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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Some Articles I’ve Enjoyed Recently 3/17/17

Here are some articles that I’ve read recently that I thought you’d enjoy.

The Destroyer of Worlds examines Trump’s position as the instrument of destruction for the comfortable status quo that had been established in Washington over the course of the most recent decades. It places Trump in the role of “The Mule” from Asimov’s Foundation series, which is an especially apt metaphor.

Steve King’s Incoherent Blasphemy opines on the fallout from Rep. Steve King’s recent controversial comments and his subsequent “clarification”. The point is made that while King’s first statement largely made sense and was extremely transgressive against the current order, his second set of comments were nonsensical and simple appeasement.

Silicon Valley: A Brilliant Leftist Success Story  chronicles the seemingly universal leftism in Silicon Valley and how this demonstrates the success the left has had over the past two generations in shaping young minds into its own image.

 Take Control of Your Language argues that we should be more careful in the language and labels we apply to ourselves and others such that it leaves no doubt what we intend to mean. It makes the case that what we normally call “liberals” or “leftists” should be replaced with words like “third worldist”, which describes a person whose prime political motivation is the advancement of people living or originating from third world countries.

On Legitimacy and Republicanism delves deeply into the topic of the mechanisms by which republican governments achieve and maintain their legitimacy. An important aspect of this is that republics deny the ability for many forms of legitimacy to take hold and is ultimately a weakness in that system.

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.

Links I’ve Liked Recently 3/5/2017

Here are some links to articles I’ve found particularly interesting over the past few weeks.

Shia Laboof and the Weltgeist of the Damned discusses the reaction of the forces of progressive culture to realizing they are no longer omnipotent and the fright this creates in the left. It has been fifty years since the left did not dominate culture, and now the artists on the left they no longer control the narrative.

Trumpism and the Reforging of an Imperial America delves into the unique case of American nationalism and how that is a uniquely imperial sort of nationalism.

Reflections on the revolution in Middlebury is Charles Murray’s discussion of the violent protests, in which a Middlebury professor was injured, that occurred at his speech on campus. While I have been a long-time fan of Murray’s, especially during my libertarian leaning days, it is so very telling that he has only awoken to the metastasis taking place on college campuses throughout the country when he has to face the anger of the crowds. His dislike of Donald Trump and others have caused him to ignore the very troubling things taking place on campus.

 Tom Nichols and the Public’s View of Science takes well-known neoconservative, sanctimonious prick, and all-around asshole Tom Nichols to task for writing an article where he is advocating for helotization of anyone without acceptable credentials but is too much of a weasel to come out and say it directly.

The Nationalist Scale

When discussing politics in a constructive and useful way, it is important to have some consistency in terms. One difficult set of terms to grapple with is nationalism and globalism. I want to define a simple scale and use that scale as a basis for describing various groups of people. To define the scale we take the logarithm of the ratio of preference for members of one’s own nation versus preference towards those outside of one’s nation. The base of the logarithm is the willingness to commit violence. That probably sounds a bit confusing now, but I will break down five scores on this scale and it should make sense.

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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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Defense of Garnax Prime, Part 4

Link to Part 3

“Freighter, this is General Penrose on board the PSS Hornet, please identify yourself.”

The sheepish reply came in over the radio:

“This is the freighter ‘Emma Sue’ and I’m the Captain of this vessel. We’re all relived here you came, and so glad you’re from the Palatine military, we didn’t think you guys had abandoned us. We were trying to escape the raiders, but we had to surrender to that frigate when it found us.”

Penrose replied, “I understand. I’ve got a few questions that I’d like answered then you’re free to go.”

“Yes, anything”, the freighter Captain replied.

“What do you know of the disposition of Ascendancy forces? How many ships did they bring? How many troops? How long have they been here?”, Penrose asked.

“Reports on the news said about 15 ships, none bigger than the one you just blew up. It sounds like they were raiding in 5 groups of about 300 spread across the continent.”, the shaken freighter Captain replied.

The PSS Hornet and the freighter Emma Sue drifted apart before the freighter fired off a burst to escape from Garnax’s orbit. The Hornet performed a burn to fix its inclination and descend towards the militia headquarters.

Defense of Garnax Prime, Part 3

Link to Part 2
Green and purple plumes erupted from the sides of the Ascendancy frigate. Captain Webster commanded the dorsal cannon to begin firing. 

“Ensign Anthony”, he asked, “do we have a sufficient track to target missiles?”

“Not yet, sir.”, Ensign Carl Anthony replied, “We need more time to reduce our uncertainty in his range. We’ve know his direction exactly, but our range is only as good as I can dead reckon based on that course I estimated. We could be a couple  kilometers off on either side.”

“How can we make that happen quicker? I want all of our weapons firing as soon as possible.”, the Captain replied

“The simplest option is to use the radar but they’ll be able to find us immediately. Otherwise, if we swing back and forth wide enough, we can triangulate their position.”, Carl answered.

“Lets risk the radar. They certainly have more pressing concerns at the moment than counterattack.”, Captain Webster ordered.

A few minutes later, a barrage of missiles was added to the thumping of projectiles against the hull of the Ascendancy ship. It finally began to break apart and a series of explosions further reduced the rubble.

At that moment, Ensign Chuck Stewart, spoke up: “Captain, the freighter that was being pursued is hailing us and wishes to speak.”

General Penrose, who had been sitting quietly with Captain Webster, replied “Put them through.”