I have been exploring concepts that are shared in tales that cross cultures. Many of them have quite a bit of similarity. There are tales that resonate in ways, we as humans cherish. These stories have become common folk lore for more than a few civilizations. Many of these have been created almost the same despite gulfs of time, space, culture and language between them. Still others have been heard from travelers and adopted entirely into their new home. Some are remembered from so far back that the common origins are forgotten.
While exploring these iconic legends my wife and I started to create a fairly horrific and perpetually topical common theme in several of the sets of fairy tales and mythologies. We bantered these tales between us and misplaced or forgot as much as we remembered. While she was quite ill, I started writing this as an entertainment for my ailing wife.
I was also inspired by Mariachi music. Sad horrid tales of loss sung bravely and brightly. So instead of horror, I used all of the elements of horror while making a bright tale of constructive choices and high convictions told by a young boy on a background of ancient dark secrets and plots. By telling this story with elements taken from slacker movies with a bright mood overall, I am trying to sneak in the same essence of provocative thought that my wife and I have had discussing and arguing these tales between us.
A Fantasy book is an interesting thing. It describes a chosen metaphysics and physics and expects you to follow along with a theology that is rarely one we would choose in life. In this way fantasy is a bit subversive. As fantasy starts to incorporate faith and religion as many fine fantasy stories do, it is inevitable that these intriguing and often dark twists will lift the corners of beliefs that we have firmly tacked down. I delight in this. I feel that a faith should be examined. I prefer a living faith or even no faith at all to one that has been pasted in place. Religions, like politics, when accepted without understanding or compassion, have a bad history of leading towards war and hatred.
With this story that incorporates, ancient myth, fairy tales and a range of belief systems, I have set it in another seemingly mythical setting. The year 1977. This is the year that Apple, Commodore, and Radio Shack started selling computers to people. This is a time when phone books and paper maps were the guides to a city. This is a time when no one had cell phones.
This is the year that the movie “Star Wars,” changed the movie industry and experience. Before this year, only avid readers cared about fantasy or science fiction. Before this year, people often made the choice to stop being nerds as they grew up, since nerds were in many ways a persecuted minority. In 1977, Speed Racer, Gigantor and Astroboy were the only anime that anyone in the States knew of. Comic books where something that people gave up early. Even in Japan, Comic books were considered a fringe habit that one should give up as one matured.
For me, 1977 is even more magical. I met and married my true love that year. It is for her that these stories are written.
I give you the story of Ben, a twelve year old boy who will, I hope, become as dear to you as he is to me.