Monthly Archives: November 2015

And Then a Bomb Went Off…

Also a recommendation at the bottom…

I was lamenting the utter lack of anything real happening in the second book of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary series yesterday – look below ya, son. Reading this morning of two characters sitting on a bench discussing something (very Star Wars prequel-like) while another person left a steam room a little way away from them. One of the characters that was seated proceeds to approach the steam room (I think it was a steam room) when a bomb goes off…

Now in real life that is never good news. In a novel that has seen almost no action in some 260 pages? Hurray! Science fiction isn’t some boring French lit where people sit at bus stops pondering the meaningless of an existence that they’ve demanded have no meaning. No, this is science fiction, boys and girls. No, it doesn’t have to be pulp with nothing but endless action and damsels being pulled from danger. But it has to have action. You gotta move it along. Unless you are going very deep, philosophically into some dense metaphysics or something, I’d say there better be some action at least every 40 pages.

There are tons of “literature” out there, garbage dump proportions where nothing ever happens and people discuss their feelings or impressions. My wife attempts to read these things every once in a while, usually on the recommendation of a friend, and usually never makes it past the first hundred pages. I would think it is just as much a factor that the sense of life in those works are absolutely abysmal as well as the fact that nothing happens.

A bomb went off. Hopefully that will keep them from standing around in endless discussion for a while.

RECOMMENDATION:

Centipede Press is a small publisher in Colorado that is publishing all of R.A. Lafferty’s short material (sorry, boys, no news on the long works. But, I swear to God I will read the Elliptical Grave before I step into mine!).

They tend mainly to horror, the quirky, and Weird (weird as genre). The link above is to their Authors page. If you are into science fiction, fantasy or horror, you will recognize more than just a few names on their roster. They even have Salvador Dali!

One writer I’ve wanted to check out for a time is Anne Herbert (she also has to be the cutest damned thing to ever pick up a pen…) . Her book, Children of the Black Sabbath, is said to be one of the best horror novels ever written (and not just by Centipede!).

She is said to have a very unique voice. That is a rare treasure in James Patterson’s ALL BOOKS SHOULD BE WRITTEN TO SELL 45 TRILLION COPIES era.

As a lover of horror, she had me at the title. There is William Hope Hodgson, author of the The Night Land which inspired one of my science fiction favs, John C. Wright, to pen Awake in the Night Land.

C.L. Moore, one of the first female writers of science fiction. The list goes on and on.

A lot of these author’s works you can find at the book store cheaper (Lafferty is one of the exceptions, it’s Centipede or rummaging through a slew of old books and magazines). But these are special books. You can go get a copy of Tim Power’s The Anubis Gates anywhere, but you won’t find an super cool copy like Centipede’s. Who wouldn’t want Theodore Sturgeon’s Some of Your Blood?

What about Gene Wolfe’s mega-masterpiece Book of the New Sun series? Don’t try it, they’re sold out – hopefully just for now. Talk about an infinitely re-readable book. Talk about a man that can hide the beams. They’ve got the work Bob Eggleton – great art work.

They have one of my top favorite science fiction writers, Fredric Brown. What they have here is his lesser known (if you’re a science fiction fan, if you’re a mystery fan, his science fiction is probably less know to you) mystery works.

Anyway, if you like your literature a little to the left, and maybe down a ways to that creepy little shop whose only entrance is at the end of a dark alley, Centipede press has got you covered, perhaps in sores, on that note.

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Ancillary Sword

Ag, I can’t seem to get through the second book in Leckie’s Ancillary series! The first one was good, solid. I didn’t even mind the whole gender thing because she had story to back it up.

The second book, however. Oy. I only have 100 pages to go. But the whole thing has been people standing around basically talking etiquette, feelings, and tea. Jesus, what happened? Oh, and then there is this person, who you can’t be sure the sex of, that wants to sleep with this person, who you can’t be sure the sex of, but is treating this other person, who you can’t be sure the sex of, badly.

Suddenly I don’t know if I’m reading a very dull lesbian space fantasy where no one actually sleeps with each other but talks mores and stuff?

There is supposed to be a galactic war on, sinister alien sabotage or conspiracy, etc, etc. All this super-cool stuff that was built-up in the first book – and right now I witness to some subordinate to the fleet-captain talk to a horticulturist about her feelings.

Has anyone read this series to the end? Does it ever get out of Jane Austin goes to Space and Bores Me?


Sorry About Delay

I decided to switch to moderated commenting a few weeks ago after someone decided to call me disgusting for some comments after the Paris attacks.

I banned that person as I would have from my own home (not like we were long time friends or anything) and got a few better ones in return. Hopefully, they may stick around.

I am going to take that restriction off now (if I can remember how I put it on…) and apologize for any comments that have spent time in limbo.

No apologies will be forthcoming about anything I have said about Islam.


John Scalzi is Your Typical Progressive

I said in an earlier post that I didn’t care what John Scalzi thought, but I have changed my mind. The man wields wide hips in the science fiction arena at the moment. And, judging from his blog, has a small mass of people that worship his every righteous word. If you do not, you will find yourself deleted it quick order if your comment is “wrong-think”. Didn’t happen to me (I know better than to go into a cage like that) but he leaves the empty husks of those that offend the high religion of progressivism – or Islam.

His response to the Paris attacks has been singular – yell and rave about ignorant, bigoted Americans. The man has few tactics, subterfuge, insult and feigned embarrassment for one’s fellow countrymen. I completely disagree with almost everything that comes out of this man’s mouth (as I do with most liberals – and if there is a single, defining characteristic to Mr. Scalzi, it is that he is a liberal through and through) but somehow I don’t get that adolescent self-consciousness that asks, “what are others going to think of me because of X’s actions?”

Just consider the title of his latest piece of hate (note – hating is fine among progressives, it all depends on the target)

Frightened, Ignorant and Cowardly is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

Condescension and insult at the same time, right out the gate. As if he is a wise old man and not some geek who writes space yarns and plays video games and is not pre-occupied by the question: is the new Star Wars going to rock or suck?

Frightened? Why shouldn’t people be frightened? I think they very well should be, as Scalzi lands his fourth insult 6 words into the body of his post, bedwetting, over this. Muslims? No problem! Remember this, I’ll show you the subterfuge shortly.

Paris is one of the major cities of Western civilization. I just had two of my friends there a month ago. It is not ignorance that is causing the “bedwetting” it is knowledge. It is that person who is not sticking their head in the sand. Now said person with head not in sand may not articulate his knowledge nor vet his fear as we all would like, but Continue reading


The Value of Hume

I was, during a break, thinking a bit of C.S. Lewis’ On Miracles, when I had a sudden bit of potential integration that I can do nothing with at the moment. In one of the early chapters he is talking about the limits of experience. This was in relation to a naturalist approach to universal explanation. Basically how wide the naturalist abstraction is compared to the personal evidence that can conceivably support it.

As a philosophy with any positive value, Hume’s seems out the gate to be a piece of mud. However, mud has its uses. His shattered, fractured universe is quite useful when we think about the edifices that people stand on unknowingly. How much is assumed, unexamined, unexplained, even unrecognized, from one instance to the next instance.

Immanuel Kant was, historically, the man who attempted to put Humpty Dumpty back together after Hume busted him up…

Few people go through life terrified that the car they are traveling in will suddenly cease to exist right out from under them, or that the ball they are throwing will turn into a dragon and burn them where they stand. But why shouldn’t these things happen? If these things do not happen, surely, some lesser things of the same nature happen all the time? Should we fear that they could happen but just haven’t, at least not in our personal experience?

Why not? These are pretty easy questions in philosophy. Or, rather, such questions have been part of philosophy for millennia. But what about whole world-views? What part of it is blind faith on the part of the holder? And how much is derived from things they can actively demonstrate?

What can one stand on? How much of your views of the world, of the nature of things, of people, politics, right and wrong can you account for? And how much of it is words put together without referent, without ground?

I think most people would be astounded to find there is very little they can account for. And little of that they can piece together. What is your experience of a house but the Continue reading


The Double Standard

Over at Mr. John Scalzi’s he has the following post. I had made a long commentary on that post yesterday that I subsequently took down because it was too sprawling and I undercut myself with too many jokes.

A secondary thing to note is the usual liberal leaping to the defense of Muslims who are not terrorists and bitterly attacking the supposed hordes of drooling American dolts who are attacking them. But unlike Muslims, not killing them – just hurting their feelings. And then the usual comparisons to Christianity that are completely bogus. Sorry, I’d take Westboro church goons protesting outside my door to my dying day rather than one militant. Why? Because I’d still be breathing!

Most Christians disregard Westboro as not really Christian. The liberal does not buy this as is evidenced by the fact that he continually uses it. But we are supposed to buy it in regards to Muslims even though a quick Google search will tell anyone that the terrorists don’t seem to be acting outside the guidelines of their religion. Just type in “violent passages in Koran”. One could just as easily do the same thing for the Bible, but unlike the Koran are tied to specific events and time while the Koran’s are open-ended exhortations. And very persistent, repetitive exhortations at that.

“Oh, the terrorists aren’t really Muslim!”

Sometimes they point to the fact of killing. Yes, it is wrong for a Muslim to kill… another Muslim. And on the point, the defenders are right, they are disqualified from the category of being a Muslim. But when they kill you, dear Christian, dear atheist, dear progressive, dear Buddhist, they are Muslim, as pure as any as has ever walked the Earth.

OTOH, it is said that the Koran cannot be understood outside the Arabic language, so consistency would tell them that both sides don’t know what they’re talking about. Except that the liberal side is their defense shield.

I also note that Scalzi performs a radical simplification and characterizes the Hutu/Tutsi conflict as merely a religious one with the Christians slaughtering the Muslims. Gross, Mr. Scalzi, gross. One wonders if he merely performed a quick internet search and didn’t know about this conflict until he dug it up that night to conjure a response.

But the biggest gripe I have is this. 

The key phrase in the twit (is that the right word? I don’t use twitter)  is:

Anti-Muslim bigots are their [ISIS] greatest gift.

This is the underlying premise that really irks me. Being anti-Muslim makes you a bigot. Why does the same not hold true for being anti-Christian? It is practically a badge of honor in some circles. If you do not know about anti-Christian views, go stick your head out the door once in a while.

They are performing a switch of truth, where the falsehood is the truth and the truth is the falsehood. You can walk all over the land and say whatever outlandish thing you want to say about Christians and Christianity. People do it all the time, I hear it all the time. Islam? You have to be picky about that. It can get you killed. Even moderate criticism can get you hysterical responses of BIGOT! HATER! You’re the real killer! If you weren’t hurting their fluffy little feelings, they wouldn’t be killing us!

Which, btw, is the unstated push of Scalzi’s whole post and comment section.

You are anti-Christian – you are a progressive, a freethinker, brave, individualistic, on the right side of history.

You are anti-Muslim (or even just a little bit critical) BIGOT!

I recognize the double standard. And I want to name my allegiance. I am on the side of the Christians although I am not of their family.

Yet.

 


Stuff We Never Wanted to Know

Just finished up studying for the evening, quit time is 4:55am on weekdays. But I ended on the following sentence on the subject of cystoceles, urethroceles, enteroceles, rectoceles. This is in female pathophysiology.

Rectoceles may cause constipation and incomplete defecation; patients may have to manually press the posterior vaginal wall to defecate.

Did you also know that a man can suffer from something called an inguinal hernia? That is where your intestines start to fill your ballsack, or, medically, your scrotum. I know, I crossed my legs when I first heard of it too. And then I quickly uncrossed them because well, you know… that might cause a inguinal hernia!

Man, what an innocent life I led until now…

 


The Strangely Evolving Library

home-library-shelves-11

The above is not a picture of my library. Mine is spread out to every corner of my house, with the main concentration in the office/jam room (and even that is spread out) and includes an equally extensive digital library. I’ve been trying to split the difference between hardcopy and digital because when all you do is read, moving becomes a real bitch.

My library looks nothing like it did 5 years ago. Gone are all the Ayn Rand books. And most of the books on economics and government. I don’t pursue arguing those subjects any longer. And the two subjects are like geometry, once you know them, you know them and they ain’t going to change.

And in came C.S. Lewis and my quite extensive Catholic collection. Have I ever bragged how big that collection is? It is over three hundred volumes at least. It might be over four hundred. Not to forget my growing Bible collection. I like me some good Bibles. However my collection of that will be very little Catholic in the end. The poor souls don’t have a good rendering. They have translated it into the flatness of modernity.

I’m looking for a good leather copy of the King James version with apocrypha. I think I might get the 1611 edition – go real old school.

And of course during the last five years I started another collection as I discovered my favorite author R.A. Lafferty. I never really had a favorite author before that (maybe Stephen King as a kid). Rand never really counted as she was dead and her fiction output was quite small. And she had that mid-20th century lack of color and word play that you find in such authors as Steinbeck or Hemingway or Sinclair. That bare-bones matter of fact Americana.

Lafferty didn’t push anyone out, but he certainly added color to that shelf!

And now I’m noticing, because I’m in school that the shelves are evolving again. Anytime I’ve been in school (and I have been in one form or another off and on forever) I have never stuck with only the material provided in the class. It is like only getting your news from FOX if you’re conservative or MSNBC if you’re liberal although much more innocent.

My course only consists of two medical books for: Medical Terminology, Pathophysiology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology. The books they sent although I’m sure are good enough to cut the mustard, just leave more questions than they do answers. So, from those two books I’ve added Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, McGraw Human Anatomy 3rd edition, and Human Anatomy and Physiology. That’s an additional four thousand pages, mate! I think I’ll have to update my DSM as it is the 4th edition and they are up to 5.

The two Anatomy books may sound like a redundancy, but remember what I told about news sources. The principle works just as well with cut and dry presentation of facts.

I just wish I found medical stuff more interesting. It is not a subject that gets me excited. It is interesting as most things that are not sports are, but it is not philosophy nor theology, son.