Jump to content

C.T. Phipps

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About C.T. Phipps

  • Rank
    Snarky Book Author
  • Birthday 12/19/1980

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests

Recent Profile Visitors

8,477 profile views
  1. Thanks, much appreciated! I like the little glass award they gave. https://www.instagram.com/p/CRXdo2VNB9q/
  2. I'm extremely happy to have won an award. I won the 2021 BEST INDIE AUDIOBOOK for my Agent G series at the HEARNOW festial for best science fiction.
  3. https://old.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/osoumh/thorn_of_emberlain_update/ We're Gonna Do Drugs, Folks A Lynchline Subscribers-Only Update That I Just Made Public, Actually Scott Lynch Jul 26 About ten years ago, I watched a video of filmmaker Kevin Smith discussing the time he was invited to Paisley Park to participate in an extremely loosely-defined collaboration with the late Prince. Although no actual project emerged from that strange brief interlude, Smith was able to spend some time talking with various members of Prince’s staff. One of them let slip that Prince had spent years writing and recording an entire body of hidden work— entire albums and cycles of music videos, all fully professionally produced, all locked straight away into Prince’s vault unreleased, for reasons of Prince’s own. Smith didn’t know quite how to take this. Was it quirky disinformation, an exaggeration, a misunderstanding? I assumed it must have been something of that nature when I first heard the story— even for Prince, a man whose eccentricity could barely be measured by the metrics of planet Earth, it seemed too much. Then, in 2016, Prince passed away and the existence of his unreleased song vault was confirmed to the world (as of this writing, it’s still being catalogued, and to the best of my knowledge its true size and scope have not been revealed). I bring this up, because it turns out I have been filling a tiny Prince vault of my own. Or, perhaps, my brain chemistry has been allowed to curate such a vault for too long without oversight. I don’t have much experience of writer’s block. Other than the need for an ocasional break and some reasonable interludes of fallow brain time, I’ve never had sustained trouble with composition, even when wracked with anxiety and depression. Despite my generally fragile mental state during the pandemic, I have remained more or less steadily productive, writing and editing thousands of words on a weekly basis. Words which I have been completely unable to show anyone, thanks to the crushing goddamn chest-filling pressure-out-to-my fingertips sensations that herald another anxiety attack… sensations I am experiencing right now, and have been experiencing intermittently in the time it has taken me to write the current toal of five (5) paragraphs on display here. When did I begin this writing process? Four (4) days ago. “There’s a very real chance this update, too, will go into the vault,” I just typed. If I actually manage to finish this and hit send, I presume I will put that sentence in quotation marks or something. How’s that for a glimpse of the writing process? I have not yet put the quotation marks in. The sentence starting with “I have not yet” was finished 17 hours after I typed “there’s a very real chance.” That is the rate of meaningful progress when anxiety is my co-pilot. This sentence, being written a mere 45 minutes after the last, is the first to be composed under the increasing influence of the anti-anxiety medication I took with dinner. Because this nonsense has gone on long enough. In my miniature Prince vault are, at a minimum, seven short stories, a novella, a novelette, a novel, and a number of essays for this newsletter. At the beginning of the pandemic I would occasionally joke with myself or my wife that “we dont’ want a Prince vault situation,” but here we are, having one. The plain fact is, my career as a writer is in danger at the moment, and the danger grows with every month I don’t get this under some measure of control, because while my existing books continue to perform very well there is a difference between being a working writer and a person who used to write, and there is only so much my patient editors and publishers and readers can be asked to wait for without clear answers. There is very little practical value in being a writer who falls over heaving and gasping every time he attempts to show people what he’s made. In short, there is very little practical value in me, as I presently am, and I am desperately tired of this, tired of it ruining my fun, tired of it confusing my audience, tired of it eating my self-respect, tired of it receding a little bit only to come roaring back stronger than ever. So, we’re gonna take drugs, kids. I’ve already started. Ten years ago finally admitting that an antidepressant was necessary probably saved my life. In my usual fashion, since then I have resisted various pushes to take anti-anxiety medication as well, but I am through refusing. I need some answers. I need some goddamn changes. I need to be able to get this newsletter out on a non-geological timescale, among other things. I need to have an active social skill more in-depth than feigning approximately human functionality on Twitter. I’m forty-three, and I don’t want another fucking year to go by with several years of good work (though I say it myself) locked up tight in my stupid little vault of anxieties. The medication, it has been taken, and will be taken again, and we’ll see what it can do for me. I am feeling very strange as I write this… a different sort of strung-out and nauseated than usual. It’s like someone has taken a hot towel to my usual tense anxiety attack, massaged the knots out of it, turned it into bizarre brain-drifting lassitude. My fingers are not exactly adroit upon the keys this evening, and I apologize for misspellings. I wonder if I might have been wiser to cut the pill I took in half… ah well. It already kowabunga’d its way down to the lightless water park of my innards, where it celebrated its last few moments of existence before being taken apart by my trusty acids, so the molecules of power could be stripped and shipped directly to my nervous system, where they are now doing… something. It has to be this way. I’m tired of hiding my work and hiding from the pain of getting it back out into the world. So, drugs. Drugs and ongoing therapy. I just put quotation marks around “There’s a very real chance this update, too, will go into the vault.” That’s a good sign. But now can I actually hit send and get this thing out the door? You’re about to find out. We both are.
  4. I have a very specific desire: I'd very much like Locke to realize he's a terrible boyfriend to Sabetha and them not to get together. That would be the ultimate twist to me. I think A Song of Ice and Fire should end the way Martin does, even if I think the show ending's problems weren't entirely on presentation. Kingkiller Chronicles? No idea how it would end to begin with and that's weird because Kvothe is telling the story from the future.
  5. Frankly, I feel that dramatically overstates the acts of Denethor who was a father suffering great grief driven to suicide to compare him to a literal Satan worshiper who invaded Heaven.
  6. Re: Denethor I think it should be noted that the Gondorians do not have an especially pious regard to the Valar or Maia (assuming they even know the Istari are of their ranks). The Gondorians still view Numenor with a great deal of awe and regard with the view that they were a greater age of superior people that deserve to rule all other lesser races of men. I remind you that they have this attitude despite the fact that God literally sent the Flood equivalent to destroy their civilization. They even revere Al-Pharazon despite the fact the dude was a incestuous Satanist because they refuse to acknowledge his "defeat" of Sauron was just the latter playing the Long GameTM. In simple terms, Denethor believes that he has no reason to listen to Gandalf as a moral authority superior to him because he is the ruler of Gondor and wizards are not people who are to be given any special regard. The funny thing is he's not WRONG. The Istari are impressive beings and very wise but they are corruptible, far from omniscient, and pursuing agendas that aren't always beneficial to their parties involved. Faramir has the attitude of jumping when Gandalf asks him too and that is a good thing to do but Denethor is mostly right about his agenda: he is going to attempt to replace the House of Stewards. Denethor has also done about as good a job as any person could have done. I disagree with the idea that Gandalf is primarily dictating the military policy of the armies as well or that Aragorn's military genius is not what saves the day. Gandalf isn't the man who leads the Naval relief of Gondor with the added benefit of ghosts. That's all on Aragorn who, weirdly, is probably a better Admiral than general but, well, victory is what matters not how you get it. Denethor's issue is his pigheadedness, yes, but there's not actually that much that Gandalf can bring to the table as the entirety of the plan is, "Delay and distract Sauron in hopes the Ring is destroyed because otherwise we are boned."
  7. Well, Melkor goes ten kinds of nuts over the course of actions. He wants to dominate the music at first and create his own music separate from Eru. Eru says that such is impossible and anything Melkor creates is something that will be added to the music and made all the greater for it, which drives Melkor up the wall and insane because he wants his own separate creations not to be part of the whole of others. The more vile he gets, the weaker he gets as well. He really just becomes a guy trying to **** up the world for its own sake murdering the trees and hanging around with Ungoliant.
  8. I think Sauron's desire to emulate Melkor is somewhat overstated: https://middleearthreflections.com/2018/06/17/on-saurons-motives/ We know that Sauron “did not object to the existence of the world, so long as he could do what he liked with it” (Morgoth’s Ring, p. 396), so in order to achieve this, he made the One Ring. He, unlike Morgoth, never wanted to level the world to the absolute nil, but aimed at controlling the minds and wills of others, with his special target being the Evles. So as to to achieve his aim, he put a considerable amount of his own will and power into the One Ring. It was essentially “One ring to rule them all / One ring to find them /One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them“. It contained the powers of the lesser Rings of Power, so Sauron could “could see the thoughts of all those that used the lesser rings, could govern all that they did, and in the end could utterly enslave them“ (Letters, № 131). However, he did not manage to trick the Elves, whom he most hated and desired to enslave, as they hid their Rings when they perceived Sauron’s intentions and never used them while he was in possession of the One.
  9. I should note that while Tolkien is heavily influenced by Catholicism, it is not 100% accurate. here is no Hell in Tolkien's world, just the Halls of Mandos. Melkor is imprisoned in the Timeless Void that there's no indication is also the resting place of evil humans. They go beyond Arda to another place after judgement by Mandos. Denethor commits suicide as well in a fit of grief but he is unaware that his son is not dead and it would be wrong to assume he is attempting to commit murder.
  10. I think that is an interpretation with a lot of asterisks. The Ring has a will of its own and abandoned Gollum after all. While there are beings who could wield it in such a way as to be a weapon against Sauron like Saruman, Gandalf, and Galadriel--that would make TWO Dark Lords--I'd argue Boromir and the Gondorians are on such a lesser pedestal that it wouldn't even be a contest. Denethor is certainly better than his son at the possibility but he's nowhere near the above. Which is to say the "able to use the Ring at its full power and prevent it from immediately dominating or betraying you" is a rare cast of characters to begin with. For the majority of people, it would just get removed and handed over to Sauron.
  11. Part of why the One Ring works so well as a metaphor for institutional power is also the fact its inherently self-defeating. As Ta-Nehisi Coates said, "You can't dismantle the master's house with the master's tools." The One Ring is inherently corrupting and evil so that any attempt to use it like it's a morally neutral object will destroy you, no matter how powerful your will is unless you are Gandalf (and that is as much his moral perfection as well as his status as an Arda of a sort akin to Sauron). Boromir's sin with the Ring is the fact he's IGNORANT and his plan is STUPID as much as it is unethical. The only thing using the One Ring against Sauron will accomplish is to get it into the Dark Lord's hands faster. I admit, though, I always wondered how close Saruman came to replicating the One Ring to make himself akin to Sauron, though. I think it wasn't very close because Saruman misread the fact that it was a product of Sauron at all. Sauron farmed out the work to Celebrimbor and probably couldn't have made it without him as we see with his lesser rings. Saruman has a Ring by the time of LOTOR but all indications are it isn't even the equal of the lesser rings and certainly doesn't protect him from Gandalf's retribution.
  12. I'd argue that outside of philosophy, most people don't believe in a binary between the two but a scale. If a man signs up for WW2 to fight the Nazis, that doesn't mean that he won't view the costs (moral or otherwise) of doing so in the pursuit of defeating them as unjustified in the larger moral motivation even if the costs are beyond practical benefit. Indeed, I'd argue very often people use consequentialist ethics in the pursuit of intentionalist goals.
  13. In that argument, I'd argue the distinction between divine right and more mundane reasons for kingship become indistinguishable. Oddly, Joe Abercrombie had a fairly decent take on the idea that Gandalf is manipulating symbolism and tradition for practical purposes of saving Gondor. Gandalf's purposes are practical and as anyone who knows them would attest, especially Faramir, the only way to get the Gondorians to move is to invoke tradition. They are deeply conservative and unchanging to a level that they probably wish they had the rings of the elves.
  • Create New...