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Enter an Enchanted World

Monday, July 28th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

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Hi gang! I’m releasing my new novel, Bulfinch, this August, and in the weeks leading up to it I’m sharing one free short story per week online. If you’re in search of a fun and short read this week during your lunch hour, check out one of these:

Belle” is an inventive retelling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Belle is a struggling single mother who feels like a prisoner of circumstance — and of her heavily tattooed landlord, whom she calls The Beast. But their unlikely attraction may have the power to change both their lives…with some help from Mrs. Teapot.

“Bridal Sour” is a quirky twist on the zombie genre. When all the recently engaged women in town start turning into zombies, one girl thinks she knows the cause — and its unlikely solution.

Click the titles to download either story at NoiseTrade!

 

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How To Speak Truth to Power and Stick It To the Man Today

Friday, July 11th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

Editor’s Note: Since March, PJ Lifestyle has been highlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island, featuring interviews and story excerptsClick here to see our collection of 24 so far. We’re going to continue periodically introducing new contributors but now we continue a new series featuring many of these writers talking about their upcoming books and dialoguing about this question: 

“Liberty Island has identified itself as the home of the new counterculture. In what ways does your book exemplify this?”

To learn more check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.” Bellow’s new cover story at National Review, is also out this month: “Let Your Right Brain Run Free.” Finally and importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.

See Part 1 with Michael Sheldon’s answer here and Part 2 with Stephen McDonald’s answer here

The old counterculture was advertised (and subsequently mythologized) as Youth Speaking Truth to Power and Sticking it to the Man.  Forty years on, the old counterculture has become The Man and everything they hated about him: repressive (for our own good, of course), controlling (“Momma’s gonna keep you safe and warm”), and above all, determined to keep their hands on the levers of power. As the prophet Pete Townsend told us, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

How am I part of the New Counterculture? 

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What Is the New Counterculture? Part 2

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: Since March, PJ Lifestyle has been highlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island, featuring interviews and story excerptsClick here to see our collection of 24 so far. We’re going to continue periodically introducing new contributors but now we continue a new series featuring many of these writers talking about their upcoming books and dialoguing about this question: 

“Liberty Island has identified itself as the home of the new counterculture. In what ways does your book exemplify this?”

To learn more check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.” Bellow’s new cover story at National Review, is also out this month: “Let Your Right Brain Run Free.” Finally and importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.

See Part 1 with Michael Sheldon’s answer here.

With daily examples of a once great culture circling the drain, it becomes increasingly hard to imagine that things could be different. But let’s try. What might a society that celebrated beauty, excellence, and community instead of slowly strangling those things look like? How would it feel  to live in a society whose people were worthy of one’s best efforts? And what would such people be like?

I envision such a society in Steam Pointe, a series of linked stories that Liberty Island will soon be publishing. Technology can’t hide any decline in the island nation of Steam Pointe. It’s a place that has taken 19th Century industrialism to its steampunk zenith, even as the rest of the world has forsworn airships, Tesla coils, and steam engines for airplanes, computers, and internal combustion.

When international terrorism arrives on his country’s shores and Steam Pointe’s own domestic supervillains begin staging attacks in America, detective Hiram Speer finds himself partnered with FBI agent Mackenzie Hoff. Yet chasing killers beneath Steam Pointe’s zeppelin-blotted skies, the two find their cultures in conflict: manly versus feminized, confident versus declining.

The Pointers’ manners, machines and esthetics are like something out of a Jules Verne-fever dream. Yet this is only the outward manifestation of their alienation from the contemporary United States — the nation their ancestors fled. For its part, America increasingly regards this bizarre place of technological apartheid and traditional gender roles as little better than a rogue regime.

With both their nations and their world views in opposition, will Speer and Mackenzie be able to work together to stop a common threat? Does either one of them even want to save the other’s homeland? And what are their respective nations’ agendas in this cultural cold war?

The fictional Steam Pointe is a culture counter to our own. The Steam Pointe series then is part of a growing counterculture that looks at the present order and asks, “Does it have to be like this?”

It doesn’t. And it won’t always be. As we look forward to the prospect of a re-forged society, come to Steam Pointe and get a feel for what it might be like to live someplace built on beauty, excellence, and community. Enjoy a terrific adventure while taking added pleasure in committing an act of cultural sedition.

****

See Stephen’s PJ Lifestyle post:

Comic Book Tropes That Need to Die, the First in An Occasional Series

And his political posts at the PJ Tatler:

Learning to Love Cloward-Piven

Tougher Than HYDRA

And his interview and story excerpt at PJ Lifestyle:

‘Long-Term, I’d Like to Hire Others to Produce More Content Set in This Shared Universe…’

 

***

image illustration via shutterstock / Kiselev Andrey Valerevich

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What Is the New Counterculture? Part 1

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: Since March, PJ Lifestyle has been highlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island, featuring interviews and story excerpts. Click here to see our collection of 24 so far. We’re going to continue periodically introducing new contributors but today we start a new series featuring many of these writers talking about their upcoming books and dialoguing about this question: 

“Liberty Island has identified itself as the home of the new counterculture. In what ways does your book exemplify this?”

To learn more check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.” Bellow’s new cover story at National Review, is also out today: “Let Your Right Brain Run Free.” Finally and importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.

Before completing The Violet Crow, I was having dinner with a woman who teaches English lit at a branch of University of Washington. When I told her my novel was a detective story, she dismissed it in four words: “Detective stories are normative.” I had never heard this choice bit of academic wisdom before, but, before we get to that, let me describe the premise of my normative tale.

The Violet Crow begins when the students of Gardenfield Friends School enter the Quaker Meetinghouse for their weekly half hour of silence. They find instead the lifeless body of a ten-year-old girl. Because there are no clues, and no grieving parents come forward to claim their daughter, the police are pressured into taking an unusual step: They hire a psychic detective.

The idea is to show the press and the politicians that the Gardenfield cops are seriously trying to find the murderer and restore order to this normally safe and self-satisfied community. However, Bruno X, aka Joey Kaplan, is a bit more than anyone bargained for. He has genuine psychic talent, but it’s inconsistent. People always assume that psychics are fakes. And when confronted with suspicions, Bruno counters with Mad-Magazine-Yiddish invectives and recycled Borsht Belt routines.

The Violet Crow offers readers a tight plot, lots of suspects, weird science, and some surprising historical connections. There are also elements of magical realism as Bruno’s psychic ability moves up and down a scale that ranges from coincidence to intuition, luck, and the occasional bit of sorcery. Finally, if you dig deep into genre categories, The Violet Crow is technically a “caper,” because it’s a crime story that’s also humorous.

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24 Counterculture Warriors Writing New Worlds Into Existence

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: This is the seventh collection of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandAn index of 8 newly-released stories can be found here. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.” 

Most importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.

1. Mike Baron: Swimming in Scrooge’s Money Bin With Ayn Rand and Andrew Klavan

2. Steve Poling: Is Cthulhu Tastier Fried or Barbecued?

3. Will Collier: What If the Soviets Had Succeeded in Capturing a Supernatural Creature?

4. Ray Zacek: The Secret Knowledge Vs. A Lethal Elvis Cult in North Florida

5. Keith Korman: ‘I Have No Friends: I Make My Mind My Friend.

6. Abbey Clarke: A Demon’s Heart: Can Evil Incarnate Ever Find Salvation?

7. Jamie Wilson: A Gen-X Gandalf Mom Casting Thomas Sowell Spells

8. Clay Waters: ‘You Obviously Feel This Ocean Mythos Deep In Your DNA…’

9. Todd Seavey: ‘It Was Star Wars That Taught Me to Love Science, Fantasy, Music, and Capitalism Simultaneously’

10. Stephen McDonald: ‘Long-Term, I’d Like to Hire Others to Produce More Content Set in This Shared Universe…’

11. Pierre V. Comtois: Golfing on the Moon

12. Aaron Smith: ‘I Spell ‘Magicks’ With a ‘K’ to Both Confound Proofreaders and to Signify It’s Not a White-Bunny-Being-Pulled-Out-of-The-Hat Kind of Magic.’

13. Ken Lizzi: A Pulp Writer Disguised as a Lawyer Embedded in the People’s Republic of Portland

14. Ted Elrick: ‘When a Guy’s Got That Kind of Control, You Gotta Admire It.’

15. Frank J. Fleming: Who Murdered the Dinosaurs?

16. R.K. Delka: ‘I’m the Constitution, Dammit!’

17. Kurt Duncan: ‘It’s All Compulsion-To-Create Via Mathematics and Engineering. Fun Stuff.’

18. Roy Griffis: ‘An Antidote to the Nihilistic Crap That Is Being Peddled’

19. David Churchill Barrow: ‘The Smoking, Dirty, Jagged Line of Rocks on that Ridge Seemed to Mock God Himself…’

20. Michael Sheldon: What Could Be Better Than Fresh Apricots?

21. Sabrina Chase: Women Can Be Mad Scientists Too

22. Paul Clayton: ‘I Think These 3 Works Should Be Required Reading For All Young Americans…’

23. Erich Forschler: The Road Might Be His Best Work, But My Favorite is No Country for Old Men.

24. Tom Weiss: In the Ashes: A War Screenplay

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10 Realities of Freelance Life

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 - by Hannah Sternberg

As I’ve previously discussed, I recently made the transition to freelance work and I’m loving it. Many people have a romanticized view of freelance life, though, and there are a few hard realities I’ve encountered in my first few weeks that I thought I’d share with anyone considering taking the plunge.

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In the Ashes: A War Screenplay

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: This is the twenty fourth in a series of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. The first 22 can be read in this collection here, yesterday’s 23rd here, and an index of 8 newly-released stories can be found here. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” Also see COO David S. Bernstein’s recent essay here in which he defines Liberty Island as, “an imaginative playground where brilliant and creative people can test their ideas without being harassed or threatened by the new breed of ‘community activists’ who police thought and speech in the media.” 

Most importantly, support Liberty Island’s crowd-funding efforts here where you can pre-order the upcoming novels and learn about other incentives.

1. Who are some of your favorite writers, books, movies, and intellectual influences?

My father has always been a reader.  To this day my mother implores me to take some of his books home with me when I visit because there are just too damn many in her house.  I grew up with his ever increasing library in the room right next to mine and started reading Heinlein, Asimov, and Tolkien among others. I grew into Stephen King – my father was never a fan – then grew out of him again. The older I got the more I started reading non-fiction and became something of a military history buff. George Lucas made me love the movies.  Harold Ramis and Bill Murray kept me coming back. Oliver Stone helped me to realize movies can lie to us.

2. How do you describe yourself ideologically?

I grew up thinking I was a Ronald Reagan conservative, but I’m now more of a Penn Jillette Libertarian.  It’s much easier to label what I’m not, and that’s a statist or progressive of any kind.

3. Which thinkers/commentators have influenced you?

My formative years were spent listening to my father’s endless political arguments with friends at the dinner table. Rush Limbaugh then showed me how the newspapers can report facts and still get the story completely wrong. George Will’s intellect has always frightened and amazed me.Lately I’ve re-discovered Milton Friedman.  I listen to Russ Roberts’ podcast every week and read James Taranto and Jonah Goldberg when I can.

4.  What are your writing goals?

I want to tell a good story and write authentic characters that people care about.  If I can get that right I’m pretty sure everything else will fall into place.

5. Where can people find/follow you online?

@realtomweiss on Twitter. Because, you know, there are a lot of fake me’s floating around.

6. What’s your craziest hobby/pastime/interest?

I used to play chess competitively until I found another game of skill, poker. I’d like to win a World Series of Poker bracelet one day.

An excerpt from the script “In the Ashes“:

FADE IN:

 

INT. GARAGE – NIGHT

 

TWO IRAQI MEN, early 30s, dressed in begrimed coveralls and work boots, tinker with a nondescript white 4-door sedan.

 

The garage door is shut, its interior lit harshly by bare bulbs and portable lights shining where the men are working.

 

MUSTACHE MAN, sporting a thick full growth obscuring his upper lip, is at the driver’s side door. 9-FINGER MAN, missing his left index finger and sporting a few nasty scars on both hands, works on the trunk.

 

These men are constructing a moving bomb. Concealing explosives in the car’s interior.

 

UTHMAN, 40, jet black hair slicked back and wearing a dress shirt and slacks, smokes a cigarette on a stool next to a clean, organized workbench. He pays the men no mind.

 

INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM – MORNING

 

MAJOR MARK THOMAS stands in front of the whiteboard, a Google Earth shot of Baghdad projected on the screen next to him.

 

Mid-30s, he is over six feet tall and casts an impressive shadow in his military uniform, his head shiny from a fresh crew-cut.

 

Animated, he enjoys talking to the thirty high-school kids in front of him.

 

MAJ THOMAS

It looks like we’re running out of time. Let me take one more question.

 

A PRETTY GIRL in the third row raises her hand and MAJ THOMAS calls on her.

 

PRETTY GIRL

So after this…surge or whatever, is over with, everyone can come home, right? We’ve been over there for years…

 

MAJ THOMAS

Counterinsurgency takes a long time.

 

PRETTY GIRL

Since I was in junior high.

 

MAJ THOMAS

But the thing to understand is that the only way for us to lose is to quit.

 

PRETTY GIRL

But why are we there in the first place?

 

MAJ THOMAS

As long as we commit ourselves to helping the Iraqi people stand on their own two feed, they’ll have a bright future.

 

MRS. WILLETTE, mid-50s and looking every bit like she’s been a high school social studies teacher for 30 years, stands up from behind her desk.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

Let’s give the Major a warm round of applause.

 

Polite applause, interrupted by the bell.

 

Mrs. Willette offers her hand to MAJ THOMAS as the students file out of the room.

 

REBECCA THOMAS, mid-30s, dark brown hair framing soft features, weaves through the students to join them.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

Thank you for coming in today.

 

MAJ THOMAS

I used to love it when you’d bring in a guest speaker. No homework.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

And thank you for making me feel old. When do you head back?

 

MAJ THOMAS

Tomorrow.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

And how much longer will you be in Baghdad?

 

MAJ THOMAS

A twelve month tour turned into fifteen with the surge, and I have eight left.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

Be careful, please. We’re praying for you.

 

MAJ THOMAS

Thank you Mrs. Willette.

 

MAJ Thomas slides an arm around Rebecca.

 

MAJ THOMAS

We’re going to run. Lots to do before I leave.

 

MRS. WILLETTE

Be safe.

 

Smiling, Mrs. Willette watches the pair out of the room.

Continue reading at Liberty Island

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‘Never Let Anyone Tell You that Sports Doesn’t Matter’

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Long time Sports Illustrated columnist and ESPN commentator Rick Reilly is retiring from the business at age 56.

Reilly didn’t invent the human interest sports story, but he may have perfected it. His “Life of Reilly” columns at SI were full of ordinary athletes performing with incredible handicaps. He wrote of their families, their teammates, and their communities with love and respect.

And man, could he write. Reilly and P.J. O’Rourke are the reasons I decided to try my hand at writing so late in life. Reilly had an ability to boil down the essence of a story until nothing but shining truth remained.

Reilly reminisced about some of the people he wrote about along the way at ESPN.com:

I’d notice how Michael Jordan never appeared before us until his tie was tied, his $3,000 suit buttoned, his silk pocket square just so. From him, I learned professionalism.

I watched safe after safe fall on John Elway’s head — Super Bowl losses, divorce, the loss of his twin sister and his beloved dad — and yet he refused to allow himself one ounce of self-pity. From him, I learned grit.

I’d see how Jim Murray would get up out of his chair in the press box to greet each of the dozens of people who just wanted to shake the great sports writer’s hand, even though he could hardly see his chair, much less their hands. From him, I learned humility.

I wrote about the teammates of high school cross country runner Ben Comen, who would finish their 3-mile races and then double back out onto the course to run with Ben and his limping cerebral palsy gait. From them, I learned love.

I discovered the athletes of Middlebury College, who would pick up a severely handicapped fan named Butch, load him into the car and take him to every game, where they’d provide a hot dog, a Coke and a buddy. From them, I learned service.

Never let anyone tell you sports doesn’t matter. Never let them tell you it’s all about the wins, the losses and the stats. Sports is so much more than that. It’s your grandfather and you and the way a Sunday Bears game bonds you like Super Glue. It’s what you ask of yourself to break four hours in the marathon. It’s the way your softball buddies can still laugh about you hitting the ump instead of the cutoff man 30 years later.

From his perch at SI, Reilly brought readers into the world of sport like no other writer of this or any other generation. Using the drama and sweep of sports to tell the most intimate of stories was inspired writing and the fact that he could pull it off most of the time speaks to his talent and his heart.

Reilly has not been forthcoming about his plans for the future except to say he’ll be living in Italy. His fans will look forward with anticipation for whatever genius flows from his pen.

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4 Must-Read Memorial Day War Stories

Monday, May 26th, 2014 - by Liberty Island
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“I often hear tour guides telling their customers that the flag is never displayed at half mast at the Marine Corps Memorial. Oh yes it is.” – Mark Baird

Editor’s Note:  Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandSee this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.

1. That In Those Times We Will Remember by David Churchill Barrow

2. Point Man by Ted Galacci

3. Shadows: A Danse Macabre in the African Desert by Roy Griffis

4. Even the Pilgrims Needed a Few Good Men: ‘By the Sword Seek Peace’ by David Churchill Barrow

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Even the Pilgrims Needed a Few Good Men: ‘By the Sword Seek Peace’

Sunday, May 25th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note:  Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandSee this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.

An Excerpt from “Ense Petit Placidam - “By the Sword Seek Peace”:

“Tarry awhile with me, Captain?”

The governor’s assistant, Isaac Allerton, and the native Hobamock had just unlatched the door and stepped outside, leaving the two leaders to their own counsel.

The governor put a hand on his old friend’s shoulder and inclined his head towards the ladder leading to the gun deck of the fortified meetinghouse. As they climbed, the afternoon sun of a late March day shone through the observation and gun ports, in contrast to the dark room below. The light reflected off the little soldier’s shiny metal cuirass, causing the governor to blink and look away until his eyes adjusted. The captain removed his morion helmet and leaned back upon the brass five-pounder, stroking the barrel with his gauntleted hand as if it were his favorite hound.

“Doth Hobamock lie?” the governor asked.

“He doth not,” the captain answered.

“Doth the great sachem, the Massasoit lie?” The captain shook his head.

“How is it that you trust Hobamock to report to us in truth what the Massasoit told him? How do you know that the old fox has not laid a snare for us or his enemies? Both men despise the Massachusett.”

“We both know who lights these evil fires among the Massachusett, and it is not their sachem, Obtakiest. It is Wituwamat…He is a pniese, one of their magic warriors whom they say are invincible. I have seen the knives he and other pniese wear about their necks, taken from the French–knives that have killed French traders, English fishermen, and Massasoit’s people.”

“What course do you recommend?”

“Render unto me a commission to place Wituwamat’s head upon this parapet before the last frost melts, that it might be a warning and a terror to all of that disposition.”

“The yearly public court day is nigh. I will lay out the threat for the men of the plantation, but seek only a general authority for me, Allerton and yourself to do as we think fit. If blood be shed it will be upon our hands.”

The governor paused, and brought both hands to his temples, as if his head had begun to throb. “It is the Wessagussett men that have brought this down upon us. They steal victuals from the Massachusett, and treat with them duplicitously.”

“Far worse, there are some who have debased themselves to be servants among the Massachusett, selling their birthright as free Englishmen for handfuls of parched corn not worth even Esau’s pottage,” the captain added.

“Then why not send emissaries to the Massachusett, and make ourselves distinct from the men of Wessagussett?”

“That will waste time and endanger the emissaries. To them we are all Yengeese, as weak and dissolute as the men of Wessagussett. As we speak, they make canoes to attack us by both land and water.”

“Perhaps we can quickly gather up those of the Wessagussett men that are willing within the safety of these impalements,” the Governor suggested.

The captain waved his hand over the fenced-in village below them. “I designed these fortifications to withstand attack from a single tribe or a French raiding party. They will not stand against the combined nations of the Massachusett, the Narragansett, the Nauset and perhaps even some of the Massasoit’s Wampanoag. We will all perish, just as the three hundred did last year in Jamestown. Yet if I slay Wituwamat and a goodly portion of his band, their sachem may see the bad magic. If the sachem himself comes forth, I will slay him also as an example. But our purpose will be met in either case.”

“It is shameful that such blood must be shed for sheer want of Godliness among the Wessagussett men,” the governor lamented.

“They lack more than Godliness–they lack God-given wisdom, which instructs how to arrange our affairs so as to account for man’s fallen state, even here in the wilderness.”

“Seeking to replace Elder Brewster in his exhortations, are you?” The governor smiled, as if to welcome a different conversation.

“No. Let him preach the truth of scripture whilst you and I preach–and act–upon the interaction of the holy with the profane,” the captain answered. “You have strangers to your faith among you, yet there be good order in general. Why? What did you do when some expressed a desire for the unfettered freedom of the savage over well-ordered liberty, before we even set foot on this shore?”

“The Compact…” The governor began to see the captain’s point.

“Indeed…wherein we covenanted to ‘combine ourselves into a civil Body Politick’ and pledged submission and obedience to ‘just and equal laws.’ By such means were we saved from both the tyrant and the mob.”

The sun was sinking lower, and both men sensed it was time to conclude their business and return to their homes.

“How many men do you propose to take?”

“Eight…Good and stout of heart, and Hobamock, of course.”

“Eight?”

“I had considered two or three, but such a small number might presume too much upon Providence. Do you not agree?” The captain grinned from ear to ear.

“I do see that taking a multitude would leave this place defenseless. But what can eight men do in this circumstance?”

“More than a multitude, for my purposes. We are not opposing a regular army of Frenchmen, or the Spaniards I fought in the Low Countries. Did not the LORD winnow down Gideon’s host from 32,000 to 300 so the Midianites were confounded? A few good men–employing ruse, improvising and adapting to the tactics of the foe–will overcome and destroy as few of the natives as will suffice.”

“Will you go by land or water?” the governor asked, as they descended to the meeting house below.

“We will take the shallop. This will be good training for those chosen. There are entirely too many whose physick doth appear soft and womanly. We should remedy that by and by. I have been considering more drill for all of them. We are in a new land, wherein we must preserve a force in readiness to act at a moment’s notice. By land or sea. We know not whence the next danger may come, be it from savages, Frenchmen, Spaniards, or rogue Englishmen under no flag or law.”

Dusk was beginning to fall as the two men exited the meetinghouse.

“Go with God to your hearth, William.”

“The peace of God go also with you,” the governor answered, as they parted for the evening–each to his own supper.

Continue Reading at Liberty Island

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Shadows: A Danse Macabre in the African Desert

Saturday, May 24th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note:  Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandSee this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.

An Excerpt from “Shadows“:

It is the third day. Today, I am assigned to the western, or forward, antiaircraft battery. Hans has the eastern gun. Almost every third day the British have sent a reconnaissance plane toward us: our lives have become patterned around that fact. But we look ready each day.

At least, we are told it is a recon plane. Before he died, Herr Dietrich told us, “If it is a recon plane, we must do our best to knock them out of the skies. Our appearance of bloodthirsty determination will help the Britishers’ report of us.” So we wait.

The land here is mostly flat, unlike the steep hills and valleys of home, and it is also dead, unlike home when I was last there. I do not like to think of the green and slate colors all black, burnt and scarred by the Allied bombs. When the sun rises here, it sends the light running ahead of it, like pouring golden water on a dark tabletop. The nights are cold, the sunrise cool, and the largest part of the day is hot.

I wear an old Luftwaffe jacket, gloves on my hands as I sit at the controls. The leather jacket has ragged holes down one side. Within hours of the sun’s rise, I’ll be stripped to my undershirt.

Stretching night-stiffened limbs, I catch my leg against the metal frame. It is only a glancing blow, but the pain flies up through me like the red streaks radiating from my wound.

“Scheisse!” I mutter.

Gingerly, I move my leg aside. The seat of the gun is rough, better used on a farm tractor than for a weapon. Even so, to recline invites sleep. Instead, I look back over my shoulder at the camp.

The 10 or more cooking fires are lit, and Johann’s most important duty for the day has been performed. Prometheus–I call him that for the fire he brings to the British–huddles inside what would be the kitchen tent. He is wearing his cook’s uniform, easily seen from the air. He waits, as we all do, for the sound of the aeroplane. The serving tables are set; the containers half full of something like food. The wind shifts the smaller pots a bit. The occasional tinny clank carries across the empty field between us.

The massed trucks, the personnel carriers. All of this is for them alone. The tents, the fires, even the camouflage thrown over our weapon emplacements. It is for them.

I can hear it. Almost all of the noise from the engine, I was told, so little from the propeller. Sound travels as quickly as dawn sunlight in the desert, but deceives about the direction.

There it is…too distant to make out the details. But even were I to see them, I would not be able to correctly identify the craft. The type has ceased to be important. Only the circle within a circle of the British emblem interests me. It is a good target at which to aim.

High and fast it comes, staying hidden in the sky-filling explosion of the morning sun. The flight goes as others before it; we fire, the plane circles, we fire again, the sentries on the ground move about, and the English fly away with their photographs.

Continue reading at Liberty Island…

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Point Man

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note:  Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandSee this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.

An Excerpt from “Point Man“:

1944–Italy

Crack!

Before the echoes of the rifle shot died, all seven of us dropped and merged with the rocks on the dusty Italian hill. We were on the inside of a long, climbing curve and I was on the high side of the trail, up against the bank. That’s why I couldn’t see shit over the sights of my Browning Automatic Rifle–my BAR.

It was a real bitch hauling those sixteen pounds up and down these hills, but the firepower–it was a light machine gun in all but name–was a real comfort sometimes. Like now.

I eased another magazine out of my bandoleer and set it down beside the one already in the receiver–just in case.

“Anybody hit?” Sarge called.

“Dutch dropped,” Padre said. “He isn’t moving.”

Dutch Boehm was point man, the most dangerous job in a patrol file. Usually it was Padre’s, but Sarge had put Dutch there today.

“Anybody see where it came from?” Sarge was doing the next most dangerous job, calling attention to himself. I waited for another shot but none came.

“Sounded like it came from up and to the right.” Russo was tail-end Charlie. He and Dutch were buddies. We called them the Axis twins.

“Okay, take New Guy and check it out.”

“Right Sarge. C’mon.” I heard rocks and dirt kicked loose behind me as they moved out. We all waited. Flies buzzed and walked undisturbed on our faces and hands. I squinted at the narrow view of shimmering rocks, leafless shrubs, and Shitter Jones’ worn boot soles ahead.

Russo and his backup came clattering back down onto the the trail. He went over and stood near Sarge. The rest of us took that as a signal to relax–but not too much. I got up into a crouch, so I could see what was going on.

“They let out Sarge.” Russo’s words came between gasps. “Found this.”

He offered Sarge a single dull brass cartridge. Sarge rolled in in his fingers and then sniffed it. He looked at New Guy. “What about you?”

“I d-didn’t see nothing.”

“Padre, you and New Guy go up and take care of Dutch. Don’t dig him in, just cover him with rocks. Bring back his tag and personals… and his ammo.”

“Why me? I just came–” I moved up behind New Guy and put a hand on a shoulder when he started to protest. He went off muttering. Padre followed silently.

“Fifteen minutes for water,” Sarge continued. “Chick, you keep an eye out.”

Chick, that’s me. I climbed a little way up the steep bank and rested my ass against it. It was so steep, you couldn’t call it sitting. The rest of the guys moved back down the trail, where the bank made some shade, and lay down, mostly.

I fumbled my canteen from its case on my right hip while scanning the barren hills for movement. The first sip was warm and metallic tasting. I swished it around in my mouth and spat. Then I chugged a good one, wishing it was a Pabst. I looked back toward the other guys.

Sarge was way down the trail, near where the tail of the squad had been when Dutch had bought it. He was leaning over and looking at something. Then he was picking it up. Whatever it was, it was shiny.

Shitter Jones was talking to Russo. He pulled out some Luckies and traded for some toilet paper from Russo’s K-rations. The way K-rations were made, most guys got clogged up and couldn’t go to the bathroom but every three, four days. This was a good thing, because it took you that long to save up the tiny packets of paper to make a decent wipe. Most guys excepting Shitter: He was always wandering off to find a bush or rock pile somewhere, and he was always desperate for paper.

Jones moved off on another privacy search and Russo started emptying his Garrand. Click-clack. He worked the action and round sprang out. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

Unlike my BAR, the M1 Garrand rifle loads eight rounds through the top from a special stripper clip. When the last round is fired, the bolt locks to the rear and the clip springs out, You can’t reload until the weapon is entirely empty, so if you want to make sure it’s full, you have to empty it all the way first.

That’s what Russo was doing. Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack. Ping! The clip jumped out. Russo pulled a full one from his ammo pouch and slid it into his rifle. He glanced over at Sarge before bending over to pick up the loose brass.

Continue reading at Liberty Island…

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That In Those Times We Will Remember

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note:  Discover innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty IslandSee this collection of interviews and story excerpts from 22 of Liberty Island’s writers. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” An index of 8 more newly-released stories can be found here.

An Excerpt from “That In Those Times We Will Remember“:

Gentlemen, I’d like to draw your attention to this outline of the continental United States,” the old Marine began, as he put the first transparency on the overhead projector. “And this, gentlemen, is an outline of the island of Cuba drawn to the same scale,” he added, superimposing a second overlay onto the first. “As you can see, it is over 800 miles long and would run from New York City to Chicago.” He paused for effect, and then put on a third overlay. “Can you all see this little red dot?”

“Just barely. What’s tha-at?”

In the relative darkness beyond the bright overhead he couldn’t quite see who had asked, but the Cape Cod twang told him it was either the boss himself or his brother the Attorney General. It didn’t surprise him that the AG was deeply involved. After the boss had had to scrape the Bay of Pigs fiasco off the bottom of his polished oxfords, there were damn few around him he still trusted. Obviously his brother was one, and this old Marine hoped that he too was on that short list. He’d served under many men since his ROTC days at DePauw – some were pompous pinheads and some weren’t – but he genuinely enjoyed serving under this C-in-C. It wasn’t just the famous “vigah” or the fact that he had served in the Pacific. The man was a quick learner, and he needed to be that above all right now.

“I’m glad you asked. That, gentlemen, represents the relative size of the island of Betio in the Tarawa atoll. About two miles long and maybe 800 yards at its widest point. It took 12,000 Marines three days to take it. Over a thousand never came home.”

He could tell from the murmuring that they got the point. Those who wore uniforms — and those who had ever worn one — were no longer looking at the red dot. Their eyes were fixed on the little sky-blue ribbon with its tiny stars in the top row of combat decorations on his Class “A” jacket. It was a slight irritant to some of the brass, since they had to salute that ribbon even if they outranked the wearer. They all knew that his had been earned on Tarawa.

On the way back to his office he stopped by the scuttlebutt, took a bottle of his favorite APC grunt candy – Anacin – out of his pocket and washed down three pills with some water. Ever since the Bay of Pigs he’d made it his mission to protect the boss as best he could from the Langley cowboys and Foggy Bottom dilettanti who wanted to play at war, but every attempt left him with a massive migraine. He’d told them before and he knew he’d have to say it again. Either do the sonofabitch and do it right, or don’t do it at all. Quit friggin’ around. He went into his office, closed the door without turning on any bright lights, leaned back in his leather chair and closed his eyes.

Continue reading at Liberty Island…

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You Would Never Guess Which Ancient Word Processor George R.R. Martin Uses To Write Game of Thrones

Monday, May 19th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

WORDSTAR 4.0

Old school:

The next time someone makes fun of you for never updating Microsoft Word or for still typing on an old iMac, consider yourself on the cutting edge compared to George R.R. Martin.

The “Game of Thrones” author confessed to late-night talk-show host Conan O’Brien that he prefers to write his popular books on a DOS word processor instead of the latest laptop.

“I actually have two computers,” Martin told Conan. “I have a computer I browse the Internet with and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet. I use WordStar 4.0 as my word processing system.”

Respect.

The last word processor I really loved was Word 95, which IIRC was just a 32-but recompile of the previous version to run on Windows 95. It was fast, stable, not wired into the internet in any way, and it didn’t try to do anything “for” me except to format my text the way I told it to.

But WordStar? Niiiiiiiiiiiice.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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3 Bachelor Bears

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

Here is an excerpt from “The Bachelor Bears” by Dennis Maley, a clever satire inspired by Goldilocks and the Three Bears (also check out ten more stories in the contest here):

Three bachelor bears lived communally in a cabin deep in a national park. One bear was undersized, another was a middle-sized bear, and the last had been overserved. The large bear was almost too big for the front door of the cabin.

The bears had friendly relations with their neighbors, who regarded them as good-natured, harmless and reliable. They admired the resolve of the wee bear for refusing to seek compensation for his height deficiency. Their garden was tidy and won frequent awards for “yard of the month” from the homeowners association.

Each of the bachelor bears had his own bowl, carefully selected from Crate & Barrel, his own overstuffed chair, and a bed from Ikea. The wee bear’s precious belongings were small, just his size, while everything the middle-sized bear owned was middling. Imagine the size of the belongings of their oversized friend!

One day, the bears took a stroll in the park while their porridge cooled. In their absence, a woman discovered the bears’ dwelling. She was an agent of the park, selected for her uncommon ability to use verbs as nouns and nouns as verbs. She had been tasked with insuring that the strongest of the park’s denizens didn’t benefit at the cost of the weakest. “A big ask is how this cabin has avoided inquiry,” she said.

Badge in hand, she climbed the picket fence that surrounded the cabin. She approached and peeked through a window. Inside, she saw an enormous chair. “My take-away is that the size of this enormous chair is unfair!” She stamped her foot hard, which might have been painful, but she wore comfortable shoes.

Approaching the door, she tried the latch. The wide door swung open. Certain that no one was home, she walked inside.

Continue Reading at Liberty Island…

****
image via shutterstock / Mike Tan

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The Helpful iPlate of Doom

Monday, May 12th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

Here is an excerpt from “The Helpful iPlate of Doom,” a clever satire inspired by Goldilocks and the Three Bears (also check out ten more stories in the contest here):

“Can we try it, Mama, please, pretty please? All the kids at school are using it!”

“OK.” Mama Bear took her famous stew off the stove and reached for the box on top of the cupboard. The new iPlate sure looked pretty — a shiny multi-colored platter with miniature light bulbs around the edge. Best of all, as part of the new Bear Land Agricultural Needs Department initiative, every family was entitled to one for free.

“Hello. I’m an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating.”

“I’ll go first!” Jumping with excitement, Sister Bear grabbed a spoonful of meat from the stew and dropped it on the iPlate.

“Unacceptable food. Red meat: high saturated fat content. Please remove.”

“You did it wrong! Let me try!” Brother Bear removed the offending meat and replaced it with a scoop of potatoes.

“Unacceptable food. Stewed potatoes: high starch, low vitamin content. Please try again.”

Mama Bear was confused. Beef and potato stew was a family staple going back to her Russian grandparents. Why was it unacceptable? Still, the cubs were so excited about trying their new educational toy, and she did want them to learn to eat healthy…

“Maybe it doesn’t work well with homemade food. Let’s try something simple, like a banana.”

“Unacceptable food. Banana: high in sugar, promotes tooth decay.” This time, the device did not ask for another try. Instead, the light bulbs around the edge flashed red, and a different, louder voice sounded.

“You have performed three unsuccessful attempts. Please report to the nearest B.L.A.N.D. center for Food Re-education.”

“No way! I know how to feed my cubs!” Mama Bear grabbed the iPlate and turned it over, looking for a switch. “Let’s just set our normal plates for dinner.”

As soon as Mama Bear’s finger found the switch, the iPlate shook violently, slipping out of her hand.

“Hostile consumer! BZZZZZZ!” The iPlate flew in a circle around the kitchen, then aimed straight for Mama Bear, barely missing her head. “Violation of B.L.A.N.D. food guidelines in progress. Enter Emergency Response mode. BZZZZZ!”

“Cubs, get out of the kitchen!” Mama Bear yelled. Brother and Sister Bear didn’t need to be told twice. The iPlate looked terrifying, like an attacking alien spaceship from old human movies.

Continue Reading at Liberty Island

*****

image via shutterstock / Bob Orsillo

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11 Satires Exposing the Silliness of the Broccoli Police

Friday, May 9th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

1. The Helpful iPlate of Doom by Marina Fontaine

“Hello. I’m an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating.”

2. The Bachelor Bears by Dennis Maley

Three bachelor bears lived communally in a cabin deep in a national park. One bear was undersized, another was a middle-sized bear, and the last had been overserved. The large bear was almost too big for the front door of the cabin.

3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears Coffee Co. by Jack Morgan

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Progressistan, there lived a girl named Goldilocks, who was considered beautiful by the outdated standards of the white-supremacist, heteronormative patriarchy. Goldilocks lived in government subsidized housing on the edge of an enchanted forest and she would venture out into it to commune with the Earth Goddess daily.

4. Hillary Steinem: Kid Community Organizer and Detective by Dean Anderson

Knock, knock! There was a knock on the club house door. Hillary and Makayla were studying in the clubhouse Hillary’s Grandma Betty had built for her. (When Grandma Betty built the clubhouse, she made sure to follow all of the appropriate city codes and filed for all of the appropriate permits.) Hillary opened the door to see it was Billy! Billy was taking a big bite out of a very large cookie.

5. The Obedient Courage and Open-Mindedness of Healthy Herbie by Erich Forschler

Healthy Herbie and his neighbor, Selfish Face, played together in the backyard sandbox at Selfish Face’s house. “I’m gonna make a castle and then the knights are gonna have a war!” Selfish Face exclaimed. His eyes shimmered with racist hatred as he filled a small plastic bucket with sand.

6. John Henry Goes to Washington DC by Nick D’Orazio

GRANDDAUGHTER: Did Big John fight the steam drill?

GRANDFATHER: No he didn’t. He marched right up to the government and asked for unemployment. And you know what? He got it too! Because big John Henry was the best there ever was at getting things.

7. Welcome to the Club by Colin Blake

Anna and Will ran inside holding a doll and a ball respectively, not realizing what a fury that was going to cause among the literati.

8. The Emperor’s New Accomplishments by Frank J. Fleming

Long ago in a faraway land lived an emperor named Obama. He was the greatest emperor the people had ever known; everyone knew he was the smartest and the most capable emperor that had ever existed. The only problem was that he had no accomplishments to show for his greatness.

9. Johnny and Margie Meet Auntie Sam by John L. Scot

“I don’t like Aunt Samantha,” said Margie. “She’s too bossy. Why do we have to pay her tribute?”

“Because Auntie Sam gives us everything,” Vanna replied. “She pays for your education, for our medical care, for retirement, she keeps us safe, and she even tells what to eat so we can stay healthy.”

10. The Good Hood Fairy by Jack July

Once upon a time there was a girl named LaQuisha who lived in the ghetto outside of Philadelphia. She was watching TV and smiling while imagining her life as a character in an episode of the Cosby show. Her little brother was in bed and her Momma wouldn’t be home from the factory till morning. As she reached for her glass of green Kool-Aid, shots rang out from somewhere outside. She dove to the floor like her Momma taught her spilling her Kool-Aid.

11. Abuela’s Healthy Porridge by George Tobin

Ernesto and Herve laughed and held hands on the way to the house ofthe kind old woman they called “Abuela” or “Granny.” Today the growing darkness from the North seemed far away. Today was made for celebrating with whole grains and organic fruits. Today they had no concerns but to enjoy being young, Sandinista and gay.

****

image illustration via shutterstock / ORLIO    

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What Are The Best Time Travel Stories?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, crossposted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

John Boot: Time-Travel Thriller Looper Should Make Its Director a Hollywood Player

Hannah Sternberg: 5 Reasons I Don’t Want to Travel Back in Time

What pop culture questions do you want to debate and discuss? Please leave your suggestions for upcoming Pop Culture debates also in the comments or submit via email.

Updated May 9, 2014: A very helpful, thorough primer from a reader:

Hi Dave!

If you want to start with the written Time Travel Stories:

We must start with Robert Heinlein.

“By His Bootstraps” was his first attempt at a Time Travel Story.

“All You Zombies” — Classic story in only six pages. Brilliant!

His novel “The Door into Summer” —  it’s both a time travel novel AND a robot novel. (Even though “IRobot” is named after Asimov’s short story, the robots work like Heinlein’s.) Heinlein was an engineer, so his robots make more sense.

All books from “Time Enough for Love” on…(Which is really the ULTIMATE Time Travel/Parallel Timeline/Parallel Universe series.) “The Number of the Beast” anyone? ;-)

Asimov’s “The End of Eternity” is actually an alternate Timeline novel with Time Travel elements. Alternate from the Empire and Foundation timeline before he merged his robot novels into it.

H. Beam Piper – “Paratime”.  The “Federation Books” are really alternate Timeline books from “Paratime”. (Including the “Little Fuzzy” series.) (Yes, I realize that Paratime is just passing into parallel universes, but…)

“Star Trek” – numerous episodes and Movies, and when you consider that the new movies are actually in an alternate timeline. Not a “reboot”. They won me over when they mentioned “Admiral Archer”. (He’s from before the split.)

“Back to the Future” – When you think about this series, it’s really both Time Travel and Alternate Timelines.

“Doctor Who” -  I just started getting into him.

So this idea is not just Time Travel, but Alternate Timelines.

These are just the big ones.

There was the “Time Wars” novels in the 80s and 90s. I remember the author talking about that third season “Star Trek:TOS” episode with the Wyatt Earp saying that that episode was the closest anyone ever came in Hollywood to making the look of the Earp’s and Doc Holliday “Look right”.

Hope this helps.

Richard

PS The ultimate conservative science fiction books – “Starship Troopers” and H. Beam Pipers “A Planet for Texans”, also known as “Lone Star Planet”. Look it up, the paper back is only 87 pages long. A quick read. I’d like to see Glenn Beck make this one into a movie with his studio. (Piper has the BEST court room stories.)

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These Last 2 Healthy Eating Horror Stories Are the Most Shocking Satires Of All…

Thursday, May 8th, 2014 - by Liberty Island
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From “The Good Hood Fairy” by Jack July: “For the rest of the night till early in the morning, they baked pan after pan of biscuits, until the final pan was fluffy and mouth watering. LaQuisha was proud. Then the Fairy said, “Oh, honey, we ain’t done yet.”
Once again the wand was waved and the chant spoken. Sausage appeared, along with a cast iron pan. “Baby, it’s time to make some sausage gravy.”

Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

The hilarious results began with with a trio of takeoffs on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Monday3 Nanny State-Approved Bedtime Stories For Your Little Community Organizers Tuesday, and 3 more satires led by The Emperor’s New Accomplishments by Frank J. Fleming on Wednesday.

Enjoy!

Once upon a time there was a girl named LaQuisha who lived in the ghetto outside of Philadelphia. She was watching TV and smiling while imagining her life as a character in an episode of the Cosby show. Her little brother was in bed and her Momma wouldn’t be home from the factory till morning. As she reached for her glass of green Kool-Aid, shots rang out from somewhere outside. She dove to the floor like her Momma taught her spilling her Kool-Aid.

2. Abuela’s Healthy Porridge by George Tobin

Ernesto and Herve laughed and held hands on the way to the house ofthe kind old woman they called “Abuela” or “Granny.” Today the growing darkness from the North seemed far away. Today was made for celebrating with whole grains and organic fruits. Today they had no concerns but to enjoy being young, Sandinista and gay.

****

image via shutterstock / RoJo Images

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DC Vs. Marvel: Which Company Created a More Compelling Fictional Universe?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, crossposted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Who will ultimately triumph in the superhero battles to define the genre? Does Marvel with Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men set the standard? Or does DC with Batman and Superman provide a better model for aspiring comic and superhero creators?

John Boot: 5 Reasons Why Thor Is a Second-Rate Superhero Franchise

Whose heroes are more exciting? Whose villains are more frightening? Who has the greater history of storytelling success?

John Boot: The 4 Big Lies That Ruined The X-Men Movie Franchise

What pop culture questions do you want to debate and discuss? Please leave your suggestions for upcoming Pop Culture debates also in the comments or submit via email.

John Boot: 5 Lame Superhero Sequels That Should Never Have Been Made

Dave Swindle: 10 Secret Reasons Why The Avengers Is the Best Superhero Film

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Updated May 8, 2014: See Liberty Island COO David S. Bernstein’s great response here: “Marvel for the Win, Obviously.

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The Emperor’s New Accomplishments by Frank J. Fleming

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 - by Liberty Island
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“Long ago in a faraway land lived an emperor named Obama. He was the greatest emperor the people had ever known; everyone knew he was the smartest and the most capable emperor that had ever existed. The only problem was that he had no accomplishments to show for his greatness…”

Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

The hilarious results are being published over the course of a week, starting with a trio of takeoffs on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears Monday, and 3 Nanny State-Approved Bedtime Stories For Your Little Community Organizers yesterday. Enjoy! And be sure to check back tomorrow for the next batch of stories.

1. Welcome to the Club by Colin Blake

Anna and Will ran inside holding a doll and a ball respectively, not realizing what a fury that was going to cause among the literati.

2. The Emperor’s New Accomplishments by Frank J. Fleming

Long ago in a faraway land lived an emperor named Obama. He was the greatest emperor the people had ever known; everyone knew he was the smartest and the most capable emperor that had ever existed. The only problem was that he had no accomplishments to show for his greatness.

3. Johnny and Margie Meet Auntie Sam by John L. Scot

“I don’t like Aunt Samantha,” said Margie. “She’s too bossy. Why do we have to pay her tribute?”

“Because Auntie Sam gives us everything,” Vanna replied. “She pays for your education, for our medical care, for retirement, she keeps us safe, and she even tells what to eat so we can stay healthy.”

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3 Nanny State-Approved Bedtime Stories For Your Little Community Organizers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 - by Liberty Island
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From Dean Anderson’s submission to the contest: “Hillary and Makayla organized kids to protest at the Boys and Girls Club with signs like, ‘Kids deserve healthy food!’ and ‘Cookies = Cigarettes.’”

Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

The hilarious results are being published over the course of a week, starting with a trio of takeoffs on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears yesterday. Enjoy! And be sure to check back tomorrow for the next batch of stories.

1. Hillary Steinem: Kid Community Organizer and Detective by Dean Anderson

Knock, knock! There was a knock on the club house door. Hillary and Makayla were studying in the clubhouse Hillary’s Grandma Betty had built for her. (When Grandma Betty built the clubhouse, she made sure to follow all of the appropriate city codes and filed for all of the appropriate permits.) Hillary opened the door to see it was Billy! Billy was taking a big bite out of a very large cookie.

2. The Obedient Courage and Open-Mindedness of Healthy Herbie by Erich Forschler

Healthy Herbie and his neighbor, Selfish Face, played together in the backyard sandbox at Selfish Face’s house. “I’m gonna make a castle and then the knights are gonna have a war!” Selfish Face exclaimed. His eyes shimmered with racist hatred as he filled a small plastic bucket with sand.

3. John Henry Goes to Washington DC by Nick D’Orazio

GRANDDAUGHTER: Did Big John fight the steam drill?

GRANDFATHER: No he didn’t. He marched right up to the government and asked for unemployment. And you know what? He got it too! Because big John Henry was the best there ever was at getting things.

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image illustration via shutterstock /  alexsvirid

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3 Twisted Versions of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

Monday, May 5th, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Recently it came to our attention that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been dabbling in literature. In a clear sign that its 100,000 employees have far too little to do, the sprawling federal agency has issued a nauseating children’s book called “The Two Bite Club,” in which a mother cat and her adorable kittens Will and Anna learn to make federally-approved healthy food choices. According to the USDA website: “Parents or caregivers read the book to children and encourage them to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites, just like the characters in the story.”

The PDF is available here: try not to gag on your broccoli.

Naturally we viewed this as a sinister intrusion of federal power into the sphere of family life and a gross infringement on our freedom to eat Pop Tarts for breakfast and snack on salt and vinegar-flavored potato chips while catching up on Game of Thrones. American patriots bled and died to ensure these sacred freedoms. So we resisted in the only way available to us: we asked our community of writers to sharpen their pens and write their own brief satirical stories. Take that, USDA!

The hilarious results are being published over the course of a week, starting with a trio of takeoffs on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Enjoy! And be sure to check back tomorrow for the next batch of stories.

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1. The Helpful iPlate of Doom by Marina Fontaine

“Hello. I’m an iPlate, here to help you make healthy food choices. Please deposit acceptable food and wait for green light to start eating.”

2. The Bachelor Bears by Dennis Maley

Three bachelor bears lived communally in a cabin deep in a national park. One bear was undersized, another was a middle-sized bear, and the last had been overserved. The large bear was almost too big for the front door of the cabin.

3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears Coffee Co. by Jack Morgan

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Progressistan, there lived a girl named Goldilocks, who was considered beautiful by the outdated standards of the white-supremacist, heteronormative patriarchy. Goldilocks lived in government subsidized housing on the edge of an enchanted forest and she would venture out into it to commune with the Earth Goddess daily.

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image via shutterstock / Katrina Elena

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Come and Join the Adventure at Liberty Island With These 22 Exciting Writers

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 - by Liberty Island

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Editor’s Note: This is the sixth collection of interviews and story excerpts spotlighting some of the most innovative fiction writers at the recently-launched new media publishing platform Liberty Island. Each weekend we’ll expand this compilation to include the authors featured during the week. An index of 8 newly-released stories can be found here. Please check out this interview Sarah Hoyt conducted with CEO Adam Bellow here to learn more: “It also has a unique mission: to serve as the platform and gathering-place for the new right-of-center counterculture.” 

1. Mike Baron: Swimming in Scrooge’s Money Bin With Ayn Rand and Andrew Klavan

2. Steve Poling: Is Cthulhu Tastier Fried or Barbecued?

3. Will Collier: What If the Soviets Had Succeeded in Capturing a Supernatural Creature?

4. Ray Zacek: The Secret Knowledge Vs. A Lethal Elvis Cult in North Florida

5. Keith Korman: ‘I Have No Friends: I Make My Mind My Friend.

6. Abbey Clarke: A Demon’s Heart: Can Evil Incarnate Ever Find Salvation?

7. Jamie Wilson: A Gen-X Gandalf Mom Casting Thomas Sowell Spells

8. Clay Waters: ‘You Obviously Feel This Ocean Mythos Deep In Your DNA…’

9. Todd Seavey: ‘It Was Star Wars That Taught Me to Love Science, Fantasy, Music, and Capitalism Simultaneously’

10. Stephen McDonald: ‘Long-Term, I’d Like to Hire Others to Produce More Content Set in This Shared Universe…’

11. Pierre V. Comtois: Golfing on the Moon

12. Aaron Smith: ‘I Spell ‘Magicks’ With a ‘K’ to Both Confound Proofreaders and to Signify It’s Not a White-Bunny-Being-Pulled-Out-of-The-Hat Kind of Magic.’

13. Ken Lizzi: A Pulp Writer Disguised as a Lawyer Embedded in the People’s Republic of Portland

14. Ted Elrick: ‘When a Guy’s Got That Kind of Control, You Gotta Admire It.’

15. Frank J. Fleming: Who Murdered the Dinosaurs?

16. R.K. Delka: ‘I’m the Constitution, Dammit!’

17. Kurt Duncan: ‘It’s All Compulsion-To-Create Via Mathematics and Engineering. Fun Stuff.’

18. Roy Griffis: ‘An Antidote to the Nihilistic Crap That Is Being Peddled’

19. David Churchill Barrow: ‘The Smoking, Dirty, Jagged Line of Rocks on that Ridge Seemed to Mock God Himself…’

20. Michael Sheldon: What Could Be Better Than Fresh Apricots?

21. Sabrina Chase: Women Can Be Mad Scientists Too

22. Paul Clayton: ‘I Think These 3 Works Should Be Required Reading For All Young Americans…’

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