Riding the Rigatoni Cycle

Not much to report on the Watchman for Daybreak front, though I'm proceeding along the lines I indicated last week, and it's working for me. John St. Cloude is going to be a much more interesting character this way.In the meantime, my first novel has been available on my personal website for the last ten years. It's called Through Darkest Zymurgia; it's a fantasy novel about a scientific expedition in a rather odd world. I make no great claims for it, but I enjoyed writing it, and I think … [Read more...]

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A Compendium of Simplicity—Wait, What?

Towards the end of his life, Thomas Aquinas began his third summary of the theology of the Catholic Faith. The first, and the most detailed, was his Summa Contra Gentiles, which he wrote to refute the "gentiles"—which is to say, Averroes and Avicenna, who were smart cookies but held erroneous views about Aristotle (at least from a Catholic point of view) and were unintentionally poisoning the well for Thomas and other Catholic Aristotelians. I've tried reading parts of the SCG, and it is not f … [Read more...]

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Blogging Aquinas

I've been finding myself wanting to write more about philosophy recently, partially because of my extended discussion with Alex Symczak, partially because it's interesting, and partially because I want to spend more time with my patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, which means spending more time with his writings, which means taking time to reflect, which means writing about it because that's how I reflect.This would include covering at least one of Thomas' proofs of the existence of God, along … [Read more...]

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Lumen Fidei: Foundations, Creaky and Solid

I'm writing these Lumen Fidei posts mostly for the Catholics in the crowd, but the atheists and agnostics among my readers might find this one interesting to look at.As I've noted elsewhere, Christian faith isn't simply an assent to particular doctrines; rather, it is a deep and abiding trust in Christ and His Father, and as such is an essential part of the Christian life. But equally, this trust is not apart from belief or knowledge. In paragraph 24 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis … [Read more...]

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How Not To Write A Best-Selling Fantasy Novel

This post was written in September of 2004, relative to a blog post about how to put all of the typical fantasy cliches into your manuscript. Jaq's post is still available, because Jaq's got stamina, and you go look at it if you like. In this post, I refer to two novels of mine, one of which is indeed available to read on-line (though not in e-book format) and one which is still not quite done, ten years later. Jaquandor comments (with reference to his manuscript in progress) on this post … [Read more...]

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Sandra Boynton: Delightful Goofiness

Most people, I suppose, know Sandra Boynton from her line of greeting cards with Recycled Paper products, and her vast output of picture books for small children. (If I had a dollar for every time I read Barnyard Dance to my kids at bedtime, I'd be a wealthy man.)But I'm not sure how many people know that Boynton is something of a songwriter. She started releasing albums in 1996 with Grunt, an album of Pigorian chant. Someone gave me a copy, and though it was pleasantly silly I admit I … [Read more...]

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Archie Says: On Locks and Listening

Archie Goodwin on locks and listening:It is always a temptation to monkey with locks, and one of the best ways to test ears is to enter someone’s castle uninvited and, while you are looking here and there for something interesting, listen for footsteps on the stairs or the sound of an elevator. If you don’t hear them in time your hearing is defective, and you should try some other line of work when you are out and around again.— Rex Stout, Champagne for OneArchie is, of course, the l … [Read more...]

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Writing Flawed Characters

I only got about a thousand words written on Watchman for Daybreak this week, but I feel like I'm making great progress.First, it's interesting to work in such a different way than usual. Usually I start at the beginning and writing the story to find out what happens; this time, I know pretty much what's going to happen from one end of the story to the other, at least in its broad outlines. Consequently, I'm writing not to find out what happens, but to find out how and why it happens. In … [Read more...]

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Review: Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield

GatesOfFire

We've all heard of the 300 Spartans who held the pass at Thermopylae against the Persians, and who died to the last man. What we mostly don't know is who they were, and why they were fighting. Who don't know who the Persians were, or why they were threatening Greece. Steven Pressfield's novel Gates of Fire makes up for this lack.I'd read a bit about the Spartans over the years, enough to know that they were unusual even for Ancient Greece. By our standards, they were brutal and violent; … [Read more...]

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