Responding to Lunacy and Why I am not a Feminist #Me Too

No one is denying that sexual harassment or sexual assault doesn’t exists. No one is denying that women suffer and have suffered for centuries at the hands of violent men not only throughout history but even in 2017, it happens everywhere and everyday, it goes on and we are all aware of it. I most certainly hope that no one is even suggesting that such foul behaviour and violent acts (especially physical violent acts) dealt against women, should be excused. It is disgusting behaviour that should be taken seriously when it occurs and never should we belittle victims of their traumatic experiences. This goes for both women and men, boys and girls of all ages. Sexual harassment makes me sick to my stomach, I feel for the victims and it adds another black stain upon the Human races list of spectacular failures, a species I am forever growing ashamed of being part of. I have no issue with anyone coming out with their stories of abuse, if this helps said victims in any way, then I am all for it. If it somehow triggers an action to further deal with the problem, then I do not see how anyone could or would object.

Over the past few days I like many others on social media (mainly Facebook) have seen large clusters of women coming out with their harassment stories. I’ve read some, some are worse than others but that would be missing the point entirely. It is without a doubt, awful behaviour and I certainly condemn it, and would act against it if I witnessed it happen. One thing I have noticed though and I am positive you have to, is that no men, to my knowledge have come out and used this hash tag. As far as I am concerned, sexual harassment is not a womans issue, it is a Human issue and should anyone argue against this is in need of educating. I forewarn those of you who engage in these sorts of debates, at times it will feel like debating a Flat Earther with evidence that planets are round or a Creationist who believes that evolution is not occurring and that our Earth is less than ten thousand years old opposed to the actual age which is around 4 to 5 billion years old, despite the overwhelming amounts of evidence available, despite it being the overall consensus of every respected scientist out there, some people can still stand as opposition – In my opinion stupidity is more of a concern than sexual harassment, I think stupidity is the reason why our planets dying, why the ice caps are melting, people are starving and economies all over the world are failing, maybe I’ll bring out a #NotStupid or something after this so we can hear everyone’s stories of stupidity – I have an idea as to why men and boys are not coming out in quantities you’d expect, and I’ll do my best to answer it in the following. Not to take the attention away from the victims who are the majority, women, I am simply approaching this from an angle I believe to be the correct one, the perspective of a Human being observing what he sees and hears around him, analysing the evidence as best he can and coming to a conclusion. If you agree or disagree with what I say I am not closing my door for discussion, I am open for discussion and the possibility to change my mind – I have arguments about the existence of God all the time and no one has been able to present compelling enough evidence for me to believe in him or it or her. Should evidence arise that lead to the possibility of a higher power, then I’d likely reconsider my position. – I am not directly responding to the #Me Too, as I said before if it helps victims, if it helps raise more awareness then I am all for it. No, I am responding to an article I read online, an article titled; ‘To The Men on the Other Side of #Me Too’ and it seriously pissed me off. I will also touch upon the reasons as to why I do not want the label of feminist and why I reject it. Before I begin however, my position on a balanced society is as follows, I do believe in equality of sexes. I do feel like everyone deserves the same level of respect, to be treated fairly no matter what. The more you contribute, the harder you work, the greater the reward. I do not indorse foul or rude behaviour but I am all for freedom and freedom of speech. Anyone who partakes in action that causes distress and misery to others, is someone I want nothing to do with and I hope is penalised justly. That is my position, putting it as briefly as I can.

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The article was written by John Pavlovitz and published on October 16th 2017. Quite frankly I find it insulting to both men and women, but mainly guys, if you’ve read it then I think you’ll find it hard not to agree. If you are someone who believes in equality of the sexes, if you are an egalitarian and do not buy into the hordes of insulting rhetoric of third wave feminism, which isn’t about equality which they will lead you down the rabbit hole to believe then you are probably going to revile this article as much as I did. Feminism is an ideology which is more about treating men and boys like garbage and then backing off claiming it is all for equality between the sexes. It’s an ideology that wishes to see female supremacy, an ideology that even attacks its own, forcing those who even question the movement, to forever be silent. Modern day feminism cannot decide what it truly wants to achieve having lost its real purpose for fairness. Now, it is just damaging, doing more harm to women ironically than it does to the gender it hates, men. You may even need a bucket to catch the contents of your stomach, it made me feel nauseous, the level of bullshit was far in the red. With all that said, my response will try to remain focused on John Pavlovitz article, although I will talk a little on modern-day feminism and some of the problems it has caused and continues to do and maybe you can see by the end how I was able to link the two. Although if you wish to know why I am an anti-feminist, why I reject the notion of a Western patriarchy and much prefer to call myself an Egalitarian :-

  1. believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

:- Please understand why I hold this position by researching the following people, because it is easy for me to sit here and spew out how much I loath it without providing any actual information. Maybe you can see how I came to this conclusion by doing some research yourself and the place I started was centred around these people:- Lauren Southern. Karen Straughan. Christina Summers. Dr.Helen Smith and Jaclyn Glenn. I know what you’re thinking; Where are all the guys speaking out against this poisonous movement, you’d think there would be many? Well, I could list off a handful of men who are anti-feminists who to strive for equality, but because they speak up for male rights, they are instantly without question, labelled sexists, bigots, misogynists, rape supporters you name it, simply for not taking the feminist position whole heartily. If you do not agree with the feminists, if you do not agree with absolutely everything, then you run the risk of being labelled, you run the risk of your job, your reputation, friendships even your family in some extreme cases, and I am running that risk aswell by writing this as I speak my mind in a ‘free’ country. The fact that I am second guessing even posting this article is testament to how deep this problem goes. Links to certain clips of their work can be found below, I selected the most apt Vlogs because after reading this post, I doubt you’ll want to do any more reading, you may need a pint of whiskey or something stronger (if it even exists). You can also find the article that I am responding to if you’d like to read it for yourself below aswell. So, lets look at what John has to say, so you can hurry up and ignore me, take what I say out of context and call me a woman-hater. You are free to do so of course but you’d be 100% wrong!

The article in question I found to be incredibly hard to read and sift through. There is so much in there that is plain wrong, misguided and laughable that I could write another response addressing what I’ve missed in this one. The first thing I found off about this appalling piece of wish washy writing was the title: To The Men on the Other of #Me Too. This suggests that it is only women who get sexual harassed, insinuating that men and young boys are sick, but I’ll bite into that later because I still cannot believe someone would write such a thing and accept a sickness that you do not have within themselves, its tragic. Does John’s article account or even mention women that harass other women, or women who harass men and young boys? The answer is; No, he doesn’t. Before I wrote my response I did a little researching and gathered some numbers from 2014 and it is indeed true, women do suffer sexual harassment more than men on the streets and in the workplace. In one such study commissioned by SSH (STOP Street Harassment) showed that 65% of women have faced some form of harassment in the United States. 23% had been touched inappropriately. 25% had been followed and 9% had been forced to do something sexual. For men the numbers are slightly lower, 25% being street harassed and 9% being that of homophobic or transphobic slur. The Independent wrote about sexual harassment and I quote a passage from a sobering and insightful article:- ‘Women were much more likely to face this treatment than men with 169 out of 4,116 – compared to just 11 out of 3,487 men – reporting sexual harassment by customers. Of those who said colleagues had done this to them, 48 were women and 31 were men.’ I understand where Mr Pavlovitz is coming from, I really do, just reading about this stuff and looking at the numbers combined with social media stories makes me ill. The title however implies that he is aiming at the predatory men who have committed foul play toward women, I was tricked into thinking this too but it quickly reveals that it is aimed not at those responsible, but at ALL men, that men are demons and women are angels. It didn’t take long to disprove, but harassment DOES exist on both sides.

The next thing he goes onto say is that how ‘grieved’ he is, that a lot of women are still not ready to come forward to share their stories. That is fair enough to say, people should not feel obligated nor pressured into sharing but instead, if they so wish, talk to people they know and can feel safe around, maybe seek out professional help if needs be to voice their traumatisation. But again, John fails to mention the vast amount of help that women do receive when harassment or worse has taken place. For men it is not that simple, we do not have nearly as many facilities or nearly as much support as women do regardless of the fact that 500.000 men suffer in household abuse each year. The networks that are easily accessible for female victims are often not there for males. When anyone tries to set up a mans shelter, a battle usually takes place, it is typically protested against by angry over privileged feminists denying male suffering under similar circumstances. If you do not believe me, then search for a man named Earl Silverman, a man who set up a Men’s Alternative Safe House (MASH) in Canada. He paid for it out of his own pocket, he was part of an abusive relationship and tried to help men and boys in need, because he too could see that there was nowhere for men to turn to when they needed help. It is a touching article, far more moving than the one written by John Pavlovitz, which we are literally just getting into. Sadly, Earl took his own life so we cannot continue the project he was undertaking, which I believe could have done some good in the world. I suggest that whoever is reading this, reads Earls article, published by the Huffington Post, 30/04/2013.

Seeing as we are on male suicides, male deaths tower over women’s which you could argue is linked to situations like Earls, or by the hands of our corrupt court systems that favour women over men. Want a few examples of female privilege, here are some:-

– Men go away to serve longer prison sentences for the exact same crime.

– A woman has legal power to sue a man for child support after stealing his sperm.

– A woman can rape a man or rape an underage boy and sue him for child support.

– A woman has the right to abort a fetus or give that child up for adoption without telling the father. (I am pro-choice)

– Men are forced by law to pay child support even when a child has been proven not to be biologically his.

– Women can sue a sperm donor for child support.

– Men often have to give up half or more of his assets in a divorce, risking losing the right to ever see his children while women, are statistically more likely to file for divorce than men are. We’ve all heard stories about men who get married, have children and then later on down the line they end up having to get divorced, and lose everything while she runs off claiming her ‘independence.’ Just look at the MGTOW movement, that movement didn’t arise out of nothing, it exists to teach men about the inadequacies that exist between us and warn us that this stuff is real and happens. All feminism is doing is broadening the gap between us rather than focusing on the needs and requirements of BOTH!

– Men are also at risk for being labelled rapists, the mere accusation is enough to ruin him for life, even if he is found to be innocent the damage has already been done, the stigma is forever attached to him and there is no penalty for the woman who destroyed him so easily. No charges come her way, no sentences given by a judge, she just walks away feeling empowered. Evidence of this can be found by looking at the number of male teachers working today, if you study the numbers then you should see a drop in men under many educational establishments.

– Men have no reproductive rights.

– Females do not get laughed at when they are the victim of domestic violence.

These are just a few of many female privileges that exist, at least in the Western world and why I do not accept female oppression. Of course women face issues unique to them and we must do all we can to accommodate them, but men have issues to and seeing as this article does nothing but demonize men and reduces women to frail, delicate little snowflakes that need our help, I felt the need to step in.

I admit and who couldn’t, that there are some countries (the heavily religious ones) out there that really treat women like if not worse than second class citizens, and these women are in dire need of our help, but feminists of today and white knights like John do not lift a finger to help real women who are suffering from true patriarchs over the world. No, instead feminists and limp men try to ban video games, complain about each and every film for treating women poorly, Blade Runner 2049 for example was recently attacked by lead feminist, Anita Sarkeesian who calls herself a professional gamer critique, even though she is not a gamer, her critiques are terrible and she has been caught and proven to steal content from other sources (real gamers) to aid in her ‘work.’ Feminists censor art and literature and treat men like absolute shit, teaching girls that it is okay to play the victim and be rewarded for it, that male mistreatment does not matter and should not be listened to, and that you should fight them when instances arise. Still, if you don’t belive me? Take a closer look at the scam artist Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, who went to the United Nations to try to ban rude behaviour on the internet, behaviour which is not acceptable for men AND women. Studies show that women attack and slut shame other women more than men do, that is a fact I am surprised people still need reminding of, but presenting facts to a feminist is a useless endeavour, they would rather shut their eyes, plug their ears and sing a Beyoncé song.

Look at feminists who attack other feminists like Emma Watson who played Hermione Granger in J.K Rowlings, Harry Potter and Gal Gadot, who played Wonder Woman in…Wonder Woman, in the new DC movies. They attacked Emma for taking part in a photo shoot and Gadot for shaving her armpits…Yes, you read that correctly. Feminists would rather focus on the hair under an actresses armpits than women who are disfigured by acid, simply for being a woman or by reading an educational book. Women in these countries are forced to marry old men, told that they cannot learn or have a life outside of the ‘life’ they have with their ASSHOLE husband and brainwashed families, who know nothing about freedom, nothing about love and have no idea how to see a woman as their fucking equals, as Human beings, as they should be seen on this shitty little planet conquered by a bunch of primitive hairless apes who still believe in fairy tales. I could go on and on, I could write a book on how damning the new feminist movement is, the examples seem to go on forever and honestly, I have better things to do than talk about this stuff, I want to do other things rather than engaging with these people who never listen, never learn and lap up shitty articles written by John Pavlovitz that does nothing but distance the gap between us, alienating men and women onto sides THAT DOESN’T FUCKING HELP OR ADDRESS THE PROBLEM! I know I keep making suggestions but please, do what you can, look elsewhere from here, see the damage feminism is causing for yourself, watching and researching the links I provide would be a good place to start, or just call me a misogynist to make yourself feel better.

Feminists also attack freedom of speech and I can now jump back onto Johns article to help demonstrate this. He said ‘In the times we stood silently in the company of a group of catcalling men; too cowardly to speak in a woman’s defense. In the way we’ve voraciously consumed pornography without a second thought of the deep humanity and the beautiful stories beneath the body parts.’ In response to the first sentence, let me ask you this, if you were surrounded by a group of women, the woman comparison to a male chauvinistic, sexist pig, and these women started bitching, complaining and being offensive to men, would you say something to try to stop them? Would you stick up on the mans behalf because we all know what happens if you do John. As for the second statement, it does kind of baffle me and it makes little to no sense, are you saying that we should get to know these women who are there at their own will? Are you saying that men do not appear in pornography? You do know that a woman is worth more than a man in this industry which is one of the biggest in the world, similar to how females are paid more for modelling than a man is. Why don’t you ask women the same question? Why pose this question for the men you are insulting with every other sentence of your article, why don’t you ask a woman to stop touching herself over the men they see in the porn they watch? See what she says if you say; ‘How dare you fap ferociously to these men without a second thought of the deep humanity and the beautiful stories beneath the body parts.’ Physical appearance is the first thing anyone notices on someone they do not know. It is hard to see someones personality as they walk around on the street or walk by in the office, I am not saying we should go up to them and say “Hey hows it going I think you’re sexy wanna have sex!” No, you have to be respectful, you do have to recognise that this man or woman is an independent person, with thoughts, feelings, goals, desires and ambitions and this includes porn starts who I do have a great respect for. But it IS okay to notice someones beauty before you know them personally, it IS okay to be physically attracted to someone before anything else, that is how nature works, that is the way it will always work, unless we all start walking around with signs that give us details of our personalities written on boards strapped to our chests. So when people like you and feminists start judging men for calling a woman sexy for noticing their appearance, you are moronic. Women do it too, I’ve dated a handful of women, I’ve spent most of my student and working life around women and guess what they gawp and stare and rate men as much as we do, they are brutal when it comes to who they want to sleep with, women do tend to be more picky than guys in this regard and that is fine, it is also fine that when women watch porn, they are given the fantasy, the luxury of skipping all that getting to know you bullshit and get right to business, and it is fine for men to do it to. Do you really need me to spell all this out for you? I hope not.   

To demonstrate how far the brainwashing has gone, I can describe a social study performed by actors in central London. You can also watch it by clicking the link listed below along with other references I’ve used throughout:- Man and woman walking in the street, they are supposedly involved with each other romantically but this doesn’t really nor should it matter, violence is violence no matter who is instigating it and should be dealt with all the same. The man begins to act up, he begins to get verbally abusive and eventually grips and shoves her into a fence. Within seconds, you have people rushing to her aid and rightly so, you should see this behaviour in our society. However, when the roles are reversed, and it is the woman instigating verbal and physical abuse onto the guy, people are laughing, people are taking photos on their phones NO ONE GIVES A HOT SHIT! This to me is unacceptable, if it is wrong for one it should be wrong for the other. Now, men are biologically stronger than women, I’m sorry but that is just a fact, we have 50% more upper body strength than women making us (generally speaking) physically equipped to defend ourselves. Even though women have been statistically shown to be the perpetrators of more domestic violence against men, and I quote an article from Yahoo Lifestyle, written by Jenna Birch, October 26th 2015…

‘According to the CDC’s statistics — estimates based on more than 18,000  telephone-survey responses in the United States — roughly 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate partner physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared with 4,741,000 women. By the study’s definition, physical violence includes slapping, pushing, and shoving. More severe threats like being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object, or hit with a fist were also tracked. Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.’

…I still do not think that this behaviour whether it be by a man or a woman, should be washed over and not be taken seriously. The article written by our friend John Pavlovitz, would have you believe in an attempt at cheap poetry, that men are the cause of all violence, that men are the ones that are broken, that men are in need of fixing and women are the ones who are always the victims and always the innocent, this is of course, incorrect but as John so eloquently put, in one of the last paragraphs in his post – It’s time we owned this sickness.’ Well, speak for yourself John! I do not own this ‘sickness’ as with every one of my male friends, nor have I ever done anything of the sort nor am I ever going to do so! I do not think men should own this issue which I say again, is a Human issue, I think we should do the opposite of what you say and discard the notion that men are sick entirely, because you are sending the wrong message. How dare you suggest that I and all other men are capable of such things or have participated in such foul actions! Have you no respect for men who built everything you see around you, who put food in your cupboards, who lay the roads you drive on with cars designed by men, men who keep the lights on, the power flowing, the internet working, the diseases at bay. Men who provide heat for when it gets cold and lets not forget, protect you from forces overseas who would threaten your freedoms. If you have any sons, cousins or nephews, can you honestly sit there and write something so wicked about your own gender? Are you saying that my three year old nephew is sick just because he was born male? Are you saying what most feminists are saying, that all men are rapists in waiting? You should post an apology, you should feel ashamed sir!

Reading your article is such an effort John, I could literally pick it apart piece by piece grinding my fingers into dust. You say at one point that we are so ‘complicit‘ well I am here to tell you that we’re not. Speaking for myself I was involved with a woman who was sexual assaulted, a guy she actually lived with at the time. The moment I found out about it, I notified her parents, I drove round in the early hours, moved all her shit into my car and we drove off where she stayed at mine for a while. ALL of my male friends would have done the same. Do these actions appear to match those of someone who is complicit or sick? I hope you know the answer. You say that; ‘This isn’t the time for each of us to broadcast our self-created good guy resumes, to defend our personal virtue, or to imagine why these are all some other guy’s stories—because that’s largely the point here: these are probably our stories.’ I am curious; When is it the time to broadcast our self-created good guy resumes? I’ve certainly never shouted from the rooftops “I am a good, honourable, noble man and I do not wish to harass any of you” I don’t know anyone who has ever felt the need to do that, and if he or she did I would ironically look upon them with suspicion. The only reason I brought up my partner (of the time) was to try to demonstrate that I am not ‘sick’ or ‘complicit’ and I do not consider my actions to be good or heroic, it just shows a level of care and compassion for another Human being in need. Just because I was emotionally connected to this person does not mean I would not do the same for anyone else, man or woman. So these stories of sexual harassment, do not belong to the vast majority of men and women out there.

Another thing you said; ‘In the times we laughed along with a group of men speaking words that denied the intrinsic value of women.
In the times we used the Bible to justify our misogyny.
In the times we defended predatory bragging as simply “locker room talk.”’ 
In response to this, men make jokes, if you have male friends then you should know it is how we bond, taking the piss out of one another, making light at how stupid others can be and making the occasional sexist comment is funny, you know why because they are jokes and not to be taken seriously. If you’ve spent time around women, then you should know that they do the same thing if not worse. In my experience men whack you in the face, it’s more or less a done deal, we do not sitting around a coffee table bitching for hours, texting everyone in their contact list about how the man or woman in question is horrible. Women are as dishonest and can be equally as dirty, equally sexist and horrible as men can be, but who fucking cares! People will talk about you behind your back, men and women both, we all do it from time to time and nothing is going to change that. Humour, for those who don’t understand humour usually has its roots in some very dark, very serious shit! Humour is this wonderful tool we use to transcend sinister things even if it is just for a moment, it allows us to see the lunacy of what we say for what it is. Pick a topic, you name it, there have been jokes written about it, and being able to joke is an excercise of your freedom of speech, no matter how horrible and distasteful the joke may be, you have the right to say it and others have the right to say fuck you! ..Jesus (pun intended).. I like how you bring the Bible into your article, I think this is may be the one thing we can agree on even though the context in which you are using this holy piece of shit book is stupid, because if you read through the piece of shit Bible, and see how it views women, you’ll find that it’s pretty shocking. Women in the Bible are seen as a mans property, they aren’t quite as idiotic as say your cow or your donkey but they aren’t far off. Women are often traded off or married without a say to better your houses position, adultery is also met with extreme violence. You should check out the Bible passage Exodus 22:16-17, it basically states that if a man rapes a woman then his punishment is to marry her. Another passage goes onto say that if you’re at war, and you kill an enemies family and rape the daughter of said enemy, you also have to marry her and spend the rest of your life with her. So, the piece of shit Bible would not be in my opinion your go to place to justifying yourself, I would argue that it is quite possibly the worst place you’d go to try to justify you actions, but mental gymnastics are of course called mental gymnastics for a reason. Here is a tip for all the men you’re labelling John, here is my message to them; “If you’ve sexually harassed someone, whether if be yesterday or years ago, go to them, meet with them if you’re able to and offer THE most sincere apology within your vocabulary arsenal. If they accept or not, do not just leave it as an apology but do whatever you can do, to make amends for what you’ve done and if you feel the urge to continue what you’re doing, seek professional help and seek it now!” If I ever found myself in that position, that is what I would do, but what would I know, I am just a dirty atheist bereft of morals as the religious keep telling me, who cannot see what is right or wrong without an invisibly fucking man in the sky who condems homosexuality and calls for genocide. The last sentence you mentioned in that statement falls under the freedom of speech spiel I already sent your way, so refer to that if you get stuck.   

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I disagree with you John, sorry but I do. I have enough respect for women to know that they can fight their own battles. I respect women well enough to know that they aren’t fragile, delicate little snowflakes that are in need of a mans rescue or is in need for men everywhere to answer for what most of us haven’t done and actually despise. I respect women to know that they can take a joke or two, they actually like to laugh and sometimes they like it at their expense, not all the time, don’t go laying into someone all night long but they have a sense of humour. A woman can do anything a man can if not better in some cases – I just watched that movie with Emma Stone and Steve Carell called ‘Battle of the Sexes’ I thought it was good, I learned something I didn’t know before watching, I enjoyed it. I respect women enough to see through your article. I try to connect with women on my level, an emotional level and maybe I cannot fully understand what it is like to be one or where they are coming from or to be in the shoes of one that has given birth, or has suffered at the hands of an asshole misogynist or worse a rapist who I would happily drop off on Mars if I was able to, I can at least try to empathise, I can at least attempt to get on their level, and that level is not beneath me or above me. We need to do away with men being guilty until proven innocent, we need to combat inappropriate behaviour, appropriately. What we need to do is start seeing everyone as equals while recognising and celebrating our differences, something I’ve been saying all along with millions of others from the very get go, something we should have been doing from the moment we emerged from the caves, but this species is flawed, this species is foul, it’s disgusting and we never seem to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I could have made my response a lot longer, but I’ve been writing all day and now it is time to do something else. I’m sick of talking about this, I’m sick of repeating the same God damn thing over and over. Why does this shit still need spelling out? Why do people like you keep writing such nonsense…Open your eyes! Think before you speak and pick your battles wisely if there is a battle worth fighting. I feel like you’ve taken on board what women victims have said and instead of actually thinking of a solution to the problem, you’ve done what all white knights do and feel bad about being a man, something you have no fucking control over and are bending over backwards to feminists who hate our guts…Well they probably love you, but they hate me, because I speak up for actual equality, because I acknowledge that discrimination exists on both sides. In your article I feel like you’ve attempted to justify your manliness by writing up a piece of how sad you are, how devastated you are that this happens and I can empathise, I can see that it is awful and has to stop. To give credit where credit is due, I do not think you are a bad person, and I know I’ve called you names, I know I’ve come across as a bit of an dickhead but I care to John, I really do and don’t look to me for a solution because I do not have one, all I have is what we always tend to fall back on, and that’s the statement of there are good men in this world who think the exact same as us; Not everyone here is that fucked up and cold (they are actually Incubus lyrics from the song The Warmth). There are ways you can do what you have done but in the process, not toss aside what it means to be a man, and what being a man means to me, is someone who works hard to achieve things, someone who wants to inspire good, to accomplish, to learn and to educate people. To fight corruption and not bow down to twisted ideologies and regimes that threaten our freedoms and a fair society. This can also apply to women aswell because they are just as capable as us, few biological differences here and there, sure, our brains wired a little differently, sure, but the last thing they need, is the men of this planet to lose what little backbone we have left. 

   Lauren Southern Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNErQFmOwq0&t=36s

Karen Straughan Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut2VVAW0MwM&t=910s

Christina Summers Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TR_YuDFIFI

Jaclyn Glenn Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbRwe9srFfA

Dr. Helen Smith. Men on Strike. Vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPEb6Di9Ui4

John Pavlovitz Article: https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/10/16/men-side-metoo/

SSH Reference: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/statistics/

Independent Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/sexual-harassment-workplace-depression-mental-illness-colleagues-customers-clients-a7964061.html

Jenna Birch’s Article: https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/the-number-of-male-domestic-1284479771263030.html

Social Experiment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M0MW6ON484

Earl Silvermans Story: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/29/earl-silverman-dead-suicide_n_3179850.html

Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn march on the United Nations Vlog, presented byThunderf00t: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prmprJyPyv0

#Me Too – I was very young, I was playing in an arcade when all the power went out. During this time a woman grabbed sensitive areas and squeezed intensely.

My Twitter – @MegasTeque

My E-mail – taotome@outlook.com

D.W.Gill

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The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Reviewed by K.J Simmill

Well here it is guys, the third and final review written by K.J Simmill, a very talented woman, author of the highly successful Forgotten Legacy Series, which currently has three books to its name. Before I expand on this author’s achievments and present her review, before I talk about the experience and give you my thoughts on what the reviewers wrote, I would personally like to thank all of the reviewers who took the time out to read and write about my work. It is so very touching to know what you think, whether I received good or bad reviewers it is important to thank the people who wished to share their critique of my book, a book I have slaved over for the past ten to fifteen years.

About the reviewer: K.J Simmill, is an award winning British author who has written a total of five books. Books which are loaded with extraordinary details with a touch of professionalism that can only be found in writers who are in this for the long haul. Her works have taken an enormous amount of time and care something to be admired and of course awarded and written about. On a personal note, her series had me hooked and intrigued the moment I lay eyes on them and I will be making a purchase as soon as I am able. Every so often, whether it be a film, a piece of music, a game or in this case a fantasy book, comes along and inspires. As far as The Forgotten Legacy Series is concerned, there are three completed titles so far. The first book in the series is called;

Darrienia – ‘Winner of the 2016 Independent Author book of the year award for ‘Outstanding Fantasy’ and currently a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards.’

The Severaine‘Winner of New apple 2017 ‘official selection’ for Fantasy and Readers Favorite 2017 award for dystopian.’ 

Remedy – Released on the 30th Aug 2017 – Is about ancient sealed secrets locked away in a realm of fear and nightmares, where a lone adventurer is forced to unveil what is hidden within, all for the preservation and perseverance for future generations.

As for the other two called, Herbal Lore and Camels and Cake: Tea for Three, which both received 5/5 star reviews, touch upon K.J Simmill’s love for natural remedies and her passion for holistic therapy. Beyond her love for writing and every form of natural healing, from massage to aromatherapy, she is also an avid gamer, although she has not shared or specified what kind of games she plays or is interested in. As a veteran gamer myself, who usually plays grand RPG’s, psychological horrors and adventurers, will be interested to find out what Miss Simmill plays in her spare time and if she can talk about her favourite gaming titles with as much passion as she does her books. So, I suggest whoever is reading this, whoever is a follower of mine or is new to this Blog, check out K.J Simmill’s work, all links as always will be listed at the bottom of this article.

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Book Review and Mini Critique

Title: The Ancestral Odyssey
Subtitle: The Utopian Dream
Author: Duncan William Gill
Genre: Fiction – Fantasy – Epic

Appearance: 4/5

Plot: 5/5

Development: 5/5

Formatting: 4/5

Marketability: 5/5

Overall Opinion: 5/5

Review: Reviewed by K.J Simmill for Readers’ Favorite

“The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream is an epic fantasy by
Duncan William Gill. Lethaniel had been thought dead, yet this lone
figure was found plodding through a field of death, a field of the
countless lives lost to the horror of war and death that he could
have prevented, at least that seemed to be the opinion of those
scarce few who were left alive. In a moment of reflection he knew
what must be done, a way to usher in victory and perhaps even ring
in a new age. The odds are stacked against him, against his people,
but he will stand his ground, he will prevail. There have been many
beginnings since this world began, and a new start is long overdue.

Anyone who knows me knows there’s nothing I love more than to
lose myself in an epic and this book is certainly that. Gill does not
shy away from embracing fantasy, and this is the kind of book you
can easily lose a day or two to. You cannot help but become
invested in the characters, and what an array of characters it is.
There is war, horror, and hope threaded with skill through a plot
both epic in size, scope and undertaking, and this only scratches
the surface of the magical world built and developed by Gill. This is
one heck of a fantasy read, a must for the libraries of fans of this
genre. From beginning to end, you’ll lose yourself in the well
written, wonderfully descriptive style and you’ll be amazed at the
attention to detail throughout. Make yourself a hot drink, get a plate
of sandwiches at the ready, because you will not want to put this
down.”

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My thoughts: Having read all three reviews back to back before I wrote this article, and having had the day to reflect upon them, I like K.J Simmill’s the best. Odd, you must be thinking? This last review when compared to the others, is actually the lowest rating of the three, but the thing that matters most to me and always has, is knowing that my work is being read, carefully analysed and enjoyed. This does not mean that I do not appreciate Romuald and Rabia’s reviews, of course I do and I once again send out all my thanks. However, what I have noticed since my books publication back in September of 2017 and the Kindles throughout 2016, is the fact that they are not perfect like I wanted them to be, there are issues, issues I have already begun ironing out, issues I have learnt from and will not carry over into Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves. Hopefully before Christmas, I will re-release the Hardback Edition and the Kindles to appease my unhealthy thirst for perfection, until that is I find something else to bitch and complain about. I also feel that I should go back and do a re-review myself of Episode One: The Utopian Dream, that can be found in an earlier post on this Blog. What I have learned from this whole experience of Self-Publishing a book and having it be reviewed, is that it will NEVER be 100% perfect, no ones work is and it is important to recognise that fact and recoginse it before you start losing sleep. Simmill, although giving me a high grade, a 5/5 star rating awarding me with my third Readers’ Favourite medal, has picked up and found fault with the work, she demonstrated that she had read it by picking up on some of the details to do with the characters within the pages instead of just giving it a broad overview which as matter of fact, can all be learned simply by reading the synopsis on my Author Page or by reading through the first few pages. For that reason, I will rate her review higher than the others. Thank you.

If you are someone who loves epic fantasy or if you are someone who just loves to read and lose yourself within a book, then please, follow this Blog, consider a purchase using the links below, follow K.J Simmills, her Blog is incredible, she also reviews other peoples work so I highly recommend checking out what she does. In saying that, follow others who tweak your interest and send them an encouraging message if you like what you see, knowing that people are reading or are taking notice fuels people like myself and other creatives. It is a myth that we are rolling around on cloud nine laughing histerically after a release of a book, or the release of say an album. Sure, we are happy to have accomplished something, we love the fact that we can move on and have something to behold after an enormous amount of work, but unlike a day job where you clock off at 5pm, we are always on the clock even when we sit down in an attempt to zone out for an hour or two. We never stop thinking or trying to find new ways to improve what we do, it is a relentless, ongoing pleasurable curse, at least that is how I feel about it, yet the rewards are unreal.

Follow K.J Simmill’s Blog and view the original review here – http://darrienia.com/2017/10/13/book-review-the-ancestral-odyssey-the-utopian-dream-by-d-w-gill-megasteque-‏

Twitter – @SimmillKj

Author Page: K.J Simmill – https://www.amazon.co.uk/K.J.-Simmill/e/B012ZG7R4S

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Author Page: D.W.Gill – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ?view_as=subscriber

D.W.Gill

The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer

Another review rolled in from Readers Favourite yesterday. I am rather pleased with it, a lot of good things were said and I thank Rabia Tanveer for taking the time to share her thoughts. It is a fraction better in terms of the grade than the last review, written by Romuald Dzemo which I very much appreciate. I am expecting Readers Favourite to review my first book one more time, I am not sure when the review will come in but like with the last one and this one, I shall be posting it for everyone to see if they’re interested to read what others think.

As with Romuald’s review, I cannot post Rabia’s review in its original format, I will simply be copying and pasting it into my WordPress. I do have the official PDF document saved on an external hard-drive, just incase anyone wishes to see proof of what Rabia said. I would never lie about this sort of thing but I am aware that it has taken place in the past. I hope you enjoy the review, if you consider a purchase of a Kindle or Hardback Edition, all links can be found at the bottom of this page. If anyone can show me a way (if there is one) to publish PDF’s onto WordPress, I’d appreciate an E-mail. Thank you.

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Book Review and Mini Critique

Title: The Ancestral Odyssey
Subtitle: The Utopian Dream
Author: Duncan William Gill
Genre: Fiction – Fantasy – Epic

Appearance: 5/5

Plot: 5/5

Development: 5/5

Formatting: 5/5

Marketability: 5/5

Overall Opinion: 5/5

Review: Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

“The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream by Duncan William Gill
is a novel with a dynamic storyline that makes it one of the best
epic fantasies that I have read this year. The story is set in Equis
where our female protagonist lives. Isabelle is one of the most
powerful women in Equis and she has great responsibility on her
shoulders. When she is called to a meeting with the influential
people of her world, she has no idea that she will be a key factor in
determining the fate of many people. There are rumors in the
Eastern lands that could change everything.

To see if there is any truth in these rumors, Lethaniel, the General
of the Norkon Forces, is instructed to go there and see how true
they are. Lethaniel gathers his army and travels all the way to the
East to find out that the situation is far more severe than what he or
anyone else expected. Isabelle is examining her dreams and
nightmares while trying to figure out the ancient prophecy, and
Lethaniel is fighting for his life and to bring the opposition down.
Both of them have a huge task at hand and the opposition is far
stronger than either of them anticipated. What can they do? Will
they fail or will they conquer their individual demons and come out
victorious?

Intense storyline, intricate battle scenes and realistic magic; these
three elements take The Ancestral Odyssey to a whole new level of
epic fantasy. Set in dark and trying times, the novel makes the
reader want more and more from the characters and the author.
The voice of the author is there without being overpowering, giving
life to the characters. Duncan William Gill did an amazing job at
creating an atmosphere that is real and believable. There are plenty
of characters in the story, but none of them confuse the reader and
never divert the spotlight from the main theme and the plot. This is
a genre defying novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat and
makes you hope and pray that the author will release the sequel
soon. It is truly an epic novel and the author did it justice.”

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After the third and final review, I shall be posting my thoughts on what each reviewer has had to say, in a way I’ll be reviewing the reviewers which is what this organisation wants you to do in order to improve their services, only I’ll be doing it on both WordPress and on my Readers Favourite. I do have something to say about it which I think you’ll find interesting especially if you are an author in a similar place than me. If you are an author as matter of fact, who happened to read this post while you were browsing for crazy cat videos or people just generally being stupid, I highly recommend you get in touch with Readers’ Favourite, upload your work, get it into the system, let people read it and enter into the award contest which takes place once a year. If your work is good enough, if you are lucky enough to win an award, you could see a cash prize of up to fifty thousand dollars and a shed load of publicity which will boost your audience dramatically. The link is listed below if you dislike using Google. Good luck.

E-mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Author/Purchasing Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ

Readers’ Favourite – https://readersfavorite.com/

D.W.Gill

The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo

Good morning/afternoon/evening. The last few weeks have been INcredibly busy. As per usual I’ve been franticaly moving around during my travels which prohibits valuable writing time but even still, when I have found a gap on the off chance in which to fill the void with the tapping of keys on my key board, I’ve been struggling, suffering from the dreaded writers block. It is a real thing. Having thought I had experienced this curse before back in 2007 when writing Chapter 7, I know now that that was nothing more than a blip, a stroke of laziness brought on by student life. What I am going through now is seriously frustrating. Regardless of how how much I’ve written for the sequel, regardless of the overwhelming amount of ideas I have going on, I simply cannot sit down to write anything that moves the story forward. I have written about writers block before, my remedy was to write anyway and turn garbage (if it is garbage, which it likely will be when one is forced to write) into gold. If anyone has any advice or knows anyone who has overcame this affliction, I’ll leave all contact details below, because everyday I feel like is wasted, forever doomed to think about what I want to write about, but never actually getting on with it and doing the work!

For those of you who do not follow this Blog, fuck you! Just kidding, but this Blog was started a little over a year ago and was set up as a sort of behind the scenes look at the work that goes on with this book project, a project started way back in 2003, right up to the present day. Not only do I talk about my work and my methods, but I also write about other things such as movies, games, experiences and life goals. You know the usual crap you’re all probably used to and sick of by now. If you have a little time to spare, I’d appreciate it if you have a scroll through and see if any articles tickle you. I am always open for topic suggestions and always happy to respond to e-mails of a positive or negative nature in regards to my content or my first book. Preferably I’d rather talk to people who take issue with my work, who analyse it and pick holes. As much as I like receiving praise, talking to someone who finds it difficult or maybe confusing usually always ends up offering me a unique perspective, one that I had not considered before that discussion had taken place.

Now, without wasting anymore of your time whether you are new here or not, without drawing out this post I feel like it time to bring you all up to speed. A Hardback Edition of The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream was recently released on the 03/09/2017 joining the Kindle Editions which broke up Episode One into three Volumes released throughout 2016. After branching out further on various social media platforms, mainly on Twitter, several other authors pointed me in the direction of Readers Favourite, where people like myself and other creatives can submit their work for critical review. There is also a competition held once a year, where the very best authors submit their published books under their genres where they will be judged and nominated for medals, which is a big deal, a little like the Oscars for the book world. The higher the medal the greater your rewards, the highest of which stretches up to fifty thousand dollars along with a lot of serious publicity surrounding your master piece. Of course, we authors do not write for the medals or the income, we write or at least I write, because it gives me a sense of wonder and achievment found nowhere else, taking me and hopefully my audience to places that simply do not exist anywhere else, say for where your imagination can take you. It is my goal to deliver something never done before, to redifine what epic fantasy is, to create something unlike anything done before. Readers Review posted their review of my first book earlier today, it also being the first major review my book has ever seen, and I could not be happier in this moment. Below you will find an unaltered copy of the review because I could not post a PDF onto WordPress. If you would like the official copy, I have it downloaded and will be more than happy to send it out. It was reviewed and written by Romuald Dzemo, a regular when it comes to the fantasy genre, to my understanding I am due two more reviews within the coming weeks. I hope you enjoy it.

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Book Review Mini-Critique

Title: The Ancestral Odyssey
Subtitle: The Utopian Dream
Author: Duncan William Gill
Genre: Fiction – Fantasy – Epic

Appearance: 4/5

Plot: 5/5

Development: 5/5

Formatting: 5/5

Marketability: 5/5

Overall Opinion: 5/5

Review: Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

“The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream by Duncan William Gill
is an epic fantasy, something the author calls Episode One in a long
series that has just begun, and this one comprises three volumes.
This is a work of powerful dimensions, great characters, a gripping
plot and a conflict that is monumental and attention-grabbing.
A great nation is on the brink of war and something must be done
immediately to remedy the situation. In a story set in a continent
called Equis, the reader is introduced to powerful players. The 23rd
Star Caller, Isabelle, is summoned to help in making powerful
decisions that could alter the destiny of nations and the fate of
many people. The general of the Norkron army leads an expedition
to investigate dangerous rumors in the Eastern lands, and what
awaits them is more than anything they could have bargained for.
Watch as a drama unfolds and tensions mount.

Duncan William Gill has done something that I love in epic
fantasies; created a fictional world that excites my imagination. I
loved the setting because it isn’t just about names, but a way of
life. The author plunges the reader into a world that has its own
customs and laws, its culture and unique features. The colorful
descriptions make the setting come to life in the minds of readers.
The writing in The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream is stellar,
punctuated by great and entertaining dialogues and powerful
descriptions. The author shows great mastery in creating suspense
and developing conflict, and this story offers a lot of entertainment
for readers. It’s well-paced, highly entertaining, and masterfully
plotted.”

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Again, I have the official copy of the review as I could not post it in its original format on this platform. Feel free to e-mail me or get in touch using the links below. Be sure to check out previous articles and consider a purchase. Thank you for reading, have a great morning/afternoon/evening and I look forward to what you think of this story if and when you read it.

E-mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Author/Purchasing Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ

D.W.Gill

Six of The Classixs

I always used to get upset when my parents took away the PlayStation, hid the valuable memory cards or locked away the joypads. I understand why they used to adopt these methods, they thought that I and my two brothers were wasting our time, missing out on all the things this world has to offer outside what we saw on the screen. To a degree they were right, I’ll be the first to admit that we sunk in more than our fair share on certain games, but on the contrary, my parents didn’t realise at the time that they were depriving me of truly amazing stories being told in a different format, a format that they had not the pleasure of experiencing when they were children. Now before you get angry, I understand that children need to be encouraged to go outside, I sigh when I see toddlers wanting to play with ipads and mobile phones rather than running around outside using their imaginations. I was one such child who used old car wheel hubs for shields, and fashioned sticks for make believe swords. I am not a parent, but if I had children, I would hold off for as long as possible before introducing my girl or boy to technology, but that is not to say I would not play child friendly console games with them, games like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter and Pandemonium.

If you are a regular reader of my work, you will know that I am a great lover of games and have played many during my thirty years on this planet. I was born in England, Hemel Hempstead and moved to Pembrokeshire in Wales where I studied art and earned a Graphic Communications degree at Glamorgan University. I am currently travelling Australia in a van, working from place to place after I spent six months exploring Europe in the latter half of 2015. If you’re new to this Blog, welcome, I am the author of The Ancestral Odyssey, an epic fantasy series which I hope will redefine its genre, breaking new grounds and setting a higher standard. First published onto Kindle in April 2016 with the Hardback to be released on the 03/09/2017. I could not be more excited to hear what people like you think and for what the future holds for this project. Links to all my work and art will be listed at the end of this post as with a new video I created, a video I just uploaded onto my Author Page and my YouTube Channel which I only use for promotional purposes, so there is no need to subscribe but feel free to leave a comment and hit that thumbs up button. This Blog is often used to reveal my process, to give those in similar situations help and advice in writing stories, but sometimes I like to delve off the tracks and talk about other things. For example, I reviewed Alien: Covenant not so long ago, I’ve talked about some experiences I’ve had dealing with editors and various artists and written about reasons for thinking the way I do.

This article will cover some of my favourite games and in turn, some of my inspirations. Of course, I could list dozens more games from other consoles other than the PlayStation, and I may do so in future posts if this one is successful, but for now I’ll stick to the PS1 (PlayStation) for now. These are just a fraction of the games I played as a youngster and have appreciated all the more as I’ve gotten older, understanding their adult themes, the relevance’s they have to real life and some of the witty jokes that only an adult can pick up. I won’t exactly be reviewing these games, this won’t be like my Alien: Covenant Review which went into a lot of detail, please check that out when you can, but I will be talking about their plots, why I love them so much, highlighting specific scenes which I will never forget and will also be explaining the things that I didn’t quite enjoy or the things that could have been done a bit differently. I will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum but I’ll notify you when a spoiler is coming up with (SPOILER START – SPOILER END). If you haven’t already, I could not recommend these titles enough, please please please if you can, purchase them, borrow them and sink some time into them because they are truly incredible experiences. I would also love to know what you think of them and what games you used to play in your youth. Now it is the time for you to make yourself a coffee or a tea, this post calls for one during reading. Once I publish this I am going to watch more of American Horror Story: Asylum, then move onto my favourite in the series, Coven, you gotta love a great witch story from time to time and this one is brilliant. Hope you enjoy this article and be sure to click the links. Let’s get started:-

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Medievil – You play as Sir Daniel Fortesque, a fallen Knight slain by the first arrow loosed by one of Sorcerer Zarok’s minions. Zarok was defeated shortly after the battle without your help, defeated but not caught. He escaped to continue his unholy work in complete secrecy, in a cave somewhere with a waterfall as door. Gallowmere experienced a time of peace, until the Sorcerer returned, armed with his dark magic. Using this dark magic, he raises an army of the dead and on his list of places to visit to acquire his force, is The Graveyard, in this graveyard houses a crypt, a crypt in where our hero has been buried, who is nothing but a one-eyed pile of bones in old clanking armour. This is where Medievil begins, when Zarok accidently raises his biggest enemy, and you (the player) takes control of Sir Dan, the would-be hero of Gallowmere. Once you gather your bearings, arm yourself with a handful of throwing daggers, a crappy copper shield, a sword and even your own arm, which can be pulled out of its socket and used as a hammer if that’s your thing, you leave the crypt not before learning a little bit about current events, from one of the gargoyles, heads in the wall who seem to know it all. You begin your exploration of the land of Gallowmere, starting off in the lion’s den, where the dead walk the grounds of The Graveyard and they aren’t friendly. I love this game, I first saw this game previewed on a demo disc at a friend’s house, and my first thoughts were “This is going to be hard ass game.” I was right when I first played it, it was bigger than I thought, more so than expected actually and early on I learned I was way out of my league. This game was not like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon or Croc, this had a charming yet compelling theme to it, forever keeping me coming back for more even if I sucked at it, reminding me of Halloween, my favourite holiday. The cheesiness of the humour, the simplicity of the story and characters, the ghouls and monsters, the childish sound effects although brilliant, they were exaggerated. The puzzles were typical, tapping statues to point at and open creaking gates, gathering weathered rune stones to unlock doors, assembling farm yard machinery to do your bidding, it all starts out pretty straight forward but the difficulty progresses as your venture continued and the foes get ever more aggressive and harder to defeat unless armed with the correct weaponry, your sword only gets you so far. It becomes more elaborate and brain teasingly fun, often scary when faced with a bottomless pit or two big wolves who guard the exit to one of the levels you’ll tackle. Always one step behind Zarok as he wreaks havoc across the land you once protected, Sir Daniel is forever made fun of by the know it all gargoyles, unappreciated by the other heroes of the land and mocked by every enemy he encounters, and seeing as he lacks his jaw, his responses are usually short, sweet and repeated.

This game is fun, this game is colourful and full of wonder, taking you from graveyards, cathedrals, mansions, castles, pirate ships and labyrinths, it has so much to offer in the way of imagination. The music fits each level perfectly, whether you’re navigating through Scarecrow Fields avoiding the tall yellow grass in fear of what lurks inside, wandering through The Enchanted Forest housing spitting plants, poisonous frogs and if you get high enough, a massive eagle guarding treasure, or the Asylum loaded with hundreds of lunatics, the music sets the scene perfectly each time. Apart from the opening sequence where the camera angle takes you through the graveyard, where you meet a skeleton who helps you pick between starting a new game or continuing on from your last saved point, I could listen to The Crystal Caves theme for hours, it is so relaxing and mysterious compared to the other themes and is my personal favourite. Medievil has a variety of levels, a number of interesting characters and some interesting encounters with those who appeal to neither good nor bad. (SPOILER START) For example, early on in the game you run into a grotto, a witch’s lair where you learn about the old hags, from there it will be a while before you have the option to summon them. If you are a perfectionist, and have to finish games with a one hundred percent rating like I do, you will need to find talismans and dunk it into on one of the cauldrons you find tucked away in a couple of the later levels, they are and yet not what you’d expect from a witch. One shrinks you down to the size of an ant, where you’ll have to wander their tunnels till you meet the Queen, collecting amber along the way and freeing her fairy companions, who are just fat little lad like, adorable creatures with tiny wings barely able to support their round bodies, who sound hilarious when they speak, like a trucker stuck on helium gas. The other, is a Pumpkin Witch, who looks after the troublesome fruits. One Pumpkin however called the Pumpkin King, is draining life from the land around it, and it is up to you to hunt down its roots and slice them up before taking it on face to face (SPOILER END). This game, although fantastical and light hearted, is a challenge. (SPOILER START) At the end you are pitted against Zarok, who has with him an army of skeletons, if you have not earned your passage to a place called The Hall of Heroes, a settlement where all of Gallowmere’s finest have gathered after death, you will find that it becomes almost impossible to succeed. You need to destroy a number of Zarok’s monsters in each level to fill a Chalice that collects souls, these full Chalices are presented to a hero in the hall and he or she grants you new weapons, from bigger swords, shields which make you invincible if used correctly, crossbows that can shoot off corners, throwing spears and bows and arrows, all the heroes who grant you a weapon, come to your aid at the end to fight, the more heroes you have, the better your chances at defeating Zarok once and for all. (SPOILER END) Take head though, healing fountains that restore your life run dry if you use them too much, weapons, ammunition and armour repair costs and everything is abundant, I found myself unable to continue the adventure because I over used the resources, so it is a good idea to restart the level if you die too many times, preserving your valuable goods to use later on.

LOVES:- As if I haven’t praised this game enough, there are a few more things to say. This is a fantastic game, one that I play every so often for the nostalgia effects. The graphics however outdated, oddly enough in 2017, fit the look and feel of the game. I played Medievil Resurrection for the PSP a while back, expecting a better experience. Although it was much of the same story, with finer graphics, added content and an allotment of more to do, new weapons and equipment, something was missing, it didn’t quite grab me like the original did, it was too hard, too fiddly, there is a difference between challenging puzzles, to fiendishly tricky puzzles, and Resurrection hit that annoyance button all too often, to the point where I just gave up and never picked it up again. The original has something about it when I replay it now, a call back to when games were breaking new ground, and as an underrated game, Medievil (for me) was the first to incorporate all the things I know and love, about the weird, the wacky, the scary and the unknown rolled into one. The gargoyles giving you wisdom, the Witches quests, the heartbeat of the stained-glass demon, the tricks and the traps scattered throughout combined with a simple story of redemption, defines a great PS one adventure.

HATES:- With all the praise, there are a few things I dislike, and feel like they could be improved upon if ever remade. First thing that comes to mind is the repeated dialogue mainly springing from conversations in The Hall of Heroes, on more than one occasion they all repeat a sentence or two, the Centaur for example who grants you the bow and arrow, says the same thing three times each time you offer him a chalice. Dan often repeats himself in the same tone of voice as do some of the enemies, they just keep talking over themselves gets annoying. It is not exactly a big thing, it doesn’t offend me or put me off, it is a technicality limited by the games budget I presume. Another thing I disliked is the gap between bosses. Bosses in this game are great, there just aren’t enough of them in my opinion. Last of all, I wanted more. There was a sequel and I love it almost as much as I love the first game, but it moved on from Gallowmere and explored a world ahead of this one, moving away from classic swords and shields and playing around with gunpowder, although I have no gripes with this move, I feel like more could have been done with the world you are in.

Wild 9 – I first played this game after watching my little brother play it for a few hours after school. I remember coming home, making a tea as I always did, and wandering upstairs to where it was being played. Back in the day when we were kids, each game usually was bought as a group, games were expensive, twenty-pounds was loads of money and games ranged to about thirty to forty pounds. Wild 9, came out of nowhere for me and I was always intrigued by it, even though it wasn’t completed until years later, it deemed way too hard. I remember thinking about the main characters weapon, it’s technically not a weapon, I see it more like a tool, like with Isaac from Dead Space. Reminding me of Ghostbusters in a way, Wex, (the protagonists you play as) has some sort of robotic arm or tool fitted onto his shoulder leading all the way down to his hand. From this mechanical device, he can shoot a blue flame (it turns orange if it has had time to charge up) that has the ability to grip and lift objects like heavy boxes, pull on leavers, twist valves, hang onto ledges even restrain enemies. Once you grip an enemy with this arm extension, you can then throw him about, shacking items off of him, knocking him senseless till he explodes when you decide you’re done. If you are really evil, you’ll throw them into grinders, hold them over exposed furnaces, feed them to some of the most viscous creatures you encounter or slice their heads clean off, decapitating them with sharp propellers. As gross as it sounds, it really is a lot of fun to dispose of enemies this way. If missiles are collected you can launch them from your shoulder and hurl grenades if you choose wrecking anything in your path. It is interesting though, when you to run into an enemy who can block this blue grip or deflect your projectiles, it makes you think of other ways to defeat your foes. Wild 9, reminds me of a sci-fi comic book, it has that same kind of cartoon like graphics, vibrant colours, thick black lines surrounding whatever moves and is full of some really well done, classic comic book heroes and villains, especially the villains, overpowered, big and mean as fuck. When you start, you know little to nothing about Wex, I will go as far as you know fuck all about him and his captured allies, you are thrown into the thick of the battle on level one, dropped on board some kind of flying ship, bit like that final level of Sonic 2 where you square off against Silver Sonic at the end. Levels are large, full of puzzles, full of enemies and plenty to jump on and off from. The levels are also very diverse, the first few are your standard platformer, allowing you to get used to the controls and how it works, then you find yourself hopping onto a dog alien like thing and are charging at high speeds over swamps, across deserts and through forests, in hot pursuit of your target. Some of the time you leap off ledges so high that the level is all done in free fall, avoiding obstacles that come your way and evading what the enemy leaves behind in the narrow corridor, it’s insane. The music is also a noticeable treat, very rock and bass, very heavy and lets you feel like a badass. The bosses are wicked, one of my favourites is the one that rises from the flames, out of the ashes of the junk planet, he is big, he is huge, brutish and wants to crush you with mighty fists. Using your grip, missiles and grenades are not enough to take this fucker down, you have to break his fists until he is forced to use his head, then you finish him off…By destroying his head, but watch out, the gigantic severed head rolls with the tremors of the earth and can hurt you if not kill you if you’re low on health. If any of you have played Earth Worm Jim, Wild 9 is very similar, similar styles and imaginative characters for each level/planet you visit. It’s very diverse and gets very difficult toward the end when everything seems to want to kill you even the land.

Unfortunately, Wild 9 is the first and last entry. There are no more after this one, there is no Wild 8 or Wild 10, this is its own and seeing as it has been over fifteen years since its release, I very much doubt we’ll see anything more of Wild 9. This saddens me, because I love the worlds, I love the craziness and the array of foes, some mechanical, some natural and monstrous. Wex, the guy you play as, the man you know nothing about, relates to the cool and crazy side in us all, he has a sense of humour brought out in some of the things he says, he delivers a high-pitched scream whenever you leap off something extremely high, a scream of sheer enjoyment opposed to fear, he loves this kinda stuff you can tell. He says what most of us would say if we were to collect a gadget or charge up our weapons and adds a spin on it, such as my favourite phrase; “WEXELLENT!”

LOVES:- The music kicks fucking ass. The levels are so different. The bosses are tough as nails and are a real challenge to defeat, but what I particularly love about this game is its style. No matter what planet you are on, you know you are somewhere within the Wild 9 universe, and I’ve not seen anything like it, but also you are an alien Human, in a far, far away place surrounded by so much strange. Your gadgets and gizmos start out as powerful tools, you feel almost unstoppable in the beginning, but the further you get to reach the end, the stronger the enemies become, the more they laugh at your efforts and the more you have to use your intelligence, your wit and items sparingly to survive.

HATES:- Not that you need a protagonist in this case to carry a game, it would be cool if a little more backstory (I say a little when there is none) shit! Give us anything to do with Wex and his friends other than the needs to stop alien forces from destroying the Earth. Given Wex’s dialogue, which is nothing more than a few made up words and plucky sentences, I feel like on Wex’s to do list, saving the world be third or fourth one down. There is literally nothing said about him or any realistic motivations, even Super Mario had save Princess Peach on his list of tasks, as has Link from Zelda and Crash Bandicoot from…Crash Bandicoot. Maybe that is the point now that I think about it, maybe it is sometimes more fun to speculate than know everything, but having such a cool game, I’d write in more than what he got.

Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey – Once a year, as a family, we used to visit my Grandparents house for a week in Lowestoft going from the most Westerly point to the most Easterly point of Britain in one long stint of driving. It was a long journey and I do miss those days especially when it rained as we drove through the night. Sometime in the week, was when my eldest brother bought a game, a game called Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. I read the entire manual over and over before I finally got the chance to actually play it about a week later. We couldn’t take our PlayStation to England so all I could do in this time was speculate and try to guess what this game was all about. When I stuck it on for the first time, I was awful at playing this game, I died, I died a lot. People complain that Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls was too hard, known for its death ratio, I say fuck that, try playing Oddworld for the first time my friends, it tops Dark Souls every time. Everything and I repeat EVERYTHING besides your own kind and there are times when even they are a potential threat, wants to shoot, eat, mince, drop or explode you. It’s brutal and weird and unfair and you’re so frail, so fragile, it does not take much to kill you, one bullet or a slip off the wrong ledge is more than enough to make you start over. Speaking of the protagonist, you play as thr weak and feeble, skinny blue guy called Abe, a slave, a floor waxer working in Rupture Farms, a failing meat factory on the continent of Mudos. Abe is a Mudokon, part of a peaceful and spiritual race unwilfully taken from their home lands and enslaved by the power hungry, greedy Glukkons, who employ an army of Sligs (big slug like creatures with mechanical pants to help them move) with automatic machine guns and grenade launchers, some can even fly like mini helicopters so there really is no hiding from them. Sligs can also command Slogs, their dogs trained to attack and kill you on a single command,“Get’em.” Obsessed with wealth and power, the Glukkons are the squid lookalikes guys in charge, the big bosses who run the show, which is where Mullok comes into it, he is the owner of Rupture Farms and is as quotes by Abe “The meanest boss in the world.” As Rupture Farms is on the way out, their profits falling due to the wild life turning up scarce, Mullok and his members of the board decide to turn their work force, the Mudokons, into Mudokon Pops, a tasty treat for all to enjoy. Upon learning about their evil plan, Abe decides to make a break for it, abandoning his work on the spot and begins his great escape (Oh how we all can relate to that like every single Monday morning.) The game starts as you’re being chased by a trigger happy Slig through the factory. There are ninety-nine Mudokons in the entire game that need to be rallied and rescued from the clutches of the Glukkons and their employ before you have to get yourself out.

From the word go, you know you’re in for something different, from the opening titles, to the menu screens to the dynamic of the game, where utilising the powers speech will ultimately save you and everything you care about. It is not exactly fast paced, although at times it can be rather intense when you’re being chased by something terrifying with more than two legs. You aren’t a big, powerful space marine, you aren’t loaded with muscles, have access to firearms or know hand to hand combat, you are naked in every sense of the word surrounded by remorseless killers in a maze of metal. For a Mudokon, a sympathetic, empathetic, sensitive species, you are hilariously outgunned and overpowered from the get go, and this is where it gets really interesting, you learn how to resist without the use of weapons, you go from this absolutely vulnerable, frail creature to something that the Glukkons become terrified of and you do all of this without any means of defence or force. Just that concept alone should be enough to raise curiosity to play through it, and learn how one can defeat such powers as the pathetic schmuk you are (if I butchered that spelling I do apologise.) This story ark does not happen right away, it takes a lot of time to learn your potential, you do not spend much time in Rupture Farms fleeing for you life, you find yourself in the stockyards bathed in moonlight, stockyards with live-stock hiding in the shadows. Seeing as it is night, you barely get a good look at the creatures of Mudos held up in pens, but you do know that they too aren’t friendly, they’re just as mean, just as aggressive as the Glukkons, Sligs, Greeters and anything else you find in the factories, at least this is how the wild life first comes across to Abe, dangerous, monstrous and volatile but really, they are misunderstood as scared as you are. They too are scheduled for the grinder, the creatures of Mudos are slowly going extinct, the Meeches, a strange crab like creature turned into Meech Munchies have already bitten the dust. The Paramites living in the forests are slowly being hunted down and ground up into Paramite Pies, along with the Scrabs, that are mulched down into delicious Scrab Cakes. Everything is at risk so long as the Glukkons are in charge. (SPOILER START) Once out of the stockyards, Abe is confronted with a full moon, the moons face has upon it the shape of his palm. As Abe gazes at this moon, trying to figure out what this all means, the rocks beneath his feet give way. After a long, awkward fall off the cliff, Abe partially wakes, confronted with Big Face standing over him, a Mudokon shaman of sorts with an oversized mask. It is here where Abe, mildly concussed, is shown a vision of Mudos, where the Paramites of the forests of Paramonia, the Scrabs of the deserts of Scrabania roam and live as free as the Mudokons, in a world free of corruption. When Abe finally comes too, Big Face is gone, leaving behind a drawing in the dirt at his feet that looks like the infinity symbol (SPOILER END). Still in confusion with what he must do, the sun rises and a place called The Mosaic Lines, an ancient temple built (from what I gather) by Abe’s ancestors, a temple that links the worlds of Paramonia and Scrabania together. Abe ventures inside and it is at this moment where I was quite literally blown away. Going into this game I had naively thought that it was going to remain black and grey, forever in the industrial world which the Glukkons built, that I was eventually going to find Mullok, destroy him after a few hardships and that would be that; I love being wrong sometimes, and I don’t think I have never been more wrong about a game before or since. A simple platformer, with a simplistic protagonist with a journey ahead of him, a journey that takes him from the land of industry, to the ancient temple of his ancestors, across the hot deserts, plunged deep into the forests where the journey ends and a rescue mission resumes, leading Abe back into the jaws of cogs and jagged metal, where the journey comes full circle, revealing a captivating ending depending on how you play. Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, coupled with its later part, Abe’s Exodus, is an experience which leaves you with a sense of awe and wonder, for not everything is explained, not all the mysteries are exposed and there is room for several, I repeat, several more instalments to this series.

LOVES:- The aura of mysticism about this game is incomparable. The music which is mainly mellow and atmospheric picking up so suddenly when danger presents itself, really gets your heart pumping. Better yet, at times it drowns out and you’re left with moments of nothing but the hum of insects, the blow of the wind or the clanking of the machinery used in Rupture Farms. I love the wonder, the unanswered questions revolving about the unexplored mysteries, mysteries surrounding the moon and Abe’s true destiny and untold powers. Where the gifts of the chant come from? The Mudokon ancestry and so on. I love that every screen is highly detailed, to the smallest of screws in the industrial areas, the graffiti sprayed onto meat barrels, the cave paintings smeared onto rocks to each piece of bark on each tree in the wilderness. This game is a piece of art, a lot of love has gone into this project and to demonstrate this, I highly recommend the book called ‘The Art of Oddworld,’ I will do my best to leave a link below because I bought my copy a very VERY long time ago and they were always going to be a limited offer, but please, do your best to find and review a copy, for in the book you’ll find everything from the smallest of doodles to the final concept pieces, beautifully coloured and rendered as if it were its own movie, it’s beautiful. As I think back on this game, I feel like I’ve lost my train of thought a bit, I guess the biggest love I have for Oddworld is its uniqueness, its early concepts of the fact that you are a small, weak, defenceless being in a violent, dangerous world full of incredibly thought out and well-designed creatures, which bare a shocking resemblance to our own world. The Glukkons represent the fat cats who run the oil companies and the billion-dollar corporations, the Sligs are there personal hitmen and mafia guys while the Mudokons represent the peaceful side of human nature. This is where the real power of relation to Abe comes from, you love the guy, you feel for the guy, you want him to succeed, and the more effort you put in to saving your fellow slaves, the more likely it is that they will rescue you in your darkest of hours. (SPOILER START) Yes, Oddworld introduced three different endings, something which I rarely see even nowadays. If you do your best to save your friends, they save you and as a treat, the developers let you look at some of the artwork as the credits role. If you let most of them die or leave them behind, those on the outside of Rupture Farms return the favour to you, leaving you at the hands of Mullok and his meat grinder. Then there is the fifty-fifty ending, it is neither good nor bad, it is unclear as to what happens to Abe if you’re granted this ending, but he is visited by a guardian angel speaking to him through a computer screen. You can only unlock this ending if you rescue half of the inmates, no more, no less (SPOILDER END).

HATES:- There is little to complain about when playing this game, though I feel like I’ve praised it enough, no game is perfect, no game is flawless and Oddworld is no exception. Biggest gripe I have with Abe’s Odyssey, is that Abe has always had the ability to chant. Chanting allows him to take over enemies with weak minds. Abe has little to no physical strength, but with his ability to chant and possess a Slig with a machine gun and a loyal Slog at his side, he can cause quite a bit of damage. What I do not like, is that not enough answers were given about this chant ability, and presented some pretty mind-numbing questions. If Abe has had this ability all along, then why has he not used it to get ahead before the Glukkons decide to chop up all the Mudokons for profit? Surely by now with this impressive talent he would have captured Rupture Farms through Mullok by now. To expand on that, Abe is spying on the entire board as they plan to destroy the Mudokons at the beginning of the game during the cut scene; Why did Abe not possess Mullok right then and there and reverse the order? Better yet; Why did he not possess a Slig, there was one with a gun nearby, why did he not possess him, march in on the meeting and waste Mullok and all of the board members? Things like this stand out for me and no one has EVER addressed this issue, not in Abe’s Exodus, Munch’s Odyssey or Strangers Wrath. If I were making Abe’s Odyssey, I would have had Abe escape Rupture Farms, fall off that cliff, bump into Big Face as he does originally and then upon his awakening, is he granted the chant ability. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.       

Final Fantasy 7 – Everything said about this game (a term that I do not like to link to this title, ‘game,’ but will do so anyway for convenience sake) has been said time and time again. If you are wondering what Final Fantasy is? If you aren’t particularly familiar with the seventh game in the series which are unrelated in terms of the story, then you’re either about twelve years old glued to some incipit rubbish on your smart phone, or you’ve quite simply been living in a basement for the last twenty plus years. If that is the case, I am glad you’ve come outside, now go and immerse yourself with FF7 after you’ve breathed fresh air and tasted water, it will quite literally change your life and tell you a story like no other. Final Fantasy 7 has been hailed as one of the greatest RPG (Role Playing Game) achievements in history, it’s forever praised by fans, developers and those who work and write within the industry, and rightly so, it deserves the praise it gets, it demands respect for it was not only the first Final Fantasy to take that leap from 2D to 3D, but it was the first to appear on the PlayStation after its developers decided to break a long-lasting deal with Nintendo 64. A story of this magnitude simply could not run effectively on a Nintendo console, so in turn the leap was justified. When most games of the era including the ones I have previously mentioned, wrapped at around the eight-hour mark, FF7 on the other hand, eight hours in, was only just getting started I shit you not. This was unheard of back when it was released in 1997.

Before I continue any further, please do not hate me for the lack of attention I appear to be giving this game, the very reason I was able to write in great length about the games prior to FF7 was because they are so small, paling in comparison to the mighty FF7, which has a little over forty hours of story content to get through not to mention any of the many side quests and hidden treasures found scattered throughout. The back tracking to gain powerful items and weapons of course takes up a lot of time and some of the hardest enemies in the game are dropped as a reward after defeating them. For those of you who have played it thoroughly, Ruby and Emerald Weapon in my saved game, on my PS3 are still unbeaten. I came close to defeating Emerald and am confident that next time around I’ll beat him, but Ruby is almost impossible, his armour rating is through the roof my attacks barely registering. It is laughable going toe to toe against Ruby Weapon, situated in the deserts outside of Gold Saucer. Arguably, FF7 is around sixty hours long and I wish it was longer, I got so upset when I finished this game for the first time back when I was in my early teens, reaching the level forty mark. Having invested so much time into it, the characters had grown on me so much, that they felt real every time I sat down to play, it was incredibly exciting and unbelievably compelling around disc two.

FF7’s story goes from something rather narrow and straightforward, to something strangely complicated and thought provoking. Throwing you right into the action seconds after the introduction cut scene ends, you go from fighting Shinra, a corrupt and evil corporation that has figured out a way to draw the planets life force (Mako) out from the earth and turn it into energy to run its Cities and power its profits, to saving the very planet from both a physical and metaphysical Godlike force. You play as Cloud Strife, recruited by a rebel group called Avalanche lead by Barret Wallace, a man with a gun grafted onto his right arm, and battle your way into one of the Shinra Mako reactors to bomb it, disabling it permanently. The mission is a success after a boss battle against a giant red, mechanical guard scorpion, but the next mission leads to Cloud becoming separated from the group, and falls into the slums living in the shadow of the reactor. From here he meets Aeris, a somewhat innocent character who sells flowers, who does not seem to fit in with this violent world involving rebels and massive power houses, but later she becomes as important if not more important than anyone you ever encounter along the way. With the help of Aeris, you find your way back to Barret and Tifa Lockheart, Tifa, Clouds childhood friend, only to discover that your group Avalanche has suffered, losing three of its members in the fight against Shinra. After making an effective push back, you end up having to leave Midgar and thus the journey of self-discovery, one’s purpose and place in the world at war, begins. Each and every character that joins you along on the way has their own stories to tell and eventually play through, they have personal issues, hometowns, places you which helps broaden the character that you are investigating.

You wander empty grasslands, get trapped in the hot deserts, visit truly wondrous locations of might and magic, places even the most creative of people would struggle to comprehend with. Thick forests, snow plains and nightmarish realms where the biggest and toughest of enemies await you, need to be uncovered. The journey is long, thrilling, compelling, difficult, tragic and tiresome, but it is the love for the characters involved that keeps you pushing on, you really get the feeling that you are one with the group, that your decisions matter and every task you complete gets you one step closer to your end goal. Cloud Strife, to this day is still one of my favourite leads, I’ll go as far to say, maybe he is indeed my favourite of all, his iconic Buster Sword is legendary among the gaming community, his insane blonde/yellow spikey hair style is iconic, and his purple-ish mercenary attire leaves an instant nostalgic effect on me, as do most of the other characters you get a chance to play as, but Cloud, being the true main protagonist, does indeed have the most thought provoking past, the most interesting story and best character arc, especially when you emerge from the Lifestream, an energy that courses around the planet, full of memory and power. Cloud is my favourite, which is strange for me because I always tend to empathise with secondary characters, though Final Fantasy 7 has plenty for everyone. For instance, we have Yuffie Kisaragi, both hilarious, annoying and deadly rolled into one, I would expect nothing else from a sixteen-year old ninja obsessed with the gil (Money) in your pocket and materia (the source of your powers to fight your enemies). Cid Highwind, pilot of the airship he named after himself, becoming available to you at the end of disc two, is an ambitious man who yearns to travel into space, having come so close in his earlier days he has a drive for exploration. Tifa Lockheart, she is one of the people I have a soft spot for in FF7. Always calm, always understanding, bright, level headed and optimistic who adds a slither of romance between herself and Cloud, especially when Aeris Gainsborough, an ancient, a descendant from a people with extraordinary power charged with planet protection, who attempts from time to time to make her move onto the blonde haired unstoppable badass with the giant sword. There is Barret Wallace, who comes from a coal mining town, overruled and eventually exterminated by Shinra for business reasons. In the process of this, he not only loses his right hand, but he loses his best friend who you do track down, and give him what he wants, death. Nanaki, son of Seto, also known as RedXIII by the mad scientist Hojo, a fierce feline who can live for hundreds of years, a human life being a mere blip in his existence, struggles with the legacy of his parents in particularly his father, brandished a coward by those in Cosmo Canyon (my favourite location next to The Forgotten Temple) but in truth a true, heroic warrior who sacrificed his life in the caves below, for the safety of those who live above. Vincent Valentine, formerly a Turk, a mob, who is cursed with immortality, taking on vampiric like traits who’s past ties into Sephiroths lineage. We also have Cait Sith, a character with the most powerful limit break moves in the game if you get lucky. He is a Mog like creature who rides on a friendly gambling machine from the Gold Saucer (Las Vegas in the FF world). All have reasons for joining the journey, all are met at different points during the game, and toward the end, they are fully established, fully realised and understood, they become one with group and after what, sixty hours of play time, you find yourself generally invested, at least I did anyway and most others did too, otherwise it would not have been as successful as it is today, and is STILL being talked about, there is also a remake in the making nearly twenty years on. I will not even begin to get into to all the spin offs and the movie, Final Fantast 7: Advent Children, which blew my mind in every sense of the word. Only issue I had with it, was that it served the fans, and did not exactly help those who hadn’t played the game to understand the plot; But how could it? How could a two-hour movie sum up the enormity of events in the prequel.

There may come a time when I talk in depth about this story, those of you who have played and seen the movie, will know that I have just scratched the surface with the level of detail and intricacy, I am kinda kicking myself because I really want to go on and on, but I do have two more games to talk about and a love and hate section to write up all in the space of an hour, so forgive me for washing over some of the highlights, forgive me for not going into spoilers at this moment, because I need to move on. If you really want a review, if I get enough e-mails or Tweets perhaps, I’ll do it.

LOVES:- See the above. To be a little more specific though, I love the diversity of the characters, how each and every one is so different but shares similar interests. I love the writing, although at times now in 2017 is a bit outdated, I still love the interaction between Yuffie and the group, the dynamic between Barret and Cloud, how they really do not see eye to eye to begin with, but over time they start to understand one another. I love Tifa Lockheart, her kindness, her optimism and strength to overcome obstacles, she really acts as the emotional centre, when all hell is breaking loose, you can depend on her to think rationally and cool heated moments down. I guess the characters make it for me, above the game play, above the spells, creatures and villains, I love the team assembled over the time playing. Another thing which I have not given enough credit to is the music composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The themes to convey urgency, stealth, fight, love and tragedy, never fails to hit the mark especially at the end of disc one within The Forgotten City, (SPOILER START) when you not only lose one of the key characters, but when you fight a powerful entity in the wake of the lose (SPOILER END).

HATES:- Yes, as hard as it is to believe, there are a few problems I have with this game and its story, with emphasis on the word ‘problems’ because there aren’t that many, I had to really reach in order to find them, so here they are. I did not like going through hell and back to gain a characters most powerful weapon, only to find out that the item was weak in some areas or only held a few slots to store your materia. The most powerful weapon for a character should not be in debate with the weapon you had prior because there are pros and cons, it should be the best for a reason, no competition. I did not like the lack of clues in some areas of the game, for instance, when trying to obtain Alexander, a powerful summon materia, you have to track it down in Northern territories where it is seriously snowy, icy and windy. Not only is navigation up there hard as nails but the materia (to my knowledge) does not light up, you have to press ‘O’ on a specific patch of land, pardon my French but there is a FUCK load of land to press a button on. A few more clues here and there would make it way more enjoyable. I also found myself struggling with the Wall Market in Sector 7 Slums, the bit where you are supposed to infiltrate Don Corneo’s mansion to rescue Tifa. I spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to figure out what the fuck I had to do, to get through those bloody doors. If it were me, I’d use my Buster Sword and powers, I’d fuck up anyone who stood in my way, infiltrate, rescue Tifa (not that she actually needs rescuing because she is not a witless cretin), pull her out of there and get back on track with destroying Shinra, but you cannot do it that way. Instead you have to go through the arduous task of gaining entry, by doing a number of mind numbing tasks to get a key to a nearby club called The Honey Bee Inn, where you’ll get the items necessary to dress Cloud up as a woman, and sneaking in that way because they only accept women – Excuse me, logic bomb coming up, aren’t you essentially a terrorist, didn’t you just bust into a Mako Reactor, murder a load of soldiers in the process and potentially kill innocence lives living beneath the structure? Who gives a fuck about a few sleazy assholes who use and abuse women on a daily basis, fuck being sneaky in this instance raid the place, Cloud and Aeris could have taken them out with one hand behind their back. Please remember before you call me a retard, I played this game at the time when there was no internet, I had to figure things out on my own.

Legacy of Kain – This is not the first time I have spoken about Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver. I talked a great deal about it in a previous article called ‘Fangs in The Roots’ be sure to check out that post because this game has been a big inspiration in my own work and I have no shame in admitting that. With that being said, I’ll quickly outline the premise of this title and move on to what I love and hate about this amazing game.

The backstory to Legacy of Kain is incredible, I’ll go as far to say it is as intricate and as beautiful as some of the great fantasy epics of today. You play as Raziel, part of the Sarafan Brotherhood, the Sarafan are human vampire hunters locked in a viscous war again the vampires. This war stretches back to the earliest known period of time (I think, there is a lot too this game). Raziel is eventually killed by a vampire along with his five younger brothers; Dumah, Rehab, Zephon, Melchiah and Turel, and buried in the tomb. (SPOILDER START) The vampire who kills human Raziel was actually the Soulreaver Raziel, for Raziel in Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver 2, stumbles upon Moebius the time streamers devices, and is sent him back in time as the angel of death, and dispatches the Sarafan Brotherhood himself (SPOILDER END). It is here when Kain, raises you from the dead to serve as his vampire soldiers, clansman who take control of Nosgoth, and powerless to stop its fall into decay. Seeing as vampires do not age, they still evolve, Raziel, evolves faster than Kain, somewhat surpassing him by growing beautiful bat wings. Kain, rips them out by the bone and has you thrown into the Lake of the Dead, where the water destroys you. You awake to find yourself at the mercy of something called The Elder God, who tasks you to settle your dispute with Kain and all of your brethren, those who assisted Kain in damning you to the void.

And so, the game begins. Your body is wrecked, torn apart and tortured over time by the waters of the dead, but even at your weakest you are seriously strong when you emerge, able to lift boulders and enormous objects as if they were nothing. Your wings though ruined are not without purpose, you can take hold of them as you leap great distances and glide a little further. You can shift between material and spectral plains meaning death itself is powerless to kill you. If your physical body is destroyed you return to the spirit world where you hunt the souls of the dead, consume them to regain your strength and when able, return to the physical world. You have claws which you can use to scale cliff faces and deal damage with. Combine your strength with your claws you can throw your grotesque foes that litter the world huge distances, fling them onto jagged spikes, off of tall cliffs, onto fires and into lakes where they drown or melt. Raziel is merciless, ruthless, full of anger, fuelled by revenge and still so young, over time you obtain more abilities that grant you powers over the elements, you can learn to light up the night with an orb of sunlight, not sure if you know, but vampires HATE sunlight. You can learn to overcome your weakness for water and can soon submerge yourself fully and swim through the depths of the world of Nosgoth. One by one, you hunt down your brethren, each with their own fortresses and territories that have rotted in the time you’ve been dead on the bottom of the lake. You travel across the lands to find those that damned you, you’ll find yourself in the Drowned Abbey, a seriously dangerous temple because at this point in the story, water is lethal to touch, yet you have to venture through a sunken city, to find one of your brothers, Rehab. Raziel will have to brave The Silenced Cathedral, where spider like horrors of Zephon will hunt you if detected. You’ll have to raid tombs, graveyards, work your way through desolate castles where the snows fall and the beasts grow large, Dumah. The adventure is perilous, horrifying, wondrous and satisfying when you drain the soul of one of your deformed brothers who still hates you with a passion. Upon each brother you consume, Raziel becomes even more powerful, the more power you acquire the more likely it will be that you’ll reign victorious over Kain when toe to toe, the most dangerous villain in the entire series, who is waiting for you at the end of the world.

Seeking revenge on your brothers is only a small part of what this game has to offer, it is more about uncovering history, making sense of what happened in your absence and discovering the true meaning of one’s destiny and the fate of Nosgoth. Killing your brothers and hunting Kain slowly pales in comparison with what is to come, and what is to come is an enemy stronger than both vampire and humans combined, they called the hylden and are revealed in full in the fifth instalment called Legacy of Kain: Defiance, where you play as both Raziel AND Kain, utilising their own individual dark gifts. Eventually you fight one another, playing as Kain, then as Raziel in a truly epic duel of the anti-heroes. It is wicked stuff, highly recommend this series.

LOVES:- The world of Nosgoth itself. The incredible introduction cut scene which has withstood the test of time and still holds up today against most next gen games. If I can find the right vid, because there have been other editions which change the tone, I’ll see if I can link the intro scene below for you to see for yourself, it is THAT good.

I love the gothic atmospheric feel of the architecture, the nightmarish creatures scattered in both the material and spiritual worlds. The anger and jealousy that festers within each one of your brother’s hearts, they being twisted both mentally and physically beyond recognition sets up the tension. Having to rely more using your wit to battle and overcome each one opposed to your physical prowess, is exhilarating and epic, reminding me of the game Half-Life, if you’ve played the first in the series, you’ll know that the boss fights are not as simple as point and shoot or hack and slash, you need to fight with intelligence and use the environment around you to assist. The dark undertone of music, the Shakespearean styed dialogue and the protagonist/antagonist character you play as, the Soulreaver, the angel of death, Raziel. You could not play as a bigger badass, fuck God of War, fuck Devil May Cry (although I do like Dante in the first game), Raziel, is a highly evolved vampire who could spit on said other anti-heroes, especially when armed with his wraith blade.

HATES:- Similar to the complaints I have with FF7, Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver is worse in that regard, giving you little to nothing in the way of clues. Each area you visit, each realm you adventure through requires you to solve an array of different puzzles, some you cannot work through without the necessary skills, skills you can only obtain by completing tasks set for you on the other side of Nosgoth. You need to fight off a number of monsters, monsters which again can over power you if you have not the required powers. You need to sometimes fade in and out of the spectral realms where the landscapes can change dramatically if you’re standing in the right places. From a third person perspective, and no linear set path for you to follow, you can find yourself wandering around for hours with no clue as to what the fuck you’re meant to be doing. You can be struggling for so long in fact that it gets horrifically boring, causing you to turn off and perhaps never play again. Finding certain glyphs to boost health, and relics to unlock abilities can become almost impossible without the aid of a simple guide and even still, with a guide at hand, you can follow it correctly but the game is subject to glitches. You may very well solve a puzzle, but because of the glitch you’ll be left stranded, tearing your eye balls out trying to figure out what went wrong, or why a certain thing is not working, It’s mind frazzling.

Silent Hill – You play as a man named Harry Mason, a man who loses control of his car along the route to a town called Silent Hill. When you wake, your daughter who was safely strapped in the back seat is missing. Leaving the safety of your car on the road, you go out toward Silent Hill to look for her in the hauntingly thick, grey mist.

It is that simple, it is a simple yet effective premise which instantly engages the player, starting you off with a series of questions; Where is your daughter Cheryl? What happened to Silent Hill? How do you escape this nightmare? A father loses his child and is on a journey with coming to terms with the fact that he may never see her again, that in itself is more frightening than any entity or creature it reveals. It is easy to see Silent Hill as another monster game, but in actual fact, it is not. It preys on the things we ALL fear and mixes it up with a horrifying story, story of cults and archaic rituals performed by the insane residents of the town. You start off on the outskirts, the further you venture in the more depraved it gets. The game has good pacing and does not normally through blood and gore in your face all at once, it is subtle at times which adds to the growing dread. At one point you are in a school, thinking that your daughter may be hiding in one of the classrooms. As you explore and start to obtain clues as to what happened you’ll hear the swing of a locker or the groans of a cat…It is this kind of shit that screws with my head, not knowing where said noises came from nor what actually made the noise really does a number on your imagination. Silent Hill understands (as does the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent) that not showing you the threat, is scarier than showing it, and it pulls this off incredibly well to the point where you have nothing but a lighter, wandering down into the basement of an insane asylum in the pitch black armed with nothing but a bit of wood with a nail in it…It is fantastic yet so fucking disturbing. The story uncovers the events in such a way that you seem to forget why you are there in the first place, it becomes more about the town, rather than yourself and your own endeavour with your daughter. Although, you do get answers, you do eventually uncover the truth about Cheryl and every other character you meet along the way who are stuck in the same traumatic nightmare as you. Depending on how you play, does affect the outcome of some of these characters and effects your fate, it being good or bad, depending on how you play, what you do and where you go, changes the final scenes to suit. I never did it, but if you play in a certain way, you can obtain the ending where aliens come down and abduct you. I think this was a silly thing the developers put in for those who play in a bizarre fashion, but the fact that this game has multiple different endings adds to replay value. I only finished the game once, no way I am going back, it is way too real for me in spite of the graphics today looking like a child assembled it with Lego. There is one scene however SO COOL that I will leave it below, it is a spoiler, so if you haven’t played this game…Go and play it before you click the link.

LOVES:- The atmosphere is dripping with tension and pure horror. I literally find it hard to think of a franchise within the same genre that compares to this one (Silent Hill 1 and 2). From the eerie shadows in the mist, the ash falling from the dead sky, the dreaded siren sounding for when it goes dark, to the deep psychology mind fucks this game plays with you along the way through abandoned schools, sewers, hospitals and sub basements. Silent Hill is a puzzle solver, it is a survival horror, it is a psychological traumatic story for those serious about scary games. Anyone who hasn’t played through this title or its equally compelling sequel, I feel the need to point it out at some stage that it is a must. Yes, there are horrors out there that are truly terrifying, like Amnesia: The Dark Descent for PC. Alone in the Dark, for PS1, AvP (1999) for PC and Alien Isolation for the next gen consoles released late 2015, Silent Hill is always in my opinion the backbone of ever horror game released today. I hate the movie franchise for this game, they could not have got it more wrong. Regardless of how good it looked, it was a treat to visualise in the cinema or on Blu-Ray on a banging TV, but what they fucked up on was the marketing. In spite of what you may think, Silent Hill is not a monster freak show, it plays this card really well, but the true horror stems from real life tragedies and the journey to recovery one’s self or the fall into madness and endless despair. Silent Hill takes the worse-case scenarios from real life and puts a nightmarish twist on it. Looking at the characters of Harry and James from the first two games in the series, Harry loses his daughter and spends the game reluctantly accepting the fact that she is gone forever. James loses his wife to an awful illness, and travels back to the places where they shared times of love and joy. These two scenarios are prevalent in reality, these scenarios can happen to us and that is a terrifying notion. This is where Silent Hill draws its terror from and I both love it and am disturbed by it.

HATES:- There are no real hates for this game other than the gameplay is a bit shoddy, when you find yourself backed into a corner armed with a shitty pistol loaded with a handful of bullets you scrounged from behind a dumpster, and you need to make the shots count, most of the time you’ll fumble and miss, it is frustrating because ammunition is seriously scarce. You can argue that you do not play as soldiers or men of experience with firearms, so they would be pretty terrible at aiming, I can accept that, but this is a game after all, a little more accuracy from time to time and it would be golden. Another minor complaint comes with the locked doors, there are times when you are trying to get through locked doors or in need of finding keys, all the while in your immediate inventory you are carrying around crowbars, planks of wood, needles, guns and other cumbersome bits and pieces, pieces you could surely use to break down the door without the use of a key. I know what you are going to say, I am aware that it would be a pretty poor game if you could just barge through a door at will, but this kind of thing stands out for me. If I come across a locked door I badly needed to get through and there was a crowbar in the corner USE THAT! Not to mention the monsters in pursuit of you are really, really brutal and so horrifically freaky, do you honestly think that a wooden door would get in my way of escape, from a dead, faceless nurse wielding surgical knives…I rest my case, fuck the doors, be like the guy in Red Faction.

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I hope enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other articles in this Blog, be sure to have tea with you, my Blogs go best with a brew at hand and your favourite music being played in the background. Obviously I have other favourites, so many in fact on the a multitude of platforms that I am feeling the urge to write another set of these for the PS2 or the Xbox. Here are a few honourable mentions of childhood games I played on my classic PS1:-

Metal Gear Solid.

Rayman.

Pandemonium.

Final Fantasy 8

Spyro the Dragon.

Crash Bandicoot.

Red Alert: Command and Conquer.

Fear Effect.

In Cold Blood.

Resident Evil.

Theme Hospital.

Populous the Beginning.

Alone in The Dark.

Final Fantasy 9.

Heart of Darkness.

Worms.

KKND Krossfire.

That is it for now. As usual all the links to my own work will be listed below, along with all the links I promised to share with you within the article. If you have had any experience with these titles, similar ones to that of mine or perhaps can lend another perspective on the game, be sure to let me know via e-mail. If you have any topics you’d like to see covered one day, give it a mention and I’ll add my two cents on the matter.

The Hardback Edition of The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, will be released on the 03/09/2017 I cannot be more excited about this, it has been a long time coming. A Kindle Edtion is available if that is your thing, bear in mind you’ll have to purchase or borrow it Volume by Volume, but it is the exact same to what will be released on Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your day, I wish you the best in all that you wish to achieve. I am gonna see if I can watch American Horror Story: Freak Show now I’ve finished Season Three, Coven last night and still it is my favourite, a lot of people feel Asylum is the best so far and although I do not object to this, I love Asylum to, Coven I found was far more entertaining for me, I didn’t wander off in my own head while watching. It was far more compelling especially when the Seven Wonders was introduced and that deity, the voodoo Papa guy was introduced, I forget his name. One thing I didn’t like with Coven however, was the lack of a black cat. You do see a cat roll up in the intro credits and you do see one running around the hallways on the very last episode, but why they could not have had a little side story with a black cat, who maybe has been living in that house for centuries, who has seen more than all the withes combined. Perhaps the cat could have a scene with each witch and would interact with them differently. I don’t know, but that was main issue with it, when I think of witches I almost immediately think of black cats. Food for thought, thanks for reading.

Hardback Release Day: 03/09/2017

Author Page and Amazon Store – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

E-mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

YouTube/Promotional Work – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ?view_as=subscriber

Some of the links provided may disappear, you can always find them yourself if you tap what you are looking for specifically into YouTube or on another search engine. I do not own ANY of the videos linked below nor do I own the images stuck together in this articles image. They belong to the developers and the creators of the games.

Medievil: The Crystal Caves theme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tifnGu62R98

Abe’s Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ondfiwhy-30

Art of Oddworld: http://www.ballisticpublishing.com/books/oddworld/

Final Fantasy 7 / Aeris’s Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIqKWLkm2-g

Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver Introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFiLNc46jAM

Silent Hill / Lisa scene SPOILER and Graphic Content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJHP4MK9CtY

Silent Hill 2 Trailer E3. Graphic Content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21s45Yel5VM

D.W.Gill

The Red Dance Partner – Excerpt Four

I know I said I would not post any more excerpts, I am aware that it is unwise to post too much material online, however this is not an excerpt of Episode Two, this piece comes from one of my favourite scenes in Episode One – The Utopian Dream.

This scene depicts our female protagonist, Isabelle Verano, having successfully star called, pulling one of the twelve Celestial’s from their plane into ours in front of a few of the High Councillors of Virtue, within one of the Glyph Domes, places where Glyph Wielders practise and perfect their unreal abilities. Believe me when I say, I could talk for days if not weeks about this story and all of its finer details, but alas, I have the image above and the excerpt below for that, so I will not draw out this article with my baggy interpretations, I’ll let you view it the way you like and listen to the feedback, if any. In saying that, I did learn something that I should have learnt a long time ago the other day, it was when I was trying to describe my vision to Mr Sucevic, I was smothering him in details which is not a good thing. Instead of giving him room for his own ideas, I overloaded him with mine, which is unwise. It is unwise because one can learn from other creative people, you can find inspiration and you can grow from simply talking and listening to others. Of course there are some instances where things HAVE to be done in the way you want in relevance to the story. My advice to all those in my or similar positions is, let other people be creative to, let them have their own input and be sure to consider the good ideas. I do believe I have a very vivid imagination, I like to think that I know this story inside and out, that I know ALL of those little details, though when it came to describing this scene before work commenced, when it came to voicing it, sketching it and plotting out where everything had to be, admittedly I was left scratching my chin, left in a trance slowly going cross eyed. It is harder than you might think. After several attempts, a handful of late night conversations, plenty of e-mails and a bucket load of coffee, Bojan and I finally caught the look we were going for and we got the work done. Hard work pays off; Once you learn that success depends on what you put in, that determination and dedication is absolutely key, nothing becomes impossible to achieve and doors begin to open.

As always, if you like this Blog, my work, or have any suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered, do not hesitate to get in touch using the information at the end. Big thank you to all those that are following me on Twitter, never thought I’d ever reach over two hundred followers, it is very much appreciated. Huge thank you to everyone who is downloading The Utopian Dream onto their Kindles, I am donating all the money made to a charity involving the regrowth of lost forests here in Australia.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt, please be aware that the Chapter 14 – The Red Dance Partner, is large and contains more than just Isabelle’s story, it has been cut up accordingly to describe the star calling scenes only and not the others that obviously appear in the full story. Be sure to have an excellent day, please consider a purchase of my work or to refer it to someone who loves epic fantasy. PEACE OUT!

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Isabelle’s door was opened by a guard. She ordered him away and stepped inside the room, where the sensual scent of pearls hung in the air. A little light had been lit for her in each corner of the tidy room. She raised her hand a little and twisted it around, the warm candle light in the room brightening with the action of her wrist, the flames glowing stronger. She lifted off her top and draped the fabric over the back of a chair. The image of herself in the mirror stared at her as she approached the large square wardrobe. She gently let the door swing open and placed her hand inside the space, feeling the shimmering touch of her beautiful, fiery red dress. Carefully she released it from the hook and hugged it against her chest. Pandora sat on the nearby desk watching her mistress with those haunting green eyes, reflecting the candle flames.

“Isabelle, it’s time. Are you ready, my lady?” called a voice from behind the door. She turned to the mirror, looking deep within herself and spoke very confidently.

“Yes, I’m ready.” Hearing the footsteps drift away, further down the corridor, she continued in little more than a whisper: “Are you ready, my dear High Councillors of Virtue?” The candles extinguished themselves, their lone flames drowned out one by one until the room fell into darkness. Isabelle’s iridescent, green eyes were the only light in the sheer darkness, like icy, emerald ponds in a desert of black.

The High Councillors of Virtue had been true to their word and granted Isabelle the rest of the day off, though what they failed to understand was that she had not been relaxing during this supposed free time. The Chosen had been psyching herself up, mentally preparing for the Star Call that was to take place. Five of the twelve rulers of Xiondel City stood in a perfectly round, stone chamber; this was where people would practise with the glyph pearls that emitted Omnio energy. The gentlemen gathered around the round wide, central stage. The chamber, carved from black and bronze rock, was very dark inside. A few candles melted away in the far corners of the chamber, along with a single fire, angrily devouring its fuel of wood and oil, burning brightly, its flames vaulting out high. The basin from which the fierce flames leapt, ringed with spines and sharp teeth metal edges, sat directly opposite the stage and gave Yespin a vague clue as to which Celestial Isabelle would be Star Calling that night. She had, after all, been in and out of the room all day, preparing it for the arrival of the demi-God, making the area presentable and perfect. The chamber was fit for at least a hundred people, though at the moment it held only five men. Taktard and Darlo stood whispering together near their front row seats. Julias was also seated on one of the flat, stone chairs closest to the stage, which were in fact more like sets of steps leading higher and higher toward the top of the rocky room. The chatter quickly quietened down to silence. Cillian, High Councillor Charity, sat down in front of Yespin and leant back to him, asking:

“Did she tell you which Celestial will be visiting us this evening?”

“No, I left that decision up to her. I am confident in her wisdom. She has never made a wrong move in the past. In fact she rarely makes any sort of mistake.”

“We all make mistakes, Yespin, however small, we all make them, even Star Callers. I don’t believe you when you say that this woman is perfect.”

“You doubt her, don’t you?”

“I don’t doubt her abilities as the Chosen. I’ve seen her power first hand before, just like you, and it is most impressive, magnificent even.”

“So what’s troubling you, Charity?” asked the Councillor of Truth.

“I don’t see her spreading her wealth among the desperate, those without homes and families, those without shelter or protection of any kind. I guess it takes no power at all to give. These Celestials are powerful, but I don’t see them making things better in people’s everyday lives; it’s not the Gods that help, it’s the people caring for one another that make the differences, just as you said earlier. You were right.” Yespin nodded his head slowly; he always had a counter argument and Cillian sighed upon hearing it.

“As High Councillor Charity, only you can talk this way. Your argument is fair enough, but in truth it was indeed the Celestial Souls that delivered us from chaos and gave us a path. If it hadn’t have been for the first Chosen, Regina Corah – the one who Hallow had predicted would come, would bring us Starillia and awaken the twelve – our world would be a very different place and neither you nor I would exist. Maybe, one day, men will change and all of this will be forgotten, nothing but forgotten scrolls and writings on buried walls. For now, Cillian, embrace our peace and be thankful for it. We will witness a spectacle tonight that many would pay handsomely for. And do not be so naïve as to say that Isabelle does not spread her wealth, for she does, each and every day.”

“Where does the money go?” Cillian questioned, squinting his eyes, keeping his voice down to a whisper.

“Isabelle is always looking for answers, so most of it goes to education and to the works in Fevoriel; there are many buried temples and tombs in those lands, which may hold answers about our predecessors. Some of her gold funds Livale, on the borders of Tthenadawn Forest, where artefacts lost throughout the timeline of history are being uncovered on a daily basis. Old Druidic objects are the most common; you should go to the museums every once in a while and see for yourself, my boy. Her generosity has also helped to fund major developments in Xiondel, her donations have been most appreciated, and she keeps little for herself. I cannot believe you didn’t know of her contributions to… Charity.” Cillian sat quietly, put firmly in his place.

“Why is this the first I have learnt of this?” Yespin smiled.

“Isabelle doesn’t make her donations public; she doesn’t feel the need to do so, but we know it is her. She has already won the people’s love simply by spending time among them as often as she can. She has easily surpassed the popularity of Freya through her work with education. Each Star Caller has excelled in comparison with her predecessor, of course, but no one has ever been better than Regina, and I mean no one; she was the greatest who EVER lived…” Yespin sat upright and stopped talking mid-speech, something which Cillian noticed.

“What is it?”

“I get the feeling she does too much for the public and not enough for herself; it’s one thing to be selfless and another thing to be neglectful. Sometimes I get the feeling that Isabelle is growing weaker.” Cillian looked back at the stage in thought; he had more arguments left in him, but now was not the right time to express them, that time would come in due course. The other Councillors sat down and awaited the Star Caller, for it was time for the performance to begin. The chamber sank into utter silence, a lonely moth fluttering past the tall, double doors as they opened as one, creaking painfully on their tight, stiff hinges.

The Star Caller stepped inside, suited in a new, ethereal style, majestic for the Councillors of Xiondel to behold. Her golden hair was tied up in a top knot; along her arms were wonderful wrist bracelets and rings decorated her fingers. She walked with incredible grace toward the centre of the round stage, her black, high-heeled boots sending echoes throughout the chamber. The Councillors let their eyes wash over her in awe. As she climbed the stage, she had never felt so in charge of a situation. The Celestial she was about to call upon whispered words into her ear, thanking her in advance for the invitation to another dimension. A gentle breeze breathed over the fire burning in the big, silver basin and wafted the lit candles huddled together in the corners. Isabelle’s thin, teasingly revealing, ruby red dress hung off her shoulders and trailed behind her like a ghostly shadow. With all eyes on her, she stood in the centre of the chamber, holding her long-staff close to her side, focusing her thoughts into the act she had practised repeatedly for years. She breathed deeply. Her chest moved in and out, in and out, as she built up the energy needed to perform. It had been a while since she had called upon this particular Celestial Soul.

The soft whispering of the High Councillors quickly gave way to absolute silence. The ritual was about to begin. Isabelle closed her purple tinted eyelids, hiding her green irises, and raised her head, lifted up her arm and flicked her hand to the side. The double iron doors slammed shut with a deafening thud, extinguishing every flame in the room in a heartbeat. From the darkness rose an amber light, like that of a summer’s sunset. She remained in the centre of the stage, arm held high and relaxed, feet close together. She performed her swaying, snakelike actions in a simplistic but beautiful way, all the while keeping her eyes closed. Lowering her hand down close to her thigh she wove together delicate steps, yet still not moving from the raised platform. Slowly she raised the long staff in her right hand in rhythm with the flow of soft music coming from somewhere in the chamber. Isabelle Finally the Star Caller left her spot and danced gracefully and leisurely around, lifting her legs up high, twirling around. The gentlemen watching the ritual were shocked; none had known she was so flexible, able to bend her back so far. She always kept her balance as she danced around, completely absorbed in the steady music, gradually growing faster and faster, building to a climax. She shut herself off from everything around her, from the entire world of Equis and all her worries, crossing in and out of the realm of the ethereal, the realm where her Celestial waited patiently, surrounded by darkness and a heavy, blue mist. The drifting lilt of the music was her only guide now. Isabelle moved like a river meandering around a rock, straightening her staff and sliding her curves around it like a boa constricting its helpless prey. Her face remained calm, her mind focused on the ritual, but her body appeared to be on moving by itself without any conscious input. Her eyes still remained closed, the glyph within dictating her movements. This was one of twelve rituals she had practised and perfected. She made her way back to the centre of the stage with a fine leap and dropped into a crouched position with her long staff stretched out vertically. The ruby red dress eventually caught up with her and began to settle around her feet, so light that it floated down to the ground life a feather in a breeze. Not a sound could be heard from the councilmen in the room, who were silently boiling over with joy and anticipation. But where was the Celestial? The candles sparked and the small flames grew tall, expanding into pillars of light.

Suddenly, the basin of fire burst with a blinding flash! A bright light dazzled everyone except Isabelle, whose eyes only now opened, for this was the tricky part of the performance. Her eyelids shot open, revealing her fiery, glimmering, emerald irises. She arose, coming back to life and exploding into an aggressive, raging dance. She spun as viciously as an angry tornado in an open field. She tapped her feet and turned her legs on the spot, all the while twirling around, releasing her limbs into a series of spiralling kicks, constantly circling the stage. Her arms made use of her staff, which spun and swung, ripping through the air over her head. Isabelle ran around the edge of the stage, taking bigger and bigger strides as she went, a gleam of green from her eyes trailing after her. Picking up speed, she dove into a forward roll and flipped herself into the air! The councillors gasped at the height and danger of the move, at the thought of the consequences of a single, grave mistake. She moved like fire in the wind, the beauty of her leaps almost inhuman. The dress that trailed after her seemed to turn and move by itself, acting as her inanimate dance partner. The Star Caller leapt into the air and rolled into a ball, landing on her feet, slamming her great long staff into a hole at the far end of the stage. The staff stood vertical and the soft melody stopped with a thundering thud. A slower tune arose from the shadows, the candles glowing blood-red this time, and the basin of fire emitting its pulsating flames again. The fire ascended like a cyclone, curling and coiling up, only to plummet like a waterfall, splashing back down into the basin of searing heat. The lovely melody floated and crept into the ears of the observers. Isabelle had gripped the attention of her audience, she would have to die to break their attention now; none of them could physically look away from the spectacle. She paced around the staff seductively, exposing her thighs, giving the gawping Councillors a treat. As the melody grew ever quieter, she grabbed the tip of the staff where the clouded, lilac orb was indented and tried to pull something out. The music grew to a crescendo and the Chosen leapt into a series of back flips, coming to a stop in the centre of the stage. The palm of her outstretched hand convulsed with the effort of trying to pull something from the orb. As the magical sphere reacted, so did the basin of fire; something was trying to come through. The Councillors could just about make out a string of web, a trail of mist running from her hand to the orb. The web then shattered as Isabelle made her final pull! She lost concentration for a fraction of a second as she noticed something beyond Yespin; in the shadows of the chamber was a sixth onlooker! An uninvited and unwelcome guest. When she got to the long staff she pulled it out of the hole; this was her tool, her weapon, more powerful than a mere sword and a far greater defence than any shield, it was a part of her and had been since she received it from Freya as a child. There were a number of different staffs; an apprentice would choose her own when the time was right. Isabelle twisted herself on the spot, the melody repeating itself in time with her steps and leaps. The music told a story, though there were no sheets to read from, the unseen musicians had long since become one with their instruments, just like the Chosen was one with her glyph. She was in control of how long the music would play; indeed there was no set time for the ritual, rather it depended on how long it took her to accomplish. With a deep breath she turned and javelined the staff high into the air. Time slowed down, the men watching on as the staff fell through the air into another groove at the opposite end of the stage. The end landed perfectly in the hole and steadied itself, only wobbling ever so slightly. Her dress sank to her sides as a gust of wind blew in from behind her. A brief pause moment of peace followed as she stood completely still, head held up high and eyes closed delicately. Thin green slits shone through the gap. Was the ritual over? the men wondered to themselves.

Yespin managed to fill his lungs with air and release some words just as Isabelle burst into flames, the fire engulfing her entirely. Darlo shouted out in horror:

“VERANO!” but was held back by Taktard. The fire reared up and roared, loud and angry! A few of the Councillors looked at each other in panic; was this a horrible accident or part of the ritual? Yespin could just barely see the Chosen, apparently encased safely inside the blazing shell, standing normally, arms at her sides. His heart rate calmed as he saw that she was in no danger. He could see her mouth moving through the breaks in the flames; she was talking to someone – or something. What was she saying? The inferno gave way, opening up like a flower in the warmth of spring and then whisked itself away, disappearing into the air along with the flowing notes of the accompanying melody. Suddenly, all was quiet and still. Isabelle toppled onto her front, using her finger tips as balance, her red dress once again falling to the floor, only this time… Nothing happened. The girl looked exhausted. The Councillors sat there, stunned; even Cillian looked uncomfortable in his seat, he had not seen anything like that before. Darlo sat down, a bit embarrassed about his outburst earlier, hoping that the others wouldn’t make fun of him later over drinks. Yespin stood slowly, realising the ritual was over, and called out to Isabelle, now getting back to her feet.

“A fine display, young Isabelle,” he praised. “That was rather more than what we expected, I’m sure. I bow my head to you, Lady Verano. But where is the Celestial Soul? Why didn’t it come?” Isabelle spoke with the disembodied voice in her mind, the voice only she could hear.

“He is here. He is before you. Behold the pure fire.” A few droplets of sweat ran down her forehead, streaks of loose hair had escaped and dangled down in front of her exhausted face. Vapour evaporated off her shoulders and the pores in her neck. She took a long, deep breath of air, noticing the moth dying on the floor, its wings burning, sizzling away. She pointed to the basin, her finger glowing with golden rings, and then relaxed her arm to her side. Her eyes, still emanating green, were more interested in the moth, roasting to death on the floor. Yespin stepped down from the seating area and on to the stage, feeling a sudden rush of heat as he approached. The closer he got, the more difficult it became to walk, as if he was passing through a hot mist. Still he edged toward the basin.

“Careful!” warned Isabelle, “Be slow with your movements, Yespin. Do not touch anything or you will burn up in an instant.” She picked up the little moth in her hands, enclosing it in her palm. Yespin peered inside the smoking basin and saw charred rock and a dying fire. He glared again at Isabelle, who stood still on the stage, her back to him as she cradled the moth. Once again he inspected the basin; the dying fire was starting to find life once again, so he stepped away, a little startled by what he had seen inside. Darlo shouted impatiently:

“WHICH CELESTIAL?!” This outburst did not sit well with the Soul that made the journey to the human plain. From the basin behind Yespin a thick, yellow stream of fire arose, lighting the entire chamber brightly with pulsating, white light. A wide column, a rising stream of burning, golden flames grew large wings from its sides, closely followed by a tail of pure, intense heat and light. Once again Isabelle spoke the ethereal tongue only the Celestials could hear and understand:

“The Phoenix? You’ve always adored this form.” The men in the room knew nothing of the conversation, only the gigantic, flaming figure that had just materialised before their eyes. “Maybe something a little smaller if you don’t mind, my sunlight son?” she requested of the Demi-God. The fire left its wings behind and transformed into a large serpent, coiling around the curved wall of the chamber. Isabelle faced the Councillors and spoke aloud, this time in the common tongue: “BEHOLD… THE PURE FIRE… ARIES! CELESTIAL OF WAR!” The serpent, made entirely of a controlled inferno, slithered around the chamber, around Isabelle. “May I?” she asked, and the Celestial agreed, allowing her to touch him. The flames burned purple as she gently stroked, the radiant heat having no apparent impact on her. Aries was her friend after all; he would never harm the Chosen. The Celestial leapt up into the air and crashed down in the centre of the stage, now taking on yet another form. It now trotted in the form of a ram, with long pointed horns and a whipping, crackling tail, though once more made entirely of fire. The ram moved around slowly, staring at the council members, one at a time. The Councillors stared back, restrained by fear and confusion. Isabelle strolled over, her palms together and knelt down in front of Aries. The two exchanged whispers which the men could neither hear nor understand. Aries then galloped away from her, taking flight, turning into a fiery comet and launching itself into the heart of a tiny candle flame in the corner of the room. The Councillors had forgotten to breathe while in the presence of Aries, and managed to contain themselves until the last of the smoke cleared away. Isabelle opened her hands and the moth crawled out on to her fingers and fluttered away, fully healed, blessed with the full use of its wings once again. She watched it fly away, and then looked down to the Councillors, still struck motionless in awe. She gave them a look like nothing had happened. Her irises paled back to their normal colour, the glyph surges she had used to allow her to perform the ritual ran dying down. Her heart beat normally again after several long intakes of air. “Hmph!” She muttered, picking up her trusty staff, pulling it out from the groove in the stage and bounding down the stone stairs, wiping the sweat off her brow, flicking the droplets away.

The High Councillors had left and the doors had shut tight. Isabelle removed her hair net and let her curls fall over her shoulders. She could have sworn she had seen someone in the shadows while she was performing, so she now returned to the scene to investigate. She listened carefully for quite some time, for a noise or the shuffle of fabric, yet nothing came to her ears. Was there another presence in the room? She sensed movement in the surrounding darkness. Whatever it was it had not been infused with glyph, otherwise she would have picked up the scent. She had no reason to be afraid; she was the Chosen, a great Star Caller with immense amounts of power at her fingertips. Why then was she so reluctant to venture into the darkness? As she left the chamber, she instructed the guard outside to lock the door, and not let anyone inside.

“Yes, milady,” the guard said, bowing his head. She was joined in the hallway by her Glyph Wielders who escorted her back to her room in the Palace of Norisis.

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Copyright © 2017 by D.W.Gill
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including recording, photocopying or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written and signed permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
All rights reserved. Published by Taoteque Publishing.
Tha Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Volumes 1-3.
Written by D.W.Gill.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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I hope you enjoyed the fourth excerpt, I certainly did enjoy writing and re-reading it, it is a wonderful scene in my opinion giving you the first real look of one of the majestic twelve Celestial’s. Once again, working with the artist Bojan Sucevic was a delight, he is one of the most professional people I have ever worked with and I shall do so again, we have one more concept we’d like to tackle, so stay tuned for that because it is going to be a good one. To see his artwork prior to this post, it can be found in an article of mine called ‘Edge of The Black,’ the painting is called ‘Ruins of Imrondel City,’ I hope you check that out when you have time to spare. Also, please please please check out some of Bojan’s work on Deviant Art, it is nothing short of pure brilliance, one of the reasons I chose him in fact was because he cares so deeply about his craft. All links and contact info is displayed below for your convenience.

Before I sign off this article, I believe I owe you ALL an apology. I had hoped to have a Hardback Edition available for purchase on the 07/07/2017, but then due to the work load and a house move, release day was pushed back to the 09/08/2017. After issues arising with the layout of the front cover, having revised a proof copy costing me more than a pretty cent, The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Volumes 1-3 will hopefully be made available for your reading pleasure, on the 03/09/2017 … If you prefer Kindles, the book has been broken up into three Volumes and can be easily downloaded digitally from The Amazon Store. If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of it, please e-mail me to show your appreciation and if you like, suggest a topic/question of your choice and I’ll consider talking about it in my next Blog post. Thank you.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Amazon Store – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Bojan Sucevic’s Page – http://sucevicbojan.deviantart.com/

Tree Regrowth Charity – https://cncf.com.au/catalogue/uncategorised/donate-a-native-tree/

D.W.Gill

A Letter To The Doubters

Writing this has been hard. I have gone through three drafts within the last hour trying to formulate what it is I ACTUALLY want to address. This usually does not happen, usually I have a somewhat clear idea of what I would like to write about before I sit down and start. Usually I’ve spent a good few days researching or pondering over my next subject, while at work as I pick avocado’s out from the tops of trees, while drinking tea outside my cabin or listening to some music in my office, which currently is a white van, a van falling apart that I park outside a library under a lanky tree where I receive somewhat good internet connection. Eventually, I figured out where I was going wrong with this post, the issue was not with the content but finding a good place to start, more of understanding what NOT to say rather than what TOO say. Once I figured out how to open this letter, it all just fell into place. I had a blast writing this just so you know, it was a complete joy, filled with relief and a small percent of smugness (I am Human after all). So, here is a letter addressed to all those people who doubted me, to all those who gave me a hard time, who laughed as I explained what it was I wanted to do, who held me back, made fun of and even attempted to bully me out of this choice, this letter is for you.

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To the haters

It hasn’t been easy pursuing this life, the life of a writer. I still struggle with whether or not this is my profession, even after a decade of writing I feel as if I can do more. There is so much out there that I do not know, things I will never be able to get a grasp of no matter how hard I try, no matter how much time I sink in to whatever it may be, there will always be something else to experience, and I have no shame in admitting this, I will never be the best, the idea I guess is to try your hand is as much as possible and just see what happens. What I have accomplished has its flaws but I can at least make a feeble attempt to try and fail knowing I gave it my all. What I have read, what I have seen some writers accomplish in my thirty years on this planet (that’s right, I hit thirty a few weeks ago) is quite simply beyond words, pardon the pun, it was intentional. From your perspective, it may look like we (writers) or I, am just sitting down in one spot procrastinating, indulging in laziness watching the world go by using my writing as an excuse to not do anything while others, people like yourself do all the work. Watching a writer work is mind boggling to most people, it is not like watching someone who works with paint in a studio for example, where you can see the change upon the canvas happen right before your eyes and transform within a single sitting, it is not like watching a footballer practise on a field or a dancer perfect a technique in the mirror … No, what we do takes time, what we do requires a skill set that you have no compression of, a virtue that most people in this busy world have lost, it’s called patience.

Patience is key when you write, without it you are not a writer, you can’t be without the ability to wait, usually this means waiting on others, but sometimes it is just to give your work that time needed to grow, and it will only grow with the work/time you put in. Of course, there are other things that one needs in order to write a book, such as endurance, not of the body but of the mind, you need to be able to write when you are not feeling it, you need to be able capture those feelings that are detrimental to our health, feel them authentically and do your best to convey them onto that bloody page. In fact (going off topic a little) a way to cure writers block IS to write instead of staring endlessly into the white, even garbage can be polished, neatened up and turned into something useful. One of the worst things I had to do when on my journey through my first book, was to carry on with the story during a failing relationship, it sounds cliché but it is true, it felt like I was moving on without her, facing the world without someone at my side. This is a very real feeling and it will test you, because writing is a relationship in-itself, a relationship that needs nurturing, needs a lot of one’s time, thought and care. It will be up to you with whether or not you provide these things. It may seem at first that this is a one-way street but I do promise you that the work you put in is rewarded ten-fold, if not more so if you love what you do, and I certainly love what I do.

You need faith. Faith is an excuse people use when there is no evidence to provide, this is much the case with writing. From a personal experience, I knew I had a story deep down inside, locked away somewhere behind a number of doors, yet all I had at the time was my ability to voice such ideas, to describe such places and detail instances, usually this was a clash between a protagonist and an antagonist. However, no matter how well I could describe these images and feelings in my head, this is indeed a low form of evidence in the eyes of many and comes across as just cheap talk, especially when the person you’re talking to begins to yawn or check their watch or worse insults your intelligence. When this happens, I ignore the insults but know that I need to do more to engage my audience. So, faith is required, faith in yourself and in your story that you wish to build, voice and share. Should you lack this vital quality, you’ll soon stumble, you’ll soon fall and be buried over the countless obstacles that are heading your way and cemented over with your own conscience verifying that your feat is ‘impossible to achieve’ when actually all it needs is you.

You need solitude, you cannot write at a party or in the company of others, if you can, if that is how you play this game, then by all mean go nuts, you can do something I cannot, though I prefer to be alone, with candle light, tea and in the company of a cat sleeping on a radiator nearby or on a printer I never use. From an early age (7) I’ve always had a need for loneliness, often yearned for it especially when I moved to the City of Oxfordshire. The first thing I noticed upon arrival to this amazing City was the unrelenting noise from man and machine, both equally annoying and both extremely efficient at drowning out the thoughts of my story, thoughts which get me by and hold together what little sanity I have.

You need trust, trust in your ability to learn especially when it comes to the formatting and marketing stages. Often, I’ve found myself in a position where I had absolutely no idea how to do something, it can leave you feeling lost, witless and a bit hopeless. It can be daunting and make you feel more alone than usual, like being lost at sea but further adrift than you initially thought…And you’ve just put a hole in your lifeboat…And there are sharks around you…There is only one thing you can do in this situation, you must trust yourself to learn new skills and to learn them fast because even your own patience has its limits. Trust yourself to do the work and not let it linger, trust yourself to pick yourself up after being knocked down, be ready for this to happen because it will happen a great deal. You also need to trust in the fact that you may not have all the answers right away, but you know you’ll find them, eventually if you trust in your process.

There are a truck load of other abilities you need, abilities that you’ll pick up on along the way such as vision, passion, motivation. Some abilities you’ll wrestle with and have to acquire through hard work and research. There are too many to list in this letter but I feel like I’ve highlighted the main ones besides one which I will talk about toward the end, because it is the most important, but before I do that I must not forget, I need to address you, the doubters.

With such abilities needed in order to create something beautiful, on top of ALL those things I’ve listed, creators have to deal with the haters, doubters who bring with them bundles of negativity who cannot help but fling it your way. As if trying to write a consistent, complex story is hard enough we have to deal with the small percentage who try to rip us apart at any given opportunity. Not cool. There are those that lift us up, more people I have found have lifted me up rather than attempted to drag me down but oddly enough it is the enemy that has the most impact on your self-esteem. I do not know why this is; Why is it that we listen more to those who hurt us rather than those that want us to succeed? If anyone can help me answer this question, I am open to your speculations. This is where things get a little bit interesting and amusing, because if you’re reading this, if by any chance you were one of the ones who doubted me, whether you were at school, college or a university acquaintance, a literary agent or a representative of a publishing house with more money than God! Then it is with great pleasure to announce that I have written a book, the book that never should have been published according to you. It’s an epic/fantasy book which is presented in the way I want it to be presented, told in the way I want it to be told and this is only the beginning, the beginning of something which I hope will redefine what epic fantasy is. Episode One – The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, was broken apart for those who love Kindles, I recently made my final update to them, they can be found on The Amazon Store, but also there is a remarkable Hardback Edition if you prefer to hold something physical, a book of Episode One in its entirety. To all those people who said this book, this Ancestral Odyssey could never be done, it’s impossible, that I was embarking on something that simply could not happen, that would and could never ever be published into print, I say to you, you’re wrong, you were so wrong. It is with great satisfaction that I write this letter, the feeling is uncanny. After all the doubt, the hate, the ridicule, I did it.

You know it really does something to you on a psychological level, when you spend a great portion of your life (over ten years in my case and longer in some others) pouring your energy into something, working so unbelievably hard on a project that is essentially the best you can be, the start of a path that you simply cannot falter from, something that is all you can be, a driven purpose that sees you through everything through thick and thin, gets you out of bed in the morning, gets you through that shift in a dead end job which pays like shit and is wasting your abilities. I hope you know what I mean when I say it gives you a joy that nothing can compare to, and then you’re told within a sentence long e-mail (probably automated) that it is ‘Not good enough’ or ‘We have more than enough clients’ or worse no response at all, that this is more than devastating. This is mainly directed at Literary Agents and Publishing Houses, most of you know how to do your job but you don’t know what it’s like to be a creator. Now, I am not saying that all work must be published and marketed, I am not saying that all work sent your way is worthy of more than hour of your time, I am sure you are professionals and have worked hard to get where you are today, but what comes across to us (the people submitting to you) is a complete lack of interest, a disregard of passion and an absence of even a shred of empathy. I know what you’re thinking, I know exactly what you’re thinking I do not even feel the need to spell it out, but you are the ones responsible for crushing the hopes, dreams and aspirations of thousands, people who may at the time not be good enough, and just need a push in the right direction instead of a shitty, heartless, automated e-mail saying ‘Nah.’ You are not here to offer support, I understand that you are paid to do a job and would not jeopardize your position, but in my opinion, from my experiences something has to change. I was several years into this project before I even thought about making my first submission, so upon my first rejection there was no way in hell that I was about to close my laptop and pack it in, I kept trying and trying and I did it all over again and developed a thick skin, thicker than yours no doubt, unless you know what it’s like to have invested the majority of your years into writing, but there are thousands if not millions of people who do not have a thick skin, who have not had the time to develop a layer of armour. These people could be in seriously shitty situations, a kid for example living under the roof of a broken household, a person a pay cheque away from living on the streets, someone who is at the end of their rope and their work is literally the only thing that is holding them together. Before you say anything, let me repeat, I am not saying you publish their work out of sympathy, but instead of not replying at all or sending that one lined e-mail saying ‘No, try somewhere else’ perhaps a few lines of encouragement, maybe a slight push in the right direction..ANYTHING..Is better than what you’re doing. You may be responsible for creating the next J.K Rowling (Remember her? The woman who was rejected seventeen times who is now in a position who could buy a planet, remember her?) or George R.R Martin, Jane Austin, Phillip Pullman and A.C Grayling.

The funny thing is I could be Traditionally Published by now, I could be well into my second possibly even third book, but instead I am just embarking on my second, due to the fact that I’ve spent so much time trying to convince you that what I am doing means something worthy of thirty minutes of your time. That’s right, I rejected an offer and it was in that moment when I learned that if I was going to get anywhere I would have to do it myself. I am not going to go into much detail but long story short, I was accepted and I was in that moment another being oozing happiness, but (there’s always a but) there had to be a compromise. In order to see my work on the shelf I would have to shorten the work by half which would eradicate the story and call for massive changes. I rejected the offer on the spot and tried elsewhere. After a few more months of further rejections, getting the same old tedious responses which at this point, did not feel like a thump to the delicate areas and instead bounced off of me like they were nothing, I decided not to waste my time anymore. I decided to make this happen myself.

You’d think that the story ends there, but it doesn’t, turns out that Self-Publishing is indeed harder to work through than Traditional Publishing (from what I’ve heard and read). With Traditional Publishing, you hand over your approved work to your Literary Agent, who passes it onto the appropriate Publishing House who goes ahead and edits, proofreads, spell checks, grammar checks, prints, binds, distributes and markets your work. Self-Publishers have to do all of that by themselves. I know what you’re asking; Why Self-Publish in the first place? – Simple, apart from reasons I have previously talked about, I cannot stress how hard it is to get the attention of a suit in an office, but after you hand over your work for them to handle, it no longer belongs to you, it is now a shared project. Not only are you bound by a contract but you no longer have full control over your work, you do not get to decide what content stays in, what and how much comes out, what your front cover should look like, when it is to be released and for how much and so on and so on. It can also take years to be released after the contract is signed. Sure, the work load is far less when you Traditional Publish but the trade-off is a hand over of power. Last thing I want to see is someone else who lacks originality, life experience and boldness fucking with my work, catering to the safest options for selling purposes. I know what is best for this project and the thought of me being overruled, forced to sell out and have my work misrepresented is something I will not allow. I’d rather start from square one than to see it turn into some money milking machine for a bunch of suits. I know that this is jumping the gun a little, it is unlikely my work will EVER be at such a crossroads, but just for the record, this is how I feel about it. If an offer is ever available to me, I’d rather keep my integrity than to flush it away.

In truth, to everyone who put up walls and barriers, from Literary Agencies, Publishing Houses and negative personal encounters, I thank you, for every obstacle you’ve thrown my way, for every hindrance you’ve caused I’ve overcome it time and time again. If not for you this book, this story would never have grown into what it is today, if not for you I would never have refined my techniques to create the best story it can be, and as much as I’d like to say ‘I told you so’ as much as I would like to indulge in the lowest form of childish mockery, I will not however tempting it may be, because unlike the people who drag others down, I want to lift people up, just like the people who helped me get where I am today. I’d rather see success come from each and every one of you because as I said within the back leaf of my first book, The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, ‘People are capable of so much’ it would be a shame to see people’s individual talents go to waste. So instead of putting up barriers for you, I wish you the best, I’ll even help you overcome some hurdles if you know me personally or not, you know how to get in touch.

I’ve talked briefly about the ins and outs of publishing and how difficult it can be. I have listed off a few key abilities needed in order to be a writer from my perspective. I’ve ranted and raved about the doubters and offered a little advice here and there, but I did promise you that I’d mention what THE most important ingredient to writing is especially of this calibre, and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s love, love for your story and the characters and world that you’ve created. Love for your work at times can feel like it’s dwindling, certain to go out in the times of writers block, in the times of lack of motivation and in the times where life gets in the way. All these things will hinder the love you have but if it’s true, you’ll always find a way to get back to it, even if you have to push yourself into the page, that love will drive you forward. It did me and it’s carrying me into Episode Two. Thank you for reading

Duncan

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Announcement

The book is now on sale. I really hope you decide to give me a chance. You can either pick it up as a Hardback Edition on the 09/08/2017 OR you can get it on Kindle in colour, because the Hardback had to have been in black in white. Please be aware that if you decide to purchase it digitally, you can only get it piece by piece in three individual Volumes, a beginning, middle and an end. As we’re on my Kindle Editions, they have been available for a little over a year now, well the first Volume has anyway, being released in April 2016, but all the money made from digital downloads will be donated to a tree re-growth charity here in Australia. Anyone can donate, I hope that you do. From reading their site which is also linked below, $3.75 plants a tree. Please consider a purchase, if this book is not for you then please, a share to someone else who may be interested will of course be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Charity – https://cncf.com.au/catalogue/uncategorised/donate-a-native-tree/

Kindle Edition – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Hardback Edition – (Available 09/08/2017)

 

D.W.Gill