You are currently browsing the archive for the commentary category.

If you are encountering the Birth Pangs series for the first time you may be wondering if you needed to start at the beginning, with Fidelis, in order to understand Spero.

Actually, the way that I’ve written the books they can each be read independently. You can read either or both and in any order.  This will be true for the remaining of the series, too.


The series is not linear.

In other words, Spero doesn’t start where Fidelis leads off.  For a number of reasons, I am writing the series with each book (except book 7) reflecting the perspective of a different character in the series.  The time frames covered by all of the books is roughly the same and where the characters of the different books interact, the same scene is present in each book, seen from that character’s unique perspective.  Where the characters depart from each other, the story branches off.  You might say that each book overlaps the others.

This approach allows me to lay ever deeper layers of meaning to the events in the books. One character will think nothing of an event in one book but in another book, another character will perceive the event as a turning point or startling development.

In short, you’ll be able to read any of the first six books in any order that you please.  Each is stand alone, but none are the whole story.

The seventh book will start, chronologically, where the first six books end, and proceed to tie up all the loose ends, weaving the six story lines into a single rope.

There are a number of reasons for why I took this approach.  One of them is that I perceive that our entire lives are like this.  Each of us is a character in a book.  There are some 10 billion books in the ‘series,’ with many of our ‘stories’ overlapping the stories of others. Taken together, our individual stories constitute one grand story.  This grand story contains elements that are astonishing, but in my view, missed if you take the stories of our lives one at a time.  At the same time, one cannot overlook our individual lives, for pieces of them are what make the grand story, the Mosaic, we’ll call it, what it is.

My seven book series is a very faint shadow of what I perceive is reality.  It begs the question:  if the Birth Pangs series are a mosaic of my authorship, who is the Author of the series of our lives?  Is there really no Author?  Really?  I don’t think so.  If you think that way, one of my aims is to persuade you otherwise.

Tags: , ,

Are you interested in this topic? Then you really should consider buying my Birth Pangs series! That’s what the series is about…

As I’ve mentioned before, some readers of my series have indicated that they see resemblances in my series with some recent developments in the United States.  This article by a Russian analyst predicting the disintegration of the United States in 2010 brought in a couple of comments by readers.

So what do I think?

Well, I won’t rule anything out.  Anything can happen and can happen quickly if circumstances are right.  In the Birth Pangs series, it took between thirty and fifty years for events to unfold.  That remains in my mind much more plausible.  What Igor Panarin’s analysis omits is a catalyst of any kind.  In the Birth Pangs series, it was the destruction by atomic bomb of Washington DC.  I don’t see current events trending towards a disintegration any time soon without a suitable catalyst.

We also have to factor in logistics.  Panarin proposes that Russia will take back Alaska and that the Chinese will take the western side of the United States.  But in either case, for this to be accomplished, there have to be boots on the ground.  For Russia/Alaska, this isn’t very difficult.  But for China to dispatch the number of troops needed to occupy and subjugate the American West, there have to be transport vessels, a navy to defend those transports, and then suitable staging areas.  Without a catalyst leading to a massive debilitation of the American military, such conditions are unattainable in the near-term.  At best, China could stage an invasion from Mexico.

It is that kind of scenario that the Birth Pangs series envisions but even then Mexico has to want to go along with the Chinese. My series explains why Mexico goes along with the Chinese.  it is odd that Panarin thinks that the Mexicans wouldn’t take California and Arizona for themselves. Why would La Raza allow that?

Also, without the needful catalyst, it is difficult to imagine any kind of dissolution being followed by international occupation.  Panarin underestimates the cultural homogeneity that exists in this country.  I have relatives in numerous states in the union and have no particular loyalty to one American state over another.  To the extent that those in the US have rivalries, they are fairly benign, of the University of Michigan versus The Worthless Ohio Buckeyes type or the Packers versus the Bears or Dallas versus Everyone.  This is profoundly different than the British/Irish rivalry and Chechnya and Georgia versus Russia.

The American Civil War was over something of real substance and not on petty ethnic grounds.  Slavery was a suitable catalyst- no such catalyst is imminent… at least not as long as Hawaii keeps its iron grip on certain birth records.

Another thing Panarin underestimates is the Constitutional right to bear arms.  The fact that there are a lot of guns in this country might support a civil war hypothesis it weakens a foreign invader hypothesis- again assuming there isn’t a catalyst, and in this aspect, one that disarms the average citizen.  Foreign invaders would find it difficult to subdue the American people.  One finds themselves almost wishing someone would try to attack Texas.  I mean, good luck.

Finally, much has been said about the thinning of the American military but this isn’t really accurate.  Yes, we have American soldiers spread throughout the world but barring a global EMP assault (which would also undermine foreign armies) these soldiers could be quickly recalled.  Not only that, but the fact that they’ve been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan means that American soldiers have something that most of the world’s armies do not have- battle hardened troops both at home and abroad.

Finally, thinking in Panarin’s terms, I see no reason why the upper midwest and the East coast wouldn’t remain largely untouched.  Canada isn’t known to be expansionist and precisely what European countries could conceivably lay a hand on the East coast beyond New York, where the only armed people are cops and criminals? Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, etc, are easily a match to Eurpean attackers.

So, all in all, assuming things continue as they have been with no catalysts, I must pronounce Panarin’s hypothesis as untenable, and the similarities to the Birth Pangs series passing and superficial.

Here is Panarin’s map:

Tags: , , , , , ,

This is a continuation of an interview done originally by audio. That audio is lost, so I am responding in text. This is question 9:

It is clear in your writing that you go to great lengths to develop masculine men and feminine women, yet you go to great pains to make your masculine men not macho, and your feminine women not submissive or needy in the least, while remaining very feminine. What draws you to explore these issues of masculinity and femininity?

I suppose there are two aspects of this question.  What draws me to explore these issues and how did this get reflected in the presentation of men and women?

The ‘draw’ is easy enough.  In my own life I felt that there were a missing components of ‘masculinity’ in my own life, like I was meant for something quite different- as a man- but for one reason or another I was not acting like a full man.  If there is a ‘masculine ideal’ I wasn’t measuring up.  There seemed to be others who felt the same way, even if their conclusions were different.  The extraordinary success of Elridge’s “Wild at Heart” I think illustrates this.  I don’t think that only men feel this disconnect, either.

At any rate, it seemed to me as I tried to find a way to resolve this issue that the very structure of our lives de-masculinizes and de-feminizes us. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

Please visit to buy Spero

(and Fidelis) from the author or from

Fidelis, my first book, is Latin for faithfulness.  The second book, Spero, is Latin for hope.  Spero is an exploration of what hope is and why we need it.  It is an exploration of what things are good to put our hope in and what things are bad to put our hope in.  In the fictionalized America of the future portrayed in the Birth Pangs series, all of the things that people have traditionally put their hope in have been brought low.  There are no government agencies, no schools, and not even churches.  In the face of daily perils, people have to figure out how where they are going to place their hope.

It is interesting to me that the political candidate running on ‘hope’ is also running on ‘change.’  I think this illustrates the root of the problem.  The best place to put your ‘hope’ is where it won’t shift beneath your feet.  Also, we need to be clear about what things we hope to overcome.  Nearly all of our systems and institutions are geared to address certain day to day realities that are important but not, I’m afraid, ultimate.  There is one problem that surpasses them all: death.

Spero is about people- even good people- putting their hope in lesser means to tackle lesser problems and being confronted with the consequences of that approach.  Spero is about being confronted with our chief problem and challenged to consider what possible solutions there might be to that problem… and whether any of these are within our control, or obtainable by our own effort.

Tags: , ,

In the novel, you seem to be developing your own “pseudo-theology”, for lack of a better word: some type of Christian-based theology that certainly is fictitious, but is yet, well, orthodox.  Can you say more about this without giving away too much of the series’s secrets?

One of my underlying goals of writing the Birth Pangs series is to ‘re-imagine’ heaven.  The book of Revelation contains numerous images of heaven that I suspect would have resonated greatly with a first century Jew but bores our image rich, media saturated society.  It is to the point where I’ve heard people say that just about anything is preferable to heaven, even hell.  This is ignorance, but it is somewhat forgiveable.  The language in Revelation is symbolic:  whatever it symbolizes will be much greater than whatever we can imagine.  So, you might say that I have cautiously tried to insert some new symbols that I hope will resonate with a 21st century American (or Brit!).

This process of ‘re-imagining’ is not constrained to ‘heaven,’ though.  ‘Re-imagining’ is going on with the Nephilim and the Shadowmen, for example.  I wanted to take the concepts and doctrines that excite me and present them in a way that will excite and inspire others.  Basically, I get the idea that a lot of people think that Christianity is dull.  It isn’t so much that they find the evidence for it uncompelling as that even if it were true they wouldn’t be impressed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

« Older entries