Ethics and Morals, science fiction

Rounding Up

It’s a Monday Morning Round Up! As usual, my interests are varied, YMMV, and feel free to let me know in comments what you’re reading today!

Book o’the morning: Police at the Funeral by Margery Allingham.

Art o’the Day: Wickiups (wordpress isn’t letting me upload images, so you’ll have to click, sorry)


Papa Pat writes about leaving reviews and what can be done to give more gravity to reviews you like for an author you appreciate. Click ‘helpful’ and give good reviews more weight in the rankings.

Here’s the deal: my blog and my Amazon reviews are different, because NOBODY reads my blog posts unless they mean to.  That is the exact opposite from Amazon, where my posts get read because people want to know about the author’s work. My chattiness works here; it doesn’t work on Amazon. I can prove that to you: this pitiful blog garners, in most cases, 50+ page views. The top three posts were way above that, and I still put some things out there that only result in 20 views, but usually, I’m trying to hit 50 views. On Amazon, it is RARE that I get even ONE vote for ‘this review was helpful.’

Amanda Green reports on her quest to get a straight answer out of Amazon concerning reviews left after you read the book through a KU loan. You can read the whole matter here, but short answer is that they will not weight the reviews as much as someone who is a ‘verified purchaser.”

But, for now, I recommend everyone who reviews a book they downloaded as part of the KU program to note in the very first paragraph that you read the book as part of the KU program. That won’t do anything about the weight Amazon gives to the review initially but it will help give more validity to your review, at least for me, than a review from someone who may or may not have read the book or who read a pirated copy.

Because indie authors – indeed, any author – are heavily reliant on their reviews, I pay close attention to things like this. To the majority of readers it’s irrelevant, but there are fans out there who care, and to you: our deepest thanks.


The more I read about this phenomenon, the more it makes me shiver. So much familiarity here… 

Maybe a better way to put this is that gaslighting is a type of manipulation, but not the only type. Manipulation usually centers around a direct or indirect threat that is made in order to influence another person’s behavior. Gaslighting uses threats as well, but has the goal of actually changing who someone is, not just their behavior. It’s important to recognize that gaslighting and garden variety manipulation are not the same. Both will degrade your self esteem, but gaslighting, when effective, will actually damage your trust in yourself and your experience of reality.

Every gaslighting exchange exists under the shroud of some kind of threat. For my relationship, the threat started out as disapproval, then it was the relationship that was threatened, and eventually the threat escalated to his own life.

Human Experimentation

Hattip to Kirsi for this article. I’ll be following as this unravels. I expect to see something reminiscent of Mengele and Idi Amin unfold. One of the WIP I have revolves around the consequences of this. It’s pandora’s box, and there is no keeping it shut when humans are around. I’m not saying we ought to deliberately open it. But we must plan for what comes out when the box is opened.

The 47-year-old researcher, identified only by his surname Lee, at a microbiology research center in Ganggye, Chagang Province, bordered by China to the north, fled to the European country on June 6 via the Philippines, said the source from a North Korean human rights group.

“His ostensible reason for defection is that he felt skeptical about his research,” the source told Yonhap News Agency.

Lee held a data storage device with 15 gigabytes of information on human experiments in order to bring North Korea’s inhumane tests to light, according to the source.

Why Wonder in Fiction?

Because without wonder, we vitrify. Check out this great article from an unusual source.

I think most science fiction writers, readers and critics would agree with this: Science fiction is the literature that explores the boundaries of knowledge. While I won’t go into details here, that definition is mostly applicable to speculative fiction’s sub genres, including magical realism, fantasy and horror; it’s just the class of knowledge that changes within each.. . . .

Except in the rarest of circumstances, no child is born without curiosity, hope and imagination. Much like self-preserving reflexes and instincts, these are evolutionarily designed to help the infant anticipate and respond to stimuli, seek out, learn, worry, and delight. We know from scientific studies that imagination and pretend-play aid in cognitive and social development. They not only arm the child to deal with the real world, but also play a part in establishing the identity of the child as separate from others, teaching them divergent thinking (a thought process that generates creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions), cognitive flexibility and self-regulation, which include reduced aggression, civility and empathy.

(bolding emphasis added by me)