2019/01/31

XSeed at Large

Longtime reader Wolfman at Large shares his video review of my new mecha mil-SF novel Combat Frame XSeed.
The characters are where this book shines. It's an ensemble cast. Every character has a cohesive motivation and worldview that at least explains their actions. It's also noteworthy that all the characters are different. They're not copies.
There's no real main character here, but everyone has at least a part to play. You get some really fun characters like the autistic insanity of Zane or the "America, fuck yeah!" of Colonel Griff Larson.
I found Wolfman's review insightful, honest, and on the money in terms of CFXS's intended audience and use of tropes. At the same time, it abstains from obsequious gushing and offers valuable feedback on how different audiences might engage with unfamiliar genres. In short, it's the kind of review serious authors crave.

The video is also concise at just over four minutes. It's definitely worth your time.



Combat Frame XSeed
This book has everything. Giant Mech combat, political intrigue, interesting characters, and a world on the brink of war. I can't wait to see what else Mr. Niemeier brings us from this intriguing universe.
This book is a must-have!
-M Feather

2019/01/30

Tough Week for Fedora Tippers

Many have pointed out--rightly, I believe--that the Covington Catholic fiasco has dispensed more red pills than a Seconal dealer. The tawdry spectacle of the entire #FakeNews media, Conservative, Inc, and even elements of the Catholic academy and hierarchy ganging up to throw a bunch of innocent kids in the stocks has also had the secondary effect of unmasking the Big Brain Nietzsche Bunch as fifth columnists.

Here's a typical example of the response from the "Dissident Right" atheist contingent:
It's becoming clear why the Covington School administration apologized, immediately and without reservation, to the extremists who confronted and harassed their students. At first I was puzzled at their eagerness to join this rabid, unfounded smear. Then I recalled some teaching of the Church is nearly indistinguishable from extreme leftist cant, with a sharp emphasis on anti-white rhetoric. Having no expertise on their internal matters I've tended to discount it.
Now, I've issued my share of rebukes to the American Catholic hierarchy for their abject failure to tend the sheep in their care. Observant readers will note the key difference between my fraternal corrections and internet atheists' snide jeering. My aim is to spare Catholic prelates and educators from eternal hellfire by waking them from their slothful, cowardly stupor. The fedora tippers, by contrast, simply can't resist the chance to beat their most despised dog with any stick that's handy--even if it's the same stick, already slick with young men's blood, wielded by the Leftist death cult.

Lining up with the Left to attack the Covington boys' faith is, as the kids say, bad optics. But it's also clear optics. The current struggle is not primarily between Conservatives and Liberals, socialists and capitalists, or even whites vs. everyone else. Those conflicts are symptoms of a worse affliction: the principality of Satan's war against the Kingdom of God.

If your initial reflex upon reading that last sentence is to issue a smirking chuckle, then you are ultimately detrimental to victory because you do not understand the nature of the conflict. If the brazen outrages of witches infesting academia, demon-ridden psychotics grooming preschoolers, and the establishment of Moloch worship through abortion laws that would make the Aztecs blush don't convince you that we are at spiritual war, then you are either hopelessly compromised by enemy propaganda, or you are the enemy's willing stooge.

Bonus: Another reason the Big Brain crowd has their panties in a twist this week is this huge sample size survey of white IQ by religious affiliation.

Religious IQ

Human beings are innately religious. No one worships nothing. Having perverted their natural virtue of piety away from its proper object, internet atheists worship their own intellects--which is categorically no different than pagans worshiping trees and rocks. The fedora tippers' whole self-concept is tied up in them being the smartest guys in the room. Moreover, NuAtheist foundation myths dictate that theists not only be less intelligent than them, but absolute idiots.

The chart above puts paid to both comforting fairy tales. All Christian denominations listed are above average IQ. Not only are intellectual idolaters not the smartest religious group, they're dumber than Jews and notably dumber than these guys:

Epi-Love
Epi-Love Wins!
Admittedly, Episcopalians' overperformance may be a fluke. Tucker Carlson is probably throwing the whole curve off.

To reiterate: Rapidly accelerating events present atheists on the Right with the following choices:
  • Join the Left.
  • Repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  • Pick a local church and LARP for an hour on Sundays.
  • Shut up.

The characters are fully realized with a coherent worldview that drives their agency and actions. 

2019/01/29

Gunga Din: Boomer Edition

You can learn a lot from the remnants of the Buckley Right--not about effective policy or the true state of the world, but about how the neo-feudal uniparty manipulates Conservatives into thinking and acting against their own interests.


Our elites' fingerprints are all over attempts to create a new controlled opposition to replace the old Washington Generals right, who are dropping like flies. A reliable rule of thumb when discerning people's motives is to look past their words to their actions. The Buckleyites talked a good game, but their only accomplishments were banishing guys like Pat Buchanan from polite society and failing to conserve the little girls' room at Target. An enterprise with Conservative Inc's resources doesn't fail that spectacularly by accident. They bilked tens of thousands of subscribers, who paid to have their own throats slit.

Enter the New Buckleyites, including lil' Matt Walsh. To the extent that he's known, it's primarily for being marketed as a conservative Catholic who nonetheless promulgates market worship like Gordon Gecko in hipster glasses.

That's nothing new. Ideological incoherence is a requirement of membership in the controlled opposition. But a cursory glance at the new Buckleyites shows that each of them has been selected to fill a specialized niche, like a clown car A-Team. Lil' Matt has had the basic neocon training and indoctrination, but he has a specific role on the Beta Team. See if you can figure it out from this howler of a recent tweet thread:

Walsh Tears

Walsh Tears 2

Walsh Tears 3

Taken at face value, these tweets display civilization-wrecking levels of sociopathy, as the Z-Man points out in his most recent post. But the literal message isn't the point. No Millennial shackled with six-figure college debt is going to read those tweets and say, "Golly, I'm working full-time at ten bucks an hour and can't afford my minimum loan payments. But Matt Walsh is right! Uninformed consent is the sole criterion of justice, so I'll take a second job cleaning Boomers' toilets to service the interest. I may not like this life of perpetual indentured servitude, but gee whiz, I unwittingly signed up for it, so the Christian thing to do is suck it up and work myself like a mule for my slave masters!"

Since Lil' Matt's agitprop clearly isn't meant for Millennials, asking who his intended audience is will uncover the real game he's running. Hint: the dead giveaway is in his second tweet.

Picture if you will a fleshy, graying Boomer resplendent in his Gilligan cap and Jimmy Buffett t-shirt, sipping a Corona on the deck of his 2001 Century 2901 fishing boat off Key West. A sudden pang moves him to think of his Millennial son Jimmy.

Here I am grooving to "Margaritaville" in 72 degree paradise while Jimmy shivers in his Detroit basement flophouse. Oh, wait. It's 6 AM there. He's probably coming off his shift at the call center. Or starting his shift at the male strip club. Or starting his shift at the other call center.  What a slacker! He should've gone into consulting like me. So what if he lost his lips in Afghanistan? He could do it all online instead of working those dead-end jobs I told him to get. How's he gonna pay for student loans, child support, and prosthetic lips? Maybe I shouldn't have badgered him into getting a liberal arts degree, wifing up that ex-hooker from church, and joining the Army.

Then our Boomer's iPhone--the newest model with a 2x higher price tag and half the features of last month's version--chirps, alerting him to a new tweet from one of his favorite accounts: that clean-cut young go-getter Matt Walsh. The momentary pang of conscience is smothered by Lil' Matt's reminder that easing his son's crushing debt burden might make the Boomer's taxes go up. Besides, Jimmy was a grown man when he signed up for those loans--well, he was technically a seventeen year-old high school senior, and Dad cosigned the loan; then sued to get out of it, but close enough--signed his marriage license, and signed his enlistment papers. Letting him live with the consequences of his poor choices is tough love.

Our Boomer puts his iPhone back in the dock and cranks up the volume, secure in the knowledge that he is the model of Christian fatherhood.

NB: Yes, it's gobsmackingly hypocritical of Lil' Matt to tell suffering Millennials to stop whining and meet their obligations, then try to garner credibility by pointing out he's paying his wife's student loans. The mindfuck is purposeful. Remember that Mattr's tweets are precision engineered by his paymasters to make sure Conservatives never actually accomplish anything.



2019/01/28

Is Allegory Always Bad?

Allegory of the Cave

So asks author Alexander Hellene in this thoughtful piece on the relationship between allegory and propaganda.
My question is: Is allegory always bad? Look at William Shakespeare: Why did he write plays about ancient Roman Emperors and former English kinds, if not to draw lessons for his audience to learn from? Look at the Bible: Jesus Christ spoke in parables, and often used Old Testament stories to teach his followers . .. and the hard-hearted Pharisees. Look at Aesop: His stories are all symbolic, with things like animals and the actions they take clearly intended to represent things other than the animal.
Allegory doesn’t have to be political. Allegory doesn’t have to harm. When done well, allegory doesn’t have to be propaganda.
Tolkien notoriously disliked allegory in fiction. The matter even caused a deep disagreement between him and C.S. Lewis. But should authors consider the word of the master binding?

Theological side note: Jesus' parables cannot properly be called allegories, since an allegory admits of only one correct interpretation, and a single Scripture can contain multitudinous meanings.

Back to Alex.
I come down on the side of no. I’m going to get lawyerly on you, but as with many things in life, the answer to this question is “it depends.”
  • It depends on the skill of the storyteller.
  • It depends on the story.
  • It depends on how the story is told.
  • It depends on if the story is insulting or not.

In classic lawyer fashion, Alex exhibits a prime allegory fail in his accurate summation of John Scalzi's caricature of Christians in Old Man's War.
So you see, smart people who aren’t believers understand the Bible better than churchgoers. Because they’re smart. And while they can “appreciate” the Sermon on the Mount, they don’t actually believe all that other silly stuff. Because they’re smart. And good, decent people. Because they’re not religious. Because they’re smart.
Can't believe I forgot to include OMW in my post on Smrt Stories. Let it be added to the Bright Pink List!
Again, this depiction of a practicing Christian could have been left out entirely and the book would have gained from its absence. The only conclusion is that Scalzi took a swipe at Christians because he doesn’t like Christianity or its adherents, and wants to subtly (or maybe not-so-subtly) nudge his readers into being a “smart” and “cool” fedora-tipping atheist edgelord like him.
Let me take a shot at squaring the allegory vs. propaganda circle. Fiction is storytelling in service to truth for the primary aim of entertainment. Propaganda is storytelling in service to an agenda regardless of truth content with the primary aim of persuasion. A thing's purpose proceeds from its nature. Therefore, science fiction and propaganda are two different and mutually exclusive entities.

For an action-packed sci fi story that uses projections of current trends to entertain instead of lecture, check out the first book in my hot new mecha series Combat Frame XSeed:

Combat Frame XSeed

2019/01/25

Combat Frame XSeed Is Here!

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier

It's my sincere pleasure to make the announcement that my readers have been eagerly waiting for. The first book in my new mecha Mil-SF series Combat Frame XSeed is now live on Amazon!

The future is over. 
Civilization on Earth has collapsed. Oligarchs have established a new order in manmade space colonies at the Earth-Moon LaGrange points.  
A group of powerful colonies form the Systems Overterrestrial Coalition to re-civilize the earth, but grounders view the colonists as hostile meddlers. The Coalition counters the rising violence with giant manned robots called combat frames.  
The independent L3 colonies denounce the war on Earth. In response, Coalition Security Director Sanzen takes L3 leader Josef Friedlander's wife and daughter hostage. Amid the tense standoff, Friedlander's son Sieg launches an unsanctioned rescue mission to L1's Byzantium colony.

This launch has been a labor long in the making. Upon the completion of my award-winning Soul Cycle, I sensed the time had come to take a break from philosophical horror and begin a new story that's more accessible and less heady without sacrificing the vivid characters and deep world building my readers have come to count on.

Soul Cycle fans know of my love for 90s anime. While my first series resonated with properties like Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and Trigun, I've long nursed a deep and abiding affection for the mecha genre. Unfortunately, a quick glance at mecha series since the early 2000s shows the genre to be moribund. Following Jason Anspach and Nick Cole's resuscitation of Star Wars with Galaxy's Edge, I joined a stalwart group of mech aficionados to attempt a mecha revival.

Encouraged by author Bradford Walker's successfully crowdfunded Star Knight Saga, I launched my own Indiegogo campaign for Combat Frame XSeed. Your response far exceeded my initially modest expectations. Counting total funding and in-kind contributions, CFXS raised four times its original goal. It's with great satisfaction that I can report all book and trading card perks have shipped to backers.

You made Combat Frame XSeed my most successful novel well before its official launch. Let's take that momentum and move the needle on Amazon!

I can't believe Nethereal was published four years ago. In that time I've been continually honing my craft. As a result, it can honestly be said that not only does Combat Frame XSeed have greater reader appeal than the Soul Cycle, it's my best book yet.

Don't take my word for it. Here's what early readers said [Disclosure: The following reviewers received free advance copies of the book.]
Brian Niemeier brings the same otherworldly imagination from his award-winning Soul Cycle to the mecha genre, creating an homage to Gundam that is as much political thriller as it is military science fiction. Yet XSeed is no mere copy of the venerable mecha franchise. Niemeier captures the spirit of the real robot genre without resorting to the thin reskinnings that plague many Western copies of Eastern genres. And at a time where Western mecha are trapped in the space marine battlefield grinder, the twists and turns of XSeed are a fresh and exciting take.
-Nathan
The TLDR summary review: Do you like action-thriller scifi? Do you like giant robots blasting each other? Then this is the series for you.
-Chris
Brian Niemeier's #AGundam4Us entry is a solid, action-filled romp with giant robot-like "combat frames", space colonists and terrestrial citizens coming to blows, and smart characters in both physical and philosophical conflict, all wrapped up in a near future Earth setting that will be chillingly familiar to the reader.
Before you get the end of this book, you'll be reaching for the sequel. Don't worry -- it's coming.
If you want science fiction, action, and adventure, then this is your ride! Hop in and strap on that 5-point harness!
-Amazon Customer


Thanks again to everyone from #AGundam4Us, Gundam Squad, our Indiegogo backers, XSeed artists ArtAnon, Todd Everhart, and Ashion, and first and foremost, my amazing readers. I live to entertain you guys.

And rest assured, the thrilling sequel is following hot on the first book's heels.

2019/01/24

False Logical Fallacies

Republished versions of old posts have proven quite popular with my readers, so here's another one from the vaults. OP date 8/20/2014. Discuss:


To someone with formal training in logic, the internet can be a strange place indeed. It's analogous to being a pharmacist at an Old West medicine show. People guzzle down snake oil and keep going back for more.

One of the major reasons for these continued errors is many commentators' habit of parroting phrases they've seen online without taking the time to really understand what these concepts mean. As a public service, I'll cover a few of the more commonly misunderstood ideas, including often distorted logical fallacies.

Let's start by defining what "argument" means. Contrary to popular misuse, arguing doesn't mean verbally attacking someone or browbeating a debate opponent into shutting up. An argument is just two or more people trying to reach the truth through dialogue--trading premises back and forth.

Since this post is primarily concerned with logical fallacies and the misidentification thereof, we need to talk about syllogisms--the category of arguments that logical fallacies apply to. A syllogism is a form of deductive argument constructed from two or more premises leading to a conclusion that, if the premises are true and the form is correct, must also be true.

Syllogism Example:
A) All popes are Catholic.
B) Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the Pope.
Therefore, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is Catholic.

The picture of Chewbacca fighting Nazis while riding a giant squirrel illustrates two important points. The first is the need to define logical invalidity. There's a widespread misconception that "invalid" means "untrue". That's not necessarily the case. A syllogism is valid if its conclusion follows from the premises, even if the premises and/or conclusion are completely false. Therefore, validity only refers to an argument's form; not its truth value.

Here's a false yet valid argument:
A) Everything that's brown is a bear.
B) My car is brown.
Therefore, my car is a bear.

The conclusion is false because premise A is false; not because the syllogism is structured improperly. The false conclusion does follow from the premises.

Got it? Doesn't matter. I'll discuss some fake logical fallacies anyway.

1. Godwin's Law
The Chewie picture's second lesson. Godwin's Law predicts that the likelihood of Hitler/Nazis being invoked in an internet argument is directly proportional to the duration/intensity of said argument. Comparing someone to Hitler in a combox is hyperbolic and cliched, but it's not necessarily fallacious. The following valid argument shows why:

A) An evil act is evil regardless of who the perpetrator is.
B) Hitler committed genocide.
C) Hitler's genocide was evil.
D) Stalin also committed genocide.
Therefore, Stalin's genocide was evil.

So you can say that anyone who brings up Nazis forfeits the debate, but doing so is a rhetorical--not a dialectical--move.

2. No True Scotsman
No True Scotsman is a rhetorical device that isn't formally fallacious (only informally). It's not a structural flaw in an argument, but an attempt to dodge an unwanted conclusion.

Example:
Jack: No writers are Libertarians.
Bob: I'm a writer, and I'm a Libertarian.
Jack: Well, no real writers are Libertarians.

On the other hand, No True Scotsman arguments can still be valid.
A) Everything that flies is a bird.
B) Bats fly.
C)Therefore, bats are birds.
D) But all true birds have feathers.
E) Bats don't have feathers.
F) Therefore, bats aren't birds.

3. Reductio ad infinitum
One effective way to disprove an argument is to show that it necessarily leads to an absurd conclusion. An argument that concludes to an infinite regress is one such absurdity. Nevertheless, the web abounds with claims that Reductio ad infinitum is a logical fallacy.

The reason that some folks call shenanigans on this type of reductio argument is because Aristotle and Aquinas use it in their proofs for God. As Dr. Edward Feser definitively shows, the same people who dismiss Reductio ad infinitum as fallacious commit the very real Straw Man fallacy in the process.

The confusion seems to arise from Bertrand Russell cribbing David Hume's incomplete treatment of classical First Cause arguments. Their Straw Man refutation goes like this: "If everything has a cause, and God caused the universe, what caused God?"

Russell's counter-argument would be valid if it addressed what Aristotle, Aquinas, et al. actually said. Neither the Aristotelians nor the Scholastics ever claimed that "Everything has a cause." That canard is a gross simplification of sophisticated arguments that are really more like, "Everything that exists contingently must receive its being from something that exists necessarily." The accusation of special pleading leveled at the straw man utterly fails against the original argument.

As for why an infinite regress is absurd, Consider a train so long as to circle the equator that's all boxcars with no engine. Is the idea of those cars going anywhere on their own rational? Exactly.

So ends the post. Hopefully it has gone a short way toward elevating the state of online discourse. If you can think of any more non-fallacies, leave a comment below. I may do other posts on this topic.

2019/01/23

Keyboard Warrior Tonkasaw

Keyboard Warrior

Another news item that broke over the weekend, but was overshadowed by more serious events, developed when Morning Kumite host Tonkasaw chickened out of his MMA fight with fellow YouTuber Andy Warski.

Mister Metokur does the postmortem [NSFW language]:


From the transcript:
This was a pay-per-view event that people within the fighting community pay attention to. Tonka has built his Morning Kumite show on respecting the fighting game, understanding the rules and respecting the history, and he just spit in the face of Tim Lloyd, Tara LaRosa, every person attending this and his opponent Andy Warski. He spent the last three months slandering Andy, calling him a pedophile, calling him a retard, saying that he was an idiot that his show was shit that his fame had passed; that he was never going to draw an audience or pull in another nickel, running his mouth constantly, only for the moment of truth to arrive, and he's nowhere in sight. And that is the prime example of what an internet tough guy is.
In contrast, Andy Warski emerged as the true champion by flying in from another country to appear in the ring for his fans. Tonka apologists took to Twitter claiming that Andy didn't win since there was no fight. People who say that don't know their Sun Tzu. Winning without having to fight is the best kind of winning.

There's another lesson here for anyone in the entertainment business: Always deliver on promises to your audience.

2019/01/22

Empire Strikes Back Revisited

Solo shirt flap

As we watch Disney's ongoing desecration of a classic American franchise, it's comforting to know that there are fans dedicated to preserving what once was good in pop culture. Amateur British film restorer Adrian "adywan' Sayce is one such fan.

Adywan's self-directed Star Wars: Revisited project caused something of a sensation among the fandom ten years back with his fan edit of A New Hope. The accolades were deserved. Sayce took it upon himself to apply color correction, touch up aging special effects, and even fix continuity errors in the venerable film.

The final product would be laudable for its sheer ambition alone. But since adywan beat the pros at their own game and delivered a viewing experience even more enjoyable than Lucasfilm's official release, ANH: R achieved nothing less than a triumph.

Having exceeded fan expectations, producing a fan edit of The Empire Strikes Back would be the logical way to follow up on ANH: R's success.

Or so one might think at first blush.

The Empire Strikes Back is overwhelmingly hailed as the best Star Wars movie, and with good reason. The original Star Wars, as shot, was a disjointed Flash Gordon pastiche rescued from the B movie ghetto by a miracle of editing. Return of the Jedi was largely a retelling of the first film with better effects and more plot holes.

Only with Empire did the production team set out to create a masterpiece and marshal the skill to succeed. ESB the best sequel of all time. It builds on the momentum of its predecessor to hit the ground running from the first frame. It's a master class in conveying necessary information via the visual language of film instead of lengthy exposition.

In short, Empire is one of the most tightly edited movies of all time. The mastery of Lucasfilm's editors saved A New Hope and elevated its sequel to the heights of cinematic achievement. Attempting to improve on perfection requires either towering hubris, quixotic delusion, or rare genius.

Having watched The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited, I'm prepared to give an informed opinion as to which auspices adywan was laboring under. Before rendering my verdict, let's take a look at some of the changes he made.
OVERALL CHANGES:
  1. Doing a complete colour correction.
  2. Rebuilding the sound mix with new sound FX.
  3. Re-rotoscoping all the lightsabers to fix colour (and other) errors.
  4. Re-rotoscoping all of the laser blasts for consistency.
  5. Attempting to fix spaceship/snowspeeder transparency issues.
  6. TIEs will be blue and ANH:RHD will have blue TIEs also
  7. Replacing/enhancing starfields.
  8. Fixing as many garbage mattes as possible.
  9. Recoloured R2’s black panels to blue
A less ambitious--or more prudent--fan editor would have stopped there. However, adywan went on to make over 200 more changes. One of the most prominent was fixing Han's shirt when he's frozen in carbonite, which can be seen in the header image. The process required making an entirely new Han-frozen-in-carbonite prop from scratch.

Happily, most of adywan's additional edits turned out well. One new touch that's earned high praise from fans is his enhancement of puppet facial expressions using CG. A friend commented that enhancing practical effects is how CG should be used, and I have to agree.

On the downside, there are times when the CG is still too obtrusive. Yoda's enhanced facial expressions usually work, but there are one or two instances when he plunges into the Uncanny Valley. The addition--or retention from the special edition--of a CG Knobby White Spider on Dagobah is distracting. Finally, the replacement of the original bloody wampa arm with a cauterized version may be technically correct but fails to carry the same weight from a storytelling standpoint.

Otherwise, adywan's changes are mostly subtle and do improve the overall viewing experience relative to the ESB special edition. When introducing Star Wars neophytes to the franchise, Empire's
was the only special edition I included because Lucas managed to restrain his more extravagant impulses to a large degree. The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited has now replaced the ESB: SE as my preferred home version of the movie.

Acquiring ESB: R is an adventure in itself, but I recommend getting your copy today. You'll be glad you did.

2019/01/21

Brimstone, Millstones, and Stonings

Covington Catholic

Admittedly, I paid little attention to the Covington Catholic story that broke over the weekend, judging it yet another instance of #FakeNews directed against young, white, Christian men that would be swept under the rug with the next news cycle.

I was wrong. The story is becoming a watershed moment that's waking normies up to the Left's unholy zealotry, Conservative Inc.'s servile duplicity, and Catholic bureaucrats' rank cowardice.

Quick recap: A group of students from Covington Catholic high school were pilloried by the media based on deceptively shot and edited footage of the boys apparently mocking a man identified as a Native American Vietnam vet.

Bloodthirsty BlueChecks tripped over themselves to spew their blood lust on Twitter. Meanwhile, the cream of Conservative intellectualism at National Review leapt into action to defend...the Leftist activist and lecture the Catholic school boys on Christian virtue. The administrators of Covington Catholic, and the diocese they belong to, hastened to jump on the narrative bandwagon by issuing this statement:

CCK

The kneejerk dogpiling on these kids proved to be a case study in rashness when new video and eyewitness evidence emerged exonerating the boys, who were accosted by a group of black Israelites--no, I'm not making that up--before Phillips approached them and started beating his drum in their faces. The bewildered kids began chanting along.

Robby Soave

Others have rightly called out the frothing Leftist nutjobs and their flaccid cuck accomplices. I'm here to shine a spotlight on the Covington school and diocese for lining up beside people who posted gleefully homicidal rhetoric like this:

Wood Chipper

The Catholic educators and leaders of Covington rushed to offer students in their care to the Leftist death cult. And they tried to cloak their cowardice in the effeminate bureaucratese that's plagued the Church since Vatican II. They sacrificed their children--at the March for Life--to Gehenna. How do they hope to escape the same fate?

Such craven accommodation to the world is exactly what I expected from the US Church's current educators and leaders. Being proven right makes it no less wearying. To them I give this warning: Wake up. Get your faces out of the government slop trough. Stop helping invaders steal your boys' future. You are the Catholic Church in America. Return to serving the spiritual needs of American Catholics first and foremost.

To Boomer Catholics, understand that the Church is no longer the Democrat Party at Prayer. The Democrats have degenerated into a Christ-hating racialist death cult that wants to see you and your children dead. Get your heads out of the BoomerCon fog and read what your enemies have planned for you in their own words. They want to tear you apart with power tools. Dismiss any notion that they're kidding.

To Christian parents: Home school your kids. Anything else is child abuse.

The future of the Church is not dialogue with Modernity. It is not capitulation to the prince of this world. The path to survival is paved with brimstone, millstones, and stonings.

2019/01/18

Combat Frame Data: XCD-001-3


XCD-001-3 Xanthippe
  
XCD-001-3 Xanthippe

Technical Data

Model number: XCD-001-3
Code name: XSeed
Nickname: Xanthippe
Classification: energy weapon optimized Sentinel use combat frame
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: [REDACTED]
First deployment: CY 1
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: dry weight 65 metric tons, full weight 80.3 metric tons
Armor type: "1D" carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2795 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 41,790 kg, 4x 20,910 kg, 2x 12,000kg; top speed 3564 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 20, 180° turn time 0.80 seconds; legs: top ground speed 196 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed armaments: 2x plasma sword, power rated at 0.50 MW, stored in recharge rack on back, hand-carried in use.
Optional hand armaments: magnetic disruptor rifle, hand-carried; carbyne shield, mounts to either forearm.

General Notes

The third XSeed prototype, produced after the XCD-001-1 Prometheus and the XCD-001-2 Kreuzgun, the XCD-001-3 Xanthippe largely eschewed plasma weapons in favor of more terrifying experimental armaments.

The XCD-001-3's rifle used magnets made from graphene superconductors to accelerate a coiled carbyne filament to a significant fraction of light speed. The weapon had two fire modes: a matter disruptor setting that released the hyper-velocity filament and fired it as a projectile, and a neural disruptor setting that didn't release the filament but instead used it to generate a focused EM burst capable of severing the neuron connections in a target's brain through barriers up to and including 1D armor.

The Xanthippe's other custom weapon was a modified coffin shield much like the model carried by Prometheus and Kreuzgun with one notable addition. Megami added a spool of nearly unbreakable carbyne cable mounted on the inside of the shield near the lower edge. A magazine inserted next to the spool housing contained six superconducting magnets. Pressing a switch on the weapon control stick in the cockpit activated a mechanism in the shield that fed out a magnet and attached it to the cable.

The tethered magnet was wielded by the strength of the Xanthippe's shield arm. It had a variety of melee weapon applications including a whip, a flail, a garrote, and could trap enemy CFs by attaching magnets to both ends of the cable and pinning the target between some larger object and the wire. The magnets were powerful enough to stick to nearly anything, not just ferrous metals. The Xanthippe's pilot could decide how much of the cable to pay out, could reel it back in, or release it at will. When lashed like a whip, the carbyne cable was able to slice through almost any substance, even 1D armor. The pilot could manually untether a desired length of cable from the shield and attach a new magnet at any time.

Such a lethal and versatile weapons loadout came at a cost. The Xanthippe had no easy way to discharge energy stored in its onboard capacitor, leaving it visible to radar and more vulnerable to energy weapon attacks after absorbing its maximum power load. Then again, the stealthy nature of its weapons meant that few opponents detected the third XSeed's presence before it destroyed them.

2019/01/17

The Primacy of Speculative Reason - Encore

Author's note: Here's one from the vaults. It struck me as particularly relevant now.

Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.
-Dr. Ian Malcolm

Americans' habitual contempt for speculative reason never fails to dismay me, though our great country's myopic fascination with pure practicality is hardly surprising. A brief survey of our history reveals a clear preference for asking, "What should be done/how should we do it?" over "Why should we do this/what does it mean?".

From before the time of Plato; through Aristotle and Aquinas, the chief concern of Western philosophy was to address important questions through dialogue based on appeals to first principles (i.e. speculative reason). This noble tradition's downfall can be traced to the work of a single German philosopher. No, it's not Karl Marx. To pinpoint the moment when speculative reason toppled  from its throne, we must go back yet another century to the work of Immanuel Kant.

Frustrated by the perceived lack of stability in classical metaphysics (despite probably having read very little of it), Kant restricted the sphere of rational knowledge to experience and empiricism--despite the fact that doing so requires an appeal to sources of knowledge beyond experience and empiricism. Likewise, he failed to anticipate the catastrophic results of undermining natural law-based ethics while absolutizing personal autonomy.

If you're a typical postmodern Westerner, you probably couldn't care less about anything in the post above (except for the Jurassic Park quote--man, is it amazing how well that movie holds up or what?). You can be certain that I understand your deeply ingrained impatience with history, ontology, and philosophy in general. Rest assured that I'll explain why you should be gravely, intimately concerned with the airy notions that a bunch of Greeks and Germans discussed in the forgotten dark age that gripped the world before last Wednesday.

Exhibit A in my case for speculative reason is this article by Matt Saccaro. I cite this piece as a perfect example of 1) the practical reason-fueled utilitarian bias that dominates American culture and 2) the self-refuting absurdity of that bias. In support of his proposal to cut liberal arts disciplines from college curricula, the author argues that these fields of study serve only to shelter "intellectual cravens" unfit for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees. Removing "soft disciplines" like literature, fine arts, etc. would keep the riffraff out of college and in their rightful place as blue-collar laborers.

Mr. Saccaro's belief that, "the realities of the 21st century world make it true" that students whose natural gifts and dispositions lead them to non-STEM vocations have no business in college is less self-evident than he assumes. I could build a counter argument based on declining STEM job security due to the glut of outsourcing and work visas, along with the need for authoritative standards in fields like law, education, and yes, art; but that would mean first accepting the current zeitgeist's false, biased terms. No, all that's needed to show the faults in Saccaro's position is to ask, "How do you know that?"

Setting aside the flagrant hubris of pigeonholing all human beings in either STEM or Intellectual Craven categories (I'll take Mr. Saccaro's identification of skilled tradesmen with college washouts more seriously when he demonstrates enough skill to install water and gas lines for a laundry room without flooding/blowing up his home), I'll point out that asserting the supremacy of STEM fields over liberal arts involves a value statement. I.e. to avoid circularity, arguments from utility must appeal to principles discovered through metaphysics. Practical reason depends on speculative reason.

I couldn't cast a silver bullet more lethal to utilitarian bias than the one Saccaro uses to shoot himself in the foot:
There are two possible fates for the American postsecondary education system. One is for it to maintain its current status as a factory that produces debt-slaves and baristas that can recite Emmanuel Kant’s passages from memory. The other is for Universities and Colleges to become leaner, more-functional institutions that remove all unnecessary coursework, and focus only on what matters.
That whirring sound is Kant spinning in his grave.

2019/01/16

Movie Ranks: Men vs Women

Seen on Twitter:


Cursory analysis: Women like newer children's movies. Men like mature films--with a marked preference for war movies, westerns, and sci-fi--that span all eras of film.

Additional observation: Number of entries on each list that also appear on AFI's list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time

  • Women: 1
  • Men: 7

Also, I haven't dug deeply into this, but the women's list contains a glut of movies based on books, whereas the men's list appears to feature a preponderance of original screenplays.

What's the takeaway? Honestly, I'm not sure. I do have a sneaking suspicion that women give pride of place to stories as stories while men take a keener interest in film as a medium. Perhaps the disparity has something to do with men being more visual. This phenomenon warrants further study.

2019/01/15

Book vs Movie

Book vs movie

In my work as a freelance editor, I've noticed a common tendency among the current crop of science fiction authors to write books as if they're writing movies. That practice is understandable since most science fiction and fantasy novels published after 1980 suck, and therefore today's authors are disproportionately influenced by film.

However, writing a novel by playing a little movie in your head and transcribing what you see in your mind's eye hobbles the final product. Because this generation of authors don't read as much as their forebears did, few of them realize the storytelling advantages that books have over movies.

The film advantage

First, let's examine the storytelling tools in a film maker's repertoire that simply aren't available to novelists.

  • Film is a visual medium. Movies don't have to spend time describing characters, action, and settings. They can just show those elements.
  • Movies are easier to consume. As passive entertainment, they require less time investment and skill on the part of the audience. Bibliophiles often take the ability to read for granted, but nearly half of all American adults now have significant difficulty reading or are functionally illiterate.
  • In addition to their main visual aspect, movies are also enhanced by audio. Music and sound effects add extra layers and depth to the moviegoing experience.
Book advantages


Film makers certainly have storytelling tools at their disposal that novelists don't. On the other hand, authors can pull off feats of story craft that make movie directors jealous.

  1. Authors can directly convey their characters' emotions. Storytelling works by evoking an emotional response in the audience. When it comes to making audiences empathize with characters, novelists who understand their medium have all other artists beat. Authors have a thousand ways to relate characters' emotional states to readers, from subtle word choices that filter descriptions through a POV character's mood, to outright saying how a character feels.Movies have to rely on actors' performances and musical cues to get the same info across. Unless the director decides to include a voiceover, which is hard to do without getting heavy handed.
  2. Novel characters can be themselves. Related to the point above, the simple and necessary act of casting an actor to portray a character imposes hard limits on that character and the audience. Star Wars fans who read the 1976 novelization before the 1977 movie came out were free to imagine what Han Solo looked and sounded like within the broad descriptions supplied by Alan Dean Foster. Then the movie came out and effectively vetoed their imaginations. Now Han Solo is and forever will be Harrison Ford, Just like Aragorn is Viggo Mortensen and Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter. Books give readers more creative freedom.
  3. Books let readers make more choices. Every author has a personal vision for his work. Each reader has his own interpretation of a book's events, characters, and setting that will always differ from the author's to varying degrees. I've talked to readers who picture some of my most prominent characters with wildly different hair colors than are clearly defined in the book, for instance. That's an extreme example, but smart authors take advantage of readers' desire to stake ownership over the story by opening aspects up to interpretation. Use your books' higher necessary audience investment to foster audience participation.
  4. An unlimited special effects budget. The author is so called because he wields effectively unlimited authority over his secondary world. And compared to a film director, exercising that authority is practically effortless. As a novelist, you can conjure monsters as big as any realized on film--or bigger, stage battles between millions of swarming starships, and create worlds yet undreamed of. For free. Bonus: You can go the Lovecraft route and totally own film makers by writing of creatures so otherworldly as to defy mortal comprehension.

2019/01/14

Who's Frank Pentangeli?

Frank Pentangeli

Perusing this humanist blogger's semi-apt comparisons of various dissident Right figures to characters from the Godfather saga, one comes across this howler:
Also, because of excessive pride, Fuentes is too often and too easily dismissive of views and ideas that doesn’t jibe with his paradigm, and this is especially true when it comes to Catholic vs Pagan debate. His sadistic side just can’t resist putting on the robe of the grand inquisitor and insulting neo-pagans on the right and stretching them on the rack.
There's a reason why secular humanists white knight for neo-pagans. The latter are simply atheists who crave the ritual and fellowship of real religion without the morality or discipline. Similarly, atheists on the Right all too often turn out to be indistinguishable from Leftists who hate Christians and Jews instead of just hating Christians.
...Perhaps, Fuentes is drawn to Catholicism because he senses that his immense ego, if un-anchored to faith in God, can easily fly off the handle like that of fellow Latin Mussolini. It’s like a willful dog needs an especially powerful leash to prevent it from running wild and crazy. But for Fuentes, his Catholic leash has become more than a check on his emotions. It has become a check on his intellect and imagination, even to the point of dismissing evolution and entertaining the notion of geocentrism. 
Lens Flare Fedora Shrek
It has also become an easy whip of moral indignation. In this, Fuentes has something in common with the young Pat Buchanan who, as a young conservative, was an odd-man-out in Columbia Journalism school filled with Liberals(as recounted in his delightful autobiography RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING). Buchanan always had brains and passion, but his overt Catholicism limited his imagination and scope as a thinker, culture critic, and politician. It’s interesting that Fuentes is most like Buchanan but really admires Donald Trump who, being free of religious dogma, has been able to forge a new kind of politics.
If Catholicism is a limiting principle on political thought and imagination, then Matteo Salvini, Jair Bolsonaro, and Andrzej Duda, to name a few, seem oddly unaffected.

Exhibit A: Contra the OP's association of Trumpism with "being free of religious dogma", Trump had more support from Catholics, Protestants, and Jews than from atheists.

Vote by Religion

Exhibit B: a telling exchange between the Audacious Epigone and the decidedly less-antichrist Dissident Right atheist the Z Man:

A Conquered People

Heritage Americans are devoid of purpose because, like the American Indians, our culture and religion have been stolen from us. Christianity is the rock on which Western civilization was founded. It cannot be replaced with appeals to materialism or racial idolatry. It most certainly cannot be replaced with false graven images.

Self-styled Right wing commenters like Andrea have drunk deep of the Boomer Kool-Aid. They've been conditioned by enemy propaganda to abandon the religion of their fathers, never noticing that the enemy hates and fears the Christ more than any political movement. Perhaps the anti-Christian atheists and pagans on the Right don't serve the enemy's designs knowingly, but they serve them all the same.

Decision time is rapidly approaching. The Left will not allow anyone to pursue the drug high, sexual thrill, or consumerist indulgence of their preference while maintaining neutrality on Christ. Atheists on the Right have four choices:
  1. Join the Left--most will.
  2. Repent and convert to Christ.
  3. Failing 2, LARP in their church of choice for an hour on Sundays.
  4. Shut up.

2019/01/11

Combat Frame Data: XCD-001-2


XCD-001-2 Kreuzgun
  
XCD-001-2 Kreuzgun

Technical Data

Model number: XCD-001-2
Code name: XSeed
Nickname: Kreuzgun
Classification: energy weapon optimized Sentinel use combat frame
Manufacturer: Seed Corporation
Operator: [REDACTED]
First deployment: CY 1
Crew: 1 pilot in cockpit in chest
Height: 19 meters
Weight: dry weight 65 metric tons, full weight 78.4 metric tons
Armor type: "1D" carbyne laminar armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 2795 KW
Propulsion: rocket thrusters: 4x 41,790 kg, 4x 20,910 kg, 2x 12,000kg; top speed 3564 kph; maneuvering thrusters: 20, 180° turn time 0.80 seconds; legs: top ground speed 196 kph
Sensors: radar, thermal, optical array; main binocular cameras mounted in head
Fixed armaments: quad plasma rifle, power rated at 3.75 MW, magazine-fed, 10 shots per mag, can recharge from internal capacitor; 2x plasma sword, power rated at 0.50 MW, stored in recharge rack on back, hand-carried in use
Optional hand armaments: carbyne shield, mounts to either forearm

General Notes

The second XSeed prototype and sister CF to the XCD-001-1 Prometheus, the Kreuzgun matched its elder sibling's performance in every respect. With the notable exception of firepower, where  the XCD-001-2 actually surpassed its potent predecessor.

Instead of the sniper style Prometheus plasma rifle, the Project S team equipped the Kreuzgun with a squad scale nonintegrated plasma cannon 3x as powerful as the plasma rifle carried by the CF-014 Ein Dolph. The Kreuzgun's weapon featured four barrels arranged in a cross pattern when seen head-on, hence the name. This sight was usually the last an intended target saw.

Combined with the same energy-absorbing 1D armor that made the Prometheus nigh indestructible, the Kreuzgun represented a major leap forward in Megami's quest for the ultimate terror weapon.

Line art: quad plasma rifle


Kreuzgun rifle

2019/01/10

Writing Tips: Conflict, Tension, and Action

Fury Road

Many writers labor under a common misconception about what makes a book feel fast-paced. Slamming chapters together with no space in-between doesn't necessarily give readers a sense of speed. In fact, it can do the opposite by bringing on action fatigue. Pacing has less to do with keeping lots of balls in the air than with with motivation.

Consider Mad Max: Fury Road. It's been described as a nonstop car chase, and George Miller is said to have storyboarded it that way, but look closely and you'll find several points where the action slows down or outright pauses so the characters can take stock of the situation, lick their wounds, and plan their next move. It just feels like the action never stops from the audience's point of view because the characters are so well-established and their motives are crystal clear.

Always remember:

  1. Storytelling is about manipulating the reader's perceptions. It's primarily emotional. Intellect is secondary.
  2. The physical nuts and bolts of a story rarely if ever have a direct 1:1 effect on readers' perceptions. In fact, the effect is often the opposite of what you'd expect. The relationship is almost like dream logic.

So counter-intuitively, a story that actually is nonstop action feels like a slog, whereas a story with one explosion every 5000 words can feel like a runaway roller coaster ride if you've got your characters and their motives clear in the reader's head.

To put it in wordsmithing terms, the element that fuels the plot and keeps the reader on the edge of his seat furiously turning pages to find out what happens next is dramatic tension. Conflict builds tension. Note that conflict and action are not the same thing. Conflict arises when a character in pursuit of a goal encounters an obstacle to getting what he wants. Action often releases tension by providing a measure of conflict resolution.

What this means is that the tension isn't necessarily where you think it is. Here's a simplified example.

  1. Max and his allies are trying to get their truck out of the mud.
  2. A wave of goons shows up to kill them. This is when the tension spikes.
  3. Max slaughters the goons. The tension is relieved.

The longer a fight scene, the more tension is reduced, Think of action as a tension release valve.

That doesn't mean you should pull an Indiana-Jones-shooting-the-swordsman routine every time. Balancing dramatic tension with satisfying conflict resolution is a delicate high wire act. Having the hero just blow through every challenge quickly desensitizes the reader until the appearance of new obstacles stops raising the tension entirely.

The trick is to have an overarching goal for the protagonist, regularly introduce new obstacles--and new kinds of obstacles--that ratchet up the tension, and have the hero believably overcome the obstacle without releasing all of the additional tension. Following every action scene, the dramatic tension should be at least a little higher than it was before the scene began. Think a series of peak and valleys where each peak and valley is higher than the last.

Dramatic tension should reach a crescendo in the third act climax. At that point, the story should downshift from rising action to falling action as loose ends are tied up and the last conflicts are resolved.

Since action scenes tend to actually relieve dramatic tension, there's no reason breaks in the action can't maintain or even heighten tension. These scenes are where characters can discuss the story's stakes, which is a great way to heighten tension. Think of any scene in an Ocean's movie where the characters are planning a heist. Showing you all the complex security measures they must defeat to succeed turns up the tension, even though the only action is a conversation between characters,

For the ultimate example of non-action tension building, look to The Empire Strikes Back. Many viewers erroneously think Luke's lightsaber duel with Vader is the movie's climax. It's not. Their discussion afterward is. It doesn't get any more dramatic than Vader's pivotal revelation. The resolution comes when Luke makes his choice and jumps.

Where to place the breaks? A piece of advice Jagi gave me that I try to use in every novel is to give the characters a chance to rest and reflect on their situation at least once per act. This serves as a recap of the story thus far for the reader's benefit and can build/maintain tension as explained above.

For some added action genre structural help, check out Lester Dent's Master Pulp Formula. It was devised for short stories, but it scales up to novels easily. Just divide your total word count by four, and replace the 1500 value with that number. It maps to three act structure pretty well, too.

2019/01/09

A Partial Timeline

Gods of Pegāna

The following is a timeline of events--perhaps related; perhaps not.

1905: The Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany is published.
1912: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs is published.
1914: Outbreak of World War I
          First members of the Greatest Generation born.
1917: Russian Revolution
1920: 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed.
1922: Soviet Union founded.
1932: Conan the Cimmerian created by Robert E. Howard.
1935: First members of the Silent Generation born.
1937: First publication of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
          Donald A. Wolheim delivers John B. Michel's speech "Mutation or Death" at
          the Third Eastern Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia.
          John W. Campbell Jr. becomes editor of Astounding Science Fiction.
1939: Start of World War II
1944: "The Call of Cthulhu" by H.P. Lovecraft is first published in Weird Tales.
1946: Start of the Baby Boom.
          Chinese Communist Revolution
1950: The Korean War begins.
1954: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien begins publication.
1955: The Vietnam War begins.
1956: "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis Presley released.
1957: First members of Generation Jones born.
1958: "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry released.
1962: "Love Me Do" by the Beatles released.
1964: The Civil Rights Act is passed in the USA.
1968: First members of Generation X born.
1971: Led Zeppelin IV released.
1976: The Atari 2600 released.
1977: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks is published.
          The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson published.
          Star Wars by George Lucas is released to theaters.
1979: First members of Generation Y born.
1981: Raiders of the Lost Ark by Steven Spielberg, Lawrence Kasdan, and George
          Lucas released.
1983: The video game market crashes.
1985: Back to the Future by Robert Zemeckis released.
1986: The Nintendo Entertainment System released nationwide in America.
1987: The Joshua Tree by U2 released.
1989: Release of the Sega Genesis
1990: First members of the Millennial Generation born.
          Fall of the Berlin Wall
          Gulf War begins.
          First book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan published.
1991: Launch of the Super NES
          Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn published.
1995: SONY PlayStation released.
1997: Final Fantasy VII released for the PlayStation.
          Release of Pop by U2.
          Star Wars Special Editions first hit theaters.
1999: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace released.
2001: First members of Generation Z born.
          9/11
          War in Afghanistan begins.
          Iraq War begins.
2008: Barack Obama elected.
2014: #GamerGate begins.
2015: Obergfell v. Hodges SCOTUS decision.
          Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens released.
2016: Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Dr. Chuck Tingle nominated for a
          Hugo Award.
          Dragon Awards founded.
          Election of Donald Trump.
2017: Galaxy's Edge: Legionnaire released by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole.

UPDATE:  My astute and knowledgeable readers offered welcome corrections in the comments.
"The Call of Cthulhu" was first published in 1928.
The Iraq War started in 2003.

2019/01/08

Combat Frame XSeed Feedback

Combat Frame XSeed

With the official Combat Frame XSeed launch fast approaching, I thought it a good time to share some of the feedback offered by one of my keen-eyed beta readers.
A year ago, Brian Niemeier , along with a group of other authors and a group of Mobile Suit Gundam fans realized that modern western mecha scifi has fallen into a trope trap of dour space marines fighting in a galactic hellscape setting or clunky upright tanks; while the established Anime mecha series seemed to be stuck in a narrative loop ("Are you guys ready for the Neo-Neo-Neo-Neo-Zeon War?"). Thus #AGundamForUs was born! The idea being for authors to tap into the Eastern mecha tropes -not necessarily just from Gundam- that Western storytellers had been ignoring, while trying to avoid the narrative loops of the East. A best of both worlds.
Combat Frame XSeed succeeds in spades. You get a nice, tight narrative with plenty of action, revenge plots, espionage, space colonies, agile big robots, large objects falling out of space, and a mystery thread that looks like it will span the series. While fans of series like Mobile Suit Gundam and Armored Trooper Votoms will recognize tropes and inspiration sources, they'll not get a retread slapdash repaint of those series. The setting is its own thing, with events transpiring based on real life demographic projections pushed further into the future that play into the characters' motivations and subsequent choices. The preview...where a group of insurgent Earthers raids a village for supplies using some older Combat Frames (the mechs) is tonally spot-on and feels inspired by a village raid by spacer forces in Gundam 08th MS Team. The raid doesn't transpire in the same way as its Gundam inspiration though and seems to be just a minor action set piece at first...but it has major ramifications for both the main protagonist and the main antagonists by the end.
There are a surprising number of situations like that in the book; where at first it feels like something is minor but it resonates throughout if you pay attention. So not only do you get a fun robot action romp, it's well thought out as well.
I am definitely looking forward to what's in store for us with book II!
The reader is correct about me and my fellow NewMech authors' aims. It's highly gratifying to hear that Combat Frame XSeed has risen to the challenge. And that's the beta version. Let everyone who submitted helpful corrections and suggestions know that the official Amazon release will be even more polished, with a little more clarity in regard to those seemingly minor elements that snowball into major twists later.

Combat Frame XSeed will officially launch this month. If you're an Indiegogo backer who wanted to wait and buy the trade paperback from Amazon, but you haven't subscribed to Nova Frontier yet, sign up via the link in the eBook to get the launch announcement before readers of this blog and even subscribers to my general newsletter. Plus, you get the "Combat Frame XSeed: CY 2 Gaiden" bonus short story for free.

I also ask the respected critics who received advance review copies to kindly abstain from publishing reviews on blogs and social media until after the official release. In addition to being my #AGundam4Us entry, CFXS was devised as an experiment with the Fox/Anspach/Cole launch model that's been a year in the making. Data purity is paramount, and Amazon's algorithm needs time to work with the organic sales data.

This is gonna be good.

2019/01/07

Satanic Boomer Agitprop

Pleasantville apple

Regular readers will be familiar with my penchant for shining a light on Hollywood's hatred of their audience and Boomers' hatred of every other generation. Much as A Bridge Too Far proves Pigman's Caine-Hackman hypothesis, I have been presented with the ultimate intersection of Hollywood diabolism and Boomer propaganda in the 1998 movie Pleasantville.

YouTuber Blackpilled, who reviews movies with a keen eye for both literary criticism and propaganda, explains this superficially innocent film's subversive depths.
As much as the baby boomers fought to overturn and rebel against and eventually destroy the American culture that existed before them, one thing that I have always found interesting is how much the same champions of counterculture that sadistically dismembered their heritage and mocked every tradition their parents have gifted them, but at the same time romanticize this same culture they worked so hard to undo.
In the 1980s and 90s there were a flurry of television shows and movies that seemed to acknowledge a yearning for something, a not so quiet acknowledgement of a loss that nobody could quite put their finger on; a bitter regret that was much more than anything that could be explained away by the phenomenon of nostalgia.
Well, these homages to a paradise lost forever sometimes included, you know, a little bit of ridicule of their favorite boogeyman the puritanical patriarchy that always had been the thankless guardians of this now extinct culture. There did exist a recognition a deep remorse, even that these were the good old days. One of the most popular examples was even called Happy Days.
But unfortunately Pandora's Box had already been opened. The genie could not be stuffed back into the bottle. The monster that the baby-boomers had unleashed would grow and mutate and seek to preserve itself, something it could never do if everyone was looking back and quietly asking themselves if perhaps just maybe they'd made a terrible mistake.
Fun fact: Pleasantville was written and directed by Clinton stooge Gary Ross.
After this period of longing that went on for about a decade, it wasn't that long before these fantasies had to be distorted--something that was easier to do once those who lived through the era grew old and the memories began to fade. After a while the sadness began to turn into bitterness, and as one might expect, the yearning was replaced with mocking and ridicule, like a spurned lover who finally gets past the grief stage and as a coping mechanism has to convince themselves that there was nothing good about their ex that they once loved. They have to pervert every memory they had of their time together to fit this new narrative that they're better off without them; that they had simply outgrown them.
But it wasn't just important for the baby boomers to forget and smear the past they had thrown away to help them survive and get on. Although in a very real way it was about self-preservation. You see a new generation was growing up now--growing up in a completely different world—the new normal that had been created crafted by the baby boomers: a world of broken homes, of a broken society filled with broken people. They had smashed everything with the hammer of revolution without ever bothering to rebuild anything in its place, and now this new generation raised in the rubble and smoldering ashes of the baby boomers’ devastating culture war, they were looking at these images of nuclear families with attentive and loving parents, affordable schools you could pay your tuition just by having a summer job at the corner store. The corner store that didn't have any bulletproof glass, and if you didn't have enough money to pay your bill it was okay because everyone knew and trusted each other. They lived in communities with a shared culture and history. They knew each other by name. They didn't even lock their front doors. What’s more, everyone was happy, and they were happy without drugs, without antidepressants, without casual sex.
What would this new generation exposed to these images, what would they think if they saw this time, this place that now seemed like some kind of mad utopia, and realized that it was gone—or more importantly—why it was gone. Imagine the terror, the panic; the baby-boomers felt standing over the corpse of this beautiful and lost culture, the murder weapon still in their hands, dripping with blood, as Generation X, dazzled by this wonderful paradise that so starkly contrasted the reality they knew, slowly pieced together what it was that had happened.
So like a deer in headlights, the baby-boomers, fearing what would happen if they didn't, decided to hide the body.
The movie Pleasantville was just one of the many tools they used to bury the body—the campaign weaponized against Generation X. The best way to explain it is that the baby boomers acted the same way a brutal dictator might act, but instead of it being Kim Jong Il banning all Western media in North Korea and telling his people that everyone beyond their borders was in some nightmarish hellscape and that North Korea was the true utopia—something he had to do because if the people were to discover the truth they might overthrow him or worse—the boomers, using the same formula and reasoning, told Generation X that the 1940s and 50s, despite what it might look like on TV, was really a nightmarish hellscape full of misogyny, patriarchy, oppressive religion, and worst of all, whiteness.
It gets worse--much worse.
This is where we get to the real troubling aspect of this film. If you've seen my videos before, you know I'm not one of these guys that gets hung up on symbolism or or pointing out, you know, secret satanic imagery. And I'm not saying that stuff doesn't exist. It's just not what I do. In fact, I don't think I've even mentioned the concept of Satanism and in any of these videos. I'm more of an expert on storytelling and on propaganda. I dissect what the story is telling the audience and how it's trying to inject ideas and themes into your head using propaganda techniques. 
But this film, in addition to being all the things that I have discussed before, this smearing of the past; hiding the body, is literally satanic.
Blackpilled isn't exaggerating in the slightest. The header image of this post is a frame from Pleasantville wherein the female character pictured actually plucks an apple from a tree in a garden and gives it to the protagonist. This scene precipitates the chain of events leading to the whole town's irrevocable expulsion from the 1950's paradise kept and tended by benevolent patriarchs.

Now, you might call that an implicit critique of the characters' descent into fornication, adultery, and rebellion. It would be, had Pleasantville been written from a Christian point of view. It is not. The rebellious townspeople's eating of the forbidden fruit is strikingly portrayed as an unalloyed good in the visual language of film. Not only to those who partake change from dreary black and white to vibrant color, their rebellion is directly analogized to Atticus Finch's defense of Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird

The pursuit of knowledge divorced from the good is not the biblical message. No, that narrative has a far different pedigree.

Satanic Monument Illinois

That satanic monument proclaiming "Knowledge is the greatest gift" resides in the Illinois State Capitol. Its placement next to a Christmas tree perfectly represents the public mockery of America's cultural traditions perpetrated by Hollywood Boomers in the form of propaganda flicks like Pleasantville.

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