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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Foreward From My Book, Son of the Morrigan, the second book in my Reluctant Hero Trilogy


                                                                 Foreword


After finding the first novel in this series – The Last Wizard – highly entertaining, I have been delighted to get a sneak preview of the present work.

As with Wizard, this is fiction, not theology.  While the deities of various elder pantheons, especially the Germanic, play a central role, their depiction is not strictly according to the lore that has come down to us from pre-Christian times.  Something of their spirit, however, is captured quite well, particularly as that spirit is relevant to modern society.

And relevant it is:  the elder gods represent some timeless truths and values.  This novel is far from sugary – in fact, it gets rather spicy at times – and will probably never garner a Good Housekeeping/Moral Majority seal of approval.  But there is a clear moral message.

As in the elder lore, the gods are depicted as mortal, and imperfect.  This is not the Abrahamic idea of deity, perfect and forever unchanging, somewhere out there.  Rather, the gods are multi-faceted; they feel, they learn, and some of them change as the novel goes on. 

While the story is set in the future, it draws upon the past.  The author has woven bits of history, from antiquity to recent days, into his tale.  The interested reader may wish to learn more about the Battle of the Teutoburger Wald, or about Julian the Apostate ... or about the politics of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Or he may wish to just enjoy a romping good read.

Karen M. P. Carlson

Author's Note:  Karen M.P. Carlson is a fantastic editor!  I recommend her.   


                                                  Copyright @2011 Terry Unger 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Introduction and Prologue to My 2nd Edition of The Last Wizard - The Story of a Reluctant Hero


                                                             Introduction

Wizard is just a book, a flight of fancy, a work of fiction.   It is not intended to be prophetic.   It does not represent the views of paganism or heathenry as a whole.  This book contains adult themes and situations and should not be used as a children’s bedtime story or read by those who are not mentally or emotionally secure. 
            The characters do not represent any persons past or present; they are fictional.  All of the characters are flawed with personal traits that we all can identify with.  I have tried to depict humanity at its best and at its worst.  Ordinary people, when faced with life- changing decisions, make choices, be it for good or ill.  Heroes are not born but made.  They are ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, who have chosen to make a stand for what they believe is right.  You will meet heroes in the pages of this book, and may find some of them to be the most unlikely to wear that title.  And, you will meet the scum of the earth.
            History is used to flesh out the various concepts presented.  For those who take issue with my interpretation of history, I remind you that this is a work of fiction.  I have tried to remain as true to the Celtic and Germanic/Norse mythos as possible but I do admit that I have stretched a point or two for the sake of the story.  I use the term, “the Quickening” to describe a series of events that occurred nearly simultaneously and that brought about the life-changing circumstances that the characters face. 
            I am aware that this work could create controversy among pagans, heathens, and Christians.  However, if this controversy leads to a dialogue that brings better understanding and tolerance among people, that is a good thing. 
            Places mentioned in the book like Lake George and its surrounding areas, and the Finger Lakes, are very real.  Here in the United States we still have many places to see and visit that are beautiful.  Every one of these great vistas should have a sign that reads, “Don’t muck this up!  Keep it for our grandchildren’s grandchildren!”  Enjoy!!!  
                                                             


                                                               Prologue
                                                          
This book, The Last Wizard- The Story of a Reluctant Hero was met with good reviews. However, many folks asked me why I did not have a “bridge” from the modern to the post-modern world I storied in Wizard.   The answer is simple.  My editor at the time argued, rather strenuously, that I drop the prologue because it read like a “history book” and gave away the contents.   Looking back, I feel this was a mistake-not the editor’s mistake but mine for going along with it.  The reader needs to know the origins of something, not just the end result.  Therefore I present here the omitted prologue.

“It” finally happened.   This “It” in, later history would be referred to as “The Quickening.”  This was not just a failed environment but a variety of unrelated issues that combined to bring about planetary change….
            The polar ice caps melted sooner than expected, creating massive coastal flooding.  This caused many people to move inland. The loss of the polar caps pushed land temperatures up an average of six degrees in most areas.  In the northern hemisphere the increased temperature reduced snow and rainfall.  The lack of water worldwide caused general sanitation to break down. Humanity, with its false sense of scientific superiority, had declared bacterial infection defeated decades before.
            But those tiny life forms had just adapted and when the temperature rose, came back with a vengeance.  New strains of cholera, measles, small pox, influenza, diphtheria, and plague killed untold millions before a treatment to defeat them was found.
            Oil became black gold.  Demand increased while supply decreased, bringing about sky-rocketing fuel prices.  For many years people had heard how government would create energy independence but to no avail.  In an effort to supplement fuel supply, government turned to the production of ethanol as a quick fix.
            As a result, basic grains never made it to grocery stores let alone family tables.  In effect, western nations put people’s groceries into their SUVs via ethanol.   Governments were aware of this, but for reasons not fully understood, food production did not increase although the capacity was there.   Some at the time had speculated it was a combination of climate change, less growing space due to population increase, and just plain greed.
            And bees, necessary in the process of pollination, were dying off by the millions with no satisfactory explanation.  Before the ethanol rage, western nations produced grain foodstuffs with large surpluses.  This surplus went to feed hungry people in third world countries.  Bu now this surplus went into ethanol, creating even greater world hunger.  Food shortages, combined with fresh drinking water shortages, brought about mass riots that eventually hobbled many governments.
            Throughout all of this, the Catholic Church declared a ban on any form of contraception in South America, Mexico, Central America, and Africa.  In these poor countries the Church felt it still had significant influence.  This action only added to the already staggering population growth.  People not killed off by disease died from starvation.  The rise of the Christian Right, who were no more than fascists, added their considerable weight to the crisis.
            This movement managed to influence the U.S. federal government, particularly the executive and judicial branches.   Their influence had U.S. Presidents reject the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Accords, using the excuse that participating in them would hurt American business interests.  In true Fascist tradition, the American military industrial complex and right wing Christian ideologues, were cozily in bed with each other.  When the developing nations saw the United States pay no more than lip service to Kyoto and Bali, they followed suit. 
            Debt – national, corporate, and personal – was staggering.  The Christian Right became deeply entrenched in government, the military, and business.  But they needed Democrats and began to court them like a rich old geezer courts a Playboy centerfold.  Payment rendered by the Democrats was the gutting of the Constitution and the repeal of Roe v. Wade.  The Christian Right was very close to creating their ideal “Christian Nation” but took one huge misstep.
            Nuclear missiles were shaken by their political puppets like a stick shaken by an armchair general scolding a poor ally.  China and India, considered godless by the Right, were the targets of this saber rattling, even though they held most of this nation’s debt. When they had had enough, they called in the debt.
            The United States went financially belly-up and because of the inter-connectedness of the global economy woven between nations, so did other countries.  This worldwide governmental bankruptcy, combined with things previously mentioned, brought about total collapse.  Governments capitulated and civil order became non-existent, ushering in The Age of Anarchy.  The world, now more than ever, needed heroes………….

                                           Copyright@ 2011 Terry Unger  

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Opinions Of An Older Man


       

 A man who denies his family and himself meat is like the man who prefers darkness over light.

 If everything is supposed to be equal, why is everything so different?

 Those who can, do; those that can't, bitch - frequently.

 Friends - you find out who they are when you need them.

 The man who talks too much becomes boring.

 The confident man can stand on his own because of his deeds.  The man who needs the help of others to stand is made of straw.

 The wise man will tolerate a fool for as long as it takes to get away from him.

 The full measure of a man is found in his words and deeds.

 Food and drink will fill a man's belly but knowledge fills his mind and heart.

 Small steps backward are taken to comply.  Bold steps forward are taken for victory.

 Sometimes it is better to be the mouse that is chased by the cat, knowing that the mouse can transform into a dragon and devour the cat.  Too bad for the cat.

 A sunny day is a blessing but rain is needed for growth.

 Keep your own counsel.  Telling others of your plans and dreams is a harbinger of defeat.  Envy and Jealousy are Huge.

 It is true that the victors write the history.  However, the words and music of their victory song is foreign to the vanquished.

 It is said that, "From an acorn comes a mighty oak."  Raise your children well.

 Women are the greatest Mystery.  Don't question it, just go with it.

 Never give up on yourself.  You have reservoirs of strength within you yet to plum.

 If you teach a man to fish he still may ask you for bait.

 When you stand at a crossroad in your life, beware of the speeders.

 Since nature abhors a vacuum, emptiness never lasts.

 The greatest strength you will ever have is not physical.  It is your inner strength that opens many doors.

 Beware of the man who talks too much about himself.  His self-absorption leaves no room for you.

 Seasons come and seasons go, just like life; make the most of yours.  When on your death bed it is too late to think that you should have done more.

 Be careful of the stranger who flatters you and offers you gifts.  Time will tell if he will be a friend or foe.

 Answer love with love and aggression with aggression.  Love will keep returning but when properly met, aggression ends.

 Never raise your voice or hand against your spouse unless you want to sleep alone.

 Honesty has its rightful place among true friends.

 When dreams stop, life stops.

 The pen is mightier than the sword when it cuts just as well.  The pen offers less physical effort, giving its holder the opportunity to make more strokes.

 Like the man who is lost in the fog, the man who thinks with his penis always will be lost.

 Waiting around for your life to happen is like waiting for a bus that never shows up.

 The difference between "do" and "can" is "I will."

 Faith is the blind adherence to a dogma.  As a result, reason is tossed out the window.

 Today's doctors have come full circle; we're back to blood sucking leeches. 

 Do not trust the man who professes to know everything - he really knows nothing.

  Have no concerns when fools laugh at you - they are jealous.

 If a man wants to know a woman's heart, he must open his.

 Justice comes to those who seek it.

 A man can work from dawn until dusk.  The only true recipient of his labors is his soul.

 True love between a man and woman should never be underestimated.  It is the stuff that holds the Multiverse together - the micro via the macro.

 The nexus of life begins with creation.  The nexus of creation is love.  The nexus of love is need.  Life and love all begin in our need.  Creation is the expression of need.

A man breathes in air all of his life.  But, is the man aware of the true substance of which he inhales?  The last breath tells all.

 The Multiverse is a really tough broad; slap her, and her one-two combination punch will knock you out.

 When I look into my grandchildren's eyes I can see forever.

 A man's purpose is to grow, experience, and evolve; so too the Multiverse.  It never ends.

 A tape measure serves to record the distance between two points, not the measure of a man's life.

 A hero is a person who saw adversity and took a stand against it.

 In many cases, the difference between the villain and the victor is - who wins the contest.  The victor writes the history and in so doing makes sure that the villain is vanquished over and over again.

 A man who is not faithful to his wife is not true to his family.  A positive culture does not sanction infidelity of any kind. 

 Sometimes life appears so absurd that it begs the question, "Are the inmates really running this asylum?"

 There never is an ending to anything, only new beginnings.

 Monotheism - A poorly minted excuse to destroy cultures and lower morality.

 Forgiveness will never take away the pain of what happened.  However, forgiving yourself will take the edge off of your self-loathing; that's worth it.

 Reality is based on perception.  Perception requires numerous reality checks.

 When a person says something is absolute, that something is complete with no need of evolving.  Nothing is absolute except 200 proof Vodka.

 Your heart is the temple where the gods reside; keep it clean.

 The hardest thing for a good man to do is admit defeat.  That is why good men n

 Luck is not something you have, rather, it is something you make.

 Dragon's Breath - love it!  If it offends you, maybe you are standing to close to me.  

 A wise man never walks alone.

 Blasphemy is the art and science of telling the religious right to piss off.

 The tortoise does not always win the race; the ones who prepare are the winners.

 The things that the so-called righteous consider deviant today will be acceptable to them tomorrow.

 Dogs are wonderful; we can learn a lot from them.

 Age has the gift of memory.  Young folks need to respect that fact. 

 Gentlemen - when your wife tells you that she will be ready in two minutes, sit down and relax; just go with it.  Two minutes works on the multiples of ten.  

When the teacher and sage are made into a priest, organized religion is not far behind.  When that happens, many truths are thrown out the window. 
Why is it that so many young men continue to make fashion missteps - like wearing their pants half-way down their asses.  I really don’t care what kind of underwear they wear.  And please, discover the difference between a hat and a cap. 


                                  Copyright @2012 Terry Unger 

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