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Plotto 212(b)

I am writing little fragments for my planned book using randomly selected prompts from William Wallace Cook’s Plotto. The story takes place in a world where there are three genders, and the language has no personal pronouns. This exercise is a proof-of-concept to see whether such a novel can be written.


Plotto 212(b) A, having carried out successfully an enterprise instigated by capricious B, renounces her love.


Tshdpog wanted to ignore the urgent knocking on the door. The identity of the knocker was obvious. And the urgency meant only one thing. Mk was here, and was in danger.

The knocking became louder and more urgent.

Ignoring the knocks would be pointless. The deed was done, and Tshdpog needed to face the consequences. If the knocking became any louder, the sound will be heard by all, and there was no avoiding the questions, from people who did not understand.

With a sigh, Tshdpog went up to the door, and unlocked it. “Hush! Come in! Quickly!”

Mk’s eyes seemed to think that everything needed to be said as loudly and clearly as possible. The eyes of enthusiasm. Love. Loyalty. Eagerness of a bloodhound child.

“Is that it?”

Mk held up the package eagerly. “Yes.”

Tshdpog ordered coldly, “Mk needs to leave, now.”

“What? But…”

“The searchers will be here. The searchers will follow Mk here.”

“The searchers do not know where Mk Is!”

“Mk’s whereabouts will be known, and Mk will be arrested. So will Tshdpog, unless…”

“But… Love…”

“If Mk loves me, Mk must leave. And go far away. Hide.”

“What? No! Mk must be with Love. Mk has brought the hand of Keetam to be with Love.”

“Impossible! If Mk is here, death will come to all here.”

Mk seemed to stop breathing for a moment. A cloud came across the face, which seemed to realize something. “Tshdpog does not love Mk…”

“That is not so. Tshdpog’s love is true, and Love is…”

“Tshdpog did not want the hand of Keetam to be with Mk, to seal our love, to…” Mk dropped the package onto the floor, and the content, a fragment from a desecrated statue, rolled out of the wrap. In the clutched hand was the Jewel of Promise, a symbol of love to the devout, a symbol of sacred heritage to the heretics. “Tshdpog has done this for the Emissary, fooled Mk into doing this for the Emissary!”

“You speak nothing true! Get a hold of Mk’s mind. Only, searchers will be here, and if…”

Mk’s eyes were burning with resentment and grief. Mk had truly believed in Tshdpog’s love. “Mk will leave, and will forever be banished.”

“Mk, really…”

“No, listen to Mk. Mk will not speak of what Tshdpog has done, and what Tshdpog now has. And what Mk has now is hatred. Nothing but anger… Gods’ blessings.” Mk headed toward the door, hesitated for a moment, and left, before Tshdpog’s heretical greetings could send him off.

“May One God be with you…”

Tshdpog could not bear the guilt, for having used Mk’s love for the Belief.

Still, the jewel of sacred heritage needed to be extracted and taken to the Emissary in a hurry. Tshdpog began pounding on the hand of Keetam with a steel mallet.

Journey through the States is now on Paperback!

PrintStates is now on Paperback at Amazon.

I originally wrote this book in 2014, partly as a joke—I figured nothing was funnier than America becoming a Muslim nation—and I obviously had not foreseen any of the political turmoil that have taken place in the last several months. I suspected such a thing might be possible, which forms the premise of States, but I was still shocked to realize that, if I had written it this year, I would have basically made the same predictions about our nation’s future, except with conviction and, ironically, incredulity.

The book imagines that, through a tortuous path that is over-explained in the book, America breaks up, with the bulk of it then becoming an Islamic Republic. What would finally divide this great nation for good? What kind of Islam would it need to be, and what would it be like for Christians to live in such a place?

But, the book is really about what life in America would be like if we should go back to the “good old days” of conservative imagination, from the points of view of ordinary people who probably would not choose to live in such as place, but would make the best of it. The conceit, of a pair of Christian teenagers traveling through the Muslim nation, is just to provide an outsider’s point of view, and also to create enough drama to keep the reader engaged.

It is, now, a cautionary tale.

As with all my books, bisexuality figures prominently in the plot, as do gender identity, health care, religion, transportation, and food. I did cop out on race, I admit, but cultural diversity remains a theme.

The book is available on paperback for $7.99; it will be increased soon. Purchasing the paperback version is supposed to make you eligible for a free Kindle copy; I have not tested this feature, so please let me know if it doesn’t work. Kindle copy alone is $5.99, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited pays me by the pages read, so it’s a win-win deal for you and me. I occasionally run promotions with free Kindle copies of all my books; these are announced on Reddit. I’ve taken the book off iBooks, Nook, and Kobo; please let me know if you’d like me to reverse this.


Only the Relatives

This is the fifth and final installment in my on-going musings on absolute evil.

In the end, I feel the most comfortable with the idea that absolute good and absolute evil do not exist. It’s not even that easy to define what is relatively good and what is relatively evil, but we can derive these notions from concepts like harm and benefit, life and death, suffering and joy, peace and war, etc.

At least to the point where they can serve practical purposes, like deciding how to vote, choosing what to eat for dinner, and how to plot out a novel.

And, I think there is something like an absolute good in being able to live an ethical life on the basis of relative definitions of good and evil, without the need for absolute definitions of good and evil. It does seem that fantastically evil acts are committed by those who believe in one notion of good that overrides all other goods, i.e., by those who believe in absolute good.