Author Archives: Rod Walker

Young Man’s War, coming soon

This comment from Vox Day’s blog seems as good a place as any to announce Rod Walker’s next book from Castalia House:

Young Man’s War is about a 16-year-old boy named Roland who finds himself in Chicago on the day dozens of interdimensional gates open up and a horde of alien invaders storm out intent on cleansing the earth of humanity.

If all goes well, it should be out later this year.

Hugos 2017

The Hugo Awards were announced today. Alas, Rod Walker really does not have the energy to participate in such things any more.

That said, Rod Walker appreciates two things about the Rabid Puppies campaign:

1.) They are hugely, hugely entertaining. The drama goes on and on for weeks. It’s better than reality TV!

2.) They exposed the Hugos for the hollow con job that they are. The Hugo have nothing to do with excellence or even commercial success, but the repayment of favors and political backscratching. Perhaps the decades-long elevation of mediocrity is one of the reasons Amazon is devouring traditional publishing like Tiamat swallowing the moon.

Rod Walker has written a book unrelated to awards.  

awards for Brings The Lightning

Peter Grant’s book Brings The Lightning has won the 2nd Annual Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance Award.

That is pretty cool. Rod Walker freely admits that among his other failings he’s not really a Western kind of guy, but he read Brings The Lightning last year and really liked it quite a bit. He’s looking forward to reading the sequel Rocky Mountain Retribution when time permits.

Rod Walker has also written a book. 

 

don’t be boring

An interesting post from Nathan at Castalia House explains the reasons for the collapse in traditionally published science fiction. Read the whole thing, but this was Rod Walker’s favorite quote:

Reliance on Bookscan and other sales tools sent publishers looking for blockbuster bestsellers instead of growing their midlist writers. And, in the current day, ebooks are proving just as disruptive, with more than 80% of all 2016 science fiction sales coming from ebooks according to Author Earnings. But while writers cannot control the changes in the industry, they can at least avoid the mistake that repeatedly led to soft sales:

Realism.

Or to be more proper, literary realism.

The problem with literary realism is that literary realism is boring.

The first rule for any fiction writer (the Prime Directive, if you will) – don’t be boring under any circumstances. A writer can violate any other genre rule or convention or rule of plotting, so long as he doesn’t violate the first rule: don’t be boring under any circumstances.

Literary realism is boring.

Rod Walker’s book is many things, but boring is not one of them. 

 

The Cursed Command by Christopher Nuttall

Previously Rod Walker reviewed both The Oncoming Storm and Falcone Strike by Christopher Nuttall, and enjoyed them both. When the next book in the series Cursed Command came out, RW read it in short order.

It continues the plot of the previous two books. Kat Falcone is now a Commodore, still commanding the Lightning, and her loyal executive officer William is now Captain McElney, given command of the Lightning’s sister ship Uncanny. Unfortunately, since William comes from the colonies, his command his fraught with political implications, and large numbers of people want to see him both succeed and fail.

As if there were not enough troubles, a contingent of the Uncanny’s crewmen are planning to mutiny, seize the ship, and go pirate. When the Lightning and the Uncanny are sent to a neutral sector to keep the neutrals from siding with the brutal Theocracy, the mutineers see their chance.

Assuming Theocracy agents and space pirates don’t kill them all first, of course.

Cursed Command was a fun read, with lots of space battles, political scheming, and derring-do. RW thinks that the book’s gender-integrated military is highly unlikely to work that well in real life, but hyperdrives don’t work in real life either, and the book doesn’t shy away from some of the brutalities of a gender-integrated military. (The pirates’ treatment of their female prisoners is one such example.) Rod Walker enjoyed the book, and is looking forward to the final book in the series later this year.

Rod Walker’s book also has space battles. 

critical failure in criticism

From time to time, readers have observed that Rod Walker displays a complete lack of regard for criticisms or the opinion of others. He admits that is true, and is quite likely to completely disregard the opinion of a critic until he is given compelling reasons otherwise.

(It’s like the joke about the business professor – if he’s so smart, why isn’t he rich?)

That said, Rod Walker does sometimes have the amusing experience of encountering a critic who completely reinforces his prejudices against critics. This quote from a Castalia House post describing a particularly hapless critic named Harry Harrison is hilarious. Read the whole thing, but this is the funniest part:

Harrison attempted to write a book about sex in science fiction called Great Balls of Fire (1977). The book was wonderfully illustrated but the text is a hopeless mess. In a chapter entitled “Is Conan Dating Clark Kent?” Harrison makes a colossal blunder in this book by attributing this passage by Jan Strnad to Frederic Wertham, M.D.:

“Conan’s broadsword and double bladed battle-axe are standard phallic symbols; they are of course representative of Conan’s attempts at sublimation of his homosexual tendencies.”

Conan a homosexual? The logic is baffling. The popular stereotype of Conan, in fact, is of a muscular barbarian carrying off a nubile young woman. This is exaggerated over the reality, but in the stories Conan shows a regular and enthusiastic interest in women. Suggesting that he is homosexual is as dumb as suggesting that Marx was a secret capitalist or that Luther really supported the Pope.

Rod Walker’s book is smarter than that. (Admittedly, that’s not high praise, but still.) 

the female aesthetic

Rawle Nyanzi has a good post defending attractive female characters in video games. Central quote:

Games work best when they have vitality and imagination, and inappropriately dressed female characters are an important part of that. Dullness and shapelessness do not indicate “maturity,” and alleged maturity doesn’t matter anyway because games only need to prove themselves to their audience.

If Rod Walker is playing a game with third-person perspective, he will probably pick a female character, simply because if he’s going to spend hours staring at a video game character, why shouldn’t it be an attractive woman?

Video games are a key plot point in Rod Walker’s book. 

ideological lockstep

Jon Del Arroz did an interesting experiment where he went through the Twitter feeds of the current writers for Marvel comics and found that all of them were progressive and strongly anti-conservative and anti-Christian to one degree or another.

This isn’t at all surprising. People like this march in ideological lockstep, and work in unison to exclude anyone of conservative or Christian leanings from publishing on their platforms. (They all claim they don’t, of course, and perhaps they even believe it themselves, but their actions put the lie to it.)

This is why Rod Walker spends so much time inside publishing (not counting Castalia House). Indie publishing allows an author to establish his own platform without suffering through would-be commissars controlling the traditional publishing industries.

Rod Walker’s book shows what happens when ideological conformity gets out of control. 

if magic, then modernity

Rawle Nyanzi has a good post on how 21st century social attitudes get imported into fantasy fiction with a medieval or ancient setting. Central quote (but read the whole thing):

Finally — and this is most important — the “if magic, then modernity” critique is often given in the form of a command, with the intention of bringing all creative work under its sway. Whether it is comic books, television, video games, or any other creative medium, all must conform to a template approved by the accusers — and any deviation is slammed as “hate.” Despite the accusers’ call for “diversity,” they want to make everything look, act, and feel exactly the same, with all the same assumptions and ideas. Imagination and possibility is to be replaced by fear and control. A hunger to rule over others consumes them and drives them to bully everyone they could into line. Even the realms of the fantastic have to fit the quotas set out in the five-year plan. Nothing less than total dominion will satisfy them.

In fantasy, the only thing one has to do is tell a story from the heart. Whatever form it takes, whatever themes it explores, one does not need permission from hypocritical scolds and mad hecklers to create. Just let the words flow.

The secret to navigating this is twofold. The writer can 1.) do whatever he wants, but only if 2.) it makes sense to the reader. Like, if you want to write a world of warrior women riding dragons into battle while the men stay home and are farmers and raise the children, you can do it. It just has to make sense to the reader. You can’t be preachy about it.

Like, in this example, Rod Walker can think of a few story-sensible logical explanations for this kind of world:

-Controlling a dragon requires a telepathic bond, and men who bond with dragons go murderously insane and have to be killed.

-Women who fail to bond with dragons go murderously insane and have to be killed.

-Women who fail to bond with dragons by the age of twenty-five are ordered to marry and have children instead.

-The dragon riders serve a stern goddess whose edicts demand that only women ride dragons into battle.

-Only women can bond with a dragon, but a male wizard must cast the bonding spell.

-The dragons themselves are actually the rulers of the society, and demand only female riders.

-Or (if you want to go darker with the story) the dragon will only accept a woman as a rider if the woman allows the dragon to consume her firstborn child.

So such a setting presents any number of possibilities for interesting stories. But the writer must always remember that “sermon” and “fiction” are two separate genres of literature.

Rod Walker pretty much did whatever he wanted in his book. 

 

Mount & Blade: lordship is expensive!

Rod Walker is still playing Mount & Blade, and he is pleased to report that his character has ascended to lordship and seized control of a castle!

Unfortunately, the effort of doing so wiped out his character’s army and depleted his funds. Also, maintaining a garrison to hold the new castle is expensive! Now Rod Walker’s character must return to the tried and true method of fundraising – capturing bandits and ransoming them back to the ransom broker.

Fortunately, Sea Raiders and Taiga Bandits fetch a good price.

Rod Walker’s book has space bandits.