Stories

Berserk and the MCU

I watched Avengers Infinity War last August and then wrote this post but totally forgot about it. There’re trailers for Endgame coming out now and it reminded me to actually finish what I started, so here we go. I actually enjoyed Infinity War, I thought it had a great story and it balanced it’s massive cast of characters really well. The ending had the sort of somber gut punch that I've only found in one other series, Berserk. I know a anime from the early 2000's doesn't seem like it would have a lot in common with the latest Marvel Comic Universe film, but just bare with me and I'll bring it home. 

I'm not shy about the fact that I've moved away from comic book movies over the past few years. It's not just the fact that I was a massive comic nerd in my younger days, and the shift of nerdy interests becoming mainstream irked me to no end. My interests becoming popular doesn't make up for the thousands spent on therapy bills from the days when they weren't popular. No, it's also because I’ve just become burnt out on comic movies. Hugh Jackman was Wolverine for seventeen years! That's a long time to be invested in a character... and for a while it looked like there would be no pay off to that investment. 

We first met Wolverine on the big screen in the year 2000. To put that in perspective, the Twin Towers were still standing when Hugh Jackman first popped his claws. I remember that they actually had to change the first Spider-Man movie because originally he'd caught some criminals in a web between the towers and they'd just been destroyed in real life. That's how long ago these films started appearing, they’re older than the War on Terror. It took them seventeen years, but Wolverine finally died in 2017 in one of the best Marvel films to date. 

Time defiantly took it’s toll…

Time defiantly took it’s toll…

I haven't seen any Captain America films, I never saw Doctor Strange, I haven't seen any of the TV series and the only Thor movie I've seen is Thor Ragnarok. I have watched the Avengers films though, because that's where it all seems to be coming together. The first Avengers film came out in 2012, and if you want to get technical then the first film about an Avenger came out in 2008 with Iron Man. That's 10 years from Iron Man to Avengers Infinity War, which is one hell of an investment in these characters. 

Avengers Infinity Wars was already great, but when Thanos snapped his fingers at the end it went into overdrive. All the characters we'd invested in over the years; Bucky, Black Panther, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Drax, Quill, Spider-Man... they all disintegrated. And their deaths were indicative of what was going on not only all across earth, but all across the universe. Half of the universe's population was disintegrated in an instant, and we experienced that through the loss of these named characters we've invested so much in. 

It’s always interesting seeing how characters act when they mix with characters from different series - how do all the different dynamics work out?

It’s always interesting seeing how characters act when they mix with characters from different series - how do all the different dynamics work out?

I've only passably been paying attention to these movies for a while now. I’d go to the cinema if someone else wanted to, but otherwise I just watched them on the small screen. Even with my own half level of interest, the death of all these characters was executed in such a supreme fashion that it still left me stunned. Black Panther disintegrating as he goes to help Okoye. Rocket staggering over to Groot as he dies, again. Stark futilely asking quill to stay as he's already vanishing, and then having to watch Peter Parker, who had basically become his surrogate son by this point, fall apart in his arms. And finally, Captain America gasping "oh, god" as he realizes the greater implications of their failure to stop Thanos. 

It was fantastic, and it's got me hooked for Endgame later this year. My only issue is that I know that all these characters will come back by the end of that film. Comic creators have this issue with not letting their creations stay dead; death is more of a break than a true end for comic book characters. That's my issue with all of this, this fantastically impactful end to Infinity War is going to be undercut and undone by the next movie. On its own, Infinity War is a great story about failure and its costs, but as part of a series it doesn't even matter. If all these characters are going to be brought back, why not bring back Gamora, Loki, Odin, Quicksilver, Killmonger, Wolverine, Heimdall, Peter Parkers parents... the list goes on. If you can bring back some, why not others?

It reminds me of the artificial hype-train around Negan; it’s the real world delay between the end of one movie and the start of the next that creates the tension. But when you watch them back to back, you realize that it’s instantly resolved. How many modern films/shows rely on false hype to carry their stories?

It reminds me of the artificial hype-train around Negan; it’s the real world delay between the end of one movie and the start of the next that creates the tension. But when you watch them back to back, you realize that it’s instantly resolved. How many modern films/shows rely on false hype to carry their stories?

So, Avengers Infinity War did it pretty damn well, but it's going to be undone later on. A series that got it right, however, is Berserk. I started watching this anime back in 2003, where the six DVD's were released in Australia a month apart. I loved the first few episodes so much that I actually watched everything I had all over again in the week leading up to the release of the next DVD. So by the time the final DVD came out, I'd seen the first four episodes six times, the second four episodes five times, the third four episodes four times... and so on. 

Berserk - hunt down the  original  anime series.

Berserk - hunt down the original anime series.

Needless to say, that at the end of the six months, I was fairly invested in these characters. And I don't want to go into too much detail here, because this is going to get it's own blog post at some point... but in the last episode someone pulls a dick-move and pretty much everyone else is killed in a single, horrific event. I literally sat there on floor in front of the television, mouth agape, just staring as the credits began to roll. It was the craziest thing I had ever seen. If all stories are an effort to get you to feel something, then Berserk was a prime example of a successful story. It got you invested in all these main characters and side characters... then in one fell swoop they're slaughtered in the most brutal of fashions. And then it ended. The world continued, obviously, but that was the end of the series.

Such a dick…

Such a dick…

A key component of this is that it didn't feel contrived or forced. Marvel got this right with Infinity War too - as much as it was a horrifying ending, it was still a satisfying end to the story. It hurts but it still makes sense because it feels like the natural progression of the characters involved. In both Infinity War and Berserk, it feels like the mass slaughter at the end is the only place that it could have ended up. You can look back at the story in hindsight and realize that it was never going to end anywhere else, all the choices and all the mistakes were leading up to that single event.

I'm not even sure I want to see Endgame, simply because of the fantastic end of Infinity War that it’s going to undo. But I know that it's getting made and I know I'll probably just happen to see it eventually. In closing though, if you’re looking for a great series to sink your teeth into then check out Berserk. I’ll do a write up of it later on, at some point.

Zombie Apocalypse

I've watched a few Zombie Apocalypse movies recently, which is something I wouldn't have done a few years back. Typically, historically, zombie films have been the same - a shambling homogeneous horde of unoriginality. But recently, there have been a few stand outs that have... sorry for this, breathed life into the genre. 

The Girl with all the Gifts  - an original take on the zombie apocalypse, with only one real bit of narrative silliness.

The Girl with all the Gifts - an original take on the zombie apocalypse, with only one real bit of narrative silliness.

The Girl with all the Gifts, The Cured, Cargo, & Maggie are all fresh takes on a tired genre. Although there are often action scenes in them, they are zombie movies after all, they're far more thoughtful and character driven narratives. While in older zombie films the story has often revolved around fighting against the undead hordes, in these latest films they're more rightly relegated to the background. 

Ellen Page lives with a reformed Zombie... before life turn to shit, as life is want to do.

Ellen Page lives with a reformed Zombie... before life turn to shit, as life is want to do.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think The Walking Dead is to thank for this. Not the comic either, the TV show. While TWD isn't that great itself, at the very least it's kept zombies squarely in the public's gaze for coming up on eight years now. That is no small feat, especially considering that zombies were once considered a cult niche-interest at best. But with their increased popularity there are now creators, for film as well as for novels and games, who are able to use zombies for more in-dept narratives.

I don't know why they couldn't have gotten an Australian lead, but the cast, setting and story were fantastic.

I don't know why they couldn't have gotten an Australian lead, but the cast, setting and story were fantastic.

Look at The Last of Us and the upcoming Days Gone, both a high budge story-driven games with zombies at their cores. That never would have happened over a decade ago. Before this, the best we got were action games like Dead Island or Dead Rising - asinine zombie slaughter simulators with bare bone stories... man, the zombie puns are running thick here. We're still getting sequels to those games, because they make money, but amid the turds we're finally getting some gold.

It was good to see Arnold in a less macho, less hamfisted role. 

It was good to see Arnold in a less macho, less hamfisted role. 

My point is, as much as I loved TWD comics, I have to give credit to where credit is due and compliment the TV series on what it's done for the genre. Zombies are one of those creatures that are a fantastic at delivering subtle messages, and unlike Vampires or Werewolves they age really well. With each passing decade humanity faces new threats and develops new fears, and zombies are right there to help us explore those threats and fears.

 

Equality in Television

Ever tried to run through a mine field while you're being chased by a tidal wave of lions and tigers and bears... and also your hair is on fire? Well, for me, that's what writing this piece has been like. I'd like to get to the other side unscathed, but in all likelihood I'm going to get pretty fucked up.

There's been a trend in television shows of late that are targeted directly at women and lauded as the pinnacles of equality and shining examples of what all shows should be like. The problem is, beyond the fact that I've actually sat down and watched a few of them, that they're nothing of the sort. They're just as sexist and reductive as every other television show in history, just in the opposite direction.

For the purposes of this piece, I'll be discussing two shows and a movie in particular - Orange is the New Black, Wynonna Earp and Wonder Woman. Before you pop a gasket and start pissing liquid outrage, I've seen 4 Seasons of OitNB and the first season of WE and obviously I've seen Wonder Woman. I know there's more seasons of the shows out there of either but I live in Australia, where dvd's take ages to be released and all the good pirating channels have been blocked. So, it'll have to do!

My problem with these shows is that they're always regarded as morally superior to shows that have traditionally had male leads, or a focus on male dominated life. But if you actually sit down and watch them, you'll find them pretty uncomfortable if you're a guy because you're constantly seeing individuals that you identify with being vilified or sidelined. It wouldn't be such an issue if they weren't touted as being more inclusive and simply better... because they're not. It's the exact same shit, just targeted at a different audience. 

I might as well get this out of the way early so I can get a healthy streak of negativity going on afterwards. Seeing these shows has actually inspired me to become a better writer. I can't imagine what it must have been like for women over the past half century as they watched television, seeing their entire gender relegated to the background and given absurd roles that only exist to pump up the male lead's story lines. Seeing this new generation of television however, I get an idea of how uncomfortable it must have been, because now it's happening to men as well. The problem is, doing a complete 180 turn doesn't solve the problem, it's just the same shit with a new direction. I'm all for a series that's about equality, but actual equality, not social justice revenge where women finally get their own back after being oppressed for so long. 

So, I guess, some good has actually come from these shows. For me, at least. They make me uncomfortable and I'd hate to see all of media go in this direction, so I'm definitely going to do my part to be a better storyteller. Again, not because I'm a bleeding heart Lefty but because I want complex and interesting stories - and a fully fleshed out cast of men *and* women, is the best way to achieve that.

Okay, onto the negativity! 

Orange is the New Black always bugged me, it's a show that's clearly about women. We've had plenty of shows that have primarily female casts before, that's never been an issue, I watched Charmed and Buffy back in the day and loved them both. (Totally crushed on Holly Marie Combs btw...) But OitNB is a show that casts females specifically as protagonists, and as a natural result of this men must take the role of antagonists. 

All women is fine, but it's as far from equality as you can get...

All women is fine, but it's as far from equality as you can get...

Every male in the show is some sort of villain that exists solely to act as an opponent or hindrance to the female characters. George "Pornstache" Mendez is the vile and corrupt prison guard who abuses his authority and takes advantage of the female inmates. John Bennett is a guard who is portrayed as a coward, for leaping from a grenade while on tour, to having an injury that isn't as heroic as it could be, and finally from running from his responsibilities as a father. Joel Luschek is the drug using, alcoholic loser who runs the prison mechanical shop. Sam Healy was the prison social worker who was blatantly sexist, racist and homophobic and ends up having a mental breakdown due to an unbelievably shitty childhood. Joe Caputo is the quintessential "nice guy" who gets treated like shit because it's his own fault. Scott O'Neil is a big, fat dumbass. Cal Chapman is the primary protagonist's deadbeat hippie brother. Charlie "Donut" Coates rapes a prisoner because he has a weird demented crush on her. Desi Piscatella is a sociopathic torturer who is gay, but not because that makes him a more well rounded character but because that makes him immune to the feminine wiles of the female inmates and thus a more difficult opponent for them to overcome. 

"I like cock as well... you have no power here!"

"I like cock as well... you have no power here!"

All these male characters are fucking horrific, I would hate to be a little boy watching this show and seeing that this is what men have to be like. I'd hate to have a son who watched this show with his mother, only for his mother to state that this is what men are really like. I didn't even list off all the random background prison guards who are sadistic ex-servicemen, there's just too many of them! Do people not know how hard it is to be a prison guard in real life? Do they think it's just for college drop-outs and undercover psychopaths? 

There is one sympathetic male character who you could possibly side with, but then he randomly kills an inmate because the actor who portrays her got a job offer on *another* show about how bad females have it. (Samira Wiley jumped ship to go board The Handmaid's Tale, I'll get into that mess in another piece.) There's not one single male character in this show that you can side with, they all exist simply to be opponents to the female characters. 

The question I have about this is, when has there ever been a TV show where females have been cast in direct opposition to the male protagonists? I will freely admit that female representation and the roles that women can play in television hasn't been great, not even good, but they've never been systematically cast as the villains because of the simple fact that they're women.

I get that we need to be better in the content that we create, but OitNB isn't a show about equality or equal representation. It's a show that's even more sexist than almost any other show that I can think of, to the extreme, and the worst part is that it's posing as a progressive narrative.

Wynonna Earp is basically a shit version of Supernatural combined with Charmed, it's a Weird Western story about the great great granddaughter of famous American lawman - Wyatt Earp. I have less of a problem with this series because it's not about women vs men, instead it's just a show about women, targeted towards women, and tends be executed pretty poorly. 

We get it... you've got a really phallic firearm.

We get it... you've got a really phallic firearm.

Wynonna is shown to be an alcoholic run away with a history of mental illness, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity and criminal activity. She returns home to find she's got a destined role to play in saving the day from some really lame demons. Along the way she gets tangled up with the immortal Doc Holliday, who was stupidly stuck down a well for the past century, and the stone faced Deputy Marshal Xavier Dolls - and of course, a love triangle evolves. Also, Wynonna has a younger sister who ends a relationship with a deadbeat guy and starts up a bisexual relationship with a female deputy called Officer Haught (literally pronounced "hot.")

The series is full of quirky little bits of sexual innuendo and all the primary male cast members are fully supportive of their female leads. Despite the fact that one of them is immortal, and the other is an ex-military monster of some sort, both supportive male leads are only ever fully effective when the women aren't around. The second Wynonna is on scene, these guys who are meant to be the best of the best suddenly turn into whimpering and ineffectual losers. Which, I get on a creative level because you can't have side characters out-shining your protagonist. It's just that this is a problem when they're ultimate badasses while along, but they become useless the second there's a vagina around.

I'm not the only one who sees that this makes no sense, right? Do they both have some sort of weakness to estrogen or something? Tone down both extremes and it stops being an issue, make them less badass on their own and less pathetic when they're around the female lead.

There's also this really odd scene where a guy has been killed by some sort of succubus duo, and he's been torn apart and is hanging from the rafters of a shed in his boxers. The only thing Wynonna says is "Should have kept your pants on..." and just walks past his corpse. Like, that's an innocent dude who's been killed by demons, and your only reaction is to make a joke about his death? Pretty sure that's a quintessential example of Victim Blaming right there. Can you imagine the uproar there would be if there was a show with a male cop who found a dead female on the side of the road in her underwear, and the only thing the cop said was "should have kept your pants on..."

And the worst part about Wynonna Earp is that the whole series makes this really overt attempt to justify and validate Wynonna's sexual history. She ends up shagging Doc Holliday, the century old immortal bad boy, before making out with Deputy Marshal Dolls right at the end. It's this absurd female fantasy of getting to fuck the bad boy and then settling down with the reliable guy who is totally accepting of your laundry list of sexual partners, one of which is a close associate of theirs. It's absolute absurdity, the world doesn't work like that. But of course, because it's targeted at women, it's got this ridiculously romanticized "have your cake and eat it too" message to it.

They both take her to a ball... wish fulfillment much?

They both take her to a ball... wish fulfillment much?

It's exactly the same as the doubebag guy who shags the town bicycle for a while before ditching her to settle down with the homely girl next door.... just in reverse. That's not equality, that's just equally unequal! 

Straight laced, by the books, ex-military types like Deputy Marshal Dolls don't fall for ex-drug addicted, alcoholic "party girls" like Wynonna Earp. It's sending this insanely damaging message to young women that they can fuck around as hard and as fast as they want, and then Mr. Right will totally be waiting for them when they're done. Now, note, this isn't me saying that women shouldn't be allowed to fuck around, because I'm not saying that at all. You wanna get dicked till your heart's content, by all means - go for it, because this is not about slut-shaming or anything like that. What I'm saying is that it's absurd to think that you can do all that and then also expect a knight in shining armor to be waiting for you at the finish line.

Women don't like guys who sleep around, guys don't like girls who sleep around either. We need to put this shit to bed, because no matter how movies and TV shows try to convey it as true, it doesn't work like in that in real life in either direction. 

There are other shows that have been reported to be in similar vein as this, Marvel's Jessica Jones comes to mind, but I've never actually watched that. I haven't actually watched any of the Marvel TV series, primarily because I'm fucking sick of super hero content but also because they often turn out to be pretty shitty. When I heard that Jessica Jones was all about Jessica being this strong and independent woman who talks shit and gets to stare at a shirtless Luke Cage for most of the series, I pretty much deleted all mention of it from my brain. 

I did go out and buy a copy of Wonder Woman though, because I heard nothing but rave reviews about it. I was expecting something great, but it was in the similar vein to OitNB and Wynonna Earp. Albeit, to a far lesser extent. I loved the action, the story line was pretty damn good, but the film was clearly targeted at women. There were little quips here and there that constantly reminded me that I'm a dude and that I'm not entirely welcome here. I will state that the male cast members were much more well rounded in Wonder Woman than those other series, they were consistent and well thought out. And there was a pretty awesome female villain as well, so it wasn't a blatant 'man vs female' set up. 

Every character had a great backstory and decent characterization, there were only a few minor issues here.

Every character had a great backstory and decent characterization, there were only a few minor issues here.

Now, this is where I've got to make the ridiculous announcement that shouldn't be, but totally is, necessary. I don't hate women, I don't have a problem with women having their own shows and I don't want to go back to the good old days of women being relegated to the kitchen. I just want better shows, shows that espouse *real* equality, not just shows that're about man-bashing because it's the in-vogue thing to do right now. I want shows that have complex male and female characters, not shows with one or the other. 

As much as I hate sucking on the Whedon dick, Buffy and Firefly were both great examples of this. Men and women on equal footing, working together and getting shit done. Firefly had a strong warrior woman and her more peace loving husband, totally loved that. The original Aliens series was fucking fantastic, that had a female lead and they didn't need to wax on all poetic-like or make rapid-fire quips about how superior women were to men, it just had a female lead and got on with it. Dark Matter was a little sci-fi series that got three seasons out before it was cancelled. Great cast, men and women, badasses all. 

The ladies in blue and black could each kill everyone else single handed, nobody ever made a big deal about it.

The ladies in blue and black could each kill everyone else single handed, nobody ever made a big deal about it.

I loved that Tauriel was added to The Hobbit, she was an absolute fucking badass. Also, seeing Galadriel bust out into Witch-Queen mode was awesome, Gandalf was getting his arse handed to him until she showed up. Two damn powerful female characters, zero issues. Hell, I would have been happy with more!

Tauriel was an absolute badass who gave Legolas a run for his money!

Tauriel was an absolute badass who gave Legolas a run for his money!

We need better stories, because the stories we've got now are lame, with blatantly obvious political leanings that cater directly to the current populist trend. Supporting minorities is the cool new thing, so lets all support and raise them up by BUILDING A PILE OF STRAIGHT WHITE MALE CORPSES FOR THEM TO STAND UPO-

No.  

Casting men as the villains tells young men that they can only be villains, and teaches young women to fear men. Showing women doing whatever they want and then getting Mr.Right is telling young women that they can do what they want without consequences, which just isn't how the world works. We need better shows with better messages, otherwise we're going to end up with a generation of kids with a really fucked up view of how the world works and how they fit into it. We know that depictions of television can have negative impacts on peoples self-perceptions, especially young people. 

I don't want shows that cater to men's warped view of reality just as much as I don't want shows that cater to women's warped view of reality. I want realistic shows, with nuanced and diverse characters in multi-layered narratives, that everyone can enjoy. I don't want us all to drift off into our own little TV worlds that drag us down different rabbit holes to the point where nobody recognizes a single reality anymore. We can still have shows and films that are for men or women, respectively, but we don't need to throw the other under the bus to make them work. 

Seriously, at this point, Resident fucking Evil has been a better series in terms of equality... and that series is absolute garbage! But it's got a whole host of strong female characters, including the lead, and none of them talk shit about men at any point. This trash zombie series is more inclusive than most modern television shows. Bravo, people...

How is it that *this* is the better option?!

How is it that *this* is the better option?!

Hope in the Post Apocalypse

The thing with post apocalyptic fiction is that, by its very nature, it's depressing as all hell. The whole world has ended, lives have been torn asunder, and depending on the scenario there could be zombies or radiation or aliens or plagues to deal with for the foreseeable future. You're generally in for a bleak time when you get into a post apocalyptic story. What kind of people actively seek out stories that are inherently dark, dreary, dismal and depressing? Well... that's a discussion for another day. 

The thing is though, all the best post apocalyptic stories know how to balance this bleak narrative with a spark of hope. Because as much as the world could possibly suck after it's ended, there has to be the possibility of things getting better one day. You can drag the audience through the shit and mud, and even kill their favorite characters, but at the very end there has to at least be the possibility that things will get better... someday. 

In The Road, the Man and The Boy face months of hardship as they journey south, trying to find a warmer climate to survive in. They come across cannibals, roaming bands of marauders and (in the book) they even come across a woman who gives birth to a child and then cooks it straight away... their journey is harrowing, to say the least. The Man is clearly sick, and after a short and pointless skirmish with some other travelers he is injured and after a while he can't travel any further. The Man dies, and just when it looks like the Boy will be left on his own in this bleakest of worlds - a whole family approaches him, and asks him to join them. 

The Boy meets the Motherly Woman.

The Boy meets the Motherly Woman.

In The Book of Eli, Eli has traveled across the irradiated ruins of the United States, guided by faith alone. He's been beaten and shot, he's dying, but with the help of Solara he's able to finally reach his destination. It looks like it's all been for naught, he lost what he was meant to bring with him, but it turns out he's carried it for so long that he knows it's every facet by heart. He dies, having finally completed his mission. And Solara, changed by her journey with Eli, sets out to return home, ready to be the change she's always wanted in the world.

Eli and Solara cross the water to their final destination - Alcatrasz. 

Eli and Solara cross the water to their final destination - Alcatrasz. 

In 28 Days Later, Jim woke up from a coma to find a world overrun with rage zombies (yeah, The Walking Dead totally stole the whole coma intro idea from 28 Days Later.) His family is dead, he's made friends and lost them and he's seen, and become, the worst that humanity has to offer. In an attempt to save the last of his friends, he's gravely wounded and it looks like he might die. In the last scene however, we see them all living peacefully together in the countryside and as a plane flies overhead we see Jim smile, despite it all. 

Pretty happy for a dude who lives in a world full of rage-infected zombies...

Pretty happy for a dude who lives in a world full of rage-infected zombies...

Finally, we come to The Divide. New York gets nuked and a bunch of people cram in to a fallout shelter under an apartment building. What follows is 122 minutes of the bleakest shit you've ever seen. The characters are trapped down in that bunker and they turn into monsters, they kill and rape one another, and as a few of them get radiation poising they all start physically decaying as well. Eventually the protagonist manages to escape the bunker into the outside world, and just when you think things might start to look better.

Nope.

Nope.

We see the gray and crumbling ruins of the New York cityscape, with not another living thing in sight. She's finally escaped that little hell beneath the ground, only to discover that there's absolutely nothing above the surface... and then the film just ends. We get this defeated look upon her face and then the credits start rolling. It's absolutely crushing. I clearly love post apocalyptic fiction and I don't mind watching a movie again every few years, but I seriously doubt I have the emotional stamina to get through The Divide a second time. It's just so goddamn draining! 

And that's the thing, there has to be some kind of release. You can't put audience through the painful and oftentimes uncomfortable experience of a depressing story without at least giving them some kind of emotional pay off at the end. If the characters have managed to get all the way past the flesh eating corpses, past the mutated dogs, through the quagmire of radiation and beyond the death robots, then they have to find some sort of oasis that makes the whole fucking journey worth it. Not only for themselves, but for the audience as well. 

Even if they die at the end, they have to die for a purpose that has meaning. Because at the end of the story, the journey has to have been worth it.

My Current Writing Projects

I'm pretty good at procrastination, because my procrastination is quite productive and therefore easily justifiable. I like world-building, it's an easy way to "create" without actually creating any content for publication. This is a problem, especially for someone who'd like to get paid for this one day.

God, I hope being represented by Lisa doesn't become a thing for me... 

God, I hope being represented by Lisa doesn't become a thing for me... 

I am working on a few things though, and just to put everyone's minds at ease - today I'll give you all a brief overview of what I'm working on and at what stage of the project I'm at for each.

Unnamed Sequel - First, it has a title, like all the others, I'm just not listing it because of reasons. This work is a sequel to my first novel which I've been ashamed about for the longest of times, but of which I'm slowly coming around to. I haven't been ashamed because it's bad writing, I was ashamed because of the actual story it tells.

Old artwork done for the characters in the first book, they're good but I probably wont use them for anything. 

Old artwork done for the characters in the first book, they're good but I probably wont use them for anything. 

Don't bother searching my name to try and find it, I'll be re-releasing an updated version of it soon anyway, you can gawk and gasp at it later. The point is, there's a first draft of the sequel out there and it's currently being read by a mate of mine. It's part of a bigger career spanning plan of mine so as much as I'd like to move away from the original, I've got to work with what I've got and finish it.

CODE - Brissy Story - This is the big one that I've been working on since... late 2009, I think? It started out as just a short 20,000 story and it's grown into this massive narrative that is just the first part of a planned trilogy.

It's never a good time to write about the end of the world, so just get to it!

It's never a good time to write about the end of the world, so just get to it!

It's a first person journal, like all the best post apocalyptic stories are, and it centers around one guy and his view of the world and his place in it. It's set in Australia and deals with the whole world ending and how the survivors organize themselves afterwards. There's a bit going on in this one, primarily because it's the first of a trilogy and I need to lay the seeds here so they can pay off in book two and even three. 

This project is in the late late stages of development, I've been getting some graphic design done by a mate down south and artwork done by another mate up in Russia. Although I, and several of my very talented writer mates, have edited it something like 15 times over the years, I'm going to get to looked over by a professional before release. 

It's been a fucking expensive venture, but I think it's worth it. 

Brissy Story Companion - This has been requested by a few people, it's only going to be a novella - sources of inspiration for it are One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Metro 2033. It will deal with the events of one day, from a third person point of view, in relation to the larger project above and will focus on the surrounding characters. I currently have it outlined but haven't begun work on it yet.

All the plucky side characters from the main story need to have their time in the spotlight! 

All the plucky side characters from the main story need to have their time in the spotlight! 

Metanoia - Tales of Forlorn Liberty  - This is another big project that I've probably been putting together in the background for three to four years now. Anyone who follows my mate Weilard on Twitter has probably seen some of the covers he's drawn up for me. Yes, I'm the type of dumbass that got 36 covers drawn up before he'd even written the stories. Lesson learned, I won't be doing that again. On the bright side though, I met another artistic fan of the post apocalyptic genre and helped him live off his art for a while, so it's not all bad.

I'd insert an example of the covers for this, but they're so damn big that it'd take forever to load, so I'll just redirect you here to see them all. They're actually fantastic, and I'm not just saying that to brag, Weilard is an amazing artist and if you ever want to commission some post apocalyptic art - hit him up.

Anyway, this series will deal with the survivors of an end of the world scenario, as they learn to live in the new world and alongside one another. It's more about the social interaction between the people themselves, rather than the apocalyptic backdrop. The intended writing style has changed over the years and one of the main reasons it's taken me so long to even start writing is because I've had to read a pile of books for inspiration and direction. 

 

These are just the projects that I'm actively working on at the moment, and more details for each will be released as time goes on, but there's also a whole mess of other things going on too. I've got notepads (physical and digital) all over the place full of notes for specific story ideas - but these are the ones that I'm focusing on at the moment. My problem isn't lack of ideas or too little motivation, it's that I like to have everything planned out before I even start writing, and that is damn time consuming. 

I am working though, always working.