Getting Your Hands on Copies

Before reading the below author’s note, you should probably read the book. You can get the book on most Amazon localizations (paperback or eBook). You’ll find links to the mentioned storefronts here:

Author’s Note

I wrote this for myself, editing it for others. Thanks to all who put up with my ridiculous workload. I kept working until I couldn’t work any longer, and then worked a little bit more to get this thing published before completing my university semester. Without that arbitrary time constraint, this might have never happened.
Some say she walked amongst the animals, considering many ways to train them, to shape them in her image. You will never see her. She will never speak to you. Amelia is imaginary, and you’ll never get to know her. The following is a story about a terrible loss.

The following author’s note appears at the end of the book. I wrote it about half a year after the book’s publication, and is meant to compliment the reading. It addresses issues some critics I questioned had towards certain parts, tried to explain some vague story elements, and serves as a final goodbye from myself.

Venez Vous: Henry, Ian, and Dealing With Loss

Venez Vous follows Henry & Ian as they struggle to find themselves in a world that they find utterly unappealing. When I initially, wrote it I wanted to display the outcome of abandoning your ship at the slightest hint of difficulty, how two grown men repudiate their former (well developed, might I add) lives at the first encounter of any real struggle. They are fired, and people are fired all the time. Ian loses his companion, but people lose their companions all the time. These two men decide that their lives are no longer worth much at all because of some slights to their livelihoods. That’s no way to live a life—not in my opinion. Acts like these are never the right ones: you shouldn’t uplift your life when the universe deals you a bad hand.

That’s just irresponsible.

Instead, you need to suck it up and live your life. They flee their past, taking to the sea in search for meaning or purpose. They are, of course, met with the harsh reality of the universe when the rigmasters arrive and subsequently sink their oil rig.

Vousa always symbolized the duo’s haven: an environment with which they can preserve some semblance of what they once had. If I were to write this now, I’d have given them roles like that of their roles on the mainland. Instead, the duo simply become “rigmasters” in the most literal sense of the word. Their jobs on this rig are not really jobs, just like their lives after fleeing the mainland are not really lives. They are living in a fantasy world where their past cannot dear to venture. Having “nothing” is met with a lifestyle of “nothing.” From the moment they board the microboat, Henry & Ian are dead.

It always feels like the right thing to do, fleeing from a troubled environment. Maybe your spouse left you; maybe your dog died; maybe your house burned down. Wouldn’t a fresh start be great? How comforting would it be to simply ignore what has just happened to you in favor of hitting the reset button? Your past will always leave its mark on you, and in the case of Henry & Ian, their past (the mainland, and its inhabitants) literally caught up with them and exacted its revenge.

Tim, the defiant auto, symbolizes the rational part of the duo’s mind—the part that wishes to return to the mainland to recoup their losses. Tim plays the role of the angel on the duo’s shoulders, willing to do anything to fix this mess they’ve gotten themselves into, dedicated to mending their fuck-up. Tim dies along with the duo as Vousa sinks into the South Side sea. He cannot exist without the duo, yet they, should they dare acknowledge Tim as a defiant entity, could eliminate him, suffocating that little angel on their shoulders.

They don’t do this.

As mentioned prior, the rigmasters—primarily Mister Charles—symbolizes the duo’s past catching up with them. They represent both the mainland and the sea: their past and their present, living in harmony. Had the duo decided to maintain mainland contacts, their futures could’ve been as fruitful as the rigmasters’, for they understood that you can never really supress your past, even though many think otherwise.

Revolutionary’s Guide: Supressing Frustration

Revolutionary’s guide directly follows the events of Venez Vous, with Mel & Anderson travelling across the country on vacation. They are captured by “rebels,” and they both meet an unfortunate fate, but not because they died.

Anderson’s firmly-held contempt with his lover Mel dominates his thoughts. He was written in the first-person for the reader to notice that most of his thoughts on his beloved revolve around how lazy she has become. The woman he fell for, dimmed with the passing of time. In fact, I did my best to allude to the fact that Mel didn’t “retire” like the rest of the population, but rather lost interest in the world around her.

Anderson, however, has also become bored with his environment, but passes the time by insulting his lover in his mind. I’ve been guilty of doing the very same thing on occasion, and it does nobody any good.

Mel rediscovers the enjoyment of task-fulfilment when she becomes a “rebel.” Her arc represents the natural human desire for purpose, no matter the specifics. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing so long as you’re doing it—anything. I’ve found myself down a depressive pit when I’ve go nothing going on. I crave work, even if I complain while doing it.

In asking for feedback on the ending of this story, I found very few people realized that the “rebel” Anderson pushed through the Hole was Mel (the pink sunglasses were the giveaway). In this final scene, Anderson finally confronts Mel and vents his frustrations with her, leading to her and his death. Anderson got caught up in a mixture of aggressive thoughts on Mel and in the lack of activity he was partaking in atop Upper Paria. Both emotions overwhelmed him, causing him to reach for extreme measures. Granted, he didn’t know that Mel was the leader he was meant to eliminate, but he didn’t flinch at the realization. This was fine. This was what he wanted all along. To eliminate his past; to cut off the dead weight he considered strapped to his leg; to supress the one he loved but lost.

Formerly, Amelia: You Were Never Meant To Know Her

This final small chapter was met with a lot of frustration from the people I questioned. First, Amelia was a character that was only alluded to in passing, and never fully fleshed out. Killing her yielded no emotional response from the reader, which was intentional. Second, the reason for her death was cryptic. “Broken heart?” What a load of garbage.

To address the first point, Amelia was never meant to be a character who was fleshed out in any capacity. Amelia represented the idyllic life the Conomarcans lead. From the small snippets littered throughout the book, Amelia was said to have fundamentally changed the country. Autos were installed, and jobs were automated. A paradise where nobody needed to work if they didn’t want to. Existence devoid of all purpose, except that which was self-imposed. The idea of “defining your own purpose” is scary to lots: we all want to pretend we’re here for a reason. I don’t think that’s right. I believe that we’re not here for any reason, and that forces us to define what it means to exist. What makes us get out of bed in the morning? Is it the knowledge that some God will accept us into his sanctuary? Or, is it the purist of proficiency in a given field? Amelia was that purpose to the reader. She represented the idea that nobody needed to work unless they found it interesting, and that a life automated is a life open to interpretation. Her death, following the events of both short stories, indicates a cultural shift in the country. People no longer want autonomy provided by automaton. Some might, but not nearly enough to merit Amelia’s existence anymore.

As for a broken heart, well that’s not for me to explain. A broken country; a tattered worldview; a distraught populous. Watching the project—the one you built in your spare time—fade to obscurity will break anybody’s heart. I know it broke hers…