mackknopf: (Books)
(Written in 2007, I dug this up while searching for something in my file archives.  Perhaps I'll post some more of my old fiction.  It might even inspire me to write poetry again, though I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.)


Preface: This is not my dream. These are not my favorites. (At least, not all of them.) Perhaps they are yours, though. Won't you share?

Books on the Library in Hell

The tax code, of course, stretches across rows and rows of shelves, much as it does on the surface. The other law books have been removed, save for federal regulations and state codes. Case law is not allowed here, because the cases are always continued, dismissed, or appealed, and nothing of any substance is ever written down. The wily old judges do not allow it, nor do they let commentaries or form books on the premises. Lawyers must argue from memory by what they glean here, and can never rely on what they have been told before.

The Necronomicon is here, as is the contents of Stephen King's head, and even darker writers than those of the Providence eccentric or Uncle Steve. Baudelaire and Barker and Poe have a home here, but the words do not scare, only bore. No thrills can be found on these walls or in these pages. Every dream you ever dreamed that you didn't like, though, that woke you in sorrow or anger or fear, is here on the shelves, portrayed in unflinching accuracy and photorealistic pictures. Carefully absent are any ones whose whimsy you actually liked. The rows of books head towards infinity in any direction, halls echoing with the sounds of people who you cannot see, yet are there just beyond sight, walking through their own particular prisons.

The books you want the most, those you desire to own with a burning possession, are visible on the top shelf, no ladder in sight. These are the works of your favorite authors who died before they finished, the lost Hemingway manuscripts, the lyrics to the last Jim Morrison tunes, the ending to Charles Dickens and Patrick O'Brien's final efforts. Perhaps these are not your favorites? Yet they are. The titles are clearly visible. They spell out, in red binding and silver and black text, the name of their contents. Yet when you reach up to them, stretch as you may, they remain out of reach. Climbing the wooden racks is equally useless, because your arms tremble with weakness, and failing, you give up.

Perhaps the map room will do you better. These locked cabinets hold the geography, captured in parchment and vellum and other paper, of Narnia, Shangri-La, Wonderland, the Lost World. Somehow you know they also include notations that would lead you to the entrances, perhaps not out of Hell, but then why would you care? Unfortunately the key is lost, and you can only stare at the glass slats in frustration, a sliver of coastline visible here, an overhead view of Mount Doom visible there.

Read more... )
mackknopf: (False Gods)

I'm reading books on story structure and having a number of new thoughts lately.

From my cousin Greg in Texas: "I’m more a mystery and sci-fi kinda guy but the summary sounds interesting enough.  You really need to capitalize on the first three words of the summary.  That’s quite a funny lead in the novels title.  No doubt intended.  Sounds like fun to work on."

My response:

Gracias. :)

Yes, it's instant conflict to be the first atheist in a world full of "gods," most of whom take offense at being told off!  The main character gets his own set of powers, so can successfully oppose them.  Some of the same issues come up as in T. H. White's "The Sword and the Stone," namely whether might can be used in the service of right.  Self-obviously (to me), might alone does not make right, though it may impose a twisted sort of order.  This theme, along with order versus chaos, law and civilization versus anarchy, is key to why I can still enjoy (well-done) superhero comics. 

Khamaat, the protagonist, is quite offended that a bunch of people with superhuman powers are claiming to be omnipotent, ominiscient, omnibenevolent, etc., and sets out to oppose them.  The counterbalance to him is the love interest, who also develops powers, but is not quite ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater yet when it comes to belief.  So they have a lot of conflict themselves even as their attraction develops. 

The antagonists are a lot of fun to write, too.  The main adversary of the god Set, for instance, is Machiavellian, sneaky, suave, and with irritatingly good points sometimes.  Set was part of the royal family and was their strategist before being exiled into the desert for wanting to marry his sister, Isis.  See, his brother Osiris got to marry Isis instead...

Read more... )

mackknopf: (Celtic Cross)
I wrote the beginnings of a novel, called False Gods, about two main characters, an ancient Egyptian reluctant temple scribe and an ardent temple priestess. The scribe, named Khamaat, believes in the gods only because he can't deny that they keep showing up on earth (well, in my book they do) and throwing their weight around.  He certainly doesn't think they're all-benevolent and suspects they're not always watching.  He finds out soon enough that they're not all-powerful, because they can be killed!  The other character, Mereyeta, fervently believes in everything the gods and culture have sold her on believing.  She eventually finds out that the gods are just people with amazing powers, and that they have lost their way, neglected their duties and upset the natural order.  To restore balance to the world, the two have to take up the powers of the deities for their own and struggle against the gods.

I don't know what they're ultimately going to wind up believing in, because I plotted the whole darn book, but I haven't finished writing it yet.  I think they'll probably wind up believing in a sort of natural law, a sense of universal balance, but not necessarily any afterlife or true higher power.  Then again, if I ever finish FG and write a sequel, I may address that issue, or I may just leave it up to the readers.  The point is, nobody really knows for sure what lies beyond the grave for real in my story.  Some have returned from "death," but not with any proof, just vague memories of visions.  Similarly, in the waking dream we call life, no one has shown me proof of an afterlife.  Even though I've seen a ghost.  After all, I don't know what really happened then.  Hmm.  There is a lot of me in those two characters.  I should start writing it again.

I read an article in the Birmingham News today criticizing Richard Dawkins, the famed atheist.  While I think he's a prosyletizer out to convert people to his way of thinking, which I innately distrust in any religion/way of thinking/political view, I disagreed with the critiquer and thought of my friend Lisa.  Of course someone can disbelieve in God and have an ethical system and be a good person.  You can also believe in a different type of god, or gods plural, and still be a good person, at least by my standards. However, if it turns out that only one particular type of God (say, the Judeo-Christian God) sends his followers to heaven, then everyone else is going to be up a creek and possibly in Hell, depending.  Let's hope not.


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March 2012

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