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Aaron Ross Powell
1,046 followers -
Horror author and editor of Libertarianism.org, a project of the Cato Institute.
Horror author and editor of Libertarianism.org, a project of the Cato Institute.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens did was it needed to. It restarted the franchise after Lucas’s disastrous prequel turn. It stamped Star Wars as Disney’s in the same way Iron Man did with Marvel. We weren’t just picking up where we left off, but rebooting a…

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The Hole is a novel.

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Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Lost Stars caps off my reading of the five novels in the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series. On the whole, they’ve been quite good—and much better than the old EU stuff. Part of that, I’m sure, is their canon-ness.…

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The Hard Part's the Story

You get to a point in the initial stages of a story where it kind of clicks. Where the plot shifts from a vague idea and a series of “What next?” questions to a big picture with all its edges defined. That’s where I am—finally!—with the new novella/novel.…

Watched HBO's Going Clear last night. A powerful and infuriating documentary.

But here's the thing: At several points in the movie, we shift from being told about the horrors of the organization's practices to the silliness of many of its beliefs. Particularly the scene where Paul Haggis learns about Xenu and the interstellar DC-8s. I mean, it's crazy, right? Who could believe such nutty stuff?

I want to urge caution when giggling at the odd Scientology creation myth and other related weirdness. While the organization does awful things, the content of its beliefs is really no more silly than the stuff present in pretty much every major religion. Rising from the dead? Water into wine? Devils controlling our minds? A trip from Mecca to Jerusalem on a flying horse? Talking bushes?

The only difference with Scientology, the only thing that makes it so okay to laugh at, is its lack of distance. Hubbard invented this stuff just decades ago, instead of centuries or millennia. Thus it's very clear that it was invented. But so was all the rest of it. We just don't have records of it.

So if you're religious, chances are you believe things just as silly to the non-believer as the stuff in Going Clear. (And even if you're non-religious, chances are you have all sorts of unfounded, silly beliefs. We all do. They're just of a different category.)

Which is all just a long way of saying, "Be nice." Or, at least, be a little self-aware when poking fun.

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So I made a mailing list you can sign up for to get a note, maybe once a week or, with links to my writing and other stuff. Join, because it'll be fun, I promise.

The Man with the Yellow Hat is super irresponsible and probably shouldn't be trusted to care for a monkey.

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I’m happy to announce the first book in the new Libertarianism.org Readers series, Individualism: A Reader, edited by George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore. I’m series editor on these, with quite a few more already planned. Individualism is one of most…

Played a super fun game of the Monster of the Week tabletop RPG, based on Apocalypse World. Gotta say, compared to games like that and Fiasco, more traditional stat/skill/roll-for-initiative games have lost most of their appeal. Mechanics should be laser focused on facilitating a great story, which makes nearly all traditional-style RPGs, even "rules light" ones, seem mechanically ill-suited to the task and cumbersome.

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My short story collection, Animus: Six Tales of Crime and Terror, is now an audiobook, narrated wonderfully by Scott F. Feighner. Scott did an incredible job of giving the characters life, and managed to make me sound like a much better writer than I am.…
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