Archive for November, 2008

Veterans Day, 2008, and C.S. Lewis’ Re-enchanted man

November 11, 2008

Most Americans know C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.  Fewer know that in the late 1930s he wrote science fiction set on Mars and Venus.

More to the point, on this Veterans Day, 2008, C.S. Lewis served as an infantry officer wounded at the Battle of Arras in 1917.

I am indebted to Baen books’ publisher Toni Weisskopf for recently pointing me to Lewis’ 1946 essay, Talking about Bicycles, which, as you may suspect, talks not so much about bicycles as about the four ways in which authors think – and write – about war.

“The Unenchanted man sees (quite correctly) the waste and cruelty and sees nothing else…the Enchanted man  – he’s thinking of glory and battle-poetry and forlorn hopes and last stands and chivalry.  Then comes the Disenchanted Age…But there is also a fourth stage, though few people in modern [1946] England dare to talk about it.  You know quite well what I mean.  One is not in the least deceived:  we remember the trenches too well.  We know how much of the reality the romantic view left out.  But we also know that heroism is a real thing, that all the plumes and flags and trumpets of the tradition were not there for nothing.  They were an attempt to honour what is truly honourable: what was first perceived to be honourable precisely because everyone knew how horrible war is.

“The war poetry of Homer…for example, is Re-Enchantment.  You see in every line that the poet knows, quite as well as any modern, the horrible thing he is writing about.  He celebrates heroism but he has paid the proper price for doing so.

“You read an author in whom love is treated as lust and all war as murder – and so forth.  But are you reading a Disenchanted man or only an Unenchanted man?  Has the writer been through the Enchantment and come out on to the bleak highlands, or is he simply a subman who is free from love mirage as a dog is free, and free from the heroic mirage as a coward is free?  If Disenchanted, he may have something worth hearing to say, though less than a Re-enchanted man.  If Unenchanted, into the fire with his book.  He is talking of what he doesn’t understand.  But the great danger we have to guard against in this age is the Unenchanted man, mistaking himself for, and mistaken by others for, the Disenchanted man.”

To serve is to leave forever the ranks of the Unenchanted, and of the Enchanted.  Whether you have emerged Disenchanted or Re-enchanted, thanks.

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Free Stuff – Late-in-Series Installment

November 7, 2008

The problem… with a successful SF series like the Jason Wander books is that by the time the saga gets past book two or so, many reviewers skip new series installments.  This is because readers already know they like the books, and they know that the reviewer likes the books.  Also, reviewing for new readers requires the reviewer to devote scarce paragraphs to catch-up before he or she hits the new material. 

So, if you want to read someone else’s take on Orphan’s Alliance, you may have to search hard.  This is unlike a first novel like Orphanage, which got favorably reviewed, in arcane literary jargon, out the wazoo. 

The Solution:  Therefore, we at RobertBuettner.com are encouraging readers to review Orphan’s Alliance.  In this we are motivated wholly by a spirit of public service, rather than any desire to increase readership.  And the Himalayas are made of fudge ripple.

The Bribes:  We here at www.RobertBuettner.com are fresh out of prepaid dinners for two at Le Tour d’Argent in Paris (you’ll have to read the book).  But we do have signed copies of book 4, Orphan’s Alliance.  We also have signed first editions of Jason Wander Book 1, Orphanage, and even SWAG promotional items like signed posters, and signed Orphanage camo flashlights.

We will be giving away four “first prizes,” winners-choice, from the bottomless authorial treasure chest.  We reserve the right to award additional  prizes if we feel like it.  Why would we feel like it?  If you are serving on active duty in the US or allied armed services, odds are good.

How to Enter: 

1.  Post a review (preferably but not neccessarily gushingly favorable) of any one or more of the Jason Wander books (preferably but not necessarily Orphan’s Alliance) online, then send the link to author@RobertBuettner.com   Do note whether you are on active duty, or tell us who the prize would go to who is serving.

2.  Where might you post?  On the reviewed book’s page on Amazon.com, for example, or the book’s pages at Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Waterstone’s in the UK.  On your own ‘blog or webpage.  On a ‘blog or webpage you visit.  In an e’zine.  Reviews in hard copy publications are fine, too, but an electronic or hard copy of the review would have to reach us (P.O. Box 9, Lebanon, GA 30146) before the entry deadline.  Yes, school newspapers, Battalion newsletters, etc. count.  No length requirements or restrictions. 

3.  Entry deadline?  Working links or hard copy received at Author@RobertBuettner.com by midnight, US Eastern Standard Time December 11, 2008 will be eligible.

4.  Four winners will be selected at random from eligible entries.  Additonal winners, if any, will be selected from among the remaining entries based upon the caprice, whim, and hubris of the panel of judges.

5.  Winners will be notified by return email, along with detailed information on available prizes.

6.  Other Stuff:  Winners don’t pay shipping, the bottomless authorial treasure chest does.   If you are Osama bin Laden, please include return address or current GPS coordinates. Taxes are the responsibility of the winner, but the books retail for US$7.99, for crying out loud.  By entering, reviewers agree that their reviews or excerpts from them may be republished (real names/email addresses will be excluded on prior request) without further notice or obligation.