The Warrior Lives: Remembering Rosenberg

I was a fan of Joel Rosenberg’s work long before I ever met him, but I eventually came to admire him more as a man than as an author. I wasn’t a close friend of his, more the friend of a friend, but I did have the good fortune to get to know him over the last 15 years. It was a privilege for an SF/F fan, but more than that, it was a genuine pleasure. Growing up in Minnesota, which at the time felt rather like the cold side of the back of beyond, I had no idea that there were Real Live Writers living there, never being much inclined to read the author bios at the back. Like many a teenage boy in the Eighties, I had dabbled in role-playing games such as AD&D, Gamma World, and Traveller in the Time Before Girls, and so The Guardians of the Flame were a real revelation to me. Rosenberg’s novels were gritty long before grit became fashionable; he made a distinct impression on a young reader by killing off a major character practically at the beginning of the first novel, then went himself one better by killing off the lead character in only the fourth book in the series. I can’t recall being more shocked while reading fiction any time before or since. Karl Cullinane is dead? But… but what about the series?

Continued at The Black Gate

R.I.P. Joel Rosenberg

Some bad news this morning. Joel Rosenberg, the SF/F author, Second Amendment advocate, and a friend of mine, died of a heart attack last night. He was 57. The OC has more information at the Friday Challenge.

If you haven’t read his books before, I highly recommend beginning with Not for Glory. It contains one of my favorite short stories, about the dangerous relationship between the treacherous general Shimon Bar-El and his nephew Tetsuo.

Layers within layers

I was reading Umberto Eco’s book On Literature the other day and his essay entitled “Intertextual Irony and Levels of Reading” caught my attention, particularly in light of Matthew David Surridge’s intriguing series of essays on Tolkien. (I haven’t commented upon them yet because they are sufficiently deep to require a second reading before opining, Matt, so my apologies for the tardiness.) Because the flip side of readers, presumably non-Ideal, who read things into the text that are not there are readers, definitely non-Ideal, who fail to recognize the deeper layers of the text that are, in fact, there.

Read more, including a minor revelation about one of my past novels, at the Black Gate.

A very good week in books

The Mises Institute released The Turgot Collection in both hardcover and epub format and I finally noticed that Umberto Eco’s latest novel, il cimitero di Praga, is in the bookstores.  (Spacebunny would like to point out that she informed me two months ago; I was under the impression it was a collection of newspaper columns in the mode of la bustina di Minerva.)  The best thing about having learned Italian is that I no longer have to wait a year for the English editions to be released.

Mainstream dodos

I have a feeling this sort of stunt is likely to backfire on Esquire:

In a stunning development one day after the release of Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, by Dr. Jerome Corsi, World Net Daily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah has announced plans to recall and pulp the entire 200,000 first printing run of the book, as well as announcing an offer to refund the purchase price to anyone who has already bought either a hard copy or electronic download of the book.

In an exclusive interview, a reflective Farah, who wrote the book’s foreword and also published Corsi’s earlier best-selling work, Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak out Against John Kerry and Capricorn One: NASA, JFK, and the Great “Moon Landing” Cover-Up, said that after much serious reflection, he could not go forward with the project. “I believe with all my heart that Barack Obama is destroying this country, and I will continue to stand against his administration at every turn, but in light of recent events, this book has become problematic, and contains what I now believe to be factual inaccuracies,” he said this morning. “I cannot in good conscience publish it and expect anyone to believe it.”

Apparently producing wish-fantasies and simply making things up is now what passes for “satire” in the mainstream media. Corsi’s book is a best-seller, just as we all expected it would be from the start. The amusing thing is that most of the people who “didn’t get it” were Obama fans who were citing the Esquire article as proof that the forged birth certificate is real.

The OC is famous

There are books being written about him and everything! Seriously, there is now an Amazon Kindle book entitled Science Fiction and Bruce Bethke, which is described as follows: “Bruce Bethke is a computer programmer who would originate cyberpunk, a dark genre in science fiction. In this book, we will explore his life and science fiction.”

I wouldn’t recommend buying it, however. And I can only marvel at the indefatigable creativity of the con artist. It truly knows no bounds.

New ebook prices

After some lobbying of my publishers, I was able to convince them to lower the price of the Kindle versions of The Irrational Atheist and Summa Elvetica. In order to close the deal, I offered to remove the free and complete PDF versions from the blog, which is why they are no longer listed here. Note, however, that an abridged, 8-chapter version of TIA is still available for free download in PDF format; it contains all the chapters dedicated to the specific rebuttals of the various atheist arguments for those who are looking for them.

The Irrational Atheist is now $1.99 and Summa Elvetica is $0.99. So, if you haven’t picked up an ebook version yet, I would encourage you to do so. I also expect to have some further announcements in this vein in the near future. If nothing else, it would be amusing to see TIA claim the top spot in the Atheism category, which is eminently doable considering RGD’s performance in the Economic History category.

UPDTE: Well, that was certainly quick. TIA is already up to #3 in Atheism.

Riding Occam’s Razor

It’s not hard to understand why Jerome Corsi’s new book from WND Books is the #1 book on Amazon and will be the #1 New York Times bestseller upon its release. Although this has surprised even the likes of the normally perceptive Instapundit, the logic is inescapable. Obama is hiding his birth certificate and other personal records because he has something to hide.

And, based on what we know of his family history, it is unlikely that he is eligible for the office he presently holds. It is perfectly possible for him to have been born in Hawaii and still be ineligible as a citizen who was not natural-born. This entire episode has been a good lesson in the limits of media power, as the entire power structure of both parties as well as the mainstream and conservative medias have been lined up against a single Internet site that just keeps asking the obvious questions. But no amount of evidence-free assertions and appeals to authority have managed to trump Occam’s Razor, which is why Corsi’s book is such a smash hit already.

Consider the two primary logical possibilities:

A) Obama is eligible and is hiding the evidence of his eligibility because questioning his eligibility makes his opponents look bad.

B) Obama is not eligible and is hiding the evidence of it because it proves he is not eligible.

Which makes more logical sense, especially in light of the fact that questioning his eligibility has now produced a #1 best-selling book and propelled a celebrity to an early pole position in the Republican primary? The logic of (A) doesn’t stand because its foundation is flawed. Questioning his eligibility actually makes his opponents more successful and popular. Therefore, Obama is either wildly inept in not releasing the information or he simply cannot afford to release it as per (B).

It is amusing to see how a savvy individual like Donald Trump have used the issue to his benefit whereas foolish politicians like Michelle Bachmann are so tied to the old power structure that they dutifully submit to the pressure of the groupthink. I once said that if Hillary wanted to nail down the presidency, all she had to do was come out against immigration. She didn’t and she blew it. In like manner, all a Republican candidate has to do to win the nomination is to be the first “serious” candidate to openly align himself with the Tea Party and the birthers, although a strong anti-immigration position would help secure the deal.

Of course, it will be a lot easier for Republicans to win in 2012 if they don’t cave on the debt ceiling, but since they will, they’ll be under a lot of fire as the economy and the deficit continue to worsen.

Book review: The Married Man Sex Life Primer

I have posted a review of Athol Kay’s new book at Alpha Game. It’s well worth reading by men and women alike, regardless of whether one is actually married or not. For a different perspective, albeit a similar conclusion, the Hawaiian Libertarian has also posted a review of the book.

Those who have been following the saga of Alpha Game’s resident omega or simply doubt the efficacy of Game may also be interested to read the results of his first-ever successful date at the age of 28. And finally, I answer Susan Walsh’s questions regarding whether gender equality in the bedroom inhibits arousal and explain why feminists are not merely anti-sex, but downright anti-sexy.

The peril of the popular intellectual

No matter how copiously one cites the pertinent studies which purportedly prove your assertions, there is always the danger that someone might actually take your ideasthe ridiculous ideas of someone else you have popularized seriously enough to put them to an empirical test:

On his 30th birthday, June 27, 2009, Dan had decided to quit his job to become a professional golfer.

He had almost no experience and even less interest in the sport.

What he really wanted to do was test the 10,000-hour theory he read about in the Malcolm Gladwell bestseller Outliers. That, Gladwell wrote, is the amount of time it takes to get really good at anything — “the magic number of greatness.”…

The Dan Plan will take six hours a day, six days a week, for six years. He is keeping diligent records of his practice and progress. People who study expertise say no one has done quite what Dan is doing right now.

It’s not exactly a secret that the middlebrow Gladwell is completely full of it. His books appeal primarily to the half-educated, -1 to +1 SD intellects that soak up information insufficiently critically to notice the unsound foundation upon which most of his conclusions are based. Of course, Readers Digest created a small empire catering to the tastes of such readers, so there are not only a lot of them, but they tend to read more than the norm in search of that feeling of intellectual self-improvement that Gladwell sells so effectively.

It should be interesting to hear Gladwell attempt to explain away the inevitable failure of his thesis. Perhaps he’ll even get another best-selling book out of it.