell phone conversations, is based on.

                2. You really can’t. they are digital transmissions that an ‘old scanner radio’ isn’t going to know what to do with. Some providers also use lightweight encryption. It isnt like ti was under the old analog system two decades ago where you just had to acquire the right frequency crystals

      2. The killer ap I am eagerly awaiting is the one which backtracks spam and frags the system of the sender. If it can be used for phone calls I will even go ahead and upgrade to that smart phone my service provider regularly tells me can be mine for a pittance.

  10. We need more face-to-face meetings. But even here in Houston the Barflies are lucky to meet once a year, and half the people can’t make it. And that’s fans, not just writers.

    1. *throws idea at the internet wall*
      Set up a group system like a Fraternity with Chapters. Chapters control their own regular meetings. Set up a national meet on an annual/semi-annual basis. Let the chapters host the meetings in different locations each year.

      1. Hah! I don’t even believe in them then. I once (after an admittedly long night drinking) disbelieved my own existence (I wasn’t thinking.)

            1. Is the emperor dreaming he is a butterfly? Is the butterfly that he is the emperor? Could it be some version of the butterfly dreaming he is the emperor dreaming that he is a butterfly dreaming that he is the emperor…or visa versa?

              Then again, they all could be correct and it just depends on which universe you are viewing it from at a given moment.

                  1. There are situations that would be better addressed by a nice cuppa Earl Gray, or single malt neat on frozen whisky stones.

                    1. Got Glenfiddich, or Glenlivet (both 12yr) but I also got some Jameson, Irish Whiskey, and a bottle of 1910 Rye. . . okay, 3/4 of a bottle of each but the Genlivet, as it is a bit past half gone.

                    2. Age and health has been catching up with Daddy. He is no longer actively practicing law, transatlantic or otherwise. Last year he sold his flat in London. Being unable to drink hard liquor for medical reasons, Daddy has recently bestowed upon The Daughter and myself the first part of his collection of single malts.

                      There are things to be said for small families.

                    3. Basically that is what exactly The Daughter and I said. Then we added, ‘Thank you,’ after which we said ‘Thank you very much.’

        1. Descartes was in a bar drinking. The bartender asked him if he wanted another beer. Descartes said “I think not” and promptly disappeared.

      2. Well, as I recall, Sarah, you weren’t entirely convinced that I’m not a rather smug American Exotic Shorthair until we met at LibertyCon, so . . . 🙂

      1. I need to start a contact list for Houston and anyone close enough they might want to come. Anyone interested, email me at uphofftx at hotmail dot com and I’ll see if I can manage that much organization in a rather chaotic life these days.

    2. Albuquerque has a large and active writer’s group, Southwest Writers. I don’t think it’s partisan, and it covers all genres. It’s very active. I don’t go because I just don’t get around to it but it’s there. There is also an RWA chapter. There may or may not be a Mystery genre club out there. I want to say I’ve heard of one local. I know there is not a Science Fiction one. There are authors in the ham radio club, I know, writing YA and juveniles and how “conservative” is that?

      There may be room for a “chapter” or “club” type of organization, less limited by genre or “Barflies” or even writing, necessarily. The idea of an interest group to meet to offer support and to aim creators at other resources is both exciting to me and horrifying.

      1. I joined a script writing group advertised with Southwest Writers. I was the only *only* non crazy-liberal there. Everyone was friendly but my entire turn at doing a “pitch” got side tracked by the immense and amazed reaction to “and the 17 year old daughter is headed to Marine Corp basic training in three weeks…” It wasn’t a negative reaction but it was like I’d stepped through a looking glass to another reality, one in which a girl joining the Marines wasn’t a completely *normal* thing for a girl to do. It was, in fact, the most amazing and interesting thing they’d ever heard. And I’m like… and then there’s aliens… you know… aliens? And they’re like, “How did she decide to join the Marines?”


        1. Sounds a bit like my only exposure to the Panhandle Writers’ group. Really nice folks, about 80% romance, 30% Christian fiction (lots of overlap), one or two horror writers, two contemporary fiction, and another gal and I are the only sci-fi, and she does humor sic-fi. Politics seemed to lean more liberal but it was an open meeting/workshop so *shrug*

            1. Untethered from gravity to fly like a bird through the sky, why would we want to imagine something so fantastic and unattainable?

              Next thing you know you’ll say something strange, like,

              We hold these truths to be self evident: all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights; that among these are life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent if the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem likely to effect their safety and happiness.

              1. We hold these truths to be self evident …

                Nyahhhhhhh, that’s just crazy talk. What kind of country would it be if everyone thought like that?

            2. Naw, I get two main reactions from Non SF readers. One is, flying cars aren’t feasible/a good idea. Usually prefixed by, “I can’t keep my current car running/safely going down the road, how are you going to manage that with a flying car?” And the second is a simple, “why would you want them?”

              They all expect flying cars, the why to them is simply explained by “it’s SF”, just like they never ask why you have horses in a Western. You just do, that is a part of the genre definition. They go immediately to either, “that won’t work,” or “why would you want that?”

            3. And the future isn’t what it seems when it becomes the present. Those folks going around with laser-guns? Not soldiers or cops, but … store clerks scanning barcodes for inventory control.

              Hrmm.. the path of technology:

              And then the curious mixes, like the pushbutton DTMF digital redial replica candlestick phone on my desk.

            4. Don’t bet on no flying cars – there’s stuff happening out here in silicon valley, done by little secret R&D operations in anonymous concrete tilt-up spaces, that leverages the whole drone explosion towards just that. Some has become public, like the stuff over in Germany. There’s lots more.

              1. It may be possible to have flying cars.

                I’m just worried about how the air traffic is handled. 👿

                1. True, all those flying cars encroaches on your territory, but why should you worry when you have a built in flame thrower?

                    1. That is likely the end game for self-driving cars, which I suspect* will find three-dimensional navigation easier than two-dimensional. A greater concern might be the property rights of those people holding property underneath the flight lanes, especially if idiots throw trash out the windows or if a vehicle experiences mechanical breakdown (we need not discuss sun bathers a la buff.)

                      *I dare say nobody wants the extensive discourse explaining such suspicions would entail. Either stipulate it, reject it or work out the reasoning on your own.

                    2. Oh, I have.

                      But if we are no longer tied to the industrial standard time management clock, so everyone is not trying to get in and out at the same time, it might work … except for the idiot part.

                      Ignorant you can fix, you can’t fix stupid, even in science fiction.

                    3. Double edged sword, there. Sure with flying cars you have to look out for vehicles in six directions instead of four, but you can also spread out vertically, without a lot of new infrastructure needing to be built for the extra lanes, and no need to use eminent domain to steal peoples land to expand the freeway. So there should be many less traffic jams and congestion.
                      Now whether there will be more accidents with flying cars, because you have people weaving in and out of traffic in three dimensions instead of two, or if there will be less accidents because the cars can spread out more and have more room to maneuver in; that I can’t tell you.

  11. this was the beginning of creating connections and structures of mutual help for libertarians and conservatives

    Maybe soon there will be a healthcare sharing ministry for libertarians, which is not faith-based. Similar to

    I just thought it would take too long, and there would be a dark period of sorts before creators and builders could take over.

    Did you see the desktop waterjet cutter machine newly-announced on kickstarter? The technological singularity is on schedule.

  12. The real barbarians can’t hold us. No, trust me. They can’t.

    Funny thing… I was just thinking about this, the other day.

    It’s the opening plot-hole (or maybe hand-wave in the setup) for Idiocracy.

    It’s that people change their behavior. They don’t keep going when the situation changes radically, even when it’s a bit slow– so it was the “thing” last generation that the highly intelligent women had a full blown career before they had kids? A whole lot of people have seen, are seeing, the cost in that– I can count on one hand the number of folks about my age who didn’t put marriage before career (for whatever reason) and who didn’t struggle in great pain to have kids. If you count “didn’t marry until they found the right person, then marriage ahead of career,” I don’t know any, and some of the folks who put kids and marriage first are still struggling.

    People are seeing how much more lonely their kids are family-wise, when there isn’t a whole flock of cousins– there’s about as many as there were *parents* for those cousins when you grew up. This is even hitting some of the folks who are grandparents now– my own mom was startled to realize that she (and the rest of the family, but odd because they’re her grandkids) didn’t categorize any of the family gatherings where my family didn’t make it as having “a bunch of the little cousins” because…well, we usually are most of any group of child cousins.

    Even really dumb people will change their behavior as situations change– maybe even faster than smart ones, but smart ones will do it, too.

    Our smart folks aren’t stupid enough to all quietly march into extinction, looking for the “right time.”

    1. I don’t know – I have plenty of problems with the “Idiocracy” premise*, but waiting ones self right out of the viable gene pool is something I see here in Silicon Valley every day.

      On the other side of that coin, I’ve also seen lots of trade-ins by men hitting their 40s or so, where the trade is not per se for trophy wives with big hair and expensive maintenance as arm candy, but instead for still-in-childbearing-age wives who are interested in propagating his genes.

      * My number one “Idiocracy” problem: What about China? or India? Or Mexico? As if the US Idiocracy, if it had somehow made it through all the “Einstein’s parents weren’t brilliant theoretical physicists” and it’s-not-a-monoculture and Foxfire’s very valid self-correcting population behavior gates, would not have soon become nothing more than a wholly owned subsidiary of a different culture that did not share the same basis for passing through those same decision gates.

      And then the smart managers running things would all speak {insert furrin language here}, with the large example of what-not-to-do of the native underclass washing their flying cars to keep them away from not having kids.

      1. Thing is, we don’t have magical abilities that put us beyond normal humans– we just notice. And don’t make the same mistake.

        If someone sees somebody else make a mistake that removes them from the genepool, and DOESN’T make any attempt to avoid it, are we sure they’re really all that smart?

    2. I’ve not seen Idiocracy but I did see Wall-E and a few things bothered me. Wouldn’t there have been some outliers always doing different things with dietary arrangements and exercise – and if people were as lazy and lethargic as shown, how was reproduction achieved? (It’s only a kid movie.. yes.)

      The disposal of trash by dumping, from a space ship which is limited, was also utterly insane. That’s ore, of rather high grade yet, they were throwing away.

      1. Since it ended up having a really strong human wave resolution, I can forgive a lot of the lazy setup– it can be put in the “cut for time, here’s a really impressionistic version” sense.

      2. Incidentally, Idiocracy doesn’t get the same “get out of jail free” card because it doesn’t manage the payoff. It’s just rather cheap laugh setup. Some folks find it awesome, though.

      3. My headcanon is that Wall-E was the result of a (obviously failed) attempt to create a post-scarcity society. Because there is a way to fake it, for a while.

        The method is to have production technology far in advance of what you produce for the consumer, so you can afford to create an excess of everything. Far more than anyone could ever hope to consume. See Soviet Union for examples.

        But that isn’t enough is it? Because there will always be demand for something not produced. One could go the Propaganda and Jackboot route, but that is crude, and we know that BnL was effectively the government. P&J doesn’t fit their image very well.

        Alternate solution: drug the food with something that creates apathy. There were of course other methods of inducing it, but everyone uses food so it makes a good delivery mechanism.

        [time passes]

        OH CRAP! The planet is a trash pile!

        Everyone gets on ships. Now that everything about people’s lives is easy to control, the drugs in the food can be replaced by direct …anti-stimulation? …brain damping? built into the chairs that everyone sits in. The advantage is that if you suddenly need your passengers clear headed RIGHT NOW, you can turn off the dampers.

        Notice what happens the moment a human’s chair is tampered with.

        Thus endeth my headcanon.

        1. See, THIS is why fandom is awesome.

          This solution works, although I haven’t tried to tear it apart (nothing personal, theories have to be tested)–would take a lot more watching than I want to put into the movie. I’d rather watch the main character’s design inspiration in Short Circuit.

          It’s fun and holds up to basic exposure.

  13. The competiton is in motion:

    “Facebook, Twitter and news organizations including Agence France-Presse have joined a coalition of media and technology groups seeking to filter out online misinformation and improve news quality on social networks.

    Jenni Sargent, managing director of First Draft, said the partner network will help advance the organization’s goal of improving news online and on social networks.

    “Filtering out false information can be hard. Even if news organizations only share fact-checked and verified stories, everyone is a publisher and a potential source,” she said in a blog post.

    The partner network includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, The New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News of Australia, ProPublica, AFP, The Telegraph, France Info, Breaking News, Le Monde’s Les Decodeurs, International Business Times UK, Eurovision News Exchange and Al Jazeera Media Network.

    Other organizations in the network include Amnesty International, European Journalism Centre, American Press Institute, International Fact Checking Network and Duke Reporters’ Lab.”

    Going to take a little more than writers groups to buck that headwind, methinks.

    1. Yeah. We’re working on other fronts, too. BUT what we need to do is take the culture.
      We have a huge help in this: the left can’t make things work. Not long term. the illusions won’t allow them to make reality work.
      Kind of like the more trad publishing tightens, the more we escape to indie.

      1. This is faintly reminiscent of the pamphlets and penny dreadfuls of bygone age. Make it fun, ubiquitous and CHEAP, and people will read.

      2. We’ve discussed the degree to which the Left’s competent story-tellers (Weadon, e.g.) tell conservative stories; that’s because reality and the human heart tilt toward that. It is also why they so frequently have to resort to sucker punches and cardboard characters to force things their way. Better tales, if the audience is able to find them, will win this race — and our opponents are hampered by having two left feet.

        1. tell conservative stories…sucker punches and cardboard characters

          RES, that’s something I’ve notice before, and it sounds like an interesting post or discussion. Can you show me where it is?

          1. That’s been a kinda general discussion in this venue for the last five, six years, here a thread, there a thread, everywhere a thread a thread, with never a whole cloth discussion that I can recall. It gets pawed in the puppy discussions, kicked around in the pablum publishing palavers, and generally touched on in almost any discussion here. It is akin to the way we reflexively acknowledge that Posner is still a moron — something that has been widely addressed but never directly engaged. Perhaps Sarah or one of the guest posting writers might want to take it as a topic — being honest? being true to the story? avoiding forcing events/characters to do what the author wants rather than what the story wants?

            The best example I can recall was in the film The Birdcage. Beloved Spouse & I having already seen 1978’s La Cage aux Folles were quite interested in seeing how it was adapted into an American film, and went with high hopes because we (still) had great respect for the talents involved, from director Mike Nichols to stars Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman.

            Leaving the theatre we were oddly disappointed and after discussing the film realized it was because it was almost a great film — but they had forced the story by making Hackman’s Sen. Keeley character only two-dimensional. Because he was such a cardboard target there was little pleasure in bringing him around. The chaos endured lost its point because there was no character arc for the “moral” senator; he only existed as a fake threat and thus the audience is denied any sense of accomplishment by his acceptance of the relationship between Williams & Goldman.

            Sucker punches have been discussed by John Nolte, way back when he was blogging film criticism in Dirty Harry’s Place. That occurs when a character, situation or line appears out of nowhere and serves only to make sure everybody watching knows the filmmakers know that conservatives/Christians/businessperson/the military are evil. It is something that only works if you share their bigotry and feel a need to express how deplorable such folk are. Such sucker punches simply drop people who don’t share such bigotry out of the film/show/book.

            Certain TV shows are infamous for the audience’s ability to pick out the villain within the first few minutes because he (almost always he, but sometimes she) is presented as a Christian: judgmental, hypocritical, demanding others adhere to a false morality. It becomes a form of shark-jumping because after a few such incidents in a program the conservative audience tends to stop tuning in (although the critics may praise it all the more highly.)

            If you’ve seen the original Birth of a Nation, consider how it portrays Negroes and translate such simplistic presentations to conservatives. It bespeaks not only an unwillingness to see some people as whole but a desire not to, to reduce them to caricature in order to feel better about oneself.

            1. I’d noticed a few things that knocked me out of Joss Wheden’s stories, and while I found Angel and Firefly riveting, the last season of Buffy was nigh unwatchable. I’d just wondered if there were some examples I’d overlooked.

              I found it interesting that Wheden and George RR Martin could write some very non-politically-correct stories and subvert expectations in clever ways, while for most of their careers the feminists and the SJWs seemed to tolerate them and excuse them as long as they tossed out an occasional virtue signal, all for the prestige of having talented successful people on their side, and it made me wonder how much they really believed it.

              I’m also fascinated by those instances when there’s a designated villain or anti-hero, but because of the creator’s talent and honesty its the villain that becomes a fan favorite. Just look at Judge Dredd, Rorcharch, and the colonel from Avatar.

              Of course, I’ve seen the same among some conservative writers who craft designated villains who end up becoming favorites. As far back as Milton with Paradise Lost.

              1. Examples, I can think of a couple.

                For Whedon I would point to Firefly, although it has been sufficiently long since I watched it that no specific scene or episode comes to mind. It is possible that credit goes to Adam Baldwin for saying, “No way my character would do that, he’d simply draw his gun and shoot the sword-wielding a-hole.”

                For American television, the most famous/notorious instance was the designated butt of jokes in Norman Lear’s All in the Family, although this may be another instance of an actor making the character because, no matter how liberal the actor he is driven to find the sweet spot for his role.

                Upcoming reports on The Magnificent Seven remake indicate it will be another Proglodyte film that, changing the villains to a greedy industrialist (wow, Hollywood, what a brilliant and novel idea! What in your experience suggested such a change?)

                As I deliberately eschew programs prone to conveying they deem people of my ilk deplorable it is difficult to call up additional examples. I reads for pleasure and once an author displays the middle finger it ceases to be pleasurable.

                1. One other factor depressing me about the Magnificent Seven remake is that the trailer …

                  … looks like Guardians of the Old West, cowboy super-heroes.

                  One wonders if these people ever even saw the original Magnificent Seven, much less Seven Samurai. It wasn’t the 7 who were “magnificent” — what was magnificent was what they did.

              2. One that pops up a lot here– given the high number of female geeks– is that OF COURSE Willow got picked as the Designated Gay.

                The ‘twist’ in the Firefly movie– haven’t seen it– with the Rev, likewise, one of those growl, sigh, shrug, of course things.

                Can’t really think of examples off the top of my head– it’s one of those things where he’s exceptional for not doing the normal, annoying thing. Kind of like how NCIS isn’t 100% accurate, it just gets the “feel” right and avoids making as many mistakes.

                1. *blink, blink* I must have missed that in the movie (_Serenity_). Totally missed that. I was too busy grinning, giggling, and being terrified out of my seat (the off-screen scene with the replayed recording about the experiment.)

                2. Yeah, with Willow my reaction was: well where did that come from?

                  I saw Serenity. Can’t say I noticed anything off about Shepherd Book. He’s the one you meant by Rev, right?

                  1. As Willow’s unrequited crush on Xander seemed to have such an honest quality to it, the outing did seem a bit of a troublesome plot twist.

                  2. Yeah, with Willow my reaction was: well where did that come from?

                    *stiff smile* Same place as a Jewish girl suddenly being a wiccan. That’s what is expected of good little geek girls, you know– unless you’re a really hot one, in which case you’re bi, and probably desperate.
                    Only thing that would’ve made it more standard would be if the character was short, fat, and had thick glasses. Maybe braces.

                    Just as standard as Catholic girls being (probably secretly) slutty, or any guy who isn’t cool about a guy hitting on him is gay. It’s what Everybody Knows in TV land.

                    1. Apparently you’ve not known all that many liberal American Jewish girls. They’ll pretty much believe in anything that doesn’t require believing in G-d.

                    2. Jewish, no, but a lot of cultural Catholics in the same basic format.

                      There’s two groups, in this aspect, one where this would make sense– the running scared ones like you mention– and the vaguely guilty for not believing ones who are more chill, which is what Willow came across as. With some sort of BIG event, the sudden switch could be explained– with a long seduction of sorts, starting from the “it’s like science” point, it could work.
                      As presented? It was just… Writer Says.

                    1. I don’t remember if they every touched on that*, but I was trying not to be spoilerific about Book’s backstory. Link in a reply… somewhere up there.

                      * wouldn’t surprise me if it got shoe-horned in somewhere, the Heinleinesq treatment of sex is part of why I just couldn’t like it, but I do not actually remember it.

                    2. I didn’t like the movie, I thought it sucked compared to the show, but the character that I remember being really off was River, don’t remember anything about Shepherd Book, but it has been a while since I saw it.

                    3. Heck, I don’t even remember anyone in there being particularly cheerful. Except maybe Jayne … in that episode where they went to Jaynestown …

        2. True. One good example of something specific would be guns and Hollywood – full of gun banners, it seems, yet they keep making these movies which make guns and people who use them look so very cool, not to speak of making guns seem very useful. 😀

    2. I’d argue that for many Americans, and increasing numbers of Europeans and Brits and Canadians, the very promise of “We’ll protect you from misinformation” will make them more suspicious of those very sources. Add a dollop of “Trust us, we know what’s best” and I suspect a goodly chunk of the readers/viewers will start to assume the reverse of whatever the media claim. Sort of the same way that “The science is settled” has become a joke, even among parts of the AGW crowd.

      1. Certainly made my hair stand up, let me tell you. Al Jazeera? That’s going to be grrrrreat, right?

      2. Heh. Reading the comments on certain news in my country, specifically about the migrants and crime – well, for starters, now the common assumption especially when there has been a specific type of crime, street violence or rape, and the race, skin color or language or accent of the suspect/s is not mentioned everybody immediately starts to wonder if (some are certain) it’s a migrant. Because when it is not those details do get told more often than not, but when it is they get often get told only at a point when it is impossible not to, like if the person is caught and sentenced and the name is there in the records for everybody to find out.

        People still seem to believe a lot of the other news, but not as much as they did, say, ten years ago. Once the suspicion gets planted, and then often enough also proved even if it is only with one subject it will stay there, and everything the party in question now says will start to become suspect. And more and more suspect once something else gets proven as spin or fabrication, even if it is only once in a while.

        1. I’m suspicious enough to wonder if all the talk about Russia interfering with the election and the possibility of hacking is to lay the ground for tossing the results in the event of a Trump victory. Trump wins, and a Democrat representative and senator file objection to the electoral college results. Democrats force the results to be tossed as “tainted” or “unverifiable,” and, the president and vice-president is elected by congress. The Democrats put a Democrat president and vice-president in office, but in the “interest of bi-partisanship,” they pick neither Hillary or Kane. And since it’s neither Hillary or Trump, the GOP elites are cool with it.

        2. In the United States it has been accepted for about half a century now that if an assailant’s description isn’t provided in news reports that means the assailant is minority, and probably not Jewish nor Asian-American.

          In the same way, when a politician is caught exploiting public office for personal gain and there is no mention of party in the headline or the lede, paragraph then you can be confident the politician is a Democrat.

          For some reason our “intellectual protectors” seem convinced Americans are a mass of deplorable people seething with resentment, clinging bitterly to our Bibles and guns, ready to surge into lynch mobs at the slightest provocation.

          That they are the most likely targets of such mobs yet are not dangling seems beyond their comprehension.

            1. I suspect that they would prefer the term ‘hand-basket’ with its full implications. Even though most of them do not to believe in said destination, they are entirely certain of who would belong there if it did.

            2. I had been planning to vote for Gary Johnson, but now I’m tempted to switch to Trump because I want to be deplorable, dammit!

              1. While I encourage voting Trump solely for the pleasures of watching the SJW head explosions, be assured that even if you vote Johnson or Green we will always consider you deplorable, my dear.

    1. Che was a self-promoting brutal sadistic man who personally gladly used force, torture and murder to impose his will. He was not so much a true believer in the cause of communism as a user of a cause for his own purposes. Che’s real concern was Che.

      1. I can’t help but wonder: to what degree does that describes every Communist, Nazi, Socialist, or really, anyone who wants to impose their will on others?

        I am fully convinced that if Hillary were to discover that she could get complete control over our lives if she were to just support gun rights, free speech, lower taxes, deregulation, and the jettisoning of everything she has gained so far, she would do it; having said that, however, she can’t support these causes, because it inherently means less power for her.

        I am also completely convinced that if communists really believed in “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”, starting with the Frankfurt school at least — when they realized that America would *never* become Communist, because Americans were too darn prosperous! — they would denounce communist governments, and embrace free markets everywhere. That they don’t indicates to me that they are in it for their own absolute power over others, which is the ONE thing you cannot have in a free market, and that this is the ONLY thing that matters to them.

  14. It occurs to me that fewer reptiods, greys, et cetera are openly represented in politics than deranged paranoids might believe are politically active.

    It occurs to me that modern political correctness, taken to the logical extreme, has no way to disprove the notion that a person is a secret traditionally oppressed nonhuman.

    In theory this could be exploited as a new justification for conservative policy.

      1. with the Russians! Anyone who knows Russian history and politics can tell you that they let inhuman monsters live and work openly and without fear, even at the highest levels of government.

        Seriously, I didn’t originally mean the joke that way.

        More of my usual conceding the left’s argument that my politics comes from heartlessness and inhumanity (rather than a soft heart and seeing through their illusions), but it is horribly, horribly racist of them to disqualify me on those grounds.

  15. Sarah:
    I enjoyed that. Nowadays it’s rare to hear something that positive. But you’re right. It is encouraging to know you’re not alone. It’ll be interesting to see if we visibly move the needle.
    Best regards.

  16. Sigh. I need to figure out something like this for librarians, but I’m neither a joiner nor a leader. I think I’m allergic. The only reason we have Tosho-con is because a group of teens decided to pull an Andy Rooney/Judy Garland number, and I told them, “sure, I can help you make that happen.”

    But you lot (indie writers, Baen) need to get on top of making your e-books accessible to public libraries. Particularly those of you who are writing stuff appropriate for older kids and teens. I can and will do what amounts to a stand-up-comedy / storytelling routine for 500+ teens (And I’m very, very good at this) IFF I can put your book in the hands of young readers via the library.

    Pretty please with sugar on top? It’s not just a desire to support indie creators, and Human Wave storytellers, I’m hopelessly addicted to the thrill of connecting young readers to great books.

    1. I wouldn’t mind putting my stuff in a few libraries, but it costs money to buy and send physical copies of my books to them, and I’m not made of money. Now if they were to -pay- me for them…

      1. Noooooooo. Don’t send us copies! most of them end up in FOL book sales.

        Make sure that the formats are available from book distributors that libraries need to use: Ingram Baker & Taylor, And for e-books, Overdrive.

        And try to find friendly librarians to review them. Just beware that even the friendliest, who are seriously rooting for you to succeed, have a fiduciary responsibility to the public that they serve. So the review isn’t going to pull punches.

        1. Well I can’t use Overdrive, because I’m exclusive to Amazon, and also I honestly don’t want to give my ebooks to libraries. That’s kind of shooting myself in the foot, because they’ll end up pirated even more.
          As for Ingram, well perhaps, I’d have to think about it.

          And as for reviews, well not really worried about that. My niece likes my stuff (she’s a librarian) and I figure if I just offer free booze I’ll get lots of nice reviews (I’ve learned about librarians and their parties. You people are out there).

          But I look at libraries as marketing tools. Give them some books to see if I can get people hooked to buy the rest.

          1. I’m going to double-check that because I get books from Overdrive at my library system all the time.

            I’d say if you’re writing most adult fiction, you’re probably safe ignoring the library e-book market (and if it turns out I’m correct about Amazon, you won’t get pirated anymore via Overdrive than you would w/the big A.)

            If you’re writing children’s or teen fiction, and your book is only available in e-format and NOT available for libraries to purchase you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
            Between public and school libraries, it’s a massive market AND parents & grandparents use libraries to figure out gifting AND kids get hooked on series (that they — or their parents — end up purchasing via an original library read.

            And that’s without the marketing value.

        2. Have you any tips for how to get books on those places? A quick look at Overdrive isn’t showing much information for authors only readers.

    2. Hrm. Just a wild thought, but have you thought about boosting a “Baen Bulk” type charity to get good stuff for your library?

      It’s a lot of work, and takes org and planning and craptons of time you could use for other stuff. But people do crazy things for charities. Might be worth a think.

    3. Be careful donating to libraries. If they realize you don’t make puppies sad then many librarians will just take your donated books, sell them for pennies on the dollar to book resellers, and use the proceeds to buy a copy of Hillary’s new book.

      1. Sob. No. It’s nothing to do with the tendency for librarians to lean left (long slow march through the institutions, remember?)

        It’s to do with collection policies, processing and cataloguing fees, large gummint bureaucracies, and limited shelf space.

        Hence my insistence on getting your e-books library-friendly.

        1. Along with collection policies, etc., there is also that which for which the public clammers. This is not going to be something like Hillary’s new book, no. It will be the latest hot read. Unless it is a cause book*, such as The Color Purple becoming assigned reading in schools across the nation, it will likely be forgotten in a quarter of a century.

          *The cause books do get forgotten, replaced by new ones. I can only imagine what the public reaction would be now to assigning one of the ones of my youth, Nigger, which was often assigned in tandem with the books Black Like Me and To Kill A Mockingbird. Only the last is still widely read.

            1. It is worth ruminating on how influential Edna Ferber and Scott Fitzgerald once were and the fact that hardly anybody reads them now any more than they read Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann.

              It is only the genre writers who seem to have retained influence: Hammett, Chandler, Heinlein, Heyer …

                1. They’re still aware of Giant, too, but probably more for James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor, eh? I daresay that were it not for such adulterations adaptations we wouldn’t even know how far Edna has fallen, just as few who read Heinlein appreciate the influence of James Branch Cabell on his writing, yet Cabell was a giant in the field in his time.

                  Remember, Dickens was the most popular author in the English language and was slipping into obscurity before Chesterton threw him a line. Kipling, OTOH, retains his prominence notoriety so much that the Proglodytes feel compulsion to denounce him as deplorable lest their adherents be seduced.

  17. Anyone know what this thing costs? I’m always interested in workshops and such, but the idea of having to fly to NY and back (which is expensive, I know because I have family there and can rarely afford to visit much anymore) is a little off putting.
    Then, trying to find any information on what they charge to attend (assuming you are accepted) seems to be impossible. And I’m not sure they have a website, as what I’m finding online doesn’t exactly seem to agree with what Sarah wrote. Apparently there are a lot of places that use the word Calliope?

    So at a bit of a loss here.
    Anyone? Bueller?

      1. I find that kind of, well, odd. If they want to pull people in, to network, they really should put them in places cheaper and easier to get to.
        But hey, what do I know?

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