Saturday, September 19, 2020

Review: None Dare Call It Conspiracy

None Dare Call It Conspiracy None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as research for my novel Backstop and sequels. It was an inspiration for perhaps the most successful conspiracy theorist (CT) of all time, Texas millionaire Alex Jones, who has really defined the CT industry. It is hard to argue that this is an excellent CT textbook, the seminal work in the field, though it was not the first. I would call it the CT manifesto.

Written during the 1972 presidential campaigns, it is highly critical of Richard Nixon, as much as his opponents. Though Allen was a John-Birch-Society conservative, he felt that Nixon had betrayed his conservative base, especially the anti-communists. However, he predicted that Nixon would the election, which would be controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR, Allen posits, is the United States arm of an international web of powerful and devious men and women whose goal is to enslave us all and govern the entire world in a Socialist regime.

Not only does Allen present his detailed theory, he provides a plan of action for the like-minded, including political action, but mostly involving buying and distributing as many copies of his book as possible.

None Dare Call It Conspiracy is an excellent blueprint for a career such as the one Alex Jones has enjoyed, and a good reading choice, I think, for a novelist such as myself. I am inspired.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Review: Intruder in the Dust

Intruder in the Dust Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At a time when so much attention is given to race in this country, wouldn't it be great if everyone stayed home for a day and read some Faulkner. I think so. The truth is buried, so the way to find it is to dig it up, which is what happens in the meat of this novel. First a thief attempts it and fails, then a murderer succeeds, only to be followed by a septuagenarian belle and two teens, who dig it up then cover it up again to wait on law, then the murderer again before law gets there, then law and family from its new shallow and wet graves. It takes all that to un-bury the truth, and when it comes back to town, humanity leaves town for fear of seeing it.

There's what's right and what's right. Sometimes in attempting to treat a wound we merely open it further, extending the time necessary to heal. Faulkner's Southerner has become a nationwide persona, knowing deeply what's right, not wanting to be reminded of the wrong which covers it. Better the truth decompose naturally. Digging is hard work. New grass will not grow on continuously disturbed earth.

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Review: The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead The Road Ahead by Bill Gates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why read this book almost 25 years after it was first published? Well, I just always wanted to, for one thing. And I was interested to know how the author's predictions stood up. It turns out he was right about a lot of things, some of them just coming into fruition this year, like so many people doing their jobs remotely, and "Aspenization" (the flight of urbanites to suburban and rural areas).

He was wrong about a couple of things. We're not getting offered money to read emails -- something I wish he had been right about. And we don't have VCR's that use 100GB tapes.

Unlike most prophets, Gates was quite specific in his predictions, though he did not pull them out of the air. He was in a position to know some of the alternatives and possibilities. The internet was entering adolescence, and Microsoft was spending $100 million per year on research.

The closest thing to complete realization of his vision of the information highway, I think, is 5G. It remains to be seen if this will be as successful and widespread as predictions indicate. But if it is, it will bring what Gates' information highway to nearly everyone, closing economic gaps, and removing cultural boundaries. Whether it makes the world a better place, of course, depends on how we use it, as have all technologies from agriculture to nuclear science to artificial intelligence.

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Saturday, June 13, 2020

New Novel in Final Stages

My first novel is coming along. It is tentatively called Backstop, and is a suspense thriller about a group of conspiracy researchers who discover a secret about what happened on September 11, 2001, with living proof of their discovery. Dark forces array against them as they push to bring truth to light and protect a woman who is just learning the truth about her own involvement.

Anyway, that sounds like a movie trailer. In fact it probably won’t be called Backstop. But I am still looking for the right title. I have finished the draft and sent it out to five beta readers. Currently, I am toiling on the rewrite. The next step is to get on an editor’s schedule, then another rewrite, then get the cover done. If I am diligent and a little lucky, I might have it published before the end of the year. Hopefully future books will go more smoothly once I am more familiar with the process.

So every day that I can, I go through looking at comments of the beta readers, then move forward a bit looking for specific things. It will probably take several runs through the text. None of the readers give me any input on the title, so I’m hoping for some inspiration there in this process as well. Look forward to more updates. Please subscribe; I plan to do more frequent posts from now on, for my own good as well as yours. It keeps me motivated and pushing forward in a process that has taken a long time. But hopefully, the end is near, and new beginnings can emerge, along with a book I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Friday, April 5, 2019

New Book! The Amblerino Now Available in Paperback and Ebook

I have finally released another book, and it is now available.

Get the paperback:

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Make Friends with your Problems

The classic daily devotional book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, has become daily reading for me. On today's page, "Jesus" recommends making friends with my problems. Which sounds counter-intuitive. Especially considering the admonishments to not worry in other parts of the book. But the concept makes sense under examination. In life we only improve by learning from adversity, both that which just happens to us, and that which is self-inflicted. By doing so, we can approach the perfection of God, in whose image we were created. And more importantly to Jesus, we approach him.

This brings to mind the problem of evil, an idea discussed and debated often in the circles of philosophy and theology, despite the plain simplicity of it. The problem of evil begs the question "Why did God create a world in which evil can exist?". Some use this as a reason for not believing in God, which is a problem in itself and beyond the scope of this post. But imagine a world without evil. As I've discussed in my podcast Running: A Fever, evil does not exist, but is the absence of God, the ultimate good. Still, this absence is the problem.

One answer is often given as another question, "Would you prefer a perfect world?" A world with no challenges, a life with no problems to overcome, would be no life at all, a world with no meaning. It is by overcoming challenges and dealing with the absence of good in ourselves and the other evils of the world that we encounter that we define ourselves. We are aspirational beings by nature. Each struggle gives us meaning. It is the journey itself, not the destination, that provides our utmost enjoyment in life. Without problems, there would be no need for a journey. Life would be meaningless. For more on this concept, see my book on nihilism.

Every problem is a friend because it is a stepping stone on the journey to God. Thomistic philosophy aside, doesn't that make sense?