There Will Be War: History’s End

Created by the bestselling SF novelist Jerry Pournelle, THERE WILL BE WAR is a landmark science fiction anthology series that combines top-notch military science fiction with factual essays by various generals and military experts on everything from High Frontier and the Strategic Defense Initiative to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It features some of the greatest military science fiction ever published, such Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” in Volume I and Joel Rosenberg’s “Cincinnatus” in Volume II. Many science fiction greats were featured in the original nine-volume series, which ran from 1982 to 1990, including Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Gordon Dickson, Poul Anderson, John Brunner, Gregory Benford, Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, and Ben Bova.

25 years after the end of the Cold War and the publication of the ninth volume, Dr. Pournelle has revived his classic science fiction series with Castalia House. THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X, History’s End, continues the tradition of combining top-notch military science fiction with first-rate real-world analysis by military experts. The Cold War may have ended, but as recent events everywhere from Paris to Syria have demonstrated, war has not.

THERE WILL BE WAR Volume X is edited by Jerry Pournelle and features 18 stories, articles, and poems. Of particular note are “Battle Station” by Ben Bova, “Flashpoint: Titan” by Cheah Kai Wai, “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke, and the eerily prescient “The Man Who Wasn’t There” by Gregory Benford. Volume X also includes timely essays on “War and Migration” by Martin van Creveld, “The 4GW Counterforce” by William S. Lind and LtCol Gregory A. Thiele, USMC, and “The Deadly Future of Littoral Sea Control” by CDR Phillip E. Pournelle, USN, which was awarded the 2015 Literary Award by the Surface Navy Association for “the best professional article in any publication addressing Surface Navy or surface warfare issues.”

The 414-page paperback is now available for $17.99 from Castalia Direct or $19.99 from Amazon.

In other Castalia House news, the new case laminate hardcover edition of John C. Wright’s instant classic AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND is now available for $24.99 from Castalia Direct or $27.99 from Amazon. This is an epic collection of four of John C. Wright’s brilliant forays into the dark fantasy world of William Hope Hodgson’s 1912 novel, The Night Land. Part novel, part anthology, the book consists of four related novellas, “Awake in the Night,” “The Cry of the Night-Hound,” “Silence of the Night,” and “The Last of All Suns,” which collectively tell the haunting tale of the Last Redoubt of Man and the end of the human race. Widely considered to be the finest tribute to Hodgson ever written, the first novella, “Awake in the Night,” was previously published in 2004 in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection. John C. Wright has been described by reviewers as one of the most important and audacious authors in science fiction today. In a recent poll of more than 1,000 science fiction readers, he was chosen as the sixth-greatest living science fiction writer.

THE MILO CHRONICLES by Dr. Rachel Fulton Brown are also available for $29.99 from Castalia Direct or $34.99 from Amazon.


The problem with time travel

The master of time travel fiction explains the fundamental problem with stories based on the concept:

The problem afflicting all time travel stories, which makes cause and effect paradoxical, is that time travel makes moral law is paradoxical.

In a universe without time travel, the things done by a man in the past are done.

What is in our past cannot be changed, and the future cannot be known. But introduce time travel, and, suddenly, anyone whose future actions you know (because he is from your past) can be treated as a creature without free will, that is, an entity with no moral self determination. He is an NPC.

This includes the past self of the time traveler himself: from the point of view of the Wednesday Dr Who, Tuesday Dr Who is a like a robot, or a historical character, someone who cannot change his actions because they are set in stone. An NPC.

With time travel, an immoral act like killing an innocent baby, whom the Time Traveler knows will grow up to be a tyrant, seems moral, and a moral act, like saving that same innocent baby, seems immoral.

To make matters worse, if the time traveler on Thursday wants to undo an act he did on Tuesday, such as killing a child fated to be a tyrant, and he leaps backward in time to shoot his Monday self in order to preempt the Tuesday attack on the child fated to be a tyrant, he is killing a man who is, at that moment on Monday, not yet guilty of any crime. Is this moral or immoral? Is this suicide or self defense?

So if yet another version of himself from his own future leaps out of Friday afternoon to land in front of Wednesday, pistols ready, to prevent his Thursday self before the fated this Monday crime of killing his Tuesday self preemptively, can the Wednesday time traveler rightfully defend himself?

Because if it is wrong for Thursday on Monday to kill his innocent younger self in order to prevent the killing of the child on Tuesday, logically, by the same token, it must also be wrong Friday to kill Thursday on Wednesday to prevent Thursday from killing Tuesday on Monday to prevent the prevention.

And yet, also equally logically, on Wednesday, the Time Traveler is guilty of killing a child, and so can be killed in retaliation, or, better yet, killed before he commits the crime, because, unlike human justice, time traveler justice actually can unmake the crime and restore the dead.

Therefore, logically, the fact that killing the innocent is immoral makes it moral for a time traveler to kill the innocent.

I won’t even mention the moral problems arising from the possibility that the tyrant the child is fated to become turns out, in a plot twist, to be the Time Traveler himself, and the one event that warped and embittered his young mind to set him on the path of tyranny was seeing all these murders taking place in the nursery when he was young.

That is the problem with time travel stories.

Mr. Wright is no doubt correct. That being said, his City Beyond Time is without question the greatest collection of time travel stories ever assembled.

Second beginning. This one brighter than the others:

I recall my first view of the city.

I thought it was a job interview. I had no other work, no future, and the best woman I had ever laid eyes on walked out on me the night before. I wasn’t in a great mood, but, at that point, I was willing to listen to anything.

Almost anything.

“Time travelers?” I said, trying to look chipper. I was trying to think of a polite way to say goodbye and get lost.

He didn’t look crazy. (The real crazies never do). Mr. Iapetus was a foreign-looking fellow in a long red coat of a fabric I didn’t recognize. He had dark, magnetic eyes, high cheekbones, and wore a narrow goatee.

His office was appointed with severe and restrained elegance. To one side, a row of dark bookshelves loomed; in the center was a wide mahogany desk, polished surface gleaming; to the other side, heavy drapes blocked a hidden length of window. I did not think it odd at the time to see bright sunlight shining from the carpet at the lower hem of the window drapes. But it had been raining outside when I entered the lobby just behind me.

Mr. Iapetus was standing by the window. He took up a fold of drapes in his hand. “I believe in what you might call the shock therapy method of indoctrination. It helps make the tedious period of disbelief more brief.”

A wide yank of his arm threw the drapes aside. A spill of blinding sunlight washed around me.
Blinking, I saw I was high up, overlooking a shining city. I had been on the ground floor when I came in. Now, I was miles up in the air. And glory was underfoot.


Corporate Cancer audiobook

The audiobook+ for Corporate Cancer is now available at Arkhaven Comics for $14.99. Narrated by Bob Allen, the audiobook+ includes the ebook in both Epub and Kindle formats and is 4 hours and 51 minutes long.

Supporters of the Replatforming should check their emails, as you will receive a coupon for a free download that is valid until December 2nd. Be sure to download your ebooks and audiobooks before then!

The paperback will be shipping to Heroes of the Resistance next week. The audiobook will also be available on Audible in the next two weeks or so.

UPDATE: If you were having initial trouble with the Patreon code, try again. It should work now.

UPDATE: David Stewart reviews Corporate Cancer on his YouTube channel:


Get your books Direct!

Castalia House’s two latest paperbacks, MIDDLE RAGES by Milo Yiannopoulos and FREE PLANTS FOR EVERYONE by David the Good, are now available at Castalia Books Direct for less than you’ll pay at Amazon. The former is available for only $9.99 and the latter for just $14.99, which means that even with shipping, you’ll pay less than you will for them even with Prime and free shipping.

Both paperbacks are bestsellers in their respective categories and both average 5-star ratings. Castalia House is focusing more on non-fiction than fiction these days, and putting an emphasis on quality over quantity.


Some minor changes

While we are pleased to continue working with Amazon and selling our books there in various formats, the Book of the Week will henceforth point to the Arkhaven store.

Also, we anticipate having very good news for those of you who enjoy Castalia House audiobooks in the coming week. We also plan to have Chuck Dixon’s Avalon #1 available in digital format there very soon.


Reinstated

From Amazon:

Thank you for your email concerning the status of your account.

The most recent message we sent to you regarding ASIN B06XFQ24QC was incorrect.

Based on your appeal, we are reinstating your account and you will receive any applicable royalties.

Thank you all for your support. This is not a fight we wanted or sought, and we’re pleased to be able to put it behind us. I’ll be discussing the matter on the Darkstream. And if you want to know what all the fuss was all about, you can now buy CORROSION: The Corroding Empire, Book One, at Arkhaven. It’s actually a good SF novel, a lot better than the book it was originally published to parody.

Galactic society is ruled by algorithms. From interstellar travel and planetary terraforming to artificial intelligence and agriculture, every human endeavor has become completely dependent upon the hypercomplex equations that optimize the activities making life possible across hundreds of inhabited worlds. Throughout the galaxy, Man has become dependent upon the reliable operation of 10 million different automated systems.

And when things begin to go wrong and mysterious accidents begin to occur, no one has any idea what is happening, except for a sentient medical drone and the First Technocrat of Continox. But their ability to even begin to try fixing the unthinkably complicated problem of galaxy-wide algorithmic decay is made considerably more difficult by the fact the former is an outlaw and the latter is facing a death sentence.

Johan Kalsi is Finland’s hottest science fiction author. An accomplished geneticist as well as a 6’3″ ex-Finnish Marine, in Corrosion, Kalsi rips off Asimov even better than Scalzi rips off Heinlein!


The audio blitz continues

The 4th Generation Warfare Handbook audiobook+ is now available for $11.99 from Arkhaven.

Written by the author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook and an active-duty USMC officer with experience in Iraq, 4th Generation Warfare Handbook is the doctrine for a new generation of war. Over the last 40 years, the world has gradually entered into a post-Clausewitzian state where the wars are undeclared, the battlefields can be anywhere, the uniforms are optional, and the combatants as well as the targets are often “civilian”. Conventional militaries have repeatedly attempted to utilize technology to meet the new challenges posed, but even the most advanced technology has provided little more than meaningless short-term victories rendered futile in months, if not weeks.

This inability of Western governments and militaries to come to terms with the changing nature of modern warfare has led to failed interventions, failed occupations, and now even failed states everywhere from Eastern Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. And with the recent mass movement of peoples around the world, 4th Generation Warfare can be safely expected to appear in Western Europe and the United States before long.

Drawing on their decades of experience with military history and military action, the authors have distilled 4GW theory into a short, concise, easily accessible handbook that provides the soldier, the military analyst, and the civilian observer with a guide to understanding and responding to the changing realities of this challenging new form of war.

What does “audiobook+” mean? It means you get the audiobook in high-quality DRM-free MP4 format, plus the ebook in DRM-free EPUB format, plus the ebook in Kindle format. Not all of our audiobooks are audiobook+ due to the limitations imposed by Kindle Select, but over time, almost all of them will be audiobook+.

And no, we can’t do anything similar with the print editions. While we may eventually be able to permit you to buy them from the Arkhaven store, they are in an entirely different production system and it’s not possible to reasonably wrap them all together into a single product. We’re doing what we can. Speaking of which, 4GW Handbook is not the only new audiobook we’ve added to the catalog, as in addition to the Wardogs Inc. trilogy, we’ve also added The Irrational Atheist and The Last Witchking & Other Stories. More are rapidly incoming.

We’ve had a fair number of requests for an Audible-like system that would permit people to pay a monthly subscription in return for a free audiobook every month, as well as some for a Kindle Unlimited system that would permit unlimited downloads. The latter is not practical since, unlike Kindle, we don’t wall the garden and there would be no real incentive for a second month. But we could do an Audible-style system, the question is, what would be a fair price for it? Audible charges $14.95/month, gives you two free audiobooks initially, and an additional free one per month. My first thought is $9.99/month with one free audiobook+ initially, and an additional free one per month.

The other thing we are contemplating is crowdfunding the cost of developing a joint audio/ebook reader app for iOS and Android. Please feel free to share your thoughts.


An onslaught of audiobooks

The good news is that Audible graciously granted our request to make ALL of our audiobooks nonexclusive with them, which means that we can start offering them for sale on the Arkhaven store. This is great because we can sell them in a much higher-quality DRM-free MP4 format, which is both 4x better in audio terms and considerably more flexible in terms of the audiobook readers and audio players that can handle it.

For example, you can simply copy the file onto a USB stick and listen to it in your car.

However, since we have more than 40 audiobooks to convert to our preferred format and our Audio Editor is very busy editing the massive A Throne of Bones audiobook, we could use three volunteer audio interns to help us mass-convert the original audio files into the correct format. If you are a) interested, b) modestly competent technically and c) in possession of a reasonably modern Macintosh computer, please shoot me an email letting me know. If you’re on Windows or Linux, please do not volunteer, as the necessary software is Mac-only.

UPDATE: we now have more volunteers than we required. Thanks to everyone who contacted us. The Audio Editor will be in touch with you shortly.

One problem with the new format that we are currently sorting out is the way in which the iPhone’s walled garden attempts to prevent iPhone users from putting MP4 files on their iPhones. So far, the best alternative we have found is Bookmobile for iOS, which costs $4 in the App Store.

On Android we recommend Voice Audiobook Player, which is free in the Google Play Store. But we recommend that you read our complete post concerning instructions for audio books on the various platforms

Here’s what you need to do in order to play our .mp4 format audio books on different platforms. But first of all: On any platform, do not simply click the link and start listening to it in the browser’s internal player that will launch when you do. It will begin playing the file correctly, but eventually it will choke due to the very large length of the audiobook file. In all platforms, you need to download the file in one way or the other. Remember that the links will expire in a month. You will want to have the file in your own storage by that time.

UPDATE: SJWs Always Lie is now available in audiobook at the Arkhaven store.


Audiobooks and class action

Question for audiobook readers:

We now have the capability of selling audiobooks through the Arkhaven store. We could price them at the same price as a print book, throw in a free copy of the ebook, and do much better than we do on Audible. However, we know that many people on Audible simply acquire audiobooks through free credits rather than actually buying them at the inflated prices there.

So, is there any interest in buying audiobooks directly, which would consist of a series of MP3 files instead of whatever convoluted system Audible uses, or would doing so be pointless? We will still make our audiobooks available at Audioble, we simply won’t choose the exclusive option.

Please advise. One benefit will be that we can offer our audiobooks 2-4 weeks sooner than they appear on Audible. The audio quality will be identical, since the source files are the same.

UPDATE: After doing an amount of research, we’re going to target a base price of $9.99 for a normal audiobook of 6-9 hours. The maximum price will probably be on the order of $24.99 for a monster book like A Throne of Bones, which we anticipate being on the order of 36-40 hours. We will usually include a copy of the ebook with the audio book whenever possible, but keep in mind that we usually release ebooks long before we record the audiobook.

Instructions for original AH:Q backers:

If you are an original Alt-Hero:Q backer who opted out of the class action waiver in October, please email litle32000 AT yahoo DOT com to let him know that you would like to be included in the class action request for arbitration. He will get back to you with the information that is required. If you backed the campaign but did not opt out, please do not email yet, but wait for further instructions that will be provided in the next two weeks.

If you did not opt out, you can still definitely file your own request for arbitration, but that would cost you $250 and will likely prove to be unnecessary, depending upon how things develop going forward. It is our opinion that Indiegogo is not going to insist on standing by that particular Term of Use in light of the obvious alternative that would require them to pay for what could be hundreds of separate arbitrations.

Especially since we have confirmed that the woman who appears to have been primarily responsible for the deplatforming, Kerry J. Barker, left Indiegogo only weeks after Trust & Safety’s retro-cancellation of the AH:Q campaign, for reasons that are as yet undetermined.

UPDATE: Since there appears to be an amount of interest, if you’re interested in testing the audiobooks from our store, we have made two small ones available, both for $3.99. Our plan is to keep the prices low, roughly half the price of Audible, and keep the audio files DRM-free.


Building the infrastructure

The new Arkhaven Comics site is essentially in Beta mode, but it is now operational, complete with a modestly stocked online Shop and an active comics-focused Blog, to which a number of comics pros will be contributing on a regular basis, including The Legend Chuck Dixon. Right now, all we’re offering is about 50 Castalia ebooks in EPUB and Kindle formats, plus a pair of Arkhaven comics in CBZ and Kindle formats, since we’re still in the process of extricating most of our various books and comics from Kindle Select. This process will take until mid-February, although we will continue to keep a few books in KU, as well as selected new releases.

However, we are in the process of listing ALL of our books and comics there, since each product listing provides links to where you can obtain the print editions, audiobooks, and Kindle editions that we can’t offer for sale there yet. They should all be up by the end of the weekend. We hope to eventually integrate the Castalia and Arkhaven Direct stores into the site, so you will be able to purchase both digital and print editions there. And yes, we do have crowdfunding capability built into the site, and we expect to open up the AH:Q campaign again for 28 more days next week.

Check it out if you’re an Arkhaven fan or backer; we’ve put up the illustrations for a pair of new Alt-Hero Premium covers you won’t have seen before. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to make them. This is very early days, so don’t be surprised if there are a few glitches we’ll have to sort out.

UPDATE: We took it down for a while to get the spam filters installed. It’s back up now.