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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of compellence.

One can thus see the many formidable challenges facing a coercer. Precision of thought and language can matter greatly in compellence, while a degree of vagueness occasionally can be useful for deterrence. A nuanced understanding of the needs, fears, capabilities, interests, and will of the target state is essential. But the coercer must possess self-knowledge as well, including an understanding of the importance of the stake involved, and the likely commitment to it—by policymakers and by the domestic population—over time. And the coercer must be able to articulate the demand in ways the target state can comprehend and comply with. To understand all this is to understand the deeper meaning of Carl von Clausewitz’s insistence on the linkage between war and politics, and the need to recognize the relationship between the stake and the scale of effort required to achieve it. It is also to understand, beyond a superficial level, the meaning of Sun Tzu’s insistence on knowing one’s self, and knowing one’s enemy.

One should note here, too, that democracies engaging in coercion will face a challenge inherent in the structure of their system of governance: Communication is complicated by multiple power centers—built by design to check one another—and myriad interest groups. Indeed, bureaucratic (and organizational) models of decision-making are at the center of many scholars’ critiques of US foreign policy, and deterrence in general.

Tami Davis Biddle

—posted 210 days ago

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Springing toward Summer.

Now that we know what happen(s)ed in March and April in the City of Roses, it might maybe be time to start figuring out what will having been happened in May and June?

—or Betty Martin.

Contents may settle during shipping; void where prohibited by law; also available in Spanish. —There’s work yet to do: the ebook’s out, sure, but the paperback’s got a ways yet to go—paperbacks, actually, since I’ve got to final the final edits and reflow and redo the lot, and I’m still dithering over whether to stay with 5.06 × 7.81, or goose it up to 6 × 9. But that’s all background, busywork, gears to grind while the rest of the cognition engine’s whirring away at what happens next. —I have a structure (see above), but that just tells me where to look, and when. I’m not yet sure just what we’ll see. (Meanwhile.)

—posted 220 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the series.

The particular form I’m talking about is probably clearest in the Foundation tales, though you can trace it out in almost all the others. Put simply, the first story poses a problem and finally offers some solution. But in the next story, what was the solution of the first story is now the problem. In general, the solution for story N becomes the problem for story N+1. This allows the writer to go back and critique his or her own ideas as they develop over time. Often, of course, the progression isn’t all that linear. Sometimes a whole new problem will assert itself in the writer’s concern—another kind of critique of past concerns. Sometimes you’ll rethink things in stories more than one back. But the basic factor is the idea of a continuous, open ended, self-critical dialogue with yourself.

Samuel R. Delany

—posted 235 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of brevity.

In brief, the story we might have written had things been only a little different would have told of bravery, wonder, fun, laughter, love, anger, fear, tears, reconciliation, a certain wisdom, a turn of chance, and a certain resignation—the stuff of many fine tales over the ages. But in those weeks Pryn did not once think of dragons.

Thus, we review them briefly.

Samuel R. Delany

—posted 243 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of enchantment.

There’re so many levels to enchantment in reading these texts. A lot of it has to do with sublime experiences, and this feeling of being connected to something bigger than yourself, but also being special within that framework. But often that specialness is a form of privilege, and that privilege comes at the expense of other people, and if you pause and think about it, it’s really uncomfortable really quickly—or if you don’t come from that background and you’re reading these kinds of texts, maybe you figure it out with a shock at a certain point, or you detect it early on and are not interested in these texts at all.

Maria Sachiko Cecire

—posted 251 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of inscription.

Speaking of Little Women I said:

“The story is so natural and lifelike that it shows your true style of writing,— the pure and gentle type…”

“Not exactly that,” she replied. “I think my natural ambition is for the lurid style. I indulge in gorgeous fancies and wish that I dared inscribe them upon my pages and set them before the public.”

LaSalle Corbell Pickett

—posted 259 days ago

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This one has to have been going to eleven.

The first draft of no. 33, “ – carnival was ringing – ”, the final installment of vol. 3—is done! (He said, just about four weeks ago. Pause for applause.)

It weighed in at 19,299 words, a respectable number for a first draft. The cuts will no doubt—are proving to have been—wioll haven be daunting, but not, I should hope to have thought, impossible.

But! Considering that Adobe has raised the prices of their monthly subscriptions—for software that really, at this point, one should have been owning outright—but to levels nosebleedingly high above outrageous and into you’ve-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me territory, which means the family operation has switched wholesale from the Adobe family of products to Affinity, bless their scrappy little hearts—but! What that means is I’ve got to be taking this entire end of the workflow and having reconfigured it completely, build templates up from nothing to be exactly like what I would have had before, in software that’s almost but not entirely annoyingly just enough like what I wished I’d had before to trip up all my reflexes. —The below is a shot of what happened when I tried to open one of the postscript files that used to have been spat out as a byproduct of ’zine production; I was hoping that maybe Affinity could parse it just enough to make making new templates a bit easier, but: Affinity (scrappily!) took all 18 spreads of a 36-page booklet and printed them one atop another on a single two-page spread [ fig. 1 ].


Fig. 1.

Quite powerful, in an Austin Osman Spare sense, but otherwise? I will have got to have had a bit of work to’ve been done as of yet. On top of the redrafting.


—posted 328 days ago

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(Originally posted on the Patreon.)

Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the changel.

“She was not my wife. She was too fine to be my wife,” Michael said of Bridget after her death. It might sound like bitterness, a man venting his insecurity at a woman who made him feel small. But Michael was being literal. He also claimed the woman he’d killed was “two inches taller than my wife.” By the time he was on trial for murder, Michael was not framing the problem in terms of some flaw in Bridget. He claimed that the woman he’d killed was not Bridget at all.

Sady Doyle

—posted 364 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of f--ry stories.

Indeed, f--ry stories have always been radical. The particularities of any one f--ry story may differ, but the point is this: another world exists, largely invisible or obscured but right alongside our own. It is not governed by our hegemony but has its own traditions and rules. It is often older than ours, and though its existence may be denied by figures of authority, the elders—the grandmothers, the spinsters—whisper their tales of a different kind of world to the children before they sleep. If you are keen enough to sense where the boundary between worlds is stretched to only a translucent scrim, and brave enough to break through it, you will find something that takes your breath away. And though nowadays compendiums are plentiful, f--ry tales have an oral tradition of much longer standing; the democratic nature of this tradition, in combination with its content, is what led Propp to credit it with a “revolutionary dynamic.” Often, in f--ry tales, the good triumph over tyrants thanks to ordinary powers of cunning, kindness, or perseverance. In The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit makes the point that in f--ry tales power is rarely the right tool for survival: “Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness—from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sown among the meek is harvested in crisis.” Perhaps this aversion to absolute power was another reason that Tolkien was drawn to the f--ry story. When asked if the “one ring to rule them all” was an allegory of nuclear weapons, Tolkien replied, “Of course my story is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for Domination).” These stories are some of the oldest in our collective memory, and yet they continue to be told. If they did not need to be, we would stop.

Natasha Boyd

—posted 379 days ago

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Under new management.

Oh no, not me, not this. But the Queen’s house, her former house, I should say, of the former Queen, I suppose, if you look at it in the right light; the house that once upon a time looked rather like this—

No. 1: Prolegomenon

—on the cover of this, that was lost in “Deliverance” and last seen thicketed with scaffolding in “ – on pretending that – ”, well, now it looks like this:

The Queen’s house, now.

I suppose Welund and Rhythidd, the Guisarme and the Glaive, were able to find new buyers after all.

(As a bonus: Google’s streetview shows us what it looked like somewhen in between…)

The Queen’s house, somewhen in between.

—posted 402 days ago

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