The Iron Way: A Narrative of Crisis by John Solomon Bain

Some books entertain, and some make you think about something in a new way.

Some resonate, inject the mind with a bit of the truth that you never would have been gifted with, had you not read that book. And this is a very individual thing; a given book might be life-changing for me, but leave you wondering what the fuss is all about.

John Solomon Bain’s The Iron Way: A Narrative of Crisis resonated with me. Before I get into it, it’s important to note that Bain has recently read my book Sanity, and engaged with it at Man With a Purpose. As he said there:

Note: this is not a review. I don’t write reviews. This is a response. I don’t bother writing about books that aren’t worth reading.

I like the way he puts it. This, too, is not a review, but a response.

The Iron Way depicts a man, today, here in Current Year America, a man with the proverbial Wonderful Life. Material abundance, a good and loving wife, children, health. Yet, like many of us (for this is me, too) he has the feeling that:

[T]hings are not quite how they ought to be. But ultimately I am powerless to change the cosmic tide. The world is broken, and has been since the days of our sire. Even in ancient times you had writers like Hesiod who thought he lived in a fallen time, and looked back into the mists of legend and dreamt of a time when mortals lived freely with the gods.

It is a feeling, then, that men have had for a very long time, perhaps since they became men, as such. And yet, with universal literacy and technological change and the “easy life” we know now, the feeling only seems to have gotten stronger. When necessity and duty and tradition were the powerful principles governing human action there was little time for worry about whether things were as they ought be be, except for aristocratic intellectuals who could read and had time on their hands.

We are all, in effect, intellectuals now.

The narrator of The Iron Way “weep[s] for the stupidity of my existence” even as he drives to his beautiful home and his patient, loving wife, or to his professorship at the university, the work that he desired and strove for so many hours and years to obtain. Yet, at work he cannot really be himself, concealing his truths in conversations with politically correct colleagues. When and where can a man “be himself,” now, hunter, warrior, conqueror, killer? Not at university, almost nowhere in our unisex, equality-obsessed society.

But a man can write. There is one place, still, we’re truly, totally free; in our minds and in the words we write. Perhaps those words are not all for publication, but some of us burn to let the words out, and burn to share some of them, the right ones, with the world. The Iron Way is a book of the banality of modernity, of being a man in a feminizing culture, but at the root it’s a book about writing, the agony and the ecstasy of it.

I sit there, staring numbly at the cursor in the blank document for several minutes, My mind keeps wandering to the game I want to play. I wish I was more driven. I feel and overwhelming need to write that haunts me day and night, and has my entire life. I wake up in the middle of the night with fear of things left unwritten.

I feel the Dionysian spirit for a moment. The room begins to fade from consciousness as I write in a state of feverish madness. Time slips away. As I slide into the act of creation, I approach the Real.

The narrator talks elsewhere about his efforts to live the hard life, living in the woods like Thoreau, lifting heavy weights, but the real hard life, and his purpose, is to write.

There have been many good novels that explore the idiocies of modernity, the cancer of feminism, the crisis of “manhood,” but few have explored the writer, the writing life and why we do what we must do, as well as The Iron Way. There are other themes and nuances that I’ve not touched on here, but enough of writing about a man writing about writing. I invite you to read for yourself.

Inadvertent Hot-Tubbing With Hot Stewardesses: A Tale

I’m all for palate cleansers, so I hereby offer the world this story.

Many years ago, I’m traveling on business and staying at a nice hotel, a cut above where I usually stay in this particular city.

After an evening workout, I shower and am toweling off when I notice a door with a sign that says “Spa.” I open it and there’s a bubbling hot tub, empty. Without much thought, I walk over, get in and relax. I’m used to my athletic club, which has separate facilities for men and women, and this is a nice hotel, right?

I’m just starting to really zen out, floating in that hypnagogic state the hot water and bubbles induce, when I hear a noise behind me, a door opening. I hadn’t really noticed that door.

Three women come in, beautiful women. In bikinis.

They settle in next to each other on the other side of the tub. I play it cool, the bubbles thankfully conceal everything, so to speak. For the first time, I notice a small sign on the wall: “Swim suits required in spa.” Seriously, had not noticed it before.

The three hotties start speaking German, I gather that they’re Lufthansa flight attendants. I know a few words of German. They’re mostly talking about guys. I close my eyes and sink down until my chin is touching the water. I’ll wait them out.

There is no alternative.

They gabble and giggle on and on. I start to get hot. I would definitely be getting out now if they weren’t there. Finally there’s some splashing. I open my eyes to a slit and see three lovely pairs of German buttocks exit the hot tub. They come around behind me and I prepare to spring up and out and into the men’s locker room as soon as possible.

The door doesn’t completely close. There are footsteps coming from behind.

Two beautiful Japanese women come into sight, yeah, I can tell Japanese from Chinese and Korean, okay? One of them, thankfully, goes to the bubbler timing dial and turns it back to 60 minutes. They get in. Unlike the Germans, they look at me and smile. I smile back, nod. I know Japanese like it hot, and like staying in the hot water for a long time…

I remember a Kung Fu episode where David Carradine survives like a week in some kind of prison hot box. I close my eyes and imagine coolness, cool, cool water, iced drinks, glaciers…the Japanese women are JAL stews, I gather. They speak to each other softly. After a long ten minutes or so, one of them says something that I gather translates into, “Look at the time, we gotta go!” I open my eyes just in time to see two lovely Japanese asses leaving the spa. When I hear the door click shut it takes me approximately .5 seconds to get back in the men’s locker room. I’m bright red, and my hands and feet really do look like prunes. There’s no one else around, and I grab a fresh towel and sit on a bench, and laugh. And laugh some more.

After this, I always read the signs.

The End.

 

 

The Women in My Books

A few readers have commented that there are sure a lot “superwomen” in my two books, Sanity and Reality. To me, this is a matter of statistics.

Imagine the best female athlete in your high school that was also big, 5’10 to 6’2 maybe. May have been a volleyball player, track and field, softball. Fast and strong. Depending on how big your school was, she may have been, let’s say, a “1 in 1,000.” She trains some martial art or another, for fun, and by 18 is good, black-belt level as a floor. She also has an IQ 145-150.

Now, she may be “high-T” for testosterone, but maybe not, too. Some women of this description that I have known were more feminine in the facial features than others, with corresponding body fat differentials. But a certain percentage are simply, beautiful women. Of course, the n-value is small. Two of the four or five in my lifetime.

(By the way, the others, the more “masculine,” often have attractive faces and bodies and personalities, as well. It’s all ranges, man).

There are three women that fit this description in my books, (although one is only 5’2). They would probably make it through, say, Army parachute school or male Marine boot camp. I don’t really think they’d make through the SEAL course or Army Ranger school. Such women do exist, and they are perhaps 1 in 100,000 or 1,000,000.

I don’t believe it too far of a stretch to think that such a woman might also have a strong sex drive and enjoy sex a great deal. Or even be a kind of sex magick goddess (the 5’2 one).

Well, okay that last is a stretch too far, but only there did we really veer into fiction. I’ll just say: Maureen Calhoun and Emma (LNU) do exist in the “real world,” embody qualities and actions that I’ve seen and heard and done. These traits were never, perhaps, combined in quite this way, but if not to create unique new beings (“characters”) and have them speak convincingly to each other, what the hell is an author good for?

 

 

A Good Dose of Reality

My novel Reality has been out on Kindle for a week, and I’ll have the print version posted by tonight. I’m happy to note how many people asked for a hard copy.

The book is a “follow-up” to Sanity–not exactly a sequel, but given the fragmented style of the whole enterprise, I’d say it fits together with the first book like one of those puzzles where various odd shaped pieces of wood combine, with some difficulty, to form a sphere.

The background of the ideas that set this whole thing off is here, from April 2018:

Anyway…as described here I read a tweet where someone asked “Who is going to be the Tom Wolfe of the Dark Enlightenment/Red Pill?” and I’ve been searching for it for awhile to give credit where credit is due, but I think I finally figured out why it couldn’t be found, because the account has been suspended. @TitusAvenged RIP:

Just promised to do this. Been preparing for it all my life, or since I found out Mommy was lying when said girls like “nice boys,” anyway. https://t.co/TH5E5Lf1mZ

— neovictorian23 (@neovictorian23) January 25, 2017

So, it took a year to write a little bitty 68,000 word novel. How did it actually get done? I had some memory tickling me, of Isaac Asimov’s Murder at the ABA, A Puzzle in Four Days and 60 Scenes. I’ve always dreamed about writing something in the style of Illuminatus!, a whole book where the time line is shattered and then scattered, over and over (I think a guy named Joyce got there first). So no, I don’t have an outline. I’m going to write 60 scenes and they’re going to be temporally shuffled, and they’re going to be DE/RP and they’re going to be entertaining as hell.

You’ll have to judge for yourself, how it all turned out.

Book News: Sanity and Reality

My new novel Reality will be released in one week, on January 15. As of today, my previous book Sanity is available in the Kindle edition for $0.99.

Reality is not exactly a “sequel” to Sanity. As those of you who read the first book know, it’s not a straightforward exposition of events, which are offered up in “non-linear time sequence,” with years of unknowns in between.

Reality fills in some things, but…there are still large gaps of years in which we don’t know what happened. However, the relationship between Cal Adler and Lisa Hart is moved forward. A bit.

Here is a taste of Reality:

  1. 12 years ago, San Francisco International Airport, California, March 31 4:11 pm

I halt a good 50 yards down the terminal from the counter of the German airline that has the 7:15 flight to Copenhagen and slide left until I’m in the partial cover of the partition that marks the end of the section. I’m traveling light—three days of clean clothes, one dress shirt and tie, one pair of black leather loafers in the small carryon suitcase and a pair of hiking boots on my feet. If we have anything more formal to do we’ll just have to buy me a suit.

I like not knowing what this is about, what’s going to happen; “to retrieve something of great value.” I’m going to try and identify whoever I’m meeting before they see me, though I know that’s probably impossible. They must know who I am, what I look like, and I know nothing. Also, I’m six-five and easy to spot from a distance.

There aren’t a lot of people in my field of view, and instead of focusing on anyone or anything I let my vision blur a little and take in the whole, the gestalt of the scene, the two dark blue uniforms behind the ticket counter, the short line of people waiting with their suitcases next to their feet. In the open area behind the queue ropes, to the right, there are 4, 5, 6 shapes walking quickly, airport gait, toward me on their way to security.

There’s a figure, just one, in my ganzfeld that’s not doing airport things—standing in the far corner of the terminal, beyond the ticket counter and next to the exit doors. I let my vision sharpen again, until he comes clear, and although at this distance he looks the size of a toy soldier across a room I can see him looking straight at me.

I chuckle at that, the element of surprise lost but it was fun playing, and come out into the open, wheeling the suitcase behind me. I don’t look at him or head directly toward him, of course, but quarter away right, toward a line of seats along the back wall facing the ticket counters. They’re completely empty and I grab one in the middle, open my backpack and take out a copy of Buchan’s The Power House that I picked up for a quarter at the Palo Alto used bookstore. I figure it will be a few minutes before the contact man comes, so I forget about him and start in reading. And the first thing I read is:

I suppose that the explanation is that the world is full of clues to everything, and that if a man’s mind is sharp-set on any quest, he happens to notice and take advantage of what otherwise he would miss.

I read another page and glance up, and he’s just walking past, not looking at me, a medium height black man wearing black rimmed scholarly eyeglasses and an untucked light blue dress shirt that does a poor job of concealing his massive chest and shoulders. He’s got a gray windbreaker draped over his right arm. He sits to my left with one empty chair between and tosses the windbreaker on it, looks at his watch, and looking straight ahead at the ticket counter says, “The package is under the coat. I’m going to forget it when I get up in a minute, then come back for it. I’ll drop it in your lap and no one will be able to see it on the surveillance cameras.”

He sounds like a Brit, Oxford accent, and I’m surprised for just a second, then he turns slightly, looks me in the eye and smiles.

“I’ve known Jim White for a long time. He’s a bit of a trickster. Better button up your arsehole, young man.” I’m a little startled by this and he laughs softly at my expression.

“Go to the men’s and open the envelope in a stall. Don’t worry, it won’t self-destruct.” He laughs again, genuinely amused, gets up and moves off to the left. I pick up Buchan and get back to reading. After another page and a half, I catch a flash of blue in the corner of my eye.

“Pardon me,” he says, picks up the jacket and a thick envelope, the same color as the jacket, falls into my lap. I read for another 30 seconds, close the book on it and put it back in the pack.

Book Review: A Moon Full of Stars by Jon Mollison

A Moon Full of Stars (2017)

Good works of art always contain some combination of the expected, and the surprising. Too little of one or the other and the work becomes boring, or incoherent.

One of the charms of Jon Mollison’s novel A Moon Full of Stars is the use of some familiar post-apocalyptic science fiction tropes in the opening, followed by some unexpected twists that show the reader things were not as they seemed. When marauders raid a small, peaceful farming village, two of the young men, Rome and Warsaw, are out hunting and avoid capture–and events are set in motion that will radically change the future history of Earth, and the Moon.

This is the kind of book where much more description of the plot would certainly spoil the surprises, so I’ll leave it at that; but I especially enjoyed the mental power or “psi” aspects of the book, something that I weave into my own fiction.

The fighting/combat scenes are well-done, and the descriptions of “mental combat” are, too. As an admirer of the great E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series I felt like the author hit just the right notes here.

A Moon Full of Stars is fun, and it satisfies. It contains a few typos which detracted from my reading not at all. It takes a place of honor in the “PulpRev” movement (note: Mollison is included in this PulpRev Sampler) and I heartily recommend it to readers who like action, adventure and pleasant surprises.

the green new deal

I very rarely reblog. This is too brilliant not to. Also, follow @0x49fa98

Zero HP Lovecraft

Author’s note: if you are having suicidal thoughts or feelings, do NOT read this. Get help. I am completely serious. Go here instead: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


The first time I saw a Greenlight pod in person was yesterday. It was glossy white with an eye-catching vertical green stripe, cool pine tree green, subtly illuminated by inset LEDs. There was a portrait on the side of it at eye level, a pretty blonde woman holding a young boy, smiling down at him, tranquil and content. The boy had brown hair, and he was also smiling, warm pink cheeks, blue eyes. The woman looked a little like me, like she could have been my cousin. Underneath the portrait was a single Helvetica block cap word: HOPE.

I was on my way home from work and I passed through a public square next to my bus stop. There was a busker playing a guitar, and…

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