Today I’m not going to say much myself. Instead, I’m going to quote several paragraphs from a very long, but very thought-provoking, analysis of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Russian authors, and how literature came to represent a moral crusade for them, and for their fellow countrymen. It’s in the New Criterion, titled “How the great truth dawned“, written by Gary Saul Morson. It’s very different from our Western attitudes towards literature, but I think it offers a perspective from which we could learn.
That’s particularly important in an era when political correctness is more than ever a determinant of what’s put out by traditional publishers. One’s work usually has to conform to “contemporary priorities” or “modern understanding” if it’s to have any chance of acceptance by a publisher. By those standards, the Big Three of science fiction – Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein – wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Neither, of course, would Henry Miller, Dorothy Parker, and a host of other greats. Nor would Solzhenitsyn.
Taghri’s Prize is live!
Taghri has left the Sultan’s army to seek his fortune – and he seizes opportunity when it knocks. In the confusion of a pirate raid on a trading caravan, he kills their leader and captures their ship. The vessel is now his prize of war… but some prizes may be more trouble than they’re worth!
Nestled among the gold coins in the captain’s cabin is a stolen Temple sacrificial knife, whose Goddess is now paying close attention – too close! – to its new owner. Among the slaves he’s freed is a princess, formerly being held for ransom, who comes with political and personal intrigues all her own. Even if he survives the attention of both, there’s also a pirate lord out there, hell-bent on avenging the death of his son.
It’s going to take all of Taghri’s skill, experience and cunning to survive winning this prize!
Or, Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone, Again
It was gorgeous in the PNW when we took Mrs. Dave to the airport to wend her way elsewhere. Baker was out, the Olympics crowded the far horizon, and Rainier dominated the sky as we sped southward. Nary a cloud in the sky. I could wish I’d gotten more sleep, but such isn’t our pattern, and I’m learning to deal with that. Even the littles seemed cheerful, which lasted right up until we left Mrs. Dave at the curb.
Mrs. Dave is fine, though still pretty wiped from all the travel. On the other hand, we haven’t seen the sun since we got home. Coincidence? I can barely rub two sentences together today, so this is likely to be pretty scattered. My apologies.
Peter’s next book! The launch will officially be tomorrow, but Amazon was more efficient than we’d planned!
An Airless Storm!
Hopefully, this means they’ll continue with their customary efficiency, and soon link it to my darling man, as well as Book 1 (The Stones of Silence) in the series!
Random notes: the titles for this series actually came from or were inspired by the poems of Pablo Neruda – I love that man’s way with words.
At the urging of my wife, whose work is familiar to readers of these pages, I’m trying something new in a couple of weeks.
Last December, I was noodling over an idea for a new military science fiction series to expand my portfolio. My Maxwell series has reached five books, and has at least as many left to run; my Laredo War trilogy is overdue for completion of the third and final book (health issues got in the way); and I have a Western series (currently at two novels, with the third due this year) and a stand-alone fantasy novel as well, with a fantasy trilogy on the table as a more distant project. I felt the need to add another string to my bow – hence the noodling.
Dorothy challenged me to try something different.
This week I’d like to zero in on a few items that have crossed my desk and/or screen over the past month; things that made me think about our industry (writing and publishing), where it is, and where it (and we) are going.
Let’s begin with last month’s mammoth Author Earnings report. I note that the authors of the report are now selling their data to the industry, and are therefore “graying out” a number of things for which they’d now like to be paid. I can’t blame them for that, of course, but it does make their reports less useful to the rest of us. Nevertheless, they do provide an immense amount of food for thought, for which I’m duly grateful.
I’ve recently been looking up a number of measurements for a book in progress. To my delight, I’ve learned that there are many humorous systems of measurement. Some made me laugh out loud. Others produced a quiet giggle. I thought you might enjoy learning more about them.
Most of us have heard of the (in)famous “furlongs per fortnight” as a measurement of speed. It’s actually part of the FFF System: “The length unit of the system is the furlong, the mass unit is the mass of a firkin of water, and the time unit is the fortnight. Like the SI or metre–kilogram–second systems, there are derived units for velocity, volume, mass and weight, etc.” For science fiction writers, “The speed of light may be expressed as being roughly 1.8 terafurlongs per fortnight (or megafurlongs per microfortnight)“.