helping commies get to know knives
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Hoooweeee! It's time for another Bad Commie Book Review! I found an awesome stabber! This week's stabbing manual is: "Monument" by Ian Graham.
Now, as you know, I'm not some kind of pussy homosexual liberal commie. I'm a BAD commie. And, being a BAD commie, I like my "fantasy" books to have real heroes. Not some kind of retarded mongoloid diarrhetic weasel henpecked homicidal do-gooders. But the GOOD kind of hero. A Hero that goes around drunk, stabbing and cursing and getting beaten within an inch of his life. A Hero that murders communist thieves on sight. A Hero that steals and cheats and STABS commies right in the gut!
A BAD COMMIE HERO!
Ian Graham delivers! In addition to an excellent fantasy plot line, we get a HUMAN hero. Not a hero who is a retarded communist homosexual liberal from Venus. A REAL MAN! WITH LICE IN HIS BEARD AND A BROKEN NOSE! I DEMAND MORE! MORE MORE MORE!
You can read the first chapter of the book here.
There is an excellent interview with the author here.
Were there any themes you wanted to explore – the character of Ballas, for instance, is certainly not your run-of-the-mill fantasy hero!
I didn't start writing Monument with a pre-determined set of themes. Rather, the themes presented themselves as the story progressed. Ballas's psychology quickly started to intrigue me. At first, Ballas appears to be a very simplistic character: just a huge, selfish slab of nastiness. By nature, he is also a loner (his first name, Anhaga, is Old English for 'solitary being'). But, after stealing the Monument, he finds himself not merely alone, but hunted – a target, in fact, for everyone in Druine. How would someone cope in such circumstances? It turns out that Ballas is ideally suited to such a situation. He is aggressive, ruthless, and a gifted manipulator of people. The attributes that are usually considered to be vices are, for Ballas, virtues: they enable him to survive. I found this moral inversion interesting. And slightly unsettling. If any one of us was in Ballas' situation, would we behave differently to him? If our survival depended on violence, manipulation, ruthlessness, would we turn our backs on them as something shameful? Or regard them, instead, as utterly justifiable ways of behaving?
Also, I was interested in the way a religion can exist as a morality – and do so in a way that almost completely dispels its divine element. In principle, the Wardens and Under-Wardens (ordinary citizens granted Warden status during a time of national crisis) are doing the Four's work when they are trying to locate and kill Ballas. Yet none of them ever have a single divine thought. They enjoy the adventurous and, on occasions, sadistic thrill of pursuit. Yet they don't consider the religious dimension of their actions. They look upon the Blessed Masters as the givers-of-law; yet they never question whether the laws are theologically justified, nor do they tangibly feel that they are enacting the Four's will. The only truly holy character in Monument is Father Rendeage – a priest who, in order to act in accordance with the Four's teachings, not only saves Ballas's life, but in doing so, becomes a very specific type of martyr: the martyr who dies not for his religion, but for his god.
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