The Mystery of the New New Heinlein

Cast your minds back to May 11 2016. It was a kinder, more innocent time and not-so-crypto crypto-fascist website Vox Popoli invited people to “Meet Rod Walker” (archive link). Walker was, we were told, the “new new Heinlein” and like Heinlein would be writing some exciting “juvenile” targetted science fiction novels for Vox Day’s Castalia House.

We are very excited about our new series of Rod Walker books, because they are exactly what we founded Castalia House to publish. They are pure Blue SF, and contain no foul language, no adult themes, no nihilism, and they are 100 percent social justice-free. Robert Heinlein revitalized science fiction with just 12 wonderful novels – 13, if one counts Starship Troopers which was originally supposed to be a Scribner novel, but was foolishly turned down – and we believe it is possible to do achieve similar effects by applying the same principles that made his early novels so successful.”

The supposed success of “Mutiny in Space” was much trumpeted by Vox Day and this first “juvenile” was followed by two more: “Alien Game” and “Young Man’s War”. All the books had somewhat clumsy 3D model art covers. This was all according to the plan Vox Day had laid out in August 2016: [Archive link]

He is one of the most professional authors in the industry, delivering what must be some of the cleanest manuscripts delivered anywhere. He’s not only professional, he’s prolific, as we’ll be publishing two more of his novels before the end of the year, Alien Game, which is a second Heinlein-style SF juvenile, and an as-yet-untitled fantasy novel set in Minaria, the world of Divine Right.”

“KU is the real game-changer now, because the traditional publishers can’t play there. But we can, and last month, one of our better-selling books sold more via KU than through all the other means and editions combined. It doesn’t make sense for us to sell all our books that way, as we’ve experimented and some books do great while others don’t, but KU editions are now every bit as important in their own right as paperback, hardcover, or audiobook editions.”

In July 2018, Rod Walker’s “Young Man’s War” was on Vox Day’s nomination list for the Dragon Awards.

But what about that fantasy series that was mentioned? In February 2018, the Castalia House blog had a review of a Rod Walker fantasy book called “Master Rogue 1: Mage Tome” http://www.castaliahouse.com/quick-reviews-mage-tome-karma-upsilon-4-and-appalling-stories but aside from that “Rod Walker” had gone a bit quiet.

More recently a stray comment in a post that appeared both at Vox Day’s blog and Castalia House blog caught my eye:

“Castalia House is not doing YA right now,”

A quick trip to Rod Walker’s own blog led to this:

rodwalkerpage

The Wayback machine had a version of his front page from August 2018 but at some point since the blog had been blanked. The archived version showed a fantasy trilogy of novellas called “Master Rogue” . A simple google search for “Master Rogue: Mage Tome” gives a link to an Amazon page but that link leads to:

missingbook

Does Straw Puppy work for Amazon now? Did he always work for Amazon? No, that’s a side issue. Off to Voxopedia. There “Rod Walker (science fiction author)” is a red broken link:

rodwalkervoxopedia

Rod Walker’s last blog entry appears to have been in July 2018. After that point, the mysterious Mr Walker appears to have disappeared and at least some of his book scrubbed from Amazon. The trilogy of novellas appear on Goodreads but no links to the books themselves function. There are odd remnants of the fantasy books on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/aw/cr/B077SGPHK2/ref=mw_dp_cr ) which prove they existed but they’ve since gone.

The conclusion was obvious: Rod Walker has vanished as swiftly as he once appeared and with him a trio of fantasy novellas. The new new Heinlein simply…vanished…

Advertisements

57 thoughts on “The Mystery of the New New Heinlein

  1. Alas. Adri always thought that “Rod Walker’s” habit of talking in the third person, apparently to give this obvious Castalia sock puppet a distinct writing style, was one of the funnier parts of the puppy blogosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lurkertype thinks like Bob Dole, only not as interesting.
        Or brave. Or honorable. Or funny.

        (Lurkertype certainly didn’t vote for Bob Dole, but Bob Dole is a bona fide war hero who devoted Bob Dole’s life to the service of Bob Dole’s country, was quite a good sport about the Viagra jokes, and can crack jokes Bobself.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awww, and I looking forward to some new new Heinlein titles:
    Rodkayne of Mars
    The Author Who Walked Through Walls
    The Editor is a Harsh Mistress
    Rod: a Comedy of Injustice
    To Sail Beyond the Sockpuppet

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I thought our host was entertaining the hypothesis that Rod Walker (the name of a Heinlein character) was a pseudonym for a notorious blasphemer.

      Like

      1. They want $5 each for those? Pfff. More delusions.

        Why would anyone bother to take down previously-published Kindle books? They’re already uploaded, it costs nothing to leave them there, and might somehow generate a little revenue. There’s no cost outlay like there is with maintaining a web domain. I see authors all the time who put up one book 10 years ago and nothing since, but it’s still there. Probably more trouble to take it down than to leave it up in hopes of generating 99c a year.

        If Amazon thought “Rod” was dodgy (and Ghu knows Amazon doesn’t give a crap about cracking down on dodgy doings, be it paid-for “reviews”, stealing authors’ content and money, money laundering through overpriced books, and all 53 million “Twilight” ripoffs), they wouldn’t have only pulled the second set, but also the first one.

        Perhaps Rod’s dead and his estate executor is incompetent.

        Like

      2. Well that is what puzzles me also. It’s also not clear to me if the fantasy novellas were published by Castalia or directly by ‘Rod Walker’. They weren’t announced as new books when they came out.

        I think there’s something possibly embarrassing about those books specifically I.e. there’s something not right about their content. Hence, the books being pulled and the Rod Walker website being pulled (which featured them) but not the original “Juveniles”. Plagiarism? Accidentally praised Hillary Clinton? Outed John C Wright as QAnon? We may never know…

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I don’t get it either, but plenty of writers pull down previously published books from Amazon, because they worry those books might harm their brand by being e.g. in a different genre or because they “clutter up their author page and make it look like a goodwill store” (actual quote by an indie writer some of you probably know). Some people also pull down their books because they worry an employer might find them. I had one of those people contact me via the Speculative Fiction Showcase and ask me to pull down a three year old new release spotlight for their book.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. “Rod Walker” has always seemed to me to be a vaguely homoerotic, juvenile choice for a pseudonym.

    Young Man’s War, indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nothing “vaguely” about it, RC.

      That doesn’t look like Straw Puppy to me, isn’t SP a Smooth-Coated Figment?

      The vanishing is explained by Rod Walker time-traveling/interplanetary traveling/interdimensional traveling so that Rod could shag underage girls boys, as The New New Heinlein would do.

      Like

  4. Rod Walker is an interesting choice for a pseudonym. Rod was a non-Christian (the evening rites at the family home involve a “Peace Lamp”), Rod deliberately chose not to bring a gun with him on the survival test because his sister (a member of an all-female military corps) advised him that carrying a gun was foolish, and Rod lived in a cave with a fellow student for several days without noticing that the fellow student was a woman (another student who they rescued recognized Jack as a woman as soon as he was fully awake).

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Rod Walker is the protagonist of Tunnel in the Sky. Coincidence is possible (reality doesn’t have to be plausible), but that’s why the name is suspected of being a pseudonym.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. True, but Heinlein put POC into his juveniles often enough* (Podkayne and her family for example) that it’s less notable than the stuff about women-only military organizations, and non-Christian main characters.

        *in most cases, it seems that he just enjoyed acknowledging that the world had more than just white people around. What’s the word people use these days for someone who allows his books to contain non-whites, just because non-whites exist – SJ-something, right?

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Didn’t he note in passing recently that Castalia was going to be pulling out of Kindle Unlimited entirely?

    This is one of the most interesting aspects of following Castalia, seeing Vox Day contradict Vox Day. I mean, yeah, plans change, businesses adapt to changing conditions, etc, but the whole ebook/Kindle focus was supposed to be a major underpinning of Castalia’s imminent nova-like success, by which they would totally outmaneuver the dinosaurs. Completely reversing course within two years on a central aspect of one’s business strategy is … well, if I was a nonpartisan outside observer and/or prospective business partner, I’d have some questions.

    I’d have quite a lot of questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I meant to mention that but forgot. It’s why I included that bit were VD is praising KU back in 2016. I wonder if it had anything to do with Rod’s unfortunate disappearance

      Like

      1. Look, we all know what’s happened here. Teddy Boy has managed to take what should be a simple, potentially profitable niche market setup, mutilate horribly, and completely fail at it. Now, his wannabe-Nazi Edgelord audience are starting to vote with their feet, as the saying goes, the cliff’s edge is beckoning and Beale is scrambling to try and pull a Hail Mary play, even as he rehearses the explanations of how he was cheated by the evil conspiracy, all while ignoring the half-a-dozen or so writing mills that have successfully set themselves up on KU.

        Because Beale refuses to learn anything, which is why this has gone this way, and also why his writing is so bad, he can’t even manage to be a tolerable hack.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. While KU isn’t the money-printing scheme it was, I can’t see how you lose anything by keeping books in, particularly older work. I had KU for a few months at a discount rate and read all sorts of things I wouldn’t have paid full price for. I enjoyed them, and it was a good use of my spare time, but I wouldn’t have bought all those books. It’s particularly good for the 99c short stories, which add up fast but don’t last long (most of which were 5 years old or so). I read them, author got a little money, Amazon got money, we’re all happy. Authors don’t have to do any more work, the bucks just show up in dribs and drabs.

        @Cora: If “Rod” was scammy, I’d think Amazon would have also gotten rid of the YA, not just the fantasy. And being a pseudonym, it’s not like he’s worried about an employer finding out he’s writing terrible books for a tax cheat fascist with daddy issues.

        But I suppose Space Oddity is right and it’s another Sooper Geenyus XanaD’OH Gambit move of Teddy boy’s.

        Like

      3. What authors lose when keeping their books in KU is the chance to sell their books elsewhere, e.g. at Kobo, B&N, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, DriveThruFiction, etc… , because KU requires exclusivity. It works out for some authors, not so much for others. Though I don’t think that the other vendors are all that grateful for the chance to sell Castalia House books.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. VD has been engaging in various shallow pop culture… I don’t want to call them scams, but maybe schemes is the right word?… for years now. He used to be a straightforward neo-fascist columnist, back when that was just coming back into style, but he’s been morphing that into whatever his increasingly aged and misfiring brain thinks is the zeitgeist for the past decade or so now. What I wonder is why he always has to be the villain. Couldn’t he find some other angle? Is it just easier to profit as the villain? That seems to be the case generally, so that’s probably the answer. I honestly and unabashedly enjoy that we here at Camestros’ blog are pretty much the only people paying him any mind at all at this point, and we’re doing it in a kind of gross, picking at itchy scabs that don’t even really itch any more kinda way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is something I’ve been thinking over for a while and the reason seems fairly clear to me. The highest rate of incidence of confidence scams in the USA is in Utah. This is because Mormons are a fairly distinct identity group with a certain degree of perception of disapproval from the wider society, most people aren’t going to choose to publicly identify themselves as Mormon just for the fun of it, so if you do go around claiming to be a Mormon, most Mormons will figure it’s the God’s honest truth and welcome you with open arms as being on their side and offer you whatever help you need. Therefore it’s really easy to cheat them.

        Same thing with the hard right specifically and the right in general. Convinced they have the core of the transcendent truth, convinced the commanding heights of society are against them, convinced that openly espousing their views carries serious costs. Therefore anybody who publicly and vehemently announces their support for right-wing ideology and projects must by definition be a good guy. Therefore it’s comparatively easy to hijack their support and monetize it. The “dark lord” schtick is just a way of advertising to his target suckers.

        For those of you who follow video games, Brad Wardell of Stardock would be another example. He’s been talking right-wing propaganda for years (even got VD to back him up at one point), but his latest caper (as described here http://crimsoncorporation.org/reasons/) has pretty much blown the lid off; he’s out to grab while the grabbin’s good, and that’s all there is to it. Any political ideology invoked is just cover for run-of-the-mill thievery – and it works because enough of his audience will trust that he MUST be a good guy, BECAUSE he talks right-wing, therefore they’ll follow without checking the details.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cam: whose funding, Teddy or Wardell?

        KMP: Lots of scams among evangelical fundies too, for the same reasons — they’re just another division of the right. And of course they grew out of tent revival which were bogus from the get-go. My dad told tales of those, which explains why he was seriously agnostic.

        The TV show “Wiseguy” did an arc on fundie white supremacists 30 years ago. Guest starring future Republican candidate Fred Thompson as the front man only in it for the money.

        Like

  6. it seems from what is being said here that people like vox day are only out for money, and ideology is secondary at best.
    I wonder then why is there so much money in being a right wing personality these days, a number of White liberals including academic professors and even some feminists like Laci Green and Cassie J have jumped onto the bandwagon, which I see as a worrying trend.
    Still, my hope is that the market will get so crowded that they will be forced to drop out eventually, in the same way that the arrival of Jordan Peterson disrupted a number of existing right-wing thinkers.

    Like

    1. As KMP said above, Affinity fraud is a thing. People in identifiable subgroups are often preyed upon for fraud because if you present yourself as part of the group, you’re more likely to be trusted.

      At the same time, the right wing has for decades deliberately spun up their own alternative bubble, called everybody else liars, and spent a lot of time immunizing their ‘members’ from the facts, because that makes it easier to mobilize them to vote the ‘right’ way. Combine this with the ‘prepper’ attitudes left over from the Cold War. Now add in a bunch of people who have made money selling stuff to the preppers and don’t want their own gravy train to end, so they keep actively scaring folks to buy their stuff.

      The end result is that the real business of the right wing is grift, and pretty much always has been. The big vendors share mailing lists like scammers do, of ‘this person fell for my scam, maybe he’ll fall for yours as well’.

      The real problem they’ve been having is that some of the scammed have grown up not realizing it was all a scam, think it’s all actually serious, and are now in politics themselves and outrunning a lot of the old grifters… the grifters needed at least some connection to reality.

      The market for grifters may be getting crowded, but they’ve also never had so many people willing to be fooled.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. See my above comment about this grift being so common that it was fodder for network TV in 1988. They’ve had an entire generation, maybe two, to work on since then.

        Like

      2. To add in–you want to know why the Ben Carson campaign was so odd? It’s a mailing list scam–the “Evangelicals” run it every four years to keep the lists fresh. If a Democrat is in office, they run a long-shot candidate as a the real-true Evangelical candidate–if a Republican is in office, it tends to be some lower-key “pressure group” to keep the Republican in line. The important thing is selling the list of donors afterwards.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Money makes ze vorld go around… (I really can’t watch “Cabaret” nowadays)

        @Jenora: and the Cold War prepper stuff went into a downturn after the USSR broke up, went into high gear again with the Y2K panic, up again after 9/11, slumped a bit, then exploded again just about the time the supplies bought after 9/11 were expiring.

        Oh how the money rolls in!

        Like

    1. We got trouble, right here in River City!

      (No wonder right-wingers want to ban the arts; drama/comedy/musicals tell the truth about them in memorable, catchy ways.)

      Like

Comments are closed.