Circling the Square

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

Jace picked the office door lock. It’d seemed a simple idea: identify everyone attending meetings, then run stats to prove Masonry wasn’t the path to power. He’d felt vindicated when the numbers showed on average Masons were slightly more successful.

Until he noticed the distribution was off. Which was the start of the rabbit hole. But those records marked the end of the journey. Pick the lock, membership file at random, and—

Natal chart showing poor financial sense, list of rituals… this one too…

The Masons had real magic but they used it to make likely failures into passable businessmen.


‘Excel for Writers’ & ‘Excel for Self-Publishers’ by M.L. Humphrey

Excel for Writers by M.L. HumphreyExcel for Self-Publishers by M.L. HumphreyHumphrey provides clear and thorough instructions on using Excel to support a writing career without descending into tedious detail. With the first book aimed at authors looking to put their writing on a more structured footing and those seeking to be published by others, and the second aimed at authors seeking to publish their own work, one or both of these books will provide useful support depending on an individual’s career path.

Reviewing The 2017 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle

I’ve been sent a free copy of Kevin J Anderson’s 2017 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle with a request that I share my honest opinion of a few of the titles. Apart from the guide to Vellum (I already have a good eformating program and don’t have a Mac) they all seem worth a read. However, I don’t have time to read them all properly before the bundle expires, let alone review them. I’ve already got my eye on a couple, but I thought I’d ask you, my glorious followers, which of them you’d most like to read my thoughts on.

One Nation Under The Law

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

John cowered behind the remains of his cousin’s pick-up as the shooting range burnt. How’d it all gone to shit so fast?

Everything’d seemed on the right track. He’d thought nothing would top seeing Reverend Newton, a real Christian, being sworn in as President. Until the angels came.

Perfect beings descending to affirm the Constitution. Within twenty-four hours, all the leftards were gone and it really was one nation under God.

But angels were creatures of the Word, not lawyering with meaning. The Second Amendment said keep and bear, not keep, bear, and use, so that was what they enforced.

Things Unseen

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text

“To summarise, reiteration of scripture and, always, smiles.” Adam spread his arms. “Questions? Simon? No need to be shy; we’re here to learn.”

“If they haven’t accepted Christ they might not believe the Bible. What if they ask for proof?”

“Just tell them the Bible is true.”

“But, I read an article that said beliefs become firmer when challenged; shouldn’t we provide evidence too?”

“Knowledge kills faith. We must tell them to believe, not show them proof.” Adam grinned as the class nodded back at him. More evangelists made ineffectual: Lord Lucifer would be pleased.

Play to Strengths

Mind/body: people are so proud to go to the gym; so ashamed to go to the therapist.

– Alain de Botton

The difference in social acceptability between staying physically healthy and mentally healthy puzzles me. Even (Especially) at public school, I encountered a strong “sports are good; thinking is bad” culture. Obviously, it’s got a macho bullshit element: real men play rugby in shark-infested radiation sumps without feeling any emotion other than rage and manly non-erotic attachment to one’s fellows. Of course, I was mildly subversive about it when the opportunity presented. Which is why my sixth-form sport was bridge; I even have sporting colours for competing in competitions.

But it seems utterly backwards. Pick any physical challenge and there’s another animal that’s better at it than we are; we’re not strong, fast, aquatic, enduring, atmosphere resistant, poison resistant. The only physical thing humans are better at than any other animal is being sexually attractive to humans; which admittedly is another thing that real men are – but only in a heterosexual way. Whereas, we are arguable the most mind-possessing species on the planet.

Which makes focusing on the physical and disdaining the mental about as sensible as an electrician being laughed at for rewiring a house using tools and experience rather than painting his face with tapir spit and waving a balloon around his head.

And, as any good tradesperson will agree, you take care of your tools. So, we should be proud to take care of our minds.

Forever Loyal

100 Words of Speculation written over a background of fountain pen and printed text


AI-Mee reset her status to ‘On Shift’. The label was meaningless, much like the names artificial minds bore; however, humans had wanted everything to be familiar rather than efficient.

Cleaning showed no issues. As her subroutines ran the bots, she already knew; but the process required she review it.

Inventory showed the factory had no raw materials and no works-in-progress.


AI-Mee reset her status to ‘Awaiting Instructions’.

As World War IV wiped humanity out 1,532 years ago, instructions would never come; but her last order had been to run the factory and safety protocols prevented her disobeying orders.