Mailvox: screw the troops

WGM fails to think this one through:

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can support the troops while at the same time bash their commander and their mission. The obvious lack of unity in this country has contributed greatly to the emboldening of our enemies and more dead Americans.

Um, okay. Well, in that case, screw the troops. May they die like pigs in Hell….

Seriously, this is one of the lamest, most illogical attempts to convince everyone to turn off their brains and simply go along with the Maximum Leader that I’ve ever heard. It’s a shameless attempt at emotion-based bullying.

First, the success or failure of specific military campaigns does not depend upon the amount of cheerleading at home. I hate to break it to WGM, but the fate of his favorite sports team does not depend upon what underwear he is wearing either….

Second, the very small number of American fatalities in the twin invasions and occupations indicates that this theoretical “emboldening” of the enemy almost surely has not increased the number of dead Americans. In fact, it is inarguably true that it was unity, specifically the post-911 unity that got Congress to go along with George Bush’s invasion of Iraq, that has killed more Americans than did the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

Third, if the choice is between supporting pointless evil and supporting the troops, then the moral man will always choose to disown the troops. Otherwise, one is no better than those who sang the Horst Wessel song as the stormtroopers marched past.

Finally, if the national unity is not there, then don’t go to war! This has been known since Sun Tzu was writing about the Moral Law and the importance of harmony between the ruler and the ruled. If the ruler does not have the confidence of the ruled, he will likely lose his war. And blame for it will lie with the ruler, not the ruled.

My goodness, I thought liberals were supposed to be the ones who substitute emotion for reason. It’s not exactly heartening to see that conservatives are every bit as capable of mindlessly repeating talking points from the commentariat.

Anyone for audiobooks?

I was contacted by a guy from an audiobook company and we discussed the possibility of putting out the three novels on audio. I’m not an audiobook guy, so I thought I’d bounce it off you all and see if anyone was a fan of that form of reading.

Also, do you generally prefer a male or female reader? I tend to prefer female myself, which also might make sense given my tendency – which some would no doubt consider ironic – towards writing female protagonists.

Male voices on audiobook always tend to make me think of film trailers. But then, I’d be surprised if I’d listened to more than ten in my life. Anyhow, let me know your thoughts.

Also, I’m pleased to announce, courtesy of the Original Cyberpunk and K, that the first run of The Wrath of Angels has been sold out. We’ll do another run soon, as soon as I fix the typos that have been located and make a few minor changes to the cover.

Changes that do NOT involve Rowena’s lovely women, I should note. And for those of you who bought the books, thank you very much for your support and I do hope you are enjoying them.

For unicorns, that’ll be 24 percent

The President is sending more troops to Iraq. The President has a New Plan. It’s a New Way Forward. All the commentators who were waxing orgasmic over the Purple Finger a while back are now expressing their newly-renewed, although still cautious optimism that This Time, It Will Work.

Because this time, We’re Really Going to Try. This time We’ll Really Do it Smart. Or something.

The President’s New Way Forward won’t work any better than Mao’s Great Leap did. It should get significantly fewer people killed, though, so at least it has that going for it. But what part of “never reinforce failure” do his generals not understand? And is anyone seriously supposed to believe that 16 percent more troops is going to cross that magical tipping point that separates failure from victory in Iraq, to say nothing of peace, democracy and unicorns?

Anyhow, if you absolutely feel you must embarrass yourself with whatever contrived justification of the President’s actions you have concocted in order to provide post-facto rationalization for your underlying fear of death, at least do us all the courtesy of dispensing with the moron’s signature cry: “but we have tuh do sumthin!”

This is either stage-setting for an American-Israeli strike on Iran, or, as I suspect, the usual last-gasp muscle-flexing that historically precedes a pull-out or surrender.

The Wrath of Angels – first review

Jamsco emails a review:

The Wrath of Angels is the third volume in the Eternal Warriors trilogy. In it, the author continues with his story line of the Earthly/Otherworldly battle between the Fallen Angels and the Guardians, but in this installment a wrinkle is added in which multiple (at least three) factions of the Fallen Angels are threatening and warring with each other.

Whereas the first book, The War in Heaven, is set largely off earth (in Heaven and on other worlds), and the second book, The World in Shadow, almost completely takes place in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, this book largely focuses on the country of England. We follow a new character, who has more than one name but is usually referred to as Puck, and his Quest to save his former king… in order to prevent a more evil queen from attacking and causing great destruction to both mortal and immortal beings in England.

This sounds a bit complicated and it is. As a person not versed in myth and mythology, I often wished as I read that I knew a bit more about Faeries, for example, or beings moving into tertius, quintus or septus modes, (walking Shadow), but in all cases these terms are defined in context or are not required knowledge. In any case the author manages to give us cues as to Puck’s plan, at least on a high level, and we know to some degree where the story is progressing.

Except where there are surprises. There are more than a few, and they are, in turn, horrifying, disappointing, relieving and humorous.

And in the process of following Puck’s progress, we revisit several familiar characters from the first two books and we are given first hand experience with more than one familiar legend.

Again, almost all of the book is from the perspective of two characters, one immortal (Puck) and the other, later, a mortal. This book comes from an Overtly Christian worldview, but in this one, the author gets a little more specific as to into what kind of Evangelic Christianity his fictional world is shaped.

My first impression is that it is my favorite of the trilogy.

Now to positives and negatives, but I should note that as a reader, I am biased to like this book for three reasons:

1. I am a Christian and it my hope that this book might serve to propagate the Gospel (although I think that of the three, this book does the least of what you might call evangelizing.)

2. I am from the Twin Cities and as before it is a kick to see streets, bridges and Barnes and Noble Bookstores mentioned that I am very familiar with.

3. The author is a friend of mine and I would like very much for this book to do well. So for these reasons and the fact that I generally like the book, I will start with the negatives and end with the positives.

Negatives:

Character: It would seem to me that if a human teenager has experienced extremely supernatural events that she attributes to a saving and loving God, she would not have as her primary sources of reading material Cosmopolitan and InStyle magazine. Not so here.

Cover: Okay, this is picky on my part and the complaint is not really about the written book per se, but if one buys a book from a Christian author, one should not fear that his kids might see it. Seriously, do we need not one but two nearly undressed women on the cover? I felt the need to keep it on top of my seven foot high book shelf.

Character: We are told that since this is a fantasy book, we reader/reviewers have no right to complain about theology espoused in it. Fair enough. An author’s world is his own. But when the Angelic Champion… sounds somewhat Anne Graham Lottish while giving the author’s view of what God doesn’t do, well, it rankles a bit. Can I say that?

There that wasn’t so bad, was it? This is by no means all of what caused at least minor disgruntlement on my part, but it gives a flavor.

On to Positives:

Style: Surprisingly, this book is somewhat less dark than either of its predecessors (especially World) and is more down to earth and focused in direction than War. You might even call it an adventure. And as I mentioned previously, I enjoyed the humor. There is something refreshing about a captive facing torture and death mocking (with success) his captor. And what with the subject matter of one of the chapters, it makes sense that there are not one, but three and a half (by my count) Monty Python references (a subject I am , perhaps regrettably, more well versed that the Fae.)

But why didn’t he say “none shall pass”? Why?

Style: I read this book in three weeks after spending two years reading Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy (Yes, that makes two books in a row where scenes take place in the sewers of London) I must say it was somewhat of a relief to read this one, with it’s more straightforward approach. Stephenson is very good, but the author’s writing is more, shall we say, taut.

Character: Puck is a thoroughly enjoyable character who in turn irritates and amuses almost everyone he comes into contact with. He is focused on his goal and goes for it, despite his reputation as less than respectable. He is also one of the greater sources of surprise. I also enjoyed seeing Leviathan again and his strong persona shines.

Creativity: There are questions asked by the author in this book that took quite a bit of out-of- the-box thinking. What if the Nephilim are still around and are extant as many of the legends we hear about in horror stories? What if some of the Fallen found other things to spend their time with than merely tempting humans? How would the good side of the immortals deal with a battle between two groups of warring fallen angels? What would it feel like for a human to gain Angelic powers? This book brings the concept of the Fallen far beyond Screwtape.

The author has created an intricate and fleshed out world which makes one wonder how many short stories and back stories he has in his mind unwritten. I would certainly want to read them if he ever got around to it.

That was a fair review of the book in my opinion, even if the deeper brilliance of it appears to have escaped him…. And if you’re curious to see if Jamsco’s opinions are justified, you can download the book and judge for yourself. If you’re not interested in my fiction, but are still on the look-out for a good novel or two, I’d strongly recommend The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross. I just re-read the former in preparation for the latter, which I am reading now.

I’ll be posting other reviews here as they come in, postive or negative. I will edit them for plot spoilers, as I have done in two instances here, but that’s it.