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Staying In Touch

Scuttlebutt has it that old @Jack is up to his usual tricks these days.  The House Un-Twitter Activities Committee is hard at work preparing yet another purge list for their latest pogrom.  For a site dedicated to helping people communicate, they sure do love to make it harder to reach people.  As a well known associate of such crimethinkers as Vox Day, Mike Cernovich, the Gamergate crowd, and now the ComicsGate crowd – to say nothing of a crimethinker in his own right – it’s a safe bet I’ll be swept up in the night of the Long Mutes.

To that end, I’m adding an email list/newsletter to JonMollison.com.  There’s a form over there to the right of the words you’re reading now, or you can subscribe here:

Email

Don’t worry, this list will only be used a few times each year to make the big announcements about new releases, upcoming signings, and those rare occasions where I want to reach my select fans for information too time sensitive or too personal to warrant a blog post.  I’ll send out a free e-novella to anyone who signs up over the next week, so don’t wait too long or you’ll miss out on the fun.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the past year – next year is going to be even better than this one!

On Jeffro’s Departure

Jeffro Johnson blazed up through the game blogging scene in record time. Never one of the more prolific writers on gaming, his posts were nevertheless widely recognized as making up in for their lack of quantity with massive amounts of quality. Early on, his analytical gaze turned toward Car Wars, OSR scholarship, and gaming with kids. That was what initially drew me to him, but once he sat down at the bad kids table of sci-fi and fantasy, his fate was sealed. He could have been just another casualty of the War on Noticing, but instead of sitting down, shutting up, and obeying the orders of the gaming scenesters, he forged ahead with a very un-gamerlike survey of Appendix N, and the rest is history.

In doing so, he blazed a path for those of us lost in the woods to follow. After a decade of poking fun of the SJWs in gaming – to their faces – and repeated sanctions for violating one of the many taboos present in what passes for culture amongst the SJWs, he showed me that gaming existed outside of the rainbow haired fatty crowd. He showed me that fans of the Campbellian style of science fiction – and its predecessors – didn’t just exist, they had a strong enough presence in fandom to tilt the Hugo Awards away from the steady march of Progress(ivism). As a result, my steady output as a wargame blogger sequed into the vastly more lucrative and emotionally rewarding world of literary self-publishing.

If you’ve ever enjoyed any of my stories, or any of my columns here or at the Castalia House blog, you have Jeffro to thank for it. His influence in my own work should be plain to all but the most casual reader. (For the record, Alex over at Cirsova comes in a close second, with a veritable army of other writers tied for a distant third.)

So it is with some sadness that I learned of his decision to step down as the Editor of the CH blog. I can tell you that working with Jeffro is as much fun as reading his columns. He has an infectious enthusiasm for fantasy and sci-fi in all its forms and an unabashed love of Western culture. Together, those traits helped him inspire so many others to take up the fight to recapture the themes and styles that made sci-fi and fantasy tales such an important part of our culture, and his influence will continue to be felt long after he has hung up his editorship.

I know that his influence on me will remain. He has always been ready with advice when my own certitude wavered, and support when my own doubts cropped up. Even if he never writes another word, he has already set something big in motion that not even Jeffro himself could stop.   Even if the history books fail to recognize his influence – and many of those who would write such histories have already stuck his name down the memory hole for his crimethink – the fact of his influence will remain and linger for at least as long as my own works continue to hit the digital shelves over at Amazon.com.

On the bright side, his successor, Morgan Holmes, has been an excellent source of information about some relatively obscure topics in sf/f.  His long running series on forgotten sf/f artists has been fascinating, even for those of us who never paid much attention to art beyond Frazetta and a few of TSR’s stalwart painters.  Jeffro leaves the blog in good hands, and I continue to be excited to be a part of it.

Space Princess: The Early Review

That all-important first review came in over the transom, and it is a beauty, not the least of which because it came in from somebody who has never read any of my other works:

I knew I wasn’t the only Catholic lunatic writing speculative fiction that rests on a Christian foundation. But I’d come away dissatisfied with the offerings of other writers of that sort. I hardly expected to be blown away by a writer I’d never heard of. But this novel, despite the plethora of low-level mistakes (missing word errors, wrong word errors, spelling, and punctuation) that seem to plague every indie writer, is so imaginative, so filled with color, and so all-around stirring that it gets my highest accolade: I wish I’d written it, but I know I couldn’t have.

“Catholic lunatic”?  Can definitely confirm.  Heck, I have been Confirmed!

Energizing Inspiration

Say what you will about Sci-Fi’s favorite punching bag and his recent lament that the election of the God Emperor to the Cherry Blossom Throne has left him incapable of stringing enough words together in any given day to honor his contract, at least the man admits to his own failings.  And I know exactly how he feels – just on the other side of the equation.  Whatever (heh) his goal, I’m here to tell you it has been a source of inspiration for this deplorable writer.

The constant string of successful ventures and growing army of content producers on the side of truth, justice, and the American way provides real sustenance and inspiration to those of us who enjoy laboring in the trenches.  Watching guys like Jon del Arroz and Brian Niemeier and Nick Cole and so many others hit great selling home run after home run serves as a constant reminder that a vastly underserved market exists and that the self-proclaimed arbiters of quality and decency are paper tigers.

Far from being tired of all of the winning, I’m energized by it.  In the last week I’ve spun more than 15,000 words of dimension hopping fun.  I’m on pace to publish more than 250,000 words this years – far short of even Pulp Speed One, but for a family man regularly working 60+ hours a week at his day job, that’s an incredible pace.  My next book, a sequel to the highly praised Adventure Constant, presents a grim world where heroism and virtue punished by the very laws of the universe, and the natural result of that is a world where the antifa types have the run of the place.  The hero of the piece, Jack Dashing, might not be enough to save the world from the petty opportunists, but he finds a way to make the strange new world a better place.  He finds a way to push the prevailing culture a little more towards one of honor and dignity.

And in that, he serves as an inspiration to us all – if you can’t win the war, at least you can help win one of the battles.  If you haven’t yet, here are a few of the ongoing battles that could use your efforts:

  • Back the Alt*Hero comic book line by Castalia House.  Even a couple of bucks adds numbers to the “Backers” count and strengthens the argument that an audience for such works exists.
  • Subscribe to YouTube cultural critics such as Diversity and Comics, Capn Cummings, and Nerkish. You don’t have to watch every video.  Just lending your name helps demonstrate the something rotten in the Kingdom of Marvel.
  • Reject the big boys in the tabletop RPG industry and support independent designers like Autarch of Adventurer Conqueror King fame.  Impervious to rot that pervades the larger corporate designers, their works have all the quality of his larger competitors and twice the energy.
  • Back the small press short fiction market.  Cirsova, Storyhack, and Tales from the Magician’s Skull all offer the same excitement and adventure as the staid old relics of a by gone era, without the downside of sending your money to people who hate you.
  • Stop watching the NFL.  Scale back your movie-going.  Cancel Netflix*.  You don’t have to quit cold turkey.  You can’t kill that giant, but you can make it bleed.  Just think hard about every dollar you send to the people who supported Harvey Weinstein.  If everyone cut their spending on Hollywood by half, it would crash within six months.

And you don’t have to do it all right this instant.  I can’t cancel Netflix until after Stranger Things is binge-consumed by my family.  I fully admit that I would face a full scale revolt on the home front if the family misses out on that one.  I’m not backing the Magician’s Skull KickStarter because KickStarter hates my political allies, but I’ll be there when it is released.  Knowing how to pick battles you can win is a big part of the culture war, too!

Just shift your mindset.  Change your focus.  Support your friends and turn your back on your enemies.  Just as with adopting a more healthy lifestyle, small changes made over time can add up to a huge difference.

The Problem With Diversity and Comics

He’s too big, and he gives a voice to too many truly marginalized comics fans.

The SJW entryists who manage and create comics live in a fantasy land where they’ve redefined “comic book fan” to exclude those who have read comics for thirty years and have money to burn on a dozen titles a month in favor of cosplayers who buy one issue a month for reference material.  The market responded accordingly, and the sales figures took a nose-dive.  Fortunately, their fellow SJW travelers in the mainstream media  were there (as always) to provide covering fire for them.  They pumped out the expected fake news that hand waved away the stark drop in sales as an artifact of…technological changes?  I guess?

Never mind that technology has been changing for the entire 75 year run of comic books.  Comics simply can no longer compete with the 60 year old television and 20 year old internet in 2017 not because of quality issues, but purely because of the rapid changes in technology, the click-bait crowd explained.  People were naturally drifting away from comic books and there’s nothing Marvel or DC or the smaller outfits could have done to staunch that bleeding.

And then came D&C.

A soft-spoken man with a nearly encyclopedic knowledge, not just of comic book lore but of the inside workings of the leading publishers as well.  He brought to his reviews a steady wit and incisive commentary that walked a steady line of political moderation.  As a result, he gathered a huge following of viewers, fellow comic book fans, who finally found a way to communicate their frustration with the market.

There was room in comics for a SJWs and for few guys with blogs or a few YouTube accounts with a couple thousand subscribers.  They could be easily and safely ignored.  Painted as radicals and zealots and old curmudgeons who don’t speak for Real Fans like the converged clickbait farms at Bleeding Cool.

There is no room in comics for SJWs and for a blogger larger enough to pierce their bubbles.  There is no room in comics for SJWs and those who force them to confront the affects of placing the SJW narrative ahead of stories, drama, action, and characterization.  There is no room in comics for SJWs and for normal people who favor heroism and nuance in their comic books.  He exposes them for the frauds they are.

And for that, he must be destroyed.

Interview This Friday

Tomorrow yours truly will appear on the Speculative Fiction Cantina.  As they explain on their website, they celebrate, “creative expression and caters to a diverse range of tastes. Whatever your interests, you’ll find them showcased here along with a line-up of engaging hosts and renowned experts in various fields.”

Electing to interview one of the loose cannons from the Pulp Revolution is a bold choice for this outfit.  No doubt they have experienced love of fiction written before the dawn of the SJWs, but have they ever talked to a fan who loved the pulps with no trace of irony?  Have they interviewed one who feels no need to write pulps, “but with a modern take”?

Find out tomorrow when they take the Pulp Speedster* for a test drive!

*That’s me – according to somebody on a blog post somewhere, I’m the PulpRev’s resident speed writer.  I guess writing six books and a half dozen short stories in a year will earn a guy that reputation.

The Dignity of Old School RPGs

Reading about an RPG session from the point of view of the guy running the thing is a new experience for me. Jeffro does a stellar job over at the Castalia House blog with his after-action report of a recent game of Gamma World (First Edition). Usually, yours truly is the guy writing up the gaming reports. Learning that the whole sessions was essentially generated on-the-fly was a surprise. One fight against a wandering monster felt random, but the rest of the session could have been ripped straight from the pages of an over-written TSR module.

Speaking as a DM, I know how hard it is hard to track the passage of time during a game session. No doubt Jeffro felt like he was juggling kittens trying to keep things moving, but as a guy on the other side of the screen, nothing felt rushed to me. Part of that may have been the online nature of the process, but the real issue likely has more to do with the old school feel. The more I engage in OSR play, the more sedate they feel. Modern games feel like action movies – they have a constant hustle and bustle to them. The older games I’ve had the fortune to sit in feel far more like a smoking club – a group of guys sitting around a table discussing the events of the day. The question at hand during this sessions was always one of discussing what certain events mean, and how we as a group formulate a response. Which is a welcome change to the constantly shifting spotlight of more modern games.

The more modern games that I’ve played in over the last nearly two decades have all been predicated on a “what about me” paradigm. The sessions are carved up into rapidly shifting spotlights where I go, then you go, then he goes, and everyone either frowned on the sort of tabletalk that dominated our Gamma World session or everything ground to a halt as we found ourselves in increasingly untenable combat situations that required input from everyone before any figure moved even five feet.

For most players – and myself as well – there is something visceral about the tactile nature of the game. The dice and papers and reference books and other accoutrements are as much a part of modern gaming as the imagined actions. Removing all of that to cut to the heart of the game worked great in an online Google hangout. I’m not sure the “DM rolls all dice” would work in a table setting, but I loved it here. It opened things up in a way that just plain worked. As a result, what I thought would be a one time lark, quickly forgotten, keeps drifting through my thoughts at odd hours.

It’s easy to see why the OSR took off. It’s a very cerebral way to play a game that was already more cerebral than most.

Short Post on Short Fiction

Reading more short fiction allows the easily digestible chunks of fiction to fit neatly into my modern, family-oriented lifestyle.  At the end of a day of back-breaking labor spent repairing a crumbling stone wall (and the multiple runs to the hardware store because you always need just two more bags of cement) followed by an evening of dinner prep and board games it’s nice to grab a 20 page story, finish it off, and close your eyes to recharge for another day of the same.  It also lets you skip around and read a lot of different authors on consecutive nights.

The downside from a blogging perspective is that you don’t have a whole lot to talk about because you’re only halfway through a number of different books.

For those of you who share the misery of a long commute, here’s a little something to ease the pain.  Robert E. Howard, even when he isn’t writing about Conan or Solomon Kane, is one of the best of the best.  I’ve been poking around CensorTube for some of his short fiction in audio format, and found this reading of The Fire of Asshurbanipal to be imminently listenable.  The fact that this contemporary 1920s/30s tale fits so neatly into the Lovecraft universe makes a strong case for playing Call of Cthulhu in the pulp era.  Also listen for the strongly sympathetic characterization of the Afghan tribesman – it’s the sort of writing we are constantly told was invented in 2012 by the SFWA “in-crowd” by that very crowd and their media sycophants.

Here’s another great one by the old master. Two men enter a room with a corpse, and four men leave. Sort of. Things get confusing toward the end of this suspense tale, but in a way that heightens the sense of unreality and doom. This story is another masterclass in horror fiction that doesn’t get enough attention.

Welcome to the New Digs

Seagull Rising had a good run, but it’s also high time for a little more focused branding on the blog.  The regular posts will continue, the PulpRev conversation goes on, and odd occasional commentary on the zeitgeist (like this post) will appear, but with a custom URL and a better site builder, you can have a more readable experience.

Continue reading

One Down

How do people ever have time to feel poignant?

My oldest ventures out tomorrow into the cold, harsh, and uncaring world of higher education, and the non-stop barrage of things that Must Be Done before he flies from the nest has left me no time to pause and ponder this important step on life’s journey blah blah blah.  Between shoving him from the nest, getting the younger ones shoved into the first semester of the charter school/home school hybrid we use, catching up on six months of Honey-Do List Items, who has time to stop and get misty about the past and worry about the future?

I’ve had eighteen years to get him ready for this – there isn’t much more I can do in these last few days other than race to send him off with as much of the tedium of a cross country move already completed.