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Free Objectivist Novelettes
hernan posted a topic in LiteratureI now have five completed Objectivist(ish) novelettes available for free download here: www.conquistador.org. (You can also purchase print copies for $5 each.) I am looking for feedback on them and so welcome your opinion.
hernan posted a topic in Member WritingI'm looking for feedback both on the particular story and on the general format. Carl Flores Thanks in advance.
hernan posted a topic in LiteratureI have an unusual request that I hope is not inappropriate to this forum: I'm working on a novella and there is one scene that is a turning point in the story, a cable interview/debate. I want it to be as credible as possible so I'm posting it here for your criticism. (Note: It's supposed to piss you off.) I would appreciate any suggestions for improving it, particularly making it sound more authentic. I've done my best to capture the dominant media philosophy and rhetoric but it's easy to slip into caricature. (If you are interested in critiquing the full novella, it's available free here: http://conquistador.org/document?documentEntityId=1118335323671) Here it is: Voiceover: In the Hotseat. Tom Dahl, award-winning journalist with the New York Times. His recent exposé of Central American sweatshops shook up the garment industry. And Carl Flores of Guyer Apparels, a subject of the investigation and the man behind the campaign attempting to justify garment industry practices. Putting profits before people, a pan American tragedy. Tonight, In the Hotseat. Sara Trimble: We’re back and tonight we look at the story about the story. Tom Dahl knew he was taking on Goliath when he exposed sweatshop practices in Central America but he had no idea what he would be stirring up. Carl Flores joins us to explain his industry-financed public campaign against the New York Times and Tom Dahl for their reporting. Sara: But first, I’d like to express everyone’s wishes to Carl for a speedy recovery. As we reported earlier, Carl was injured in a kidnaping attempt while recently visiting Guatemala. Carl Flores: Thank you Sara, but first I’d like to clarify… Sara: Hang on there, Carl, first we want to speak with Tom Dahl. Tom, what led you to write this story? Tom Dahl: As we all know, American companies have been exploiting the poor since, well, since the so-called founding of this country. So I decided to look into one representative industry, the garment industry of Guatemala, to help illuminate the human costs of social injustice for our readers. What I found was truly shocking. Sara: Your article detailed long working hours for very low wages, even by third world standards. Were you surprised by what you found? Tom: Not at all, Sara. This is nothing unique to Guatemala, this is happening all around the world even as we speak. Sara: And what did you hope might be the result of your reporting? Tom: Well, I had hoped, at a minimum, that those American companies involved would clean up their act if only to keep their profits flowing. I didn’t expect to find myself the target of a vengeful campaign to silence me. Sara: Has this ever happened before? Tom: Not to my knowledge, Sara. I think this was a shocking display of arrogance on the part of greedy businesses and if this is any indication of where our country is headed, we’re in big trouble. Sara: What about it, Carl? Are you concerned that your attempt at justifying your own business practices might encourage others to ignore ethical concerns? Carl: First of all, Sara, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share our side of the story. And I’d like to encourage you to ask Tom how he researched his story because we found absolutely nothing to substantiate his claims at our factory in Guatemala. Sara: But what about your public campaign, don’t you think you crossed a line there in attacking the free press? Carl: Sara, don’t you think it matters whether the story that started all this is true or not? Tom: Carl, you can afford lawyers and PR consultants to protect your profits and spin your lies, but what about the poor people working in your factories who can’t afford lawyers, who can’t afford PR consultants. Who will speak up for them? Carl: Tom, you have no idea how many lives you disrupted with your irresponsible reporting. You very nearly shutdown an entire factory. Those workers need to put food on their table. Our business provides that. Your reporting almost destroyed that. Sara: But Carl, what about the public campaign? Don’t you agree that was unprecedented? Carl: Sara, the New York Times has over a million readers who rely on honest reporting. And many more beyond that follow the Times’ lead; our own local paper carried the story on the front page. We had to find a way to get the truth out to the public. And the truth is that Tom’s article bears no resemblance to the truth. Tom: I’ll have you know that the New York Times is one of the most reputable publications in the United States, in the world. Carl: Tell us, Tom, who were your sources? I’ve thoroughly documented that our manufacturers are adhering to industry standards. Tom: Carl knows very well that we can’t reveal our sources, they’d probably lose their jobs, or worse. Guyer makes a big deal out of whether or not they kept to some industry group’s code of conduct but everyone knows what a sham those standards are. Carl, what I don’t understand is why you are putting profits ahead of your own people and betraying them for a few silver coins. Carl: Tom, as hard as it may be for you to understand, my ‘people’ are my customers, my shareholders, my employees, and my business partners. Sara: Well, I’m afraid that our time is up. I want to thank Tom Dahl and Carl Flores for joining us tonight In the Hotseat. Next up, are your pets being poisoned by discount store treats?
Howard Roark's Children
Prometheus88 posted a topic in Objectivist Lectures/BooksI really like this part of the story. For a man like Roark the Aquitania hotel was like his very own child. He visits the unfinished site like one would visit a grave. “An old watchmen lived in a cubbyhole at the back of the ground floor. He knew Roark and let him wander around. Once, he stopped Roark on the way out and said suddenly; ‘I had a son once – almost. He was born dead.’ Something had made him say that, and he looked at Roark, not quite certain of what he had wanted to say. But Roark smiled, his eyes closed, and his hand covered the old man’s shoulder, like a handshake, and then he walked away.” (Rand, 1943, p. 346)
ATRobj posted a topic in Miscellaneous TopicsFor a while I've been looking all over youtube for people with decent libraries. Out of many hours of search, most people who talk about books at all are female, and 75% of the time it is about crap modern fiction. Seldom you get Jane Austen for example (or any classics). I thought I'd do a post here (admins, please move the thread if its in the wrong place) to see if others know of channels of people showing off decent libraries. Perhaps even your own! I have a few channel links here, one of them my own, most of which are O-minded (have Rand and agree overall with O). Though a 'decent' library need not be defined as having Rand on the shelves. I suppose I'm looking for breadth of content, ie. including history, science, philosophy (perhaps most indicative of 'decent' for me), & some classic fiction. Has 4 vids on her library, and also some O stuff: http://www.youtube.com/user/nine9s/ Next 2 are same person. He has tons of videos on books, O stuff, logic, Greek history. Probably the best I've seen on youtube for breadth of content: http://www.youtube.com/user/mrcropper/ http://www.youtube.com/user/cropperb/ Example of a non-O, though extensive library. Many of his opinions on the books are disappointing: [www] Mine. See the 'My Library' playlist: http://www.youtube.c...r/andrewthered1 Smaller Examples: Two vids showing decent stuff: http://www.youtube.com/user/haggsbo/ 1 vid: [www].youtube.com/watch?v=d9r-zz7KgrQ Please post other examples you have found! ATR
Valley of the Stars - Setting and Premise (Part 1)
Richard Novak posted a topic in ProductivityValley of the Stars – Setting and Premise Note 1: The literal setting of the story, to include the year and actual location, will be mostly invisible in the written aspect of the story; thus, the children who hear the story read to them will be able to imagine their own interpretation of the setting. In the art, however, there will be clues for the parents that aren’t spelled out in the prose. I intend for these clues to constitute a second story known only by the parents about what really happened before the beginning of the book. I present both versions of the setting below. Be advised, this is a bedtime story for children as well as a bedtime story for adults in some ways. Note 2: As I’ve said, my writing is character-based. However, I’ve always considered the setting to be a character in many ways, and in this story the setting is incredibly important, so I’m going to list it first. And since I’m talking about the setting, I’ve decided I may as well get into the premise and basic outline at the same time. Traditional characters will be posted soon. Note 3: This story is designed to be told over the course of 3 nights. Part 1 (Children): Taryn Snow lives in a small town nestled in the foothills of tall snowy mountains. Taryn has a friend who lives in the woods outside of town, a huge black wolf with green eyes; this is Odin. Each night, Taryn and Odin go to a meadow above town and wait for the stars to come out. With the nightly appearance of the stars coincides the blooming of beautiful flowers in the wilderness around the town. The flowers are luminescent; from a distance, it appears the valley is full of stars. On this particular night, Taryn and Odin notice a large square of the night sky is devoid of stars. As a result, most of the flowers don’t bloom, and the ones that do appear to be ill, wilted. The flowers are used for medicine, so the lack of stars has a direct impact on people. Taryn, however, wants the flowers back simply because she loves the valley, the forest, and everything in it. To her, the flowers are life. In her mind, taking the flowers is akin to a kind of murder. She brings an example of the wilting flower home, but the town council doesn’t want to take any action. Taryn hears the legend of the King of Stars, a person who, long ago, tried to steal the stars from the sky to literally gain power over people. Taryn naively believes she can simply find the King of Stars and ask him to return the stars so her flowers can bloom and the valley can live. Taking only the bare essentials and a silver knife her grandfather used to own, she and Odin set out to find the King of Stars. Early on in their journey, Taryn and Odin meet a strange gunslinger dressed in black; his name is Cole. He too is on his way to see the King of Stars. Unable to persuade the stubborn Taryn to turn around and go home, he decides he should travel with her and Odin to provide protection. Taryn learns the King of Stars is much further away than she thought. Taryn sees the King of Stars in the forest, but it appears to be a projection of some sort instead of his physical self. The three later come across a church group in a very small village; these people provide some food and shelter for our protagonists but decline to join their quest. They take the stance of non-intervention. Taryn, Odin, and Cole are also confronted by some of the King’s followers as they near the sea, which they must cross to find the King. The followers, wearing white masks under purple cloaks, are a type of collectivist cult, and not only want to stop Taryn, but they also have a strange, keen interest in her grandfather’s knife. The three of them get away from the King’s followers (Cole actually kills some of them, implied but not shown) and eventually make it to the ocean where they board a large airship, the Oceana. Part 1 (Adults): Taryn Snow lives somewhere near Placerville, California. Although it’s between the years 2070 and 2100, there are no obvious signs of technology anywhere. People travel by horse or on foot, houses are heated and lit by lanterns and fire. As Taryn leaves the town, certain visual clues will suggest a major event of some sort knocked out all technology many, many years earlier, and the world never recovered. Instead, the world reverted to a simpler time. They’re accustomed to it by now; it’s not a dystopia. It’s comfortable. People are not starving or being hunted by corporations. There are three groups aside from Taryn, Odin, and Cole: the first group, the town council, represents those people who won’t face reality and think things will get better by simply ignoring the situation or hoping for a good outcome. This group is lead by the mayor who wears a ring that indicates (later in the story) he was actually doing the bidding of the King of Stars. In other words, he was planted there to keep people from action. The second group is the religious village where people simply pray things will get better, once again deciding not to take any direct action. The third group, the cult, is much like the Occupy movement; they too are doing the direct bidding of the King of Stars by actively trying to prevent anyone from taking action against the King of Stars. They also wear the ring. The King of Stars, of course, represents a power-hungry maniac willing to subject everyone in the world to his whims for the sake of more power. His character is a real person we’ve all seen; more on that later. And no, it's not Obama. The King of Stars is the destroyer of freedom and of life for the sake of his own. Finally, Taryn, Odin and Cole represent action, the willingness to act and the belief they’ll succeed. Taryn and Cole have different motivations and different methods (Taryn will talk while Cole will kill), but their end goal is the same: returning the stars.
Starting a Project - An Objectivist Bedtime Story
Richard Novak posted a topic in ProductivityHello everyone, I've been thinking about a project for some time and I think I'm about ready to put in on paper. In short, it's a bedtime story (mainly for my little ones but I'd love to publish it, even self-publish if that's the only option). Here's why I think this important: First, Objectivism is an incredibly important philosophy. Obviously that's the reason most of us are here, not to pick fights but to understand and discuss the ideas of Ayn Rand. I don't think it's represented in media nearly enough. Second, other things are represented far too often. I have to deal with religion, liberalism, the media, and many other influences. I don't want my kids to be ignorant of these things (know thy enemy, you might say) but I want to introduce them to an opposing way of thinking. The real problem I think I'm going to have is trying to present this complex system of ethics and morality to children in a way they'll understand. I can simplify it as much as possible but I don't want to gloss over anything that's too important. In other words, I know it's pointless to explain calculus to a child who's just learning addition. Over the course of the next few weeks, I'm going to post character profiles, plot points, and maybe some sketches (I plan on illustrating this myself). What I'm looking for is criticism. If there's one group of people I know won't spare my feelings, it's my fellow Objectivists. And of course, there's nothing more important than the voluntary exchange of effort or worth. I will reciprocate any time you'd like an objective, honest opinion. I can't expect my young children to understand The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged when I read it to them, and Mrs. Rand didn't (to my knowledge) produce anything like a primer for children. If I don't want my daughters to idolize Snookie and that sort of lifestyle, I have to give them something else to look up to. There's no better gift I could give them than alternative ideas to promote critical thinking. Thanks, R. Ellis Novak
Petit Four - philosophical short stories
Robin Craig posted a topic in FictionIn case you're interested, in addition to Frankensteen (near-future science fiction) I have now published Petit Four - a collection of short stories (click here for info). Here is the description: Four short stories where things are rarely what they seem. Each story has a different theme: a fable set in the land of the lotus eaters (Genesis), the investigation of a mysterious death (Fade), tragedy in a forest (Requiem) and the sadness of a decaying mind (The Old Man). Each is written in a poetic style that enhances the mood of the story. These are stories meant to enthral and entertain while making you think - and feel. I hope you like them and if so would welcome reviews and recommendations. And of course constructive feedback!
Robin Craig posted a topic in FictionIf you are looking for a book to read that has heroes you can like and which promotes Objectivist ideas, I have recently published a novella, Frankensteel, on Amazon (click here). Here is the description: Hard science fiction with strong characters and a philosophical bent: if you like gripping, engaging fiction that also makes you think, you will love this book. It is the near future, and in the conflict between advancing high technology and its opponents, the world’s first intelligent robot violently escapes its creators and the men sent to shut it down. This novella follows the intertwining lives of the people trying to find, save or destroy the robot, and explores the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence and what it means to be human. and here is one of the (currently 8) reviews: Despite the forced style of its opening chapter this little novel hit way above my expected enjoyment. The story has warmth, humor, tension and well-sculpted characters, whom we are left wanting to know better at the end. It doesn't feel like science fiction although the science is certainly in assured and masterful hands here; what is most surprising is the beautifully flowing prose which makes this novella, for me at least, equally a work of literary fiction. While it is classified as science fiction, it is science fiction in the sense Atlas Shrugged is (near future with plausible technology advances), rather than fantasy, space opera or far-future speculation. So even if science fiction isn't your favourite, I think you'll enjoy it. Since it is a Kindle version (if you don't have a Kindle, you can download free readers for Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone and Android), it is inexpensive and you can read the first part for free. So you can judge first-hand, not just by what the reviewers say :-) And at only $1.99 it is cheaper than a cup of coffee! I believe most Objectivists would find it a compelling read, so please do check it out. And of course to help promote the ideas in the book, passing on recommendations to your friends and writing a review on Amazon would help greatly.
Triumph (short story)
Wotan posted a topic in Member WritingTriumph Once there was a man who suddenly acquired superpowers. He didn't know how in the world he got them, nor how the hell long they would last. But he did decide to quickly employ them, and fully exploit them. So he became a stunning crusader for justice. People began to call him J-Man. J-Man didn't like to waste time. So he immediately killed all the dictators on earth. He announced in advance what he was going to do, and why he was going to do it. Then he did it. It was a remarkableorgy of blood! The superhero's idea here -- in simplified essence -- was that anyone who had significantly murdered, tortured, and enslaved others, to the point of costing mankind a full unit or more of life, had rightfully forfeited the right to his own. So dictators and their cronies and supporters were unceremoniously, brutally crushed everywhere on the previously-benighted planet. Generally speaking, the top one thousand leaders of every nation on earth -- the top politicians, military men, police officers, party heads, religious authorities, and crony capitalists -- were savagely and blissfully exterminated by our hero. What a slaughterfest! And the Justice Man had one hell of a good time doing it too! Bringing justice to a virtually bereft world was heavenly sweet to him. And all the crusader's exploits were televised. The J-Meister saw to that. He made a ton of money from selling the advertising rights to his shows. His Vengeance is Mine series, plus spin-offs, merchandising, endorsements, and speaking fees netted him a quick ultra-fortune. J-Man paid no taxes, by the way. And his shows -- however gloriously extravagant and heedlessly outrageous -- weren't censored or regulated in any way. Taxation is theft and regulation is slavery. No-one dared. It should be noted that the girls loved him. Every possible type and combination was his delight. Even forbidden ones. As for recreational chemicals -- do you even have to ask? The fun never stopped. After a whole slew of bad guys was eliminated, the entire planet was forced to convert to social libertarianism and economic capitalism. Political freedom was ubiquitous and infinite. In governmental terms, perfect justice was achieved. No-one was allowed to coerceanyone ever. Everyone in society and the state was made to refrain from the initiation of force. Only retaliation was allowed, and only if it was against the attackers, and was proportionate and just. The basic non-government infrastructure of the planet was quickly, radically altered. The new or changed voluntary organizations, cooperative institutions, and social behaviors became far more rational, virtuous, influential, and powerful. And every state on earth became controlled by what was basically an expanded, strengthened, purified version of America's Bill of Rights. And the price of the various governments were reduced to about two percent of Gross Domestic Product -- which was entirely funded by seized government properties which had been quickly and unconditionally sold as-is to the highest bidder. The planetary liberator and superhero almost instantly used his fame and prestige to publicly offer the world classes on updated classical liberalism. And he was an educational success as well. After a few years, belief in religion and self-sacrifice fell radically; so too cultural and moral relativism. Even the tedious subjects of the epistemology of subjectivism and metaphysical nihilism began to be systematically studied, refuted, and laughed at. Of course, most people blithely ignored the Man of Justice's televised classes on neoliberalism. This was to be expected. It was their absolute right not to see or hear. But to an astonishing extent the intellectual elite did observe and listen -- and learn. Then they taught everyone else. Earth rapidly became a paradise of cultural riches, mind-boggling wealth, and supremely happy individualists. Within a century warp drive and time travel were realized. So was immortality. Mankind joined the community of nations and intelligent species of the Milky Way -- a worthy member, at long last. Justice Man, by the way, joined early. He lived forever, and in utter, limitless ecstasy!
DerGoG RD AUTO Message -3096: 1, Octobre 10:10(PM) 2077 - CAMBIAN-Dulles International Airport, Maryland, VA Main-Line USC - CAMBIAN - CITY/INTRA-SUBURBAN ‘Border Crust’ Territory. “Mommy, why are we here on Earth?” Pam was fighting her purse for its items. “To go on Holidays honey, I told you five times already.” Her mother then sat on the long imitation black leather Airbench facing toward the inside of the Airport. Rachael faced the outside, pressing her hands against the massive sheet of NeauGlass extending down the long Airhallway full of bustling people. She was looking at where the rows of the last DerGoG Jets would scramble before takeoff. DerGoG was the very last of commercial air flight in North America and the EU. This was the very last day of the very last planes people would pay money for. They’d fallen into a small lottery winning that offered ‘One Last Ride’ on the famous DerGoG line. It originally had been from a friend of theirs that couldn’t make it out of losing his wife to cancer that just happened to fall on that very week. He had given them the tickets, being a long time friend, the all expenses paid vacation courtesy of Bitzeri Inc. “Mommy...” “Yesss.” “Those are planes?” “Yes. The very last of them.” “What mom?” “Never mind sweetie. I just want to go somewhere before next year when...They’re grounding the planes indefinitely, it’s the Economy you know...” Rachael didn’t understand this part. Her mom had said it as if she were talking to herself. “What are those engines out there?” The statement made her mom wince. “Well-ah, sweetheart, you’re right, they’re engines. They make the plane go.” “Monstrous.” Rachael exclaimed. Rachael had been using that word a lot lately. It was her new favorite. She’d heard her father using it about something she could not quite remember. “What’s the plane made of?” “...Ah, well, um, metal I guess Rachael.” Her mom was still gazing at a women’s magazine. “No, I bet it’s CombI-Una material,” said Rachael. The Company Name was already familiar to her at that age. The tone had been endearing and yet...fanatical. “You might just be right, Rach, now I have your Monkey and your Kitty.” Pam leaned over to hand her daughter her two ‘Cutie-Toys.’ “How does it go mom!?” “Oh I don’t know Rachael, can we just concentrate on where we’re going?” Pause. “How far is the sun mommy?” “A million miles away sweetie,” she said dismissively, flicking to the next page. She’d remembered and said it the old way. Miles. Miles away. No. NO! “Light years mom, light years! Then we can start all over again.” In that instant, Pam knew what true Terror could be. Read More at: http://VesperHelioTropic.com
VESPER HELIOTROPIC QUOTE OF THE DAY
Neal Cormier posted a topic in Psychology and Self Improvement“Because you do not absorb your enemies...” http://nealcormier.wordpress.com/ http://www.VesperHelioTropic.com © Copyright Vesper Heliotropic 2011 All Rights Reserved Vesper Heliotropic Book I. CRYSTAL TURBINES by Neal Aaron Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
After a long hiatus while he works on completing his novel, Quent Cordair has released a new short story on Amazon which can be downloaded on to Kindles, computers and smart phones for only 99 cents. "Sheltered" is newly published and has never been available anywhere before now, including the Quent Cordair Fine Art web site. Description: “A year and six days underground without sunlight or breeze or contact with the world above—whatever might be left of the world above. A year and six days without touch, without unrecorded voice, without contact, without friends or family. If only they had listened, if only they had been ready. But he—he had prepared. He was Reginald B. Wakefield, and he hadn’t died. A wave of vindication washed over him, lifting and sweeping away all doubt and fear. He had been right. He raised his eyes again to the hatch cover above. . . . He had been right.” In increasingly uncertain times, how does one respond to rising fears of impending disaster and societal breakdown? In “Sheltered,” the timely short story by Quent Cordair, one man follows his own course in the face of rising costs. Quent and I would love to hear from you, especially if you enjoy the story. If you are so inclined, please leave him a review on the Amazon page. Thanks and happy reading!