TOM IS BACK!! Be excited. I know I am. He comes to give his trademark eloquent answers to my questions, as well as to share a couple excerpts from Mad Gods. If you don’t want this book by the time this interview is over, you’re out yo mind.
1.) Immediately upon going to Adam’s Blog, I stumbled upon the post on Egyptian mythology. I was intrigued, then further hooked by other posts on “alternate history”. Tell me what these posts are and why you decided to do it.
In the course of researching Mad Gods I kept coming upon a few interesting alternate historians and I wanted to include their views into my own mythology of our world. It began with the Lomas & Knight books of the Hiram Key & Uriel’s Machine. In it they try to piece together how Freemasonry began and what influences they have upon our modern world.
Then from looking into them I also came upon Malachai Martin who was the Vatican’s Exorcist and wrote about his exploits in the quasi-fictional Windswept House. The research took a turn for the REALLY weird when I started looking at David Ike, Michael Tsarion, Leo Zagami, Project Camelot & David Wilcock. Their views have all been presented in book & film documentary form but I’ve only seen their documentaries and they’re fascinating. The fascination comes from their total immersion in their beliefs.
So I’ve compiled their supposed alternate histories and beliefs of why things have happened in history and chose to present them on Adam’s blog. It might not be interesting to many but I think it will be to those who would read Mad Gods.
2.) The blog is written from Adam’s point of view, the main character in Mad Gods. This is an interesting concept–why?
When I was trying to finish Mad Gods I found myself being sidetracked by what was on TV, movies and much of the distractions we know as entertainment. So I chose for Adam to also be distracted by the same things.
Right about then, I was looking into the Cathars of Medieval France and they believed that the entire world is a distraction to keep our collective focus away from the actual reality of existence. It validated my choice of literary vehicle for Adam.
So I carried that over to modern day to make Adam believable and he now sometimes concentrates on entertainment news and whatever he chooses to comment on. I’ve hijacked his blog half the time for the IWU blog tour but he doesn’t’ seem to mind because he’s gotten into some new shows like the new Entourage, plus True Blood & Breaking Bad started again.
He’s one of us and is into the same things we are. It shows that he’s more interested in his entertainment than in his destiny of destroying the world. Everything in Mad Gods and the other Predatory Ethics volumes happened some time ago it’s history.
3.) You’re extremely learned in world religions and mythology. What prompted your interest in such things? Did you go to school with the goal in mind of studying those subjects, or is it something that you’ve learned in your spare time?
All I’ve learned was on my own. All the crackpots I mentioned earlier with their alternate histories were carnival stops in the real explorations. A real beacon for history and motives in history is Joseph Campbell. I’ve read most of what he’s written and have all his documentaries on DVD.
In fact most of what I learn in the past few years are from documentaries readily available online through YouTube or @: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/watch-online.
4.) A quote from a post on the blog, “sure there will be plenty of crap but enough of those will die withering on the vine”. A lot of naysayers would argue this is why the publishing world needs gatekeepers. Do you think the public is perfectly capable of sifting through the crap? Why do you think a lot of crap in the indie world is becoming successful anyway?
I don’t need somebody else to taste my food and I don’t need somebody else to read my books. The public is completely capable of sifting through the crap without self appointed duffi who have given us much of the crap we’ve seen lauded as literature. I’m not going to go into the specific books that are successful for fear of reprisal from their rabid fans but publishing gatekeepers suck.
Don’t poop on my front porch and call it chocolate.
5.) What do you think are the pros of being an indie author?
The cons I see are if you don’t have a computer or internet access it’ll be nigh impossible to take advantage of the indie explosion we’re in the middle of. Another is the snail’s pace you will acquire readers and a following, no matter how good your work is. A third is you’re completely on your own so you have to do it all yourself and if you also have another job that pays the bills and the rest of your life, family, pets, house and all our modern accoutrements, it’s gonna be tough going. You’ve got to be disciplined to keep plugging away.
The rest, in my humble opinion are ALL pros and nothing but pros. The complete freedom to put your creative desires out there.
6.) Pick 3 characters from Mad Gods and write a brief “author bio” for each.
Kostadino Paleologos grew up knowing he was special. Not because his mother told him so but because everybody in his huge extended family did. He was one of a few, all descended from the forgotten imperial Byzantine line of the Paleologos, known as the Truth. Truths were mandated to return to their lost capitol and release souls trapped there when it fell to the Turks centuries before. They still called it Kostadinoupoli but the modern world only knew Istanbul.
That was his life yet it was turned upside down when he was told to find a forbidden book in a forgotten library. Within the book he finds a new ethos and decides to take control of destiny to help someone who is fated to destroy the world. The book shows past lives of a soul who only wants peace. Kostadino wants to give that soul the choice he never had.
Adam Paleologos is the adopted son of Kostadino. He also grew up knowing he was special not because his mother told him so, but because EVERYBODY still tells him so. Through most of his early life all he knew was travel and hiding, always looking over his shoulder. Kostadino didn’t so much adopt but kidnap him from a family who didn’t want him and followers who wanted him TOO much. All his life he only knew Kostadino as an only parent.
It doesn’t matter that Adam is the Antichrist. It didn’t to Kostadino at any rate. After successfully evading everyone who wanted Adam they settle into a wonderful existence of TV, news, books, music and movies. Adam was the soul Kostadino had read about in the forbidden book. Adam would be eternally grateful for the short-lived peace his father won for him.
Father Tino Quentin is a learned Templar and part of the brotherhood thought expunged in the early 1300’s. He was also the curator and chief analyst of the Vatican Secret Archives, mandated with finding and ridding the world of evil. He grudgingly took this position only after years of fieldwork that comprised removing afore mentioned evil by any means necessary.
Father Quentin was the very personification of the Templars. He lived in secrecy and was uncompromising in his beliefs and dogmatic enforcement of Catholic Rules. The centuries since their persecution they had been taken into the Catholic folds and used as the Pope’s secret police, more ruthless than any KGB, CIA or MI-5 could ever hope to be.
7.) I know you are currently working on a sequel to Mad Gods. Will you be moving on from this world in the future and into other projects? Or will there be infinitely more Mad Gods?
I might, but for now Predatory Ethics is pretty universal and exactly what I want to write.
8.) What authors do you personally enjoy reading? Genres?
I occasionally go back to Joseph Campbell, i.e. religious history and theory. I’ve also delved back into some old fashioned horror with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although I never considered him horror in the same vein as Clive Barker.
I also enjoyed a lot of fantasy, Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard, David Eddings, JRR Tolkien. They still have their place in my head but not for a few years now.
9.) Why TOM??? (the name, not the meaning of life)
Tom began in kindergarten. Another boy in my class was named Athanasios and I thought that was the English version of my name, so I began to use it. This seems to have been a universal occurrence because every other Athanasios I’ve met through the years has used Tom as an anglicized version of their name. Even my family uses Tom, and they should know better, two of them named me Athanasios in the first place.
I learned years later that some people also use Arthur in lieu of Athanasios, but that’s not me. I’m not an Arthur or Artie, no it don’t fit.
Mad Gods Blurb
Bible Revelation is crucified when the Antichrist refuses his destiny and makes an apocalyptic escape from Satanists, Templars, Dark Nobility & the Catholic Church.
Kostadino Paleologos searches the entire world for a codex that is rumored to catalogue the Antichrist’s past lives and finding it, throws prophecy into chaos.
He kidnaps and raises the infant Antichrist: calls him Adam and teaches what he learned in his search for the Idammah-Gan Codex. He shows Adam that the truth to which every faith aspires cannot be seen because we who comprise these faiths: are flawed. We see, hear, smell, taste and touch with inadequate tools. Even our intellect, on that which we rely to understand is limited; unable to comprehend the totality of truth. Truth is too large -or too small- to absorb; it transcends everything.
In the end the Antichrist sees that religion i.e. faith is outside reason, but whatever solace we get is lost in the translation.
Tom has given us two teasers from Mad Gods…read on…
– Idammah-Gan Codex – Depth of Correction III –
Time: AUGUST 19TH, 33 A.d. golgotha, jerusalem, isreal
My mind is in a complete fog. People are crying. I can’t tell how many and for whom. There is nothing of which I’m sure, except for the pain in my wrists and ankles. I try to look to my left and to my right, but I cannot see past my extremities. I only wish that I couldn’t even see that far. Try as I might, my glance keeps returning to the nails that hold my arms and ankles to this cross. This is the only way I know they’re still attached. Hours ago, they went numb. Hanging this way, I struggle to breathe. I only think about pushing my weight back up. There is no way in creation I will go through this again.
When they first hammered me to the wood, the pain nearly drove me mad. My mind threw screams out of my mouth – screams which continued well past when they turned me over to hammer the nails back, ensuring that I would stay on the cross. My mind gibbered disbelief at the fact that I was in this position. I think these words came out of my mouth, but of this I am not certain. “Oh, no. This is not possible. No, no, no, no.” These three phrases repeatedly chased each other out of someone’s head, through their mouth, and out past their lips, though I don’t know if it was me, or one of the other two.
The crying continues and I hope to die. Now, this pain is everything to me. It has taken over both my vision and hearing. I no longer know what is happening around me. I could be the one crying, but I’m very confused.
Someone screams, startled by the thunder and lightning around the hill on which they chose to plant these trees of pain. Rain comes down like fat tears and gives me a small relief, but does not restore my grasp of sight and sound. Time crawls by and I’m still breathing, living this misery.
“King of Jews. Why don’t you call upon your God and save us?” One of us says. Is it me? At such a time, could I be so cruel to another who shared my pain?
“He does not deserve to be here. We have done things in our lives to deserve this place. He has done nothing.” The response is instant and I instantly feel humiliated and exulted.
It must be days that we’ve been up here; still, I don’t know how to interpret my own senses. The rain continues and my tears join it. I’m sure that I sob with relief, because I feel my strength and life finally ebbing. Endurance is overrated. I wish I were weaker and able to endure far less.
“Father, why have you forsaken me?” The voice is filled with sobbing and comes from everywhere. It brings further darkness and depression. The sky has come closer to my face and reflects the bruises and blood that now describe my body. The tears and sobs leave me, unheard amid the rain and thunder.
“Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Who does? Why does the voice seek this God, this treacherous Father, who allows this to be done to His son? For a few breaths, I am angry at the criminal violation, which this begged-for parent shows to all his children. Why do we look to Him for this withheld comfort and support?
My outrage continues and, in my death, it follows me to the void. In the nothing I now face, I am alone with my belief that no help shall ever be given, though it be earned a thousand times. I am on my own, to grow strong or be annihilated.
I also think that this seems oddly familiar. In my thoughts, this strange skewing of priorities is nothing new. A silent revelation envelops me and pushes all else aside. In violent death, this always happens. I remember past lives. I remember the death in the arena, as well as when I stood proud at Thermopylae. Not much else, apart from this, is important. Not my life then, nor any lives before, or since.
– Idammah-Gan Codex – Depth of Correction VIII: Wounded Rib IV: –
Time: March 28th, 1244 AD. Montsegur, France
Sobs followed, and some of the imprisoned screamed at their confirmed doom. Simon and Ursus turned back to the window and were silent for a few moments.
“Natalie once told me that I didn’t have to cause so much pain, because too much existed already. Over the past years, I have looked around and know that she was right,” Ursus thought out loud. He remembered the vow they had made, to break the chain that they had followed for millennia. They would enjoy all their years, refusing to die brutally, in rage and in grief. They would live and refuse to be dictated by anyone who wished for more than they wanted to give. No matter what, they would refuse to have followers, whether they were right or wrong, because in the end, it’s just a matter of opinion.
“That is why the Gnosis of God is so vital,” Simon said, snapping him out of his reverie. “Without faith, life has no meaning, rather, it is a long stream of experiences that have no significance.”
Ursus looked at Simon’s earnestness and faith and despaired for mankind. He saw what most leaders saw at times – honest belief given freely, or empty faith given desperately. He wanted neither. The time for leadership was over and he deserved better. For him, the trappings of power held no allure. He didn’t care to be Redeemer, Messiah, Savior, the embodiment and culmination of ideals. He wanted to explain all of this to Simon, but only answered with the most important point that he had learned, through lifetimes of toil, turmoil, blood, pain, torture and struggle.
“You’re a fool. Trying to give meaning to something as important as life is folly. Your faith, any faith, is just a self-important excuse for your life. Don’t relinquish your responsibility to a god or a devil. Instead, take it and use it to add meaning to your life; don’t assign it to anybody else. You’re weak and petty to put that power in the hands of a figment of your imagination.”
The words hit Simon like blows and knocked him speechless. “Natalie believed like you do, and as I look at the two of you, I can agree with your desire to do good and help people in any way that you can. That also involves a surrender of control; I won’t have any of it.” Ursus was adamant, though he could explain no more, considering that Simon could not identify with his personal experiences. “You spend your existence in any way you wish, but I tell you this: take control of your life and your will. Don’t relinquish it to anybody.
“Most people live their lives to achieve goals that either they, or others, have set for them and if they don’t succeed, what then? With each little failure, do they count their lives a failure, until they tally all the little shortfalls and decide that its time to stop? When you look at how you’ve lived life, will you calculate all your victories and disappointments and judge whether it was better that you lived, or had never actually been around to draw breath?”
At this point, it seemed to Simon that Ursus was delirious, but he did not stop his soliloquy.
“Do you live your life for the moments when you’re happy? Do you live your life to feel good? To experience joy and to indulge the senses that give you pleasure? Good food. Good drink. Good sex. Good shit. Good piss. Rest when you’re tired. Why do people live their lives?
“When you look at a cripple, begging for alms in the street, do you feel sorry for him? Does that mean that you think your life is better? This is presumptuous and arrogant. Would it be irony if they were happier in their life that you are in yours? Would you envy them then? Beloved children and pets are to be envied. They live their lives without responsibility, for their food and shelter is provided. They are shown affection and are cared for.”
For some time, Simon could say nothing. “Why must you go?” he finally said, barely above a whisper.
“Don’t deify me, Simon; I’m not worthy of worship. I’ve already told you that this world holds nothing for me. I don’t want to be here, so leave me alone to my death.” Ursus turned from the window and watched as Simon, with a pained expression, backed away, only to be brought up short with sharp words. “Get away from me! Allow me to have my last hour without having to answer your questions! Haven’t you heard a thing I’ve said? You waste your life following others and searching for meaning. There is none.”
Hurt by the fact that he was being driven away, Simon responded, “I don’t want to worship you, Ursus. I already have my God, for whom I’ve sacrificed my death. I don’t care who you are or fated to be. I want you to live because I don’t want to be without you. We have been through a lot together; I just don’t want you to go.”
“I do,” Ursus said, weary of the argument. “Natalie convinced me of her faith and led me away from mine. Now that this faith is shattered, I am faced with my earlier doom. I swear that I don’t have the strength left to defy it. I would rather die.” Ursus stated his thoughts to anyone who listened. He knew that he was addressing more than Simon, even more than the pitiful remnants of the Cathari who waited for their end the next day. He hoped he would reach someone in a more secular time.
He wished for someone who searched for the truth and was not swayed by explanations for lack of responsibility. He looked for someone who saw past the characters in myths, fables and ecclesiastical allegories.
“Please, Simon, go. Don’t argue with me, for I am too weary to control myself. I want to rest. I want to die and I want to be punished for my actions and that for which I was intended, by all that is profane and damned.”
Ursus watched as Simon faded into the darkness, among the rest of the convicted heretics. He wondered if what he had told Simon would ever go beyond his own ears and if it would ever reach anyone who would believe him. Would there be anyone who looked at the whimpering about burden of leadership and awful price of power and believe it? Would an inability to believe also be married to a failure to take up this power they thrust upon their leaders? In the end, was all of this terminal debate merely a question of burden of blame? Did no one want to hold the reigns of power because they didn’t want to be blamed for a task, doomed to failure?
Ursus shook his head and sighed in utter relief.
Do you have your copy of Mad Gods yet, people?? Those excerpts must have peaked your interest…
Mad Gods Online