Why “A Sea of Skulls” Surpasses “A Throne Of Bones”

This is just a short post expanding on something I wanted to say in a Gab post, but couldn’t make fit. Vox Day’s fantasy series “Arts of Dark And Light” series released the first half of its second installment, A Sea of Skulls, this winter, following up on the first installment A Throne of BonesWhile a full review needs to wait until the second half of the novel is released, I believe it is prudent at this time to mark and discuss the improvement between the novels.

A Throne of Bones, was, in many ways, a response to George R.R. Martin’s wildly popular and painfully slowly written fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire”, especially A Game of Thrones. Many praise Martin’s series for its supposed realism, by not letting the protagonists get victories they didn’t deserve. What many have recognized is that this is directly attached to the series’ nihilism, negative view of humanity, and generally focusing on all the bad things in life while forgetting about the good ones. A Throne of Bones makes a point to show the things in life that Martin neglects in his point-of-view characters. Among these are: devotion to one’s people, selflessness, devotion to religion, happily married couples, and women who integrate into society. What makes A Throne of Bones such a good response is that all of these things are included without letting the protagonists receive unearned victories. The two works form something of a ying yang, with Eddard Stark and Theuderic juxtaposed against the rest of the main cast.

What Vox Day managed to do in his second book is something that George R.R. Martin hasn’t done in four sequels: expand the emotional scope of the series. A Sea of Skulls brings the reader through an experience that encompasses the horrors of war, desperation, hopelessness, loss and civilizational decay. These are in addition to maintaining the depictions heroism, family, competence etc from the A Throne of Bones. As a whole, A Sea of Skulls transcends its previous work and its contrasting relationship to Martin’s saga.

Review of Push the Zone, By David the Good

I was first introduced to David the Good nearly two years ago when he published his first book with Castalia House, Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme CompostingWhen his editor, Vox Day, published a post on his blog pitching the book. A pitch as strong as that one, made by Vox, had me intrigued. But I still had some questions.

“How extreme can stacking dead leaves and grass clippings in a pile be?”

“When he says ‘Compost Everything’, does he mean, you know, everything?”

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How the Left Controls Right-Wing Media

One of the most important ways that the progressive and neo-liberal left, the de facto ruling entity in first-world (in the original meaning), maintains its grip on cultural power is by controlling its opposition. While the biggest means of information distribution have been controlled and put into service for the political left for decades, the yearning for something else creates the opportunity for right wing media to become a major source of opposition. However, the media and corporate organs of the left utilize three major means to control its opposition.

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Harvard Classics, Volume 5: Emerson

I recently completed the fifth volume of the Harvard Classics and once again it has proven to be a valuable addition to my own education and a worthwhile piece of the Western Canon.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a Unitarian lay minister in 19th century America. He marks part of the transition from Calvinist Puritans who originally settled America into groups of people who still exist today. Unitarian universalists, in short, believe in a single supreme divine being and deny trinitarian Christianity. While the recognize the importance of Christ’s message, they treat him as just a man, and also incorporate aspects from other faiths add they see fit. This sort of “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach to spirituality, in my opinion, is insufficient and full of hubris.

While practiced by a well read, reflective soul, this sort of thing won’t cause them to become a bad person, in the wrong hands it swiftly turns into the “holier than God”, narcissistic approach far too many people have today.

The content of “Essays”, a collection of 18 essays by Emerson on a variety of topics, consist of a primer on this type of philosophy, which is, in my reckoning, a distinctly American one. I personally found this work difficult to get through, as it covered the same ground over and over and I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

However, the second work, “English Traits” is highly recommended for anyone wanting a glimpse of life in England at the peak of the British Empire at its height. Emerson traveled to England twice, once on a stopover when returning from Italy, and another time for a lecture tour. The book is interesting and insightful, and many famous English writers make guest appearances. The book is organized mainly by different traits the English people possess as a whole, and Emerson talks about how these traits effect the character of the empire as a whole.

Next up in my list of Harvard Classics is the poetry of Robert Burns, which may take awhile to get through, as poems make for slow reading and doubly so when they are written in Scottish.

Netheral and Superversive Science Fiction

Unlike most of the book reviews I do here, which function mainly as a consumer guide, I’m going to take a look at Netheral, by Brian Niemeier from a cultural and literary perspective in as neutral of a voice as I can muster. Its function on these levels as at least as important as the entertainment value it provides and given the critical success of the novel and its follow-up works a deeper look into the novel is warranted.

I should note there have been three novels published to date in this series, and I have only read the first. Its part in the larger narrative the author is constructing remains a point for future discussion.

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