Far Too Much Ranting Here

Wednesday 20th July

Ah, I see that the prick who chucked a shaving foam pie during that Murdock inquiry was a member of the Labour Party. Wow, what a surprise. Meanwhile BBC reporters are interviewing Guardian reporters about this in a nepotistic glee-fest whilst Labour Party politicians continue to use it all to gain political capital, which of course is much more fun than examining how they screwed over the country for a decade and a half then trying to figure out how not to fuck up the next time they are in power. Bored now – move on.

Thursday 21st July
Whilst statist dick heads call for more control of the media because of this phone hacking, further statist dick heads in Brussels call for more centralized power over Europe’s finances because, as expected, the PIIGS are coming apart at the seams. You see, just give more control to the politicians and everything will be better, which they tell you time and time again, despite the fact that most of them couldn’t find their backsides with both hands and instructions issued by a focus group. Of course, following these power grabs to their conclusion you get ‘the Committee’ in The Departure, but unfortunately without anyone like Alan Saul on the scene.

Look forward to a future of zero asset and societal asset status citizens, state ownership of everything with everything being issued to you on the basis of how useful you are to the state. Look forward to ID implants and cameras monitoring you in your home, state ownership of the media to ‘free it from commercial concerns’, public protest put down by pain amplifiers, political officers on every street, a government controlled Internet and a monolithic nightmare bureaucracy. And, once all this is established, look forward to a Chairman Alessandro Messina or a Serene Galahad using a ‘pragmatic approach’ to solving Earth’s population problems…

Welcome to the future.

Friday 22nd July
Ah, I see that to deal with the debt crisis European leaders have decided that the private sector will voluntarily ‘take a hit’. This is an interesting use of the word ‘voluntarily’ don’t you think? I guess our government is of the opinion that we all voluntarily pay taxes, that smokers voluntarily forgo cigarettes in all public buildings, that burglars voluntarily go to prison, that people with macular degeneration voluntarily forgo the drugs they need and voluntarily go blind and that Gadaffi will voluntarily die if NATO forces manage to drop a bomb on him. Orwell called it ‘newspeak’, which is much more concise than my ‘disconnected from reality politician prat speak’.

I note that America is boiling at the moment and we must feel sorry for those poor little darlings who aren’t working in air conditioned offices there. Gosh how they are suffering what with having to wear less clothes and drink more. How can they possibly get through this? Of course there has been a death toll, just getting into double figures, but please, get real. There are always people who are in spitting distance of the grave – a bloody lot of them in a population of getting on for 300 million – and if the heat doesn’t carry them off then the next bug they catch will or, more likely, the next winter will. You see, the reality is that winter cold kills more of the vulnerable than summer heat, but of course your local tambourine waving hair-shirt environmentalist doesn’t want you to know that.

Wow, though my contempt for government, any government whether Labour or Conservative led, is boundless, I have to tip my hat to whichever politicians or civil servants were involved in drafting the new ‘simple’ tax return. All Gordon Brown’s accumulation of totalitarian snooping into my financial affairs, which are none of his damned business, has been binned. This tax return has extended the simple three-figure accounting beyond its previous limit of £15,000 and so resulted in large portions of the self-employed populace breathing a sigh of relief. And this is a smart move: if you’re not getting angry with the damned thing you’re more likely to just fill it in and send it off, rather than agonize over the details, spend out on an accountant firstly because you’re confused and secondly to try and reduce your pay out, and then wait until the last minute to send it in.

Now what we need is for some bright spark to realize that increasing the tax load on the self employed, so that the more they earn the more they pay, results in many of them saying, ‘Fuck you, I am not paying your 40% (well, over 50% with NI). What I am going to do is simply stop working once I’ve earned up to that limit. Ever heard of the Laffer curve you bunch of parasites?’

In fact, I submit that if governments wanted more revenue generated, as well as a cut off point below which individuals don’t pay tax, they should have a cut off point above which no tax should be paid. Or, alternatively, tax should not escalate but be at a flat rate, thus negating the increasing resentment of those who are smarter and work harder and thus earn more. Ack, enough, this has been gone over ad nauseum elsewhere.

Monday 25th July
I think Biafra was the first name to stick in my head in connection with war and starvation in Africa and now Somalia is adding itself (again) to a lengthy list. Here’s an idea for the people of Africa: build up your infrastructure, store food and water, and stop having so many kids. Also, when someone cries, ‘God is great!’ and ‘I will die for my god!’ or ‘I will die for Jesus!’ or ‘The Umbaluba tribe is first and I will die for my tribe!’ or ‘I will die for the red flag!’ then oblige them with a bullet through the back of the head and spend the rest of the day digging a well. Because you can be damned sure that what they mean is that others should be doing the dying. And you can also be damned sure that no Koran, Bible, Communist Manifesto or shrunken head on a stick is going to put food and drink in your dying child’s mouth.

So, Norway has joined much of the rest of the world in the unhappy nutcase with a grudge club. The guy who detonated the bomb, and who went on to murder eighty plus teenagers before calmly putting down his weapons when the police arrived, now has legal representation and is pleading ‘not guilty’. So where are Gene Wolfe’s Severian and Guild of Torturers to deal with this sort of crime? Perhaps his punishment should be the same as the one the Turks visited upon the Cretan revolutionary Daskalogiannis, when they skinned him alive in the central square of Iraklion.

Oh, and, as I half expected, some prick in the Norwegian police, or some prick in the BBC misquoting, said, ‘This was a mad man and not an Islamic terrorist.’ I see, that would be because the religious and political beliefs of Islamic terrorists disincline them from blowing up and shooting innocent people? One would have thought that this guy ensuring he wasn’t there when the bomb went off puts him slightly higher on the sanity scale.

Also note the oddity of people going to church to pray for the victims of this right-wing Christian nut-job.

And on a final note today, ‘No—no—no—’ was the wrong answer Amy.

Less ranting next time – I promise.

Tuesday 26th July
With Zero Point off at Macmillan I’m now focusing my attention on Jupiter War which, at over 70,000 words is now past my guestimate halfway point but which, if Zero Point is anything to go by, has yet to reach it (Zero Point was over 150,000 words). Even as I write this next book, which isn’t due in to Macmillan for a year or more and probably won’t be published until two years hence, I’m considering where to go with the remaining books of my contract. Some of you may have read the story Owner Space, which I think was published by Gardner Dozois – I’ll have to check. I may head off in that direction and write about the Owner’s first encounters with the Grazen hive and the subsequent ‘misunderstanding’.

I got asked by someone yesterday how many books I’ve written and, as ever, found myself losing track. Did he mean ‘How many books have you had published?’ and should books that have been published then updated and released again by a new publisher be discounted? Do novellas count? Can we please try and narrow the question down a bit? Before Macmillan I had one book published by Gordon MacGregor called Mindgames: Fool’s Mate, then two books published by the small press publisher Tanjen, these being The Parasite and The Engineer. In contractual order Macmillan have published Gridlinked, The Skinner, The Line of Polity, Cowl, Brass Man, The Voyage of the Sable Keech, Polity Agent, Hilldiggers, Line War, Orbus, The Technician with outliers being Prador Moon, The Shadow of the Scorpion (both of these first published by Nightshade Books) and the short story collection The Gabble. Wildside Press publish a book containing two novellas with the overall title Africa Zero, along with the updated version of The Engineer called The Engineer ReConditioned. So, discounting the last of these since it’s sort of a reprint, I have had eighteen books published. (Have I forgotten any? Oh and this list will do for the guy who asked on Twitter about the order of publication.)

However, if you want to specifically stick with ‘how many have I written’ one can then add The Departure and Zero Point, then the books that have been sitting in my files from a time when my hair wasn’t grey. These are the fantasy trilogy The Road to the Yellow tower including The Staff of Sorrows, Assassin out of Twilight and The Yellow Tower. Also there’s the first book of the next trilogy, Creatures of the Staff, then a novel that was once contemporary called Frog Wine, bringing the total of written books up to twenty-five.

Fuck that’s a lot of words.

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