God Decays by Benjamin Cain

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Madness

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« 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; 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 and offers a number of free sample chapters for your reading pleasure. Bakker recently plugged the debut on TPB and Ben has links (US) 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.
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Madness

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« Reply #1 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.
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CŁrťthaŮ

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« Reply #2 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. 
Retracing his bloody footprints, the Wizard limped on.

Benjamin Cain

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« Reply #3 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.

Madness

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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 05:51:30 pm »
Lol - must resist reading; need to argue Machiavelli's Christianity... ugh...
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jamesA01

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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 01:39:08 pm »
Will get this for Christmas.

Keep up the good work Ben, your blog is outstanding.

Phallus Pendulus

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« Reply #6 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.

Royce

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« Reply #7 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:)

Madness

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« Reply #8 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).
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Callan S.

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« Reply #9 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.

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« Reply #10 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.

Callan S.

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« Reply #11 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...)

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« Reply #12 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...

Callan S.

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« Reply #13 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.

Callan S.

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« Reply #14 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!