Good morning, y'all. Sorry about yesterday. I turned in a novel and then passed out. I was super exhausted. Even if I'd had the energy to blog, I wouldn't have made a hell of a lot of sense at that point--having written 5,000 words in one day. There simply isn't enough coffee in the world to make blogging happen after that.
Anyway, let's get started. Shall we? First off, let's video.
“This, milord, is my family's axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family? And because it has changed gently over time, it is still a pretty good axe, y'know. Pretty good.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
Whenever I'm in the midst of research I'm not really enjoying or when I'm under a lot of stress I give myself permission to load up something comforting on the iPhone, plug in the ear bugs and go for a long walk. For me, audiobook in question is almost always something by Sir Terry Pratchett. Almost every time I listen to Sir Terry's words they say something important about whatever is going on, whether it's something in my private life or the daily news. Yesterday, the topic was gun control and the United States Constitution.
Too many times I hear the erroneous argument that the US Constitution provides white dudes the absolute right to own a personal arsenal regardless of age (have a video of a 13 year-old boy buying a 22 caliber rifle without a single question from the seller.) Frankly, I've read it. The amendment in question ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.") is extremely out of date. Assuming that by "well regulated Militia" the authors of the constitution meant "untrained amateur with a personal arsenal of military grade weapons and all the ammo they can buy." That doesn't sound terribly well regulated, if you ask me. Even if it did mean that, the interpretation is ridiculous to the point of being laughable. Seriously? You honestly think you're going to be able to take on what amounts to an unlimited number of professional soldiers with high tech surveillance, drones, explosives, tanks, bomber jets, and so on all on your lonesome? You've been watching too many Action Movies. Also, I'd be willing to bet you look nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Good Guy with a Gun™ argument is horse shit. If you honestly know anything of the psychology of emergency situations, you'd know that a) most non-First Responders freeze during emergency scenarios (and as in the case of a certain police deputy sometimes First Responder training isn't even a guarantee of bravery.) b) it's difficult to assess details during an emergency and c) do you really want to be wandering around an active shooter scene with a million cops on a hair trigger hunting for a white dude with a gun? Cops apparently have a hard time determining whether an unarmed child in a park with a toy is a threat.
Heinlein claimed that an armed society was a polite society. Not only was Heinlein a fiction writer which, speaking as a fiction writer, does not make one an expert in such matters--he was dead wrong. Even the American Frontier had gun control--more than we do now.
Good morning! I hope you're having a good day so far. I also hope your week is a good one. Shout out to those who gave a few dollars to the coffee fund. You ROCK. And now, for the links and commentary you came here for. Today's link list is pretty short. I'm getting very close to my deadline. So, I've been on the internet less than usual.
First, some videos. And yes, there's more Black Panther. Because I can't get enough warrior women and smart women and wise women in my life. (I still haven't seen the movie. [sigh] Soon. I swear.) Also, Janelle Monáe because she rocks.
So, I've been so involved in getting my latest novel wrapped up that two weeks in a row, I've forgotten to write my Friday post. Sorry about that. I'm just very close to my deadline and well...that's where my head is at, and rightfully so. Anyway...let's get started.
Mainly I'm writing about this in order to put together the bigger picture for anyone (like myself) who is interested. With the way that we're constantly bombarded by news these days, it's hard to understand what it all really means. So, I like to step back from the individual trees and have a look at the forest as it were.
This week has been interesting politically. The Mueller probe has slammed Manafort with new charges after Rick Gates pled guilty. Gates is cooperating with the investigation. Apparently, among the long list (32 counts) of illegal activities the pair are being busted for is hiding $30,000,000 from the US government. (Wow. Just. Wow.) That is not good news for Trump. Mueller is pushing ever closer to Trump's inner circle. The investigation is definitely picking up speed. This is the second week Mueller has been in the news with new indictments.
And it seems that the 2016 election isn't the only route Russia has used to influence American elections and politics. The NRA, an organization known for being a big influence in Washington via its lobbyists, is now being investigated by the FBI for its connections to Russia. This indicates a much bigger problem since Trump isn't the only American politician who has taken money from the NRA. (According to the article the NRA disclosed it spent at least $30 million on Trump's behalf and attacking Hillary Clinton – more than twice what the NRA disclosed it spent on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run. And there is evidence that indicates that it may have actually been as much as $70 million.) In truth, I've been bewildered by the self-destructive and oddly pro-Russian bent the GOP has been on for the past few decades. It's been extremely weird hearing positive words about anything Russian coming out of the mouths of the once staunchly anti-Russian party. Ultimately, this relationship between the NRA and Russia explains it because the GOP is riddled with NRA money. There are very few Republican congress critters who haven't taken NRA money. And since the NRA has declared itself a "social welfare organization" it doesn't have to disclose its contributors--a tidy loophole for foreign influence given Citizens United. That scares the piss out of me. And it should.
Last week has been rather eventful, what with yet another school shooting and the most recent round of Mueller indictments. On the good side of the equation, the movie Black Panther has soared past all the predictions of its box office intake. (YES!!!) That said, there's a lot out there to discuss. Let's get started, shall we?
Angela Basset OFMG! It's so great to see her on the screen again. I adore her. And how psyched am I to see black women portrayed as warriors and generals? SUPER PSYCHED! GIVE ME MORE WOMEN IN THESE TYPES OF ROLES, PLEASE! That's two movies featuring non-sexualized warrior women within a year of one another. I'm so happy! More women of Wakanda! More women of Themyscira! Yayayayyay!
Okay, now for the links. :)
Good morning, y'all. Are you ready for some righteous anger? Let's do this thing. First up, today's video.
Be careful out there, bats and ghouls and all monsters in between. This one is a beast. Dane brought it home. One day I was perfectly fine and the next it hit me like a runaway freight train. I was only able to remain awake for thirty minutes at a time and then would pass out for three hours. I didn't want to eat. And when I did, I puked. And the coughing and the body aches... That's why you haven't heard from me. My brain still hasn't recovered. Everything will go back to normal next week. I'm seeing the end of it, thank the gods. But...yeah. Don't get this. Dane and I planned on getting a flu shot. We'd even seriously discussed when but the flu took us out before we acted. Grrr.
Anyway, sorry I don't have much else to say today. Except that I've been binging Downton Abby and Altered Carbon and that's been mixing in my brain in interesting ways. LOL.
Take care, y'all.
My novel Blackthorne is on the Locus 2017 Recommended Reading List. I'm so very thrilled to have my work included among such SFF literary greats. It means a lot to me. The list is used for the Locus Awards. So, if you've read Blackthorne and enjoyed it, please take a few minutes over at the Locus site and give it and several of the other wonderful works listed a vote. (If you have a favorite that isn't listed, you can write it in.) You don't have to be a subscriber to vote. So, why not vote and support your favorite writers?
Second (as announced on FB and Twitter), I'm extremely honored to be the 2018 Literary Guest of Honor at Luxcon in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg! The convention is April 14th and 15th. This is something I didn't think would ever really happen, and I'm thrilled to death. This will not only be my first time as a GOH but my first time on the European continent. More on that as details are pulled together. (You can also check out their FB page.)
Okay. Now, back to writing. Deadline looms. And stuff.
 If you'd like suggestions, how about any (pick five in each category) of these?
SF novels: Persepolis Rising, James S.A. Corey, The Stars Are Legion, Kameron Hurley, Provenance, Ann Leckie, Luna: Wolf Moon, Ian McDonald, The Last Good Man, Linda Nagata, Null States, Malka Older, The Wrong Stars, Tim Pratt, The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi, Empire Games, Charles Stross, Borne, Jeff VanderMeer
Fantasy novels: The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth Bear, City of Miracles, Robert Jackson Bennett, Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crowley, The House of Binding Thorns, Aliette de Bodard, The Ruin of Angels, Max Gladstone, Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory, An Unkindness of Magicians, Kat Howard, The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin, The River Bank, Kij Johnson, Jade City, Fonda Lee, A Tyranny of Queens, Foz Meadows, The Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, The Delirium Brief, Charles Stross, Creatures of Will and Temper, Molly Tanzer, Horizon, Fran Wilde
YA: Before the Devil Breaks You, Libba Bray, In Other Lands, Sarah Rees Brennan, The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, Stephanie Burgis, Sovereign, April Daniels, Buried Heart, Kate Elliott, Frogkisser!, Garth Nix, Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor, Shadowhouse Fall, Daniel José Older, Want, Cindy Pon
1st Novels: Tropic of Kansas, Christopher Brown, Dreadnought, April Daniels, The Prey of Gods, Nicky Drayden, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss, The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller
Editors and authors listed in non-novel categories: Joe Monti, John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, Peter S. Beagle, Sarah Gailey, Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Khaw, Ellen Klages, Seanan McGuire, Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Pinsker, Christopher Rowe, Peter Straub, Cynthia Ward, Martha Wells, JY Yang, Charlie Jane Anders, Samuel R. Delany, Greg Egan, Maria Dahvana Headley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Seanan McGuire, Kelly Robson, Marie Brennan, Tobias S. Buckell, C.S.E. Cooney, Karen Joy Fowler, Darcie Little Badger, Maureen McHugh, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nisi Shawl, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline M. Yoachim, E. Lily Yu
Good morning, everyone. Ready for some righteous rage? Let's do this thing! Here is today's video.
Simple enough, right? :) And now, those links...
I was listening to NPR a few days ago when the following article came on: Does Money Make You Mean? Listen to it all the way through. Done? Okay.
The kicker for me was that even though the 'rich' player in the Monopoly game saw all the evidence that the game was rigged in their favor--only because they were lucky enough to win the coin toss, they still accredited their victory to their game-playing skills. Even Forbes grudgingly agrees to the study's conclusions that being wealthy makes people mean. And that just about says everything about Prosperity Doctrine that you ever needed to know. Those articles also gut the myth of Trickle Down Economics. But does the 'coin toss' really have that much of an effect long term? I mean, isn't the possibility of upward mobility the whole point of the American Dream? Read this: Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead. (The funny thing about that article is, even when Americans admit that reality indicates the American Dream is a fucking myth we still can't stop ourselves from coming up with that one in a million example. Nor can we seeming stop saying that "Hard work and traditional family" is a recipe for winning the American Dream lotto.) Guess what? Now that the income gap has widened to ever more drastic proportions in this country--that means upward mobility has been decreased with it. It's even harder for that one in a million ring-toss win.
It's time to abandon the bullshit Victorian idea that the rich are just better people and deserving of massive wealth as the expense of the poor. We need to ditch the concept that punishing the poor is a good thing. Negative reinforcement doesn't work. There are years and years of psychological studies that prove it. It's time to tax the rich. It's time to force corporations to pay their taxes. These two groups are the reason we don't have enough government funding for social programs.
The thing that made me feel a little better about all this is the knowledge that the rich can develop empathy. It's just difficult. And we really need to stop telling ourselves the myth that if we work hard, be good, follow the rules the beneficent Capitalism Fairy™ will reward us. Capitalism sucks. It's a vile system that requires oppression in much the same way Feudalism does. It's time to try something different. What that will look like, I don't know at the moment. But I think it's time for the SFF community to start punting ideas out there. That is a way we can make change. Hell, if Star Trek can cause the invention of a flip phone, why not? Governmental systems are far more important.
 For the record, the idea that God rewards the just with wealth isn't a new one. There is evidence (recorded in the Bible, even) that this nonsense existed from the start of Christianity. And before other groups get all righteous, I'd be willing to bet that attitude has existed since the first day someone decided there was a big shiny entity somewhere that could change the fate of the common person and explain why rich people were rich.
 Frankly, I don't understand why we're still having conversations about whether that's a thing. Particularly after the state of Kansas crashed and burned.
 It's been a long time since I was a Christian, but I seem to recall a Bible passage about how getting into the Kingdom of Heaven was more difficult for rich people.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.