What happens to books that no one wants to read

Perhaps it's time that publishers organize focus groups to find out what editors readers want to read...
Publishers are quietly disposing of around 77million unsold books a year, it has emerged.

So many titles no one wants to read are being produced that they are being shredded, pulped or sold on market stalls at a fraction of their original price.

Industry insiders say companies are forced to destroy them after they are returned by bookshops.

Figures from the Publishers Association show that 61million books were returned to publishers in the UK last year. Another 16million were returned by overseas retailers.

Celebrity works are some of the lowest sellers – including Cherie Blair who is said to have received a £1million advance for her autobiography. But the book has sold only 23,412 hardbacks and 10,240 paperbacks since 2008.



European Anti-Americanism in Literature

What's missing in this yet another overly-dramatic cry is the question "Why do they hate us?":

Despite its cultural prominence, anti-Americanism is the last European chauvinist discourse not to have fallen into general disrepute. While first emerging during the Romantic period, European anti-Americanism reached a peak during the interwar years; literature of the period represented the United States as the quintessence of a traumatic, unbridled modernity that presaged the destruction of Europe. [...]

Thus, a literary history of anti-Americanism has yet to be written. Such a work would prove a valuable contribution to the historical processing of the discourse, for it is often in literature we find the European fantasies about the United States – the dreams as well as the nightmares – in their most unadulterated and seductive versions.



Take this deal and shove it!

Ursula K Le Guin resigns from the Authors Gild, because of her

unhappiness with the role the Guild played in the Google Book settlement. “You decided to deal with the devil, as it were, and have presented your arguments for doing so. I wish I could accept them. I can’t,” Le Guin wrote in her letter of resignation. “There are principles involved, above all the whole concept of copyright; and these you have seen fit to abandon to a corporation, on their terms, without a struggle.” SOURCE

I am glad I never signed up with the Authors Guild, although now I can't say "Take this deal and shove it!"


Marquis de Sade's optimism

Reading in "The Crimes of Love" (my translation from French):

"Is there being foolish enough to believe that anyone breaking any law of society will be left in peace by the people?

Is it not in the interest of humanity to destroy anyone who interferes with their rights, or is detrimental to their existence?

Position or wealth can sometimes provide the evanescent glow of success, however, such reign will be short!

Recognized and exposed, he will soon become a subject of public hatred and contempt; will he then find apologists, or supporters ready to cheer him in the fall?

Nobody will want to admit to knowing him, since he will not have anything to offer. Everyone will abandon him as superfluous ballast; misfortune will fall upon him from all sides, he will cry in shame and misery, and will soon die in despair."

Who would have thought that Marquis de Sade could be such an optimist?


Publishers embrace the vanity model

It's a long-held truth of trade publishing: Only the most desperate authors would pay to get their books published. Vanity presses, the wisdom goes, handle books by the rank amateurs, the wannabes, the lowest of the low. Then last month, romance publisher Harlequin announced it was getting into the pay-to-publish game with a new imprint, then called Harlequin Horizons and now DellArte Press.

The response was controversy: writers' groups demoted the publisher from approved status, and those who self-publish or use subsidy publishers complained of being the industry's bastard stepchildren. But the real raw nerve that Harlequin unwittingly exposed is that in publishing, money always talks first -- and that money is increasingly flowing toward the pay-to-publish model. SOURCE


Enter the Agent

The rise of the Literary Agent, in France:

"In the Anglo-Saxon literary world if you want to publish a book, you look for an agent first. So I never thought to do anything else. This French notion of sending your manuscript direct to a publishing house is foreign to me. I do understand that it worries some people in France, where a delicate balancing act ensures that certain books are published which would never be elsewhere."

"There’s less resistance to agents on the part of publishers. The new generation of editors has had more marketing experience and is not purely literary.”

Publisher "Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, director of Editions POL, [...] has publicly said that he will not consider a manuscript that has been submitted by an agent, SOURCE


Someone is always watching you

We allow Google, Amazon.com, credit companies and all manner of private corporations to collect intimate information about our lives, but we reflexively recoil when the government proposes to monitor (and not even collect) a fraction of that information, even with legal safeguards. We carry in our wallets credit cards with RFID chips. Data companies send unmarked vans in our neighborhoods, mapping wireless networks. The IBM scientist and tech guru Jeff Jonas noted on his blog that every time we send a text message, we're contributing to a cloud where "powerful analytics commingle space-time-travel data with tertiary data."  Geolocated tweets can tell everyone where we are, what we're doing, and who we like. [...]

Government power is just different than corporate power. Our engagement with technology implies a certain consent to give up information to companies. A deeper mistrust of government is healthy, so far as the it places pressure on lawmakers to properly oversee the exercise of state power. Warrantless domestic surveillance by NSA during the Bush administration doubtless ensnared a number of innocent Americans and monitored the communications of people who posed no harm to anyone. Where the standard is personal privacy and the rule of law, the violation is severe. SOURCE

Feds track citizens using Sprint's geolocation data, and Yahoo, Verizon sell information on their customers.


Writers take note: get up, or die.

"People who sit for the majority of their day have much higher mortality rates than people who don't, even if they're physically active during another part of the day," says Peter Katzmarzyk, an epidemiologist.

"We've known for a while that people who watch a lot of television are more likely to be obese and have the metabolic syndrome," he notes. (The metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.)

"We've now shown for the first time that sitting is directly related to mortality.

Long periods of sitting cannot be compensated for with occasional leisure time physical activity. If you're active for just 30 minutes a day, how is that supposed to wipe out all the other hours of sitting?

Muscles seem to be extremely inactive while sitting, and this may change the way they metabolize compounds and may effect the regulation of insulin and glucose. Just getting people to stand up changes the physiology in their limbs."

Advice: "Stand up. Walk around, do anything like that to encourage blood flow and increase the muscle activity in the lower limbs."

Source: CSPINET (Canada)


Carrying Capacity of the USA

Carrying capacity (maximum sustainable population size) of the United States:

The estimate of maximum sustainable population size takes into account both the source and sink functions of Earth. At least two effects of pollution­greenhouse warming and the ozone hole are poorly understood. One can only estimate the extent of change to which present levels of pollutants commit us already, the lead time before effects become manifest, and the damage that is being done. Nevertheless, the shift away from a fossil-fuel based economy, adopted in order to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and/or as a market response to high prices, will be one of the severest constraints.

Others, more sanguine, peg the U.S. carrying capacity at a higher level. Economist Robert Costanza of the Marine Biological Institute (University of Maryland) and editor of Ecological Economics thinks the carrying capacity is closer to being 150 million persons (Carrying Capacity, 1991).

In the United States, humankind is already managing and using more than half of all the solar energy captured by photosynthesis. Yet even this is insufficient to our needs, and we are actually using nearly three times that much energy, or about 40% more energy than is captured by all plants in the United States [italics in the original]. This rate is made possible only because we are temporarily drawing upon stored fossil energy; the very use of these fossil fuels, plus erosion and other misuse of our natural resources, are reducing the carrying capacity of our ecosystem. SOURCE


Hitler and espionage

Columnist Lev Navrozov suggests that Hitler lost Moscow because he did not believe in espionage:

I was told by other Muskovites that at a conference with his subordinates in the Kremlin, Stalin said that there were no troops in Moscow and that the Soviet Siberian and Far-Eastern troops were on their way to Moscow to defend it. Until then, he said, the Muskovites should start leaving Moscow on their own as soon as they could.

The result was what came to be called the "Big Skedaddle." Anyone who could, skedaddled. My mother and I skedaddled on the evacuation train reserved for Moscow writers, since my father was a writer, who had volunteered for the front.

My God! Is it possible that Hitler knew nothing about what was going on in Moscow?

Well, since Hitler was a villain, most of his biographers present him as a pure villain. Yet every villain has crumbs of innocence in himself. Hitler believed that espionage is below "the warrior's nobility": every native of a country who becomes a foreign-country's spy is a traitor to his country.

Hence Hitler did not know what every Moscow teenager knew. Hitler's soldiers could walk into Moscow, but they loitered outside the city until the Soviet Siberian and Far-Eastern troops did come — and routed them!

Thus Hitler had lost the war, the fact he was trying to conceal up to his suicide. SOURCE

USA the spitting image of communism

Not many people remember, or want to remember those days behind the Iron Curtain when lining up was a part of everyday routine. Everyday one lined up somewhere, elbowed, pushed and shoved, tramped over people to get inside a store, or an office, or a bus. In those days people lined up for the basic necessities that they could not find regularly, such as bread, meat, flour, toilet paper, or vodka, somehow finding out via the grape vine that this or that store in town will receive a limited supply sometimes next week.

Today we have the "black friday". People line up everywhere on this side of what once was the Iron Curtain. They line up all night for a chance to elbow, push, shove, sometimes even tramp someone to death, all in a rush to buy something.

The difference between line ups in communist countries vs America - over there people lined up for things they needed, here they do it for the sheer excitement, out of boredom, greed and consumerism, sometimes out of false sense of frugality: it's cheap, so I'll buy a truckload, never mind that I'll pay four times the value of this crap in credit card fees...

Communist Poland:

US of A:


CIA manual of trickery and deception

It includes deceptions such as spiking drinks, pocketing small objects and tying shoelaces to communicate in code.

The CIA ordered copies destroyed in the 1970s, but one survived. It has been republished as The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception.

Among several deceptions detailed in the book, it instructs spies on how to tie their shoelaces to signal other spies - "I have information", "Follow me", or "I have brought another person".

It also shows operatives how to conceal a doping pill in a matchbook, then covertly drop it into a person's drink while distracting them by lighting their cigarette. SOURCE


JFK assassination, witnesses and odds of dying

In the three-year period which followed the murder of President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, 18 material witnesses died - six by gunfire, three in motor accidents, two by suicide, one from a cut throat, one from a karate chop to the neck, three from heart attacks and two from natural causes.

An actuary, engaged by the "London Sunday Times," concluded that on November 22, 1963, the odds against these witnesses being dead by February 1967, were one hundred thousand trillion to one. The above comment on the deaths of assassination witnesses was published in a tabloid companion piece to the movie "Executive Action," released in 1973. By that time, part of the mythology of the Kennedy assassination included the mysterious deaths of people who were connected with it. By the mid-1960s, people in Dallas already were whispering about the number of persons who died under strange or questionable circumstances.

Well into the 1980s, witnesses and others were hesitant to come forward with information because of the stories of strange and sudden death which seemed visit anyone with information about the assassination. READ MORE

Are we going to find out what really happened to JFK?


Psychic Discoveries

Found this paperback in my local second hand bookstore: Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, by Sheila Ostrander.

This one about academic research to such phenomena as ESP, telepathy, PSI, UFOs, acupuncture, auras, artificial reincarnation, folk healing, occult, etc.

Ah, those fascinating days of the Cold War! It was so much easier for writers to entertain and to thrill...


I shall not write a screenplay. Yet.

I declined the offer to write a screenplay. People ask me: How can you decline to write a screenplay? What would possess you to ditch such a golden opportunity? Etc., etc.

I blogged about it several times already. My main concern with screenplay writing is the writer's integrity, mainly due to the collaborative nature of the work. Below are my thoughts on the matter, and those who follow my blog will notice that they haven't changed over the years.

I spent my childhood and teenage years in a neighborhood close to the huge TV complex and movie studios. The neighborhood was not an artist’s colony, just a regular residential district, but because of the location it attracted a large number of people from the biz. At the time my good friend’s father was a prominent moviemaker, with a well equipped darkroom that he let me use at will. He was often visited by other folks who lived around - writers, news anchors, and a whole lot of actors. I had an opportunity to watch the creative process of screenplay writing. It was quite the show: plenty of collaborative work accompanied by glass clinking, enacting of the scenes, and so on. It turned me off for good. I am not saying that a screenwriter does not have creative control but only that, at some point, this process involves additional people, and I am a loner when it comes to creative work. I’m one of those recluses who is unknown to his neighbors. My ideal working environment is a deep forest, and ear plugs.

As coincidence would have it I just finished reading Alberto Moravia's Contempt, and found a passage which closes the subject very well (following translation is mine):

Writer is thus a man who is always in the shade, the one who rips his veins so that someone else can win acclaim. Even though two thirds of the film's success is the writer's doing, he never sees his name on the advertising posters where only the names of the actors, director and the producer's are printed. Maybe it is true, as happens very often, that a writer can become a kind of a master of the slave profession and make a substantial income off of it, but he cannot say: "I made this film ... This film is mine." The writer must be content only with the money he receives for his participation, and which eventually becomes the sole reason and purpose of his work.

Does it mean that I shall never write a screenplay? No, but should I ever decide to participate in this spectacle it will be only incidental, something that I might toss off in between books. Currently I am deeply entrenched in two novels, both requiring my entire self.

How the KGB recruited the Spanish Ambassador

"Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky and former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Popov claim in a new book, The KGB Plays Chess, that former IOC President [and Spain's ambassador to USSR], Juan Antonio Samaranch, was hired by the KGB in the late 1970s [...]

[...] Samaranch grew fond of Russian antiques, which he collected and shipped to his home in Spain. All antiques were closely monitored by the KGB; so the Spanish ambassador, a frequent buyer of valuable rarities, was taken note of. An agent from the KGB’s Second Main Directorate, which monitored the Spanish embassy, met with Samaranch and gently explained to him that his actions were subject to prosecution in accordance with the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code and were classified by Soviet law as the smuggling of contraband goods. According to Felshtinsky, Samaranch was offered a choice: he could either be compromised through the Soviet and foreign press detailing his activities, which would undoubtedly have put an end to his diplomatic career, or he could collaborate with the KGB as a secret agent." SOURCE


Necessary Sacrifices

"We have come to recognize that there are potential desirable limits to economic growth. There are also potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy. A government which lacks authority will have little ability short of cataclysmic crisis to impose on its people the sacrifices which may be necessary."

Samuel P Huntington


Book Review on Amazon: $15

Up until now the publishing industry kept a tight lock on their book reviewers, paying them large sums of money and giving them many freebies to urge them to review books for well known authors. The time has finally come where you, the self published author, can get quality, real life book reviews for the price of a couple of tickets to the movies.


No comment.


France ranks its bookstores

Independent bookstores in France—much like the country’s wine—can now qualify for a label indicating high quality. The long-awaited “Librairie Indépendante de Référence” (”Recommended Independent Bookshop”) label, which was part of a 2007 “plan livre” launched by former culture minister Christine Albanel, is now a reality and, as of September, 406 of France’s 3,000 independent bookstores qualified for the designation.

In order to qualify for the LIR label, which is valid for three years, bookshops must fulfill six conditions, among which are that the bookshop play an important cultural role in the community, organizing readings and cultural events; that it have employees who contribute to the quality of the service and that the bookstore’s owner be responsible for buying stock; that the store maintain a large selection of books—typically at least 6,000 titles, the majority of which have been in print for a year or more. In its first year, two out of three stores that applied for the LIR label were deemed worthy.



Querying and submitting manuscripts

Spent 2 hrs replying to aspiring authors, all confused and frustrated by the process of querying and submissions; most are p'd off by literary agents. Sample concern: the time it takes for a literary agent to review submitted material, whether partial or full.

It can take well over a year for an agent to review a submitted manuscript; some will not reply / reject AT ALL. Reports I receive from writers suggest that the latter is a growing trend, and agents' silence is the answer: rejected.

It reiterates the importance of querying and submitting, or what the industry refers to as -- simultaneous submission. Writers who want to be published have no choice but to disregard the 'no simultaneous submissions' stipulations that so many agents add to their submissions policies. Waiting a year only to hear 'no thank you', or not to hear anything, means no book deal in a writer's lifetime.

The process of querying and submissions is potentially disastrous -- writers become so fixated on the reasons why agents aren't responding that everything else gets thrown aside. Big mistake! It is important to realize that ALL writers receive rejections, even the already published ones.

My advice is to find a way to steer your mind from the dark thoughts, and one of the best ways is to write your next book while you await responses. The creative process will take over, with querying and submitting the previous book being only incidental, or the business side of being a writer.

Find more answers in:


Cold War's unintended consequences

Some day I'll tell you how I used to cross the Cold War borders of various Eastern Bloc countries, including Soviet Russia, armed with ... a chocolate bar.

Meanwhile, enjoy this interesting, if sad tale of Cold War's unintended victims... the Red Deer:

Ahornia inhabits the thickly wooded mountains along what once was the fortified border between West Germany and Czechoslovakia. At the height of the Cold War, a high electric fence, barbed wire and machine-gun-carrying guards cut off Eastern Europe from the Western world. The barriers severed the herds of deer on the two sides as well.

The fence is long gone, and the no-man's land where it stood now is part of Europe's biggest nature preserve. The once-deadly border area is alive with songbirds nesting in crumbling watchtowers, foxes hiding in weedy fortifications and animals not seen here for years, such as elk and lynx.

But one species is boycotting the reunified animal kingdom: red deer. Herds of them roam both sides of the old NATO-Warsaw Pact border here but mysteriously turn around when they approach it. This although the deer alive today have no memory of the ominous fence.



Would I lie to you?

Couple of interesting studies:

This study set out to investigate the type of media individuals are more likely to tell self-serving and other-oriented lies, and whether this varied according to the target of the lie. One hundred and fifty participants rated on a likert-point scale how likely they would tell a lie. Participants were more likely to tell self-serving lies to people not well-known to them. They were more likely to tell self-serving lies in email, followed by phone, and finally face-to-face. Participants were more likely to tell other-oriented lies to individuals they felt close to and this did not vary according to the type media. Participants were more likely to tell harsh truths to people not well-known to them via email. SOURCE

This study aimed to elaborate the relationships between sensation-seeking, Internet dependency, and online interpersonal deception. Of the 707 individuals recruited to this study, 675 successfully completed the survey. The results showed high sensation-seekers and high Internet dependents were more likely to engage in online interpersonal deception than were their counterparts. SOURCE


Media Concentration

As Russian oligarchs (tied to KGB) continue to buy out Western media (newspapers, TV, Radio, etc), it is timely to quote these words:

[...] the question of buying news concerns abroad. I believe we should continue to do so, for the greater the number of news outlets , especially newspapers, we own abroad, the better will this be for our future role of leadership in Europe.

Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda


Social Networking Open Source Espionage

This file, marked "confidential", describes development of an EU-funded intelligence gathering system ("INDECT work package 4") designed to comb webblogs, chat sites, newsreports, and social-networking sites to inorder to build up automatic dossiers on individuals, organizations and their relationships.

"The aim of work package 4 (WP4) is the development of key technologies that facilitate the building of an intelligence gathering system by combining and extending the current-state-ofthe- art methods in Natural Language Processing (NLP). One of the goals of WP4 is to propose NLP and machine learning methods that learn relationships between people and organizations through websites and social networks. Key requirements for the development of such methods are: (1) the identification of entities, their relationships and the events in which they participate, and (2) the labelling of the entities, relationships and events in a corpus that will be used as a means both for developing the methods."

FROM WikiLeaks


Publishing industry to implode

"Publishers, stop spending your millions on this tripe," she implored the book trade's movers and shakers at The Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in Mayfair, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"The publishing industry is going to implode. They can't pay the millions to these celebrities. If we don't cut through the dross, this trite tripe… these reality TV writers who are here for their 15 minutes of fame."

That's why they're pushing to eliminate advances and cut royalties for writers like you and I.


Never be afraid to attack wrong

"Never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty."

Joseph Pulitzer, 1907


Spies that failed

Here's a list of 15 real-life spies:

"A career in espionage is easily one of the most coveted of all childhood fantasies, due largely to the unending stream of spy movies, comics, books, and real-life stories we’re inundated with growing up. While James Bond is at the top of everyone’s list, in reality things can be a bit different; spies come in all shapes and sizes, and range from honorable to just plain criminal. Some are remembered for their daring and others for their half-witted desperation and lust for money, but one thing rides certain throughout the disparate stories they tell: It takes guts to be a spy. While the greatest spies will, by virtue of their success, never be known to us, these are the 15 most notable spies in our recent history. Regardless of their final motives or original intent, they’ve all earned their own version of immortality by contributing to our unending fascination with the shadowy world they’ve walked."

Read on


"I need your help in the killing of the children"

Mr Wogersien found details of a confession by SS doctor Helmut Kunz at a 1959 trial not covered by the press. After the trial he walked free.

Kunz told the court: "Magda Goebbels said, 'I need your help in the killing of the children.' I refused her. But she insisted and afterwards declared it was no longer a request for help, 'but a direct order from Hitler'."

He said he tried to escape the bunker, "but Magda found me and said if I didn't return, 'you will be a dead man'." He was forced to go with her.

He recalled: "The children were all in one room, but they were not asleep. 'Have no fear,' said Magda. 'The doctor is going to give you an injection all children and soldiers get.'

"She left the room. I injected them with morphine. Magda Goebbels went into the room, the cyanide capsules in her hand. She stepped out, crying, saying; 'Doctor, I can't do it.


Of authors, readers, and publishers

While I respect the need for publishers to vet titles for commercial potential, there’s something inherently broken about a system that rejects titles through this narrow lens.  What about brilliant long tail works with potential audiences of only 100 or 500?  The publishing industry can’t support these.  Publishers also cannot accurately predict which titles will become huge hits, and which will flop, so they routinely overlook great works.

For the last couple centuries, publishers have controlled the means of book production and distribution.  This is too much power concentrated in the hands of too few people whose business interests don’t always align with the interests of authors and readers.



The awful truth

“Here’s the awful truth: even if every person, every automobile, and every factory suddenly emitted zero emissions, the Earth would still be headed head first and full speed towards total disaster for one major reason.  The military [...] produces enough greenhouse gases, by itself, to place the entire globe, with all of it’s inhabitants large and small, in the most imminent danger of extinction.”

Green Zone, by Barry Sanders


Good old days resurrected

Close to 200 years ago, a writer wrote in his historical novel...

Torture was then so rooted in the practice of justice that the beneficial instructions ordaining its abolition remained a long time of none effect. It was thought that the confession of the accused was indispensable to condemnation, an idea not merely unreasonable, but contrary to the dictates of the simplest good sense in legal matters, for, if the denial of the accused be not accepted as proof of his innocence, the extorted confession should still less serve as proof of his guilt. Yet even now I still hear old judges sometimes regret the abolition of this barbarous custom.

Alexander Pushkin, The Captain's Daughter

The novel is available as a free ebook download.

Priests implicated in JPII assassination plot

Priests implicated in John Paul II assassination attempt:

Polish priests working for the Soviet KGB could be informants for the plotters, according to John Koehler, a former US intelligence agent and adviser to US President Reagan. The Vatican hid the names of the spies, Koehler alleges. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Koehler said that "we can not exclude the possibility that some Polish priests, Moscow's spies, were kind of informers utilized to carry out the assassination attempt on John Paul II”.

The former US intelligence officer relies on the findings of Jesuit Robert Graham, who has spent more than 50 years in the Vatican and since 1945 has collected data on the clergy-spies. Those were mostly Polish priests who worked for Moscow," says Koehler.

"All the names of the revealed agents have been discovered among 25,000 private documents which after Graham's death in 1997 at the age of 84 were packed in 200 boxes hidden in the Vatican according to the Pope's personal request," Koehler marks in the interview with La Stampa. The problem is that Benedict XVI upheld the decision of Pope John Paul II on the classification of the archive of Robert Graham, the researcher points out.

"The information gathered by the Jesuit, could be useful in clarifying the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II," says Koehler. "There were no arrests or processes in many cases, these spies are still living quietly in their places of origin in Poland," he has added.

La Stampa article (in Italian), interview with John Koehler.


CIA operations inside the arts community

In addition to providing most of the funding for an animated film version of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s anti-Stalinist fable, the CIA planted an operative inside Paramount Pictures. Another operative worked directly with the writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz to shape the film version of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American—or rather, in Mankiewicz’s words, “completely [to] change the anti-American attitude” of the original book.

More from an article by Terry Teachout, about the book The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America.


How to satisfy every woman, over and over again, without Viagra

Below is a practical lesson in satisfying any and every woman, over and over again, as taught to spies by GRU (military intelligence). Here, an instructor, cryptonym Rasputin, teaches the adepts of the spy trade. A peasant woman is brought into class…
She is no beauty, as you can see, and she does not attract me in the least. But I am going to make love to her and make sure that she is richly satisfied. … I am still not in the least excited, although she is already naked and beside me. But obviously, I must become excited. Now, in case like this, it is best to look deeply in a woman's eyes, for it is surprising how the eyes of a woman are so seldom properly noticed and yet with their message, their desire of their challenge, they can, coupled with the contact of the flesh with the flesh, arouse a man. Once you have achieved a certain excitement and are in actual physical contact with a woman like this you must fill your mind with a vision of the most satisfying sexual experience you have ever had, one that you would like to repeat. Conversely, if the girl with whom you are lying does attract you but circumstances do not permit you to reach an orgasm, when you feel you are in danger of going too far, you must concentrate your mind on anything that repels you.

A witness recalls…
[...] then [Rasputin] started with a full use of primary and secondary zones of excitation to make love to the girl. She seemed to respond with an elephantine sluggishness, but then quite suddenly she arched her back, pressing the back of her head down into the divan, and cried out - a cry that any man will recognize. Soon she cried out again, and then she lay back relaxed and kissed Rasputin. In the course of the next eight hours we spent there, Rasputin took five women, and it was quite clear that each one was abundantly satisfied. He himself appeared no more tired than if he had spent a day at the beach.

The above is part of 2, of a previous post, and is published here in response to the recent sting operation known as honeytrap, where a US embassy employee was caught with a swallow (female agent who uses sex as a weapon).

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Art of seduction and love

Here's a lesson in ars amandi.
Let a woman know that you love her, that you want her and are excited by her. But if you are unsuccessful in the sexual expression of your love, the more you love her personally without this cardinal success the more you arouse in her contempt and boredom. You become tedious and even hated, at best tolerated. But, be eminently successful  in satisfying a woman sexually and even if you do not love her, she will love you, and a woman's love  is more passionate and less selfish than a man's in all its manifestations... I am going to teach you how to produce this effect in women, in any woman, whether they attract you personally or not. Furthermore, I am going to show you how, with a little training, you can do this a number of times and be none the worse for it.

From GRU espionage training.

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HoneyTrap example

Adventures in diplomacy: Second Secretary, US Embassy, Honeytrapped by Russia's FSB.

Espionage writers desperately needed

 One of the least appreciated facts about the intelligence profession is that it exists in, and is influenced by, a very complex environment—one that includes everything from its relationships with policymakers, legislatures, military services, foreign partners, and last but not least, to its interaction with the public. How intelligence relates to all of these arenas—and how it is regarded within them— ultimately affects everything from intelligence performance to funding to recruitment of personnel. The public is a particularly important part of this environment. But unlike military services, intelligence organizations do not have recruitment centers in every mid-sized town; nor do most families have some member who has served in intelligence. Hence, what most in the public think about intelligence depends to a large extent on what they see in cinematic, documentary, and novelistic sources like those reviewed in this issue. This is particularly the case in the United States, but I suspect it is true by varying degree in all of the countries our reviewers represent or have spent time in.

As the reviewers make clear, what the public sees and reads is with rare exception fantasy mixed with a few kernels of truth. This is particularly true when it comes to American authors and directors. We have not yet produced an espionage novelist with the maturity and perfect pitch so frequently found in the work of British masters such as John le Carré [...]



Toronto Public... Book-Burning-Place

Some years ago I lived in Toronto's High Park neighborhood. Several blocks away from my house stood the High Park Toronto Public Library. One of the best features of this branch was the huge selection of foreign language books they had. I borrowed them, and I purchased many of those which were discarded and offered for sale. I came every day, just to see what books were for sale, and almost each day I purchased some.

Over the years I bought at this and other Toronto libraries over 2,000 foreign language books, majority of which were / are not available in English. The ladies who staffed the counter knew me by name, they let me know when a larger selection of books was scheduled for sale. One day, one of these women pulled me over to a quiet corner of the kids' section, and told me, teary eyed: the Parkdale Library shredded 5 huge boxes of foreign language books!

I wasn't happy. I made it known. The chairman of the library board at the time might still remember my letter, after all it garnered an apology and an explanation: "it was an oversight". 5 huge boxes shredded by accident? Well, whatever, I got over it.

Recently I visited the High Park library again, in hope of scoring some interesting books that would not be available to me otherwise, what with the attitude of North American publishers toward translations. Imagine how I felt when a young woman at the desk explained why the library no longer offers books for sale, foreign or otherwise: space constraints force them to shred all discarded books!

Heinrich Heine once said: "Where they burn books, they will also burn humans in the end".

Paraphrased it reads: "Where they shred books…"

Below is the monument to the 1933 Nazi book burning at the Bebelplatz, Berlin:

Monument to the May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning: Designed by Micha Ullmann,
empty bookshelves, enough to hold all 20,000 burned books,
visible below the pavement of Bebelplatz in Berlin, Germany.

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Occupation: pickpocket

“Ongoing SOF [U.S. Special Operations Forces] operations demonstrate the ability to collect significant amounts of pocket litter, hard copy documents, hard drives, cell phones, and other important hard copy and electronic media with significant intelligence value. However, without specialized expeditionary processing, this information becomes inaccessible and of no value to SOF in immediate urgent operational missions, and over the longer term to the war fighter, the intelligence community and others in need of access.”  The Committee recommended additional resources to remedy this deficiency.


Classifieds: Writer seeking Sugar Daddy (or Sugar Mom)

Now, a radical thinning of the ranks of long-haul professional writers looks unavoidable. Even if an upswing comes along, the drop in incomes that digitised reading brings means that, for many, authorship will slip from a semi-rational career option to a passionate hobby. Novelists outside the bestseller lists may have to work as poets long have, stitching together a liveable portfolio from gigs, teaching, grants, and sporadic literary jobs. Many well-known writers of the past 30 years also tended to assume that a comfy university position lay in store when sales fell away. No longer. The creative-writing vogue may well soon pass its peak, and British teaching posts demand hard work. READ MORE