As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot by Michael R. Fletcher author of Beyond Redemption. Michael
You can check out part One here: Beauty in Ruins: Rules of a Responsive Reality by Michael R. Fletcher (guest post)
And part Three is here:
THE RULES OF A RESPONSIVE REALITY
By Michael R. Fletcher
Yesterday we saw part one posted at
Beauty in Ruins http://beauty-in-ruins.blogspot.com/
( Part three will be over at Bookwraiths bookwraiths.com )
I talked about some of the underlying ideas (belief defines reality) behind the responsive reality where my dark fantasy novel, Beyond Redemption, takes place. If you haven’t already, go read it. It’s okay. I’ll wait. Take your time, I’m not busy.You’ve read it? Good, because today I’m going to dig deeper.
Factors Defining and Limiting the Abilities of Geisteskranken
The insane and responsive reality of Beyond Redemption is nonetheless defined by rules. Geisteskranken, while capable of altering—and to some degree defining local reality—are not gods. There are limits to what they can achieve.
On the other hand, if enough people worship them, they might Ascend to become gods. How lovely is that thought? Who demands worship? Sociopaths! And thus most of your favourite deities are Ascended self-centred arseholes.
The factors below are not quite as simple as they seem. They’re interrelated, each touching upon the others.
Even Geisteskranken sometimes think about things other than their delusions. When the attention of the delusional is focussed, they are more able to effect changes to reality. When they are distracted, thinking about sandwiches or sex or both, their delusions fade in power. As a result, it is hardest to ignore a Gefahrgeist (sociopath) when you are the sole focus of their attention. Later, when alone, you might find yourself thinking, why did I ever think that dick was my friend?
It should be noted that as a Geisteskranken lose their grip on reality they become more able to neurotically focus and thus grow in power.
-Strength of Belief-
Not every one believes things to the same degree; this is true too for the delusional. Any doubt in one’s delusions weakens them. Causing a Geisteskranken to doubt themselves reduces their power.
Even among the delusional (Geisteskranken) how delusions manifest differs from person to person. No two are quite the same. Some Gefahrgeist (sociopaths) simply want to be popular and at the centre of every social circle. Others crave worship or power and either join the city-watch, enter politics, or join a priesthood.
The crazier someone is—the more strongly they believe the impossible—the stronger they become. The crazier they are the less capable they are of making sane choices. Eventually all Geisteskranken spiral out of control and topple over the Pinnacle. More on that in a moment.
The further one gets from a Geisteskranken, the less their delusions will affect you. Most delusional are only capable of altering a relatively small slice of local reality. If you are miles from a Hassebrand they will be unable to incinerate you…unless they have a very specific delusion about you bursting into flames.
There are rare exceptions when a Geisteskranken’s delusions are related to something distant. For example, some Mirrorists believe mirrors are simply gateways to either other mirrors or even other worlds. In this case it is entirely possible the Mirrorist will step into one mirror and out of another several hundred miles distant.
A Geisteskranken’s range increases as their mind falls apart and they grow in power.
Proximity to the majority sane is a major limiting factors to the abilities of Geisteskranken. A Gefahrgeist surrounded by a large population of people who think he’s just another self-centred arsehole might well be rendered powerless to conscript followers on any scale beyond one-on-one. Conversely, a Geisteskranken surrounded by a large crowd (sane or otherwise) who believe in her ability to alter reality is more powerful than when alone. A Hassebrand will be more powerful in an environment where everyone knows she is a powerful Hassebrand and less powerful where the population has no knowledge of them.
Proximity to competing/countering beliefs can also limit a Geisteskranken’s power. Two Intermetics (believe people swap identities) suffering delusions regarding the same person might well cancel each other out. This has large scale effects on religion. Wipe out all of a god’s followers, and that god will die off, forgotten and unworshipped.
The ultimate leveller of the playing field.
Embracing one’s delusions comes with a price. Sure, holding your emotional scars tight to your heart, constantly picking at your mental wounds, might cause the Geisteskranken to grow in power, but embracing insanity is not healthy. As Geisteskranken lose their grip on reality they become stronger, more able to believe all manner of insane shite. As their sanity crumbles apart the range and strength of their delusions increases.
Eventually, however, those delusions come to completely define that Geisteskranken’s reality. They take over. That that teetering instant when delusion crushes sanity is the Pinnacle. For a brief instant the Geisteskranken might become so powerful as to challenge the gods. Unfortunately for the Geisteskranken, they are no longer sane enough to do anything with that power. What happens after depends on the delusions in question. A Mirrorist might be dragged into the mirror by his reflections. The Doppelgangist might be replaced by a Doppel. The Hassebrand might incinerate themselves in an orgy of flame.
How Geisteskranken Come to Be
There are four means by which one can become a Geisteskranken:
Some people are just born broken. Their minds work differently. They see colours we don’t see, hear sounds we don’t here, and believe things we don’t believe. This may be the result of a malformed brain, genetics, or a haywire endocrine/hormonal system.
For most people witnessing something truly horrific results in one of two things happening: Either they shut down and refuse to deal with reality or they find some way to forget—to shield themselves from what they have seen—and move on. Sometimes, however, witnessing a horrific or traumatic event will break a person’s mind. In most cases the trauma suffered defines what kind of Geisteskranken the person will become, but not always. People’s reactions to mind-shattering stimuli is remarkably difficult to predict.
Sometimes a serious blow to the skull (and the resulting brain damage) is all that is required to create a new Geisteskranken. How their delusions will manifest is impossible to predict as they were previously sane people. That said, memory loss and personality changes are common. Even the stranger delusions can manifest out of physical trauma. Cotardism (belief that one is dead and/or rotting) has resulted from blows to the head.
-Narcotics and Alcohol Abuse-
Obviously this is the most fun way to lose one’s mind. Years of narcotics or alcohol abuse can have effects beyond those typically seen. Eat enough of the right mushrooms and you may never be the same again.
Check out my review here: Book Review: Beyond Redemption By Michael R. Fletcher
Michael’s first guest blog here: Guest blog: A Wandering Ramble By Michael R. Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption.
Our interview is here: The Most Important Interview of All Time, with Michael R. Fletcher and mightythorjrs.
About the author:
Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, is being published by HARPER Voyager and is slated for release June 16th, 2015.
The next two Manifest Delusions novels, THE ALL CONSUMING, and WHEN FAR-GONE DEAD RETURN are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.
Michael is represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 16, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062387030
- ISBN-13: 978-0062387035
A darkly imaginative writer in the tradition of Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett, and Neil Gaiman conjures a gritty mind-bending fantasy, set in a world where delusion becomes reality . . . and the fulfillment of humanity’s desires may well prove to be its undoing.
When belief defines reality, those with the strongest convictions—the crazy, the obsessive, the delusional—have the power to shape the world.
And someone is just mad enough to believe he can create a god . . .
Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geistrekranken—men and women whose delusions manifest. Sustained by their own belief—and the beliefs of those around them—they can manipulate their surroundings. For the High Priest Konig, that means creating order out of the chaos in his city-state, leading his believers to focus on one thing: helping a young man, Morgen, ascend to become a god. A god they can control.
Trouble is, there are many who would see a god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own doppelgangers, a Slaver no one can resist, and three slaves led by possibly the only sane man left.
As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. Because as the delusions become more powerful, the also become harder to control. The fate of the Geistrekranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is:
Who will rule there?