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Apologies for the Cat

ConfuciusFor the record, I am not politically correct. In fact, I have a very strong urge to do the exact opposite of what the politically correct say I should do. That said, I used to be a Platonist and was against the mocking of other people’s religion. The constructive criticism of such was okay as long as it was done politely and with decorum, but the attempt to “shout down with laughter” I thought to be a very unsound and distasteful approach in the etiquette of argument. And yet, a few weeks/months ago (5/28/16 to be precise), through the personage of my cat, Confucius, I mocked a certain Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan for trying to ban people from taking pictures with cats. He believed that people who took pictures with cats were becoming “too Western.” In response, I ridiculed him here. Now, the Platonist in me (and the Christian, as well) feel obliged to offer the Sheik an apology. So, I apologize to Sheik Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan—although I’m sure he has no idea I exist. I should not have mocked him and, by extension, even Mohammed and Islam. It was poor taste on my part. Sorry.

Anyway, in my opinion, banning pictures with cats seems very odd. If you want to make it some kind of religious tenet, I suppose you can, but it seems kind of a trivial thing to me. Kind of on the level of not eating meat on Fridays in Lent according to my own Faith (Catholicism). I was always of the mind that how you treated other people was paramount. Ritual was just ritual, and not of major consequence. Kind of: “I desire love, not sacrifice.” God wants us to love Him and each other, not get lost in the minutiae of religious rules and strictures. The older, wiser me realizes that some people get very upset if their rituals are infringed upon.  Anyway, I think the more pressing problem for Islam is the segment of its practitioners who are going around killing everyone and everything they can. I think the Sheik and his religion would be better served if he addressed that problem and not the current celebrity status of cats. I am free to criticize the loons of Isis all I want, but they probably won’t listen to me, as I am an outsider. Indeed, they probably won’t listen to the Sheik either. But potential recruits? There the Sheik might have a more substantial impact. Muslim youths would surely listen to him far sooner than they would me. And he could do so much good, if he directed his energies there.

Just Another Author Update

Well, it’s August, 2016 and once again I find that I have little to write about for this blog. In fact, I haven’t made a substantial post on this blog for quite some time. So, with nothing better to do, I’m going to give another author update. The last few days have been difficult; I’ve been dealing with mental illness/antichrist issues. Which means I’ve done very little in terms of writing and editing this week. But that’s okay. I’ll get to it eventually.

As of now, The Citadel (Book III) is currently entering its third draft. I suspect it will take at least another year to get it in its final form. I also have a novella, Prism, which was all set to go, but then I submitted parts of it for critiquing to my writers’ group. It consists of basically four chapters. After rereading it, I’ve decided that Chapters I and II are kind of slow. Although the characters and world are unique, I’m feeling I have to do something to those Chapters, especially chapter two. So, I haven’t released it yet.

I’ve also got a really cool short story that is doing the rounds, hoping to be accepted by an ezine. Plus, a second short story—also cool, in my opinion—that has completed several edits and is almost ready for submission.

Anyway, that’s where I stand at the moment.

Confucius Speaks

ConfuciusMeow. Time for another politically incorrect post.

It has reached my feline ears that a certain Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia by the name of Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan has banned people from taking pictures with cats. Don’t believe me? Although it is beneath the celestial dignity of a feline like myself to make false claims or be forced to support my claims for verification, I’ll present the following evidence anyway: http://maudmanyore.com/2016/05/saudi-arabian-cleric-bans-people-from-taking-pictures-with-cats.html and http://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/story_medium/public/thumbnails/image/2016/05/26/17/saudi-cats2.jpg and … well, google it. See? I told you so.

The Sheikh claims the ban on such pictures is an attempt to keep people from becoming “too Western.” Clearly, he is a Westernaphobe as well as a felinaphobe. Pesky Muslim Sheikh. Although perhaps I should take the whole business as a compliment: visual expressions of Mohammed are condemned as blasphemy in the Muslim world; is the Sheikh trying to make a similar connection with cats? If so, I fear I must correct the record: us, cats, are not major religious/political leaders in this world. We certainly don’t deserve the status of a Mohammed or a Jesus or a Buddha for our efforts and achievements in our earthly lives. If the truth be known, we could earn such, if we wanted to, we just prefer to spend our time having our chins rubbed and that place behind our ears scratched.

I hope that does not earn me a fatwa. If so, I’ll have to respond with a meowtwa.

I’ve Got It: My Next Novel Will Feature …

This might be a bad idea from a politically correct point-of-view; I might make myself into a pariah by posting this. But I’m not politically correct. If the truth be told, I can’t stand the whole movement. I get it: if there’s a man standing next to me in a dress, that’s no cause to beat him senseless or publicly ridicule him. But I still think it’s a little weird. And I think I’m within my rights to raise an eyebrow. Sorry.

 

I find it amusing as I hop from ezine to ezine and peruse the wish lists of the respective editors. A whole bunch of them are looking for LGBTQ (or whatever) literature and all sorts of variants on that theme. Basically, the characters in our stories are getting stranger and stranger, more and more removed from “normal” (if there is such a thing–the PC movement denies that there is; I’m not so sure). I suppose that’s natural as a perfectly “normal” character would probably be boring. But it seems to me that it is possible to get lost in the weeds of details, striving to make your character so unique it becomes its own bizarre amalgamation of traits and randomness; a string of characteristics that mock the whole notion of character.

 

So, in light of the vast PC wisdom, and the muse that inspires me, my next novel will feature …

a cis-gendered Hispanic male albino lesbian with a penchant for Cheerios and heavy metal music. His love interest, of course, will be a trans-gendered female weightlifting Sumo wrestler from Alpha Centauri with seven fingers on her right hand and an extra row of teeth; she suffers from psoriasis.

 

I should apologize for that. Maybe I can make it good by claiming they are both hobgoblins. Am I allowed to tease hobgoblins? Or are they off-limits, too?

 

Atlantis: Fact or Fiction?

This post has little to do with fantasy literature, per se. At least not directly. The connection is that the story of Atlantis is kind of fantastical.

 

The story of Atlantis comes to us from Plato, specifically from his dialogue The Timaeus. I never studied that one in college. I’ve read bits and pieces of it—mostly the stuff about the demi-urge and such. Anyway, within the dialogue we are given the legend of Atlantis in which Plato tells of an ancient advanced civilization that was wiped out in a cataclysm of some sort—earthquakes and floods, basically—which not only destroyed the Atlantean civilization in its entirety, but devastated the Athenian nation as well. Plato provides a number of details about the Atlantean civilization which I will not go into here. I will say, having read several books on the subject now, that I believe the Atlantean Legend is based on a real nation-state that once existed. Exactly where it was, though, I have no idea. It could have been somewhere in the Mediterranean, somewhere along the North African coast, somewhere along the Spanish coast, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, or even in Antartica.

 

However, I would like to distinguish here between Plato’s Atlantis and the New Age Atlantis. Plato’s Atlantis is the Atlantis of which he wrote. It may have been a technologically advanced nation, but only a technologically advanced nation relative to its time. Perhaps Plato’s Atlanteans mapped South and North America; perhaps they knew of Antartica; but they did NOT fly around in planes, nor did they develop a space program based on crystals or something like that. Why do I say this? Because according to the Platonic Legend, the Atlanteans were at war with the Athenians, and the Athenians won said war. If the Atlanteans were so advanced they were flying around in planes, they would have mopped the floor with the primitive Athenians. And they didn’t. They lost. No super-technology for you.

 

The New Age Atlantis is the term I would use to refer to some ancient culture that may have existed in ages past with technology on par with or perhaps even exceeding our own. Plato’s Atlantis provides no support to such a theory. Such an Atlantis may have existed, but we must look elsewhere for evidence (we only refer to it as Atlantis for romantic reasons for surely it was called something else during its times). Things like the Nazca lines in South America, or those tiny golden airplanes that were found, again in South America. A New Age Atlantis would require a global catastrophe to wipe out and reset the humans of this planet back to the beginnings of the Stone Age. Such an event is possible but, at first blush, appears kind of loony. That said, perhaps I’ve watched one too many episodes of Ancient Aliens, because I’ve grown convinced that there was either a New Age Atlantis-like civilization in our past or we actually were being visited by aliens as far back as our prehistory. The evidence presented on Ancient Aliens is (sometimes) quite compelling.

Goodreads Giveaway … Time is Running Out!

In celebration of the recent release of the latest book in my fantasy series (the book is called “The Sceptre of Morgulan,” the series is called “From the Ashes of Ruin.”) I am holding a Goodreads Giveaway. Three hard-cover copies of the book are available, one to each winner of the giveaway. More information can be found on Goodreads; just follow the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sceptre of Morgulan by Matthew D. Ryan

The Sceptre of Morgulan

by Matthew D. Ryan

Giveaway ends December 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Giveaway: The Sceptre of Morgulan

The Goodreads Giveaway has begun!

In celebration of the release of my latest novel, The Sceptre of Morgulan, I’m holding a giveaway on Goodreads from now through December 30th. The novel is Book II of my series, From the Ashes of Ruin. It was preceded by the prequel Drasmyr, and Book I The Children of Lubrochius. I will be giving away three free hardcover copies of the The Sceptre of Morgulan, one each to the three winners of the giveaway. Winners are determined randomly by Goodreads. For more information and to sign up for the giveaway, follow the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sceptre of Morgulan by Matthew D. Ryan

The Sceptre of Morgulan

by Matthew D. Ryan

Giveaway ends December 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Upcoming Goodreads Giveaway

My cat, Confucius, is still in the line-up. You’ll hear from him next week. In the meantime, I wanted to inform everyone of my upcoming Goodreads Giveaway. It starts November 26th and lasts through December 30th. Three hardcover copies of “The Sceptre of Morgulan” are on the line; each winner will win just one. Here’s the code:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sceptre of Morgulan by Matthew D. Ryan

The Sceptre of Morgulan

by Matthew D. Ryan

Giveaway ends December 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Reader Poll: What Length Fantasy eBook Do You Like To Read?

Hi, all,

I’ve decided to run a reading poll. It’s very brief, but the code may be a little twitchy. Anyway,

What is your preferred book length for a fantasy ebook?

Take the poll here.