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#WhateverWednesday Angels and Pharaohs

Frankie Av

I’ve been interested in world mythology for many years. I’ve researched and read about various myths, legends, ancient religion and cultural beliefs. Half of my personal library holds volumes on the subjects. Of everything I’ve read, I’ve always been most interested in Ancient Egypt and Angels. Neither should come as a surprise if you know me well enough. Both subjects have fascinated me from a young age. In fact, back in 1988 my aunt took me to the Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition in Edinburgh. I remember standing in front of Tutankhamen’s death mask, mesmerised. My aunt would take me to see other things in the exhibition but I always ended up back in front of that mask whenever there was a space for me to push my way in front. There was just something…otherworldly, about it. It was magical, steeped in something almost sensual. I understood this, yet I was only 13 years old at the time. It was almost as if the Pharaoh himself was staring at me, trying to tell me something important which I just could not comprehend. I still get shivers from the memory and hope to see the mask again some day. The only other time I felt that kind of yearning to know more, was when I researched angels.

It was while researching various religions and cultures that I became intrigued by angelic entities. There are many Gods and countless more deities and lesser gods in both ancient and current religious and cultural belief systems. Of them all, angels just appeal to me. People with wings who can fly! But then, they are not people. They are God’s weapons. The duality of angels is hard to reconcile but fascinates me. On one hand they are utterly perfect beings, romanticised as being large winged protectors with flowing robes and long hair. On the other, they are also God’s warriors, holy weapons who will slaughter if commanded. Cruel and relentless, they will stop at nothing and will slaughter innocents to carry out that which their Father commands. As I say, I find it fascinating. Do I believe they are real? Do I believe that the Gods of ancient Egypt were real? Well, it depends how you ask me the question.

You see, I believe in the multiverse theory. I believe that there is an Earth on which angels do indeed exist. Another where the Egyptian pharaohs and their Gods reign supreme. There are also worlds on which dragons exist, and ghosts and one in which the loch ness monster belongs to the dominant species. Because I often like to believe that if it can be imagined, it is because the knowledge of one reality slips into another and thus myths and legend are born. Fanciful? Yes. Does it surprise you that I have two books in the pipeline after Emergence; one about angels and one about the multiverse? Probably not. My imagination is big enough to imagine such things and allows me to bring them into existence through words and paint and digital ink.

It is my belief and knowledge framework which allows me to be creative. It allows me to question things, to muse over the deeper meaning of life and the universe. It even allows me to accept that in some reality, the answer to life and everything is in fact, 42.

The reason for this rather existential blog post is because I finally watched the last three episodes of the television show Dominion. A television show about angels, the end of days and a chosen one–of course it intrigued me. With strong characters, enjoyable story-lines, fantastic sets and effects and mostly awesome acting, Dominion was one of my favourite shows. Then it was cancelled after only two seasons. Having watched and fallen in love with many television shows cancelled before their time, I know only too well how awful it is for a show to be ended on a cliffhanger, never to be concluded. I feared this for Dominion and so refused to watch the final episodes. I decided to watch them yesterday and was as disappointed as I knew I would be. It didn’t just end on a cliffhanger, it ended on the mother of all cliffhangers. I just can not get my head around how such a great show with obvious reams of potential for a third season could be cut from the fans and viewers the way it was. I really should have known, I have experienced it before and it tears the geek heart from me.

But, what I have that others might not, is the ability to end the story myself in a way I find pleasing. I’ve done it before. I’ve made animations to finish off an unfinished television story. Written fan fiction just to get some closure on a show I have fallen in love with. Why? Because then my story-ending becomes a piece of the multiverse, therefore somewhere in the universe the characters and their stories continue, on another world where Michael and Gabriel and Alex continue to exist. It is most likely the same world from which the story originated, pieces of which slipped into our own reality to become the idea for a television show. A big huge circle of creation through the multiverse in which angels and demons exist.

Now, did I just write you all a strange short story for Whatever Wednesday? Or did I just tell you the absolute truth? Well, there are two dimensions where both are true. But in which reality do you currently exist? 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE



#SundayReview: Noein – To Your Other Self

Sam av

I know some of you at this point are probably wondering why I’ve been posting so much anime (“Doesn’t she ever READ something?”). Of course I read…but while the Altador Cup is going on—while I’m playing mindless Flash games that devour my soul—I can’t read. So I usually put on some movies or a TV show in the background. In the past, I’ve mostly stuck to the classics I love—Phantom of the Opera, Labyrinth, Willow, etc.—but this year I decided that it was a good time to try out some of the shows on my To-Watch list. Every time I go to ACEN, I leave the convention with a list of at least a dozen new anime or movies I need to check out.

That’s why the influx of anime reviews. I apologize if anime isn’t your thing, but the genre is quite a large influence on me, right up there with classic epic fantasy.

So I’m going to tell you about Noein: To Your Other Self.

I learned about this one at a panel for voice actor Richard Epcar. He told the story of how he and some other voice actors were goofing around one day and did different voice overs for the same clips. It’s sort of what any of us would do when the boss is away, just for fun. It was an amusing story to hear because several of the voice actors were all for the idea, while one in particular wasn’t really feeling it. However, as we watched the clips progress, you could tell that even he was starting to have fun with it (and it was hilarious). Before or after the story and the amusing voice overs, though (I can’t remember which), the panelist told us about what the anime was actually about.

The brief description of Noein is that it’s about dimensional travel and the concept of the Multiverse. The Multiverse theory is that there’s an infinite number of parallel dimensions, fractured and fractured again depending on all of the fate-changing choices that we make throughout our lives. According to this theory, basically there are infinite versions of yourself. Some of you are alive, some are dead. Some are happy, some are miserable, and so on and so forth.

The concept of Noein in regards to this theory is that there’s one girl who solidifies the true dimension. She is known as the Dragon Torc and her name is Haruka. Simply by observing and believing in a choice or dimension, that is the dimension that becomes real at the expense of the other dimensions that would have occurred otherwise.

Fifteen years in the future from the current time and space, there are two major yet unstable dimensions at odds with one another. One is called Shangri-La, and it’s the ‘Ideal’ Dimension, where apparently everyone is happy and everything is wonderful. The other is Lacryma, where apparently everything is miserable and the people are trying desperately to save their world. In both dimensions, there are future versions of all of the main and secondary characters in the current time and space. Lacryma and Shangri-La both have an interest in finding and acquiring the Dragon Torc to be able to go back in time and basically force her to solidify the correct decisions to stabilize their dimension. Shangri-La wants to be the One True Dimension, so to speak. Lacryma wants to save its failing world.

The story of Noein basically focuses on Haruka as she learns about the two dimensions and her abilities. She is assisted in this by her close friend Yu and a mysterious Dragon Knight of the future named Karasu. Karasu went back in time to try to capture Haruka for Lacryma, but when he met her, he balked at his mission and chose to become her protector instead.

Throughout the 24-episode anime, the emotional themes of friendship and family are the backbone of the psychological interest. The plot revolves around loyalty and the theories of quantum physics, as well as the consequences of choices and mistakes.

It’s odd…as I watched this anime, I wasn’t completely on board with it. Usually, science fiction isn’t my thing, and I really dislike learning about physics. Time travel, dimensional travel, and hard sci-fi tend to exhaust me. I think I spend too much time trying to make sense of who is what and where it is, being confused about which timeline we are in and what’s going on. It tends to confuse me into not being able to enjoy it. Instead, as I write this, I’m realizing that I did enjoy it. It’s sticking with me. It was interesting, and it can be fun to think about what we may become in the future based on the on-the-fly decisions we make.

So I liked Noein. If this kind of sci-fi is in your interests, then I definitely recommend it for you. For me, simply because it’s not my usual genre, it doesn’t quite make it to my top ten.

However, because the list of anime I have watched keeps growing, I’m able to recognize the voices of a number of voice actors now. I have a few favorites from Naruto. Much like with live actors, I like to follow them around to their works and support them that way. Noein has Crispin Freeman (Itachi), Yuri Lowenthal (Sasuke), Mona Marshall (Inari), Steve Kramer (Sarutobi Hiruzen), and Richard Epcar (Hanzo, Manda). Crispin Freeman is a particular favorite of mine. To have been able to see another anime with these great names in it is always a treat.

Comments are always appreciated. I’d love to know if you enjoy the same things I enjoy or if you have any suggestions. My to-watch and to-read lists are never long enough.

Thanks for your support!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).