Stone of Remembrance

January 31, 2011

Righting Wrongs: A Medal of Freedom Winner Gets His Day

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:22

Yesterday was Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in California. This 1998 recipient of the Medal of Freedom is being honored for his long struggle to right wrongs done to him – and thousands of other Japanese-Americans – when they were interned in camps during the Second World War.


Korematsu family before the war. Fred is third from the left.

This story in the L.A. Times provides details on the particular struggle of Mr. Korematsu, who struggled against an unjust conviction for four decades, and refused to accept a pardon but instead fought for an overturning of the ruling against him.

Last year my daughter’s English class read a book about the Nisei, and that and this reminds me of one of the greatest strengths of our country – that though we have done wrong, we do own up to our mistakes and regret them.

This biography is available on the Korematsu Institute web site.

To my politically-inclined friends: I assume that there are ideological overtones to commentary on this subject, and I haven’t delved deeply into them. I suppose that it’s simply a “feel good” story for me, and that it can be taken as such.

January 21, 2011

Con Crud, Planet Tech

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 14:23

I’m going to have to post my Arisia thoughts next week, as I’m in the middle of a bad cold – I blame my recent con stay. In the meanwhile, here’s a toy created at JPL that David Brin posted to Facebook; it’s very cool. I wish it had even more controls.

January 18, 2011

Brother Ben Speaks

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:23

I’m behind on my week due to Arisia. I’m expecting to post a little retrospective on Thursday.

In the meanwhile, thanks to our Junior Past Grand Master, I picked this bit off Facebook. If you haven’t seen Richard Easton’s A&E biography of Franklin, you’re missing a great piece of history and entertainment. For the last few years he’s been part of Massachusetts’ Masonic ambassadorial campaign.

Just 3 1/2 minutes, but well done.

January 13, 2011

Brief notes

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 12:34

I’m trying to keep to a twice-a-week schedule, but don’t have anything that really grips my attention today. Thus, a few notes on what’s going on:

  • We got hammered by a massive snowstorm and the area is still digging out. My daughter got two snow days from school; Wednesday was expected, today was a bit of a surprise. It’s bright and sunny and cold, but I guess the roads are not the best for school buses.
  • I will be at Arisia this weekend. I was their author Guest of Honor two years ago, a personal highlight of twenty years’ attendance at the ‘other’ Boston convention. My wife and daughter enjoy the con as well, and we’ll be there through Monday. Please say hi!
  • Congresswoman Giffords is making an amazing recovery from her gunshot wound. I don’t care about her politics; I’m rooting for her to come all the way back. It would mean that the nutjob committed unspeakable violence and failed in his apparent goal.
  • It probably comes as no surprise, but Sarah Palin appears to be an idiot. Using a term like blood libel is almost absurdly stupid, even if she doesn’t know the connotation. If she does, she’s intentionally invoking a terrible analogy. If she doesn’t, she’s demonstrating her ignorance. Either way, it doesn’t make her very presidential.
  • It appears as if John Paul II is on the road to sainthood. For beatification – coming soon – you need one miracle, which is apparently on the books. It takes two to get into the Big House, but I’d bet it’ll turn up. For what it’s worth, which is probably nothing, I got blessed by the guy along with 150,000 other people (including my future wife) in St. Peter’s Square on Easter Morning, 1980. I celebrated it by going out and sinning some more.

That’s all the news I have for the moment.

January 10, 2011

Shooting . . . and backlash

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 11:31

I learned a while ago that political commentary doesn’t sell books. I have avoided getting into political discussions with fans at cons, and at public events like book signings for just that reason.

I would have expected that no sane person would have felt anything but anger and revulsion at the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday. Based on what has been written of his weird rants on YouTube and elsewhere, it’s pretty clear that he was a few tacos short of a combination plate; just the sort of person who shouldn’t be heavily armed.

Much has been made of the target cross-hairs placed on Rep. Giffords by former Governor Sarah Palin’s conservative campaign. The graphic that so inflames certain parts of the political spectrum (and, to be fair, inflamed it long before January 8) could possibly have affected Loughner’s vicious and unwarranted attack, I suppose; but I think he was deranged anyway, without Ms. Palin’s help or inspiration. His rants are protected by the First Amendment, as was the visual presentation of targets on the 20 Congressmen Ms. Palin wanted to be defeated in the recent election. I don’t intend to blame his violent acts on the latter. Doing so, or trying to more narrowly define what constitutes free speech in this country, will only exacerbate an already vitriolic debate. Nazis and the KKK are protected too. Doesn’t mean we have to like it.

There’s only one group that seems to be pleased with the event: the Westboro Baptist Church. I refuse to provide a link to this vile group’s web site, but if you have the stomach for it, you can watch their official reaction, in which they suggest that this event is some sort of response to attacks made upon them. They’ll be protesting the funerals of the victims of this senseless crime, in their usual appalling and tasteless way. Nothing said about them, or addressed to them, will change their minds or their tactics. Depriving them of First Amendment rights won’t do it either – it will simply make free speech less free.

The only thing to do is to turn our backs on them. Again and again.

Regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, we should all mourn for the victims and hope and/or pray for a recovery by Congresswoman Giffords and the other wounded survivors. The family of a small girl should know that we share their grief, even from afar. So should Ms. Giffords’ family.

And that we turn our back on Fred Phelps and his hideous hate-mongering. If you believe in divine judgment, and your concept of God is anything like mine, he’s in for a most unpleasant surprise when he finally shuffles off the mortal coil.

UPDATE JANUARY 11: The Arizona Legislature has passed a bill to prevent such protests. Hopefully that will at least provide some solace to the families, particularly the family of the nine-year-old girl, at which these vicious people rejoice.

Rhetoric didn’t kill the little girl or kill or hurt the other victims. Neither did Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin or President Bush or a lack of niceness or a lack of gun control. A lunatic did this. And it appears he was fixated on Congresswoman Giffords as early as 2007. I am appalled at the way this is being used for political advantage.

January 6, 2011

Walter Hunt Author Newsletter Volume 8, Issue 1

Filed under: Newsletter, Writing — admin @ 15:50

January, 2011

Welcome to the first issue of my mailing list newsletter for 2011, intended to provide you with information about my work, my website www.walterhunt.com, and my activities and appearances. There hasn’t been much in the way of news for more than a year, for various reasons. I have resolved to remedy that with more frequent posts to the blog. Thank you for your patience if you’re still here.

The Dark Wing Universe

The Dark Wing series is out of print in English. I am working toward getting the books into e-book format.

The Dark Wing is available in Russian at Ozon and Books.ru.

The series is available in German from Random House / Heyne, available from amazon.de:

  • Die Dunkle Schwinge
  • Der Dunkle Pfad
  • Der Dunkle Stern
  • Der Dunkle Kreuzzug

A Song In Stone

A Song In Stone is back in print from Fantastic Books and can be ordered from Amazon.com. It is in a nice trade paperback edition, with a handful of corrections to the original. Please help support the book in its new edition.

I thank the reference librarians both at my public library and my college library for their generous assistance in research. I have placed a copy of an extensive glossary on my web site to enhance your reading pleasure.

King & Country

I have set this project aside for now, though I still have hopes of getting it finished and into publication. Last summer, while in North Carolina, I visited the place where the final scenes will take place.

Elements of Mind

During the summer and fall of 2009 I began working on a story set in the middle 19th century and dealing with the world of mesmerism. This book turned out to be Elements of Mind, which is completed and is now under consideration by a publisher. I hope to have more news about that by spring. If it is successfully sold, there is more than enough plot to extend beyond that first book to others. More news when I get it – but something that came out so quickly and smoothly gives me the impression that it’s worthy of being sold.

1636: Drums Along the Mohawk

When I attended NASFiC last summer, I was hoping to interest an editor or publisher in Elements of Mind or King and Country – but I really had less than high hopes about whether the trip to North Carolina was even worth it. But occasionally serendipity bounces my way.

I had the opportunity to sit with Eric Flint, and came away from NASFiC with a handshake that has led to a contract to write a novel in the very successful 1632 book series – with the preliminary title as given above. It is set in the New World, an area that is largely unexplored in the 1632verse, and I’ve been heavily researching this fall (see reading notes below). I’m very excited to be working with Eric and with Baen on this project and will be at it most of this year.

Other Projects

I am pleased to announce that after more than twenty years of evolution and development, the New England railroad/business game I developed with a long-time close friend has been sold to Rio Grande Games for publication in 2011. Many, many people have playtested this game over its many years of life, and I hope to include all of their names in the rule book. Rio Grande is an outstanding company that sets a very high standard in production quality, and it will be an honor to have a game with our names and Rio Grande’s name on the box.

Upcoming Appearances

We will be in attendance at Arisia 2011 in Boston, January 14-17, 2011, at which I was the Guest of Honor two years ago.

I have been selected to be the guest speaker at the Louisiana Lodge of Research on Friday, February 11, 2011, in Monroe, Louisiana, where I will be speaking about Rosslyn Chapel.

I will be at Boskone 48 in Boston, February 18-20, 2011.

We will be at the Renovation Worldcon in Reno, Nevada, August 17-21, 2011.

Worldcon Bids

Chicago has won the bid for the 2012 Worldcon. I have not been in Chicago for some time and I’m looking forward to showing my family around in that great city.

We have presupported the 2013 San Antonio Worldcon bid, and the 2014 London Worldcon bid.

What I’m Reading

I read the Economist, a weekly news magazine. You should too.

I’m reading David Hackett Fisher’s Champlain’s Dream, as research for the new 1632verse novel. Over the last eighteen months I’ve read a large number of books, and if I summarized all of them for you I’d never get this newsletter out.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to everyone for their continued encouragement and support. Having a chance to write professionally means I get to do what I truly love, and I hope you will always feel that your confidence in me is well-placed. A bit over a year ago, when I was somewhat despondent about my writing, my wife told me (in not so many words) to shut up and write. I’ve been doing that, and hope for a very good 2011.

Keep reading, and keep in touch.

Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested.

Content © 2011, Walter H. Hunt.

January 3, 2011

New Year’s Resolution

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 11:51

Life often consists of putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next thing. In some cases there is a very repetitive nature to these actions, and in many of those cases, these next things are not of any particular interest to anyone else.

The blogosphere, at least much of it, consists of people talking about those next things. Twitter and Facebook only make this communication easier (Facebook, in fact, will help you out by telling everyone where you are and what you’re doing – unless you turn off that particularly helpful feature. Helpful, in this case, is being used in an ironic sense.) It has never been my intention to provide that narrative to my friends, fans or any other curious onlookers. No one gives a rat’s hind end – which is convenient, I must add, because I have blogged nothing at all since the June post about going to Origins. I’ve done a lot of commenting on Facebook, but haven’t written anything here.

I’m not sure anyone has missed it. The concussions of failing to update a really popular blog would echo throughout the Internet if there was nothing new there for six months. The same is true for various live journals, personal blogs, and popular sites – webcomics, sports columns, advice for the lovelorn.

It begs the question what this blog is for. I made some general statements almost five years ago when I started it, and for the most part have stuck to the plan: posting things I wanted to talk about, keeping people up to date on my projects, and avoiding a regular update schedule. Clearly that worked for awhile . . . but this summer, fall and early winter have proved that, without some sort of commitment, the blog will simply die in place. The longer I have put off writing something of interest, the harder it has become to get around to it.

Therefore, I have decided to commit to a New Year’s Resolution. Stone of Remembrance will be updated at least once a week, though I intend to start by posting two updates – the plan is to put something up on Mondays and Thursdays. The Thursday update this week will be a Newsletter, which I have not sent out in most of a year. There is some exciting news: I have a new book contract, my first professionally-produced board game will come out this month, and I have some upcoming appearances and some potential projects that should interest anyone still in the fan base after this half-year of neglect.

Let’s see how long this lasts, and if there are readers out there. If you’ve been actually waiting for regular content – or if your RSS feed for this blog has had nothing in the hopper and you’re pleased to see something here – let me know.

And I’ll see you on Thursday as well.

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