Signal Boost: Latest Moth and Cobweb!

City of Corpses, the latest Moth and Cobweb book, now live!

City of Corpses is the second volume of the Dark Avenger’s Sidekick arc of the Moth and Cobweb series. (For Moth and Cobweb fans– this book includes a scene where the main character gets to overhear her magician boss speak to a certain silver-haired young man who always tells the truth…and seems to be able to understand his dog.)

Yumiko Moth has discovered her name, but she still does not know who, or what, she is. What she has learned is that her mother is dead, her master has disowned her, and her beloved has vanished. And she also knows that the Day world is a very dangerous place for a Twilight girl, especially when the dark forces of Night are hunting her.

To discover the truth she seeks, she must infiltrate the enemy’s citadel. In New York City, that is The Cobbler’s Club, home to the world-famous Peach Cobbler Girls. But how can a girl who stalks the shadows hide herself in the bright lights of the stage? CITY OF CORPSES is the fifth book of MOTH & COBWEB, an astonishing new series about magical worlds of Day, Night, and Twilight by John C. Wright.

John C. Wright is one of the living grandmasters of science fiction and the author of THE GOLDEN AGE, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND, and IRON CHAMBER OF MEMORY, to name just three of his exceptional books. He has been nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and his novel SOMEWHITHER won the 2016 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction Novel at Dragoncon.

Available on Amazon

This book follows Daughter of Danger

Signal Boost: A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller

A Pius Man is what happens when a Catholic historian gets pissed off by lies
passed off as history, and whose plotting style is formed
by growing up with Die Hard as a Christmas movie.”

A Pius Man is being rereleased by Silver Empire, currently the ebook is on sale for .99!

Murder in the Vatican!

As the head of Vatican security, Giovanni Figlia must protect a new, African Pope who courts controversy every other day. The Pope’s latest project is to make Pius XII, “Hitler’s Pope,” a saint. Things haven’t gotten better since the Pope employed American mercenary Sean Ryan.

Then a body fell onto the Vatican doorstep.

Mercenaries, spies, beautiful women, international intrigue and ancient secrets – The Pius Trilogy has it all!

A Pius Man
A holy thriller from Dragon Award nominee Declan Finn
  • Mystery, Riddles, and Secrecy. An international intrigue that reaches its tendrils across multiple nations, multiple religions, and multiple decades.
  • Mercenaries, Spies, and Assassins. American mercenaries, Russian assassins, Israeli spies, and a priest that makes James Bond look like a sissy.
  • Action, Action, and More Action. A relentless thriller that never lets up the pace!

On Amazon in Kindle and Paperback.

The Goal of the Superversive

For Throwback Thursday (a little late)–at the request of some of the other folks here–here, again, is our statement of exactly what it is that Superversiveness stands for and wishes to accomplish.

Subversive Literary Movement

Any new venture needs a mission statement. So, what are the goals of the Superversive Literary Movement?

Well…let me tell you a brief story.

As a child, I distained Cliffsnotes. I insisted on actually reading the book. I would like to instill the same virtue in my children. But recently, I made my first exception.

My daughter had to read Steinbeck’s The Pearl for class. We read it together. She read part. I read part. The writing was just gorgeous. The life of the people involved drawn so lovingly. The dreams the young man had for his baby son were so poignant, so touching.

Worried about what kind of book this  might be, I read the end first. It looked okay. So, we read the book together.

Turns out, I had missed something—the part where the baby got shot.

Not a happy story.

Next, she brought home Of Mice and Men. We started it together. What a gorgeous and beautifully writing—the descriptions of nature, the interaction between the two characters. A man named George, who could be off doing well on his own, is taking care of a big and simple man named Lennie, who accidentally kills the mice he loves because of his awkward big strength. In George, despite his gruff manner and his bad language, we see a glimpse of what is best in the human spirit, a glimpse of light in a benighted world.

The scene of the two camping out and discussing their hopes of someday owning their own little farm, where Lennie could tend rabbits, was so touching and hopeful, so filled with pathos and sorrow, and so beautifully written. Steinbeck is clearly one of the great masters of word use.

But I remembered The Pearl.  I glanced ahead, but this time, I looked more carefully.

On the next to last page, while discussing how their hoped-for little farm with rabbits is almost within their grasp, George presses a pistol against the back of Lennie’s head and shoots.

Now, in the story, he does it with a terribly heavy heart. He does it for “a good reason”—Lennie accidentally killed someone, but…

That doesn’t make it better.

I sat there holding the remains of my heart, which Steinbeck had just ripped out and stamped on. The devotion of this good man George had led to nothing. All their golden hopes turned to dross, sand.

And it wasn’t just the end. The book was full of examples of “the ends justify the means” type of thinking – such as a man killing four of nine puppies, so that the other five will have a chance.

Very realistic? Check. Very down to earth? Check. Very “the way of the world”? Check.

Why give a book like this to children to read? What are we trying to teach them? That life is difficult and meaningless? That sometimes its okay to kill something we love for a “good reason”? That life is pointless? That dreams and hopes are a sham? That no matter how you try, you cannot improve upon your circumstance, so it’s better not to even hope? (That was what The Pearl was about.)

What possible good is such a message doing our children?

Maybe if a child grew up in posh circumstances and had never seen hardship—maybe then, there would be a good reason for letting them know that “out there” it can get hard.

But this was my daughter—whose youth resembles that of Hansel and Gretel, and not the fun parts about candy houses and witches. There are many things she needs in life—but pathos-filled reminders of how harsh life can be is not one of them.

The book was also full of cursing. I’m not sure I would have noticed, but my daughter kept complaining.

I closed the book and refused to read any more of it. I told her we’d find the answers online. She ended up getting help with it from her brother (who had been forced to read the book at school the previous year) and from a friend.

I’ve seen some of the other books on the school curriculum. Many of them are like this. In the name of “realism,” these works preach hopelessness and darkness.

They are lies!

So, you might ask, why does it matter if our children are being fed lies? They’re just stories, right?

What do stories matter?

Stores teach us about how the world is. They teach us despair, or they teach us hope. In particular, they teach us about the nature of hope and when it is appropriate to have it.

So why is hope—that fragile, little flutter at the bottom of Pandora’s jar—so important?

Because hope needs to be hoped before miracles can be requested.

In life, some things will go badly. True. Some things will go well. But what about everything in between? What about those moments when hope, trust, dare I say, faith, is required to make the difference between a dark ending and a happy one?

If we have been taught that hope and dreams are a pointless fantasy, a waste of time, we might never take the step of faith necessary to turn a dark ending into a joyful one.

Think I am being unrealistic, and my head’s in the clouds? Let me give a few examples.

Example One:

I heard a story on the radio the other day. A woman named Trisha is dying of cancer. She has an eight year old son named Wesley and no one else. No close friends. No relatives. No hope for her son.

Trisha met another Trisha…the angel who ministered to her in the hospital in the form of her nurse. When the news came that her illness was terminal, Trisha worked up the courage to do something astonishing. She asked her nurse: “When I die, will you take my son?”

The nurse went home and spoke to her husband and her four children. They said yes. They not only agreed to take Wesley, they took both Wesley and Trisha into their home, caring for them both as Trisha’s illness grows worse.

What if Trisha, laying in her bed in pain, had not had the faith, the hope, to ask her nurse this question? What would have become of her little boy?

If Trish believed the “realism” preached by Steinbeck and other “realists”, she would never have had the courage to ask her nurse for help.

Example Two:

Don Ritchie is an Australian who lives across from a famous suicide spot, a cliff known as The Gap. At least once a week, someone comes to commit suicide there.

Don and his wife keep an eye out the window. If they see someone at the edge, Don strolls out there. He smiles and talks to them. He offers them a cup of tea.

Sometimes, they come in for tea. Sometimes, they just go home. On a few occasions, he’s had to hold someone, while his wife called the police. Sometimes, the person jumps anyway.

Don and his wife figure they’ve saved around a hundred and sixty lives.

What if Don had believed that hopes and dreams are dross, and he never walked out there? What if he had spent the years standing in his living room, shaking his head and cursing the fact that he bought a house in such an unlucky place?

There are people living lives, perhaps children born who would not have been, merely because Don did not give up on those caught by despair.

Example Three:

Andrea Pauline was a student at the University of Colorado. She traveled to Uganda to study microfinancing for a semester. While she was there, she discovered that some of the local orphan children were being abused.

Andrea refused to leave the country until the government did something. She received death threats. She would not back down.

The government of Uganda took the forty-some children away from their caretakers—and gave them to Andrea. She and her sister now run an orphanage in Uganda called Musana (Sunshine). They have over a hundred children. (Matthew West was inspired by her story to write the song Do Somethinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8 )

What if Andrea had believed the things preached by Of Mice and Men and The Pearl?

What if she had come home to America and cried into her pillow over the sad plight of those children back in Africa? What if she pent her time putting plaintive posts on Facebook about how the sad state of the world and how blue it made her feel?

Over a hundred children, living a better life, because one teenage girl refused to give up hope.

This is what the Superversive Literary Movement is for—to whisper to the future Trisha’s, Don’s, and Andrea’s that miracles are possible.

That hope is not a cheat.

The goal of the Superversive is to bring hope, where there is no hope; to bring courage, where without courage, hope would never be manifested.

The goal of the Superversive is to be light to a benighted world.

The goal of the Superversive is:

To tell the truth.

Comments

 

Jam-Packed June CLFA Boonado

In addition to the general CLFA Booknado goodness, this month includes several offerings from Superversive authors, including For Steam and Country by Jon Del Arroz, Chasing Freedom, by our own Marina Fontaine, and a new short story by Declan Finn.

Get ready to peruse a Category 5 Booknado of literary delights! Let refreshing winds of free thought and freedom blow away tiresome leftist reads and bring in exciting New Releases and Special Discounts! Read on for this month’s selections; just click on any book image to read more and shop. Enjoy!

Jam-packed June Booknado!

 

Science Blast! — Sun Slump!

The sun is slacking!

clip_image002Solar cycle 24 has seen very low solar activity thus far, likely the lowest in 100 years.

Solar Update June 2017
the sun is slumping and headed even lower

Solar Cycle 24 is sitting at the lower bound of activity for solar cycles back to 1964, the start of Solar Cycle 19. From here to minimum though, it looks like Solar Cycle 24 will have much lower volatility than the solar cycles that preceded it.

According to Svensmark’s theory, the neutron flux, with its effect on cloud cover and thus the Earth’s albedo, is one of the bigger climate drivers. For Solar Cycle 24, the neutron flux duly turned around and starting rising again in 2015, one year after solar maximum. It is a safe bet that the neutron flux is heading for a record high at solar minimum (+ one year) relative to the instrumental record.

Read more…

Makers and Breakers

Subversive Literary Movement

Throwback Thursday: a superb guest post by author Dave Freer. (clicking on the covers for more info about the book.)

 

Makers and Breakers

by Dave Freer

Joy cometh in the morning

Now of course you want to take anything I say with a whole shovel of salt, because, according to the self-selected arbiters of modern standards, I’m barking insane.

As sanity is a relative concept (take some of my relatives. Please), salt is great preservative, and if I’d rather not be judged sane by their standards, this is all good.

Of course they don’t like you listening to me or reading my folly, but that is, as they say, is hard cheese…

Which brings me around to what I was going to write about.

“‘Hard cheese?’ maybe he is mad after all,” I hear you mutter.

Well, maybe. But what you have to grasp about hard cheese is that, as opposed to milk, or even soft cheese, hard cheese was made as a way to keep food for the long, dark winter months. To store against a possible bleak year and poor harvest.

Making hard cheeses is the opposite of instant gratification. It’s not easy or quick (soft cheeses are, even if you don’t nip off to the shops and buy some cream cheese).

Cheese these days comes from the supermarket… unless of course you’re a nutter like me.

I make cheese. I make bacon. I make salami. I make hams. I make jerky… I preserve, dry, or freeze everything that doesn’t run fast enough to get away.

Part of this is choice and part of this choice-inflicted. I live on a remote island, a once a week ten hour ferry trip off the coast of Australia. Actually, yes, I can buy anything you can in urban America. I can even buy today’s newspapers, as long as I only go and collect them tomorrow. It is just very expensive to do so, and if there is bad weather (and this is the ‘roaring forties’ of sail-ship legend) there is a chance that tomorrow may be somewhat delayed (it’s not quite like mañana. It eventually does come). It does force you to change the way you live, and how you see the world. To plan, to build up stocks and to think ahead. And of course, to delay gratification. It also changes the way you look at that now much maligned and derided hero of yesteryear, the pioneer, the colonist, and those who built on that legacy, so someone urban lout who never got up at half-past predawn to milk, could whinge about government cheese. The farmer, the guy getting a sloppy-with-somewhat-processed-grass tail whipped across his face, the fellow squatting planting seeds he kept from last year, the fisherman on a wild and rolling sea… these are my people, my heroes and my role models. These are the builders, the makers. These are the foundation stone people on which my Australia and the US and Canada (yes there are others, but at least I know a little about those) were built, and still actually stand.

Not surprisingly they tend to see the world very differently from those who are sheltered from these things in the raw, and completely differently from the takers and breakers.

They tend to be pragmatic, to think ahead, to think for themselves, which seems to mean conservative these days (bizarre, isn’t it, how words change meanings. Once that was what one meant by liberal. It still does in some English speaking places.). They value things that they can see have worked (for their parents, grandparents, and more), and do still work. They’ve learned the hard way of the value of hard labor, of honesty, of good neighbors and of a real ‘community’ (not the stolen use of the word that politicians like to burble about).

These are people who know each other, who turn up to fight fires or clean gutters for the old people, because they know, like and respect them. Church is still important, and so is earned respect, appearances, less so. You know people for what they are and do, not for what they look like, and what labels they stick on themselves.

It’s not always an easy way to live, which is one reason why cities draw. The other is that cities offer a great deal… of employment, entertainment, choices and also fast food.

No, I don’t want everyone to live like we do.

If everyone did it, it would be harder going for a hunter-gatherer-farmer like me.

I might have to rely on my writing to put food on the table for my family, And there’d be No-one to make computers, so you’d best all stick to making computers or mining or writing programs, from my point of view, anyway. That’s also making.

But it is much easier to become distant from it. To not see the gulf between making and taking, between building and looting what others build. Although I work the land and sea much as my ancestors did, and with the same attitude – if a piece of machinery made it possible to do it better and faster — I’ll try it, I am two other things (well, yes, actually many. A man is a complex thing) firstly, by background, a scientist who likes logic and numbers, and secondly, a lifelong reader.

And it was books, and identifying a trend in them that I found, well, was making them less pleasurable, that got me writing.

Observation said that there were less books with heroes I could identify with.

Logic said something about them had to be bothering me. It took me some time to work out what it was, because it was counter-intuitive to me.

The center of the books had shifted over the years. Steadily, to the point where it was now bothering my logic and suspension of disbelief, as well as my enjoyment. Fiction is not a how-to manual or even necessarily plausible, as long as it is enjoyable. When it starts to fail the latter part… well, we start to question the first parts.

I realized that the makers, without stopping being the cornerstone of real society, had somehow gone from being mostly the heroes, to inevitably the villains. Somehow we’d gone from FARMER IN THE SKY to only books where humans (particularly white male, Western, heterosexual middle aged ‘country’ people/or those making things) were always villains.

The heroes, weren’t building, they were breaking. And if anything at all, they were striving for or defending the ‘utopia’ we’d narrowly escaped and discovered the horrors of, barely decades ago. Or, possibly worse, humans could be some kind of hedonistic parasite… but making, colonizing, exploring and taming were now evil as were the people (always the same villains) who even thought of such things. They weren’t just evil, they were core-rotten. There was no good in them at all.

Now, of course, I approach this from my own philosophical and religious perspective: While I accept the reality of evil, and that some people can be so corrupted by it that there is little good left in them, I start from the position that humans are made in God’s image. However you take that, it means they start pretty good.

Rotten genes, and bad rearing, and a lousy moral environment can create some very nasty products from that – but not inevitably.

Freer 3

People (or perhaps something more than people) have surprised me over and over. There is still an amazing capacity to do good within just ordinary people, and the capacity of individuals to be that, despite the worst, is something we should celebrate.

Acts of kindness, altruism, generosity, idealism, are not rare. I’ve broken down in areas of South Africa where that is apparently a death warrant… and yet met nothing but kindness and help.

Does that mean I’m some stupid rose-tinted spectacle American Liberal, thinking we can all sing Kumbaya and get on? Not hardly. I’m a pragmatic country-man. I realize that breakers and takers are there too. I just think there are actually more makers than one realizes… but we’re not very noisy and not very busy crawling into the control-spots.

And one of those control spots is fiction.

Freer 1

Fiction is, of course, terribly effective propaganda – but like all propaganda, fails once the target audience is aware it is being manipulated and thus takes the opposite point of view.

What’s more, once they realize it is propaganda, they’re quite likely to dislike the vessel – the story – as well as the ‘message’.

Now I freely admit I started submitting writing (with no delusions that I was a particularly good writer) but with a “I’ve got to be able to do a bit better than this, even if I’m no Heinlein,” look at what was coming out of publishing.

I didn’t realize that those on the levers of publishing didn’t want Heinlein, with ‘makers’. They wanted to break everything that it stood for. If you sneaked it through, you had to clothe it in heavy disguise. I foolishly thought that publishing was long-sighted and logical, and not willing to act against their finest, their foundations, out of short-sighted partisan self-interest.

I thought that there was just a shortage of the kind of heroes I admired, aspired to be like and enjoyed reading about because authors weren’t providing it. Yes, not very bright for a man prides himself on logic.

But it was just so stupid, I didn’t think anyone would do that.

I did figure it out, though. I did then try some stealth, but I am not good enough at it.

And then I was lucky and tried Baen who were still publishing the old kind of Science Fiction.

The trouble, as I see it anyway, is that fiction as propaganda can only work well, long term, when there is a lot of non-propaganda for it to swim amongst, and pass as. So by trying to make the whole field your tool, you must do it so badly that either you prevent the reader from being able to suspend his disbelief (and kill your market, outside the converted), or you convince them to believe falsehoods which may be in your personal short-term interest, but are going to cause devastating long term and collateral damage.

For example: Your teen daughter who reads sf/fantasy is making her first long distance drive home from college. Her car breaks down one night in the middle of nowhere. Two guys stop and decide to grab her and rape her (look at the stats to see who they’re likely to be).

Freer 2

Guns are bad, according to the books she’s read, so she can’t shoot them dead.

Does she, like the feminist heroes of her books – beat them to ground, or maybe just shame them into checking their privilege on twitter? Or, having slightly more brain than cheddar (it’s all about cheese) run to the house across the field – which, given the location is certain to be occupied by the arch-villain of her books, the middle-aged white farmer, who has a wife and three kids, is a church-going Christian, who votes Republican and thinks an Agricultural fair with a rodeo is the best thing ever… and probably keeps a shotgun behind the door and can throw an 80 pound hay bale into the loft sixteen feet up.

The crime stats (the facts, not the fiction) show that he’s her best possible help: not only will he help her, and fix her car, and his wife will feed her and look after her, but he’s almost the single most likely person to physically deal with or to shoot the two varmints, if they decide to try come and get her.

Yes there is a remote chance that he’s some backwoods Hannibal Lector. But the probability is so microscopically slim as to be wearing a dress size minus 24 000 000, which is still too big for it.

But what is she going to believe, if the propaganda has worked? Which is why I started writing books that might be fantasy or sf… but took reality and logic back to where they belonged. That took makers, builders, colonists back to the heart of the story as what they really are a lot of the time: human, fallible and foolish sometimes, but with the characteristics that make the real people.

Pushing that envelope just a bit further I’ve just written a ‘cozy’ Who-dunnit, JOY COMETH WITH THE MOURNING. Set in a small country village in my home, Australia, with the ‘detective’ the person I could think of fitting in with most difficulty there – a timid, urban lady-priest. The point was to write a good murder mystery… with anti-propaganda. With current sneered at villains – ordinary people making lives for themselves and food for others, people as real, and human as I could make them.

With the warmth that they really have. I’m not trying to pretend there are no villains, and no evil.

It’s just not where they claim it is.

We OWN the high ground. We made it. It’s time to stop conceding it. I’m sure some of you can do this far better than I can.

And we can, now.

Let’s do it.


Dave Freer’s blog on writing, politics, and philosophy.

https://coalfiredcuttlefish.wordpress.com/

http://flindersfreer.blogspot.com.au/ blog on the self-sufficiency on the Island

 

 

 

 

Science Blast: Pluto Is Fighting For Its Rights!

Pluto New Horizons

Pluto may see planethood again…
but a bunch of rabble rousing Ort Clouders
are trying to ride its coat-tails

Prepare yourself—the Pluto debate has returned, and people are not going to be able to shut up about it. Pluto might be about to regain its planethood.

It might feel like scientists are jerking you around. A decade ago they all decided that Pluto wasn’t a planet—it was actually a dwarf planet—and now all of a sudden they want to change it back? Maybe you even think that this just goes to show how meaningless it all was to begin with. Planet, dwarf planet—it’s all a made-up system determined by some esoteric group anyway.

But categories do matter, and so do the definitions we use to arrive at those categories. The fact that people (even experts like the scientists at NASA) go back and forth on what definitions we should use doesn’t make them less meaningful. It just means that we’re still learning. That’s what science is all about: we have to be able to adjust our definitions to fit our understanding. And this whole Pluto business is a perfect example.

Read more…