Thus spake the Virgin Queen:

In fact, of all the popular writers I’m currently reading I would have to say that only Neal Stephenson routinely comes up with plots that are original and engaging and surprising

Which wouldn’t hurt a bit, were it not combined with this recent post:

I absolve myself of all responsibility for my lack of posting lately, as it is entirely Vox’s fault. I’ve been reading The War in Heaven at breakneck speed in between lab duties and I will be posting a book review soon.

On second thought, it probably doesn’t apply to me at all, considering that “popular” is not an adjective often applied to me wearing my writer’s hat. But in any case, I have no problem admitting that Neal Stephenson is a much more interesting and accomplished novelist than I am.

Dan Brown, on the other hand, has merely sold more books….


The positioning continues

A team of Senate and House Democrats today are planning to introduce legislation today aimed at significantly increasing size of the U.S. Army.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services (SASC) airland subcommittee, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), a SASC member, and Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), both members of the House Armed Services committee, are pressing for the passage of the United States Army Relief Act.

The legislation seeks to raise the cap of the Army’s end strength, said an aide to Tauscher.

We’ll know she’s going for broke when she announces her immigration reform policy….

Don’t write this

The Original Cyberpunk points us to what Strange Horizons sees all too often:

Person is (metaphorically) at point A, wants to be at point B. Looks at point B, says “I want to be at point B.” Walks to point B, encountering no meaningful obstacles or difficulties. The end. (A.k.a. the linear plot.)

Creative person is having trouble creating.
– Writer has writer’s block.
– Painter can’t seem to paint anything good.
– Sculptor can’t seem to sculpt anything good.
– Creative person’s work is reviled by critics who don’t understand how brilliant it is.
– Creative person meets a muse (either one of the nine classical Muses or a more individual muse) and interacts with them, usually by keeping them captive.

Visitor to alien planet ignores information about local rules, inadvertantly violates them, is punished.
– New diplomat arrives on alien planet, ignores anthropologist’s attempts to explain local rules, is punished.

Weird things happen, but it turns out they’re not real.
– In the end, it turns out it was all a dream.
– In the end, it turns out it was all in virtual reality.
– In the end, it turns out the protagonist is insane.
– In the end, it turns out the protagonist is writing a novel and the events we’ve seen are part of the novel.

And then, there’s this homage to Joel Rosenberg: A group of real-world humans who like roleplaying find themselves transported to D&D world. Considering that both he and Guy Gavriel Kay have covered that one, best you leave it alone.

Don’t fear the Reaper

Regardless of whether it was suicide bombers, (as is now being reported), or timed military explosives, (as previous reports had it), the London attacks would seem to underline the lack of wisdom inherent in allowing 1.6 million people whose loyalties lie elsewhere to immigrate.

Patrick Buchanan is controversial, but his Death of the West is proving to be more and more prescient, especially as it regards a Europe that has appears to have chosen to commit suicide by immigration instead of a lingering death by demographics or a rebirth by Christian revival.

The increasing hatred for Christians demonstrated by the Democratic party and the academic elite combined with the Republican party’s preference for open borders shows that the latter is also unlikely to be embraced by the U.S. government as a solution to the problem.

It is a culture of death indeed, both in individual and societal terms.

The end of the adulterous gravy train

When Kenny Weiner first heard the commercial on WEEI-AM (850), he thought it was a spoof. The spot features three male co-workers who find out their friend Darren has been stuck with kid duty and can’t make their weekend trip to Las Vegas.

”Will somebody tell him to wake up already,” one of them says. ”That kid looks nothing like him.”

The ad is for 1-800-DNA-TEST, an at-home paternity kit sold by a company called Orchid Cellmark. The doubting father simply swabs the inside of his cheek, and the child’s, and sends them to a lab for analysis. Two weeks later, his fatherhood will no longer be up for debate.

”For a guy with an MBA,” one of the men in the commercial says of Darren, ”he’s sure failing economics 101.”

The ad didn’t last long on WEEI. After a handful of complaints, programming and operations director Jason Wolfe pulled the spot last Monday. ”I just didn’t feel that the way that they chose to produce the commercial was appropriate,” he said.

Several bloggers have also taken issue with the provocative ad, which is part of a radio campaign launched a month ago in several markets. The ad was scheduled to start running on WBCN-FM (104.1) on Friday, according to Orchid Cellmark….

The proliferation of these tests is worrisome to Nina Selvaggio, president of the National Organization for Women’s Massachusetts chapter. Not because she thinks they shouldn’t be available, she says, but because ”it’s perpetuating a culture that says there’s a way to get out of being responsible.” With the number of so-called ”deadbeat dads” out there who aren’t paying child support, she says, why not put the focus on preventative measures, such as birth control.

I’ll bet Nina is worried about this. Because a very good way out of being held responsible is to not be responsible in the first place. Considering that we live in a world where there are seminars devoted to teaching women how to fake evidence of an abusive relationship, the idea that a man should have the ability to verify the paternity of his children is hardly outrageous.

In this case, one really has to wonder where the objection could possibly be if one does not have something to hide, since there is no possible violation of the woman’s privacy. Impressive cowardliness on the part of the program director, too. One wonders how he thinks the service might have been more appropriately produced, given the subject at hand.

Now, I suspect there’s a lot of men who would find it impossible to disown a child they loved and had reared as their own. I know I would. But that decision must belong to the purported father, not to the state and certainly not to the mother.