Little patches of “Wool”?

“Wool” has me and plenty of other self-pubbed writers itching to know if serialized stories are the way to go.

Four-minute clip on AOL:–517693672

Several fascinating things: first is his long-term success as a self-published author. Second was S & S’s concession on the digital rights. I know they’re going to push the print copy hard to get a return on their investment, but seeing as most of Mr. Howey’s money was made from e-copies, that’s A LOT of money they’re waving goodbye to.

Lastly, I picked up the Omnibus a couple months ago, and while the story is solid enough, it’s nothing brilliant or original. I’m happy for the guy, glad he’s rewarded for writing what he enjoys. I mean, at the end of the day, what do I know, right? I’m not fielding big money Big House offers.

I know the story and writing needs to be decent (or sometimes not) but this rags-to-riches tale has me wondering if serialized, uncomplicated thrillers are the way to go.

Like on TV.

Faith to Blame

Imam: Because you do not believe in God does not mean God does not believe in – .
Riddick: Think someone could spend half their life in a slam with a horse bit in their mouth and not believe? Think he could start out in some liquor store trash bin with an umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and not believe? Got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God… And I absolutely hate the fucker.
Riddick in ‘Pitch Black’

Actually, my first memory of God-blame in Spec Fiction was decades ago in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever. The Riddick quote is there only for pith’s sake. (And that I’m an otherwise fan)

There’s a long, tired tradition of characters crowing against the Creator from the moral high-ground of their personal indignation over injustice, suffering and horror. I stumbled across another just last night, in fact.

My issue wasn’t so much it’s presence, (like I said, it’s a common-enough trope) but that it was so blatantly disingenuous. The novel’s mythology/theology centered around the unspecified but nonetheless ‘strict’ worship of a Goddess, with a stereotypical cruel, hypocritical clergy manipulating a naive, devout flock. Then prior to a dramatic confrontation, our rugged hero launched into a soliloquy castigating God (male deity) as a lunatic Creator consenting to horrific exploitation in his name, somehow directly responsible for a personal tragedy, and who’s generally complicit in all suffering and anguish.

Wait… what?

Look, I get Theodicy and the ancient question of the existence of evil. People with intimate experiences, people who have confronted evil ask a profound and valid question. My heart can’t handle the everyday tragedies paraded on the news, let alone those that never make the top of the hour. My concerns here is with characters who otherwise ignore, despise, and disobey “God”, mock faith and devotion, yet throw Him up against the wall with impassioned fervency the instant tragedy strikes. They obviously ‘believe’, (why rage against a non-existent entity?) but God is their whipping boy, their scapegoat, an ironic justification for atheism.

Perhaps I’m being hyper-sensitive. Or getting snarky over inconsistent plot and characterization. What do I expect from a cheap, easy read by a non-believing author? Maybe I need to lighten up.

My problem is the gymnastics of self-justification. Flaccid logic posing as intellectually rigorous integrity, meaninglessness touted as profundity. I’m weary of the double-standard that approves certain ‘definite worldview statements’ yet denounces orthodox devotion as superstition. I’m tired of empty victories over straw men. I’m tired of faith enough to blame accompanied by recalcitrant conceit that won’t own it’s own decisions.

All the more reason to keep faith and Christianity explicit in my own work.

My studies in Speculative philosophy, metaphysics, and science are all summed up in the image of a mouse called man running in and out of every hole in the Cosmos hunting for the Absolute Cheese.– Benjamin DeCasseres