Definitely on the List

If I ever go back to Japan, I will be sure to visit the Murakami Library.

Murakami’s writing is known for its combination of the surreal and the mundane, and architect Kengo Kuma designed the Haruki Murakami Library – situated on the campus of the writer’s alma mater – with this in mind. Natural materials are juxtaposed with flowing, futuristic lines to evoke a sense of stepping into the celebrated author’s world.

The Audio Room is where fans can listen to a selection of records once featured at Peter Cat, a Tokyo jazz bar Murakami ran with his wife before finding success as a writer. Next door in the Gallery visitors will find Murakami’s complete works in numerous languages, free to read inside the library.

Upstairs, the Lab offers a peek inside the small recording studio used by Murakami to produce his former radio show, alongside an area for listening to the author’s books in audio format. This floor also houses the Exhibition Room, which features limited-time exhibitions related to themes and motifs from Murakami’s writing, such as architecture and jazz.

The basement floor houses a recreation of the author’s home study and the Orange Cat Café.

One might be a bit wary of the librarian, however…


Bad Literature as Predictive Model

We know that movies and television shows have been used as a revelation of the method by the wicked in order to avoid occult karma for their actions by openly confessing them in a plausibly deniable manner that the public will not believe. But six decades after it was written, this section from the dreary, Gamma-infested slog that is A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, written by an author who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 11 years after his suicide, tends to strike the modern reader as ominously predictive of the current state of affairs in the increasingly degenerate nations ruled by the evil inverts of Clown World.

Dear Reader,

Nature has sometimes made a fool; but a coxcomb is always of man’s own making. —Addison

As I was wearing the soles of my desert boots down to a mere sliver of crepe rubber on the old flagstone banquettes of the French Quarter in my fevered attempt to wrest a living from an unthinking and uncaring society, I was hailed by a cherished old acquaintance (deviate). After a few minutes of conversation in which I established most easily my moral superiority over this degenerate, I found myself pondering once more the crises of our times. My mentality, uncontrollable and wanton as always, whispered to me a scheme so magnificent and daring that I shrank from the very thought of what I was hearing.

“Stop!” I cried imploringly to my god-like mind. “This is madness.” But still I listened to the counsel of my brain. It was offering me the opportunity to Save the World Through Degeneracy.

There on the worn stones of the Quarter I enlisted the aid of this wilted flower of a human in gathering his associates in foppery together behind a banner of brotherhood. Our first step will be to elect one of their number to some very high office—the presidency, if Fortuna spins us kindly. .Then they will infiltrate the military. As soldiers, they will all be so continually busy in fraternizing with one another, tailoring their uniforms to fit like sausage skins, inventing new and varied battle dress, giving cocktail parties, etc., that they will never have time for battle. The one whom we finally make Chief of Staff will want only to attend to his fashionable wardrobe, a wardrobe which, alternately, will permit him to be either Chief of Staff or debutante, as the desire strikes him. In seeing the success of their unified fellows here, perverts around the world will also band together to capture the military in their respective countries. In those reactionary countries in which the deviates seem to be having some trouble in gaining control, we will send aid to them as rebels to help them in toppling their governments.

When we have at last overthrown all existing governments, the world will enjoy not war but global orgies conducted with the utmost protocol and the most truly international spirit, for these people do transcend simple national differences. Their minds are on one goal; they are truly united; they think as one. None of the pederasts in power, of course, will be practical enough to know about such devices as bombs; these nuclear weapons would lie rotting in their vaults somewhere. From time to time the Chief of Staff, the President, and so on, dressed in sequins and feathers, will entertain the leaders, i.e., the perverts, of all the other countries at balls and parties. Quarrels of any sort could easily be straightened out in the men’s room of the redecorated United Nations. Ballets and Broadway musicals and entertainments of that sort will flourish everywhere and will probably make the common folk happier than did the grim, hostile, fascistic pronouncements of their former leaders.

Almost everyone else has had an opportunity to run the world. I cannot see why these people should not be given their chance. They have certainly been the underdog long enough. Their movement into power will be, in a sense, only a part of the global movement toward opportunity, justice, and equality for all. (For example, can you name one good, practicing transvestite in the Senate? No! These people have been without representation long enough. Their plight is a national, a global disgrace.)

Degeneracy, rather than signaling the downfall of a society, as it once did, will now signal peace for a troubled world. We must have new solutions to new problems. I shall act as a sort of mentor and guide for the movement, my not inconsiderable knowledge of world history, economics, religion, and political strategy acting as a reservoir, as it were, from which these people can draw rules of operational procedure.

Boethius himself played a somewhat similar role in degenerate Rome. As Chesterton has said of Boethius, “Thus he truly served as a guide, philosopher, and friend to many Christians; precisely because, while his own times were corrupt, his own culture was complete.”


A Man of Sound Opinion

One of the greatest science fiction grandmasters of his generation shares his very sound opinion of some popular works of genre fiction, including two of his fellow grandmasters.

I was crushed on the Wheel of Time like a hindoo sacrifice being crushed by the great god Juggernaut.

Why could I not finish? This one is also hard to explain. The characters theoretically should have been a lovable as the picked-upon orphan-boy in HARRY POTTER, or the smart-but-shy Hermione. I mean, come on, a farm boy with a dread destiny, his honest blacksmith friend, and their friend who is good with dice. Not to mention Aes Sedai and way-cool ninja swordfighting moves and magical gateways and Dark Lords galore. But it never clicked with me: I was slogging halfway through the fifth or sixth book (yes, I stayed with it that long) when I realized that I wanted the main character to die because he was out of his mind, I wanted the gambler fellow to die because he was turning all dark and crooked, and I did not care of the blacksmith fellow lived or died, because he was spinning his wheels not doing much of anything. Somewhere along the way, I had lost all sympathy for all the heroes and all their goals–if they had goals. I mean, I had clambered up a mountain of thousands of gray pages, and I was still waiting for that “Council of Elrond” moment when Some Wise Mage tells Frodo-lite what the quest is. No one seemed to be doing anything and no one had a plan. And I wanted all of them to die.

Now, in all fairness, this last might not have been a fault of the author. I am a cruel and sadistic man, like many readers, and I only read when I am a foul mood, either right before a gladiatorial game or an afternoon of kitten-stomping. So maybe it is just me.

But Rand-al’Thor really did get on my nerves after a while. He seemed a character simply too small for the role. If Ranma Soatome has been the Dragon of that world, the Dark Lord Bumbershoot (or whatever his name was) would have at least been booted in the head before five books ground wearily by. If Paul Mu’ad-Dib had been the dragon, by then would have at least disrupted the spice production. SOMETHING would have happened.

I, too, hated THE WHEEL OF TIME. Hated, hated, hated it, and finally gave up partway through book seven. To this day, I still harbor a perfectly rational and well-merited hatred for Rand al-Thor, who is arguably the very worst protagonist in all of fantasy fiction, and the question is only arguable because I have not read, and will not read, anything by SuperMegaGamma Patrick Rothfuss, although based on the descriptions and reviews of others, it is possible that, as difficult as it is to imagine, the protagonist of Rothfuss’s work is even worse than Robert Jordan’s loathsome lead character.

I will say that while Wright’s distaste for China Mieville’s PERDIDO STREET STATION is perfectly understandable and justifiable, I do not share it, and I consider Mieville to be one of Wright’s very few peers in the field. Very different, very much darker, and very much not on the side of the angels much less Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but a first-rate fantasy author nevertheless.


The Attack on Substack

Simplicius, the great chronicler of the NATO-Russian war in Ukraine, comments on the attempts to police and deplatform Substack contributors:

As of several weeks back, Substack has been under a massive seemingly coordinated attack from subversive forces seeking to create a viral exodus from the site by reputationally damaging it. Unfortunately, it seems the program is of such wide scope as to even target individual high volume accounts, of which I appear to be one—as I too have now come under the hatchetmen’s blade of deplatformization…

It’s very clear to see why this is happening now, of all times. Just as Substack may have owed its initial popularity to the trench-war surrounding the 2020 election, J6, and Covid, Substack likewise stands to be at the center of what is certainly going to be an unprecedented, controversial, and dangerous historical firestorm later this year, and early next.

Think that’s silly? A middling platform by the standards of market capitalization and total users can’t possibly be such a ‘dangerous’ bugbear to the elites, can it? Yet those who’ve been following will know that some of the empire’s most dangerous dissident voices reside exclusively on Substack. Does Matt Taibbi, Alex Berenson, Seymour Hersh, and many others ring a bell? Some of these Substack writers have been central to the most momentous political scandals and revelatory bombshells of recent times. Hell, Taibbi even paid for it with a retaliatory federal case against him.

That’s right: Substack gives succor to dissidents viewed as grave dangers to the establishment, and they cannot allow Substack to remain unfettered going into the critical end of 2024 cycle.

That is why the attack had to come now, to begin seeding the groundwork to try and discredit and eventually dismantle one of the last remaining free speech bastions on the internet. And they’re doing that with the same ol’ tired shtick, claiming some tiny obscure holdout of “Nazis” is not only denning on the site, but are forcing their way into people’s recommends.

This quite obviously stinks of the same type of contortion Media Matters was accused of just last month, wherein they were said to game the system by refreshing ads hundreds of times until landing on the chance ‘desired result’, which then served as smear-piece fodder about ‘dangerously’ unwanted ads appearing unbidden next to their content.

The largest of the self-exiled, Casey Newton, wrote up what sounds like a semi-reasonable explanation, though he admits the Atlantic hitpiece was the initial spur which led to his re-evaluation of Substack. He further admits it only really revolved around six main offending newsletters, though “[his] analysis” found “dozens” more—which advocated the ghastly and unbearable “replacement theory”:

Really? The replacement theory Biden himself admitted on video to not only being true, but a “good thing”, is akin to “hate speech”? This is the “Nazi stuff” we’re talking about here?

Most troublingly, the rat openly admitted to going straight to Stripe itself to squeal on Substack—what appears an obvious attempt to get Substack shut down at the merchant bank level.

Year of Troubles: The Hatches Come Out, SIMPLICIUS, 19 January 2024

It’s always the same game, the same motivations, and the same tactics. It will be interesting to see if Substack resists the pressure and remains viable, or if it submits to it and begins the same inevitable decline toward irrelevance that we’ve already seen from dying platforms like Blogger, Buzzfeed, Vice, YouTube, Patreon, Indiegogo, and other organizations that were either allied, or submissive, to Clown World’s SJW thought police.

This is one reason why my new Sigma Game substack, which I created to provide a central location for the forthcoming SSH book, presently has no paid subscriptions despite the generous pledges that have been made; there is no point in either permitting even the slightest amount of dependence upon it or allowing it to be utilized against Substack until the company decides whether it will submit to the thought police or stand against them.

UATV will eventually offer a written aspect that will fulfill a similar function, but one that will, as SocialGalactic is to Gab, be a community-focused platform rather than one that is intended for a broad public audience like Substack. Since the subscriptions are free, I’d recommend sending a strong message to Substack by first subscribing to Sigma Game, and then to the stacks that are recommended there, including Simplicius.

In any event, this is absolutely nothing new. Whatever happens, we resist and we persist.


Sigma Game on Substack

I’ve been working on the much-requested Socio-Sexual Hierarchy book and it’s going very well. Assuming we can get both AH:Q and the first Midnight’s War omnibus out to backers in the next few weeks, which we should be able to do, the crowdfund for the SSH book and the Hypergamous book will probably take place sometime in March, which is also when I anticipate finishing what was originally planned to be a 60k-word book, but will probably end up clocking in closer to 90k.

However, due to the growing mainstream interest in the SSH, particularly in the Sigma and Gamma profiles, I decided it would be a) necessary to have a central site for discussing the concepts that was absolutely not here and b) more immediately accessible to the new readers coming from outside the broader community who aren’t interested in economics, politics, fiction, games, history, or my copious media baggage.

So, I set up a Sigma Game substack. It will last as long as it lasts; no doubt it will come under relentless attack from Gammas and other anklebiters, which should serve to make certain SSH-related concepts readily apparent in a way that no amount of books, posts, and articles written by me ever could. It’s always nice when antifragility is built right into the foundation. It’s a pity that Substack comments can’t be limited to free subscribers, rather than just to paid subscribers, though.

The first post is an analysis of a 2012 Alpha Game post in which I supported Dr. Helen’s contention that shame was not an effective tool for encouraging single men to marry. And a review of the recent data would appear to strongly confirm that contention.

Twelve years later, as anticipated, shame has entirely failed as a strategy to encourage more young men to get married. To the contrary, men have even begun to demonstrate less interest in pursuing sex as well as marriage. And the marriage rate has fallen another 8.6 percent in the interlude, from 16.3 per 1,000 in 2011 to 14.9 per 1,000 in 2021.

Higher Education and the Decline of Marriage, SIGMA GAME, 17 January 2024

I don’t intend to post more than once or twice a week on Sigma Game, but otherwise it can be reasonably considered a revival of the Alpha Game blog. How long I will actively maintain it, I do not know; if the book proves popular enough, I might even transfer it to its own site on one of the UATV servers. But, in any event, it’s there now, so feel free to check it out and subscribe to it if you are so inclined.

UPDATE: Okay, that was fast. Thanks to everyone who checked it out, especially those who have already subscribed.

UPDATE: Given the surprisingly high level of interest there, I may have to contemplate doing a daily Sigma Game post.

Congratulations! Your posts have been read a total of 1000 times.


Don’t Say Gay at Harvard

Harvard finally jettisons its plagiarist president:

After weeks of mounting evidence that Harvard President Claudine Gay essentially plagiarized her way to the top, Gay announced on Tuesday that she is resigning Tuesday afternoon, the Harvard Crimson reports.

Gay’s resignation — just six months and two days into the presidency — comes amid growing allegations of plagiarism and lasting doubts over her ability to respond to antisemitism on campus after her disastrous congressional testimony Dec. 5.

Gay weathered scandal after scandal over her brief tenure, facing national backlash for her administration’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and allegations of plagiarism in her scholarly work.

It’s fascinating to observe how repeated incidents of plagiarism weren’t enough to unseat her, but as soon as it became clear that she was plagiarizing her antisemitism, it was evident that she had to go.

Elite academia is a particularly clownish joke, even for Clown World. It has been for decades, but now they’ve got retards who can’t even rite gud in the place of what had become the traditional foreign midwit.


Mailvox: a brief review of ASOS

AD writes the first review of the complete A SEA OF SKULLS.

I’ve finished A Sea of Skulls. Bought it, set out to read a chapter a night…which became two, and then three, and by the time I reached about the 1/3 point, I put the whole world on hold and finished it in two days.

As usual, your writing skill and style are impeccable–entertaining and engaging. For every plot thread closed you’ve managed to dangle three more…though, I think the next book will have to crack the planet and drain an ocean to top this ending.

Thoroughly enjoyable. I appreciated how the races have their own issues that so perfectly mirror modern ones, and enjoyed working out the foreign words from context. And I remain impressed by your skills–you managed to take a thoroughly repulsive Orc, turn him into a viewpoint character, and make him understandable, if not necessarily empathetic. I was convinced he was going to join Skuli any minute when he was ordered to throw himself onto the shield wall.

And, speaking of Skuli, his last quest was excellent. Here’s to the next book–unless, of course, you retire to the tropics and dump the whole thing into the lap of Brandon Sanderson.

I think Brandon Sanderson is too busy counting his crowdfunding money these days to be available to finish off anyone else’s epic fantasy series. So, I’ll just have to finish it myself.

UPDATE: The Didact graciously named A SEA OF SKULLS one of his best books of 2023:

Has he stuck the landing with the full version of Book 2?

Mostly, yes, he has.

ASOS has a few flaws to it, most of which relate to the difficulties in keeping the various plot-lines straight. You may have to go back and read the first book again to understand all the machinations behind the Amorran side of things – it has, after all, been eleven years since the first book saw the light of day, and quite a lot has happened since then.

The biggest flaw with the book has to be the ending, which definitely feels rushed and more than a little forced. I get the distinct impression that OBADSDL(PBUH) found himself getting lost in the details and realised this giant door-stopper of a book was getting really crazy – the full book will probably clock in at around 914 (!!!!!) pages, and that is a monumental text by any measure.

None of this changes a fundamental fact:

This is one of the best high fantasy books ever written.

High praise indeed. And while I never object to any reader’s impressions – they are simply what they are – in the interests of accuracy I will point out that the endings were neither rushed nor forced from my perspective, as they were always bound to take the various shapes they did by virtue of the character perspective limits. Remember, I’m not George Martin, and while I don’t do outlines, I do strictly limit how many characters get their own perspective and how many sections they get apiece. So, I always know roughly how much space I have with which to work in order to get to the close I have in mind.

You may notice that the word and page counts are almost identical to ATOB. That’s not an accident. And AGOG will be the same.

This isn’t to say one can’t reasonably criticize the particular sections of the story on which I choose to concentrate the detail. Perhaps it would be better if the middles were shorter and the ends longer. My choices are almost certainly suboptimal in some senses, and some characters get less “camera time” while others get more than various readers would prefer.


Orcs in the Korokhurmagh

This is a previously unreleased excerpt from the newly released full edition of A SEA OF SKULLS, which is now available in an ebook edition at the Arkhaven store.

Lugbol growled and slapped at one of the forest’s infernal insects that was busily engaged in biting his left bicep. He crushed it under his horny palm, felt a pop, and looked down to see he’d smeared his own dark green blood along with the remnants of the bug that had bitten him across his upper arm. He shook his head, knowing that the bite was going to start itching momentarily, then slapped fruitlessly at another one that had just bitten his calf.
“I don’t remember them being this bad before,” he complained.
“They had all the dead to feed on then,” Ghurash replied. Even though it had been less than three weeks since they’d fled the dark shadows of the Korokhurmagh, already the denizens of the forest had all but picked the thousands of dead bodies clean of flesh. They were rapidly approaching the western edge of the great wood and soon they would be encroaching on the true Man lands, not merely the pillaging the small villages and hamlets that had been carved out of the trees by the lesser tribes and clans.
The Hagahorn’ugh had been cocky and full of contempt for the martial abilities of the Szavon’agh as they passed through the burned-out remains of the villages overrun by Zlatagh’s army, but they gradually fell silent and their mood turned grim as they began to come across one large-skulled, thick-boned skeleton after another. There were few Man skeletons, and the bones of those they encountered were eagerly snatched up and divided among sqwaaks and younger kors seeking clubs or remains to decorate their armor.
More than a dozen fights broke out over the Man bones, the worst of which began when a boar rider commandeered a large thigh bone another kor had intended for a club, then cracked it open and sucked out the marrow. By the time Lugbol and Karnuhg, one of the cavalry grun-kors, managed to put a stop to the fracas, four mountain orcs and two Black Fists were dead, and another Hagahornu was so badly wounded that he ended up in the cookpot that evening.
The kral chewed him out for the needless death of his orcs, of course, but Lugbol had the sneaking suspicion that the older orc was secretly impressed at how Lugbol’s veteran kors managed to more than hold their own against the bigger mountain orcs. In fact, knowing that Lugbol, being Goghu and half the size of his Hagahornu officers, could never pose a threat to his rule, Nekheru had proven increasingly inclined to give his new hadvezer more responsibilities as they marched through the forest toward the Man lands. In addition to commanding the light infantry and the goblin cavalry, Lugbol was now serving as the liason between the farkh’agh and the various shugaba’ugh and grun-kors whose kors had the annoying habit of feasting upon their fellow marching companions whenever they couldn’t find adequate meat to sate their appetites.
Two large goblins, wearing the ornate headgear favored by their shugaba’agh, approached him now, escorted by a nervous-looking bodyguard of twelve lightly-armored yellowskins carrying pikes. Lugbol groaned. Given the angry expressions on their hook-chinned, hook-nosed faces, he had a pretty good idea of why they were coming to see him, even though they were attached to units outside his command.

Continue reading “Orcs in the Korokhurmagh”

A SEA OF SKULLS Full Edition

Castalia House is pleased to announce that the full text of A SEA OF SKULLS is now complete at an estimated 914 pages and is available in a new ebook edition at the Arkhaven store for $7.99. This is the initial text edition and therefore lacks an appendix and the additional images that will be added to the print edition, which is expected to be released in the spring and should clock in around 924 pages.

A coupon for a free download will be sent out to the readers who purchased the abbreviated edition back in 2016 and sent in their proofs of purchase from Amazon. The first batch have gone out already, the remainder will go out before midnight. If you don’t get one, or if you didn’t send in your Kindle proof of purchase for it already, please don’t do so now. I’m sure it will be on the various pirate sites before the weekend is out. The coupon for a free download will also be provided to all Castalia Library, Libraria Castalia, and Castalia History subscribers in the December monthly newsletter, which will go out next week.

Merry Christmas, Librarians…

The two leather volumes will be included in the Castalia Library and Libraria Castalia subscriptions sometime next year. An audiobook+ edition will be released once Jeremy Daw has finished recording it. I do not intend to make either the ebook or the audiobook available through Amazon, at least not at this time.

I hope you will enjoy the latest edition to the epic fantasy saga. If you discover any typos or errata, please do not send emails to me as you encounter them, but compile a list and send it to me after you have finished the book. As we did with A THRONE OF BONES, we will do iterative corrections and update the ebook accordingly.

In Selenoth, the war drums are beating throughout the land. The savage orcs of Hagahorn and Zoth Ommog are on the move, imperiling Man, Dwarf, and Elf alike. The Houses Martial of Amorr have gone to war with each other, pitting legion against legion, and family against family, as civil war wracks the disintegrating Empire. In the north, inhuman wolf-demons besiege the last redoubt of Man in the White Sea, while in Savondir, the royal house of de Mirid desperately prepares to defend the kingdom against an invading army that is larger than any it has ever faced before. And in the underground realm of the King of Iron Mountain, a strange new enemy has been attacking dwarf villages throughout the Underdeep.

Beneath the widespread violence that has seized all Selenoth in its grasp, a select few are beginning to recognize the appearance of a historic pattern of almost unimaginable proportions. Are all these conflicts involving Orc, Elf, Man, and Dwarf the natural result of inevitable rivalries, or are they little more than battlegrounds in an ancient war that began long before the dawn of time?