Old Books: Not Really an Investment

Note: While this will crosspost to Facebook, I won’t be seeing any of the comments there for a few days, as I’ve left social media to avoid spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  If it matters to you that I see it before Saturday, best to comment on the blog.

Old books are weird. People often think they’re valuable, but the truth is, most books still in existence today were printed in enough numbers that they’re really not worth that much.  Of course, the older it is, the more likely it’s going to be rare, which increases the value, but unless we’re talking “Gutenberg Bible” or “Shakespeare’s Folio,” it’s probably not going to be worth much even then. Age alone is no indicator of value; much depends on the rarity and condition of the volume.

One of the silliest parts of old book buying is the differences between one version and another.

One of the old books I own, The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke, was printed in 1921. It’s worth about $8. The 1919 edition, on the other hand, is worth $1400, partly because only 1000 of them were printed.

Another book I own, printed in 1819, is “Prayers and Offices of Devotion for Families, and for Particular Persons,” by Benjamin Jenks, Rector of Harley, in Shropshire, England. This 196 year-old book is worth a grand total of $25. Other copies, from just a few years prior, are worth over $100.

Fortunately, I don’t buy old books for their value (I couldn’t afford to, if I did).  I just like holding a nearly 200 year old book and thinking about all the hands that have touched it over the years.  It’s a connection to generations of human lives I will never touch in any other way.

Trump’s Ridiculous Proposal

Trump and his supporters are crowing that we need to prevent Muslims from entering the US, because we have no way of knowing which of them are terrorists.
This makes me sick.
If you support blocking muslims from entering a store or from even coming to the US, ask yourself this: would you support similar restrictions on Christians?
Because guess what? There are also Christian terrorists. In the Central African Republic, Christians have been attacking and killing Muslims for years. In Uganda, the “Lord’s Resistance Army” is a band of Christian terrorists.
In India, the National Liberation Front is a band of Christian terrorists who threaten those who are not Christian.
Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Militias have killed thousands of Palestinian refugees–not in battle as equals, but in attacks on refugee camps.
In the US, Christians such as Eric Robert Rudolph and Tim McVeigh, as well as groups like the Christian Identity Movement and its associated subgroups. “The CIM is made up of various Christian terrorist organizations, like Americans Promise Ministries, who are responsible for terrorist attacks and bank robberies; the aforementioned Aryan Nations; the Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord; the Oklahoma Constitution Militia; and the South African Groups that were behind the 2002 Soweto bombings” (AATP.org).
And no, you don’t get to say things like “not all Christians are like that” or “they’re not real Christians.” Well, you can say them, but they’re meaningless.  The best you can say is that they’re not your kind of Christian, or that you don’t accept their beliefs as your own (like the CIM’s belief that non-Caucasians don’t have souls and therefore cannot be saved).
Well, guess what, Internet?  Just like most Christians aren’t terrorists, most Muslims aren’t terrorists. In fact, the vast majority of Muslims say ISIS is not representative of their religious beliefs.
Trump’s people keep using the Internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII as a justification for this idea, but they’re ignoring perhaps the most important aspects of the internment:

1. The FBI informed the President that there was no reason to lock up the Japanese-Americans, and he did it anyway because he considered it better to assuage the groundless fears of white folks than to do what was right.
2. The Supreme Court ruled the Internment unconstitutional.
Even as an atheist who thinks belief in a deity is kind of silly, there is no basis on which I would agree with denying people entry into the US based on their religion.  The very concept is anti-American and violates our core principles.

The Widening Gyre: Submitted

Yesterday (rather, at 4pm Monday PST, since the publisher is in Britain), the Open Door period opened for Angry Robot Books. And as planned, I sent my submission packet for The Widening Gyre, Book 1 of The Remembrance War.

Now begins the waiting.  And the pretending it won’t gut me if it doesn’t do well.  And the pretending I’m not on pins and needles waiting for that rejection.

To be honest, my Victory Condition isn’t that high–frankly, I’ll be happy if I get a request for the full manuscript, even if it’s ultimately not acquired.  That said, of course, I’ll be over the freaking moon if it does make it to the end.  So I’m hoping Tajen can pique their interest, and that the rest of the crew can hold it.

For those who’ve read the beta version, the submission piece ends at the end of Chapter 2, when Tajen has just signed Katherine, Liam, Takeshi, and Ben as his crew.

This is the same fragment (plus some more I added in later drafts) that got me accepted to Viable Paradise, so I know it’s not awful.  And the Beta process helped me refine it.  But man, it’s still such a nervewracking thing, to send your fictional darling out into the world.

Now that TWG is out there, I’m continuing work on Book 2, The Ceremony of Innocence (title, as always, tentative), in which the nasty war for Earth begins.  I have the basic arc of Book 2 planned, and am now breaking it into chapters and structural arcs.

Book 3, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, is just a tiny seed–I know it’ll involve a civil war among humans, but the actual chapters haven’t been plotted yet.

Alternate title for Book 3, by the way, for those playing at home: What Rough Beast.  

Off to the word mines!