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Messages - xiagan

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: November 18, 2019, 12:58:16 PM »
Bought Morgenstern's Starless Sea and will start soon. :)

Besides that, I'm reading "Open Borders" which I mentioned/promoted in the politics thread.

We celebrated our twins' 3rd birthday. They grow up fast :)
Friends of us have twins that turned 3 on November, 15th. :o  :D

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: November 14, 2019, 09:36:03 PM »
Cool (comic) book I can recommend:

Open Borders - The Science and Ethics of Immigration by the guy who does Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Writers' Corner / Re: The mental state of witches and shamans
« on: November 13, 2019, 07:43:52 PM »
Great topic and great thoughts. Thanks for posting. :) I totally get what you mean, Yora.
I'm too tired to add something atm, though...

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: The Starless sea by Erin Morgenstern
« on: November 13, 2019, 04:18:45 PM »
I feel it’s as magical as the night circus

It’s a totally different story to the night circus it’s not a sequel.

I feel non fantasy fans would struggle with it.

It feels like a love letter to storytellers

It’s stories within stories
I didn't know you could be poetic. :)

He has many hidden layers just like a deep neural network :)
Or an onion. (See, I can be poetic, too. ;D)

Non-Fantasy Books / Re: What Non-Fantasy are you currently reading?
« on: November 13, 2019, 12:45:10 PM »
I'm now reading How to be right... in a world gone wrong, by James O'Brien.
He's been the host of a phone-in radio show for over 10 years. Basically people call in to say whatever they want, and James asks the 'why' questions, asks them to justify their beliefs - and this is where usually things fall apart, because they're just repeating what they hear and read on certain media.

In this book he selects a few controversial issues and shares conversations, and what he believes are the main reasons for the current problems.

Very interesting, making me think of my own justifications.
Luckily I'm right, so I don't need any justifications. ;)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: The Starless sea by Erin Morgenstern
« on: November 13, 2019, 12:43:46 PM »
I feel it’s as magical as the night circus

It’s a totally different story to the night circus it’s not a sequel.

I feel non fantasy fans would struggle with it.

It feels like a love letter to storytellers

It’s stories within stories
I didn't know you could be poetic. :)

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: The Starless sea by Erin Morgenstern
« on: November 11, 2019, 09:10:28 PM »
I only read good reviews so far and will buy it soon. :)

General Discussion / Re: Member birthday calendar
« on: November 11, 2019, 09:09:07 PM »
Happy birthday, Elí! :)

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: November 11, 2019, 09:05:35 PM »
Seems you didn't read this sentence at the beginning:
He wants Trump to push the boundaries and make the President essentially invincible, so that this power can be used by a future ultra-conservative Republican who reigns as an enlightened Christian philosopher king.
It's not about Trump. It's about paving the way for a right wing Christian "king".

I live in Berlin, Germany and have never been to the US.

Non-Fantasy Books / Re: What Non-Fantasy are you currently reading?
« on: November 10, 2019, 07:42:38 PM »
I just reread some of the Modesty Blaise books (not comics). Think James Bond but as a female ex crime lord with lots of martial arts experiences. Better stories, a great duo (Willie Garvin rocks) and good humor.

Hope he gets paid leave. The employers ought to give additional compensation for such risky activities.
Wow, you don't have sick leave in the US? :o
When you're ill and can't work you have to use holiday days?
When I had the cancer I still got full pay for 6 months, and then moved to half pay, which only lasted a month because then I returned to work a few days a week, increasing, but they immediately started paying me in full again.
Only the military is socialist enough to get free health care, free college, affordable housing, etc. ;)

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: November 09, 2019, 07:42:51 AM »
I just read something really scary on reddit about A.G. Barr.
It's long, but if you live in the US, you should read this.

Since this is a quote, quotes by Barr himself are preceded with a > and in italics.

Quote from: catgirl_apocalypse
People really underestimate how religious Barr is. Everyone assumes he’s in it for himself or the party since he’s best known for his work as a fixer during the Bush I era, and he’s been actively assisting Trump with his criminality.

That’s not why he’s in the Trump admin.

His goal with Donald Trump is to establish, through precedent, an Imperial Presidency under the Unitary Executive Theory.

He wants Trump to push the boundaries and make the President essentially invincible, so that this power can be used by a future ultra-conservative Republican who reigns as an enlightened Christian philosopher king.

He laid out his vision in the address I’ve linked, given at Notre Dame last month. This speech has not been given enough attention.

As you can see, Barr believes that religious freedom is and should be a priority at Justice.

That sounds fine. America was founded on religious freedom, right?

The thing you need to understand is this.

The radical religious right has a different definition of “Religious Freedom”.

We extend full freedom to religion so long as it doesn’t interfere with other people’s rights and, and generally fits into the modern world as it exists in western, liberal democracies.

What Barr and his ilk mean when they say “religious freedom” is the freedom from anything that contradicts, interferes with, or is unacceptable within the bounds of *their* religion. This movement assumes as first principles that:

1. Christianity is objectively correct
2. Christianity is the default religion of the United States
3. The Framers intended to create a Christian government

> We have set up a task force within the Department with different components that have equities in this area, including the Solicitor General’s Office, the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel, and other offices. We have regular meetings. We keep an eye out for cases or events around the country where states are misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminates against people of faith, or cases where states adopt laws that impinge upon the free exercise of religion.

What he’s talking about here when he talks about “misapplying the Establishment Clause in a way that discriminate against people of faith” he’s referring to things like Masterpiece cake shops or the funeral home case currently before SCOTUS.

What he means is that a Christian person has a right to deny employment, services, or even medical attention when working as an EMT to someone on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity, even if such discrimination takes place in the context of a non religious setting or private business.

Of course it doesn’t actually *stop* there, but what Barr is arguing for, and seeks to create, is a world where discrimination is legal again and morality is legislated by the government. He wants queers back in the closet, women back in the kitchen, and blacks back in their place.

> The challenge we face is precisely what the Founding Fathers foresaw would be our supreme test as a free society.

>They never thought the main danger to the republic came from external foes. The central question was whether, over the long haul, we could handle freedom. The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.

Make no mistake: this is a religious man in a government position addressing a religious institution. He is stating unequivocally here that there is an objective moral standard delineated by supernatural forces, he knows what it is, and he feels it his duty to use his powers as a ranking member of government to enforce this moral code on others whether they want to or not.

> On the other hand, unless you have some effective restraint, you end up with something equally dangerous – licentiousness – the unbridled pursuit of personal appetites at the expense of the common good. This is just another form of tyranny – where the individual is enslaved by his appetites, and the possibility of any healthy community life crumbles.

Licentiousness. Interesting word choice. It means *sexual promiscuity*.

> In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

Barr proposes a warped view of freedom where you can only be free if you do what you’re told. This innately contradictory, Orwellian idea runs directly counter to the *actual* precepts behind the Founding Fathers, but is, more importantly, profoundly at odds with humanism and modern thinking.

> By any honest assessment, the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

>In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was eight percent. In 1992, when I was last Attorney General, it was 25 percent. Today it is over 40 percent. In many of our large urban areas, it is around 70 percent.

>Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic.

>As you all know, over 70,000 people die a year from drug overdoses. That is more casualities in a year than we experienced during the entire Vietnam War.

There’s an implied singular factor he’s talking about here, but he never explicitly names it. He gives it away by the choice of the words *dispirited males*.

Broadly, what he means here is that the flaw he sees, which is trying to correct, is women’s liberation and feminism.

Barr is a fascist. He’s promoting a cult of tradition and overbearing masculinity, blaming social problems on depravity, and worst of all, he scorns education:

> First is the force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the “progressives,” have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

Like all totalitarians, Barr wants to replace diversity of thought in culture and education with a unity of thought that enforces a social order: obedience to the father figure who is in turn obedient to the state.

> The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the State to set itself up as the ersatz husband for single mothers and the ersatz father to their children.

> The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with the wreckage. While we think we are solving problems, we are underwriting them.

>We start with an untrammeled freedom and we end up as dependents of a coercive state on which we depend.

Barr can’t conceive of a family unit without a husband, nor can he grasp the concept of a woman who is not beholden to a man. A woman cannot be independent; *some* way of framing the situation so someone is “her man” must be found, because a woman has to be someone’s property.

As a fascist, he longs for order for the sake of order, self oriented and self sustaining. He can’t conceive of improving the life of a single mother so that she can be fully independent and raise her children. She *must* be re-shackled to a man.

> Yet here is where the battle is being joined, and I see the secularists are attacking on three fronts.

The first front relates to the content of public school curriculum. Many states are adopting curriculum that is incompatible with traditional religious principles according to which parents are attempting to raise their children. They often do so without any opt out for religious families.

>Thus, for example, New Jersey recently passed a law requiring public schools to adopt an LGBT curriculum that many feel is inconsistent with traditional Christian teaching. Similar laws have been passed in California and Illinois. And the Orange County Board of Education in California issued an opinion that “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

>Indeed, in some cases, the schools may not even warn parents about lessons they plan to teach on controversial subjects relating to sexual behavior and relationships.

Barr and his ilk *know* that his vision of the world can’t survive critical thinking and exposure to diversity and empathy. The religious attitude of the conservative Christian confuses judgement with empathy, and this worldview can’t survive if people realize that it doesn’t benefit anyone but a small slice of society.

He likes to dress it up in big words but he doesn’t want schools to show kids that LGBT people aren’t monstrous freaks and abusive relationships are bad.

Obedience to Father, who is obedient to State. That’s his view of “freedom”.  It’s kind of like how you could have a Model T in any color as long as it’s black. You’re free to act like everyone else.

What baffles me is that this man has a daughter. Does she know that dad is fighting everything that made her career in government possible? Can she read this rhetoric and not realize that he wants to build a world where she has a collar on her neck?

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." - H.L. Mencken

Tales of the Kin by Douglas Hulick read this!
Was the third ever released? I never came around to read Sworn in Steel, though I have it on my shelves for ages.

[NOV 2019] Arch Enemies / [Nov 2019] - Arch Enemies - Discussion Thread
« on: November 01, 2019, 10:09:40 PM »
Arch Enemies

Bush Warriors by LockedBox

Only a few weeks until Christmas, the celebration of love and family, is upon us. So this is a good time to write about two people who absolutely hate each other. We're not talking rivals, we want arch enemies. She's his nemesis and he is hers. No sacrifice is too great to bring him/her down and it doesn't matter if the whole world burns.

This month we want you to write about an irresolvable conflict. You decide the scale. Could be generals with their armies, could be Suzie from next door (who is of course a witch in training because this is a fantasy forum ;)).


1. This must be prose or poetry.
2. The main characters have to be arch enemies.
3. Prose must be 500-1500 words long.
4. Poetry must be 100-750 words long.
5. One story per person or writing team (not per account).
6. You will be disqualified if you exceed the limits, full stop. That's why they're called limits.
7. Your entry can't be published somewhere else before.
8. This is a writing contest, not a "I have written something like this ten years ago" contest. So if you happen to have a story that fits one of the themes, I'd like it to have a mayor overhaul/edit. Work for it. ;)
9. Please add your story's word count and, if you have, your twitter handle.
10. Please put your story in [ spoiler ] tags to make the thread easier to handle. :) You can find them above the smileys under the B.
Bonus rule: We consider voting in a contest you're taking part in a given. Others take time and effort to read the stories - you should do the same. A small community like ours lives from reciprocity and this contest needs stories as much as votes. 

If you want so submit your story anonymously you can do so by sending it in a personal message to @xiagan.

Entry will close November 30th/December 1st, 2019 and voting will begin somewhere around the same time too.

All members are eligible to join. If you are not a member you can join here. Sign up is free and all are welcome! :)

The winner will have their piece displayed on the main Fantasy Faction website sometime in the next months.
Submitting a story counts as published. The author retains all rights to their work.

Please post your entry here.

Note: This thread is only for questions or discussing this month's writing contest. Good luck!

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