2016/05/30

Declan Finn's Public De-Pantsing of Captain America Writer Nick Spencer

Joker vs Red Skull

Do read Declan Finn's merciless fisking of the latest hack whom Marvel Comics has tasked with desecrating one of their iconic characters.

A sampling of highlights:

It’s a really funny thing, there was not an enormous amount of debate about the story. We do our creative retreats and this was a major subject at both of the last two. And honestly, that was a little surreal for me as well. Everybody seemed really into the idea and really supportive. I know that I went into the first [retreat] really expecting to have to fight for it and for there to be pushback, and there was very little. We had a luxury though, I could lay out the whole story for them. What everybody got today is obviously just sort of an opening chapter. I was able to kind of explain the whole thing and put it all into context. I’m as excited about this story as anything I’ve ever done in comics. I think we’re onto something here. And certainly in the room it seemed to go over well and that’s always a really encouraging sign.
In short: "No. They ran out of ideas too."

Daily Beast then softballed it with "Where did this new idea come from and why did a change of this magnitude feel necessary for the series?"

New idea. Bah. You could tell that this guy is a newb. Making the good guy into the bad guy is about as new as Oedipus. In fact, it's even less original than that in comics. Don't believe me? Look up DC's Injustice universe, where Superman is a villain.

It almost happened by chance, really.
"You see, the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror was on the television, and ...."

Finn correctly calls out the creative bankruptcy which, even more than partisan zealotry or cynical greed, motivated Nick Spencer's retconning of Captain America as a Nazi mole.


So I started to kind of drill it down a bit and I started wondering, what if there’s just one Hydra plant? What if they think they’re looking for a hundred people and it turns out there’s just one really good one? And if there’s just one really good Hydra plant, who would that be? Within a second, I realized that Steve was by far the person who could do the most damage. He’s the leader of the Avengers, he has a relationship with the U.S. government, and he works closely with SHIELD. Not to mention just his status in the Marvel universe—he’s a symbol, everyone trusts him, everybody looks to him as an authority.
So, in short, you took the Secret Wars premise of "The shape-shifting aliens Skrulls have infiltrated the planet by impersonating superheroes," and instead of Skrulls, you just replaced it with "Hydra," and boiled it down to one hero.

You are the biggest, most unimaginative hack in the universe, aren't you?

Spencer's most damning admission comes when he brags about getting zero pushback on his "Cap Was a Secret Nazi All Along" story pitch. The fact that his colleagues and superiors at Marvel greeted the sacrifice of their most beloved character to the blind idiot PC gods with glee instead of disgust proves definitively that the House of Ideas is:

a) out of them

and

b) run by soulless ghouls whose utter lack of creativity leaves them incapable of engaging with art in any way other than destroying it.

2016/05/29

Geek Gab: Apocalypse

On this episode of Geek Gab, we discuss the new Marvel mutant universe film Wolverine 9 X-Men: Apocalypse.

Listen as Daddy Warpig, John, and I nitpick all of Bryan Singer's directorial decisions and almost get sucked into a debate about which is the best Iron Man film (correct answer: Iron Man 2).

Check out what may be the geekiest episode of a show that already brings you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of geekiness.




2016/05/25

John C. Wright's Iron Chamber of Memory

John C. Wright - Iron Chamber of Memory

The mystery of an island where the past never ended.

Riddles in an ancient house whose doors remain locked; not to keep thieves out, but to keep ghosts in.

A quest for the Holy Grail, and a love triangle worthy of Arthurian legend.

Murder plots, skin changers, cases of mistaken identity, and meditations on memory and storytelling itself--all of these things, and many more, reside within the Iron Chamber of Memory.

Every writer has a deeply personal project--a labor of love written not under contractual obligation or an editor's deadline, but at the muses' direction. All too often, commercial pressures relegate such convention-defying works to obscurity in lower desk drawers and forgotten shoe boxes in the backs of closets.

Luckily for us, John C. Wright submitted his trunk novel to the fine folks at Castalia House, who have published it to high acclaim.

Whatever you're expecting from Iron Chamber of Memory going in, know that the book will deliver on your expectations, plus myriad others you never knew you had.

Craving a romance about lovers desperate to overcome the insurmountable obstacles keeping them apart? Wright has dreamed up the most creative and diabolically clever source of conflict I've ever heard of in that genre.

Looking for a mystery set in a medieval mansion on a remote island fiefdom that turns on masterful misdirection, ingenious plot twists, and philosophical pondering on the nature of memory to shame Christopher Nolan? Iron Chamber of Memory will keep you turning pages long past bedtime.

Do you seek something more profound--answers to why heaven allows evil to reign on earth, or how mercy can coexist with perfect justice? Wright's novel treats these questions as seriously as any work by C.S. Lewis while maintaining the integrity of the story as story.

It's rare for a book that combines so many genres to achieve such a satisfying result. A major reason why Wright excels where countless others manage only mediocrity is that he didn't set out to create a genre mashup. He wrote as the spirit moved him and left the genre labels to his publisher.

Describing Iron Chamber of Memory much further is difficult without risking spoilers. I can mention other books that this one reminded me of, including The Sorcerer's House by Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and Lovecraft's Dream Cycle. Yet here, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

To indulge in a bit of brazen flogging, the mood, themes, situations, and symbolism found within Iron Chamber of Memory reminded me of my own book Souldancer. Any connection may not be entirely coincidental, since Mr. Wright's wife also edited my novel.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Iron Chamber of Memory by John C. Wright to any lover of Gothic romance, preternatural mysteries, or historical fiction who also appreciates the higher Mysteries of supernatural love and atonement.


@BrianNiemeier

2016/05/23

BOOK BOMB! After Action Report

bomb

As far more people than I'd expected are aware, superstar author Larry Correia held one of his celebrated BOOK BOMBS for my debut novel, Nethereal.

Obligatory BOOK BOMB! Explanation: For those who are unfamiliar with Book Bombs, how it works is that Larry picks a book, usually by a new writer, and encourages all of his fans to buy it from Amazon on the same day. This mass influx of sales drives the book's rankings to ever loftier and more rarefied heights. As a result, the book finds lots of new readers and the author GETS PAID!

Lots of folks have been asking me how my BOOK BOMB! went. To be honest, the aftershocks are still being felt. Nevertheless, I can now share some details about the initial impact on Wednesday.


By the numbers
Larry kicked off the BOOK BOMB! late Tuesday night. Here's what Nethereal's Amazon numbers looked like when the festivities commenced:

NETHEREAL Starting Ranks:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,367 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #723 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #1129 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #1555 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,369 in Books
  • #1581 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
All things considered, that's a pretty strong starting position. It's about 20,000 places higher than Bad Penny by John Brown (remember: when it comes to Amazon ranks, higher is worse). I mention John's book because its BOOK BOMB! performance is the most similar to Nethereal's among novels in a series.

Bad Penny John Brown

Now that we've established the starting point, where did my book finish?

NETHEREAL Best Rankings:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418 Paid in Kindle Store
  •  #4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #5 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #13 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror
This is absolutely earthshaking, and I'll tell you why.

First, as you can probably tell, I did my homework. By my calculations, the normal effect of a BOOK BOMB! is to reduce a book's ranking by one degree of magnitude. That in itself is awesome.

Not only did Nethereal enjoy double that effect, the drop in rank by almost 56,000 places and its best ranking of 418 makes it the fourth most successful BOOK BOMB! I could find records for.

Book Bomb! Top 10
Source: Amazon ranks published at monsterhunternation.com
I'm deeply grateful to everyone who helped get Nethereal so high on that list. We showed that my readers can roll with some of the heaviest hitters out there.

Then there's the small matter of my Amazon author rank.

Amazon author rank - Brian Niemeier

Thanks to you guys, for one day I was the 28th best selling horror author in the world. I outsold every Stephen King book in that category except for Misery.

Yep. I'll take that :)


Follow the money
Let's get down to brass tacks. What everybody--especially other authors--want to know is, "How much is a BOOK BOMB! worth?"

I'm not trying to weasel my way out of giving a direct answer; I will point out that the answer varies based on several factors, including cover price, royalty rate, whether you've got to split the loot with an agent, etc.

However, this should give you an idea of the awesome power of a BOOK BOMB!

In the week leading up to the event, I was averaging eight sales a day (a figure which I'm sure was boosted by pre-BB announcements).

Yeah, Wednesday's sales exceeded the average by more than a factor of 75.

Considering how my books are priced, and taking into account that I get a 70% royalty rate, each sale earns me around two bucks, which is actually pretty decent.

As the Lord of Hate hath prophesied, the BOOK BOMB! sales boost is still going. All told, I'll make out with a total windfall equivalent to a standard advance for a first-time author.

Except my royalty rate is 5.6 times higher than that hypothetical new author's, I don't have to give fifteen percent to an agent, and I don't have to pay it back :)

Instead I can invest the profits in my business. Soul Cycle Book III is gonna need editing and a nice cover, after all. Plus, I'm cooking up some plans for other projects. Keep watching this space.


In conclusion
Next month marks my first anniversary as a self-published novelist.

When I first started out, I had no idea if my book would break even, never mind turn a profit. For that matter, I didn't know if anyone would buy them at all.

I'm thankful to my readers for making me sell twice as well as most indie authors even before the BOOK BOMB!

I'm prostrating myself in awe before Larry Correia and the Monster Hunter Nation for multiplying that success by almost ten times!

Special thanks to my author friends who boosted the BOOK BOMB! signal, including Russell Newquist, Mike CernovichVox Day, John C. Wright, Declan Finn, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Nick ColeJeff Duntemann, my Sci Phi Journal editor Jason Rennie, and my Geek Gab cohost Jasyn Jones.

And of course, thanks to my family and friends who supported me.

The ride's just getting started.


Nethereal - Brian Niemeier


Follow me on Twitter: @BrianNiemeier


2016/05/21

The Rageaholic: Geek Gab Episode 54

Join your hosts Daddy Warpig, John, myself, and our special guest star, Razorfist of the Rageaholic vlog, for a super-sized episode of Geek Gab!


In this very special episode, the famed Rageaholic holds forth on the AVGN Ghostbusters controversy, Microsoft's stupidity, and #NotAtMyTable; presents his theory for why SJWs tried to invade gaming, and reveals his favorite Battletech mechs!

Bonus: John finally gets to discuss the Street Fighter series with Razor.

And of course, I plug my recently BOOK BOMBed horror/SF novel Nethereal.

Nethereal - Brian Nimeieer

I'll be honest. This is our best episode since the legendary Larry Correia interview. Except everything actually worked this time, so we didn't have to patch Razor in on DW's cell phone. That might put this installment over the top!


Follow me on Twitter.
My Amazon author page

2016/05/17

Nethereal BOOK BOMB!

I'm proud to announce that today I'm joining forces with best selling author Larry Correia to BOOK BOMB! my breakout SF-fantasy novel Nethereal.

Nethereal Brian Niemeier

What is a BOOK BOMB? I'll let Larry explain:
For those of you unfamiliar with Book Bombs, what we do is pick a good book and a deserving author that could use a publicity boost, and then all purchase their novel on the same day on Amazon. Since Amazon updates its sales rankings with this rolling average algorithm, the more books bought on the same day, the higher it gets in the rankings. The higher it gets, the more new eyes see it, and the more new readers the author is exposed to. Success breeds success, and most importantly the author GETS PAID.
In this case, the lucky author is me :)
I’ll actually be posting the Book Bomb post the night of the 17th, because it appears that Amazon now has about a ten hour delay before the sales register. Gone are the wild west days where a book would begin climbing an hour after the Book Bomb started, and it isn’t nearly as awesome to hit the peak at 2 AM when most people are asleep and won’t see it.
You might be wondering how Larry selects books to bomb. Here are his stated criteria:
Why did I pick Brian for this month’s Book Bomb? First, I really liked the book. Second, he’s just starting out, and he’s a super nice guy.
Thank you, Larry! I'm honored to be lavished with such high praise from an author as accomplished as yourself. Your manatee will be released on schedule at the agreed-upon site--which is a relief, because he's halfway through my last drum of Cheetos.

Anyway, welcome, members of the Monster Hunter Nation and all readers who've taken an interest in the BOOK BOMB! Here's a foretaste of what Nethereal has in store.


About Nethereal

A woman like no other who longs for acceptance.
A precision killer inspired by the dream of his captain.
The last member of a murdered race, fighting to avenge his people against the might of the Guild…and the dark powers behind it.

The Sublime Brotherhood of Steersmen holds the Middle Stratum in its iron grip. Jaren Peregrine, last of the Gen, raids across fringe space with Nakvin—her captain’s best pilot and only friend, apprentice steersman Deim, and mercenary Teg Cross.

Hunted by the ruthless Master Malachi, Jaren and his crew join a conspiracy to break the Guild’s monopoly with an experimental ship. But when its maiden voyage goes awry, the Exodus flies farther off course than its crew could have imagined.


OK. You know about the book. Larry has recommended it. Get over to Amazon and buy it!

And for those who already own Nethereal, the even better sequel Souldancer is on sale now for $2.99.

Souldancer Brian Niemeier

Thanks again to Larry and everyone who's helped to make this BOOK BOMB! a success.

NETHEREAL Starting Ranks:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,367 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #723 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #1129 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #1555 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,369 in Books
  • #1581 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

1ST UPDATE:
  • #10,011 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #194 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #240 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #313 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror
You guys are amazing! Keep up the good work.


2ND UPDATE:
Now you're getting serious!
  •  #4,299 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #80 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #97 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #139 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror 
Let's keep going! We can get down to three digits. I believe in you!


3RD UPDATE:

  • #1,725 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #24 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #26 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
  • #48 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror

Outstanding work! When we get Nethereal into the category top 20s, we'll get a lot more eyes on it.


4TH UPDATE:
We've cracked the top 20 in Space Opera. Praise Jesus!

  •  #1,109 Paid in Kindle Store
  • #17 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #18 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #33 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror

5TH UPDATE:
You did it!

  • #476 Paid in Kindle Store
  •  #7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #7 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera 
  • #14 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Horror

Alright, Nethereal is in Amazon's top 500 overall, on three categories' top 20 lists, and among two categories' top 10.

There are no brakes. I have no idea where we'll end up. Anything could happen!

2016/05/15

Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich

Gorilla Mindset

Western civilization is teeming with men who've grown up with weak or, increasingly, absent fathers. Meanwhile, consumerism breeds ever greater atomization, destroying the very concept of friendship.

A serious danger of this deepening isolation is that once-common knowledge and skills are no longer being handed down from one generation to the next. Nor are they shared among peers. The result is at least two generations of men who are helpless against the manipulations of media hucksters, corporate shills, government stooges, and false friends.

The multitude who chase conspicuous consumption instead of spiritual fulfillment, passive entertainment instead of physical and intellectual challenge, and codependent exploitation instead of healthy, mutually beneficial relationships, raises the question of whether it's the endgame of some diabolical plan.

The truth is that most of us--especially those we'd consider the most successful--have succumbed to a vicious mindset imposed by our would-be rulers in the media, the major political parties, and academia. Even worse, the breakdown of generational and peer-based support means that we're pretty much on our own.

Or we were, until Mike Cernovich showed up.


The power of mindset
Mike has won success in fields as far-ranging as law, blogging, podcasting, and now indie publishing. His book Gorilla Mindset was the most successful nonfiction book launch of 2015.

The secret of Mike's success is mindset--the mental filter that governs our engagement with, and understanding of, our environment.

Most people's mindset is dictated by external forces and their own unregulated passions. It's vital to understand this fact. Marketing firms, politicians, professors, and celebrities sure do. They pull our heartstrings to bypass rational scrutiny and easily mold our opinions.

In Gorilla Mindset, Mike offers simple, actionable methods of placing your emotions and mindset under your control. Like the Stoicism of old, his goal is to help others gain freedom from emotional slavery.


Analysis
What separates Gorilla Mindset from other advice books is the author's refreshing honesty and self-awareness.

Sharp readers might observe that someone so familiar with emotional persuasion techniques could just as easily use them for his own selfish ends. Mike acknowledges this fact and explains his marketing approach with surprising transparency.

Some use the power of persuasion to lock their audiences in mental chains. Mike offers the key to their shackles. Could he make more money by turning to the dark side? Absolutely, but he also knows that betraying his readers to get rich is merely another path to self-enslavement.

Other self-help books claim to set out a comprehensive life plan that readers can't deviate from even one iota. Gorilla Mindset is far more realistic. Mike understands the differences between individuals and dismisses the fantasy of a one size fits all solution. He invites readers to try the techniques he suggests, adopt what works, and discard what doesn't.

Neither does Mike claim that Gorilla Mindset is a magical panacea that works without the reader's agency. Instead, he clearly states that success requires commitment and accountability.


Conclusion
More times than I can count, I've wished that a wise, experienced mentor had taken me aside and explained how the world really works.

Reading Gorilla Mindset is the next best thing. From powerful techniques for improving one's mood, focus, and productivity; to advice on diet, exercise, and personal finance, the information Mike dispenses could help many young men avoid considerable frustration and financial hardship down the road.

It certainly would've spared me a world of hurt. Luckily, it's never too late to learn.

The most dramatic benefit I've gained from reading Gorilla Mindset is the ability to get up and get going at any time I want. Waking up on time may not seem like a big deal, but having lived with insomnia, wildly irregular sleep patterns, and chronic sleep deprivation since adolescence, regaining control of this basic biological function has been highly liberating.

Of course, I've got a couple of gripes with the book. I could hardly call myself a unique individual if I didn't.

First, I'll address the elephant in the room: price. I actually referenced Gorilla Mindset before in my post on eBook pricing. At $9.99, it's priced at the high end of indie books and approaches the paperback-equivalent prices charged by New York publishers.

However, there's a method to Mike's madness. Pricing his book relatively high selects for serious readers and generates demand. His record-setting sales prove that this works.

My only other noteworthy reservation is that the book occasionally flirts with relativism. But this isn't a deal-breaker, since a) instances of "My truth isn't necessarily your truth" clearly just mean "What works for me won't necessarily work for you", and b) Mike is careful to point out that the reader can take or leave any of his opinions. This isn't a philosophy text. It's a practical guide to emotional and bodily fitness.

Overall, I found the book quite helpful.

Gorilla Mindset: How to Control Your Thoughts and Emotions to Live Life on Your Terms is available now from Amazon.

UPDATE:
Mike Cernovich reply
You'll get no argument from me.

2016/05/12

BOOK BOMB! for Nethereal: Wednesday, May 18th

Nethereal Brian Niemeier

Quick but huge update!

International Lord of Hate Larry Correia has decreed a Book Bomb! for my first novel, Nethereal on May 18th.

The way a Book Bomb! works is for as many people as possible to buy the book on Amazon on the same day. That drives up the title's ranking, gets Amazon's algorithm to promote the book, and most importantly, helps the author GET PAID.

Mark your calendar and tell your friends. Nethereal storms Amazon next Wednesday.

2016/05/09

Battle of the B-List Avengers! Geek Gab Episode 52

Join Daddy Warpig, John, and myself for a rousing discussion of a certain recent superhero blockbuster.

Note: the episode's title is more a reflection of Disney's liberality with their copyright claims than any fault in the movie.

Take a listen!


2016/05/07

Captain America: Civil War - A Writing Master Class

Captain America: Civil War

I just got back from seeing Captain America: Civil War, and I wanted to get my thoughts down while the experience is still fresh. So this will be more of a stream of consciousness post.

A two and a half hour master class on writing
Being an author, I can't help but analyse movies in terms of writers' craft. A lot of major films these days are frankly wanting in this regard.

As folks like screenwriter Max Landis have pointed out, Hollywood relies on a formulaic mashup of derivative visuals and sounds, stunt casting, and trend chasing designed to associate each assembly line blockbuster with fond, familiar memories in viewers' minds.


Unlike its increasingly shallow competitors, Captain America: Civil War founds its action and special effects on rock solid writing.

Here are just a few of the masterful touches that elevate Civil War's script above the blockbuster mob:

  • The opening act sets up an intriguing mystery culminating in a big reveal that's genuinely startling--without cheating.
  • Despite featuring every Marvel superhero up to and including Kitchen Sink-Man, Civil War pulls off what no massive comic book crossover flick has yet managed: remaining coherent without feeling crowded.
  • I think I know how the film makers successfully wrangled their massive cast. Where lesser writers/directors would have ground the plot to a halt with exposition on each new character's origin, the Russo Brothers allude to a character's background in his first scene while making sure to clearly state his motivation. Everything else you need to know is deftly scattered throughout the film like breadcrumbs.
  • Therefore, new characterization theory: if front loading a character's origin would bog down the pacing, then give a brief nod to who he is and instead establish what he wants. Make his motivation sufficiently clear and compelling, and you can parcel out the background info later.

OK, but is it good?

Civil War
Yep.

Thanks in no small part to the exceptional writing, Captain America: Civil War meets both defining criteria for a good movie.

  1. It does what it sets out to do.
  2. It generates fun while doing it.

This statement might be premature, but as of right now I have no qualms about saying that Civil War is the best Captain America movie, the best Avengers movie, the best Marvel movie, and possibly the best superhero film yet made.

I'm still digesting what I just saw, and someone will probably come along and name something I forgot in my haste that could arguably be a superior film.

But as things stand right now, I'm trying to think of a better written, more enjoyable superhero flick, and I'm drawing a blank.

Plot and themes
I'll do my best to keep this part as spoiler-free as possible. But if you haven't seen the movie yet, proceed with caution.

First up: the personal liberty vs. collective good dilemma. Both sides are represented well, mainly due to the fact that every character's motivation is firmly established and internally consistent, which evokes audience sympathy for everyone, including...

The real main antagonist: remains a tantalizing enigma until the final shocking act. I wouldn't dream of giving away the surprise. Let's just say that the Russos eclipsed Christopher Nolan's admirable foray into Magnificent Bastard territory from The Dark Knight. Civil War's villain works better, though, because the plot never cheats for him.

Seriously, this guy takes a series of seemingly unrelated actions as mundane as sending a package, checking his voicemail, and ordering breakfast, and he weaves them into one of the most diabolical plots in contemporary film.

Team Iron Man or Team Cap?
Alright, if you insist on pinning me down, I'll climb off the fence and make a statement.

There's no way to explain my decision without spoilers though, so beware.

After thoroughly and conscientiously weighing the evidence, I side with...



Team Iron Man

It all comes down to which side upholds the principle of objectively greater value.

Simply put: Cap argues against signing based on personal freedom. Tony appeals to the greater good.

The flaw in Rogers' argument--and it's fatal--is that freedom is inherently value-neutral. It's like a form of moral currency, which is worth no more and no less than the objective goods it grants you access to.

Cap appeals to freedom for its own sake, which is an empty set. Tony's position, though flawed, wins by default.

General Ross gives a definitive analogy that's never gainsaid on screen: superpowers have comparable destructive force to atomic weapons. Is it really prudent to let private individuals walk around on their own recognizance with suitcase nukes?

Would you have no objection to letting someone with that kind of power anonymously walk into your kid's school unsupervised--even if he only had the best of intentions?

I support Team Iron Man, with one major caveat: giving superhero oversight to an organization as corrupt and inefficient as the UN is hardly less reckless than letting the supers do as they please. So while I agree with Tony in principle, in practice I wouldn't sign the damn thing, either.

What side are you on? Get yourself informed. Go see the movie!

Follow me on Twitter: @BrianNiemeier

2016/05/04

An Interview with Brian Niemeier

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by author Russell Newquist. Russell will be publishing the interview in three parts over at his blog.

The first part is up now. In it I discuss the SF and other works that influenced my Soul Cycle series of novels.

Here's an excerpt from my conversation with Russell:

Where did the inspiration for The Soul Cycle come from?
My influences don’t overlap much with other authors in my genre. I drew inspiration from some classic SF books and films, but the rest is mostly 90s anime, JRPGs, and tabletop RPGs. I’d also be remiss not to credit my otaku and gamer friends for helping me refine my ideas and giving me several new ones (see my books’ acknowledgments).
Which works and authors would you say influenced the series?
In terms of classic SFF: Frank Herbert’s Dune and H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle. Also Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”.
A partial list of other influences includes: Star Wars, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman—especially Season of Mists. Folks have pointed out similarities between Nethereal and Outlaw Star, but I already had the story sketched out before I watched the series.
What was your favorite moment of the series to write?
My series highlight moment is a sequence one-third of the way into Souldancer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lend itself to spoiler-free description. I’ll just say that it’s a confrontation between the dual protagonists, when both characters lay all their cards on the table.
Read the rest of Part 1 here. Parts 2 and 3 to follow soon.

Thank you, Russell, for asking me the sorts of questions that authors love to answer but are seldom asked.


For you readers, the first book in the Soul Cycle, Nethereal, is available on Amazon.

As is its highly acclaimed sequel, Souldancer.

If you like what you read, please follow me on Twitter.

UPDATE: Part 2 is now available here. In this installment, I discuss the genesis of Souldancer.


Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

UPDATE 2: The third and final part of the interview is up. Check it out!
charmander iron man

2016/05/01

The Hugos Burning in the Flames of Controversy: Geek Gab Episode 51

Listen in as I join Daddy Warpig and our esteemed cohost John to discuss the controversy over this year's Hugo nominations.


Hear DW wax poetic about Dr. Chuck Tingle, the most important author of our generation. Then I kill the mood by bringing up traditional SF Fandom's shameful legacy.

Geek Gab Episode 51: You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll Tingle.