Mom. I know you read my posts. This one is likely to have some bad words in it. Just skip on to the next one. Thanks.
During times of great upheaval, especially during socialist revolutions that lead to millions of deaths, at the first you get a glimpse of the people who later on will be either running or cheering on the death squads. Loving death isn’t the first clue of who they are, but it’s a big one. The first clues are sometimes easier to mistake. Let’s do a case study.
I want you to know how I met and became involved with a psychopath. Let’s call him “Sam.” Sam was a poet. It is unfair to say that should have been my first clue, because I do like poetry, but I think you get my point. Sam wrote self-indulgent poetry and occasionally some of it would come across my desk. It was generally bad poetry, but there were some good turns of phrase here and there. He showed promise.
At the time I was coming off some very successful early novels and I was asked to write a story, help assemble, and recruit authors for a Time Travel Anthology that was being put together by a superstar editor and would involve some big name Indie writers. This was coming on the tails of a huge Indie anthology that had sold really well. Pennsylvania was still being released serially but it was picking up traction, and some of my other novels and short stories were doing very well.
Anyway, I was making a list of authors to include in this anthology and I didn’t want it all to be superstars. I wanted to include some new authors for a lot of reasons I won’t go into here. Mainly, I wanted to give some up-and-comers a break.
I wrote to “Sam” and asked him if he wanted to try fiction writing. He acted hesitant, but I encouraged him that I saw some talent in his writing and I thought he could do it. He became profusely thankful and later he delivered what was a very good story. One of the best in the book.
Here is where the next clues to Sam’s character should be noted. When I say he became “profusely” thankful, I mean he began grotesquely glad-handing me. He wrote posts and notes continuously thanking me and telling me how in debt he was to my help. He wrote that I’d given him a career and how he would forever be thankful. It became over-the top. Uncomfortable.
I need to cut this short(er). “Sam” was a man-praiser. So long as he knew I could help him, or that he could feel good about being “in the club” he was endlessly singing my praises.
Here comes the twist… In the late summer of 2014 PENNSYLVANIA had gone berserk. In a good way. It was in the top 20 of all of Amazon, and in the first week of September I was ranked the #1 Scifi author on Amazon. A famous author I won’t mention (he’s getting his own novelization detailing his bullshittery) but who I considered a good friend at the time, began a whisper campaign with some other nobodies and wannabes. You can attribute it to jealousy, competition, whatever. None of it makes sense, but that’s just the way it is in the world. This A-list author and some of his worshippers decided to do a deep-dive into ancient history on the Internet and came up with a sermon I had written 10 years earlier – before I was even writing fiction and before Indie publishing was really a thing. They started passing this around in an attempt to “cancel” me, and then made it public. The main instigator, Mr. A-list, sent me a message (that I still have) saying that if I wasn’t willing to deny my religious beliefs, especially “this Old Testament stuff,” then he could no longer be friends with me. Fine. That’s life. But that isn’t what “I can’t be friends with you” means today. It means “I will try to destroy you,” which he tried. And failed. This public attempt to cancel me failed magnificently. My real friends, democrats, republicans, straight, gay, libertarians, everyone came to my defense. Out of the over 250 authors, friends, fans, and others who contacted me about this in the first 24 hours, only TWO were negative attacks – encouraging and applauding my destruction.
Guess what? You know it. One of the guys throwing me under the bus was “Sam.”
I should have known. I should have suspected that when Sam was such a glad-hander and man-pleaser that he was a psychopath too. All the clues were there.
Long story (somewhat) short(er): Sam is a psychopath who hopes you die if you don’t agree with him.
You know, like every one of his political ilk. He thinks his kind of authoritarian death culture is new. He hasn’t read enough, nor does he know enough, to realize how deep the body count is when a nation becomes full of people like him. When you watch a movie of German or Japanese death camps, or perhaps if you read my book on the Cambodian genocide, or if you read Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag Archipelago, you will instantly recognize “Sam.” He loves death. Loves it. Can’t wait for his political enemies to die. And guess what, his friends are just enemies he hasn’t turned on yet. You’ll meet him when you get to the death camps. People like Sam will be everywhere.