Something came to me that I totally forgot to cover and these are the themes in Once: The Lost Book of Cain. For an update, the final draft of this manuscript is currently being shopped, so again, I’d love to see this thing on bookshelves come early to middle 2018. So, what did I totally overlook that I just simply forgot to share? I forgot about the themes, and while I knew exactly what my themes were, I never once shared them and I’ve always believed this to be of vital importance. Without further ado, my main themes are distraction, war, imperialism, death, friendship, and family. They’re the six points of my star, and I wish to go further in depth with each of them today.
I wrote an article a few months back during winter as of why I wrote the manuscript and now I’d really like to expand on that. We all know I’m staunchly against imperialism of all kinds, even the type of imperialism where a country simply sets military bases in practically one-hundred and ninety countries around the world. Whereas the initial idea came to me all the way back in 2010 regarding the current division of America, something that has absolutely deteriorated over the greater part of the last seven years, as I wrote, erased, rewrote, erased, rewrote again, and erased again, several more themes came to the forefront. Sure, Rocky Robertson became Cain Robertson, Brock Robertson became Micah Robertson while the name Brock became a main character in another work, and so-on. Honestly, I believe only Lira Ross kept the same name and look throughout the entire work, and the rest was changed time and again.
Many differences continued to spring up as I continually changed drafts, but I kept the idea throughout the entire decade. For starters, the regions, colleges, and universities were still named after counties in Ohio. Summit University (named after Summit County) in the town of Richfield (named after Richfield, Ohio, which is also in Summit County) also remained the same. Based off Kent State University, despite Kent State being in nearby Portage County gave me a nice campus model from which to work, and it worked well. The true setting, however, didn’t come until after I started my final first draft that I didn’t erase halfway through. This setting is Wintersville, Ohio, and there are a lot of similarities between Richfield (the fictional town in the book and not the town in Summit County) and Wintersville. For starters, Summit Forest, which surrounds the campus is named after Fernwood State Forest, a local park. The location of the campus is just before one enters the vast countryside on Route 43 refers to the portion of Wintersville where if one travels far enough west, the town comes to an abrupt halt and is replaced by backroads. I also pay homage to Indian Creek High School, despite being an alum of nearby Edison High School. In the work, I refer to Cross Creek High School, which is a direct reference to Indian Creek, which is located in Cross Creek Township, where Wintersville falls. Kettlewell Stadium, the local shotball stadium in Once, is named directly after Indian Creek’s football stadium, and Mare’s Pizza is a nod to Giannamore’s Pizza, the best pizza in the Ohio Valley.
Allow me to stop rambling for a second and talk about shotball, which falls directly into the theme of distraction. This is highly important, because sports distract us from everything, including the Russian probe (if there is one), the threats from North Korea, Trumpcare replacing Obamacare, and anything else going on in the world today, including a potential cyberthreat. Yet, they’re still talking football in Cleveland, which I believe has become more of a football town than Pittsburgh despite the Browns constant losing due to the way they continue to talk football in Cleveland despite the way the Cavs and Indians have played the past two years while the Steelers finish the season one game away from the Super Bowl yet the place still goes crazy for the Penguins. The 216 once again has proven to be more loyal than the 412, just look up an NFL fan loyalty study from 2006. So, now that I totally distracted you from the depressing events you watch on national news, you can see why I placed shotball into this equation.
See, shotball is the equivalent of football in the world of Once, which I’ve christened Gaia. So where did I get shotball? As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to single-handedly murder the NFL game as we knew it, I figured I’d invent my own sport back in 2009. So, I wrote down the rules for shotball, which is similar to rugby, but a little better in my opinion. Just wait until you read about it, you’ll be playing the game more than you’d ever play half the recreational sports out there. But, I thought it’d be a good idea to place into Once. It’s fresh, and I made the game co-ed, despite the fact that I did this without even thinking of gender equality. I just thought it would work and it did. So, the sport made it into the manuscript and as stated, it will distract you from the soon-to-be book. Trust me, because half of this work is purely a distraction, because that’s what we see in life.
Let’s move on to the main themes: war and imperialism. So, we have the Southpoint Empire, who are the imperialistic coalition in Once. They’re a very brutal cross between the British Empire, Napoleon Empire, Nazi Germany, and modern-day North Korea. They’re the strongest superpower even seen in Gaia. Led by a brutal, empirical king based off King George III and former U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, Southpoint continually looks to expand its influence as the policemen of this world. Anyone who stands up to them winds up in war, and anyone who they look to control is controlled. They will conscript local colonists in any colony as part of the front-line infantry of their armed forces, and they will jail and sentence any opposition to death via burning, firing squad, impalement, or decapitation. Furthermore, some opposition continues to exist in their work camps, which are reminiscent of Nazi and North Korean concentration camps. These camps are set in every single colony, where hard labor, brutal torture, punishment, and human experimentation are common.
Death, friendship, and family are also huge in this, and it is seen and heard of early and often. There is a lot, and I mean a lot going on in the first few chapters. I literally set the stage and atmosphere early and often here. Death is mentioned within the first few pages, while friendship and family are introduced in subsequent chapters. People in this work are close, very close, and in war, uncertainty, fear, agony, and panic exist. Emotions run high, and this occurs both within and beyond the Summit University Campus. Rivalries run amok, and everywhere friends ally with each other to take on the opposition in brutal and violent fights, on and off campus grounds. A war for independence is going to be fought, between a colony desiring to become a nation, free of rule from an empire. I wish not to elaborate anymore on the subject of death, friendship, and family, as I’ll be giving away too much. But be forewarned, things aren’t always as they seem….