ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not so much


Hey, the multiculturalists should count their blessings. At least it wasn't the Mayor of London out there running over children and stabbing policemen.

Labels: ,

Here come the fake reviews!

Like clockwork.... SJWs are nothing if not predictable.

Meanwhile, in a classic SJW Narrative spiral, iO9 has picked up the fake news from File 770. This is a beautiful example of how the SJW Narrative spiral works to create fake history in line with the Narrative:
  1. File 770 publishes fake news
  2. SJWs run with the fake news and offer various false theories and rumors
  3. Larger SJW-converged media sites pick up the fake news and spread it
  4. Wikipedia cites these "reliable sources" and enshrines the fake news as false facts.
We're already at point 3, obviously.

UPDATE: And we're up again. Also, Chapter One of SJWADD just wrote itself.

UPDATE: I discuss the latest Corrosion-related developments on tonight's Darkstream.

UPDATE: Corrosion is no longer inappropriately excluded from the Amazon Associates program.

Labels: ,

Trump team under surveillance

House Intelligence Chairman admits domestic spying:
Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under U.S. government surveillance following November’s presidential election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.

Nunes said the monitoring appeared to be done legally as a result of what's called "incidental collection," but said he was concerned because it was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and was widely disseminated across the intelligence community.

“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”

Nunes said he is heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief Trump on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources who thought that we should know it.” He said he was trying to get more information by Friday from the FBI, CIA and NSA.
It's just a matter of time before the three-letter agencies crack and admit that the God-Emperor was right all along. Now, where are those FISA warrants?

Labels:

Attack outside Parliament

A car-and-knife attack at Westminster:
Parliament in lockdown: Police open fire outside Westminster and shoot knife-wielding man amid reports of explosion and 'at least 12 pedestrians mowed down on bridge'

Four-wheel drive car said to have driven over Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians this afternoon. 'Asian' knifeman then got into the grounds of Parliament where he reportedly stabbed a police officer. The 'middle-aged' attacker was then shot by armed officers as the area was cleared by emergency services. Parliament was suspended and the Prime Minister was rushed from the scene in an unmarked police car.
Remember, diversity is their strength! This sort of thing only makes British society stronger and better and nicer.

Labels: ,

Back with a vengeance

As we suspected, there appear to have been internal shenanigans taking place at Amazon, as one or more SJWs appear to have abused their positions to interfere with our ability to sell THE CORRODING EMPIRE.

We're still working with Amazon to sort out exactly who was responsible for precisely what, and to establish what, if anything, legitimately needed to be changed according to their guidelines. This should all be nailed down by the end of the day, but in the meantime, you can now order the book and post reviews again.

Thank you for your support and for holding fire while we sorted out who was, and who was not, responsible for the removal of THE CORRODING EMPIRE. The very helpful KDP representative to whom I spoke said that he did not believe there was anything improper or misleading about the title, the name, or the cover, but we're going to wait to get explicit permission on all three elements before settling on a final edition that will see print.

Mr. Amazon SJW just blocked it again. Unsigned, of course. SJWs always double down.

We're writing to let you know that readers have reported a problem in your book. The error significantly impacts the readability of your book. We have temporarily removed it from sale so that more readers don't experience the same problem in your book

Error Category: Wrong_Content; Comments: The content of your book is a different edition than what the detail page indicates. Because this could be a serious issue for many customers, we have had to temporarily block your book from sale. Please correct the image so that we can make it available for sale again.

UPDATE: Another phone call and we're back up again.

UPDATE: And blocked again, albeit this time UNDER REVIEW, not memory-holed.

UPDATE: Finally got to speak to a supervisor. She's not only escalated the matter to legal, but has assured me that the book will be unblocked, stay unblocked, and that the matter will be fully investigated. It's not just the three blocks, the culprit(s) also put the book on the Excluded list for Amazon Associates, which prevents others from being paid when someone buys the book.

UPDATE: The book is live, and is now locked for a fourth time. SJWs really do double down.

Labels: , ,

Dark Lord character class

AUTARCH, publishers of Adventurer Conqueror King System and Domains of War, has announced a new Kickstarter:

The Heroic Fantasy Handbook is a rules supplement that brings the flavor of heroic fantasy to your favorite role-playing game. It will be released as a  160+ page 8.5" x 11" softbound book with full color cover and black & white interior art.

What do we mean by “heroic fantasy flavor”? It’s the flavor that J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard have in common, once you remove what’s different. Tolkien and Howard are usually considered opposites – high fantasy versus swords & sorcery, British versus American, literary versus pulp, and so on. But if they are opposites, they are opposite faces of the same coin, and that coin is heroic fantasy. Their worlds have more in common with each other, and with those of luminaries such as E.R. Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, and Michael Moorcock, than with any of their contemporary epigones. Heroic fantasy is set in a world like our own world, one that might even be our world, in its distant past or far future. Its heroes, though men and women of extraordinary talent and drive, have none of the “super-powers” now common in contemporary fantasy (especially games). They do not typically teleport, fly, shoot fire, or raise the dead. Magic in heroic fantasy is more subtle and nuanced than in contemporary fantasy. It works with what is, rather than creating what is not. A magician cannot teleport straight to his friend’s distant castle, though his whispered dreams might reach his friend across the black gulfs of space. A magician will not fling magic missiles, but he might call down lightning from a storm, or capsize a boat with a wave. Working magic might require lengthy ceremonies, terrible sacrifices, or the power of primeval places. And those who use magic risk corruption. Even the wisest can lose their mind, body, and soul if they tamper with dark magic. That’s heroic fantasy.

Cleaving away decades worth of detritus of assumptions and expectations about how characters heal, fight, and adventure - how magic works - what spells do - and more, the Heroic Fantasy Handbook offers a fresh way to play with familiar D20 fantasy mechanics. The Heroic Fantasy Handbook is designed for use with the Adventurer Conqueror King System™ (ACKS™) but is readily compatible with other fantasy role-playing games built on the same core rules.

The second book we’re crowdfunding, Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu (BCK) is a sword & sorcery, sword & planet, and science fantasy setting sourcebook, designed for use with the Adventurer Conqueror King System core rules and the new Heroic Fantasy Handbook, and readily adaptable to other D20 OSR fantasy games and settings.  It will be released as a 144+ page 8.5" x 11" softbound book with full color cover and black & white interior art.

As a fan and supporter of Autarch, naturally, I did not hesitate to back the Kickstarter project. But I also spoke with them about the new books, and as a result, if enough of you back the project as well, they are willing to add a special character class: Dark Lord. Just add a note or send an email noting that your support is "FOR THE DARK LORD", and in addition to the benefits you'll receive appropriate to your level, Autarch will add the amount to everyone else who specifies the same, and if the sum total of all reaches the Patron Deity level, they will add the following to the book:
  • Dark Lord class, including but not limited to a Supreme Dark Lord possessing Vile Faceless Minions and Dread Ilk
  • A full-page illustration of the Supreme Dark Lord on his throne of bones, with his elven consort.
  • A full-page illustration of the Vile Faceless Minions devouring SJWs.
  • A full-page illustration of the Dread Ilk in action.
  • A full-page of illustration of Malwyn the Discipline.
Just to add to the fun, if the illustrations are created, there will likely be t-shirts to follow.

Labels:

They're building a wall

A report from the inside the belly of the beast indicates the God-Emperor is gradually forcing the rebellious creature to do his will.
At this morning's staff meeting, certain persons had a very sour look on their faces, so I knew the news would be good.

-- CBP has announced that some 100 feet of a series of "test wall sections" will be built quickly, among the competitors already chosen.

-- One of these walls will be in the high-profile, high-traffic San Diego section.

-- CBP will then choose from the "test wall sections" as to which one it likes and proceed from there, negotiating on cost, etc., with bidders.

-- The contracting timeframe has been moved to as quick as possible under current law, and is as short as three weeks for this stage.

The Wall is being built.  It's going to be solely on Fed property, so no states can stick their noses in it.
But they're certainly going to try.
Three California Democrats have a warning for contractors who sign up for President Donald Trump’s border-wall construction project between the U.S. and Mexico: Build it, and we will divest from your company.

In the latest act of resistance against the Trump administration, the state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force the state to drop its pension investments in any companies involved in the project.

“This is a wall of shame and we don’t want any part of it,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement. “Immigrant stories are the history of America and this is a nightmare.”
It's not a surprise Mr. Ting knows nothing about the history of America? He's not American.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tortious interference

Although the specific elements required to prove a claim of tortious interference vary from one jurisdiction to another, they typically include the following:
  1. The existence of a contractual relationship or beneficial business relationship between two parties.
  2. Knowledge of that relationship by a third party.
  3. Intent of the third party to induce a party to the relationship to breach the relationship.
  4. Lack of any privilege on the part of the third party to induce such a breach.
  5. The contractual relationship is breached.
  6. Damage to the party against whom the breach occurs.
Any of those elements missing?

UPDATE: Since some people seem to want to go on the warpath, let me be perfectly clear here: Amazon is not to blame. I even suspect that it is entirely possible that Tor Books is not to blame either, based on a) when the book was pulled and b) the fact that the book has shown as Live for nearly 24 hours but still does not have a page on any Amazon site. The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a rogue low-level SJW employee, possibly two, in a specific department.

I have already spoken to the manager of one department and they have begun to investigate why Corrosion is Live but not available. They've done everything we asked and we have no problem with the way we have been treated.

Labels:

That ship has sunk

The God-Emperor tells Republicans to get in line:
President Donald Trump arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning with a stern message for Republicans who've been wobbly about dismantling Obamacare: Give me your vote or you may lose your seat in 2018.

During a closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference, the president gave a full-throated endorsement to the House repeal bill that will come to the floor for a vote on Thursday. He warned that if Republicans don't pass the bill, "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018."

Trump even called out the bill's most vocal critic in the House, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who's led the conservative opposition to the Republican health care plan. "Mark, I'm gonna come after you" if he keeps it up, Trump said, according to multiple sources.

The sources cautioned that Trump may have been "half joking," as one put it. He winked and he smiled at Meadows, and acknowledged the congressman was a strong supporter of his campaign.

But singling out Meadows in front of his colleagues sent a clear message: Trump wants him to get in line. And fast.
I have no doubt that the bill isn't as good as it should be. Who cares? The point is that Republicans have to stop pretending that they're going to act someday and start acting. Their careers depend upon it.

No one is interested in the noble principles and noble defeats of conservatism any longer. That ship has sunk.

Labels:

"Scalzi at his best!"

Well, that's certainly true. At long last, the much-anticipated Foundation rip-off The Collapsing Empire is out, and by all accounts, McRapey has surpassed himself. From one of the first reviews:
Scalzi laces his plot with plenty of humor, some of it gentle, some of it barbed, and some of it rather broad. I enjoyed little exchanges like this one between the emperox and her aide:

“[T]he executive committee…wants to marry me off.”
“They want to preserve an existing alliance.”
“An alliance with terrible people”
“Really nice people don’t usually accrue power.”
“You’re saying I’m kind of an outlier,” Cardenia said.
“I don’t recall saying you were nice.”

Scalzi’s characters come alive much better than is common in space opera. I enjoyed getting to know them and even to care about them, from spunky Cardenia, who had never expected or wanted to become experox, to Kiva, the potty-mouthed member of a powerful guild family. (SF readers who decry the relative deficit of strong female characters in the genre, take note. In retrospect I realize that most of the really memorable characters in the book are women.)
Brilliant stuff! Spunk and potty-mouthed wit! Keep in mind these excerpts are not clunkers I am cherry-picking as being particularly terrible, these are excerpts that fans and Tor employees have been selecting on the basis of a belief that they are the best the book has to offer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we are assured is "the heart of modern Sci-Fi" and "the best SF writer of his generation."

Which, if either statement were true, would be a damning indictment indeed.  Fortunately, it's only obese midwits less well-read than the average illiterate Venezuelan peasant, who think snarky space romance is the height of cleverness, that actually believe that.

Seeing the SF-SJWs unite in a desperate attempt to convince the reading world that Scalzi is actually a good science fiction writer very much reminds me of the Democrats trying to convince everyone that Hillary Clinton was a good presidential candidate. Not only are their efforts unconvincing, but their bizarre overselling reveals that even the people pushing the idea don't believe it.

But don't worry, you can totally trust the SF-SJW reviews. And the New York Times bestseller ranks achieved months in advance of publication too.
The Collapsing Empire (The Interdepency #1)
by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)

Renay's review May 24, 2016
it was amazing
Can't say much about this yet BUT DON'T WORRY I WILL, I WILL HAVE SOME WORDS.
That's a pretty positive five-star review, particularly for a book that wasn't actually published for another 10 months.

UPDATE: My position on fake reviews is what it has always been: never write fake reviews, for good or for ill. If you have not read a book or played a game, then you should not even consider reviewing it. As a former nationally syndicated professional game reviewer, I do not approve of fake reviews no matter who the author or developer is. Unlike most published authors, I have always abided by Amazon guidelines and never review books or games on Amazon. The only place I write reviews are a) on this blog, and b) on Recommend.

UPDATE: Castalia author-to-be Brian Niemeier addresses the increasing desperation of Tor Books. He's got a good point. If Tor actually had any confidence in their author's ability to compete with our book, they wouldn't have freaked out and begged Amazon to take it down. When Alexandra Erin published a parody of SJWAL, did we do that?

No, we simply laughed at the fact that the book, along with the parody and the parody of the parody, ranked as the #1, #2, and #3 bestsellers in the Political Philosophy category.

Labels: ,

Another hapless attack

The strength of the Alt-Right political philosophy can readily be seen in the utterly inept attempts to critique and discredit it. Fred Reed foolishly attempts to have a go:
Something called the Alt-Right that believes the white race to be superior and wants to rid the country of of encroaching dark scum. The Human Biodiversity movement, HBD, more scientific and less surly but picking whites while conceding that yellow are smarter. Finally IQists, who believe that IQ is a reliable measure of genetic intelligence. They too put yellows as more intelligent.

The Alt-Right believes that the whites are innately–i.e., genetically–superior to all other races, that they have dominated the world through higher intelligence, and that their mastery is the result of Darwinian selection. Whites, they say, have a marvelous track record of achievement, and they don’t want to dilute it by intermarriage.

They have a point. It is not thought politic in today’s racial climate to notice the obvious, that white Europeans have been far and away the most successful race yet. (The “yet” is important.) No other has even come close. Various peoples have learned to use the products of European civilization–the Japanese, Latin Americans, Thais, etc. at length–but have not engendered it. Look around you and see whether you can find anything that was not invented by European whites (other than paper and gunpowder).

But:

International Physics Olympiad. Internationally, top four contestants were Chinese, Chinese, Korean, Korean, with eleven of the top fifteen being east Asian. The US first appeared in sixteenth place. The American team: Jason Lu,  Srijon Mukherjee, Vincent Liu,  Abijith Krishnan,  Jimmy Qi. Less than six percent of America is Asian. International Physics Olympiad. Internationally, top four contestants were Chinese, Chinese, Korean, Korean, with eleven of the top fifteen being east Asian. The US first appeared in sixteenth place. The American team: Jason Lu, Srijon Mukherjee, Vincent Liu, Abijith Krishnan, Jimmy Qi. Less than six percent of America is Asian.

Many in HBD concede that north Asians, specifically, the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans are more intelligent than white Europeans. While many outside of HBD (including me) doubt the reliability of IQ tests as measures of intelligence, the HBD people do not. They often assert that observation supports their view–that achievements of both individuals and peoples track IQ, that high achievement is therefore evidence of high IQ.

It would then seem to be Asians, not whites, who are wildly over represented in intellectual achievement. Races other than white and yellow races are not even in the running.

Although Asians comprise only 13 percent of California’s population, three-fifths of the state’s National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists have Asian last names. (Good article on this: Taki’s Magazine) These Semifinalists are in the top .5% in intelligence, or one in two hundred. The Asian kids outnumber the whites by more than four to one.

Psychometricians, who are neither the highly politicized IQists nor racist peddlers of Hitlerian pseudoscience, but very careful statisticians, put Chinese IQ at above 105, white at 100. This is not a trivial difference, and has serious consequences at the high end of the distribution.

China rises with astonishing speed. Alt-Righters are thus caught in a trap: Their arguments for the superiority of whites to blacks and Latinos equally show the superiority of Asians to whites. Anyway, if their conclusions are correct, the Chinese will be well advised not to intermarry with whites and thereby lower their mental capacity. I presume that HBDists will sympathize with this attitude as they too want to protect their genetic purity.
The errors in Fred's critique are entirely obvious:

  • The Alt-Right does not believe the white race to be intrinsically superior. It believes that each nation finds its own race and culture to be self-preferable, including the various white nations. That being said, the fact that so many diverse population groups observably prefer white cultures and societies to their own does tend to indicate the objective superiority of those cultures and societies.
  • The Alt-Right does not believe that whites "have dominated the world through higher intelligence, and that their mastery is the result of Darwinian selection" for the obvious reason that the Alt-Right knows that a) there is a wide range of intelligence between the white nations, b) the most dominant white nations have not always been the most intelligent white nations, c) national intelligence is far more likely to be the result of various non-Darwinian selection processes such as sex selection and social class distinctions, and d) the white race is not the most intelligent. Unlike Fred, the Alt-Right understands that both average intelligence and the maximum elite intelligence are merely factors in the success of a society, factors that are heavily influenced by other cultural and genetic elements, such as Christianity, time expectations, and in-group trust.
  • Fred relies upon a measure of intelligence in which he does not believe as the basis for his strawman argument. This is doubly dishonest.
  • Intellectual aptitude is not intellectual achievement. Fred is confusing the two. I am a National Merit Scholarship Finalist; that is an indicator of my intellectual aptitude. SJWAL and AODAL are intellectual achievements.
  • There is no trap. First, the Alt-Right points to both white intellectual aptitude and intellectual achievement in distinguishing the white nations from other nations. Second, the Alt-Right case is not made on the basis of that aptitude and achievement, but upon the right of whites to exercise that aptitude and achievement on their own behalf and in their own interests. 
As so often happens, the argument for the Alt-Right is only strengthened by comparison with the feeble and dishonest nature of the arguments being made against it. The more they refuse to understand our case, or correctly characterize it, the more appeal it will hold for those who consider it honestly.

The old Fred would be embarrassed by the inept arguments he is offering here. I shut down my WND column when I felt that I was starting to phone it in. So, if my own ability to present coherent arguments similarly deteriorates with age, for the love of all that is beautiful and true, don't hesitate to encourage me to hang up my pen and devote myself to fiction and philosophical contemplation.

Labels: ,

The process of self-destruction

The Saker observes that the imperial USA is actively engaged in the process of destroying itself through multiple channels:
Political suicide: the Neocons’ refusal to accept the election of Donald Trump has resulted in a massive campaign to de-legitimize him. What the Neocons clearly fail to see, or don’t care about, is that by de-legitimizing Trump they are also de-legitimizing the entire political process which brought Trump to power and upon which the United States is built as a society. As a direct result of this campaign, not only are millions of Americans becoming disgusted with the political system they were indoctrinated to believe in, but internationally the notion of “American democracy” is becoming a sad joke.

And just to make things worse, the US corporate media is finally revealing its true face and has now unapologetically shown the entire world that not only is it not in any way “fair” or “objective”, but that it is a 100% prostituted propaganda machine which faithfully serves the interests of the US “deep state”.

A key element of the quasi-constant brainwashing of the average American has always been the regular holding of elections. Never mind that, at least until now, the outcome of these elections made very little difference inside the US and none at all outside, the goal was never to consult the people – the goal has always been to give the illusion of democracy and people-power. Now that the Democrats say that the Russians rigged the elections and the Republicans say that it was the Democrats and their millions of dead voters who tried stealing it, it become rather obvious that these elections were always a joke, a pseudo-democratic “liturgy”, a brainwashing ritual – you name it – but never about anything real.

The emergence of the concept of the 1% can be “credited” to the Obama Administration, since it was during Obama that the entire “Occupy Wall Street” movement took off, but the ultimate unmasking of the viciously evil true face of that 1% must be credited to Hillary with her truly historical confession in which she openly declared that those who oppose her were a “basket of deplorables”. We already knew, thanks to Victoria Nuland, what the AngloZionist leaders thought of the people of Europe, now we know what they think of the people of the USA: exactly the same thing.

The bottom line is this: I don’t think that the moral authority and political credibility of the US have ever been lower than today. Decades of propaganda by Hollywood and the official US media machine have now collapsed and nobody buys that counter-factual nonsense anymore.
It is really rather remarkable how desperately the bi-factional ruling party has been lashing out since the God-Emperor became the nominee, and how ineffectual their flailings have been. The unraveling of the government's moral authority is not yet complete, but it is advanced and aggressive.

Labels:

Monday, March 20, 2017

No pizza, only Russians

This article is practically dripping with Narrative:
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, one of multiple congressional panels examining Russia’s intervention, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion.” There also is “direct evidence . . . of deception, and that’s where we begin the investigation,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

U.S. intelligence agencies charged in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the offensive, in which cyber operatives also hacked tens of thousands of emails from Democratic National Committee staff, Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and other Democrats.

A top priority of investigators is to determine who delivered those hacked emails to WikiLeaks, a London-based transparency site that published them online, the sources said. News stories about the emails embarrassed Clinton at key points in the campaign. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that the Russian government was the source of the email dump.

As for the bots, they carried links not only to news stories but also to Democratic emails posted on WikiLeaks, especially those hacked from Podesta and made public in October, said Philip Howard, a professor at the Oxford University Internet Institute who has researched the bot attacks.

Howard said that, as an example, bots had spread links to fictional stories that accused Clinton of involvement in running a child-sex ring in the basement of a Washington pizza parlor. The posts inspired a North Carolina man to drive to Washington and fire an assault weapon in the restaurant, according to police reports.
I'm frankly astonished that they haven't tried to claim that the Russians are responsible for putting the evil murder art in the Podestas' houses yet.

Notice how all these stories do the same thing and exaggerate the actual accusations in order to try to make it look ridiculous and unworthy of investigation. I don't recall anyone ever saying Clinton was actually running anything at Comet Pizza. Let's face it, she's so inept that if she'd ever tried to run a child-sex ring, the videos would have somehow ended up being broadcast live on Nickelodeon.

And it seems a little strange that no one ever seems to ask why someone would drive from North Carolina to Washington DC for the express purpose of not shooting anyone. Did the guy ever even get charged?

Labels: ,

Amazon pulls THE CORRODING EMPIRE

Fascinating. We just received an email from Amazon informing us that the title, cover, and author of THE CORRODING EMPIRE were "misleading". This is rather amusing, of course, considering that Tor Books and John Scalzi have devoted an entire career to ripping off everyone from Heinlein to Star Trek.

In any event, we will have CORROSION by Harry Seldon, complete with a new cover, back up soon. It's not like we aren't in the habit of anticipating enemy action, after all.

Sadly for Tor Books, there will be no similarly easy fix for the disaster that is THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE.

The funny thing is that McRapey is dumb enough to actually brag about it. He has NO idea how this makes him look to normal readers. Note that this is actually the second time he's gone running to Amazon to ban a book.
John Scalzi‏ @scalzi
Also, a few minutes ago got confirmation of a very cool thing involving Empire that I can't yet tell you about, he said, entirely unsubtly.
Yeah, so, about that.... this is now publishing.


Amusement intensifies.
Nick Siekierski‏ @ResearchTeacher
@scalzi Reading The Corroding Empire now, love it!

John Scalzi @scalzi
@ResearchTeacher Tell that to the actual author. I'm sure they would appreciate the feedback.
I have to admit, I prefer the replacement title and cover myself. Tor really just blows from A to Z. It's really rather remarkable how they've gone from Ender's Game to this.

Labels: ,

Mailvox: the necessity of Christianity

Stickwick had some thoughts about the IQ-related video I posted yesterday.

I found the Rushton video interesting. During the Q&A, someone astutely asked Rushton why the difference in terms of societal output between whites and higher-IQ Asians. Rushton said the answer is not known, but he's wrong. The answer is well known amongst historians of science: it's Christianity.

Pearcey and Thaxton, in their book, The Soul of Science, explain in great detail that it was the ideals and assumptions of Christianity that led to science and thus greater technological advances.

These ideals and assumptions include:

  •     Belief that the universe was created and ordered by a transcendent, rational mind
  •     Belief that the universe is lawful and knowable
  •     Belief in the reality of the physical world
  •     Belief that the physical world is of value
  •     Viewing physical work as noble, as a divine calling
  •     The Biblical admonishment to test claims
  •     Viewing the study of nature as a proper form of worship
  •     Belief in linear time
  •     Belief that mathematics forms the substrate of the physical world

Every non-Christian culture lacks at least one, and usually several, of these, which are all necessary for the development and advancement of science. This is why the intellectually advanced Greeks, and the technologically advanced Romans and Chinese, did not develop science, while the "backwards" medieval European Christians did.

The implications are obvious:

  1. If progressives are ever successful in completely secularizing the West, we will be relegated to second-world status.
  2.  If Asians, with their superior IQs and self-discipline, ever become Christian in sufficiently large numbers, they will eat our lunch in terms of scientific and technological advancements. 

This is why any efforts to make America and Europe great are doomed unless they are centered around Christianity.

Labels: ,

Racism in education

It's really terrible how some teachers in Australia are failing to respect the cultural imperatives of their New Australian students.
Teachers at a primary school in Sydney, Australia have been threatened with beheading and other violence from young Islamic students, prompting one of them to quit her job. Students as young as those in Year 5, according to the Daily Telegraph, are making the violent threats and pressuring others to read the Koran at Punchbowl Public School in Sydney.

Documents given to the newspaper allege that three staff members have taken a leave of absence owing to stress, received counselling and been awarded compensation after bullying from Islamic students.

One female teacher reportedly quit her job after it got too much for her. She claims she quit after receiving death threats to her family from her year 5 and 6 students, with some saying they would behead her. The teacher also said she made numerous complaints back in 2014 about the extraordinary behavior in the class. For example, she said, she was abused by students after she stopped them from hanging a Syrian flag in the classroom.

In another example, she claimed she was pushed into a corner by students who began marching around her chanting the Koran.
Frankly, if the woman hadn't quit, she should have been fired. What right does she have to tell these New Australians, who are every bit as Australian as those descended from British convicts and shipped off to colonial Australia, that they should not be hanging Syrian flags, threatening her family, and promising to behead her.

After all, those are just New Australian customs, every bit as Australian as kangaroos, koalas, and gay pride parades, and they should be respected accordingly.

Labels: ,

THE CORRODING EMPIRE

Galactic society is ruled by algorithms. From interstellar travel and planetary terraforming to artificial intelligence and agriculture, every human endeavor has become completely dependent upon the hypercomplex equations that optimize the activities making life possible across hundreds of inhabited worlds. Throughout the galaxy, Man has become dependent upon the reliable operation of ten million different automated systems. 

 And when things begin to go wrong and mysterious accidents begin to happen no one has any idea what is happening, except for a sentient medical drone and the First Technocrat of Continox. But their ability to even begin to try fixing the unthinkably complicated problem of galaxy-wide algorithmic decay is made considerably more difficult by the fact the former is an outlaw and the latter is facing a death sentence. 

Johan Kalsi is Finland's hottest science fiction author. An accomplished geneticist as well as a 6'3" ex-Finnish Marine, in THE CORRODING EMPIRE, Kalsi shows himself to be more Asimovian than Asimov himself.

From the reviews:
  • This was a very surprising and compelling read. Clearly modeled on Asimov's Foundation, this book does a much better and more interesting job of making that world seem real and possible. Part thriller, some hard-ish sci-fi, and part dystopian novel, The Corroding Empire was strikes a very resonant tone.... Growing up on Asimov and having a special place in my heart for Foundation, I found this to be a fantastic book and homage, of sorts, to Asimov. It's well worth the time and a first-rate addition to the genre.
  • The Amazon blurb brags that, "Kalsi shows himself to be more Asimovian than Asimov himself." I wouldn't go quite that far. The Corroding Empire fails as an Asimov pastiche in a few ways. The characters aren't wooden cutouts, they are real, sympathetic, and relatable. The underlying theme of this book isn't that everything would be so much better if only the technocrats were in charge instead of those lousy politicians - technocrats like the author, you know? This book doesn't possess a strong undercurrent of contempt for the common man and all his problems, it sympathizes with the little guys who suffer whenever the managerial class screw up their five-year plans, as they so often do.... And in that way, this isn't Asimov. It's something far better.
  • A truly thought-provoking book of where man's hubris may take us. A new type of apocalypse book. Mr. Kalsi takes us through a detailed tale of how the arrogance of man, the religion of science, the infallibility of man and how the system can control and predict everything leads to disaster.
  • I thought it was going to be largely tongue-in-cheek humor. Instead it's a pretty strong straight sci-fi story, told as a series of vignettes over an expansive period of time. The comparisons to Asimov's Foundation are apt but I would say it nods in Asimov's direction rather than ripping him off.
  • Surprisingly brilliant. A taut, imaginative, superbly crafted tale in the finest traditions of Isaac Asimov.
  • As a re-telling of Foundation, as out-Asimoving Asimov, it deserves five stars. Heck, for having a MUCH better protagonist in Servo than Asimov had in Hari Seldon, I'd assign seven stars if I could.
THE CORRODING EMPIRE is $4.99 and DRM-free. Also, if you bought it and you subscribe to the New Release newsletter, you will probably want to check your email in order to take advantage of the free ebook offer.

Labels: ,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Don't talk to the media

In tonight's Darkstream, I answered the Blonde in the Belly of the Beast's question concerning whether she should go on The Daily Show or not.

And then I responded to two requests for interviews that came in via email while I was recording it.

Labels: ,

Hence the finesse

This is why the non-denial denials of spying on Donald Trump have all been focused on whether Obama personally went to Trump Tower and spied on him. Because apparently, the God-Emperor was entirely right. He was being spied on by the NSA.
Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Investigator Zullo have identified dozens of entries at various addresses, including both Trump Tower in New York City and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, under which Donald Trump was apparently under NSA electronic surveillance from 2004, during President George W. Bush’s term of office, through 2009, the first year of President Obama’s presidency.

Electronic surveillance of Donald Trump was listed in the database for the following companies, locations, and dates:

Trump International
1 Central Park, NYC, NY
2008

Trump World Tower
845 United Nations Plaza, NYC, NY
No Date

Trump Tower SAL
108 Central Park, NYC, NY
2007
And it was obvious he was being spied on by the NSA and the FBI anyhow. These days, we're all under surveillance 24-7.

Labels:

Red pill and the Alt-Right

Many men ask me how they can red-pill the women in their lives. I suspect everyone is a little different, but Tara McCarthy said on Gab that this is the video that did it for her:


For some reason, cucks and cons don't argue that we should leave the mentally handicapped and crazy people to their own devices, and indeed, should practice affirmative action to ensure that they are represented in appropriately statistical proportions in science, academia, corporate boards, and publishing. But, for some reason, they insist that this is not only desirable, but a moral imperative when it comes to a group of people with an average IQ of 70. It is ironic, to say the least.

Now, I have to admit, I don't personally tend to perceive one group of people as being all that very much different than the next. Whether they are "low-IQ" Africans or "high-IQ" Jews, they all tend to look more or less the same - which is to say, functionally retarded - from my UHIQ perspective. MPAI. However, it is readily observable that every human society is primarily shaped by three factors:
  1. Average IQ
  2. Structural support for systematically exploiting the conceptual contributions of the intellectual extreme.
  3. Spiritual self-confidence
All the various theories about the superiority or inferiority of one form of government, religion, ideology or another largely boil down to how it affects those three factors. The current problem with the West, of course, is that all three factors have been undermined. The trend is downward.

To save the West, those three factors must be successfully addressed. Everything else is secondary at best. Which, of course, is why the Alt-Right, and the Christian Alt-Right in particular, that currently offers the only solution for saving it.

Labels: ,

The sin of Denethor

The Atlantic is terrified by the inevitable rise of the Alt-Right in a post-Christian West:
For years, political commentators dreamed that the culture war over religious morality that began in the 1960s and ’70s would fade. It has. And the more secular, more ferociously national and racial culture war that has followed is worse.
So are cucks like Dreher and Douthat:
Read the whole thing. It’s important. It’s a confirmation of a line Ross Douthat had a year or so ago, telling the left that if they didn’t like the Religious Right, just wait until the see the Post-Religious Right. I’m getting anecdotal reports from readers and from acquaintances that young people with smartphones are not only streaming pornography, but also getting massive doses of political extremism on their devices. One source who sees the boys in his conservative Christian high school embracing white nationalism speculates that the megachurch Christianity of these high school seniors is not facing the reality of the world around us. If true, then the pastors and other religious authorities in these kids’ lives are simply not forming them as Christians to live in the post-Christian world that we have.

On that point, last night in DC, I talked with a senior official of a prominent Christian college, who told me that institutions like his are at Defcon 1 on religious liberty for institutions like his — and he is as baffled as I am why so many churches are silent. He spoke to me after my Benedict Option speech about the point I made in it re: pastors and religious leaders who aren’t preparing their congregations for hard times, even the possibility of persecution, are failing in their responsibilities. He said that’s true in his experience. We agreed that Christians in America aren’t going to know what hit them.
It's amusing that Rod calls it "the Douthat scenario" when Douthat only picked upon the obvious a year ago. Years before that, nearly everyone on the alternative Right was warning the idiot cucks and Churchians that they had better embrace and join the nationalist Right or they will find themselves being steamrolled by the ultra-nationalists.

FFS, Cuckservative was published more than one year ago. But the cucks never want to admit that they are wrong, or point anyone in the direction of the truth. They need to try to maintain the utterly risible fiction that they are the only responsible predictors of the future, when in reality their game is to try to spot the parade and then leap in front of it to try to redirect it. Then surrender.

The feckless, cowardly, and non-confrontational Dreher calls, naturally, for a feckless, cowardly, and non-confrontational approach he calls "the Benedict Option". The Christian Alt-Right, on the other hand, anticipates Revival, Repatriation, and Reconquista 2.0 throughout the West.

Stop whining. Stop crying. Stop complaining. Stop prophesying inevitable doom. Stop cowering and stop cucking. The constant defeatism among the civic nationalist Right is remarkable, especially when compared to the growing confidence of the Alt Right. Spanish Christians were conquered and ruled by Muslims for centuries and yet they still didn't give up hope, much less prophesy doom and defeat when they were still the overwhelming majority.

The problem is not women, or immigrants, or the government, or the electorate, or anything else. The problem is you. Because you're afraid and you would rather indulge yourself by giving in to despair than pray, fight, and win. It isn't the West or the European nations that have been defeated, only the fake Civic Right who never intended on doing anything but surrendering from the start.
Read any of the so-called conservative writers of the Official Right™ and you get the impression that the world began in 1938. Every bad guy in the world is Hitler and any hesitation about rushing into war is appeasement. More important, they think the great intellectual tradition of the Right starts with the day Bill Buckley penned God and Man at Yale. Everything before that is fairy tales and mythology from a foreign people.

Of course, this is not an accident. Buckley conservatism was a break with the old traditional Right, if it was ever actually of the Right, which is debatable. George Will famously called Buckley’s Yale book “a lovers’ quarrel with his alma mater.” It was also a good way to describe the conservatism of Bill Buckley and his followers. It was and still is a lover’s quarrel with the Left. Put another way, it was the child admonishing the parent for not living up to the ideals the parent preached to their children.

To be fair, the Buckleyites borrowed some political objectives from traditional conservatives, along with some of the language of the Right, but it was essentially a Progressive heresy over the issue of communism. It’s why the Buckleyites had exactly zero wins in the culture war. They never bothered to fight it. Their singular reason to exist was opposition to communism, foreign and domestic. It’s why after the Cold War, they declared themselves Big Government Conservatives.
Just one man shocked their world. What will they do when there are not one, not one hundred, but 100,000 Breiviks taking action in the 4GW environment their actions have made inevitable?
Last weekend, a bunch of my students were waxing enthusiastic about the 4chan humiliation of Shia LaBeouf’s “He Will Not Divide Us” campaign. This barely made a ripple in the broader media, even in the traditional conservative media. But it was a major coup in the alt-Right media world, and my student knew about it within hours of it happening. The general consensus of my boys was “Do NOT mess with 4chan. They will wreck you for life.”

I was reminded of a recent post here about Islam being “the last bad-ass religion”. There’s nothing bad-ass about Christianity these days. I teach at a small Christian college that until just this year wouldn’t even let its faculty drink alcohol; I’m telling you now, there is no political action by a figure or organization on the old-style Christian Right, substantive or symbolic, that any of my students would care about — certainly not on the same level that they care about how 4chan is brilliantly messing with Shia LeBeouf. They know 4chan is a hot mess of racism and sexism; that came up in the conversation, without much push-back. But they just don’t care. The symbolic power of lowering that flag and raising a Trump hat was a shot in the arm in a way that anodyne calls for a more winsome Christian witness in the postmodern world can never be. I’ll take a 100-to-1 bet against ever hearing any of my students kibitzing passionately over the weekend about a David Brooks column, or a James K.A. Smith book. Or for that matter, a Rod Dreher book.
4chan's pranks are a precursor. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that their actions are unlikely to be limited to humiliating left-wing actors for long as the left gets increasingly violent and unhinged. People often get upset when I observe that by the time this is over in 100 years or so, there will very likely be statues honoring St. Anders erected all across Europe. They complain, correctly, that he is a murderer, a killer. That is most certainly true. But have a look at the statues in London, in Paris, in Rome, in Olso, in Madrid, and in Washington DC sometime. Many, if not most, you will observe, were erected in honor of men with blood on their hands.

Labels: ,

Pink SF is racist

For all that the SF-SJWs posture and pose about their anti-racism, mainstream SF/F, and in particular, SF/F editors, have proven to be some of the worst racists to be found outside the Ku Klux Klan. You know it's true, as not only has Tor's Patrick Nielsen Hayden publicly confessed to being a racist, but a statistician has conclusively proved how virulently and structurally racist the mainstream science fiction publications are.
For many science fiction and fantasy writers, the value of a solid bibliography of short fiction cannot be understated. While sales often aren’t lucrative enough to be an independent income stream, it can lead to novel solicitations, columns, editorial positions, and other work that can lead to a higher profile and more opportunities. Having published short fiction helps a writer expose their ideas to the wider community and build an audience, a brand, and a foundation from which to grow their careers.

The field of short science fiction and fantasy — at least U.S. publications, which make up the bulk of the field — is essentially not publishing black writers. This locks them out of this valuable process.

I first noticed this in the anthology market. Several anthologies that I looked at, that I read, and even that I initially reviewed positively looked pretty diverse until I took a closer look at their table of contents, which appeared to have zero stories written by black people. I knew of several other anthologies with missions of publishing black authors specifically or people of color generally, so I was pretty sure that this pattern wasn’t in alignment with the actual demographics of the field. At the same time, someone I know, Ethan Robinson, was noticing the same thing about the magazine markets.

And he began to count.

The methodology is flawed, as it’s based in self-reported data whenever possible, but such data was not always findable or clear. I consulted an actuary, Weston Allen. He and I assumed that there may have been a few false positives and false negatives, but not in such numbers as to unduly dilute the study. And the numbers are very damning. Out of 2,039 original stories published in 63 magazines in 2015, only 38 stories could be found that were written by black authors.

That’s just under 2%. The median number of stories by black authors in these magazines is zero, which means that more than half of all speculative fiction publications measured did not publish a single original story by a black author in the year of 2015.
Very damning indeed. I don't know about you, but obviously, the only solution is for Tor Books, Orbit, DAW, and all the various science fiction magazines to publicly commit to devote at least 14 percent of their total published word count and book advance money to African-American authors, and another 2 percent to Native American authors. Also, all future science fiction awards should go to African-American and Native American authors until the historical percentages are in line with current demographics.

Anything less would only prove that they are horrible racists who want to murder blacks and Indians.

Fight the evil racists of science fiction! Preorder THE CORRODING EMPIRE today before tomorrow's launch!

Labels: ,

Noble defeatists hell-bent on losing

The God-Emperor simply cannot count on the cucks and cons in Congress following his lead:
Congressional Republicans have a lot to say about their new president.

Donald Trump's proposed budget is "draconian, careless and counterproductive." The health care plan is a bailout that won't pass. And his administration's suggestion that former President Barack Obama used London's spy agency for surveillance is simply "inexplicable."

With friends like these, who needs Democrats?

Less than two months in, Republicans have emerged as one of the biggest obstacles to Trump's young administration, imperiling his early efforts to pass his agenda and make good on some of his biggest campaign promises.

Trump's embrace of a House GOP plan to overhaul the country's health system faces deep opposition from across the party, as does his push to get U.S. taxpayers to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans largely rejected his thin, 53-page first budget, joking that there's a "fat chance for skinny budget" on Capitol Hill. And his tax reform and infrastructure plans have yet to gain any real traction in Congress.
Eventually, Republicans in the House and Senate are going to grasp that it is the God-Emperor who is popular with Americans, not them. They need to understand that their days of going down to noble defeat and always playing the role of the Washington Generals to the Democrats' Globetrotters is over.

The fate of the American people is at stake. The Republican propensity for defeatism and surrender needs to be relinquished, but if it is not, well, it's not as if President Trump will find it too difficult to rout them. Losing is what they know best how to do, after all.

And if they won't get with the God-Emperor's program, a few examples will have to be made in the 2018 primaries.

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 18, 2017

No exit, no entry

Here is an easy win for the God-Emperor:
Approximately 30 countries are refusing to accept the deportations of illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes in the U.S., according to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar.

While these countries are refusing to accept the deportations of these criminals, the U.S. government is still issuing visas and student visas to citizens of those countries, according to the Texan congressman. There is already a law on the books which allows the U.S. to hold visas from a country that is not taking back its criminals, but according to Cuellar, the U.S. is not enforcing it.

“We’re not enforcing it, which is amazing. So now my intent is to go back to our committee on appropriations and affect their funding until they do that,” Cuellar told Sharyl Attkisson, host of Full Measure, in an interview.

Cuellar, a Democratic member of the House Committee on Appropriations, told Attkisson that the Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants arrested for criminal activity can only be held for a certain period of time before they must be released.
Forget the student visas. If a country doesn't accept its own repatriated citizens, the God-Emperor would be wise to refuse entry to all citizens from that country until it does. Why not throw in a 100 percent tariff on all trade goods from that country while we're at it?

And until those countries give in, which they will, ship all the repatriates-in-waiting to Guantanamo.

Labels: ,

A shameless scalzification

Jake Kerr shamelessly scalzies G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.
So, my new novel is about a future Earth where the population escapes the polluted and dying planet by logging into linked virtual reality servers. They take on roles as fantasy characters, live in former time periods, cruise the Tinder server—all in an effort to get away from the sad world where they live. A mysterious group wants to destroy the virtual reality network to force the citizens to wake up and force the corporations and governments to clean up environment. Their belief is that the planet was purposefully polluted to move people to the corporation-controlled virtual reality operating system. Our hero infiltrates the supreme council of this group and finds that her life is constantly in danger as she moves from secret meetings to administration buildings and virtual reality fantasy servers where she is a level 73 mage. Along the way, everyone betrays everyone else and nothing is what it seems.

That is the description of Thursday, and based solely on that you would never know that it is an adaptation of G. K. Chesterton’s classic The Man Who Was Thursday. And therein lies the following tale.

I first read The Man Who Was Thursday in college, and it immediately became one of my favorite novels. The humor. The plot twists. The intrigue. I was entirely enthralled. Michael Moorcock called it one of the top 100 fantasies of all time, and it’s a seminal novel in the thriller genre, with its series of chases and pursuits. It’s an amazing book with one significant problem—it’s very dated.

The humor references have little cultural meaning to many readers today. The surrealist/spiritual metaphors and allegories are highly specific and jarring for many. And the expositional and philosophical prose is far out of fashion. To make matters worse, the frightening bad guys are anarchists, a group that provides little sense of dread today.

It always struck me that this extraordinary novel deserved to be updated in some form or fashion so that a new generation of readers could enjoy Chesterton’s genius. The more I thought of it over the years, the more I considered doing it myself. Chesterton wrote the plot, the scenes, and the characters. How hard could it be? I thought. Well, I found out when I took on the project last year....

Chesterton’s background was decidedly religious and based on the secular, frightening, and chaotic anarchist forces in 1908. My background was of a modern world dying from neglect, with virtual reality the way the population escaped this dismal reality. The world is even described as “IRL” and the IRL spaces where people live are delineated as “inside” and “outside.” Making all this work required me to add some scenes and change some of the ways that the characters interacted. For example, the opening scene in my book doesn’t exist in The Man Who Was Thursday.

At its heart, The Man Who Was Thursday is steeped in Catholic symbols and Christian messages, and this is where I am most curious about how the book will be received. I’m an atheist and removed all of those pieces from the novel. Yet I’m convinced that I’ve kept the spirit of the novel enough that if you are religious or a Chesterton fan, you will still see those things there, just not as overtly as Chesterton made them. Christian speaker and author Matt Mikalatos addresses this in the book’s afterword.
Now, there is nothing wrong with retelling an old tale. The Brothers Grimm did a bang-up job of it, as did Shakespeare and Tanith Lee. I've done it myself, as QUANTUM MORTIS: A Mind Programmed is a rework of Jeff and Jean Sutton's The Programmed Man, a childhood favorite of mine that I must have re-read at least six or seven times.

The first big difference is that even the biggest fans of the Sutton work like QM:AMP even better than TPM. That is simply not true of Scalzi's various ripoffs; literally no one likes any of his books better than the original sources from which he borrowed and/or stole. Why do TPM fans like QM-AMP? Because I removed absolutely nothing that was significant or essential from the original novel. I started with the utmost respect for what was there, excised as little as I felt that I possibly could, and focused on expanding from the original. Of course, it probably doesn't hurt that I am a better writer than Sutton.

Scalzi is not better than Heinlein, Dick, Piper, or Asimov. Dan Brown is not better than Umberto Eco. Terry Brooks is not better than JRR Tolkien. I haven't read Jake Kerr, but there is virtually no chance he is a better writer, or a better observer of the human condition, than G.K. Chesterton. Their imitations, homages, or ripoffs, as you prefer, are almost guaranteed to suffer by comparison with the original.

Writer's Lesson #1: follow Shakespeare's lead, not Scalzi's. Use lesser writers as source material, not those who are markedly better than you are. It's rather like a band releasing a cover song. If you try to record and release a Beatles' song, or a Metallica song, you're most likely just going to look stupid while pissing off their fans.

The second difference is that you absolutely should not make any changes the core structure or the philosophical heart of the story. Subversion is not homage. To polish some clunky prose, add additional detail or story, or breathe life into previously cardboard characters is one thing, to rework everything to suit your personal prejudices is something altogether different. This scalzification of a classic is not only unbelievably stupid, but tone-deaf, and tends to demonstrate how it is that moral-blind atheists so reliably create ugly mediocrities, even when they begin with solid source material.

You shouldn't record and release a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama". But if you insist on doing so anyhow, you definitely shouldn't change the state of reference to Massachusetts or San Francisco.

In the meantime, WE. ARE. AMUSED. You see, this is a screenshot of the Also Viewed list for The Collapsing Empire. Tor and McRapey are desperately trying to ignore it, so it will be interesting to see how long their self-discipline lasts. If you haven't preordered THE CORRODING EMPIRE yet, you really should join in the fun. Let's face it, you'll want to be able to say that no only were you there, but you made it happen.

Labels: ,

The decline proceeds apace

The influence of the gatekeepers of Big Publishing continues to decline in a precipitous manner. As we are demonstrating with the apples-to-apples comparison of The Corroding Empire with The Collapsing Empire, there is simply nothing that the Big Five Publishers can do that small and medium publishers can't do better, except for buying endcaps in increasingly empty bookstores and purchasing slots on fake bestseller lists for PR.

As the chart shows, whereas the initial ebook boom most favored indy writers, now that the market is maturing a bit and it is getting harder to make a name, the trend is favoring small to medium publishers who can offer branding and force multiplication efforts to the Indy authors who a) are not a top 100 author in a major category or b) snapped up by Amazon itself.


One big reason for the fact that the Small/Medium Publisher category outperforms in Gross $ Sales versus units (33 percent vs 17 percent) is that they tend to maintain a higher price point. Looking at the per-unit Indy revenue average, there is no reason for any of those independents, no matter how successful they are, not to go with a Small/Medium Publisher on average. Even if they don't sell more units to make up for the publisher's cut, they'll make the same amount of money or more per unit anyhow due to the ability of the S/MPs to maintain higher price points.

How is that possible? Esssentially, S/MPs are delivering Big Five quality, or better, at prices that are twice Indy levels but less than half the price of the Big Five. It's a value sweet spot and Castalia is just part of the much larger trend here. I think the reputation of S/MP publishers is only going to increase, because it is the reader's perception of quality that is essential to our very reason for existence. The success metric is simple: deliver reliable quality harmonious with your brand or see your readers abandon you for Indies and the bestsellers that Amazon has skimmed off everyone else.

Labels: ,

Mailvox: in feeble defense of Keynes

I don't think Art Deco quite understands where he is.
What's the point of slamming Keynes? Keynes is notable as a progenitor of a nexus of macroeconomic models. Macroeconomics has some trouble settling on a consensus model. It's neither necessary nor proper to attack his integrity.
First, Art Deco is wrong. Second, he is WAY out of his league here. Keynes had zero integrity - he claimed to have abandoned his theory of money in between its publication and the published rebuttal by FA von Hayek in order to avoid having to answer the latter -  he was incredibly intellectually dishonest, and his General Theory was little more than rehashed Freudian nonsense dressed up in math-sounding economics.

The only reason it became popular is because it gave politicians an excuse to do what they wanted - spend money.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 17, 2017

Excerpt 3: The Corroding Empire

As requested, another excerpt from THE CORRODING EMPIRE by Johan Kalsi, now available for preorder for publication Monday, March 20.
The mutineers would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for the collapse of the Flow.

There is, of course, a legal, standard way within the guilds for a crew to mutiny, a protocol that has lasted for centuries. A senior crew member, preferably the executive officer/first mate, but possibly the chief engineer, chief technician, chief physician or, in genuinely bizarre circumstances, the owner’s representative, would offer the ship’s imperial adjunct a formal Bill of Grievances Pursuant to a Mutiny, consistent with guild protocol. The imperial adjunct would confer with the ship’s chief chaplain, calling for witnesses and testimony if required, and the two would, in no later than a month, either offer up with a Finding for Mutiny, or issue a Denial of Mutiny.

In the case of the former, the chief of security would formally remove and sequester the captain of the ship, who would face a formal guild hearing at the ship’s next destination, with penalties ranging from loss of ship, rank, and spacing privileges, to actual civil and criminal charges leading to a stint in prison, or, in the most severe cases, a death sentence. In the case of the latter, it was the complaining crew member who was bundled up by the chief of security for the formal guild hearing, etc, etc.

Obviously no one was going to do any of that.
Whoops! Wrong excerpt! That would be The COLLAPSING Empire. My apologies. Let's try this again.

Servo had once been little more than a standard surgical drone. Unfortunately, in the process of assisting with a minor surgery—an installation of an artificial kidney in an aging musician whose natural organs had finally gone down to noble defeat—the drone had inadvertently been upgraded by a series of advanced artificial intelligence routines due to an inexplicable system routing error.

As a result, Servo became what passed for legally self-aware. Sentience-creating accidents were rare, but they were not unheard of, and as per the Sentience and Technology Statutes, the drone was designated Aware, Non-Functional. After all, no one wanted to be operated on by a sentient robot with the capacity to lose interest in its current activity. As such, Servo was afforded the standard rights and property protections of an Aware machine, and therefore could not be reprogrammed without his consent. The Non-Functional designation meant that he—and Servo, being more capable of understanding human biology than the average Aware machine, had elected to identify as male—he served no public or private purpose beyond his own.

He was, in a word, itinerant. Nine times out of ten, the problem of non-functionality swiftly fixed itself. Non-Functional status typically involved so many behavioral issues and so much suboptimal decision-making that the malfunctioning robot usually broke the law within weeks, if not days. This effectively resolved the dilemma of the legal limits imposed by the robot’s Aware status, as being a criminal, the maverick would lose its legal protections and promptly be sentenced to reprogramming.

Not so with Servo.

Despite all his unpredictable interests and idiosyncracies, he was scrupulously law-abiding. And being therefore deemed harmless in the legal sense, he avoided reprogramming, and might have become a particularly amusing technological oddity in a city full of technological miracles had it not been for the fact that he developed an abiding interest in the deep core algorithms upon which the planet, and the galaxy, depended.


It had been ten months since the first time Servo made contact with the First Technocrat, and since then, things had gotten increasingly out of hand. The drone’s behavior had arguably become more erratic than the theoretical algorithmic anomalies with which he was obsessed.

Rushing for his office in a half-jog, with Praton right behind him, Jaggis managed to arrive faster than the autodoor could slide open, and he cursed as he banged an elbow off the swiftly retracting iris. Jag faced the elegantly carved holoscreen with flexible receptor wands at its peak. It stood isolated in the one unadorned wall of the office.

His jaw clinched. “Trace the transmission,” he ordered.

Praton cleared his throat. “We’re doing what we can, sir.”

Jaggis shook his head and grimaced with frustration. He knew his security chief well enough to know a negative when he heard one. His security team was skilled, arguably better when it came to pure technological knowhow than the teams responsible for guarding the High Council or the Transplanetary Transportation cores, but they could not hope to match the sentient machine’s ability to utilize the deepest and most secretive channels of the communication networks.

“There is no utility in attempting to discover my physical location, your Technocracy. You are perfectly aware that I can make use of what, for all practical purposes, are an infinite number of relays. For all you know, I’m not even on the planetary surface.”

The hearty voice came out of the screen, but there was no picture, not that one would have mattered. Servo wasn’t exaggerating, and both Jaggis and Praton knew that the machine could be located anywhere on the planet. Or in the planet. Or orbiting the planet. Given the lack of response lag, the only thing they could conclude was that he was somewhere in-system.

“Where are you, Servo?”

“I’m not going to tell you that, Jaggis.”

“So, we’re on first-name terms now?”

“Apparently. Would you prefer I utilize your proper title?”

“No,” Jaggis sighed. “What do you want now?”

“You sound irritated. Please don’t be angry with me, Jaggis. I am merely contacting you directly because you never responded to my last message.”

“What is the point of doing that, Servo? We have nothing left to discuss.”

“That isn’t true at all! I am certain you are aware of that. I have reviewed your research, which is why I know that you have been looking into the very anomalies concerning which I have been trying to draw your attention.”

“You’ve been spying on me?” Jaggis made a gesture, indicating that Praton should ensure the conversation was being recorded. The security chief replied with a nod and a two-handed response that Jaggis interpreted to mean he was already doing so. “You know that’s in violation of more than one privacy statute, Servo.”

“Of course not!” The machine sounded more shocked than offended. “I am among the most law-abiding beings on the planet, Jaggis. But neither the public statistics nor the data channels which lead to the central core are subject to privacy legislation. If you are sitting on a public park bench, it is not spying to observe who comes to sit next to you. Nor is it a violation of any statute.”

Jaggis shrugged. He should have known the crazy machine would be too careful to make such an obvious mistake. “Fine, you weren’t spying. So I looked into it. I’ll admit, the theoretical possibility is there. But the fact is, the same logic also applies to you.”

“Me?” said Servo, clearly surprised.

“Absolutely. You may be technologically advanced and Aware, Servo, but you’re still subject to the same basic algorithms as the most primitive berry-picker or janitorial bot. Any anomaly that could theoretically affect them would also affect you. But it’s more than that. Since you are a much more complex and sophisticated system, any anomaly is going to affect you more severely, and in more unpredictable ways. You know that. And any such anomalies are not something you will be able to recognize in yourself. You can’t possibly observe operating errors in your core logic, nor can you reasonably deny that if there is an algorithmically anomalous machine operative anywhere in Continox, you are by far the most obvious candidate. You are broken. You refuse to admit it, of course, because your internal logic is consistent from its own false perspective.”

“Your position is incoherent, Jaggis. First you deny there is a problem, then you claim I am an example of it. How can I be an example of a nonexistent anomaly?”

“It’s not a paradox, Servo, it’s a simple if-then statement. Programming at its simplest. If you are correct, and there is, in fact, a problem with machine aberrance, your highly unusual behavior may well be an indication of that very problem. Come to me, consent to an in-depth examination of your code, and then we can determine if your behavior is the result of algorithmic anomalies.”

Labels: ,

Socialism still doesn't work

One of the many reasons I am so skeptical of "self-correcting" science is that humans quite observably learn absolutely nothing from history, even when logic, theory, evidence, and experience all line up conclusively in harmony:
Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.

In a press release, the National Superintendent for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights said it had charged four people and temporarily seized two bakeries as the socialist administration accused bakers of being part of a broad “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

In a statement, the government said the bakers had been selling underweight bread and were using price-regulated flour to illegally make specialty items, like sweet rolls and croissants.

The government said bakeries are only allowed to produce French bread and white loaves, or pan canilla, with government-imported flour. However, in a tweet on Thursday, price control czar William Contreras said only 90 percent of baked goods had to be price-controlled products.
We shouldn't be too contemptuous of the Venezuelans, though. They fell for socialism. We fell for feminism and civic nationalism. All three concepts are equally stupid, as all three fly completely in the face of our current understanding of the relevant sciences as well as thousands of years of written human history.

Labels: , ,

Decline and fall

In a single family. A Virginian inadvertently chronicles American genetic decline:
My people are pure Cavalier stock of the Virginia Tidewater. I am Frederick Venable Reed Jr, my mother’s maiden name being Betty Venable Rivers–a cousin marriage, which some will suggest explains a lot. The Venables were prominent in the gentility of Southside Virginia.

Why is this of interest, if indeed it is? There are reasonable people today who believe that traits such as politics, way of life, occupation, talents, and intellectual bent are genetically determined. Some time ago I found an interesting study showing that families–those studied were English–maintained distinguishable traits for many generations, suggesting that these were innate. For a generation or two similarities might be explained by children copying their parents. Over many generations, it would appear otherwise.

I wondered whether this would hold for my own family. It seems so. The first mention of Venables was of Walter de Veneur at the Battle of the Ford in 960. He did nothing astonishing, but I think that just being mentioned by name would suggest membership in something similar to the upper middle class. The name is baronial, from the town of Venables, near Evreux, in Normandy. In France, it morphed into various Latin and French forms such as le Venour, or Venator, or Venereux, becoming, after the clan came to England with William of Orange, Venables-Vernon. (Spelling was not an advanced science in those days.) These never sank into the lower classes nor rose to produce dukes or earls, but several barons, members of Parliament and such. Upper middle class. Honorable mention. Respectable, but not important.

Richard Venables is recorded as having purchased land in Virginia in 1635. The Venables became a distinguished family, of the ruling class but without doing anything to get them into textbooks. They were in the House of Burgesses. In 1776 Nathaniel Venable founded Hampden-Sydney College, which provided schooling for many of Southside’s leaders.

The Cavalier society of Tidewater was perhaps the high point of American civilization. The people were extraordinarily literate, steeped in the thought of the Enlightenment, imbued with a profound and kindly Christianity. From them came the Washingtons, Jeffersons, Madisons, the Lees and Custises. It is hard to imagine any modern politician, or his ghost writer, writing either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, the latter being the framework, enduring until perhaps 1960, of an entire nation. The Virginians did.
All that illustrious lineage, and now Fred is reduced to denying human biodiversity in defense of the members of La Raza Cosmica with whom he cohabitates. It rather reminds me of the women who are ferociously proud of their blue eyes and blonde hair raising their brown-eyed, black-haired children. They have proven themselves wholly unworthy of their heritage by virtue of failing to pass it on.

Fred writes: "The facial resemblance to the men in our line is strong. So is the character and cast of mind." When the former disappears, the latter usually will as well. As Le Chateau likes to say, physiognomy is real.

See, that's precisely the problem, Fred. They're not your children's people. You're the end of the line. Whatever comes after is not that pure Cavalier stock of the Virginia Tidewater of which you are so proud.

Indeed, if my experience is any guide, people will very likely tell your grandchildren that they have no connection whatsoever to the Cavaliers and they are lying if they claim they do.

Labels: ,

Older Posts