Combat Frame Data: AZC-105A Dragonfly

AZC-105A Dragonfly
AZC-105 Dragonfly

Technical Data

Model number: AZC-105A
Code name: Grand Dolph - Close Air Support Variant
Nickname: Dragonfly
Classification: mass production, transforming close air support combat frame
Manufacturer: Zeklov-Astraea
Operator: Systems Overterrestrial Coalition
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19.2 meters, 21.5 meters with nosecone 
Weight: Dry weight 65 metric tons, full weight 104 metric tons
Armor type: titanium alloy/palladium glass/ceramic composite
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 1906 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 32,000 kg, 4x 21,750 kg; top speed 2605 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 23, 180° turn time 0.88 seconds; legs: top ground speed 194 kph
Sensors: VISOR (Visible & Infrared Scanning Optical Receptor) mounted in head
Fixed armaments: Plasma sword, power rated at 0.47 MW, stored in recharge rack on back, hand-carried in use; x6 cruise missile launcher, shoulder-mounted; x21 pocket missile pod, mounted on arms; x2 hypersonic nuclear missile launcher, leg-mounted
Hand armaments: Grand Dolph machine rifle, loads 70mm graphene-coated tungsten rounds, magazine-fed, 100 rounds per mag, or belt-fed, 1000 round capacity

Fighter configuration

AZC-105A Fighter Configuration

Length: 17.2 meters, wingspan 17.0 meters
Weight: 104 metric tons
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 1906 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 32,000 kg, 4x 21,750 kg, 2x 15,500kg; top speed 3020 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 25
Sensors: VISOR (Visible & Infrared Scanning Optical Receptor) forward-mounted
Fixed armaments: 70mm autocannon, mounted under nose; x6 cruise missile launcher; x21 pocket missile pod; x2 hypersonic nuclear missile launcher - all missiles mounted under wings

General Notes

Zeklov Astraea built the AZC-104 Grand Dolph as the answer to hard-to-kill limited run CFs. The Dragonfly line was their answer to hard-to-kill ground targets and spaceships. The AZC-105A specifically addressed the former.

At first glance, the Dragonfly appeared to be a Grand Dolph packing an alternate weapons loadout. More than one HALO and Wehrbund Bavaria pilot would make that fatal mistake.

The AZC-105 was the first mass-production combat frame to feature a transformation system. Similarly to the XCD-102 Emancipator, the Dragonfly Close Air Support type could shift into a high-speed fighter configuration. The graphene-tungsten bullet-firing autocannon retained from its Grand Dolph roots and the vast arsenal of missiles--including nuclear warheads--it carried made the Dragonfly a nightmare for elite CF pilots and ground forces alike.

Featuring a smart interlocking design, the AZC-105A's missile pods could detach to save weight or for use as handheld missile launchers in CF mode.

Hats off to our fifth CY 40 Second Coming Build-a-Mech backer! To see more awesome reader-designed mechs in action, read Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40!

Combat Frame XSeed: Coalition Year 40 - Brian Niemeier


Everyone Already Home Schools


... so why pay the state to propagandize your kids for an additional seven hours a day?

Author and educator David V. Stewart lodges this objection--among many others--to our schools' pointless habit of assigning children homework.
I think that the benefits to homework are pretty much nil, and it's nothing but negative consequences. But it is a thing which has been so heavily ingrained into the American academic experience, people can't think of not having homework. Parents can't think of their kids not having homework. If their kids don't have homework, then maybe the teacher's not doing enough. Teachers can't think of notgiving kids homework because, "What if somebody judges me negatively for not giving homework?" And of course students don't want homework, but I don't need to say any more about them. 
Well, I think homework is something that is for the birds. I don't think that teachers should give it, and let me give you a couple of reasons why.
So first of all, built into every homework assignment is the claim that the school day is not long enough. There's been some some legislation introduced recently, in couple states I think, to lengthen the school day to like eight or ten hours. And people find this abhorrent. They're like, "No, you can't make kids go to school for ten hours!" 
We already make them go to school for ten hours. They just go to school with the teacher for like seven and a half hours and then with their parents for two hours. So yes, parents of public school kids, you are still engaging in homeschooling because you have to teach them how to do their homework when they come home.
Meanwhile, homeschooling parents finish their kids' entire school day in the time it takes parents of public and private school kids to help them with their homework. Yet homeschooled students have long outperformed their Prussian model counterparts.

David's highly insightful video is well worth watching, especially for any parent who still has kids in the public school system.

The real reason that social engineers and their willing tools like Kamala Harris want to lengthen the school day to ten hours has nothing to do with academics. They want even more unfettered access to your children so that intellectually and spiritually, they may become their children.


Strauss-Howe Revisited


Owing to the sizable number of new readers who probably aren't up to speed on the updated generational theory popularized on this blog, I thought this post would make a helpful refresher.

If you frequent social media and dissident blogs, it's hard to escape the phenomenon of people getting woke to generational differences. Much is made of Strauss-Howe generational theory. Some claim they can predict where the country's heading based on the age of the people in charge cross-referenced with the general cultural mood when those leaders came of age.

Some folks take Strauss-Howe to an extreme, as if it were some kind of generational astrology. For my money, the most significant fruit of generational wokeness has been an increased awareness not of where we're going, but of how we got to the point we're at now.

What was the culture like when your dad was coming of age? How much was college tuition when he went for his BA? What was the state of the economy when he applied for his first real job? The rising tendency of people to ask these questions is important because the memory hole is a central feature of the Left's ideology. When your worldview is based on the airy fantasy of progress, it pays to discourage people from thinking about the past, lest unflattering comparisons be made.

Another key windfall of our enhanced generational awareness has been the rediscovery of previously forgotten generations. For some reason nobody talks about, the mass media have a decades-long habit of tagging certain cohorts with ready-made labels, popularizing the term, and suddenly shoving it down the memory hole. Remember the MTV Generation? Sometimes previously unknown generational divisions are identified, as in the case of Generation Jones.

One such discarded generational label is Generation Y. Bear with me as I go into some depth on the subject, because it's the cohort I belong to, so it's the only one I can speak on authoritatively in detail.

"Generation Y" was to go-to label for the children of younger Baby Boomers and the younger siblings of older Gen Xers. I remember hearing the term frequently until the latter half of the 90s, when some Madison Avenue type came up with the buzzword "Millennial". Both tags existed side-by-side for a while, with Millennials understood as the children of older Xers and the younger siblings of Ys.

Then one day, the term "Generation Y" was stricken from the public record. The decision to sunset that label is especially odd considering that everybody calls the generation following the Millennials Gen Z. Then again, we live in a post-literate culture.

The label is gone, but the people it used to describe are still around. Media types don't know what to do with members of the former Gen Y, so they get lumped in with either Gen X or the Millennials depending on that day's coin toss results. The incoherence of this makeshift solution is obvious when you apply a modicum of scrutiny. There are millions of people born between 1979 and 1989 who are nothing like Xers or Millennials.

These differences come to the fore when you consider each generation's besetting vices. Everyone who takes an interest in generational trends knows the stereotypes. The Greats are diligent but emotionally distant. Boomers are inveterate narcissists. Xers are cynical to the point of paralysis. Millennials are developmentally stunted snowflakes.

For those members of Gen Y who are enjoying a chuckle right now, you're not getting off the hook. If my generation can be said to have a general vice, it has to be that we're collectively naive, approaching the point of obliviousness.

There's an explanation for everything. In Gen Y's case, we grew up largely unaware of what was going on because our elders subjected us to a ubiquitous and extended gaslighting campaign. Our childhoods mostly happened in the 80s, which were the eye of a cultural storm that started in the 60s and is now rending Western civilization stone from stone.

Generation Y came up in an era that still had something like a functioning economy. In terms of race relations, America was as close to colorblind as we've ever gotten and are ever likely to get. If you were in second grade ca. 1988, you didn't think anything of hanging out with the black kid in your group. He wasn't a POC or even necessarily an African-American. He was just Mike.

Millennials never had that experience of minorities. They were indoctrinated with intersectional race theory, which didn't really come in until Gen Y had left grade school. On the flip side of the coin, older Gen Xers remember the urban crime waves and riots of the 70s, even if they're politically on the Left.

While not as spoiled as Millennials, Ys were members of the first generation born after wages froze and mothers were universally ripped from their children to join the workforce. As a result, GenY's parents embraced the practice of bribing their kids to make up for not spending time with them. These payoffs usually came in the form of toys, and it's hard to complain because the best toys ever made were produced in the 80s.

That's not bragging. The mind-blowing quality and variety of playthings that Ys were constantly plied with goes a long way toward explaining why we've been wandering down the primrose path ever since. Getting a new NES cart or going to Chuck E. Cheese for no apparent reason really did make every day feel like Christmas. Gen Y got started on the hedonic treadmill early.

Last but not least, the internet had none of the accessibility or utility for countering the official narrative that it has today. You had your parents' and teachers' word, textbooks, and TV, and that was it. Everything was fine and would continue to be fine.

Surrounding a generation of kids with a false picture of the world produced a whole cohort of sheltered adolescents. We honestly thought things were OK and would keep being OK in perpetuity. The warning signs were hidden from us, ostensibly for our own good.

It's no wonder why Gen X turned out so cynical. They had the personal context to see that the relative peace and prosperity was fleeting, and that the 80s were a small island in an angry sea. They had the advantage of setting out into the real world while Gen Y was still in school, and they got intimately acquainted with reality.

In contrast, I liken the typical Gen Y experience of growing up in America to the harrowing experience of Michael Douglas' character in 1997's The Game. To Gen Y, America's decline felt as sudden as going to bed in a mansion in a gated community patrolled by armed guards and waking up in the trash-filled gutter of a third world shit hole. The transition has been disorienting to say the least, but like Gen X icon Tyler Durden before us, we're slowly realizing what's happened. And we're getting really pissed.


If Conservatives Fought

Crusader LARP

It should be no surprise that we had to wait for the perverts who run Hollywood to implode--while they kept abusing women and children the whole time--when conservative leaders have made it clear that they have no intention of challenging Leftist cultural dominance. The only thing conservatives want to conserve is the cultural Marxist status quo.

Some of you are still in denial or a bleary state of Netflix and football-induced hypnosis, so to drive the point home, I've prepared a little thought experiment. For your consideration, here's what it would look like if conservatives fought to preserve our culture as hard as the Left fights to destroy it.

Republicans would hit Hollywood in the wallet.
Lighting Cigar with $100 Bill

When Democrats are in control of the levers of power, they have no qualms about weaponizing the IRS against their political enemies. This is the most effective tactic on the list. As John Marshall said, the power to tax is the power to destroy.

And as Glenn Reynolds points out, Hollywood has a specific and easily exploitable weakness in this regard.
The first such proposal would be to restore the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s. The campaign to end the excise tax had studio executives and movie stars talking like Art Laffer, as they noted that high taxes reduced business income, hurt investment and cost jobs.
The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two. Deficits are high again, and there's already historical precedent. Of course, to keep up with technology, the tax should now apply to DVDs, downloadable movies, pay-per-view and the like. But in these financially perilous times, why should movie stars and studio moguls, with their yachts, swimming pools and private jets, not at least shoulder the burden they carried back in Harry Truman's day -- when, to be honest, movies were better anyway.
For extra fun, they could show pictures of David Geffen's yacht and John Travolta's personal Boeing 707 on the Senate floor. You want to tax fat cats? I gotcher "fat cats" right here! Repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!
Repealing Hollywood's outdated 20% tax break should be a no-brainer for Republicans (but I repeat myself).

Conservative businessmen would take over the studios.
If the film industry's debauchery isn't sufficient motivation for conservatives to act, Hollywood's nosediving profits definitely should be. After all, conservatives might not care about art, but they're downright fanatical about money, right?

Not when it comes to money plays that involve risking their reputations with the lefty arts crowd. Roger L. Simon notes that conservative investors now have a once in a lifetime chance to buy out the whole film industry in one fell swoop. But they won't.
If conservative investors had any courage, this would be the time to make a hostile takeover of the movie business.  Unfortunately, they don’t.  I know this from bitter personal experience. Wealthy conservatives are delighted to support the Philharmonic, but when it comes to popular culture they turn away, as if afraid to get their hands dirty.
That this is a huge mistake should be obvious.  They have abandoned the culture -- and our children -- to the creepiest people imaginable.  What is going on in Hollywood is far from being just about Harvey. It’s approaching a pandemic. So many previously silent assaulted or raped women are coming out of the woodwork, it seems like a long-belated remake of “Cheaper by the Dozen.” No one knows who will be next or if it will stop at Harvey.
It won't stop at Harvey, and the self-styled moral conservatives who could have stopped it will incur a share of the blame.

Conservative officials would lock up the offenders.
Behind Bars

If officials at the highest levels of law enforcement were serious about protecting our children (how often have we been told to "please think of" them when our betters want to further erode our liberty?), they'd leave no stone unturned in the hunt for the perpetrators of Hollywood's systemic abuse culture. Unfortunately, law enforcement's track record in this regard features a string of Roman Polanskis and Woody Allens.

Conservative patrons would support like-minded artists.
Michelangelo and Pope Julius II

The SJWs defacing pop culture have it made. Lacking appreciable artistic talent, they only need to check the right political and identity boxes to receive plush sinecures in Hollywood, the comic book industry, and traditional publishing.

Making a living in the arts has always been difficult. It's become diabolically so since the conservatives--or at least political neutrals--who used to run the film and publishing industries gave away the farm to cultural Marxists.

Make no mistake. The expulsion of non-Leftist content creators from these industries is the result of a concerted and deliberate effort to squeeze thought criminals out of pop culture. The Left has been allowed to carry out their purge unopposed for so long that the process is all but complete.

The most obvious answer to this problem on the part of wealthy conservatives who complain about the corruption of popular entertainment would be to fund non-Leftist art projects themselves. But again, as Roger Simon mentioned above, conservative donors will gladly support the converged arts but not projects that might upset the Leftists they strive to impress.

If conservatives were as serious about saving the culture as they claim, then wealthy conservatives would fund non-Leftist films, TV series, comic books, novels, video games, and other popular media projects--regardless of whether they turned a profit. Converged companies like Tor Books and Marvel Comics are perfectly willing to take major losses in the service of their crusade to destroy Western culture. Wealthy conservatives' "What's in it for me?" and "I got mine" mantras betray the fact that they don't really believe in the value of Western civilization.

To the struggling non-Leftist creators out there who just wanted to make art and be left alone: No one is coming to help you. We're on our own since, unlike the cultural Marxists working night and day to drive us from the market, our self-professed supporters in business and government are lying about having our back.

It's up to us to help each other sharpen our skills, strengthen our brands, and build audiences. The #PulpRev and the Superversive literary movements are good examples of fledgling mutual support networks of allied artists.

With or without support, continuing to create original, entertaining content is indispensable to salvaging something of Western culture.

I wouldn't ask anyone to do what I'm not willing to do myself. That's one reason why I've been creating fun, lecture-free stories for the past couple of years. If you're starving for unique, thrilling, apolitical science fiction, give my award-winning Soul Cycle novels a shot.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier


Marching From Victory to Victory

Groyper Friend

The Groyper War against the shills in Conservative Inc. continues to buck the trajectory set by previous internet revolts. Like its predecessors, it started organically as a cri de coeur by frustrated youth who've caught on to the fact that organizations which ought to serve their interests are instead treating them like cattle. Unlike Sad Puppies, GamerGate, ComicsGate, etc., the groypers have beaten the odds and landed a knockout punch against their adversaries.

Now They're Talking About It

Contra the kept men of mainstream Conservative news, Don Jr. was not the Groypers' target. Nicholas J. Fuentes, the public face of the movement, repeatedly voiced support for the President's son. The groypers' main objective at UCLA--as it has been since the beginning--was establishment gatekeeper Charlie Kirk.

For those who are unaware of Kirk, he's the big donor errand boy the Conservative end of the Swamp installed to run their campus recruiting scam TPUSA. In that capacity Kirk thumps his chest about supporting Trump, even though as late as 2016 he was saying stuff like this.

astonishing Charlie Kirk

The fact that Conservative Inc. thought they could put a dullard like Kirk in charge of their campus outreach and get away with it highlights how out of touch they are. Much of the credit for the groypers' success is probably due to their opponents' incompetence.

That's not to deny the groypers their laurels for choosing their enemies wisely. From the beginning Fuentes urged his followers to focus their fire on Kirk, knowing that he's the weak link. That strategy has paid off spectacularly, not only humiliating Kirk but setting him up to make a disastrous series of unforced errors.

Kirk actually made the right opening move by initially dismissing Fuentes and the groypers as trolls there to sow mischief at his events. That was the correct response, and we wouldn't be talking about him now if he'd stuck to his guns.

Instead, Kirk let the groypers' uncomfortable questions get under his skin. Shouting down clean-cut young go-getters at a free speech event is a bad look any day. Calling Christian Trump supporters names for asking legitimate policy questions of an organization that claims to represent them drew unflattering comparisons between Kirk and the Left.

By silencing kids who came to his Q&A with tough but fair questions respectfully asked, Kirk stepped right into a classic Xanatos Gambit. He's left himself with only bad choices.

  • Continuing to evade groyper questions outs him as a fraud to more and more people.
  • Answering those questions blows the lid off Conservative Inc.'s anti-American agenda.
  • Rigging the Q&A by profiling attendees and stacking the deck with plants betrays weakness.
  • Cancelling the Q&A calls down all of the negative consequences above, in addition to ceding control of his events to the groypers for all the world to see.
Over the past month, Kirk and his featured TPUSA speakers have tried everything except for giving straight answers to the groypers' questions. They even cooked up some new gaffes by having a comedian deliver a tedious half-hour filibuster, getting a sitting Congressman to endorse infringing free speech, failing the Witch Test, and rewriting a 45-minute speech into a personal attack on Nick Fuentes.

And of course, Kirk topped his shame sundae by taking option 4.

Can't ask questions

Following TPUSA's established pattern of continuing to dig after they've hit the septic tank, Don Jr.'s doxy derided the assembled Christian conservatives for exercising chastity as befits their state in life.

The result? The groypers have gone from being dismissed as insignificant trolls to:

WaPo Number One

There's no getting around it. Fuentes has confounded the armchair pundits who discounted him as a clout hound and led the groypers to a significant culture war breakthrough. It does appear he's finally cracked the cipher that's bedeviled dissident movements these past five years.

And it's not for lack of fierce opposition. TPUSA, Conservative Inc. mouthpieces, the mainstream media, and even Antifa joined forces to break the groyper offensive.

The groypers found themselves targeted by news blackouts, doxxing attempts, and smear campaigns--any one of which easily could have sent them the way of the Tea Party. Yet the attacks rolled right off them like water off a frog's back.

Here's my analysis of how the groypers succeeded where everyone else failed.

  1. A clearly defined positive ethos: Too many past movements have simply been lists of grievances. The groypers are unambiguously Christian American patriots.
  2. Strong undisputed leadership: In sharp contrast to the "no leaders" directive that quickly splintered GamerGate into anti-SJW vs. Ethics Only camps, Nick Fuentes has claimed the title of Groyper Supreme Leader. He has a small cadre of generals who advise him on strategy, but ultimately Nick directs the Groyper War through his America First show and social media.
  3. Real-world impact: This was a major coup for the groypers. Nobody before them figured out how to take their internet mojo into meatspace without the whole affair degenerating into a clown funeral. Their success probably stems from the next point ...
  4. Wise choice of targets: Whereas other dissident groups tried to fight the Left's fortified positions head on, the groypers chose to attack a softer target--the Left's housebroken Conservatives. 

This last move was brilliant because it takes two to control the Overton Window. For fifty years, the Left's game has been to keep pushing the allowable limits of public discourse ever leftward while employing Conservative gatekeepers to offer token resistance. The Gunga Din Cons always give in, and the result is a ratchet effect which moves the culture gradually yet inexorably to the Left.

Now the groypers are successfully exposing Conservative Inc.'s scam. TPUSA--a major arm of that scam--was just publicly discredited in front of the President's son. They'll almost certainly be replaced with a new "patriotic pro-Trump" campus group, as Kirk's bumblers replaced YAF, but no matter. Since Kirk plunged Conservative Inc. into Fuentes' no-win scenario, the groypers need only stay the course to similarly destroy each new bowtie-wearing neck of the hydra.

The endgame would be replacing Conservative Inc. shills with genuine Christian nationalists typified by the groypers.

Imagine if instead of engaging in kabuki theater with retrograde versions of themselves from 2004, the Left had to contend with opponents who unflinchingly demanded an end to immigration, the overturning of Roe v Wade, and the outlawing of no-fault divorce.

We can dare to dream, thanks to a plague of cozy frogs.


Combat Frame Data: GCD-02 Heavy Armor Gemini

GCD-02 Heavy Armor Gemini

GCD-02 Heavy Armor Gemini

Technical Data

Model number: GCD-02
Code name: Gemini
Classification: general purpose heavy armor combat drone
Manufacturer: Lunar Underground
Operator: HALO/Lunar Underground
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: x2 integrated strong A.I.
Height: 24 meters
Weight: 182 metric tons
Armor type: "1D" carbyne laminar armor 
Powerplant: x3 cold fusion reactor, max output 1796 KW, 1727 KW, and 276 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 36,615 kg, 2x 20,000 kg, 4x 36,615 kg, 4x 20,285 kg, 2x 25,000 kg, 2x 11,750 kg; top speed 3000 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 48, 180° turn time 0.82 seconds; legs: top ground speed 198 kph
Sensors: VISOR (Visible & Infrared Scanning Optical Receptor) mounted in head
Fixed armaments: x2  plasma sword, power rated at 0.52 MW, stored in charging racks on back; triple rifle, mounted on left forearm, barrel 1: 70mm autocannon, magazine-fed, also draws from internal reservoir holding 1000 graphene-tungsten rounds, barrel 2: plasma cannon, output rated at 4 MW, graphcap magazine or reactor-fed, barrel 3: 8 MW laser cannon, reactor-fed; x2 3-tube micro-missile pod, shoulder-mounted, holds 6 missiles per tube, graphcap warheads charged from tertiary reactor
Optional hand armaments: tower shield, reinforced with 200 carbyne layers, equipped with internal ion field projector, mounts x2 plasma spike, main head output rated at 1.1 MW, secondary head output rated at 0.60 MW, carried in right hand
Special equipment: Combining system, ion field projector

General Notes

On the rare occasions when the fighting got too heavy for the GCD-01A Castor and the GCD-01B Pollux to handle alone, the twins twins could play a powerful trump card indeed by combining to form the GCD-02 Heavy Armor Gemini.

The Gemini was a true titan of a machine. Standing head and shoulders above most combat frames, the combination of a combat drone with an already heavy armor-equipped combat drone produced a walking fortress impervious to all but the most devastating attacks.

The GCD-02 wasn't lacking in the offense department, either. It combined Castor's dual 70mm-plasma rifle with components of Pollux's weapon and power systems to produce a three-barreled weapons system capable of firing 1000 graphene-coated tungsten rounds, a withering 4 MW plasma beam, and an ion field-defeating 8 MW laser. Gemini also retained Castor's pair of micro-missile pods, but unlocked their full potential with a dedicated generator which charged the graphene capacitors in their warheads. Fully charged, these graphcap micro-missiles delivered an explosive punch with only slightly less overkill than the XCD-103 Eisenpferd's graphcap missiles. For close combat, Gemini carried a pair of plasma swords and mounted two plasma spikes on its carbyne and ion field-reinforced tower shield.

Though among the heaviest units in operation in CY 40, the GCD-02 boasted impressive speed and agility thanks to the abundance of drive and maneuvering rockets that studded its armored exterior. A trio of fusion reactors kept up with the enormous energy demands of Gemini's propulsion and weapons systems.

Like its constituent combat drones, the GCD-02 maintained a crew of two A.I. pilots. Brother machine intelligences Castor and Pollux used their long-practiced combat synergy to consistently outwit and surprise the enemy.

Thanks again to Build-a-Mech backer D.J. Schreffler for commissioning this outrageously cool design and to ArtAnon for realizing it! The final CY 40 Second Coming BaM debuts next Friday!

Don't wait for more awesome mecha action! Buy Combat Frame XSeed now!

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier


The Death of the Mid List


... has not been highly exaggerated.
As megabestsellers command more of publishers’ marketing budgets and retailers’ shelf space, breaking out the next crop of hit makers has become a challenge.
Book publishing has long been a hits-driven business. The bestsellers, the logic went, paid for the flops. And it was the authors of those in the middle—the so-called midlist—that publishers hoped to build into the next crop of bestsellers. But midlist sales have faltered enough in recent years that there is a growing concern among publishers and agents about how the business can create new hits when the field they once turned to is, well, disappearing.
Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, during a discussion of the company’s second-quarter results, pointed to generating interest in midlist books as one of the biggest challenges facing all publishers.
Though the hits-driven nature of publishing has not changed in recent years, the nature of those hits has. Due to a number of coalescing factors—including a shrinking physical retail market and an increase in competing entertainment driven by the proliferation of streaming TV platforms—book publishing has watched as a handful of megaselling titles have begun to command an ever-larger share of its sales.
According to NPD BookScan, which tracks an estimated 80% of unit sales of print books, sales of the 100 bestselling adult titles increased 23% in 2018 compared to 2017. All other titles ranked below that top tier either fell or remained flat. On a 52-week rolling basis through Oct. 5, 2019, the sales of the top 100 books rose another 6% over the comparable 52-week period ending in 2018, while, again, all other sales levels either fared worse or stayed flat. Taken together, sales of the 100 bestselling print books rose nearly 30% over a period of about two years, while books that ranked between 101 and 10,000 saw their total print unit sales fall 16%. Books that ranked below 10,000 remained flat in the period.
Where have we seen this blockbuster-chasing mentality before?

Oh yeah, in the likewise floundering Hollywood film and AAA video game industries.

As Western civilization rapidly burns through the cultural capital inherited from Christendom, expect to see more industries falling into hit-obsessed death spirals.

It's a seductive trap. A company stumbles upon a big hit, scrambles to replicate what is in fact a black swan event, and cannibalizes its own seed corn in the process. It's an old story.

If publishers were really in the storytelling business, they'd know how that tale ends by now.
Those suffering from the famine are, to an extent, a group once known as the midlist. Ironically, if you ask most editors or literary agents to define the term, you’re unlikely to get a specific answer. Few can say, for example, how many books one needs to sell to be considered midlist. The only thing sources agreed on is the fact that the term is negative.
“You want to be debut, literary, or bestselling; you don’t want to be midlist,” one literary agent said. “The midlist is like the middle class; it’s the group that gets squeezed. They don’t get the support from their publishers. They don’t get their due [as writers]. They don’t get the attention they deserve from reviewers. Everybody wants to break out of the midlist.”
The fatal flaw with squeezing blood from the mid list in a misguided attempt to fuel blockbusters is that the midlisters were always more profitable than the A listers. The former received more modest advances, lower royalties, and lower marketing budgets. Yet their books consistently earned out. It doesn't take a genius to understand that lower costs plus more consistent earnings at a higher percentage--from the publisher's point of view--is a healthier business model than rolling the dice on unreproducible hits.

Oldpub's current model is a scattershot Darwinian sink-or-swim meat grinder. Agents funnel starry-eyed new authors into the hopper. Acquisitions editors--and increasingly, the marketing team--consult the augurs to divine which of the fresh meat has the stuff megastars are made of. The publisher throws millions of dollars into making these hopefuls' debut books the new hotness. Out of a hundred such books, perhaps one will become even a modest hit. The authors who fail meet the wood chipper.

The received publishing wisdom invoked to justify this crab basket mentality was that the lone hit more than made up for the ninety-nine duds. That was only ever a cope, but publishers could always dip into the mid list cookie jar to keep the pyramid scheme running. Now they're running out of reliable earners to fleece.

Best selling newpub author Nick Cole's prophecy is unfolding before our eyes. Oldpub is eating their own mid list to service their A list clients. B&N won't save them. James Daunt's installation as CEO is too little, too late.

Of course, Amazon is proving a less than reliable partner for newpub authors to the right of Corey Doctorow. Independent creators are increasingly earning the bulk of their income directly from their audiences.

Just as Nick's prediction of oldpub's demise is being vindicated, so is my prediction that a new patronage system will emerge to replace the historical aberration that was the author-publisher rights for royalties model.

If you're fed up with out-of-touch New York publishers pushing books by Clarion Workshop grads who can't string two sentences together, support the fun, exciting work of newpub authors like me.

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier


Unfriendly Eyes

Old Farm

It seems my High Strangeness series has attracted its fair share of interest. Today a reader relates his own encounter with the unexplained.

I have a tale to tell, similar to some of those recounted by your friends or other readers. This one comes from the mid-‘80s. We were recently married and now looking for a house, with interest rates finally below two digits.
The event happened in daylight, mid- to late afternoon, on a spring day.
Our realtor had found a property which was close to my wife’s dreams and our needs, so we went out into the country to look at it–an old single-family farmhouse on several acres, small stream, with woods around.  
It was delightful at first sight, with the usual work needed to upgrade an old house to something more modern. However, as we went through the house from ground floor to attic, I began to feel uneasy for no apparent reason, and got an odd impression from part of the big attic room.  
We had taken our time looking through the house, so it’s later afternoon and the shadows were beginning to fall in the hollow. Our last stops were outside to look at the grounds, couple of out-buildings, and the stream. Everything was fine, except a section of grass near the house that I didn’t want to get closer to.  
Suddenly I had enough, and didn’t want to let the shadows fall any deeper. I felt as if unfriendly eyes were watching from two directions on the surrounding hills. Casual looks showed no one there, or no obvious paths or gravel tracks. In one of those directions, I got a vague impression of a spectral wall rising up above the treetops.  
There was no way that I’d want to be there at twilight or after dark. I simply noted that we had to get going, and told the realtor that it wasn’t quite what we needed, and to keep searching. Didn’t tell my wife about this until recently, and I think she doesn’t really grasp the meaning behind it.
A couple weeks after we’d been shown the house, we read a newspaper account of the 50th anniversary of an infamous hex trial. On that property we saw, or at the adjacent house about a quarter mile down the road, a hoodoo man had been ritually killed and burned for putting curses on another farmer and his family. The murder trial was shocking to the local communities and opened up a lot of half-hidden folk practices. Old tomes such as “The Long-Lost Friend” were mentioned in the newspaper account and in a book written about the trial. I looked those up, and had the hair standing up on my neck from reading about the occult books. The section of grass?  That was where the witchman was burned, if I read the accounts correctly.
My thought was that we’d dodged something serious through intervention of my guardian angel, because otherwise, the property would looked perfect. Perhaps too perfect. I’m glad to have never found out.
One final note:  now that I cleared some of my required reading list, I can return to enjoying Souldancer and work my way through trans-dimensional Purgatory. Thank you for a most intriguing series.
Best regards,


A Diabolical Mockery


I'm fond of pointing out that Progressivism is no longer--if it ever was--a political ideology, and is in fact a fanatical Death Cult which manifests as a heresy and mockery of Christianity.

Some have asked exactly what the Death Cult's relationship to Christianity is and how it broke off from the Church like a tumor whose cancerous growth continued after it was excised. Kind of like the antagonist from the Stephen King-George Romero movie The Dark Half, the Death Cult is Christianity's undead evil twin.

Like all heresies, Liberalism--the foundational creed of Progressivism--starts with an orthodox teaching. In this case, that teaching is each man's creation in the image and likeness of God.

The Liberal takes the doctrine of man's creation in the imago Dei and pushes it to an extreme. Not only, says the Liberal, do all people have great dignity due to the fact that they bear God's image, they all have equal dignity. Stripped of any logical limits, the Liberal compounds his error by embracing the absurd notion that all people are equal in all ways.

This error is egalitarianism, Liberalism's inseparable companion.

The problem is that God is not egalitarian. Men derive their value from Him, but that value is not equal, much less infinite.

Note to binary thinkers mired in egalitarianism: the self-evident observation that all people are not equal is not to deny that they all have great value. We are all commanded to love our neighbor, not just as ourselves, but as Christ has loved us. Sinning against the least of God's children is a sin because it does violence to the divine image he bears.

Note, though, that God repeatedly and clearly affirms that there is such a thing as the least of His children. So much for equality.

God likes hierarchies. He also likes every place in every hierarchy to be filled. Taking its lead from Him, the nature of which He is God abhors a vacuum. Just look at the periodic table.

No two people are entirely equal in ability or even holiness. I don't care how much you give to the poor or how many prayers you say, you're not as holy as the Blessed Theotokos.

Egalitarianism finds itself in direct contradiction to this truth--and thus THE Truth, so the egalitarian project must systematically attempt to destroy truth in order to resolve the paradox. But that's impossible, so we wind up with men dominating in female sports.

Nor are sporting events the only casualties. Since accepting any limits on equality or self-indulgence would necessarily destroy egalitarianism and Liberalism, they are both totalitarian. Anyone who would gainsay them must be destroyed. This is why Progressivism is a Death Cult.

The engine of Progressivism, as a wise man said, is violent magical thinking.

And because heresies err in what they deny--that being the sovereign goodness of God in this instance--only reasserting Christian orthodoxy can correct these unbalanced errors and restore sanity.


The Groyper War

Groyper Nick Fuentes

The Conservative movement's total failure to conserve anything has rightly become the stuff of memes. One reason why Conservatives have proven utterly ineffective at stopping the Left is that Conservatism is really just slow motion Liberalism. It accepts the basic Liberal premise enshrining freedom detached from the good as an absolute.

Compounding this handicap is that the Left's power brokers long ago learned that the best way to win was to pick their opposition. The most flagrant example was William F. Buckley's reign at National Review. His job was to serve as the gatekeeper of official Conservatism and make sure that nobody who might challenge the Left got a hearing in mainstream society.

Here's Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boering amplifying BowtieCon huckster Benny Johnson and illustrating both of the above points at once:

American Liberalism

It must be said that William F. Buckley, these clowns are not. Buckley could at least tell the Republican Party's constituents to go to hell in a way that made them look forward to the trip. The shabby network of grifters jockeying to fill his loafers come off as parodies. Their professional accomplishments consist of debating feral children on college campuses and composing tweets that read like a thirtysomething's conception of a Boomer's image of himself at 20.

If you want the Platonic ideal of a Conservative Inc grifter, look no further than Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. His biography reads like the articles of incorporation for a dummy company set up to siphon resources away from the authentic Right. The son of a Trump Tower project manager, Kirk parlayed his connections into a sinecure heading a campus org that grooms Zoomers into future NRO cruise passengers.

The joke's on Charlie. Thanks to the waves of H1Bs he supports, no members of Generation Z will be able to afford NRO cruises.

Get a load of this poser:

Charlie Kirk Boom

I'm old enough to remember the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and the Tea Party. Every time, establishment stooges would jump in front of the parade and march it off a cliff. Charlie Kirk spends every waking moment grasping for the MAGA grand marshal's baton.

Thankfully, someone decided to stop him.

The pushback began when TPUSA fired their former associate Ashley St. Clair for simply having her picture taken with America First host Nicholas J. Fuentes.

Fuentes, whose early promise Conservative Inc. tried to co-opt, only to see him turn renegade, has run afoul of pretty much every controlled opposition group. They're so afraid of him that Charlie Kirk hid behind a wall of police officers to avoid debating Fuentes at Politicon.

In response to these waves of purges and gatekeeping, Fuentes asked his viewers to attend Charlie Kirk's ongoing series of college speaking events. He urged them to present themselves professionally and respectfully, to calmly wait for the Q&A, and to ply Kirk with pointed questions aimed at exposing his grift.

The results have been a disaster for Charlie Kirk and TPUSA. The ranks of questioners at his tour stops have rapidly come to be dominated by Christian traditionalists and American patriots now known collectively as groypers.

Enjoy this groyper highlight reel:

In response to being exposed as frauds, Conservative Inc fell back on their Leftist DNA and called for Nick's deplatforming. Battle lines were soon drawn, with controlled opposition shills like Kirk, Johnson, and Sebastian Gorka, joined by the usual Leftist hall monitors, clamoring for Nick to be hurled into the outer darkness. On the other side, Stefan Molyneux, Michelle Malkin, Jesse Lee Peterson, and Paul Joseph Watson, among others, rallied to Fuentes' defense.

The Groyper War has sent shock waves through the fake Right. TPUSA suffered a major casualty with the loss of their Kansas State University chapter.

How will this battle for the soul of the American Right end? The outcome remains unclear, but the groypers' frog march from victory to victory shows no signs of slowing down.


Combat Frame Data: GCD-01B Pollux

GCD-01B Pollux

GCD-01B Pollux

Technical Data

Model number: GCD-01B
Code name: Pollux
Classification: heavy armor defense combat drone
Manufacturer: Lunar Underground modification of a Zeklov-Astraea design
Operator: HALO/Lunar Underground
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: integrated strong A.I.
Height: 18 meters
Weight: 97 metric tons
Armor type: "1D" carbyne laminar armor in dual-layer "heavy armor" configuration
Powerplant: x2 cold fusion reactor, max output 1727 KW and 276 KW, respectively
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 36,615 kg, 4x 20,285 kg, 2x 25,000 kg, 2x 15,875 kg, 2x 11,750 kg; top speed 2385 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 37, 180° turn time 0.81 seconds; legs: top ground speed 165 kph
Sensors: VISOR (Visible & Infrared Scanning Optical Receptor) mounted in head
Fixed armaments: spiked bracer mounted on left forearm
Optional hand armaments: tower shield, reinforced with 200 carbyne layers, equipped with internal ion field projector, carried in right hand; plasma lance, main head output rated at 1.1 MW, secondary head output rated at 0.60 MW, stored on charging rack on back, carried in left hand in use
Special Equipment: Combining system, ion field projector

General Notes

The Lunar Underground's second rebuild of a Zeklov-Astraea design, the GCD-01B Pollux is the yin to the GCD-01A's yang. Instead of focusing on offense, Pollux fills a primarily defensive role on the battlefield. It carries no ranged weapons, though its double carbyne armor can withstand nearly any conventional ordnance, while its ion field is capable of disrupting most plasma attacks.

In case an enemy is foolish enough to get in close, Pollux carries a dual plasma lance rivaling any contemporary plasma hand weapon. To supplement its already impregnable defenses, the GCD-01B carries a tower shield reinforced with 200 carbyne layers and a built-in ion field projector.

Like the GCD-01A Castor, Pollux is operated by an integrated A.I. of the same name. The brother machine intelligences train together constantly to hone their combat skills and perfectly synchronize their tactics.

Perhaps the GCD-01B's most impressive feature is its ability to enfold the GCD-01A, thus forming the GCD-02 Heavy Armor Gemini.

Need your giant robot fight fix? Read Combat Frame XSeed!

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier


The Blue Light

Blue Light

Of all the true tales of high strangeness I've shared with you, none scare me more than this one.

Joe--true name withheld for reasons that will become obvious--grew up in the 60s in one of the more upscale Chicago suburbs. After college he returned to his hometown and settled into a teaching career at the local high school.

Every year at Halloween he would suspend normal lessons and instead tell his class this story, which I relate in as close to his own words as I can recall.
OK, the blue light story.
At the start of my senior year, news was making the rounds about three grade school kids who'd gone missing. A local kid had his cousin over for the weekend, and the cousin brought a friend. The first kid's folks lived in one of those big houses out in what at the time was unincorporated Cook County.
Saturday afternoon the homeowners went out for the day and left the three boys horsing around in the backyard. That was the last they'd seen of them.
At first the parents thought that the kids had hitched a ride downtown to see a movie or something. People still did that back then. When Saturday came and went, the fear started to grow that they'd wandered off into the woods and gotten lost. You know all the miles and miles of forest preserves out there? Well, there was even more of it back then.
The police got involved, and bulletins went out on the radio and in the local papers. A guy from a neighboring town came forward and said he'd seen the three boys walking down the turnpike early on Sunday morning. It's assumed the kids got it in their heads to run away from home, and they'll come traipsing in any time now.
But another day passes, and they don't come back.There was a famous case from a decade before where two young sisters went missing after seeing a movie in Brighton Park and turned up dead a few weeks after that. They never caught the guy, and the wound was still pretty raw those years later.
  At that point panic set in, because now the leading theory is kidnapping. Everybody expected a ransom note to come down in a couple of days, because this kid's folks are pretty well-heeled. But days go by, and there's no ransom demand, no sign of the boys, nothing.
Now folks start whispering--where the parents can't hear--that the boys were picked up by some pervert, and this pervert's got them locked up in some basement or garage somewhere so he can take his time with them. It became a popular pastime for the junior and senior boys to head out onto the maze of back roads sprawling through those woods on pervert hunts. They'd pile into the car with flashlights, baseball bats, and cases of Old Style and make a night of it. But no one found anything.
Then one day about a week after the kids went missing, a patrolman cruising the turnpike happens upon all three boys wandering down the side of the road in broad daylight. He pulled up alongside them and called their names, but they didn't respond; just kept ambling along like they were in a trance.
He finally coaxed the kids into his squad car and called it in. He told the dispatcher that the boys looked disheveled but otherwise okay. They were non-responsive to questions about where they'd been and who they'd been with. The only thing any of them would say was, "Blue light." If prodded enough, they'd repeat it like a mantra before trailing off again.
This cop takes the kids in. The doc who checks them out confirms they're in pretty good shape physically, just a bit dehydrated with a few scrapes and bruises. But all they can get out of the boys is that same litany of, "Blue light ... blue light."
So everybody concludes that this pervert had the kids locked up in a basement lit with some kind of blue bulb. The cops kept searching, and the high school boys kept up their nightly pervert hunts--now on the lookout for this weird blue light. This goes on for weeks, but nothing turns up. Eventually they stop looking and people stop talking, but it's never really forgotten, just like the Brighton Park case.
A reporter friend from the Tribune tried to do a follow up on the three victims back in the 80s. The story had made all the papers at the time, but to his consternation he couldn't find a single clipping in any of their records. One small town paper losing part of their archive is feasible, but not every Chicagoland paper at once. This reporter started wondering who might have an interest in hushing the story up.
He did pick up a few breadcrumbs on the boys' trail. All three had been committed to a psychiatric hospital. He found evidence that one had died there in the 70s. After that, the trail went cold.
Anyway, by October talk of the kidnapping had died down. The boys in my class still went out on nighttime rides into the forest preserves; more to clown around than to hunt perverts.
With Halloween falling on a Friday, my two best partners in crime and I decided we'd show up our friends, the cops, and everybody by finally catching the pervert. We each told our folks we were going camping at Starved Rock for the weekend. Our wheel man pulled up to my place that evening with our other accomplice in tow. I said goodbye to my folks, ducked into the back seat with a diversionary sleeping bag and a cooler full of Old Style, and we hit the road.
The first few hours of that night are still a fond memory. We drove down the turnpike, cracking jokes and talking girls with the radio on full blast. The fun continued as we hit the forest preserve, and the sun sank below the trees.
We must have driven around out there for hours--veering randomly off the turnpike to tear down narrow dirt roads that wound through the woods. They all eventually led back to the turnpike, at which point we'd repeat the process again. This was all unincorporated Cook County back then, so you could pull stunts like that without waking the neighbors. There was nobody for miles.
We'd emerged onto the turnpike for the umpteenth time and made it down the road a ways when our wheel man checked the mirror and said:
"What's that weird light back there?"
"That what?"
"It's been tailing us since we passed the old cemetery pond."
Against my better judgment, I turned and looked back. And here's this solitary light--must've been a hundred yards back. At first we think it's a car with a headlight out or a guy on a motorcycle, but the weird thing is, the light is blue.
And it's gaining on us.
I must have called out, "Oh, shit!" or something, and that was all the wheel man needed to floor it. I saw that old Chevy's speedometer hit a hundred miles per hour. But that lone blue light kept gaining. It grew to the size of a beach ball, and as it was about to hit our rear bumper, I saw that there was nothing behind it. The damn thing was just a big ball of cold blue light. I think I screamed first. At any rate, we were all screaming as the road turned left but my buddy kept going straight. We plowed into a harvested cornfield with a bone-rattling thud. Cornstalk stumps smacked against the undercarriage like baseball cards in a bike's spokes. The wheel man slammed on the brakes, and we fishtailed to a halt.
And the light was right there with us. It orbited the car, slow and menacing. I just knew it was looking us over--like a glutton selecting cuts of beef. 
My buddy who'd been riding shotgun threw open his door and bolted. Me and the wheel man took off after him. We hightailed it out of that cornfield and into the woods. I couldn't tell you how far we ran before we finally stopped and stood doubled over, heaving for air. It felt like miles.
We were shivering from cold and foggy from shock as we picked our way back to the corn field. My buddy's car was still there, doors wide open. Otherwise the field and the roadway were empty. We climbed back in the car, drove to Starved Rock, and came back on Sunday. None of us said anything to our folks or blabbed at school on Monday.
The first time I publicly opened up about this story was to another class full of kids on Halloween. Maybe it was a form of therapy. Anyhow, the amateur historian of the bunch came up to me after class and asked about the pond where we first saw the blue light. I confirmed that it was an old quarry pond behind a flyspeck cemetery. This kid told me the place went back to pioneer days when they were digging the Illinois-Michigan Canal. He said crazy stuff has gone on there over the years--satanic rituals, cops driving by to find the gates blown off their hinges and coffins erupted from the ground; and weird floating lights.
I'd heard ghost stories growing up about a cursed cemetery somewhere out in the woods. I just didn't associate them with that place until my student filled in the dots. There are reports going back a hundred years of people following a farmer who carries a lantern to an old house back in the woods. Many say the lantern is blue. They say the farmer and the house disappear before you can set foot on the porch.
The ones who come back sane, or at all, say that.
This story disturbs me more than the others I've told because unlike the others, I have direct personal experience with the setting.

I have been to the little cemetery from the teacher's tale. I have seen the deep, scum-ridden quarry pond and walked among the neglected graves.

It is a sad, decrepit place. The only signs of remembrance were the ragged toys and flowers left at a worn grave marker labeled only "Infant Daughter".

I experienced nothing out of the ordinary there, except that no rain fell within the cemetery grounds during my visit, though steady showers soaked the woods all around.

An oily feeling of wrongness clung to me as I left and for weeks thereafter. I would not go back even if offered considerable inducement to do so.

I wonder about those who did not--or cannot--leave.


End of the Amazon Revolution

Amazon - Jax

If you travel in the circles where this blog is read, you already know that yesterday Amazon nuked preorders for Jon Del Arroz's and Declan Finn's latest books.
Amazon shut down Jon Del Arroz’s Glorified novel along with Declan Finn’s Deus Vult novel from publisher Silver Empire.
Publisher Russell Newquist was informed that both books, which were scheduled to be released on November 1st, were removed from Amazon and Kindle.
Having worked with Russell Newquist before, I can affirm that Amazon blaming this debacle on his negligence is textbook DARVO behavior. Russell says he uploaded the files weeks ago.

Assuming the publisher of a best selling series inexplicably forgot to upload the third installment after books 1 and 2 launched without a hitch, the ones with the most to lose--the authors--would be crawling down his throat.

But they're not. They're looking right at Amazon.

And it's not as if the accused megacorp doesn't have a history of such censorious behavior.
While Amazon claims the pre-order for the books were cancelled because of missing a deadline, Newquist believes it’s suspicious that Amazon “canceled two controversial Christian Fiction books at once.”
It's mind-boggling how much of our elites' seemingly random behavior makes perfect sense once you realize they hate the Christ.

Speaking of diabolical antics, some Death Cult dregs scuttled out from under their rocks and into the comments to run the usual gaslighting routine.

False Binary

Whenever you see Leftoid ritual cant showing up in a smug denial of what everyone can see with their own two eyes, it's a good bet you're dealing with someone who is, at minimum, demonically obsessed.

Still, we can't pin this job on Satan alone. The question now is who did his dirty work?

I'll put the question to my readers. Who do you think got Jon and Declan's books banned from Amazon?
  1. Rogue bluehair in an Amazon wage cage
  2. Degenerate centurion LARPnig #ComicsGate spinoff
  3. People in high places took notice of Cruci-Ficton; shut it down!
You decide!

One more seemingly insignificant detail: Last week a File七百七十 troll popped up in this site's back catalog to spam some old posts.


Usually the Rascal scooter and kiddy diddling clique keep to their Dorito powder-encrusted warrens unless something shakes the hive. But despite any major awards drama, piracy charges, or defamation suits, a certain witch's familiar tried some drive-by vandalism in my comments.

In and of itself, I'd chalk it up to a fluke. But both of the targeted posts dealt with a certain prior round of Amazon shenanigans.

We know that the CHORFs have enough idle pensioners and Chinese bots to hate mob Amazon. The question is, why now?

They may just have noticed the clear and present threat posed to them by muscular Christian fiction.

Whoever the culprits turn out to be, it's clear that the publishing revolution sparked by Amazon has already borne its essential fruit.

Oldpub is dead. The gatekeepers are gone. What comes next for authors is a neo-patronage system that's already taking shape.

JDA Update


Marketing Millennials

A comment by author JD Cowan on yesterday's viral post demonstrates the deliberate memory holing of Generation Y in this article from 2001.
Here at the turn of the real millennium, trend forecasters and futurists are pondering new ways of cross-marketing to all of America's biggest consumer groups. First there was the generation of World War II GIs--part of Mr. Brokaw's The Greatest Generation--followed by the Silent Generation and their kids, the Baby Boomers--the group that cemented generational targeting as a discipline.
Then came Generations X and Y, and now there's the "Millennial" generation. 
There you have it--generations X, Y, and the Millennials all acknowledged as separate cohorts. That was the accepted model until Madison Avenue Boomers revised history, but we're getting  ahead of ourselves.

They also skipped Generation Jones, but what else is new?
In the past, generations were defined largely by the year in which one was born. Now target marketing has reached the point where generational attitudes are discerned and used as a starting point for media planning.
Like I've been saying for a while now, classifying generations by twenty-year intervals is arbitrary line drawing in an era of rapidly accelerating societal change.

In other words, it makes no sense to call someone who grew up with neither internet nor smart phones but who remembers the Cold War a part of the same generation as someone whose entire life span parallels that of The Simpsons.
"Generation Y was a [popular phrase] in 1993, a term which at that point identified correctly the last third of Gen X," Mr. Strauss said. "The notion has become familiar in popular culture and in marketing to refer to teenagers. But now Y is a little older-those marketing styles are either directed at current young twenty-somethings or they're applying the veneer of X to a short-lived effort to reach teenagers that is not going to work over time." Understanding the new generation as its own animal is key to reaching its members successfully, Mr. Strauss said.
Defining the Millennials as the generation born in or after 1982, Mr. Strauss calls them more numerous, more affluent, better educated and more ethnically diverse than generations past. Millennials also have been trained to be "doers" and "achievers."
"The GI's were the first great generation," said Mr. Strauss. "We now need a new `greatest generation'-one that's responsible and civic-minded. The shoes are there for them to fill. It's harder to become more cynical than the boomers, or more sarcastic than the Xers. The kids aren't going to go linearly from what adults are doing; historically, they never have."
Thus proving a) that Generation Y is a real cohort which differs significantly from the Millennials, b) that the former term was cynically phased out by marketers, and c) how clueless most people in marketing are.

To hear me discuss Generation Y in more detail, listen to my recent appearance on The Front Porch Show.

The Front Porch Show