THE ALLUSIONS OF THE OTHER WORLD

Lately I have been compiling the literary allusions that will appear in my Other World novels and inserting those allusions at the appropriate places in the plot structure of MY books.

My novels will have allusions to many previous works of literature but rarely will I quote or mention by name or source the allusion. Rather I will take the allusionary reference from the original source of literature and rewrite it to fit the events of my own novels, yet, nevertheless, the allusions will be there encoded within the works if you know what to look for or if you are familiar with the passages from the original works.

I will include allusions to the following works, among others:

A Song of Ice and Fire, GRR Martin
Acts of the Apostles
Aeschylus (various plays)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Beowulf
Book of the Fallen
Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis
Elric of Melnibone, Michael Moorcock
Harry Potter, JK Rowling
Icelandic Sagas
Jonathan Strnage and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Kalevala
Le Morte De Arthur, Tennyson
Lyonesse, Jack Vance
Oz Books, Frank Baum
Siegfried
Shakespeare: Henry the IVth, and MacBeth
The Gospels
The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Song of Roland
The Torah
The White Stag
Thomas Covenant Books, Stephen R Donaldson

 

As an example of how I intend to insert such allusions into my own novels here are two illustrations of my process of my process:

The Aenied, Virgil

Original Line: “Sleep! Sweet gift of the gods… It was the time when the first sleep invades languid mortals, and steals upon them, by the gift of the gods, most sweet.”

My Line: “And where will you go now?”

“I would lay down upon the ground and go to my death if I could, but failing that I would go to my dreams.”

“To your dreams? And who will you meet there?”

“I do not know, but this is too much and I must sleep. For I am weary and if God himself finds me in my dreams may he finally gift me with forgetfulness of all I have seen and done. That alone would be sweet and meet to me now.”

The Worm Ouroboros, Eddison

Original Line: “There’s musk and amber in thy speech,” said Juss. “I must have more of it. What mean they to do?”

My Line: “Musk scents your voice with something strong and dank, but amber seals and occludes your real meaning. Speak clearly to me now or I will slice open the rank resin of your speech with my keenest hunting knife and peer into your throat to smell for myself your true intent.”

NIBBLES AND NUBBLES – A Children’s Book

This is a section of a Children’s Book I am writing (in verse) called Nibbles and Nubbles. I am still not quite finished with it, but I am close.

“You’re gonna get fed boy I promise you that
You’re gonna get fed and you’re gonna grow fat,
You will not go hungry or do without much
Your breakfast will simmer and steam like your lunch,
Your dinner will mountain all piled on your plate
Your drinks will all sparkle and never be late,
Snacks by the cartful will park at your door
Sweet candies and ice-cakes will litter your floor,
So don’t worry now son, just nibble away
You’ve way too much eating to do in one day,
And when your new friend comes to say his hello
I’ll feed him leftovers and then he will know,
That I am the baker and master of chefs
For my food is better than feasting itself…”

Nibbells and Nubbles

THE VIKING CATS: THE TALES OF HALE

The Poetic Song:

The Tales of Hale

In ancient lands of ice and fire
Was born a boy to roam the world

Old Conn was both his friend and sire
Long woven was his fate unfurled

For brothers true in danger shared
He had the faithful Viking Cats

As frontiers, monsters, ruins dared
They wandered far to come at last

To lands and climates they knew not
The Earth, the Sea, and Heaven’s Knot

As Conn’s Own Heart the boy first known
Explorer, Roamer, Viking son

Strong and tall he sprang, well-grown
To wander waves beneath the sun

Adventures deep and dangers dire
He chased full round the earth and seas

Disaster overtook his sire
As heir to father did accede

Of myths and legends many sing
The Tales of Hale heroic ring…

THE TALES OF HALE AND THE VIKING CATS

Continuing on with the Tales of Hale and the Viking Cats. More entries on this story can be found in category, The Viking Cats. This is the first-part of the poetic section of the novel I am writing, the Viking Cats. The book will be a children’s book aimed primarily at young boys, aged 7 to 13 or so.

The Book is about the boy Hale, who is the son of an Explorer/Merchant Viking (not the raping, burning, pillaging kind), and his adventures traveling the world with his newly converted Christian father Conn. (At least until his father is killed and Hale must assume leadership of his exploratory/trading expedition.)

Hale however is a very strange lad. He is preternaturally strong and uncannily intelligent and inquisitive and it is discovered later in the story that Conn’s father made a strange deal with God prior to Hale’s birth to give his son a unique Wyrd, which will follow him for the rest of his life and will fashion for him a peculiar and unforeseen fate.

Hale is also accompanied by three enchanted Viking Cats who are both his close companions and oftentimes his rescuers or guardians. Many other bizarre things will occur throughout the course of the book as Hale and his crew and cats wander the wide world.

The book will be divided into two sections. The first part will be the prose story, or the Proeric Tale. The second part will be the poetic section, and will be a poetic retelling of the prose story with certain variants in the storyline, and it will, of course, be presented in verse as a semi-Skaldic or Scopic song meant to be sung upon the lyre or the lute.

THE VESSEL BETOKENED – from ANASTASIS

“While you have grown and groaned with sweetest whispers,
and I have shaken like a ship upon storm tossed seas…”

As breasts have swelled with womanhood
As ankle encircled with gold and silver charm,
As lips have parted with liquid kiss
And past has passed all things remiss,
As curves have gentled, as flesh has warmed
As eyes of coal have fires borne,
As legs have wrapped me in embrace
As passion illuminates your face,
As hands do squeeze, as smiles report
To signal of your sure transport,
I feel as if we first did love
Woman of earth, spirit above,
A rain upon me in the heat
No lonely wind, but storm complete,
With hair all by this tempest blown
As we do grasp with equal moan
While we in lover’s passion gasp,
Our ship at sea is anchored fast.

More woman now in sweeter age
More full, more want, more love to rage,
And yet the fires wherewith you burn
Do complement me in my turn,
With uplifted face you signal me
And in your nakedness I see
Wife and lover, mother, friend,
Beyond that does your vision send
A currency I cannot spend,
For the commerce of our desperate hold
Cannot be reckoned, not retold,
Except for this, for this to say,
Tonight my woman as if the day
With coming morn could e’er announce
Your value now beyond recount,
Our ship at sea is anchored fast
Our treasured hold is deep and vast,
And yet of gold I could not count
The measure of your true amount,
More woman now than when first spent
My body borrowed, my heart is lent,
Wife and lover, mother, friend,
We sail this world until she ends.

(a love poem for my wife)

INFOGRAPHIC – SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR BOOKS

SECURE FOR SOME HAIL, SAIL SANS DELAY – a poem

SECURE FOR SOME HAIL, SAIL SANS DELAY

I have never yet failed in my failing when not
Trying to master the actions that wont
When warrant or custom or habit disclose
That I am inactive despite what I know,

Yet never has action without a good plan
Produced in my ventures an end in my hand
My going sans knowing has led me nowhere
Worth cost of my travels, or price of my dare,

If charting your course will assume all your time
You’ve none left for sailing, come reason or rhyme
Yet if you’ve no course and no harbor to plot
Who can then wonder you made it there not?

Some men are captains, and some take the wheel
Some work the rigging, and some craft the keel
All must cross waters deep, harsh, and dark
For that you can plan, thus less for the sharks,

But still will the storms unexpected arise
Some in the oceans and some in the skies
Look for good weather, but watch for the gales
Plan for safe passage, secure for some hail (hale, hell),

Good thoughts hurt nothing if the winds are all wrong
But rowing will turn you, and drive you along
Don’t tack at all angles with nary a care
For some lead to wrackage, and some to despair

Dead reckon assumptions wreck too many ships
Not preparing for action suits many a slip
Yet avoiding all battles by planning too much, and
Your prey is in dry-dock, a prize of the Dutch

I cannot in conscious tell you to do, without
Planning and training and thinking it through
But I can say to start just as soon as you’re fit
For the daring adventure is his who commits

FLIGHT AND FURY

A brief scene of combat between Marsippius Nicea (the de facto commander of the Byzantine special forces team the Basilegate) and a creature he has never before encountered.

This creature had been attempting to ambush Marsippius as he traveled alone through unknown territory but Marsippius observes him first and sets for personal combat.

From one of my Other World novels.

This is the second draft of this scene.

_________________________________________________

Marsippius bent his stave so fiercely that the bow seemed to double backwards like the horns of a fresh waxing moon, halving in height while multiplying many times in deadliness. He drew the shaft end all the way back past his furthest eyesight, feeling the soft fletching touch his ear like the passing wings of a fleet bird of prey at the final swoop. His left arm held steady being guided by the narrowing of his sight, the subtle turn of his stance, and the short hold of his breath. The spine of the shaft seemed perfectly still and straight, being of Eldeven make, and nearly perfect in heft and balance, and absolutely square and true in line. It was a killing shaft, an instrument of unfettered war and swift death, and he meant to use it as such, having been trained by the Sidèhl themselves in its best and most effective use. Both stave and shaft had been made for him, and he alone, presented as personal presents for his leal and long service to the Kitharians and the Samarl of Samarkand, and he had high faith in their making and great certainty in their sharpness and surety of purpose.

The creature came on in a rush, howling and growling all at once, its unnatural darkness and emanations of malice preceding it like an angry stormcloud swelled with preternatural fury. It ran in a lope, explosively at each new stride, seeming to leap both upwards and outwards to cover great distances as it moved in a bizarre, uncanny, and unsteady gait. Yet on it came, eerily but surely, 120 feet away, 100 feet away, 80 feet away, 60 feet away, and then Marsippius loosed his arrow. The shaft sped ahead a few feet into the open space before him, quivering and twisting in the air as it too lept forward uncannily, and then the shaft disappeared from sight as if Marsippius had loosed a thunderbolt, and not a crafted shaft of mortal make.

Marsippius saw nothing of the arrow’s flight but the shaft reappeared almost instantly, buried deep within the monstrous folds of fat and muscle that were the thing’s lower belly. It howled anew, grunted ferociously, twisted in its wild careen, fell sidelong with its massive and hairy arms outstretched to try and absorb the blow it would feel as it crashed to the broken ground in a wreck. The black soil churned when it struck, and a cloud of dark debris exploded violently at the impact. The thing rolled catastrophically, filling the air with guttural and awful noises, and screaming unknown curses in an unknown tongue. If it was a tongue, and not the signaled sound of diseased damnation spout out from the ugly mouth of hell. The creature rolled out lengthwise and then stopped moving.
Yet only for a moment.

Then it twisted away from the earth as if the ground underneath offended it, stood to one knee, and ponderously, painfully, used its powerful hands and forearms to rise once more to its monstrous height.

Marsippius bent forward slightly and quickly plucked another upright arrow from the ground where he had placed five more silver shafts before him. He nocked the new arrow, drew once more, and lowered his aim upon the hard gasping but still living thing.

The speed and momentum of its crash and fall had cast it forward towards Marsippius even farther than perhaps its loping run might have, save for the momentary pause as it stopped to rise and examine itself and the severity of its wound. Barely more than thirty feet now separated the Roman soldier from the obscene and unnatural beast – the thing, the monster, whatever it might in truth really be.

Marsippius could see the slick and slimy foam fleck upon its bloody and crusted lips, and a sort of black ichor was seeping from the terrible wound left by the arrow the Roman had shot deep into it. The fall and roll had shattered the Eldeven shaft, leaving only a few splintered shards of dirty debris still protruding from the gape that the crash had made by gouging out an even bigger and more vile tear in whatever this thing called flesh. Marsippius reasoned, or perhaps hoped, that the fall had not only broken the Sidhelic shaft and torn the wound too wide to heal, but had perhaps driven the remaining end of the shaft and arrow head deep into its bowels, therefore assuring it bled to death in time, or eventually killed the creature with a black infection grown from its own foulness and rot.

The creature stood erect again, but then bent forward, heaving to breathe, its dreadful and reddened, bulging orbs fixed upon the Roman like the terrible eyes of venomous serpents spawned in the torture pits of the far Orient. Marsippius could see the thing debating with itself – would it try and close the gap between them as quickly as possible, risking another wound like the terrible one it now suffered? Or would it turn and attempt a reckless and wholesale flight hoping the Roman could not shoot it twice with the same skill and near lethal effect?

Marsippius for his part considered that if he shot again and missed he might not have enough time to make a good third shot before the thing was upon him, and in his own mind he rehearsed his next actions in sequence, as his training and experience had taught him to imagine and prepare for each engagement. First he would fire, and kill the thing or not, he would then draw his Spatha from its sling along his back and await the charge of the monster, hoping that in its fury or desperation he could spy a spot to drive his blade so deeply and true that the shock and force would prevent a counter-attack, and do the thing swiftly to death. In his mind Marsippius was practiced, cold, watchful, and wary, as his years of combat and warfare had taught him to be when faced with great danger, but in his heart he knew that if the creature took him in its grasp it might very well rip him to pieces as a man might pull apart the soft limbs of a roasted hare well before he might hope to kill it.

So the Roman aimed for the center of the beast, at its deep barreled and protruding breast, focusing his attention so absolutely that he saw nothing else but what he imagined to be the misshapen and misbeaten heart of the fearsome creature. Hearing nothing but the ragged breathing of the beast as it struggled to catch its breath and overmaster the agony of its vicious wound. If it came on he would place another shot with all his skill and the full fury of his toxon, and if it fled he would exchange its rounded chest for its flat and wide back as the target of his aim.

Almost as if sensing what he thought the creature turned sideways, making itself a much smaller target than before and momentarily confusing the soldier’s aim. It also almost assured that even if Marsippius hit him squarely, it would likely not be a lethal wound, since unless struck in the head or neck the thing’s cobbled and disordered armor or his thick muscled chest, thighs, or arms would most likely absorb the greater part of the damage of the shot. Marsippius therefore refocused his aim, for he still meant to either partially cripple or hobble the creature, but he now suspected he could not kill it with but another single shaft. He also now wondered if the thing might hope to stand still long enough to exhaust his bow arm, attempting thereafter to dodge or deflect his shaft, then come rushing on with whatever strength it might have left intending to overpower Marsippius in close combat. Again the Roman practiced in his mind what he would do next; fire, draw his blade, await the charge, and strike his best blow, or if the thing avoided his shot and then took to flight, whether to pursue or try to shoot him again as he fled.

Marsippius waited, but the thing shifted not again, and even seemed to calm, to relax, to gain mastery of its breath and pain to such a degree that it seemed to become more inanimate stone than living thing. Marsippius resisted the urge to shoot until he felt both his arms begin to quiver slightly, and fearing that exhaustion at the long draw might weaken him at sword-arm should combat become necessary, he relaxed monetarily, caught his breath, and loosed.

The shaft hummed warmly as it took flight, quivered, sped like a flash of lightning, and disappeared. It seemed to Marsippius that the shaft flew entirely true but the creature was cunningly crooked, or else some unnoticed witchcraft was hard at work as the arrow sped, for the flight went awry and clearly missed its mark. This time Marsippius thought to himself, the thing was ready, and not arrogant and reckless in attack. It now knows I am dangerous, it now will be doubly so.

Marsippius cast his bow aside, reached down and slung his shield to his left, sliding his hand and forearm into the bracings and setting himself for the coming fight. He reached behind him and swiftly drew his Spatha, the weapon of his youth and the ancient heirloom of his command. Having been recently recast by Eldeven art at the request of the Samarl it seemed to both shiver and shimmer in the noonday sun, but the creature came on again covered in grim and grimy gore, hot with renewed fury and bent on unholy vengeance. It met the Roman’s bright blade with a darkness it cast out from itself. If there was to be any further flight, thought Marsippius, then it would be because one of them fled this world entirely and for the very last time.

SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA GOD-DAMN IT TO SAVE IT…

I could not agree more with this post on Novel Rocket. The modern definition of what is considered Christian is extremely narrow and restrictive and small. It tends to completely ignore evil in a misguided and juvenile attempt to be always clean, happy, pure, and safe (especially supposedly pure and safe) while completely ignoring the fact that the World is rarely that way.

I call it Cotton Candy Christianity. A pansified, effeminate, wholly emasculated Christianity. A naïve attempt to see the World (and Man) as they wish, not the world (or Man) as it/he actually is. An attempt to make the world a world of talk shows and quaint diplomacy and and polite, watery conversations and wish fulfillment instead of what it really often is, a world of brutality and struggle and barbarism and bloodshed. But you cannot cure bloodshed with spilt ink, or curses with vapid, watery conversations and quotes about how everything will be okay in the end. A real disease requires a real Cure, not just a pretty dialogue. Everyone today wants their “Voice to be heard,” but I’ll be damned if anyone has anything much worth listening to about how damned this world really is. Or what should be done about it as a result.

Christ was a man, and all man at that. He didn’t fear evil, he ran at it. Went for the throat of it. He struggled, he fought, he was unafraid of what he faced and did not seek to shelter himself from it, the people around him, or the realities of the world he lived in. He shed his own blood and faced great physical torment and execution not to produce a feel-good story about how evil and injustice was really just a pleasant pastel-colored little tale of psychosocial misunderstanding, or that human sin and wrongdoing was really just a song of sixpence everyone could afford to sing in the shower.

He showed that evil and sin and wrong-doing and death and injustice must eventually be chased down, engaged, wrestled to the ground, strangled, and buried.

That kind of thing takes a man’s effort, a truly manly effort, regardless of whether you are a man, a woman, or a child. Yet today many people are far, far too accommodating (to all the wrong things) and soft for what is actually required.

They are more offended by harsh and brutally honest talk than they are by bloodshed, murder, rape, terrorism, malignancy, and evil. You can automatically offend a lot of modern Christians with a single profane word (that will stick deep in his craw, and his memory), but let him see countless examples of murder, rape, terrorism, slavery, and tyranny and he is more momentarily “saddened and shocked and distressed” than he is angered or offended or moved to action. (God forbid he should ever be moved to real action…) I don’t know what you call that but I don’t call it anything resembling real manhood, much less any form of spiritual righteousness. Or effectiveness.

Oh yes, the secular society cusses a lot, probably a lot too much, but never at the right things. Only about self-absorbed things. But the modern Christian is so God-damned entirely self-absorbed and soft in the middle that they can’t God Damn anything, especially those things that God just naturally deans. And that’s exactly why the world is so God Damned. The secular man thinks God-damn means nothing (it doesn’t, it means something very specific and real and important), but the Christian, the poor little modern Christian thinks the world means so little it won’t even bother to God Damn it to save it. It’s pathetic and effeminate in both directions, but if you ask me, it’s especially pathetic of the Christians who are at least supposed to have a Real Mission in this world. Most of us sure as hell don’t, of course, but we’re sure as hell supposed to, or sure as hell Hell is certain.

Today’s Christianity, especially the Christianity of the West, is that of a naïve, sheltered, spoiled juvenile who cannot and does not want to understand evil or see the world as it is – yet Christians and others who live in Syria and Iraq and Africa and Pakistan and the Middle East, and Central America, many parts of Asia and Central America, they know an altogether different world.

And an altogether different from of Christianity and manhood.

Words are but wind but here in the West the wind is composed entirely of words rarely worth the speaking. We warm ourselves with entirely ineffective and insubstantial words that comfort ourselves in our moments of petty personal distress, but Real Words we never speak.

Here, because we are sheltered like little children, we live like little children. Here our tales are all of the fables of Fairy Land where no harm comes to call and all dwell forever in an artificial and unreal paradise we make for ourselves. Naturally (or preternaturally – take your pick), as a result, even our literature is anemic, naïve, and unfailingly puny.

We insistently and persistently see an unreal world, we talk endlessly of an unreal world, we greatly desire an unreal world, yet we do nothing to truly change the Real World for the better.

Until all of that changes neither will we.

 

7 Christian Classics that Could Not Be Published in Today’s Christian Market

 

I guest posted at Speculative Faith a couple years back, and my article Why Fiction is the Wrong Vehicle for Theology garnered some lively, if not predictable, responses. One of my favorite comments was from Melissa Ortega (read it HERE) in which she rattled off “classic novels” that DO contain some heavy theological elements. She writes:

There are few books that sermonize more than Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables or his Hunchback of Notre Dame. Charles Dickens sermonizes a great deal in A Christmas Carol. G.K. Chesterton’s Napolean of Notting Hill is as Free Will vs. Destiny type of story as one can get. And who can forget his Man Who Was Thursday? with its sermon at the end on becoming, ourselves, the Accuser? The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is an inside-out sermon that preaches on a multitude of sins….from Hell’s point of view, of course. And the Great Divorce steps on very, very specific toes every third paragraph at least…