Picture Challenge and Sunday Book Promo

Welcome to the Sunday Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM BYRON REESE: Wasted: How We Squander Time, Money, and Natural Resources-and What We Can Do About It.

Waste. We spend a great deal of energy trying to avoid it, but once you train your eyes to look for it, you’ll see it all around you—in your home, your business, and your everyday life.
 
In Wasted, futurist Byron Reese and entrepreneur Scott Hoffman take readers on a fascinating journey through this modern world of waste, drawing on science, economics, and human behavior to envision what a world with far less of it—or none of it at all—might look like. Along the way, they explore thought-provoking issues such as
 
• why the United States got a higher proportion of its energy from renewable sources in 1950 than it does today 
• whether the amount of gold in unused mobile phones can be extracted for profit
• how switching to water fountains on a single route from Singapore to Newark could prevent the use of 3,400 plastic bottles—on each flight
• whether the amount of money you save buying goods in bulk is offset by the amount you lose when some spoil.
 
Ultimately, the question of reducing waste is scientific, philosophical, and, most of all, complex. According to Reese and Hoffman, the rush toward simple answers has often led to well-meaning efforts that cause more waste than they save. The only way we can hope to make progress is to treat waste as the complicated issue it is. 
 
While the authors don’t promise easy answers, in this compelling book they take an important step toward solutions by examining the questions at play, giving actionable steps, and ensuring that you’ll never see the world of waste the same way again.

FROM CELIA HAYES: Adelsverein:The Complete Trilogy.

The Adelsverein Trilogy, now combined in a single hardbound edition, is a saga of family and community loyalties, and the challenge of building a new life on the hostile frontier. They came from Germany to Texas in 1847, under the auspices of the “Mainzer Adelsverein” – the society of noblemen of Mainz, who tried to fill a settlement in Texas with German farmers and craftsmen. Christian “Vati” Steinmetz, the clockmaker of Ulm in Bavaria, has brought his sons and daughters: Magda – passionate and courageous, courted by Carl Becker, a young frontiersman with a dangerous past. Her sister Liesel wants nothing more than to be a good wife to her husband Hansi, a stolid and practical farmer called by circumstances to be something greater, in the boom years of the great cattle ranches. Their brothers Friedrich and Johann, have always been close – in the Civil War, one will wear Union blue, the other Confederate grey homespun – but never forget they are brothers. And finally, there is Vati’s adopted daughter Rosalie, whose life ends as it began – in tragedy. But Vati’s family will will survive and ultimately triumph. They will make their mark in Texas, their new land. Adelsverein: It’s about love and loss, joy and grief . . . and the sometimes wrenching process of becoming American.

FROM ALMA T. C. BOYKIN: Oddly Familiar: Familiar Tales Book Four.

Ah, October, when the ghosts, and spirits walk, and the Off Ramp of Doom falls quiet. Too quiet…

Lelia Chan and her Familiar, Tay, continue learning about magic and what mages do. When a customer drops a strange silver disk in Belle, Book, and Blacklight, it starts a chain of events that pull Lelia deeper into shadow magic. André Lestrange and Rodney return to help sort out the off-ramp. Someone else returns, someone who wants to open doors best left closed. Lelia and Company have their hands and paws full dealing with the forces of darkness and bad jokes.

Evil walks on All Hallows Eve. It’s up to Lelia and Tay to send it back where it belongs. Or else.

FROM KAL SPRIGGS: A Quiet Death.

A dead man just ran away from his own murder scene.

Six months ago, that would be someone else’s problem. My name is Ari, and after hellspawned werewolves tried to rip my soul out, I made this sort of thing my problem. Now I am working the case, well, me, my sharp-shooting partner, and my guardian angel, the Angel of Death. It’s a case that involves human trafficking, corrupt politicians, necromancy, sorcery, seduction, and a deal with the Devil. You know, same stuff, different day.

Unfortunately for me, that’s only the beginning, because something evil has escaped onto our world. I’ve got to take it down, before things get out of hand. Because if things start to go off track too much, then the thing looking over my shoulder protecting me might go off like a tactical nuke.

But that’s part of life, right? Who wants to die a quiet death?

FROM DOROTHY GRANT: Scaling The Rim.

Never underestimate the power of a competent tech.

When Annika Danilova arrived at the edge of the colony’s crater to install a weather station, she knew the mission had been sabotaged from the start. The powers that be sent the wrong people, underequipped, and antagonized their supporting sometimes-allies. The mission was already slated for unmarked graves and an excuse for war…

But they hadn’t counted on Annika allying with the support staff, or the sheer determination of their leader, Captain Restin, to accomplish the mission. Together, they will overcome killing weather above and traitors within to fight for the control of the planet itself!

I’M IN THIS, (WITH A DARKSHIPS SHORT) EDITED BY JAMIE IBSON AND CHRIS KENNEDY: We Dare: No Man’s Land.

Ripley facing down the Xenomorph Queen. Sarah Connor fighting the Terminator. David Weber’s Honor Harrington. Science fiction novels and the silver screen are full of badass women kicking butt and taking names. Sometimes it’s the momma bear persona stepping up to defend her young, but, other times, she’s just the meanest one standing—bionic arm or not!

Edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy, “We Dare: No Man’s Land” is a collection of 15 all-new stories with female leads. Whether it’s changing an engine on the outside of a spaceship’s hull or chasing SimNACs through the jungle, these heroines have only one goal in mind—to win at all costs! From defending asteroid bases to searching giant space stations, these women get the job done!

What makes female leads great? Does it matter—these women are incredible! Be warned though—they may be referred to as the “fairer” sex, but don’t cross these ladies, or you’re gonna get what you have coming! The authors dared write about these awesome women; will you dare to join them on their adventures? If so, step inside. But beware…this is No Man’s Land!

FROM PETER GRANT: Taghri’s Prize.

Taghri has left the Sultan’s army to seek his fortune – and he seizes opportunity when it knocks. In the confusion of a pirate raid on a trading caravan, he kills their leader and captures their ship. The vessel is now his prize of war… but some prizes may be more trouble than they’re worth!

Nestled among the gold coins in the captain’s cabin is a stolen Temple sacrificial knife, whose Goddess is now paying close attention – too close! – to its new owner. Among the slaves he’s freed is a princess, formerly being held for ransom, who comes with political and personal intrigues all her own. Even if he survives the attention of both, there’s also a pirate lord out there, hell-bent on avenging the death of his son.

It’s going to take all of Taghri’s skill, experience and cunning to survive winning this prize!

FROM KATE PAULK: ConVent.

The “Save The World” department really messed up this time: A vampire, a werewolf, an undercover angel and his succubus squeeze are no one’s idea of an A team. Or a B team. Or possibly a Z team. But then, since this particular threat to the universe and everything good attacks a science fiction convention — composed of people in costume, misfits creative geniuses and creative moron — , any conventional hero would have stood out. Now Jim, the vampire, and his unlikely sidekicks have to beat the clock to find out who’s sacrificing con goers before all hell breaks loose… literally.

FROM SCOTT SLACK: By Three Moons’ Light

Lieutenant Brown has a simple set of orders: Destroy a buried Karstian anti-orbital laser. If he does, the Strathar fleet he’s vanguard for can take the fight to the Karstian invaders who seized the planet from Strath.

Unfortunately, simple’s not the same as easy on the planet Jotunheim. First, his platoon has to make a long march undetected through the deep wilderness. If they survive, there’s still the hard fight against the military installation ahead. If he fails, the fleet and the invasion are at risk.

A story of The Ares March.

FROM JULIE PASCAL: Too Late For Vengeance

An immortal thrown overboard in the middle of the ocean has abundant time to plan her revenge.

Very few humans survive the Obsidian transformation that grants them the ability to pilot between the stars, the ability to slip between. Now both star pilots and humans are trapped on the surface of a primitive world, abandoned to an eternal quarantine. Human refugees and their descendants struggle to build a new civilization and a new life. The immortal star pilots become known as Obsidian Witches.

PICTURE WRITING CHALLENGE

Either the challenge word for vignettes didn’t get to me — it happens every couple of months — or the fact that I’m benadryled (totally a word) to the gills so I don’t straight up scratch the skin off my body, but I can’t find the word for the challenge.

So, choose one of the pictures below, and imagine it’s the cover to a book. Give me title, author’s name (can be anything, including yours) and a blurb.

(Of course you can do all of the pictures, but don’t blame me if it takes forever.)

Turn On The Light

I’m not going to blow smoke at you. Things are going to get bad. Probably very bad. But not that bad. Not what you’re imagining.

The problem with “a boot stomping on a human face forever” is that the boot can only stomp on an imaginary human face. Real humans bite. And kick, and stab. The scale of that might take a long time depending on culture, and cultures long broken to tyranny will take a very, very long time. But eventually the kick comes, and even in China the bastards lose the mandate of heaven.

We’re not Chinese ((culture, not race) thank heavens.) Even people of Chinese ethnicity in US are Americans. And Americans are a fractious lot. We can be told. It just won’t have much difference.

And before you bring up the long painful saga of the Covidiocy, let me reassure you: you’re not taking factors into account. Also, you’re indulging in thinking of reality as all those movies you’ve seen. Reality is not movies.

Look, I’m by nature not only a chronic depressive, but a pessimist. So I have to continuously check my view of reality. And even I fell for the “the people will rise up.”

I expected it May last year, not May this year.

This is because I was partly suffering from narrative. In narrative, be it books about the American revolution, or much worse movies, it’s always all very linear. “The people were oppressed, and the people rose up.”

But each culture is different, and the circumstances of place and time influence this too.

How do I put this: we are just now coming out of an era when our institutions and the media were thoroughly captured by statism and frankly Marxism. Sure, Statism and Marxism failed, but the media and entertainment would not only not report it, but would pile on it as fast and deep as they could, to make it be forgotten or be perceived as the opposite. And when that failed, they then went to work on the history books, to reverse things. (Which is why 90% of the eductated-into-stupidity people believe “the parties switched sides” even though if they popped their heads out of movies for a minute they’d know that was impossible.)

Now that has been changing since the 80s. CHANGING VERY SLOWLY. Reagan not only exploded the USSR. He stuck a big sharp pin in communism and by definition in statism.

Possibly the most significant thing he did was explode “we’re from the government and we’re here to help you.”

The “We won world war II and went to the moon” generation viewed government as a force for good. Not because there hadn’t been absurd waste and ridiculous management during those — there always is when the government is involved. Government efficiency is best described as performing brain surgery on a dirty kitchen table, using a wooden spoon — but because it was never divulged. And it was afterwards covered in glory and beauty by historians who had long since been seduced by the idea of the “efficiency” of scientific government and central control.

Even abject failures like the New Deal and the Great Society were painted as great achievements, even if they had to paint with the colors of what was intended and not what was.

But Reagan, (with an assist from Jimmah Carter being the most incompetent and idiotic president we had till Obama.) made it all a joke, with a few well-placed jabs.

Oh, the media covered up. And called Reagan names in retrospect. And tried to convince new generations that the State was the be all end all.

But it hasn’t taken. Not really. Around the edges, the “respect” for government has continued to erode. No matter how much they tell us this gilded turd is wonderful, anyone who has to work with government or comes up against them at any level has a different experience, and this continues multiplying through the population. So…

So, by and large, the population would not have believed any other scare. Even a ginned up war wouldn’t have worked (partly because the left has undermined every single justified war effort. They only believe in unjustified war.) But disease…

The population does not remember the racist and ridiculous syphilis experiments, or all the other blunders, including Fauci’s fuckup of AIDS. Most of the public health efforts are in the past enough or restricted enough that the population in general thinks they were successful.

Plus, the staggering enormity of taking the entire country to rack and ruin to replace the president is not something that would occur to a normal brain. Or that a normal brain can believe in.

I mean, the left only got that desperate because their narrative only works if they fully control it. And they no longer have full control. Regardless of what you chose to believe, if they had full control, Obama would have been the “new FDR” and we’d have meekly picked his chosen successor, instead of plastering egg all over their faces.

If they had full control, they wouldn’t have had to perform last minute clumsy fraud that even Guatemalans saw.

They don’t have full control, and they’re in a blind panic. Having said so, their ginning up of a panic over “very dangerous form of the common cold” (waggles hand) and then shutting down the entire country except for chosen allies, controlling the social media with an iron fist, AND telling everyone to wear the completely stupid masks, etc etc was a level of evil that no normal American could believe, unless it were really necessary.

Reasonable people whom I admire, assumed it was necessary, because why would anyone do that, otherwise?

(My theory is that this bullshit was suggested by China, whose understanding of Americans is like a cows understanding of architecture, with my apologies to cows. And whose present leadership has been perpetrating monstruous deeds on their own people that would make Hitler say “Whoa, that’s going too far.”)

But now we have their range. Now we know the depravity they’re capable of. Which is why people are sticking their feet on the ground and yelling at government “no, you move.”

This will only continue. And accelerate. (First slow, then very fast.)

Does it mean there will be no blood? Um…. I’m starting to have hopes of that, as everyone treats the Fraudisent with something between contempt and hilarity and the media is reduced to screaming into empty air how great the Fraudisent and Empty Head Commie La Whorish are.

But I wouldn’t give it very high odds. If we manage to break the left without blood, it will be a miracle. Then again American history is an history of miracles.

On the third hand, there will be some blood, because these cutting edge incrementalized assholes who have seized control of our institutions from the White House on down, are very stupid. So stupid that flatworms with the capacity to edge away from heat laugh at them. Which means that, ultimately, they’ll continue pushing. And pushing in the most stupid way, because they’ve been indocrinated into believing that if they shout loud enough, they’ll obey.

So there will be blood, here and there. And open fighting here and there. But when even here, in the slave states, people have gone “Take your slave muzzle and eat it” regardless of posted signs or screaming officials, the people have had enough.

The left carried the Covidiocy by going so outrageously evil that normal, non diseased human brains had trouble believing it.

They still don’t realize that in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress parlance that’s a “funny only once.” and “Try it again and it makes you a half wit.”

They still don’t realize we are pissed. Really pissed. And shouting and punitive measures will only make it worse.

Keep making them uncomfortable.

They have “seized power” in the only way they know: by seizing control of the institutions. They don’t seem to understand that Americans tolerate institutions as long as they can and then subvert them. And if it continues being crazy, then overthrow them.

Totalitarian regimes have a relatively short shelf life, because they have an information problem. Unless the culture itself is of a certain kind (and even then!) they never control quite as much as they think.

Sure, 1984 is not an instruction manual. But neither is it a documentary. In fact, the only way to make it work in one’s head is to imagine all these people were part of a small and tightly controlled group that gave big brother the impression he was controlling everything, and that outside that group Irish democracy prevailed.

My joke about 1984 has been “Imagine dropping a Heinlein character into it.” But hell, you don’t even need that. Imagine dropping me into it. It would not survive. And btw, in any society there are several of those people.

The only way Totalitarianism Forever works is if a) every person in it is an NPC. b)the leaders are preternaturally competent. And even then, it needs a free country that is feeding that country and from whom that country can steal ideas and technology.

Totalitarianism is possibly the most stupid of human forms of government, and the bigger the country is, the more stupid it becomes. And it can’t last.

Now imagine totalitarianism being implemented by 4th generation red diaper babies, which is what we have here from Obama downward. Commie La Whorish and Occasional Cortex are representative of this. They’ve been told they’re very very smart, even if they can’t carry a thought in a bucket. Because “Smart” has become “parrots the Marxist line back at us” and at this point the only young people who stay in the ideology are the next thing to brain damaged. Otherwise by thirty they see through the ideology. (And I’m not going to make guesses about Obama’s mental competence, except to say that families attracted to communism are usually “smartish” but not that smart, and envious of those who are really smart. And that even if he had been a genius, his upbringing and the substances he used would have damaged him. And I doubt he was a genius to begin with.)

Fourth generation red diaper babies think that people are NPCs. They’ve drank so much Marxism they don’t even know how much their thinking is polluted by it. Even the smart ones can’t find their way out of that trap.

And those are the ones trying to implement the reign of a thousand years here.

That is not going to end well…. for them. And it’s going to suck like a hoover for us, as we fight our way out of the destruction they’ve already caused, and what’s to come.

But this is not the end of America. America is only mostly dead. And we’ll come back. Yes, it will take a miracle, but we’re a miraculous people.

Be not afraid. The fourth is almost upon us. Buy patriotic clothing and fly the flag, and deck your home in bunting. It makes the crazy left break out in sweats, and the angrier and more scared they are, the more they will misstep, until even the blind can see the asshats for what they are.

Be not afraid. Open the window and see the light of liberty.

In the end we win, they lose. There is no other outcome.

Hearts on high. Go work.

It’s A Very Old Battle

This is a very old battle, the battle for readable fiction and other entertainment that people are interested in, well, reading, as opposed to being “educated”, lectured at and propagandized by an establishment (or as Sabrina Chase calls it an industrial-entertainment complex) that has lost its d*mn mind and sight of what it means to be in business and cater to the public.

It’s not political so much as adjacent to politics, and yet–

It’s not political — intrinsically — because a lot of what passes for “we’re lecturing you, peasants” from establishment publishers and movie makers is actually foofaraw, designed to make themselves feel smart or educated or whatever, and to our purpose — or anyone’s purpose — nothing. It is “smarts signalling” kind of like poor Kit Marlowe, consigned to writing plays, putting his stage directions in Latin, so he felt “special” and people would know he had an excellent education. Or 19th century writers hitting people over the head with allegorical this and that and Roman myth that and the other thing, because then people would know how educated and special they were.

On the other hand, one of the ways of showing you have an excellent education in the twenty first century is to display how much you learned about Marxism, from the plight of the poor (which you really have no clue about) to the sheer Weltschmerz of being young, well educated and living in the wealthiest country at the wealthiest time this world has ever experienced. Additional flounces and lace in the form of the various theories pushed by the more prestigious colleges might include an uncountable number of genders and Critical Race Theory and other forms of insanity with no contact whatsoever with reality, not even in a really crowded hallway when reality is trying to get past them to use the bathroom.

So politics comes in that way, and allows the Lords of Publishing to claim that peasants who object to the husks — that one wouldn’t feed to swine — must be doing so because they are racissss sexissss and homophobisssss (look, it should rhyme. Also hiss is the language of the twitterpated SJW.

But politics comes in another way too. You see, corrupted markets are corrupted all the way down and all the way up.

The more a market deviates from its ability to serve what the public wants, the weirder it becomes, and the more it tilts out of true with reality. And the publishing market has been corrupted a long time. And the side effects are far reaching and almost always deleterious.

It’s made writing — particularly fiction — into a sort of unending servitude that doesn’t pay quite enough for most people to live, not even if they write a lot; it’s made reading something most people talk about doing but don’t really do; it’s made “the heights of culture” belong to those who most efficiently parrot the political line of the establishment; it contributed to burnishing the left’s self-regard as “smart” which in turn made leftism a positional good and given an ideology that — fast or slow — has killed millions of human beings delusions of merit.

And it all starts right there with “we won’t buy and resell/produce what people want to read. Our job is to educate them and make them better people.”

It is also the reason indie is eating their cake and drinking their wine, and leaving rude notes on their table. Because in the end a producer who responds to the market always does much better than a producer who tries to control the market.

And weirdly, you know, indie are finding that pulp still sells. Oh, perhaps more carefully written pulp, but fast paced and interesting and pulp, in the end.

Which is what I thought of when I read this article today: JAUNDICED EYE by Wm Gault.

And this paragraph made me laugh till I cried, because I spent year ridding myself of the delusions of symbolism my degree had insinuated into my mind:

A man like Truman Capote is searched minutely for symbolisms that give his lavender words a deeper meaning. I respectfully insist that this kind of search would find even deeper meanings in Max Brand. Because even critics can see that Hemingway is great, it distresses them that he has hair on his chest. So he is also searched for symbolism, in order that the critics may safely acclaim him, Mr. Hemingway is about as symbolic as a poke in the nose, but lucidity is a crime to critics and they must have a different reason for liking him. They don’t want to be associated with the people, those horrid things who want to buy books.

And I’ll be honest, if your goal in life is to make a living from selling your books to schools who will force their students to read it, you should mind your symbolism and your political views, and make it attractive to that market.

Or you know, you could write for people “those horrid things who want to buy books.”

I hear it pays.
Anyway, go and read the whole thing.

The Lies of Diversity

I was going to write about something else, and had the whole damn article pretty well in my head, but you know the annoying suggested articles that your browser shows you, unless you have time to tinker with it and make it go away?

Well, one of them was something like “The excuses white men give not to get involved in diversity.”

I was already grumpy. For…. various reasons.

Starting with, for example, the fact that I had to pass up on a set of Daz poses because the insane designers made much of how for the first time ever, these poses were for couples of all compositions. A) they were lying. There were no alien and human couples, or cat and human couples. B) Seriously, dude, dudette or whatever side of the bed you woke up on that makes you think you’re a typing squirrel or something, all the poses can be used for characters of both sexes, which means you can totally use “love poses” for gay couples. Sure, sometimes you have to adjust the hip tilt a little, but most of the time you actually don’t. So, this bizarre set of poses is a) a way to virtue signal. b) a way to sell 1/3 the poses for an outrageous amount. One doesn’t know whether to be horrified at your duplicity or compliment you on your capitalistic instincts, and I’ll decide on it as soon as I’m done throwing up.

Perhaps it’s Pride month. No, I don’t actually have anything against gay people. I have something in fact for people being allowed to be who they are. But the problem is we aren’t. Have you ever tried throwing a conservative pride month, in which we study the achievements of conservatives through history and long-closeted conservatives take to the street to show how conservative they are and proclaim to all and sundry “Yep, I’m a conservative.” (I’d suggest a Libertarian Pride month, but getting Libertarians to agree on a month would be near impossible, and probably mean we end up celebrating in Sectoberember.) Right now, right at this moment, being a conservative is far more of a liability to your business, your life, your career, your education and your prosperity than being gay has been for at least 20 years.

Or let’s try “large family pride.” or even just “family with kids pride.” Seriously, even as a family of four, with my pitiful lacking fertility, we found that it was almost impossible to find things to do with our kids while on vacation, after they were like 3 years old. Like the idea of spending time with your kids having fun was completely alien to our culture. (Hence things like an obsession with zoos, aquariums and museums and other places where our kids could be amused as well as we were. Most of the time. Thank heavens we had bookish/mostly quiet kids. So, let’s have a month in which it is ‘family’ pricing, and family amusements and family fun fairs and–

No?

You see, I have absolutely no problems with gay pride. I even understand its need, the origin being in a time when being gay ‘outloud’ was at best frowned upon, and it was actually the love that dare not speak its name. Yeah, the parades can get hell of tasteless, mostly because settled, married gay people have better things to do with their time, but you know what, I can avoid them.

However, if one isn’t allowed to celebrate being a conservative; being a family with kids; being straight; being purple with pokadots, then it’s not ‘diversity’, it’s “approved of categories, that you have to reflexively endorse.”

I will also point out, just as a side note, I never got “pride” in being what you are. If gay is something you are born (I actually believe that, or so close as makes no difference. I believe it is something you are by the time you hit puberty, and like most other mate choice things it’s fairly immovable, though it sometimes changes — the mate choice and the gay — with age and hormonal choices) why be “proud” of it? It’s like running around screaming that you have five fingers in each hand and you’re so proud. Or you were born with a head, and yah, baby, how proud you are of that skull atop your neck. Seriously? What effing sense does that make?

Of course the left keeps pushing pride and allegiance to this bullshit it calls “diversity” and which has to do with inborn, not chosen nor worked for characteristics: the color of your skin, the fact you have a vagina, who you are attracted to, your family’s origin.

I mean, I could to an extent understand if they talked about pride in things that are chosen, or at least worked for: conservatism (which until about ten years ago required a hell of a lot of courage, stubbornness and counter-cultural reasoning); or having a large family, which despite those of us who can’t is in this day and age a decision and work; or hell, being a programmer, a writer, a good gardener (I now have in my head an image of a gardener pride parade, with people waving radishes in the air. I’d watch in awe, since the weight of my gaze is enough to make plants die.) Or hey, being a cat lover. Yeah, some of that might be inborn, but the fact that you put up with the little bastages without strangling their fuzzy necks is a reason for price. (Mostly “I’m so proud I’m a sucker.)

But no, they are always “proud” of things you were born. Or accuse you of being a traitor to something you were born.

For instance, I can’t count the number of times the idiots on the left (BIRM) have accused me of being a gender traitor. And you know, it’s not for saying things like “The Muslims are right about women” which would be, if not gender treason, human treason, because the Muslims are fairly insane about women and their means of dealing with their gynophobia destroys humanity and civilization. No, it’s usually for saying whatever deviates from the word promulgated from on high by the Marxists who have taken it upon themselves to dictate how women should think.

Never having sworn allegiance to women, much less Marxist directives for women, I can’t by definition be a traitor. Not unless they’re actually receiving these directives on how to behave and what to say through their vaginas, in which case, desole, my vagina (and vulva, which is what the arrant idiots think is a vagina) is strangely mute. It doesn’t monologue, it doesn’t dialogue, and it most certainly doesn’t preach Marxism. Which is good, because wearing a gag there would be uncomfortable.

And before I leave the topic, why are these women so enthralled and amazed by the fact they have vaginas? I mean, I used to know a tiny little girl whose parents had trouble keeping her from masturbating in public. But she got over it by three, having figured out there was more to her and to life than this one organ.

Why the fascination? Are they aware they have other things going in life? Or is their poor facsimile of a life so empty that the only thing they have of interest about themselves is a vagina? Or do they think it’s an achievement to be born with one? I don’t know. I’m going to leave this topic, because these people depress me so much that I want to go out and start distributing free Thorazine.

Anyway, okay, so Pride month annoys me, because all the corporations, every single establishment and even online things feel a strong need to virtue signal how they support gays and (now) trans. The fact that those two are largely mutually exclusive hasn’t seemed to matter to them.

I don’t particularly care if someone is gay, or trans, or prefers to mate only via the eyestalk intertwining rituals of martians. Mostly because the only person whose orientation and sexual preferences I give a good goddamn about is my husband.

Oh, I take notice of friends’ orientation, but only insofar as I’m either looking out for someone to introduce to them, or I need to remember their significant other to include in party invitations, Christmas cards and the like.

I mean, I can’t be the only person for whom the idea of imagining her friends having sex brings up a massive cringe and a prolonged ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, right?

Oh, I have marginal interest in my sons’ orientation insofar as I would like grandkids. But honestly? If one of them had been gay he wouldn’t have been off the hook for grandkids, and nagging, so, whatever.

Other than that…. why should I care, really? Why should I affirm, celebrate, or hang up a rainbow flag? Being gay is not a political affiliation (or shouldn’t be. I mean, sure the left claims them. I have a dozen friends who testify otherwise) so why does it have a flag, even? It certainly isn’t a nationality. My normal response to the rainbow flag is “It’s a big gaudy, isn’t it?” I mean sometimes one is sorry they didn’t go with the butterfly, which was the symbol used in Germany in the seventies.

I’m okay with my friends being gay. I’m not okay with the corporations acting like assholes over this, and wanting everyone to repeat and emphasize how being gay is okay. Of course it’s okay. It happens. I mean, my religion says it’s a sin, but you know it’s not the worst sin, and I have my own sins to worry about.

I’m okay with people being black or women, too, or again purple with polkadots. (Hey, I grew up in science fiction.) Why the hell would I?

I don’t even have any issues with people of different cultures, except insofar as they try to impose their own culture on me. No, I’m not going to avoid having stuffed pigs in my work area. Not that I have any, but… I’m also not going to wear a burka. I’m not going to refrain from saying that China is an ass’o’e or that communism is a fucked up idea, and I’m going to call out the stupidity of a lot of Latin or tribal or other culture. Because I can. Because I’ve acculturated, and I see cultural advantages and preferences very clearly.

As long as their culture doesn’t interfere with a common objective or any interest, I couldn’t care less.

Apparently and for bizarre reasons this is supposed to make me racist/sexist/ and homophobic.

Two days ago, talking to younger son — who grew up in this rather ramshackle household, where the parents (us) had friends of every color and sexual orientation and profession — he said he was still puzzled why people in the media and the power of structure of publishing thought I was racist, sexist and homophobic.

I had to point out to him they don’t think any of that. Or if they do, they’re foolish beyond permission. They might have convinced themselves of this idiocy, but really, it’s a means to convince themselves they’re not horrible human beings. And it only works because they are horrible human beings.

To unpack that: you see, diversity is only an asset if it’s diversity of thought. That diversity of thought, enshrined under the first amendment of the US Constitution, is designed to make us able to think what shocks and upsets other people. And to express it too. This is often needed, because sometimes people need to hear “that’s a stupid idea.” Or “you’re not special because you have a vagina.” Or “Muslims are/aren’t right about women.” Or “The left is in control of everything and are actually stodgy conformists.”

That is an asset because humans being social apes, societies are likely to run down blind cultural alleys, and there are only two ways to deal with that: a group of internal non conformists bitch, moan, yell, and often risk ostracism in order to call attention to this stupid thing that has become widespread; or they are conquered and subjugated by a more functional society. Since the last is really horrific, the first is to be preferred. So, yay, diversity.

It might also be useful in some projects, to have someone who thinks from the outside and goes “Well, you know, if you’re writing all these leaflets in Spanish, this is a problem because not everyone in the US reads Spanish.”

This is of more importance in marketing and the social “sciences” than in, say, engineering. Yes, sure, I know the story about the single woman in the “design a seat” team who said “but that doesn’t fit women” but in fact, that wasn’t diversity. That was something any of the idiot engineers should have figured out. They were just bad engineers. It had nothing to do with their sex.

Other than that, what does diversity do?

Well, diversity of color, orientation, and all that? Does nothing. What you really need is diversity of thought.

But since the Leftist Kakistocracy has captured the institutions, including the cultural institutions, the only diversity allowed is external diversity that doesn’t challenge their power. And then when you challenge their power anyway, their only excuse is that you must oppose all that external diversity they like to proclaim.

What? You don’t want a group composed of the largest publishing house in your field to control awards? Well, that can only be because you’re privileged white males, afraid of women, gay people, black people and people of other national origins. Even if it’s patently obvious you can’t be any of those.

It’s the lies people in power make up to protect their power. That’s what the phony baloney “diversity” is all about as well as all the justifications for why white males are now and forever privileged while everyone else is downtrodden.

The phony “diversity” allows them to co-opt foot soldiers to defend keeping them in power and to shut you up with claims you’re a bigot, even while they squat, like obscene poisonous frogs on the structures of power.

Fortunately you can tell it’s no longer work, because they have become way louder and more shrill, demanding you participate in their diversity cosplay.

You know those “excuses” white males (And for the purposes of this post, we are all — or at least the left would consider us all — white males. Even those of us who tan, are female etc.) use not to “participate” in diversity? I didn’t read the article. But I can give you what the biggest should be “Go f*ck yourself and die, for claiming I’m tainted or owe you something due to an accident of birth. And get out of my face, you useless shitbird. I’m working. If I stop working, you stop eating. Maybe not right away, but very quickly. Because we’re the ones doing things that ultimately keep society working.”

We are Atlas, lifting the world aloft.

They should think twice before causing us to shrug.

Decoding The Left

Decoding the left is easy. Like all cultists, their internal life is simple to the point of boring.

Yesterday a friend asked why in hell were pipelines bad, when trains and trucks transporting oil is much worse for the environment, both in the burning of fossil fuel for the transportation and the possibility of leaks, disasters, etc.

But that’s kind of silly. That’s taking the left at its own word. They might say they’re doing things becaus they care, or for the environment or whatever, but they don’t.

Just like they don’t care about the poor or the downtrodden or–

Look, in their minds, they do care about these things, okay. Or at least it’s how they disguise their true feelings and beliefs from themselves.

It’s just that when push comes to shove, they don’t care about the real environment, but the environment in their heads. Just like they don’t care about the real working class, but the working class that thinks correct thoughts and quotes Marx. I.e. the working class in their heads. And they certainly don’t care about female Latin immigrants who don’t like Marxism, because those aren’t real female Latin immigrants. I have it on good authority that those are actually white Mormon males (with or without a great rack.)

They care passionately about these concepts in their heads. And if people only behaved correctly, the left would care about them too.

But the problem is people don’t. They never do. People, in their actual real-world manifestation are messy and unruly and disobedient. They don’t believe the high faluting concepts you want them to believe, the working class refuses to be noble and non-materialistic, other races don’t act like the perfect victims you want them to be, and no one, no one recognizes your superior wisdom.

So while spouting care for many things, and hiding behind a barrage of abstract concepts and fashionable words, the left really has three rules:

1- Favor whatever hurts the US. (You know the US intimately. And they refuse to recognize your brilliance, damn them. Also, you’ve been told every other country is so much better. And it must be, because you’re so smart, good countries would recognize your brilliance.

2- Favor whatever hurts the Western world. (Sure, France is so sophisticated, and you heard Britain was so much cooler than the US, and all that, but hey, they are capitalists, and white, and white people “literally” invented slavery and capitalism to oppress the rest of the world. Particularly YOU since capitalism doesn’t recognize your brilliance and people refuse to pay you the pots of money that y ou deserve by just existing with all your brilliance.)

3- Favor whatever hurts humanity, even if to do it you must hurt other parts of the environment as well.
(You know humanity is shitty, because it refuses to recognize your brilliance. I mean, you understood Marxism at a go, because you’re so smart and sensitive. And you’d think that people would reward you for being so smart and sensitive. But humans don’t, because they are so shitty. Look at all of them living happy lives while ignoring you and your sensitivity and intelligence and suffering. Obviously they don’t need to exist. Only smart and sensitive people like you should exist, and not reproduce, so you don’t risk bringing less magnificent humans into the world. And then when you die, the world should be left pristine, as if humanity never existed. Because humanity didn’t deserve to exist.)

If you’re imagining this said in the voice of a wounded and half-crazy teen, bingo.
The left might be composed mostly of older people at this point, but at its heart is a generation that was hurt and neglected, and not paid much attention to by their parents, and which perpetuated its errors. “The neglected children of World War II” as Heinlein called them, grew up to have neglected children who grew up to have neglected children.
Look, I know it’s not a choice, but kindergarten teaches lessons, and they’re not good ones. And nations that let their children be raised by strangers reap what they’ve earned.

At the heart of Marxism is pride, envy and all unkindness. Marxism enshrines envy and resentment as their cardinal virtues.

Given their head — they never will be, because these people would never hold control. They are fourth generation, and no longer even know where food comes from. Their obsession with eating bugs, besides because they like making people do repulsive things, is because they honest to bog believe the Earth isn’t producing enough food because “too many people.” They have the logical-thinking ability of gnats. And my apologies to gnats, some of whom might be brighter — they would exterminate first the US then the West, then humanity, and if they still could, then mammals, then warm blooded animals, all the way down, till nothing even vaguely related to humans existed.

It’s almost as though raising kids in the self-esteem belief they’re special, the world owes them, and being jealous and envious means they’re “socially aware” and “social justice warriors” is a bad thing, isn’t it?

Leftists want to extinguish everything they can’t control and given the brain power of mentally damaged gnats, that’s everything, including themselves.

Therefore, the end goal of socialism is like the end goal of some goddling in Babylon (I’m too lazy to go to the bookshelf five feet away and look the name up in the book. Deal) who extinguished all life on Earth because it was too noisy.

Teach your children well.

Don’t let them become socialists.

The Storytellers

Sit down, oh my friends, and spread ears like elephants, and I shall tell you of the misuse of magic.

To be clear, the magic of storytelling.

I’ve been aware that storytelling has a power…. since ever. It was actually funny when someone in the comments talked about some woman who lied whether she needed to or not, and even when it hurt her. It was funny because that was me, aged circa 5. And I can tell you why people do it. They do it for the power. Because having people believe some insanity you just made up gives you a sense of power, of being smarter than others.

That’s magic mis-used.

I was fortunate both that my dad came down on every instance of lying like a ton of bricks (I have reason to suspect he had defeated a similar tendency in himself at about the same age) and that my life is a bizarreness (totally a word) magnet, so that some of the things people refused to believe — having caught me in lies often — were weird, but had happened. Like the encounter with the bubblegum pink pig.

Dad beat it into me (not literally. Dad struck me twice — barely — in my entire life, and it was rather obvious it was worse for him than for me. But that man could spank with words very thoroughly. I’d frankly rather have been physically beaten) that the problem of being an habitual liar is that no one will believe you when you tell the honest truth. And worse, that you lie to yourself, till you don’t know what the truth is. He pointed out the downfall of liars is that you have to keep track of all the lies, and make them coordinate. And eventually the entire edifice falls apart. And when it falls apart you will never be believed, ever ever again. (And I want to say dad might be optimistic on that last one. But–)

By the age of six, still faced with the necessity to make up stories and tell them, while I didn’t want to lie, I came up with the idea of telling lies people know are lies. And I wrote my first novel (“novel” because though by hand it took up 3 notebooks it was probably at most 20k words.) It gives you all the highs of making up a big lie, without the lows. And it’s a type of magic. (Of course the price of having magic is that you must use it and use it for good. And yes, even novels can be perverted. Which is part of what I want to talk about. But that’s another story.)

Narrative is a very important thing for humans. A need. Man does not live by bread alone, because we’re sentient creatures who need to have an idea of what we’re doing and what it leads to beyond “get up, eat, do things, sleep.” To be truly happy humans need a sense of purpose, a sense of where they’re going (and btw, Peterson is right that you should set yourself the highest goal you can conceivably achieve. Even if you fail, you will do more than if you don’t set yourself any goal, or set yourself on that’s easily achievable.) They also need a sense of collective purpose. For much of human history, this was set by an idea of the king and the people as a unit, the divine right of kings, and a religion that promised a perfected state of being over time.

In a new entity like ours, a new state of being collectively, this sense of purpose is particularly important since nothing else binds us, neither common religion, nor common race. Our civic religion of believing in the founding documents can hold us together, but for that it has to be taught and not undermined.

Anyway, sometime in the early 20t century or a little before, the fact that information and entertainment and… well everything that could reach out to population at large was working on the industrial model of centralization and central distribution started corrupting the stream of information.

Look, maybe they figured out during WWI the power of the lie. Or maybe it was WWII that showed it to them. They saw what destructive lies could do, and seeing it, instead of realizing lies were bad, they decided that lies were good if they were good lies.

Which it’s becoming startling obvious is what they believe. Something like: the carefully crafted lie will cause people to behave how they “should.”

The problem, of course being that “should” is according to the minds of mostly mal-educated people who have been taught their fellow men are savages and that there is an arrow of history that leads to the inevitable utilitarian communal state, which has never worked, ever, in the history of humanity, or not beyond extended family, and there often worse than anyone wants to acknowledge.

So all the through 20th century we were treated to a barrage of “news” and “entertainment” that pushed certain ideas, including that no one is clean and that the only way to make people behave decently is constant and minute supervision by the “enlightened” who make people do things for their own good. And the “message” when decided upon get promulgated down the line by everyone, including “artists” and “storytellers” but also extending to journalists and even to an extent to scientists and very certainly to politicians who whether they’re running to shape the lie, or simply to stay ahead of the lie, do lie like rugs.

Look, even 20 years ago the lie was impregnable. I saw someone here, in the comments, minutes ago, talking about how we hadn’t found WMDs in Iraq. This is one of those things that “everyone knows.” It’s also, according to my friends who served in theater, absolutely false. It was a narrative that the MSM was shaping, to get rid of Bush, (who while a socialist was, apparently, insufficiently socialistic) and it penetrated enough that those not in possession of first hand knowledge, or close and trusted second hand knowledge still believe it. And still use this as the basis of their reasoning, and whatever decisions.

There are others, too many to count. Many of which are actually in the history books. “FDR ended the great depression with make work jobs” is probably the most egregious of those.

In fact, yesterday, one of the comments I didn’t approve because it was late at night and suffice onto the day the stupidity of day, without adding more voluntarily, was talking about how we should abandon all hope, because the children have been indoctrinated and young people will accept quietly the totalitarian state because “that’s what they were taught.”

The “stupid beyond permission” in that comment is that if you were born in the 20th century you were conditioned to the idea of the totalitarian state. Sure, some people had a lighter indoctrination, consisting only of the idea that the central government and only the central government can solve big problems. Or the idea that the news media tell the truth. Or that there’s an approved truth and nothing else can be said.
Or it could be, like from my generation onward, complete and relentless indoctrination to the point people believe the most bizarre things, such as that the parties changed constituents. (Think about it. How could that even have happened? If I tried to sell that shit in a novel, it would be flimsy. In reality, it’s impossible.) This can only be sold by continuous echoing of ideas, in every possible (and impossible) medium from education to news to entertainment.

In the future, if sociology is worth a tinker’s damn, it will note that a seamless narrative that is echoed by everyone at once is the sign of a controlled narrative, which is, in blunt terms, a lie.

And yet people from my generation onward still turned against the unified lie for the messy truth. We did it even when we did it — as we had to — in isolation, and thinking we were crazy, back in the day when reading something that dissented from the narrative made you think “this can’t be a reputable source.”
Arguably a majority of people turn away from the lie in every generation.

Because the lie doesn’t work and is not congruent with reality at any level. So eventually you have no choice but to face the truth, even if you have to go against all that you’ve been taught.

So, the chances the kids will be (or already are, since they can’t talk and get through school) okay is high.

Particularly because the effect that dad told me about has come to pass.

You see, lies build on lies, and it’s worse when they’re collective lies. And even the liars come to believe the past lies, gene rationally.

Does Obama and his entire corrupted cabal hate America. Well, yes, undoubtedly. When they send their demon spawn to the street to shout “No border, no wall, no America at all” it’s fairly obvious.

But part of the problem is that they’ve also swallowed a bunch of lies (some of them so old they’re of Soviet origin.) Like the idea that world economy is a fixed pie, and that if we’re rich it is because we “stole” our prosperity from a poor nation (Snort, giggle.) Or the idea that if they implement their policies, America might vanish, but the people of the US will be happier and more prosperous. They weren’t actually lying when they expected “summer of recovery”, they were just believing an accumulation of past lies.

That’s part of the reason they always are shocked when their wonderful program doesn’t bring about paradise.

The problem for them is that enough lies have exploded, and they’ve done enough horrible shit to try to bring about paradise (particularly under Obama who combines being a true believer with being as dumb as a human being can be while being able to chew gum and breathe at the same time. Fast and Furious is the work of a mental defective.) that they can’t afford for the truth to come out, and therefore they must keep piling on bigger lies.

2020 was the mental breakdown of the left that has controlled every stream of information in the US. It succeeded to an extent because sane people couldn’t believe anyone would do something that insane. (I’ve found most of the people who cut slack to outright evil people are very good, and so lack the ability to understand criminally evil. In the same way the sane can not understand the insane.) They believed there had to be a pony under the reeking mountain of horse shit.

This is known in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress parlance as a joke that works once. Now we have their range, and as the full bilge behind the lockdowns and masking, as the fact that they denied the effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquin and Ivermeticin, medicines that COULD have saved thousands of people who actually did die of Winnie the Flu, comes out, they’re going to try to lie their way out of this.

Which means the next one is going to be a doozy. And when that fails, they’re going to get us in a war.

I said when China Joe cheated his way in that this meant we were going to war with China. This seems counterintuitive, but other than GWB (and that was forced by things like 9/11) most of our big wars have been the work of a democrat president who needed to save his butt.

Well, they have a big butt and a big need to save it. And at some point, they will need to distance from China, particularly because China is going to have massive problems of their own, which they fail to understand because they don’t get trade or business. (I.e. they don’t get the poorer the US becomes, the less we buy from them. Which is already happening. And they need us to buy from them to stay afloat.) At some point int he China ImplosionTM they are going to give up on puppet states and just try to keep control at home. They’re already almost there.

At which point their money (which is mostly smell and bullshit, anyway) stops flowing, and our politicians are left holding the bag, or in the colorful saying of my birth region “F*cked and ill paid.” And in desperate need of the biggest distraction possible. Which is going to be war. Against China is a guess. Partly because in their mind China is as big and competent as us (snort giggle) ensuring a good long, and dangerous war.

This is will be bad, needless to say. But I don’t think it goes the way they want it. I think it implodes in their face, leaving a residue much like egg.

And that’s if their lies don’t implode faster and earlier.

They’ve built a nice, stinking pile of horseshit, but even they are starting to be aware there’s no pony there, and to the rest of us it’s strikingly obvious.

I don’t know what comes next. My sense of war starting this month (civil war, tbf) has receded, partly because I think the fact most states have opened up has created a diversion. For a little while, at least.

How long it lasts, I don’t know. Till the clowns who have taken over our institutions decide they need to do something is my bet. And whatever they come up with is going to backfire badly.

Plus we’re going to face a crisis in our mental health, and I’m not joking.

As it becomes obvious the huge edifice is nothing but lies, we’re going to have a lot of people who don’t know what to believe. Worse, we’re going to have a lot of people who don’t know what to do. All they’ve been “trained” to do rests on the lies, and only makes sense in the world of the lies. There are teachers, journalists, economists, all sorts of scientists who are going to face a reckoning.

Judging by what 2020 already did to people, my guess is about half the people are going to crack wide open.

And a lot of them won’t be able to find their way back to any form of sanity.

When communism was revealed as a lie, yes, a lot of people became religious, but a lot embraced communism double-hard.

Prepare for the same yet again. And prepare for trouble. Big trouble.

We might have postponed the reckoning (I suspect no more than a few months) but the four stand ready to ride and create mayhem of massive proportions.

There will be wars and rumors of wars. And official rumors, from the top, that are worse than rumors. Narrative, lying narrative.

They have never used their powers for good, and they don’t even know where good is and couldn’t find good with two hands, a pole and a seeing eye dog.

Be ready for the waters to get rough. Get to safe places, physically, emotionally, financially.

And keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

When the narrative breaks, the shards go everywhere. Even your own mind. And some of them are sharp enough to cut like madness.

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

Welcome to the Sunday Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM CHRIS DURSTON: Each Little Universe.

‘Chris Durston refuses to be dull.’ – ‘You’ll laugh. A lot. You might even cry.’ – ‘If you want to meet some characters that will stay with you for, quite possibly, the rest of your life, I highly recommend this gem of a book.’ – ‘This is one of the most out-there-in-a-good-way stories I’ve ever had the honor of reading.’ – ‘It was a great read from open to close.’

If Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett had written an earnestly nerdy story in a setting running on the ridiculous logic of Scott Pilgrim, it might have come out something like this.

For two oddball inventors, taking care of an unexpected new arrival – a girl from the stars – is hard enough. Dealing with the things that want her back may turn out to be harder.

A story about love in all its forms (but not a love story), Each Little Universe asks big questions through familiar lenses, treating video games, wrestling, and pop culture with equal gravity to questions about what it means to be human and how we each find a place for ourselves in a big, strange cosmos.

Fans of Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, American Gods), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, Seconds), and Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Killing Commendatore) will love this story, set in a world very much like our own but a little more strange, and the unusual take it offers on life, the human experience, and cats.

FROM M. C. A. HOGHARTH: An Heir to Thorns and Steel.

Morgan Locke, university student, has been hiding his debilitating illness with fair enough success when two unlikely emissaries arrive bearing the news that he is prince to a nation of creatures out of folklore. Ridiculous! And yet, if magic exists…could it heal him? The ensuing journey will resurrect the forgotten griefs of history, and before it’s over, all the world will be remade by thorns and steel….

Book 1 of the Blood Ladders trilogy, an epic fantasy with sociopathic elves, vampiric genets, and the philosophy students mixed up in the lot.

FROM STEPHANIE OSBORN: EMPIRE: Section Six.

There are some jobs too subtle, too sensitive, or too dangerous for the bureaucracy. The Empress Amanda has a solution: a secret espionage network that reports to the Emperor Trajan alone.

And they have just the man to set it up.

Nick Ashton gets his most difficult assignment yet — Section Six!

Its first mission: Wingard Sector, where someone is interfering with the Emperor’s plans. There’s another word for that:

Treason!

FROM PATRICK CHILES: Frontier.

Marshall Hunter only wanted to fly: the faster, the higher, the better. But a life of rescuing wayward spacefarers and derelict satellites in the cislunar cruiser U.S.S. Borman is far from the adventure he’d imagined. But his fortunes change when a billionaire couple goes missing on their way to a near-Earth asteroid. Out of contact and on a course that will eventually send them crashing into Mars, the nuclear-powered Borman is dispatched on an audacious, high-speed interplanetary run to bring the couple home. As they approach the asteroid, however, the Borman itself becomes hopelessly disabled.

With the Borman suddenly out of commission and far beyond reach, cislunar space begins falling into chaos as critical satellites fail and valuable lunar mineral shipments begin disappearing in transit. Nothing is as it seems, and Marshall Hunter and the rest of the crew suspect none of it is by coincidence.

FROM DAVID E. PASCOE: Baptism By Fire.

When a madman and a giant flaming thing attack James Lawrie’s Marine outpost, the medic and an explosively talented sergeant aren’t supposed to save the day. Life becomes no simpler when Petty Officer Lawrie returns home on leave to find federal agents investigating the disappearance of a young woman from his past. A young woman whose body turns up marked with eerily familiar symbols.

FROM DAN HOYT: Ninth Euclid’s Prince.

Welcome to New Rome!
The far-flung heirs of the Eternal Empire of Eighty-Three Worlds have been called home to its seat of power, New Rome, by the Emperor himself. In these mean streets, no wife is above suspicion, and no man above assassination. With the Emperor poisoned and Prince Oswald in jail, Ninth Euclid, a mathematically gifted secretary from a rural backwater, must solve the knottiest problem of all: How will he keep his liege lord safe from daggers in the back and politically scheming trollops in the night?

FROM BLAKE SMITH: In Pursuit of Justice: A Novel of The Garia Cycle.

Garia and the East Morlans have been on increasingly rocky terms for years, and when Téo and Zara ran away together, they touched off the powder keg of war between their kingdoms. Now they have to fight for their lives while learning to live in a foreign land.

In the Morlans, Hanri and Alia are facing their own sets of problems. He must control and divert the single-minded vengeance of his father King Reynard, and she must sort the gold of information from the dross of gossip in a palace swarming with rumors. It could mean the difference between life and death for all of them.

FROM ROBERT BIDINOTTO: WINNER TAKES ALL: A Dylan Hunter Justice Thriller.https://amzn.to/3fYAqtD

Dylan Hunter — the vigilante hero of #1 bestselling Kindle thriller HUNTER — returns to battle . . .

A MURDEROUS CONSPIRACY FOR ULTIMATE POLITICAL POWER


Engaged to be married, mysterious journalist Dylan Hunter and CIA security officer Annie Woods are desperate to put their violent past behind them.

But then an investigative reporter is brutally, mysteriously murdered.

A visionary presidential candidate is targeted for destruction.

And a horrific day of unspeakable terrorism rocks Washington, D.C.

Soon, Hunter’s investigation puts him in the cross hairs of a power-hungry billionaire and a cold-blooded assassin. Camouflaged by “fake news,” a deadly conspiracy of Russian spies and American traitors aims to install their puppet in the White House.

And these predators will do the unthinkable to bring America under their total control.

The stakes — political and personal — couldn’t be higher. Because to stop them, Dylan Hunter must make an irrevocable choice. He must revert to his dark, secret life as a violent vigilante, waging a one-man war of justice against the corrupt and untouchably powerful.

It’s a decision that will, finally and forever, seal his fate … including his future with the woman he adores.

But for now, only one thing is certain:

In the tidal wave of political violence raging through the blood-soaked streets of Washington, D.C., the final outcome will be … WINNER TAKES ALL.

FROM DENTON SALLE: Black Earth Rises: Urban Fantasy in a Slavic-haunted Texas (Hall of Heroes Book 3).

Like the black earth showing through the snow, the otherworld emerges into ours.

Texas – big, open, and strange. Stranger than you can imagine as the Slavic Otherworld leaks into it. With all the monsters and myths of folklore loosed in North Texas.

Jim’s planned on a night of dancing and drinking as a break from studying. His best friend, Mike, came a long despite his bad feelings about it. It got bad. Then it got worse than Jim imagined as the nightmares of myth came hunting them.

What does a young man do when he finds horrors are real? And that a centuries-old brotherhood exists to fight them? Reality turns out quite different than he thought.

An urban fantasy where the terrors of Eastern European folklore hunt the streets of Dallas. If you enjoyed Butcher or McGuire, you’ll love this tale of magic and myths in the modern world.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

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

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

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: OVERFLOW

Rage, Rage!

We have a visitor over for the month. Visitor is a weird way to put it. He’s a fan who because a friend, who became one of my forever hyper extended adopted family, in this case a little brother. (Not that he’s little. He’s built much like my kids. Genetics of adoption. If my other hyper extended family adopted little brother reads this, yeah, I know you’re small and slight. I don’t know how you got that from mom’s family but I don’t judge.))

Visitor is a funny way to describe it, because he came over for the express purpose of help me clean, box, paint and help Younger Son carry heavy stuff, so I don’t kill myself. (The plan is to get this ready for staging and selling, anyway, and if nothing shows up, rent in the desired area till we find something. Though hopefully something amazing just shows up. This minimizes our monetary exposure, (aka double mortgage) and is less likely to drive me nuts.) Anyway that’s what he’s here for. That and a lot of book talk and stuff.

Anyway, he’s been commenting on the books lying around the house. (Pretty much every room.) Particularly the ones on soviet science. (Yes, it’s for a book I’m collaborating on with another of the hyper-extended family.)

Soviet science is amazing. Mostly because it wasn’t really science as it was interpreted in the US for the longest time. (Or in much of the Western World since Enlightenment.)

Look, science is a particular thing. A METHOD of acquiring and testing knowledge.

Every year in school, in every STEM discipline, we learned the scientific method the first day of school.

Notice event, effect, or phenomenon; formulate hypothesis that explains it; test hypothesis with experiments; confirm or deny hypothesis; if denied formulate new hypothesis that covers new observations. Test the new hypothesis, etc. ad nauseum.

This scientific methods allows for hypothesis and “known processes” to change. Take the Medieval idea that life could spontaneously generate and that maggots were “created” by rotting meat. It made perfect sense at their level of observation. Except when we got the microscope, we could observe more accurately that the eggs were already there. (I believe before we got the microscope, actually, but it’s one of those days when there isn’t enough caffeine and I don’t feel like going and researching the size of fly eggs. Forgive me. If I do it, I’ll fall down a rabbit hole and still be researching tomorrow.)

Or take things that “moderns” meaning people in the 20th century loved to make fun of, or rail against, like bleeding sick people. Our ancestors weren’t fools. It turns out that in the absence of antibiotics, if you bleed people some amount it kicks the immune system into high gear, and some people can be saved. (Now, the theory of humors formulated to explain it was nuts, but you know, they didn’t have the whole picture. Which meant they were applying the “fix” to tons of things that it could not help) We now know that, through studies made.

There is a never end of this stuff, where the theory and “scientific understanding” of something changes, as our understanding and instruments change. Which incidentally is why “Believe the science” is bullshit. Science thrives on being challenged. And it changes.

One of the most fascinating parts of soviet science was the untold amounts of time and money poured into studying paranormal phenomena.

If you don’t know it, we also had a program that studied things like mind communication and other psi-powers.

It was tabled not because these things don’t occur and haven’t been observed, but because it’s impossible to systematize. There seems to be not just a high degree of correlation to one individual, but what is called “the joker effect” in that the same say far-seer or telepath, will suddenly get completely fluent….. and insane results, with no rhyme or reason.

In the Soviet Union it was never tabled, and they had AMAZING results. I mean, particularly if you read books written early on by sympathizers of the Soviet Union. Why, their mind readers were right every time. They had people who could look inside our secure installations, they–

This is brought up apropos someone in the comments yesterday saying that the early virus released in Wuhan was 100% lethal very fast. Yeah, I heard the same thing a year and a half ago. It was also transmissible for weeks before symptoms showed.

Look, people, that’s like strange ice, and hot snow, okay?

First of all an immediately lethal virus would be about as useful as a bio-weapon as an accordion is useful in an air raid. Second asymptomatic transmission is the holy grail of a viral weapon, yes. Kind of like perpetual motion is the holy grail of mechanic engineering.

So, why would there be reports of this?

Because China is a totalitarian country. When the supervisors, who wouldn’t know science if it bit them in the nethers, tell you they want a perpetual motion machine, it’s not worth your life to disappoint them. Instead, you give them what they want, and swear it works, even if you have to install hidden batteries.

Soviet science had amazing results, not because they had amazing results but because amazing results were reported. Because they had to be, because the researchers wanted to continue breathing.

… and most of it was never checked, because it was what the higher ups wanted.

This is the greatest disadvantage of totalitarian regimes. Every time someone with gape-mouthed certainty tells me that China is going to bury us in blah blah blah, my eyes roll under the sofa and then I have to clean the cat hair off them.

Understand once and for all — which our “elites” can’t and don’t — that even the most powerful person in China has not a clue what is actually working and what they can and can’t do. Hell, like the publishing industry, there’s falsification at every level, because there has to be (in the case of publishing, because it’s almost impossible to get accurate figures. In totalitarian regimes because it’s not worth your life.)

Your rulers dictate that you obtain impossible results, so you fake them. This gets rolled to the next level, where now they want even crazier results, and so on up the line. Which is why the CIA who believed the reports thought communism in Russia was so d*mn successful.

It’s very important that you be aware of this, and keep it in your mind at all times for two reasons::

First, our idiot rulers believe everything they get from abroad. The level at which they are enmeshed with the totalitarians can be measured by their credulity. It behooves us to know when they’re being even more idiotic than is permissible, and why they might be doing crazier things than normal, so that we can extrapolate what they think they’re seeing, and stop them before they destroy our economy by putting the entire country under house arrest (say.)

Second, this method of “science” has been creeping into the US.
I’m not going to say anything about my friends who do science founded by the government. I’m not going to say anything, because for certain levels of science, it is only possible to do research if you have government funding. But I am going to point out this is a massive risk.
We are already seeing that even in the hard sciences most studies can’t be reproduced. Also if you dig, hypothesis that big government wants confirmed are always confirmed. Also, if you dig, there was no possible way to fairly evaluate the hypothesis in the time/with materials given. But failure will destroy careers.
And then there’s “Climate” science where you falsify the numbers so it shows what the bureaucrats want in the finest Soviet fashion. And then that’s used for the next round of “what the bureaucrats want.” (Harry readme) And in the name of this industries are set to be destroyed, impossible methods of propulsion are being demanded, and socialism is proclaimed as the savior of the Earth. Oh, and your children are being terrorized in school.

Western Civilization got where it is, where we banished historical levels of poverty from the world not because of some imagined racial superiority, not because we stole “wealth” from other civilizations. No. What made Western Civilization (And the US) great was the ability to use the scientific method and with it break the teeth of powerful people’s erroneous assumptions.

We retain civilization only insofar as we refuse to give in to the totalitarian “make the ruler happy” bullshit that has pervaded most of human history. And if we perish, it’s dark ages for… well, a very long time.

Refuse to believe lies. Demand the numbers. No. The real numbers. Dig into the entrails of studies. See if anyone tried to reproduce them and failed.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light of rationality.

Hold high the lamp of freedom of thought. Tell the hordes of totalitarian goblins to go defenestrate themselves.

To survive, humanity must know the truth, as close as our minds can understand it.
Anything else is suicide.

Where We Are Now

First, and because I didn’t promise not to do this: I TOLD YOU SO, I TOLD YOU SO, I F*CKING TOLD YOU SO.

For everyone who came here to lecture me, that the China Coff was going to depopulate the world, and I was being irresponsible for saying it was like the flu with a lot of stupid number games added; for every one who flounced because I told them the masks were a f*cking stupid idea that did nothing (including, yes, the gentleman who knew that masks would work against a VIRUS because when he was six someone made him put on a mask to go see his dying father); for everyone who mask-Karened with “just put on the mask”; for every raging asshole (including Sprouts grocery store manager) who told me that if I had a mask issue, I could get delivery, making asthma a crime worthy of house arrest; for every insane, stupid governor — Polis might be the dumbest of the lot — who made us wear masks outside, thereby making escape to the zoo or the botanic gardens impossible; to the f*cking airlines whose f*cking stupid rules made it impossible for me to be at my dad’s 90th birthday.

Come closer so I can whisper in your ear: I TOLD YOU SO. After which I’m going to knee you in the groin so hard you’ll taste next Wednesday. Yes, even if you’re a woman.

So, yes, I KNEW from the beginning, and I was suicidally depressed that no one else seemed to see it.

Honestly? I still don’t understand why they couldn’t. The numbers from the Diamond Princess were clear enough, but more than that, the fact that our medical supervisory institutions announced they wouldn’t audit cases of Covid-19, meaning there was no penalty for inflating the numbers, which hospitals were being given extra money for; and the “must not question” policies of the social media and news media made it obvious what was happening: it’s a scam

The fact that we jumped from this to an utterly radical program for containing the disease, only the program — like masks — made absolutely no sense.

Understand now and forever that quarantines and lockdowns have been used in the past. But they’ve been used for severely affected, afflicted people and areas. You don’t quarantine the healthy you quarantine the sick.

I’m not in the mood nor do I have the time to teach you virology, which I only know at the yeoman level, and only because I write books of biological-based SF, but sweet dancing penguins on crack, people! “Asymptomatic transmission” IS NOT A THING. Rationally it couldn’t be a thing.

My brief explanation will be somewhat false, because I can’t explain it without taking the day to verify figures and give you precise facts. I don’t have time for that, so let’s do the high level and mostly wrong, but still a thing quicky explanation:

You see, virus work on load. You’re infected with some virus right now. Tons of them, probably. Here’s the thing, you don’t develop symptoms and it’s not a thing until it reaches a certain amount of viral load. You can be sort of kind of asymptomatic, like the (often) low slow descent into flu, where you feel not quite the thing, till suddenly it crashes on you. And yeah, it’s possible you spread the virus when you’re in “I don’t feel quite right” but I don’t know how “effective” you are. Why? Because it takes a certain amount of viral load. Unless you’re actually in a conference room or at dinner with three people who feel like that, and all are shedding virus. Or unless, of course, you share spittle with someone in that stage.

But for this one bout of panic porn, things that have been known for centuries were denied. Like the fact that viruses are small enough to be suspended in air BUT not coherent enough after a few seconds. A couple of minutes at most. And again, viral load will be too small.

There were and still are — the justification for masking outside — people utterly convinced that if they walk the path that someone infected but asymptomatic traveled, they’re going to catch it, because the virus hangs suspended mid-air ready to jump you.

All of this is bullshit. All of this is bullshit that has never been used to make people afraid of any other illness ever.

At the same time somehow the media, the panic, the insanity, was all in the holy name of convincing people this was the most lethal thing ever. (As we know from Fauci’s emails.) Oh, and crashing the economy. And being able to steal the election. (Thank you, Americans. Even with all that shit, all the crazy bullshit, you voted for Trump in such numbers these assholes needed to fraud openly, in the light of day, in the most clumsy way possible.)

ALL OF IT was a political coup; a way to take down a successful president and install a China stooge. ALL OF IT.

The side effects of this are horrific: we have unemployed people (and hey, suck what I don’t have if you’re going to tell me that it’s just because people don’t want to work because: a) many people still can’t work since the schools STILL aren’t meeting in person (Someone has to stay home with the kids. In most states it’s illegal to leave them alone till 14 or so). b)many people saw their businesses and efforts melt down and are now not disposed to try again. c) A VAST number of people, either retiring or just entering the work force, are looking at the taxes coming down the pike, and the “open the borders, give illegals everything, make Americans pay” and choosing NOT to work. Which is rational, unless you’re driven by internal forces.) We have people who missed their cancer diagnosis and are now dying. We have people who died of other illnesses, because going to the hospital wasn’t a thing. We have hospitals closing because they can’t keep their heads above water after this. Oh, restaurants and stores too, but hospitals inevitably are closing in the most underserved communities. We have elderly who lived their last few months in isolation and pain and misery. We have elderly who started developing cognitive problems after being isolated for over a year. We have teens committing suicide. We have food wasted in big honking batches because restaurants were closed. We have planting done weirdly because no one knew if that sh*t would continue this year.

And that’s in the United States. In the poorer countries of the world, this bullshit unleashed actual famine. There were communities doing okay who are now on the verge of starvation. And it will get worse, with the Chinese Puppet Junta in control, because when the US coughs, the world catches pneumonia. We are THE consumer of the world. We are also the most productive food grower per acre.

All this in the name of what? So a senescent kakistocracy could keep power and keep their crimes from being uncovered?

Sure, in China, but in the US too. If you’re one of the idiots who never looked into Hunter’s Laptop or what is really going on with Clinton’s foundation, or any of that shit, it’s time to look now. You have been EGREGIOUSLY lied to and abused for a year and a half. Are you going to believe them when they say this other stuff isn’t a thing? WHY?

The left (and a lot of the right) elite are the most corrupt and incompetent buffoons since late Roman decadence. It’s probably inevitable when you have vast resources, a concentration of power, and a fawning news media/public opinion.

Everything about them, from their family lives to their business doings to their public and private behavior, when poked at exudes a stench that tells you their bios are like a demon’s resume. It’s filth layered on filth and given a veneer of normalcy that wouldn’t fool anyone who looked at it more than two seconds.

BUT they keep a tight lid on it, and call you names if you try to look at it, and tell you they do what they do because they CARE so much.

Go read the paragraph of what they did when they were trying to get back into power and locked you, scared you and tormented you as a side effect.

THESE ARE PEOPLE INTENTIONALLY DESTROYING CHILDREN AND MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE AND THE ELDERLY IN AMERICA FOR THE SAKE OF POWER.

THESE ARE PEOPLE STARVING THE THIRD WORLD FOR THE SAKE OF POWER.

FOR THE SAKE OF KEEPING THEIR EVIL SECRET A LITTLE LONGER.

And you’re going to believe them on anything else in the future? You — forbid the thought — want to “dismantle capitalism” by giving government powers of redistribution, powers of life and death over EVERYONE?

You’re going to believe a single word they say EVER AGAIN?

You’re going to scream and run at the next “plague” they announce to control you? (And no, I’m not afraid this was a cunning psychological maneuver. I UNDERSTAND the paranoia, but if the Chinese COULD create a virus to kill everyone else, they’d already have done it. They haven’t.)

You’re going to surrender your liberties to these “benevolent” overlords again?

Or are you going to fight tooth and nail to make sure no one else, ever AGAIN has the power to do this to a single nation, let alone the world?

I urge you very strongly to look at the members of the Junta and their helpers, and visualize the real people behind the masks. Visualize people who destroy a country and the world for the sake of more power over everyone, and to keep their misdeeds from coming out.

I URGE you to contemplate that they’d rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.

And then, if you ever again believe any of the media-ginned-up hysterias without checking facts or using your brain, be aware that next time the “I told you so” will have teeth. That knee to the groin will go all the way up. Oh, not administered by me, but by those younger and with more to lose who will be absolutely tired of this shit.

And what comes after might not be civilization as we know it.

So Here Is Some Fun Stuff

FB showed me this from 7 years ago. I still found it hilarious. And I am going to throw down the gauntlet: Come up with more of these!

It is a little known fact that before the foul censorship drive of 1971 all the great works of Western literature were acknowledged to be about chickens.

Nowadays a great effort is being made to restore our heritage and we can finally read the great lines in the original.”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any chickens,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug — Little Women “

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a chicken” — Pride and Prejudice, hattip RES.

“Dorothy lived in the midst of the Great Kansas prairies, with uncle Henry who was a chicken farmer, and Aunt Em who was the chicken farmer’s wife.” The Wizard of Oz.

“It was a pleasure to burn chickens” – Ray Bradbury.”

There was no possibility of taking a chicken that day.” Jane Eyre.

“It was a bright day in April and the clocks were striking chicken” – 1984

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chickens” The social contract (it made much more sense that way.)

“Two coops both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our chickens” — Romeo and Chicken.

“It was the best of chicken it was the worst of chicken.” A tale of two chickens.

“Sing, O Chicken, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaean chickens” – The Iliad

(What? Well, this was the dinner conversation chez casa Hoyt, and I thought you needed to share the… ah… joy.)