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June 08, 2014

Sunday Morning Book Thread 06-08-2014 [OregonMuse]

Good morning morons and moronettes and welcome to AoSHQ's stately and prestigious Sunday Morning Book Thread.

Damien Walter Explains It All For You

There have been many times where I've found the British press, both in form and in content, to be vastly superior to our own.

This isn't one of them.

In the area of lame-ass commentary, the Brits have demonstrated that they are capable of equalllng or even exceeding our own, native-born, lame-ass commentators.

Mr. Walter has devoted most of an entire column to the Hugo Awards/Larry Correia dust-up. And, guess who he thinks is at fault?

It is no coincidence that, just as it outgrows its limiting cultural biases, science fiction should also face protests from some members of the predominantly white male audience who believed it to be their rightful domain. What the conservative authors protesting the Hugo awards perceive as a liberal clique is simply science fiction outgrowing them, and their narrow conception of the genre's worth.

This is a prime example of the "he started it, he hit me back" defense that progressives utilize when conservatives dare to object to their hardcore totalitarian tactics. So, according to Walter, who never bothers to tell you who struck the first blow, all the brouhaha in the SFWA is because of a bunch of bitter, angry white guys who are sore because they're h8ers whose favorite white authors are being edged out. Walter is kind of like that MSNBC clown Toure or "the fool" I discussed on the book thread several weeks ago. Meaning, one-eyed observers who only know one thing, they only have one card to play, so all they can do is play it over and over again, like a broken record. But in order to do this, such men have to ignore all of the facts that lie outside of their preferred narrative. In this case, Walter has to pretend things like this simply don't exist:

One of the smaller voting blocks at WorldCon is made up of Baen fans. They got me a nomination for the Campbell award for best new author. I was brand new, hardly anybody except for them had heard of me. No problem... Except then people looked to see who these new guys were, and they discovered that I was a Mormon, who owned a gun store, and who'd done gun rights lobbying for the Republican party, and had been running a gun nut political blog for years... Whoops. The SJWs had a complete come apart and began warning each other what a terrible, awful, horrible, bad person I was. (most of them were downright gleeful to proclaim they would never read any books from someone so despicable).

In the comment section of his own article, it's fascinating to watch Mr. Walter doubling and tripling down on stupid.

How To Move 500,000 Books

Now this is something from the Guardian that is actually worthwhile, a time-lapse video of the relocation of a London bookstore to a (hopefully) more profitable location.

Warning: it's one of those stupid, annoying auto-start videos.

The Blind Squirrel Finds A Nut

Believe it or not, you can even find good stuff on NBR. There's a new book out about an aspect of the civil rights movement you don't normally hear about: This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible by Charles Cobb. You can listen to Professor Cobb being interviewed on an NPR book news show here.

Where Do Manly Men Come From?

From dangerous boys, of course. I'm referring to The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden. The book is a compendium of sorts, a combination of:

guidebook and almanac that includes instructions on how to perform coin tricks, and how to make go-carts, tree houses, and paper airplanes that fly long distances. The book also includes articles on famous battles, historical figures (like polar explorers) and the Navajo code talkers, among many others.

It's a pity that we have fallen so low that all of this stuff, that every boy used to know, now has to be written down. But it's good that it's preserved. It came to my attention this week because I read that Bryan Cranston's production company is developing it as a comedy TV series, about three boys as they "use their imaginations to navigate growing up without a father."

It has a companion book, by the way, The Daring Book For Girls by Andrea Buchanan.

None Dare Call It Hate Speech

For some reason, I've been on a grim nostalgia kick lately, recounting some events from when I was growing up that were particularly horrific. First it was the Zodiac murders, but one of my correspondents reminded me that San Francisco was rocked with another series of murders which I had completely forgotten about. So I'd like to see a show of hands here, how many of you older morons remember the 'Zebra' murders? Anyone? (I see your hand, zombie, thank you, you can put it down now.) Officially, 14 people were executed, and 8 others assaulted or shot (including future SF Mayor Art Agnos)during a six-month murder spree in 1973-74. And that's just for SF. Statewide, they think the body count may be as high as 71(!) The 'Zebra' designation comes from the SF Police radio frequency the special task force was given exclusive use of.

I've been reading one of the two books written about these murders, Zebra: The True Account of 179 Days of Terror in San Francisco by Clark Howard, which is available to be read for free online, and also downloadable in various formats. It's rich in detail, sometimes overly slow For example, the wikipedia entry blandly notes that the murders were "racially motivated" and that's pretty much all that's said about it. But Howard takes you inside meetings held at Nation of Islam Mosque #26 where a mysterious, well-dressed teacher (nick-named "Vandyke" by the author after his neatly-trimmed beard) lectures relentlessly that the "white devils" are evil and must be killed. And this is the part that interests me. If Howard's descriptions are accurate, this is straight-up incitement to murder, and aren't there criminal penalties for it? I'm only through the first third of the book, but I'm hoping Howard will eventually explain why this cat was never indicted, or even arrested. Perhaps he was able to so adroitly phrase his rhetoric (like Bill Clinton before a grand jury) that he never crossed over the statutory boundary. Or, maybe having caught the murderers and getting them off the streets (spoiler: one of their buds ratted them out for the reward money), the DA's office thought that the threat to public safety had been sufficiently blunted.

Note: One of the perps came up for parole last year, but was denied. Fine. But his sentence was "life without possibility of parole", so why are they even considering this?

Cooks pleaded guilty to one of the murders but went to trial on the other shootings and was convicted, along with three other defendants. All were sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole to Cooks at a hearing Tuesday and said he would be considered for release again in 2020.

Now, I doubt this would ever happen. I think there would be howls of outrage, even in San Francisco, even 40 years after the fact, if some little-old-lady-in-tennis-shoes judge actually went so far as to release any of the Zebra murderers. But I'm confused as to the necessity of this. If the sentence was truly 'LWP', then why go through this Kabuki theater every 7 years? But if parole is being seriously considered at these hearings, then the 'LWP' sentence is a joke. I wonder if the relatives of the murder victims are angry about this. I know I'd be. [Update: Thank you GnuBreed, for pointing out my obvious error, life with the possibility of parole, not without. Gah, I'm such an idiot]

Next up on my own personal magical misery tour: Rat bastard commie Jim Jones and his "People's Temple". The poisoning deaths of over 900 people in 1979 (including 276 children) was the greatest loss of civilian life in American history until 9-11.

On second thought, maybe I'll pass, That's too grim, even for me.

Rap Masters

I'm sure you've all seen at least one of the "Epic Rap Battles of History" on Youtube. Some of them are kind of meh, but I thought this one, which pits Edgar Allen Poe vs. Stephen King, is actually pretty good. And particularly appropriate for this book thread.

Conspiracy Theorists Assemble!

I discovered this week that someone has uploaded a depository of books, articles, and other material on the JFK assassination. They all appear to be .pdf scans. Some of these date back to the mid-1960s, and therefore may be of historical interest. Glancing through the titles, some of them look like they might be interesting, some look tin-foil-hat whacky, and a couple may not have anything to do with JFK at all. Regardless, I don't think there's a one that argues in favor of the 'LCC' (JFK was killed by a lone commie crackpot) version.

If you want to download all of them, there's a handy-dandy one-click "download everything" button on the upper left corner of the page.

Books By Morons

Moronette lurker Joy wants you all to buy and read her husband's short novel The Little Book of Big Enlightenment, which asks the rhetorical question, what would happen if you took Deepak Chopra and Billy Mays and squished them together?

After pioneering a method of achieving rapid spiritual enlightenment, [Master Lompoc] Tollhaus suffered a chakra mishap and was forced to co-author his "Little Book" with a marketing hack. The mismatched pair snipe, snark and embarrass one another as they discuss the Big Spirit cartel that runs the New Age industry - and warn against "hyper-enlightenment": a pathology arising from spiritual short cuts. But then the unexpected happens, and Lompoc Tollhaus must question his own beliefs in the face of something remarkable . . . and, possibly, gluten free.

Available on Kindle for $1.99 and on other e-Book platforms.


Long time moronette Anna Puma has published a volume of her short stories, The Princess Who Caused Fear: An Anthology which you can purchase on Amazon for $0.99 (Kindle). She says the anthology includes "Conan-style purple prose sword and sorcery but with a few twists...modern military horror, ancient lands, the mystery of what has caused murder in an apartment in Korea, and other places that I let my imagination wander off to."

Books of Note

Moron CBD brings to my attention G K Chesterton's novel The Flying Inn. Published in 1914, it is set in a future Islamicized England, where the British Army had been decisively beaten by the Turks. The result of this inglorious defeat is that shari'a law is now being imposed on the entire country. There's an extensive write-up about it on Daniel Pipes' blog. Free versions are available, too.


"Flashman" fans will no doubt be interested that the Kindle edition of George McDonald Fraser's memoir of his WW II experiences in Burma, Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II, is on sale for $1.99 until Monday, June 9. In addition, the volume contains

A substantial Epilogue, occasioned by the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day in 1995, adds poignancy to a volume that eminent military historian John Keegan described as "one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War."


The Kindle version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first volume of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books, is on sale for $1.99. Also B&N and Google.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at aoshqbookthread, followed by the 'at' sign, and then 'G' mail, and then dot cee oh emm.

What have you all been reading this week? Hopefully something good, because, as I keep saying, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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