Jan
26
2017
2

Oh, hey, got a nibble today.

Not a sale, but the story made it past the first round. Which is encouraging! Lord knows you can feel stalled in this business, sometimes.  Or more than sometimes… still, mustn’t grumble.  I’ll know more at a later time – and, again, this isn’t a sale, just me making advancing along in the process.

Thanks, by the way, for all the encouragement that I’ve gotten in the past and will get in the future. It really does help.  Anybody who does art will tell you that, too.

Written by in: Books | Tags: ,
Dec
31
2016
3

There is apparently RAMPANT skulduggery going on with All Romance eBooks.

It’s the kind of skulduggery that, a hundred and fifty years ago, would have ended with somebody getting stabbed during a dinner party.  I’m not entirely joking.  Writers can get really intense over getting screwed over their publication rights:

On Wednesday, December 28, All Romance eBooks–a romance-specific ebook distributor and publisher that also distributes general fiction and nonfiction through its OmniLit imprint–dropped a bombshell. In mass emails to customers and authors, ARe’s owner, Lori James, revealed that her company was closing, and that in lieu of full payment, authors and publishers would be offered a fraction of what they were owed.

(more…)

Feb
04
2016
31

So, which books on this list have *I* read?

Let’s see how I do on this list of Top Twenty Books People Lie About Having Read.

  1. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll. Yes, I’ve read it. Read the sequel, too, which is much more accessible to geeks.
  2. 1984 – George Orwell. Yes, I’ve read it. I work in politics, and the Left loves to quote this book without understanding a damned thing about it.
  3. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – JRR Tolkien. …Don’t vex me. Also, it’s not a trilogy.
  4. War And Peace – Leo Tolstoy. Nope!
  5. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy. Nope!  Got warned off on Russian novelists by Bob Heinlein.
  6. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle. Yes, I have read it. Good God, these were popular fiction pieces for the mass market! What is the excuse to not read them?
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee. Let me put it this way: WHOEVER AUTHORIZED THAT SO-CALLED ‘SEQUEL’ MAY VERY WELL END UP BURNING IN HELL FOR THEIR SIN.
  8. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens. I think I started it, but never finished it.
  9. Crime And Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Nope! See $5.
  10. Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen. “…And Zombies.” But I read the original.
  11. Bleak House – Charles Dickens. Nope!
  12. Harry Potter (series) – JK Rowling. Started the series, got to about Goblet of Fire(?), never finished it.
  13. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens. Nope!
  14. The Diary Of Anne Frank – Anne Frank. Yes, I’ve read it. Both the version that they let kids read, and the longer, even more depressing version.
  15. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens.  Nope! …I have read some Dickens, you know.
  16. Fifty Shades trilogy – EL James.  Oh HELL no.
  17. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie. I have read it. It’s not her best. It, in fact, relies too much on authorial fiat to make the climax work.
  18. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald. Nope!
  19. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller. I have read it, although damned if I can remember why. I dimly remember that… there were sex scenes that appealed to my teen-aged self? Or something like that.
  20. The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger. I didn’t get assigned it in school, so Nope!

Eh. Nine out of twenty, with two partials. Not a great score. But note that I’m not lying about it. Do people really and truly care about that? I mean, if you didn’t read a book, you didn’t read a book…

Via Instapundit.

Written by in: Not-politics | Tags:
Dec
22
2014
11

Contra Naomi Klein… dystopian fiction was popular in the 1970s, too.

This is rather amusing, in its way:
Dystopian fiction is hot right now, with countless books and movies featuring decadent oligarchs, brutal police states, ecological collapse, and ordinary citizens biting and clawing just to survive. For bestselling author Naomi Klein, all this gloom is a worrying sign.
...because Naomi Klein apparently has no idea whatsoever that the 1970s was probably the Golden Age of Dystopian fiction, Eco-collapse edition.  Including, I might add, a lot of overconfident predictions about global warming that never actually happened.  In fact, pretty much none of the things that were worried about then - overpopulation, choking pollution, the loss of every species less hardy than the cockroach, nuclear war, mass famine, running out of oil, running out of water, running out of air, and of course the obligatory dictatorships made up of the authors' least favorite American social groups - didn't actually happen, either. Shoot, even the Soviet Union fell down and went boom just as soon as Ronald Reagan kicked it in the groin. And so disaster will probably be averted here, too. Oh, maybe it won't. Maybe we really are doomed this time. But we've been doomed before; and it's surprising that Naomi Klein won't at least nod to the past confident assertions of disaster.  Although it should not surprise me that anyone with as high an opinion of Margaret Atwood - a woman who was spectactularly wrong in predicting future history in The Handmaid's Tale - might be somewhat deficient in other aspects of this particular literary genre. On the other hand, Ms. Klein got me to post something here after two years! So, go her. Via Instapundit. Moe Lane
Apr
02
2014
6

You don’t often get to have headlines like this. …Thank God.

Well, this is… this is a thing that is a thing.

Harvard discovers three of its library books are bound in human flesh

…and Harvard does not want to know if they have any more.  I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I do not blame them for that.

Via AoSHQ.

Jan
17
2014
15

Regarding the Federalist’s Popular Books That People Don’t Actually Read.

Interesting. Of this list*:

  • Have read Atlas Shrugged (sadism porn, frankly).
  • Haven’t read On the Origin of Species (never felt the need).
  • Haven’t read Les Miserables (skipped the musical, too. And the movie. Loved the Animaniacs bit).
  • Have read A Tale of Two Cities (for high school. I think I’ve read a bit of Dickens, actually).
  • Have read 1984 (a hell of a lot more times than the people who love to use it to bash Republicans. Also: masochism porn, frankly).
  • Haven’t read Democracy in America (yes, I am ashamed. I think that I even have it for Kindle).
  • Haven’t read The Wealth of Nations (I have taken a stab at it; hard going).
  • Have read Moby Dick (only once; every time I’ve tried since then, I’ve lost my copy somehow. Seriously weird, actually).
  • I can’t remember if I’ve read The Art of War or not.
  • Have read The Prince (tried to read the Discourses, got sidetracked).
  • I’ve looked at Ulysses.  I’ve looked at it real hard.

I wonder if this really means anything, one way or the other.  I mean, I was an English major; it’s hardly surprising that I like to read.

Moe Lane

*I’ll spare you the tedium of linking each one to its Amazon.com entry. Sorry; it’s been a long week and the kids are on a reduced school schedule.  And I still got four days to go…

Aug
30
2011
--

Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Name: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

Type: Book

Written in: 1949

Set in: ...1984.

Why it's a dystopia: The world is broken up into three super-dictatorships, two of which are always at war with the third; everybody is spying on everybody else, everybody lives in more or less abject poverty, and eventually the secret police comes, takes you away, tortures you until you break, and then shoots you.  Also, you can't turn off your television set.  Everything in that first sentence may or may not be true, by the way, even in the context of the book.

Why it's significant: You probably read this book in high school.  Also, every politically-motivated online idiot on the Left will eventually reference this book while whining about whatever the Right's done, or thought to have done, or is incorrectly alleged to have done this week (don't smirk; there's a similar problem on the Right with regard to Atlas Shrugged).  Nineteen Eighty-Four has also more or less interjected itself into our popular culture, and to a certain extent our language.  All in all, it's probably the most mainstream piece of masochism porn in Western literature.

What happened? Well, two things, really. 

First off, as is usual for this type of fiction the author has too low an opinion of human beings, particularly Americans.  Again, don't smirk: lots of people have this problem, and some of them probably share your political views.  In this particular case, Orwell assumed that the postwar West would participate in its own self-immolation... including the parts that weren't actually wrecked in the war itself.  It is never adequately explained how and why the comfortable, optimistic, and confident middle class that runs the USA would voluntarily transform itself into the starving subjects of a multi-continental dictatorship; mostly because there actually isn't a valid reason*.

Which leads to the second point: Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually masochism pornography.  Quite well done masochism porn, at that: the book is almost surgical in the way that it cuts away the extraneous fleshy bits and gets right to the stuff about power imbalances.  Oceania is, for some people, the ultimate dream world: everybody wants power over you, conditions are miserable, and you're given just enough control to delude yourself before the brutality and the pain starts.  There are people pay serious money in the real world for this kind of scenario; I'm moderately surprised that there isn't a specialized theme resort along Oceania's lines. 

Or possibly there is, and I'm just too vanilla to hear about it.

Moe Lane

*A very useful corrective is Charlie Stross's "Big Brother Iron," which can be found in the story collection Toast.  The story updates Nineteen Eighty-Four as things would have happened in that world, absent the author's need to control the plot: I won't give sp0ilers, but if you're familiar with the daily life of Soviet elites in the Brezhnev era and afterward then you can probably guess them anyway.

Written by in: Uncategorized | Tags:
Aug
30
2011
--

Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Name: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

Type: Book

Written in: 1949

Set in: ...1984.

Why it's a dystopia: The world is broken up into three super-dictatorships, two of which are always at war with the third; everybody is spying on everybody else, everybody lives in more or less abject poverty, and eventually the secret police comes, takes you away, tortures you until you break, and then shoots you.  Also, you can't turn off your television set.  Everything in that first sentence may or may not be true, by the way, even in the context of the book.

Why it's significant: You probably read this book in high school.  Also, every politically-motivated online idiot on the Left will eventually reference this book while whining about whatever the Right's done, or thought to have done, or is incorrectly alleged to have done this week (don't smirk; there's a similar problem on the Right with regard to Atlas Shrugged).  Nineteen Eighty-Four has also more or less interjected itself into our popular culture, and to a certain extent our language.  All in all, it's probably the most mainstream piece of masochism porn in Western literature.

What happened? Well, two things, really. 

First off, as is usual for this type of fiction the author has too low an opinion of human beings, particularly Americans.  Again, don't smirk: lots of people have this problem, and some of them probably share your political views.  In this particular case, Orwell assumed that the postwar West would participate in its own self-immolation... including the parts that weren't actually wrecked in the war itself.  It is never adequately explained how and why the comfortable, optimistic, and confident middle class that runs the USA would voluntarily transform itself into the starving subjects of a multi-continental dictatorship; mostly because there actually isn't a valid reason*.

Which leads to the second point: Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually masochism pornography.  Quite well done masochism porn, at that: the book is almost surgical in the way that it cuts away the extraneous fleshy bits and gets right to the stuff about power imbalances.  Oceania is, for some people, the ultimate dream world: everybody wants power over you, conditions are miserable, and you're given just enough control to delude yourself before the brutality and the pain starts.  There are people pay serious money in the real world for this kind of scenario; I'm moderately surprised that there isn't a specialized theme resort along Oceania's lines. 

Or possibly there is, and I'm just too vanilla to hear about it.

Moe Lane

*A very useful corrective is Charlie Stross's "Big Brother Iron," which can be found in the story collection Toast.  The story updates Nineteen Eighty-Four as things would have happened in that world, absent the author's need to control the plot: I won't give sp0ilers, but if you're familiar with the daily life of Soviet elites in the Brezhnev era and afterward then you can probably guess them anyway.

Written by in: Uncategorized | Tags:
Aug
25
2011
--

It Can’t Happen Here.

Name: It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis.

Type: Book.

Written in: 1935

Set in: 1936

Why it's a dystopia: Near-bloodless Fascist (Italian-style, not German-style) takeover of the United States of America, followed by a remarkably orderly transition to a totalitarian state.

Why it's significant: Given that it was essentially an agitprop piece reluctantly begging that the American people not reject the New Deal in favor of Huey Long, this book has been surprisingly durable.  In fact, I think that it's second only to 1984 in the field of Overwrought We're All Gonna Get Got By The Man references by the American Left.  Also: Lewis was a good writer (which is an advantage that a lot of these absurd prognostications of DOOM have going for them, by the way).

What happened? Essentially, the American bourgeoisie.

To understand this book, ignore the superficial politics - actually, no, let's address them very quickly.  Sinclair Lewis wasn't exactly a Roosevelt fan; Wikipedia (yeah, I know) suggests that he wrote this book mostly because he was worried about Huey Long going all populist on the New Dealers in the 1936 elections (and whether or not Long was an actual danger to the Republic is beyond the scope of this post).  This book is also very much set in an era where anti-war isolationism was not seen as being completely incompatible with general progressivism, which is why the eventual leader of the American resistance was 1936 Republican nominee Walt Trowbridge, backed up by the LaFolette clan and various and sundry others.  This will no doubt come as a surprise to American Leftists who actually read the book, although probably not as much as the parts where Lewis has his fascist regime be pretty just much as friendly to the Soviet Union as it was to Nazi Germany.

But the real issue here is Lewis's disdain for the aforementioned bourgeoisie, which he more or less simply assumed would look placidly on as a populist movement replicated in six months (and considerably less violence) the success that the Nazis managed only after thirteen years.  To give you an idea of the utter improbability of this scenario: Lewis postulates that it would only take weeks for a country with a functional and stable democratic system to be converted into a police state that would shrug as:

  • Congress was put in jail;
  • The Constitution shredded, unambigiously;
  • Home-grown stormtroopers would be armed and organized from scratch;
  • And Enemies to the regime would be lined up and shot.

...instead of, say, picking up the nearest firearms and start shooting fascists until the local governor could call up their National Guard contingents, who would be able to handle things until the actual military could arrive to take the new President away for his "rest cure.*"  Because that's something that Lewis (and his later, Leftist admirers) never quite got about this country: our successful revolutions spring from middle class sensibilities.  Which is why the various anti-war movements never got anywhere meaningful (it took Watergate to give the progressives the opportunity to murder the South Vietnamese), and the Tea Party did (and does); the former were radicals, and thus unable to inherently tap into the true revolutionary spirit that informed the latter.  Which is, you know, good and everything.  Certainly less violent.

So, basically, it actually can't happen here.  At least, not the way that we had the country organized back then.  Or today, come to think of it.

Moe Lane

*You may safely assume that I am not impressed by Lewis's handwaving away of those details.

Written by in: Uncategorized | Tags:
Aug
25
2011
--

It Can’t Happen Here.

Name: It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis.

Type: Book.

Written in: 1935

Set in: 1936

Why it's a dystopia: Near-bloodless Fascist (Italian-style, not German-style) takeover of the United States of America, followed by a remarkably orderly transition to a totalitarian state.

Why it's significant: Given that it was essentially an agitprop piece reluctantly begging that the American people not reject the New Deal in favor of Huey Long, this book has been surprisingly durable.  In fact, I think that it's second only to 1984 in the field of Overwrought We're All Gonna Get Got By The Man references by the American Left.  Also: Lewis was a good writer (which is an advantage that a lot of these absurd prognostications of DOOM have going for them, by the way).

What happened? Essentially, the American bourgeoisie.

To understand this book, ignore the superficial politics - actually, no, let's address them very quickly.  Sinclair Lewis wasn't exactly a Roosevelt fan; Wikipedia (yeah, I know) suggests that he wrote this book mostly because he was worried about Huey Long going all populist on the New Dealers in the 1936 elections (and whether or not Long was an actual danger to the Republic is beyond the scope of this post).  This book is also very much set in an era where anti-war isolationism was not seen as being completely incompatible with general progressivism, which is why the eventual leader of the American resistance was 1936 Republican nominee Walt Trowbridge, backed up by the LaFolette clan and various and sundry others.  This will no doubt come as a surprise to American Leftists who actually read the book, although probably not as much as the parts where Lewis has his fascist regime be pretty just much as friendly to the Soviet Union as it was to Nazi Germany.

But the real issue here is Lewis's disdain for the aforementioned bourgeoisie, which he more or less simply assumed would look placidly on as a populist movement replicated in six months (and considerably less violence) the success that the Nazis managed only after thirteen years.  To give you an idea of the utter improbability of this scenario: Lewis postulates that it would only take weeks for a country with a functional and stable democratic system to be converted into a police state that would shrug as:

  • Congress was put in jail;
  • The Constitution shredded, unambigiously;
  • Home-grown stormtroopers would be armed and organized from scratch;
  • And Enemies to the regime would be lined up and shot.

...instead of, say, picking up the nearest firearms and start shooting fascists until the local governor could call up their National Guard contingents, who would be able to handle things until the actual military could arrive to take the new President away for his "rest cure.*"  Because that's something that Lewis (and his later, Leftist admirers) never quite got about this country: our successful revolutions spring from middle class sensibilities.  Which is why the various anti-war movements never got anywhere meaningful (it took Watergate to give the progressives the opportunity to murder the South Vietnamese), and the Tea Party did (and does); the former were radicals, and thus unable to inherently tap into the true revolutionary spirit that informed the latter.  Which is, you know, good and everything.  Certainly less violent.

So, basically, it actually can't happen here.  At least, not the way that we had the country organized back then.  Or today, come to think of it.

Moe Lane

*You may safely assume that I am not impressed by Lewis's handwaving away of those details.

Written by in: Uncategorized | Tags:

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