Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Special news...

Hey, just in case you are desperate for something in these last days before Christmas...

The companion work to the Saga called Quayment Short Stories is now on sale! You do not even need a special code. It is regularly $8.87, but it is MARKED DOWN to $6.91.

It has two very curious stories about what happens at the Weaver home on Christmas, and a bunch of other unusual things - and the best thing is that you do not need to commit yourself to reading the WHOLE Saga... you can bite off just enough to chew, and then swallow. Though I have a feeling you may be wanting more later... and there is plenty more to come.

Indeed, for the literary stewpots are just starting to simmer again, and soon the cook will have to start stirring...

Don't forget to check out the Advent savings on the first five installments of the Saga... see the next posting, and the one after that which lists all presently available parts.

Update: yeah, the sales are STILL GOOD until and including Epiphany, January 6!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Special news for Advent

Happy New (Liturgical) Year!

It's the first Sunday of Advent, and since people may be looking around for Something Good To Read - for themselves, or perhaps to give as a gift - you may be interested in hearing about the Advent special for the Saga.

The first five books of the series are "marked down" for Advent, provided you use this "Discount Code" when you order: YA6LKN5E

The titles included are these:
The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION
The Black Hole in the Basement
The Creatures That Live in the Walls
The Horrors in the Attic
The Tree of Virtues

Also, be sure to check out my new non-fiction, Subsidiarity, which can be ordered here. It has its own blogg too. I should point out that the fictional version of Subsidiarity is now being proofed - it happens to be a PREQUEL to the Saga, the long-awaited Joe the Control Room Guy...

Meanwhile, I suggest you get out your Bible and read the book of the prophet Isaias, who is the definitive Advent writer... for He is coming! Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight His paths!


P.S. Note that it says "a" prequel. There are others. And yes, we will meet John Fisher and Joseph Chandler, we will see the Rising Darkness (as John Fisher put it) and learn about his Plan. In another we will meet Al Root, and learn more about the Chandler Bells. Yes, there is plenty to look forward to...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Now Available: The Elements Fight for the Virtuous

For the feast of St. John Damascene...

The tenth part of the Saga De Bellis Stellarum, the last of the five parts of "From Darkness Into Light" - which is titled The Elements Fight for the Virtuous is now available!

You can order it here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Now available:

No doubt you are wondering about that title. No, it's NOT an IP address, they only have four numbers between 0 and 255 separated by three periods. No, it's NOT an enzyme identifier, which look the same as IP addresses, though are not limited to 255 and I am not sure if they permit zero.

Actually, it's a date from one of the old Maya calendars, in what archaeologists call the Long Count, which indicate a continuous sequence of dates from some presumably mythical starting point somewhere around 3100 B.C. This particular date,, is the one which is supposedly coming up very shortly, at least according to one particular alignment of the Maya sequence with ours. Other historians give different correlations, and this particular book, the ninth installment of the Saga De Bellis Stellarum, uses a correlation which makes this end-of-the-baktun fall in December of 2015 - on the birthday of John Collins, no less!

So, if you are curious to hear how the world "ends"... you may wish to check it out. You can rest assured that there are four more installments to come, so you need not look so tragic... but do recall what Chesterton said:
Every short story does truly begin with creation and end with a last judgment.
[GKC The Everlasting Man CW2:379]
The Saga is, of course somewhat more lengthy than a short story... but we shall defer discussion of the other matters to a future time.

Oh yes, if you want to get the book, or find out more, go here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now Available: Os Olhos do Condor

Happy feast of St. Albert the Great, patron of Science!

To celebrate, we are releasing the eighth installment of the Saga De Bellis Stellarum today. It is called Os Olhos do Condor, which is Portuguese for "The Eyes of the Condor" - it tells of the adventures of our three heroes during the spring semester of 2015, when the great Espada plant in Brazil is threatened by industrial sabateurs. Meanwhile another sort of danger springs up in Stirling, PA...

But I don't want to reveal too much, of course! There are some very exciting parts... so visit here to learn more or to order the book.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Now Available; What More Do You Want?

Today, the feast of the martyr St. Josephat, part seven of the Saga is now available!Yes, half of the installments are now in print and ready for your enjoyment.

This one is titled What More Do You Want? - it covers the fall semester of 2014. You may order it here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now Available: Three Things Which Go Well

The next part of the Saga, part six, entitled Three Things Which Go Well, is now available! See here for the "back cover" blurb or to order.
Don't forget to check out our new website for the Saga, wherein you will find a variety of stuff - a basic introduction, the list of the titles, and also some "background" information... the sort of thing Tolkien put into the appendices of his masterwork.
Remember, there are seven more volumes still to come. I have to be very careful not to reveal any of the secrets... and YES there are plenty of secrets awaiting you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now Available: Tree of Virtues

Happy feast of St. Luke - "the White" - and the evangelist!

Today, we have two important announcements.

To start off, the fifth part of the Saga is now available! It is called The Tree of Virtues.

Also, there is now a whole new website for the Saga, wherein you will find a variety of stuff - a basic introduction, the list of the titles, and also some "background" information... the sort of thing Tolkien put into the appendices of his masterwork. There's almost none of that there yet, but then it's just beginning. Besides, there are eight more volume still to come, and I have to be very careful not to reveal any of the secrets... and YES there are plenty of secrets awaiting you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Raffle Flyer from Horrors in the Attic

Due to a variety of complications, the flyer for the Gutenberg Festival raffle was omitted from The Horrors in the Attic. It is fictional, though the books are (or have been) real enough. But it was back in 2007, so don't try to purchase a ticket.
Bastian Bux and Brian Leary, co-chairmen of
The Sixth Annual Gutenberg Festival
Thursday July 12 - Saturday July 14, 2007
A Raffle
for the Benefit of
The Quayment Hospital

Single ticket price is $20.00.

Drawing to be held Saturday evening at 7:30

This leaflet courtesy The Quayment Morning News.

Quayment is America's Book Town. Your support of the Festival and the Raffle helps us continue this grand tradition! Purchase your raffle tickets at any Quayment bookstore, at the Town Hall, or any Quayment bank.
Ticket sales close Saturday at 5 PM!

*** The Big Prizes ***

(1) Donated by Alexandria's (specializing in very old books)

Please note: In June 2007 Alexandria sold her stock to Bastian's, just before it was struck by arson. Recovery operations are underway. Mr. Bastian Bux has the delight to present as the chief prize, a SIGNED copy of a very early edition of

CARROLL, LEWIS. [DODGSON, CHARLES LUTWIDGE] Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: Macmillan and Co., 1867. 8vo. 42 wood-engraved illustrations after John Tenniel. Skillfully rebound with original gilt cloth covers and spine mounted. From the fourth printing (with "eight thousand" on title-page), author's presentation copy. Inscribed copies of Alice are rare and this copy is particularly early - inscribed in black ink before Dodgson received his supply of purple ink in October 1870.

NOTE: AS-IS. Strong odor of smoke. You may request to inspect this volume at Bastian's.

Estimated retail value: $3,900

(2) Donated by Leary's (the classic American used bookstore)

Long famous for its bookstore in Philadelphia, Leary's is America's choice for unusual and rare early American volumes.

Brian Leary, manager, presents:

YOUNG, JOHN RUSSELL (Editor). Memorial History of the City of Philadelphia From Its First Settlement to the Year 1895. Volumes I & II. New York: New York History Company, 1895. Complete in two volumes. Volume I: Narrative and Critical History, 1681-1895, by Howard M. Jenkins. Volume II: Special and Biographical, by George O. Seilhamer. 4to, [xxxii + 568pp] + [(9) + 484pp]. Each volume includes a tissue-guarded frontispiece as well as numerous plates, maps, portraits, figures, and facsimiles of original documents. Newly rebound in black buckram with gilt-stamped titles to spines. Text is crisp and unmarked.

Estimated retail value: $300

(3) Donated by The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth gives access to the twin worlds of science and engineering and of arts and literature. Both classical and modern books of all sorts are to be found here.

The Soffia brothers present:

Unknown as we go to press.

(4) Donated by Bastian's, formerly known as Coriander's (specializing in fiction, fantasy, mystery)

Bastian's is the anchor store of the south side, at the corner of Third and Penn, just south of the town square.

Bastian Bux presents:

CARROLL, LEWIS. Sylvie and Bruno. With Forty-Six Illustrations by Harry Furniss. London: Macmillan and Co., 1889. 8vo (7"x5"), xxiii + 400pp. Late 19th century red morocco binding, gilt tooled, raised bands, all edges gilt (a magnificent binding in near mint condition). Original cloth spine and covers pasted-down at rear on free endpapers.

Estimated retail value: $600

(5) Donated by Bremerton's Books

Bremerton's is the perfect Englishman's bookstore. Tea is served every afternoon at four.

CARPENTER, JOHN; WHITINGTON, RICHARD; RILEY, HENRY THOMAS (Translator). Liber Albus: The White Book of the City of London. [SIGNED BINDING]. London: Richard Griffin and Company, 1861. First edition. Compiled A.D. 1419 by John Carpenter, Common Clerk, and Richard Whitington, Mayor. Translated from the Original Latin and Anglo-Norman by Henry Thomas Riley. Thick oblong 8vo, xii + 660pp. Bound by Leighton and Hodge in full morocco leather with five raised bands, gilt stamped title to spine, and decorative blind tooled borders to boards. Page edges stained red. Marbled endpapers. Title page printed in red & black. A beautiful copy, in excellent condition. Binding is firm and square; text is immaculate.

Estimated retail value: $250

(6) Donated by Mifflin's, also known as The Haunted Bookshop

The "Parnassus" of Roger and Helen Mifflin, once a travelling book-wagon, and formerly of Brooklyn, now makes its home in Quayment. Smokers are welcome here! Let Roger prescribe your next book. He has what you need.

The Mifflins present:

The Lorsch Gospels. New York: George Braziller, [1967]. 678/1000. A facsimile of a magnificent manuscript from the Carolingian era. After centuries of separation, the four parts which comprise the Lorsch Gospels were united in Coronation Hall of the Holy Roman Empire in Aachen, Germany, on the occasion of the 1965 exhibition of the Council of Europe "Charlemagne: His Achievements and Influence". The cooperation of the respective owners made it possible to photograph the entire manuscript and the ivory covers during the exhibition, so that uniform conditions, necessary for fine reproduction, were obtained. Thus a foundation was laid for the reconstruction of the manuscript in this facsimile edition, which must now serve in place of a unified whole. Folio (36 x 27cm). Bound in quarter vellum over red cloth. Very Good condition. There is also a small insert which serves as an introduction. 4to, 23pp. Bound in grey wrappers. Near Fine condition.

Estimated retail value: $250

(7) Donated by Alarums and Excursions, specializing in scripts of plays and movies and all English literature.

Alarums and Excursions presents:

WILLIAMS, FREDERICK S. Our Iron Roads: Their History, Construction, and Social Influences. London: Ingram, Cooke, and Co., 1852. Examines the impact of the locomotive on Great Britain and other countries around the world. 8vo (8"x5"), xii + 390pp. + 2 plates and numerous illustrations.

Estimated retail value: $200

(8) Donated by The Gamut - music, scores, and a variety of media

The Gamut has a diverse selection of media, ranging from rare scores and practice manuals to CDs, DVDs, and more antiquated forms of recording. Use our listening booths to check out your selections!

The Gamut presents:

PALESTRINA; MOZART; ET AL. Ten Magnificats, for 4 and 5 Voices, by various Composers, suited to the different Seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year. Separate Vocal Parts. London: Burns and Lambert, Music and Piano Repository, c. 1860. Musical notation for tenor with leaves of varying length, with 12 extra pages of vocal music by Mendelssohn bound in. 4to, engraved title-page + 26pp. + 12pp. Bound in 19th century half calf over pebbled cloth.

Estimated retail value: $200

(9) Donated by Readers Anonymous - a motley collection for the anonymous reader!

BARNUM, P.T. The Life of P.T. Barnum. Written by Himself. New York: Redfield, 1855. First edition. First editon of the author's first book. 12mo, viii + pp. 9-404 + (4) pp. publisher's advertisements. Frontispiece portrait of the author and numerous other black & white engravings throughout the text. Newly rebound in blue cloth with marbled paper-covered boards and gilt title to spine. In very good plus condition, with small library stamp to copyright page.

Estimated retail value: $100

(10) Donated by World Books - specializing in foreign and international texts

Tired of the same old English? Perhaps you'd like to read Homer or Virgil or Dante or Don Quixote in the original... you can find them here, and many other books from around the world!

World Books presents:

An Atlas of Ten Select Maps of Ancient Geography, both Sacred and Profane; with a Chronological Chart of Universal History and Biography. Being Intended as an Accompaniment to Mayo's Ancient Geography and History. Calculated for the Use of Seminaries, &c. Philadelphia: John P. Watson, 1814. 4to (27 x 32cm). Bound in contemporary marbled boards with new cloth on spine for reinforcement. Previous owner's inscription on preliminary, "Manton Eastburn", former Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts (1843-1872). Small library stamp on title-page. Boards rubbed. This is a selection of ten hand-colored maps of the ancient world. The maps are: Terra Veteribus Nota, Romanum Imperium, Oriens Tabula, Graecia Antiqua, Italia Antiqua, Places Recorded in the Five Books of Moses &c. (3 maps in 1), The Land of Moriah or Jerusalem and the Adjacent Country, The State of Nations at the Christian Aera, and a Chronological Chart of Universal History and Biography (also hand-colored). All the maps are single-page except for the Romanum Imperium and the Chronological Chart, which are double-page.

Estimated retail value: $500

(11) Donated by The Lab Shelf

The Lab Shelf is your source for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and technical reference works. We have a large stock of journals from all branches of science.

The Lab Shelf presents:

DARWIN, CHARLES (1809-1882). The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, including an Autobiographical Chapter. Edited by his son, Francis Darwin. London: John Murray, 1887. First Edition. 8vo, 3 volumes. Illustrated. Bound in publisher's green cloth, wrinkling to spine of volume three, hinges tender on volume three, rear hinge cracked on volume one. Good condition.

Estimated retail value: $400

(12) Donated by Driftwood

Located next to Harry's Pier, Quayment's famous seafood restaurant and pub, Driftwood has a large collection of books about the sea and sailing. If you want books that will give you the sea spray far inland, Americana, local works, colonial or antique guides, Driftwood is the place you'll find it. Stop in and see what the tide washed up this week! We also carry a full line of sailing charts.

Driftwood presents:

JONES, GEORGE. Observations on the Zodiacal Light, from April 2, 1853, to April 22, 1855, Made Chiefly on Board The United States Steam-Frigate Mississippi, During her Late Cruise in Eastern Seas, and her Voyage Homeward: with Conclusions from the Data Thus Obtained. [United States Japan Expedition, Volume 3]. Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1856. First edition. Large 4to, xliv + 704pp. Illustrated with 352 woodcut astronomical charts. Bound in light brown half-leather over marbled boards. In very good condition. Binding is firm and straight; contents are crisp, clean, and bright. Withdrawn from a college library, with minimal markings. Discoloration to front endpapers. Mild wear to joints and corners. A very nice copy overall.

Estimated retail value: $200

(13) Donated by Weaver's Books

The only major bookstore on the north side of our bay, housed in the former "Psephic Church of God" high on the north hill, Weaver's has some of the most unusual and rare books even in a town bursting with rare and unusual books. Ride the free Quayment shuttle and see - it's well worth the visit - don't miss the splendid view! Past Gutenberg Festival chairman Phil Weaver is the present owner, fourth in the line of the Weaver family owners of the bookstore. His daughter Mary is the store manager.

Phil Weaver presents:

The Septuagint Old Testament in Greek and Latin: E palaia diatheke kata tous ebdomekonta. Vetus Testamentum græcum juxta septuaginta interpretes, ex auctoritate Sixti Quinti Pontificis Maximi editum juxta exemplar originale vaticanum... Cum latina translatione, animadversionibus, et complementis ex aliis manuscriptis cura et studio J.N. Jager... Editio DD. De Quelen, Archiepiscopo Parisiensi dicata. [Complete in 2 volumes]. Parisiis: Editore Ambrosio Firmin Didot, 1855. Two 4to volumes. Bound in quarter leather with marbled boards. Marbled endpapers. Four raised bands and gilding to spines. Corners bumped, light rubbing to boards. Library stamps to half-title pages. Text in excellent condition.

Estimated retail value: $250

* * * * * * *

As we go to press, there are at least twenty lesser prizes, including a five-day double-room gift certificate for next year's Festival from the Quayment Hotel, several $100 gift certificates useful at any Quayment bookstore, and gift certificates for Ray's Family Restaurant, Harry's Pier, and Shelly's.

Be sure to check Saturday's edition of the Quayment Morning News for the final list of prizes!

Please note: Ticket sales will close Saturday at 5PM - so buy your tickets early!

The drawing will be held at the bandstand in the town square on Saturday at 7:30 PM.

* * * * * * *

The editions of the list which were published after Wednesday contained this additional information on the offerings from "The Phantom Tollbooth":

CARBONELLI, GIOVANNI. Sulle fonti storiche della chimica e dell'alchimia in Italia. Tratte dallo spoglio dei manoscritti delle biblioteche con speciale reguardo ai Codici 74 di Pavio e 1166 Laurenziano. Opera corredata di 242 reproduzioni fotografiche e due tavole fuori testo. Rome: Istituto Nazionale Medico Farmacologico, 1925. First edition. A comprehensive and well-illustrated study of the alchemical manuscripts stored in the Italian libraries. Folio, xxii + 212pp. + index. The text is accompanied by 242 illustrations, mostly facsimiles of various manuscripts. Bound in original quarter parchment with boards; titles printed in red & black. In very good condition. Binding and hinges are intact and firm. Foxing to top edge of frontispiece and title-page, otherwise very clean, unmarked, contents. No signs of prior ownership. Light scuffing and soiling to boards, otherwise a lovely copy. Very scarce.

Estimated retail value: $400

WESTWOOD, JOHN OBADIAH (1805-1893). Palæographia Sacra Pictoria: Being a Series of Illustrations of the Ancient Versions of the Bible, Copied from Illuminated Manuscripts, Executed between the Fourth and Sixteenth Centuries. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1845. Includes reproductions from Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Coptic, and Western European manuscripts. Small folio (33 x 27.5cm), xvii + (3) + 84pp + 50 colored plates. Bound in half red morocco with marbled boards. Five raised bands, with gilt title to spine. Upper hinge cracked, though binding is holding well. Boards rubbed, particularly at bottom edges. Overall good condition.

Estimated retail value: $700


Special thanks to Andrew Poole and Chris Hagen and the other workers at Loome Theological Booksellers for their help.

Note: some of these books may actually be available from Loome; check their catalog for details. Do NOT expect this listing to be accurate!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A public exorcism, Your Eminence?

I am posting this excerpt of the Saga in honour of the birthday of Father Stanley L. Jaki, OSB, who warned us of the dangers of evil, and our need to combat it regardless of the cost, and urged us who are yet in the Church Militant to beg divine assistance for those actively doing battle. He, in fact, is the sort of priest like Father Bondost: a priest who would wake a cardinal in the middle of the night.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace. Amen.

* * *

(Just for background: Father Bondost is the master of a boys' orphanage where Glen is a resident. Bernie Brown is the president of the Chivalry Club. Denny is one of the agents of the Enemy.)

                "Oh my God, Father. That obsidian knife! Denny actually had it at my throat..."
                Quickly Father Bondost made the sign of the cross.
                Bernie also blessed himself, then he said, "Of course, Father, that's the old pagan sacrifice of Meso-America. Denny kept talking about Mayan dates." He twisted uneasily in his chair. "All right. If you're willing to wake up a cardinal in the middle of the night, I guess I can tell you... where I think the bad guys are headed. And it's not to my friend's place. It's to the studios of Channel Nine."
                Father Bondost didn't speak, but immediately began to dial.
                "C.B.... it's Denis... In Latinam vocemus, quoniam..."
                His Latin was fluent, honed to almost the state of a pivate dialect – so much so Bernie could barely catch a root here and there. But he kept smiling, and nodding with satisfaction. "Optime, O Mare Apis amicus meus. Ideo... Certainly, though I may be asleep. Ah, I am forgetting – the boys will wake me by then. But call in any case. ... Amen, my brother.... God bless you too."
                He sighed and hung up the phone. "I know you wish to sleep... but I think we had better go and keep vigil."
                "In your chapel?"
                "Yes. He is going to act. God only knows what the media will do in that crazy city... but then again... perhaps it is God's plan." He stood up. "Few men – and fewer priests – would dare to wake a cardinal out of his sleep and send him out... to battle. We ought to show our support in the only way we can."
                "I'm with you, Father."
                He followed the priest to the chapel. As they went down the hall, a door opened. "What's wrong, Father?" asked a young voice.
                "Go back to sleep, Glen. Bernie and I are going to the chapel to pray."
                "I want to come – please?"
                The priest sighed. "Very well..."

* * *

                In New York, Cardinal C.B. Tallisen got dressed, then summoned his clerical secretary to the small chapel.
                Father Lwanga "Larry" Russo, a tall black man named for the great martyr of Uganda, looked dubiously at the cardinal as he put on his episcopal regalia. "You're actually expecting to do a public exorcism, your Eminence?"

                The cardinal was struggling with a recalcitrant button on a vestment. "No, Larry – that is, I'm not expecting anything. But we must be prepared. Something stinks... I don't think it's another September 11, nothing like that. But the enemy is on the prowl, and the shepherd must be awake." He picked up the large Roman Ritual, pulled an overcoat over his vestments, then nodded. "Let's go. You drive, please."

                 The cardinal chuckled as the car began to move. "It's times like this when I could almost wish we were permitted flashing lights like the police... think of it, Larry... yellow and white... and a peal of bells instead of a siren. Maybe I'll send a quaestio to the Sacred Congregation of Rites. I wonder which congregation they'd pass it off to..." He chuckled again. "There ought to be some liturgical awareness of automobiles, don't you think?"

                Fr. Russo was used to C.B.'s wit. "Of course, the usual car lights always make me think of the Divine Mercy image," Fr. Russo replied. "Every time I'm on a highway at night – on one side, the shining white, on the other, the flaming red..."

                "Very good... If I nod off, please wake me."

                "But your Eminence, you didn't say where we're going!"

                "Oh, I beg your pardon. The studios of Channel Nine, at 99th and Seventh Avenues."

[PJF, "" in From Darkness Into Light]

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A curious handling...

"...a curious handling of Psalm 22, the Good Shepherd. A stunning landscape..."

                Bernie, Marty, and John followed the priest to the other side of the main entrance of the church. This picture showed a gruff man walking through a dreary background with a young lad on his shoulder; with one hand he supported the child, and with the other he wielded a heavy walking staff. By deft use of color, the figures were illuminated against the dark surroundings; one would hesitate to call it an aura. It was rather the reverse: the humans were seen in natural light, and the encroaching darkness was the unnatural. Bernie took it in – the artistry was stunning – but when he turned to see the others, he was shocked to see the look on John's face: a look he read as startled recognition.

                Marty snapped a shot and said, "Bernie, that rocky waterfall – we've seen it before." (He meant it looked like the background to the painting of Christ and St. Peter at Caesarea Philippi, in the chapel of Old Main.)

                The priest nodded. "I'm not surprised that you recognize it. That waterfall is well-known in the area – ah – perhaps not as well-known as it once was. But my friends and I often hiked out there in our younger days..." He sighed. "Out to the gorge, back in the hills past St. Michael's – as I'm sure you know."

                "St. Michael's – you mean the orphanage?"

                "That's right. It is called the Peter-falls."

                Bernie had turned back to examine it more carefully. "It sure looks eerie. What's that thing off to the side, something smoking? Is there a hot spring near that waterfall?"

                The priest shook his head. "No; I always took it to represent the burnt sacrifices of the pagans." He sighed. "It's all the more terrifying to me as I think of Carthage, both ancient and modern – but I won't say more on that topic, not in this consecrated place. There's other threats lurking if you look carefully: a crevice in the rocks, and snakes, and there's a lion almost hidden in the trees."

                "A lion!" Bernie said anxiously, trying to locate it.

                "Yes; there were lions in Israel in the days when David was a shepherd boy..." He paused, lost in thought.

                As the priest remained silent, Marty asked, "Did you read what it says, Bernie? 'Though I walk in the Dark Valley, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me'." But he turned when he heard John moan, and asked, "What's wrong, John?"

                "Nothing. But just look at that child's face. Is that supposed to be Jesus in the arms of St. Joseph?"

                "Huh. There does seem to be a kind of glow around their heads, doesn't there? What do you say, Father?

         He nodded, smiling. "I think it's like other things, intentionally left open so we can see more. Like St. John always speaking of 'the disciple who Jesus loved', or St. Luke writing to 'Theophilus' – which merely means 'Friend of God'. I find it very comforting, even though many times I am the one who must carry others and guard them against the terrors of darkness. What you must not forget is that there are other sheep not shown here – ones which have fled from the shepherd, into that forest..." He shivered. "If one has doubts about his vocation, this picture provides a healthy stimulus."

[PJF, From Darkness Into Light]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chivalry: it's NOT a game...

Bernie interrupted Ted: "This isn't a game – and when you hear what I have to tell you, you'll realize just how huge the stakes can be. John's already been shot at, and Jim and Tony risked drowning, and Marty and John and I dared enter an old abandoned mine..."
"Oh man! I can't wait till we get to college and can do fun stuff too!" Nate said.
"He calls that fun," Bernie groaned. "And then there were days and weeks of slow plodding futile research... Be patient, Nate! You've got enough to do where you are. You know what our club is for..."
"Not really," Nate said, and some of the others nodded. "Chivalry? That sounds too simple."
"What else is there?" John asked. "Leaving all those imaginary super-powers for the fantasy comics, what more could a good young man like you want than chivalry? I mean, real chivalry, not that fake trash you read about in pulp fiction! Real Chivalry! The perfect union of
– the strong, brave, steadfast and reverent knight of the Middle Ages;
– the silent, bold and clever student of nature who is a Native American Indian scout;
– the well-read, up-to-date scholar who can handle the classics as well as the highest of high-tech science and engineering;
all this united, wrapped together and blessed by the Church? The defender of the weak, the supporter of the good and right, the relentless foe of evil? I ask you, what more do you want?"

«We gotta have John write all our ad copy», Marty murmured, and Bernie nodded in agreement, deeply impressed.

The Gregs stared in awe, conscious of their heart's pulses surging to a larger life. Jim and Tony were sitting alertly, as if on guard.
Jason nodded solemnly. "It sure sounds impressive when you put it that way."
"It does," Jeff replied in a small voice, but his eyes were glowing with enthusiasm.

Nate gulped. Then, since John was still staring at him as if expecting an answer to his grand rhetoric, he replied, "I guess... nothing. Right?"

The room was silent until Bernie spoke: "Well – no, Nate. There is one more requirement beyond what John mentioned. You must also have Authority."

Again the room was silent. Marty sighed faintly, and John closed his eyes and nodded.

[From Darkness Into Light VI: What More Do You Want?]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still in development: The Tree of Virtues

Yes, due to some complications, I am still not ready to release The Tree of Virtues, the next installment of the Saga. There's one small puzzle yet confronting me, but I hope to get past it soon.

Among other things you may be wondering what that title is about. It comes from an amazing diagram called "The Tree of Virtues" which appears in a large old book called Cursus Theologicus of Salamanca. It is a very complex diagram, very tech, which organizes all the various branches of human learning and endeavor into one system - yes, a TREE. (I have no time to lecture on the relation to computer science; that ought to be evident, but if it isn't I perhaps I will post on it another time.)

Here is a snapshot of this amazing diagram...

(Courtesy of A. Poole, of Loome Theological Booksellers.

Meanwhile, you can entertain yourself with this curious collage of artwork, which will NOT be included in the final book:

The big trombonist is no other than Bo Reynolds, the world-famous musician. He's jamming with Chuck Weller, a good friend of Steve Brown. Steve is greeting another world-famous person, the great mathematician Erich Weitzmann, known to some as "the Hermite of the 21st Century". And if you do not know who Hermite was, see here. He's the one who proved that "e" is transcendental. And if you are wondering what that odd little contraption in the lower left is, you will find out when you read the book. Strangely, it happens to fall squarely between Bo and Erich, but it has another purpose.

Update: as of Oct. 18, it is available, and the next installment is nearing completion!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Something which few grasp...

It is well that we humans who are still alive and walking in life's journey – whom Aquinas calls peregrinatio, the true pilgrims – do not have any idea how vast and powerful an array of enemies are at work against us. Few indeed of us ever grasp that, and fewer seem to grasp that we have an even larger host of allies, who have even greater power.

[from Ite Milites Audaces... (Go, Daring Knights...) part 1]

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Novel Truth about this Real Fantasy

I have discovered a novel truth about the Saga.

Typically such "fantasy" writing is considered "escapist" or other such terms, selected to indicate a certain kind of refusal to deal with the "real world".

On the contrary, the Saga is Superlatively Real, because it RESTORES to our common lives a measure of something lacking: Virtue. Sacrifice. Honor. Devotion. Dedication. Courage. Interest in Things of the Spirit. Adventure For the Sake of Others.

This is not simply "real", but radically Real, and perhaps Quite Dangerous, since our Enemy likes us to feel dull, disappointed, bored, lethargic, satisfied, and interested in the mundane... oh yeah, and especially our Enemy wants us to prefer short stuff, little stuff, stuff that is in tidy nibbles, sort of melt-in-your-mind's-mouth, 140-character (or 15-second) granules of Bland.

The Saga, on the other hand is TOUGH, CHEWY, AND (to the disappointment of a very strange faction who ought to know better) QUITE LENGTHY...

Sure, there are risks I am taking by writing it... and there are risks YOU are taking by reading it...


Also, as Bernie Brown points out somewhere: we have allies who are more than a match for our enemies.

Let us move forward in confidence, therefore - because:

Our help is in the name of the Lord. Who made heaven and earth.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Illustration for The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION

Here is an image of a picture I made as a possible cover (or frontispiece) for The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION...

It may be a bit misleading, as it shows several items from the story all at once - that is, it is NOT a scene you will find within. At the bottom you can see the main characters: the triplets Mike, Mark, and Matt Weaver, and their friend Tom Felsen; and on the right Joe Outis at the wheel of his grandfather's boat Remmirath with Mike Tronder.

Above is the artist's attempt to show the Wreck against the backdrop of the vista looking west, into the little bay of Quayment from out in the Atlantic - to the left is the lighthouse on the Point; to the right is the "young cathedral" of St. Ambrose's, at the top of the north hill (yes, it also has a warning lamp for sailors), and the strange dome on the top of Weaver's Bookstore, and the huge complex called "Benny's" (the real name of which is "Levin Shipping") with its lighted menorah. In the left midground is the doomed Greek cargo ship Phosploion, now burning and sinking rapidly, with the Remmirath in flight.

At the top... ah, well. Where the beams from the Great Lights of Quayment cross is that archival storage bag containing a fragment of the letters of St. Bernard - a document printed in 1494... and Something Else... but I shall not here reveal what it is. And if you are wondering about the blue and violet arcs, faintly visible near the top... well then I suggest you get the book. You see, I am bound by the Great Law of the Story, so wonderfully phrased by G. K. Chesterton:
Nothing would induce me to tell the reader anything about the solution of the riddle. The man who tells the truth about a detective story is simply a wicked man, as wicked as the man who deliberately breaks a child's soap-bubble - and he is more wicked than Nero. To give away a secret when it should be kept is the worst of human crimes; and Dante was never more right than when he made the lowest circle in Hell the Circle of the Traitors. It is to destroy one human pleasure so that it can never be recovered... [GKC ILN Nov 7 1908 CW28:210]

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Now Available: Quayment Short Stories

So you are curious about Quayment and all that, but you're not sure you want to commit to some crazy lunatic series of vast but indeterminate length?

How come? You scared? Afraid that maybe it's going to be EVEN LARGER than you thought?

Oh, you wimp! Hee hee. It's almost certainly larger than you thought - or than I thought - but it sure isn't boring. But look - now you won't have to be scared of mere largeness. You can get a bunch of SHORT STORIES that will give you a taste, enlighten, entertain, and tantalize - but you won't have to worry - er - at least not TOO much - about committing yourself to reading lots more.

Well...yes, the Saga is huge... it's hard to say just how huge, but from where things presently stand, it's "larger than the largest known whale". (That's a famous quote for which I will have to supply the attribution another time.)


As I was saying you can now obtain a collection of short stories which will give you some fascinating details about the Weavers, their friends, and the town - all of which will help embellish the larger Saga - for when you are ready to make that plunge.

Just visit Quayment Short Stories where you can see the cover and read the blurb, and order it.

And for completeness, here are the titles presently available:
The Saga De Bellis Stellarum:
part 1. The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION
part 2. The Black Hole in the Basement
part 3. The Creatures That Live in the Walls
part 4. The Horrors in the Attic

Companion: Quayment Short Stories

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Now available: The Horrors in the Attic

Today's great news - for the feast day of St. Rita, saint of the impossible - what I once thought would be impossible... the completion of The Three Relics, the first major component of my Saga De Bellis Stellarum!

Yes, you can now obtain all three installments - click to visit the e-store and order:

The Black Hole in the Basement
The Creatures That Live in the Walls
The Horrors in the Attic

And don't forget the introduction:
The Wreck of the Phosploion.

The next installment being prepared is a collection of short stories, simply titled Quayment Short Stories, which will help fill in some background, or if you are not yet willing to venture into such a vast and unexplored cosmos, these stories won't commit you to a huge intellectual investment. They may also provide some useful laughing.

I hope to resume the main thread of development of the Saga once certain logistical matters are resolved; the next installment is The Tree of Virtues. Note: just to be clear, that installment and a huge amount of what comes after is ALL WRITTEN, but the production into the published form is not instantaneous. As the Dean says in The Creatures That Live in the Walls "you can't be in three places at once."

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The World of the Saga: Quayment

Oh, so you want to know about Quayment, do you? Hee hee! Well, you really ought to get the books if you are curious. It's a small town on the Atlantic, somewhere south of Philadelphia and north of Baltimore, where the Hardystone River pours out through the little bay. The town is divided into a south side and a north side, and is well-known for its fishing, its nice beach on the jetty south of town, its very old railroad system, its pleasant small-town-America style, and - especially - for its bookstores. There's a huge church up on the north hill called St. Ambrose's, and a lighthouse at the end of the jetty (there are shoals some miles out in the Atlantic, and these two signal the safe pathway to harbor)... there's a famous bed-and-breakfast on the south side called Harry's Pier, and of course the bookstores like Weaver's on the north side, and Alexandria's, and Bastian's, and Leary's, and the Phantom Tollbooth (run by the Soffia twins, which I might write about next time), and Mifflin's (also called "the Haunted Bookshop" or "Parnassus at Home") and the Gamut, and Driftwood... there's even one which appears every so often, overnight, almost by magic, which the townspeople call "Serendipity"... (its story is told in the forthcoming collection of short stories, or if you cannot possibly wait, you can read it here. Yes, just as Tolkien altered geography to suit his subcreation, I did too - and you will eventually hear about North Belloc and Stirling, and maybe even Milan (all these are in my Pennsylvania, though I never state what state Quayment is in, so don't make any assumptions!) It's a lot of fun, akin to playing with a toy train set:
When I tire of subcreating with the formal syntax of programming languages and the rigor of the finite state machines we call computers, I open a new window (hee hee) and go back to Quayment - that is, to my other subcreation which is a box of paints and a toy train. Quayment is my fictional little town on the bay, with its bookstores and restaurants and railroads, its lighthouse and its docks and its huge "young cathedral" high on the north hill, and the fascinating and curious lives of its inhabitants. For the writing of fiction is also a subcreation - even though its rigors, its terrors and its joys, are far stronger than the modelling of atoms - and far more dangerous. For though these things are merely products of the human mind, they are far closer to the human heart. [Excerpted from here.]
Oh, the name. The name is a sort of worn-down version of its original name, Aquaemanent, from the Latin aquae manent = "the waters remain".... but that is all the more I can tell you today. Perhaps one day we shall meet there, and visit the bookstores...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now Available: The Creatures That Live in the Walls

Part 3 of the great Saga De Bellis Stellarum, entitled
The Creatures That Live in the Walls
is now available!

This is the sequel to The Black Hole in the Basement, and tells of the further adventures of Mark Weaver, one of the Weaver triplets at the famous bookstore in Quayment.  Among other things you will meet an old friend of Mark's, see some nasty teratoids (they are the "creatures that live in the walls") and watch Mark go on a very curious ride... or three... but I must not say too much.

It can be ordered here.

Incidentally, just in case you are wondering about the - er - arrival times of these publications, it has more to do with what might be called production of the printed book than the much more difficult activity of writing. At this time, a very large portion of the Saga is written, so you should have no fears about encountering a kind of "Edwin Drood" effect, though that's up to God, not me. The writing is proceeding, and hopefully you will not have to wait long for the remainder. Also, we are not dealing with a Tolkien sort of multiple-Age thing entailing huge expanses of time... the earliest events of the Saga are in the 1840s (roughly), and the latest (as far as I am able to determine) are in the 2010s; indeed, nearly all of the Saga occurs in the years of the 21st century, and the yet-to-be-told events of longer ago will appear either as flashbacks (if they prove necessary to the main threads) or as ancillary works. Hence, as I said, you need not fear.

Also, I can inform you of this: Once the next installment comes out – that is, The Horrors in the Attic – I will release a collection of Quayment short stories which will help fill in a few details, and give me a little time to catch up on other matters.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The World of the Saga: The Ambrosian

I am very close to having the next volume ready for release, but as today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, I would like to give you something "worky"...

Last week I talked with a good friend of mine and he mentioned how my name came up in a conversation with one of his friends, and how he knew one of my fondest wishes is to found a university.

I've read Newman's works - I know the struggles and pitfalls and challenges, even when one has backing from the Vatican. I don't expect that I will get to do such a thing. There are money issues, licensing issues, personnel issues... gosh, issues I can't even guess at.

Besides, in my subcreated world, I have already founded four different institutes of higher learning, (at least!) and in some cases I have even provided some details about them. This is far easier, and presents less complications - though here too we have pitfalls and challenges and struggles.
But in my case, I can do something for these wonderful schools which I could by no means achieve, not even if I had the full and whole-hearted backing of every bank and every country and every scholar (and every scholarly group) on the planet.

I can give them history besides giving them everything else.

Yes - and here I (as a computer scientist) have recourse to one of the master-references of the literature: the glorious volume called The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. From the moment Bastian Bux wishes something into existence, it has always been... Oh, if only philosophers and theologians would try writing something of this sort! What insights it provides into the Divine Work of Creation... Ahem. But this is not the proper place for me to do as Dorothy Sayers did in her The Mind of the Maker and explore the linkage between the Creator and the Trinity - and the sub-creation of literature.

No; I will not go so far. I will only note that my work is most like the building of a very large and complex model train layout - or any non-trivial System of computing. One must do a large amount of design - what Sir Henry Merrivale called "sittin' and thinkin'" - if one wants one's System to work properly.

In this case, these schools - Howell College, Collins University, Franklin University, and the Ambrosian University - all play various parts in the Saga. It would be hard to give much details about Howell, since such a large portion of the story occurs there, and involves many strange and long-hidden details about its history. Collins and Franklin are lesser creatures, though they both have their own importance, and may deserve some future study. But the Ambrosian, even more than Howell, is very special, and does represent some of my own REAL desires and plans, and I hope to explore it more fully in future writing, both here (in the real world) and in companion stories to the Saga.

So, let us open a new thread of contemplation, and consider:

What is the Ambrosian University?

The Ambrosian is located in Milan, Pennsylvania, a small town in the north west mountainous region of the state. (But don't go looking for Milan on YOUR map; you might as well look for Stirling, where Howell is located or Harley, the site of Collins, both of which are also in Pennsylvania...)

The Ambrosian is one of the so-called "Newman Universities" as it was founded according to the designs of Blessed Cardinal Newman. (You can see his Idea of a University and University Sketches for more information.) It offers the full range of degrees in all subjects, and is accredited to levels beyond those understood by the typical "accreditation bureaus" prevalent in the rest of Higher Education. You can always recognize their course catalog as its cover displays a greatly reduced image of a modern version of the famous "Tree of Virtues" from the old Salmanticensis Cursus Theologicus...

(Image courtesy of A. Poole at Loome Books. Note this is NOT from the catalog.)

...the diagram which unites all human activities, fields of work and study as organized by the virtues - and both its web site and courses are keyed to that diagram. Those who encounter it for the first time have their breath taken away, it is so intense - few people of our day ever attempt to relate each and every field to each other, and they are overwhelmed by the glorious sense of unity of human endeavors, to the glory of God and the service of neighbor - which is the only justification of a university that makes sense. But if you want more on their philosophy, you will have to refer to that catalog. Ahem.

At some future point I hope to make more specific information available, but this school plays an important role in our Saga, underscored by the number of important people who have degrees from there:
  1. Joe Outis (2004)
  2. the Weaver triplets (2008)
  3. Steve Brown (BS 2012; PhD 2016)
  4. Malc Jones, Chuck Weller, Tony Jackson, Chris Reynolds (2013)

Also consider these brief excerpts from the Saga:
[The Ambrosian] was a Newman school, and kept to the highest possible standards by every measure – they had a detachment of Cistercian monks on campus, some of whom were the most sought-after faculty on earth – and just outside of town, a team of cloistered nuns as backup. [From Darkness Into Light part 1]
The Ambrosian University, nestled in the hills of north western Pennsylvania, was one of those very strangely attractive "Newman Universities" – these were what [some scholars] would call "Augustinian" as they were very old as well as very new, sound and well-respected academically, labelled "catholic Catholic" and "Catholic catholic" in brochures, admired for robust and well-rounded scholarship by believers and non-believers alike. People of every sort of faith recognized and respected those who held a diploma from the Ambrosian, and it attracted good students of all faiths.
It was nearing three in the afternoon when they got off the train in Milan. The town was nestled on the side of a mountain, just above a rushing white-capped river. The first thing they saw when they came out of the station was a flatbed truck loaded with huge logs, rumbling down the road paralleling the tracks and the river. Another passed as they walked down to the parking lot where Bo Reynolds had ordered a rental van – and when they came to the end of the block they saw how the intersecting street ran up the steep side of the mountain to end at a massive stone gate. Beyond the gate they could see a steeple poking through the pines – and then its bells rang out the hour.
"There it is!" Chuck exclaimed. "Right up that hill."
The street was steep, and Steve imagined how it would be to lug his gear up that hill. There were lots of little homes along the way, some with side yards of daffodils and tulips. As they went up they could see more and more of the river valley. "It's gonna be some view up that steeple," Malcolm puffed.
"Matt told me they have a race up this hill," Steve said, also breathing hard, though he was in excellent condition.
Finally they went in through the stone gate which marked the beginning of the Ambrosian campus. The road was less steep here as they passed beneath tall murmuring pines. They could see various buildings beyond the trees. Finally, as if by unconscious agreement, they continued up the steps and entered the church.
Inside, they paused to look around, keeping silent as there were a number of people scattered around in the pews. It reminded the Quayment four of St. Ambrose's, but it was somewhat narrower, and it had internal pillars supporting a very high ceiling. Everything seemed even more ornate than their own church. The main altar was of carven marble, oriented in the traditional way. The stained glass windows were brilliantly colored, and Chuck gasped as he saw the pipe organ in the choir loft – but Steve found his attention drawn to those who were praying. He noted at least three professors and a monk in a white habit, and there were students of every kind – some with fat prayer books, some with rosaries, others just sitting with their eyes fixed on the tabernacle or closed in contemplation. One of the girls looked to be about his age – she looked so lovely – he wondered whether she would go on to marry or to the convent or to some major professional career – but he could tell wherever she went, she would be taking God with her. He knew this was the right place for him, and he began to understand why Matt didn't want to tell him anything about the place. He genuflected and followed the others back out. [Ibid.]
Finally, if you are trying to choose a college, you should heed Dr. Mary Mortimer's instructions to Steve Brown:
"You don't choose a college because it's got a nice campus – or because of who is there. Sure, Howell is small and pretty if somewhat limited, and they have Dr. Weitzmann. Collins is huge and quite sound in its coverage, and they have Dr. Grosjean. But! You need someone competent to advise you. You need a real master to steer you right. ... You have the capacity to reach very far – that means you need authentic intellectual training. Go to the Ambrosian. You won't regret it." [Tree of Virtues part 1]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Good News on the Feast of St. Mark!

Wow, today is the feast of St. Mark, a very fitting day on which to make this announcement:

The second installment of my great Saga, De Bellis Stellarum, is now available!

It is called The Black Hole in the Basement, and you can obtain it here.

Just in case you would like to know a little about one of the major fountains of my inspiration for Quayment in general and Weaver's in particular, please visit here to see more about the great Loome Theological Booksellers,  the used bookstore housed in a former church in a small town called Stillwater, Minnesota...

Thus, when you read in The Black Hole in the Basement about how a certain "Doctor in Pennsylvania" inquires about a book by Martène... well, that bit wasn't fiction. And no, I did not ever get the book, because they weren't able to locate it...

Which is a good thing, because if they had, it is almost certain that none of this would have happened.

But if you are curious about whether Loome's has a black hole in their basement, that is beyond my ability to answer.

Note: I have no connection with Loome's except as a VERY satisfied customer, and a friend of some of those who make things happen there.  I am sure you will find it so should you visit or do business with them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Now Available: The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION

Annuntio gaudium magnum...

The story called

The Wreck of the PHOSPLOION

that is, the long-awaited


edition of the introduction to the great Saga

De Bellis Stellarum

has been released!

Deo Gratias!

You can buy it  here.

The next installment, called The Black Hole in the Basement, is already in the works, and will come out soon, God willing - and there's LOADS more to come. Fresh, exciting, cool adventure - in the line of the old "Boys’ Books" enjoyed by Chesterton - built to exacting medieval standards (which are FAR HIGHER and TOUGHER than those of the 21st century) using a vast array of literary inspirations united with over 30 years of experience in computer science and software development... Wow, and not only that, it's fun to write, and even more fun to read, as well as pointing in the One Direction That Matters.

But for now, I must get back to the writing.
You see, "Someone has to do the hard jobs." 

See you in Quayment!