Protecting the competitive edge

Apple loses, E-book decision stands:

In a major decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 2-1 margin, has affirmed Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 finding that Apple orchestrated a scheme to fix e-book prices.

“We conclude that the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise e-book prices, that the conspiracy unreasonably restrained trade in violation of the Sherman Act, and that the injunction is properly calibrated to protect the public from future anti-competitive harms,” wrote Debra Ann Livingston, for the court. “Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.” Judge Dennis Jacobs, who made headlines with his tough questions at oral arguments, dissented.

In addition, the court also upheld Cote’s final injunction, rejecting an appeal by Macmillan and Simon & Schuster which argued that the final order illegally amended their consent decrees.

This is good news for independents and self-publishers, as it prevents the major publishers from ganging up against them to protect their margins.

As we’ve seen from Tor Books, some publishers believe they are too big and too important to be held accountable. But unless Citi or Goldman get into publishing, that’s unlikely to be the case.

They are the SAME war

David Brooks manages to completely miss the point in the process of recommending that conservatives simply wave a white flag in the cultural war and dedicate themselves to performing good works deemed socially acceptable:

Put aside a culture war that has alienated large parts of three generations from any consideration of religion or belief. Put aside an effort that has been a communications disaster, reducing a rich, complex and beautiful faith into a public obsession with sex. Put aside a culture war that, at least over the near term, you are destined to lose.

Consider a different culture war, one just as central to your faith and far more powerful in its persuasive witness.

We live in a society plagued by formlessness and radical flux, in which bonds, social structures and commitments are strained and frayed. Millions of kids live in stressed and fluid living arrangements. Many communities have suffered a loss of social capital. Many young people grow up in a sexual and social environment rendered barbaric because there are no common norms. Many adults hunger for meaning and goodness, but lack a spiritual vocabulary to think things through.

Social conservatives could be the people who help reweave the sinews of society. They already subscribe to a faith built on selfless love. They can serve as examples of commitment. They are equipped with a vocabulary to distinguish right from wrong, what dignifies and what demeans. They already, but in private, tithe to the poor and nurture the lonely.

The defining face of social conservatism could be this: Those are the people who go into underprivileged areas and form organizations to help nurture stable families. Those are the people who build community institutions in places where they are sparse. Those are the people who can help us think about how economic joblessness and spiritual poverty reinforce each other. Those are the people who converse with us about the transcendent in everyday life.

This culture war is more Albert Schweitzer and Dorothy Day than Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham; more Salvation Army than Moral Majority. It’s doing purposefully in public what social conservatives already do in private.

I don’t expect social conservatives to change their positions on sex, and of course fights about the definition of marriage are meant as efforts to reweave society. But the sexual revolution will not be undone anytime soon. The more practical struggle is to repair a society rendered atomized, unforgiving and inhospitable. Social conservatives are well equipped to repair this fabric, and to serve as messengers of love, dignity, commitment, communion and grace.

As Jartstar commented, Brooks wants Christians to clean up the social wreckage being caused by people who reject Christianity, but neither prevent them from causing more damage nor even teach them how to stop harming themselves and others.

Now, granted, there is a certain ironic propriety to telling people who already well accustomed to losing battles to engage in another equally hopeless one. But the fact is that conservatives didn’t have to lose those battles, they simply chose not to fight them. We could end the gay marriage battle by the end of the week if we wanted; ISIS has demonstrated that it requires little more than rooftops and gravity. That’s simply not how we prefer to operate.

Regardless, we have options that range from winning the cultural war through extreme barbarism on the one side to abject surrender on the other. And that is why everyone, even our short-sighted opponents, should hope that the civilized cultural warriors win, because if they don’t, history strongly suggests that the uncivilized cultural warriors will. The pendulum always swings back, and the further it swings one way, the harder it swings back on its return.

David Brooks fails to understand that the problems he laments can only be fixed by rejecting the ruling left-liberalism he supports and embracing a conservative philosophical outlook. But in any case, the answer is simple: no.

Rod Dreher’s response is more genteel, as you might expect, but similar:

 I don’t believe my friend David understands the inseparable connection between Christian sexual morality and the familial and social instability David rightly decries. Family and social breakdown is inextricably linked to the abandonment of Christian sexual ideals — specifically, the idea that sexual passion should be limited to expression within the bounds of marriage. Chastity — which is not “no sex,” but rather the right ordering of the God-given sexual instinct — is a Christian virtue. It is not the most important Christian virtue, but it is not one that can be discarded, either.

Anti-Confederate, pro-Islamic State

Walmart endorses ISIS:

Given the many national chains that stopped selling confederate flags after the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre, Chuck Netzhammer couldn’t have been too surprised that Walmart denied his request to create a cake bearing the image of the confederate flag.

But a day later, Netzhammer decided to put the store’s convictions to the test.

He said he submitted another cake request to the Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana, on Friday — this time with the Islamic State flag on top.

Surely a no-no for Walmart, yes?


To Netzhammer’s shock, Walmart put together the cake with the Islamic State flag.

The USA is obviously well into the “decline” part of “decline-and-fall”.

UPDATE: Walmart regrets being caught out and YouTube tries to help them cover it up:

“Our talented bakery associates take pride in what they create for our customers. It’s unfortunate one customer thought to take advantage of an associate who did not know the flag and its meaning,” said John Forrest Ales, a spokesman for Walmart. “This cake should not have been made, and we apologize for the mistake.”

At 10:15 p.m. ET Monday, the video was removed from YouTube with the statement, “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.”

An early SF gatekeeper

One wonders how many more excellent SF juvenile novels Robert Heinlein might have written for Scribner had it not been for his editor Alice Dalgliesh’s determination to meddle, in true SJW fashion, with the political ideology expressed in Red Planet. This was the first serious crack in the relationship between Heinlein and Scribner’s, which eventually culminated in Scribner’s rejecting Starship Troopers for publication. From Grumbles From the Grave.

April 19, 1949: Robert A. Heinlein to Alice Dalgliesh

The manuscript of Red Planet is being returned, through Mr. Blassingame.

You will find that I have meticulously followed all of your directions, from your letter, from your written notes, and from your notations on the manuscript, whether I agreed with them or not. I have made a wholehearted attempt to make the changes smoothly and acceptably and thereby to make the story hang together. I am not satisfied with the result, but you are free to make any additional changes you wish wherever you see an opportunity to accomplish your purposes more smoothly than I have been able to do.

Most of the changes have been made by excising what you objected to, or by minor inclusions and variations in dialog. However, on the matter of guns, I have written in a subscene in which the matter of gun licensing is referred to in sufficient explanatory detail to satisfy you, I think.

The balance of this letter is side discussion and is in no sense an attempt to get you to change your mind about any of your decisions concerning the book. I simply want to state my point of view on one matter and to correct a couple of points….

You and I have strongly different evaluations as to the best way in which to handle the problem of deadly weapons in a society. We do not seem to disagree in any important fashion as to the legitimate ways in which deadly weapons may be used, but we disagree strongly as to socially useful regulations concerning deadly weapons. I will first cite two points which sharply illustrate the disagreement. I have one of my characters say that the right to bear arms is the basis of all human freedom. I strongly believe that, but you required me to blue-pencil it. The second point concerns licensing guns. I had such licensing in the story, but I had one character strongly object to it as a piece of buttinsky bureaucracy, subversive of liberty—and I had no one defending it. You required me to remove the protest, then build up the licensing into a complicated ritual, involving codes, oaths, etc.—a complete reversal of evaluation. I have made great effort to remove my viewpoint from the book and to incorporate yours, convincingly—but in so doing I have been writing from reasons of economic necessity something that I do not believe. I do not like having to do that.

Let me say that your viewpoint and evaluation in this matter is quite orthodox; you will find many to agree with you. But there is another and older orthodoxy imbedded in the history of this country and to which I hold. I have no intention nor any expectation of changing your mind, but I do want to make you aware that there is another viewpoint that is held by a great many respectable people, and that it is quite old. It is summed up in the statement that I am opposed to all attempts to license or restrict the arming of individuals, such as the Sullivan Act of the State of New York. I consider such laws a violation of civil liberty, subversive of democratic political institutions, and self-defeating in their purpose. You will find that the American Rifle Association has the same policy and has had for many years.

France had Sullivan-type laws. When the Nazis came, the invaders had only to consult the registration lists at the local gendarmerie in order to round up all the weapons in a district. Whether the authorities be invaders or merely local tyrants, the effect of such laws is to place the individual at the mercy of the state, unable to resist. In the story Red Planet it would be all too easy for the type of licensing you insist on to make the revolution of the colonists not simply unsuccessful, but impossible.

As to such laws being self-defeating, the avowed purpose of such laws as the Sullivan Act is to keep weapons out of the hands of potential criminals. You are surely aware that the Sullivan Act and similar acts have never accomplished anything of the sort? That gangsterism ruled New York while this act was already in force? That Murder, Inc. flourished under this act? Criminals are never materially handicapped by such rules; the only effect is to disarm the peaceful citizen and put him fully at the mercy of the lawless. Such rules look very pretty on paper; in practice they are as foolish and footless as the attempt of the mice to bell the cat.

Such is my thesis, that the licensing of weapons is subversive of liberty and self-defeating in its pious purpose. I could elaborate the arguments suggested above at great length, but my intention is not to convince, but merely to show that there is another viewpoint. I am aware, too, that even if I did by some chance convince you, there remains the unanswerable argument that you have to sell to librarians and schoolteachers who believe the contrary.

Heinlein knuckled under, but he was not happy about it. He was so unhappy about the forced change that he even tried to get Scribner’s to put Dalgliesh’s name on the cover as Red Planet’s co-author, but the publishing house refused, as they believed it would hurt sales.

May 9, 1949: Robert A. Heinlein to Lurton Blassingame

As to the name on Red Planet ms., no, I’m not adamant; I’ll always listen to your advice and I’ll lose a lot of sleep before I will go directly against your advice. But I feel rather sticky about this point, as I hate like the deuce to see anything go out under my own name, without even sharing responsibility with Miss Dalgliesh, when said item includes propositions in which I do not believe. The matter of style, plot, and the effect on my literary reputation, if any, I am not adamant about, even though I am not happy about the changes—if you say to shut up and forget it, I’ll shut up. It’s the “Sullivan-Act-in-a-Martian-frontier-colony” feature that I find hard to swallow; from my point of view I am being required to support publicly a doctrine which I believe to be subversive of human liberty and political freedom.

The whole situation bothered Heinlein so much that when Dalgliesh’s successor pitched Heinlein on returning to Scribner’s, Heinlein flat-out refused to work with them again. Which is not terribly surprising, considering how he took the rejection of Starship Troopers, which involved not only the entire editorial board, but Charles Scribner himself.

“I do not know as yet whether I will do another juvenile book or not. If I decide to do another one, I do not know that I wish it to be submitted to Scribner’s. I have taken great pride in being a Scribner’s author, but that pride is all gone now that I have discovered that they are not proud of me.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


Ginger on June 29, 2015 at 8:54 am said:

With respect to controversy, need I
mention that people are still arguing over the Original Controversy? The
novella that is still published as “Genesis”, in which the main
characters are created from “earth” — clearly science fiction, come on —
and so on; the schisms created by the warring camps has only grown
greater with the centuries since its publication. In contrast, Gilgamesh
was completely overlooked, probably because it was mis-labeled a saga
and not best novel; there may also have been some anti-Ur sentiment
floating around. And what has ever been nominated out of the Aztec, or
Pueblo/Hopi/Zuni, or indeed, any of the native North American
traditions? They’ve clearly been completely blocked off by a shadowy

That made me laugh out loud. What has ever been nominated out of the Aztec, or
Pueblo/Hopi/Zuni, or indeed, any of the native North American

The eminent Hugo Awards historian Mike Glyer knows: “I have it on the highest authority that the answer is Vox Day.”

And speaking of shadowy cabals, I owe my record-setting two Editor nominations to the whining machinations of one Patrick Nielsen Hayden. After he was publicly crying about how he “acquired” not one, but THREE of 2006’s best novel nominees and still didn’t win Best Professional Editor, the Worldcon voters magically created a new award he could win.

In a post to his own weblog, Scalzi expresses regret that I personally didn’t make the “Best Professional Editor” ballot, despite the fact that I acquired three out of the five Best Novel nominees and personally shepherded two of them to publication. This is generous of John, and I wouldn’t have declined the nomination, but in fact as every book editor in our field knows, while the Best Professional Hugo is regularly awarded to high-profile magazine editors and anthologists, it only goes to book editors if we die. It’s for this reason that there’s a pending proposal to split the editorial award into “long form” and “short form” categories; whether this will be ratified by this year’s Worldcon Business Meeting is anyone’s guess. Personally, I note that David Hartwell has been a finalist for Best Professional Editor 15 times, leaving aside his 17 further nominations for the New York Review of Science Fiction, and that he’s never won a Hugo of any kind. Pretty shabby treatment for an individual who is by any measure one of the best and most influential editors in the eighty-year history of our field. Whether or not the World SF Convention decides to reform the editor award, it’s years past time one went to Hartwell. 

And the “reform” came to pass, the Best Tor Editor award was duly created, and the awards went to: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, David Hartwell, David Hartwell, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden for the first four years before the two of them took themselves out of the running long enough to let four-time second-place finisher Lou Anders win. But two wins in four years wasn’t enough for PNH, as he threw his hat back in the ring to collect a third one in 2013.

Clearly it’s just CRAZY to observe the existence of a Tor cabal. It’s entirely obvious that they won the Locus Award for Best Publisher for the last 27 straight years through nothing but hard work and consistently publishing bad-to-reprehensible books.

No return

It’s no wonder conservatives are reliably losing when you consider how long they have enthusiastically accepted their enemies as their “opinion leaders”:

A Conservative commentator has tearfully urged the Republican Party to accept gay marriage to prevent the party becoming a “relic”. Speaking in an interview with CNN shortly after the historic Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage was handed down on Friday, S.E. Cupp was moved to tears as she explained gay people just wanted “the human dignity the rest of us have”.

If you want to win, stop paying any attention whatsoever to ideological enemies simply because they put on your jersey and claim to be one of you while arguing the opposite of your opinions and rejecting your beliefs. 

If people want “human dignity”, then they need to earn it by behaving in a dignified manner, not by throwing “pride” parades and behaving like pagans.

And as a general rule, don’t listen to anyone who substitutes tears for rational argument. That’s the lowest and least intelligent form of rhetoric. Accepting the gay agenda has already made relics of the Anglican and Episcopalian Churches. Following suit will do the same for the Republican Party. And it will do the same for the United States of America.

The USA has observably made its choice. It has abandoned faith in God for trust in the god of this world and prince of this age. And once faith has departed from a nation, it seldom returns, as Juan Donoso Cortés observed in his speech to the Spanish Parliament on January 4, 1849.

There are only two possible forms of repression: one internal and the other external; religious repression and political repression. They are of such a nature that when the religious thermometer is high, the thermometer of political repression is low; and, when the religious thermometer low, the political thermometer—political repression—tyranny is high. That is a law of humanity, a law of history. If you want proof, Gentlemen, look at the state of the world, look at the state of society in the ages before the Cross; tell me what happened when there was no internal repression, when there was no religious repression. That was a society of tyrants and slaves. Give me the name of a single people at this period which possessed no slaves and knew no tyrant. It is an incontrovertible and evident fact, which has never been questioned. Liberty, real liberty, the liberty of all and for all, only came into the world with the Savior of the world; that again is an incontrovertible fact, recognized even by the Socialists.

Gentlemen, I beg you to pay attention; I am going to present you with the most marvelous parallel which history can offer us. You have seen that in antiquity, when religious repression couldn’t go any lower because there was none, political repression rose until it couldn’t go any higher, because it went all the way up to tyranny. Very well then, with Jesus Christ, where religious repression is born, political repression completely disappears. This is so true, that when Jesus Christ founded a society with His disciples, that society was the only one which has ever existed without a government. Between Jesus Christ and His disciples there was no other government than the love of the Master for His disciples and the love of the disciples for their Master. That is, that when the internal repression was complete, liberty was absolute.

Let us pursue the parallel. Now come the apostolic times, which I shall stretch from the time of the Apostles, properly speaking, to the period when Christianity mounted the Capitol in the reign of Constantine the Great. At this time, Gentlemen, the Christian religion, that is, the internal, religious repression, was at its zenith; but in spite of that, as always happens in human societies, a germ began to develop, a mere germ of license and religious liberty. So, Gentlemen, observe the parallel: with this beginning of a fall in the religious thermometer there corresponds the beginning of a rise in the political thermometer. There is still no government yet, for government is not yet necessary; but it is already necessary to have the germ of government. In point of fact, in the Christian society of the time, there were no real magistrates, but there were adjudicators and arbitrators who form the germ of government. There was really nothing more than that; the Christians of apostolic times engaged in no lawsuits and never appealed to the Courts: their disputes were settled by the arbitrators. Notice, Gentlemen, how the scope of government is enlarged with the growth of corruption.

Then came feudal times. Religion was still at its zenith during this period, but was vitiated up to a point by human passions. What happened in the political sphere? A real and effective government was already essential; but the weakest kind was good enough. As a result, feudal monarchy was established, the weakest of all kinds of monarchy.

Still pursuing our parallel, we come to the sixteenth century. Then, with the great Lutheran Reformation, with this great scandal which was at the same time political, social and religious, with this act of the intellectual and moral emancipation of the peoples, we see simultaneously the growth of the following institutions. In the first place, and immediately, the feudal monarchies became absolute. Gentlemen, you believe that a monarchy cannot go beyond absolutism: what can a government be beyond absolute? However, the thermometer of political repression had to rise even higher, because the religious thermometer continued to fall: and the political thermometer did in fact rise higher. What did they create then? Standing armies. Do you know what standing armies are? To answer that question, it is enough to know what a soldier is: a soldier is a slave in uniform. So you see once again, when religious repression falls, political repression rises, it rises as high as absolutism and even higher. It was not enough for governments to be absolute; they asked for and obtained the privilege of having a million arms.

In spite of this, Gentlemen, the political thermometer had to continue to rise because the religious thermometer kept falling; it rose still higher. What new institution was created then? The governments said: We have a million arms and it is not enough; we need something more, we need a million eyes: and they created the police, and with the police a million eyes. In spite of this, Gentlemen, the political thermometer and political repression had to rise to a higher pitch still, because in spite of everything, the religious thermometer kept falling; so they rose higher.

It was not enough for the governments to have a million arms and a million eyes; they wanted to have a million ears: and so they got them through administrative centralization, by means of which all claims and complaints finally reached the government.

Well, Gentlemen, that was not enough; the religious thermometer continued to fall and so the political thermometer had to rise higher. And it rose. Governments said: A million arms, a million eyes and a million ears are not sufficient to repress the people, we need something more; we must have the privilege of being simultaneously present everywhere. This privilege also they obtained: the telegraph was invented.

Such, Gentlemen, was the state of Europe and the world when the first rumblings of the most recent revolution told us all that there is still not enough despotism on the earth, since the religious thermometer remains below zero. And now the choice between two things lies before us.

I have promised to speak today with complete frankness and I shall keep my word.

Well then, it’s either one of these two: either a religious reaction will come, or it will not. If there is a religious reaction, you will soon see that as the religious thermometer rises, the political thermometer will begin to fall, naturally, spontaneously, without the slightest effort on the part of peoples, governments, or men, until the tranquil day comes when the peoples of the world are free. But if, on the contrary, and this is a serious matter (it is not customary to call the attention of Consultative Assemblies to questions of this nature; but the gravity of events today is my excuse and I think that your benevolence will also excuse me); I say again, Gentlemen, that if the religious thermometer continues to fall, I know not whither we are going. I do not know, Gentlemen, and I shiver when I think of it. Consider the analogies I have put before your eyes; if no government at all was necessary when religious repression was at its zenith; when religious repression is no more, no type of government will be enough—all despotisms will be insufficient.

This is putting one’s finger into the wound, Gentlemen—this is the problem which faces Spain, Europe, humanity, and the world.

Notice one thing, Gentlemen. In the ancient world, tyranny was fierce and devastating; and yet this tyranny was physically limited, since all States were small and international relations between them all were completely impossible; consequently tyranny on the grand scale was impossible in antiquity, with one exception: Rome. But today, how greatly are things changed! The way is prepared for a gigantic, colossal, universal, and immense tyrant; everything is ready for it. Gentlemen, observe that there are no physical or moral resistances anymore—there are no physical resistances anymore because with steamboats and railroads there are no borders any longer; there are no physical resistances anymore because with the electric telegraph there are no distances anymore; and there are no moral resistances because all wills are divided and all patriotisms are dead. Tell me, therefore, if I am right or wrong to be worried about the near future of the world; tell me whether, in dealing with this question, I am not touching upon the real problem.

There is only one thing that can avert the catastrophe—one and only one: we shall not avert it by granting more liberty, more guarantees and new constitutions; we shall avert it if all of us, according to our strength, do our utmost to stimulate a healthy reaction—a religious reaction. Now is this possible, Gentlemen? Yes, it is. But is it likely? I answer in deepest sorrow: I do not think it is likely. I have seen and known many men who returned to their faith after having separated themselves from it; unfortunately, I have never known any nation which returned to the Faith after having lost it.

Animal Firm

Rand Paul observes some legal rights are more equal than others:

While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract.

The Constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue. Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not to Washington, D.C.

I’ve often said I don’t want my guns or my marriage registered in Washington.

Those who disagree with the recent Supreme Court ruling argue that the court should not overturn the will of legislative majorities. Those who favor the Supreme Court ruling argue that the 14th Amendment protects rights from legislative majorities.

Do consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults? Supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision argue yes but they argue no when it comes to economic liberties, like contracts regarding wages.

It seems some rights are more equal than others.

I think Friday’s Supreme Court decision was the biggest step the USA has taken towards theocracy in some time. I already converted from pure abstract libertarianism to National Libertarianism some time ago for purely practical reasons; events had made it sufficiently obvious that the abstract position simply could not function in the real world.

Now I find myself wondering if even this more practical and pragmatic approach is logically consistent with real-world human behavior. It may be that if John Adams is correct and there is no system of government that can survive an insufficiently moral people, what the progressives think of as a linear progression will turn out to be even more cyclical than I had imagined. We know, per Cicero, that democracy leads to aristocracy. But does cultural degeneracy precede theocracy? Or is it simply the decline into low paganism that I have anticipated?

White Christian conservative attachment to the Constitution and traditional American ideals such as representative democracy are consequences of their deeper attachments. Once those connections severed, they are simply a larger, more dedicated, more effective, and better-armed group playing the game of power. I tend to doubt post-democracy is going to be all that those celebrating it now believe it will be.

Coming to a nation near you

Greek shuts down its banks:

Banks in Greece and the country’s stock exchange will be shut all week in a sign of the deepening financial crisis. The drastic move comes after people rushed to withdraw their cash amid panic ahead of the referendum on bailout terms. Under the controls, there will be a daily €60 limit on withdrawals from cash machines, which will reopen on Tuesday.

Any fractional-reserve system is doomed as soon as people realize that there are more claims on each piece of paper than can be exercised at any given time. As with everything they do, the banks took something that worked, more or less, and pushed it well beyond the breaking point.

It was eye-opening when I realized that the “ten-percent” reserve system about which we’d learned in college was actually a “less-than-one-percent” reserve system. That was the point when I realized that the global financial system was bound to fail eventually; it simply doesn’t have a sufficient margin of error for predictable events, such as the Greek inability to continue servicing their external debt, much less genuinely unexpected and exogenous shocks.

As awful as bail-ins sound, they are actually much more fair than bail-outs. After all, whether you realize it or not, your “deposits” are actually unsecured loans you have made to the bank. Why you would want to make such a high-risk loan to such an irresponsible borrower without collateral or much in the way of interest is, of course, your business.

UPDATE: It’s official. Greek default tomorrow:

Greece will not pay a 1.6 billon euro loan installment due to the
International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, a Greek government official
confirmed on Monday, highlighting the depth of the financial crisis
facing the country.

This should help settle the debate. The answer is “deflation”.

Hugo Recommendations: Best Short Story

This is how I am voting in the Best Short Story category. Of course, I offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 386 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. “Turncoat”, Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  2. “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  3. “On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)
  4. “A Single Samurai”, Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books)

Best Novel
Best Novella
Best Fan Writer
Best Related Work

The Village of Light

We were at a baptism today, conducted early in the morning at a nearby lake. It was expected to be a fairly private affair, with only a few friends and family present, but about a dozen strangers were there, including one very old man styling in a three-piece suit and fedora with a cane and a waist-fob on his vest.

Afterwards, the old man commented, “magnificent, magnificent.” And when I expressed my surprise at the presence of him and the others from the community who didn’t know the individual being baptized, he gestured around us to indicate everyone present. “Ah, but we are the Village of Light,” he said.

We will survive this present darkness. We know how the story ends.