More Reviewer Praise for Beyond the Mist and Nobility Among Us!

Dragon-award-nominee Marina Fontaine, up high in the echelons of the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, had some very kind words to say about both of my novels, highly recommending both and mentioning them in the same breath as the works of the great masters C.S. Lewis and John C. Wright.

To say I am flattered to be mentioned in this way would be a great understatement, it was Lewis who first fired my literary imagination, whose works I have read more of than any other author, and it was his type of literature that I was consciously trying to hark back to when I wrote Nobility Among Us. John C. Wright is of course a major influence in Beyond the Mist, the plot being based on some of his philosophical essays, among other things.

You can read for yourself what she had to say over here:

http://marinafontaine.blogspot.cz/2016/08/book-review-two-for-one-ben-zwyckys.html

The 99 cent deal on both books (and on Selected Verse: Heroes and Wonders) is still running for another day and a half, so take the opportunity to take a look for yourself for less.

Matt_BTM_Who_Am_I_Poster

Beyond the Mistall cover_f1_v13_frontsmallSelected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

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All My Books for $0.99 Each (again!)

Another multi-parallel kindle countdown deal means that all of my books are now available at amazon for only 99 cents each until the end of the month. Grab them while you can!

Beyond the Mistall cover_f1_v13_frontsmallSelected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

 

 

 

 

 

Go out into the webiverse and spread the word! I do not send you out on this great task unarmed, however. Here are a selection of mighty memetic weapons with quotes from my two novels to aid you in your quest. Behold their majesty and choose your rhetorical blades!
BTM_fallig_flying_meme BTM_importance_meme
NAU Commoner to King MemeNAU-janitor-general-memeNAU soldiers in hills meme

Fly, my pretties, spread widely and infect as many minds as possible with these noble thoughts, Muahahaha!

*ahem*

Why yes, I was sleep-deprived while writing this, why do you ask?

*EDIT* I’ve replaced one of my paltry efforts with a much more awesome version produced by Matt Margolis.

 

Twenty-Eight and a Half

For my wife’s birthday:

Twenty-Eight and a Half

Wife and mother treasured far
Above all else, for who you are;
We celebrate another stage
In your ripe and youthful age,

Whereupon we share in cake,
Perhaps food served you as you wake
(If circumstances will allow),
In any case to show you how

Much we wish you all the best
And hope you can at least find rest
In what we try to do for you
(should our plans go off askew).

Your efforts we appreciate
And when you let us stay up late
We’ll try not to antagonize
Provide you with a nice surprise

And Let you know you’re loved and valued just the way you are.

Nobility Among Us in the August CLFA Book Bomb!

CLFA_BookBomb_graphic

The Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance is running another book bomb for twenty books today and tomorrow (22nd and 23rd July 2016). Nobility Among Us is on the list, as well as the second of L.J. Lamplighter’s excellent Rachel Griffin series.

A book bomb works by lots of people going on amazon and buying the same book on the same day, which boost’s the book’s rankings in amazon’s algorithms and makes it more visible to potential new readers. The author also gets paid for his work, as it should be. If you already have one of these books, please leave a review on Amazon (even if you don’t have much to say or someone else has already said similar things), as that also helps to boost that book’s visibility in amazon’s recommendations algorithm. If you’ve already done both of those, please tell your friends about this event in any way you can, on your blog, on twitter or facebook or any online community you are part of. (Please do that even if you haven’t bought it yet, spread the word as widely as possible!)

Let’s give these authors a boost! Click on the book picture to read more and buy:

  Freedom/Hate by Kyle Andrews
Everything they say on the news is a lie. To question that lie is a crime.

  A Pius Man: A Holy Thriller by Declan Finn
Sometimes, history can be murder.

  Reservations by Richard Paolinelli
Death stalks the Reservation.

   Farside by Patrick Chiles
A missing spacecraft, a cryptic message, and a fearsome secret hiding in plain sight.

  The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel (A Book of Unexpected Enlightenment 2) by L. Jagi Lamplighter
Before coming to Roanoke Academy, Rachel Griffin had been an obedient girl—but it’s hard to obey the rules when the world is in danger and no one will listen.

  American Warfighter: Brotherhood, Survival, and Uncommon Valor in Iraq, 2003-2011 by J. Pepper Bryars
The untold acts of valor by some of America’s most highly decorated combat veterans, the brotherhood they shared, and the fighting spirit that kept them alive through the war’s darkest hours.

  From Roundheel to Revolutionary by Jeff Daiell
Can Linda truly put aside her past? Or is she to be forever damned by it?

  Night Machines by Kia Heavey
It’s not really cheating if it’s only a fantasy … right?

  Decisively Engaged (Warp Marine Corps Book 1) by C.J. Carella
They picked a fight with the wrong species.

  Not by Sight by Ken Prescott
Cut off from his chain of command and hunted by a fanatical East German State Security officer with his own agenda, Sandoval must call on all of his skill and risk everything in order to survive and succeed.

  Operation Renfield by Steven G. Johnson
It’s the fourth year of World War II, and both sides are using every trick in the book, dirty, demonic and otherwise.

  Nobility Among Us by Bem Zwycky
A noble family’s quiet revolution against a crumbling hierarchy of tyrants.

  Cruncher and the Ghost by Robert Bruce O’Connor
A story so scary you’ll wet your pants laughing.

  Renegades: Origins by Kal Spriggs
A group of misfits, including aliens, psychics, mercenaries, and a rogue assassin, struggle to escape an alien prison where survival is measured in hours.

  Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan
Non-fiction: An unlikely duo goes up against town hall and the ALA when they discover lewd goings-on in their local public library.

  The Hidden Truth: A Science Fiction Techno-Thriller by Hans G. Schantz
They subverted science, rewrote history, and corrupted society. Now he knows. And he’ll prove it, if they don’t kill him first.

  Levon’s Trade by Chuck Dixon
Levon’s trade is death.

  A Sea of Troubles by R. Dyne
A short science fiction story about growing up, guns, and the gravity of the situation.

  Hard Bite by Anonymous-9
A paraplegic serial killer whose daughter was killed in Los Angeles by a hit-and-run driver now targets the guilty for murder with the help of a pet monkey.

  On Different Strings: A Musical Romance by Nitay Arbel
Penniless Texan guitar goddess teaches British engineering professor. Hearts beat in harmony. The world has other ideas.

Dragon Award Nominees!

Dragon_Logo_no_backgroundSmallThe final list of nominees for the Dragon Awards has been announced. I did not have any works that were eligible for an award (Nobility Among Us was published too early, Beyond the Mist was published 4 days too late for this year’s Hugo Awards, and was too short for the Dragon Awards, but will be eligible for next year’s Hugo Awards, for whatever that’s worth). Several of my friends, fellow SuperversiveSF contributors and one of our guests have been nominated, so my congratulations go out to them and all other nominees. Registration to vote is free and open to all, so this is truly an award for fans by fans, go over to http://awards.dragoncon.org/ to register and have your voice heard!

The full list of nominees is as follows:

  1. Best Science Fiction Novel

The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau
Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwitheriing Realm by John C. Wright
Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon
Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

  1. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin
Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams

 

  1. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Updraft by Fran Wilde
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

 

  1. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels
Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber
Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy
Chains of Command by Marko Kloos

 

  1. Best Alternate History Novel

Germanica by Robert Conroy
Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt
League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis

 

  1. Best Apocalyptic Novel

Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine
The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling
Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole
Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey

 

  1. Best Horror Novel

Souldancer by Brian Niemeier
An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
Alice by Christina Henry
Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
Honor at Stake by Declan Finn
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

 

  1. Best Comic Book

Civil War II
Providence
DC Universe: Rebirth
Daredevil
Ms. Marvel
Saga
Astro City

 

  1. Best Graphic Novel

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman
Chicago by Glenn Head
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
Virgil by Steve Orlando

 

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

Daredevil – Netflix
Doctor Who – BBC
Game of Thrones – HBO
Outlander – Starz
The Flash – CW
Jessica Jones – Netflix
The Expanse – Syfy

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

Ant-Man
Captain America: Civil War
Crimson Peak
The Martian
Deadpool
Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens

 

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
XCOM 2 by 2k Games
Undertale by Toby Fox

 

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
Quaser One by Emre Taskin
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts

 

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil
Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
Talon by GMT Games

 

  1. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games
Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
Mousguard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane

 

My personal picks are

Somewhither by John C. Wright for best science fiction novel,

Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia for best fantasy novel

Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole for best apocalyptic novel

Souldancer by Brian Niemeier for best horror novel

Daredevil – Netflix for best science fiction or fantasy TV series

and Captain America: Civil War for best science fiction or fantasy movie

(those are the categories in which I was able to make an informed choice, and are just my opinions, feel free to vote otherwise)

 

 

 

Today’s Sermon

I was preaching in church today (and translating myself at the same time, since there were a lot of Americans at the service). I thought I’d share what I said here, since it touches on the Superversive Literary Movement.

Colossians 3: 22-24:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

In this passage the overall principle is clear, and we in the West are far better off than slaves, even though on a particularly bad day we might briefly forget it. We have even more reason to obey this commandment, and less reason to complain. This doesn’t make it any easier to obey, but it helps to keep things in perspective when we realise who this commandment was originally given to. If slaves are to obey their masters sincerely and in reverence for the Lord, how much more are we to do so, knowing the heavenly as well as often earthly rewards we will receive for our efforts?

It can often seem that we are toiling and toiling away at something with no positive results to show for it, or we see results, but fail to see how what we are producing is of any value, of any wider spiritual benefit. At those times it can be easy to lose hope and just go through the motions. I’d like to look at this issue from a slightly different angle, beginning with a quote from the ever-awesome C.S. Lewis:

While we are on the subject of science, let me digress or a moment. I believe that any Christian who is qualified to write a good popular book on any science may do much more by that than by any directly apologetic work. The difficulty we are up against is this. We can make people (often) attend to the Christian point of view for half an hour or so; but the moment they have gone away from our lecture or laid down our article, they are plunged back into a world where the opposite position is taken for granted. As long as that situation exists, widespread success is simply impossible. We must attack the enemy’s line of communication.

 

What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects — with their Christianity latent.   You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implications were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materialistic assumptions in all the other books. In the same way, it is not books on Christianity that will really trouble him. But he would be troubled if, whenever he wanted a cheap popular introduction to some science, the best work on the market was always by a Christian. The first step to the re-conversion of this country is a series, produced by Christians, which can beat the Penguin and the Thinkers Library on their own ground. Its Christianity would have to be latent, not explicit: and of course its science perfectly honest. Science twisted in the interests of apologetics would be sin and folly.

This is what I try to do as a writer, to create works that stand on their own merits alongside other books by people with very different worldviews (I leave it to the readers to decide how successful I am in that regard), while at the same time as a member of the Superversive Literary Movement to tell stories that encourage people to build rather than tear down, to persevere rather than give in to despair, to notice, value and be grateful for the beauty we see all around us in all its forms and provide glimpses of the great truths behind this universe.

This principle not only applies to books, but to every kind of useful work, every productive industry. What if whenever someone wanted to find a good handyman, a good lawyer, a good engineer, a good doctor, a good researcher, the best options available to him, the most capable, the most trustworthy, were always Christians? What effect would that have on that someone, on the society as a whole? Wouldn’t it open up tremendous new opportunities for the Good News to spread? This is the context of Peter’s instruction to the believers in his first epistle:

1 Peter 3:13-16

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

In the culture in which this was written, pure altruism was unheard of. If you helped someone in some way, they were then literally in your debt, since honour and shame was a much more powerful motivating force than it is today. This sometimes made people reluctant to accept help, since they didn’t know what sort of return favour would be asked of them. So when a Christian helped a stranger and didn’t want anything in return, as Jesus commanded, the recipient of that help would be suspicious. They’d think, ‘Oh, they must be holding out for something really big from me’, and this would be the opportunity for the Christian to explain that they were expecting a heavenly rather than earthly reward for their efforts. It opened up a door to share that hope.

The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, strength and love our neighbour as ourselves. With all of our strength and our mind includes the work that we do, so it would be appropriate to say that we should love the Lord with all of our work. So let’s work on ourselves, educate ourselves, improve, become the best we can be at what we do. Let’s honour God, make his world a better place and bless others through our work.

 

God likes to work through us, to use us to achieve his purposes. Jesus said that he came that we may have life, and have it abundantly. Let’s be part of that abundance that God has planned for others, and through our work give them a little glimpse of the abundance that only he can give. Sometimes this will open up an opportunity to share some of His good news, other times it will be enough to simply be that blessing for others, and give them a tangible foretaste of His kingdom.

 

This is a great challenge, one not to be taken lightly. I’d like to close with the closing instruction Paul gave to the Phillippian church:

Phillippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Why is it important to think about such things? Because what we feed our mind on forms our character, transforming us and our behaviour from the inside, so people can watch us and see the Gospel at work. If we can provide true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy things for other people to think about (as the Superversive Literary Movement tries to do), all the better.

If you want to sample some of my efforts in this regard, click on the images below:

all cover_f1_v13_frontsmall

Selected Verse - Heroes and WondersSelected Verse - Faith and Family Beyond the Mist

 

 

 

 

* After the sermon, someone came up to me to ask where I got the C.S. Lewis quote from. I had to explain that I went looking for a Czech translation of God in the Dock, in the end finding one, only to discover that it was a translation of a selection from that essay collection and the passage in question was not included. I ended up translating the passage myself together with my wife in preparation, and handed him the copy I had printed out for the sermon. For my tens of Czech readers, I provide it below:

 

Když už mluvíme o vědě, udělám malou odbočku. Věřím, že jakýkoliv křesťan, který je kvalifikován napsat dobrou popularni knihu z jakékoli oblasti vědy, tím dosahne daleko více než skrze čistě apologetické dílo.  Problem je v tom, že lidé budou často naslouchat křesťasnskému pohledu na věc třeba půl hodiny – ale jakmile odejdou z naší přednášky nebo odloží náš článek, jsou ponoření zpět do světa, kde se opačný postoj považuje za samozřejmost. Dokud tato situace trvá, nějaký dalekosáhlý úspech je prostě nemožný. Musime napadnout nepřítelovy komunikační kanály.

 

To, co chceme, není více knížek o křestanství, ale vice knížek křesťanských autorů o jiných předmetech, v nichž je křesťanství skryté, v pozadi. To lze nejlépe pochopit, když na to podivame z druhé strany. Naší vírou těžko otřese nejaká kniha o Hinduismu. Pokud bychom ale četli nějakou základní knihu o geologii, botanice, politice či astronomie, a jeji závěry by poukazovaly k hinduismu, to by námi otřáslo. Moderního člověka nedělají materialistou knihy napsané na obhajobu materialismu, ale základní materialistické předpoklady ve všech ostatnich knihách. Stejně tak nebude nijak zvlášť znepokojen knihami o křesťanství, ale bude zneklidněn, když kdykoliv bude chtít koupit levnou populárně naučnou knihu v nějakém vědním oboru, zjistí, že nejlepší dílo na trhu napsal nějaký křesťan. Prvním krokem k znovuobrácení tohoto národa je série knih napsaných křesťany, které mohou porazit sekularni alternativy na jejich vlastním hřišti. Křesťanstvi těchto knih by muselo být v pozadi, nevyslovené, a věda samozřejmě naprosto poctivá. Překrucovat vědu v zájmu apologetiky by byl hřích a pošetilost.