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.

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?

 

 

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.

Sanity, a Novel, With Corrections and Price Reduced(!)

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the completion of Sanity, I’ve republished both the Kindle and soft cover versions with (almost) all the typos corrected. A paragraph that was mysteriously missing from the Kindle version has been restored.

Also, price reduced! The Kindle is now $2.99 American, and the soft cover is now at $7.99. If you haven’t read it yet, carpe diem.

I’d like to thank all the people that have bought and read the book so far, and especially those who reviewed it. A couple of samples: John Walker at Fourmilab:

This is an engaging and provocative mystery/thriller which will resonate with those who identify with the kind of heroic, independent, and inner-directed characters that populate the fiction of Robert A. Heinlein and other writers of the golden age of science fiction. It speaks directly to those sworn to chart their own course through life regardless of what others may think or say. I’m not sure the shadowy organisation we glimpse here actually exists, but I wish it did…and I wish they’d contacted me. There are many tips of the hat here to works and authors of fiction with similar themes, and I’m sure many more I missed.

John also generously provided a list of typos…

Richard Carroll, “Examining Neovictorian’s Sanity” (heh):

Though fairly short, Sanity is difficult to summarise because it’s one of the fastest-paced books I’ve ever read. Chapters are seldom more than a few pages long, and every one skips to a new time or location with something significant happening in all of them.

I’m also very appreciative of readers who contributed one of the 11 (so far) Amazon reviews.

Go check it out. Sanity for Kindle. Sanity soft cover.

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.

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

Richard Carroll Reviews “Sanity” at Thermidor Magazine

Richard Carroll, refined literary blogger at Everything is Oll Korrect, reviews Sanity in Thermidor Magazine. (Update February 2019–Thermidor is No More, the review is now posted on Richard’s site).

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