Chicken soup for the MAGA soul – take two

Many thanks to Jon Mollison for his thoughtful analysis of optimism and message fiction. Optimism was exactly what I was going for with both of my short stories, “Dolus Magnus” and “Equality.” Optimism in America, what America stands for, and our future is exactly the note that we wanted to strike.

Regular readers of this blog need no long and detailed rehashing of the decades of success globalists have achieved by injecting their message fiction into every nook and cranny of every medium of news and education and entertainment.  Regular readers of this blog have all too often put down books, walked out of theaters, or snapped off the television with an angry snarl of, “enough with the message fiction!” Nor do they need yet another reminder that technological advances have reduced the barrier to entry for books and comics and videos such that the left-wing stranglehold exists solely by dint of decades of inertia and capital accumulated by their forebears.  This being the Current Year Plus One, we can take that wonderful theory and expose it to the harsh light of scrutiny to see how well it works in practice. Before we grab our Deerstalker Cap and hold our magnifying glass up to Superversive Press’s latest collection, “MAGA 2020 & Beyond”, we need to get something out of the way.

This is not message fiction.

Read the rest here. It’s worth your time.

Releases, Re-releases, and Re-covering

Stories about making America great again, optimism for the future, great characters that act and think like most of the hardworking people in fly-over country (you know the ones) and thought-provoking essays, all in one sweet little package. And just in time for the holidays. Time to celebrate and be grateful for America, the last bastion of freedom, of liberty, in today’s screwed up world. Order the Kindle version or the print version NOW.

 

Two more days to go…

On November 8th, the first anniversary of Trump’s election, MAGA 2020 & Beyond will go live. Pre-order the Kindle version now. Print versions will be available on the day of release.

Two of my short stories are included:

  • Dolus Magnus: The Great Hoax

MAGA2020.dolus

  • Equality

MAGA2020.equality

Edited by Jason Rennie, the anthology includes an intro by Milo Yiannopoulos, essays by John C. Wright, Ivan Throne, Dawn Witzke, and Alfred Genneson, as well as fiction by Scott Bell, Jon Del Arroz, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Marina Fontaine, Brad Torgersen, Arlan Andrews Sr., Alfred Genneson, Chris Donahue, Christine Chase, David Harr, Daniel Humphreys, Dawn Witzke, Elaine Arias, Justin Robinson, Molly Pitcher, P.A. Piatt, Richard B. Atkinson, Tamara Wilhite, and Sandor Novak. I also wrote the afterword.

Coming Nov. 8, 2017…Equality

There is nothing quite like being able to condense an idea—especially a profound one—into a few memorable words or a single line. Some time ago I started collecting memorable quotes, and from time to time, I use them for inspiration, not just for my writing, but for life.

Among my favorites is Robert A. Heinlein’s “An armed society is a polite society.” Another is Jerry Pournelle’s “Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.”

I came to the United States to be free, not to be equal. Under communism we were all equal—equally miserable, equally hopeless, equally oppressed.

But freedom comes with a price, because freedom is NOT free. Yes, a cliche. Like most, it’s a cliche for a reason. What is that price?

Responsibility.

I know. A dirty word these days. Too bad. And I’m not talking about the ersatz type of responsibility known as “collective responsibility.” I’m talking about the personal, individual kind.

Freedom means taking personal responsibility. See, I said it again. And I will keep saying it for as long as I draw breath.

Free men (yes, that means the entirety of humankind, both sexes) are responsible men. They are individually and personally responsible. For what? Well, for starters, they are responsible for their own safety. Today that means knowing how to defend yourself.

For a woman, especially, that can mean a firearm.

I have carried a firearm for almost thirty years.

Thank you, Founding Fathers.

Thank you, Second Amendment.

Thank you, NRA.

No woman should be denied the means to defend herself. No woman should be reduced to fighting a bigger, meaner attacker with her bare hands, or with ineffective second-rate tools. Women’s lives are worth more than that. You, your daughters’, your wives’, your sisters’, your mothers’ lives are worth more that some delusion that evil doesn’t exist or that a sign will stop a criminal or that the state will protect.

This lesson—that you are personally responsible for your own safety—is a lesson that I hope no woman will ever have to learn the hard way. Death is not something you can come back from.

One of the reasons I write is because a story is a means of allowing my readers to vicariously experience things they wouldn’t otherwise—whether that something is exploring a new planet, pretending to have superpowers or magic, or surviving a life-changing experience.

My short story, “Equality” (included in Superversive Press’s upcoming anthology, MAGA: 2020 & Beyond) is NOT about violence. Rather, it’s about empowerment. It’s the story of one woman’s journey from victimhood to personal responsibility.

“When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

MAGA: 2020 & Beyond will be released on Nov. 8th, 2017, exactly one year after Donald Trump’s election. It is available now for pre-order HERE.

 

 

 

Coming Nov. 8, 2017…Dolus Magnus: The Great Hoax

The first time I heard the term, GIGO, was in my machine language class—no, we weren’t using abaci or slide rules (we’d given those up the year before).

It’s an acronym that stands for “garbage in, garbage out” and it’s meant to convey the simple idea, that no matter how good your algorithm, if the data you enter is garbage, your output is also going to be garbage. For someone that works with data, GIGO becomes part of everyday life. It’s one of those axioms that you should never forget, but one that, unfortunately, many do.

Sometimes human beings get caught up in all that they think they can do and forget to stop and ask if it should be done at all—some would call this hubris. Scientists are just as vulnerable to hubris, and greed, as anyone else. There is nothing remotely Vulcan about them, despite portrayals to the contrary. We all have ego. We also all have mortgages and the desire to live well. We all have a desire to be relevant, to have our words and ideas given the respect we think they deserve. We are all, in essence, human beings first. And as such, we are prone to human frailties and while we may tell ourselves that we serve the better angels of our nature, we rarely do just that. There’s always a little bit more to it—like Pygmalion, we fall in love with our creation, be it a sculpture, a theory, or a computer model.

I have seen science corrupted by a strident belief as strong as any religious fervor, a type of mania that says that anyone who disagrees with the “official” interpretation of the future must be destroyed. Reputations must be ruined, jail and prison time served, voices silenced. There’s even a label for these terrible, terrible people—deniers.

The end of the world is big business. Fear is big business. But neither of these even begin to rival the grandeur that is power and control over people’s lives. Control of what they can eat, what they can drink, what they can see, hear, and think. No matter what the problem—whether real or imagined—the solution is always the same: Give us power over you and we will make it all better.

“After all, our ideas are so good that they must be made mandatory,” they tell us.

From global cooling, to global warming, to climate change (all catastrophic of course, all man-made don’t-you-know) the solution is always the same. More power to the government and the global elites that know better, all for the price of your freedom and prosperity. The song –acid rain, holes in the ozone layer, global cooling, global warming, climate change, shifting weather patterns–morphs as reality intrudes and proves the faithful wrong, but, not unlike the snake-oil salesman who has the same magical cure for all, the solution is always the same. Unlike the snake-oil salesmen, however, the oracles of freedom- and prosperity-destroying ideas, global power grabs, and bad science, don’t get run out of town. They don’t get tarred and feathered. They get tenure and fame and success. They get political backing. They become essential tools (yes, that’s a double entendre) wielded by the powerful.

It is with these thoughts churning in my head, that I wrote a short story called “Dolus Magnus: The Great Hoax” for Superversive Press’s upcoming anthology, MAGA: 2020 & Beyond. It is the story of a young scientist’s crisis of faith, about the price and cost of speaking out against consensus, about…

Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum—garbage in, garbage out.”

MAGA: 2020 & Beyond will be released on Nov. 8th, 2017, exactly one year after Donald Trump’s election. It is available now for pre-order HERE.

 

 

 

My first post at superversivesf.com

Check out my first post for the wonderful people at Superversive SF.

Hard Sci-fi Made Me Cry

Tired of the remakes, the reboots, the “let’s see how much more blood we can squeeze out of this turnip” output of today’s Hollywood? I think you’ll find Passengers a refreshing change.

Dunkirk movie review

I’ve considered doing movie reviews from time to time, but TBH, Daniella’s is better.

“All war movies are criticized, especially these days. But the review of the WWII film Dunkirk in feminist magazine Marie Claire went way beyond criticism. It was a full on feminist rant. ”

http://daniellabova.com/blog/dunkirk-feminist-not-love-story/

Literature-Map

Okay, this was just too much fun not to share. Warning: it’s addictive. On the upside, it could help you find similar writers to read, which is a good thing.

 

http://www.literature-map.com/robert+a-2e+heinlein.html

Why readers need genre

On a writer’s forum awhile back we were having a debate about genre. Let’s face it, the lines have blurred and with everyone and his brother, and his dog, cat, ferret, and goldfish having an opinion on it, chances are that it’s not going to get clearer any time soon. Some writers hate genre. They think it boxes them in and saps their creativity. They look on it with disdain and unabashedly declare “Write what you want.” Truth is no one is stopping you. You can and should write what you want. Problem is, the next step involves something else. Getting people to read what you write, and therein, lies the problem. Far too often “Write what you want” is about the writer, not the reader, yet it is the validation of not just a reader, but hopefully, many, many readers that we all crave.

So, let’s look at some stories and how the EMPHASIS on specific story elements can change things for the reader, who, let’s face it, probably has some definite ideas about what he wants (and maybe even some ideas about what he doesn’t want). Since it’s his money, what he wants matters.

Jane is a woman who has the daunting task of going through her recently deceased great-grandmother’s (also known as Gran) things.

  • The Least Traveled Path

Jane unpacks great-grandmother’s things and discovers that Gran’s life was less than idyllic. This leads Jane to realize that her own life isn’t so bad. In this story, not much happens outside of Jane herself. There’s not a lot of “this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens,” i.e. plot. She may not even leave the house as she’s going through Gran’s things. The entire story may be about her thoughts and feelings, maybe some flashbacks or imaginings or speculation. Chances are it’ll end up in women’s fiction and if it’s heavy on bulky sentences and long paragraphs and the pacing is glacial, it’ll probably also get tagged as big “L” literary.

  • The Most Traveled Path

Among Gran’s things, Jane finds a torn strand of pearls. She takes them to a jeweler for repair. Jane falls in love with said jeweler and they have the mandated Happily Ever After (HEA). This is now a big “R” type of romance.

  • A Fork in the Road: The Most Traveled Path Gone Awry

Instead of an HEA or an HEA for now, the jeweler dies. Now we have a tragedy. I can pretty much guarantee that if you tag this a Romance, you’re going to have a lot of pissed off Romance readers. Why? Because you promised them one thing and you didn’t deliver. Hint: Don’t piss off your readers. Happy readers, good. Mad readers, bad.

  • The Fastest Path:

Instead of diaries or pearls, Jane discovers Gran’s old movies. One of them reveals the secret behind the Kennedy assassination. Now Jane is on the run, fighting for her life because someone wants to kill her. The pacing is fast and even if her jeweler fiance is involved, the focus on plot rather than their relationship has just put Jane into a thriller. She doesn’t have a lot of time to sit around and process her feelings about Gran’s life, or her own, as her main task is staying alive.

Let’s stop here for a bit and look at the differences between Literary, Romance, and thriller. [I’m going to ignore tragedy since it’s just a romance gone wrong; after all, until Romeo and Juliet died, their story was a Romance. That pesky HEA again.]

All three–Literary, Romance, and thriller–will have elements of plot, character, and pacing, but one of those elements will dominate. The Literary and Romance readers will expect character to dominate, while thriller readers will expect plot to. That’s not to say there won’t be some plot in the Romance piece, but Romance is about the relationship, i.e. the characters.

For a better example, let’s look at Die Hard, the best Christmas movie of all time. Despite the relationship aspect, the HEA, it’s a thriller. It’s fast paced. It’s more about the plot than character. Tally up the minutes spent in action sequences versus those that show John McClane struggling with his feelings. There’s a love story, but it’s not a Romance. It’s not speculative fiction, because the setting is not contrary to reality. Despite the thrilling stunts courtesy of Hollywood Physics, it’s not science fiction because the story is not about science or an extrapolation of science.

Back to Jane and Gran’s things.

  • The Speculative Path

Jane finds a diary. If the diary turns out to be a time travel device we have speculative fiction. Now, time travel is sci-fi, right? Well, maybe…

Speculative fiction deals with things that are contrary to reality, but setting is key. Along the Speculative Path, you’ll find not just mud, but fog and booby traps. Those other paths (thriller, romance, etc) were clear and safe. This path, not so much. There’s reasons they drew monsters at the edge of maps.

Time travel is not science and it’s not even an extrapolation of science. The laws of conservation of energy and matter make time travel more of a science fantasy, but it’s usually lumped together with science fiction because it does NOT rely on magic. See, fog, but not utility fog.

  • The Fork into the Past

Gabaldon’s Outlander involves time travel to the past, but I wouldn’t call it science fiction. Where’s the science? How important is the science to the story? Is anything extrapolated from our current knowledge of science? Going back to 18th-century Scotland and making soap from animal fat and ashes is not an extrapolation of current technology. Outlander may be historical fantasy. It may be a Romance. It most definitely is speculative fiction and it is defined by the fact that it takes place in 18th-century Scotland, i.e. the setting. That means that if you move it out of the setting, it changes the characters and plot so much that you don’t have the same story.

  • The Fork into the Future

Back to Jane. The diary is a piece of cleverly disguised advanced technology made of equal parts handwavium and unobtainium, patent pending. It takes Jane forward in time or to a parallel world without magic. It’s speculative fiction because it takes place in a setting that’s contrary to reality. But is it science-fiction? Again, let’s look at setting for guidance. So, lack of magic makes it “not fantasy.” What if it’s a future where there is no advanced technology? It might as well be the middle ages. It’s not historical, because the setting didn’t exist in the past. It is about the science? Since it’s not in the past is it even alternate history? It’ll probably get labeled sci-fi because it’s about the future, and that’s fine, but again, note that it’s the setting that defines its placement. In this case, we have a setting that’s contrary to reality but is NOT set in the past and does NOT involve the use of magic. Sometimes things are easier to classify by what they’re not, rather than by what they are.

Dr. Who is probably the best example of how hard it is to define this genre and why food fights break out among those who really, really, really care. The TARDIS can go into the past, the future, and can travel sideways in time to alternate histories. We meet aliens as well as historical figures. It pays some lip service to the “science” of time travel, handwavium included, but is it about the science? Or is the science mere window dressing? Let’s say we have a Romance set in space. If I can take that Romance, strip it of its sci-fi dressings, and still have the same characters and story, then I’d argue it’s not sci-fi. I’d still enjoy the heck out of it, but let’s not pretend it’s 2001:A Space Odyssey or Jurassic Park.

  • The Magical Fork [no, it’s not a weight-loss plan]

What if Jane’s diary takes her to a setting where magic exists? Regardless of the diary as a magical device rather than some cleverly disguised piece of tech as above, it’s the existence of magic in the setting that makes this a fantasy. It may take place in the past or the future, or an alternate timeline, but if magic is involved, it becomes the defining factor.

  • The Paranormal Fork

What if reading from the diary opens a portal to hell? Why is it paranormal instead of fantasy? Well, magic’s not involved for one. Neither is science. So it’s contrary to reality but outside the realm of both magic and science. See, setting again.

One of the reasons I wanted to write about this is that as a reader, I get frustrated by the cavalier way some people throw genre tags around, as if they meant nothing. Honestly, if they mean nothing and we can mix anything with anything else, why bother with genre at all? We’d just have a big hodge-podge of stuff called fiction. As readers we’d have to wade through rows and rows (digital and physical) of options, maybe organized by author’s last name. Or maybe by title. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? We’d have to read the summaries and hope that the cover and the sales copy don’t lie. Sign me up. Not.

BTW, if you’re interested in really learning about Genre, I highly recommend this Genre Structure Workshop. Scroll down to the Classic Workshop Offerings. It’s a great self-paced, start anytime online course.