I’m for Debating Anything

Stephen Hopkins: “Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!”  1776 Musical.

This line from the musical 1776 came back to me as I’ve been reading about the uproar over the appearance of Ann Coulter at Berkley and the subsequent cancellation of her speech over outrage from some parties and security concerns on the part of the university.

Look, I despise Ann Coulter.  I think she’s a grifter making money off outraging liberals and delighting conservatives.  Yes, much of what she says is hateful, but I’m with Hopkins on this one.  Hell yeah, let her speak, let her be condemned by her own vile words.  Debate her passionately.  Offer a better alternative.  Bring in a speaker to counter her.  Try to educate people and change their minds.  Demonstrate that her positions are wrong and dangerous in a civil society.  All this has accomplished is to make her a martyr and make liberals seem intolerant instead of the woman who is truly intolerant as evidenced by her statements about immigrants, liberals, environmentalists, feminists, etc.

The general public thinks that the First Amendment applies to all speech.  It doesn’t.  It’s designed to prevent the government from curtailing speech. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Emphasis added.)

And of course the right is not absolute even if the government isn’t involved.  Everyone has heard the old “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater”, and this is probably the rational for worries over Coulter’s talk — that her appearance would lead to violence.  And those are real and valid concerns, but it’s a hard line to draw.  When does unpleasant speech tip over into hate speech? Is this another instance as with pornography where Justice Stewart wrote in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it,” The problem is that people’s sensitivities vary based on their life experiences.  What might merely anger me might be devastating to another individual and vice versa, but law is about setting societal standards not guaranteeing that no one is ever offended or made to feel uncomfortable.

We also have the added dilemma of fake news or alternative facts with which to contend.  It’s hard for truth to be heard when the air is filled with the dust and chaff of untruths.   A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.  But I guess I’m an eternal optimist and I want to think that Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes was right when he wrote in his dissent in Abrams v. United States —

“But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.

That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system, I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.”

Are the Ann Coulters and Milo Yiannopouloses and Alex Joneses an imminent threat to country?  That’s what we have to decide.  Overall I think it’s better that we allow them to show their faces, rip away the mask, turn over the rocks to reveal the neo-Nazis and racists that inhabit our country.  I’d rather have them out in the open where I can keep an eye on them, and counter their dangerous beliefs then have them plotting in secret and manipulating behind the scenes.

So let’s bring the gentleman from Rhodes Island another rum (you’ll understand if you’ve seen the play), get one for ourselves and be ready to defend our beliefs and values.

At Last – Wild Cards to Broadway

In case anyone missed it.  Big news on the Wild Cards front.

Wild Cards to Broadway

The Whore Syndrome

Or to put it another way — Women-are-just-so-alluring-that-men-can’t-control-themselves-so-the-women-have-to-be-denied-opportunites-so-men-don’t-lose-control.  Which is insulting as hell to men and puts women in a symbolic burqa.

Why am I writing this?  Because I just read an article about how Mike Pence will not dine alone with a woman.  Nor go to an event where there will be alcohol unless his wife is along.  Seems quaint, right?  It’s also deeply pernicious in terms of a woman’s ability to advance in her career.  Here’s why.  If your male boss takes that stance you as a woman can’t be mentored by him.  You can’t travel with him to meetings, conferences, etc.  If you are an executive it’s tough to make that big sale or merger if you can’t meet alone with a potential client because sometimes you need to have that one-0n-one conversation.

I have a young woman friend whose boss is a powerful Hollywood producer.  He made her his personal assistant and she was at his side for every meeting, at the Cannes and Toronto Film festivals, sat with him as he pondered which projects to green light.  In other words she learned the business from the ground up from a man at the top of his game.  She she holds a senior position in the industry.  In Mike Pence world she would never have had that opportunity.

The boys club is pernicious in other ways.  In Hollywood a lot of business is conducted on the golf course.  A friend suggested I take up golf, and how I could “play with the wives.”  I pointed out to him that playing with the wives does fuck all for me.  I need to be playing with the men, but of course I’d never be asked to join a round of golf with the boys.

Another venue for networking was a weekly poker game frequented by studio and network execs, writer/producers, writer/directors.  No women.  Once again the levers of power are out of reach.

When it comes to business we’ve got to stop seeing color and we’ve got to stop seeing gender.  We’ve got to start seeing humans.

Killing Your Babies (Literarily Speaking)

No, this is not a post about my abortion.  Literarily not literally.  Anyway —

Let me tell you how THE IMPERIALS SAGA came to pass.  Years and years and years ago I was on a panel about the third Star Wars movie The Return of the Jedi.  Among its many failings was the fact that I could not accept that the imperial senate would ever approve the vast sums of money necessary to build a new Death Star after the Emperor and Vader had let a farm boy blow up the first one.  I mean, I know he’s a terrible dictator but damn a government budget does have some limits.  And suddenly I had a character, a fussy older man, the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a galaxy spanning empire.  A man who decides to join the rebel cause while still holding power because he’s got a taste for forbidden alien girls and he falls for an exotic dancer.  There was another main character, a resentful young man who had been taken from his home when the League came in and conquered his Hidden World.  He had been fostered with a noble family.  He’s playing at revolution and learns that it has very real consequences.

I wrote about 70,000 words on this novel.  I read sections of it a conventions.  That’s where George heard me read, and fell in love with the universe I had created.  George suggested we develop Imperials as a shared world like what we had done with Wild Cards.  I invited in some friends, George and I hammered out the details.  We would follow these seven characters through their lives as they loved and fought one another.  We envisioned six books.

At this point I had realized that the novel just wasn’t working so I put it aside and embraced the shared world approach.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) we didn’t succeed in selling the project, and I put all of it in a drawer.  I had created my character for the shared world, the son of a lowly tailor, resentful of the upper class, but brilliant enough to win a scholarship to the League’s military academy.  A young man who falls in love with the heir to the throne.  Those of you who have read THE HIGH GROUND, the first book in my series will see the direct line from shared world to novel.  Tracy was also based loosely on a character I had played in Walter Jon Williams Privateers and Gentlemen campaign, a paper and dice role playing game.  (Don’t let anybody tell you gaming is a waste of time.)

Years passed and George and Gardner Dozois invited me to write stories for two anthologies, SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, and DANGEROUS WOMEN.  I found myself mining the old, almost forgotten manuscript for ideas, and ended up writing a story about Tracy and Mercedes and one about Tracy and a ranting drunk who tells Tracy of a vast alien conspiracy.  All of which made me remember how much I liked the universe I had created.

So I threw out the entire premise of that abandoned novel, came up with a new first book, but kept the idea of following Tracy and Mercedes through their lives, wrote some seventy pages of the book, a detailed outline of the world, the characters and the five books it would take to tell the story and sent if off to my agent.  Who sold all five books to my publisher Titan Books.

The point of this story is that sometimes you have to accept that a project just isn’t working and throw it in a trunk and forget about it.  That doesn’t mean everything about the project was a waste.  Pieces of it can be resurrected, but you have to have the ability to acknowledge when something isn’t working and stop wasting time messing with it.

If something is taking more than a year to write I’d take a hard look at that project and decide if it’s time to move on to something else.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds

“A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”  Basil Caesarea. 

Why am I quoting a Saint?  (I was going to use Galatians  6: 7-9 but that particular quote seemed more ominous than encouraging so I went with Basil.)  But back to the question — why a quote about good deeds?  Because they really do come back and reward you and I have a living, breathing example.  Tuesday afternoon I attended George’s announcement of his latest undertaking that only came to be because of all the good George has done for our city and the state.  But first a little backstory. 

There was a brilliant, philanthropic resident of Santa Fe named David Weininger.  Weininger was a scientist, entrepreneur, inventor.    He was a science fiction fan, and in fact he bought the Santa Fe home formerly owned by Roger Zelazny.  He was a musician and a test pilot, a star gazer.   Mr. Weininger had watched George’s efforts on behalf of Santa Fe — Meow Wolf,  Cocteau Theater, screenwriting prizes, etc., and when he learned he was dying he gifted to George the office building that had housed Weininger’s company, Daylight Chemical Information Systems.  All Weininger asked was that George “do something good with it.”

And George has done just that.  On Tuesday with Santa Fe’s charismatic mayor Javier Gonzales and people from the various film festivals, managers of studios, rag tag writers hanging around 😉 , etc. gathered George announced the formation of The Stagecoach Foundation.  The building will be used to house film and television productions at a very nominal fee to encourage those productions to come to Santa Fe in particular and New Mexico in general.  The first production to utilize the offices will be the Coen Brothers for a new film they will be filming in the area.

In addition to providing office space for production staffs the foundation will provide help to the young people of Santa Fe who might want to pursue a career in film.  It’s going to be a resource that will bring investment to the area and provide young people with an opportunity to work here rather than scattering to Los Angeles or New York.

Here is the logo for the new foundation created by the very talented Raya Golden.

If It Quacks Like an Anti-Semite….

I hate to even link to this Tweet.  The man is vile on every level, but you have to see the genesis of what came out of Trump’s mouth today.  So a few days ago David Duke, former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and all around racist, anti-Semite, neo-Nazi tweeted the following.

President Trump, do you think it might be the Jews themselves making these calls to get sympathy to push their ethnic agenda?

 (I removed the link.  I refuse to link to this dumpster fire of a human being.)  Point being that today the President of the United States made the same comment to an assemblage of State Attorneys General that the rise in bomb threats to Jewish community centers and the attacks on Jewish cemeteries was a “false flag” operation.  Trump, False Flag.  It has already been established that while he was a candidate the now president retweeted vile and racist Tweets from known white supremacist sites so it’s not surprising that he might have imbibed this heady evil brew directly from the fetid swamp that is the mind and soul of David Duke.  We know that Bannon who is Trump’s closest advisor is an avowed white nationalist.  We know that the Holocaust remembrance day message provided by the State Department referenced the Jewish people and that the White House removed that mention.  White House scrapped State Dept. Statement.  I don’t care that his son-in-law is Jewish and his daughter converted.   That is a fig leaf on a dangerous and potentially deadly trend.
The feeble excuse that “lots of people suffered in the Holocaust” is not sufficient.  The Nuremberg Laws directly targeted the Jewish citizens of Germany.  At the Wansee Conference the sole purpose was to discuss the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”.  I toured the house which is now a museum when I was shooting a TV pilot in Germany.  It is chilling and leaves you sickened.
We have children and infants being rushed out of Jewish community centers in response to bomb threats.  We have Hispanic families being torn apart by an emboldened ICE.  We have had four mosques burned in the past seven weeks.  Mosques Burned.  Don’t kid yourself that it can’t happen here.  Right now the courts and the press are working to protect vulnerable minorities in our country.  Let’s help them by donating to the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, subscribing to actual news outlets.
And let us Never Forget.

Arrival & Rogue One

I ended up seeing ARRIVAL and ROGUE ONE relatively close together.  I liked both movies a lot, and have been mulling over the similarities and differences for the past month or more.  I think I’m ready to take a stab at talking about them.

***********************************USUAL WARNING SPOILERS!!!!*******************

In many ways they have the same theme — courage and sacrifice are sometimes worth the pain.  In one film the sacrifice is personal.  In the other epic, but at their core that’s what they are both exploring.

There are also huge differences.  Rogue One has giant action sequences, explosions, ships colliding, cities destroyed.  In Arrival there is one action sequence which lasts all of two minutes if that.  The tension is generated by the ticking clock, the sense of days, weeks passing, the stakes growing ever higher, but quietly which makes them seem all the more significant.  Sometimes a whisper can be as powerful as a shout.

Both films have at their heart a woman.  Both embrace loves that cannot last.   Both act out of love of family — one for a father, the other for a child.  Both embrace hope despite knowing that ultimately everything ends in death.

I’ve heard some quibbles that the explosion aboard the alien ship in Arrival came out of nowhere and felt like a studio note.  I don’t agree.  I thought it was set up well, but this was a movie that required enormous focus and concentration.  Three times they go to the officer who ultimately sets the bomb aboard the ship.  He talks with his wife.  He watches an Alex Jones/Infowars type figure, he talks with his fellow soldiers.  Ultimately he acts out of fear and with the only tools he has — violence and killing.

What can I find to critique in Arrival?  Not much.  Perhaps Jeremy Renner.  I didn’t totally buy him as the brash, brilliant physicist.  I thought Amy Adams was damn near perfect.  It’s a brave actress who allows herself to be shown as older, rumpled, dressed in cargo pants and a tee shirt.  Not since Ripley in Aliens have I seen it handled so well. 

I have more quibbles with Rogue One — I wanted a bit more of Jen’s life before she was a criminal in a work gang.  I thought they wasted Forest Whitaker.  All of the companions were appealing though Baze Malbus got short changed.  His gun seemed to get more attention then him.  It also might have been interesting to have one of those characters be an alien rather then all humans. 

I thought the references to the Force felt out of place and didn’t mesh with the first film where everyone viewed the Jedi as quaint figures and the Force as something silly.

I was fascinated with Vader’s choice of a home base.  The world where he was maimed and lost the love of his life?  He decides to build a palace and live there?  Really?  Wow that guy has some real psychological issues.  And it was also an incongruous moment given the fact Vader seemed to be a lackey of Tarkin in A New Hope.  Now he has a palace and a majordomo?    

I thought the use of the Death Star twice undercut the point of the first film where it kills a planet.  I also didn’t believe the Empire would blow up its base where they stored all their data.  I was ultimately willing to buy the shield that could cover a planet, but I did have to swallow hard a couple of times.

The recreation of Peter Cushing was uncanny.  My first viewing of the film was just a few days after we had lost Carrie Fisher so it was a very bittersweet moment to see our princess at the end.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more of villain in this film.  He was interesting and more complex then most.  I also would have wished for more from Mads Mikkelsen.  He’s a wonderful actor.

There were also some very uncomfortable resonances to real life.  The images of the stormtroopers moving through the crooked streets of the city with a tank grinding along in the midst of them, the exotic dress, the stone buildings brought to mind other images of occupying troops.  One couldn’t help thinking about American troops patrolling ancient cities in the Middle East.  And we were being asked to cheer and root for terrorists.

Which is the point where the two films diverge.  One explicitly embraces violence as a tool for change.  The other eschews violence, begs for patience, for communication, for understanding.  Near the beginning of Rogue One Cassian kills an informant, a man who has been helping the resistance because he fears he’s become a liability.  I still found Cassian yummy; he broods so well. 

The aliens in Arrival tell us they are bringing us a weapon, and it turns out to be the gift of language.  A new way to see the universe and ourselves in that vastness, and a new way to communicate.  The impending war is averted with a message from a dying wife to her beloved husband.

What both of our heroines accept is loss and death.  Jen knows that she and her companions are on a suicide mission.  She eschews love and life for the greater good, and perhaps there is a sense of expiation of her and Cassian’s sins.

Amy knows that her daughter will die.  That the man she loves will not accept that inevitable death and will leave her.  Embracing love and motherhood is going to hurt, but she accepts the pain and the sacrifice so that she can truly live.

All in all a very good year for science fiction movies.  I hope Arrival wins Best Picture though I know it won’t so may it win the Hugo and the Nebula.  In a year without Arrival I would be cheering for Rogue One, but ultimately Arrival is the deeper more compassionate film.

The Marketplace of Ideas

Last night the campus of Berkley was roiled with protests that turned violent, led to objects being thrown, fires being set, and ultimately the cancellation of a speech by noted alt-right gadfly and baby Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos.  This is not a productive way to resist, people.  Let us not fall into the trap of the anti-war protestors during Vietnam who turned a complacent middle class against them, led their, perhaps, persuadable parents to vote for and support Richard Nixon in a backlash against the violence.  I wrote a story for an upcoming Wild Cards book dealing with the chaos at the Democratic convention in 1968.  I did a lot of research and what became horribly clear was that the violent clashes between police and protestors help put Nixon in the White House.

Now before everybody starts yelling at me —  I’m not saying don’t protest.  By all means protest, but protest smart.  Follow the example set by the gigantic marches the day after the inauguration — not a single arrest while millions took to the streets around the world.  (I was at the giant Women’s March in L.A.  It was a joyous, uplifting and empowering experience.)  Be pro-active.  Schedule a speaker opposite Yiannopoulos who will counter the loathsome bile being spewed by Yiannopoulos and his ilk.  Since the illegitimate president has made crowds such an issue see who draws the bigger one and make sure the press covers it.  Make that the story.  By causing chaos we take attention away from a dark and divisive message that will shock most decent people.  Instead of isolating Yiannopoulos and revealing to the world what he and the alt-right stand for the protests have become the story and the white supremacist gets to play the victim.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are bedrock foundations for this country, and while, as a nation, we sometimes stumble and take a few steps back we have so far managed to move forward because we allow for vigorous debate and the hateful, violent, evil ideas lose when measured against truth and justice and American ideals.

Let them talk.  Let them reveal their crabbed and shriveled souls.  If they call out an individual by name then be prepared to help that person with the cost of hiring a lawyer and going after them.  That’s how the Southern Poverty Law Center brought down a number of branches of the Ku Klux Klan.  Not by throwing things and setting fires, but by taking them into court and destroying them with the rule of law.

Justice Holmes in his brilliant dissent in Abrams v.United States wrote:  “The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.”  

This standard was based on the writings of English poet John Milton “And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”

What’s An American?

A friend of mine just posted a long and very moving post about his father who managed to get to America out of the ashes of the Holocaust.  It got me thinking about these white nationalists and the angry Trump voters who want America for the Americans and would shout out the Nazi tainted slogan “America First”.  You want to measure who gets to be here.  How about this?

My father’s ancestors came to New York (what was then called New Amsterdam) around 1690. Dad thought that distant Snodgrass was probably fleeing a charge of horse stealing. I found a reference in a book in Edinburgh to a Snodgrass in that period being prosecuted for the crime of dueling so maybe it was more interesting than being a horse thief. Clearly he was one of those “bad dudes” the President was Tweeting about today.
 
Whatever the circumstance my family has been here a long time. I had a relative who fought with the Swamp Fox in the Revolutionary War and my Great-grandfather was a Yankee cavalry officer who fought in the Civil War. You can’t get much more DAR then this.  On my mother’s side my grandfather was half Cherokee.  I would point out the irony, but many on the Right seem to be irony impaired.  Perhaps this will help them grasp the concept.
                                                                                                        
 
So to these people who think they are more American then everybody else and are slamming the door on desperate refugees — bite me! I’m pretty sure my American credentials are just as good if not better then yours, and more to the point I trying to live up to our American ideals starting with the Constitution you all profess to love that explicitly rejected religious tests, and the laws of this country that banned the pernicious use of national origin to block immigrants.  If you don’t recall who we profess to be —  let me remind you.
                                                                                                                 

Lots and Lots of Wild Cards

So Tor has a special on a Wild Cards book bundle.  If you’re interested to jump in here’s a way to start.  Wild Cards Book Bundle.  There is a new Youtube interview up where a number of us talk about Wild Cards.  Wild Cards Interviews.  And finally here is the cover for Tor’s reissue of ACE IN THE HOLE.  The amazing and really creepy cover is by the very talented Michael Komarck.

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Some Wild Cards Goodness

We have a Wild Cards Website, and every so often various writers who play in our shared sandbox write blog posts.  Stephen Leigh who has been with us since the beginning of the series has done a blog post about one of our most iconic villain — Senator Gregg Hartmann.  It certainly feels relevant at this particular moment.  You can read it here:

Pulling Strings; the Saga of Gregg Hartmann aka Puppetman

Reflections on Lord of the Rings

I’m re-reading Tolkien’s brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy for, I think, the eighth time.  I first read the books when I was a kid visiting Los Angeles with my father.  My dad had business meetings and in an effort to keep me amused, Rodney Pantages’s wife, Lois, took me off to a bookstore and said, “Pick any book you want.”  I fixated on those amazing covers and cajoled until Lois agreed to buy me all four books, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.  I then vanished into the upstairs bedroom at the house in the Hollywood Hills and devoured all four books over four days.  As I recall I emerged for meals and the occasional swim or hike up to the Griffith Park Observatory.  When I finished I realized I had just gobbled these books so I started all over again, this time taking my time.  When I was a child I had been obsessed with Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom and wanted to go there.  Now on the cusp of being a teenager I wanted to go to Middle Earth and ride with the Rohirrim.

I’ve written on this blog how I didn’t fully appreciate the books until I was a great deal older.  I thought all that Scouring of the Shire was really boring.  What did it matter after Aragorn became king and married Arwen?  With age came wisdom and I realized that those final chapters are the entire point of the books.

On this re-read I was struck by the fact that Tolkien is the only writer who ever made a committee meeting interesting.  The Council of Elrond is an amazing chapter and it’s just a committee meeting.  On this reading I stopped to consider why the scene worked when so often they don’t.  Too often writers use a committee meeting to rehash events they’ve already dramatized.  It’s almost a mental throat clearing, a way to vamp while you try to figure out what to do next.  And often the decision reached at the committee meeting plays out exactly as planned when the writer finally gets around to dramatizing the plans that were agreed upon at the meeting.  My advice — pick either the meeting or the caper/battle/campaign.  Or if you must do both make sure that whatever plan is concocted it goes completely pear shaped when they try to execute it.

So why did the Council of Elrond work so well?  A few reasons.  First Tolkien introduces new and major characters in that chapter — Boromir in particular though Legolas is also present.  He skates very lightly and very quickly over the events that have proceeded the meeting and instead focuses on giving us new information — tracking Gollum and his subsequent escape, Gandalf’s capture by Saruman, what’s been happening in Gondor, Strider/Aragorn is revealed as the rightful king, we learn how the sword was broken, etc. etc.  Finally it’s a major turning point for a main character.  Frodo is forced to make a decision he fears and loathes, but he accepts the burden.

Next time I find I have to include a meeting I’m going to try and remember how Tolkien did it and follow suit.

You Want to Take Action?

So January 20th looms and for many people it’s a terrifying prospect.  People don’t know how to stand for the things we support and cherish in this republic.  So here’s a suggestion.  Join the ACLU. Here is but a sample of the litigation and advocacy they have undertaken:
The Scopes trial – the right to teach evolution in public science classrooms
Supreme Court Cases:
Korematsu — challenging Japanese American internment
Miranda — the right to remain silent
Griswold — the right to contraception
Loving — the right of interracial couples to marry
Gideon — the right to a court-appointed attorney if you can’t afford one
Windsor — striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act
Obergefell — the right of same sex couples to marry.
 
This is but a small sample and with thanks to the organization for the full page ad they ran in the New York Times on November 11, 2016 detailing these cases.
 
To quote President Andrew Shepard from The American President — “For the record, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is: ‘Why aren’t you, Bob?’ Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, ‘Why would a Senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution?”…
‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.”
And for the record I am also a card carrying member of the ACLU.  Because our Constitution as brilliant and wonderful as it might be is in the final analysis only paper.  What we do as citizens is the only way to see its promises made manifest and move us toward that more perfect union.

When Reality Intrudes

So I’m working on the fourth EDGE book — tentatively titled THE EDGE OF INFINITY.  I’m writing on the plane coming home to New Mexico and I suddenly realize that this book is set about fourteen years after the events in THE EDGE OF DAWN.

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All three of these books have been very closely tied to the real world, and real world events and I suddenly realized that Donald Trump will be president and that is going to have a profound effect on the state of the world in 2031.  Advances in science will no doubt suffer.  The rights of minorities may well be in jeopardy.  Women’s rights may be curtailed.  The fight against climate change will have been delayed and perhaps derailed.  Which given Lumina Enterprises stated purpose to increase knowledge and understanding of the universe and the world we inhabit a real headache.  It means my paladins have been fighting a rear guard action.  That’s going to change a lot of the tone of the book, and perhaps change the emotional content of the final scene.  It might be less triumphant and more the act of people striving to find a better way on a planet far, far away.

Or in the words of Peter Diamandis  —

                           “The meek shall inherit the earth. The rest of us are going to the stars.”

New Wild Cards Story

Carrie Vaughn, one of our amazing writers has given us a terrific story about the character she created for Fort Freak.  This is all about Rikki before she became a cop, and it’s a lovely slice of life about Jokertown.  Not everything in a superhero universe has to be about saving New York, or the world, or the universe.

Here’s the link The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown  Enjoy.406734_900

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