2017/11/20

Necrosis

Necrosis - H.C. Damrosch

Necrosis, the debut paranormal epic by H.C. Damrosch, is available now!
A tyrant has conquered the land she holds dear; friends and family slain to build a kingdom of despair. Her own faith has fallen into doubt…
She must escape, no matter the cost. 
Visions of light and shadow beckon from beyond the world’s edge; haunting dreams, waking nightmares, rivers of energy beneath the earth…
There is a warrior who would oppose death itself to uncover the secrets of his birth. 
Subhuman and superhuman creatures arise to test them; powers of earth and spirit whose revelations shake the very foundations of reality. Is it wisdom to believe, or madness…? 
Only by coming to terms with their own humanity can they defeat the Lord of the Necrow.

Excerpt:

The doctor balked in fear as Akar gripped his mind. What is this? What are you doing to me?! His consciousness writhed like a hooked fish, incapable of understanding. Akar only grasped him tighter as he peered into his memories. What he saw there sickened him. The things this man and his colleagues had done in the name of their sciences were as horrific as any of the things the Necrow had done to the helpless people of Herayon. 

The woman stepped forward and shook the man roughly by the shoulder. “Doctor! What’s wrong?”

Akar compelled the man to speak: “Everything. Everything is wrong. How has humanity come to this? I came to you willingly because I believed the authorities of Xiramin had wisdom. Now I see they have not wisdom at all. Your technology is lifeless. You rule over the common people as you would over beasts. There is nothing I can learn from you.”

With that, Akar compelled the doctor to reach for the table, inserting the key that would release his bonds. The man complied before his comrades could stop him.

The bonds opened with a snap.

Akar swung his legs over and rose to his feet. Naked, he faced a roomful of enemies. There were gasps of astonishment from the onlookers as the flesh of his arm sealed itself.

Akar looked upon them, and for the first time in his existence felt something like rage. This is what you do. You seize people without justice and subject them to experiments and ‘cures’ for the common good. You believe wrongdoing is an illusion, and the clever can use the gullible as they please!  How have you come to this?

The enforcers along the walls seized implements from their belts and aimed at him, yelling for the scientists to evacuate the room. Some of them complied; most did not. Akar could feel their fascination from where they stood, watching him. Many were thinking of this as “a great learning experience.”

The woman spoke up from where she stood a few paces away. “How can we be just if there is no such thing as justice? How can we be immoral if morality is simply what we have been conditioned to believe? Why can’t the clever determine the fate of the weak, if we are more fit and thus more worthy than them to survive? You cannot deny we have reached the pinnacle of peace, of security, of happiness, by dedicating ourselves to these principles you despise! Who are you to judge us?!”

Akar turned his impenetrable gaze upon her, and she quailed. Soulless she may be, yet she saw the same thing those in Herayon did: the ineffable itself, cloaked in the terror of death. Akar reached out his hand to her –

The enforcers immediately opened fire. The sleek weapons they held flung shards of metal that tore through Akar’s flesh like cobwebs, ripping him apart from the inside. He screamed in agony and collapsed against the restraining table, smoke rising from the hideous rents in his body.

The scientists had fallen back, shrieking. As the deafening racket of the weapons subsided the woman could be heard yelling: “Don’t destroy it! It must be preserved for study!”

Akar tried to draw breath, but could not. His lungs had been punctured in too many places. He was no longer aware of the rest of his body, so intense was the pain…

“Hold your fire, Lieutenant! You have ruined valuable evidence! We no longer have a living specimen –”

Akar panted and twitched where he lay, and his voice echoed in the minds of all those who had dared remain in the room. Fools… He seized them with his inner sight, their bodies burning like torches in his mind. Weapons clattered to the floor from paralyzed fingers. Two dozen faces froze in astonishment and disbelief.

Without another word, Akar ripped their lives away. Two dozen bodies fell heavily to the floor. Untouched, unmarked, their eyes stared in amazement as death’s film clouded over them.

Akar rose from the table, his body whole again, with not even scars to remember the wounds. I gave you a merciful death, unlike the deaths you dealt to others. You can be grateful for that, at least, if Samael has not yet devoured you.

He re-donned his armor, sheathed his sword, and strode from the room.
Attachments area


What we understand, and what establishment Conservatives fail to grasp, is that supporting aritsts who uphold the traditions of the West is essential to healing the culture of its dire--possibly mortal--wounds. I can vouch for the author of this book. Get your copy today!

2017/11/17

Lost Generations

Bible genealogy

Identity politics has increasingly become a hot-button issue. The debate typically centers around matters of ethnicity or religion, but an often overlooked yet just as important factor in setting a person's self-concept is generational identification.

Inter-generational conflict has become so ingrained in contemporary culture that it's hard to imagine a time when people didn't wear their generation as a badge in the political struggles and culture wars that are coming to a head today. But for members of one generation to bring their cohort-specific grievances into the sociopolitical arena as a plank against other entire generations is a relatively recent development that really only goes back to the 1960s.

You had disputes between elders and their offspring before, to be sure, but there had never been anything like the wholesale rebellion of the then-young against all the received wisdom, culture, and traditions of their parents that the West saw in the late 60s.

The generation that won the culture war and is now firmly entrenched in the halls of power, the Baby Boomers, have a general tendency to project their own peculiar attitudes and perceptions onto other generations en masse. They also run Hollywood, academia, and the media, so you get constant color commentary about nihilistic Gen Xers, Millennial snowflakes, and the stodgy, repressive Greatest Generation--who've become noble and heroic now that they've given the Boomers all their stuff.

Another curious phenomenon arising from the current obsession with age-based demographics is the cycle wherein a generational label will be defined and bandied about in the public discourse for a few years before the term is retired and the people it once described are lumped in with another generation--usually alternating between the preceding and succeeding cohorts, depending on the commentator.

Do you remember--or belong to--any of these lost generations?
  • The Silent Generation: too young to fight in WWII, they served in Korea and made most of the contributions to art, politics, and culture that the Baby Boomers identify with. For example, all of the Beatles were actually Silents.
  • Generation Jones: the younger siblings of the Boomers and the older siblings of Generation X. Jonesers' defining life experience is the nagging sense of having shown up just a little too late for the banquet that the Greats set for the Boomers. The members of U2 belong to the Jones generation.
  • Generation Y: younger siblings of the Xers and older siblings of Millennials. The last generation to have personal memories of the Cold War and the pre-internet age. Taylor Swift is at the tail end of Gen-Y.
The current tendency is to throw the Silents in with the Greats or the Boomers, meld the Jonesers with the Boomers or the Xers, and blur the lines between Gen-Y and the Xers and Millennials. But in terms of formative experiences, typical self-identification, and existing generational terminology, this muddying of the waters makes no sense.

Prime example: describing the current crop of youngsters as Generation Z makes no sense without a Generation Y.

To resolve this issue, I did a bit of demographic research. It occurred to me that the old standard definition of a generation lasting twenty years is less relevant considering the rapidly accelerating pace of cultural change. The last generation that this time scale works for is the Greats. After them, I found that categorizing the population by generational cohorts spanning ten years instead of twenty better described the average member of each category.

I based the following generational categories and timetables based on likely formative experience, common cultural touchstones, likely parentage, and the general state of the culture when each cohort came of age.
  • The Greatest Generation: 1914-1934
  • The Silent Generation: 1935-1945
  • The Baby Boomers: 1946-1956
  • Generation Jones: 1957-1967
  • Generation X: 1968-1978
  • Generation Y: 1979-1989
  • The Millennials: 1990-2000
  • Generation Z: 2001-2011
By this reckoning, the Boomers are the children of the Greats. The Jonesers are, by and large, the Silents' offspring, Xers are the children of the Boomers, Generation Jones begat Gen-Y, Gen-X spawned the Millennials, and Gen-Y birthed Gen-Z.

Food for thought.

2017/11/16

Ophian Rising Excerpt

The Ophian Rising - Brian Niemeier

In anticipation of its imminent release, I'm pleased to present my loyal readers with another excerpt from the concluding volume of my award-winning Soul Cycle, The Ophian Rising.


        “Which ether-runner should we go to for help?” Will asked.
        “Not an ether-runner,” Astlin said the moment she set eyes on the angular black hull of Night Gen nexus-runner parked at the two o’clock position of the circular landing strip below.
  They made their way down to the field and crossed to the obsidian ship. True to her word, Astlin let Will take her place propping up the stabilized but still weak Brell. The Night Gen ship’s general design reminded Astlin of her lost Kerioth, but it was of much newer construction with five knife-edged tines fanning out from the central hull instead of three.
Xander and I had that ship for over two hundred years, she thought bitterly. Another debt the Ophians owe me.
When she and her companions had approached to stand before the nexus-runners slender spike of a nose, Astlin projected her thoughts to the ship’s telepathic comm system. We’re survivors of the recent Ophian attack. One of your people is with us. He needs a medic.
“Did you signal them?” Tallon asked when a minute passed with no sign of activity from the ship.
  “Yes, I did,” said Astlin.
“Are you sure they heard you?”
Astlin didn’t respond, but Brell answered Tallon for her. “My people have reason to be cautious, especially after tonight. They are most likely attempting to determine if we pose a danger to their ship.”
“The only one they’re endangering is you,” said Will.
A floodlight cast a blinding white beam on the five supplicants. The familiar whirring of a descending nexus-runner boarding ramp sounded from the darkness behind the light. A wary female voice spoke in the Night Gen dialect. Brell answered. The conversation went back and forth until Brell spoke to his friends in Trade.
“Her name is Niz,” said Brell. “She is the navigator and medic of the Emat. We have permission to board, but you may not bring your weapons.”
Will gripped the hilt of his sword. “As the queen’s protector, I cannot go unarmed in her presence.”
“It’s alright, Will,” Astlin said. “These people won’t hurt us—not here; not tonight.”
“Give your pieces to me,” said Tallon. “I’ll wait here and stand guard.”
Will reluctantly unfastened his sword belt and handed it and the attached sheathed blade to Tallon. Serra showed no less hesitation. “This sword is an ancient imperial heirloom,” the Temilian warned Tallon. “You already owe me my wage. Don’t add a priceless artifact to your debt.”
“Just give me that already,” Tallon said as he snatched the curved sword from Serra’s extended hand. “Every second we stand here yapping gives Lasker more of a head start.”
“You’re helping us make war on the queen’s enemies?” Will asked hopefully.
Tallon rolled his eyes. “No. I’m getting even with the guy who tried to kill me. Now get on that ship and get Brell patched up so we can get Lasker.” He turned Serra’s sword over in his hand. “You probably got this from a catalog.”
“You’ve all done more than I have any right to ask,” said Astlin. “I can handle Lasker.”
Will’s cheerful expression turned serious. “If you didn’t want my help, Your Majesty, you shouldn’t have accepted my Ostiary oath.”
“I may not be sworn to your service,” said Serra, “and I may be a criminal, but I am loyal to High Magist Dran and to you. And as Tallon said, the attempt on our lives must be answered.”
Reduced to silence by her friends’ show of loyalty, Astlin led the way up the boarding ramp. The scents of lightning and old wine casks flowed down from the ship. A woman stood atop the ramp, backlit in the soft glow of dim green lights.
“I am Niz,” she said in heavily accented Trade. Up close, she was revealed to have a willowy frame clad in a grey jumpsuit. Her typical jet black hair was tied up in a loose bun secured with slim sticks of purple crystal. She had pale eyes, but their exact shade was impossible to make out in the emerald light. “Identify yourselves.”
“You’ll understand if we don’t want to give names,” said Astlin. “Our friend was shot in the attack, but his wound isn’t serious. If you’d be kind enough to treat him, we’ll be on our way as soon as he’s mobile again.”
Niz’s colorless eyes darted to Brell, who nodded. “Bring him,” she said before turning and striding briskly back into the ship.
Astlin and her friends followed Niz through close, gloomy corridors to a station about the size of Astlin’s dining room back on Keth. Sterile white lighting activated at Niz’s verbal command, revealing racks and drawers of medical equipment surrounding an examination table. The female Night Gen’s eyes were also shown to be amber yellow.
Will and Serra helped Brell up onto the table. Astlin stood outside so as not to overcrowd the small room. Niz retrieved a box of surgical tools from a drawer, including a pair of shears with which she cut away Brell’s pant leg above the knee. She removed the improvised tourniquet, uncovering the entry wound in his calf.
The medic spoke to Brell in their native tongue as she worked. Since Astlin didn’t wish to telepathically violate the woman’s privacy, all she could glean from the conversation was the weariness and hints of sadness conveyed by Niz’s tone.
After cleaning the wound, Niz took a red crystal rod from the box and waved it back and forth over Brell’s calf. The ragged puncture closed a bit more with each pass. She kept talking to him but suddenly lowered her voice, and he raised his in audible anger and shock.
“Does it hurt?” asked Serra.
“It does,” said Brell, “but that is beside the point. Niz was making small talk to distract me from the pain. The conversation turned to her and the captain’s business, and she told me this ship’s destination.”
A chill ran down Astlin’s spine, though she couldn’t have said why. “Where are they going?”
“To Palannar,” said Niz.
It took Astlin a moment to place the name, but when she did, her apprehension deepened. “That’s the planet where the Guild finally crushed Almeth Elocine’s Resistance.”
Niz didn’t look up from her work. “Yes. It is where my people’s long exile began.”
“Why would you want to go there?” asked Will.
“To answer the Ship Master’s call,” said Niz.
Serra’s brow furrowed. “The Ship Master? I’ve never heard of him.”
“Your people fought long and hard to return from the outer darkness,” said Astlin. “Will asked a good question. Why go back to a sphere that holds such bad memories?”
“Because the reward for our long hard struggle turned out to be hollow,” said a guttural male voice to Astlin’s left. A burly male Night Gen dressed similarly to Niz approached the infirmary from down the hall. His hair was trimmed down to a dark bristle that caught the green light like an emerald halo.
“This is Vantse,” said Niz, “the captain of the Emat,”
“For now,” said Vantse. “Soon I will be the master of my own world, as Aesham Daeva has promised.”
The name drove a cold spike of fear into Astlin’s heart. “Aesham Daeva?”
“He is the Ship Master who waits at Palannar,” said Vantse. “The Night Tribe spent millennia plotting to reconquer our rightful home from the Steersmen’s Guild. When we finally returned, there was no longer a Guild to fight. Instead we made common cause with necromancers and fiends.
        “We bargained with the clay tribe for Mithgar, but without new enemies; new conquests, my people lost all ambition. Our birth rates have collapsed. More of us have succumbed to suicide than to war in the past two centuries. Mithgar is a tarnished prize, but the Ship Master offers all who would join him worlds of their own.”
        An expectant look passed between Brell and Niz. Vantse lowered his eyes.
        Every fiber of Astlin’s being urged her to steer the Night Gen away from their chosen course. “Whoever he is, this Aesham Daeva can’t give you new worlds. Zadok wouldn’t allow it.”
        “The Ship Master serves an old god more ancient and powerful than Zadok,” said Niz. “He assures us the All-Father will not interfere.”
        “Even if that’s true,” argued Astlin, “you’ll eventually get just as tired of your new worlds as you are of Mithgar. But there’s another world—another creation in the light beyond the Nexus. If you can reach it, you’ll be given your own souls apart from Zadok’s. You’ll be truly free.”
        Niz packed up her medical kit and turned away. Vantse kept staring at the deck plates. Only Brell met her eye.
        “Please,” said Astlin. “Don’t go to Palannar. Aren’t souls worth more than worlds?”
        Silence fell. At length, Vantse broke it. “We have taken on supplies, and we had planned to leave for Palannar at dawn. Instead we will leave tonight.” He looked to Brell. “You are welcome to join us, brother.”
        The captain’s words struck Astlin like a blow to the stomach. “I’ll go check on Tallon,” was the only excuse she could give for her sudden need to flee the ship. Will came after her. A moment later, so did Serra. The three of them descended the boarding ramp and found Tallon smoking a cigar in the brisk night air.
        “What happened to Brell?” Tallon asked. “Don’t tell me he didn’t make it.”
        Astlin struggled for words against the strange turmoil in her soul. As it turned out, she didn’t have to.
        “Here,” Brell called from the top of the ramp. He strode down to join the others with only a slight limp in his step.
        Astlin’s spirits rose. She nodded toward the Emat. “Aren’t you going with them?”
        Brell’s blue eyes stared into hers as if he saw a compelling riddle reflected there. “I know the desolation of which Vantse spoke, and I have never believed in anything—until now. You know the Kings’ Road. Guide me. Save my soul.”
        Astlin took the Night Gen’s hands in hers. “I promise,” she said.
        The boarding ramp retracted. With a deep hum, the Emat rose up and vanished into the night sky.

There are still some slots open for advance reviewers. If you'd like a free eARC of The Ophian Rising and are willing to leave an Amazon review on launch day, send me an email by clicking the button at the top of the left sidebar.

If you haven't read Nethereal, Souldancer, and The Secret Kings yet, now is the perfect time to get caught up on this exciting, action-packed, and often chilling series.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

2017/11/15

China Syndrome

Fake science fiction blog File 七百七十 tries to amuse its Chinese bot audience by training its patented brand of menopausal trolling on Richard Paolinelli, author of the Nebula Award-nominated book Escaping Infinity.

But Richard ain't having it.
ChinaMike – called that because the great Larry Correia exposed ChinaMike’s website as being propped up by traffic from Chinese Web Bots that made up 92% of his website’s visitors – decided I needed to be destroyed because I had the nerve to send a free book to a ComicCon in Wisconsin as part of a free giveaway for attendees after the Con’s Guests of Honor bailed out at the last minute.
I even tried to bury the hatchet with him – sent him a free copy of my book too – and he quickly called me a liar. Apparently, he recently added a “little weasel” (e-mailed to my friend Oscar who pointed out the flaw in ChinaMike’s attack) to the list of insults he wants to hurl my way.
For the most part, I’ve moved on. But not ChinaMike. Give a look at a screenshot from his website (no links to that haven of vile scumbaggery):
Richard Paolinelli - Escaping Infinity screenshot

Here we see a rare spectacle: the proprietor of File 七百七十 has wedged his head so far up his own digestive tract that he's collapsed into a black hole of white beard hair and Ensure:
He [Richard] often tweets about his Dragon Awards finalist Escaping Infinity, but yesterday's tweet also identified it as a Nebula nominee.
So what's that supposed to mean? Everyone knows his book wasn't a Nebula finalist.
It means exactly what you're cattily insinuating: that Escaping Infinity received at least one nomination for a Nebula Award but didn't make the final ballot. Any SFWA member with Nebula voting eligibility can nominate a book. If a book gets at least one nomination, it's a Nebula nominee. If it's one of the six most-nominated books in its category, it goes on the final ballot and becomes a Nebula finalist.

A blogger with such long experience in SFF fandom should know how the Nebulas work, as should his blog's human readers. The Chinese bots are excused.

But let's give the botmaster the benefit of the doubt. Did Escaping Infinity get any Nebula noms?
FACT: Escaping Infinity received multiple nominations from SFWA members for Best Sci-Fi Novel. Thus making it a nominee.
FACT:  It did NOT receive enough nominations to make it to the Finalist stage – it did so for the 2017 Dragon Awards I might add – and I have so noted on the page and in the ad I recently re-ran that it was a nominee (non-finalist).
FACT: Escaping Infinity is a 2017 Nebula Nominee (non-finalist).
For those keeping score. China Mike posted the equivalent of:
Nancy Kerrigan often talks about her 1994 Olympic silver medal, but yesterday she called herself a 1992 Olympic medalist.
So what's that supposed to mean? Everyone knows she didn't win the silver medal in 1992.
Yes, File 七百七十's trolling of Richard actually is that retarded. And the flimsy attempt at plausible deniability where China Mike rhetorically asks "what's that supposed to mean?" becomes retroactive projection.

What it really means is that Dr. Robotnik was particularly unimaginative and lazy that day.

Being an astute fellow not given to suffering hamfisted bullshit, gives the proper response:
I have not misled anyone.
But you, shitposter, have and I am fed up with you.
Do not ever again link to my website, screen capture my website or attempt to archive my website. Do not ever print my name, or refer to anything I have ever written or will write in the future, ever again. You are not a journalist. You have no 1st Amendment protections here. If you ever slander me again I will sue you straight into bankruptcy court by the end of the week. 
China Mike: passive-aggressive guardian of a gate whose surrounding wall has long since crumbled.

Brian's characters are as interesting as Nick Cole's.

2017/11/14

Case in Point

Pursuant to yesterday's post on the internal contradictions that have left Conservatives powerless to fight the culture war, I present the following tweets:

Jon Del Arroz - MAGA 2020

That's author Jon Del Arroz tweeting about National Review Online writer Kevin D. Williamson's response to MAGA 2020 and Beyond from Superversive Press.

Kevin D. Williamson

If Williamson's name rings a bell, it's probably because of the notorious NRO piece he wrote last year wherein he asserted that working-class white people "deserve to die".
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
I used to think that establishment Conservatives were simply conditioned to dismiss pop culture and the arts by an excessively pragmatic, utilitarian ideology. But the more diabolical enmity they show toward they people they claim to serve every election year, the more convinced I am that their retreat from the culture war is deliberate.

Consider Williamson. He made it big in Conservative, Inc. But he's still ashamed of his blue collar Texas roots. He knows, as does anyone who hasn't been in a coma for the past 50 years, that the arts and the media are the levers that steer the culture. He didn't pass on the chance to promote a work of non-Leftist fiction because he thinks fiction is useless. He and the rest of the Conservative establishment know that novels, movies, and TV shows are incalculably more influential than any think tank white paper.

Establishment Conservatives don't want real change. They want the game of musical chairs in Washington that passes for our system of representative government to continue as is indefinitely. They want to pretend to oppose the ever-advancing Leftward slide while doing nothing of substance and getting invited to all the right cocktail parties.

In short, they want to lose.

We want to win, and make no mistake--we are winning. And that scares the hell out of people like Kevin D. Williamson.

If the barbarians on the Left win, they'll write the history books. More likely, there will be no histories because written language, along with all other marks of civilization, will vanish from the earth forever, as if they had never been. That is Williamson's hope. He wants his name to be forgotten.

But if we win, he and his fellow establishment quislings will go down in history as the wretched betrayers of Western Civilization they are.

Let's make them famous. Forever.