A Few Thoughts On Syria

It’s been a few days, so some of the more hyperbolic stuff surrounding the Tomahawk strike on Al Shayrat Airbase in Syria has started to die down.  Now might be the right time to weigh in with a few thoughts.  This should not be taken as an exhaustive analysis; I’m not in that business, and have slightly less of a finger on the pulse of these things than I did a couple years ago, when I was keeping a close eye on the jihadi groups cropping up in Syria. Continue reading “A Few Thoughts On Syria”

More on Realism and Storytelling

This post, while following on from the last one, will be addressing a bit more of a broad problem across genres.  It’s gotten a lot more talk in the science fiction and fantasy genres (particularly fantasy) than it has in the thriller genre, but it still applies.

The fantasy version of this has been most recently highlighted by the work of George R.R. Martin, though there are plenty of authors working along a similar vein, which has been coined “grimdark,” a term that became at first something of a joke, based on the tag-line for the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop sci-fantasy wargame: “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.”  Taken to its extreme, it can become so ludicrous that it shades into “grimderp.” Continue reading “More on Realism and Storytelling”

“Do-Something-ism” and Societal Childishness

“Jack,” Trent said, “When I was fourteen I was a man.  Had to be.  Well, it looks like your father dying has made you a man, too.

“I’m giving you this Sharps.  She’s an old gun, but she shoots straight.  I’m not giving this gun to a boy, but to a man, and a man doesn’t ever use a gun unless he has to.  He never wastes lead shooting carelessly.  He shoots only when he has to, and when he can see what it is he’s shootin’ at.

“This gun is a present with no strings attached except that any man who takes up a gun accepts responsibility for what he does with it.  Use it to hunt game, for target practice, or in defense of your home or those you love.

“Keep it loaded always.  A gun’s no good to a man when it’s empty, and if it is settin’ around, people aren’t liable to handle it carelessly.  They’ll say, ‘That’s Jack Moffit’s gun, and it’s always loaded.’  It is the guns people think are unloaded that cause accidents.”

Louis L’Amour, The Mountain Valley War

This isn’t just about guns or the current uproar over the reaction to the Orlando shooting.  This goes deeper than that.  It goes to the very heart of much of what is causing so much political and social turmoil in the US today. Continue reading ““Do-Something-ism” and Societal Childishness”