I’m Very Pleased With The Progress of The 5 Novels I’m Developing & Writing

by Shelt Garner

As I’ve said before, every so often, I have something of a reset with the development of these novels I’m working on. Something clicks in my mind and I see how to make them much, much better. And the latest example of this is I have come to see a way to show something about a very important character in the series.

The overall theme of these five novels is the value of one person’s life and how one person can influence the lives of others — even in death. This theme developed as I struggled to write what are now the last two novels in this project. It occurred to me that I had a huge backstory in my mind and that I could write at least two 100,000 word novels about what lead up to the strange little town I came up with. Ultimately, those two novels became three and here we are — I have five novels to develop and write.

But the clock is ticking. I need to stop fucking around and get these novels knocked out so I can start to query them. I like how overwhelming all of this is. That was the point of this all when I started this project as an homage to Stieg Larsson. It was originally meant to be an allegory about the Trump Era…then Trump was too stupid and too lazy to steal the 2020 election and then I saw Mare of Easttown and everything change.

So, now, I have five novels to work on. I’m giving myself no more than about two more years. That will mark the 20th anniversary of my first journey to South Korea in 2024. Of course, by that point the Fourth Turning may be in full swing and I’ll have far bigger problems to have to think about — like, say, a Second American Civil War happening in conjunction with World War 3.

My Hot Take On The #Russian – #Ukraine Crisis For January 22, 2022

by Shelt Garner

I’m definitely not an expert, but here’s my novice hot take on what’s going on at the moment between Russia and Ukraine. If all of this is just a big flex on the part of Putin in hopes of getting “respect” from the West, then he sure is expending a huge amount of money to do so. Or, put another way, there comes a point when you just can’t have a massive portion of your military forward deployed, then pull back, without looking like a fool. The world community thinks you’re going to do something, so you might feel obliged to live up to their expectations.

It doesn’t make any sense to me that Putin would go through all this trouble just to turn around and say, “psych!” He’s up to something, something big. And the questions now are when and how big? Given what I understand about the issue of mud around Ukraine impleading any Russian advance, it seems as though sometime in February would be ideal.

At the moment, the sweet spot for any invasion is probably after the Winter Olympics, which end on February 20th. And, yet, I dunno. It seems as thought that might not be a consideration for Putin at this point. My current personal guess is any war between Russia and Ukraine might starts around February 15 or so.

I say that because a huge number of Russian forces are flooding into Belarus at the moment for “joint training exercises” that are supposed to take place between now and around the middle of February.

And, yet, there’s a big thing to consider — to date, I’ve been wrong all the time about what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, so why would this be any different. So, it’s very possible that this really is just a big, foolish flex on Putin’s part and the spring mud will come and…nothing will have happened.

But I am keeping an eye on all of this. At the moment, the momentum is towards a major war between Russia and Ukraine. If that happens, it could collapse the entirety of the post-WW2 global liberal order to the point that we’ll see instability the likes of which we’ve not seen since the inter-war period of 1918 – 1939.

And to this how the United States is careening towards a “Fourth Turning” around 2025 and we could very well have something akin to a “Great Reset” with a Second American Civil War happening in conjunction with WW3.

Did A Leftist Manic Pixie Dream Girl At Vice Break Tim Pool’s Heart?

by Shelt Garner

I honestly don’t give a shit about weird MAGA New Right “thought leader” Tim Pool. Whatever, live the fuck on and prosper. But I remember when Tim Pool worked at Vice and was just another one of their asshole Leftist that the old Gawker would make fun of for how needlessly over-the-top they were.

But, at some point, all that changed. Pool became an enfant terrible of the MAGA New Right for some reason. It’s not so much that he “switch sides” that interests me — I mean, people change — but for it happen out of the blue makes me wonder if maybe something personal was involved.

Tim Pool

And I know enough about the human psyche to know it’s very easy to imagine a scenario where some cute Leftist girl — a manic pixie dream girl, if you will — broke that poor boy’s heart and he vowed to get back at her by turning into a rabid New Right person. At least, that makes sense to me.

But I will note that Pool’s conversion proves that the MAGA New Right grift has an exceeding low bar of entry. I mean, it’s so fucking low that if I sold my soul to Trumplandia I could probably be having dinner with Trump himself within six months.

The books I’ve been reading about the macro issues involved in America’s transition to anocracy really are very illuminating about all of this bullshit. A lot of white men feel very insecure about the social changes taking place in America right now and there is a huge demand for articulate people to express that rage.

One last thing. It is within the realm of possibility that I’m related — through marriage — to Pool. He’s apparently from the Hampton Roads area and I have a cousin there married to a Pool. I have nothing personal against the guy. It would be interesting to have dinner with him and ask, “What was her name?”

Tik-Tok Continues To Be Spooky

by Shelt Garner

So, how do you explain this one. The last few days, I’ve been thinking hard about some very huge, sharp lives a kitchen drawer in my kitchen. I’ve told no one one about this until now.

And, then, sure enough, I was using Tik-Tok recently and I was pushed on my For You Page what seemed like two or three videos about…huge knives. I get that there is plenty of assumptions that Tik-Tok can make about me because its “algorithms” study how I use the service. I get it. That makes total sense.

But what I don’t understand is why I would get pushed videos about…knives? after I had been thinking hard about the potential dangers of…knives. I know that correlation is not causation but, still. That’s just spooky.

Does that mean that Tik-Tok — and Big Tech in general — have the ability to read our minds. I honestly don’t know. But it’s definitely something I would like someone, somewhere to look into.

Weird “coincidences” like this continue to happen over and over again with me an Tik-Tok to the point that it’s eerie and spooky and maybe a little bit unsettling.

Either way, whatever’s going on with Tik-Tok — which is pretty close to the Chinese government — should be looked into. If they’re reading the minds of America’s youth, then God only knows what they could do with that information. And if their algorithms really are that good, then that, too, needs to be looked into.

Two Russo-Ukrainian Winter War Scenarios

by Shelt Garner

I’ve been brooding on what the political and strategic endgame of a Russo-Ukrainian Winter War might be. Here are two possible scenarios I’ve managed to come up with. Putin’s war aim this first scenario is simply a partial — but large –conquest of Ukraine using a hybrid of military and political force.

Putin’s primary objective would be to seize Kiev and overthrow the government there. He would use a pincer movement using forces he’s assembled in Belarus. At the same time, there would be a series of major attacks into Ukraine from the east and south. Once Russia took the Ukrainian capital, there would be a brief reassessment of how the war was going.

If the Ukrainian government sued for peace at this point, then the war grinds to a halt and everything is settled at the negotiating table. Ukraine gives up everything east of the Dnieper River and the general area of Novorossiya. Signing such a deal would, of course, cause the Ukrainian government to promptly collapse. But the Russians would begin to consolidate power in their newly acquired territory by drawing upon the large Russianized population in that part of Ukraine.

Then, some sort of fascist-like government would likely be formed in the rump state of Ukraine and we spend the next 10 years talking about the brave partisans deep behind enemy lines.

The other scenario would go like this — the Ukrainian government in Kiev has time to bug out, probably to somewhere in the far west of the country like Lviv. This would prompt the Russians to go well beyond the Dnieper River, heading towards Lviv itself for a final battle. This would be extremely risky on Putin’s part, but he might lulz it. In this scenario, he would totally re-organize the entirety of Ukraine to form some sort of Russian Union with the now-conquered Belarus.

But, this, too, would be a pretty crazy scenario for Russia. Even drawing upon a lot of sympathetic, Russified Ukrainians in the eastern portion of the country would not stop millions of Ukrainians — especially west of the Dnieper River to take up arms against the Russian jackboot. Throw in how much training and military material the West would be giving the Ukrainian Resistance and Putin is really, really playing with fire.

The last time the Russians invaded a nation that didn’t want it — Afghanistan — they lost everything. There’s no reason to believe the same would not be true with Ukraine.

The Struggle Of Writing 5 Novels

by Shelt Garner

After years of struggle, I finally know how *I* develop and write a novel. It makes how slow the process is very annoying. But the upside is I am also very addicted to knowing that I’m well on my way to at least not embarrassing myself. I’m working on the second draft of the first novel and I’ve re-worked it to the point that I’m very pleased.

What my homage to Lisbeth Salander looks like.

Things are really beginning to fall into place after years of work.

This happens every once in a while, where I’ll have something of a reset in my vision of the series when something clicks and my writing and storytelling ability gets significantly better. The only downside is, I throw everything up in the air and have to start from scratch because what I had before was so fucking bad.

But the endgame makes it all worthwhile.

The latest reset happened when it occurred to me how I could “show, not tell” some pretty important elements of the story. One thing that makes all of this so fucking frustrating and slow is I have some very, very arbitrary rules that I force myself to abide by.

But there’s a point to these arbitrary rules — they force me to make decisions that I might not otherwise make. If I didn’t have these rules, each of these novels might end up being 1,000 pages. So, while in the short term having some pretty weird rules about structure slow me down significantly, the end project is going to be really, really good.

And, what’s more, these 5 novels are so autobiographical that should you read them all, you will know way, way, way too much about my personal history. So, in a sense, the power of these novels is how “true” they are. They’re my own life story, only told out of order and conflated in various ways to protect the guilty. But being able to lay out to my audience my life story in fictional form is one of the things that makes all this struggle worth it.

Yet, I really need to stop fucking around. I need to get this shit done sooner rather than later. I have five solid concepts and I’m not getting any younger. I have to produce something.

My Current Guess is There May Be A Russo-Ukrainian War Between Now & Mid-February

by Shelt Garner

Let me be clear — I have repeatedly been wrong with predicting anything to do with Ukraine or Russia. But here I am, trying again to predict the unpredictable. At the moment, it seems as though mid-February would be the sweetspot for some sort of an attack.

It would give the Russians time to get everything in order for the invasion and would be before the spring thaw. But, like I said, I get everything wrong, so who knows when it will happen.

It may never happen at all.

Another Interesting Map Depicting A Russo-Ukrainian Winter War

by Shelt Garner

I found this on Twitter and it pairs up with the other maps I’ve seen that depict what the Russians might do if they invaded Ukraine. What’s so wild is all of this is happening with our eyes wide open. We know the Russians are planning something and yet there’s little, if anything the West can do to stop it. I think this is from a guy name Tom Rogan.

Is Trump Still ‘Too Big To Fail?’

by Shelt Garner

Well, this is interesting. There seems to be a growing chorus within the Far Right that suggest that Trump is a washed up hasbeen. Now, we all know what this really means — Trump has served his political purpose. He has paved the way for a far more palatable and “boring” autocrat to swoop in and finish the job he started.

This has long been a concern of mine. That Trump might be knocked out of the running politically and then we would have to worry about someone like DeSantis or Cotton or Pompeo or Hawley or you name it being the person who would ultimately be America’s “Putin.” And, remember, not even Putin built his autocracy in a day. It was a gradual thing. So, it’s easy to imagine President DeSantis being POTUS for eight years, then mysteriously and magically becoming Speaker of the House and running the country that way until he was able to convince people that we need a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment.”

That definitely seems to be our lot at this particular moment. Or we have a civil war. But the likelihood of a civil war decreases dramatically if someone, anyone other than Trump is our 2025 autocrat. Trump is such a fucking lazy idiot who always says the quiet part out loud that he, unto himself, could cause a civil war just by being an idiot who is no longer “useful.”

But I would not count Trump out quite yet. Yes, under any normal definition Trump is a washed up political hasbeen that should just shut up and enjoy his political retirement. But Trump always, always, always does the wrong thing and somehow comes up on top. So, it makes total sense that he would simply through sheer force of will become the Republican 2024 nominee and push the United States perilously close to a Second Civil War.

If Trump is the Republican nominee again, I suggest you get a pass port and figure out what you believe in and what you’re willing to suffer for in the real world. Things are going to get lit.

Lingering Questions About A Potential 2022 Russo-Ukrainian Winter War

by Shelt Garner

Here are the questions I have right now about any potential Russo-Ukrainian Winter War.

  1. Why now?
    This is a real mystery. I guess the case could be made that Putin isn’t getting any younger and he wants to seize the crown jewel of a new Russian Empire while he’s still alive, damn the long-term consequences. It helps that he’s not really getting any push back from the West. It could be that Putin has finally lost his fucking mind and he just doesn’t care anymore. It helps that Trump isn’t president anymore because if Putin invaded Ukraine with Trump president in the United States, then the jig would be up about Trump being in Putin’s pocket.
  2. When exactly will the invasion happen?
    This is a real tricky one. I just don’t know. From what I can glean from Twitter, the real warning sign we have to keep an eye on is when the troops to man all the equipment Putin is putting in place arrive. When those troops arrive, then we’ll know we’re going to the show. Then it will be go time.
  3. What happens in the 48 hour warning zone?
    There is going to be a window between when Putin decides to invade and when the invasion begins. That is, I think, just the nature of modern warfare. It makes me wonder what will happen in those 48 hours. What will be the reaction of the West? Is there anything they can do? Or do we just watch in horror as Russia prepares to smash across the Ukrainian border?
  4. What will be the implications of Russians avoiding cities?
    This would probably be a dumb question if I knew anything about military tactics, but it seems as though if the Russians simply avoid cities — other than, say, Kiev, that they’re setting themselves up for a major clusterfuck. Just because the Russians would control the general political area known as “Ukraine,” if the cities aren’t controlled, then they would be a serious source of organize opposition to any Russian occupation. I could the Russians being sucked into a Ukrainian civil war no matter how successful they might otherwise be on the ground.
  5. How does Russia plan to keep the territory it grabs?
    Any political victory on the part of the Russians in Ukraine — by the government in Kiev suing for peace — would be just the beginning. The West is already sending material to Ukraine and that will only increase once there’s an actual invasion. So, we would be looking at a situation very similar to Afghanistan in the 1980s, only in modern Europe and a far bigger population. No matter how successful the Russians were in the first part of a Russo-Ukrainian War, they are going to get bogged down.
  6. How much territory does Russia plan to take?
    I think this one will be determined by how well the Ukrainians are at fending off the first wave of the invasion. It definitely looks like the Russians are going to come at Kiev from the north in an effort to get the Ukrainians to sue for peace. But even if that was successful, all that is likely to do is cause the Ukrainian government to collapse and a bunch of nationalists will take over who are absolutely determined to drive the Russians out. Things would only get worse for the Russians if they decide to take the entirety of Ukraine. Talk about a clusterfuck! Them going into the more Westernized parts of Ukraine would be a disaster in the making. And Russia bumping up against the border of NATO states would freak the entirety of Western Europe out, no matter how much the Germans want to stick their heads in the sand.
  7. What will be the response in the United States?
    I stand by my belief that if there is a general war between Russia and Ukraine that it will be a nearly 9/11 level event within American domestic politics. The reason why I say this is — those first few days worth of horrific war scenes flooding social media will be enough to scare the shit out of liberal women in the exurbs of Philadelphia who always seem to decide American presidential elections. And, there is a limited amount of oxygen in the American media universe. A media circuit breaker will likely be flipped and for a few days — weeks? — all we’re going to talk about is Ukraine. To the point that the January 6th Committee’s investigation may simply drift out into sea, never to be seen from again. This does, however, bring up the question of how the Republicans will deal with a major war between Russia and Ukraine. The base will follow Trump’s lead in sucking up to Putin, while the Republican Establishment will be hysterical and blame Biden for not being strong enough…in defending democracy, something Republicans clearly don’t believe in anymore.
  8. Could Trump self-immolate politically if runs around yapping about how Ukraine isn’t even a real country?
    Trump, by definition, is going to embarrass myself when it comes to Ukraine if there’s a war there. He’s going to scream at the top of his longs that Ukraine “isn’t even a real country” to the point that either Republicans tow his line en mass or there’s something akin to a civil war within Republican ranks on the issue of how to address the huge war waging near the heart of Europe. Trump has such absolute control over the Republican Party that I doubt there will be much of a fight. In the end, we will see a surreal flip of political views, with Democrats taking a hard line against Russia and Republicans lulzing it all.