Monthly Archives: April 2015

Knowledge Base Progress #21

I know have Western Civilization connected to more Asiatic religions. These are not all that important to it, but I need to connect them anyway. I am starting to connect to Asiatic peoples to Asiatic religions.  India has another nation or two. For Indonesia and Anglic peoples, I have finished the review of peoples, and can start adding nations. Pakistan needed to have its modern history split out into a separate page, and now it needs a rewrite of the connections of other peoples.  Communities are being connected to details of education.


Last week I read through the Glasswright series by Mindy L. Klasky.

I don’t have the energy to review all five books in the series (Glasswright’s Apprentice, Glasswright’s Progress, Glasswright’s Journeyman, Glasswright’s Test, Glasswright’s Master). I’m just going to give it a rating, three stars of five.

Knowledge Base Progress #20

I have Western Civilization now connected to major religions. Although Is not itself well connected to Asiatic religions, I need to make the connections so that I can connect Asiatic peoples to Asian religions,  I have finished reviewing the connections of Southeast Asian Island peoples to other peoples, so that task is now out of the way. I have finished with a review of the history of Indonesia, and I am now reviewing its connections with other peoples.  I am presently reviewing the connections of Anglic peoples (in general) to African peoples and nations.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve started working again on my novel. I have mentioned that pieces keep thrusting themselves out of the ground. These are the major, pivotal scenes, the key reference points and necessary developments.   I have the opening and the closing, now I need to fill in the middle. I now have one, that will go somewhere in the early part, that establishes the nature of the prophecy suggested in the title and how the two main characters react to it, how they anticipate others will react to it, and what they are going to be trying to do for the rest of the book. I need a few more of these,, and it’s now a bit clearer what a couple of others need to be about.

Knowledge Base Progress #19

Last Friday I published an update, the first one in several months.  Progress has slowed down a little lately, but I’m still working on it.  At present, I am concentrating on linking Western Civilization to particular religions; reviewing and rewriting the connections of Southeast Asian Island peoples to other peoples of the world, reviewing the history of Indonesia, and reviewing the connections of Anglic (english-derived) peoples to other peoples of the world.


Hillary Clinton Must Never Become President

Adapted from a line that appears in “Valentine Pontifex”, the third book in the Majipoor Chronicles, by Robert Silverberg.   I could go on to outline the book, and give the context, but I think this would be something of a distraction from my purpose.

Why must Hillary Clinton never become president?

There are three principal reasons. First, the scandal regarding her keeping her official correspondence on a private server tead of a government account, and then destroying the e-mails on the server, for no better reason than her personal convenience, indicates that she considered herself above the law. This is unconscionable in a person who has the constitutional duty to “see that the laws are faithfully executed”.

Second, her recent remarks acknowledging that what she considered Women’s Rights, especially a  woman’s “right” to have unlimited access to abortion as a method of terminating pregnancy. would require the change of deep-seated religious and cultural values, indicates that she is hostile to Christian, Jewish, or Muslim teaching regarding the value of life, especially as it pertains to the unborn.  This, in turn, puts her in conflict with the fundamental constitutional principles of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Third, although this historically came first, she has a long record of behavior that is ethically dubious.  The American system of government relies heavily on the moral character of its leaders. In particularly, it requires that they enforce the law equally, and not use it to punish their opponents and reward their adversaries.  It requires that they be honest and not accept bribes in return for privileges and favors.  It requires that they not give preference to foreign interests over Americans.

If Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will use the powers of government to favor the wealthy and corrupt, and persecute the honest and principled. This will destroy the legitimacy of the Federal government.

Making Book

For any number of years, especially after I read a good story SF&F story,  I’ve been tempted to try writing my own. There’s one in particular that’s been slowly emerging from my subconscious. The setting, the major theme and storyline, and the two main characters, as well as a couple of villains and supporting characters, and the ending, are stable enough in my head that I can start  writing them. I have an opening scene that I wrote a few years ago, and I’ve also written an ending, which I misplaced, but got fixed in memory. I also got a few hundred words into it with NaNoWriMo a couple of years back.   Yes, I’ve disclaimed a fixed intention to write a fiction novel, but this one seems to keep shoving itself out of the ground, A little bit more of it gets exposed every time it rains.  I don’t know if I can keep up a regular writing pace and still work on the Sapience Knowledge Base, but I’ll do what I can.

I’m trying not to giving away any spoilers. The working title is “The Prophet of Shalora”, and it goes in the general category of Fantasy.

Some reviews

While I try to pull myself from obsessively following the conflict over the Hugo Awards, I thought I’d start commenting on some of the thing I’ve been reading.  I read, and reread, compulsively. It’s my principal vice and addiction, displacing many other worthy and even necessary pursuits.   I read fast and write slowly, so I naturally prefer to read.

So, I’ve decided to do review of some of the authors involved in current controversies, and the works they write. I may branch out.

First of all,  I don’t much care for urban fantasy.  I find something rather morbid about the obsession with werewolves, vampires, zombies and ghouls, and the like.  I have a relative who really likes Jim Butcher, and his books about the wizardly career of Harry Dresden.  Poor Harry can’t get a break. He is always either being beaten up, has just been beaten up, or is about to get beaten up.  In spite of being agnostic, he’s on the side of the good guys. He respects those warriors who are avowedly Christian, and supports and is in turn supported by them. OK, so that makes him tolerable.  4 stars out of 5.

I’ve also been through Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia.  Again, not really my thing. The author is evidently a gun-lover who knows his stuff. It’s the same stuff as urban fantasy, (Werewolves, vampires, undead, and demons) (two downticks) transplanted to the countryside (one uptick). The story wades in gore. (two down icks). The hero exercises some restraint in sex and doesn’t hop into bed with the heroine first change. (three up-ticks). It says good things about Mormons (two up ticks) but is  little bit too favorable (one down).  3 stars out of 5.

The Chaplain’s War, by Brad Torgerson.  Borrowed from the public library. This is military SF; not my favorite, but tolerable. This shows signs that the author has been through military training.   As a child growing up during the Vietnam War, I saw a film in school which portrayed basic training.  Since I could was slow, clumsy, and weak, (and well despised for it, by the jock types) and could not run, catch, or throw, and my attempts at pushup, pull-ups, chin-ups, and assorted calisthenics were pathetic, I knew right away that I did not belong in the military.   Since I fiercely resent being ordered about and tended to break down under hazing, this book was full of everything I would personally hate about it. Three upticks for a realistic portrayal of what’s good and bad about military training. One downtick, for it being nearly half the book.  The mantes (the insectoid enemies) were portrayed has having become overly dependent on technology, and potential problems with addiction to virtual reality among humans were shown (an uptick). Again, positive portrayal of Mormons (for an up tick), but a little bit overly positive, for a down. The reasonably accurate portrayal of various religions and religious conflicts among humans is good.   A positive view of humans, but not overly positive, is good. The Mantes, once you get to know them, are perhaps a bit too human-like in their emotions.  Overall, I’ll give it 4 stars, or maybe four and a half. This goes on my reread list, If I get a chance to pick it up,


Withdrawal pains

I’ve been (much too) actively following the ongoing controversy over the Hugo Awards. Sadly, two of the authors recommended, Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos, have withdrawn their works from consideration, due to the intensely political debate, much of which centers around the fact that the writer known as Vox Day (a pen name) recommended them.

About two years ago, a couple of members of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers Association) said some positive things about the appearance of a couple of female . The Guest of Honor at the next association, an award-winning author, said some nasty things about how condescending they were. Vox Day, in turn, said some nasty things about her, on a SFWA-owned newsfeed. He was expelled from the SFWA, and since that time, there has been bad blood between him and the principals of SFWA, and many of the writers and fans that were paying attention.

He formed a group called the Rabid Puppies, with recommendations which largely overlapped the Sad Puppy recommendations, but his behavior has been confrontational and abrasive.

I haven’t read his work and I don’t follow his blog, so I’m in no position to judge whether what his enemies say about him, except that it sounds too toxic to be true.

What I can say is that voting “No award”, or against their work,  just because he recommended them, is shameful behavior for a group that claims to be concerned with recognizing the best in science fiction.


Literary SF&F

My reply on a different blog got eaten, so I’m going to try to reconstruct my rant.  One of the problems with SF&F in the past 30-odd years is its aspiration to be “Literary” and thus, “Respectable”.

The problem is that “Literary” has been captured by professors and who study literature in the universities. The problem with that is what these write is literary criticism. The problem with that, is that what so much of what passes as literature is turgid dreck. There is also a tendency of critics to despise the tropes and cliches of popular fiction, and to become enamored of whatever breaks the rules, literary or social, whether anyone else can read it or not.  And, since the critiques of literature that they write are written in scholarly jargon to other scholars and don’t have to go through the crucible of competition in the market place, all their study of literature means that they still can’t write worth spit.  Nor can they teach what they don’t know.  Adding to the problem is that literature professors are free to borrow whatever half-baked theories are cooked up in psychology or philosophy or social theory, and there is little if any empirical check on whether their theories are valid.  The result is that the “Literary” fiction esteemed by academics is entirely divorced from popular taste: The stories have been described as having not much happen to characters you don’t like anyway.  It also doesn’t sell, while the far better selling and popular genre fiction (Science fiction and fantasy, mysteries, romance, westerns, etc. is often despised.)

SF&F authors and fans have long lamented the graying and decline of literary science fiction, while that which is tied to popular media such as television (e,g, Star Trek), motion pictures, (e.g. Star Wars), comic books, and games has grown by leaps and bounds.   The recent fight over the Hugo awards has brought out fans by the dozens and hundreds who once considered the Hugo awards to be a mark excellence, and have said, upon encountering the recent nominees “I didn’t know anyone still wrote stuff this good”.


Cultural appropriation

Last week, at a church activity, I saw a delightful presentation. There were about 10 young women and girls doing Hawaiian, Tahitian, and Samoan dances. That is not to say that they were Polynesian themselves: they were all of them blindingly white. But the narrator was herself Polynesian and the girls danced beautifully, with all the hip-shaking and graceful hand motions one expects in the hula or its kin.   Then there were about 5 male dancers, who were actual Polynesians, who did an impromptu couple of dances that  looked and sounded decidedly martial.   Then there were a couple of numbers with words in Hawaiian, and Hawaiian sounding music. These was then reprised in English translation: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. [Or, maybe, given the narration about  Polynisian navigation and the paddles which were used as props, that should have been “Row, Row, Row Your Canoe?”]. Another one in the same vein was “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”.  I could practically hear fuses blowing in some of the social justice and cultural diversity types (who were not actually present). Who was appropriating from who?