What I’ve been doing elsewhere.

I hadn’t linked to this before, because I was unsure how it was going to work out. I’ve been writing a significant number of articles for Steemit, which you can all read by clicking on this helpful hyperlink.

https://steemit.com/@smithgift

Steemit is one of those new-fangled crypto-platform-world-chains. It’s kinda like blogging, except you get paid. Maybe. I’ve had mixed success, but sometimes that success is big. And in any case, there’s no point trying to only write if you get paid. It doesn’t work that way.

Self-apologetics aside, I’m rambling onto an article I just wrote. If you’ve ever wondered why my posts are sometimes a little bizarre, or I go for long silences, this is why.

I am bipolar.

Not-January Update

This update was meant to be posted yesterday, but by the time I thought to write/post it, it was too late. šŸ˜¦

It’s looking like March for release. I’m still working through revisions, for which I’ve set a deadline of “the end of February.” The actual release may take some time after that–I’m considering launching the ebook first, but we’ll see.

EVEN MORE PROGRESS to report!

I am submitting a story (or, arguably, eight) to Sci Phi Journal, a magazine of thoughtful science fiction. The story has actually been finished for some time, and it is only now that I have gotten the mental and emotional energy to continue with it. (Such is Bipolar II).

The title? A Fractal of Eight Tragedies in Fifteen Parts.

Progress report!

Currently The City and the Dungeon is undergoing a number of small revisions, due to the helpful advice of my writer’s group. There will be, God willing, more news either later this month or in December.

I have a number of other, small projects. One may also appear in about the same period (God willing) and the others… We’ll see. One story in my mind may be too long to be a short story (or even a novella?)

Fiction Review: Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Check out my review policy for a few disclaimers before proceeding.

Content warnings: Violence, sex as banally noted by a computer, swearing, but more importantly, a dreary philosophy that pervades the whole book.

I add three more disclaimers to this review. First, that this is a negative review. I generally do not enjoy negative reviews, because, having read them, I am predisposed to dislike the work reviewed, or consider its flaws worse. This is, in fact, a very negative review, and if you liked Aurora you may be better off reading some other post that flows from the unlimited fountains of the Series of Tubes.

Second, this review must inevitably be spoilery, due to the nature of the book’s great pervasive flaw. It in fact must spoil the great plot twist that ruins the book. However, since this review is why I recommend against reading this book, I must bring it up.

Third, this review is of a book, not the author. I don’t know what the true views of Kim Stanley Robinson are, but the views espoused by the book itself are the main reason why I disliked the book. Please keep this in mind.

That said, here is my complaint, helpfully hidden behind this read more tag:

Continue reading

Monday Musings: Purgatory, Punishment, Purification, and Plumbism

Purgatory is a doctrine I usually have little trouble with. It is merciful in its own way, as one no longer has to either deem a sin meaningless or damning. Imperfection is a option.

Punishment, on the other hand, is not so simple. It has always been a topic no one feels comfortable discussing–or, rather, when someone starts eagerly talks about suffering is the time everyone slowly inches away and looks for the door. Some attempt to have a God that never punishes, or punishes only with Hell, and create a unjust god, not the one described by Scripture. Yet I find it icky nonetheless, as if God cannot be satisfied with an apology, but must continue harrying over something that can no longer be changed.

Purification, too, seems lame. As if God is not satisfied with punishing, but will never get off your case about that thing long ago. How easy is it to throw the word around–particularly in the same breath as a cliche of Job and hope, and how God will never give you anything you can’t handle, hope you feel better I’m praying for you goodbye–and not once has anyone ever celebrated that they are being purified. Perhaps the past tense, but waking up in morning praying for purification seems about as likely as waking up in the morning praying that the cancer will recur. Or the one who stands atop the roof, boasting of all the bad things in their life that God is so easily rubbing clean–a new form of Pharisee, the tax collector who boasts of being more repentant of that scribe over there.

Plumbism is the silly-sounding name for a very serious condition: lead poisoning. A child might eat some paint chips, or even be exposed to lead unaware–and their fault or not, their life is in danger.

My mother’s old nursing textbook mentions that applying two of the common chelation treatments (EDTA and BAL) every four hours for five days results in a total of sixty injections, for a child perhaps still in preschool. If any parent were to punish their child with sixty injections–for what they might not have known was wrong in the first place–we would rightly call them abusive. But it is not a punishment–said textbook notes that this must be communicated to the child.

The mystery of suffering is ultimately a mystery. But I believe there is a category of suffering that results from sin but is not punishment for it. This category encompasses greater sufferings, perhaps, then any rebuke. God is not abusive, whether or not the sufferings are far beyond any that a just being could countenance.