A Song of Ice and Fire

Lots of news to catch up on with this post.

  1. Over a decade ago, a Russian paleontologist wrote an alternative take on the War of the Ring from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Recently translated into English, Kirill Yeskov’s The Last Ringbearer tells the tale from the point of view of Mordor, the bad guys in Tolkien’s epic.

    History is usually written by the victors, but now the truth of the War of the Ring has finally come out. Gandalf is portrayed as a warmonger bent on destroying a bastion of civilization dedicated to reason, science, technology, and industrialization because science “destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!” The elves are bent on world domination and Aragorn is a Machiavellian schemer whose strings are pulled by his wife, Arwen.

    If you’re intrigued, you can learn more about The Last Ringbearer from the Salon.com article “Middle-Earth according to Mordor” and, also on Salon.com, the author’s own account of why he wrote the novel. You can download The Last Ringbearer for free and give it a read. Here’s to hoping Christopher Tolkien doesn’t aggress against Yeskov by launching a copyright or trademark infringement lawsuit.
  2. Finally, the print magazine, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, is entering the digital age and switching from snail mail to an electronic submissions system.
  3. In my previous news roundup, I posted the trailer of the upcoming movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as well as some reports from people who had seen an advance preview and an interview with the producer. Here’s more footage, the scene in which Henry Rearden returns home and gives his wife a bracelet made from the first pouring of Rearden Metal:
    [Keep reading…]

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A few notable things I ran across recently:

  1. Will Thomas of The Atlas Society (formerly known as The Objectivist Center) argues that transhumanism is compatible with Objectivism.
  2. Kylie Sturgess, in her Curiouser and Curiouser column for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, interviewed Scott Sigler. I hadn’t heard of him before, but apparently he’s known as a podcaster and now also as an author of techno-thrillers.

    Sigler describes skeptics as people
     

    who were spreading the other side of the information instead of misinformation. They are out actively encouraging people to think for themselves, and what’s been interesting is that they’re not necessarily telling people “this is bunk.” They are encouraging people to think critically about things and learn how to address things when you run into them.

    He goes on to mention how, among other things, evolution is being challenged in America. But there’s a flipside to long-accepted, fairly well-established science being attacked in knee-jerk fashion by those faith-based types leery of science in general and of science that challenges their religious beliefs in particular. Sometimes science can become corrupted in politically-charged fields, and scientists lose their objectivity. I’m reminded of an old post I wrote about scientific skepticism in relation to global warming alarmism. I riffed off of Clarke’s First Law of Prediction and Asimov’s Corollary.

    But to get back to Scott Sigler, has anyone read any of his work? If so, what do you think? Do you recommend it?

  3. [Keep reading…]

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