Links for writers, readers and pretty much everyone.

A link-for-everyone (I hope) first: My new And column is out. It covers the enthusiasm some pundits have for a world of economic hardship and constant war to one where the US is happy and at peace (with the understanding, of course, that the pundits won’t fight and remain rich). More on this from me here.
While I didn’t get into it in the article (only so much space) I do believe that a lot of this is tied up with personal ego. Some people see a direct link between America’s military success and their manhood. Never mind that they don’t fight. Never mind if they’ve never fought. If America’s going out and waging war and establishing a new empire, they’re fulfilled.
It’s the same logic by which a rag-tag band of terrorists gets inflated into a greater threat than the Nazis (I have heard that claim made, yes). Then the people fighting against them are being as heroic as the WW II generation. Of course, “fighting” for many of them is just blogging for other people to put their lives on the line and strutting about it afterwards (pundit Hugh Hewitt has asserted that he’s on the front line as much as any soldier in Iraq—after all, he does his radio show in New York and NEW YORK WAS BOMBED!!! So there you are). For anyone who wants more on this line of thinking, Christopher Hedges’ book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is brilliant.
Moving on …
•Writer Shannon Thompson discusses keeping track of time in your fiction. I agree it’s very important, as work on Brain From Outer Space has shown me. With multiple plotlines and characters, it got very hard to keep them moving more or less in tandem.
Keeping track of characters’ personal timeline is also important. It’s important to remember, for instance, that a 29 year old in 1959 isn’t a fifties character exactly—he or she is someone who’s lived through the Depression and World War II, both of which affect your worldview.
•The League of Extraordinary Writers on landing an agent.
•Reselling books bought overseas is not a copyright violation. If your fiction runs that way, I recommend this one—and even if not, it’s pretty cool.
•A really good article about the challenges for a Mars mission.
•As chain bookstores go down, some indie bookstores are doing better. Here’s a bookstore that specializes in resurrecting out-of-print books from SF past.
•DC seems convinced that showing extra cleavage is the key to success of its reboot universe. Unfortunately not the first time the New 52 has been oversexualized.
•An Esquire editor admits the magazine shows off women the way it shows off luxury cars (hat tip to Lady Romp)
•LGM points out that it’s hard for civil libertarians to ally with Paul Ryan when his views on civil liberties are far to the right. His only action has been to filibuster an appointment, not to actually challenge policy.
•David Brooks thinks the House Progressive Caucus budget is bad because it discourages high-income people from working. As the Slate analysis says (you can click through to Brooks’ original piece), if that’s the tradeoff for more help for the poor (and I’m not sure it is. The rich certainly didn’t quit working when we had 90 percent top tax rates), is that so bad? And while Brooks tut-tuts about how this is a Bad And Unnecessary Step when the economy is turning around, he’s been tooting the same horn back when everything was flatlining.
In a related topic, Charles Pierce points out that a solid majority of the public wants to see more government action to boost the economy and get people back to work, but it’s not reflected at the top of the government.

1 Comment

Filed under economics, Politics

One response to “Links for writers, readers and pretty much everyone.

  1. Great piece. Good luck with your writing, and thank you for the pinback. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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