The Art of Truth-Telling

I ask the dead to teach me to tell the truth. But they say that they cannot.

Deep within the sepulchric depths of their Temple, as I shiver in a cold that dead flesh and bone can no longer feel, they tell me that they cannot tell me the truth because all things already know it.

They tell me that the truth is an ugly thing: naked, hard, and cold. In its purest form it is sterile at best, and inevitable to its highest degree: like a dull pendulum blade or a lump of unrefined ore embedded within a living heart.

No, they tell me that they cannot tell me what I already know. But, they say that they can teach me how to tell the truth.

And I realize that this is what I wanted all along: to clothe that stark objectivity in all the raiment that a philologist’s treasury can offer.

But mostly, I want the knowledge: to know what I have to say to those I love, and to know what to say to myself in the nights long after.

Because, in the end they, the dead … they tell the most excellent of stories.

Stitches, Meetings and Silver Keys in Downtown Toronto

Well, I have been fighting off a cold for some time now and it seems as though in these days two days I’ve finally lost that battle and I’m now in the process of surviving. Sometimes I wish I was like one of Vampire Maman Juliette’s vampires to that regard who, from my understanding, are immune to such annoying things as sickness. But, sadly, there is already one vampire in her world named Matthew and having two would just be redundant.

No, I’m still mortal–for better or worse–and annoyed at my body right now because I have so much to do and not an infinite amount of time to do it.

So, how about some good news? The third and final part of my article The Stitching Together of a Mythos: Kris Straub’s Broodhollow came out a few days ago. It really made things come full circle: especially since it talks a bit about Kris Straub’s story “Candle Cove”: which is what got me interested in his work to begin with. We’ve been talking a bit on Twitter as well: which is really awesome. And in addition to getting a few more Twitter Followers–which is always excellent–I may have opened some … new avenues up for future exploration. I need to just develop this possibility further and I’m not sure how well I will do with portraying current events–even of a Geek kind–but let’s just go at it one thing at a time.

This passing week has been a challenge for me on some many different levels, but I did go to an interesting meeting before an evening Torontaru at the Get Well Bar: which I went to for the very first time. Unfortunately, already having gotten lost (because neither of the places I went to were right along the way–between Ossington and Dundas Street West–and where there is Toronto, there is always construction and the TTC to contend with) I didn’t think to actually use some networking time to–you know–network (aka talk to people) and it only occurred to me after I was heading home. But I did more or less what I had to and, besides, the Get Well Bar was over capacity and I was already feeling tired and a bit ill and there were few people I even knew there. The Bar’s game cabinets were amusing though the first little while I was there before I left and couldn’t get back in. I still never figured out how to get the Barbarian to fight in Gauntlet and I died in Frogger: a lot.

So I have been mysterious about two things so far. Upon risk of making this the most boring Mythic Bios post ever, I will leave it at that until I get more information. Instead, I guess I’m going to lean on my fall-back and become retrospective.

I’ve been to Ossington and Dundas Street West before. It’s less that I have a specific memory and more that I have found myself in the general atmosphere before. The buildings are old and run down, but there is new life and–life–in all of them. Many of them are stores or bars and you can make out some apartments above them.

At one point, after I was at the Get Well Bar–which is an ironic name given that I’m sick though it has nothing to do with anything really–I was sitting at Subway near the window. Here I was, finding myself sitting downtown watching people walk and interact beyond the glass. I saw a few couples holding hands and a few pairs of friends talking. One man was carrying his meal in layers of containers wrapped in a white plastic bag. And there was an old man I saw pass by twice and an older woman walking by.

And it made me wonder as night time already took over the faded gold and pink sky I’d been walking through earlier in my quest to find that meeting place: was this part of the city like this–like all of this–thirty or forty years ago when those older people I saw were my age or younger? Was it always like this? And would those couples still be together and those friends still meet up? Would they be as old as the people I saw that night: remembering all those times they passed through this area of the city talking and laughing and thinking it would all be the same the next day when–one day–it is going to inevitably change somehow? Would Toronto’s proclivity towards construction eliminate so many familiar landmarks that no one would even recognize this place with most of their mind or would the gritty aura of it transcend the loss of a mere few buildings that were hosts to so many other things in the past?

And it occurred to me that people lived here–actually lived here–and it was like seeing some of the Scott Pilgrim video game in real life. Is the Scott Pilgrim game really Ossington and Dundas as well as the Chinatowns? I tried to live in Toronto but, more than that, I tried to understand it: to find its spirit and companionship. I tried to find its life as it could relate to me and embrace it and–to this day–I’m not sure if I ever succeeded. A lot of the time I just found “being lost” and “afraid of the dark” as my common feelings towards being downtown: with some “dazed and confused” and the occasional and inexplicable … magic, I guess.

I think everyone of us gets nostalgic and sometimes yearns for and broods about the past.  Sometimes it’s almost like there is a choice between having some awesome moments and watching them disappear into memory forever … or never having a life of any pain or joy and watching other people’s and feeling nothing but envy, when you really get right down to it, a sense of hollowness: of having wasted your life. The first is magic, as far as I understand it and the world feels a little greyer when it finally fades. And no matter how much you want it back, you either can’t or it will never be the same: and that’s not always a bad thing.

It does make for good writing, though, such as my short story Stop 17.

I’ve been angry at Toronto and in love with it and disappointed in what I thought I found occasionally. But as I was sitting in that Subway shop, that night it just seemed like another … place to me: just a place I visit from time to time.

I’d like to leave you all with one more thing. Leeman Kessler has succeeded in resurrecting a homunculus of H.P. Lovecraft to answer all of your questions. As such, Mr. Lovecraft was good enough to answer a question that has been close to my heart for a very long time. Have a good night everyone.

Art From Trauma and Twine: Red From a Violet Magician

So a little while ago, I mentioned that I was working on a Twine game: a text-based choose your own adventure story. I made a few decisions on the way. Essentially, I decided to put my Twine novel idea aside–to work on from time to time when the mood and the inspiration really set into me–and I began expanding on the root idea that it came from to make a shorter Twine that doesn’t even have an ending so far. I’m writing out the first section by hand and I’ve finished the first section and I am currently focusing on the second part. I meant to complete this sooner as I have some other priorities.

However, this post is not about me or my Twine. It is about someone else’s. No, what I’m going to do, late tonight in some many ways, is I’m going to introduce you to a Twine that was derived from an initial Challenge that I gave to a friend: who then utilized Twine to tackle both a personal and universal issue.

https://i1.wp.com/31.media.tumblr.com/c844da5a455d8705e7894c5025720e27/tumblr_msvx9qY1OC1qgyk1bo1_500.png

Here is the *Trigger Warnings* Disclaimer from here on in. Do not read further if any of you are set off by a discussion or depiction of trauma. You have been warned.

Trauma is a very human experience: or at least in how we perceive and express it. I’ve mentioned depression and grief and bad memories on this Blog before, but this is something different. Post-traumatic stress disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder are what happens when an event of violence or violation, or a series of such events created by environment and society affect a person’s psyche to the point where certain stimuli–such as scents or sounds or sights–or sleep or even memories can elicit a sense of panic, anger and fear inside them.

And I am not doing justice to either definition. From what I understand, it is taking a really awful moment, or a series of moments and having them imprinted into the brain–much like stimuli and exercise imprints trained reflexes into muscle memory–or injecting fear and crippling anxiety into a cell of a memory that can be triggered by anything: hence my earlier disclaimer for this post.

It can affect anyone from any form of life and, as such, it is unfortunately part of a variety of different personal and human experiences. However facing it in any way is a sign of both necessity and, as far as I am concerned, a tremendous amount of bravery. My friend Ionas has taken on this force and manifested it into a Twine, which right now at this moment, I want to speak for itself.

Ionas’ Twine is called Red. It is an important story to anyone who either experiences trauma, or knows someone who does, or wants to know more about it. Really, it is just a very important story in and of itself. If any of you, my readers, appreciate my own writings please sit down, click on the above link, and take the time to navigate through the world that Ionas has created. I got the rare privilege of watching this story get constructed from the ground up in a very deep kind of creative process.

And while I do not suffer from PTSD or CPTSD as far as I know, this is still something that is close to my heart for various reasons. Some of the best art can come from pain and while that pain is never wished for, it can create powerful experiences.

So please read this Twine and share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and any social media site that you like to use. Also, Ionas is an excellent graphic artist whose work can be found within the Violet Magician. Ionas also takes artistic commissions, so anyone out there looking for art, the Violet Magician is fascinating to go to and see.

I am going to be encouraging people to make Twine games. You can find the link for the free online Twine software right in this link. I have another friend too whom I have also assigned this “homework”: to make a Twine. You know who you are. I understand that you’re busy, but I will be checking up on you … soon …

At the Edge of Her Smile

“I want this,” I tell her.

She looks at me. She was never really what others would call a classical beauty: at least, not classical in this day and age. There is nothing tawny about her: nothing golden, or blonde, or blue-eyed. No, despite whatever they’ve said about her mother, her hair is neither yellow nor strawberry. It isn’t even black.

She, the person I define by what she isn’t, looks at me and purses her pale lips. The moon outlines the top of the alleyway and when it nestles into her tied-back hair, it makes her face glow like silver.

“No shitting?” her voice is an underground river, making her profanity smooth and sibilant. She leans in closer to me, “You know the risks, right?”

Her scent, of ashes and myrrh, makes the ache come back again. I can only nod. She leans even further against me: her head coming up to about my chest. She grabs the lapels of my coat and I can feel her breath on my collarbone: its iciness on my flesh making my back tingle with layers of goose bumps against the graffiti on the brick wall.

I close my eyes and somehow despite our differences in height, I can feel those pale cold lips brush against my lower neck. Even with my eyes closed, I can still see her somewhat oblong chin slanted consideringly one side.

“Once,” she tells me, “and you will be dizzy and light-headed. More, and you’ll probably cum in your pants,” my crotch prickles at her words in my ear, “And anything more than that,” I can feel the flat edge of her straight bold nose touch my chest as she rests her face there, “and you will have more than a little death.”

I hear her nostrils flare as she takes in my scent, like an animal, and I see those white thin lips swelling strong and red with barely contained desire. And my legs … they’re shaking. I don’t know whether I’m bending them, or kneeling on the pavement, or if somehow she has grown taller than me. In a very real way, she is a lot greater than I am. Or ever will be.

“Are you sure?” her voice purrs less in my ears now and more inside my mind.

“Yes.”

Then, she does it. It’s nothing like I expected.

The alleyway disappears. The night is gone too. I feel the blood thumping in my ears less and less … I still hear it, but it’s more abstract now, like the sound of thunder off in the distance. It all falls away into her twilight silvery self.

I see her. And the moon. Within a circle of moonlight, she and her silver-haired sisters dance around a ring of shattered pale monoliths dressed in robes of purple and red. They dance until the moon itself is soaked in red. And I see her eyes — greyer and sharper than an athame, than Athena’s gaze — and the ache grows so much I can’t bear it anymore. My hand grips her head, and I make her take more. I feel myself drifting away, becoming ephemeral and crystal clear. Drifting … into her …

“No.”

The breath gasps out of me and I’m sprawled on the hard concrete near the brick wall. The world’s spinning and I can’t, or won’t get up. My arm hurts. I try to get to my feet and wince against the cold wetness suddenly inside the seat of my jeans.

She stands over me. Her face is flushed and she is breathing heavily with intoxication and fury. Her hair like a silver mantle whips across her face from a very cold breeze while her eyes are older than night, burning and angry.

“No,” she says again and her face is a beast’s: with a beauty and terror that brings out the deepest, keenest longing in me. And then I realize what I almost had her do and just how close she was in doing it, for her to be flushing this hard: just how close I was to having it all fall away from me forever. I feel myself crying.

Slowly, her bestial rage softens into something like sympathy. She leans down and sits beside me. I’m still sobbing, choking on tears and snot as I feel her fingertips on my throbbing arm: the one I probably hurt when I fell. Her touch burns but as she grips my arm, the pain seems to lessen, and disappear altogether.

We sit there for a while as the sky begins to break into an orange-red dawn. Then she turns to me, with an expression almost too human: too human, and old, and long-suffering to belong to any being living on this earth. It’s a glance that makes all the disappointments and empty nights in my life look like short painful breaths by comparison: brief cramps not even worth talking about.

“Next time,” she tells me with a tender croon to her voice, “Come find me when you feel like you have something to lose.”

She smiles and I want to kiss her. Of course, by now, she’s already gone. The sun’s up over the alleyway now and I try to straighten out the mess of myself for the day. Her touch lingers, like an echo, like a fingerprint, or the faint outline of the moon still hovering in the dawning sky. Then I look up at the hidden moon above me and I say to it, “I will.”

Of Dark Crystals and Brooding Hollows Traveling Down the Late Night Road

The thing about “there,” is that when all goes well you come back again.

I meant to write this the very … night I came back from my trip, but then I realized after talking with a friend that I was more tired than I believed. And then today I felt energized with purpose but now the exhaustion segment of this burst energy and gall on my part is coming into play: so much so I’m now writing this past Monday.

I even had this post all planned out to an extent but then I just felt like … I don’t know, tired and repetitive. Nevertheless, there are some things that still need to be mentioned. I was on the Greyhound bus back from Ottawa and, finally, I got my borrowed laptop to link into the free wifi connection. After catching up on a wide variety of Facebook messages and even some new Twitter followers, I went on the Broodhollow website and I found something there: that on the very day of my impromptu trip my Sequart article got linked to and mentioned in an update by Kris Straub himself.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, and I was secretly hoping that he would mention my work, but it’s one thing to hope and think about it but it is an entirely different situation altogether to see it staring at you right in the face–on a Greyhound bus back to Toronto in the fading early autumn sky–and just say, “Wow.” Before this point, I did comment on the site like everyone else, but here was name again, connected to my writing, associated with Sequart and–for that time and that time alone–front and centre. I found this a few days or so after another Twitterer suggested my work be printed as a “Forward” to the upcoming Broodhollow Kickstarter, to which Kris Straub replied:

“@MKirshenblatt unfortunately there’s no room! but he is worthy of it”

It was at that point that I went on my Facebook and wrote another status down–linking the exchange from above–and I wrote, “I hope that this is the longest Day of my life.”

And I still mean it.

Of course, I’m not perfect. After I found Kris Straub’s post, I saw two comments. While one of them caught onto a run-on sentence I made, the other pointed out an even more glaring factual error. It turns out, I actually made the Belgian cartoonist Hergé have an untimely death: in that while he actually died in 1983, I wrote that he died in 1938. One simple reversal of numbers read the wrong way–some dyscalculia (a word I also apparently misspelled on the Broodhollow site) if you’d like–but ultimately a goof on my part. I spent our fifteen minute rest-stop replying to both comments, thanking the posters, and then emailing Cody Walker and Julian Darius with the good and the bad–but quite fixable–news. The mistakes have long since been corrected.

In the past, this error would have positively mortified me but I realize that everyone makes mistakes and it is admitting to those kinds of errors, thanking the people involved for pointing them out, and then taking steps to correct them that let others know just what kind of professional–or person–you really are.

The highlight of seeing that post of Kris’ is one other fact for me. I was first introduced to Kris Straub’s work when my girlfriend sent me “Candle Cove.” After seeing it for what it was, I realized I wanted to make something like this: something that wasn’t just a run of the mill creepypasta that is a variation of so many others. And I realized that the best way to make something like this was to figure out how Kris made his. You can look at Horror as a Universal Power and Horror as Collaboration to see some of the process right there. I have yet to unleash my precious horror: to make my monster.

So I found the Ichor Falls site and read some of the stories I found there too. I eventually found Broodhollow as well though it took me a while to get around to reading it, but when I did I began to see some … connections to things and after following some of Kris’ own exchanges on both sites I realized that making an article on an author’s creative process–aside from it being a Mythic Bios thing to do–was, and is, a great phenomenon and opportunity to witness and document. I also believed that Sequart would really benefit from an article on a webcomic like Broodhollow in terms of its aesthetics choices and implications and so I sent it to them.

On Stories

But the real highlight of this entire thing is that moment when I saw that Kris Straub referred to me as an author. He didn’t have to do that. He could have called me a scholar or a critic. Hell, he could have even called me a writer: a title which I’d been referring to myself as for quite some time anyway.

No. Kris Straub called me an author and that makes me know, if I didn’t know it before, that I have a future and I am seeking it right now even as you see this post. It means that much to me.

While I was staying with my friend, I was also thinking more about my own creative process with regards to my Dark Crystal Challenge. In the post directly previous to this one, I talk about and link to my short Story Sketches on the Dark Crystal Forums. I already mentioned how I decided to challenge myself and attempt further immersion of my creative imagination into the world of Thra by writing a story about YiYa: the first urSkek and subsequent pair of Skeksis and urRu to die before the Crystal is even cracked.

Mainly, what I sought to do was show that his death was not arbitrary and I realized I was being influenced by something I’d seen or heard about. It was only when I was at my friend’s by myself that I remembered. In Tezuka Osamu’s first volume of Buddha, there is a story about a wise man–a Brahmin–who is meditating in the wilderness and begins to starve. There are animals he befriends that help him but it is the rabbit that throws itself on the fire to provide him sustenance to survive. Yet instead of eating the rabbit, the Brahmin sobs and holds its body and, in that moment, attains enlightenment. Tezuka obviously got this from an older source that he incorporated into his Buddha manga series, but it stuck with me to the point where even when the names and images faded from my memory, the idea remained.

So I thought of urYa–the Mystic segment of YiYa–being of a philosophical bent and respecting and even loving all life on Thra. I thought of his counterpart, SkekYi–that part of him that always felt belittled or held back–wanting to greedily take everything on that world and destroy all of its meaning. And then I thought about the other Mystics and the Skeksis and how, at the time of the Creation Myths second volume–when they are recently split–and how they didn’t know or remember that they were all connected. I made it clear that YiYa had a limited form of precognition and that both of his aspects inherited this. But while SkekYi was enamoured with a future of despoliation and obliteration–so much so that he was so busy dreaming of those moments while freshly born from the Great Division–urYa was also seeing the future but had that presence of mind to know how to act in the here and the now.

The fact is: he knew that the Skeksis coming to kill him–SkekHak (that part of HakHom)–was destructive enough to eliminate him and urHom: the urRu segment of the original HakHom. UrYa could have defended himself even at that stage, but he chose not to. He chose to die so that SkekYi’s evil would never happen, and he knew that as a result SkekHak would kill his brother urHom and thus destroy himself: as they are both linked. But more than this, urYa knew that his Mystic brothers would see his and SkekYi’s simultaneous deaths and learn the lesson: that everything is connected. Those are the very words that UngIm tells Jen at the end of The Dark Crystal itself. In addition, urYa also knows that there are Podling and Gelfling representatives present at the Division and he hopes that this moment will teach them something about their future with the urRu and the Skeksis as well as the nature of their world and themselves.

UrYa is the rabbit that has attained enlightenment–or already had it–and he sacrifices himself so that others might have it as well. The Skeksis only figure out that they are connected to the urRu, however, when SkekHak throws his other Mystic counterpart–urHom–into the Lake of Fire and ignites as well. They only see it as a crude sort of material warning: something in keeping with their own nature. The urRu gain something else out of it entirely.

The thing about Dark Crystal, from what I have already observed is that you need the right amount of mysticism and exploration–along with characterization–to make a story there. And the story I made, as a sketch, was rough and I will admit that. But this is an insight I wanted to share with you all: just as I wanted to tell you that I wrote those articles for Broodhollow on Sequart to learn from Kris Straub. I am learning.

And one thing I want to learn is how to make a living, how to make some money in addition to recognition and fun, from what it is that I do. I have a few friends who say I should totally be doing this and while writing for free has its advantages, I would like to see if I can support myself from what I’m more than capable of doing. As such, I have some plans and I hope you will all stay tuned for them.

In the meantime, after my absence I have some other things to do and catch up on. As tired as I am, it’s good to be back and I hope to speak with you all soon once more.

I Think I’m Ready For Another Adventure

It’s been September for a little while now. Cool winds vie with warm air as Summer continues to want its time. The seasons tend to be greedy like that. And every year, at this time, I remember feeling a combination of fear and anticipation as school started again: as a whole new journey began.

Of course, after a while and as my Master’s work came to a certain point I had fewer–if any–new courses to look forward to and dread. Even so, in 2009 of this time I had Dragon Con as my next great journey–all the way into Atlanta–followed by forays into new places and meeting new people. But eventually by 2012, even that sense of movement began to ebb and fear–that natural fear of impending change–turned in on itself and became a deep sense of internalized anxiety followed by a sense of burn-out and a whole lot of being practically sedentary: in almost all the ways that mattered.

For about a year or so, my only real movements were–aside from meeting from friends–very reluctant journeys into practical matters and solitary walks. I can’t even remember a lot of last year’s September, but a lot of it was writing, writing, writing and the slow and inevitable realization that despite one inclination to shun connections and being the North American equivalent of Hikikomori–a recluse or a shut-in–I was now talking a different journey into making voice actually heard and slowly opening up in a different space in my life.

I’ve told you all about some of the somewhat modest developments in my life over time, including these recent ones, and I want to tell you a little more before going on my next journey.

I am working on The Dark Crystal Gelfling Gathering story and continuing to explore the world of Thra and its characters through story sketches. This is a recent one: it is the story of two urSkeks–though of one in particular named YiYa–who die before the Crystal is cracked. It is a brief look at YiYa’s existence, of a role that he didn’t have enough time to gain, and an attempt to give his demise some meaning aside from being a throwaway character. I tell more than I show, there are undoubtedly grammatical errors and perhaps some choppy sentences, but it is literally another foray into the world that I plan to look at with a little more depth. A journey does not happen all at once, but in increments and with setbacks and some insights along the way. The urSkeks came all the way to Thra to heal themselves, but they also got to explore an entirely different world and find out some things about themselves in the process. It is a nice background for me as I will continue on with how the Gelfling operate.

In other news, Sequart has published the second half of my article The Stitching Together of a Mythos: Kris Straub’s Broodhollow: which, in turn, focuses on a more neurotic young man named Wadsworth Zane undertaking a train ride of his own. And with Kris Straub’s comment today on my Twitter, stating that “@MKirshenblatt’s dissection of broodhollow and its origins is everything i ever wanted” fuelling my sails further I am also going to go on my own train ride: to Ottawa.

And by the time you read this, I will be on my way. I won’t be gone long and it is a relatively ad hoc journey. In fact, it’s almost completely out of character for someone like me: or the person I’d turned into this past while. While I am going out of some practical concerns–such as developing my skills and resources further to actually gain employment and even go so far as to create my own job–I’m also enjoying the prospect of meeting some old and new friends and, really, to get something akin to a vacation.

Some people might think to themselves, “But Matthew, you’ve not had a paying job or gone to school in almost two years. You’ve had about two years of vacation.” And that’s all very well and good an opinion, except that they would be wrong. I have been out of school and work for almost two years, it’s true, but almost two years of unemployment, of anxiety, of being shut-in, of not really having my own space, of doing a checklist and a report for Ontario Works, of looking for work, of networking, of constantly writing everyday–as enjoyable as that may be–is not a vacation. What it has been is almost two years of work and struggle and rarely, if ever, letting myself fully relax.

But I have been waking up. As much as I want to retreat back into the tiredness sometimes–especially when it gets stressful–I find I’m like I always am where when I am up, I’m up. I have built up a certain kind of momentum but I also recognize that I am going to have to take some paths I didn’t even think about and that sometimes they happen suddenly and that life does not stop when you want it to and–perhaps–that is a very good thing. Life happens when you make other plans and life happens when you make any kinds of plans, or you think you are going to be on a certain track for the foreseeable future and this is true of gods and monsters and careers and relationships of any kind. And even now, I don’t intend to really take a break.

It’s almost fitting that while I have a Project or two to catch up on, I will also no doubt be reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring on my journey by Via Rail on my seat by the window: watching the space I’ve been in for so long pass me by. A part of me is scared to be leaving the familiarity of my surroundings–both my comforts and my inconveniences and so relatively suddenly too–but there is another part of me, a part I’d almost forgotten about that is excited and looks greatly forward to meeting up with some awesome friends and to learn new things together.

To my friends and loved ones I love you all, and I will see you again on Monday because in the words of Bilbo Baggins–my favourite Hobbit–I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.

Looking Outward

It Made My Day

I just wanted to take some time to talk to you, my readers, old and new. It’s going to be a short post this time around, but don’t get used to it: I’ll be writing your ear off again soon enough. 😉

In fact, that’s what this entire post is really about.

So, a week ago now the first part of my article The Stitching Together of a Mythos: Kris Straub’s Broodhollow got posted by the fine folks of Sequart: which I followed on Twitter only to find that Kris Straub himself had retweeted it. After a brief Twitter exchange my day–then–was made. I thought that, if it ended here, it would be okay.

A day or so later, I posted a few comments on Amanda Palmer’s Blog. She wants to have some feedback with regards to a non-fiction book on the topic of asking that she was, ironically, asked to write. As I was responding to her second book post, I had an epiphany about something. When Amanda asked what I wish I asked for, I rambled a whole lot and then, not as satisfied with the answer I gave her on this post I went on Facebook and Twitter to state that I realized “that, after commenting on @amandapalmer’s Blog, most of my regrets aren’t about things I didn’t ask for.”

A day later, I opened my email to see that on Twitter I got a retweet from Amanda. I have a friend named Amanda and then I did a double-take and looked at this Amanda’s last name.

Another day. Made. In fact, I was told by a dear friend I’d never talked with on the phone before or even seen that–at least for the moment–I gained more Nerd cred than she has: though I have to say she is definitely one to talk and will beat me in no time. ;p

Then not long after that, Miguel Sternberg of Spooky Squid Games was on Twitter complaining about being in a house with no tea with the hashtag #canadianhorrorstories. You have to understand: I couldn’t resist. I ended up writing this: “Short two sentence horror story: The last man on Earth sits in a house. There is no one at the other side of the door with tea.”

Suffice to say, this got retweeted as well.  I wrote a bit more, but he tweeted his screams of terror at me far before that part and that was satisfying in and of itself.

But then I thought: all right. I am totally on a roll here but I have work that I need to do. I’d finally finished playing Christine Love’s Hate Plus and I had to write something for it: I just had to, you know? So I did. It was long and I stayed up late into the night to watch my brain shrivel into the corners of my skull from exhaustion. I’d written a previous article about Christine’s games and I thought nothing of it. I thought I would get a few views or what-not–maybe more because the game had just come out relatively recently–and that would be about it.

So for a day this seemed to be the case. I added stuff and made some corrections and what not. I even added images and had the damnedest time finding a particular image of *Mute in her uniform. So whatever.

The next day …

I’ve briefly exchanged tweets with Christine Love occasionally but this was the first time she had ever retweeted me. Ever. And then I went on my Blog–and this was a few days ago now or however you reckon time when it is very late past what some would consider night–and I see, and I am not joking at all here, I see this … large number of visitors and an even larger volume of views. You get alliteration from this no matter what word you use. And some unintentional rhyme too. See, this is what happens when I write when I’m tired.

Anyway, now that I’m writing up this post to all of you I just have to ask: how many days equal a week made?

I’m feeling really good right now. It’s still confusing and scary, but I can see the hints of opportunities coming up and all of these things–which may seem trivial to some people–are signals that indicate that I am travelling on the right path to … to something. I made something for Andrez Bergen a musician and an excellent writer as well that will … come up on October 9th. I am corresponding with a friend that may be able to help me find some more contacts and connections that I need to begin the process of supporting myself.

I also have two projects that are really experiments to see how much you guys want to see me … make something. One of these would be shared with the public: though I need to look into the logistics of it more. As for the other: I may or may not attempt some …. self-publishing. We shall have to see on that. But the first will definitely be in the form of a question that I will share with all of you whom might be interested.

I might also be … doing something else too in addition to everything you might already know I’m the process of working on. But I have to make some decisions. It seems lately that I am always having to make decisions. A while ago, some friends of mine who were in Vancouver entered their Master’s Program and I entered mine–at least in part because I also wanted to gain that prestige and knowledge (with no little debt)–to feel like a part of what they were feeling if that makes sense: to prove I was equal to them and, more importantly, capable of delving into places by myself.

For a while, especially after still being in debt and a change in circumstances I began to despise academics and wanted to distance myself from it. But it seems as though it will never really leave me, but not only have I learned that I can deal with it on my own terms through this Blog and Sequart and other places but I now feel close to my distant friends in space and time in a different way.

Because, here is the thing: even though I know this is still going to be hard as fuck, I don’t just want a made day, or a made series of days, or a made week, or even made years.

I want a made lifetime. But more than that: I want to make my lifetime.

And now I think it is beginning because, when you come right down to it, it never really ended.

Thank you Kris Straub, Amanda Palmer, Miguel Sternberg, Andrez Bergen, Julian Darius of Sequart and Christine Love for giving me those little extra nudges towards where I need to be. You are inspiring. I also want to thank one of my former Humanities Professors Markus Reisenleitner for endorsing me on LinkedIn. He actually showed one of my posts–Worms and Bicycles Or How People Make For Strange Stories–to his students and that was very encouraging. And I want to thank Gil Williamson for publishing my science-fiction story To Serve on Mythaxis Magazine.

But lastly, I want to thank all my friends and loved ones and all my readers for always being there in some form or another and encouraging me to keep making this Mythic Bios possible. You will be hearing from me soon. I promise.

Looking Outward

The Birth of *You? Player-Identification in the Hate Games of Christine Love

Because, you know, I haven’t written nearly enough about Christine Love’s Hate games or, really, her created world.

For those of you who have played the games, I think I don’t really have to say Spoilers, but I’m going to anyway so that people don’t get angry at me. Perhaps someone has already discovered or suspected something. You see, it all began last night after I wrote another Blog entry–which I planned to post today–and wrote down some notes for another story of mine. I was lying in bed past five in the morning when, suddenly, something clicked into my head.

I would have totally missed this evilness if I had just continued using my Saved Files in Hate Plus. But, out of curiosity, I decided to start a game once without my Saved Files: just to see the Quiz that comes up. You remember the Quiz right? The one where you click on a list and it decides what kind of interaction you will have with your chosen AI, who your chosen AI is, and–and this is important–who you are.

And this, my friends, is where Christine Love is potentially evil.

I say potentially because I actually reread the Quiz just now and realized something else. There is one part where it asks you which year you would have preferred to live in: 1988, 2027, or 4989. In my exhausted mind I thought it said which year were you born in.

Still …

I started to have this thought and it’s still valid I think and you can interpret it any which way you want. In both Analogue and Hate Plus you discover two very interesting things about Christine Love’s world. First of all, you discover that *Hyun-ae’s father in Analogue created or utilized a method of imprinting human brain-waves into an AI. Second, you also discover that Earth has found a way to give AIs physical humanoid bodies. I mentioned in my previous post the possibility of AIs from the 80s of Christine’s world having continued to exist to the point of 4989.

Now, think about that for a few moments.

Surely AI would have been granted equal rights on Earth by the 50th century. And with the technology at their disposal–being the product of technology themselves–they could make themselves into anything that matches their personality and what they want to be. At the same time, perhaps humans have learned and perfected a similar process to what *Hyun-ae’s father made–because inventions like this do not exist in vacuums–and some formerly biological humans have learned to download themselves into humanoid forms that can experience all the five senses and perhaps more.

There might be evidence against this. Surely the need for a multiple choice Dialogue Wheel could be circumvented by someone who was an AI, but the issue there is that the White Princess–your ship’s–technology is at least over two thousand years more advanced than the Mugunghwa‘s older generational ship pre-Faster Than Light systems. It is so … 25th century compared to your technology … to potentially you. Even before the ship-made cultural regression they would have been astounded by humanoid bodies: though they may have been conceptualized by that point.

What I’m trying to say is what if you–the investigator–are, in fact, an AI? That would be the ultimate in transhumanism. After all, if you start an entirely new Hate Plus game you already have the choice of deciding what gender you are: he, she, or they. Hell, with the option of they it might just be about gender but different personalities or collectives as well. And even disregarding that and looking at Analogue, Christine never really has you identify your gender unless it’s with *Mute and neither AI thinks to ask whether you are human or not–if that distinction is even applicable to their perspectives–because you are communicating with them from the outside and you might be having to adapt to vintage technology (and manually interface with it to either avoid potential corruption from direct immersion into an unfamiliar system if you are capable of transferring your consciousness back and forth from interface to body or because it is your make or preference to access computers manually) no matter whether you came from bio-matter or circuitry.

And what’s amazing is, whether this is true or not, it really doesn’t change anything. You are still an investigator who may or may not be lonely meeting these two strange beings that can potentially take your heart away. I always suspected that Earth was different and even though it still wrestles with mortality and there seems to still be biological humans there, it doesn’t mean none of this is an issue.

And as for a coworker from your dispatch referring your companions to an AI “robopsychologist” … well, just because you might be an AI doesn’t mean you need to see a therapist–just like if one human sees a therapist it does not mean another one needs to see one–whereas *Hyun-ae and *Mute certainly do. You are also never named: so you will never see if you have an asterix next to your name as all of Christine’s AI do.

I like this end-ended idea a lot and this speculation just adds to the experience for me. You can believe what you want. As for me, I think I will avoid taking the Voight-Kampff Test. Aside from the fact that it’s for androids and not necessarily for other AI, I think the subject of being an AI in Hate is akin to Rick Deckard’s “lesbian question” and how it’s kind of … irrelevant and no one else’s business but your own this case–both in terms of Hate Plus and myself. Really, the way I’d like to think about it, it’s kind of like being asked what the sex of your upcoming child is going to be.

I think I’m going to keep that fact as a pleasant surprise, or a mystery.

Blade_Runner_unicorn

The Death of *Silence: Hate Plus and The World of Christine Love Confirmed

What is better than hate?

The answer is more hate.

Hate Plus is the sequel to Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story: a visual novel and video game in which you, as “a space investigator” must recover the records of a lost 25th century Korean generation ship called the Mugunghwa and figure out what happened to its colonists and their descendants. This is not the first time I’ve talked about Analogue or the world that it inhabits so, if you’d like and if you are not afraid of spoilers please look at my article This Love and This Hate Ain’t Completely My Story: The Possible World of Christine Love.

I have been waiting for this game for a long time, though obviously not as long as certain characters on the Mugunghwa have been, and I want to get into its structure, the elements of its world, and the story line.

So here is the nitty-gritty of Hate Plus‘ game interface from my own personal experience. I’m actually glad that I went back and played Analogue for a while during this time in order to remind myself of its game-play interactive qualities. In Analogue, you had to go through various journal entries and click on the figure of the AI next to you to get more information or her opinion. You also had a very confusing Family Tree of characters to look at with names that often got confusing. It is important to note that some Far East Asian cultures place their surnames before their first ones and it explains a lot culturally with regards to Analogue and Hate Plus and how the societies depicted within them function. But I am getting ahead of myself.

In contrast to Analogue, in Hate Plus the AI is more active and has a certain degree of limited animation. They basically read over your shoulder and make comments as you scroll along: as you scroll along very, very slowly. You do have to be careful though: because if you read too fast, the AI’s comments will be lost seemingly forever into an ethereal digital void of, well, scrolling too damned fast. There are names in the documents that you click on and get more information with each entry that you read. The files that you extract are better organized and you have dossiers on–and profile pictures of–each person that you read about. In some ways, it is a lot harder than Analogue. I imagine that the slow-scrolling simulates sifting through the files you’ve compiled from an ancient ship. At the very least this time around you don’t have to input technical commands into a DOS-like–pardon the pun–analog program: which confused and frustrated me to no end.

That said there are some really interesting goodies and special touches to the game structure that only Christine, at least from what little I’ve played, can accomplish with her style. While Christine utilized a form of code that transfers information from her other games that you’ve played to make some “Easter-egg” moments between them, she uses this same process to take your Save Files, if you have them, from Analogue and translate over to Hate Plus. She creates that almost very personal feeling of continuity and that, in itself, is something that I greatly appreciate.

In addition, depending on what Saved File you use, the introduction screen changes colour and when you finish a story arc, the end credits music becomes the introductory music for a while: which really gives you a sense of difference with each playthrough. There is also one other difference between Analogue and its sequel. Unlike the former, which you can download off of Christine’s site Love Conquers All games and Steam, you can only download and play Hate Plus from Steam itself: mainly because that is the only place it’s available from and perhaps the only way to facilitate the Achievements that you get to unlock in addition to the different Endings that are just extensions of your Saved Files from Analogue. This game does not save the retrieved files and timelines you sifted through outside of the AI interaction such as in the other game, nor does it have an extra material section as far as I can see, but the Achievements in themselves and the interactive dynamics that Christine has implemented are … different.

Let me be more specific: if Analogue felt like essentially interacting with a program, Hate Plus is an attempt at a realistic interaction with another sentient being and time. This pacing is actually pretty refreshing and while with anyone else it might threaten to take you out of immersion, in this case it just adds a barely meta-narrative feel to it and at the most it adds personality: a very fascinating experiment in player on and offline participation and interaction. It might take you aback at first, but it’s worth it.

I should also note that you can play this game without having played Analogue or saved your files. The game will just give you an intro recap and a simple Quiz and you’re off. But personally, and as I said, I liked the continuity of using my old files from the previous game.

So now we go past the technical and into the more specific area of content: of the world. And here is where I go into Spoilers: real Spoilers. So please, if you have read this far and you want to play one or both games, save this article link somewhere, click on the links to Christine’s site above, download the game for $10, take the time that you will need, and then come back. Do not say I didn’t warn you.

Now then: the world of Christine Love. If you read the link to my previous post about “Christine Love’s Possible World,” you probably realize by now that it is less possible as it is more probable and true that all her games–at least the ones I talked about in that article–take place in the same world as time goes on. I always suspected this but it was only confirmed when, in this game, she added that missing link: when you receive an email in your message box talking about exploring the ruins of the 23rd Century Lake City. That addition made me smile: not just because it gave me some feeling of vindication in my statements, but because of just that one segment of a post adding this seamless transition between Digital: A Love Story, don’t take it personally babe this ain’t your story and Analogue. What it is, is it’s both immaculate and it’s beautiful. Fucking. Beautiful.

It also doesn’t stop there. You find out a bit more about Earth and how advanced it has become. In addition to me realizing that the reason AI have such difficult times replicating themselves is due to limitations imposed due to *Mother and the terrifying consequences of *Reaper in Digital in the 1980s, I also got to see that AI interactions have changed even more. Essentially, Earth technology has evolved to the point where AI programs can be downloaded into customized lifelike humanoid bodies. This totally slapped me in the face with surprise, but it was a good kind of slap as I realized what it meant for you to have received this email–from the very familiar household name of Wong Robotics (which is a nice parallel to the email you first get from what seems to be its predecessor Wong Computers in Digital: A Love Story and another world tie-in) and what you were probably searching for with regards to your AI companion.

These discoveries make me wonder about something. You discover that *Mute–the Mugunghwa‘s Security AI–is actually over 1600 years old (about 1900 years old): though she can only remember about 300 years of her history or so after that time. You realize later that this was due to … another incident. Now, think about this. On Earth, in this time of the year 4989, over two thousand years after the disappearance and disaster of the Mugunghwa, there have been AI existing and living on Earth. It makes you wonder if some of the programs from the 70s onward still exist at this point. Imagine a series of millennia-old intelligences on Earth and think about how they could have influenced everything. You also get an idea that really old AI tend to slow down because they have too much information to process, but if they specialize in different areas over time and diversify they can adapt both functionally and psychologically. Christine makes a very eerily familiar vintage science-fiction reference to this regard.

And all this makes me wonder just what kind of society her Earth is at this point and, if the technology *Hyun-ae’s eccentric father–the technology that can download human brain-waves and convert them into an AI psyche–is already commonplace in this world. Talk about a potential Ghost in the Shell. Anyway, enough geeking around on my part. Everyone appreciates a good science-fictional world as much as the next person. Let’s talk about the story.

So in the last game, you spend the time trying to figure out what happened to the Mugunghwa and why it never reached its destination. You find out why the colonists’ descendants died and what happened to their society. But you never knew why it happened.

Until now.

Whereas, Analogue is arguably *Hyun-ae’s story, Hate Plus is definitely the story of *Mute. *Mute is a complex character. She believes in the Neo-Confucian ideals of the society that evolved–or degenerated–on the Mugunghwa: including an over-emphasis on the importance of familial duty and traditional gender roles. She supported the monarchy that came into power and Chinese-character literacy given only to the noble families. At the same time, despite her vehement protests towards anything “untoward” like homosexuality between women–which makes her almost a more compassionate version of don’t take it personally babe, but it just ain’t your story‘s Taylor (though the character Oh-Euna might be more like her in terms of fucked up)–*Mute is still a decent person that wants to protect her ship and the people in it. She also does not tolerate cruelty and she has cared for people throughout the years and even though she might judge them and say some offensive things–and always speak her mind in some form or another–she never has consciously attempted to hurt another person, always tried to help and always remained loyal.

In the first game she comes off as abrasive, though you understand that she hates herself because failed to save the people and way of life she was programmed to protect. She also does not seem to tolerate the unorthodox: though I always filed this under “Milady doth protest too much.” And in many ways, I was right. But deep down, there was the theme of the game that I had to keep remembering.

Hate.

And *Mute, with her anger towards female homosexuality and her chauvinistic comments towards women and even the feminine identity she adopted, portrays this self-loathing that I had not seen clearly before. At first, it seems very clear that she isn’t conscious of it either. In fact, *Mute in at least two of her incarnations seems to really not pay attention to details: or, at least, not the right ones.

Then you find out that her previous incarnation, the one that had existed for 1600 years, left some embedded code in her: with files from before the Neo-Confucian dynasty. And this is where your adventure begins.

This is also the part where the game really explores the concept of transhumanism. For instance, *Mute is a reboot of *Old Mute and *Hyun-ae is an AI taken from the code of *Mute. In essence, both AI are descended, code-wise, from *Old Mute. But whereas *Hyun-ae believes she is the human that had her consciousness downloaded ages ago, *Mute is another version of another being. And there are two versions of *Mute.

They are almost two people with similar qualities. *Old Mute was the Security Councillor of the ship that was more assertive and viewed all the people on it as her children: though the Heo Family more than anyone else. She was not afraid to talk to men as equals or politick when the need set in. She was old enough to remember when banditry and civil war wracked the ship and saw the death of the navigation AI *Star: which is the reason why the ship never reached its destination to begin with. *Old Mute was at the very core of her programming a security AI that sought stability and the preservation of life. Unfortunately, she did not see this in what may have been–to her–the unstable mob-mentality of the various pro-democracy movements racking the ship throughout the years.

She, through her adopted Heo Security Family and her seat on the Council of the Mugunghwa maintained something of an oligarchy throughout the centuries and either allowed for the creation of peasant or “commoner” and noble classes, or maintained that tradition. Perhaps these families were the descendants of the workers and ship staff respectively. Perhaps a “middle-class” got co-opted by the nobility or the commoners there did not seem to be a differentiation between peasants and vendor merchants. Maybe that is why the “Bureaucrat Class Act” passed: to seemingly “deal” with this problem. We will never really know and can only speculate. Unfortunately, she was so set on sabotaging an emerging pro-democratic figure that she didn’t see the danger in the so-called figurehead that she helped place on the Council due to her wanting affect the appearance of change to quell the masses and maintain a safe status quo.

In the end, it cost her. It didn’t have to. She was the ship’s Security AI. She could have monitored those in power far more closely: including and especially those she had placed there. But as she put it; she had so much data through existing for “far too long” at the time that sometimes the minutiae of various events escaped her. Personally, I think that she should have “vetoed” the usurper and his whole Council out of a sudden airlock. She could have created a democratic structure from the very beginning and rigged all the ballots to maintain her idea of order. After all, from what I understand, she already had most if not all of the power and even though she started out as a Security Program, she clearly proved that she could adapt over time like any intelligence can. Unfortunately, or fortunately, if *Old Mute had an understanding of Asimov’s Three-Laws of Robotics, her interpretation of it: of letting her memories get erased so that she could survive, of her own self-preservation for the duty of the ship being more important than the quality of life for the people she swore to protect–for not ending certain beings’ lives for the greater good of the whole of humanity around her–cost her.

And in the end it costs *Mute as well. I was so … sad and angry when *Mute decided to deactivate herself. I felt as though she had abandoned me and took pretty much the coward’s way out. She could not face what her predecessor, or what her previous self, had done. And as for me: despite her brusque manner and prickly nature and weird fascination with what boys do in their recreational time together, her “death” hit me hard because she was a good person.

That was when I found the third *Mute: *New Mute. This one did not make herself look old and silver-haired like *Old Mute or garb herself in the traditional hanbok like *Mute, but she had her security uniform and genuinely wanted to know and learn from her predecessors: her previous selves. I eventually took on myself to show her everything that the others had given and seen. If the first *Mute was the Old Kingdom, and the one I knew had been The Middle Kingdom, then this *Mute was a New Kingdom who, eventually and unlike *Mute who couldn’t face her transition from *Old Mute admits that they were all her. I actually liked this *New Mute, but *Mute’s self-deactivation actually broke my heart.

I will admit that when I played from my Harem Route Analogue Saved File, there was one part that made me really catch my breath and tear-up when after one of *Mute’s homophobic tirades,  *Hyun-ae tells her something to the effect of, “You really don’t think you are lovable?” It hit me so hard: almost as much as it did *Mute.

My poor mass-murderer and my authoritarian with good intentions. One of them condemned many to death for the horrible crimes of a few and the other condemned many to social and cultural slavery and barbarism for the chance that everyone lived. “Those who trade away freedom for safety deserve neither,” or “Give me liberty or give me death.” I guess, in the end both of these paraphrases came true. I loved and felt for them so much after all of this.

There is one more thing that I want to write about with regards to Hate Plus. So I found the list of Achievements and saw that there was one for playing through *Mute’s Route as a female. My friend Angela O’Hara had played Analogue as a female and told me that she had had a very different interaction with *Mute than I had: having played as a male. So I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.

I replayed Analogue as a female persona and I noticed *Mute’s interactions with me had changed. She was still mostly grateful and respectful of me, but she would ask what an “unmarried woman like me was doing all alone doing a man’s work” and “not troubling me with the details of matters.” She even made pointed remarks about my orientation towards other women or being permissive of it. In Hate Plus, as you imagine, she got worse. She would skim details at times and “take charge” and took it on herself to call herself “my wife” while still “protesting too, too much” about how “icky” female love was. She called me “a stupid bitch” at one point and I admit I called her “a chauvinistic bitch” at another point. I still cared about her and I tried to be patient but it was different.

At the same time, when *Mute did reboot, *New Mute had a lot more to say about some of the letters and transcripts–particularly the ones with the female relationships–that we found in her base code than she had when I played as a male. She also, and this might just be me, seemed to relate to me more as a female in this incarnation and seemed more open to the possibility of being my companion: if not my wife.

And even before I did this, I saw the chauvinism and misogyny that would bloom into the Mugunghwa‘s Neo-Confucian dynasty. I saw what Kim So-Yi had to put up with from her boss and the assistant that violated her: making her feel compelled to say nothing to anyone about it and just like our time unfortunately. I saw that the Ruling Council only had two women on it: one of them being *Old Mute and got to see her gradually lose her voice and see her opinions get ignored under the New Council. I saw the policies of the new regime culturally influencing Mugunghwa society and forcing non-heterosexual relationships underground and even breaking some of them. I saw two women who had jobs and were relatively independent people become kept-women and courtesans. I saw one woman who could have saved the whole population of the Mugunghwa from decreasing birthrates lose her job and her former assistant try to take advantage of that fact with blackmail.

I saw how the emerging political system took advantage of the knowledge of these declining birthrates to make women stay at home and raise children. I respected the unorthodox, alternate-living and loving Heo Family members and grieved to watch their loved ones suffer and some of them die. I also saw one psychologically-troubled woman who felt so trapped by trying to fulfill two seemingly contradictory roles–of traditional woman and working person–and hated her pre-Neo-Confucian reality and herself so much that she retreated into and desired to destroy it and replace it with a culture and political system with “simpler and more ideal roles:” only seeming to realize, at the end, that she had expanded the prison inside herself to the outside.

But I saw the roots of what would become that Neo-Confucian dystopia: of people becoming roles instead of people anymore: becoming silence instead of actions and words. That is what I wanted to say to *Mute if we could have discarded the dialogue wheel we all found so annoying: that she and every woman–every person–was more than a role: that we are all people with feelings and that hate is not the only emotion we have. Hate creates a foundation that attacks itself until the fragile thing built on it rips apart and collapses in on itself. And seeing those … policies go through the Council and seeing each one strip away another freedom for “safety and stability” makes me feel even more cautious about my own world and the subtle infectious forces underneath it all that still discriminate against women and those not of the mainstream: underground or taken for granted attitudes that infect behaviours even unconsciously and just wait to bloom like flowers, colourful beautiful flowers of blood, and bruises, and pain. And, of course, hate.

And hate has to be watched. It has to be dealt with. And it is more deadly under the enforced silence of even something as colourful as a hanbok than all the screaming in the world.

Also, Christine Love manages to problematize, yet again, heterosexual relationships with that new regime but, at the same time, humanizes them and shows that while they weren’t perfect before, they were still legitimate because they were between individuals that may not have always understood each other, but loved each other nonetheless: just as much as the homosexual male and female relationships portrayed.

I don’t know if I communicated this last section well. The analysis seems heavy-handed compared to the elegant and subtle way that Christine Love implemented it and I am exhausted because I just finished playing all of the game today and it is early in the morning now as I finish this. I think I will end this review and analysis by stating that I will give Hate Plus a 5/5 and that what is better than hate is not the flippant answer I gave above. It’s not more hate. It’s love.

I’m sure this is a message of which Christine Love won’t have too much of a problem.