An UNCUT Instant Interview with Nick Alimonos on New Novel, ..
The DARK AGE of ENYA
This month, controversial fan fiction author, Nick Alimonos, brings us the first (however unofficial) He-novel, DARK AGE of ENYA, inspired by 'The Masters of the Universe'. Nick also happens to be EM's favorite instant-messaging buddy! He's so unpretentious that throwing him a curveball every once in a while is irresistible.
This conversation got pretty wild! All of it didn't make the 'family version' you're reading, but most of it did.
HORDE1: Did you get my book?
HMT: i just missed your book by a week and am having someone ship it off to me. thanks so much, nick.
HORDE1: aha. I had a feeling something like that might happen
HMT: how's [Big@$$ He-Fan site] taking all this?
HORDE1: well, I am starting to feel like a ghost.
HMT: I can't wait to read it.
HMT: a ghost?
HORDE1: I hope it meets your expectations, or surpasses them.
HORDE1: yeah. He-Fans don't seem to care really
HMT: you're waiting for the media windfall, eh?
. . .
HMT: have you talked to any comic book creators or movie people about dark age?
HORDE1: any crack pot can be published these days. It's getting be known that matters
HORDE1: I have been talking to some illustrators regarding a new cover and some new interior artwork
HMT: would you do an enya comic? is that a possibility?
HMT: i think city by the sea would make a great movie. i can't wait to read the enya version.
HORDE1: I would love it . . . but it would probably be an adult comic, or at least a toned down version . . . but that is easier said than done
HORDE1: well you realize City by the Sea is a small part of a much larger story
HMT: ''m curious about why you picked the excerpt that you chose for your book website.
HORDE1: did you read it?
HMT: yes. about thelana, right?
HORDE1: ok. There are three reasons I picked that chapter
1.) I think it showcases some of my best writing. I did not want people thinking I was just another hack. 2.) It showcases my versatility. There is a bit of everything in it; interior dialogue, vivid descriptions, and a battle sequence. 3.) It's a chapter in the story that doesn't reveal much of the plot.
HMT: the first big battle scene from city by the sea was magnificent, but perhaps not as multidimensional as your excerpt. i can see where you're coming from.
HMT: is anyone helping you with the PR stuff?
HORDE1: not really
HORDE1: I depend on fans to get the word out
HORDE1: magnificent is saying a lot! I hope the final battles of the novel greatly exceed that first one
HMT: have you gotten any letters back from fans?
HORDE1: well the fans I have, I have known for a long time. We talk often.
HMT: fabu. who do you want to read this book, right now? do you see this as sort of a demo?
HORDE1: I would appreciate you mentioning the book to others, or posting something somewhere
HORDE1: a demo?
HMT: like, hey VIKING, Del Rey or Tor - look at this! Yee-haw!
HORDE1: actually, I have already sent query letters to several big publishers, including Tor and Del Ray
HMT: marvelous. since the he-man interest seems to be dying down, it can't hurt to use this as an opportunity to get the attention of a few successful publishers, right? i bet you're already working on your next novel idea.
HMT: the enya version -- is it as cinematic as the MOTU treatment?
HORDE1: my next novel idea is a sequel to this book, actually
. . .
HMT: really. i notice there's alot of nudity in the [Grayskull] library stories. he-man, teela and she-ra all showering together in one of your stories.
HORDE1: aaaaaaaaaaaaaah . . . so you DO know my work
HMT: what brought that on?
HORDE1: actually, I am a nudist, which explains a lot of that. Believe it or not, it's not always meant to titillate
HMT: is it a GREEK thing?
HMT: a european thing?
HORDE1: you know I am Greek too? What have you been stalking me? ;-)
HMT: alimonos sort of gives it away, don't you think?
HORDE1: it is partly a European thing. I grew up with nude beaches, and in the Greek ruins, heroes are usually depicted nude.
HORDE1: but that is not to say all Greeks are nudists, or vice versa
HMT: maybe, that's where TF Cooper gets it from.
HORDE1: what does he write about?
HMT: OOPS. Cooper is a fan-fic author with a vision of he-man very akin to yours.
HMT: is there a lot of nudity in your new book? in fact, there is a nudity-in-literature website that's promoting DAOE.
HORDE1: ok, what the xxxx man, how do you know all this stuff? Your scarin' me
HMT: i've done a websearch of your site on the engines.
HORDE1: really? Does Cooper have nudity in his fanfics too?
HMT: a nudity-in-fiction site came up. have you seen it .. and what are you wearing, btw?
HMT: kidding. only kidding.
HORDE1: well, you could say there is a lot of nudity in my book, but I tried my damndest to make it tasteful, and not to give the wrong impression. If that turns you off, I am sorry
HORDE1: I am wearing a gray robe (are you m or f?)
HMT: but not kidding about that website. have you seen it?
HORDE1: yes, of course. I told the guy about it!
HMT: i'm a guy. a str8 guy, thanks.
HORDE1: I am str8 too, so don't worry
HORDE1: and married
HMT: Like I said, just kidding .. and congrats on the nuptials. so who else is putting the word out about DAOE?
HORDE1: wait, you didn't answer a question. Does the nudity turn you off, or what?
HMT: no, not at all. very appropriate, actually - considering that he-man/batal is probably from some kind of rain forest tribe. the nudity makes sense.
HMT: nudity in context makes sense.
HORDE1: he is . . . actually, from a society that is a mix of Greek and Finnish, but they are more mountain/temperate zone
HORDE1: well I am glad you feel that way. And don't worry. My demographics are two pronged: I am appealing to nudists and He-Fans. I know that is very bizarre to hear, but hey, I write about what I love. I guess I am just unique.
HMT: i've read a slash fic, where he-man gets it on with a male nature god, and i kind of dismissed the idea at first. however, in hindsight [hahahaha], it also makes sense that his perceptions of love and sex could be very different than ours. who knows. that story is on EM, by the way - the author is Full Fallen Moon.
HMT: Have the Finnish historically been nudists? i must have missed something at school. sorry.
HORDE1: I never wrote slash, I guess cause I am not gay; but there really is very little sex in my book, since I am trying to promote an innocent view
HMT: i know tom of finland was finnish [YA THINK?!]. he-man would have been very welcome in his work.
HORDE1: no, but the Finns are a very mysterious people; nobody knows much about their history, and they keep mostly to themselves. They are very peaceful (unlike the Vikings) and they are fairly comfortable with nudity. Usually, a whole family of Finns will get naked in the sauna (which they love to tell you they invented)
HORDE1: who the heck is Tom from Finland?
HMT: a famous artist. do you have any finnish friends, presently?
HORDE1: not really. Wish I had, though. They have a wonderful culture. Have you read the Kalevala? It is from where I got the name of Xandr's people
HMT: i've heard of this text, but have not read it.
HMT: what is it, btw?
HORDE1: it's the Finnish mythology. Tolkien was very inspired by it, especially in its original language
HMT: really. i'll have to check that out. The nudity as innocence is the same way Cooper uses it.
HORDE1: really? Now I have to go read what he wrote
HORDE1: of course, Spartan boys were commonly naked, and I am from Sparta originally
HORDE1: but the Spartans were very militaristic
HMT: In one of his stories, he mentions that he-man is so alien to civilization (Eternos) that he would pull out his pecker and show it to you, if you asked him.
HORDE1: LOL! Oh God... I don't think I could write something like that!
HMT: i laughed my damned head off, but it summed up the character brilliantly. in one sledge-hammer line, you got the idea that this guy is not from town.
HORDE1: well, I go about it quite differently, but it is remarkable how similar we are in that respect
HORDE1: but you probably know if you read chapter 7
HMT: that's what I mean by nudity in context. has there really been that much of a to-do about it in your work? Have any Tipper Gore types called you a perv? Written you nasty notes?
HORDE1: not yet. But He-Fans used to send hate mail about my older stuff...
HMT: It seems wasteful not to get an interview out of this chat we're having, doesn't it? Who is this Batal of yours? What role does he play in the cosmology of Enya?
HORDE1: is this a short Interview? It is 4:00 here
HMT: Short enow, lad.
HORDE1: are you going to post this somewhere?
HMT: I'll post this on EM as a promotional thing for DARK AGE. How about that?
HORDE1: sure... OK
HMT: Now .. about the Batal..
HORDE1: what's your question again? One at a time
HMT: Who is this Batal of yours? What role does he play in the cosmology of Enya?
HORDE1: Well, to begin with, the [name] Batal is [a substitute for] the word He-Man. It got changed for copyright reasons. Typically, I feel that made up words in fiction sound made up, so I always try to find a source for all of my names in my book. Batal, in Arabic, means warrior. The Batal has come before in history, and will come again. He is basically the Hero that saves Enya during dark times
HMT: I see. It's often said that a hero is defined by his enemy? would you say that of Xandr? What in bloody, blue blazes is Queen Hathshepsut, by the way? Pissed-off nymph? Goddess?
HORDE1: in this book, Xandr's greatest enemy is actually himself. This is the classic man vs. himself paradigm (if we want to sound fancy). The struggle that he is presented with is this: Should he accept his fate and become the Batal, he will start a war that will eventually cause the deaths of his loved ones. This thought is unbearable to him. But if he does nothing, evil will continue to grow. For a time, then, he just wanders Enya rejecting his fate. Basically, he just wants to be a normal person.
HMT: So, there's a whole mythology built around the Batal and his nemesis, eh? Sounds almost messianic, if i'm not getting this wrong.
HORDE1: The Dark Queen Hatshepsut is the ruler of the Dark Side of Enya. Nobody is quite sure who she is or how old she is (to reveal this, I would have to give up much of the plot). It is known however that her armies are taking over the light side. Some say she is 10,000 years old. There is also some relationship between her and Shimoti/Skullgrin, the unisex God of Darkness
HORDE1: I don't like the word messianic. I think a better word would be martyr. Xandr doesn't save the world, so much as give hope and inspiration to those who have none. That's what real heroes do (in real life, I think), and I tried to approach this more realistically.
HMT: How hard is Xandr?
HORDE1: excuse me?
HMT: Conan is pretty hard. Is Xandr as much of a hardcase?
HMT: He'd better be hard, running around naked like that.
HMT: [That just came out all wrong.]
HORDE1: oh . . . well comparisons between Conan are inevitable, since Robert Howard is a big inspiration for me. But I never agreed with the 'barbarian' concept. Barbarian is a Greek word meaning, 'those people who go "bar-bar".' In other words, non-Greeks are barbarians. Xandr is called a barbarian, but he is really quite intelligent and introspective. Modern anthropologists are changing their views on what civilized means. I have adopted this view closely with my character.
HORDE1: now if you mean, is Xandr very rugged, he is. He is tormented by his past, and he lives a very rigorous existence . . . almost like Tarzan
HMT: I see. More like Tarzan, than Conan.
HORDE1: he has seen his share of killing, and done killing, and it has scarred him both physically and mentally
HORDE1: yes, but keep in mind he is intelligent. I would say he is more like the Greek heroes than anyone else, more like Achilles or Odysseus
HMT: It's a pisser, but people are going to try to categorize this Batal of yours. It's because our damned, I-Age attention spans are so short that we are not inclined to process original thinking. Are you ready for that? Does it screw with you?
HORDE1: I worry about it all the time. In fact, I tried hard to avoid the "revenge" theme. There is an element of revenge in my story, but Xandr is more about overcoming his sense of past failure. But he is unique, because I think he is the only "nudist hero" in modern literature, in other words, not since the Renaissance has a hero been depicted quite the same
HMT: I liked that the whole "You killed my parents, so I've got to drop you off this building!" factor did not dominate CITY BY THE SEA. Kudos on that. I'm guessing that his years in a monastery helped shape his perspective on revenge.
HORDE1: yes. He was taught philosophy, history, science. Imagine Conan with a masters degree.
HORDE1: CITY BY THE SEA exists as a turning point in the book for him, because it's where meets Thelana
HMT: Thank you for sparing us all the monotony of Batman in fuzzy panties! Isn't the revenge-driven hero getting a little tired anyway?
HORDE1: I don't like to think in those terms. Basically, I want my characters to be as complex as possible. Sure, Batman likes to run around in tights at night, but what does he like to do on his off days? Does he have any hobbies or other interests? In that way, Batman always seemed somewhat 2-dimensional
HMT: You call Xandr a nudist hero. How naked is he in DAOE? Does this dude ever put on any clothes?
HORDE1: Of course he does. A big misconception about nudists is that they are always naked, 100% of the time, and that simply isn't true. Nudists enjoy wearing clothes too, especially when it is hot or cold. Xandr dresses whenever he is near civilization, or in the Dead Zones where it is hot, or in Northendell where it is snowing. He respects other people's customs, even though he is often shunned for his own beliefs. I call him a "nudist hero" because I like to think of him in the same manner that the Ancient Greeks envisioned their heroes; if you visit any European museum with Classical or Renaissance artwork you will see what I mean.
HMT: "What do you want folks to know about DAOE, before they pick it up? How do you want them to approach it?"
HORDE1: I want people to approach it with an open mind. DAOE is very different from most fantasy novels published today, which I feel come out of a cookie-cutter press. Ancient history and mythology are a big inspiration for me, so that plays a significant role in the novel, more so than most traditional fantasy. Of course, I think anyone who enjoys fantasy will love it, but people who come into it with a preconceived notion about what fantasy should be might be a little surprised.
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, pick up this lad's novel! It's a great read, and a triumph for Masters-inspired fiction writers everywhere. Nick Alimonos is the first of us to attempt anything on this scale, making DARK AGE of ENYA a historically significant work in that regard.
Read excerpts from the book or BUY IT online at the Xlibris Bookstore. To read the fan fiction saga that inspired the epic novel, enter the He-Man Tales Fictinuum.
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