Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dungeon Samurai Vol. 3: Seisen is live!

The final installment of the Dungeon Samurai trilogy is now live on Amazon!
Crowdfunded in March, Dungeon Samurai was my maiden attempt at creating a series from scratch and publishing it on a rapid release schedule. In the course of a month, 29 backers raised $1105 to cover publishing costs. I am extremely grateful for their help in making this series come to life.
To find out more about Dungeon Samurai Vol. 3, please see the blurb below.
The war for the dungeon reaches its climax!

A hero has fallen. The threat of famine looms over humanity. The endless hordes of monsters inhabiting the world have grown even more powerful. The human military is at the breaking point.

All hopes rest on the shoulders of Yamada Yuuki, a college student turned battle-hardened samurai. Armed with faith and steel, experimental weapons and new tactics, he must lead the way into the depths of the dungeon through swarms of horrific abominations and countless traps. But the dungeon itself is changing.

And at the bottom floor, the demon ruler of the world awaits.

The final campaign begins. A desperate, gruelling crusade to win through the dungeon and find a way home. Now is the time for Seisen.

Now is the time for holy war.
Dungeon Samurai Vol. 3: Seisen takes the high-octane samurai combat of the previous two volumes and cranks it up to eleven. It is a grim death march to the bottom of the titular dungeon to win a way home. 
Can the humans overcome supply shortages, mass casualties, and new bloodthirsty monsters? Will Yamada Yuuki find a way home? Will he even survive? Find out here!
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Rawle Nyazi: "Defeat The Witch!"

My colleague Rawle Nyanzi had something big to say today, and you had better take the time to listen to it. See for yourself at his blog.

You wonder if there’s something — anything — you can do. Sure, you can avoid the cinema and cancel Netflix, but that can only do so much. Deep down, you want to replace the shows on those services, but you don’t think that’s possible.

You’re correct — right now, it’s not possible. Emphasis on right now.

But you can help change that.

What did he make using what he can do right now? This.

You want better? Then quit being a paypig, cut the cord/cancel Pozflix, and give that money to Rawle instead. He's opened a Patreon account if you want to fund him directly, or you can buy his books if you'd rather fund him indirectly by reading his books.

It is necessary, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT, to not give money to people who hate you. It is also required that you give your money--your material support--to those who want to entertain you properly. They like you; TAKE YOUR OWN SIDE and give them your money instead.

Thoughts on Jirel of Joiry

Mention the words 'Strong Female Character' and immediately a visage of a tigress fills your head. She is powerful and fearless, unbeatable in combat, sexually alluring, takes no nonsense from anyone, and can best any man in any masculine pursuit. It's a trope solidified over decades of repetition on the silver screen and the printed page. 
And then there is Jirel of Joiry. 
Created by pulp queen C. L. Moore, Jirel was among the first female protagonists in the sword and sorcery genre. Passionate and proud, beautiful and brash, she is the ruler of the realm of Joiry, implied to be somewhere in medieval France. Skilled at war and arms, she commands a loyal army of troops. 
And there she parts company with modern Strong Female Characters. 
Today's stock Strong Female Character is a man with breasts. She talks as tough and as rough as a self-proclaimed alpha male with a chip on his shoulder would, even if she doesn't have the muscles and scars to  back up her words. Put her in a dangerous situation and she will fight her way out of it, even if she has to escalate it to the point where violence is necessary. She will punch and kick and slay like a man, somehow landing her blows with as much power and accuracy as an experienced male fighter with much more muscle mass to spare. She charges her foes head-on and seeks to establish dominance, like a man. 
Jirel is, before anything else, a woman. And her experiences and perspectives as a woman colors her adventures with a distinctly feminine touch that is little-seen today.
Jirel is a fireball of passion. Passion for revenge drives her to seek out a weapon of magic even if it costs her soul in Black God's Kiss. Overwhelming guilt compels her to make amends in the sequel Black God's Shadow. In her adventures she encounters foes armed with cosmic powers, capable of reducing her to dust in an eyeblink, and yet she swears defiance and refuses to surrender. Through passion she has common ground with many Strong Female Characters, as well as heroes from pulp tales and shounen stories.
But where a Robert E Howard would have the protagonist cutting down legions of foes with mighty sword blows, where a shounen manga would have her beat down an army of mooks, where a modern action show would devolve into a spectacle of stylized violence, Moore's Jirel rarely engages in combat. 
She can't. Where she goes, her sword and armor are useless. How do you kill something that is the anthropomorphic manifestation of an eldritch realm with mere steel? How can you raise a blade against an unseen ghost? Instead of empowering her, her equipment emphasizes her vulnerability and underscores the perils she faces. She fights not foes of flesh and blood, but weird beings so utterly powerful that a sword is nothing to them. 
Where most male and modern writers would indulge in gratuitious violence, Moore focuses on atmosphere. Every story is infused with a creepy atmosphere of dread and malice, where the seemingly immutable laws of nature can be violated at whim, hinting at cosmic truths so mind-shatteringly incomprehensible that mere humans cannot begin to fathom them. 
Yet in this darkness, there is still room for faith. A devout Christian, Jirel reveals her religion in the small things. In her quest for the Black God's Kiss, Jirel asks to be shriven -- and wonders if in seeking out a tool for vengeance she has damned her soul. Later, she must set down her crucifix to perceive, must less enter, the realm of the Black God; and to return home she must retrieve it.
In Hellsgarde, when interacting with a minor character, she notes that 'God in his wisdom does not mark a whole and healthy man with a cripple’s face' and concludes that he has a 'deformity of a soul'. Instead of being force-fed to the reader, religion is treated as one of the many aspects of Jirel's personality and of the world. 
Jirel may be a warrior woman, but she is still a woman first. Indeed, her femininity is an integral part of her stories. Black God's Kiss has her seeking the Black God to avoid a forced marriage to the man who conquered her realm, and at the end realizing she was in love with him. Black God's Shadow has her returning to the land of the Black God to make amends. In Jirel Meets Magic, she faces a supremely powerful sorceress, and taps on the power of her passions to prevail. The Dark Land sees her spirited away to a mysterious dimension whose ruler aims to wed her, while Hellsgarde pits her against an invisible ghost hellbent on ravishing her as she seeks a treasure to ransom her soldiers. 
These stories tap into the primal feminine fear of the violent, conquering male and the wrath of the jealous female. With her sword and armor useless against her enemies, she must adapt to strange circumstances, endure the unendurable and deceive those who would seek to destroy her.
In Jirel's stories we see reflections of the classic feminine virtues: adaptability, stoicism, emotional intelligence, reckless daring in facing overwhelming odds for a higher end, devotion to faith and duty. 
Jirel of Joiry embodies the greatness in women. Her femininity is front and center, the core of her being. It is an approach utterly alien to the fiction of Current Year; I do not think there will ever be a Jirel in traditional publishing for years to come, if at all. 
Jirel of Joiry is a strong female character -- not a man in a dress.

I also believe that female characters should be treated as females, not men with breasts. Check out my latest novel DUNGEON SAMURAI VOL. 2: KAMI NO KISHI to see my take on a shrine maiden caught in a dark dungeon crawler. 
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Aero #1 Review

When Marvel announced its trifecta of Chinese superheroes, I braced myself to be disappointed. In recent times, Marvel has continually delivered comic series emphasising social justice in lieu of storytelling, and I was sure these comics would continue in that grand tradition.

Looking at Aero #1, I do declare I was wrong.

It was worse.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Why I Write

Much of modern entertainment is a garbage fire.
Many male characters are weak, wimpy and wishy-washy. They exist not as men in their own right, but simply to make the designed Strong Female Character look even more powerful when contrasted against their incompetence. Shounen protagonists inevitably run away screaming at the first signs of romance and emotional intimacy, those that aren't blank slates for the audience to project themselves into. In contemporary fiction, manhood is denigrated and virtue is disparaged.
Violence is inauthentic. The realities of violence are glossed over or just plain ignored where the pen meets the paper. Psychology, physiology and physics go out the window. Anatomy, biology and craft are unknown. Characters described as highly trained and highly experienced are anything but. There is no truth in the scene, only fantasies sprung from baseless illusions and the desire to push gender agendas. 
The specter of ideology haunts pop culture. It looms large over films and television, it has made inroads in fiction and comics, and it continues to expand. It infects everything it touches, and its proponents are eager to decry, denounce, dox and destroy everyone who opposes it. Progressive creators ram their politics down their readers' throats, transforming harmless diversions into vitriolic screeds; while publishers and distributors seek ever to deride or erase men, whites and Christians. 
Subversion is the order of the day. Religion is ridiculed at every turn -- especially the great majority faiths that have shaped the world. Every value of modern civilisation is targeted and undermined, replaced by empty amorality, howling nihilism and naked force. Everything beautiful must be corrupted, everything true must be mocked, everything sacred must be profaned.
This age is a degenerate age. This is the time of the Kali Yuga, where every vice is celebrated and every teaching insult. This is the great decline, when moral and spiritual corruption takes root, and people are no longer able to find salvation. The darkness of a long fall creeps ever close. 
But the darker the night, the brighter the light. 
The flame of civilization endures still. The wisdom of the ancients, time-tested and true, remain. The virtues that created society are the same values that will uplift it again. 
But the flame must be passed on. 
And so, this is why I write. 
I write strong, decisive, men who embody the archetype of the warrior monk. With the bright steel they stand between civilization and those who seek to destroy it; with unconquerable faith they stand fast against the temptations and the vices of the age. 
I write visceral action scenes that show the truth of combat, to reproduce on the page the its brutality, velocity, lethality -- and its bloody glory. 
I write character- and plot-driven stories, focusing on entertaining the reader first, for they are the reason I write.
I write stories with a strong undercurrent of pro-civilization values, where good triumphs and the evil get their just deserts, to pass on the flame. 
I write to manifest a vision of powerful and positive masculinity, to create beautiful prose that reflects hard truths, and to carry into the future the values that underpin civilization.
This approach dovetails neatly with the groups I'm involved in. PulpRev works are defined by powerful prose, dynamic characters, intense action, morality, and inspiration from old-time pulp stories. Superversive fiction builds up civilisation by upholding and celebrating the classic virtues. And on the corners of the Internet, men are gathering to spark a renaissance of masculine-oriented pulp-inspired fiction. 
The world is dark and has always been so. Social justice sinks its tentacles deeper into popular culture with every passing day. Degeneracy grows increasingly rampant. Yet in the darkness, a fire rises.
And I write to keep this flame alive. 

Superheroes and morality tales go together like peanut butter and jam. To see how I'm keeping the flame alive, check out my superhero novel HOLLOW CITY!
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