Amazin’ Amazon Holiday Book Sale

Over eighty kindle books are available for $0.99 or less over Thanksgiving weekend. Several are free, including such modern independent fiction classics as Monster Hunter International (Larry Correia’s first book: badasses shoot monsters in the face for fun and profit) and The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin (cute girl with a perfect memory has adventures in a school for magic while blowing the world-building and magic system of Harry Potter out of the water). Also works by the likes of Richard Paolinelli, John C. Wright, Bokerah Brumley, Kit Sun Cheah, Caroline Furlong, J.D. Cowan, Declan Finn, Alexander Hellene, and more!

Also included in the sale is Fantastic Schools vol. 2, featuring a story by your humble servant called Halloween Dance. It’s all about the trials and complications of young love, particularly when the boy has a troubled past and is covered in scales, the girl is outgoing and friendly but can’t show her face without killing someone, and both are attending a school for monsters where unspeakable evil can strike at any time.

In any case, a good chance to pick up any of those great works of independent fiction you’ve had your eye on, but which your Scrooge-like ways couldn’t permit you to try.

Find them here

Wisdom of Walt Disney is Live!

My e-book on the themes of Walt Disney’s greatest films is now up and available for purchase on Amazon! 

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Introduction:

G.K. Chesterton wrote that, “There is no way of dealing properly with the ultimate greatness of Dickens, except by offering sacrifice to him as a god; and this is opposed to the etiquette of our time.” Something similar could be said of Walt Disney. In less than sixty-five years of life, he elevated animation to an art form, built what became one of the most powerful media companies on Earth essentially from scratch, revolutionized the American theme park, and all while producing some of the finest and most beloved films of all time.

            Most filmmakers would count themselves fortunate to produce a single undisputed masterpiece. Walt Disney made at least three in the form of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, and Mary Poppins. That isn’t even counting the long line of excellent films he produced such as Pinocchio, Bambi, and Old Yeller, nor the even larger number of high-quality films like Cinderella, Treasure Island, and Swiss Family Robinson.

            These films are not just well made pieces of entertainment; they are rich stories that continue to speak to audiences decades after their debut. Mr. Disney drew on some of the finest storytellers who ever lived, including Johann Goethe, Charles Perrault, Jules Verne, and Robert Louis Stevenson in search of timeless tales that could speak to people at their core. He aimed, not to appeal to children, but to the ‘continuous thread of being that remains when a child becomes an adult.’

            In a time when more and more people, especially artists, were chasing after new ‘revolutionary’ ideas, Mr. Disney struck his roots down deep into the ancient and eternal truths that had formed Western civilization, placing his cutting-edge filmmaking techniques at the service of timeless ideas. He frequently included religious themes, offering them up with a careless, matter-of-fact sincerity that sometimes shocks the modern viewer.

            These timeless themes and eternal truths are the subject of this book. Our goal is neither to provide a historical study of Mr. Disney’s career nor critical reviews of his film (though both historical information and critical opinion will appear in order to provide context). Rather, this book is an attempt to examine twelve of Walt Disney’s best and most important films as examples of wisdom literature: to ask what they have to say and how they say it.

            The interpretations in these essays are all my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of either the Walt Disney Corporation or Mr. Disney himself, though from what I have read and understood of the man, I don’t think there is anything herein that he would have objected to (apart from my calling him by the respectful ‘Mr. Disney’ throughout: he always preferred the casual ‘Walt’). That said, I have tried to avoid assuming anything not actually present in the films themselves. That is, I have tried not to ‘force’ the films to present a certain theme, but merely to listen to what they have to say. I have, of course, taken historical and cultural knowledge – i.e. the allusion to Ephesians 6 in Sleeping Beauty – into account, but only when it appears to me justified by what is occurring on screen. Any allusions to literary or scholarly works not expressly referenced in the films are meant as illustrative examples, not necessarily as a reading of the filmmakers’ intentions. On that subject, I have also done my best to avoid speculating as to the filmmakers’ motivations. Wherever I have, I present it merely as a possibility rather than an established fact.

            As for the themes and ideas herein presented, I believe they are present for any to see who cares to view these films with a discerning eye. If any are novel in the sense of not being inherent in what passes on screen, they are so unwillingly.           

            My intention is not necessarily to say anything original or groundbreaking, but merely to showcase the rich thematic depths that form the core of these classic films. In so doing, I hope to leave the reader with a greater appreciation for both the films themselves and for their illustrious creator, whose work has meant so much to so many.

Read the whole thing!

I.S.C. Episode Two Now Available!

The second entry in the I.S.C. series is now available at Amazon.

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Following their triumphant incorporation, the Monitor Deep Space Company lands in the docks of New Oslo to repair and take on supplies before departing to the deepest regions of the galaxy. In the meantime, though, a mysterious piece of salvage and the secret past of one of the crew threaten to tear the fledgling company apart.

Features futuristic gangsters, huge henchmen, vials of evil fluid, flying cars, riots, problems with gravity, booby-traps, cute girls, talking snakes, and many secrets, some of which are revealed, some of which remain hidden.