The Second Apocalypse

Miscellaneous Chatter => Literature => Topic started by: Madness on November 25, 2013, 06:37:53 pm

Title: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on November 25, 2013, 06:37:53 pm
Just pimping the debut novel of sometimes TPB guest-blogger and comment regular, Benjamin Cain, proprietor-extraordinaire of Rants Within the Undead God (http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/); beating a novel path for all of us through the morass of intellectual nihilism and religious atheism (among other things).

Ben initially revealed God Decays on RWUG (http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2013/10/god-decays-has-arrived.html) and offers a number of free sample chapters for your reading pleasure. Bakker recently plugged the debut on TPB (http://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/god-decays-and-bakker-speaks-but-not-in-any-particular-order/) and Ben has links (US) (http://www.amazon.com/God-Decays-Benjamin-Cain/dp/1492275131/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382986338&sr=1-1) on RWUG for American and European Amazon releases and the book is also available on Kindle.

I'll have my paperback in a couple weeks (when I can afford it, sorry Ben - broke student ;)) and plan on giving Ben a taste of SA's dissection skillz then.

Cheers.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on November 27, 2013, 12:15:06 pm
I thought I'd port some of Ben's half of our back and forth about his works of fiction and God Decays in particular.

For reference, Amazon clocks God Decays in at 238 pages.

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
I know what you mean about the length. I often feel like Iím wasting money if Iím buying a short book, but this is wrongheaded because the quality of the words and of the story should count more than the number of pages. Indeed, Iíve found that a bookís having a great many pages is no guarantee that Iíll treasure the book for its quality. This is true in all genres, including horror. In fact, horror and SF and fantasy novels are often overly long, because consumers presume that a huge quantity of pages is a necessary condition of a high quality novel. Iíve read some long zombie novels that did nothing for me. One of them I couldnít even finish even though I love zombie novels. I read Stephen Kingís The Stand and was impressed only with one of the subplots that I can recall. The rest of the book struck me as cheesy. And some of my favourite books, including the ones that had the biggest emotional impact on me, were short (e.g. Flowers for Algernon). Quality really does matter more than quantity, in terms of which books we should read.

Granted, though, the ideal would be to have both have high quality and quantity, since then weíd be getting the most for our money. Still, I find that in horror, at least, great length works to the readerís disadvantage, since itís hard to sustain suspense and fear over such a long time. The fear mechanism wears out once itís triggered and the more times it gets triggered as youíre reading a single book, the more tired you become of the authorís tricks.

Iím not saying everyone would enjoy reading my book even though itís short. But I am saying that it represents my best writing, so if you like my writing youíll likely enjoy God Decays even though itís not puffed up in size.

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
I see your point. Regardless of whether my writing succeeds or fails, I donít set out to write pablum to feed our vain self-image or to uphold the social conventions that in various ways degrade the majority of us. My novel is consistent with the philosophy Iíve been working out on my blog, but first and foremost I wanted the book to be an action-packed and character-driven zombie post-apocalypse story. Obviously, there are lots of those stories out there, so where I think mine differsĖaside from what I hope is its high-quality writingĖis its philosophical take on the meaning of undeadness.

The bar is set high as I'm expecting Bakker-level awesomeness and subsequent mind-melting. Jorge, a SA and TPB semi-regular, is partially way through God Decays and I'm hoping he'll share his review when he is done.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: CŁrťthaŮ on November 27, 2013, 12:53:12 pm
Looks interesting.  I'll put it on my christmas list.  I usually burn through about 3-4 books on the festive season. 
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on November 27, 2013, 04:20:40 pm
I just wanted to drop in and thanks Madness for starting this thread. I'll check in to address questions or reviews of the book if any pops up. I'm not much of a salesperson, but I'm very proud of God Decays which is my first novel. I've got a lot of nonfictional writing up on my blog and on Scott Bakker's blog, Three Pound Brain. If you enjoy those articles, there's a good chance you'd enjoy the novel, although of course fiction isn't the same as philosophy.

However, I put the first several chapters of God Decays on my blog, which you can read here:

http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2013/10/god-decays-has-arrived.html (http://rantswithintheundeadgod.blogspot.ca/2013/10/god-decays-has-arrived.html).
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on November 27, 2013, 05:51:30 pm
Lol - must resist reading; need to argue Machiavelli's Christianity... ugh...
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: jamesA01 on December 01, 2013, 01:39:08 pm
Will get this for Christmas.

Keep up the good work Ben, your blog is outstanding.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Phallus Pendulus on December 02, 2013, 03:29:28 am
I dislike Cain's blog and will probably dislike this book, so I certainly won't pay for it. Maybe pirate it next year, if I have time to kill.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Royce on December 02, 2013, 11:22:19 am
I have never been fond of zombies, but since I enjoy your blog very much, I will give this a go:)
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on December 02, 2013, 03:16:00 pm
I dislike Cain's blog and will probably dislike this book, so I certainly won't pay for it. Maybe pirate it next year, if I have time to kill.

Wow. Rude...

I don't think that it was necessary to share this opinion (unless it is written in e-jest, in which case I retract my commentary).
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 06, 2013, 10:08:47 am
Okay, I thought the writing at the start had some neat bits, but otherwise pretty straight forward (bit of overuse of the word 'bioweapon').

But then I got to the scenario outline. And it really pissed me off. Even with some reservations on degree of plausibility.

It's hard to pass a compliment back to the author while being pissed off. So Ben'll just have to take the backhand compliment that that is.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 09, 2013, 03:04:32 am
Callan, I take it you're talking about the zombie mechanism I posit in the prologue. What pissed you off about it? Do you find it implausible? I just wanted a naturalistic cause as opposed to having supernatural zombies. Anyway, the real mystery in the book isn't how the zombie mechanism works; it's why the mechanism was engineered, and that doesn't get mostly resolved until the end of the book.

Anyway, I don't think the prologue is the book's strongest part. In fact, my favourite parts are when the main characters start interacting. I hope you'll keep reading and tell me what you think.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 09, 2013, 03:21:17 am
Ben, I found it both plausible and somewhat implausible.

Look, you're putting me over a barrel here...if I wrote something that pissed off someone else in the way I got pissed off, I'd be pleased...it's a good pissed off...I don't wanna say that while pissed off, but you *gah!* deserve to know it.

I do find it somewhat implausible. However, I find how the premise works on the frailities of various human psychologies - well, weve had various nuclear facilities and oil platforms go south because of frailties - it still seems somewhat plausible (even as I don't think research facilities will let you just divert your expensive man hours and their gear to whatever you want. But at the same time maybe someone would find a loophole)

It's a premise that has a horrible plausibleness in it - I have to nurse that sadness for awhile before continuing. Find a place for it.

Sometimes in various stories I find something utterly horrific but...it's not the center of the story - here perhaps why it was engineered (while it might tie into your undead god ideas) is perhaps not the center for me - you've already kicked me in the nuts right at the start (again *gah!* I'm not saying that's bad, k!)

Still finding a place for it...(it's one of the reasons I don't read much prince of nothing fan fiction - I have enough trouble finding a place for the actual books within me...)
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 09, 2013, 05:33:38 pm
Yeah, I know what you mean regarding the chance of a military base allowing for that sort of misuse.  Clearly, there would have to be safeguards against it, but then again, look at how Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden got around the rules and changed the global landscape with their revelations.

For me, the issue isn't so much plausibility but whether there's enough verisimilitude in a story to allow the reader to suspend his or her disbelief. We're talking zombies here, after all, so the whole scenario has much that goes against it. The novel is a work of speculative fiction, so I just tried to put enough detail into the zombie mechanism to persuade the reader that such naturalistic zombies are possible.

By the way, I've been trying to add a response to the most recent thread on Scott Bakker's blog, but Wordpress isn't letting me post it. So I'm looking for a work-around...
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 10, 2013, 12:06:03 am
You can post here or on some new thread here and I can cut and paste it (and link to it here) onto TPB, if you like, Ben.

On plausibility, as I said my self, what if someone found a loophole. But it's not even what bothers me - and I think it sounds like that if I'm bothered, that's some kind of bad thing.

I'll try and dare to read some more of the sample soon.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 14, 2013, 11:52:56 pm
Read some more, through chapter one - by my measure it's good (though I'm not into blood and gore myself, so that's why I went slower. Also I dislike reading for pleasure on a computer). If 'Warm Bodies' can get a movie, this has a ticket to the movie lottery as well, I'd say!
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 16, 2013, 08:02:02 pm
Actually, I'm not so much into blood and gore myself. I put some in the first chapter to establish some zombie horror credibility, and there's some more gore in other chapters, but I've read zombie novels with a lot more gory descriptions. I'm more into psychological and philosophical horror. There's more action than gore in this novel, I'd say. Although when I write gore I try to do it in an original way, to get at what it would really feel like to be in such horrific situations.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 18, 2013, 11:15:02 pm
I have never been fond of zombies, but since I enjoy your blog very much, I will give this a go:)

I wonder how you'd pirate the book without buying it first. Do you mean you can break into Amazon and steal the eBook?

I understand about the blog, though, assuming you're serious. It's not for everyone.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 20, 2013, 08:44:44 am
I think an opportunity was missed with the cackler, in terms of the touchy politics of whether the main characters shared any food with him. Also his rant could have been one paragraph (the usual size of a paragraph) shorter - I think it tested my capacity (which might be low, who knows, but I thought I'd mention it)
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 21, 2013, 03:36:30 pm
How about the content of his rant, though? Was it amusing? There's the possibility of a spin-off book that centers on him and follows his story. I like that crazy character. Maybe I wouldn't make all of his rants into such long paragraphs, but I wanted to separate his dialogue from the rest in the book.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on December 21, 2013, 10:30:58 pm
I guess I'm a bit of a miser in my responce.

I thought his was a tragic story, with perhaps wierd thematic subtexts about why he survived (despite being semi blinded) is because just before it all went to hell, he'd already given up on people. And how if someone had cared - well, he'd be dead, but he wouldn't have become so lost from humanity. And the irony of the only way to have won that is to have died amongst all the other screaming humans as one, instead of surviving as a laughing hyena.

It almost seems I have a melancholy reading of it while your own is sort of upbeat in a 'crazy character' way?

I wonder if my losing track of that explains anything about how little I write...?

Anyway, I thought it was really sad. That's in no way missplaced in a work of literature, of course.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on December 23, 2013, 10:16:08 pm
No, I agree with you Callan, the Cackler's story is largely a sad one. He's in there for black comic relief, with the emphasis on "black." (Actually, I added him late in the writing process, after about the third draft, because I wanted more dialogue in the beginning). Your interpretation of the Cackler is quite interesting. Like I said, I haven't figured out his whole back story, but I'd love to have an excuse to rant more in a fictional setting.

I haven't read the book in a while, but as I recall, he was fed by Eric and Hernando. But the way I imagined his survival, he's like an old-school Cynic who blends in with the chaos because he thinks of himself as an animal. Of course, that wouldn't suffice to save him from the zombies, so there's got to be more to it. An animal would have much less pride than a person, though, so the Cackler could resort to ugly means of surviving, sort of like the Jews who hid in outhouses during the Holocaust.

It's a little awkward commenting on the book since you haven't read it all yet, but there's another, more major character later on who likewise thinks of himself as somewhat less than human.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 05, 2014, 09:53:47 pm
So I mistakenly purchased both a kindle copy and a paperback. I probably won't read it until the paperback gets to me but at least I can read the kindle version on my computer or my android in the interim (I detest screen reading).

Yay, new fiction :).
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 08, 2014, 09:31:11 pm
Ah well, sorry about that. Maybe if you like it, you can pass along a copy to a friend when you're done.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Davias on January 08, 2014, 09:47:30 pm
 ;D +1 madness
When I ordered my book on amazon, I accidently ordered also both paperback and kindle edition. But I checked my order some hours later and canceled the paperback.
But when I read the ebook and God Decays is as good as I hope, I will order the paperback again to add it to my library :D
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 08, 2014, 10:32:27 pm
Lol - bank error in your favor, Ben.

I will definitely spread the word but I'll be keeping my paperback ;).

I'm glad that this is getting Second Apocalypse love.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on January 10, 2014, 06:55:32 am
(I detest screen reading)
Seconded!
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 17, 2014, 12:58:46 am
When I got my phone back from repair, I loaded up Kindle and started reading. Two days of reading on the bus and I'm almost half-way through it. I'll have you know Ben, your book is about 3,500 paragraphs - guestimating for relative size of page on my phone and averaged across paragraph length.

Then I got my paperback copy from Amazon a week early.

So it'll probably be done tomorrow so I can focus on midterms next week.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 17, 2014, 06:26:04 pm
Nevermind, it didn't even make it til today, finished it last night.

I definitely had zombie nightmares.

I'll post thoughts later - and though, of course, I have some critical gripes (I liked it, despite it being outside my genre niche), I'll certainly give it a favorable review.

Ben, this is your opportunity to quietly step away from involving yourself in fan discussions (the comments you make here and now will haunt your fiction-writing persona forever ;)).
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Callan S. on January 17, 2014, 10:46:10 pm
Naw, fan discussions are just another genre to muss with! Why step away when you can litter them with various other rants! Scott's blunt as hell right now, with a blog that might be taken to be in regard to the books - but he just bombs it with BBT.

Anyway, I'm scared of potentially having zombie nightmares!
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 21, 2014, 12:29:31 am
Thanks all for reading the book! If you do have a strong enough reaction to it, I hope you'll post your review on Amazon. I don't want to sway the reviews either way with my comments. But I think I achieved what I wanted with the content of my first novel--although that's a weaselly thing to say since the question might be whether my goals were best. Authors are known to be very ambitious with their first novels, but that's with respect to authors who have deals with big publishers, since then they figure they have to put everything they have into that first book in case they don't get another chance. With POD, there's no need for that. I plan to keep writing novels and I have a huge narrative arc in mind, but I don't see a need to put it all in one book.

I'm sure my novel isn't for everyone, but that too isn't saying much. Who would want to read a novel that's fit for everyone? There are those classic novels with universal themes, but I think the more distinguished the reader's ideas are, the less likely she'll find an author who makes no wrong moves in the reader's judgment. I'm having a devil of a time finding a novel I can actually enjoy, so I read mostly nonfiction.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 21, 2014, 02:02:45 pm
Well, you won't sway my review, Ben. I'll help so people make purchases - it's mind-candy.

Critically (Spoilers so I can talk openly about God Decays):

(click to show/hide)

You don't have to answer all (or any) of those - I'm more interested in your thematic intentions.

I very much enjoyed the nuances in your writing and all the little speculative one-liners that make imaginative-fiction worth reading - and go along way to adding depth to fictive worlds.

Sorry, cut this shorter than I intended. Gots' to run.

Cheers.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 22, 2014, 02:03:50 am
Thanks for your comments, Madness, and thanks for putting them in spoiler mode. I'll do the same. You certainly don't have to twist my arm to get me to talk about my novel.

(click to show/hide)

If you have other questions or comments, please don't hesitate to raise them. What did you think of the boy, Douglas, by the way?
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 22, 2014, 08:24:09 pm
Thanks for your comments, Madness, and thanks for putting them in spoiler mode.

Course.

(click to show/hide)


But obviously I'm interested in what happens.

Your writing and perspective overall is the main draw to read, I think.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 22, 2014, 09:04:08 pm
Thanks very much for your kinds words. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Douglas will indeed be a major character. He's growing up fast, though. Having a child along in that terribly stressful situation would indeed by annoying, to say the least. But the thing is, without any children around, I figure the sense of doom would be unbearable since you'd have palpable proof of our imminent extinction. (Cormac McCarthy made much of this in The Road.) So the grown-ups have to figure out a compromise; hence, the trick they play on Douglas.

I agree, frankly, that the writing quality and the philosophical perspective are my strong suits, but I tried hard to make the characters interesting and believable. When Douglas and Jenna faced hard times, it got very difficult for me to write those parts. Douglas is modeled on my nephew (except that my nephew is only 2, not 6), whom I've written about a little on my blog. For example, when Douglas tries to use the binoculars but covers up the back end with his hand, my nephew did that very thing and it was hilarious.

I do hope you'll put your book review up on the Amazon page.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 22, 2014, 10:59:27 pm
Thanks very much for your kinds words. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Douglas will indeed be a major character. He's growing up fast, though. Having a child along in that terribly stressful situation would indeed by annoying, to say the least. But the thing is, without any children around, I figure the sense of doom would be unbearable since you'd have palpable proof of our imminent extinction. (Cormac McCarthy made much of this in The Road.) So the grown-ups have to figure out a compromise; hence, the trick they play on Douglas.

That's a good argument. It probably speaks to my age that I think it would be annoying. If I have to deal with the zombie apocalypse in my mid-twenties, I wouldn't want to be chained to a child.

Do you think the lie is as much for the adults (perhaps, even more so) than for the child?

I agree, frankly, that the writing quality and the philosophical perspective are my strong suits, but I tried hard to make the characters interesting and believable. When Douglas and Jenna faced hard times, it got very difficult for me to write those parts. Douglas is modeled on my nephew (except that my nephew is only 2, not 6), whom I've written about a little on my blog. For example, when Douglas tries to use the binoculars but covers up the back end with his hand, my nephew did that very thing and it was hilarious.

I do hope you'll put your book review up on the Amazon page.

Definitely believable. I had some palpitations over their situation in the McMansion.

(click to show/hide)

I'll definitely pimp the work, Ben.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 26, 2014, 06:20:47 pm
The lie works for the adults, too, in that it spares them the discomfort of having to explain the truth to the boy. It keeps Douglas out of the way. But the Cackler and Howard Rhodes and maybe the old man go mad from understanding the meaning of the apocalypse all too well. So the other, sane characters have their own delusions.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 27, 2014, 12:23:20 am
(click to show/hide)

Cheers, Ben.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Benjamin Cain on January 28, 2014, 03:31:10 pm
Your comparison of the Big Game lie with the Christmas myth is quite interesting. It does indeed suggest that the myths help the nostalgic adults as much as the naive children.

(click to show/hide)

Thanks very much for that review on Amazon (assuming it's yours).
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Madness on January 28, 2014, 10:36:48 pm
Your comparison of the Big Game lie with the Christmas myth is quite interesting. It does indeed suggest that the myths help the nostalgic adults as much as the naive children.

Well, sure. My argument was that the content of the words either way actually does nothing for the child other than that "preserving their innocence" works to affect a different set of behaviors in the nostalgic adults (perceivable to the child) than if they "tell the child the truth."

It's an act of ritual preservation - and a redundant one, in my opinion (except, obviously, insofar as we ignored the idea that the Christmas ritual functions to keep the economy going).

(click to show/hide)

(click to show/hide)

Thanks very much for that review on Amazon (assuming it's yours).

Lol - non-issue, Ben. Thanks for the experience of God Decays.

I'd like to facilitate all the success possible for you, especially given the perils of being self-published. But mostly because people need to have their realities fractured by minds like your's and Bakker's so that humanity can survive and thrive.

'Cause I'm something of a speciest like that - even if I do think that we survive best by facilitating other species in our ecological matrix.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: MG on November 04, 2016, 04:01:50 pm
Mr. Benjamin Cain, you wouldn't happen to be the same person as the person is who also goes by "Benjamin Cain" on this fake news site?

http://glossynews.com/author/benjamin-cain/

Unrelated but trying to work out in my head if there is a difference between 'two persons who go by the same name' and 'one name that goes by two different people.'  Any assistance is welcome.
Title: Re: God Decays by Benjamin Cain
Post by: Wilshire on January 10, 2017, 08:50:16 pm
Yeah MG, same guy. So just one guy, one name. This doesn't answer you question, but maybe its no longer important?
Check out Madness' original post/link. Take you to his blog, link up to to 'satirical news'.