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February 20th, 2017

03:08 pm: Signal Boost: The Ironwood Staff

The Ironwood Staff by J. H. Hamilton

This is a Superversive book. The story is like a high fantasy set in Africa with Zen elves, but the progressive ideas of the villains and the way in which evil corrupts and spreads, as well as what the hero must do to fight it, lends a Superversive thread to this simple fantasy.

Tomas the Lame was a scribe, until the goblinish Kchabani invaded his home, sacking the library and enslaving the people. Escaping to the eladi in their forest home, he fought back until he was injured and unable to fight.

When the eladi found he had strange gifts in communicating with animals, he thought he had a new life as a Magus – what he didn't know was that the invaders were seeking him by dark arts and vile monsters, putting his new friends and new love in danger.

On a desperate mission to the cold, wet south of the world, Tomas joins a party seeking the aid of an eladi king, leader of a people who have hidden themselves from the rest of the world for centuries. Will the southern eladi help? And, will they be in time to save the Sunlands from the kchaban hordes?

Available on Amazon

Chapter extracts on Patreon

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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February 11th, 2017

08:26 pm: Valentine’s Sale…first two Books of Unexpected Enlightenment

On Sale today through Feb 14th — the first two Books of Unexpected Enlightenment!

Both books are $.99  Great time to try the series, or to pick up the second one, if you already have the first.

     

                   On Amazon                                                             On Amazon

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

January 30th, 2017

03:19 pm: New Release: Live and Let Bite

New Release: Live and Let Bite

The third book in series following the Dragon Award nominated "Love at First Bite"  

Merlin “Merle” Kraft has been fighting the darkness for months. He left San Francisco in the capable hands of Marco Catalano and his anti-vampire team to defend them against vampires. With special operators at his command, Kraft has been killing every vampire he can find in the Middle East. After clearing out a nest in Tora Bora, he is finally brought back to New York, and the investigation that led him to vampires in the first place.

Marco is starting to spiral. He knows it. His team knows it. Everyone around him can see that he’s just a bomb waiting to explode. The only woman who can bring him back from the brink is also the woman who lit his fuse. 

Ever since the demon Asmodeus tried to murder Marco, Amanda Colt has been hunting down every lead to find the ones ultimately behind the attempt. After months of investigation, she learns that something in the dark is colder than the dark. It is a vampire assassin that Amanda has faced once before, and Amanda lost. This assassin is stronger than anything they’ve face before, and it isn’t alone. 

With Marco ready to self-destruct, and the armies of Hell ready to descend, the three of them must come together and stop a thousand-year-old assassin that has never been stopped, and has never failed to kill her target.

On Amazon

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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January 20th, 2017

12:34 pm: Superversive Books

Today's the day! 

We are actually beginning our Superversive Book List! Our goal is to have a suggested reading list that can be shared about, listing books–from all time periods–that are worth reading! Hopefully, this will eventuall lead to a Year's Best list and a Superversive Award.

But for now, we are merely compiling a list. The results will be posted in a special Superversive Reading List place.

What is a Superversive book, you ask? A book that lives up to the motto: Good storytelling, great ideas

For convenience sake, while this is not necessary, it would be nice if you could mark your suggestions by catagory:

Superversive — good storytelling, great ideas

    Starship Trooper 
    Harry Potter 

Noumenal Superversive (NS) – what I call Superversive–a story that lifts you out of the ordinary into something finer and higher.

     The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe — and all the Narnia books
     Wrinkle In Time

Childrens — books that are Superversive, but specifically for children.

   Watership Down
   The Dark is Rising

So come one, come all!

Write down your favorite Superversive book titles! 

Leave suggestions here

Suggestions so far:

Watership Down"

"A Wrinkle in Time"

"Awake in the Night Land"

Narnia books, of course

"Lord of the Rings", of course

Tunnel in the Sky —- Heinlein

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress — Heinlein

The Iliad ———Homer

Citizen of the Galaxy — Heinlein

Starship Troopers — Heinlein

"No. 1 Ladies' Detective Series

Harry Potter

Nine Princes of Amber

Screwtape Letters.

The Prisoner of Zenda

The Charwoman's Shadow,

The King of Elfland's Daughter.

 Ballad of the White Horse

The Napoleon of Notting Hill

The Four Men: A Farrago

For Young Children: The Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans

The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot…
A Little Princess (or Sara Crewe) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

the Princess series by Jessica Day George

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne CollinsT

The Rachel Griffin series by L. Jagi Lamplighter… 
O. Henry's short stories–The Last Leaf

The Gift of the Magi; the story story by Isaac Asimov

The Ugly Little Boy; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

The Lord of the Ring series by J.R.R. Tolkien

True Grit by Charles Portis

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz

Shane by Jack Schaefer

The People series by Zenna Henderson

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmauska Orczy

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Antigone by Sophocles

Psalms of Isaak by Ken Scholes

Joy Cometh with the Mourning by Dave Freer

Frontier Magic series by Patricia C. Wrede

Saga of the Forgotten Warrior series by Larry Correia

the Chronicles of Brather Cadfael by Ellis Peters

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Good Omens e Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry

The Shifter series by Sarah A. Hoyt

St. Patrick's Gargoyle by Katherine Kurtz…

The Secret Garden

The Railway Children

Roger Lancelyn Green's Adventures of Robin Hood

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Ring of Bright Water

Pride and Prejudice.

"Who Fears the Devil?" by Manly Wade Wellman

 

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

11:32 am: Appendix N and Why It Is Important…by me

I wrote an intro for Jeffro Johnson's Appendix N book. Later, it was decided to use only John's. (Originally, he planed to have several.) So mine has gone up as a blog post. Here it is:

 Why Appendix N Started a Literary Movement
 

I still remember the first time I heard those three magical worlds.

My cousin Ariel was visiting. She was a whole year older than I was and lived in Manhattan. She was a sophisticated young lady compared to my country mouse self. A couple of years earlier, she had told my parents about some books she thought I would like, books by authors named Tolkien and Lewis. Those books changed my life.

Now, she was telling me about something even more astonishing. Some guys she knew from MIT were playing a new kind of game—a game like the kind we always played. Only they added rules, so anyone could play—not just people who really got along and could come to an agreement about their mutual story.

This game was called Dungeons & Dragons.

Three magical words.

It was a few years before I actually got my hands on a copy of the game. Everything about it was enchanting. It came with dice that were like none anyone had ever seen, and the book! It was solid and filled with art and charts. So many fascinating charts!

Not just in the main text either. The charts ran over into appendixes. There were even charts that let you run an entire campaign just by die throws.

 

There was one appendix I never paid much attention to. It was a list of books. Books I had read, or had on my to-read list, or knew all about because friends had read them. But the list did make me smile. It’s always nice to discover that someone shares one’s tastes.

Many years later, I began to read references to some guy named Jeffro who was reading and reviewing the Appendix N books. That’s nice, I thought, he’s reviewing those books we’ve all read.

Only, I began to notice something strange…

Jeffro’s reviews were being referred to everywhere and with growing excitement. People were reading them, talking about them, vowing to read Appendix N books themselves. But where was this excitement coming from? What were they so exited about?

It took me an embarrassingly long time to catch on.

Those books “we” had all read?

Apparently, “we” didn’t exist any more.

Read more…

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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January 17th, 2017

09:53 am: Book Bomb Day! — SET TO KILL and more!

Big day for books!  I had originally going to be showcasing Declan Finn's Set To Kill. I will do so, but I will also mention two other book oportunities.

Set to Kill: A Sean AP Ryan Novel (Convention Killings Book 2) 
by Declan Finn

Sean AP Ryan thought he was doing security for a science fiction convention … he didn’t know he was refereeing a war.

After the events of "A Pius Stand," Sean A.P. Ryan has spent the last year in Italy, keeping his head down and his mouth shut. But now, he has been brought out of his exile for one big job: security at the world's largest science fiction convention, WyvernCon. His mission? To keep the peace between two factions warring over the "coveted" Hubble Awards — the Tearful Puppies and the Puppy Punters. Even though Sean has a bad feeling about it, he takes the job, expecting a relatively quiet weekend.

Unfortunately, Sean soon learns that he has a bounty on his head. Every bounty hunter and mercenary within shouting distance of the internet is descending on the convention, each of them set on killing him. And his enemies list is long enough to cover half the free world, and most of the world still in chains. 

If that wasn't bad enough, the first casualties of the War of the Puppies happen at the convention. Could it have been one of the Puppies, who are all armed and dangerous? Or could it have been one of the Punters, who claim pacifist tendencies, and fanatical devotion to their cause?

With the bodies piling up, and the attacks becoming more frequent, Sean has to discover who wants him dead, and who the true Puppy killer is, before all of WyvernCon goes down in flames

My take: If you consider yourself a Puppy (Sad or Rabid) or even Puppy-friendly, then you may enjoy this extremly humorous take on the Summer of Puppy Madness (2015). Finn's hero, Sean Ryan–think funny James Bond with an awesome elf sidekick–takes on both assassins and science fiction authors. If the first doesn't kill him, banging his head against a table out of frustration over trying to protect the second just might!

The action is over-the-top and fun, and fans of SF will get a kick out of spotting their favorite authors in this hilarious parody. (Finn's versions of their names alone are worth the price.) Put aside any serious bone in your body–then read and enjoy!

And now…a few more titles…

Jeffro Johnson's book, Appendix N.

APPENDIX N: A LITERARY HISTORY OF DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of science fiction's past that will fascinate any serious role-playing gamer.

Author Jeffro Johnson, an expert role-playing gamer, accomplished Dungeon Master and three-time Hugo Award Finalist, critically reviews every single work listed by Gygax in the famous appendix, and in doing so, draws a series of intelligent conclusions about the literary gap between past and present that are surprisingly relevant to current events, not only in the fantastic world of role-playing, but the real world in which the players live.

 

CLFA JANUARY BOOKNADO!

Freedom’s Light: Short Stories

The first-ever CLFA-endorsed anthology of short fiction! Enjoy a variety of tales in assorted genres from CLFA members and supporters!
 

 


Forbidden Thoughts

This is the month for anthologies! Savor a witty intro by the great Milo Yiannopoulos and enjoy popular authors including John C. WrightL. Jagi LamplighterNick ColeLarry CorrieaBrad TorgersenBrian Niemier, and Vox Day.

 

The Temple of Light  (The Shadow Space Chronicles Book 5)
by Kal Spriggs

Lieutenant Alannis Giovanni embarks on a mission to stop her ex-husband from gaining control of a superweapon that can destroy star systems.

 

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

Thousands have checked into the Infinity Hotel. No one has ever checked out! (Sci-fi thriller)

 

Mythic Orbits 2016: The Best Speculative Fiction by Christian Authors

Another anthology! Features CLFA member L. Jagi Lamplighter among other authors.

Also, check out my radio show from this Sunday to hear from the authors.

 

Psychic Undercover (With the Undead) by Amie Gibbons

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI instead. But vampires aren’t the only thing that go bump in the night…

Kindle Deals: $1.99 or Less*

*as of January 17 and 18, 2017

 

99¢

Underlake by Kia Heavey

Pampered and cultured Katie Welch discovers the most unusual boy swimming in her lake and for the first time in memory, she connects. Overjoyed to find someone she can relate to, Katie defies her mother and ignores the warning signs – until it’s too late.
Ages 14 and up.
 

99¢
Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine

Geeks and outcasts vs. oppressive government in near-future U.S.
(Dragon Award 2016 nominee)

 

99¢
Domino
by Kia Heavey

Domino the barn cat learns that there’s no way to bite or scratch a poisonous idea and soon, he is in an existential struggle to save his family, his territory, and a time-honored feline way of life.

Comments

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

09:53 am: Book Bomb Day! — SET TO KILL and more!

Big day for books!  I had originally going to be showcasing Declan Finn's Set To Kill. I will do so, but I will also mention two other book oportunities.

Set to Kill: A Sean AP Ryan Novel (Convention Killings Book 2) 
by Declan Finn

Sean AP Ryan thought he was doing security for a science fiction convention … he didn’t know he was refereeing a war.

After the events of "A Pius Stand," Sean A.P. Ryan has spent the last year in Italy, keeping his head down and his mouth shut. But now, he has been brought out of his exile for one big job: security at the world's largest science fiction convention, WyvernCon. His mission? To keep the peace between two factions warring over the "coveted" Hubble Awards — the Tearful Puppies and the Puppy Punters. Even though Sean has a bad feeling about it, he takes the job, expecting a relatively quiet weekend.

Unfortunately, Sean soon learns that he has a bounty on his head. Every bounty hunter and mercenary within shouting distance of the internet is descending on the convention, each of them set on killing him. And his enemies list is long enough to cover half the free world, and most of the world still in chains. 

If that wasn't bad enough, the first casualties of the War of the Puppies happen at the convention. Could it have been one of the Puppies, who are all armed and dangerous? Or could it have been one of the Punters, who claim pacifist tendencies, and fanatical devotion to their cause?

With the bodies piling up, and the attacks becoming more frequent, Sean has to discover who wants him dead, and who the true Puppy killer is, before all of WyvernCon goes down in flames

My take: If you consider yourself a Puppy (Sad or Rabid) or even Puppy-friendly, then you may enjoy this extremly humorous take on the Summer of Puppy Madness (2015). Finn's hero, Sean Ryan–think funny James Bond with an awesome elf sidekick–takes on both assassins and science fiction authors. If the first doesn't kill him, banging his head against a table out of frustration over trying to protect the second just might!

The action is over-the-top and fun, and fans of SF will get a kick out of spotting their favorite authors in this hilarious parody. (Finn's versions of their names alone are worth the price.) Put aside any serious bone in your body–then read and enjoy!

And now…a few more titles…

Jeffro Johnson's book, Appendix N.

APPENDIX N: A LITERARY HISTORY OF DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of science fiction's past that will fascinate any serious role-playing gamer.

Author Jeffro Johnson, an expert role-playing gamer, accomplished Dungeon Master and three-time Hugo Award Finalist, critically reviews every single work listed by Gygax in the famous appendix, and in doing so, draws a series of intelligent conclusions about the literary gap between past and present that are surprisingly relevant to current events, not only in the fantastic world of role-playing, but the real world in which the players live.

 

CLFA JANUARY BOOKNADO!

Freedom’s Light: Short Stories

The first-ever CLFA-endorsed anthology of short fiction! Enjoy a variety of tales in assorted genres from CLFA members and supporters!
 

 


Forbidden Thoughts

This is the month for anthologies! Savor a witty intro by the great Milo Yiannopoulos and enjoy popular authors including John C. WrightL. Jagi LamplighterNick ColeLarry CorrieaBrad TorgersenBrian Niemier, and Vox Day.

 

The Temple of Light  (The Shadow Space Chronicles Book 5)
by Kal Spriggs

Lieutenant Alannis Giovanni embarks on a mission to stop her ex-husband from gaining control of a superweapon that can destroy star systems.

 

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

Thousands have checked into the Infinity Hotel. No one has ever checked out! (Sci-fi thriller)

 

Mythic Orbits 2016: The Best Speculative Fiction by Christian Authors

Another anthology! Features CLFA member L. Jagi Lamplighter among other authors.

Also, check out my radio show from this Sunday to hear from the authors.

 

Psychic Undercover (With the Undead) by Amie Gibbons

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI instead. But vampires aren’t the only thing that go bump in the night…

Kindle Deals: $1.99 or Less*

*as of January 17 and 18, 2017

 

99¢

Underlake by Kia Heavey

Pampered and cultured Katie Welch discovers the most unusual boy swimming in her lake and for the first time in memory, she connects. Overjoyed to find someone she can relate to, Katie defies her mother and ignores the warning signs – until it’s too late.
Ages 14 and up.
 

99¢
Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine

Geeks and outcasts vs. oppressive government in near-future U.S.
(Dragon Award 2016 nominee)

 

99¢
Domino
by Kia Heavey

Domino the barn cat learns that there’s no way to bite or scratch a poisonous idea and soon, he is in an existential struggle to save his family, his territory, and a time-honored feline way of life.

Comments

Share
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

09:53 am: Book Bomb Day! — SET TO KILL and more!

Big day for books!  I had originally going to be showcasing Declan Finn's Set To Kill. I will do so, but I will also mention two other book oportunities.

Set to Kill: A Sean AP Ryan Novel (Convention Killings Book 2) 
by Declan Finn

Sean AP Ryan thought he was doing security for a science fiction convention … he didn’t know he was refereeing a war.

After the events of "A Pius Stand," Sean A.P. Ryan has spent the last year in Italy, keeping his head down and his mouth shut. But now, he has been brought out of his exile for one big job: security at the world's largest science fiction convention, WyvernCon. His mission? To keep the peace between two factions warring over the "coveted" Hubble Awards — the Tearful Puppies and the Puppy Punters. Even though Sean has a bad feeling about it, he takes the job, expecting a relatively quiet weekend.

Unfortunately, Sean soon learns that he has a bounty on his head. Every bounty hunter and mercenary within shouting distance of the internet is descending on the convention, each of them set on killing him. And his enemies list is long enough to cover half the free world, and most of the world still in chains. 

If that wasn't bad enough, the first casualties of the War of the Puppies happen at the convention. Could it have been one of the Puppies, who are all armed and dangerous? Or could it have been one of the Punters, who claim pacifist tendencies, and fanatical devotion to their cause?

With the bodies piling up, and the attacks becoming more frequent, Sean has to discover who wants him dead, and who the true Puppy killer is, before all of WyvernCon goes down in flames

My take: If you consider yourself a Puppy (Sad or Rabid) or even Puppy-friendly, then you may enjoy this extremly humorous take on the Summer of Puppy Madness (2015). Finn's hero, Sean Ryan–think funny James Bond with an awesome elf sidekick–takes on both assassins and science fiction authors. If the first doesn't kill him, banging his head against a table out of frustration over trying to protect the second just might!

The action is over-the-top and fun, and fans of SF will get a kick out of spotting their favorite authors in this hilarious parody. (Finn's versions of their names alone are worth the price.) Put aside any serious bone in your body–then read and enjoy!

And now…a few more titles…

Jeffro Johnson's book, Appendix N.

APPENDIX N: A LITERARY HISTORY OF DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a detailed and comprehensive investigation of the various works of science fiction and fantasy that game designer Gary Gygax declared to be the primary influences on his seminal role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons.

It is a deep intellectual dive into the literature of science fiction's past that will fascinate any serious role-playing gamer.

Author Jeffro Johnson, an expert role-playing gamer, accomplished Dungeon Master and three-time Hugo Award Finalist, critically reviews every single work listed by Gygax in the famous appendix, and in doing so, draws a series of intelligent conclusions about the literary gap between past and present that are surprisingly relevant to current events, not only in the fantastic world of role-playing, but the real world in which the players live.

 

CLFA JANUARY BOOKNADO!

Freedom’s Light: Short Stories

The first-ever CLFA-endorsed anthology of short fiction! Enjoy a variety of tales in assorted genres from CLFA members and supporters!
 

 


Forbidden Thoughts

This is the month for anthologies! Savor a witty intro by the great Milo Yiannopoulos and enjoy popular authors including John C. WrightL. Jagi LamplighterNick ColeLarry CorrieaBrad TorgersenBrian Niemier, and Vox Day.

 

The Temple of Light  (The Shadow Space Chronicles Book 5)
by Kal Spriggs

Lieutenant Alannis Giovanni embarks on a mission to stop her ex-husband from gaining control of a superweapon that can destroy star systems.

 

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

Thousands have checked into the Infinity Hotel. No one has ever checked out! (Sci-fi thriller)

 

Mythic Orbits 2016: The Best Speculative Fiction by Christian Authors

Another anthology! Features CLFA member L. Jagi Lamplighter among other authors.

Also, check out my radio show from this Sunday to hear from the authors.

 

Psychic Undercover (With the Undead) by Amie Gibbons

Singers are a dime a dozen in Nashville, so despite her mama’s urging, psychic Ariana Ryder’s working her way towards a career in law enforcement at the FBI instead. But vampires aren’t the only thing that go bump in the night…

Kindle Deals: $1.99 or Less*

*as of January 17 and 18, 2017

 

99¢

Underlake by Kia Heavey

Pampered and cultured Katie Welch discovers the most unusual boy swimming in her lake and for the first time in memory, she connects. Overjoyed to find someone she can relate to, Katie defies her mother and ignores the warning signs – until it’s too late.
Ages 14 and up.
 

99¢
Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine

Geeks and outcasts vs. oppressive government in near-future U.S.
(Dragon Award 2016 nominee)

 

99¢
Domino
by Kia Heavey

Domino the barn cat learns that there’s no way to bite or scratch a poisonous idea and soon, he is in an existential struggle to save his family, his territory, and a time-honored feline way of life.

 

Share
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

January 10th, 2017

03:13 pm: On Fairy Stories and Why They Matter!

An essay is by British professor, Bruce G Charlton, who maintains a blog inspired by Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers

Fantasy Fiction Is More Important Than ‘Real Life’: completing the argument of JRR Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories

JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien’s most famous and influential essay, and indeed by far the most famous and influential essay on the subject, was On Fairy Stories. This was originally a lecture delivered in 1939 at the University of St Andrew’s, Scotland; it was published in a revised and expanded form in Essays Presented to Charles Williams, 1947 and reprinted in other volumes many times since.

The crux of the essay, and the reason for its large influence, is a defence of the value of Fairy Stories for an intended adult audience. Indeed On Fairy Stories became, pretty much, the standard explanation of, and rationale for, the genre of Fantasy Fiction – which is now a large and significant phenomenon in modern publishing

Tolkien’s basic argument is that the author of Fantasy is creating a ‘Secondary world’ with features that are both wonderful (typically magical) and internally-consistent. And this Secondary world potentially offers a sympathetic reader the triple benefits of Recovery, Escape and Consolation.

As such, On Fairy Stories serves to justify the Fantasy genre; but on the other hand it does implicitly consign Fantasy to Secondary status as contrasted with the Primary world.

Tolkien presents a strong case that Escape and Consolation are legitimate wishes. However, at the end of the day these are (merely) psychological justifications – ways of saying that Fantasy makes us ‘feel better’ in legitimate ways. 

I believe that Tolkien’s argument can legitimately be extended to a stronger sense, which offers a ‘primary’ status to Fantasy fiction when understood in the context of the modern, mainstream world of public discourse.

More specifically, I believe that Tolkien’s argument about Recovery contains the seeds of a much more powerful explanation of Fantasy being (at its best) more real than (so-called) ‘real life’.

That Fantasy is (in some important respects) more real than real life I will take as an assumption rather than trying to argue; because it is something that all serious Fantasy readers already know to be true from personal experience (and it is, of course, why we continue to read Fantasy). But what is so-far lacking, and what Tolkien may be seen to imply, is an explanation for why and how it is true.

I think an explanation is valuable, and perhaps necessary, if fantasy, as a genre, is to be regarded (whether by ourselves, or more generally) as more than just a pleasing pastime – as something that is of potentially great cultural importance. 

Tolkien’s argument about Recovery is that the material of magic, wonder, the fantastic – and the imaginative inhabiting of a different and complex but internally-consistent world – are what allow a refreshment of our appreciation. So we come to appreciate the basics of this (primary) world, now refreshed because we have come across bread, stone, trees in a new and unfamiliar context; and we also appreciate Men anew because we have met elves, dwarves and hobbits.

This is true but I think it underestimates the profundity of what Fantasy can do; especially when it is contrasted with the modern world. The key to the value of Fantasy – here and now – is its contrast with the modern world: Modern ‘reality’ is most deficient in the most important aspects of Life. And this is because modern reality is, mostly and ever-increasingly, a mass media-generated ‘virtual’ kind of reality.

Thus modern ‘Primary’ reality is deficient in terms of lacking destiny, meaning and purpose for Life; in its ignorance, denial, or blind terror of ageing and death; in terms of regarding the Human Condition as a mixture of mechanical determinism and random chaos; in its regarding of the major virtues of Love and Courage as mere products of social-conditioning and evolution; and its understanding that Tolkien’s joyful ‘eucatastrophe’ – the unexpected ‘turn’ of events in a Fairy Story that snatches the Happy Ending from apparently-inevitable defeat – is merely a statistically improbable coincidence…

The above list is not exhaustive – in particular the modern lack of a living and over-arching religion; and indeed lack of any spiritual reality and depth to experience – is another vital deficiency of the Primary world as we experience it in The West. But this list suffices to illustrate why, in our kind of world, Fantasy may be much more than just a pleasure or a preference. And why Fantasy does not simply enable a Recovery of appreciation for the basic essentials of Life – much more importantly, Fantasy may be our only sustained experience in which these real-realities are encountered.

The staleness and superficiality of modern life is a consequence of the way in which modern reality is the product of modern theories – the ‘ideologies’ that arise from science, law, politics, sociology etc. but which we mainly learn from the mass media; and to a lesser extent from a corrupted system of formal education, corporate advertising and official propaganda.

But how is it that Fantasy may be able to supply what the Primary word so horribly lacks? Well, Tolkien all-but said it – the creation of another internally consistent world of wonders provides us with stimuli, with perceptions, that do not automatically get plugged-into the subversive and inverting theories of modernism.

The magic and wonders of Fantasy quite naturally and spontaneously attach themselves to our built-in, universal concepts – the mythic understandings and interpretations of the ‘collective unconscious’, or our shared divine-endowments. And it is these universal concepts which enable us to apprehend and share reality.

So the fictional experiences of Fantasy are not just apparently but literally more real than everyday Life in the modern world. They are real because they are understood by means of the eternal, the universal, the Human, the God-given; whereas the Primary world is perceived, but not understood, merely by the manipulative and dishonest and ever-changing abstract theoretical ideologies of our time and place – ideologies such as the dreary incoherence of Leftist ‘identity’ politics, antiracism, feminism, economic hypotheses, anti-colonialism, and the ever-mutating lies and inversions of sexuality and the sexual revolution.

In sum; Fantasy fiction (Fairy Stories) may currently be the only source of sustained and convincing ‘good metaphysics’ available to many people in The West: our only access to the eternal and universal truths of real reality – as contrasted with the despair-inducing, hope-less, meaningless, purposeless fake-realities of modern life.

Seventy years after Tolkien’s essay was first conceived, we are in a situation that Fairy Stories have become something close to a necessity for those who want to experience Life as it could and should be experienced… even more, a necessity for those who want to live in the real world; rather than the hellish-yet-addictive media-Matrix of alternating distractions, intoxications, lust and fear which is the world of mainstream public discourse.

Consequently our demonic overlords hate, hate, hate real Fantasy (and Tolkien above all) and do their best to ignore or mock it – or else they reinterpret and subvert it in terms of the incoherent tendentiousness of modern ideologies (such as those deadly meditations on racism and sexism in The Lord of the Rings…). Or else they create fake-Fantasy which incorporates exactly those false ideologies to which Fantasy offers us a Real Life alternative. Instead of wonder and magic, we get parables of multiculturalism or gender-bending… just like modern, mainstream, bureaucratic ‘real life’. 

I would therefore suggest that we should now drop Tolkien’s idea of Fantasy being a Secondary reality, in favour of a recognition that – at its best – Fantasy is now the Primary world. Fantasy fiction is therefore a way in which we may potentially (albeit partially and intermittently) escape The Matrix imposed upon us to our detriment; and begin living from true, universal and vital concepts: living real lives from the solid ground of universal metaphysics.     

*

For more by the erudite and fascinating Professor Charlton, visit his blog: Tolkien’s The Notion Club Papers:

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk

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January 4th, 2017

10:50 am: FORBIDDEN THOUGHTS! — Do not dare read this book!

Wow…it is so exciting to see something go from a glimmer of an idea to reality! And then see it fly off the shelves (electronically). Here's how it happened:

About two years ago, a friend of mine wanted to put together a charity anthology for the Charlie Hebdo artists. She said, "Send me the most controversial thing you've ever written!" 

Well, I don't normally do controversial per se. But I sat down and prayed a bit to see what would come to me. I had just read Face-to-Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib, one of the best books I've ever read, and my mind was full of thoughts about her experience. So, I sat down and wrote the. most. controversial. story I was capable of conceiving.

The story is called "The Test of the Prophet".

At first, I thought I'd done quite well. My mom immediately worried that it would get my shot, and my atheist Liberal friend called it hateful. But, my Muslim friend loved it and took it home to Pakistan to show her parents. (Life can be strange sometimes!)

By this time, however, I realized that the first anthology wasn't going to fly. But I REALLY wanted to do something with my story. It was the best thing I had ever written. 

But what can you do with a super controversial story in this age of safe spaces and trigger warnings?

Then, in the midst of the Sad Puppy fervor, I caught a glimmer of an answer. Jason Rennie, editor of Sci Phi Journal and the brilliant mind behind SuperverisveSF, suggested in the midst of a flurry of Sad Puppy emails, that the authors involved get together and do an anthology of anti-PC stories, kind of a modern Dangerous Visions–putting into story form all those thoughts that the SJWs don't want people to think. Basically, doing what SF is supposed to do, posing difficult questions.

Those of us on the email chain decided on the title: Forbidden Thoughts

I LOVED this idea. Here was my answer to what to do with my controversial story. 

So, I kept on Jason about this, and I kept on the other authors. When a few were too busy to be able to fit writing a new short story into their schedule, I convinced them to submit incendiary blog posts.

So we now had a volume with stories by, among others, John, Nick Cole, Brian Niemeier, Josh Young, Brad Torgersen, Sarah Hoyt, Ben Zwyxky, and, a particularly delightful surprise for me, our young Marine fan friend, Pierce Oka. Plus, non fiction by Tom Kratman and Larry Correia submitted some of his original Sad Puppy posts–the thing that started it all!

But we still needed a Foreword.

Last winter, during one of our SuperversiveSF chats, we had invited the one reporter who reported truthfully on Sad Puppies, an amusing and irreverent fellow named Milo Yiannopoulos. Just as the chat was scheduled to begin, Milo was informed that he had been deverified on Twitter. This made it so that he was never able to attend our chat. He made it clear that he regretted this and kind of owed us.

So, I asked Jason to see if Milo would let us cash in our favor in the form of him writing the Foreword.

He did!  

Milo wrote an excellent Foreword. We put the stories in order and voila! A delightfully thought-provoking volume that reminds me of the daring stories one found the pages of Science Fiction volumes in my youth. 

There is one other delightful story that goes with this volume. Last summer, as we often do, we spent a week in Chincoteague. Our teen writer fan (some of you may have seen the victory dance she did when John won Dragon Award), asked if she and her family could join us, so we and the Freeman family spent a wonderful week together.

As I arrived on Chincoteague, I got an email from Jason informing me that he had read a submission by April, and it was really chilling. He thought it would work for Forbidden Thoughts. So, when April walked into the house we were renting for the week, I got to inform her that her first published piece would be in an anthology with John and I! 

She was so stunned that she had to call me the next morning and ask me to explain it all again. Lol It was a delightful moment.

Now Forbidden thoughts is live! There will be an official Launch party with a live chat on Inauguration Day. 

So, Politically-Correct friends, you might want to avoid this, but the rest of you, come join in the fun!!!

You are not supposed to read this book. 
You are not supposed to think about reading this book. 
In fact, just plain thinking at all is unacceptable. 
You have been warned….

On Amazon!

(Print version coming. Probably by next week.)

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