books are weapons in the war of ideas

The Syrian Gas Attack Persuasion

According to the mainstream media – that has been wrong about almost everything for a solid 18 months in a row – the Syrian government allegedly bombed its own people with a nerve agent

The reason the Assad government would bomb its own people with a nerve agent right now is obvious. Syrian President Assad – who has been fighting for his life for several years, and is only lately feeling safer – suddenly decided to commit suicide-by-Trump. Because the best way to make that happen is to commit a war crime against your own people in exactly the way that would force President Trump to respond or else suffer humiliation at the hands of the mainstream media.

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‘You can’t arrest the commander of an army!’

'Actually, Mr. Vimes, I think we could,’ said Carrot.  'And the army, too.  I mean, I don’t see why we can’t.  We could charge them with behavior likely to cause a breach of the peace, sir.  I mean, that’s what warfare IS.’

Vimes’s face split in a manic grin.  'I LIKE it.’

'But in fairness our–that is, the Ankh-Morpork army–are also–’

'Then you’d better arrest them, too,’ said Vimes.  'Arrest the lot of 'em.  Conspiracy to cause an affray,’ he started to count on his fingers, 'going equipped to commit a crime, obstruction, threatening behavior, loitering with intent, loitering WITHIN tent, hah, traveling for the purposes of committing a crime, malicious lingering and carrying concealed weapons.’
—  Terry Pratchett, “Jingo”
(And the thing is, we laugh at this because the idea of Sam Vimes arresting two armies IS funny.  But on top of being funny–and on top of Vimes trying to pile on the charges here with this list–Pratchett intended with this book above all else to characterize war as, in itself, a crime.  In this case, a war started because of a lie and because of racial/ethnic/national prejudice.  But we’re meant to be thinking about this.  When is war NOT a crime, when you get down to what most people think crimes are?  Why is killing people okay and legal when it’s war, for one thing?  Why is it legal to loot places when you conquer them?  Why isn’t it murder and theft?  Well?)

wearesamurai  asked:

Headcanons about Namika? ;D

  • Has a really good ear for music. Nothing drives her up a wall more than someone playing an instrument that’s out of tune or singing off-key.
  • She collects hair ornaments, but rarely wears them while around the Collective.
  • She understands a whole bunch of languages, but will occasionally pretend not to know what people are saying in front of her back before bitching them out for being shitty to a foreigner without knowing they understand.
  • She names all her weapons. Tapestry and her have had arguments about this.
  • Great with a calligraphy brush. Not great with more ‘standard’ pens, but her handwriting’s more legible than Tarek’s.
  • Totally had a vegan phase as a teenager.
  • Has an encyclopedic knowledge of war-banner iconography and the history of different symbols, but rarely gets to trot this information out.
    • Sometimes toys with the idea of writing a book on the subject, but has never found the time.

luna-myth  asked:

Two things: I ADORE your Animorphs Hogwarts AU ideas so much, omg, and I really love what you said way earlier about the massive framing device/symbolism/character commentary with the different morphs the Animorphs use. So might I ask, aside from Jake's tiger, what's your favorite of those?

Thank you so much!

In addition to loving their battle morphs, I really love what K.A. Applegate does with each of the kids’ first morphs. As with the tiger and the gorilla and the wolf, what’s important is not the generally agreed-upon symbolism of the animals themselves, it’s the details she chooses to convey or focus upon.

Tobias becomes the first one to morph, and he does it alone.  Because that’s who Tobias is, at that point in the series: eager for adventure almost to the point of recklessness, hungry to prove himself without fully grasping what an adventure will entail.  He’s a house cat bouncing from bed to dresser to windowsill, not exactly looking where he leaps.  Rachel morphs a house cat one book later, and the description of that house cat is all about Rachel’s character.  Fluffer McKitty is a gorgeous fluffy murder machine who can fight a human five times his size to a standstill, with enough reckless courage to impress Visser Three, all in a package that is deceptively pretty-looking.  By contrast, Tobias in cat morph is cheerfully impulsive, eager to impress Jake and not particularly grounded—Tobias hasn’t yet learned the hard way to embrace his inner hunter.

It’s not totally clear whether Cassie beats Jake to the punch, but Jake is the next person we actually see morph.  Again, it’s all about the way that Applegate chooses to describe the golden retriever.  Marco in dog morph delights in being an agent of chaos (#10, #35), but Jake in dog morph is bouncy, cheerful, over-eager, and quick to defend his own—even though he is of course defending Homer’s house from Homer himself (#1).  At the Sharing meeting he takes advantage of the fact that everyone overlooks a dog on the beach because even dogs without humans are so very ordinary.  And that’s Jake himself in the first book: quick to respond to unexpected events, fiercely protective of his family and friends… and also a thoroughly mediocre person.  He’s a dumb jock who can’t make his school’s basketball team, a gamer geek who routinely loses to Marco at the arcade, an average kid trying to escape the long shadow cast by his more-competent older brother.  The empire-toppling siberian tiger is yet to come.  

Whether Cassie is the second person or the third one to morph, my headcanon will forever be that she chose the horse morph because of the whole “I hadn’t played that game where I pretended I was a horse since I was about five.  Okay maybe six” bit, where we know that was definitely a childhood dream (#29).  Anyway, that aside, the horse morph has the same implication the wolf morph does: it’s all about endurance.  It’s about Cassie being able to go and keep going toward her ideals, her goals, and who she wants to be.  Cassie has the horselike ability to run through any amount of fatigue for days on end until her body won’t carry her anymore.  She’s also in many ways the one most concerned with protecting this planet and living up to Elfangor’s legacy, which is why she controls the morph to be andalite-like just for a second on her way out.  

Then Rachel becomes an elephant, a freaking juggernaut of destruction who can nevertheless display a surprising amount of delicacy and finesse with that long, clever trunk.  Marco gets the only battle morph who can unlock doors and also pull iron bars apart with brute strength, the most human-like battle morph when he is the most reluctant and least skilled morpher.  Neither one of those needs any additional commentary.

Ax’s first morph is the tiger shark, the “blue blade”—note the name—who is not only an ancient killing machine, but also definitely not a dolphin (MM4).  Ax, quite accidentally, starts out with a morph that is the “natural enemy” of the dolphin that the four humans have morphed (#4).  He’s an outsider, an alien, a “living weapon” who has been trained into the idea of being a warrior since early childhood (MM4).  He’s also mysterious, inscrutable, someone the Animorphs aren’t sure they can trust until four books later, and with good reason.  He himself withdraws from them, makes pains to separate himself from humanity, and doesn’t share important information with them for fear of compounding Elfangor’s violation of Seerow’s Kindness (#8).  Although Ax eventually gets a dolphin morph, and by the end of the war he’s more Animorph than aristh, as of his first appearance he’s a weaponized, somewhat fear-inducing outsider (#46).  

Rey/Anakin Solo Parallels

On top of the Han/Leia/Jaina/Ania parallel posts I also want to revisit Anakin Solo - the youngest Solo child who was killed off in the EU despite numerous protests by both writers and readers. I’m also just going to explore some other ideas and links.

While the following is ‘non-canon’ following the sale of Lucasfilm JJ Abrams said this on the EU’s now non-canon status:

“It wasn’t even clear what is canon in the EU. We have to try and tell the best version of a Star Wars movie. [But] I thought ‘If ideas that come up feel like they overlap and feel like they work? Great.”

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anonymous asked:

Can you recommend any EDA'S? you have me super curious!

I’m currently reading The Blue Angel, so I can only recommend books among the 26 books I’ve read so far. I’m sure there’s more amazing books later in the series, I just haven’t read them yet.

First, here’s a link where you can get them on PDF for free. Don’t feel too guilty about it, because they are all out of print (except Earthworld, because the BBC re-printed it for the 50th anniversary). The last pages of Vanderdeken’s Children are missing, and some of the PDFs have typos, but they are readable anyway.

So! Recommended EDAs. Keep in mind these are my picks. You might disagree with them. I know at least one of them is not regarded as a great book by the majority of fans (the fifth one). But still, here are my six favorites so far among the 26 books I’ve read.

Vampire Science

  • Standalone? - YES
  • Required reading? - None
  • Quick summary - Modern vampires try to coexist with humans while some others just want to declare war on them. UNIT decides to intervene and kind of makes things worse.
  • Why is it good? - This book defined how to write Eight, basically, and don’t let the summary fool you, it’s very funny. Also, vampire squirrels.
  • Quote - Abner said, “We all have to find something to do with our time. Myself, I’ve been working on a law degree since nineteen, ah, sixty-eight.” “I’m so sorry,” said the Doctor, getting up. “No sentient being should have to endure law school for that long.”

Alien Bodies

  • Standalone? - A metric ton of small references to classic episodes and to the previous EDAs, but still readable without getting all of them, so let’s say YES
  • Required reading? - None
  • Quick summary - Some strange individuals representing different alien powers are invited to an auction in the middle of a rainforest. Apparently, they are bidding for some kind of weapon that could be used in some kind of, hmm, temporal War. Probably nothing to worry about, right?
  • Why is it good? - This book has so many amazing concepts and ideas that it has been pillaged by the new series, and you can find bits of its legacy in The Impossible Astronaut, The End of Time, The Pandorica Opens, The Name of the Doctor, The Doctor’s Wife and more.
  • Quote - “Well, sure, you can wipe whole planets. But, y’know, that’s all a bit passé, right?”

Seeing I

  • Standalone? - NO
  • Required reading? - Vampire Science, Genocide, Longest Day, Dreamstone Moon
  • Quick summary - After being separated from Sam in Longest Day, the Doctor is looking for her on the planet Ha’olam. It… doesn’t go well. Meanwhile, Sam tries to rebuild her life, far away from home.
  • Why is it good? - THIS BOOK HURTS LIKE HELL but it‘s a very good and important book for Sam as well as Eight. It’s a great character study, and you’ll even manage to get a couple of laughs among all the pain of the first three quarters of the book. And the ending is wonderful.
  • Quote - “Forty-seven civilisations in this bit of the galaxy, thirteen billion years of history among them, and I’ve got a room. And a hallway. And a room. And a courtyard.” The crayon flew from his hand and hit the wall.

The Scarlet Empress

  • Standalone? - YES (despite Iris referencing old episodes and stories)
  • Required reading? - None
  • Quick summary - The Doctor, Sam and Iris Wildthyme embark on an epic quest to dethrone the evil Scarlet Empress of the planet Hyspero. There’s magic and wonderful imagery everywhere.
  • Why is it good? - This book is one of the most joyful things I’ve ever read and if it doesn’t put a big happy smile on your face we definitely don’t like the same things. Also, it’s about the power of stories.
  • Quote - “Tell me, Sam,” his dark silhouette asked. “Would you by any chance have embroiled the pair of us in something rather dangerous?” She grinned. “What would you say if I had?” “I’d say well done!”


  • Standalone? - YES BUT NOT REALLY (it’s a lot better if you know Sam’s character and what makes her tick beforehand)
  • Required reading? - None, stricto sensu, but Vampire Science, Genocide, Longest Day, Dreamstone Moon, Seeing I and Vanderdeken’s Children are all recommended if you want to know who Sam is and why she does what she does here.
  • Quick summary - The Bel system is undergoing catastrophic changes caused by its sun. Twenty-two of its twenty-three planets are inhabited. A suicide-cult is spreading. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Why is it good? - First, this is a very experimental book, and its format can be pretty unusual at times. Second, this book does something incredibly clever with Sam by pushing her character flaws to their logical extreme. Third, the alien life forms featured in this book are really, truely alien, and that’s kind of rare even in this series.
  • Quote - “Who are you? How did you get here?” The man offered his hand. “That’s a bit of an existential question, isn’t it? I’m the Doctor.” He glanced back at the still-motionless wave. “And obviously I surfed.”

Unnatural History

  • Standalone? - NO. NO. DEFINITELY NOT.
  • Required reading? - Vampire Science, Genocide, Alien Bodies, Longest Day, Dreamstone Moon, Seeing I, The Taint, Revolution Man, Dominion. Probably a couple more. I forgot. Also you’ll need to have watched the TV movie.
  • Quick summary - The Doctor, Fitz and a version of Sam who never met them try to repair cracks in the fabric of reality in San Francisco. Someone wants to exploit the damage instead.
  • Why is it good? - Just like Alien Bodies, it’s full of great concepts and ideas that the new series has pillaged - both the entire arc of Series 5 and The Name of the Doctor, for example, owe something to this book. Also it allows everything to be canon at the same time, which is fantastic.
  • Quote - The Doctor didn’t even slow down. One part of his brain started madly calculating velocities and trajectories. Another part started advising him strongly against this course of action. Another part was sticking its arms out and making aeroplane noises.

anonymous asked:

I'm playing Exalted, which is a game where the laws of physics are more like vague suggestions whispered softly for PCs, but I'd still like to use reality as a starting point. So. I'd like a character of mine to use a polearm of some kind, and I'd like her fighting style to focus on keeping enemies at polearm length, making it exceedingly difficult for anyone to get close to her from any direction. Bonus points for fluid/circular movements. Can you rec some actual polearm techniques to research?

Wushu or Shaolin staff techniques come to mind, though any traditional staff form should give you some ideas. This video is good first primer for Shaolin staff techniques. In general, Youtube is a pretty good source for basic examples of staff forms. Pick a style, search that with “staff,” and see what you find.

Adapting those techniques to polearms is basically a non-option in the real world, but it fits with the setting’s feel, and isn’t out of range for an Exalt.

Going back and looking at the recommendations in the core book is also probably a good idea. Both editions suggest Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ninja Scrollas general references. There’s usually a few other Wuxia films mixed into their recommendations. And, while I’m usually loathe to recommend anime under any circumstances, it is a major influence on how the setting is put together.

Also, read The Art of War. They keep recommending it, and so do I; it will help you create better villains, and smarter heroes.

There is a weird little setting footnote. Technically any weapon can be made from the five magical materials, but there are almost no official polearm artifacts (that I’m aware of). This is more significant because when an Exalt uses a melee charm with a second age weapon, it rarely survives the experience (I think the technical rule is “never.”) There’s actually a pretty consistent theme in the setting for physics poking it’s head in and ruining your day whenever you’re not expecting it. Keep that in mind, and use it to mess with your players.

There are a couple polearms in the Wonders of the Lost Age sourcebook. Including a force projecting weapon that will knock enemies back, and a four dot artifact halberd that’s designed to cleave through densely packed waves of enemies. Because, you know, Solars aren’t in a fight until they’ve leveled six city blocks.

Independent of that it’s worth remembering that each kind Exalt has their own Martial Art, and that what Exalted considers a “martial art,” is a mostly unarmed hand to hand style. Scroll of the Monk is the basic martial arts primer for the setting, but it also includes some of the most horrifically broken charms in the game. So it might be worth looking at, but be very careful about letting your players pick off the menu.

To writers, I do recommend Exalted as a resource when you’re working on epic fantasy. There’s a lot really good suggestions for a fantasy world having to deal with godlike superheros, and, as with White Wolf’s other games, some pretty sharp world building, you really can learn from. Also, this is very much not Tolkien; the setting takes a lot of tone from Greek and Chinese myth and classical literature, along with elements of Shinto, to create something really unique.