Book Review: The Brave and the Bold, Volume 3 of “The Hidden Truth”

(Previously: A review of the second book in the series, A Rambling Wreck. A bit about the first volume, The Hidden Truth, in the post The Right Sort of Reactionary Fiction)

Producing a good novel is hard. Producing a better sequel is harder (I’m in the middle of trying; trust me). While I very much enjoyed and favorably reviewed the first two books in Hans Schantz’s Hidden Truth series, it turns out the best was yet to come. The Brave and the Bold is bigger and, well, bolder. It’s a precisely aimed missile that hits its targets in the x-ring, and provides the reader a hell of a good time getting there.

The Brave and the Bold is not just an excellent continuation, it represents a big step in the evolution of the author and his Hero, Peter Burdell, now more a man than a youth transitioning to adulthood. In this third volume he operates more independently, much of the time without his friend/sidekick Amit, his mentors or his Uncle Rob to advise him. Deep in the enemy camp, he must negotiate with ambiguous allies and make big decisions on his own. The maturing of his character is deftly and subtly handled, and is one of the delights of the book.

The Brave and the Bold is beautifully crafted, bigger and longer than the first two books in the series, but a smoothly unified whole. All of us would hope that we would grow as writers over time. Schantz has grown and developed as a writer, even as his character Peter Burdell has matured. As before, there are nicely integrated bits of science and engineering and a humorous skewering of the Social Justice sacred cows of our time; but there’s an increase of seriousness, of urgency in the Brave and the Bold as Pete has to balance serious risks, the risks of working with possibly questionable allies and getting himself and those he values hurt or killed, to stop an evil organization with big plans to transform the world in a way that he and the reader would certainly find unendurable.

The bulk of the action takes place on (in)famous Jekyll Island, Georgia, where, as The Fed officially acknowledges, “A secret gathering…in 1910 laid the foundations for the Federal Reserve System.”

jekyll-map

It’s the things not on the map–the secret tunnels, the underground vaults and the…things that lie within them that made for extra fascination for this reader. There is a wondeful sense of place to the action on Jekyll Island. I presume the author must have visited and documented the setting to be able to pull this off. It’s a wonderful achievement.

jekyll2.jpg

Typical NWO Outpost

The Grand Conspiracy being hatched in this beautiful setting this time is much, much grander than a US central bank–though perhaps the Fed was just a step along the path to what the “Civic Circle” has in mind.

The battle to stop that plan from coming to fruition is a thrilling, satisfying and epic conclusion to an excellent book. Luckily for his readers, Schantz has indicated that if The Brave and the Bold gets to 100 Amazon reviews, he’ll deliver us the next volume within a year. So buy and read the book, and review it. It’s an entertaining thriller that reflects the values that (I’m assuming if you’ve read this far) you and I hold dear.

Meanwhile, I understand that Dr. Schantz is working on a popular physics book with some ideas about how to resolve the so-called “paradoxes” of quantum mechanics.

Yes, please.

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The Spanish-American Civil War

I write the day after the “epic” events of the Kavanaugh He said, She said. United States Senators minutely scrutinized a page from a high school yearbook to (supposedly) judge a man’s fitness to be a Supreme Court justice. We learned about the hippocampus, as if we were a bunch of community college freshpersons.

I didn’t watch the so-called “hearing,” saw some clips later in the day. Looked at Twitter some. It seems to me all is proceeding exactly as laid out by Mencius Moldbug and the summary in Land’s The Dark Enlightenment.

“Democracy” in the United States has reached its limits, and the same for much of the rest of the world. In Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and many other places “democracy” has not or very soon will not produce the “correct” result of Progressive Left Globalism in power, so “democracy” will have to be massaged, or kicked in the face, to ensure that it does. In the United States an important election is coming in a month, and I fully expect the Left Progressives to control some or all of the legislative branch of the national government. Indeed, such an outcome is to be welcomed. Some friends like to say the best thing about Donald Trump is that every morning is a day without Hillary as President, but the election of Mrs. Clinton would have precipitated a number of inevitabilities more quickly and perhaps less painfully; the proverbial band-aid being ripped off. Yesterday was an indication of the shape of things to come. The Kavanaugh docudrama was the next phase of the Spanish-American Civil War. Continue reading

Book Review: Love in the Age of Dispossession by Loretta Malakie

Love in the Age of Dispossession by Loretta Malakie

This is a deceptive book.

Oh, it delivers what it promises, and more, but in the beginning there’s a little essay about the decline of rural America, farm country (in this case, Upstate New York) and Le Grande Remplacement. Then for a while it seems to be a Generation X teen romance. A high school Goth girl is sitting on a park bench in a small town in Upstate New York:

“It’s 1993, and when a boy loved a girl he made her a mixtape.”

Catherine “Kitty” Burnes is an Irish-Catholic wannabe rebel who’s been accepted at Ivy League schools, but there’s a sense that Something Is Not Right with her world. The first part of the novel subtly hints at the coming troubles, the emptying and degradation of small town America and the great White die-off that would follow. But on first reading you might think it’s something else, an almost photo-realistic description of one young American woman’s life, upwardly mobile, out of the sticks and away from the hicks and on to New York City, the vibrancy and the multiculturalism and the thousand different ethnic restaurants. The media ecology around her, and us, relentlessly tells us this is what we want, the pinnacle: Freedom! Freedom from, from neighbors who know your business, your stupid high school friends and limits on your “self-expression” and, most of all, freedom to have sex when you want, with who you want, without pain or fear or guilt. By the time Kitty arrives to live as an adult in New York the relentless propaganda for Erica Jong’s Zipless F*** is well into its second generation. And instead of fulfillment, it delivers anomie.

The sequence of events here is a deadpan, devastating parody of what Cosmopolitan and Sex and the City and a score of network comedies have sold to rest of America as The Good Life: Kitty goes to Cornell, Kitty goes to Europe (though we read only the barest details of her time there), Kitty goes to New York City, Kitty goes to law school and clerks for a federal judge. And none of it satisfies or fulfills or brings any real happiness, because she’s detached, from her people and her nature as a woman. She knows something is wrong. Always something is missing.

It’s tribe that’s missing, the home ground, people who know you, knew you as a towheaded child and still see that sun-kissed hair when you pass them on the street as an adult, people who know what to expect from you. New York is the land of constant, wearing uncertainty, except for those for whom it is the home ground.

Ms. Malakie delivers a surprisingly complete and colorful picture of those for whom the city is home ground, especially the Orthodox Jews that Kitty ends up spending time with. She captures the essence of their comfort with each other and the city. For a time, during law school and after, Kitty associates with them almost as a substitute family, though eventually the inherently unsatisfactory nature of these relationships comes home to roost. The novel also has two vividly drawn, college-educated black New Yorkers and one black affirmative action nightmare. As unrepresentative as former may be of the average, they lend a certain verisimilitude to work life in the city.

The art of the book is in the building; building complexity as Kitty grows up, building realization of the existential crisis she and her people are facing. The last section, which could only be spoiled by any explicit description of events, builds toward Kitty’s realization of her true nature and of what can redeem her, and us.

The novel has some imperfections that a good editor would have caught. There is some rather heavy-handed foreshadowing earlier in the book that could have been cut, and also an instance of the third-person narrator being an “I.” There’s one paragraph that looks to have got mangled in processing. These imperfections are far outweighed by the skillful, gradual increase in tension and depth as the story unfolds, and a moving last section that delivers on the book’s premises and the promises the reader has come to expect from what came before.

Love in the Age of Dispossession subtly and movingly shows the pathologies of feminism, modernism and materialism. More importantly, it artfully discovers and describes the life-affirming alternative.

Love in the Age of Dispossession is available on Amazon

Loretta Malakie tweets @lorettatheprole

Neovictorian is the author of Sanity, a Novel.

Book Notes No. 1, July 2018

Posting here has obviously been light, lately–seven posts since February, all about books, and mostly about my book, Sanity. Others have taken care of things quite nicely in the  the politics/government/social commentary department; if you haven’t yet, do go over to Social Matter and sign up for the email list, which will get you “This Week in Reaction,” which will likely be plenty.

I’m sure I’ll do some more essays, someday. For now I’ve found my groove with books, writing them and also spending more time reading them and less on “news” and commentary. So just to keep the blog on some kind of regular schedule I’m going to do at least a monthly book post. This is No. 1. Continue reading

“The Powers of the Earth” by Travis J. I. Corcoran–a Review and an Appreciation

About a year ago I opined on The Right Sort of Reactionary Fiction here, while I was in the middle of writing Sanity. As I wrote then:

What’s needed is an interesting story and interesting characters. What’s needed is what any good novel needs, making the reader care about what happens next…What I’ve found is that if you just write the story, there are plenty of opportunities to slip the Dark Enlightenment and the Red Pill and whatever other points you want to make in as a natural part of the narrative.

I just finished Travis J. I. Corcoran’s The Powers of the Earth, and while it’s not necessarily, precisely DE/RP, it’s…a great book. It’s great as “hard” sci-fi, it’s great as satire on Political Correctness and the various idiocies of Current Year and politicians and DC and socialism. But what makes it more than good is the way these strands come together in a great, big story, a story in which the reader an hardly wait to find out what happens next.

I’ve read thousands of novels, friends. This is the Real Deal.

I’ll let the Author explain his own plot (from the Amazon description):

Earth in 2064 is politically corrupt and in economic decline. The Long Depression has dragged on for 56 years, and the Bureau of Sustainable Research is hard at work making sure that no new technologies disrupt the planned economy. Ten years ago a band of malcontents, dreamers, and libertarian radicals bolted privately-developed anti-gravity drives onto rusty sea-going cargo ships, loaded them to the gills with 20th-century tunnel-boring machines and earthmoving equipment, and set sail – for the Moon.

There, they built their retreat. A lunar underground border-town, fit to rival Ayn Rand’s ‘Galt’s Gulch’, with American capitalists, Mexican hydroponic farmers, and Vietnamese space-suit mechanics – this is the city of Aristillus.

There’s a problem, though: the economic decline of Earth under a command-and-control economy is causing trouble for the political powers-that-be in Washington DC and elsewhere. To shore up their positions they need slap down the lunar expats and seize the gold they’ve been mining. The conflicts start small, but rapidly escalate.

Yes, there will be fighting.

The thing I’d point out, though, is just how vivid are the characters. They’re masterfully built up so that shortly after the first chapters I cared about them. And some of the most interesting and memorable characters are Dogs, with a capital “D”–I won’t say too much about them, except Dogs are people too…

I am a great admirer of Robert Heinlein’s work and anyone who’s read Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress will soon realize The Powers of the Earth has some interesting echos of it. Corcoran even brings them up himself, with characters discussing TMIAHM within the book. He manages to pull off exploring some of the same themes as Heinlein, giving tribute to Heinlein but taking things in new (and often surprising) directions. This is not rehashed Heinlein, nor is it really Galt’s Gulch on the Moon–though it has some elements of Atlas Shrugged, too (especially Rand’s gift for creating Bad Guys and Gals That Work for the Government).

The Powers of the Earth is a vivid, riveting page-turner that had me caring a great deal about its characters, and what’s going to happen next. And it ends on the perfect cliffhanger…luckily the second book Causes of Separation is already loaded, so I’m going to go find out.

Richard Carroll Reviews “Sanity” at Thermidor Magazine

Richard Carroll, refined literary blogger at Everything is Oll Korrectreviews Sanity in Thermidor Magazine.

At Thermidor: “Our Aesthetic is lucid madness.” Interesting how well that does fit with one of the things I was trying to do with Sanity, explore the balance of Apollo and Dionysius, reason and ecstasy, in a well-lived life.

It’s a generally favorable review, but more important to me is that Richard took the time and had the intellectual chops to understand the book and communicate that. There’s nothing a writer wants more, deep down in his soul.

A sample:

I bring this all up because preachiness was my main concern going into today’s novel, Sanity, written by Neoreactionary blogger Neovictorian. Since I only know him through his articles and am unaware of any previous experience he may have writing fiction, I feared that his book would turn out as either a political tract thinly disguised as a story or a wish-fulfilment fantasy. Though there are NRx and broader dissident Right gang signs all over the joint, they never get in the way of the narrative and the end result is, I’m happy to say, a genuinely good novel that stands well on its own as a novel.

You can follow Richard and read his most interesting takes on a universe of topics at @CheshireOcelot

Sanity, the Paperback

The paperback of Sanity is now available. I’m with the crowd that still prefers real books–though reading on a screen has its times and places.

Turns out that preparing a book for print is far more difficult than the e-version. I fiddled with the images and the layout for days.

You’ll note there’s a different cover. Let’s not get into the technical details of that. I think it looks sort of cool and faintly menacing, though. So I’m good with it.

If Mike Hammer had a son with Dagny Taggart, he might have turned out something like Cal Adler, the hero of Sanity. Just in case you were wondering.