I predicted that Goodreads would follow Twitter down the way of the social media dodo almost two years ago. Back then I thought that their admins' lack of integrity would drive away all but a remnant of hardcore SJW readers. Now it looks like base greed might lead to an exodus of authors.


Hat tip to the Pulp Archivist for bringing this development to my attention.

I left Goodreads and never looked back when it became apparent they were fully converged. Their giveaways were useful during the Gold Rush era of indie publishing but had already lost much of their utility by the Wild West stage. Now there's simply no reason to shell out over $100 for a promotion that any number of mailing lists offer at far more reasonable prices and KDP Select allows authors to run every month for free.

If you're an author and you stay on Goodreads after this hamfisted cash grab, you have a severe case of Stockholm syndrome.

Goodreads' admins have signaled that intelligent business practices rank far below enforcing social justice dogma on their list of priorities. Unless Amazon steps in to correct their wayward subsidiary, you can expect much worse in the near future.

Consider Goodreads' terminal convergence reason #2,738,529 to build your own platforms.

In Soul Cycle news, I'll be finishing up revisions on the series' final book The Ophian Rising tonight. If you haven't yet purchased the first three thrilling books in my award-winning series, now's the time!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


Put Up or Shut Up

Upside Down Christmas Tree

As Advent approaches, the Injustice Gamer notes the increasing commercialization and concurrently decreasing observance of religious holidays.
But the celebration of religious holy days and festivals is largely a foreign concept, especially when one looks at the family problems of the day. When kids start seeing all the problems of Christmas and Thanksgiving in coordination at both mom and dad's houses, and want stability instead, the concept is undermined. Yes, further than the materialistic nature Christmas has taken on more and more.
Since family has been destroyed as a concept for many, there's the attractiveness of celebration with friends. And while holy days are indeed appropriate to share in feasting, they've already been poisoned in many minds and hearts. And Halloween in the minds of the nones has nothing to do with faith, after all, it's been associated with witches and horror for ages in pop culture.
One reason why Postmoderns need to perpetually denigrate superior medieval culture is the fact that not only were holy days taken more seriously in the Ages of Faith, there were more of them. Peasants in the Middle Ages enjoyed many more days off than contemporary cubicle slaves.

But of course, we can't mention that since Big Brother needs his tax revenue--the welfare state being another consequence of Christianity's decline in the West. (See the destruction of family above.)

For those who don't understand why Halloween overtaking Christmas as the most popular holiday has major cultural implications, consider that Christmas' prior claim to the top spot is itself an aberration. After all, the holiest day of the year is Easter, not Christmas. Yet most people--even most Christians--are ignorant of this fact.

As renowned folklorist Joseph Campbell observed, myths are how a culture explains itself to itself. And no, Campbell didn't mean "myth" in the Postmodern sense of "falsehood". He was thinking more along the lines of Lewis.

Religious rituals like holidays are how the lessons and spiritual nourishment contained within myths are applied to people's daily lives. Cut people off from the rituals, and you get cultural death.

You might object that Americans still participate in public rituals associated with secular holidays. But that's like saying everything's fine even though there's no more water because there's plenty of New Coke for everyone.

Put another way, there are two Greek words for time. Kairos is sacred time, liturgical time; time that touches eternity. Kairos is when the transcendent touches the mundane and thus when myths break through into people's lives.

Chronos is sequential, earthly time. When you're waiting in line at the DMV, stuck in traffic, or watching television, that's chronos. It's concerned only with the here and now.

What's happened in Western culture is the wholesale denial of any experience of kairos to vast swaths of the population. Even when people think they're keeping the old rituals--buying gifts, throwing big dinner parties, etc.--most of their holiday experience is stuck firmly in chronos. That's by design.

Alfred offers some suggestions for how to revive Christendom's dying traditions. His last point in particular resonated with me for obvious reasons.
We are seeing well written novels come out that respect faith, and "Christian" movies are starting to get the need for less insular audiences as well. Who's missing? The commentators and populizers. But I don't think it's for the same reasons quite as conservatives. Some may be due to ignorance, some due to a rejection of portrayal of sin, which is lying to ourselves. We are fallen, and have redemption only as a gift.
And I have seen many push the idea of reading only old books, and the superiority of old art, etc. But the problem there is, if they won't help with supporting the new works, the restoration they desire will never happen; art needs funding. You want to replace modern garbage with real art? Put up or shut up. Enough with the navel gazing superiority.
Luckily, I'm well placed to offer readers the perfect chance to put up.

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

I couldn't put Nethereal down.


Indie Pub Eras

Wild West

The world of indie publishing is a dynamic market that has undergone dramatic change in a remarkably short time. To better understand this rapidly evolving industry, it behooves us to take a look back at the stages of indie pub's development.


Before Amazon's introduction of the Kindle eReader, traditional publishing was the only viable option in the modern book industry. Back then--only a decade ago--self-publishing meant paying out of pocket to have copies of your book printed up. Usually the author's friends and family members would purchase a few copies out of pity. The rest of the print run would languish in cardboard boxes in the garage.

The Gold Rush

Everything changed with the release of the Kindle in 2007. The first model of Amazon's proprietary eReader sold out almost immediately. Kindle owners were so desperate to fill up their shiny new devices with eBooks, they would buy raw, unedited Word docs, no questions asked. This was the ground floor of KDP, and many authors who got in early made a killing with minimal effort.

The Wild West

The easy money of the Gold Rush days became more elusive over the next few years as the Kindle's novelty wore off and readers got more discerning about their eBook purchases. A large influx of authors led to fierce competition and exacerbated the perennial problem of discoverability.

Savvy authors of KDP's Wild West era developed a strategy of digital bookshelf building to get their brands noticed. This approach involved producing well-written and professionally edited eBooks with eye-catching covers. Greater attention was paid to marketing techniques long used in tradpub such as tantalizing back cover blurbs and product descriptions. Successful authors experimented with pricing to find each book's sweet spot.

What defined the Wild West era of KDP was the widespread belief that success relied on luck. Having a quality book with a good cover was viewed as necessary groundwork for big sales, but actually having a hit title was regarded as a black swan event. All of the top sellers held that pure chance had the final say in which books killed and which bombed. No one really understood how Amazon's algorithm worked, so authors were encouraged to release as many books as possible since each new title was seen as a lottery ticket--another chance to spin the wheel of fate.

Then, within the last six months, everything changed.

The Mature Market

The dawn of a new indie publishing era can be traced to the launch of a single book: Legionnaire (Galaxy's Edge Book 1) by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole. It was Jason and Nick who finally discovered what countless KDP authors had missed since the Kindle's release. They figured out how to beat Amazon's sales algorithm.

According to Nick and Jason there is no luck involved. Successfully selling on KDP is not an unpredictable black swan event. Gold Rush authors ignored the algorithm. Wild West authors tried to fight it. Nick and Jason have learned to beat Amazon's algorithm by teaching it to work for them. And Galaxy's Edge proves their model works. Every book in the series has hit #1 in its category upon release.

The Galaxy's Edge formula is still largely a trade secret, but the authors have revealed that it involves carefully choosing the right genre categories, having the right number of reviews posted to a book's Amazon page at launch, cross-marketing with the right authors, and getting the right sales instead of blindly grasping for the most sales.

Following these and other steps trains Amazon's algorithm to recommend your book to the customers who are most likely to buy it. This method sounds too simple to be real, but many breakthroughs are. Amazon themselves seem to concur since they rewarded Nick and Jason's success by making Galaxy's Edge the Kindle Daily Deal for Cyber Monday.

With the development of this method, indie publishing--which is synonymous with KDP for all intents and purposes--has reached maturity. Contra the Big Five New York publishers, self-publishing is not a fad or a fluke. It is a fully developed industry with its own rules that are now coming to be clearly understood.

Not only is indie not going anywhere, its rise to dominance in the Wild West days will only consolidated now that the market has matured.

The 'Big Five' publishers don't have the nerve for this type of book anymore.


Galaxy's Edge 99 Cent Special

Galaxy's Edge

Best selling authors Nick Cole and Jason Anspach have revitalized literary science fiction with their smash hit Galaxy's Edge series. Amazon have wisely chosen GE as the Kindle Daily Deal, and the authors have wisely decided to capitalize on the momentum by offering each book for only $0.99!

Your read that right. Today only, you can get the entire five-book series for less than five bucks!
From Book 1: The Galaxy is a Dumpster Fire 
A hot, stinking, dumpster fire. And most days I don’t know if the legionnaires are putting out the flames, or fanning them into an inferno. 
A hostile force ambushes Victory Company during a reconnaissance-in-force deep inside enemy territory. Stranded behind enemy lines, a sergeant must lead a band of survivors against merciless insurgents on a deadly alien world somewhere along the galaxy’s edge. With no room for error, the Republic’s elite fighting force must struggle to survive under siege while waiting on a rescue that might never come. 
When you think you’ve surrounded the Legion... you’ve just made your last mistake. 
You're officially out of excuses. Get Galaxy's Edge today!

Already own GE? Good. You have excellent taste. If you're looking for more action and adventure that trades space marines for space pirates, get my award-winning Soul Cycle today and be ready for the final book's December release!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

Incredibly fun, Indie authors are where the excitement is.

[UPDATE]: I was a little late to the party, but my readers will be glad to know that each book of the Soul Cycle is now on sale for $0.99! Nethereal, Souldancer, and The Secret Kings go back to their regular price at midnight, so if you were holding out for a sale to complete your Soul Cycle collection before the fourth and final book's release, now is your best chance to get all three prior volumes.


The Machine


It used to be that an author could rise to a position of some cultural influence. I'm not just talking about inspiring future generations through their books. Think of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King for examples of celebrity authors whose public statements carry a lot of water in certain quarters. They're among the more recent writers to be handed the megaphone. They're also among the last.

Time was, if you happened to pen a breakout novel and the high rollers in New York liked the cut of your jib, not only would they keep cutting you Big Book Deals™, they'd make sure their friends at the trade mags and major newspapers reviewed your books. Meanwhile, their buddies in Hollywood got rolling on the film adaptations, which you'd be slotted to gab about on the daytime talk show circuit.

That's all well and good. Getting talented and profitable authors onto the A list is what publishers are supposed to do. To this day, every writer who signs away 85% of his profits to a New York publisher does so in the hope that they'll make him the next King or Rowling. The fact that publishers don't have that kind of muscle anymore is one of the main reasons why NY publishing is now a scam.

The problem with the old media machine--at least as far as half the country is concerned--is how the machine picked who got the magic carpet rides. If you think they were running a meritocracy where rookies got scouted for the majors based on ability, you haven't been paying attention.

By their fruits shall you know them. King uses his megaphone to agitate for disarming innocent people as atheist Democrats off their meds play DIY Nero. Rowling's work has been embraced by the future cat lady food hive mind as their One Allegory.

Again, that's not an accident.

The Left play to win. Ideological nepotism is a winning strategy, and the Leftists who control big publishing, the news media, and Hollywood have no qualms about playing favorites. Their monolithic in-group preference is why they've been able to push the Overton window ever leftward and thereby frame every national debate for at least 50 years.

For a minute there, it looked like normal people were about to build our own parallel Machine. Now it's pretty clear that's not in the cards. Our side's pragmatism, individualism, and tendency to care about profits--ironically all traits you'd normally look for in successful entrepreneurs--keep us from enforcing the rigid ideological discipline and devotion to the cause over commercial success that's seen the Left march from victory to victory.

If you're a morally and intellectually sane writer who's been waiting for a non-converged publishing, media, and film making apparatus to be put in place before unveiling your literary masterpiece, I've got bad news for you.

Not only is the cavalry not coming, the senior officers got into a big row over who should be in charge. And they can't stop bickering over which direction to ride in. And those who initially led the charge keep having ADD attacks and veering off toward new objectives every time the wind changes. Now the more talented fighters are retiring to take more lucrative and lower profile civilian consulting jobs.

Much like the enlisted men in Apocalypse Now, us grunts are on our own. But there's more than one way to win a culture war. The Lefty media-entertainment complex rode the second gen command and control model to victory. #GamerGate pioneered an even more effective strategy: a decentralized revolt that relies on a standalone complex of individual ops to break the corrupt media.

Authors drew a lucky hand this round. Thanks to Amazon, it's easier than ever to get your book to market and even make a living from your writing--especially now that Nick Cole and Jason Anspach have figured out how to beat the algorithm.

The cavalry ain't comin'. Don't wait to be asked. Don't ask for permission. Go out there and do some damage. We're completely surrounded.The poor bastards can't get away from us now!


Classic Post: Wendell Interview

Wendell the Manatee

Reposted from 01/06/2016

Harvard Business School, the Florida state legislature, and interdimensional insurance agents know him as Wendell T. Manatee: CFO of CorreiaTech. Crusaders against Puppy Related Sadness know him as the spokesmanatee for Sad Puppies. But this aquatic American largely remains an enigma to his legions of adoring fans and whiny detractors alike. The manatee himself recently sat down (actually, he floated inside his giant fish tank at CorreiaTech HQ and called me via Skype) to share some insights on his personal motivations.

BRIAN NIEMEIER: Thank you, Mr. Manatee,  for taking time out from overseeing the Monster Hunter Nation server upgrades to address the public's insatiable appetite for all things Wendell.

WENDELL THE MANATEE: Mewoooooooooooo.

BN: Wow. Eloquent though they are, your printed quotes failed to prepare me for the heart-melting rapture of hearing you speak in person. I am utterly disarmed and profoundly stirred!

WM: Weeeewooooooo.

BN: Hilarious! Such a legendary wit would have been the toast of the Algonquin Round Table.

(Starts laugh-crying uncontrollably.)

WM: Mehwhoooo?

BN: (Finally composing self) Sorry. Just needed a moment. I'm still here.

WM: Fleeeerp. Mehwoo?

BN: To talk about your background, your work with Larry Correia, and your involvement with Sad Puppies.

Not to step on your fluke, but fans might take exception to the term "dork fest".

WM: Foooooooooooo.

BN: With your Harvard MBA and your membership in an endangered species, you were free to write your own ticket. Why manage the finances of a D-list author of explosion porn?

WM: Flooooooo.

BN: So it's all because of Lance Henriksen. Fascinating.

WM: Mehoooowhoooooooooon…

BN: Careful. You know how prone people are to misreading those kinds of comments as threats, and Mr. Henriksen is formidable enough to make Alien 3 almost watchable.

Young Wendell
Even as a child, Wendell was right at home in the public eye.
Back on topic, was there a specific pitch you made that convinced Larry to hire you?

WM: Meeeeeww-oooooo.

BN: Yeah. You can only milk thinly veiled B movie and X-Men fanfic for so long. I tried the same thing with 90s anime and Dune, which barely pays for the movie tickets I need to stay out of the cold. (Indie author pro tip: if you buy one for the first showing, they'll let you stay till closing time. And you can hide in the crawlspace under the screen after that!)

Like I told that derelict who lives in the hobo camp in the woods by the interstate: "Punk, I an't trading no electric blanket for no bag of CVS disposable razors!"

Where was I? Oh yeah. Did you have a vision for breaking out of the niche market for war game nerds and gun nuts?

WM: Mewwwooooo. Moooooo-gurgle gurgle.

BN: Great point. Romance is huge. I'd hop on that gravy train faster than you can say E. L. James if only I understood the physical and emotional bonds that are so popular with humans.

WM: Hoooon?

BN: Aquatic mammals, too. Sorry. Why did Larry veto the shift from gun porn to regular porn? It can't be moral qualms. He's a libertarian.

WM: Meew-whooooo.

BN: I suppose that finding the mandatory female pen name for him would be a daunting ordeal.

WM: Moo.

BN: Let me get this straight. You're saying that you came up with the idea to do Son of the Black Sword!?

WM: (Pauses to take a bite from what resembles a Primanti Brothers sandwich, except the coleslaw seems to be made from iceberg lettuce, waterlogged straw, and ranch dressing.)

Wendell shark-wrestling
Shark wrestling: one of Wendell's many hobbies.

BN: Congratulations. Still, you have to admit that Larry does all the toiling in the word mines.

Let's take a moment to talk about your personal history. You were born and raised in the ocean off the Florida coast. Manatees are renowned for their fierce determination, but yours took you in an unusual direction. You graduated from the Ivy League. where you earned a reputation as a--pardon the expression--party animal. Your exploits on the wrestling team have led some to call you a jock. You've also found time to cultivate world-class skills in Call of Duty.

WM: Fleeeerp.

BN: Yet you've had your share of setbacks: your narrow defeat in the race for your home state's legislature in 2012, losing Time's Person of the Year to the Ferguson protesters, your arrest for slapping a cosplayer, and most discouraging of all, being mistaken for Chris Matthews by a White House aide. Any one of these tragedies would have crushed a lesser man. To what do you owe your unconquerable tenacity?

WM: Mooorr-gurgle gurgle.

BN: (voice breaking) Your sage words have overcome me once again. If your detractors only had ears to hear, this divisive conflict in science fiction would end, and all fans would embrace as brothers. Have you spoken with George R. R. Martin?

WM: (Shakes his ponderous bulk in the negative) Moowhooooo.

BN: Yes, the resemblance to a whale shark is uncanny. It was clearly an honest mistake. I'm sure you can get the restraining order dismissed.

WM: Mehoooowhoooooooooon…

BN: You've become the public face of Sad Puppies. Why associate with that campaign?

WM: Eeeeewhoooo.

BN: I had no idea! People who think of you as a stoic tough guy will be equally shocked and touched by this intimate revelation.

WM: Hoooooon. Gurgle. Gurgle.

BN: With that single remark, you've put paid to every accusation lodged by the puppy-kickers. I stand in awe of your rhetorical mastery!

WM: (Plunges his yawning jowls into a barrel of CHEETOS.)

BN: (Voice raised over sounds of crunching) Thank you, Wendell, for gracing us with this portrait of courage, ambition, and yes, vulnerability. Before we wrap things up, do you have any parting words for our contemplation and enrichment?

WM: (Munching continues unabated until the connection times out.)

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier
Recipient of a Larry Correia BOOK BOMB!
Recommended by Sad Puppies 2016 for Best Novel and The John W. Campbell Award.


Stealing Oscar

Alice Brady

Amid the endless revelations of Hollywood's current moral and creative decay, it's refreshing to look back to the movie industry's Golden Age, when the scandals and intrigues at least had a hint of novelty.

Take the case of Alice Brady, one of the talented few whose career survived the end of the silent film era. The daughter of Broadway producer William Brady, Alice received Academy Award nominations for My Man Godfrey and In Old Chicago. She won Best Supporting Actress for the latter.

Unfortunately, and strangely, Alice was robbed of her award. That's not a figure of speech. Sick with the cancer that would kill her two years later, Brady chose not to attend the award ceremony. Nor did she send someone to accept the Oscar in her place. But that didn't stop the unknown man who emerged from the crowd, accepted the award from the presenter, and promptly disappeared, along with Brady's plaque--Best Supporting winners didn't get statues yet.

Hot tip: if you're ever cleaning an attic and you come across an old plaque that looks like this...

Alice Brady Academy Award

Get that sucker to an expert for appraisal, because it's possible you'll have found one of Tinseltown's long lost treasures. FYI, Alice Brady's name probably won't be on it since the plaque was stolen from the awards dinner itself. The award pictured above is a replacement issued by the Academy.

About the theft itself, Infogalactic states:
At the Academy Award presentation dinner, Brady's Oscar Award, a plaque (statuettes were not awarded for the Supporting categories until 1943) was stolen by a man who came onstage to accept the award on the absent actress's behalf. It was never recovered, and the impostor was never tracked down. The Academy issued a replacement plaque which was later presented to Brady.
Regarding the thief who stole Brady's award, his story isn't all that remarkable. But the twisted tale of how he acquired the means to steal an Oscar is among Hollywood's strangest.

As mentioned previously, Alice Brady suffered from a lingering form of cancer. She kept working for years even while fighting the disease. However, the cancer made her bones brittle, and she endured frequent incapacitating breaks that threatened her career.

Enter Alice's father William Brady. As luck would have it, William's job as a theater producer brought him into contact with a performer who could pull off an uncanny impression of Alice's voice, and with the right Hollywood makeup and wardrobe magic, be made to look like her identical twin sister.

The only complication? The actor who could perfectly impersonate Alice Brady was a dude.

Arthur Blake
As a man, Arthur Blake never rose much above the B list. As a frequent stand-in for Alice Brady, he may have won an Oscar. Late in the production of In Old Chicago, Brady became too ill to work, and Blake stepped in to finish her scenes.

Blake didn't attend the Academy Awards presentation, and his estate contained no Oscar when he died, so he wasn't the thief. He did have an invitation to the ceremony, though, making Blake's live-in boyfriend at the time the most likely culprit. Knowing that neither Blake nor Brady would be there, he may have become the most audacious party crasher of all time by stealing Blake's ticket, accepting Brady's Oscar, and making off with the award.

You've got to admit it, a caper like that is way gutsier than the far more debauched yet more pedestrian antics of Harvey Weinstein.

The 'Big Five' publishers didn't have the nerve for this type of book anymore.


Is Science Fiction Dead?

Failed Rocket Test

Over at the Cirsova blog, editor P. Alexander shares a recent anecdote that may have significant implications for professional science fiction authors.
Action, Adventure, and Romance are stronger selling points than pulp, sci-fi and fantasy. I think that navel gazing explanations of throw-backs, periods, Campbellians, Futurians, the Pulp Rev, etc. will make eyes glaze over and should be avoided. I typically never take it that far, and even mentioning the pulps at all tends to evoke a dead-eyed stare from most folks.
We've known for a while that science fiction is the worst-selling genre.

Author Earnings - Genre Sales

Combining Alex's anecdotal evidence with Author Earnings' hard data, it would seem that "science fiction" as a genre label in book marketing fails to engage the reading public. Does that mean the tropes, style, and ideas associated with science fiction stories are no longer relevant?

I don't think so. The blanket statement "science fiction is dead" is easy to refute by pointing to the popularity of SF tropes and concepts in movies, television, games, etc.

What I do think has happened is that the gatekeepers who usurped the genre in the late 30s have tried to associate "science fiction" with "anti-escapist hard SF" in the public consciousness, and they've succeeded.

This engineered souring of public opinion toward the broad term "science fiction" has had a negative knock-on effect in other SF subgenres. Several best selling authors who write what would have been immediately recognizable as science fiction during the pulp era have told me that their attempts to publish stories billed as space operas have met with little success.

That's despite the fact that space opera is actually the most popular SF subgenre in the world if you count movies and games. It's not that people stopped liking space opera, it's that the gatekeepers memory-holed Doc Smith and Edgar Rice Burroughs, so people don't know what "space opera" means anymore.

Take a couple of currently best selling SF series for example. Nick Cole and Jason Anspach's Galaxy's Edge is the biggest thing since dihydrogen monoxide. Look at the Amazon categories they've got the Kindle edition listed in:

Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > War
Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Men's Adventure

Sure, the print version is listed under Science Fiction, but it's in the Space Marine subcategory, which takes advantage of one of the most popular SF tropes in movies and games.

We see pretty much the same thing when we look at Winged Hussars by best seller Mark Wandrey.

Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Action & Adventure
Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Men's Adventure

The print version of Mark's book is also listed under Science Fiction, but in the Colonization subcategory.

This evidence tends to support my earlier advocacy for carefully choosing the right Amazon categories as a sales tool. The market has shifted away from people actively seeking out books in broad genres. Instead, readers find books by searching for specific keywords, and Amazon's algorithm recommends books based on users' purchase history cross-referenced by KDP subcategory.

On a related note, the penultimate draft of the final installment in my award-winning action/adventure/romance series The Ophian Rising, Soul Cycle Book IV is now complete. It won't take long to make final revisions, after which I plan to test out some of the Amazon subcategory juju I've been researching. I look forward to letting you know how it works post-launch.

Reminder: now is the time to get the first three Soul Cycle books before the final volume's release next month! Also, there are still slots open for advance reviewers, so if you'd like a free advance copy of OR and you're willing to leave an Amazon review on launch day, contact me via the "Send Me an Email" button at the top of the left sidebar.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier



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.


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!


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 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.


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


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.


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.


They're Daft


It's encouraging to see that more and more people are catching on to a fact I've done my best to publish far and wide, viz. that so-called Conservatives have no intention of conserving Western culture.

Superversive SF blogger Dawn Witzke calls out Conservative media figures who complain ad nauseam about the degenerate state of contemporary arts yet will not lift even their smallest finger to improve the situation.
They claim that they want the culture to change. There are a ton of nonfiction books scolding the society for the state it’s in and ranting about how it needs to change. There are commentators on the radio and television going on and on about how horrible things are today in society. Well, what do they expect?
The Right cannot ignore art and literature and then expect the culture to change. Politics alone will not do that. You can’t legislate morality. You have to change society through many different avenues, politics being only one of those.
Or to quote Andrew Breitbart, "Politics is downstream from culture."

A small correction: Conservatives are not, and never have been, of the political Right. Their movement originates from the same Enlightenment Liberalism that spawned the Left. When a Conservative tells you he's a Classical Liberal, he's correct. The problem is that X + ism means "treating X as an absolute".

Liberalism is the absolutization of freedom. If we start from the premise that freedom is absolute, we can't abide any external limitations on the pursuit of individuals' personal preferences while staying internally consistent. That's why Liberalism--yes, especially Classical Liberalism--is inherently progressive.

Conservatives are just Liberals who've found a particular license they don't feel comfortable extending culture-wide. Be it pot legalization, judicially mandated fake marriage, or state-sanctioned infanticide, every self-styled Conservative has found one or more issues that disincline him to treat freedom as absolute--at least in regard to said issue.

But Conservatives still use Liberal language, framing their positions in terms of civil rights, fundamental liberties, and personal choice. This arbitrary picking and choosing makes Conservatism intrinsically incoherent. It's why yesterday's liberal is today's Conservative, and it's why Conservatives always lose.

Back to Dawn:
When you neglect society, eventually, society changed the laws. Which is exactly what has been happening over the past 50 years. We went from a society with cohesive traditional values and work ethic to a hedonistic society where “if it feels good do it” and individuals aren’t responsible for themselves.
So why conservatives think that ignoring culture, art and literature in favor of ranting about politics is going to somehow miraculously change society? They’re daft.
"If it feels good, do it" is the credo of Liberalism. The reason that Conservatives have failed to prevent society's degradation over the past 50 years is the same reason that Lina Inverse failed to defeat the god who created Dragon Slave using that same spell. To paraphrase the spell's creator, "I won't honor your request to help you kill me."
If we want to return to a society of traditional values and morals, we need to focus on art and literature. We need to bring back the class and the morals that used to be intrical [sic] in our society. We need to feed the minds with good solid stories, art, television and movies.
Again, politics is downstream from culture. Later in the same article, Dawn specifies that she's not talking about pushing Conservative message fic, and that's a vital caveat. However, she mentions promoting books that contain conservative values. As we've seen, there are no such things as conservative values. The closest Conservatives get are attitudes, disgust reactions, and postures.

What's truly needed is a culture-wide realization of the fact that Liberalism has been a disastrous mistake, that freedom is not and cannot be an absolute, and that Western Civilization must return to seeking the common good if we hope to survive.

But in the meantime, promoting fun, non-message fic stories couldn't hurt.

My own thrilling SFF/horror series the Soul Cycle is 100% politics-free and available now!

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


Ophian Rising News

Now that my newsletter subscribers have duly received their early look, I'm delighted to share the cover of The Ophian Rising, Soul Cycle Book IV with the reading public. As with the previous three books' stellar cover designs, this cover comes to us from the hand of visionary artist Marcelo Orsi Blanco.

The Ophian Rising - Brian Niemeier

About The Ophian Rising

Dragon Award winner Brian Niemeier’s groundbreaking Soul Cycle reaches its startling conclusion in The Ophian Rising, the highly anticipated sequel to The Secret Kings.

The Zadokim healed the cosmos from the ravages of the Cataclysm, and the survivors made them kings. Now the Ophians, a ruthless insurgent movement, wage a vicious uprising against their immortal rulers’ two hundred year reign.

Xander and Astlin have transformed the desert world of Tharis into the hub of a flourishing trade empire. Their Nesshin subjects spread a new faith promising true freedom in another universe. But when Astlin seeks forbidden knowledge to resurrect her long-dead family, sinister forces exact a terrible price from those she loves.

With the Ophian threat engulfing the spheres and a primeval terror rising from its prison, Astlin must turn to a shiftless gambler, the outlaw squire of a fallen knight, and a mismatched pair of smugglers to escape the ghosts of her past and save all souls from eternal death. But can mortals succeed where even gods have failed?

I'm also pleased to announce that I'll be giving away advance review copies in preparation for the new book's release. All you need to do to reserve your very own Ophian Rising eARC is send me an email agreeing to leave a review on Amazon on OR's launch day. Just click the "Send Me an Email" button at the top of the left sidebar or copy and paste the following address: soulcyclebooks@gmail.com

Those who request an eARC and promise to leave an Amazon review on launch day will receive an advance review copy in mobi and/or epub format as soon as the files are available. The Ophian Rising is scheduled to launch in December, but don't worry. The eARCs will be sent out in plenty of time for everyone to finish reading the book by launch day.

Thanks to all of the advance readers who've graciously agreed to write reviews thus far. If you'd like to get the free advance copy of OR but you haven't read Nethereal, SD ,or SK yet, there's still time to finish reading the series before the final volume's release.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


The Injustice Gamer Reviews Praxis

Praxis - Justin Knight

The Injustice Gamer reviews Praxis, the blue collar workers in SPACE! novel by my friend and editing client Justin Knight.
First, our warehouse workers are fairly realistic. Not all are smart, but they aren't a homogeneous group by any means. There are characters with family, devoted couples, and people just dealing with the daily struggle. The equipment junkie attitude of them being "toys" is pretty accurate from my experience.
Second, we have a redemption arc within the story. I won't go into details, per my general spoiler policy. But the fact that someone can be stuck for a long time, and come to a point where they wish to repent and change and actively do, especially after paying a price. Whereas the SocJus crowd is far more likely to simply excuse behavior and deny evil, unless of course it's in recognizing truth.
Third, there's a story of alien cops and pirates. While this may not be a SocJus trigger, the fact that the lawmen are good guys is.
Fourth, Mr. Knight gives us glimpses of family life and devotion. Not only is it respected, but aspired to by other characters.
As a former warehouse worker himself, Alfred passes along some fair inside baseball-style criticism:
A little bit of real criticism here: I kind of wanted to see more on adjustments to equipment required for zero and low gravity. It would be a real concern, and is almost always ignored by authors. Now, there is some mention of future equipment, as well as a little extrapolation from existing safety/security measures.
Damaged product also gets mentioned, but I saw nothing on inventory integrity. Both of these issues would be HUGE in space. Is it glamourous? Nope. Necessity rarely is. I also know that too much would get boring quick for almost all readers. How many times do you have to count to a thousand?
In the final analysis, the Injustice Gamer awards Praxis by Justin Knight 8 out of 10 fell deeds. Congratulations, Justin; and thanks to Alfred Genesson for his review.

In Ophian Rising news, the finish line is in sight! Newsletter subscribers should be receiving a special message within minutes of this posting. This one's gonna be big!

The Ophian Rising, Soul Cycle Book IV is set to launch next month. If you're not up to speed on the previous three books, there's still time to get up to speed for the final volume's release.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


PulpRev Valediction

Over at PulpRev.com, blogger and writer Bradford Walker bids Godspeed to legendary Castalia House blog editor Jeffro Johnson and yours truly.

Here's Bradford:
We've gotten word that Jeffro Johnson has stepped down as the editor of the Castalia House blog, and that Brian Niemeier has taken leave of Geek Gab, both events coming due to an increase of professional demands upon their time (in addition to other factors).
On behalf of the rest of us here at PulpRev, I congratulate you both on your successes as editor and podcast host (respectively), and wish that both of you enjoy even greater professional success in your new and ongoing endeavors going forward. We here at PulpRev look forward to both of you publishing new and exciting works that build upon your previous literary accomplishments. The return of a culture of fun built on what is true could not happen without both of you doing what you've done (or doing what you're doing), and as such we are all grateful.
Good luck, good hunting, and may God smile on you and yours hereafter in all your doings. Godspeed!
Thanks to Bradford, everyone at PulpRev.com, and all the readers who've voiced their support. I join my voice to theirs in thanking Jeffro for his groundbreaking work. In a few short years, he has earned a place in the storied history of science fiction.

Since Bradford mentioned my future endeavors, I think the time is right to give my loyal readers a small taste of what's next.

Brian Niemeier - The Ophian Rising

P.S. Newsletter subscribers are advised to keep an eye on their inboxes tomorrow for a special announcement and additional exclusive goodies.

And as I've been saying recently, if you've been holding out for the series' completion before jumping on the Soul Cycle, now is the ideal time to get on board. Dedicated readers will be able to finish the first four award-worthy books before the final volume's release.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier