We Remember

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders fields.

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. I reserve the right not to run any submission, if cover, blurb or anything else made me decide not to, at my sole discretion.– SAH

FROM SARAH A. HOYT: Barbarella: The Center Cannot Hold #4

Prepare to enter the ultimate unknown! Barbarella, Vix and Taln know where to go to discover the galactic secrets of the Unnamable. Unfortunately, that means travelling beyond the edge of our galaxy and into the next — assuming they survive the termination shock on the way through! It’s a massive risk, but the chance to avert a galactic war that would kill trillions makes the lives of two females and a male hologram seem small by comparison — though maybe not to them!

FROM JONATHAN SOUZA: The Winter Solist: The Last Solist #2

Adelaide Taylor has survived her first semester at school and as a Dawn Empire Solist. She’s found her first Companion, Sayuri Suisha. Sayuri’s grandfather wants to meet his only grand-daughter’s new friend. In Japan, just before New Years. Along with that, she’s gotten a warning-one of the High Fae is hunting her and is planning to ensnare Adelaide in her schemes.
There’s a girl in her school that has been set up as a tethered goat for Solists.
Her local and very Catholic high school is putting her into places that shouldn’t happen at a Catholic high school.
And there’s a monster eating prostitutes in Queens.
Nobody ever said being a Solist would be easy…


The rules of the game were simple: one image. Fifty words.

Twenty authors met the challenge and excelled, and this volume records their efforts. Between these covers are complete stories that will take a moment to read, and ages to forget.
If your appetite is whetted, you’ll also find that images have been provided for you to practice your wordsmithing skills. So that you, too, can try the next Postcards challenge.

Go on. Write!

FROM DALE COZORT: Snapshot II: The Necklace of Time

For eighty million years, the Tourists have taken Snapshots of Earth, creating living replicas of continents. Life in the Snapshots quickly diverges from the real world, creating a universe where humans and animals from Earth’s history fly between Snapshots, exploring, fighting, and sometimes meeting their alternate history selves. In 2014, the Tourists create a Snapshot of North America in a snow-globe shaped artificial universe, linked like pearls on a necklace to other copied times and places. In that timeline, Simon Royale—a.k.a. Simon-2014— is a legendary best-selling author. When he was only seven-years-old, his sister mysteriously vanished. Simon-14’s writing—and the power in it—is born from his obsession with discovering what happened to her. But now, cut off from the life he’d known, he may never find out.US-53 isn’t really the past. Thanks to the Tourists, it’s a mutant off-shoot, the 1950s grown up and sneaky, with sharp elbows. In this version of the timeline, Simon Royale—a.k.a. Simon-53—is just an aspiring author with a trunk full of unpublished novels. Then the two worlds connect. For an ambitious publishing company, it looks like a golden opportunity for Simon-53 to leverage Simon-2014’s fame.Can the clashing versions of Simon Royale coexist in the unnaturally linked timelines? Simon-2014’s legal battle over the right to his own work and identity are the least of his worries. In the 1953 timeline, his sister is still alive. What made her disappear in one reality but survive in the other? Is something dangerous hidden in his memories or his first novel? As Simon inches closer to the truth, one thing is clear: it’s a secret someone is willing to kill to keep.
FROM LEIGH KIMMEL: The Secret of Pad 34

Who would put a ceiling on humanity’s expansion into space?

That’s what Gus Grissom wants to know. While fishing offshore from Cape Canaveral, he glimpses a mysterious undersea city of unearthly geometries, marked with a strange three-armed cross symbol.

His efforts to research it bring him veiled threats from strangers at his door. Trouble blights an exemplary career. However, Gus refuses to be cowed into silence, and pursues every lead he can find.

HP Lovecraft wrote that we live on a placid island of ignorance and were not meant to travel far. This is the Space Race in a world where the Soviet Union is not our only adversary.

FROM DANIEL ZEIDLER: The Standard-Bearer’s Oath

Avenge the fallen. Restore honor to her people. Someone else can be inspired to liberate the kingdom.

Fourteen years after Sarbotel fell to the armies of a mad alien mage, Ilse is the last surviving member of her resistance cell. When she’s offered a chance to return to her homeland, she chooses vengeance instead. Allying with an immortal Guardian who has reasons of his own to want the mage slain, she’s out to put an end the Tyrant’s despotic rule.

The stakes are higher than she knows, for if Ilse fails to defeat the Tyrant, the entire planet may be destroyed…

FROM KAREN MYERS: Monsters, And More: A Science Fiction Short Story Bundle from There’s a Sword for That

A Science Fiction Story Bundle from the collection There’s a Sword for That

MONSTERS – Xenoarchaeologist Vartan has promised his young daughter Liza one of the many enigmatic lamedh objects that litter the site of a vanished alien civilization.

No one can figure out what they’re good for, but Liza finds a use for one.

ADAPTABILITY – The Webster Marble Deluxe Woodsman, Model 820-E, has been offline for quite some time. Quite some time indeed.

Good thing Webster has a manual to consult, and a great many special functions.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Enchantments And Dragons

A wizard must produce justice enough to satisfy a dragon.

A young man tries to rob a tiger’s lair.

An enchantress tries to keep a court safe while they ignore the perils of misusing her magic.

A lady finds that court intrigues can spread even to the countryside.

And more tales.

Includes “Over the Sea To Me,” “Dragonfire and Time”, “The Maze, the Manor, and the Unicorn”, “The White Menagerie”, “The Dragon’s Cottage,” “Jewel of the Tiger,” and “The Sword Breaks.”

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: SEEMLY


I wonder how much of America’s tendency to get mad slow (and burn very hot when we get to anger) is because we’re all very busy living our own lives and barely have time to stop and think?

Having lived in other countries, most others have more free time. Now, they pay for it in various ways, mostly in reduced opportunities/ability to do things. BUT they still have more free time. Time to sit around in coffee shops and to se bavarder about politics. In the states, not so much. We still work, often even on weekends, just on things we want to work on, rather than our jobs.

On the other hand, all of the world is busier than it was, even a century ago. There are multiple reasons for this: mostly because the government takes so much of what we produce that even most women have to work outside the home. It’s not a choice.

But also because well, even in the rest of the world it has become much easier to do or be or learn something else after work hours.

This is unheard of. Part of the reason for much slower narrative styles in the past is that people had a lot more free time filled with boredom. Well into the middle of last century.

Looking at the outrages perpetrated and the fact people haven’t rebelled makes me wonder about… well, about the perennial “why people haven’t rebelled yet.”

Because we’re busy. And tired.

Yes, demographics has to do with it. Demographics and corruption of education means most working-age people are working their behinds off.

And there is lack of ability to do much beyond being mad. Younger people, like in France, do have time to protest, usually on the stupid side, and that too is because they can’t find work. (See corruption of education. And yes, Pope Francis is often an *sspopehat but when he said the biggest problem confronting the world was youth unemployment, he might not have been wrong. It’s just that his solutions are likely to break everything.) But there aren’t that many young people. So they’re not going to be a force as they were in the sixties and even somewhat seventies.

This is why the Tea Parties and the Gillettes jeunes (I’m sure misspelled. It’s been years, and I’m dyslexic) of France were a big deal. It was the Silver Hairs getting involved.

It should have been a warning to the governments and the social-distractors.

We’re very busy, but not so busy that we can’t be angry. And we’re angry.

Remember mom and dad’s injunction? Don’t make me stop this car and come back there!

Well, if you make us stop our very busy lives and come back there, you won’t like it. It won’t be pretty.

But we’ll take care of the problem fast and set things right, because we have work we need to get back to.

And we’ll give the statists and the kakistokrats something to cry about.

We’re almost at stop the car and come back there. I can feel it. And all I can do is pray it’s not violent and doesn’t set the world on fire.

Of course it’s useless to tell the idiots to stop — metaphorically — touching their sister.

All we can do is keep our tempers hot but in check, and come up with solutions that don’t burn everything down.

If you’re a praying kind, pray.

Because it’s going to be difficult. And we need a miracle.

Distraction only works for so long. And makes everything worse when people get tired of it.


I’m okay. I was finishing setting up my office.

For explanation, I don’t talk very well to myself, so I have to look at my behavior to see what’s wrong. For months now, I’ve been working from the lazy boy in the family room. This is fine, of course, except that I’m working on the laptop, which has all the social media. Which means I haven’t been able to stay out of it, which means…. writing is slow.

It finally dawned on me that my previous office was the darkest room in the house, despite my lining every possible surface in mirrors. At the same time it dawned on my husband that us being in separate offices because of our music dueling didn’t work very well since our offices were side by side, and pointed out our happiest days were working in the same office.

So…. I am now in his office, having moved all the hobby stuff that used to take up most of the room where he had an office in the corner. It is now in the former office.

IT SHOULD HAVE TAKEN me a day. Anyway, yeah, all week. Apparently I’m not 35 anymore.

However the new setup should help with productivity.

Meanwhile, I bought the two little tigers a magnificent play structure. Dan says it’s way too extravagant, but–

That’s Indiana-Pollux. We don’t know where the very beautiful Helen is. Probably downstairs, cuddling Havey. She does that.

The Evil of Lies

When I was little I was punished for telling lies. It didn’t help my budding sense of morality that half the time the lies that I was punished for were the truth, sometimes expressed bizarrely because I was kid.

Look, I know why the family didn’t believe I’d met a bubble gum pig. But it was pink! Really pink. And I did come nose to snout with it.

And kids, should, indeed be told lies are wrong. For why go and see Jordan Peterson.

However, for truly screwing up people look to official education and/or the activists with agendas that captured it.

I don’t know who thought it was brilliant to tell black people in the US that they were the first people enslaved in history, ever, and that it was all due to racism. I know they were already doing this in the 80s and before, because, after finding out a black friend believed this (and disabusing her) I confronted another friend who was a history teacher and she told me that of course they couldn’t tell black people that slavery had been endemic since pre-history, mostly among groups so homogeneous we can’t tell them apart, or that most black people brought to the US were enslaved by Arab traders. Why couldn’t they tell them that? “It will hurt their self esteem.”

I don’t know about you, but to my mind that is bizarre and exactly opposite. To think my people were the only people so weak as to be treated as chattel by other humans, and/or that every other race hated us would instead reduce me to a gibbering mess, and it probably explains the demand for reparations from people who were never slaves paid by people who never held slaves.

And before the usual “oh but other slavery wasn’t slavery. Slavery in the US is uniquely–” can it. Depending on when and where slavery could be — and still is, because it still exists — far worse than US based slavery. Yes, masters could kill slaves out of hand, including in ancient Rome for vast periods of time. And in Africa the Dahomey sacrificed slaves they took over the tombs of their kids. They sold the leftovers to America. Slaves in other places can be and often are treated much worse and much more as chattel than black people in the US. In fact, the US had a higher slave-survival rate than practically anywhere, and frankly there must have been a ton less rape on average. Why? Because black people are still — waggles hand — theoretically recognizable as such in the US (seriously, Megan Markle is less black than I am, in appearance.) Because in other places, the ones that didn’t die were um… integrated. The entire population became slightly darker. (Yes, there are other things at work there, but still. Given enough rape there would be no difference. See blue eyed Indians. And the rape there went both ways.)

So why tell people poisonous lies that will cause them to hate their country for no reason that makes any sense historically?

Every country had slavery. In the Iberian peninsula Moors and Christians enslaved each other with such gusto that being redheaded or blond was more likely to be true of Moors. (Visigoth slave concubines.) The US? it was questioned from the moment of its formation. Because our Constitution is antithetical to it. The Civil war was baked in from the beginning.

Sure, there were a lot of eugenics-like-writings here and elsewhere to justify black slavery. Because at some level Western conscience was prickled by it. Doesn’t mean it was universally accepted. No one writes essays on walking on two legs and those defending wearing clothing are rare. Because these practices are not controversial.

So, why lie? Unless you have rats in your head and think victimhood is a good, this lie is nothing if not poisonous. It robs people of their true history and weaponizes them as the tools of the “activists.” The answer to “You had slave ancestors” should always be “As does every human. They might out weight free people as ancestors of everyone.”

The same is true for the condition of women. Ah swear to bog if I hear one more frigging line of bs disguised as Regency books, on women being utterly without agency and unable to own property till sometime in the 20th century I’m going to pop a vein.

Yeah, the upper classes were different, but even in Regency England, women owned property and controlled it. Women started and ran businesses and even the richest and poorest of women contributed financially to the household. It was different in noble households because NO ONE was supposed to have a money-making job. (The newer kids equating noble with financier is hilarious. That’s not how any of that worked.) Women still were supposed to have dowries set aside for them. In fact, the whole problem with eloping is that you’d have no protections against he man grabbing your money. But most women didn’t elope. (Whatever the romances show you.)

And in the poorer households, women absolutely worked. It might be “just” keeping a garden and poultry. There’s a reasons people talked of “egg money.” Or it might be weaving or piece meal work at home.

Now this was mostly woman’s work: Inside, safe and boring, with a side of can be done while minding the children. Like my writing. And it brought in proportionately about what I brought in the first ten years after the boys were born, somewhere between 5 and 10k. But my contribution allowed us to live in a house we couldn’t otherwise afford.

My mom not only made most of the money in the house — yes 20th century. Portugal. You needed permission from your husband to work outside the home, didn’t have the vote, and had no right to your own kids in case of separation — but also started investments from saving on the kitchen expenses.

To say women had no agency at all till they were allowed to work in the public sphere and take leadership positions there is nonsense. Women always had agency. In many ways, women make society exist.

The problem with the lie that women “took” their rights from men, instead of being given those rights by men who knew it was fair and just is that it sets men and women on an adversarial footing and prevents women work from being valued.

This is how we got to the best women should be bad men. And it’s wrong. And we’re dying from it. There is a great loneliness stalking the land, and meanwhile women are worried about men “taking our rights.” How they think men can do this is beyond me. Sorcery?

And if it were possible, the crazy adversarial fixation is more likely to ensure it.

Look at the lies. Particularly lies about history. We’re being robbed of our history. And all the lies told to us all through the 20th century haven’t helped anything.

Find out the truth. Then disseminate it. Because a false past, no matter how pretty, won’t help anyone.

Debit or Credit?

Phantom — in comments, recently — mention at the basis of all the leftist policies is the idea of overpopulation: the Malthusian hot mess that believes humans, like some kind of fungus will reproduce till the Earth can’t support them.

I’d never realized that. It is true sort of, though it’s perhaps based on an even crazier premise which in turn is at the very heart of not just socialism/communism but the idea that anyone gets to arrange all of human life from the top down, to spare individuals’ making wrong decisions. Which is, objectively, an idea so crazy that you can’t figure out how any human alive can think it.

And yet, if your theories tell you that humans are too stupid to stop reproducing when they’re starving, then any level of intervention is justified, because, OBVIOUSLY humans are brainless.

This tells me, btw, that good old Malthus understood bupkis about human biology. People can reproduce on relatively poor nutrition, but if actively starving, your body will reabsorb the embryo. And with anything short of the pretty decent nutrition of say the late 18th early 19th century (much improved over previous centuries due to among other things relatively cheap world-wide commerce) not only will you have trouble getting pregnant, but also you’ll have trouble raising that child to adulthood. So, when Malthus was getting his freak out on it was due to an increase in the ability to feed people that led to an increase in successful pregnancies and raising children to term.

No? Go read any story of a village or biography of a normal person, in early to modern times. Getting pregnant at all was difficult, birth was often lethal, and you often needed to have 10 kids to raise two or one.

But Malthus saw the increase in his time and thought “this goes on forever” and people can’t think or control themselves. Which makes perfect sense of the fact that he hooked up with Marxist ideas to become foundational to the left.

That it is wrong goes without saying. I actually don’t have any idea what the population of the world is, which is fine, because neither does anyone else, including those who’ve made their entire career out of proclaiming we’re eight and a half billion.

In fact, no one knows, because this data is collected by international organizations designed to pay per-capita to “struggling” nations. (Or struggling people in general. I think our underclass numbers are vastly exaggerated, which might be the point of importing more via open border.) Struggling nations can no more count their population than they can do anything but enrich half a dozen kakistocrats. So they estimate what will bring those kakistocrats more money and attention, internationally. For that matter, chest-beating would be empires (snort) like Russia don’t really have the ability, or interest in counting their population. Instead they come up with a highly flattering number and fly that. I’ll point out the fact they admit they have demographic trouble tells you it’s actually much worse. Same for China, and for that matter Arab countries. Look, if most of the real patriarchies of the world sent out a survey, it would go mostly to men, right? (Even in Portugal when I was little it went mostly to the head of the family. I.e. a male.) And if you think any male in the third world patriarchal cultures is going to write down he has fathered less than 10 kids, you’ve never met one of them. For context, though dad wasn’t Latin enough to claim more kids, he did report my weight wrong when he went to register me as being born at home, because being a tall and broad shouldered male, he assumed if he reported less than 3.5 KG everyone would think he’d been cuckolded. Look, he had scientific training. This doesn’t mean the culture wasn’t in there, giving him rats in the head that even his very premature daughter had to be big or people would assume she wasn’t his.
That’s a very minor incident of data corruption, and dad is not backwards, and Portugal wasn’t really third world. Now apply that to most of the world. Then tell me why you trust the statistics and numbers that come from these places.

So, I don’t know what our population is. But I know we’re not 8.5 billion. We’re probably not 5 billion. And I suspect the replacement of population worldwide has been in free dive from the early seventies and only higher longevity for the elderly has masked it. That and attributing high birth rate to the places of the world that not only absolutely can’t count but get paid for estimating more people.

And no, most people haven’t been not having kids because of world population. Most people have curbed childbirth because children are expensive, emotionally and physically demanding, and having a kid is as one of you said “Consigning a part of your heart to running around in someone else’s body forever.” And frankly, the state is already taking so much from each of us, not only in money, but in the labor required to even file for tax calculation, that most of us are running full tilt eyes closed before children. This might be intentional on the government’s part, or just their tendency to take every dram of available time and energy, so you can’t rebel, anyway. And that’s worldwide, btw, at least in places that function well enough to have even a government as such, and not a mob that claims to be a government.

Speaking of, Malthus was sure we’d run out of food. I’m not sure we would have, even without the wonderful innovations in agriculture and refrigeration and processing. Someone with more time and patience for the research can do it, but in the famines I’ve researched, from the 18th century on, almost all were what I’d call political famines. There wasn’t a lack of food. Your government/tribe/conqueror/despot just didn’t let your group have any. Absolutely nothing with too many people for the world to feed.

In face, our current afflictions are doing their level best to create a world wide famine, even if it necessitates sacrificing all agriculture to Gaia.

Which brings us back to okay, so we’re not overpopulated. There is no need to control humans from above to stop that kind of death for the species, but what about all the other stuff.

Scratch a statist and you’ll hear “Humans are stupid. I need to control them for their own good.” Which frankly always makes me want to ask them what is their species/planet of origin. Oh, they’re human? Well. Humans are stupid, shut up. (They are not wrong, btw. Humans are stupid. Which is why we can — barely — trust each human to do what’s best for him/her. Asking a single human to know what’s best for the entire species is just … bizarre. And impossible. Heck, asking a human to know what’s best for anyone beyond his immediate family — and even there the errors overwhelm the wins) is mental. BECAUSE humans are stupid. All humans. Perhaps particularly those who think they can decide for others.)

But a lot of socialism originates in “there is so much suffering in the world” from sob sisters — most of them male — who grew up well off and suddenly realize not everyone can afford bespoke shoes.

Seriously, a lot of early 20th century communists were motivated by their desire to elevate the poor, and make sure everyone had education, and everything they themselves had. Which of course starts with imagining everyone values what they do. (In that sense Pygmalion (or whichever was the original play) at least got some “poverty” was self inflicted. It came from a rooted belief the well wisher was superior to the object of his charity but it wasn’t ill intentioned, or at least not perceived as such by the person him/herself.

Of course, trying to eliminate suffering passed through redistributing everything, without attention to actually made or created and who were parasites, and it passed through feeding all the mouths, regardless of whose, by confiscating the food others grew to give to those who didn’t have it. In the process the idea that this “socialism” (I remind you the USSR itself never called itself communist) should also create a designed evolution of man, to eliminate what was viewed as the cause of suffering: self interest whether in work or sex or….

The end result was mass deaths, as it would be. Of course.

I don’t know how any of you were my kind of crazy as a kid, but I was always bringing back a bird (or puppy, or kitten or even mouse) who’d gotten injured/orphaned/was too young to live on its own, and ran makeshift infirmaries in cardboard boxes, bins or for older birds or birds almost well enough to be released, the upstairs bathroom.

Whenever I dragged one of my sad cases home, mom would flinch and say “You’re only going to prolong their suffering.” Which of course was true, except that my rate of loss was actually less than half. I mean, did they suffer more than just getting their neck swiftly wrung? Sure. But most of them recovered to go back out/be adopted/live their lives. Did they suffer more that way? Undoubtedly. If nothing else, they eventually died, because I don’t assume any of them became immortal. BUT they got to live for a while, most of them.

However, as Jordan Peterson says every human life ends in tragedy, and honestly every animal life too. So yeah, eventually they suffered more.

And that’s the problem. Eventually the only way to save humans from suffering is to kill them — even if your goal is to stop suffering, and not just to control everyone.

And this combines with the fact that once you make the state responsible for every individual, the individual becomes a debit instead of a credit in the column. The individual is always going to “cost” the state. Particularly if you let the individual get old. Particularly if the individual is not perfect. And if you believe there are already too many humans. There are always too many humans because they cost money.

Instead of being a credit, a self aware individual who makes enough for themselves and more, who creates and changes and enriches everyone, the individual at any age but the most productive becomes a debit. And from society’s POV it’s better if he’s dead.

And that’s why — as foretold in (my) prophecy — when the homeless start getting rounded up and killed, it will be the left doing it for “merciful” reasons. It’s already happening in Canada. When maladjusted, unhappy kids are killed without event he parent’s permission, it will be the left doing it. It’s also already happening in Canada. And when they round up the misfits, the gay, the trans, the too smart, the too dumb, the Odds, it will be the left doing it. After all, if they don’t fit in, the only way to spare them the pain of being a minority is to kill them.

When society decides it’s going to spare everyone suffering; when society decides everyone is a collective charge, a debit, then it becomes a ravening monster, swallowing humanity.

It always happens. And the collectivists have the nerve to look surprised and look for other reasons, like “nationalism” or “racism” or whatever. Every single time.

Each individual no matter how flawed adds something and is a credit, even if just by giving us someone to love and care for. And as such, every individual is indispensable and unique. You might not personally like someone, but it’s neither your duty nor your right to control their every decision and interfere in their every action. It is not your right nor your duty to dictate how your fellow man lives and dies. They can decide that each one by himself.

To value the individual is to value humanity. There is no other way.

Through Their Fingers

Recently I’ve been hearing of a con almost every other week. Some, in the still very early stages of planning have even contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a guest of honor, and attending guest, or if I knew of someone they should be inviting.

All of these cons either claim they want to be Liberty con and/or they were inspired by Sad Puppies, specifically the idea that science fiction (and stories in general) could and should be fun again and not some doleful “literary” exercise approved of by college professors and looked down upon by everyone else.

Meanwhile what I’d call the history structure of science fiction fandom has been captured by the hard and insane left and has at this point — through exploiting the control mechanisms put in to avoid a popular revolt — gone to China, probably — due to the rules — permanently. It’s also merrily nominating only Chinese authors, and the happy figleaf of “maybe these are great books is bs”. First, we know the Chinese government is financing voting memberships and if you think they’re great SF readers…. well, there’s no help for you. And for another, if they were good we’d already have found them and translated them.

But the loss of the Hugo, which at any rate had been tainted with literature and the academic version of missionaries trying to get geeks to wear pants and not on our heads where we prefer them. Or if you want it plainer: for a lot of years, with rare exceptions, the Hugo had gone to boring stuff and become a “do not buy” signal. So it’s not a horrible loss.

OTOH the little cons waking up everywhere are a sign of hope and that the fandom itself isn’t dead. It’s groups of friends here and there (the expected attendance at these cons so far is fifty to a hundred people) going “You know what, after the covidiocy I miss cons, and we don’t ALL fit into liberty con. How about…”

For a year or two they’ll be unorganized and frankly pretty terrible at it. But they’ll get better and they will grow.

And as for our polity, our beloved Democratic Republic, which has been sold to China by the execrable Fraud In Chief Of The US, which is why they installed him in power by massive, unremitting fraud? (Look, not in dispute. They wrote a Times article bragging about doing it!)

Well, if our courts won’t act, and all the instruments of our sovereignty have been pulled away, there remains one bastion: us.

To and extent Roger Kimball is right in here.

Right now our only hope is to do thinks locally and at state level. Let the feds spin in their own filth, and do what needs to be done.

OTOH there are things we can’t do. Sure, Texas can get other states to help it protect the border. But a lot of the border states had their elections frauded. I’m looking at you Arizona. Precisely, I’d guess, to facilitate the invasion. So, what to do?

Well…. the cities could start coming up with plans.

In fact at all levels, it’s going to devolve to the individuals, the municipalities, the states. Because the Federal government is not only bankrupt. It’s gone crazy. What it does is not only NOT what we need, but it’s often actively against us.

So, it’s down to the equivalent of a few fans and their friend group.

And as you know I think we’re going to be all right. Sure, there’s difficulties. There’s things that don’t scale super-well. But America is the land of innovative solutions, and we don’t know what’s possible until we do it.

The more they tighten the hand of officialdom, the more we escape between their fingers, like sand.

And sand has an advantage over water. We chafe all those who hold too tightly.

Sure, there will be rough patches. We can all feel one approaching. But in the end we win, they lose.

Go build under, build over, build around.

Be not afraid.

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. I reserve the right not to run any submission, if cover, blurb or anything else made me decide not to, at my sole discretion.– SAH

FROM MARY HARE: Cloak and Stola

When the Roman legion sweeps through the farmlands of Syria, Sophie loses everything: her home, her family, even her freedom. Changes to the marriage laws under Caesar Augustus bring her to the attention of Procerus, a Roman soldier stationed in Judea.
Procerus is looking for a wife. Sophie’s looking for a way forward. Neither are looking for love. But will they find it anyway? A historical romance set in the sweeping drama of ancient Rome.

BY LEIGH BRACKET, REVIVED BY D. JASON FLEMING: The Starmen of Llyrdis (Annotated): The Pulp Libertarian Science Fiction Classic.

Michael Trehearne sensed his difference from other men, but he little knew he was a changeling of the only race able to conquer the stars!

Leigh Brackett’s 1951 novel, which first appeared in Startling Stories, not only prefigures books like Alfred Bester’s The Stars, My Destination and movies like Joss Whedon’s Serenity, it also makes a strong case for open source software and free culture in general, decades before either of those terms were coined.

  • This iktaPOP Media edition includes a new introduction giving the book genre and historical context.

FROM KYRA HALLAND: Beneath the Canyons (Daughter of the Wildings Book 1)

The gunslinger. The rancher’s daughter. They share the same dangerous secret – magic.Silas Vendine, mage and bounty hunter, follows a trail of strange, dark magic to the remote Wildings town of Bitterbush Springs. There, he lands in the middle of a violent feud – and discovers that a local rancher’s daughter is hiding a deadly secret.Lainie Banfrey has been taught all her life that wizards are unnatural creatures with no heart and no soul. If anyone finds out she has magical powers, she could end up on the wrong end of a hanging rope. But when a gunslinger named Silas Vendine arrives in town, searching for the man who has brought Bitterbush Springs to the brink of open warfare, his power calls to hers, and she agrees to help him.


A journey to Mars… by zeppelin? Seven German university professors travel to Mars and find a utopia far in advance of civilization on Earth. The problem is that it is almost too perfect and the Martians’ tolerance of their presence may be growing a little thin. A long-lost classic of early science fiction, popular enough in its day to be reprinted in several editions, has now been translated into English for the first time. Originally published in 1909 at the height of popular enthusiasm for the existence of canals on Mars, the story vividly illustrates then current ideas about life on the Red Planet and how the presumed canals were constructed. The science is sometimes dubious, the author had a message of social reform he apparently wrote the novel to convey, the story is more contemplative than adventure — but it is a product of its time, often quaint and always inventive with occasional flashes of humor and satire. There are also genuine science-fictional moments with stopovers on Earth’s moon and the asteroid Eros. This edition includes the 1914 sequel, From Mars to Earth, which completes the story begun in the first book.

FROM HOLY CHISM: Pendragon Resurgent (Legends Book 2)

Life is much better when nobody is trying to kill you.

Sara Hawke, now a university professor, has had five years where nobody was trying to kill her…if you don’t count her course load’s grading. Five years of watching over and helping raise orphaned young dragons.

Her comfortable life comes to an end when she’s attacked by Eastern Dragons, once again—this time, though, her attackers aren’t in the ruling elite. She’s in for the fight of her life again, only this time, Mordred is on the other side of the world, and she must first reach his side before they can succeed.

The running fight to survive brings to light old treachery, blackest magic…and new hope and new allies.


What if our most treasured verities were in fact wrong?

To be selected for Project Mercury and be one of America’s first astronauts was a dream come true for test pilot Deke Slayton. But fellow Mercury astronaut Al Shepard kept telling old stories from his native New England, tales of monstrous entities like Cthulhu and Yog Sothoth. Earlier generations had viewed them as demons, but might they in fact be aliens, here long before humanity?

Soon Deke discovers evidence that something is watching the US space program. Something that begrudges humanity the stars and would put a ceiling on human attainment. Something that can manipulate time itself.

HP Lovecraft wrote that we dwell on a placid island of ignorance amidst the dark ocean of infinity, and that we were not meant to travel far.

What might the US space program have looked like in a cosmos filled with hostile eldritch entities? Would they notice us as playthings? Or as a nuisance to be dealt with?



A bold journey into a future where humanity and its children travel to a new star where they must overcome the unexpected challenges on the exoplanets that await them—or die trying.

Traveling to the stars will be difficult, but not, perhaps, the most difficult part. What about when we get to another star? What then? Will the planets be immediately habitable? Not likely. Will those who undertook the journey be able to easily turn around and come home if they don’t find “Earth 2.0?” Almost certainly not. Therein the lies the challenge: Finding worlds that are potentially habitable and then taking the time, perhaps centuries, to make them compatible with Earth life. They will encounter mysteries and unexpected challenges, but the human spirit will endure. Join this diverse group of science fiction writers and scientists as they take up the challenge of The Ross 248 Project.

FROM MARY CATELLI: Journeys And Wizardry

Drunken mermaids — a clan cursed to become crows — a magic book that even the Nameless Necromancer fears — and more in this reprint collection of thirteen stories and a poem.


Current events as the world is ready to burn. This material is edited and polished from the monthly booklets and weekly pamphlets, but it’s a good view of what’s going on. This was all planned-in-advance against us. It’s all falling together at a predetermined time, the middle of May. I don’t pretend to have an explanation, I just analyze and identify as much as I can.

FROM KAT AINSWORTH: Handgun Hunting: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game Kindle Edition

A Go-To Manual for One of the Fastest Growing Shooting Sports, With Invaluable Information for Both Newbies and Seasoned Hunters

Hunting with handguns has seen a huge growth in popularity in recent years, with hunters from all walks of life picking up the sport. In Handgun Hunting, author Kat Ainsworth examines all the game one can hunt in North America, from bears and deer to rabbits and coyotes. In each chapter, she touches upon such topics as:

  • The habits and habitats of each game animal
  • Recommended firearms and cartridges
  • Techniques and tactics
  • Shot placement
  • Game edibility
  • And much more

Aside from analyzing each game animal and the tactics required to take it, Ainsworth gets into skills and drills, care and maintenance of the different platforms, plus the pros and cons of various holsters and scabbards. There is also advice on building your own handguns and creating your own loads; it is easier than many people think! With information useful to beginners and veterans alike, Handgun Hunting sets the new standard for this challenging sport.

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:oafish

Move Out Of The Basement

When I was a hardcore, Libertarian Party Libertarian, back in the nineties we had a joke that riffed on the “evil Kirk” shtick of moving out of your parents basement and taking your posters off the wall… It went like this: The Democrats want to be your mommy; the Republicans want to be your dad. We want you to move out of the basement and get a job.

I hadn’t thought of that in years. But this morning, in the Discord group, someone posted a small snippet of a video about how Communism is the politics of toxic femininity. They’re not precisely wrong, but it doesn’t quite fit.

And then it hit me. Yeah, we all know that communists claim fascists were on the right, because Stalin said so. In fact they’re both flavors of socialism and more like each other than not. Which both makes the visceral hatred completely understandable and makes the absolute certainty they’re opposites bizarre.

Yes, sure, some of it is the press and historians who of course wholeheartedly believe Stalin. But that’s not all.

And finally it hit me. You see, I’m now on the other end of that meme. My kids are raised and though they both did live in the basement for a period when they both needed financial help they never really lived in the basement in the full sense (and we had an independent basement apartment in the former house, to be fair, with its own entrance, though they often used the inside one when it was dark, because there were bears in the neighborhood and they were less likely to be up front in the light. Um… real bears. Brown bears to be exact though one looked big enough to be a grizzly.)

However, even now, with them just over and just under thirty, I have to constantly rein in toxic motherhood. Which to be fair is just standard culture in Portugal, so that makes it harder.

There is a fine line between being supportive, and being a family that looks out for each other — the good portion of large Latin families — and being … well, the word for being related to each other in Portuguese is to “belong to” each other. And at least when i was growing up, regardless of what the law said, the police would haul kids who were of age but unmarried back to their families if they “ran away.” And even now, parents have an amount of say over the household and effects and financial decisions of their married children that appalls me. One thing is to give advice, another to go over and redecorate someone else’s house because you disapprove of their taste, for instance. But it is permissible in Portugal and probably, honestly in much of the world. Romeo and Juliet makes more sense in those cultures, because the idea of the kids rebelling and choosing their own partner retains the frisson of shock, even if — even in Portugal — parents haven’t chosen the kids’ spouses for a long time.

So my temptations might be higher than other people’s. And part of the problem is that I really like the kids, and enjoy their company. No. It is a problem because I want to spare them pain and suffering. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I made. Etc.

Which is fine if what I’m doing is facilitating things, but not if it is browbeating them into complying, or somehow forcing them to do what I think best. (I can’t really do that. They’re both bigger than I. But this is an analogy.) And even on the facilitating things, you have to be careful, because if you make your place/support a feather bed, they’ll leave forever in the basement, never do anything, never live their own lives.

Such style of mothering in the Freud obsessed seventies was called Castrating. This is not wrong, because it is a form of extreme mothering, that accepts no limits and doesn’t understand when the child should by rights separate.

And we all know about the extreme forms of Fatherhood. You have the right of life and death over your children, and you order them about. You expect them to be perfectly regimented and go to extremes of heroic obedience to make you proud.

If you think about it, the two competing forms of socialism — national socialism and international socialism (the second is a lie. It was more Russian national socialism. The only thing international about it is that everyone was supposed to revere and adore mother Russia.) — were actually Toxic Fatherhood and Toxic Motherhood.

Neither of them recognized that adult human individuals could make their own way or choose their path, or even earn their own livelihood. Or at least choose what they worked for and how much they’d be paid. Or what they could work at. Essentially the essence of adulthood is to fend for yourself and make your own decisions. Both forms of socialism deny people the ability to do that. (Even the soft socialism of “social democracy” that Europe indulges in is Toxic Motherhood with a happy face. It’s “But dear, you shouldn’t have knives. They’re nasty. Little boys don’t need to defend themselves. Let mommy do.” But the police still stands by to disarm you. So it’s a distinction without a difference.)

However, they’re different in how they do it, and what they expect you to do.

The supposed international socialism sells itself as being so caring. Mommy adores you. She wants to smother you in kisses. No, no, you must not be better than your little sister. It hurts her feelings. So you shouldn’t walk because she can’t. Is it really so much effort to crawl? See how happy it is when you also crawl.”

It uses weaponized empathy to convince you that no only shouldn’t you struggle away — the government is only doing what’s best for you — but that you owe everyone around you handicapping and even hurting yourself in order to make others happy, or even no embarrassed, or not worried or….

Socialism of the kind that viewed itself on the way to communism is a blanket with happy faces snuggling everyone till it smothers them.

In the end, because humans tend to not do well in perpetual infantilization, it always turns on humans and starts killing them batch lots — yes, you ARE the carbon they want to eliminate — rather than letting them go.

It’s the jealous control of bad mothers. “If I can’t keep you, no one can have you.” and “You’re better off dead than outside, in the cold cruel world without mommy.” and the vicious defense of she bear with cubs when she decides you’re too nasty to be hers, and you’ll hurt her precious babies (how the left behaves to anyone else.)

It is the “love” that fills cemeteries — Canada is now considering euthanasia for the homeless, because after being coddled into uselessness they’re useless. Making them shape up would be cruel, but killing them is humane and now they’ll be safe forever — and wrecks civilization.

It also explains the communists/socialists/greens/democrats love of inefficient forms of energy over safe and clean nuclear. And their hatred of space. They want to push us to an earlier phase where we’d be better controlled, stop us walking away from them, keep us bound in the nursery. Because mommy loves baby soooooo much. Baby would be better off dead than without mommy.

The Fascist/National socialist model, which to fair is slightly more functional than the international socialist model, in the sense that toxic fatherhood allows some form of adulthood, or at least the appearance of it, and which only exists now in former communist societies (the poor things, they have no idea how to grow up) like Russia and China, is … well…. toxic, but in a very masculine way.

The National Socialists want you to toughen up and be a credit to them. They brag about you all the time. Both socialist regimes expect vast amounts of praise of themselves by their captives, but national socialism praises the captives too. Provided they’re perfect, of course. Which means the people better tell the government what it wants to hear or there will be spankings.

There is usually much talk of how tough the people are. Taking away of “soft” things like excess (by the father’s estimate) food or clothing, but not to make you infantile, but to toughen you up. There is much emphasis on being machine-like and perfect. And of course being good fighters in defense of the country/polity. Not yourself, because you really belong to father-state.

You’re allowed to own things, instead of those being distributed so no one feels bad, but you have to use the things the way father government wants or they will take your things and give them to someone more worthy. (So, you really don’t own them, really.)

You’re supposed to perform and do things, but only as Father Government dictates, and in exchange Father government will give recompense for being a good boy (you’re all supposed to be good boys, since women are fairly irrelevant in this. So even if they say they’re for women, and the heroic women who have children, the women are supposed to behave as disciplined, production-and-results obsessed men.

National socialism, Father chooses the objectives, and you’re supposed to fall in line and perform to the best of your ability for the glory and the honor.

The truth though is that both these forms of toxic parenthood are more alike than not, no matter that they think they are absolutely different from each other.

Left untended they both end in mass deaths, to cull out those bad children who aren’t extremely compliant to their parents’ will.

And if they go on long enough they both end in the infantile enslavement of feudalism.

Like the more literal toxic motherhood and toxic fatherhood, they both should be shunned and reproached. Because both are evil and both deny humans the right to be … human and serve their own lawful individual purposes.

Both need to stop and let humanity move out of the basement and off to its destiny.