Happy Birthday Sharikqah :-)
Happy birthday, Sharikqah! Hope to makesome other good post here soon. Hope it's a really good day, and Godvwith you for all the year.

New original story: The Time of the Orc, chpt 1

First chapter of another original fantasy story. Should be 3-4 chapters.

The Orc Empire has conquered the Elven Kingdoms, and stands poised to wipe out the last resistance. The future may depend on the choices of a single soldier...a single Orc.

A story of war and redemption, rated T

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New Original story: The Selfish Giant
My first fictionpress story ever. A disturbing parable of ego and redemption. 


love for God
I've never even thought before of raging at God, or questioning Him directly. I honestly find it hard to like the ideas that He may want me to completely drop comics, anime and athiest writers, that so many people in the world are going to hell, and that homosexuality is wrong. I can understand and argue why all these things are just. I just can't like them yet, and the reason can only be ego. As I said, I can't question God; by definition He's always right. But I can't kill the resentment, or stop despairing at my own nature. And I keep sinning, almost as much to hurt God as anything else. If I keep on sinning wilfully, I'm sure I will justly go to hell. And its a sin in itself, but I find it hard to like that either.

I've hardly ever been truly punished for any wrongdoing with more than guilt, and that hasn't stopped me yet. The nearest thing to punishment was on a Scout camp when I bit a boy who was harrassing me in some way, and another boy hit me with a stick. I wasn't in the right, but I still don't think he was reasonable to do that.

Since seriously giving my life to God I've recieved the impression that I've barely ever loved Him before, except on account of what He gives. I know that His Grace is what makes me acceptable, rather than my love or faith. But I don't think I could possibly be sinning as blatanly as I am, if I had any love or faith at all.  
I haven't even loved my family or friends as humans; I learned by wrote that helping others is right, but hardly ever sacrificed for anybody, or did any more than they wanted from me. Empathy has always been a problem because of my Aspergers; fictional characters are more real to me than living people at times. And I'm finally seeing myself as trapped in a prison of ego, barely able to love, sacrifice, or care about the views of anyone else. I have a choice to accept who I am, or try to change, but change like this could only come from God through faith, and I need more.

I'm curious how this perspective would change if I were to fail my PhD next month. I could finally put the will of my flesh to death for God, or get knocked down to a last state worse than my very first. At least God knows what's going to happen.           


(no subject)
Listed more anime on ebay. I don't know how many will sell, but I want to get rid of some of them. I ended up destroying all the DVDs for Baccano, Basilisk, Dead Leaves and Lone Wolf and Cub this evening as well, because the content was so unholy, and to show that I could. It was suprisingly difficult; Terry Pratchett mentioned that any bookburning sems naturally wrong to most people because of a certain reverence for any written words. Of course he also wrote in Small Gods about the religious fanatic whose god was only an extension of himself, and an echo of his own voice inside his head. That picture may well haunt me until I die.

 With a churchgoing family didn't really have a dramatic conversion event so I couldn't definately say how God has changed me. In a sense, any good development in me at all is from Him, in another sense, the amount of persistent, serious sin in my life suggests inescapable that I've kept Him from doing anything with me at all. Believing in God isn't ever enough; for my heart to really change I need to value nothing else. In order to really love God, I need to hate sin. 


My Granmother died this weekend, while I was in Loughborough sorting my thesis out. She'd just come out of hospital a few days ago, after recovering from heart and kidney problems and getting a pacemaker fitted. I'd been worried on that account for the last month, but when she was readmitted over a chest infection, I didn't even consider that she wouldn't make it.

My memories of Gran already seem distant since she could barely speak since her stroke six years ago. All she could always say was to sing 'happy birthday' every time there was a family birthday. Mum still has the recording of Gran singing that song as her ringtone. You could always tell that her thoughts were quite clear and that her impaired communication annoyed her. But she was genuinely happy very often in the last six years, and happiness is nearly all that I can remember her for, before that.         

Literature and pain
I've always thought that illustrating true pain and despair are some of the most important purposes of literature and storytelling. With my fairly comfortable life, I assumed that a picture of the world's grimness would be necessary for me to feel compassion and empathy for child soldiers and trapped bureaucrats.  What message could be more vital than the way humans live with pain, struggle against it, and seek hope through it? And if the characters never overcome their flaws, and never truely save themselves in the end (they never do), doesn't that just show once again that humans need God?

I don't know if the intervention of God in the present world can be written about convincingly in fiction; unless it's experienced, accepted and believed in, any miracle can be dismissed as 'unrealistic'. Maybe the most convincing miracles are unexpected answers to prayer,but direct miracles have a certain something as well..

The point is that I made a mistake in looking too deeply at survival in a world with a hidden God. Somewhere 'humans can't save themselves' began to sound like 'humans can't be saved'. Rather than disbeliving in God I grew a belief in human darkness, human struggle and in the picture of the ugly 'truth' as an end in itself. I still think works like 100 Bullets, Anno Dracula, Gunsllnger Girl, Battle Royale, Berserk, Baccano and Scalped are great works of imagination and writing, but all either ignore God or actively oppose both Him and the whole concept of goodness. What does this say about writing, or for that matter, imagination? What does it say about me that I even admit their good qualities, while hating their fatal ones?

(Preacher, by the by, is both opposed to God and, in my opinion, a nasty, vicious heap of bile).   

My problem with a lot of Christian fiction is that everyone knows the ending already. Even a genuine redemptive masterpiece like Les Miserables has as much darkness in it as light. If I keep reading or writing stories, I want them to have tension, real despair, and room for interpretation. They must have hope, and the hope can only be God; God does not admit multiple interpretations. Which is why I don't know if I'll ever be able to write about Him in a story until I understand a lot more about God and writing.

Does anyone know any good books or comics with a more positive outlook on the world?           

Anime sale

Over the next few days I'm going to be putting virtually my entire collection of anime manga and graphic novels on Ebay and/or Amazon to raise money for the Darfur appeal. I'd really like to move some stuff, so do see if there's anything you'd like. Nothing should be priced higher than £8. I'd be happy to listen to best offers for the prices of any items (Barefoothead is me on Ebay btw).


((X) means that I've listed it, rather than than it's sold, I'll be listing all these and more on ebay over the next few days)


Planetes anime ep 14-26 (x)
[s]Cowboy Bebop ep 1-26+movie (x)[/s]
Vision of Escaflowne ep 1-26 (X)
Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig ep 1-26 (X)
Gunslinger Girl series 1 ep 1-13 (X)
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino ep 1-13 (X)
[s]Haibane Renmei ep 1-13 (X)[/s]
[s]Kino's Journey ep 1-13 (X)[/s]
[s]Heat Guy J ep 1-26 (X)[/s]
[s]Higashi no Eden ep 1-11 (X)[/s]

Jin-Roh (X)
[s]Noir ep 1-26 (X)[/s]
Noien ep 1-26 (X)
R.O.D. OVA ( )
Tekon Kinkreet (X)
FLCL 1-6 (X)
Now and then here and there 1-13 (X)


Battle Angel Alita vol 6-9 (X)
Battle Angel Alita Last Order vol 8, 10, 12 (X)
Fullmetal Alchemist manga vols 9, 12,13, 18, 21-27 ( )
Claymore vol 2-19 ( )
Gunslinger Girl vol 3-6 (X)
20th Century Boys (X)
Planetes vol 3-4 ( )
Rurouni Kenshin (X)
Legend of Mother Sarah ( )
Blade of the Immortal ( )

The Last Post (debut as published writer)

The Last Post is a collection of self-published stories out now, including some excellent stories by cereswunderkind, verdigris_dream and a couple of stories by me.

 The stories are only linked by the title theme, and range through fantasy, sci-fi, horror and not-quite-reality. And since I only wrote a small part, I can say without immodesty that it's a brilliant collection, and it would be a great idea to buy a copy! Telling people about it would be a great idea as well. It's availiable on Lulu.com now, and should be coming out on Kindle very soon.

And thanks to Ceres and Verdigris for actually publishing it!     


Finally have comments on 1st draft of thesis back. There some large mistakes I could've changed if I'd spent more effort on it rather than getting the first draft in as quickly as possible 4 months ago, and an underlying lack of professionalism and presentation I'm not sure what I could have done about. This is the first PhD thesis I've written, after all...but it should have been better.

When I was in secondary school, my teachers told me I wouldn't be good at science, and I was proud to get straight As (apart from a D in the module for organic synthesis, the subject in which I'm aiming to get a PhD). In undergrad, I was told that I didn't have much potential to work in science, and went on to get a 2:1 and MSc with distinction. Now my co-workers are telling me I've little chance of working in chemistry, and even my supervisor says I shouldn't work in the organic synthesis field I've spent the last 3 years researching....3 years of self-directed research in which I've become unmotivated, overfocused, uncreative and flaccid. 3 years I'm increasingly worried that I've misused, making myself less able to work in chemistry rather than more. I'm really not sure what future my PhD and my work have; I'm might even be starting to believe what I've been told. 


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