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June 24th, 2015
June 21st, 2015
I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Hundred Free Fans!:
As of the first photo below, we have reached 100! (This is counting people, not photos or lists, as a few folks sent multiples.)
Kathy in Texas asks that the following be posted with her photo:
Arlan from … writes: Upside down = distress signal.
Dave from Elk Grove, Illinois:
Bojojoti from… (who is safe from Screaming Eels!):
Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)
June 17th, 2015
I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan, Too!:
Continuing the photos of Tor Books found on Page One.
More photos to be found on Page Three.
Again–giving Tor readers a chance to demonstrate that they are real people…and that they are, in fact, Tor readers.
Carl from Boston, MA:
Trent from Seattle, WA:
Emilio from Chihuahua, Mexico:
Denver from Germany (who says these are just a few of his collection):
Benjamin Wheeler of Saint Louis, Missouri:
Chris from Florida:
( Read more...Collapse )
Continued on Page Three!
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)
June 15th, 2015
I Am Not A Robot! I Am A Free Fan!:
Tor books owned by fans who feel that Tor has offended or betrayed them. Shown here to help let Tor know that they are true customers who have loved Tor books for years.
From Cedar in Ohio. (She also encourages people to check out her letterwriting campaign.)
I am not a Malware! (Brad from Utah)
Jared from Salt Lake City.(electronic collection.)
Jason from Warr Acres, Oklahoma (dead tree part of his collection):
Greg from Oak Ridge Tennessee:
Gary from Canton, Ohio, a life-long sci-fi & fantasy reader:
Eric from Texas:
Josh from Columbus, Ohio:
Kamas from West Fargo, ND:
Cecila from Texas:
Seamus from New York:
Pat from Woodstock, Georgia:
Sara from Metro Detroit, MI. Sara reports that she is not a Puppy, but Ms. Gallo's words offended her:
Christine from Boardman, Ohio (These are her SF paperbacks. The Tor books are mixed in.)
Joseph from Houston, TX:
Chris from Alberta:
Viriginia from Virginia.
(The rumor that those whose pictures do not include my Tor books will be eaten by screaming eels is totally untrue…but if it were true, Virginia and Cthulhu here would survive!)
Mike from Indianna:
Frances from Japan:
Keith from Virginia, who says: I am NOT a robot, but a customer….:
Tom from Hillsdale, NJ:
Lovely Alia from San Jose appearing with her books:
Vox–books going all the way back to 1986:
Julie from North Carolina:
At a brief glance, Tor/Forge books in my library include:
Lee from Noble, Oklahoma:
Mick from New Jersey
James from Utah:
Don from Washington:
Doug from North Carolina.
Kenny from Seal Beach, California 's 178 Tor books (177 showing. One out of sight):
Kat from Virginia:
Shawn in Indiana:
Shea from Tallahassee, FL:
Jay from CT (not a bot!):
Mistaben from AZ:
Steven from Devon, UK:
Mattew from Austin:
George from North Carolina:
Rich from Indiana:
Buddy from ….
Andrew from Colorado
Jonathan from Utah:
Aimee from Florida (dead tree collection.)
James from Blue Grass, Iowa:
Jason from Minnesota (many Tor books included):
John D from South Florida:
Brian from Utah:
Kirsten from Washington:
Tim from Grantham, UK:
Steve from Ohio:
Steve in Michigan:
Aaron from Ohio:
R.K. from Queensland, Australia:
Stephen From California:
As this is getting a tad long, it will be continued here on Page Two.Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)
Tags: #notarobot, books, tor, tor books
Tor and the Puppies: I Am Not A Number!:
The last week or so has been very painful.
On one hand, I have tremendous sympathy for the many good folks at Tor, some of whom I have known for 30 years.
On the other hand, I also have tremendous sympathy for the fans—a few of whom are veterans who fought actual Nazis—who feel they are tired of being heckled and humiliated by a very few Tor employees, who have been behaving in a less than professional manner.
Many of these readers are people I know, people I interact with online, or fans of John’s who have written us thoughtful letters explaining why they regretfully feel they must stop buying Tor book, despite their desire to keep reading John’s latest series.
I was thus appalled to see posts suggesting that the emails to Tor—many of which, I am led to understand, are arriving with photos of the reader’s Tor book collections, in some cases, collections worth thousands of dollars—were not legitimate but were sent from automated bots.
Tor Folks: You may disagree with the Sad/Rabid Puppies, or feel loyalty to your co-workers—but please! Don’t insult our readers by claiming they don’t exist!
Readers: I realize that, in the age of electronics,this is an unprecedented request, but: if you have a strong opinion that you wish to be heard, it might help if you committed it to physical paper—perhaps along with a printout of your photo of your Tor book collection—and snail mailed it to Tor and Macmillan.
Also, feel free to send me your photo of your Tor books. I will post any photos or links I receive on my website, so everyone can see that you are a real person with real books. (If possible, include in
For my part, I shall continue to pray that these differences can be resolved,
and we can all go back to reading good books!
Tags: macmillan, rabid puppies, sad puppies, tor, tor books
June 13th, 2015
Signal Boost: Nethereal by Brian Neimeier:
New Space Opera with Pirates!!!
I am particularly delighted to announce this book, because I got to help edit it at an earlier stage.
You can read more here.
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)
Tags: book launch, brian neimeier, nethereal
June 4th, 2015
Superversive Blog: Guest Post by a Ghost:
I am reposting this essay because I love it so much. It was written by Andy Robertson, the man for whom John wrote his Night Land stories.
Mr. Robertson ran a website dedicated to William Hope Hodgeson's book, The Night Land. Back when all the other magazines were paying 2 and 5 cent a word. Mr. Robertson paid 10…and John writes a lot of words! Furthermore, Mr. Robertson paid in British Pound Sterling, so by the time the check was converted, we had a nice chunk of change–more than enough to buy a major appliance.
At one point, our refrigerator, our stove, and our dishwasher had all been paid for by Mr. Robertson. (Our dishwasher has been replaced twice, but the others are still going strong.)
Last year, Castalia House gathered all John's Night Lands stories into an anthology. A day before Awake in the Night Lands was published, just about two weeks after penning this essay, Mr. Robertson permanently rejoined his wife. He is missed, but the legacy he struggled so hard to create–and, thanks to him, that of William Hope Hodgson's–lives on!
The following words are Andy. Robertson's:
Wednesday, 2 April 2014
AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C Wright: a review
About thirteen years ago, I started a little website.
My wife was only a few years dead then, and she still visited me from time to time. I would wake up in a bed full of her warmth and musk, and feel her sleeping just beside me. I would turn over and kiss her, and she would whisper love sleepily. I would get up and go to wash my face, and go back to the bedroom to kiss her awake. Then I would really wake up.
My daughters would come to the door-gates of their rooms, holding up their arms and saying daddy, and I'd pick one up and snuggle her and take her downstairs to where their grandmother had breakfast ready, then go back upstairs for the other, then grab a bacon sandwich and a mug of coffee and walk down to the train station and go to work. They waved from the windows till I was out of sight. I'd come home late and just have time to kiss them goodnight.
It was along hard day until they let me telecommute, and I suddenly had a lot of spare time.
There was a man who had a beautiful young wife.
She died, and he dreamed of meeting her again, at the end of time, when the Sun was dead.
I had always been fascinated by the book. The Final Arcology of mankind, Earth's Last Citadel, surrounded by an entire universe that had been taken over by Hell. I wanted to read more stories set in that Land, and now I had the time to do something and a little bit of spare money, I took advice. I was a subeditor for INTERZONE back then in its glory days, and I had Dave Pringle to explain the legal side of buying fiction to display online.
I set rates and contacted Ranlan.com and waited for stories to come in. Meanwhile I started the trimmings. Essays. A gallery of book covers. Then a little step up: Stephen Fabian's terrific paintings of the Watchers, illustrations for the 1973 edition of THE DREAM OF X, the abbreviated version of THE NIGHT LAND Hodgson published in the US to keep the copyright. I was careful to pay Fabian for his work, for these pictures are surely the first example of someone actually adding to the original NIGHT LAND, adding something that will always be connected to it from now on. .
Look at them. They do not so much illustrate the story as form a collateral theme.
And quite quickly we got our first story, "An Exhalation of Butterflies" by Nigel Atkinson. This was its basic idea. Every so often, as a gesture of defiance, the Redoubt turns the production of its Underground Fields over to the creation of butterflies. They're kept on ice for a few years to build up numbers and then they are all hatched and sucked up by the ventilation system of the Redoubt and ejected Out into the Night. No practical reason. Just a gigantic Fuck You to the forces in the Night and the horror and the darkness.
I thought it was brilliant. Dave took it for INTERZONE, and I put it online next month.
I tried my own hand and wrote "EATER". It was the story of a female Seer, telepathically surveying the Land, who is taken over and used to invade the Redoubt. The invasion fails and she dies burned body and soul by the Redoubt defense systems. It's a reasonably good tale, and Dave accepted it to run in INTERZONE, and Gardner Dozois gave it a tick mark in his year's best recommended. There is nothing special about it, except it was the first time in my life I had ever tried to write a piece of fiction.
The dark, looming, images of the Land had made such an impact on me. When I started to write stories set in that world, it was as if I remembered a life I had lived in that society, with its prim manners overlaying iron values and its dauntless courage. I didn't need to make anything up. I just watched it happen.
Brett Davidson sent me a story from New Zealand with a background that complemented and extended my own, and I found the person who would be my principle creative partner. For years we've batted ideas back and forth by email late at night. Other writers joined us and mostly took their lead from Brett and I. We were building a shared world but one so rich and vivid felt as if we were were discovering something that already existed. I don't think I've ever had such fun ((while vertical)) in my life.
And then I got a new submission, from John C Wright, which was quite apart from all the other Night Land tales.
I'd written a fusion of Hodgson's vision with cutting-edge science, and tried to evoke a credible Redoubt culture, a culture that might really last ten million years. Therefore my Redoubt was a society of strict moral codes, an actual functional and enforced marriage contract, strong kinship bonds, and sharply differentiated complementary behavior of men and women. ((It strikes me only now that this is mistaken by some readers for archaism. But of course it isn't. It's futurism. Or just realism. No society without these values or something like them can survive more than a couple of generations.)) And I'd written of a society rich in technical and scientific knowledge, including as unremarked givens such familiar SF tropes as nanotechnology, cyborgisation, and Artificial Intelligence. I had some fun integrating these into Hodgson's "scientific" formulation of reincarnation and psychic predation.
I had done my best to reinterpret the Night Land as science fiction, and other writers had followed me. But John's story followed his own dreams.
His character names were derived from classical Greek, not generic IndoEuropean sememes. The manners of the society were likewise closely modeled on the ancient pagans. Dozois has called this an air of distanced antiquity, and it works well, but I repeat it's distinctly different from my own, which is not antique at all. His was not a technically sophisticated society and seemed not to have a scientific attitude to the alien Land that surrounded it. It ran off rote technology and was ignorant of the workings of much of the machinery it depended on. It was doomed and dwindling and dark and candle-lit, a tumbledown place with a hint of Ghormenghast to it. (I know John will hate that comparison, and I apologize). The story was one of childhood friendship, rivalry, disaster and rescue. The writing style was, incidentally, brilliant.
I bought it and published it in our first hardcopy anthology, ENDLESS LOVE. It got into Dozois' BEST SF and several other yearly anthologies and created a minor sensation. There are still places where the first taste of Hodgson's work a casual reader will get is the translation of "Awake in the Night" in that year's Dozois, and the story is an entry drug not only for THE NIGHT LAND but for Hodgson himself and all his work. This was a story which Hodgson might have written if he had been a more gifted weaver of words. John remarked to me at one point that he was surprised at the story's popularity. I think we both understood that despite its author's talent, the real power resided in the way it had stayed faithful to Hodgson's own visions, without elaborating them too much. The whole world could now see and share Hodgson's original Night Land. They were seeing it through John's eyes, not mine, but that didn't matter to me. This was what I had set the NightLand website up for.
I expected a whole series of tales from John set in his version of The Night Land, but his next story was a radical departure from anything that he or any of the rest of us had ever done. It surpassed not only Hodgson's talents but, damn it, Lovecraft's. When I read "Awake in the Night" I felt some envy, but when the ms for "The Last of All Suns" crossed my inbox I felt something like awe.
It's almost impossible to describe this story without employing spoilers, because there is nothing else like it to compare it to or to hint that it is like. Baldly, then: the universe is in its final contraction, falling back on itself into a massive black hole, the last of all suns. In one sliver of it, life remains: a gigantic starship, millions of years old . On board this Starship,ruling it, are the great powers and forces of the Night, who have been victorious not only in the Night Land they turned Earth into but throughout the cosmos.
To oppose them on the ship there are a scattering of human escapees, their bodies artificially regrown from some ancient recording, their souls compelled to one final reincarnation for unknown reasons. The oldest is a Neanderthal, or something similar. The youngest is an inhabitant of the Last Redoubt. Yet it is now so very much later than even the Last Age of the Redoubt that the entire time span from the earliest to the latest lives of these reincarnated ones is like the blink of an eye at the start of a long, dark, night.
And now what can I say? How can I possibly describe what happens next? Even if I could, I would probably have to go beyond what is allowable in a review. As I said, this story is unique. I can't describe its plot as "like" anything else. I'd have to go through it section by section, practically retell it.
Yet certain things can be said. For example, I can tell you that when these resurrectees talk to each other, their language automatically translated by some mental trick, their concepts of the universe are so diverse that only method they have to communicate with each other is to employ the metalanguage of myth. And yet this works, and Wright's genius effortlessly makes it credible to the reader that it would work. By selectively recounting the foundational myths of their diverse societies, they are able to discuss their situation, plan their actions, and the plot is rapidly and convincingly advanced.
One recalls the marvelous passage in Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out Of Time" which lists the enormous range of human societies the Great Race of Yith has plucked its time-swapped prisoners' minds from. The dialogue in this story is the sort of language those time-stolen scribes would have had to employ to talk to each other. And Wright drops a few hints that let us know that "The Shadow Out Of Time" is exactly the ur-SF story he is drawing from here. Wright excels Lovecraft - Lovecraft – by this enormous margin; he does not merely list the societies his characters have been plucked from; he gives us their dialog, word for word, and effortlessly makes it believable.
And this is only one tiny facet of a story that integrates THE NIGHT LAND with THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND and goes on to swallow the modern mythos of Lovecraft and Stapledon and most of the GraecoRoman foundational myths of Western society. And modern physics, as easy as an after-dinner mint.
Finally it comes down to this. In place of a soulless mathematical Episode of Inflation or the mindless flutings of Azathoth, Wright gives us cosmos that is founded on the pattern of eternal love between man and woman. And he does it convincingly. He does it without breaking a sweat or drawing an extra breath.
There was a man who had a beautiful young wife.
She died, and he dreamed of meeting her again, at the end of time, when the Sun was dead.
I am not that man. That man was a fiction. I know death is merely the end, there is no reincarnation, that her presence in my bed was merely dream, and we shall never meet again in any age or realm or dimension, not hand in hand looking out from the battlements of the Last Redoubt of Man nor anywhere else.
So how can I write about Eternal Love? Is love a laughable delusion, or is it the only real thing? I'm quite an old man now, suddenly and cripplingly ill, but it seems only yesterday that she was in my arms and our lips and hands were always reuniting. I understand human sociobiology, I took the red pill decades ago, without the help of the Internet. I understand what they call Game nowadays. I've read and admired its accurate application, I respect people who truly are using this to strengthen marriage, but the bloggers with their bedpost scores and their flag counts are children fighting for bottles of fizzy drink. Love is another dimension. Love is the only thing stronger than death. And I'm writing this as a man who has lost his loved one and might meet death quite soon.
I don't "believe" in love. I know.
It's odd that the one flaw in this, John's best story, is the portrayal of the Mirdath-figure, the multi-souled narrator's eternal mate. The story rings like fine bronze when the men from different aeons resurrected in the death starship speak to each other: but it klunks juat a tiny bit whenever she pops up her eager-sex-partner-and-ideal-mother head. Surely the eternal female would in most of her incarnations be an ordinary unexceptional woman only made special by love? But I'm not going to fuss about this.
There is nothing like this story, nothing like it, anywhere else. It is incomparable.
John sent us two more stories. They are both good stories, but I'm going to end this review with only brief mentions of them.
"The Cry of the Night hound" concerns a doomed attempt to domesticate these monsters, and were it not for Wright's ever-beautiful prose and his moving portrayal of his Redoubt society in (temporary) decay, it might be judged rather improbable.
"Silence of the Night" is a mad,fractured episode that must come from a time close to the Fall. I think it does not work too well, though the beautiful writing and imagery carries it through.
I don't know if Wright has written himself out, and said all he has to say about the Night Land. Maybe he has. Maybe not. (But if you have, I have a theme for you, John, that I think you'll like, that might rekindle your interest, that might produce something as good as "The Last Of All Suns". I really do. But I gave it to another writer who has first dibs on it, and he's doing nothing. If he gives it up, you'll hear from me.)
Anyhow. I messed up the marketing of "The Last Of All Suns", and the story fell into an obscurity from which I hope this new edition will rescue it. Now it's been republished by professionals, along with Wright's other three Night Land tales, I hope it sells a million copies.
A final word.
Did the stuff about my wife with which I stared this review strikes you as forced, unreal? Probably. But it was in fact the simple literal truth. I really did experience that, many times, though I have no doubt it was merely a dream.
Perhaps I could have made this review more plausible by leaving it out, even though it was the truth? Indeed I could have. And perhaps in the same way I could have made this review more effective, more believable, by being less effusive, by toning down my praise a bit. Perhaps I could have. But I'm not going to do that. If you doubt my word, doubt away. But truth is truth, and I don't see why I should dodge it just to convince you. Buy this book, read the stories, read especially "the Last of all Suns", and whatever you think about me after reading this review, when you have read the book you will know that every word of praise I give it here is the truth.
– Andy Robertson
AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND
A collection of four stories set in William Hope Hodgson's Night Land
by John C Wright
Castilla house 2014
ISBN XXXXXXXXXX (to be announced)
This essay was originally posted at The Night Land.
Tags: andy robertson, john c. wright, night lands, william hope hodgeson
May 28th, 2015
May 13th, 2015
Superversive Blog: Trigger Warning or Smelling Salts?:
A Victorian administers smelling salts to a lady who has fainted.
I know of a family where the father was a man of many virtues, but—like all of us—he also had some vices. One of his vices was that he treated his wife quite imperiously, ordering her around and expecting a great deal of her, treating her a bit like a servant of old.
But, for the most part, she did not mind. She loved him. She had been raised to believe that marriage was service, and she served with joy. Besides, she felt he had a right to have things as he liked—he was the sole breadwinner of the family.
Basically, he had the virtues of his vices.
This couple has a son. The son is a disabled adult. Unfortunately, he adopted some of his father’s vices without the corresponding virtues. For instance, he orders his mother around in just the way that his father did and speaks disparagingly of her efforts in exactly the same manner.
Except…the father was the woman’s husband and her breadwinner, at the very least, he deserved respect. The son neither deserves honor from his mother, nor does he provide for her.
He does not have the virtues of his vices.
(I do not in any way mean to imply that the son does not have his own strengths. He is a dear person. But this particular vice is not accompanied by a corresponding virtue.)
The Victorians are renowned for their hypocrisy—but you have to shoot high, to have noble standards, to have whole portions of society bother trying to pretend to live up to them. And for all those who only pretended to be virtuous, or Christian, or caring, there were those who actually did live up to these noble goals. Those who helped fight slavery or poverty or a thousand other ills.
The Victorians might have been judgmental, but they valued rationality and carried themselves with dignity.
They had the virtues of their vices.
Not so the Neo-Victorians (Neo-Vics for short), by which I mean this new brand of social do-gooder that is so popular today. Like the Victorians, they make a career out of rushing around and trying to improve things by pushing their noses into other people’s business. Unlike the Victorians, they are totally lacking in dignity.
They do not have the virtues of their vices.
But there is another way in which the Neo-Vics are like their predecessors. Victorian women are famous for their delicacy. Women of earlier eras did not faint away at the sight of a mouse or at an uncouth word. (Pioneer women, for instance, did not faint away at anything.) Nor did the ladies of, say, Queen Elizabeth’s day.
Fainting spells and hysterics came from two things: one, tight corsets—not a problem we have today. (Thank, God!) Two, hysterics were a way to show disapproval. If one fainted away at the very mention of something, men at least had to keep it out of the drawing rooms.
Sadly, we are seeing that again today.
Colleges used to be a place where people went to confront daring ideas and learn from them. Now, even 2000 year old Ovid’s Metamorphoses is so objectionable that students are demanding that they not be asked to read it unless the university provides them with atrigger warning, to prepare them ahead of time for the vile humanity reflected within.
Ovid may be old, but Echo and Narcissus still seem timely.
But is it really a trigger warning they need…or smelling salts?
(In case the term is unfamiliar, smelling salts were what they used in Victorian Days to help a young woman who had swooned recover from her faint. Smelling salts are also called “salt of hartshorn” because the ammonia that is the active ingredient in the solution was once distilled from the hoofs and horns of deer. Today, smelling salts are used by some athletes to stay awake and aware for games.)
I find this encouragement of mass-hysteria very sad indeed.
In my youth, feminists faced issues such as getting women into work places where never a high-heeled shoe had trod. Men truly thought women were too emotionally weak to survive in the workplace, so we gals set out to show them that they were wrong.
We were tough. We could hack it. We were the equal of any man.
This striving to show the strength of our character had a second benefit. We became strong. When problems came—and in life, problems come—we were able to face them, if not with dignity then at least with courage.
It breaks my heart to see the current generation succumbing to fits and hysterics rather than striving for strength and courage.
To use a single example from many, thee is a woman named Adria Richards who is known across the internet as an outspoken feminist. Her claim to fame is that she reported two geeks at a tech conference—for telling a risqué joke involving the word “dongle”.
Putting aside how strange this is when compared to the crudity of almost every walk of modern life, doesn’t this strike you as exactly the kind of thing Victorian women were known for?
Objecting to crudity in men's speech? Shrieking at the mention of bodily functions? Covering piano legs so that no one would see a leg and, oh horrors!, be reminded of a woman’s leg and, thus, of….sex!!!!!
Only Victorian gals actually did refrain from discussing many of these things among themselves—even in private. The Neo-Vics insist on routinely using words, mainly related to bodily functions, that I would not use in my personal speech, much less put in print.
They lack the virtues of their vices.
I remember being a teenage girl. It was a very emotional time. I remember being having to choose whether to become more or less hysterical at times. Some environments encouraged me to exaggerate my weaknesses. Others encouraged me to bear up and develop strengths.
I was lucky. I encountered more of the second than of the first.
But today’s young people?
They are being taught that fits of outrage and hysterics is what society rewards. That they should communicate their moral outrage by exaggerating their weaknesses. Society aside, this cannot be good for them as individuals—to stress their fears rather than their strengths? To have their failings, their loss of emotional control, rewarded?
Those lessons may not serve them well when they encounter the real problems life brings.
And what is college for, if not to prepare us to be better suited for real life? (That was why employers used to pay more for college graduates. They performed better.)
So, should people be allowed trigger warnings? Safe spaces? And other mechanisms designed to increase and celebrate victimhood?
Or do they deserve more? Might they be better off if society handed them a box of smelling salts and said, “Take a good whiff, deary, and pull yourself together”?
What's your opinion?
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)
Tags: superversive, trigger warnings, victorians
May 8th, 2015