A Sad Excuse for An After Action Report

So, I went to Fencon. I did not get a T-shirt.

I had gone to Fencon 10 years ago, but this time was nothing like it was then. It felt smaller to me, but that might be because It was wholly taken over by our people.

As you probably know Larry was the Guest of HOnor, and he was great, as usual. I got to see Bridget, and Yeah, I had sort of seen her at Liberty, but we were both so busy….

This con I only had two panels, but got hauled into the piracy and smuggling panel by Kal Spriggs (It was good to see him again, too. It’s been years.)

Got to see the Texas troublemakers. Got to go to dinner with Snelson and his wife when we first arrived (Well, we’ve known each other for ages, but we didn’t know them in person. Yes, they’re nice.) Then kidnapped random people and ducttape families for all meals but one.

Our last dinner there was with Synova and her husband who got to talk computers with Dan (making them both happy.)

Meanwhile I met so many of you, and hung out with so many of you I’ll never be able to mention you all, but it includes Cybersmithe and Jolie.

Right now, I can’t think of names, so I require that all those who met me, self-denounce in comments please. It’s not that I don’t know your names, I just didn’t take notes and now I’m completely confused. I do remember I made two grown men (Separately) squee upon meeting me. It’s always good.

Oh, Yeah, Dr. Robert Hampson, AKA speaker to Lab animals, grew a beard and somehow this makes him completely unrecognizeable. We went on the assumption that he is speaker from an alternate universe, but unfortunately he wouldn’t admit to being a rat shifter.

Also there was no midnight sex (use thereof in SF!) panel or such. I need to make suggestions if I can go next year.

Oh, yeah, and I finally managed to make it to a “No Shit There I was” panel which was great, including hearing Lawdog telling Pinkie’s story in person.

More stuff will surface in time, but I’m requesting help to tell this….

If you didn’t see, the lost half of the novel was found.

Now headed for bed, as soon as I feel awake enough to navigate stairs.

It was probably one of the nicest cons I’ve been to, but I managed to do very little but hang out with friends. So, why am I so tired?

Oh, yeah, no longer used to people-ing. This too shall pass.

Tired now.

Open Floor

If you’re looking for me at the con… it’s going to be a couple of hours. I was hungry and peopled out, so I’m hiding out in the room and cilling for a little while. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.

Because I woke up late and I had a panel and a signing that went on double the time I expected, I’m going to throw the floor open.

So, I’m throwing the floor open and giving you some things to chew on:

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, protray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply emprisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired-but it does to them.” ― Robert Heinlein

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow; but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
― Agatha Christie

When fate is got it in for you, there is no limit to what you may have to put up with. ― Georgette Heyer.

At Fencon

I’m at Fencon and I really intended to do a post….

We stayed at a hotel before the hotel half the con got moved to, because that other hotel (Let’s do the hotel dance) didn’t have Thursday night…

It was, except for once years ago where the hotel at the Springs con put us in a room without heat, knowingly, the worst night I’ve ever had.

For one, the toilet didn’t work, and they said they’d fix it in the morning. This was minor believe it or not. The major thing was that I woke up at 4 in the morning scratching my arms and bleeding all over the sheets… You see, if inflamed (and it was, because introvert and con) my eczema reacts badly to sweat. And the room was 80 degrees. And the thermostat was locked so we couldn’t change it. And the front desk was helpless and clueless.

At nine in the morning Dan figured out how to hack the thermostat (good husband) and we “napped” till about half an hour ago. If you see me at the con and I appear a bit lost, it’s the not sleeping plus my arms being raw flesh.

Anyway, we’re now situated and about to hit the con.

On rewards for the fundraiser. I’ve given up on the shoutout because I’ll inevitably out someone who shouldn’t be outed. (the notes are on 4 different emails, and some of you used two different names, and– Herding cats.)

We’re trying to figure out how to email things without getting my email bricked as a spammer. I think I know how to, but it might involve starting a “secret” substack newsletter, so be patient another couple of days, please. (Another reason for the eczema outbreak.)

Anyway, if you’re here for the con, I’ll see you soon. If you’re not I’ll try to have a saner post tomorrow.

Two Households

I realized over the last few days that the big problem in this country is not that we’re two households — not even vaguely both alike in dignity — but that we’re two cultures that really can’t communicate at all.

Yes, I know that tests have been done, and blah blah, and we understand the left better than they understand us. This is kind of, sort of almost true. Except where it isn’t. And where it isn’t, it’s close to Scott Adams different movies in the head, but that’s also not the right metaphor.

What you need to know to understand the divide is that the left has for the last, oh, easily 80 years, dominated the public discord. They did this partly because in the early industrial age, the left’s idea of centralizing, streamlining and top down control seemed logical. After all, it worked for making widgets. You didn’t need fifty little factories, replicating effort and doing unneeded stuff. You needed Widgets Amalgamated United, which could produce more widgets, faster than anyone around. And it made sense for the government to give incentives to the unified widget manufacturers because that made the production better, right?

Note none of those assumptions are actually correct, not the least because Widgets Amalgamated United if given a monopoly has zero incentive to innovate, deliver etc. Second because WAU will have incentive to abuse specialized workers, which means workers have to unionize, and next thing you know WAU is on strike and there’s no Widgets for anyone.

OTOH you and I can probably see how it looked like it should work. Which means all intellectuals and thinkers were working towards this future that seemed so clear to them. Add to it WWI, from which entirely the wrong conclusions were drawn (Partly due to already prevalent Marxism) and instead of thinking that the war was caused by internationalism and inadvisable alliances, they decided it was due to patriotism and nationalism.) What you have is a progressive — that is statist and centralized — prospiracy with heavy Marxist overtones (because it was the “cool” theory of everything.

Because of this, the hiring was perverted because the idea was that “everyone who is smart knows centralization and top down is best.” So the only people not believing it must be dumb. No one wants to hire dummies.

Except for those who stealthed, and those who changed while on the job, no one who dissented from the leftist chorus got hired. And if you changed while on the job you’d get sidelined.

This was so effective and ubiquitous that it did not change after the USSR fell, proving what a pile of refuse that model was.

That means that those of us who came to dissent (and often kept very quiet about it) came to it painfully, by adding things up logically until we couldn’t deny them. We had to get past the “but everyone else, including very smart people thinks this” and the “Am I crazy?” Which means we came to our positions by unremitting logic, and not a bit of natural stubborn.

Granted, it got easier with the net. It’s glorious to know we’re not alone. but it’s still not the dominant opinion. Even those who represent us in government tend to believe in centralized/ top down.

So we need RELENTLESS logic and analysis to remain on the for lack of a better term “right.” (The American right is not the European right. Our only points of contact is that we both dissent.) Granted, given how many people we’ve attracted recently, a lot of them are more emotional, and it’s more “The left is screwing up everything. No, just no.” However a surprising number of the red pilled also have come to where they are through relentless logic after the first shock that sent them thinking. (This is anedoctal, but I do know a number of them.)

On the left, meanwhile, the left is default. No thinking needed. In fact a lot of it is based on the general feeling that the left is “nicer” and “cares about people.” (None of this is right. To the extent the “parties changed sides” (They didn’t. Search the excellent article on side switching on this blog. I’m writing this on the road, so I can’t link it for you.) they changed who they represent. These days the left is the party of plutocratic grifters and big business.)

The “two movies” thing comes from this. The movie the left has in its head is the result of the mass industrial education and entertainment complex, and it has bloody nothing to do with reality. OTOH ours comes from analyzing things and double checking, because… we’re still a small and persecuted minority, even if we are a majority. We lack the privilege of being part of the main narrative.

This incidentally is why so many n the left, when cornered, yell “Educate yourself” even if it’s been proven we know more on the subject than they do. “Educate yourself” means in fact “Connect to the main source of infotainment and get what the narrative is supposed to be.”

They don’t understand us. They don’t understand us at all. They can’t even vaguely figure out how we come to conclusions. They keep screaming at us that the “consensus” is against us, and expect us to change. Or that “Most scientists think” and expect us to change. They also ubiquitously think that we connect to the few outlets on the “kind of right” the way they connect to the centralized narrative. The number of times I’ve been told I was misled by fox news or whatever when I haven’t watched news in years, and I check everything to destruction is almost funny.

So that’s their blindness. But we have our own, of which I’ve only become fully aware this week.

The number of people running around with the hair on fire, going “They took Mike Liddel’s phone! They’re coming for us next! Game over, man, game over” was bizarre and strange, and I couldn’t figure it out until it suddenly clicked.

Calm down. Pick a rock, sit on it. Take deep breaths.

This is not the end. Heck, this is not the middle. It might not even be the beginning. Well, not for us.

The problem is you are, as people do, looking at it as “under what circumstances would we run around like lunatics seizing the phones of everyone related to Obama, and minor peripheral figures who were pissed off about Trump winning.” And that would be “We’ve won so overwhelmingly that all that’s left is the mop up.”

But that’s because we are stuck in “minority thinking.” The only time we’d risk coming out in force is assured victory.

That’s not where the left is. They still think of themselves as the overwhelming majority (the narrative says so.) They have explanations for the Trump win (“collusion.” And the famous Trump as Svengalli theory.) BUT they know that “the people” are with them. And that the arrow of history is theirs.

This means they think that all these people, being intimidated/tricked by Trump can be shocked back to reality, if only the narrative is more explicit about how evil/bad the right is. Hence the Red Wedding Speech, the “quasi-fascist” bullshit, and running around seizing people’s phones, but not persecuting people (Because there’s nothing to persecute them on, really.)

It’s all theater designed to a) get out their vote. (Because some of their rank and file are, in the secret of their own hearts, starting to think they might like a functioning economy and might just not vote) b) scared the lumpen mass, hypnotized by Trump, into falling back in line with the mass industrial narrative complex.

They’re only about 50 years too late. For sure more than 20 years late. But then what can you expect of a political party devoted to “solutions” that seemed logical 100 years ago?

That’s what you have to remember. Everything they do is from within the narrative. It makes sense in the narrative. It fails in real life.

American greatness had a great article about how stupid the elites were, but also seemed to think this meant they couldn’t have planned everything from the Covidiocy on, because mostly it’s been bad for them. I was laughing halfway through and going “Embrace the healing power of “and”.” They’re both extremely stupid, and planned all this because from inside the narrative it would lead to their perfect win and utopia. It’s just that the narrative has bloody nothing to do with reality.

Be not afraid. Yes, they are in complete control and their plans are infallible. Unfortunately for them, not in our world, but in one in which humanity and the laws of physics themselves are completely different.

They are not doing this because they’re winning. In fact, this is just more ghost dance of a culture in extremis. And the culture in extremis is theirs.

Spit out the blackpill. You know precisely where it’s been, and you shouldn’t eat things that have been up a donkey’s rear end.

I won’t say “Ride right through them, they’re demoralized as hell” because they’re not. Not yet.

But you know, “ride right through them. They’re fighting phantoms!” also works.

Be no afraid. Sursum Corda. This is no time to go wobbly. This is the time to point, laugh, and build as fast as you can.

Go to it.

A Sorry Excuse For a Post

I’m not going to write a post, because I’m beset by the black dog today. I know it’s most likely the con this weekend.

I could say I’m getting old, because I hate traveling and disruptions of my routine, but the awful truth is I always did, even as much as I traveled when I was young. I traveled because I thought I should, but I hate disrupting my routine. Yeah. I know. OLD AND GRUMPY. Well, at this point likely so, but I’ll point out I was always grumpy too.

Anyway, right now there’s depression and a sense of something not-good onrushing towards… well, all of us. I want to point out I’m very aware I’m small potatoes. As bad as the idiocy has gotten, if they get to people like me, they’ll have locked up half the country. And I don’t think they can do that. They’d like to. Remember their model is small countries in Europe. But they can’t, simply on volume.

It still makes me jumpy traveling anywhere, the same way that traveling in the summer of 20 made me jumpy. It’s like going down a staircase where you know spots are less than sound. every time you hear a crack, you stop, afraid that the staircase will give under you.

I’m still waking up with the horrors. I’ve also become aware of a lot of anger. For what was done to me. For what I’ve done. For what I’ve failed to do. Mostly, because I know the world isn’t perfect nor fair, but it’s a long way down to “It’s a complete cluster of a mess of an excuse for a failure.” And that is twisting all of us.

Clown world is profoundly unfunny and gut tells me it will get unfunnier before we’re done. The sane portion of me that keeps the black dog at bay OTOH informs me they don’t have the … logistics of force for what they’d LIKE to do to us, and that the ever-twisting of their insanity isn’t convincing anyone that the 2020 election was fraud-free either. And they don’t understand that.

You see, much as I rage at how Americans-born-and-bred, unless they’ve spent considerable time abroad have NO clue what it means to come from a different culture, and therefore can’t interpret how others react in foreign cultures, (Which has led to and leads to some…. interesting twists in our foreign policy), there are two cultures in this country, and they can’t read each other at all.

I don’t know if it’s predisposition, or the way believing in Marxism changes you. I do know that the left can’t even understand the portion of the country (probably 3/4ths to be honest) who doesn’t support the left. Hence the madness of “Get Trump” because they’re convinced he caused the rebellion against their insanity, instead of his having ridden the wave of the rebellion.

Because of that they’ll target people like the MY Pillow guy because in their world “Rich and well known equals much influence” while the right is scratching its head and going “He’s not even really fully on our side, what’s wrong with you?” (For that matter, Trump, too.)

In trying to quell the “rebellion” they are therefore going for “Highly visible targets.” Yes, part of this is “pour encourager les autres” but not really. It’s a reflection of how they see the world. They coalesce around people, and have no ulterior, well articulated theories. So remove the people, and they back down. They presume it’s the same with us.

Hence when I say “Before they come for me, they’ll come for Glenn Reynolds, so I’ll have time to run” but you know they won’t even come for Glenn or any of us at instapundit. They will instead go after Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson, and oh, who is that poor Asian guy who got red pilled when they beat him for trying to film antifa? If they go really insane, they’ll go after Mike Rowe. And perhaps whichever of the Koch’s still survives. (Their hatred of Koch is one of those things of the left. The brothers were libertarian and sometimes a little silly, so they actually supported lefty causes a lot. BUT the left fastened onto them as the ultimate enemy, and it can’t be dislodged from their pin heads.)

Might they take my blog or insty down? Well, sure. But probably not. Mostly because to take all of us down, they’d need robots, and our trigger phrases would take down the potemkin village of the lefty blogsphere too.

I mean, I am at a high enough level not to disappear without a sound, but low enough that in the left’s vision I don’t even exist. (Note all the people who tried to remove me from wikipedia, because they want to claim anyone not with them is not a real author and hasn’t really published anything. And that’s how they treat me, generally, while treating woke with two books out as the greatest of writers. Meh.)

So… I’m probably as fine as any of you.

Which means there will be shortages and discomfort this winter. Probably not hunger. Well, not famine. Not in America. Maybe even not in Europe (Though I wouldn’t bet. They have a more advanced case of crazy.) The rest of the world? I don’t know. I do worry.

But the whole thing still feels unstable and odd. And yeah, part of it might be the introvert being dragged out of her lair, kicking, screaming and clawing at the air.

OTOH…. clown world.

I shall honk the red nose, and tread on the gigantic shoes, and make the best of it.

Post tomorrow.

Hollow

I think I’ve mentioned here before, a powerful image in Terry Pratchett’s Ankh Morpork books: the old throne stands, golden and unsat-on as a sign of the power of the old kings. But it turns out it’s just a thin sheet of gold over rotted wood.

The power of the left in most fields is like that. Listening (second hand, because otherwise I’d have to give up sleeping entirely, since it makes me so angry,) to the Randy Penguin (Yes, Penguin Random House. Yes, they hate being called Randy Penguin. That’s why I do it) depositions brought it all home to me.

Before I started writing for Baen I’d started getting the awful feeling the entire thing was hollow. There were groups of writers on the net, taking part in many author forums, and science fiction mailings lists and stuff. The problem was, they were all wanna be writers. Worse, when you’d been around for a while, you started getting the feeling none of them really read science fiction for FUN. They’d read … nominated stories, or stories that were being talked about, or they read magazines they hoped to sell to. But no one read just for fun. Which I still mostly did, though I was also a writer. (And was having trouble reading books because most of them weren’t fun. So I re-read a lot.)

And I started getting a feeling that the whole thing was hollow. There were all these publishing houses, and all these forums, but there was no one actually interested in the THING for the thing. It was a shell over a void.

I honestly was about to walk off in disgust when I more or less accidentally fell into Baen and found real readers. Okay, a lot of them write too. But there was still a substantial group of “just readers” and “have read all the canonical works” and….

But that is the only publishing house that still has what could be considered “readership” instead of a cloud of people trying to ingratiate themselves so they can break into publishing. And the Randy Penguin thing has just made it clear I was right.

Which makes me suspect I’m right too in the rest of the leftist dominated fields.

It’s not just that they do everything wrong and stupidly, prioritizing ideology over competence. It’s that they’ve already been doing it so long, there’s really no functional field anymore. It’s all hollow as writing was.

Our society is limping through on the…. memory of institutions that work.

Which means when it falls, it will all fall suddenly and terribly. Because if someone sits on the hollow throne, it will fall and fold.

And we have to be ready to…. build under, build over, build around, so it doesn’t all collapse.

It’s going to be hard, and we’d best get busy.

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

Book promo

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

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Let Us Tell You Again

The continuing story of April, Jeff, and Heather after they conspire to rebel against North America and their efforts to find friends and a safe haven in the stars. Continuing to close the time gap to the later Family Law series of books.
Heather and her peers impose a ban on armed ships beyond L1 in the Solar System and a prohibition for explorer ships going interstellar heavily armed. There are continuing stories of future characters still stuck on Earth.
Heather has a lot of help from her friends but it isn’t easy being the queen.

FROM PAM UPHOFF: Friends and Family

Lady Olympiada Vinogradov’s Grandfather has died . . . and now she’s going off to some tier four mining World with her mother and stepfather. Ought to be a great adventure! And far away from people who might notice she has dangerously strong Mentalist talents that could get her chipped.

But before she goes, she needs to rescue her friends. But taking them along with her to an unpopulated wilderness full of dangerous animals, to a base totally dependent on imported food and fuel might not be a good thing as the Three Part Alliance slides closer to collapse . . .

But with friends and family, what could possibly go wrong . . .

FROM DENTON SALLE: Tales Yet Unsung: Short Stories in the Avatar Wizard World

Return to the world of the Avatar Wizard with this collection of short stories. See how Jeremy’s mother first met Arianna, how Arianna convinces Master Anthony to marry her, and other tales not revealed in the main story of Jeremy’s path to mastery of the Volkh arts.

Come along as Jeremy rides with the Weather bringer’s Hunt, climb with Harald as he seeks the forge of the Sun, and read how Helena’s mischief almost catches up with her. See the changes that come to the Keep as Arianna has her kits and both of Anthony’s sisters are courted. Go home with Danil as he and Harald venture south to the rich wheatlands to repair the great canal. Visit low dives as Jeremy and Gerasim steal a bard.

In addition, a glossary of people, places, and words has been added at readers’ requests. Please note a few of these stories were published in anthologies in shortened form. This is the ‘canonical’ version.

FROM J. M. NEY-GRIMM: The Kite Climber.

An army poised for battle. A hamlet of innocent villagers in the wrong place at the wrong time. A young kite climber who seizes a ridiculous chance…

The troll-lord’s army abducts young Andraia and forces her to serve as a kite climber—a girl light and nimble enough to climb the tethers of the great war kites, and clever enough to relay the report from each scout stationed aloft.

But when Andraia sees her home village sitting squarely before the army’s intended charge, she knows she must lie and—more importantly—make the cruel officer supervising the kite climbers believe her lie.

Since at least one climber will tell the appalling truth, Andraia needs more than mere ingenuity to outwit him.

Amidst the brutality and violence of the troll-horde, Andraia must learn that even a vulnerable and frail ally can sometimes deliver the wining blow in a fight. If she fails, everyone she loves will die as the troll chariots crush her home.

The Kite Climber is a fairy tale of Old Giralliya brought to vivid life. If you enjoy appealing characters, fantasy worlds that feel real, and high stakes, you’ll love J.M. Ney-Grimm’s story of a young teen mixing genius with daring in a desperate bid to save her friends and family.

FROM KYRA HALLAND: Mages’ Home

Once, they were hated and hunted by mage hunters and Plain folk alike. Now, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages Silas and Lainie Vendine finally have the life they dreamed of – a home and ranch of their own where they can live in peace and raise their family, and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors.

When a company from across the western sea comes to Prairie Wells, bringing marvelous new inventions, Silas and Lainie figure it only means more prosperous times ahead for the town and for them – until an old and vicious hatred of mages rears its head.

As troubles stirred by unseen enemies divide the town, many of Silas and Lainie’s neighbors turn on them. When danger strikes at the heart of their home and family, Silas and Lainie must fight to protect everything they love, everything they’ve worked for, before it’s all destroyed.

If you love fantasy filled with romance and adventure in a unique setting, come join Silas and Lainie Vendine in this new tale from the Wildings.

Mages’ Home is the first book of Defenders of the Wildings, a follow-up series to the epic romantic fantasy-western series Daughter of the Wildings. It is a self-contained series and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read Daughter of the Wildings.

Contains language, violence, and mild sensual content.

FROM TIM GILLILAND: Lawyer to the Stars: Book One of Damien Durne’s Accidental Adventures on the Frontier of the Galaxy

What makes a Human?

 A frozen world on the edge of civilized space has a deadly secret. The indigenous people, known as the Ixtyl were human-looking to be sure, but they had characteristics so unique there was doubt they were naturally acquired. Human? Or genetically modified creatures? Humans, including Indigenous peoples, were heavily protected by law. Genetically modified creatures were not. They were like lab rats who would have no rights, no hope, and no future. The tribe lives on a planet rich with an invaluable ore: One men are willing to kill for. When Certified Genomist Damien Durne is called to investigate the Ixtyl’s genome, to certify whether they are human or not, he is flung into an intrigue of lies and murder, with an ultimate goal of genocide.

FROM CHRISTOPHER WOERNER: Discontent Provider

This is a collection of the last few months of pamphlets and booklets, all polished and edited and seasoned. As always, it’s mostly current events and analysis of the leftist horrors filling our days. We would never have expected the misery to be so vast so quickly with no sign of ending, but here it is. This is what I’m here to record and make notes of, passing them along to you.

The A-side is fairly straightforward current events, the B-side is several months of thought, trying to figure out how leftism itself works. We all have explanations but none of those seem to be complete, at least as far as I can tell. I didn’t really do any better, but at least I tried. It also includes a few notes from history, various art forms and even some religion, which I don’t usually get into. I’d hoped to organize them together as a few coherent essays but that’s too much like work, man.

This is what we’re here for and it’s not going to get better any time soon. We need to put up some resistance immediately, that’s the only hope we have.

FROM DAVID COLLINS: The Void Shaper: Starship Medusa book 3 (Space Ship Medusa)

In the first book, On Mars, Jason stumbled across the escape pod to a 3,500 year old derelict spacecraft. The AI for the ship then informed Jason that due to him having traces of alien DNA, he was now the Captain of a massive alien Starship. That ‘should’ have been good news. But the bad news was that Jason’s DNA has an additional trait, one that shouldn’t be there… The last time that anyone had one of the forbidden DNA traits, it started the war that left the ship a derelict. To fight the aliens that want him dead, Jason must become something from their nightmares…

The second book starts with the ultimate bad hair day (with fangs). With the ship finally with a full crew, and outfitted with the most creative weapons that Earth had managed to come up with. They take off to their first interstellar destination, a Mauron (Gorgon) shipyard, that turns out to be run more like a penal colony. While their ship is in the repair bay, they get attacked by a state of the art Felinog battleship. The Felinog were not counting on the unusual Earth weapons that had been added, and some very creative tactics. Who is the Darkness? Who are the Claws? Where does Jason and his ship fit into their conflict? What new secrets hide beneath the strange ship they find, in a world of darkness?

In this third book, now with over half the crew having transformed into aliens, they need to escape from the void prison that they accidentally created. While stuck in another dimension, they pick up several new alien refugees. If they screw it up, they will be stranded a very long way from home. A home where the Finilog are waiting for them, having failed to kill them the last time they met, they have scheduled a jousting match, with straships. The battle will be between the Medusa, the former derelict ship of Jason, using historical Earth technology, against the most advanced weapons the Felinog have come up with.

Jason has discovered that he can create strange shapes out of several different voids. He knows that to solve this puzzle will give him mastery of the void portals. That will be needed to escape from the void prison. But what are these shapes, and why do they completely terrify everyone that has seen one, except for Jason?

FROM GUY ANTIBES: Plight of the Unicorn (Gags & Pepper: Protection Agents Book 1)

Gags, a young magician back from the magicians war, and Pepper, a just-as-young thief band together to create a protection agency, guarding goods in transit as well as providing bodyguards. On their first day of business, a beautiful woman contracts them to protect her husband. The woman asks Gags about his background, and Gags traces his personal story as an inexperienced magician thrown into a magicians war. Along the way, Gags tells of gaining a deep understanding of magic and losing a precious friend in the midst of war, betrayal, and the establishing enduring friendships.

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: WILLING

Twenty One Years On, We Remember

(Promo Post Tomorrow.)

Where I live it is a beautiful, sunny, crisp September day. It always gives me the creeps.

Before September 11 I was a Libertarian. After, I moderated a lot. The crazy days we’re living through are slowly taking me back there.

Too many mixed emotions for a coherent post today. Apparently the raid on Trump supporters have now extended to his lawyers, and the number is up to 50. This is no longer a fishing expedition but a noxious campaign of intimidation.

I wonder how far down they will go, and when it stops with an Earth Shattering Kaboom. Because you know and I know they’re messing around. And we all know what inevitably happens.

And reading that, this bright and early September morning, the rage came back. 9/11 happened, and Americans died, because the ANTI-Americans Clintons were in the White House, and because our intelligence agencies which at their best are wet kleenex, and at worst are wet kleenex soaked in arsenic decided that the possibility of a terrorist attack on US soil was not nearly as important as securing the eternal glory of the Democratic party. Or perhaps enough of the high enough, political enough military commanders wanted a reason to act. I don’t know. But I wouldn’t put it past them, given what they’d do later, including lying to a commander in chief they disagreed with.

No, I don’t think 9/11 was an inside job. I also don’t think our response made any sense. Yes, we should have responded, with enormous and “disproportionate” force. And risking as few of our men as possible. Break things, tell them we’ll come back if they do it again. Rinse, repeat.

Somewhere along the line — possibly after WWII –the US became convinced its military power was a sort of charitable enterprise, designed to make the world Utopia. Instead of protecting our people and our interests. That has to change. It has to change if we are to survive.

This year the anger and grief choke me. I have written a guest post for Victory Girls.

And my post from last year still stands.

Twenty one years on, I trust our government less than I did. I trust America more than I did.

I trust us — those who are Americans by choice and nature, by birth and love — to endure, and to set things right eventually.

Make no mistake, though. We have our work cut out for us.

Today…. Today I’ll give myself time to mourn and be angry. For those who died, and for those of us who have to live with the shattering of our illusions.

Tomorrow, we get back to the fight.

The Military Oath of the USA by maryh10000

The Military Oath of the USA by maryh10000

I served for four years in the US Air Force. As a member of the military, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Here’s what that meant to me.

I did not swear an oath to the President of the United States, although he was my commander in chief. As a member of the military, I was obligated to obey my superior officers, and the commander in chief is the most superior of all. But my oath was not to him or her. It was to the Constitution.

I did not promise to fight for freedom, per se. Although I do believe that upholding the Constitution does support freedom.

What does it take to be considered a citizen of the United States? You have to enter legally and meet certain requirements. And you have to support the Constitution of the United States.

Here’s what you don’t have to do. You don’t have to look like me. You don’t have to believe in the same religion as I do, or any religion at all. You don’t have to come from any particular place on the planet, nor do you have to be a native English speaker. You don’t have to be married or heterosexual. You can wear a hijab if you want to, or a bikini or hot pants. If you’re a man, you can wear anything you want, including a dress or fishnet stockings. If you’re a woman, same thing. None of these things make you more or less a citizen of the United States, as long as you support the Constitution.

If I had been put in combat (which I personally never was, and was highly unlikely ever to be) I was prepared to fight and kill and die for you, even if I strongly disagreed with how you chose to live your life, as long as you supported the Constitution. Read that again. That’s what it means to be a USAian military person. That’s the oath I took. I meant it.

Does the USA get into wars we shouldn’t? Yes. Is that something I thought about as an Air Force officer? Yes, it was. It influenced when and whether I enlisted, and whether I stayed in. It’s part of the reason that I, personally, do not believe in the draft. But I recognized that I did not have all the facts, and I had to trust the people in charge, at least while I remained in the military. There was no other option. The most control I had then was to vote and support people I trusted or to leave the military. Good people can disagree on military policies, and I don’t know everything.

This is why it is essential that the people in charge of the military keep the trust of people like me. Because if I don’t trust them, I will not fight. That is also why it is essential that the people in charge of the military support the Constitution. Otherwise, there is no reason for me to fight. There is no United States without the Constitution.

Because. We are not defined by race or sex or religion or place of origin or even shared history. The United States citizen is not defined by adherence to a clan but by adherence to the Constitution. Period.

This is what is currently being called the right-wing extremist position. It used to be called common consensus patriotism in the United States.

That is all.

maryh10000