2020/04/30

Sausage Roll Indeed

The Last of Us II - nanomachines

The gamer scene has been in an uproar over a story that broke over the weekend concerning The Last of Us II. For those who aren't familiar, it's the sequel to a game that gained some popularity during last decade's zombie fad.

Rumors had been swirling for years on 4chan that the Death Cultists in charge of the game studio would poz up the sequel. Newly substantiated leaks suggest that the Cultists have outdone themselves.
It seems that the players will switch perspectives at some point in the game, as footage also shows the player in control of Abby, the daughter of one of the surgeons killed by Joel at the end of the first game who has vowed revenge against Ellie and Joel.
The leak also confirms that Joel is indeed killed during the course of the game, being beaten to death by Abby while Ellie is forced to watch:
In a cutscene from what appears to be the end of the game, a player-controlled Abby wins a fist fight against Ellie, allegedly killing her and leaving her for dead as she chokes on her own blood:
Making beloved characters do abrupt heel turns into homosexuality was the Death Cult cause du jour in 2015, so Naughty Dog Studios' lead witch Neil Druckmann had to give the screw another turn to maintain his standing.
Dina, modelled after Cascina Caradonna, is Ellie’s love interest. Lev and Yara Asian minorities who are hunted by the big bad homophobic and racist Christian cult, and Abby is the leader of their little gang; and, according to 4chan leaks, she is also a trans woman.
This detail comes to us from an internet magazine aptly titled Sausage Roll.

What's noteworthy about Druckmann's public sacrifice of a once-popular franchise is its total lack of creativity. That's to be expected. Rituals don't lend themselves to improv. They're a series of sign-acts performed according to a formula.

In this case, we have a bloodthirsty Christian sect hunting a pair of lesbians, only to have their main prey poached by a transsexual who beats the series' breakout character to death.

Druckmann does earn bonus points from forcing the player into the dysphoric killer's high heels to deliver the deathblow himself. As humiliation rituals go, it's a liturgical masterpiece.

Not everyone appreciates the craftsmanship Naughty Dog's head witch has put into demoralizing his own audience.
An anonymous source linked to Nauhgty Dog Inc. reached out to us with the following message regarding The Last of Us 2 gameplay footage leak:
“I don’t doubt, even for a moment, that this leak came from the studio. The Last of Us Part 2 is very divisive and, as you can imagine, some of the team aren’t really thrilled to be working on the game.”
The source goes on to talk about how stale the work environment has been at Naughty Dog and how so many people have had to bite their tongues because ‘cancel culture’ is very much alive inside of the studio.
“Many people would agree with me that this has been one of the worst projects they’ve ever had to work on, and that’s not just because some people disagree with the plot. Even though some of the team members are Christians and don’t necessarily agree with the game’s ‘message’, they are also professionals and can put their personal politics aside to get the job done. What really sucks about all of this is the working environment.”
Who was the source of the leak? Fan speculation centers around one ex-Naughty Dog employee who definitely had the means, motive, and opportunity.
Naughty Dog built their reputation upon the success of the Uncharted trilogy; one of the most critically acclaimed and fan loved gaming series of all time. The game owed a lot of its success to due Amy Hennig’s vision, direction and writing. Unfortunately Hennig was ‘forced out’ off Naughty Dog by Druckmann due to ‘creative disputes’.
Amy Hennig signed a strict NDA which barred her from discussing the real reason she was thrown out but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating that it might have for political reasons.
In an interview at the DICE summit in 2019 Amy Hennig confirmed that Nadine Ross was not in her version of Uncharted 4, and neither was the ambiguous relationship between her and Chloe Frazer.
The lesbian relationship between two female protagonists from Uncharted: The Lost Legacy wasn’t confirmed in the game, albeit strongly hinted at, but rather — in J.K. Rowling ‘after-the-fact’ fashion — in a Tweet from Naughty Dog in December, 2017.
It's not hard to read the untold story between the lines here. Druckmann wanted to foist his lesbian fixation on Hennig's characters. She fought back and was excommunicated from the Naughty Dog coven. The disaster that is The Last of Us II is Druckmann's revenge against Hennig and the player.

And here's his parting shot:
New screenshots reveal that all the female characters in The Last of Us Part II have been made to look more androgynous allegedly to not offend trans women.
Druckmann has really upped his game since 2013. Not only is he waging war on normal sexuality, he's launching an all-out attack on beauty, too.
We spoke to a seasoned artist who has worked as a character designer for several AAA games and he admitted that “this is the new norm.”
Note the rhetorical sleight of hand there. The phrase "new norm" isn't about changing norms. It's about rejecting the concept of normality altogether.
“It’s not really about the sexual objectification of women, ” he explained. “Women, like men, come in all shapes and sizes; to say that having big busty women is unrealistic is untrue.”
He added: “This is only true for trans people. A trans woman can’t naturally grow large breasts, and not all trans people can afford implants. If you see a game where the women are a little less curvy, it’s not to because the game designers are worried about receiving backlash for sexualising women, it’s because they are worried about offending the trans community.”
Here we see that the real aim of the Death Cult's attack on beauty is to destroy truth. Stating, "A trans woman can't naturally grow large breasts," while pretending you're not talking about a man is the Current Year version of a cowed Eastern Bloc shopkeep saying, "Workers of the world unite!"

Don't buy the lies.

Don't give money to people who hate you.

DO learn how to break free of the Cult and have fun while you're at it:

2020/04/29

Witch Hunter Franssen

Franssen

It's heartening to see awareness of Deat Cult witchery spreading--if not into the mainstream, then into the larger counterculture.

That's what made Steve Franssen's dissection of Vice's puff piece on a Millennial web cult so satisfying. The moment he lays eyes on cult leader's bookshelf and realizes she's an actual witch vindicates my warnings about the Death Cult, the Pop Cult, and witches in one fell swoop.

The venue chosen to promote the witch and her online cult is significant. Vice is another of those new media outfits founded by a conservative but co-opted by the Left. To differentiate themselves from the fake news pack, they offer slickly produced soft agitprop videos packaged as documentaries. The fact that even some in the counterculture buy the hype is a testament to the power of video.

Franssen proves himself much too canny for that, though. He nimbly cuts through the video producers' technical legerdemain as well as the witch's satanic delusions with lackadaisical ease.

His analysis rings true. What leads a young woman from middle America to dress up in rainbow robes and found a UFO religion? Chalk it up to feral Millennials raised without direction by Boomers lulled into an infantilized, permanently suggestible state by TV. The proof is in the Unicult's consumerist doctrine of letting each member pick and choose their own doctrines.

Franssen is also correct in his contention that these are lost, damaged people who are to be pitied, not reviled. When every societal institution from the Church to the family utterly fails an entire generation, mass insanity is only to be expected.

unicult

That's not to say these cultists are any less in thralldom to Satan. It is to say that the teachers in the academy, the Church, and their families charged with raising them in the truth are just as answerable for their idolatry.

The striking thing is just how banal Unicult's creed is. It's exactly the hodgepodge of warmed-over New Age ego worship and social justice cant you'd find in a Babylon Bee parody meme. Every day brings another orgy of evidence that when you don't believe in God, you will indeed believe anything.

Franssen's whole video is well worth an attentive watch for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the insanity gripping the West.


Now that you understand that the powers behind this witchery hate you, learn to stop giving them money!

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/28

An Awakened Presence

Kidalton High Cross

Emboldened by the tales of high strangeness posted on this blog, a reader shares a remarkable personal experience.
I had a different kind of chill and encounter about a year ago.  We took a long-planned and long-delayed trip to Scotland, which included a day trip to the Isle of Islay in the west.  I sampled some nice whiskey and we learned a lot about the Lord of the Isles, but the most interesting part was our final stop to see the Kildalton High Cross, at the unroofed church of that name.
Being unroofed, the old church was not in regular use, but the grounds inside the enclosure were still in use for Catholic and Christian burials. I stepped into the old church for a look, but stepped out quickly.  I took off my hat and re-entered more politely, because I had a quick feeling of "mind your manners!" the first time.  That was not a perfunctory bow toward the old altar and tabernacle location.  For lack of a better word, the church felt like it was sleeping, with a drowsy sense of Presence waiting to wake up fully again.  The church and the church yard within the enclosure wall had a definite feeling of sanctuary, and still being guarded  from evil.  Closed or de-sacralized churches have a very different and empty feeling; this one felt like it was resting and waiting.  Why it was waiting, or what it was waiting for, gave me a slow chill, and much to think and pray about later.  At that moment, I was glad that I hadn't gained the attention of an awakened Presence, or His attendant angels, about the disturbance.
May the same Presence awaken in every heart in the West.

"In the end, this book left me feeling motivated and full of hope. Thanks to recent offerings from the Death Cult, I'd almost forgotten how good that feels."
Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier
Read it now!

2020/04/27

Danger With Opportunity

Mackenzie

One danger that dissenters from Death Cult dogma should regularly remind ourselves of is that the Cult is now the mainstream, so most folks don't share our views on pop culture. Keeping tabs on reactions to my Pop Cult exposé, I've been surprised to see how many ordinary Conservatives--even devout Christians--still think the problem with show business is a few bad apples pushing Leftist politics.

The truth is that a cabal of fanatics has been working day and night to infiltrate the entertainment industry and pervert it into a propaganda machine. They've been at it for decades, and now nearly all major studios and publishers bow the knee to the Cult's high priests.

You'd be forgiven for mistaking these screencapped tweets from a self-described game creator for the scribblings on a lunatic asylum inmate's walls. The inability to discern reality from fantasy used to be a symptom of psychosis. Now it gets you a cushy sinecure pretending to make art while gibbering on Twitter.

You couldn't ask for a better example of Death Cult doctrine in practice. The Cult's central tenet is that any limit on personal expression, even reality, is oppressive and must be destroyed. A lot of people assume it's hyperbole to say that the Cult wants to destroy reality, which is odd because the Cultists' own public professions constantly refute that assumption.

That's why claims of the entertainment industry pushing anti-normal person agitprop for profit ring false. The Cultists in charge of our entertainment are laboring under a form of self-induced schizophrenia. They really believe that casting cape flicks with disabled lesbian Eskimo Wiccans will usher in an earthly paradise free of straight, white, Christian men.

Herein lies another danger, but a danger with opportunity. As folks on our side keep repeating, reality doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. Having billions of dollars to run damage control helps delay the inevitable, but in the end reality always wins.

New York publishing was probably the first entertainment sector to fall under the Death Cult's sway. They've been pushing agitprop disguised as literature since at least 1937. Oldpub has been limping along, mortally wounded for years. Now Corona-chan has administered the coup de grace.

The Pop Cult is about to meet its long-overdue reckoning with reality. That means most of the corrupted IPs that members of Gens X and Y and the Millennials are addicted to will soon implode. That's a crisis, but it's also another opportunity for independent creators. Amazon sped up Oldpub's demise through creative destruction. Indies should be getting ready to leave the sidelines and rush in to fill the cultural vacuum the Pop Cult is about to leave.

For a more in-depth treatment of the coming indie Renaissance, check out the latest episode of Geek Gab where I join Daddy Warpig and Dorrinal to discuss what comes next.


And for practical advice on how to escape the Pop Cult and have fun in the process, read my new best selling book!
While not quite as pugilistic in tone as "SJWs Always Lie," it's right up there ... 
Compliment taken!

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/24

One Foot in the Grave

... and the other on a banana peel is an accurate description of the current state of oldpub.

One Foot in the Grave

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch plumbs the exact depth of the hole.
There’s a shortage of paper, because it comes from China. The two largest printers of magazines and books in the U.S., Quad/Graphics and LSC Communications were going to merge last summer, but something got in the way. Now, LSC Communications has filed for bankruptcy. The second largest printer, Quad, has shut its book printing facilities entirely.
In some regions, major distributors have shut down or disappeared, while although others, like Ingram, are still operating, although with reduced staff.
Not that it matters, since most bookstores are closed, and not shipping books to their customers. To make matters worse, the books that are being delivered will remain in their boxes, only to be returned for full price credit when this crisis is over. That was a policy established to help bookstores in the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the policy never got changed afterwards.
You read that last part right. Oldpub still uses the return system--an arcane form of consignment sales that's a holdover from the 1930s. Is it any wonder newpub is eating their lunch?

And that's not the only archaic business practice currently hoisting oldpub by its own petard.
Remember way back when the Justice Department went after traditional publishers for price-fixing?  The entire idea behind fixing prices was to protect hardcover book sales. The traditional publishers were trying to establish a high price for ebooks, so people would buy the hardcovers first.
Even though trad pub lost that suit and the publicity wars from it, they kept a version of the pricing. Just today, as I was going through my collected research for this piece, I looked at the ebook prices for backlist ebooks from traditional publishers and only found one book—thirty years old—that had a price below $9.99. Most of the ebook prices ranged from $12.99 to $15.99. And in one case, the ebook I looked at (nonfiction, from a major press) was $23.99. Um…wow.
Regular readers of this blog will already be aware that oldpub is in the lumber business, not the story business. They bet all their chips on their paper distribution monopoly. Now along comes a crisis that stops the distribution of paper books.

Even oldpub's fallback option--audio books--have collapsed as commuters are forced to stay home.

Now their myopic focus on dead trees, to the point of purposefully trying to throttle eBook sales, has come back to bite them hard.
Ebook sales are up to what some people are called “holiday season levels.” Open Road Media, which works with traditional publishers and does backlist ebooks for established traditional authors, was one of the few bright spots in the traditional publishing news of the past week. Open Road Media’s sales went up 50%.
But it’s too late for most traditional publishers to capitalize on the increased ebook sales. Traditional publishers’ prices are just too high, and they don’t have the manpower right now to change thousands of prices on the handful of platforms where they sell ebooks.
Oldpub hasn't only missed the eBook boat, either. It's now too late to salvage their bread-and-butter print book sales.
Finally, and this is something I’ll expand on in the next blog post, traditional publishers are pushing as many books as they can to a fall or early winter release. Publisher’s Lunch is maintaining a list of the books that have had their publication dates changed from May/June to much later in the year. More books get added all the time.
But you’ll note that the changes didn’t start until books that were supposed to be released this week—and even then, there were damn few of those. You’d think that traditional publishers would have immediately halted expenditures. If they thought books weren’t going to sell, they should have moved March and April books immediately.
But they couldn’t. The contracts were already at the printer. The books were already printed, bound, and stored in a warehouse, being boxed and ready to ship…to the closed bookstores.
Oh, the returns later this year will be astronomical. I’ll wager that normal huge sellers in hardcover like John Grisham and Stephen King, who have books hitting this month, will have the largest returns of their careers.
The question hanging over these tidings of oldpub's doom is, "How will the Big Five's implosion affect their authors?"

If you're an author who's not self-published, I'd sit down before reading further.
I would like to say that traditional publishers are smart enough to know what happened, but they won’t see the actual results of this period for months. And if history is our guide, they’ll blame the authors. That’s what happened to the authors whose books debuted in September, 2001. Those writers had to struggle to maintain careers, and most failed because of a precipitous drop in sales that had nothing to do with them or their books and everything to do with the terror attacks.
Classy!
The traditional publishing industry is falling into two or three years of complete reorganization. It’ll be a mess. The Big Five might not be five any longer. Viacom/CBS Corporation talked about selling Simon & Schuster before the plague hit the fan. Now, a corporation like Viacom/CBS might simply cut its losses. It might not be able to sell the book publisher. Or if it does, it might be a fire sale prices.
There will be mergers, consolidations, sales, and of course, job losses. Beloved editors will leave, and their books will be orphaned…or returned to the authors. For a while, the lists of books published every month will be a complete mess.
I have no idea if traditional publishers will even have room to buy new books for a while, with all of this pushback. Agents aren’t even sure if they should market books/authors to publishers right now. 
KKR is gentler than I am. She suggests that oldpub authors petition their publishers to split royalty payments between them and their agents. My advice is more direct: Fire your agent.

In a crisis situation where agents cannot do their sole, dubious job, authors need parasites bleeding them for 15% like they need a broken glass enema.
I’d recommend that writers who aren’t published yet start exploring their self-publishing options. Indie (self) published writers are the ones who will survive as fulltime writers, not traditionally published writers—even if they get a big payday.
Nick Cole's prophecy races toward fulfillment. The Big Five were already teetering on the brink thanks to the eBook revolution. Only their international megacorp owners kept them from plunging over the edge. Now those globocorps are slipping, too, and they'll cut oldpub loose before letting it drag them down, too.

Writing for a living is the best job in the world. The only drawback is that most of your co-workers lack the sense to come in out of the rain. Publishers do nothing but take 50-85% of your earnings. At this point, signing with a publisher amounts to jumping in the lowering coffin with them.

Keep your rights. Keep control of your career. Don't give money to people who hate you.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/23

Moral Terms

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

Spend enough time staring into the abyss toward which the Left is hurtling us, and you eventually notice that political ideology is just a thin layer of scum coating the surface.

Politics is, after all, the art of properly organizing society toward the greatest good for the most people. It's a strictly practical matter.

But listen to the Left long enough, and you realize that they never speak in practical terms. Their pitch is never, "Let's marshal these resources in this way to solve that real problem."

Instead, the Left always and everywhere speaks in strictly moral terms. To the extent that they express any concern for practical issues like pollution or poverty, the material problem is always ancillary to some moral panic.

To them, poverty is bad--not because people are hungry or homeless--but because they believe that poverty is a symptom of systemic social inequality between the majority and various sacred victim groups. The same goes for crime, education, and even healthcare.

Politics is just one tool the Left uses to advance its moral vision for the world. And an organization whose main purpose is spreading a particular moral vision based on a specific cosmology is called a religion.

When that religion's fervent aim is destroying the cultural bonds that hold civilization together, you call it what it is--a Death Cult.

Conservatives have missed this for years. They've stubbornly restricted their criticism of the Death Cult to the political realm. This fetish for practicality is why Conservatives disregard art, among other culture war fronts, and why the Cult runs rings around them.

Leading Hispanic author Jon Del Arroz and I discussed this and other subjects cultural, spiritual, and literary on his stream last night. It was a rousing conversation that's well worth your time.

Watch it here:


The Death Cult hates you. Stop giving them money. My new best selling new book shows you how.

Buy it!

2020/04/22

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

Is now a triple #1 new release on Amazon.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

My thorough takedown of the entertainment complex Death Cult is the #1 best seller in:

  • Two-hour Politics and Social Sciences Short Reads
  • Two-hour Religion and Spirituality Short Reads

and in a delightfully fitting turn,

  • Blasphemy, Heresy, and Apostasy.

But I don't bow tot he bandwagon effect, and I don't expect you to, either. Here's what folks who've read the book have to say:
In this book, Brian Niemeier explains an important fact about the entertainment industry (movies, TV, large book publishers, etc). If you are to the right of Stalin, believe that nuclear families are a good thing, and don't think Christianity is the worst thing to ever happen to the world, the entertainment industry hates you.
Not "politely disagree with you", not "doesn't agree with you, but respects your right to have a different opinion", but "actively hates you and wants you dead".
Thus, every cent spent on big entertainment is a cent toward helping people who hate you. So what do you do? Become a hermit? Never have any entertainment in your life again?
No!
The author explains ways you can still have quality entertainment in your life, without funding people who want you dead. This is an important read, both to understand the problem AND the solution.
Full Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book to read and review
-John Daker (The Mixed GM)

This is an excellent book detailing the deterioration of the current main stream writing in movies, television, comics, and books. The ratings for all are tending downward and the audience of people like us wonder why. Easy! These creators hate you! THIS book explains it in detail and shows what you can do to fight back. A magnificent read from a fine author.

-Terrence Weatherby

Break free of the Cult. Reclaim your dignity. And have a blast while you're at it. Buy Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You now!

And yes, it is available in paperback!

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/21

Trump to Suspend Immigration?

Apparently so, if we take this tweet the President issued last night at face value.

Trump immigration suspense

Restricting immigration to the US was one of Trump's core campaign planks, so it's not like he needs an excuse to hang out the NO VACANCY sign. Circumstances have nonetheless dropped a number of excellent excuses in his lap. With a pandemic still raging and twenty-two million Americans out of work, not stopping all immigration immediately would be downright insane.

MAGApedes were quick to pop the champagne on Twitter following the President's announcement. After all, Trump's base has earned the right to celebrate after three years of subsisting on scraps from the big donors' table.

To be sure, shutting down immigration is ample cause to celebrate. Averting the Death Cult's scheme to dissolve the American people and elect another is Trump's number one electoral mandate. He's been stymied by activist judges and backstabbing legislators--many from his own party--since day one. Leveraging the pandemic to enact a series of bold moves is exactly the right play. Trump even has the example of Viktor Orban to show him how it's done.

After a rocky first term of fluctuating hopes and false starts, it looks as if Donald Trump is ready to become the President his base elected.

Now that you've had your long-awaited white pill, it's time to wash it down with some sober analysis. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hopes more that Trump follows through on the literal text of his tweet. But expectations should be set by past results more than words. This is not the first time the President has promised to curtail immigration via executive order. Remember the much-touted executive order to end birthright citizenship from back in 2018? So far, the administration's only action on that front has been to tweak citizenship protocol for overseas military personnel--a policy change that will affect a whopping twenty-five people a year.

Then there's the fact that as of this writing, the celebrated EO has yet to be drafted, let alone signed. Blue checks on the Beltway press beat are already buzzing about conjectural exceptions to the order.

Speaking of which, now is a good time to contact the White House and let them know we don't need any more H1b, H2b, J, or student visas.

To bring the mood back up, it's encouraging that we're in the enviable position of having to remind the President which holes to plug in his forthcoming anti-immigration EO. What prompted him to finally get serious? Most pundits will credit Corona-chan with inciting the sense of urgency Trump needs to cut through the red tape that's bound him. A more realistic take based on examining his past performance observes that Trump has built a career on making bombastic, even outrageous, claims which he then gradually walks back down to earth. Never forget that Trump is a boardroom negotiator, not a Jacksonian strongman.

What will we end up getting from Trump's immigration order? It's too early to say for sure, but we have enough accumulated data to hazard a guess. Expect what amounts to an expansion of the current virus travel bans, with exceptions for H1 and 2 bs, farm workers, and students. In short, the base will get half a loaf, but it beats getting left with crumbs.

Speaking of getting stuff from Trump, if you need a way to spend those TrumpBux that are burning a hole in your pocket, my white-knuckle mech thriller is a fun way to allocate one of them.

UPDATE: Called it. What Trump announced tonight amounts to a half-measure that puts a 60-day pause on accepting immigrants seeking permanent residency while exempting those on temporary visas.

It's about what I expected, and it's better than nothing, so on the whole I think this is a step in the right direction. We'll have to keep an eye on the situation to see if further restrictions are added.

2020/04/20

The Two Disappearances of Ian Hamilton

The Stone of Destiny

Soldier. Activist. Lawyer. Rector. Scottish nationalist Ian Hamilton has worn all of these hats throughout his notorious career. Hamilton distinguished himself as one of those flitting gadflies who always shows up in the middle of some outlandish controversy.

Two episodes in his colorful life have attained legendary status: a pair of sensationalistic disappearances, both of which have links to the British government.

Hamilton embarked upon his first epic caper while he was still in college.
On Christmas Eve 1950, Hamilton, along with three other student Scottish nationalists, removed the Stone of Destiny from its place under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, London. Originally used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs, the Stone had been removed to England by Edward I in 1296 to bolster his claim to the throne of Scotland. After the Acts of Union 1707 between Scotland and England, it was used for the coronation of British monarchs. As such, Hamilton's action in returning the Stone to Scotland was applauded as a symbolic triumph for Scottish nationalism. The Stone was turned over to the Church of Scotland, which surrendered it to English authorities in April 1951. Hamilton and his accomplices were charged, but never prosecuted. The Stone was eventually returned to Scotland in 1996, with provision for subsequent use in the coronation of British monarchs.
Not only did Hamilton help pull off the historic heist, he did it in the grand style of classic crime films.
Ian Hamilton placed the small piece of Stone in the boot of the car and got into the passenger seat. As he did this, Kay Matheson noticed a policeman in the gaslight; Hamilton and Matheson immediately fell into a lovers' clinch.The policeman stopped and the three proceeded to have a conversation even though it was 5 A.M.Having shared some jokes and a cigarette, Matheson and Hamilton drove off to Victoria, Hamilton getting out on the way to walk back to the Abbey.
To be honest, the old pretending-to-make-out trick never struck me as realistic, but Hamilton was enough of a Chad to make it work.

But the Stone of Destiny's theft from Westminster Abbey wasn't the only high-profile disappearance Hamilton has involved with.

Much like Hamilton, Peter Gibbs was another character who could have stepped from the pages of a postwar British spy novel. A war hero and professional violinist who turned to real estate after a row with the conductor of the London Symphony got him sacked, Gibbs retained his love of flying after the war. It was while scouting locations to build a hotel in the Hebrides that he and his plane mysteriously vanished.

OK, that's not entirely true. Gibbs was flying in a snowstorm at night on an expired license with more than a few drinks in him, so his and the plane's disappearance isn't that mysterious. What is deeply strange are the circumstances under which Gibbs was found.
In April 1976, 4 months after the disappearance, Gibbs' body was discovered by a local shepherd, Donald MacKinnon. The body was found lying partway up a remote hillside about a mile from Glenforsa Airfield. The initial search for Gibbs had passed through this area at the time of the disappearance, but nothing had been found at that time.
The body was found lying across a fallen larch tree 400 ft up the hillside, not far from the road. Due to decomposition the only thing holding the body together was the clothing. The body was facing due north in a direction that indicated that Gibbs was walking down hill. The police had to cut a branch off the tree to remove the body.
The body was taken to Glasgow for the post-mortem. Gibbs' remains gave no clues to his cause of death.Only minor injuries were found and there was nothing to indicate a fall from a plane or any evidence that he died in another place and was left on the tree. According to the pathologists’ report the condition of the body was ‘entirely consistent with lying out there for a period of four months’. Forensic tests detected no salt or marine organisms in Gibbs' clothing or boots.In the absence of any other evidence, Gibbs' death was noted down by the pathologist as being due to exposure.
It gets weirder. The plane was equipped with a radio, but no distress call was sent. It carried no parachutes, yet Gibbs had no injuries consistent with jumping unaided from a plane. It's surmised that he may have bailed out over the ocean, swum ashore, and died of hypothermia while walking back to his hotel. But the lack of any sign that his body had been in the water, coupled with the failure of a trained athlete to recreate the fifty-four-year-old's conjectural feat, casts doubt on that explanation.

Bedtime Stories have done their usual sterling work on the story. Give it a watch!


Something else I bent the truth on: It wasn't his own plane that Gibbs took on his death flight.

The plane Gibbs flew that night--and which has never conclusively been found--belonged to Ian Hamilton.


Looking for more chills down your spine? Get my first metaphysical horror novel now for just 99 cents!

2020/04/17

That Went Poorly

The country once ruled by vikings and now run by basic HR denizens once again steps up to be the sterling example of what not to do.

Yesterday:

Sweden Is Trying

Today:

Sweden

For the extroverts out there, I know you're chomping at the bit to get out and socialize once the quarantine is lifted. However, you may want to delay attending that party/concert/cruise until we know whether or not Corona-chan has another wave in store.

If you need some reading material to help fight cabin fever, my action-packed mecha thriller is just 99 cents!

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/16

Combat Data: VCD-2 Roter März

VCD-2 Roter März
VCD-2 Roter März

Technical Data

Model number: VCD-2
Name: Roter März
Classification: Vercingetorix-class destroyer
Manufacturer: Browning Engineering Corporation, from a Kazoku design
Operator: HALO
First deployment: CY 40
Crew: 6 command crew and up to 100 other passengers and crew standard; helmsman and 12 crew, skeleton
Keel: 180 meters
Beam: 45 meters
Draft: 23 meters
Base Weight: 4320 metric tons
Powerplant: Seed Corp Fusion reactor
Fixed armaments: 60 gigawatt laser, front-firing; axial railgun, fires 6 x 0.30 m 9-ton tungsten rods at 25 km/s or 0.30 cubic meter 75 kg aluminum blocks at 250 km/s
Propulsion: 2x main engine, 10x auxiliary engine, top speed 450,000 kph
Support craft: 4 combat frames and 1 small shuttle
Special equipment: Vercingetorix laser targeting system

Roter März - open
Forward mandibles open, exposing main laser and railgun.

General Notes

Powerful though the One-series XSeeds were, they were mainly intended as the targeting system for an even more devastating weapon. That weapon was the Vercingetorix-class destroyer.

Commissioned by Sekaino Megami in the closing days of the Kazoku War, the Vercingetorix-class was envisioned as the basis of a vast fleet intended to sterilize the earth. Thankfully, only two ships of the line were produced. The second, designated VCD-2, remained in the earliest stages of construction until BEC president Tesla Browning completed the destroyer for his own purposes.That vessel would be delivered into the hands of student revolutionary Arthur Wake, escalating the nascent HALO Conflict to interplanetary scale.

Arthur christened his warship the Roter März after the ancient god of war and the month in which the vessel was first launched. Whereas the ship had originally been designed to neutralize earthbound weapon and defensive emplacements from space, Arthur inverted its purpose to strike at the space colonies.

A number of modifications made by Browning to the basic Vercingetorix design aided Arthur's anti-Coalition terror campaign. All of the ship's standard weapon emplacements--with the notable exceptions of the forward railgun and gigawatt laser--were stripped to make room in the shuttle hangar for up to four combat frames. Browning correctly reasoned that HALO's four XSeeds acting as escorts would more than compensate for the reduction in fixed weapons. Roter März's main drives and generator were also enhanced beyond the already high-performance baseline to facilitate hit-and-run attacks. As a result, the ship could arrive at a target colony before its own kinetic projectiles.

The massive railgun which fired those projectiles--as well as a 60 gigawatt laser designed to soften up hard targets--was located below the main bridge between a pair of mandibles which made up the forward two-thirds of the vessel. Each mandible's inner surface was lined with powerful electromagnets which drove and guided the railgun's ammunition. This weapon could be configured to fire either telephone pole-sized tungsten rods or more compact yet faster aluminum cubes. Alternating fire from Roter März's laser and railgun could destroy a ten-kilometer-wide asteroid in less than one minute. By using an XSeed as an advance scout and slaving its laser targeting system to the ship, Roter März could strike unwitting targets from beyond normal sensor range.

Arthur gave direct command of Roter März to former EGE Major Alan Collins. The Kazoku War veteran captained the vessel ably, often seeking to temper Wake's blood lust in the interest of the crew. Nonetheless, Collins' relative restraint didn't spare the Coalition citizens caught in the destroyer's sights.

Collins was surely aware that as a destroyer, Roter März's original combat role would have been as an escort for an even larger craft. The veteran officer saw no need to concern himself with such trivial questions, though the destroyer's ability to coordinate with combat frames despite originally having no CF capacity of its own hinted at an answer.

Once again, we have an interesting cast, political intrigue on a grand scale, and of course, big mecha battles that makes anime shows in the same vein look like amateur hour.

2020/04/15

Anime Neurotyping

Shadow Guardian

Anime review YouTuber Digibro has unveiled his magnum opus: a rival for the Myers-Briggs personality inventory that neurotypes you based on how you think.

And because he's an otaku, he neurotyped a whole bunch of anime characters first.

Watch the video. Don't let the run time deter you. Digibro's profiles of the main archetypal character in each category are all you need. The plugs for other anime YouTubers and the exposition on other characters in each type are safely skippable.

Check it out!


For the more linear impressionists out there, here's a handy chart:

neurotypes
To summarize, Digibro's system classifies people's thought processes along two axes: linear thinking vs lateral thinking and lexical vs impressionistic thinking. Of course, there's a spectrum with several shades in-between.

Initially I was skeptical. But I gave Digibro the benefit of the doubt and subjected myself to his new method of anime neurotyping.
What Asuka desires more than anything is just for someone to appreciate the level of effort that she's putting into accomplishing her goals while remaining true to herself. 
But her trueness to herself isn't appreciated by anyone else, who prefer that she turn off those abrasive parts of her personality in order to cooperate. What those people don't understand is that the whole of the identity is integral to her ability to perform. Asuka can't achieve the understanding which allows her to operate with the efficiency that she does without being in the flow state of being true to herself. 
Evangelion suggests that the shadow guardians are only in the shadows because that's where society has decided to put them. But the majority of these thinkers will come to this realization early and simply place themselves there and embrace the role wholeheartedly.
Confession time: Asuka has been my spirit animal ever since I first watched Eva. Digibro's analysis goes a long why toward explaining why.

This silly little anime chart actually led me to a breakthrough in understanding my creative process. When it comes to writing, more important to me than the final product is that the reader enjoyed the story precisely because of how I told it. Like Digibro's archetypal shadow guardian, I value integrity over any other personal quality.

That's why I can't chase the puck and crank out a book a month in the current flavor-of-the-month genre. It's impossible for me to reach the necessary flow state if I don't have total faith in what I'm doing. On the flip side, that also means I never give my readers less than my best. These are useful insights I'll keep in the forefront of my mind as I work.

Anime neurotyping isn't without its shortcomings, though. Its most obvious blind spot is that it strictly focuses on how people think. Myers-Briggs takes account of how people engage their senses and emotions as well as how they think, so Digibro will need something more robust if he wants to mount an effective challenge.

Then there's this:

newtypes
Not pictured: Any actual newtypes.
All in all, I think anime neurotyping has potential as a tool for gaining increased self-understanding, especially paired with Myers-Briggs instead of substituting for it.

Do you think anime neurotyping is useful? Share your anime neurotype and your thoughts--linear or otherwise--below.

And bask in all the effort I put into Combat Frame XSeed.

2020/04/14

No Such Syndrome

FMS - Michael Salter

For nearly 30 years, the False Memory Syndrome Foundation went to bat for alleged perpetrators of child molestation in cases where victims recovered repressed memories of childhood abuse. The cornerstone of their defense was False Memory Syndrome. But as sexual abuse researcher Michael Salter has pointed out, no such syndrome is recognized as a valid medical diagnosis.

The foundation's entire basis being fictitious may be one reason why the FMSF quietly shut down in December of last year.
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) was founded in 1992 by Pamela Freyd and her husband, Peter Freyd. Peter was accused by his daughter — falsely by his account — of childhood sexual abuse at the height of the repressed or recovered memory controversy in the 1980s and 90s. It offered support to family members who believed they were falsely accused and highlighted memory research from major academics such as Elizabeth Loftus.
Among its key principles, FMSF elevated Dr. John F. Kihlstrom’s definition of a proposed “false memory syndrome” — which has never been ratified as an actual diagnosis — to question and deconstruct the rise in adults now accusing family members of sexual abuse that never happened. The FMSF amassed heavy hitters in academia and law to help defend family members “falsely” accused of abuse by their adult children, effectively swinging the public narrative to one of mistrust of survivors.
The timing of the FMSF's closure may be significant. The foundation closed up shop almost exactly two months after Mister Metokur's reporting on an FBI document dump that confirmed the reality of 1980s "Satanic Panic" child ritual abuse.

For those who were out sick that day, Jim's perusal of the FBI docs uncovered a group called the Finders which operated from the 1960s at least into the 90s. Recruited from the hippie subculture, the Finders carried out industrial-scale kidnapping, child trafficking, and ritual abuse--all with government sponsorship.

When accusations of child sexual and ritual abuse were lodged against McMartin Daycare, Peter Freyd's bogus False Memory Syndrome was trotted out to undermine the victims' testimony. A map found in the FBI files linked the McMartin case to the Finders.

A couple of Metokur live streams later, and the FMSF is no more. Coincidence? Possibly, but the whole affair smacks of rats fleeing a fire.

Is somebody turning up the heat on an unholy cabal of satanists and government spooks?

We can hope.

Visceral metaphysical horror!

2020/04/13

Look Upon Their Works

... And enjoy a hearty laugh at the incestuous wasteland the once-prestigious Hugo Awards have become.

Predictions that the Hugo field would degenerate into a circle jerk of olpdub purse puppies beloved by editors in New York--and pretty much no one else--have been realized ahead of schedule.

Here's a partial list of this year's finalists.

Best Novel

  • The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
  • A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)


Best Novella

  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
  • The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga Press/Gallery)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)


Best Novelette

  • “The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
  • “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)
  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
  • Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
  • “For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com, 10 July 2019)
  • “Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))


Best Short Story

  • “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019)
  • “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang (Tor.com, 23 October 2019)
  • “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, by Rivers Solomon (Tor.com, 24 July 2019)
  • “A Catalog of Storms”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2019)
  • “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019)
  • “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine, May 2019)

wasteland

One positive outcome of Sad Puppies was forcing the Worldcon crowd to admit that the Hugos reflect their clique's debased preferences, not wider SFF fandom's tastes. Indeed, that collection of finalists could never be mistaken for a list of contemporary sci fi fans' favorite reads.

Instead, it's the same Death Cult agitprop repackaged in the same handful of unimaginative oldpub covers written by the same Inner Party darlings that show up among the Hugo finalists again and again and again.

A cursory glance at the last few years of Hugo nominations reveals the well-worn Death Cult career path. Do a podcast where circus sideshow folk make approved noises about the Worldcon clique, graduate to a regular column at Tor.com reviewing books by the Worldcon clique, and finally publish a book with Tor that gets a Hugo from the Worldcon clique. Once a year, the Mad Hatter running the operation tells everybody to change places.

This morbid charade was already fascinating to watch. It's gonna get downright hilarious now that oldpub's accelerating death has turned the mad tea party into a frantic game of musical chairs.

Enjoy the show, and as always ...

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/10

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion

Christ's Passion

... Have mercy on us, Lord, and on the whole world.

Today we commemorate the sorrowful Passion and saving death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As He emptied Himself of all for our sake, so we are called to purge ourselves of excessive worldly attachments.

Good Friday is a day of fasting and prayer that marks the end of the Lenten season. This Lent has been longer and more desolate than any in most people's living memory. The Roman Empire occasioned the first. Now the Empire of China--historically viewed as the mirror image of Rome--has visited fresh sorrows upon us. Not the lease of which is the widespread withdrawal of Christ's Eucharistic Presence.

All readers of this blog are encouraged to fast and pray today that the worldwide long Lent of the coronavirus be brought to a swift and merciful end. Pray that those currently afflicted with the disease receive complete healing, and pray that bereaved loved ones of those lost to the pandemic receive consolation.

St. Luke the beloved physician, St. Sebastian, and Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!

2020/04/09

The Magic Is Missing

This exclusive preview of my new entertainment industry exposé sheds light on what befell the sense of fun and wonder that once defined beloved franchises.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

You probably have a favorite movie franchise, TV show, or comic book series that hooked you as a kid. It’s a good bet that many of your fondest childhood memories are associated with that franchise.
Think back to that cozy Thanksgiving Day at Grandma’s. After dinner I bet you vegged out to the annual TV broadcast of Star Wars.
Who could forget the after-school ritual of going over to your buddy’s house, loading up on sugary snacks, and watching ThunderCats?
Remember how you met your best friend from high school while searching that hole-in-the-wall comic book shop for back issues of X-Men?
Like most folks of the generations raised by Saturday morning cartoons and Nintendo, there came a day when you put aside childish pastimes for adult responsibilities. But in the last few years, something strange has happened. The flickering video images and brightly colored pieces of plastic have regained a foothold in your life. Before you knew it, diversions from your youth had reasserted their former prominence.
But let’s be honest. If you stop to think about it, these aren’t your cherished childhood entertainments—not exactly. Compared to the fun, uplifting IPs of yesteryear, the new versions run the gamut from pale imitations to brazen impostors. The magic is missing, but you can’t put your finger on what happened to it. Is something wrong with the product itself, or is it just you getting older?
It’s not just you.
The landmark franchises that came out of the 60s, 70s, and 80s found broad and lasting appeal because their creators mainly wanted to entertain. Let’s forgo the notion that these industry moguls were pure altruists pursuing art for art’s sake. They were businessmen. But they were still craftsmen of clear artistic vision who knew their audiences and knew they had to satisfy those audiences to succeed.
It seems easy enough to chart the downward trajectory from there. The great IPs passed from aging legends to lesser talents in whose clumsy hands they withered. Ask most people who recognize the decline, and they’ll place the blame on insular fandoms inheriting the keys to the kingdom and remaking it in their image. The beloved brands, they say, are gone—replaced with fan fiction scrawled by pretenders who don’t understand what made the old stories great.
There’s certainly some truth to that assessment. Current year comic book issues and TV scripts read like wish fulfillment fiction once relegated to the sunless corners of the web.
But the phenomenon of major studios giving custody of their brands to people who don’t understand them also needs explaining. These are billion or even trillion-dollar companies. They likewise got where they are by pleasing customers. Everyone makes mistakes, but the insistence of IP holders across multiple industries to alienate their customers hints at other motives.
One motive we can strike off the list up front is profit. When Marvel and DC Comics accelerate their slide into irrelevance and each Disney Star Wars movie disappoints worse than the last, we must conclude that the entertainment industry is either run by idiots or people whose main goal isn’t making money.
Why does Hollywood keep churning out inferior—even insulting—imitations of classics from bygone decades? Why does a rising undercurrent of hostility run through so many new TV shows? Why are Big Two comic books increasingly fixated on issues that most people outside the Columbia faculty lounge find downright bizarre?
Art reflects its culture of origin. If you walked out of a theater recently feeling like the movie you just saw was made by people from an alien culture at odds with your own, it wasn’t your imagination.
If the last show you binged on Netflix left you confused and more than a little disturbed, that whiff of brimstone wasn’t just in your head.
If the last superhero comic you read came off like propaganda spread by invading enemies to demoralize the target populace, you’re not being paranoid.
You’ve heard of the Coastal Bubble effect. It’s a term that’s come to describe the bifurcation of American society into two distinct and incompatible cultures. The culture typified by Middle America retains a semblance of the nation’s founding Christian morals and pioneer outlook. But a mutant offshoot culture has emerged from the petri dish of academia, old media, and the federal bureaucracy to dominate these institutions’ coastal power centers.
This ascendant urban, coastal culture is really an anti-culture because it can create nothing new. It can only parasitically feed on traditional American culture while warping it beyond recognition. The anti-culture has dominated the beltway and the super ZIPs for so long that entire generations of the managerial, entertainment, and media classes have come of age knowing nothing else.
Screenwriters don’t insert feminist dogma into movies because they think it serves the story, or even because they decide to get on a soapbox. They take feminism for granted just like the architects of Notre Dame Cathedral took Christianity for granted. The same goes for TV writers who assume default atheism and comic book writers who push intersectional theory.
But as art reflects culture, a culture reflects its members’ lived religious tradition. The anti-culture is an outward expression of a nihilistic anti-cult.
Most of the people involved in producing your entertainment adhere to an unofficial secular religion defined by the rejection of objective truth, goodness, and beauty. They view the right to individual self-expression as the only absolute, and any potential limit on personal preferences, including truth itself, is reviled as an arbitrary oppression to be destroyed.
Because this nameless cult branched off from American culture founded on Christianity, the concepts of truth, goodness, and beauty against which it rebels are those that were originally transmitted by the Church. The cult’s most rabid hatred is therefore reserved for Christianity and Christians.
Since the cult seeks to destroy the foundations of the West—thereby destroying everything built on those foundations, including itself—many keen observers call it the Death Cult. That’s how this book will refer to the primary belief system driving the degradation of popular culture.
If you are a normal American—or a citizen of a nation with origins in Christendom—the Death Cult hates you and wants you destroyed. First, though, it wants you demoralized and humiliated. Always remember that the Cultists firmly believe you are standing between them and an earthly paradise free of oppression and bigotry. Christ is the Devil in their inverted worldview, and you are His demons. Because you believe in truth.
Think I’m exaggerating? Let’s try a thought experiment. Take thirty seconds. Name as many movies, TV shows, video games, and comics as you can think of that mock God, Jesus Christ, or the Church.
I bet you needed two hands to count all the entertainment products that blaspheme Christianity.
Now do Islam.
If you could think of any, they probably weren’t from the last twenty years.
The people who run the movie, TV, and publishing industries think of you like colonial Puritans thought of witches. They hate you, they control the franchises you loved as a kid, and they’ve weaponized them against you and your children.
And they’re charging you for the privilege.
Don’t pay to be insulted. Don’t give money to people who hate you.
That’s easy to say, right? Contemporary life is a constant grind. Are we supposed to stop consuming entertainment altogether? Even if we did, would it break the Death Cult’s grip on Hollywood?
The answer to both of those questions is no.
The information age enabled the Death Cult’s conquest of the culture, but it also offers free and legal ways around their hegemony. And failing to do the right thing for a lack of immediate, tangible impact is how normal people lost control in the first place. If reclaiming your dignity isn’t reason enough, there’s ample reason not to fund your own disenfranchisement.

It’s possible to stop supporting the Death Cult without becoming a hermit. Not only is it possible, it’s necessary. If you’d like to learn how you can take back your dignity, stop funding your sworn enemies, and have fun while you’re at it, read Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You--coming soon!

In the meantime, support authors who appreciate you--without having to pay us! Get the Corona-chanthology for free now!

Corona-chan: Spreading the Love - Brian Niemeier

2020/04/08

Zahn Goes Indie

It's been a tough month for oldpub, Editors at the Big Five publishers were already scrambling for their Xanax and Franzia over the imminent collapse of their lumber monopoly.

Now their living nightmare just got worse.

Timothy Zahn Indie

For the two of you who cut school the day we discussed Timothy Zahn in Chad class, he is the multi-award-winning, multi-best-selling author of at least one of your top ten favorite books.

Members of Generations X and Y are fond of pointing out how Star Wars vanished from the scene in the early 80s and didn't come back for a decade. Timothy Zahn is why it came back. He didn't spearhead the Expanded Universe, but he firmly established it as a cultural institution with his seminal Thrawn Trilogy.

Many creators--including George Lucas and JJ Abrams--tried to tell Star Wars stories that matched the original trilogy's quality. Zahn succeeded where they all failed. He's such a Chad, his books' popularity forced Lucas' hand when it came to naming the Republic's capital.

You have Timothy Zahn to thank for all of your favorite Expanded Universe stories--even the ones he didn't write. Because without the Thrawn books, it's doubtful the EU would have been as successful as it was or attracted the talent it did.

The word "Legend" gets thrown around a lot. This is one situation in which it definitely applies.

Timothy Zahn is a science fiction legend.

And he's going indie.

Newpub authors have been predicting high-profile defections from oldpub for years. The battered spouse mentality engendered by the Big Five publishers kept their exploited talent on the reservation longer than expected, but now their business model's collapse has finally prompted an A+ list author to jump the fence.

You can be sure that Zahn won't be the last.

If you submitted a book to Tor, Penguin House, or Simon & Schuster, expect a delay getting your rejection letter. All their interns are busy keeping their editors on around-the-clock suicide watch.

In the meantime, reward Mr. Zahn's wisdom by picking up a copy of his self-published novella.

Timothy Zahn - Ghost Riders in the Sky

Already got Zahn's latest? Get ready for mine by grabbing the first book in my epic mech saga for just 99 cents!

2020/04/07

Pell Acquitted

George Cardinal Pell

The Australian High Court has acquitted George Cardinal Pell, the former Archbishop of Melbourne, of twenty-year-old sex abuse allegations, overturning an earlier guilty verdict which in turn had overturned a prior trial outcome.
After an ordeal that began nearly four years ago, and more than 13 months of imprisonment, Cardinal George Pell is expected to be released from prison imminently, after his conviction for five alleged counts of sexual abuse was overturned unanimously Tuesday by Australia’s High Court.
Pell is expected to be released from prison within two hours.
The court ordered that "the appellant's convictions be quashed and judgments of acquittal be entered in their place," in its April 7 decision.
“The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place,” the court said in a judgment summary April 7.
After a March hearing at the High Court in Canberra, which Pell was not permitted to attend, the cardinal will soon be released from HM Prison Barwon, a maximum-security facility southwest of Melbourne. Pell is expected to celebrate with a private Mass of thanksgiving, the first he will celebrate since his incarceration in February 2019.
Now, this blog has never shied away from calling out members of the Church's hierarchy when they betray Jesus' command to tend His sheep. That said, digging deeper into Pell's case turned up pretty strong evidence that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice prompted by the Enemy's attack on a sincere servant of Christ.
The facts of the case have been hard to come by, owing to a media gag order issued by the trial judge. A journalistic feeding frenzy has long surrounded Pell, the former Catholic archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney and later the Vatican’s chief ­financial officer.
The trial judge was rightly concerned that opening the proceedings would make it impossible for Pell to get a fair trial on charges he forcefully denies. That order has left Australians largely in the dark. But certain facts are known, and others can be reasonably inferred.
The cardinal’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with 10 of 12 jurors in favor of acquittal.
In the retrial, the defense again demonstrated that it was physically impossible for the alleged abuse of two choirboys (one now deceased) to have occurred, given the layout and security ­arrangements of Melbourne’s Catholic cathedral and the fact that the choir and Pell were in two different places when the abuse was alleged to have occurred.
Pell, moreover, was always surrounded by others at the cathedral that day in 1996. Why the Melbourne police never took the trouble to investigate these exculpatory facts is one of several mysteries in this sordid ­affair.
More damning to the prosecution's case than the extremely high physical unlikelihood that the sexual assaults could have taken place as the accusers described is the simple dearth of evidence. Based on the sole accuser's claims, Pell would have perpetrated the crimes in a crowded church while wearing restrictive episcopal regalia and in the company of attendants. An alleged second victim privately recanted in 2001 but died before he could give testimony.

I haven't followed Pell's episcopate closely, but trustworthy people have told me that he's doctrinally solid. And if he was afflicted with any degree of worldly decadence, he's had thirteen months of hard prison time to cure him of those attachments.

On the weight of the evidence, this looks like a much-needed win for the good guys. Bonus: Pell is now 78 and will likely be eligible to vote at the next papal conclave. I'd offer good odds that his recent ordeal has wonderfully focused his thoughts on both clerical corruption and the folly of trying to accommodate the world.

Praise God for victory.

Captivating theological horror!