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Saturday, 23 May 2015

'Behind The Text’ 28 The Moral Compass

Behind The Text’ Part 28_ The Moral Compass



Should an author consider morality when constructing any work of fiction? No, I’m not answering that one – on the grounds of ignorance, if nothing else. I’m only dealing with ‘moral issues’ within the 'Jonas Forbes Saga'.

I remember my surprise when Smashwords asked me to tick the ‘Adult Content Box’ for one of my books. I’d never considered my works as ‘bad / challenging’ as much as several books I know freely available in the UK.  I remembered how the moral thermostat can vary in different cultures and complied. Then I promptly added that classification to all my books as I didn’t want to experience any rejection by a morally-critical eye. Reject my works on account of plot, characterisation, style or subject matter, but please not on the grounds of morality.

Jonas Forbes is amoral – a womaniser, a killer, often a deceiver and (almost) 100% ruthless. I’m not proud of him. He just jumped into life that way over thirty years ago and I haven’t seen fit to change him. Of course, he loses out on a lot as a consequence – a dozen years of not living with the ‘almost perfect’ Vanessa for starters. Often he suffers through going the wrong way, unconsciously perhaps losing support, affection, admiration and the plaudits of the crowd. But then I'm trying to make him human – at least, enough to gloss over the nastier bits. Frequently, he does the ‘good thing’ without
knowing why – e.g. distorting the truth about Shaidan to preserve a woman’s dream (Book 15). It’s not all just rescuing fair damsels from dragons (e.g. his preservation of the Amazonian sister of Luther Wallenstein in Book 16).

What about the more minor characters – some are just wicked (Kimotho Gathegi & Kurt Langer in Book 1) or plain good (Hermann Brugsch & Nathifa in Book 3). Some are torn different ways (Lord Brimstone & Boris Danilovsky in Book 10). Some live in a tightly controlled country, others in chaos (like a disintegrating Biafra in Book 15). Some face the temptations of affluence and others the millstone of poverty. Some comfort: some torment. Some help: some betray.

Wherever you have humans, you have standards and wherever you have standards (or mores) you have both acceptance or rejection of them and so a Morality System.  Do I believe that? No, but my beliefs about Morality remain strictly PERSONAL.

Bob Hyslop

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