My Personal Superversive Philosophy

Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.

– J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters 255

A Brief Interruption of Your Regular Programming

Recently my sister alerted me to the existence of Storium, a free online game that basically gives rules to the creation of a collaborative novel – you come up with a world, create your characters, and then work together on a story. There are things like challenge cards, subplots, objectives – all the things needed to create a great game. And you can follow along with a game’s progress even without participating – which is entertaining in its own right!

I started a game recently known as “Jenkins’ Renegade Wizards” recently. The concept is inspired by – but not based on – Miyazaki’s version of “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Here is the description:

The kingdom of Velia is a prosperous kingdom, readily embracing new technology and the dawn of a more fast-paced and industrial era.

It is also a kingdom at war with itself.

Both Queen Isabella the Great and King Justianian the Noble claim their sides to be righteous, but the truth is far less certain. The Wizards, men and women who have dedicated their lives to the study of magic and sorcery, have done as ordered: Reported to their rulers and chosen sides in the conflict…or most of them.

The Wizard Jenkins, the oldest wizard in Velia, detests the pointless and barbaric war, and the destruction it inflicts on innocents. Secretly he recruits a group of renegade wizards to aid him in his efforts to protect civilians from harm.

But Isabella and Justinian aren’t ready to cede control of their wizards just yet. And what they have planned next may be more than Jenkins’ Renegades have bargained for. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the dragons…

The “cast” is great and made up almost entirely of professional writers, including me, my brother and sister, Josh Young, Corey McCleery, and David Hallquist. Scene one was only recently posted.

Check it out! Looks like it’s going to be a fun time. Feel free to comment in the lobby.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Submissions Open for Saturn Anthology!

Saturn. The most beautiful of the wandering stars, surrounded by a mysterious and remarkable series of rings, crowning the planet in glory.

Jupiter may be the king of the planets, but Saturn is the progenitor, named for the powerful and terrible Titan that fathered the gods themselves. Saturn is the lord of Time, Age, and Endings. And when everything else disperses into a heat death and the cosmos is an empty void, it is Time that will rule over all.

The frame story of Saturn will be set in John C. Wright’s City Beyond Time universe! Don’t know what that is? Read the book, it’s awesome.

Stories do not need to be set in that universe.

However, they can be.

One last thing. If you have already sent in a story, resend it. I probably have it, but can make no guarantees.

Bullet point form:

  • Word count is 500-10,000
  • Poems will be accepted
  • Reprints will be accepted
  • Simultaneous submissions will be accepted
  • Stories can be about the actual planet Saturn, time, age, and endings. The Titan Saturn may also feature, and stories may be set in the City Beyond Time universe.
  • Submissions should be in standard manuscript format, though please italicize instead of underline when appropriate. If the story is not in standard manuscript format, it may be rejected without being read. Seriously. I’m not kidding here. For that matter, ditto if the stories are under 500 words or over 10,000.
  • The subject line should look like this: SATURN SUBMISSION/Story Title/Author Last Name
  • The deadline is December 1, 2017. After that, you’re out of luck.
  • Please resend your submissions if you have already sent something in. I PROBABLY have it, but as they say, better safe than sorry!

The submission e-mail is [email protected]

The editors are Anthony and Mariel Marchetta, known for their work in the critically acclaimed anthology “God, Robot” and the recently released “Tales of the Once and Future King”.

Good luck!

More Tales From Facebook

This was written in response to a half-joking comment that the big message of “Star Trek: Discovery” is that wars are all started by mean and dumb people for petty reasons.

It’s funny, because I’m doing my Big Miyazaki Project, and Miyazaki is obviously VERY anti-war.

The thing with Miyazaki is that wars in his works don’t start over “misunderstandings”. They are SERIOUS, and deal with SERIOUS issues, that are difficult to resolve. I just saw “Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind” in theaters, and one of the most striking things about it is that the ostensible villains aren’t the ones who send the Ohmu (giant bug creatures, very dangerous) stampeding towards the Valley of the Wind. It’s the group trying to STOP the villains.

At one point a character frustratedly asks Nausicaa “What do you want us to do? Let them do whatever they want?” Keep in mind that the capital city of this character’s country was just burned to the ground by the villains. It’s a legitimate question!

My point – if you strawman all wars as starting from misunderstandings, pettiness, or anger, it becomes impossible to be truly anti-war, because you’re not respecting any of the very real and very serious issues involved. Miyazaki doesn’t do that, and as a result his movies are very powerful. But leftist claptrap often does.

Or Maybe I’ve Been Pulp Rev All Along

Taken and expanded a bit from a Facebook convo asking whether or not there were sources for a conspiracy where Campbell and co memory holed the pulps. Merritt was named specifically:

I think conspiracy is a word that trips up people…I don’t know if you’ll find any secret notes where people say things like “Step 1: Bash R.E. Howard daily”, but you will find…

– John W. Campbell renowned by one and all as the most influential editor in sci-fi history…

…Despite the fact that none of the works of the supposed biggest names in science fiction like Asimov, Heinlein, or Clarke ever reached the fame or popularity of “A Princess of Mars” or “Conan the Barbarian”. So how did they get to be known as “The biggest names in science fiction”?

– And of course, Campbell was the most influential editor of the time. He owned the magazines, where he would mold all of the writers to write “Hard” sci-fi [note: the extent of his influence was later disputed, but what is not disputable is that he HAD influence, and a good deal of it for a couple of decades].

This didn’t work out so great. How do I know that? Because since Campbell took over and the pulps died sci-fi readership has dropped like a rock.

– Damon Knight in his editorials and introductions to books would try and make the time to slip in a little dig at the pulp authors.

I can’t really tell you what it was that made Merritt disappear as thoroughly as he did, except that he was a pulp guy like all the others whatever his reputation, and his works simply never reached the iconic status of Conan the Barbarian or A Princess of Mars. He may have been very, very highly regarded at the time, but he just didn’t have enough force to get out of the black hole. Pretty much only Burroughs and Howard did, and NOT with reputation intact.

The term “pulp fiction” as used today was not created as a compliment, but is used to describe trashy, low-brow entertainment. Until the pulp rev guys claimed it it was only ever used in a positive manner ironically or nostalgically – like the Sam L. Jackson movie. Pulp was lesser.

This stuff isn’t made up. It’s in the language.

 I’ll end it with this – the revelation of the quality of the pulps was a big enough deal that it angered a lot of smart people. Genuinely angered.

Maybe you didn’t hear the stuff they heard about how bad the pulps were…but I did.

 if you don’t see the memory holing of the pulps as having been a serious issue, or the blowing up of Campbell’s rep, then sure, this will all sound silly.

But to a lot of people it isn’t.

I don’t think a bunch of supervillains got together into a room and concocted evil plans; I do think a bunch of folks felt it fit to puff up their own influence while looking down on or sometimes outright disdaining stories feom the past – and that this strategy worked.

Or maybe it didn’t, since you apparently didn’t see this attitude like I did, but I know a lot of folks who seem to think it did as well. And that’s why the pulp rev has gained so much momentum, and why the Campbellians are so looked down upon (even to the point where, yeah, it DOES get unfair). You can talk about changing tastes, but for some reason the “Golden Age of Science Fiction” is Campbell’s era and not the FAR more popular and influential pre-Campbell era.

How did that happen?

Extrapolating from there that Campbell and the Campbellian era writers liked and wanted to push this narrative isn’t exactly a hard sell.

Tales of the Once and Future King pre-order is Out!

Tales of the Once and Future King by [Marchetta, Anthony, Marchetta, Mariel, Nealen, Peter, Schmidt, Matthew P., Newquist, Morgon, Finn, Declann, Shipley, Jonathan, Nachampassack-Maloney, Mandy, Daue, Katharina, Brumley, Bokerah]Tales of the Once and Future King, the new collaborative novel edited by Anthony and Mariel Marchetta and co-written with a combined 20 authors, is coming on September 30, and can be ordered on Amazon today!

Featuring eighteen stories by as many authors interspersed with a post-apocalyptic fairy tale, “Tales of the Once and Future King” is ambitious, fun, and something you don’t want to miss!

It is said that King Arthur will return in Britain’s hour of greatest need.

That time is coming.

Four travelers, searching for the Pendragon, are quickly embroiled in a plot to rescue the beloved of a banished forest lord. And while they concoct their desperate plan a Bard, the new Taliesin, regales them with stories: Tales of Knights, yes, but also tales of robots and vampires, music and monsters, airships and armies – tales to inspire heroism and hope. And when all seems lost, perhaps these tales will be their salvation.

This book is an anthology.
This book is a novel.
This book is a romance
This book is science fiction
This book is a fantasy

This is “Tales of the Once and Future King”

Pre-order your copy now!

The Meaning of Superversive

We depict hatred so we can show that there’s something even more important.

We depict a curse so we can show the joy of breaking it.

What we also need to depict is the boy’s understanding of the girl and the process of the girl opening her heart to the boy.

At the end, the girl probably says to the boy

“I love you Ashitaka, but I cannot forgive humans.”

And then the boy probably smiles and says,

“That doesn’t matter. Live with me.”

That’s the kind of movie I want to make.

– Hayao Miyazaki, project proposal for Princess Mononoke