Sanction, the Book: A Novel of Our Time, of the Neoreaction, of the Future

Sanction, Book I by Roman McClay

Sanction is, simply put,  the most wondrous work I’ve read in many years. There are wonderful scenes, ideas, visuals, touches, and as a writer myself, I wonder at the work the author did to pull it off. At well over 400,000 words this indeed an epic–and only the first volume of three.

As I outlined in a previous post, I had wanted to write a novel most of my life, and was inspired to finally do it by a tweet asking “Who will be the Tom Wolfe of the Neoreation/Red Pill?” Amusingly, the product turned out to be only mildly “NRx” but I liked it and Sanity has sold well (by my standards) and gotten good reviews.

With Sanction, Roman McClay has indeed written the “NRx/RP” novel of our time, without, I suspect, even trying.

roman

Roman McClay

If we’re to try and place this novel in a genre, it’s science fiction, but science fiction that constantly strains at the usual definitions and genre tropes. Set in a time period of “Present Day/2018” through approximately 2040, most every chapter contains a scene from now/near term, a scene from somewhere in the middle of this time period and a scene from farther on. Because of this structure,the reader is very much in the dark about what’s going on in the beginning, but each chapter flashes another facet of the story into the reader’s mind, another clue on how it all fits together; but be warned, this is not a light read, a straightforward exposition of a single idea, an entertainment. This is more like reading Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (or in a lighter vein, my own “non-linear time sequence” book). Sanction requires investment from the reader.

I don’t know if describing the plot, as such, would give you any useful take on what the book is about, but but the basics are: Lyndon James MacLeod, a true Alpha Male and supremely strong independent Man, has endured a great many things in his life, betrayal and insults and theft of his property, that an Alpha would, until modern times, have responded to with proper and necessary violence. Lyndon takes it all and moves on, starts over building new businesses and romantic relationships, until one day (for reasons you’ll have to read to find out), he decides enough is enough, and systematically and indeed, artistically, eliminates 46 of the individuals who thought they could get away with fucking him over. Confined to prison for life, he becomes the subject of a genetics project/experiment that has, let’s say, unintended consequences, at least for the Governor of Colorado, a scientist/entrepreneur who set the project in motion. The fact that the project is run by two what might be described as, well, humanoid/android “runaway” AIs is not exactly coincidental. There’s more, so much more than this mere sketch to Sanction, but I call it science fiction in the sense that it explores the radical, world-shaking changes that AI and nanotech and cloud connectivity directly to the brain are going to bring–in fewer years than you may believe.

Much of the story is told through lengthy internal dialogues by a variety of characters, often reflecting on the NRx/Red Pill themes: The modern suppression of male energy, government as Daddy, feminism’s poisoning of sexual relations and marriage through “liberating” women to have sex with who and when they want, the stupefaction of the general population by “the media,” and Human Biodiversity, the natural and well-known differences between races and sexes, the natural clannishness of humans versus the fantasy of Neoliberal, Universal WoMan. All of these and much more are explored here, the deracinating and dehumanizing effects of modernity laid bare. There is also speculation and discussion about what it will take to break out and break free of these disasters–and more than discussion. The reader gradually comes to realize that the startling events set in the future are part of a plan to do just that.

And, there’s the language. Aside from ideas, visions, intelligent speculations on the future of mankind, Sanction is a massive prose poem, a soaring flight of mood and light and color, especially color, reflected off of a thousand polished facets, showing the events of the book from different angles, again and again.

Sanction is truly a great book, physically heavy, and heavy with ideas and dense, amazing language. I don’t recommend it unless you commit to reading the whole thing, though. This journey is not for the faint of heart. I’m glad that this Book I is only the beginning.

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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.

“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

Some Background on Sanity – the Novel

I’m pleased and grateful for the comments and feedback I’ve received on Sanity so far. I thought a bit of background on the origin, the sources and the writing process would be interesting to some readers. Just a taste, though. As with a woman, mystery about the thing is vital to continuing interest.

Like many of you I’ve been an avid reader from the beginning, that is from the earliest days I can remember learning to read. Anybody who has read a good book and has a spark of creativity has thought about writing one themselves, how it gets done and what it takes, the time and the struggle. I remember when I was 15 talking to a woman at our church who had published several successful “Young Adult” books: “I have so many good ideas for books!” She just smiled and said: Continue reading

Review: “A Rambling Wreck” – Book 2 of The Hidden Truth by Hans G. Schantz

I’ve had a deep fascination with “hidden truths” as long as I can remember. Conspiracies, secret societies, smoke-filled back rooms, intelligence agencies, etc., etc. I believe I was 11 when I found None Dare Call It Conspiracy in Grandpa’s bookshelf; perhaps not old enough to really understand it, but old enough to be interested and to look in the encyclopedia for the persons and entities mentioned there for follow-up research.

After that there were the spy novels of Ian Fleming and others, then I got into the JFK conspiracy books when I was 14…may adventures with that are described in my piece Occam and Me on JFK and 9/11. In conjunction with my reading on the UFO phenomenon:

It was a slow-motion mystical journey similar to the quest for the Great White Whale, a quest for the Key to Everything “they” had been withholding from “us” over the whole history of the Republic, the real meaning of the symbols on the dollar bill and the goings-on in Ivy League secret societies and the Jekyll Island Duck Hunt and, probably, the aliens on ice at Wright-Patterson.

While I may have concluded that Lee Oswald, Lone Gunman, shot JFK, that didn’t take away from a whole lot of other interesting things. Not all the good conspiracies are true; but some of the best of them are in fiction…

Now comes Hans G. Schantz with his “The Hidden Truth” series. I mentioned it in my post The Right Sort of Reactionary Fiction last summer, but at that time I hadn’t read the second volume, A Rambling Wreck. Now I’ve read it twice. And not only is it a fun and entertaining read, it’s also practical; a practical manual for flying under Big Government’s radar and infiltrating, undermining and ratfucking Social Justice Warriors. What could be more fun than that?

Since his debut in The Hidden Truth our hero Peter Burdell has grown up, a lot. Losing your parents to government assassins will do that. But Peter is also trying to ace (or at least pass) his classes in his freshman year at Georgia Tech, infiltrate the power elite (The “Civic Circle”) and the burgeoning SJW movement at Tech. Also, earn some money working in a lab. Also, possibly, meet a nice girl.

You do need to read The Hidden Truth to understand what’s up in A Rambling Wreck, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Just buy them both! Hell, at the same place you can buy Dr. Schantz’s awesome book on ultrawideband antennas.

But back to the specific book at hand, A Rambling Wreck. Why should you buy and read it?

It’s fun, it’s well written, it’s just plain good science fiction and it satisfies. Also, it’s a practical guide to understanding, infiltrating and grandly screwing with college SJWs. After you’ve read it, buy a copy (of both volumes) for your friends and children at school! Buy copies for younger kids, too. These books show how young people should conduct themselves with honor and perseverance, and not through preaching, but through example.

Anyway, as I said, our hero has grown up quite a bit in the course of the two books. There is some mild profanity and a singular use of the ‘f-word” and the sexual content is a little more advanced, but it fits with the arc of the story appropriately. In fact something I particularly like is how Peter is tepid about “Gaming” girls and leans toward finding himself a more serious, committed and deeper relationship.

One last note: There are several sections of the book with discussions of physics that are not going to be easily digested by the “casual” reader. They’re important to the plot and belong. If you can’t shut out the buzz of stupidity around you for a few minutes and buckle down to some deeper thinking, well, you haven’t Become Worthy quite yet.

Think. Deeply.

And buy and read A Rambling Wreck.

Steelmanning Liberalism (I)

I’ve loved the term “steelmanning” ever since I first read it, somewhere in Slate Star Codex. Scott Alexander seems to have used the term many, many times and I don’t know exactly in which piece I first saw it, but credit where credit is due.

I was reminded of it again a few days ago when the estimable Geoffrey Miller pointed out that Conor Frieders… okay, I don’t want to get into that, or him. Let’s just leave it that the tweet inspired me to at last begin a post I’ve been contemplating for some time:

Steelmanning Liberalism

As to what liberalism is, what it is exactly that we’re steelmanning here, let’s refer to La Wik, for its universalism (heh):

Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation

I’m sure that my target demographic here experiences a certain distaste, perhaps even physical revulsion to “Liberalism” because for the discerning, the term conjures up images like this:

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Or perhaps this:slt

These are the seeming fruits of liberalism, and by their fruits ye shall know them; all of us experiencing sanity feel a natural and healthy revulsion at such things. But let’s be honest. These are the strawmen of liberalism, or, perhaps one could say, merely the products of mental illness. What are the very best arguments for liberalism? What are the Steelmen?

I identify four, in descending order of importance:

  1. Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely destructive war between nation-states
  2. Liberalism prevents or makes very unlikely civil war within nation-states
  3. Liberalism in general prohibits and discourages the killing of individual humans
  4. Liberalism provides the maximum opportunity for individual humans to develop their “human potential”

Today, we focus on (1). Obviously if this were true,  it would be a powerful argument that everyone, everywhere should adopt a liberal political system. War does not further good “reactionary” values like strong families with a committed father and mother in their complementary roles, like subsidiarity, like voluntarism and local control and craftsmanship. War produces single moms and orphans, national emergency governments running roughshod over all forms of local outlook and control, the involuntary military draft and mass production of material that is not for construction and admiration but for the express purpose of destruction and dealing death.

The notion that “Democracies don’t fight each other” was expressed by George W. Bush in 2004 and by his almost equally liberal predecessor Bill Clinton in 1994, but as helpfully pointed out by the BBC:

Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace, [was] published in 1795. Kant’s theory is that democratic leaders are restrained by the resistance of their people to bearing the costs and deaths of war. And a democratic culture of negotiation and conciliation, plus the hurdles to taking swift action, favours peace.

For simplicity we here use “democracy” and “liberalism” interchangeably. In Current Year, all significant “liberal” regimes are democracies, whether parliamentary or American-style, and all actual “democratic” systems (those with voting and a regular, peaceful transfer of state power) are considered “liberal” under the definition above. The fact that a number ill-liberal nations hold sham elections is, in itself, significant. The fact that many “democracies” still have (powerless) monarchies is irrelevant. Luxembourg is as cute as a button; we will discuss it no further, unless it goes to war.

Now, it’s possible to dispute whether, in fact, liberal regimes or democracies have never, ever, gone to war with each other; the Guardian provides a helpful summary of possible exceptions. The best the good Professor could come up with was the (maybe, possibly) the War of 1812 and the Peloponnesian War.

Athens’s attack on Syracuse refutes the hypothesis, yet it is questionable whether the Athenians knew that Syracuse possessed a democratic polity or whether the rule of democratic peace applies to ancient warlike republics.

Color me unconvinced. One could argue that the US-Mexican War of 1846-8 qualifies, but the Mexican government in 1846 wasn’t liberal, or indeed outside of Mexico City much of anything but a mess. So I’m not buying. Some fools try to claim that Hitler was “elected” (he was appointed Chancellor). Germany was a democracy in 1933. Anyone want to make the case that it was still in 1939?

The American Civil War of 1861-5 belongs to Part II.

Liberalism has, arguably, been around as an important idea since Locke and other thinkers of the 17th century (see Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle for a great fictional treatment of the era). Modern liberal political regimes have been around since 1776. They have steadily increased in numbers since then, and they’ve not gone to war with each other. If all nation-states were liberal in construction, war would be extinct, or very, very rare.

This is the most important fruit of liberalism.

Consider it Steelmanned, Part I.