Last year I wrote a post on my blog about why I consider John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ the greatest story ever told. I’m not going to repeat the reasons why here, if you’re interested then please visit http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/paradise-lost-greatest-story-ever-told.html. In today’s guest post I want to examine how this wonderful story influences my own writing and how I stand on the shoulders of giants.
‘Paradise Lost’ tells the story of the Fall, the point in Heaven’s history where Lucifer rebelled and was cast out from Heaven and into Hell. It also describes creation and the eventual the fall of man and the moment of original sin. If you haven’t read it then I urge you to do so. I’ll be the first to admit that it can be a tough read, so I recommend the ‘Paradise Lost: Parallel Prose Edition’ by Dennis Danielson. It has the original poem alongside a prose translation for easier reading.
Reading ‘Paradise Lost’ provoked a few thoughts. The first is the paradox Milton creates. The paradox is that quite simply God isn’t portrayed in a very good light. Now part of that is the change in times, when Milton wrote ‘Paradise Lost’ God was considered a much more authoritarian figure, compared to the more modern compassionate portrayal.
An odd aspect is that he creates humans out of love, but punishes them throughout the ages for a seemingly minor crime. Milton of course writes eloquently and describes the reasons for this, but it struck me, what if God had a reason for this?
One of the most commented on aspects of Paradise Lost is Lucifer. In turns he is both villain and apparent hero. Part of that is everyone likes to support the underdog. In a David and Goliath contest you don’t get much bigger than God. And Lucifer has the balls (or rather arrogance and pride) to go up against him.
But in the tale of the great rebellion another mystery is revealed, why did God allow this?
So we have two fundamental questions that intrigued me. Naturally those basic questions spawned a host of other questions, mostly involving free will, but a third, bigger mystery arose.
What was God’s plan?
To many that is a silly question, they take in on faith. But it did make me wonder whether there was a plan and if so, how did we fit into it.
For many years I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind, to tell the story, but from God’s perspective. I like to set myself easy goals!
I toyed with the concept for a while and last year decided that the story needed a human protagonist. People tend to relate to what they know, so I needed to frame the story from a human perspective. I decided that the character should be someone morally ambiguous, but strong enough to stand out in a crowd of angels, demons and God himself.
And from that idea came ‘The Cult of Me’, the first book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy. I enjoyed writing the book a lot and had a lot of fun with the main character. He ended up being a bit nastier than I originally intended but that will serve him in good stead for the future.
In the sequel, ‘Conversations in the Abyss’ I delve deeper into the universe and start examining the questions that reading ‘Paradise Lost’ had inspired. I hope you find the answers interesting.
‘Conversations in the Abyss’ is the sequel to the 5 star rated supernatural thriller ‘The Cult of Me’
Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.
But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.
There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.
About Michael Brookes
Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as that is where many good ideas come from.
Other Books by Michael Brookes
‘The Cult of Me’
For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by. With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn’t even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.
There he discovers that he’s not as unique as he once thought.
‘An Odd Quartet’
A quartet of dark short stories (10,000 words) to thrill and chill.
‘The Yellow Lady’
Grave robbing is a dirty business, in more ways than one. When he disturbs the grave from a childhood scary story he discovers it’s not always treasure to be found.
‘This Empty Place’
At the heat death of the universe, Death contemplates his existence.
Terrorists seize an average suburban house. A Special Forces hostage rescue team is sent in and encounter more than they were trained for.
‘The Reluctant Demon’
A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.