A. Roy King’s ‘The Child-Stealers’ Has Gone Live on Amazon

A. Roy King

My story The Child-Stealers has gone live on Amazon, so readers can now purchase it in ebook form for Kindle for only $.99 US. The Child-Stealers is the novella-length first episode of a longer novel, The Cursed Ground, an historical-fiction story set in the ancient world.

Cover for The Child-Stealers, by A. Roy KingTo purchase the novel for your Kindle or Kindle reading app on your tablet or mobile phone, please head over to the book’s Amazon order page at:

http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Ground-Child-Stealers-Edhai-ebook/dp/B00PXIKE4G

In about another week, I will be releasing The Child Stealers in other formats (such as EPUB and PDF) through the Smashwords site.

The Child-Stealers has already garnered some great reviews from early readers. Here are a few excerpts:

“Give yourself enough time to read it in one sitting — as a novella, it’s do-able, and once you start it, you won’t want to put it down. And by the time you’re finished…

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The Speckled Band/La banda de lunares – A.C. Doyle Parallel Sherlock Holmes Story

Parallel Reading Multilanguage Books

Portrait of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget, 1891 Portrait of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget, 1891

As an example of what I plan to do with the Parallel Reading project, below is a sample of a parallel English/Spanish text of the Sherlock Holmes short story “The Speckled Band,” by Arthur Conan Doyle. This is a parallel text composed from public-domain sources. Click on the link to download this free ebook in PDF format.

Abajo se encuentra el relato “La banda de lunares” en el inglés y el español en paralelo. Este es un relato ficcional de Sherlock Holmes por Arthur Conon Doyle. Haga clic en el enlace para descargar el libro electronico.

Speckled_Band_Doyle_Parallel_EngSpan

ARB — 21 March 2014

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How Proto-Indo-European (Possibly) Sounded

A. Roy King

This article in Archaeology includes sound files of linguists telling brief stories in the reconstructed hypothetical Proto-Indo-European language.

Here’s one of the sound files — take a listen:

The story is called “The Sheep and the Horses,” which in English goes like this:

A sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: “My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses.” The horses said: “Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool.” Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.

Although his work is not well-regarded among linguists, Merritt Ruhlen has done some interesting work with tracing the origins of modern languages…

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The Seven Metals of Antiquity

A. Roy King outlines the seven metals on which civilization was built and points to some useful resources.

A. Roy King

I was researching metalworking in the ancient world and came across a mention of the “seven metals of antiquity.” I found a good short summary, “A Short History of Metals,” by Alan W. Cramb, a metallurgist who is now provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Cramb identifies “the metals upon which civilization was based” as:

  1. Gold (ca) 6000BC
  2. Copper (ca) 4200BC
  3. Silver (ca) 4000BC
  4. Lead (ca) 3500BC
  5. Tin (ca) 1750BC
  6. Iron,smelte, (ca) 1500BC
  7. Mercury (ca) 750BC

Cramb discusses each of these metals and their history in more detail and says that

These metals were known to the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, and the Romans. Of the seven metals, five can be found in their native states, e.g., gold, silver, copper, iron (from meteors) and mercury. However, the occurrence of these metals was not abundant and the first two metals to…

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The 1970s Ice Age Myth and Time Magazine Covers – by David Kirtley

Here’s a good response to the claim that ‘the scientific consensus in the 1970s was that we were entering an ice age.’ Also points out that a Time magazine cover often used by climate critics is actually faked.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

One of the golden oldies of climate denial – “In the 70s, They predicted an Ice Age” – is ever new in denio-world. But then, in denio-world, you get points, not for being right, but for creating confusion. That is the goal and the game.

Above, one of my earliest videos, still kind of fun. I’m reposting this piece by David Kirtley from Greg Laden’s blog, hope nobody minds.

Greg Laden’s Blog:

This is a guest post by David Kirtley. David originally posted this as a Google Doc, and I’m reproducing his work here with his permission.  Just the other day I was speaking to a climate change skeptic who made mention of an old Time or Newsweek (he was not sure) article that talked about fears of a coming ice age. There were in fact a number of articles back in the 1970s that discussed the whole Ice Age…

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An Atheist’s Rhetorical Question Reveals His Uncertainty

A. Roy King comments on an excerpt from Daniel Dennett’s new book — and comments on an irony in the great man’s rhetoric.

A. Roy King

Atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett recently published “Seven Tools for Thinking” in The Guardian. An excerpt from his new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, Dennett’s seven tools make up a useful set of guidelines for some aspects of rhetorical arguments.

However, I was particularly struck by a seeming irony that shows up between tool number 4 (“Answer Rhetorical Questions”) and tool number 5 (“Employ Occam’s Razor”). In his section on rhetorical questions, he has just encouraged the reader to check his baloney meter any time he hears the word “surely,” saying that “often the word “surely” is as good as a blinking light locating a weak point in the argument.” Then he makes a similar point about rhetorical questions:

Just as you should keep a sharp eye out for “surely”, you should develop a sensitivity for rhetorical questions in any argument or polemic. Why?…

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John Mark Ockerbloom has outlined an exciting concept and system for dynamically incorporating a user’s local library resources into Wikipedia articles.

Everybody's Libraries

I’ve heard the lament in more than one library discussion over the years.  “People aren’t coming to our library like they should,” librarians have told me.  “We’ve got a rich collection, and we’ve expended lots of resources on an online presence, but lots of our patrons just go to Google and Wikipedia without checking to see what we have.”  The pattern of quick online information-finding using search engines and Wikipedia is well-known enough that it has its own acronym: GWR, for Google -> Wikipedia -> References.  (David White gives a good description of that pattern in the linked article.)

Some people I’ve talked to think we should break this pattern.  With the right search tool or marketing plan, some say, we can get patrons to start with us first, instead of Google or Wikipedia.  This idea seems to me both futile and beside the point.  Between them, Google and…

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Some good commentary on the difficulties of both historical fiction and history writing.

A. Roy King

I was struck by this quotation from Howard Zinn in The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, by James Alexander Thom:

Historical fiction and nonfiction are both abstractions from a complex world of infinite fact. Both can tell the truth; both can lie. The “lies” (that is, distortions, omissions, exaggerations) in historical fiction may have two advantages over the “lies” (that is, omissions, exaggerations, distortions) in nonfiction. First, that they are at least entertaining. Second, that they do not make the same claim of being truthful.

The fact that historical fiction is more entertaining can also make it more dangerous  because it is more seductive, enveloping the lie in a sweeter package than nonfiction. Bad historical fiction may wrap a false idea (that blacks are inferior, that war is good) in an attractive story and thus make it more dangerous.

Thom, who is a great American historical novelist known for his careful research and accuracy, also quotes Washington Irving as saying, “I am always at a loss…

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Have Archaeologists Found Skeletons of Biblical Giants in Greece? (via A. Roy King)

I’ve seen these photos before, claiming to show archaeologists digging up skeletons of giants. A. Roy King shows how some of the best-known photos were faked.

Have Archaeologists Found Skeletons of Biblical Giants in Greece? [Updated 22 May 2010] I was intrigued recently when someone sent me a series of photos purporting to show the skeletons of giant humans excavated at archaeological sites. Here is an example to the right. However, some quick Internet research revealed that these photos are all doctored. You can see all the photos at About.com — here is an explanation and analysis by urban-legends specialist David Emery: "Giants in Greece — Analysis." The photo s … Read More

via A. Roy King