Since John Z. Upjohn put away his reviewer’s hat, many readers have been asking what he’s been up to. It turns out he is hard at work on a new novel, The Freedom of Liberty. I invited him back to the blog to answer a few questions about it, as well as his background and his, ah, unique world view.
The contact information I have for Mr. Upjohn goes through his publisher, Hymenaeus House. Apparently all the email there is read and replied to directly by the editor-in-chief, internet gadfly and firebrand Theophilus Pratt. Mr. Pratt kindly intercepted my request and just as kindly insisted on fielding my questions himself.
We conducted a chat via instant messenger, as he’s had some bad experiences with video interviews. The interview didn’t go quite as I expected, but what does? I’ve decided to post it anyway.
Here is Mr. Pratt, in his own words.
Q: What motivated you to start your own publishing house?
A: It certainly wasn’t because I had a hard time finding people to publish my work! Traditional publishing is so hidebound and moribund, it would be sad if it wasn’t amusing. The dinosaurs who run it are as sluggish, slow-witted dimwits who understand nothing of the internet, 4GW, or cyberspace. They do not understand the ways in which the world around them is changing and so they cannot capitalize on it as I do. I move in every direction, seize every advantage, while they remain mired in a pre-digital reality which long ago faded to fantasy. This is why my hated nemesis John Scalzi is doomed forever to mid-list obscurity. His latest novel’s sales figures are a source of constant disappointment and embarrassment to his corporate masters at Tor and I have the data to prove it.
Q: Interesting. What’s your source for that data, by the way?
Q: Despite your frequent claims about Scalzi’s lack of success, several of his projects have recently been optioned for screen adaptations.
A: Yes. How amusing! It reeks of desperation, doesn’t it? Pathetic. Notice that he only sold ONE pilot for Lock In. Only ONE network is adapting Redshirts. Instructive, no?
Q: Isn’t that usually how it works?
A: Perhaps if you lack ambition. Where I come from, making one sale is not something an author brags about.
Q: You mentioned 4GW, or “Fourth Generation Warfare”. You talk about this quite a bit on your blog, no matter what the subject is. Can you elaborate a bit for those unfamiliar with the term?
A: Those who do not understand 4GW will be victims of 4GW, which is I am a master of Fourth Generation Warfare. I refuse to abide by tame conventions such as declarations of war, rules of engagement, or any similar limp-wristed pronouncements of what is and isn’t done. No matter what the topic is, no matter what the battlefield is, I am ready. I’m not concerned with pansy liberal concepts such as “fairness” or “tolerance” or “loyalty”. I cannot be taken by surprise because I am the surprise. When my enemy thinks I am surrounded, it is then that I surround them. When they think me trapped, it is then that I will spring my trap on them. Even when you fight me on your home turf, you will find I have already prepared the field to my own advantage. Considering the years I have spent playing miniature wargames in my basement, is it any wonder that my tactical genius allows me to flourish even when conventional thinking says the odds should be against me?
Q: This calls to mind a memorable interview you did on YouTube where you were observed to flounder and sputter when asked to clarify your views on things like race and sexual consent. You didn’t seem well-prepared, tactically speaking. What happened there?
A: He said he was talking to me because of Gamergate, but he didn’t ask me the questions I wanted him to ask. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t fair.
Q: This same interviewer had conducted similar interviews with other figures connected with Gamergate. Surely you had to be familiar with his tactics and know that he would delve into any controversies lurking in your background.
A: Of course I’d seen him tear into the tawdry past of the shakedown artists and professional victims who oppose me. That’s why I thought he would be on my team! He blindsided me, otherwise he would never have been able to take me by surprise. It is impossible for anyone to do so otherwise. I cannot be taken by surprise by anyone who comes at me straight-forwardly.
Q: You attribute your particular level of tactical thinking—
A: My tactical genius.
Q: You attribute what you call your tactical genius to your love of wargames. Forgive my ignorance, but how exactly does playing Warhammer make you an expert on 4GW? Don’t the rules only model conventional warfare?
A: That’s your problem exactly. The “rules”. Who wrote those precious rules? Who told you that you have to follow them? The use of Fourth Generation Warfare transcends the tabletop as it transcends all battlefields. 4GW is psychological. It changes from situation to situation. It adapts.
Q: How does it adapt to tabletop gaming?
A: Sometimes it means licking your opponent’s miniatures so he will not want to touch them.
Q: You lick their pieces?
A: If that’s what it takes. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes 4GW victory means holding eye contact uncomfortably long while standing too close and breathing loudly. Propriety is not your concern. Social niceties are not your concern. The enemy’s comfort is not your concern. Your only concern is victory.
Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. You can break or hide your opponent’s units when he’s out of the room, and then say that you don’t know anything about it when he returns. What can he do, bound by the rules and strictures of polite society? What can he do, bound by the rules of law? He has no evidence, no recourse. His only power is to try to make you feel bad for doing it, but that’s a power he only exercises by your consent.
Q: Isn’t it obvious that you did it, though?
A: It is amusing how often Social Justice Warriors say things are “obvious”. It’s a sign that your logical thinking centers are atrophied. You have no logic to rely on, which is why you say things are “obvious”. If it’s so obvious that I did it, why can no one provide me with any evidence? When I challenge my opponents to provide a step-by-step formal proof that I interfered with their miniatures, invariably they give up. They pack up their things and leave. Cowards!
Q: So your mastery of wargames is that you act like a jerk so no one will actually play you?
A: The syllogism is simple enough that even you should be able to follow it. if you are undefeated, you are a champion. If no one will play with you, you cannot be defeated. This is why I am a champion in any arena that I enter. I have been such a champion all my life.
Q: Returning to the subject of 4GW in real life, you speak often about the use of proxies in fighting.
A: Yes. It is a wise move for a state or individual engaging in 4GW to find local partisans, “useful idiots” you might say, who zealously believe in an ideological cause and put them to use by arming them, stirring them up, keeping them focused on perceived enemies and imagined threats. You make them feel important, you let them believe they are fighting the good fight for a real cause, when all they are really doing is keeping your enemies busy at little or no risk to you. It’s such a basic tactic that I’d be surprised anyone falls for it, if I didn’t know the world is full of credulous gamma boobs just waiting for a real alpha to tell them what to do. You just find any loser with a wounded ego and an imagined grievance and do to them what the rear echelon has done with conventional forces from time immemorial.
Q: This brings me to the topic of your involvement as a bit of a thought leader in the Gamergate movement. Do you have anything to say about that?
A: Every single member of Gamergate is a hero fighting the good fight for a very real cause. What they do is so important. God speed to them all.
Q: Okay. Moving along. Your blog is noted for its incendiary content, and the comment section in particular is full of what can only be called outright hate speech.
A: My blog, unlike those run by totalitarian SJWs, is a bastion of free speech. Because I do not moderate comments, I do not endorse them in any way. Free speech means that anyone may say anything they wish on it. It does not mean that I agree, or even the majority of commenters agree. The advantage of truly free speech is that if someone says something that is egregiously wrong, it is swiftly shouted down by cold, reasoned corrections. Nothing that is less than 100% factually correct can stand up for long in such an environment. It is amusing that SJWs, who believe in the fairy tale of evolution by natural selection, cannot grasp the effects of a truly competitive environment.
Q: I’m sorry, but you’ve both said that you don’t endorse the comments and that nothing that’s not 100% factually true can survive for long in your comment section.
Q: It seems like you’re endorsing any position that remains unchallenged as true.
A: I’m not endorsing. I am observing. You do not understand the behavior of free-thinking men in a free environment. It is a simple syllogistic fact that in an environment where anything untrue will be challenged and the truth must be backed by reason and logic that the strongest ideas will rise to the top.
Q: On one recent post, I saw somebody saying that the Holocaust was an example of “blood libel against Germans”. No one was arguing with him.
A: So? I’m not his keeper! Take it up with him if you disagree!
Q: But by the same logic you’ve been spouting, doesn’t that make this declaration true?
A: You said it. I didn’t. I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when I make a blog post saying that you said it’s factually true that the Holocaust is blood libel against Germans.
Q: I didn’t say it, though. I asked if you believed that only the truth can stand unchallenged in your blog, wouldn’t you have to believe this claim is also true?
A: Well obviously free-thinking men are under no obligation to engage with trolls, nor argue every point that someone spouts off. They don’t have to perform for your entertainment or engage in the kabuki theater of denouncing people just because they said something that’s not politically correct. We care about factual accuracy only, not what SJW dogma says is right or wrong.
Q: And factual accuracy has nothing to say about the question of whether or not the Holocaust happened?
A: Didn’t I just tell you that free-thinking men can’t be made to dance for your amusement?
Q: I’m just trying to work out an apparent inconsistency in what you’ve said about your comment section.
A: You know, I’ve noticed that as soon as I say something that is even a little bit contradictory, false, or made-up, SJWs seize on it as if I’ve said something wrong. It is instructive as well as amusing.
Q: Okay. Well. Let’s talk about the book.
A: What book?
Q: The one you’re publishing. The Freedom of Liberty.
A: Yes. I have no doubt it will prove to be an instructive little tome for those who have the eyes to read it.
Q: Tell us about it.
A: Why, what have you heard?
Q: That John Z. Upjohn is writing it for Hymenaeus House.
A: And I bet you’d like to know more.
Q: That’s why I sent the interview request, yes.
A: Very well. It may be instructive for you to note how much forbearance I am showing you. The Freedom of Liberty is book one of a planned trilogy, the Liberty’s Freedom Cycle.
Q: What’s it about?
A: You’d like me to answer that, wouldn’t you?
A: Aha! This is it, isn’t it? The trap? This is the part of the interview where you ask me a bunch of questions designed to lead me into saying something against the gospel of Social Justice that you and your toadying friends can use against me. Well, I’m too smart for that. I’m not going to fall for it. If anything, you’re going to fall for my trap. In fact, you’ve already fallen for it! There is no book called The Freedom of Liberty and no plan to publish it! Ha! What’s your next move, SJW?
Q: …well, since I asked you here to talk about the book, it looks like there’s nothing more to ask you, then. Interview over, I guess?
A: Ha! Another amusing victory for the tactical genius with the +3 SD intellect! Take note, my faceless vile minions: even forewarned about the grueling realities of 4GW, the SJWs are caught utterly unprepared the moment you do something to upset the gameboard.
Q: You really licked my piece, I guess.
A: Damn straight I did.
And that’s the interview. My… thanks… to Mr. Theophilus Pratt, and I suppose my apologies to Mr. Upjohn. I’ll keep trying to get back in touch with him, as I feel like I should be apologizing directly.