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October 02, 2016

Sunday Morning Book Thread 10-02-2016: Off the Reservation [OregonMuse]

Tantumblogo 1_525.jpg
Library of Moron Lurker Tantumblogo

This is a great library. Anytime you need a ladder to get to the books in your library, it's a great library. Click on the pic for a larger view. And thanks to Tantumblogo, who posts too infrequently, for the photo.

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, all the 'ettes are gorgeous, safe spaces are underneath your house and are used as protection against actual dangers, like tornados, hurricanes, IRS audits, and getting in the path of getaway cars driven by overweight Venezuelan pr0n stars, and special snowflakes do not last. And unlike other AoSHQ comment threads, the Sunday Morning Book Thread is so hoity-toity, pants are required. Even if it's these gawdawful things.

Addendum on Submitting Library Pics

Many thanks to all you 'rons and 'ettes who have sent me photos of their home libraries. Please continue to do so, I think this has been fun. A few suggestions:

1. Multiple shots are good so I have a selection, but I will generally use only one out of the bunch. There may be exceptions to this, but that's been my general practice.

2. I have received more than one blurry photo. I can't use those. Make sure the pics you send are nice and sharp.

3. Don't worry about the size. My photo-fu is weak, but I do know enough to easily resize them. In fact, I prefer larger size photos, because the detail is better. I can post the reduced pic to conform to AoSHQ posting guidelines and, if need be, I can always provide a link to the full-sized photo. Like I did today.

Appropriate This

I've never heard of Lionel Shriver, but she is an author who has apparently wandered off the reservation:

Taken to their logical conclusion, ideologies recently come into vogue challenge our right to write fiction at all. Meanwhile, the kind of fiction we are “allowed” to write is in danger of becoming so hedged, so circumscribed, so tippy-toe, that we’d indeed be better off not writing the anodyne drivel to begin with.

And out comes the clue bat:

My parents went to Mexico when I was small, and brought a sombrero back from their travels, the better for my brothers and I to unashamedly appropriate the souvenir to play dress-up...But what does this have to do with writing fiction? The moral of the sombrero scandals is clear: you’re not supposed to try on other people’s hats. Yet that’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it? Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats.

The rest of her speech, which she gave at a writers' festival in Brisbane, Australia, is just full of clear-headed reasoning and common sense. Naturally the progressive snowflakes hated it:

The kind of disrespect for others infused in Lionel Shriver’s keynote is the same force that sees people vote for Pauline Hanson. It’s the reason our First Peoples are still fighting for recognition, and it’s the reason we continue to stomach offshore immigration prisons. It’s the kind of attitude that lays the foundation for prejudice, for hate, for genocide.

This is such a typical lefty response, i.e. emotion, name-calling, and ad hominem on stilts. I'll bet Ms. Shriver had no idea that by wearing a sombrero, she was actually coming out in favor of genocide.

But back to Shriver:

I am hopeful that the concept of “cultural appropriation” is a passing fad: people with different backgrounds rubbing up against each other and exchanging ideas and practices is self-evidently one of the most productive, fascinating aspects of modern urban life.

I have no idea what Ms. Shriver's politics are. I assume that merely by virtue of her being a member of the "literati", they're most likely diametrically opposed to mine. But when it has to do with something that she knows about and is close to her, i.e. the craft of writing, she is very much opposed to what the progressives are demanding she should think. She knows that if the progressive rules on "appropriation" were followed consistently, the results would be nothing but barrenness and sterility. She has angered the progressives by saying no, I prefer fecundity and abundant life. But progressivism is the exact opposite. Everything it touches dies. It has come to bring death, that we all might have death more abundantly.

Go To Jail, Citizen

Here's a bit of old business I'm just now getting around to:

PSS Read Three Felonies A Day, if you'd like to know how close each and every one of us is to prison ourselves. On the wrong side of the bars. Unless your name is Clinton. If you've ever noticed someone 'of interest' getting arrested for something completely different than the interest, that there is a clue that there is ALWAYS something they can charge you with.

Posted by: GnuBreed at September 05, 2016 12:08 AM (gyKtp)

He's talking about Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silvergate, a book which

...reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior. The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets.

This was one of the many injustices written about by Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago, that is, Soviet "law" was such that everybody was guilty of something, because what the all-powerful State feared most of all was an innocent man.

And another aspect to this problem is that many, if not most, of these laws are not debated and passed by the legislature, but rather come to us in the form of "regulations" written by unelected bureaucrats in state and federal agencies.

Here's my latest fantasy: a Constitutional amendment that restricts the number of laws a legislative body may pass to 50 or 100, or some low number. And if they've fill up the entire 100 and want to pass another one, they'll need to first decide which law they want to repeal in order to make room for the new one.

And in this way, Congress and state legislators will learn to set priorities.

Yeah, right.

Naught for nothing did Gideon Tucker write that "no man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session."

And speaking of books about the Soviet Gulag, while grabbing a link to Solzhinitsyn, I came across this one, I Speak for the Silent Prisoners of the Soviets by Vladimir Tchernavin. One reviewer said:

This book is an eyeopener, although I did know about the concentration camps in Russia, this book explain how the Communists, in their ignorance and hate for the educated and wealthy people, destroyed their country by eliminating all those with knowledge and education. This had such dire effect and led to mass starvation, loss of businesses, loss of property and dignity of the people. One can only wonder why such ignorant 'bullies" even was able to take over the country. It is an exellent book and there is a second book that I will have to order, it is the continuation to this one.

I think the "continuation" book referred to is the one written by Tchernavin's wife, Tatiana: Escape from the Soviets, about which another Amazon reviewer wrote:

The two books give the most comprehensive view of USSR history I have read anywhere. For sheer understanding of the lives of ordinary citizens surviving such times, these books cannot be surpassed. And this family's escape is so exhilarating, and so many miracles occurred in so many places and ways, that it is almost unbelievable.

I hope many people will read these books and remember the price of freedom.

And what's amazing is that both of these books are available for 99 cents(!) each on Kindle. Naturally, I bought them both. At that price, it would almost be a crime against the people not to.

British Mysteries: Caveat Emptor

I guess people can make money on the internet by collecting public domain stuff, repackaging it, and then selling it to people who may not know the material they just bought is actually in the public domain and there's free copies of it around on the internet somewhere if only they'd look. The guys who do this, their profit margins approach 100%. I was looking at these British Mystery Multipacks trying to gauge potentential Moron interest, which I thought would be moderate to high, then I started looking at the material and I thought "you know, a lot of this stuff appears to be public domain texts." Then I noticed that the Kindle editions were being sold for 99 cents each, and that's when I concluded that most likely *everything* in these multi-packs is public domain.


So the added value is the re-packaging. Yes, you can find these novels and short stories for free elsewhere on the internet, but if you don't want to spend the time hunting them down, you can pay the buck and have the work done for you. Or you can pay 11 bucks and get the British Mystery Megapack, which is all 12 of the multi-packs bundled together.

If you do a search for "megapack", you'll see a boatload of mult-pack and megapack bundles for various other genres; mysteries, science fiction, romance, westerns, and the like. It's a safe bet that they're all public domain, too.


Moron Recommendations

On ace's book recommendation thread back in June, Anna Puma recommended The Dragon Never Sleeps by Glen Cook.

For four thousand years, the Guardships have ruled Canon Space—immortal ships with an immortal crew...But now the House Tregesser has an edge: a force from outside Canon Space offers them the resources to throw off Guardship rule...Kez Maefele and a motley group of aliens, biological constructs, and scheming aristocrats find themselves at the center of the conflict. Maefele must chose which side he will support: the Guardships, who defeated and destroyed his race, or the unknown forces outside Canon Space that promise more death and destruction.

Anna says that the universe of this novel is "interesting in all the details."

I've never read anything by Cook, but he's written a ton of science fiction and fantasy books, and is perhaps best known for his Black Company series.


Also from that thread, El Kabong recommends the 'Witcher' series by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski.

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin...His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world....But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good... and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

El Kabong describes it as "Dark gritty fantasy where everyone is awful and no grand destiny will save the kingdom. Kind of like reality, only with boobs and monsters."

I thought "Boobs and Monsters" was the title of one of the original Gygax D&D rule books.

Oh, and here's an opportunity for me to tell my Gygax story:

This is all second-hand stuff from a friend of mine, so you can take this however you will, but when I was in college for the first time in the mid-70s, that was the time I first became acquainted with Dungeons and Dragons, and I wasted spent many hours with ruled paper, multi-sided dice, and those little figurines. We had the Gygax rule books, but if you tried to play D&D *exactly* by those rules, it really wasn't playable, so we introduced extensive modifications. And I thought that was one of the good parts about D&D, i.e. if you didn't like a rule, you didn't have to follow it, or you could modify it to suit you. So one of my friends in that group was an even bigger nerd than I was, and he told tales about his going to D&D conventions in Southern California, including seeing and meeting Gary Gygax at more than one of them. So he said that Gygax' was a completely disorganized dungeon master so the campaigns that he ran were total clustersfs. In addition, Gygax was just huge, he must've weighed about 950 lbs., an immense mountain of flab, and before he sat down, he would go to a vending machine with a bagful of quarters and empty it of every Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, no matter how many there were. Thus equipped, he would then run his disorganized dungeon and chow down on Peanut Butter Cups all night into the morning hours.

True story.

Books By Morons

Moronette lurker 'krukke1' (pixybanned) has just published a new volume of her short stories, Glimpse vol. 4 - Dark Side, about which she describes as "...what the outcome would be if Poe and Twain got drunk watching a Tim Burton movie then sat down to collaborate."

So, come to the dark side where painting your room really DOES make it come alive; zombies clock in at the office, and those creepy clowns you fear finally confront you.

Here's a one-minute promo video that's delightfully creepy.


Moron author naturalfake's 4th and final installment of his 'Wearing the Cat' series, The Black Room, is now available for purchase on Kindle.

In “The Black Room”, Part Four of “Wearing the Cat”, McGill comes face to face with death.

Though a Jumper of Flaming Hoops, a Burner of Bridges willing and able to wangle himself out of any and all circumstances, McGill finds himself trapped.

Still, there is one person who might save him.

“Wearing the Cat” reaches its stunning climax, where everything comes together and all is revealed in “The Black Room”.

As always, the introductory price for the first week is $0.99.


Don't forget the AoSHQ reading group on Goodreads. It's meant to support horde writers and to talk about the great books that come up on the book thread. It's called AoSHQ Moron Horde and the link to it is here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/175335-aoshq-moron-horde.


So that's all for this week. As always, book thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to OregonMuse, Proprietor, AoSHQ Book Thread, at the book thread e-mail address: 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 you all know, life is too short to be reading lousy books.

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