Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

A Clean Desktop

22 December 2014

Strawberry Field

Desktop Zero. (Have to show off that fabulous Christmas wallpaper!) #GTD #InboxZero

— Colter Reed (@ColterReed) December 22, 2014

So Colter Reed shamed me into cleaning up my own desktop, which had 252 items on it, mostly dragged items or stuff I wanted to upload to my blog (and have done so).
Deirdre's Desktop
My desktop background is an Olivier Grunewald photo of the Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which I originally saw on this BigPicture feature from I’m just in awe of these scientists.
The picture up top was one I took of Strawberry Field (yes, of the song fame) in Liverpool in 2011 and altered the color. It was sitting on the desktop, but is no longer.
Also, while I’m giving a shout-out to Colter Reed, his blog has a lot of great articles about productivity and motivation.

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Ellora's Cave: Willing to Share Your Royalty Timeline?

21 December 2014

elloras-cave-blog-headerIt occurred to me that I’m really great at spreadsheets.
So what I’m asking for:

  1. Date you received a check for a given royalty month. (Or “Never received” if that’s the answer.)
  2. Date that check was postmarked, if available.
  3. Date that check was dated, if available.

I don’t ask you:

  1. Your legal name or pseudonym. If you’re willing to share your author pseudonym with me, I’d appreciate it (for authentication that you’re an EC author), but it’s not required.
  2. How much the check was for.
  3. What books sold how much.

My purpose in asking: I believe that checks have been slipping later over time based on reports of a limited set of people. I’d like to quantify that data into a chart.

Contact information

The spreadsheet’s available in three formats: .xslx for newer versions of Excel, .xls for older versions of Excel, and .numbers for Apple Numbers 5.0 (or later). Please email the spreadsheet to me at

Data Protection

To the extent the law permits (and it permits quite a bit here in California), I will protect my sources. There is always a small risk that this information will be subpoenaed. If so, I can likely provide the source files while still protecting anonymity.
Note: it’s absolutely okay to share this post. Thank you.

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Ellora's Cave: That Old Printer Lawsuit

21 December 2014

tl;dr version is that it took almost a year before the case settled.
In 2011, EC and Jasmine Jade were sued by the company leasing them their POD printer. (Note: lots of attachments I haven’t read, some of which may be interesting.)
I wasn’t ever interested enough to bother looking up the state docket before, but someone mentioned it on Twitter today, so I finally did.
That case, 2011-L-010207, defense removed to federal court. Then EC/JJ filed their answer in federal.
Only problem is, they have the right to remove for thirty days and they filed on the thirty-first. The leasing company filed a remand motion and it was granted.
I’ve put the whole Illinois docket up on Dropbox.

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Ellora's Cave: Super Wendy's Erotic Romance History

17 December 2014

I’d missed this blog post by Super Wendy on “The Quick and Dirty History of Erotic Romance.”

EC also played a healthy hand in marketing. As I’ve already detailed, erotic romance did exist before EC we just…..didn’t know what to call it.

In 2004, Google started tracking searches with Google Trends. For whatever reason, EC didn’t start getting traction until November 2004. I’ve posted this graph before, but here it is again.
What’s been fascinating to me since looking at this graph was how long Ellora’s Cave has been in a Google trend long, slow slide compared to erotic romance.
Recognize that this graph doesn’t discuss how many searches there are, or whether the overall popularity of the term is increasing or decreasing. Just what the relative ranking of two terms are, one against the other, and both total 100 added together when you’re looking at the best month for the two terms combined.
Romantica as a term is confusing because there are other uses for it that have nothing to do with EC, and the manga series and the band are the two top hits for the term. EC’s use doesn’t even register on Google trends.
Here’s another interesting graph, though, one I hadn’t posted before:
Google Trends: romance novel vs. erotic romance
Overall, romance novel as a search term tracks pretty well with erotic romance. Romance novel has a slight downward trend until late 2010, then turns upward.
What does that mean? Well, it means Google searches for romance novel and erotic romance are healthy.
The same can’t be said of Ellora’s Cave as a search term. Also note that this doesn’t disambiguate searches for the caves in India.
Want to play with search terms? Here’s a Google Trends link for you.

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Ellora's Cave: Trust and Confidence, WTF?

15 December 2014

Up until the rule, the following is Rick’s commentary that he initially posted as a commentary here. I added links to @Pubnt’s tweets.
I did some very modest legal research on some more of the legalistic language TinaNut’s been using lately. Just to be clear, as a non-lawyer I’m no expert and have zero access to Lexis, etc. I’m just a layman with an ongoing interest in legal issues (who learned enough business law to pass the CPA exam, back in the Pleistocene).
TinaNut’s been saying things like:

Causing damages to EC is in breach of contract – breaching the implied Trust & Confidence term.
It could now also be u r in Breach of Trust & Confidence, or in litigation, and has caused recoverable damages. Otherwise you would have been paid by now, like thousands of other good EC authors/employees.
Q: Are you another author in litigation with EC and has caused recoverable damages? If so wait till the end of the lawsuit you are involved in to get paid, less recoverable damages. T&C clause is actionable in Damages when breached.

Under UK common law, employment contracts are construed as having an implied term requiring ‘mutual trust and confidence’, which in some circumstances can even overrule provisions in explicit employment-contract terms, and applies to both employer and employee. Notable UK cases have involved suits by employees alleging that hostile or dishonest management had carried out ‘constructive termination’, and successfully sued for tort damages on that basis. It’s important to note that the aggrieved party had to specifically litigate this claim. It wasn’t tacked on as a ‘by the way’ to (say) an only somewhat related defamation suit between the employer and some third party.
Australia inherited the ‘mutual trust and confidence’ concept from the UK, until a few years ago when the High Court jettisoned the concept from all subsequent Australian cases.
I find no evidence that the concept exists in USA law at all – with the minor (and irrelevant) semi-exception that insider trading prosecutions often allege that the accused brokers (etc.) failed in fiduciary duties that entail requirements of trust and confidence.
In USA employment law, zip.
The parallel concept in USA employment law seems to be the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which is part of every employment contract because it’s part of every contract, period. Some states with at-will employment legal regimes recognise violation of this implied covenant as a valid grounds on which an employee might be able to prove wrongful termination (despite employment being otherwise at will, in that state).
TinaNut’s… er… reasoning is pretty murky on this whole matter, but here’s my best reconstruction of what she’s alleging: Employees’ contracts with EC include confidentiality clauses, and they’re also bound by implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing (which she mistakenly calls ‘the implied Trust & Confidence term’). If an employee testifies for Dear Author, or tweets allegations supporting Dear Author’s position, during the EC/DA litigation, they are injuring EC’s interests in violation of contract, and are tort-feasors to the extent of the damage they are causing EC. The value of that damage can be decided only at the end of the EC/DA suit. [Insert here some justification for tying these tort damages to payables owed to them for wages and other payables. I got nothing.] So, it’s legitimate to wait until end of the current lawsuit and then offset damages owed by these employees against payables owed to them.
Sometimes, the Nut acknowledges that these alleged tort damages could be established only through separate, unrelated litigation, and other times doesn’t. E.g., she talks about ‘enjoining them’ later in the proceedings or that they will be ‘named at the right time’.
The Nut appears to be confused between allegations that employees who’ve testified or tweeted thereby committed defamation (and per her are to be ‘joined’ to the EC/DA lawsuit later), and allegations that they violated confidentiality or good-faith obligations to their employer, which if she wanted to go for that would be a separate lawsuit.
I thnk, BTW, that the odds of getting a tort judgement against an employee for testifying in a court case are exactly zero, and the likelihood of getting one for tweets saying ‘My employer’s been late paying me’ are pretty close to zero, too.
In addition, TinaNut speaks as if confidentiality and/or good-faith obligations of employees, such as they are, apply equally to non-employee authors having EC publication contracts for their books, which obviously isn’t the case. As an aside, I rather suspect that judges take a very dim view of attempting to bludgeon employees and business associates with confidentiality clauses to punish or intimidate them over testifying in court cases.
Then, too, there’s the troubling bit where TinaNut thinks EC can withhold timely payment of employees (or business partners) just because she thinks EC might speculatively be able to sue them for damages in the future, and expect they’ll somehow acquire the right to remit only the net of those amounts. Sorry, paranoid pistachio, not the way it works.
It seems almost gratuitous to harp on the hapless hazelnut’s meaninglessly vague and loose terms ‘involved in the lawsuit’ and ‘part of the lawsuit’, which lumps together actual parties to the EC/DA suit, people who’ve testified, and even apparently people who’ve merely tweeted about it. To her credit, she does acknowledge this vagueness when called on it.
Does the wandering walnut really believe her legal fantasy? I fear that she does. And the fall will be hard and painful.

(The rest is Deirdre’s commentary.)
What fascinates me most about the annoying acorn’s allegations are some of the following:

  1. The persistent statement that Tina Engler is the CEO of Ellora’s Cave, when her mother, Patricia Marks, is the CEO of record. That makes me wonder what the actual truth of the matter is.
  2. The statements that EC has “thousands” of employees, later shifted to “thousands of good EC authors/employees”. I counted EC’s authors back when the suit began, and iirc, EC had 934 authors at that count. So near as I can tell, EC’s never topped the thousand mark of authors and employees (and contractors) combined. Certainly not multiple thousands.
  3. There’s a consistent conflation between employees and contractors. Contractors aren’t employees, and employees aren’t contractors. Inherently, a corporation has less loyalty to a contractor than to an employee; the reverse is also true. This should not come as a surprise.
  4. “Loyal” authors don’t tweet, and publishers move promotional funds away from tweeting authors. That may be true for EC, but it’s not true generally. (one) (two) (three) (four) (You can really see the repetitiveness in that series of four tweets.)
  5. EC’s a “massive” corporation (or “massive accredited publisher” in other tweets).
    What’s particularly fascinating to me about the whole “massive corporation” assertion is that I’ve actually been a software engineer at an actual massive corporation. Look, if you don’t have full-time sushi chefs in multiple countries, it’s just delusions of grandeur.
  6. Related to the “accredited” publisher, there’s also the claim that EC’s an “approved” publisher. Courtney Milan commented:

    This is especially weird since there IS no RWA approved list any longer.

    Courtney’s on the RWA board (though speaking as an individual), so she’d know.
    What’s hilarious to me about TinaNut’s continued railings against self-publishing is that, by Tina Engler’s own admission, Ellora’s Cave is an extended self-play. Here’s an old DA interview with Tina/Jaid, and the pull quote to end all pull quotes:

    I was an unpubbed author with a trash can full of rejection letters. As a writer I had reached an impasse: either I was going to have to conform to NY standards and sex down my manuscripts or I was going to have to start my own publishing company.

Courtney Nails It (As Usual)

Just as I’m about to click “post,” Courtney Milan tweets….

Do we need to be told that anonymous twitter accounts are generally not legal authorities? No. No, we do not. #notchilled

— Courtney Milan (@courtneymilan) December 15, 2014

I mean, if we were to talk SPECIFICALLY, that particular anonymous twitter account is like an anti-authority. But, you know. #notchilled

— Courtney Milan (@courtneymilan) December 15, 2014

Lots of Comments on the Last EC post

If you’re reading my posts elsewhere (Tumblr, Dreamwidth, Livejournal, RSS), then you may have missed a lot of interesting comments.

For Your Amusement

For all your future nut phrase constructions, here’s a list of culinary nuts that may help you.

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Rule 34 Labs: Putting the Interesting in Internet

12 December 2014

Rule 34: “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.”
I was making this sign for a book cover (where it’d appear on the wall as a framed print), then thought: why stop there?
Back when I worked at a backbone ISP, the first day HR training session was interesting.
“If you object to adult material, please do not walk through the art department. We make 2/3 of our revenue from adult content.”
Maybe you like the weird stuff. Maybe it just makes you hilariously happy that the weird stuff exists because then you’re something approaching normal. Maybe you just need a new shirt and randomly clicked on this page.
Whatever freak flag you fly (or, you know, don’t fly :wink:), Rule 34 is there for you.
Rule 34 t-shirt
I have various products now available on Redbubble, Society6, and Zazzle.
In addition to the clothing options on all three of the above stores, the design’s also available in a bunch of other formats, including:

Rule 34 labs prints Prints in various forms: Redbubble and Society6, including stickers, posters, art prints, and metal prints. Because metal.
Rule 34 labs coffee mugs Coffee mugs: Society6
Rule 34 Labs tech cases Tech Cases: Society6
Rule 34 Labs rugs Rugs (for rug burn, obvs): Society6
Rule 34 greeting cards Greeting cards (for mailing your tribe): Society6
Rule 34 Labs clocks Clocks (for temporal fetishists): Society6
Rule 34 Labs tote bag Tote bags: Redbubble and Society6
Rule 34 Labs pillow Pillows (save those knees!): Redbubble and Society6
Rule 34 Labs shower curtain Shower curtains (no comment): Society6
Rule 34 Labs duvet cover Duvet covers (because why wouldn’t you?): Redbubble and Society6. Redbubble has Twin, Queen, and King, while Society6 has Full, Queen, and King. Note: the Redbubble version requires almost twice the resolution source file, but I don’t know if it prints in higher resolution than the Society6 version. Usually, Society6 wants the higher-res file.

King Duvet Cover (Redbubble):

Rule 34 Labs king duvet

Not enough?

Drop me a line and let me know. My email address is at the bottom of every page. (Hint: deirdre@)

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Ellora's Cave: When Lightning Strikes

11 December 2014

It’s a very rainy day in Silicon Valley as we’ve got the worst storm in five years.
Every writer has their tells: the words they misspell or misuse. The words they use in preference to other words.
The other day, I got an anonymous tip: Both @pubnt on Twitter and Tina Engler/Jaid Black have one of the same tells.
It did stick out to me when @Pubnt used it, but I’m not familiar enough with Tina’s writing style to have noticed the similarity.

@ShelbieKnight @jaidblack This is an author you don’t want to keep. Tweeting nonsense about 3 month Lightening fast editing.#notchilled

— Pub Net (@pubnt) November 9, 2014

3 months be fore editing is lightening fast in publishing! Most publishers are booked 18+ months in advance. #notchilled @ShelbieKnight

— Pub Net (@pubnt) November 8, 2014

Tina Engler uses it in this Amazon review, and here’s the excerpt:

“This author is an absolute master at invoking emotions. If she wants you to feel freaked out, she knows how to use a lightening storm and a few choice words to do it.”

And Tia Isabella, a pseudonym of Jaid Black, which is in turn a pseudonym of Tina Engler, uses it in this EC title:

Thomas watched his cousin bolt down the steps at lightening speed.

And the commenter below also said:

From the Trek Mi Q’an books:
“She leapt on all fours in a lightening-fast movement,”
“Death proved to have lightening-fast reflexes”

My anon tipster did mention this use, but that’s not lightning, the electrical phenomena, but lightening, the gerund form of lighten.

Pubnt’s Backstory

In the early stages, @pubnt went around tweeting publishers to tell them not to work with authors who were “participating” in a lawsuit against Ellora’s Cave.

. @HarperCollins ETA: These are the author PARTICIPATING in a lawsuit against a publisher. Never touch them. #notchilled

— Pub Net (@pubnt) October 5, 2014

. @HachetteUS ETA: These are the author PARTICIPATING in a lawsuit against a publisher. Never touch them. #notchilled

— Pub Net (@pubnt) October 5, 2014

Except “participating” was a gross exaggeration. Later, @pubnt clarified with this tweet:

.@panmacmillan ETA:

— Pub Net (@pubnt) October 5, 2014

But this list is of romance authors published by Ellora’s Cave, most of whom never spoke out about Ellora’s Cave. They were simply EC authors who also had non-EC titles.
Pubnt also regularly uses Jane Litte’s real name. In court docs, that’s fine, but many of us have deliberately used the internet pseudonym in our blog posts.
Pubnt also has publicly declared that checks are being paid to people except those “involved” in the lawsuit.

@tejasjulia @AuthorSJDRUM @JulieNaughton Nothing stopped. Checks are coming to all but those involved in the lawsuit, naturally. #notchilled

— Pub Net (@pubnt) December 12, 2014

However, “involved” in Pubnt logic doesn’t just mean “is a party to.” “Involved” also would mean, say, anyone who tweeted or blogged or said anything critical about EC.

Catch Is, There Are Laws

18 USC § 1512, for example.
Federal law, along with most state laws, take the reasonable view that if there are threats or harassment of people who testify or provide evidence, then cases won’t be able to proceed.

Tina Was (Probably) Also Barred from Certain Activities

From September 30 to the federal court removal on October 20, Tina as part owner of EC was likely subject to the joint motion’s agreement about not publicly commenting on the case:

In the interim, all parties agree that neither they, nor anyone under their direct control, shall post on the Internet any comments specifically and directly related to the factual allegations that form the basis of Ellora Cave’s defamation complaint; further, they agree not to comment online, directly or indirectly, on the allegations that form the basis of the defamation complaint. Nothing herein shall prohibit Plaintiffs from responding to defamatory posts or re-posts made by third parties related to the issues raised in this litigation.

I note Jaid Black posted this the same day @Pubnt started tweeting. (tl;dr version: McCarthyism, freedom of speech, calling out commenters claiming EC owes them money (some screencaps from comments on this blog), and claiming EC authors are too afraid to speak.)
Rick came up with a name for Pubnt today that I rather like: TinaNut.

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Fundraiser for Former Ellora's Cave Editor Bree

08 December 2014

Bree was an Ellora’s Cave editor for twelve years before being laid off (along with all other freelance editors) in August.
Here’s a quote from the fundraiser:

It’s no secret that the EC editors’ unexpected layoffs on Aug.18 have adversely affected editors’ finances. In the case of one of our colleagues, Bree, her 12-year full-time loyalty to EC has severely compromised her income and she is on the verge of homelessness. She is diligently searching for work and we can’t bear to see her sink while she’s doing so. Please help if you can. Any amount, no matter how small, is welcome.

Here’s the fundraiser link. (Gofundme.)
If you don’t like Gofundme and prefer to contribute another way, email me (my email’s at the bottom of every page).
Also, Bree’s available for editing work. I can forward requests via email.
Please share this if you’re so inclined.
Thank you.

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Book Landing Pages: Thursday Webinar

08 December 2014

Joel Friedlander, aka the book designer, wrote a blog post about book landing pages.
I’ve been in the middle of writing a long blog post about web sites for authors, and I think I’m going to tear up my post and go home. (Actually, no, I won’t, but it’s going to wait until next weekend now.)
Because what Joel’s upcoming webinar’s about is book landing pages and, I’m gathering,, which has already made me want to toss my WordPress plugin in-progress against the wall.

  •’s pages are pretty.
  • They are minimalist.
  • There is a free plan.

We all know that webinar is not-very-secret code for “I want to sell you something.” I’m hoping it’s a nice discount on the paid plan.
The free plan allows for as many book pages as you want, but no extras like mailing list integration. Here’s a page detailing the differences between the free and paid plan.
Example: one of my stories on vs. the same story’s page on Could I improve my own site’s version? Sure, with some significant elbow grease. (I could also finish the one; I only fussed with it for a few minutes.)

What’s WordPress Like For This?

Let me tell you briefly about the state of things in WordPress plugin land.
With MyBookTable, if you want a buy button in anything other than Amazon and Apple, it costs $49 a year (or you can hand-modify the plugin yourself). If you want affiliate sales for your referrals, it also costs $49 a year.
With MyBooks, it’s free for Out:think’s authors on one of its paid courses, but you’ve got to be one of those people.
There is Buy This Book, which only has widget versions, meaning things for your sidebar.
I use Easy Digital Downloads, which is great for direct sales, but falls down when you need the product to link to external places. So, for this paperback, I hand-coded the purchase links and the CSS and suppressed the purchase button.
Another quirk of EDD is this: look at the purchase buttons/links here. In order to get my link above everyone else’s, I had to suppress the automatic generation, then add a manual button. Then add the links for other stores.
Oh, and there’s no sense of “series” of things or obviously related things other than via tags and categories, so that would be another thing I’d have to roll in there. (To its credit, MyBookTable has this.)
So why not use MyBookTable and Easy Digital Downloads together, you ask?
I’m so glad you asked that. Because MBT defines its items as a new post type. And so does Easy Digital Downloads. So, for each book, you’d have to hand-enter the data twice (once for each post type), so you could get to your books via two different URLs, and possibly have the content out of sync. Oh, and pay for MBT too.
No. Thank. You.
My brilliant plan was to automagically generate that, to make a font for icons for the common stores, and to therefore let people style whatever however. I was inspired by Lauren Dane’s website, except she’s gone and changed it and I don’t like the new look.
There are 34,000 WordPress plugins that have been downloaded 796 million times and that’s apparently as good as it gets for the stuff that’s out there.
Depressing, huh?
Fact is, most of the WordPress plugins designed to hook into Amazon are designed to create little web shops where you live on the affiliate income from providing, say, links for the top ten blenders.
I’m curious to see what they’ll say about the state of the competition that’s out there. I really haven’t seen anything in this niche.

But What If You’re Not Me?

Look, I’ve been paid to do web work since 1998. If I find it annoying that there’s no better publicly-available free solution, I’m guessing that you do too.
You can hire awesome people like Jeremiah Tolbert or Stephanie Leary to do it for you.
Or maybe you want to come to Joel’s webinar on Thursday. Blog post link again.

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James Blish: "Dianetics: A Door to the Future"

05 December 2014

[![background image © 2013 Satori / DarioStudios](/images/2014/12/blish-on-dianetics-header.jpg)](/images/2014/12/blish-on-dianetics-header.jpg)background image © 2013 Satori / DarioStudios

Long-time Scientology critic Rod Keller posted a link to an eBay auction that included a reading copy of a science fiction magazine (Planet Stories, November 1950) in which James Blish published a piece on Dianetics.
I’d already known that James Blish had been a Fortean, so I was expecting that Blish’s piece would be pro-Dianetics. However, the linked article led me to expect that Blish’s piece would be more intellectual than it actually is. > There are lots of reasons various people were drawn to the works of Charles Fort, as has been shown through these biographies, and some of them can be grouped into families: those who search for something simultaneously material and transcendent, beyond science; those who have trouble with authorities; those who wish to put forth an alternative science. One type not yet explored—but well represented among the Forteans—is the person who wants to be the smartest in the room. Tiffany Thayer himself fits into this mold in many ways. And so does James Blish.

Curious creature that I am, I ordered the mag, which arrived today.
Here’s the TOC, and here’s the article. (PNG 600 DPI greyscale scans, 14-16MB files)
Note: except for removing hyphenation and adding Wikipedia links, I’ve not edited the text in any way. If you notice any transcription errors, even a comma, please comment below or email me. I believe this is now in the public domain, but if you have a valid DMCA takedown request, use the email link at the bottom of every page.

Article Text

An increased life-span, freedom from 70% of all human illnesses and a major increase in intelligence—these are only a few of the benefits promised us by a new science called “dianetics.”
“Dianetics” is both the name of a recent book about how the human mind operates, and the general term used to cover specific methods of repairing, healing and perfecting the human mind.
Just how does the human mind work? Up to a few years ago nobody really knew.
Why does the human mind fail to work efficiently at times, or all the time? Another mystery.
If the claims made for the new science of dianetics are borne out, both those mysteries are now solved. Some of these claims are so flabbergasting as to stagger even the hardened science-fiction fan. For instance:
Dianetics claims to have cured many types of heart ailment, arthritis, the common cold, stomach ulcers, sinus trouble, asthma, and many other diseases, amounting to about 70% of the whole catalogue of human ills.
Dianetics also claims to have cured virtually every known form of mental disease. These cures have encompassed the severest form of insanity, workers in dianetics declare flatly.
Furthermore—and in this claim (among others) lies dianetics’ bid to be called a science—dianetics claims to be able to cure all these aberrations and diseases every time, without fail. At the time this is being written, some months before you will read it, dianetics has been tried on a minimum of 300 people, and, its originators say, has worked 100% without failure in all these cases.
Nor is this all, fantastic though what I’ve already written may seem to be. Use of Dianetic therapy on so-called “normal” people seems to produce changes in them which can only be described as dynamite.
“Normal” people treated by dianetic therapy, it’s said, undergo a rise in intelligence, efficiency, and well-being averaging a third above their previous capacity! In one case, a woman, the IQ—intelligence quotient—rose 50 points before the full course of therapy was run!
Such “clears,” as they are called, are said to be immune to any and all forms of mental disease, and to any and all forms of organic diseases caused by mental or emotional difficulties.
It might be a good idea to stop here and ask the names of the people who are making these incredible claims. They are none of them professional quacks, faith-healers, bread-pill rollers, or other forms of swindlers. They are all men with solid reputations, and all, as it happens, quite familiar to the science-fiction reader.
The leader of the new school of thought is L. Ron Hubbard, author of “Fear,” “Final Blackout,” and many other science fiction classics. By trade, Hubbard is an engineer.
Hubbard’s two principal confrères are John W. Campbell, Jr., and Dr. Joseph E. Winter. Mr. Campbell, of course, is widely known even to the general public as a government consultant in nuclear physics, the author of “The Atomic Story,” and to us as the editor of a top-notch science-fiction magazine. Dr. Winter, who by the way is an M.D., not a Ph.D., has published some science-fiction stories; but until dianetics came along, he was best known as an expert endocrinologist of unimpeachable reputation.
Hubbard’s book,* however, does not include any formal evidence for the claims. The Dianetics Institute in Elizabeth, N. J., is equally unwilling to offer authenticated case records or any other evidence of that specific kind. The book, dianetics men point out, offers the therapy procedures in complete detail. If you want case histories, perform your own experiments.
As it happens, one of the more spectacular cures claimed by dianetics took place in the New York area, and could be checked from outside sources. Jerome Bixby, editor of Planet Stories, checked it. The claim was so; hospital authorities who have no connection with dianetics as a movement vouch for it, cautiously but definitely.
My own personal tests of the therapy—on myself, my wife, and a friend (namely, Jerome Bixby)—haven’t proceeded very far as yet. But as far as they’ve gone, they check with the claims. The phenomena Hubbard describes in the book do appear. They appear in the order in which he says they appear. And they match his descriptions of them to the letter. Such after-effects as we’ve been able to observe also check.
If dianetics does work—and every check I’ve been able to run thus far indicates that it does—it may well be the most important discovery of this or any other century. It will bring the long-sought “rule of reason” to the problems of local and world politics, communication, law, and almost every other field of human endeavor—the goal of a 3000 year search.

*DIANETICS, by L. Ron Hubbard. Hermitage House, New York, 1950: $4.00. Hermitage, by the way, is the publisher of a number of books on psychology and psychoanalysis universally acknowledged to be serious contributions to the field.
(end of article)

The Cold Harsh Reality

In 1946, four years before Blish’s article, Jack Parsons got a restraining order (and, along with it, a temporary injunction) against L. Ron Hubbard and his then-wife Sarah Northrup.

As we pointed out on Wednesday, Hubbard had met Sara in Pasadena at the home of John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons, the Caltech rocket scientist and occultist. The three of them had cooked up a business scheme that involved Hubbard and Sara going to Miami to buy a sailboat with money that was nearly all Jack’s, then sailing it back to California to sell for a profit. But once Hubbard and Sara went to Florida and bought a boat, they didn’t go anywhere, and Jack ended up suing them. The lawsuit was settled, Hubbard and Sara sold the sailboat, and then they went to Maryland, where they were married.
By 1951, the marriage had turned into a nightmare, and after they split, Hubbard did his best to erase from the record that Sara had ever been a part of his life.

So, ironically, had he but known Hubbard’s history, Blish wouldn’t have made a claim like “They are none of them professional quacks, faith-healers, bread-pill rollers, or other forms of swindlers.” Because, as it turns out, Hubbard was exactly that.
Also, in 1946, Hubbard was still legally married to his first wife, Polly.
In 1948, Hubbard was arrested and fined for petty theft.
In 1951, Dr. Joseph Augustus Winter left dianetics, publishing a book called A Doctor’s Report on Dianetics, critiquing that, among other things, Hubbard never wanted to have any minimum standard for testing subjects. Further, some techniques harmed some patients. Winter’s departure even made Time magazine.

About That Clear Thing

In 1979, I became Clear # 20,182. I later attested to Clear again (because, since the changeover in the late 70s, most people who’ve attested Clear in Scientology have had to do it more than once).
As I sit here writing this, I’m recovering from a cold. I have arthritis in one knee and the other hip. I had sinus trouble all through my Scientology years, but being on a CPAP at night does far more for that than Dianetics or Scientology ever could. I now have asthma, which I suspect is related to years and years of second-hand smoke, including working with smokers in Scientology.
Further, David Miscavige is widely rumored to have asthma. Anyone who’s known a lot of Clears has known some who’ve died of the various ailments Blish listed.
The claims of what Dianetics and Scientology cure are all bullshit.

James Randi’s Million-Dollar Challenge

Quoted from here:

The James Randi Educational Foundation will pay US$1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) (“The Prize”) to any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observation. Such demonstration must take place under the rules and limitations described in this document. An applicant can be from or in any part of the world. Gender, race, and educational background are not factors for acceptance. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and legally able to enter into binding agreements.

Look, Scientology tends to leave its adherents cash strapped. I’ve seen it over and over again, and it’s a huge part of why I left. If the various claims in Dianetics and Scientology about paranormal abilities were indeed true (e.g., “exterior with full perception”), some one of those tens of thousands of Clears would have collected a million bucks from JREF.
And they haven’t.
Could be worse. You could be a desperately sad L. Ron Hubbard in your last days asking one of your assistants to build you an assisted suicide machine so you could die.
But this Blish article? A puff piece where he says he’s audited his friend, who, oh yeah, also happens to be the editor of the magazine said puff piece is printed in? And said friend checked one of the more “spectacular cures” (which, you note is never specifically identified)?
That’s horseshit.
Blish should have been ashamed of himself.
At best, the techniques used in Dianetics and Scientology are talk therapy.
Most of the time, they’re not even that good.

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