I Feel The Ground Shifting A Blast From The Past From September 2018

*Okay, first a confession — when I said they’d go crazy, even I couldn’t foresee 2020. Dear Lord, I swear I never saw it coming. Though, you know, as bad as it was it might have been worse. (I don’t know how, but it might have had land sharks in it or something, okay??) The rest? Yeah. Okay, so, as a consequence of 2020 things look…. uh… “Dicey” (that’s the polite way to put it.) But even then, remember, most of your anxiety is probably not real. Maybe it’s why I sound slightly saner just now. After all, when the going gets weird, the weird go pro. Be not afraid – SAH*

I Feel The Ground Shifting A Blast From The Past From September 2018

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Cats are more sensitive to noise than we are. When I was doing work with orphan kittens — most of your local shelters will take kittens any age. Most euthanize those under 8 weeks of age, which most state laws view as being too young to adopt. Some people like me volunteer to raise litters to 8 weeks of age, which is often 7 week stints of having infants, with all that entails. As my health got worse, I stopped doing it, so I haven’t done it in close to ten years. Might do it again, when some of our feline geriatrics go to their reward — one of the women in our support group said she’d been delivered a 2 week old kitten who was in shock. Someone had transported him in a tin bucket (lined with warm towels, mind) on the handle bar of a motorcycle. The person doing it, had found an almost-dead kitten, wanted to take him to a rescuer, and had not idea their hearing is far more acute than ours. (The kitten survived, btw.)

Posit a kitten whose mom gave birth under some piece of industrial machinery, with all the noise and clanging. If he doesn’t go deaf, he might adapt to a quiet life, as an adult, but he’ll probably still deal better with chaos and confusion than your average cat.

In a way I am this kitten. Due to things too hard to relate, and besides not mine to tell, things were already semi-unpredictable before the revolution. They hit full potato after in that I couldn’t predict what would be next. Like…School could start 1st of October or… whenever. One year it was January. Our curriculum was not what my brother and father had studied, not even in vague outlines. It could change, for that matter, at any time during the year, both courses (in Portugal you don’t select them. You get them assigned per-school year) and what courses taught. Your commute home could be fine, or there could be a sudden strike, and you had to walk home (if it was both bus and trains on strike.)

There was no rhythm, no pattern, no pathway to adulthood.

And then when things were stabilizing, both in the country and in my life, I moved overseas. It took me a while to realize all my assumptions — and therefore most of my actions — about how things worked were plain wrong. I’m sure there are some minor things I haven’t figured out yet, because they’re internalized when people are pre-verbal.

Though my new environment didn’t contain surprise strikes, or pitched street battles when you least expected them, it was completely unpredictable TO ME. (My misreading of real estate cost us dearly in our first house. But I came from a country where you bought a tiny home and it grew with you and you stayed there for life.)

Then we moved… well more or less every five years for the last thirty. We stayed in last house 13 years because most of it I felt too ill to move. But then we had six moves in a year and a half (some of them partial, some kids, but still disruptions.)

I’m as “adapted” as our kind can be to disruption and chaos. Which is still not very well. I still feel confused and upset when I can’t predict what the best path is, when I can’t make the “noise” and confusion stop.

Most people want tomorrow to be a little better than today, but not markedly different. They want to raise fat babies and fat, happy grandbabies, and predict what gets them there.

They get downright testy when the path to get there keeps changing and they have no clue where to go or what to do to get to that happy outcome.

Right now our disruption is mainly technical. “Mainly” but it soon flows out to the rest of the world. The French Revolution and probably WWI were convulsions from the big tech change of the industrial revolution. Because when people are unstable, things go nuts.

And we’re at the beginning of such a period. On and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows, but hell, the last echoes will probably resound 500 years from now, particularly if things keep changing.

Which means people are getting — to coin a phrase — their cheese moved all the time: jobs, politics, expectations, ways “things have always been done” within jobs and families. The inevitable is no longer inevitable. The impossible and unthinkable might be improbable, but they do happen. “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.”

I’m not better at this than anyone else. I dearly love security and predictability, I just think a little clearer through the mess, because I’m the kitten who grew up in the machine shop.

So — some things I know you might want to think about:

1- You’re not crazy. You just feel that way. Our brains are wired for the neolithic (if that.) We don’t do well with fast changing situations.

2- Most of the anxiety you feel is not real. Look, when you were a neolithic farmer, and a lot of things started changing, it was sure as shooting some bad invaders would raid your farm one night. So you had to be alert and paranoid all the time.
Sure. I don’t want you to do things like ignoring your surroundings, but I also don’t want you to die of stress. Take a deep breath. Yeah, it’s crazy, but you don’t believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history. Your world is being rocked, but not jack-hammered into the ground. Chances are good you’ll be fine. You got this.

3- Our friends and neighbors who believe in a deterministic future and the inevitable arrow of history? Their world is getting jackhammered. Worse, their ways of reacting that always served them well are doing worse than backfiring. They’re not doing anything. Worse, they’re used to being in power, and in having “privilege” for having “the correct opinions.” That’s not really paying off anymore. Even in publishing where the establishment abides, there’s less and less cheese to go around, which means the other rats are turning on you.
I’m not saying you should pity them. Oh, heck, you should, yes, but considering what has gone on in the past, most of us aren’t that saintly.
Just understand the crazy stuff they do and say is because they lost their moorings, not because “they were always inherently bad people.” (Though some, of course, were. People will be people.) They’re really really scared, and scared people do crazy stuff.

4- So, you, stop being scared. Yes, there’s a possibility this all goes to buckets of blood, but I can guarantee those who see a boot stomping on a human face forever in our future are not taking in account a bazillion factors. That type of thing works in fiction. Reality is more complex and frankly the boots haven’t been permanently successful anywhere, even the parts with the worst record in that regard in human history.
Take a deep breath. Half of what you’re feeling is due to perceived chaos and instability and the people for whom the chaos and instability threaten fundamental beliefs. You’ve got this. Most of us will be fine.

5- This is no time to run around with your head on fire. Conversely it’s no time for a nice nap either. Roughly half the population (not all of them hard left, or even left) is out of their minds with panic. Roughly 90% are somewhat scared. All over the civilized world and some of the semi-civilized. Scared people do crazy things. Be aware of your surroundings, particularly when traveling abroad, but in our fair land, too. Have a plan of escape/survival if things go strange, at all times. Just don’t obsess on it. Having the plan will help you feel less anxious, and increase your chances of survival should things go wrong. Think of it as the spiel on emergencies when you board a plane. Chances are things will be fine where you are, at that time. But there will be rough patches. To survive the rough patches, your back brain needs to know what to do.

6- Think about the specific change around you and in your field. The way changes are trending is not always obvious — in publishing right now I swear things change every six months — but they can be guessed if you think about it. Nothing trad pub has done so far has really surprised me (except perhaps for how long they’re taking on the way down, but I know non-fic is still profitable, and there’s parent companies and stuff. So my surmise of how fast it would all go South has always been broad “two to ten years” say.) Some turns Indie has taken have shocked me because they’re due to Amazon changes, and I can’t anticipate those.
You don’t have to foresee ten years in the future, and thank heavens, no one needs to foresee 100 (unless you’re an immortal.) Even science fiction is less forecasting than “what would be cool” and “what would make my story more fun” and then finding a plausible way to get there.
BUT if you’re a few months ahead of the rest of your field, your town, your business, you’ll do very well. It’s like surfing on the crest of change, without getting pulled under.

7- That’s it. Take a deep breath. You’ll do fine. You got this. Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated. Be not afraid.

Be Not Afraid

Yes, things are getting scary.

You must remember we’re not Sri Lanka. We have resources they don’t have, and we’ve never gone completely crazy the way they have.

It is part of the tragedy of the world that the crazy ideas our intellectuals come up with are tried by little countries with no resources, because their bright young men attend our universities and take the craziest things seriously.

But we’re not Sri Lanka. Even California (and it’s crazy) isn’t crazy enough to mandate all organic farming. And other states are better, almost all of them.

Yes, we’re going to have a shortage of fertilizer, and the weather has been wonky (would you believe “return of ice age pattern?” Not saying it will return, by the way, because there are a lot of variables and “climate science” is a bad joke. we simply don’t know enough.) so our crops will be scant.

But we live in a country that makes each one of us the top 1% of the world. If the time comes that we’re starving, most of us, then all the rest of the world is dead.

But —

Our institutions have been corrupted by these crazy ass air dreamers. They’ve forgotten history and they’ve lost sight of reality.

They have power of a sort, but reality has more power. And most of us aren’t crazy.

So, that’s why everything is coming undone, splitting apart at the seams.

Which means …. things aren’t going to be comfortable.

And for people who aren’t resourceful, who won’t scramble, particularly if they live in the big blue cities, things are going to get down right uncomfortable and at times sportive.

And perhaps those of us who can should help our friends who have a little more trouble. Maybe. Be careful you’re not getting in trouble yourself, but lend a helping hand, if you can.

America is large enough, varied enough, strong enough we’ll be okay.

But it’s going to get bad. Really, really bad. For the rest of the world, more than for us. Shaky here.

A way of life — and the statist, centralized way of life has been prevalent for a hundred years — doesn’t pass away without pain.

Birth never occurs without pain, either.

And the ending is a beginning, too.

Let’s make it the beginning we want.

Let’s do our best. For ourselves, for the Republic. For civilization. For humanity.

It Has To Die Here

This is not a post about the pandemic. Well, not that pandemic.

More about the peculiar cult — malware for the western civilization — known as Marxism.

But first let’s talk about how a virus works, okay? Bear with me. I know I don’t precisely — snort — write hard science fiction, and there is a reason for that: I wanted to write exciting and “cool” stories like the ones I grew up reading. This requires setting them five hundred or ten thousand years in the future, and a lot of handwavium, so we can have anti-grav devices and the like. Look it’s possible, for a definition of possible. A lot of what we do now was considered impossible in the past. (And if you’re going to say their science was defective, do you really believe we’ve discovered everything as is and can be, world without end?)

But the one thing I researched very carefully for the Darkship books was biology, which to be honest has long been a hobby, but also because that was the crux of the “change to society” I was introducing and playing with.

In the process I spent a lot of time reading books about biology. And let me tell you, viruses are fascinating little biological machines and one of the ways to deliver a “change in DNA”. Because what they do is get into a cell in your body, defeat your immune system, and start pumping out copies of themselves.

Given long enough, and not killing you, part of their DNA becomes part of your genetic code. It is believed — and please, remember despite the very knowledgeable noises emanating from that area of science, that genetics is in its infancy, like physics in the late 19th century — that a lot of our so called “junk DNA” is remains of viruses our ancestors contracted and fought off.

Marxism works a lot like a virus. In the wake of weakening by the two long wars in the 20th century, what was a minor intellectual obsession of particularly maladapted intellectuals — like writers — took over our cultural institutions, and started pumping out copies of itself.

It did so by defeating our immune system, by convincing those that should have known better that the long war had happened due to ultranationalism and not through stupid early attempts at internationalism (What do you think the royal marriages and imperialism were? They were certainly not national.) and by convincing most of the older — tired, often left childless by the war — people who ruled intellectual life that the young people had a better idea, one that would stop war and bring about instant earthly paradise.

(Note when any philosophy, or religion for that matter, promises paradise in this world, with no more suffering or death, you should take a step back and then start running very fast. Says she who has been reading about cults. It’s a very old promise, and it always ends in tears and blood. Man, the creature, was made to strive, and barring some redemptive, transformative external to us and by definition divine event that gives us back Eden, we can’t go back there. Angel with flaming sword. Or you know, mass graves of communism. Whichever.)

And so all the institutions were infiltrated. All of them. It started with universities, but it went on to politics, to public life, and is now spreading through the hard sciences.

It spread particularly through America because — and this is hard to explain to you if you grew up here — the future comes from America. Other countries tend to look at what we’re doing and imitate it. They accept our irreproducible research as the gospel truth, and they try to do what we do.

This is how European cities became infected with homeless. Because the USSR had managed to convince our psychological establishment that when we imprisoned people we were just like the USSR and that the mentally ill were only political dissidents traumatized by “capitalism.” So, you know, the only decent thing was to let them go their own way and de-institutionalize them.

And unfortunately in the sixties and seventies, European universities used American textbooks and manuals.

I have heard from both academics and people in business in Europe that it’s almost impossible to work for all the “Woke” everywhere. This is because they not only took American research, but they have a tradition of worshiping intellectuals. So while we take it with a mountain of salt, they piously believe it. (Part of their conceit is that they’re smarter than we are, and therefore respect “the science” more.) Which btw explains how hard they fell for the covidiocy, and why they’re having a lot more trouble than us pulling out of it. They don’t know, as we do, our scammers and frauds. And they have trouble cocking a snook at them. While we frankly are born snook cockers and do at every opportunity.

Here, what is preventing us from completely speaking out against the nonsense, or openly ignoring them, is that a lot of people are where I was when I decided I had no more copulation to give and started telling the truth and shaming the devil.

Your job, your credentials, your very ability to function in society depends on not saying the king goes naked. Because if you do all opportunities will melt, and you’re suddenly unable to feed your family. (Why, it’s starting to make me think of my fundamentalist friends and their apocalyptic visions, even though that’s not my tradition.)

Recently one of you asked what hope we have of fighting back against that. If the people who are in the institutions, or even simply who have jobs can’t rebel, all hope is lost, and yadda yadda black pill.

Oh. Sure. It could be that way. In another universe. One in which the Marxists can run anything without falling on their faces. A universe in which Marxism is congruent with reality and doesn’t need to keep generating increasingly crazier theories to cover up its blatant failures. More importantly, one in which — as for many years it was here — Marxism is invisible.

Viruses persist and reproduce at massive rate as long as they can convince the body they don’t exist. That they’re part of the normal functioning of the body.

Or the body politic.

Once they are detected and visible, by the guardian systems of the body, the body fights back against the infection.

Look, for Marxism to work and stay in power forever, humans would need to be creatures that can be molded into something completely different by government. No, seriously. This was part of Marxist theory. Like most Christian heresies, it removed G-d, but retained the “you shall be made anew”. They thought that self-interest and greed were not natural, but things introduced by “capitalism” (the fall.) And that removing capitalism could make us into perfectly selfless, communitarian beings. (Well, it’s sort of true, since what they called capitalism are normal means of exchange between human beings — or possibly apes. There’s evidence, looks like — when you remove that, people die in batches, which means they become indeed selfless. Also very peaceful.)

So, when they take over, things stop working, fast. As they have in almost every institution that has gone “woke.” — Yes, now spreading to the hard sciences.

And every time they fail they come up with crazier things more distant from reality, so now we’re supposed to believe the most multi-racial (and to an extent unseen since the Roman empire, race-blind) nation that ever was is plagued by “systemic racism.” And you can’t tell what a woman is. And men and women equally can give birth, and–

There is a difference between promising that once workers seize the means of production there will be paradise, and claiming that your son is really your daughter if you only let him be castrated, or that you should eat bugs (these people have no clue how much bugs eat to produce scant protein) to save the Earth, or–

The point is they can only keep hold as long as their insanity isn’t visible. Marxism needs complete — complete — control over the means of communication to succeed.

Even then the wheels come off, which is why neither China nor Russia can feed themselves.

“Capitalism” being natural is adaptable, and can survive a lot of intrusion and body-blows, and will chug along as long as not completely stopped.

Meanwhile Marxism needs secrecy, protection, complete vigilance and that no one with a remote bit of sense look at it.

When you’re saying “If people in the institutions can’t rebel because they’ll be cancelled, we’ve already lost” you’re looking at it wrong.

Sure, a lot of people who are on our side — a lot of people who read this blog — are keeping their mouths shut so they can eat.

But what you have to do is look at this the other way: In the forties and fifties, “progressivism” was out and proud. Even the GOP was progressive. It was believed the government not only could but should perform great intrusions upon the economy, to lead us to the great paradisical future. Price controls were considered sane, and the only way to go, to prevent people from starving, etc.

Now, yeah, they still would like to have price controls and all the attendant intrusion, but they keep running into a public who knows that’s crazy cakes. And not just that, but the craziness of locking up healthy people to prevent disease is obvious, and it has caused — alas mostly in the US — a healthy bout of disbelief in the gospel of “science.”

Yeah, people in “positions where they should talk” can’t because they’ve been muzzled at the cost of their ability to survive.

But turn it around. If the left had really won, if their way worked, if they had absolute power and had convinced everyone, why would they be trying so hard to muzzle speech? Why the shrieking attack on the first ammendment? Why the threats to revoke professional licenses, or the ability to be employed if you step out of line?

Because they know they’re a small minority, barely holding on to power. At some level, too, I think they know that cannot last. It’s the only reason I can figure for pre-appointing a successor for a supreme court judge who maybe might retire, perhaps. Because they think it’s their last chance.

Now, you’ll say “But they can hold onto power indefinitely by threatening people.

Can they? Can they really?

Look, in every occasion in history that this happened, where a small but vocal minority held the reins of power, while the people under them no longer believed in the tenets that held these people in power — be they the divine right of kings, or the little red book — the result is that those people fall. And usually they fall hard.

Now, it’s entirely possible that America — we tend to work weirdly — will manage a soft escape from this. Maybe. Part of the thing to remember is that the people at the top of the crumbling, tottering lefty edifice are old. I mean, really old, and often more cognitively impaired than people their age should be. (Does alcohol and drugs really silence conscience? I don’t know. I do know it seems to impair cognitive abilities. Significant look at the FICUS and Nancy Grey Goose.) Part of the reason their “rule” seems to have gone extreme and, let’s face it, insanely surreal, is that they are in a hurry. They’re out of time to “win.”

Their problem is that they’re now in the open. And everything they try to do to stop the not so subtle disgust and rebellion of the masses only makes them more disgusted and rebellious.

Now they’re comparing everything to “another 9-11” and can’t imagine why that doesn’t work. And they spend six months market-testing a slogan to turn people against Trump, and come up with Ultra-MAGA and “The MAGA king.” And can’t imagine why it blows up in their faces. (As for me, if you spell out Make America Great Again, I’m not Ultra-MAGA. I’m Super Ultra MAGA, with special MAGA powers, and sharks with lasers on their heads, and every day from this blog, I let out the cry “Ultra, Super MAGA: ASSEMBLE.”)

Seriously. They are that out of touch, and that desperate.

And it’s bad. For them.

Go read any book of political theory. Regimes can survive anything but general public derision. Once that starts, the fall will happen. Fast or slow, soft or hard, but it will happen. You can survive people hating you. Not people laughing at you.

Now, yeah, they’ll do a lot of damage on the way out. And because of the enforced silence, it will take a long time for people to trust professionals. ANY professionals. This will not be helped by what will seem like waves of overnight turn coats in everything from the arts to science. A lot of them will be people who are finally free to talk, but how do you distinguish that from those who will say anything to stay in power?

You can’t. Which is how Russia became ruled by old Soviet horrors. And Germany ended up with Frau Komissar Merkel.

So it is important to not lose sight of that, and to be ruthless and practical about who we choose to trust and why.

They have already lost. They can’t hold onto power.

They can only extend their hold a little bit by convincing us to give up. And to stop pointing out they’re wrong. And to — LOL — stop laughing. That last one is the most genuine expression of rebellion, and the most impossible to stop.

Their regime is an hot house flower. It can only survive so long as they control everything, and even then not for long, because reality always kills it.

Ladies and gentlemen: in the measure of the possible (and I do realize that might be very little where and when you are) point out the incongruences. Make fun of them, even if it’s no more than let’s go Brandon or I did that stickers. Do not let up.

Light up the Marxist virus, and point it out, so the immune system of western civilization can work. Sure, they’re everywhere. Well, that just gives us a target rich environment.

They can only work in the dark and in secret.

Let the sunshine in.

Book Promo And Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike With a BONUS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

BONUS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

This is a public service announcement: I’m so angry I’m shaking right now. No, not at anyone on this blog, or anyone who sent me links, and not my background anger at politicians.

Let me explain: A lot of you are enthusiastic and confused. A lot more have trouble reading directions. That’s fine. I have been there sometimes, and done the most bizarre things by way of asking for promotion or some other favor. No big.

HOWEVER this week, in the batch of requests for promo, I got a — not unusual — offer of free chapters, and a line to not-Amazon.

While I usually prefer to link for Amazon, because, yes, I earn a commission, I’ve been known to link to books not on Amazon, if I can figure out how. Though I first look to see if the book is on Amazon and link that if I can. (Hey, it’s money, and while I do this because I love you, I also do it for money if I can.)

This one seemed to be a small publisher, and the book was not on Amazon. So I set up to link to the publisher, but sent the writer back a message about “if you’re not on Amazon your publisher isn’t serving you right.”

However, as I continued putting up books, the name of the publisher kept bugging me. I was sure it was on a list of scams.

They are probably not scammy enough for the law, however they are DEFINITELY a vanity publisher. Which means the writer published through them is unlikely to see any money (the publisher makes the money from the writer.) AND they’re unlikely to see any royalties, since the house makes no effort at selling the book.

In this day and age of indie publishing, it is painful to me to see ANYONE giving money to be published, and getting nothing in return.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE: Always remember: MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR. If it isn’t flowing to the author and you’re paying a so-called “publishing company” to publish you, they have no reason to SELL your book. Their business model is to get paid by you, not by readers.

IF you don’t know how to publish your book indie and don’t want to spend time submitting to traditional publishers, ask in the comments. Yes, you can HIRE copyeditors, cover artists, etc, and bring the book out yourself, under your full control. No, it’s not the same as having a “publisher” ask you for money.

Please, I beg you with tears in my eyes: before giving money to a vanity publisher, contact me, or Cedar Sanderson, or TXRed, or a dozen other people. We can at least point you in some direction (even if my time availability is crazy right now.) And I can send you the names of copy editors and cover artists. (I can do a post with those, if people want.)

JUST don’t give away your hard work, and pay for it being buried out of sight of the buying public. You’re better than that.

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

NOW UPDATED AND IN PAPERBACK AND HARDCOVER: Odd Magics: Tales for the Lost

Odd Magics
This is a very strange collection of fairytales, recast for modern life. In it the prize isn’t always to the fairest, the
magic is rarely to the strongest.
But lonely introverts do find love, women who never gave it a thought find themselves at the center of romance.
Doing what’s right will see you to the happily ever after.
And sometimes you have to kiss an accountant to find your prince.

(And yes, I feel bad about the price for the hardback, but the production costs are high. Apparently.)

FROM STEPHEN PALMER: The Unlikely Candidate: A Novel of Politics, Religion, and the Media

After completing his second and final term as governor of Mississippi at age fifty, Jeff Ackerman is seeking direction for the next stage in his life. On a whim, Ackerman decides to run for president in the 2016 election against incumbent Democrat Upton Landers. Landers is a reasonably popular sitting president during a time of peace and a stable economy. The well-known Republican politicians elect to sit on the sidelines for the 2016 election, implicitly conceding re-election to Landers. This leaves the Republican field open to squishy moderates, has-beens, and never-have-beens such as Jeff Ackerman.

The Unlikely Candidate takes the reader on a thought-provoking and sometimes infuriating journey into the Oval Office, Air Force One, a New York City newsroom, the pulpit of an African-American church in Detroit, and the headquarters of an agribusiness conglomerate in Iowa. One part political commentary, one part media criticism, and one part Christian apologetic, this novel prioritizes ideas and ideals. Author Stephen Palmer weaves various threads into a compelling, fast-moving narrative that keeps the reader thinking while anxiously turning pages.

After a successful twenty-year legal career, Stephen Palmer retired from a major international law firm at age 46 in order to focus on writing and public speaking. He’s originally from Jackson, Mississippi and now lives in Marietta, Georgia with his wife Jennifer and their two daughters.

FROM MARK DOUGLAS ROBBINS: Killing Deep States: How to Spread Freedom

Thomas Paine said almost 250 years ago, “government even in its best state is but a necessary evil “. In ten pages KDS shows how a $10.99 political donation initiates feedback on government spending. This short pamphlet (1 hour), modeled on “Common Sense”, leans into unique processes implemented using technology, and existing proven systems, to give free people control of their governments.

FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: The Fourth Law

23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time. Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely-functional smaller states, and vast swathes of barbarian badlands. Her sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.

Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd, but dear friend, whom she met online: a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.

Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seeks only a quiet, normal life. But, that past and her present conspire against her. A new Morning has come, and with it, delights and terrors, happiness and adversity.

FROM DALE COZORT: Snapshot42-Book2:Through The Texas Gate (Snapshot-42 Book 2)

Snapshot42: Through the Texas Gate is an alternate history novel. In early November 1942, with World War II hanging in the balance, an invisible wall cuts Europe, along with parts of the Middle East and North Africa, off from the rest of the world. With the Allies running out of vital raw materials from the rest of the world, they look for ways through the wall. They find two gates to other realities. One leads to a still-independent Republic of Texas that still uses black powder weapons and is barely holding off fierce nomad raiders, while another leads to a strange land without people but overrun by still-living dinosaurs.

Jim Bridger and Colonel Tillman need to buy oil and food to keep the allies in the war, but first they have to survive fierce new enemies in these new-found realities.

FROM JERRY BOYD: Hand Jive

Andre runs into trouble, riding with Rachel, while he’s on leave. By the time he’s back on duty, Rachel has decided to join up with BSR. Her first job is a doozy, though. She has to keep the twins out of trouble. Slavers show up again, with hopes of getting the company out of the way. After the fleet explains the error in their ways, they head out to check on a new planet. A stowaway causes trouble for Topper, but it turns out for the best.

FROM KARL GALLAGHER: Captain Trader Helmsman Spy (Fall of the Censor Book 4)

Niko Landry needs to infiltrate the Censorate to find a weakness before it launches its next assault. The Censor bans maps of hyperspace, forcing freighters to find their way by word of mouth.
He and his crew will pretend to be ordinary traders while finding out all the secrets they can. Any mistake could leave them broke . . . or executed.

FROM TONY ANDARIAN: The Massacre of Lannamon: Dawn of Chaos 2 – Hell Gate, Part III (Sanctum of the Archmage Book 4)

A new constitution prepares Carlissa for an era of enlightenment. The harsh traditions of the past fade, and a promise of freedom stirs the air.
In the space of one terrifying day, that promise is shattered in a bloodbath of fire and magic.
Thousands of years ago, an epic battle was fought between good and evil. The demon lords had opened a door to the realms of hell itself, and their horde threatened to overrun the earth. But the Kalarans, led by the hero Calindra, destroyed their hellgate and drove them from the world.
The Great War has long since been lost to myth and legend. The Church struggles for relevance as the people forget their covenant with the gods. A renaissance of freedom and learning stirs the air in the modern age of Carlissa, led by the royal family, and the wisdom of the Archmage.
All of that comes to an end when a dome of shimmering magic appears in the capital city.
The people fight desperately to survive the chaos that follows, and wonder bitterly why the gods seem to have abandoned them. Their only hope lies with the magic of the Archmage — and his, with a young princess who never wanted to rule. She must find the strength to set aside her bard’s calling and take up a battle against impossible odds, or surrender her land and people to the Black Magus and his demons.
In The Massacre of Lannamon, the city’s refugees fight desperately for survival, but their prospects become ever more bleak in the face of the advancing demon horde.Sanctum of the Archmage, Volume One – Dawn of Chaos
Dawn of Chaos, Book 2: Hell Gate
Hell Gate, Part III – The Massacre of Lannamon
Note: An earlier version of this book appeared as part of the novel Dawn of Chaos, published briefly on Amazon in 2017. That book has now been re-written and expanded into a series of six novella-length installments.

FROM B. RENE SHEKMER: Restoring Order: A Detachment 3 Novel.

A young college student is kidnapped while on summer vacation. Her father, a U.S. diplomat, has the connections to involve the CIA and he does not hesitate to use them. Detachment 3 is given the assignment to find and retrieve the young woman. From Northern Virginia to the Mediterranean, the team follows the available clues in the search for Sofia and her kidnappers, who turn out to be more than mere criminals.

FROM DENTON SALLE: Not Snakes, Exactly: A Hall of Heroes Short Story

When Megan reached out to the Brotherhood over the odd old woman who came to her church, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially after the Greek Orthodox priest who gave her their contact info insisted she be blessed first. But the old woman was so adamant about needing them.

She never expected to find the monsters and creatures of Ukrainian and East European myth. Nor that the strangeness would invade her professional life. But that old woman warned of doom overhanging her West Texas city.

A story from the Hall of Heroes, where the legends of East Europe walk in Texas, and sometimes even cowgirls need to deal with them.

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.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: laborer

Drunk on Story

So, with the Junta in power acting like freaking lunatics and trying to bring on WWIII, my friends keep asking “Why are we antoganizing a nuclear-armed* power?” and “Why do both sides of the spectrum seem to be pushing us towards WWIII?”

And there’s only one answer: drinking their own ink. Both sides are drinking their own ink.

I’ll dispose of the right first: the “right” which in this case is mostly the military-industrial complex, the real one, the one that is composed of swamp creatures in our secret services**, in the military, and in the fossilized GOPe, the remnants of what used to be called “right wing progressives” in the beginning of the 20th century when “progressive” spanned both parties. It’s all about, gah, what in Rome amounted to old men talking about their upright ancestors, who ate acorns and lived in caves and were real men. (There are still Portuguese men talking about this, I swear.)
It’s all about this thing that since WWII defines strong American manhood as having fought in a war and proved themselves. And this will somehow make the country more conservative, if you understand “FDR” or at least Eisenhower as conservative (which he was, just not AMERICAN conservative.

Also, the right, in a more benign view of this whole insanity, at least those like me who grew up in the cold war “waiting for the hammer to fall” is weary of letting another country, much less Russia (which WILL swallow every country nearby one by one because Russian paranoia, and also because their economics are still highly flawed and can’t survive without parasitizing other countries. And once the swallow a tier, another tier is now near them, and them…. there’s no limit to this) have the upper hand over the US.

The answer to that is: Do you guys trust this lot to run a war? Do you trust their motives? Do you really want to give more power to the government? Do you think you’ll be in power forever?

Then there is the left side. And what you have to understand is that if the right side is drunk on story, the left side is drunk on story on steroids. They’ve been butt-chugging it, as well as drinking it.

Worse, they’re drunk on several, mutually contradictory stories at once.

Part of their motivation was a form of “thinking” the left indulges in which consists of “let’s do this because it worked in the past.” (To be fair the right tends to believe the left’s plans will work as they did in the past, so everyone is crazy.) Which is true, except what they know of the past omits how things have changed. And boy, have they changed.

So, you know, they often try to run the “rise of the USSR” scenario without realizing it does not/can not work with an armed populace. Then they realize it, try to confiscate/outlaw guns, fail, run in circles, try again.

In the same way, they’re trying to run the WWII module, (or WWI, for that matter) because it led to massive growth in government power, a compliant population and got them out of a depression before, right?????

Except none of that works that way. It’s so wrong it’s like an alien language.

The only reason Wilson or FDR got the powers they did and could run around like the whole beast and the triple six besides, trampling everything in their path was that they had FULL CONTROL of mass media and public opinion.

They don’t have that now. They already don’t have that. And they ain’t getting it back. They keep forgetting that they poured it on full force under Obama, and what they got was…. Trump. And then they did everything — everything, including the “pandemic” script and locking the population down…. and they still had to fraud at the last minute, in front of G-d and everyone, because people aren’t BUYING it.

Wishing this away is like wishing away guns.

Yes, they’re trying. That’s what mintrue is all about. But the woman is so stupid (Seriously, she’s friends with the dumber of our older adversaries in SF/F) that she’s become an instant joke. Also what she’s screaming “Saying Commie Lawhorish slept her way to the top is disinformation” is what the left has been screaming at us for YEARS. And it doesn’t work. In fact, I predict in a couple of months, we’ll know what’s true by what this chick denies.

The other way they drink their own ink is hilarious. They continuously do this thing where they make up something stupid and then BELIEVE IT THEMSELVES. No, seriously, this is a pattern of every socialist/communist going back to yep the USSR.

It would be like if I wrote something about the moon being made of cheese and then tried to start an expedition to harvest it.

They made up the story about Russia putting Trump in power, partly because they thought the RIGHT would fall for it. (“Because they’re so stupid, they hate Russians, ur ur”) …. and then they FORGOT they made it up and fell for it. So, they have a big mad on at Russians and want to beat them.

BUT they also still think the right (ur ur) being “stupid” fell for the story themselves, so it means we must love Russia, right? (No, just go with it. I know your brain just twisted. What can I say. Commies.)

So they fully expected us, the minute Ukraine was invaded to come out in full vocal support of Russia. (No. I know there’s half a dozen of you. Stop it. Just stop it. KGB trained dictator is not defender of anything, except himself.) And then they COULD STOMP US. Because war act, repress bad speech.

Only we didn’t act as they expected. As with guns, they don’t know what to do when people don’t follow their script. It always works in stories. (Mostly because the stories they write are predictable and stupid, and have no real humans.)

So now they’re trying to stampede us into war, because THEN IT MUST WORK. Somehow, Automagically. If they keep digging the shit, there will be a pony at the end.

What they’re actually doing is pissing off most of the country. I’ve never seen people so upset as at sending massive money to Ukraine while our border is essentially undefended. People wish Ukraine the best. And I understand how important this fight is to Europe. But we have our own sh*t to deal with.***

In the population at large, there seems to be almost no support for war against Russia. Which is good. Because we’re not in a state to fight this war, let alone win it. The only thing that can be said about us is that our potential enemies are worse off. And that’s not saying much.

My guess is the stampeding fails.

Now will the left still steal the election? Probably, but it will be REALLY obvious.

Will there be a violent uprising? I doubt it. Oh, some places, maybe. But the left would need to really eff it up to get a VIOLENT uprising.****

What we’ll have is what already dissolved the covidiocy bullsh*t in most of the country. Where I live now, I don’t even know if the signs are still up. I know for months we were walking past signs saying “Masks strictly required” and “Six foot distancing” into stores where everyone except a few mentally slow Karens (glaring at everyone) were ignoring the signs.

It is important not to attribute magical powers to the enemy. Their plans ALWAYS fall apart. As I tell people, if the USSR plan to take over the US worked, it would be the first of their plans to do so.

And their plans for us are already disintegrating. Remember the “new normal” and the “this is how life will be now?” No. Just no.

And if they steal the election again, this will just go into turbo mode, with bells on, until everyone is laughing in their faces.

I don’t mean to say it won’t be bad, or that Team Heads on Pikes Highway Beautification Program won’t happen, but that’s not what I see happening.

What I see happening is far more devastating to the left. We will not drink their ink. We will not buy their story.

The future is a human laughing in the collectivists’ faces.

Forever.

*Ah, but are they, in any significant sense? For that matter, are you sure we are?
Look, yeah, the Russians “got the bomb”. Theoretically. Almost for sure. but we know at the height of the standoff, Krushev basically had “nothing” and was trying to hide it. They were driving long tubes around in trucks, so we thought they had more missiles than they did, and of course our secret services bought it, because they’re made of utter stupid.
Frankly, when May 9 passed with nary a mushroom cloud…. well, are they? Does any of their arsenal actually work? The things take more work and investment than I’d guess they’ve given it, ever, but particularly the last few decades. And for that matter, what’s the state of ours? Do you trust it? I mean, since we’re talking of swallowing narratives, it behooves us to at least quirk an eyebrow, okay?

**The ineffective if not treasonous bunch of them.

***Most of it in DC

****Not fully putting it past these geniuses, but keep in mind it’s demographics. We simply don’t have ENOUGH young males, proportionately to have an uprising.

Not in My Name by I. Ratel

Not in My Name by I. Ratel

Gather round, USAians, freedom lovers, and degenerates!  I come to you today with a short personal rant in response to a hysteric child apparently living in the body of an adult.  One of my news apps brought me this admittedly rather eloquent temper tantrum from Teen Vogue:  No Airline Mask Mandate Means Disabled People Like Me Are More Isolated Than Ever


Ok did you read that?  Holy shit.  This one hits a nerve for me, because I’m in the same category as the author.

I’m an organ transplant recipient with a severe autoimmune disorder.  I rely on a prosthetic device for daily life.  I’m missing some organs and necessary body parts and on 3 immunosuppressive drugs.  For my group my docs figure a case fatality rate with COVID between 5 and 10%, compared to the less than 1% for the population in general.

The writer of this op-ed writes quite capably, but she needs psychiatric treatment.  I’ve been an essential worker for the last 2 years, working in my office and commuting.  I have several kids attending school.  I attend school events, I’ve done the grocery shopping every week, because these kids eat a ton.  I’ve traveled by air and road, adopted dogs, visited family and friends, attended concerts, gone out for occasional date nights with my wife, and really made zero major life adjustments due to the pandemic.  I’ve lived almost 20 years severely immune compromised and have learned to live in a world that’s constantly trying to kill me.  During the pandemic I was hospitalized twice for infections, both times for cellutitis from small wounds incurred in my extracurricular activities.  That’s how easily pathogens get me, a little sliver of wood caught under the skin and 2 days later I’m in the hospital for 3 days of IV antibiotics.  Pneumonia has come damned close to killing me more than once in the last 2 decades. 

Yes, there’s a decent chance Covid will kill me, but there are hundreds of influenza variants floating around the globe, and millions of other pathogens that will do the same.  The writer here needs to get over her panic and live her life.  As disabled people we can’t expect the world to be built around us.  We have to figure out how to live in it.  Nobody but me is responsible for keeping me safe.  Despite the challenges inherent to my condition, I am responsible and cannot expect the world to conform to my specific needs and if I were making them, demands.

This was a very eloquent piece of emotional manipulation.  It’s no different from a toddler’s temper tantrum because the intent is the same.  The intent here is to overwhelm you with emotion and pity so you’ll cave in to the toddler’s unreasonable demands.  Nobody is stopping the writer from wearing a mask if she chooses to.  Nobody is stopping her from taking a solo road trip if she deems air travel too risky.  She needs to actually deal with her fear.  It’s called therapy, and most of us could benefit from some.

I’m disabled, at severe risk of death or major complications from Covid and this histrionic baby doesn’t represent me.  I’ll add even more emphatically that the “normal” people who are STILL bleating about us poor, vulnerable people DO NOT SPEAK FOR ME.  I am not their mascot to be pitied in order to excuse their fear, I do not acquiesce to being used as an emotionally loaded bludgeon against people trying to live their lives.  The world tries to kill me every day, and every day I say “fuck you” and go about my life.  I’m responsible for my safety and I do take what I have determined to be prudent measures for my own protection, and nobody’s free agency should be constrained by my unique circumstances.  The world doesn’t revolve around me, and it doesn’t revolve around Hannah Sullivan Facknitz, and she needs to get over that harsh little truth.

Don’t Jump Off That Ledge

I come from a small and very strange country. No, seriously.

It is a point of pride that the national poet for the ages — Luís de Camões for those who haven’t made an hobby of Portuguese history, and really, why would you — died as the Spaniards were taking over the throne of Portugal (during one of those bizarre disputes you can only understand if you view the royal families of Europe as a small and incredibly inbred tribe of people, swept off the streets of London in the seventeenth century, dropped into a holler in the Appalachia mountains, and they’ve never left since. Everyone marries their cousins, and everyone fights mightily over a limited number of chairs…. er …thrones.) Anyway, as the Spaniards took over and officially Portugal stopped existing, Camões is said to have declared, “The homeland dies, and I die with it.”

Ahem. Go look at a world map. I’ll wait. Okay. I presume your map is not from the 1600s. And yet, if you look, Portugal is in fact in it.

That is because the worst thing possible evah! occurred, and yet…. it wasn’t the end. Eventually (in about sixty years) the Spanish vice-roi was defenestrated, a bastard son of the last Portuguese king was called to the throne and with the help of England (he married Phillipa of Lancaster) Portugal was back, baby.

In fact, its biggest days were ahead. I was making some ridiculous joke about Portugal to my son and he said “mom. Portugal was one of two countries that divided the world in two. Kind of the original superpower. Mom. You can’t really make fun of that.”

Well, actually I can, because imagine what they could have done if everyone weren’t a squirrel with ADHD? But (ducks, bobs and weaves, avoiding the three Portuguese who read this blog regularly) the point is, the poet who wrote the verse-history of the country to that time, thought it was all over.

In fact, its golden days were yet to come.

We are, and no mistake, having to put up with a lot of nonsense. And it does remind me of the “Spanish Interregnum” in that they purposely set about to give away, destroy and despoil everything that made Portugal powerful.

But it didn’t work. Because invaders, whether foreign or internal, corrupted Marxists, don’t understand that which they’re trying to destroy.

Which means all of their efforts end up coming up …. thwarted.

Look guys, and I say this conscious of a long line of ancestors saying “That’s impossible” but these guys? They’re worse than the Spaniards. At least the Spaniards had enough competency to pick up the other half of the world.

These guys? they got nothing.

They are unable to understand anything that is not them. They keep trying to do the things they think we’re doing, and trying to attack us by taking out “leaders” on the assumption we are their mirror image.

They don’t understand us. And the sheer Americanness of us keeps sucker punching them, every time they turn around.

Can they still do a lot of damage? Sure. Of course they can. But in the end?

We might be beaten, have a bloody lip, and a black eye, but we’re going to win this.

Let the death cult of the left embrace death.

America?

Our best days are ahead of us.

I bet you we’re going to the stars.

Refuse the Despair a blast from the past from November 2014

Yesterday I was looking at pictures of friends in France. They’re about my age and their kids are the age of mine.

Now, most of my pictures on line (though not all) are of conventions and fan events, because my facebook page is a professional page, not a personal one. (I would start a personal one, but most of my personal life is just my kids, and if they’re looking on FB for pictures, they’re ill. Now this might change as the kids move out/get a life/live in other states, but right now there’s no point.)

So, my pictures are different. But we also have family pictures. We used to do a thing every year where we took pictures of events throughout the year, and the things the kids participated in, then narrated it, put it together, and sent a CD to the grandparents.

We don’t do that anymore – mostly time issues – but we do still take pictures, now on the – increasingly rare – occasions when the four of us do something fun together, like go to a special event at a museum or take an overnight trip somewhere. (The last one I can remember, absent cons) is the Van Gogh exhibit in Denver which we took in last year on Black Friday.)

The thing is, in all these pictures, my kids are smiling, or goofing off, or even giving each other the stink eye.

Our family pictures involve stuff like mini-golfing together and posing around fiberglass animals. Or pretending to be swept out with the monumental dust-pan and broom outside the Denver Art Museum. Or Marshall looking very sophisticated (but not bored) in his leather blazer, looking at pictures.

Yesterday I read this at Ace of Spades, so I was primed to think how much people, consciously, try to make their lives look like “they should”.

And then I looked at pictures from France. I think all of us have watched at least one French movie, right?

Well, pictures from France, even pictures of people my kids’ age all transmit that “the world is a dingy place and we’re all hard eyed realists with incredibly complex sex lives” look of French movies.

Is it true?

Oh, heck no, no more than street cars mentioned by Ace are romantic or beautiful or anything like that. This is just the image sold in the movies. Most people in France, except for the issues brought on by socialism (break up of families, high unemployment, pervasive bureaucracy) live the same small, happy lives as anyone else. You know, someone to love, something to do, something to eat. Lives just comfortable enough they don’t struggle for more.

But how much you enjoy how you live and what you perceive as “the good life” can definitely be influenced by what you see. And that in turn changes what you do and what you see around you, and therefore your mood.

It’s probably not a coincidence that France has one of the highest rates in the world for consumption of anti-depressives.

For some reason – and it has to do with taking a really weird turn at the romantics and then getting stuck with more socialist realism than should be possible outside the Soviet union – they internalized the idea that high art is vaguely boring and definitely pessimistic (here I think it’s a great deal too bad that most of their “art” is protected from competition with foreign art by various stupid laws, and is subsidized with stipends allocated by bureaucrats, for whom, of course, life is both boring and pessimistic, with shades of sadism.)

And so, even though they might have been able to get around the blight of socialism, in time, and even though they live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, they’ve internalized self-hatred, unhappiness as a sort of chic accoutrement, and the meaninglessness of their own quotidian life. (Which, even without socialism would make their family lives a mess and taking daily pleasure in things difficult.)

So, what does this have to do with anything other than beating the French? (Admittedly always a good pastime, particularly since I’m writing stuff in Liberte seacity.)

Simple: a lot of our high culture is French. It is sometimes French by way of Germany, but it is French. Most of our glitterati love French culture and by that I don’t mean the good stuff like what Mr. Du Toit appreciates (I have some favorite French writers, myself.) No, most of them admire the more recent stuff, not even the French cinema, but the pictures they get from friends who go on vacation there. They admire the air of being unutterably bored and depressed and the way everyone there seems to accept the world is on a handbasket ride to h*ll. It’s so… sophisticated!

In their minds, most of our glitterati are hanging out in cafes, smoking thin little cigarettes and sneering at the world.

I mean, most of them aren’t even looking at France but at American movies that show France, but they think it’s all so unutterably romantic and so much better than our cowboy can-do attitude, and they want to think life means nothing and all is lost so they can be just like the French.

In fact, the insanity in SF/F now reminds me a lot of the French science fiction of the seventies. (It was excusable. It was after all the seventies.) Stranger and stranger sexual identities, tearing down of all taboos, life is a bitch. Humans are evil. And then you die. Check.

Look, yesterday a friend sent me a picture of what can only be called a cave-world in China. The first comment was “Now that it’s discovered, humans will destroy it.” And it was followed by upteen comments agreeing with this.

Now, the caves will almost surely be despoiled, because it’s a communist regime. (duh.) But not because it’s “humanity” and even if it were, why the heck SHOULDN’T they be despoiled? (Other than scientific investigation, natch.) I mean, what is their intrinsic value outside of humanity studying/admiring them? And yep, a dozen of the comments were “Humans should just die off, they ruin everything.” Uh… everything for whom? If there are not humans, who appreciates/gives aesthetic value to anything? If an elephant paints in the forest and no human sees it, did it really happen?

These people clearly did not believe in this – no, seriously – For one, they were all still alive. No one can go to life hating themselves that much and survive. But it was the pose to strike to appear intelligent, in comments, in novels, in drawings, in…

To be hopeful and happy is to be low brow. To show yourself intelligent you need to despair in the approved Socialist-realist way.

The problem with this is that this sort of thing seeps into the culture by forming the younger people. It forms their attitudes and their beliefs. They are too unsophisticated to know the adults don’t really mean it, so they mean it a little more.

After a few generations you’re stuck with people so depressed, they will accept overlords, even barbaric overlords who stone women and gays, if it will save them from their ennui and their depressive view of the world.

And therein lies the rub. The helplessness of modern “realism” is a gateway drug to being sheep in thrall of totalitarians.

You’re so tired of despair and sadness, and yet you know the world is terrible and you want to atone for any happiness you still feel. So you give in to petty tyrants like the people in SFWA who change the rules and tell you you’re bad because you used the word they just forbid. Or whatever. And you abase yourself and feel dirty and miserable.

Until a really big tyrant, like, oh, Mao or Stalin or the despicable Che, come along and free you from your guilt by more than likely killing you, and if not making you wish they had.

It doesn’t have to be like that. On comments, on books, on drawings, refuse to follow the blinkered “chic unhappiness” of the elites. Laugh at their poses of sadness and thoughtfulness. They’re like little kids trying to look serious so we’ll think they’re grown up.

Mock, contradict, ignore, replace.

In the end we win, they lose.

It has to be so, if humanity is to survive.

Refuse the easy rewards of the merchants of despair. Build your life on hard work and can-do.