Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The New Dragon Awards - Vote for Good Guys!

The New Dragon Awards

Exciting news! We have some familiar names nominated for the Dragon Awards!

DragonCon is a huge mult-genre fan convention that has run every year in Atlanta, Georgia since 1987. They have gamers, bookworms, comic geeks, fans of all sorts and they bill themselves as "the largest multi-media popular convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy,gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!" I'm not sure what their exact attendance was last year, but I know it was more than 60,000!

NEW this year are the Dragon Awards which are fan nominated and voted. Anyone can vote - it's free! This is a great opportunity to give some recognition to some of our lesser known, independent, and politically incorrect writers. And a way to strike back at the SJWs who have taken over the Hugo Awards. Voting closes at the end of this month so act soon. You will need an email address to register, then they send you a ballot.

Here are the nominees. There are 15 categories. I am highlighting the ones I am a familiar with (and striking out known SJWs - I'm just mean that way).

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CLFA August Book Bomb

Wrap up summer with some reading suggestions from the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance in their new book bomb! Last month they featured 20 books, and this month they have 20 more.

The new list includes some familiar writers:

Hard Bite by Anonymous-9, one of our AoSHQ authors, is about "A paraplegic serial killer whose daughter was killed in Los Angeles by a hit-and-run driver now targets the guilty for murder with the help of a pet monkey."

Night Machines by Kia Heavey is a distinct change of pace from her cat adventure Domino. It's a paranormal thriller where dreams turn to nightmares: "It’s not really cheating if it’s only a fantasy … right?"

Two of these books we featured recently:

Freedom/Hate by Kyle Andrews is a YA dystopian thriller. Here's the tag line: "Everything they say on the news is a lie. To question that lie is a crime."

On Different Strings: A Musical Romance by Nitay Arbel is a star-crossed romance that I happen to be reading right now (expect a review soon). "Penniless Texan guitar goddess teaches British engineering professor. Hearts beat in harmony. The world has other ideas."

Speaking of books I am reading, I am also in the middle of this very intriguing alternate history mystery: The Hidden Truth: A Science Fiction Techno-Thriller by Hans G. Schantz - "They subverted science, rewrote history, and corrupted society. Now he knows. And he’ll prove it, if they don’t kill him first."

Deserving special mention are the two non-fiction books on the list:

American Warfighter: Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq, 2003-2011 by J. Pepper Bryars is about "The untold acts of valor by some of America’s most highly decorated combat veterans, the brotherhood they shared, and the fighting spirit that kept them alive through the war’s darkest hours."

Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan is generating a lot of controversy in liberal circles. "An unlikely duo goes up against town hall and the ALA when they discover lewd goings-on in their local public library."

Check out the complete CLFA Book Bomb list here.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Devil's Pleasure Palace by Michael Walsh (Guest Review by JTB)

The Devil's Pleasure Palace :
The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Encounter Books ()
ISBN-13: 978-1594037689
Kindle: 2936 KB
Publisher: Encounter Books (August 11, 2015)

Available on Amazon

Two Centuries of Unacknowledged War

I've mentioned The Devil's Pleasure Palace before as a reader rec and it was selected as our Goodreads group read this month. Reader and AOSHQ regular JTB likes it a lot and, happily for me, agreed to do a review. Here's what he thinks of the book:

This is a book about an enemy whose roots reach back over two centuries and a war it has waged almost as long. The purpose of the war is to undermine and destroy Western civilization. And that war has led to the death of tens of millions, has almost completely ruined one continent, and threatens to subvert the qualities of this country that made it a beacon of hope and prosperity. If this sounds dire and extreme, it is not. The author describes how all of this came about and more.

In "The Devil's Pleasure Palace" Michael Walsh gives an overview of the rise of atheistic communism and its offspring, Critical Theory. In brief (very brief), the founders and current practioners believe they can replace God the Creater with man the creater. In their arrogance they are convinced they can create perfection from their own imperfection. That they are God. But since they cannot simply say "Let there be light" and have it happen, they must use other means to achieve their goals: deceit, subversion of standards and reality , and ultimately violence.

One of the Left's most potent weapons is to control language, both as a means of accurate expression and as a way to perceive our world. If the individual cannot express and defend their morality or even trust their senses, they are open to the lies and manipulation of evil. They have lost the means to evaluate or even question anything. Whether that comes in the form of Satan's temptation of Eve, Mephistopholes' deceit of Faust, or the claims about global warming (whatever they are at the moment), the common element is to use language to subvert and ruin. If that isn't enough, the Left will turn to threats ("Want to keep your job? Better stop asking questions."), scorn ("Are you really that stupid?"), and violence ("I keyed your car because your bumper sticker offended me." "I need some muscle over here.").

I have no problem with Walsh's examples or conclusions. They are timely and accurate. But he weakens his own book in several ways. His references to classic literature and myths are on target but they go on too long. That distracts from the message of the book. He spends way too much time dealing with opera and other music, his area of expertise, as a means of demonstrating how the culture has been subverted. I happen to be familiar with his examples and agree with them, but, again, they distract more than illustrate.

Walsh is a devout Catholic and ascribes many of the evils to a literal Satan which will lessen his insights to some readers. I am not formally religious in any way but had no problem with his interpretation. If it bothers the reader, treat it as a metaphor. The source of the evil may vary but the motivations and results are the same. The one area I wish Walsh had emphasized more is the importance of the individual in society. Possibly the greatest benefit of the Bible, the Enlightenment, and the US Constitution is to extol the importance of individuals in a society. That's why the 'rugged individualism' of this country is targeted by the Left ("It takes a village". "You didn't build that".) to be subsumed by a governmental socialist leviathan.

I hope people will read "The Devil's Pleasure Palace". Walsh's description of the motivations of the Left and the tragedies that have resulted are accurate. His examples are timely, pertinent and understandable. For those points alone, it is worth the time.

Reviewed by on

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Today in History

The Battle of Tenaru

Today in 1942, the 1st Marine Regiment repulsed a major Japanese land attack in Tenaru, Guadalcanal in the first victory on land against Japan in World War II. It was the first of three major Japanese land offensives in Guadalcanal and a major morale boost to our troops. It was proof, finally, that the Japanese were beatable.

We talked about the Pacific War, and Medal of Honor Recipient John Basilone, in a recent post about Escape from Davao, so today I thought I'd talk about another Guadalcanal hero. The Battle of Tenaru is featured briefly but as a major plot point in the 1945 movie Pride of the Marines. The movie is a bio-pic of Philly native Al Schmid. It's based on the book Al Schmid, Marine by Roger Butterfield, sadly now out of print.

The movie starts with Al (played by John Garfield), a regular Philadelphia steel-worker, who enjoys his independence. His friends set him up with Ruth (Eleanor Hartley) who he falls for after she enjoys a hunting trip with him. But the war interrupts, and Al gets shipped to Guadalcanal, where he performs truly heroically.

The real story is awe-inspiring. Pvt. Schmid was the assistant gunner in a three man crew under Cpl. LeRoy Diamond, with Pfc. Johnny Rivers as gunner. They crewed a water-cooled 30 caliber M19171A Browning heavy machine gun. When the Japanese attacked that night, their goal was to cross the Ilu River in order to retake Henderson Air Strip. Cpl Diamond's crew was entrenched on the west bank of the river, directly in their path. Pfc. Rivers was killed early in the assault and Schmid took over firing and reloading under Cpl. Diamond's direction, who had been wounded in the arm. The Browning's water jacket was hit and Schmid kept firing despite it getting red-hot, using short bursts to prevent jamming. A Japanese grenade hit their position, wounding Schmid in the arm and face and blinding him. Now blind, Schmid resumed firing the Browning guided by Diamond's voice.

When the battle ended, 200 dead Japanese soldiers were in front of the Browning's position. For their extraordinary actions. Schmid, Diamond, and Rivers were awarded the Navy Cross.

The movie shows the battle action briefly but effectively, with extreme technical accuracy. It then focuses on Al's return home, struggling with his disability. He doesn't want Ruth to know he's almost completely blind and tries to break up with her. This part of the movie has been described as gut-wrenching and the denouement as truly inspiring.

One of the overlooked gems of Hollywood's vintage films, if you ever happen across this movie, be sure to watch it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Couch Potato: Amazon Pilot Season - Comedy: The Tick, Jean Claude Van-Johnson, I Love Dick

Amazon Unveils Three Hilarious New Comedy Pilot Shows. WATCH AND VOTE!

Amazon Studios already has another batch of TV Pilot episodes for us to watch (for FREE) and vote for. Remember, only shows with the most votes will get a green light, so if any of these seem the least bit interesting, watch them soon and take the survey.

The Tick

The Tick is back! Peter Serafinowicz (who was hilarious as the amorous Aldo in Spy) plays the beloved goofy blue-suited hero The Tick.

From the show's blurb:
In a world where superheroes have been real for decades, an accountant with mental health issues and zero powers comes to realize his city is owned by a global super villain long-thought dead. As he struggles to uncover this conspiracy, he falls in league with a strange blue superhero, who may or may not be a figment of his own imagination...

Jean-Claude Van Johnson

The premise of this show is that Jean-Claude Van Damme, the actor (now retired), is a real-life undercover black ops contractor (now also retired and very rusty). Of course something pulls him back into the game. The show pokes a lot of fun at Hollywood (including how PC it is) and Van Damme has a lot of self-deprecating humor. Action fans should definitely check it out. I know I will.

From the show's blurb:
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN JOHNSON stars global martial arts & film sensation Jean-Claude Van Damme playing "Jean-Claude Van Damme", a global martial arts & film sensation, also operating under the simple alias of "Johnson" as the world's best undercover private contractor. Retired for years, a chance encounter with a lost love brings him back to the game. This time, he'll be deadlier than ever. Probably.

I Love Dick

Two words: Kevin Bacon.

That's enough to make me watch this pilot. Which is fortunate, because the blurb doesn't make it sound that appealing to me, frankly. Read for yourself:
Adapted from the lauded feminist novel, I LOVE DICK is set in a colorful academic community in Marfa, Texas. It tells the story of a struggling married couple, Chris and Sylvere, and their obsession with a charismatic professor named Dick. Told in Rashomon-style shifts of POV, I LOVE DICK charts the unraveling of a marriage, the awakening of an artist and the deification of a reluctant messiah.

I am a fan of Kevin Bacon, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best here.

Happy Watching, and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Release: Trump the Press by Don Surber (Guest Review by Angie)

Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race.

Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform ()
ISBN-13: 978-1533360199
Kindle: 1346 KB
Available on Amazon and CreateSpace.

Not Just For Trump Supporters

In Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race, internet blogger and former newspaper man Don Surber collects and analyzes the New York/DC media "Smart Set's" hilariously wrong predictions regarding Donald J. Trump's foray into the 2016 Republican primary. The genesis for this expose came when Surber, who served as an editorial writer and columnist for 30 years at the Charleston Daily Mail before retiring, became concerned about responsible media coverage during this current election cycle. Surber recognized early on Trump's shrewd political instincts when most others were writing his candidacy off as a long shot and concentrating on tabloid-style rumors about Trump rather than on his presidential qualities.

The book is written in a humorous and fast-paced style. Surber divides the subject matter, covering the entire 2016 primary process from Trump's announcement to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, into 47 short chapters each dealing with a specific theme the pundits deployed against Trump to predict his demise, with chapter titles such as "Peak Trump," "An Army of Vincent Canbys" and "Journalists Against News." Every "name" pundit makes an appearance, with one, Nate Silver, warranting his own chapter ("Nate Silver Tarnished"). Along the way Surber, like a Greek Chorus, offers his analysis on how the Smart Set failed so miserably in their assessment of Trump. For example, this a passage discussing The Washington Post's Jules Witcover's dismissal of Trump as a candidate:

"Only someone as entrenched in the federal government (as Witcover became after decades of covering Washington) would dismiss Trump's forty years as a chief executive officer as making him 'conspicuously unqualified' to become president, especially while a community organizer with less than a term in the Senate sat at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office."

As much as a the book is a fun vindication for Trump supporters, a person need not be one to appreciate it. It is a valuable record of how the so-called experts and opinion-makers stubbornly remained out of touch with the concerns of middle America, insisting on their "setting the narrative" even while Trump continued to prosper during the primary. It is also a good collection to have at hand as these same experts and opinion makers deploy the same tactics against Trump in the general election.

Currently, Surber is making a "sneak peak" of one of the best chapters in Trump the Press, "Peak Trump," available for free at his blog.

Trump the Press is available for purchase on Amazon and CreateSpace. (Purchases from CreateSpace provide a larger royalty for Surber.)

Reviewed by

Angie is a The Crawdad Hole stalwart and the co-host of the new Blog Talk Radio Show Crawdad Crew. Follow her funny and fearless Twitter feed here.