Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception is a short story (of 4461 words) written in the style of my current novel project, Simon Peter. It is meant to be a teaser for the novel, itself, showing the take I'm using for telling the story of Jesus, St. Peter and the origins of Christianity as being started by the same sorts of people that start cults in modern history: a group of religious fanatics, madmen, charlatans surrounded by a storm of sexual depravity, physical and psychological abuse.

"Immaculate Conception" is a story about the conception and birth of Jesus. The story contains nothing mystical, but offers a purely physical story about how it could happen. I am not saying it did happen this way. The birth of Jesus, even from Biblical sources, is confused. In one place Jesus is born in a house attended by kings, in another place he is born in a stable and attended by shepherds. I'm not sure I believe in the physical reality of Jesus at all. But in "Immaculate Conception", as in Simon Peter, I want to open a discussion about the nature of messiahdom, itself, and dispel the idea that Jesus as a historical person needs to be taken seriously as a social reformer, or rebel against Roman conquest or Jewish corruption. Most messiahs are charlatans, insane, or both. Most people who claim supernatural powers, in my readings, have backgrounds of neglect and abuse. For this story, and Simon Peter, I posit that Jesus came from such a family, and in "Immaculate Conception" I have written about his family as being typical of messiahs, born in pain and horror, leading to charlatanry and madness.

Warning: This story does have sex and violence. If you're offended by sex and violence, I advise either not reading it, or get prepared to be offended.

I am also thinking about putting a commercial for "Immaculate Conception" on YouTube and GodTube. See what that nets me. ;)

Now with video!

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Ruthless and Defiled

I'm starting to post stories on the old website, and I'm starting with Ruthless and Defiled.

Ruthless and Defiled is a fifteen thousand word short story that was, basically, proof of concept for Condotierri. Ruthless and Defiled has a lot of the same themes – anarcho-capitalism, corrupt security corporations and class struggles play crucial roles in both stories. Ruthless, though, also contains a heavy element of racism which isn't present in Condotierri because Condotierri is more science-fiction than Ruthless. People in Condotierri can, functionally, change their appearance at will, so attributes of race are hidden and not considered as important – thus, there is less overt racism. I wrote it, however, to see if I could, as an author, write something so sustainedly grim and uncompromising. Dante Wakefield, the protagonist of Ruthless, is the moral opposite of an action hero. He does everything that an action hero does – he's a go-it-alone maverick that uses violence to get what he wants ostensibly in the Dirty Harry mold – but while most of those rogue cop stories justify the cop's brutality and criminality by saying that it was somehow necessary, that you have to break the law to save it nonsense, Ruthless presents the corruption and violence as ugly and unnecessary, putting a lie to the notion that a go-it-alone superman does any good in this world at all. Or, at least, that's some of the backstory, here. That, more than anything, that corruption and violence amongst police is always detestable, that it isn't justified and doesn't make the world a better place, is shared with Condotierri.

Ruthless is also a more graphic story. Or, perhaps, it is better to say that Ruthless has a greater density of truly horrible things happening to people. I needed to pull out the stops because I had to know if I could write in this way, to write about horrible people doing terrible things to each other. I didn't necessarily write any of it to shock people, except to the extent that I felt it necessary to convey the significance of the violence being done. Violence in stories is exciting, yes, but at the same time a great many stories lessen the impact of the violence – all the deaths are clean and swift. There is also a literary whitewash that goes on with the characters, too – the idea that a character can kill and torture and, in some capacity, remain a moral person (indeed, in many stories, the protagonists kill and torture in a way not too different than the bad guys, but are held up as moral exemplars – the best people kill and torture, but they have a reason and that makes it alright, which is an attitude I find contemptible).

On the whole, though, I like the story. It contains some good imagery, has a solid plot and good characterization. I wouldn't say that Dante Wakefield grows during the story, but he certainly changes, and I think in ways that are interesting and contain verisimilitude.

Comments are very welcome. Plus, spread it around! The more who read it the better.

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