Monday, July 21, 2014

And so it goes

Of course, it seems that the summer is truly heating up (providing ever more evidence that increased heat does indeed cause more violence) around the world. With Ukraine and the Middle East being especially contentious. I find myself more and more removed from the zeitgeist: most of it consisting of shrill cries on facebook, twitter and the more insidious views on the news. Honestly, I visited facebook for the first time in months, and it was clowns on the left, jokers to the right (especially when one considers the Israeli conflict)... I was immediately disgusted and shut it down; mainly because I was about to go on a rant and shout everyone down.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[OM] The Franzenian/Franzenesque lean:

 I recently wrote an article about the Twitter phenomena. I mentioned its use by the lynch mobs. There are weekly examples about its use for such (or the use of the Internet) reasons. But that’s not the only thing it’s used for (the same goes for a pitchfork). I mentioned some good things one can do with their Twitter account. The same goes for the internets at large.

Until recently I thought that for deep insight nothing beat books. All books are on the net, however I’m speaking of the tools that are specific to the internet (blogs, internet comments, twitter and so on). I was certain that these tools of the Internet were mainly a good conduit for interpersonal connections and  provided initial fodder for deeper reads (leading to a book, be it nonfiction or fiction). Blogs and articles may have been close to an exception, but they still weren’t as good as a book (and in many ways they mimic those 'paper methods').

And when it came to fiction, or rather, to seeing a narrative unfold, there was little on the net that could beat books. But I believe that I was wrong in this respect.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ministry of Bombs Sale

From today until the 24th of June, Ministry of Bombs' kindle will be 75% off. Check it out today!

In the mountains of Yemen, rebellion brews and spits out terror into the world. In Pakistan, a nuclear scientist escapes. And an agent in America, Justice, sees this and understands that the world is in danger. He must find the scientist before the terrorists do. If he doesn't millions will die. Will he save the day? As he peers deeper into the world of terrorism and the war on terror, Justice finds that things are never as they seem to be. Not your average spy or thriller novel, this looks deep into the heart of terror. Dare to look inside!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[OM] On the ISIS and reasons for current events in Iraq

The current (Jun2014) news from Iraq has many experts, including me, saying I told you so. For the rest of America it has evoked little more than an aroused yawn (though some seem to care about the veteran reactions to having fought for such an outcome). Nevertheless the videos from the ISIS have stoked my fellow Americans' resentment—the executions are ostensibly the worst—though most don't show the same revulsion to their own nation's executions on various peoples around the world. And as the ISIS resembles the Mongols in their advances and actions, cries sound for a reaction to these insipid warriors.

Monday, June 2, 2014

[OM] Torture

 A few weeks ago torture came back into the spotlight when the Senate and the CIA had a small spat and fought over the fact that the CIA spied on Senate aides who were sent over to look over torture reports. Some were, I'd say luckily, leaked. Nevertheless, though this infighting has died down, I want to take another look at torture. One would think that in this day and age there shouldn't be much of a discussion when it comes to torture, but unfortunately there is. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Twitter and social media

 Last year, Franzen made a splash with his comments on Twitter. There was a huge backlash. And most of these attacks, a lot on Twitter, seemed to be focused on mocking him personally. Some claimed that he didn't get it, or was too old. No one focused on either giving the man a lesson on using Twitter (if there was one to be had), or refuting the specific words he spoke against the medium (one that only 5% of the world uses). Though part of Franzen's rant, at times, seemed to take on the Internet as a whole, he did want to talk about better discussions in general. (note, I don't agree with most of what he said or his viewpoints; neither do I agree with the reaction dished out at him).

[OM] On Censorship

Recently there have been some scuffles with "censorship" and arguments about our first amendment. Even one of my favorite webcomics, xkcd, seems to have weighed in (no correctly, I might add).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

[OM] Top Eleven Rebel Books

Also known as rebellion books. Of course there are many great non-fiction books looking into this part of all people's history, but I'm most interested in novels that cover this subject matter (and hopefully ones that do it well). The most important step is providing a definition of rebellion. It could, after all, mean a child rebelling against his parents, or perhaps adulthood with all its travails. That is indeed one of the definitions:

"the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention."

But I'm more interested in the larger rebellion. The one with life and death consequences. Read the following definition:

"an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler."

Fighting against a larger power. Does the fight have to be just? Perhaps not. It can just be a fight, even if it's misled (though some of you further on the left might not agree, the Bolshevik revolution could be viewed as one such rebellion). Does it have to be a fight between groups? A coup, after all, is another form of rebellion (or a significant change in power), though it might merely end up being a single person's power struggle against another's. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A short to keep things even (excerpt)

There have been quite a few posts about things other than my writing. I'm finding that invigorating in some ways, but I will still keep posts on excerpts and upcoming novels. I am still fleshing out When Gods Fail 4 (it will be the final installment of the series, the title might be a little different) but should be getting started on that shortly. Meanwhile a novel inspired by Borges (though nowhere near that man's talent) is coming towards the end. It will be very different from everything else that I've written. And it will span several genres. Some are ones I've never tried before...

So to keep with the theme, click below to see a rough draft of what I've been working on. I will also, in the future, add pieces of shorts that I'm working on as well.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

[OM] 5 Best Global/International Novels

If anyone of you has read some of my fiction, you will have noticed that at times I attempt to write as globally as possible. In other words, I try to include multiple world views. To understand a lot in the world today, I find this necessary. Of course, this post is about other books that are global in their purview. I'm talking, of course, about books that cover multiple perspectives and do so in a manner that shines light on the human condition. In other words, this list doesn't include the great novels that are more entertainment than prose for the soul (so the likes of Da Silva and others yet can't be included). Even if some of them are cerebral. I understand that this is a loose definition, so fire away any complaints below.

Friday, May 2, 2014

[OM] On Salman Rushdie's death sentence and freedom of speech

Everyone should read this article, as it's a great article on what Mr. Rushdie went through after the fatwa by the Iranian regime. It brings me to another subject: what of these religious reactions? Surely one can say that Mr. Rushdie was merely a victim of what appears to have been more of a political move by Iran than anything. Indeed his novel's views on Islam have inflamed many places (and his book, the Satanic verses is not considered to be that controversial by some) and he was refused a place to speak in India recently.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

[OM] 5 Best Science Fiction novels of all time

Science Fiction (Sci-fi) is an interesting genre that never gets the credit it deserves. Too many people seem to dismiss it as childish, or perhaps escapist work (or even a result of colonialism). But it's so much more than that. From a writer's perspective, Sci-fi has the ability to free the story from normal constraints of everyday minutia. There will be details, no doubt, but of your own choosing. This, as you can imagine, is more difficult, and those details that do differ usually do so to highlight something about the world we live in right now. This is done by either showing what's missing, or what will change if we continue on the current course we're in. And the creation of a different world (it can be ours, but it's always different in some manner) helps to lower people's defenses, or perhaps transplanting the problems or possible problems of our world to another helps us look at it from a different angle. Much like traveling to another culture can do. Sometimes it merely uses an advanced technology to highlight something important. In many ways, sci-fi usually ends up being the Cassandra. Look at 1984 and how many times that's referenced. Something that only goes to show the importance that sci-fi plays in every day life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

[OM] Drone Warfare

[OM] On all things drone:
Here follows my opinion on the current drone war. (Also, I should note that the media is indeed complicit in allowing 'officials' to obfuscate. Read this article for a breakdown)

“And so it goes.”

A few days ago, I clicked on an article about an Australian and New Zealander killed by a drone strike (and even more recently a strike has killed more). The reactions in the comment section were predictable. Most were crass, though to be fair few of the dressed up comments from public officials (invariably all leaned towards the serious look and the statement that such things must be done) were much better in content.

On the Struggle Trilogy and accompanying material

Though this post is about The Struggle Trilogy, it's also about the focus of the book as well (read Baghdad, read Iraq, read the Middle East).

In my opinion, fiction and non-fiction are separate, but the line between is quite blurred. Nevertheless, The Struggle Trilogy, a novel about Baghdad which I published in 2012, sits comfortably in the fiction section. Well received in certain quarters (one review, two review, three), I have nonetheless heard from some people who might not agree with the shift in their preconceptions.

So here are a two very important articles (by the great Dexter Filkins) covering some of the ground, which cover some of the ground that my novel does. First is an article on the Quds commander, Qassem (for you readers out there, you will note that it is the main Iranian's name as well). The article, top notch work, traces a handful of feats that the Quds has indeed carried out, as well its influence on events through out the region.

The second article, focuses on Iraq, but gives a good overview of what was left behind with regards to the sectarian political games (and very dangerous ones) being played. I highly recommend both articles for all those who are interested in Iraq, and for all those readers of The Struggle Trilogy. If you haven't read it, check out the free short story The Struggle today.