Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Today is the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

Say something logical today in his honor.

h/t Mark Shea



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Them Dang Commies

In case anyone thinks Francis is breaking new ground.

h/t Mark Shea
Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man's needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things, which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man's needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor.
-- S. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, II-2 Q 66 Art 7, resp.
Secundum autem naturalem ordinem ex divina providentia institutum, res inferiores sunt ordinatae ad hoc quod ex his subveniatur hominum necessitati. Et ideo per rerum divisionem et appropriationem, de iure humano procedentem, non impeditur quin hominis necessitati sit subveniendum ex huiusmodi rebus. Et ideo res quas aliqui superabundanter habent, ex naturali iure debentur pauperum sustentationi. 
No wonder the Moderns were so anxious to get rid of Natural Law! Thomas goes on to say:
Since, however, there are many who are in need, while it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to the aid of those who are in need. Nevertheless, if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another's property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.
Sed quia multi sunt necessitatem patientes, et non potest ex eadem re omnibus subveniri, committitur arbitrio uniuscuiusque dispensatio propriarum rerum, ut ex eis subveniat necessitatem patientibus. Si tamen adeo sit urgens et evidens necessitas ut manifestum sit instanti necessitati de rebus occurrentibus esse subveniendum, puta cum imminet personae periculum et aliter subveniri non potest; tunc licite potest aliquis ex rebus alienis suae necessitati subvenire, sive manifeste sive occulte sublatis. Nec hoc proprie habet rationem furti vel rapinae. 
Hence, Jean Valjean was guilty of no sin when he stole a loaf of bread to feed the children of his widowed sister, though the secular state (with the post hoc blessing, we assume, of Ayn Rand) chased him his entire life.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Journeyman: In the Great North Wood

Formerly entitled "On the Shore of the Unquiet Sea." Okay, so TOF finished the novella, weighing in at just over 40 kilowords and has sent it over the aether to ANALOG, where its fate abides. We shall see how it turns out.

The opening scene was posted earlier and remains substantially the same. Now for your delectation (or whatever), no less than the second scene!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

News from the Front

Things tend to get noticed only when Americans or perhaps other Westerners get affected. ISIS had killed over 2000 Syrians in the six months prior to executing a Western Journalist and no one in the West seemed to notice. Recently the Kingdom sentenced a man to 1000 lashes for running a liberal website. The site did not even defame Islam. He is unlikely to survive that many lashes. Yet there was the Saudi representative marching in Paris shoulder-to-shoulder with Putin's guy and others in support of freedom of speech. You can cut the hypocrisy with a knife.
 
In recent news from the various fronts:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Startling Proposal

Top panel of three, see first link. Year axis in on bottom panel.
The suggestion has been made that predictions made by scientific studies be checked against Actual Results in what TOF joshingly refers to as "The Real World™." A band of intrepid researchers have compared the actual rates of glioma to the rates expected by the seminal Swedish study linking them to cell phone use. The graph to the right covers non-Hispanic white males from 1992/97 to 2008. Corrections were made for the delay of onset. The results are discussed less dauntingly here.

As we can see, the rate of gliomas has remained essentially unchanged even while cell phone use was skyrocketing. The exponential curve is where we would expect to find glioma rates if we took the predictions of the Swedish study as, well, predictions.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Seven Widows


By popular demand, an excerpt from an unfinished story: The Seven Widows appears on the Preview Page for a brief time. It is planned as a telling of the search by a mixed crew of shadows, hounds, and scholars for the Vestiges once held by the Gayshot Bo in the Secret City of Dao Chetty.

Faint beneath the crimson sky twilight bells do peal
Midst ruins where their echoes plaint:
We were real, we were real, we were real. 
As once they were, when life enfleshed these bones
And they fared forth to find what stars conceal.
– Méarana Harper, Bailéad an Domhain Terra.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Science Marches On

TOF first ran across the notion of humans in America prior to the American Indians in a fiction! It was "Beringia," a 1990 story by Poul Anderson in his Time Patrol book The Shield of Time. It follows Wanda Tamberly, a time patrolman who has been studying this pre-Indian people (and has grown attached to them) when a band of Indians finds its way across the Bering Land Bridge. They bully the indigenous people (because they can. They are technologically more advanced.) But even when they don't, they over-awe the natives. But they also fear the native's powers of magic. After all, they are in their country and feeling very insecure, having fled their own land. Everything hits the fan, there are causal loops, and the time patrolman has to salvage her own reputation, too.