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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Guest Michael Brookes

The Nature of Evil by Michael Brookes
Evil as a concept has been with us as a species for as long as we’ve been able to communicate, but what does it mean? In bygone times the definition of evil was provided by religion and was deemed a clear cut concept, a binary choice of good and evil. These days (and even back then) this concept seems too simplistic, it doesn’t reflect what we see in everyday life.
How do we define evil? The most obvious answer is by the moral code of an individual or society, but that again seems too simplistic. We can say that if something is deemed morally wrong then that is evil. It’s wrong to steal, but is that evil? Is evil and absolute or a gradient? In society morality has almost been replaced by laws. Laws define what is permissible. However here we can see some conflict between law and morality that muddies a definition of evil.
A classic example is taking drugs, the state says it’s illegal, many would argue that it is not wrong to take takes drugs and it certainly wouldn’t be considered evil by then. This throws up the issue of subjectivity, what is evil (or wrong) to one person, may not be considered so by another.
To complicate things further is evil an act or a state of being? It can of course be both. A person can commit an evil act, but not necessarily be evil in themselves. A classic example here is the crime of passion, there was no intention to commit evil, it was a spur of the moment act. The act of murder is evil, but the perpetrator is not. Or perhaps, they were evil, but only for that moment.
What is considered evil is subjective, although some acts do have a consensus. If we take these most obvious examples and boil them down they come down to a single concept – selfishness. It is the putting oneself above others that appears to be the central tenet.
It seems a bit too simple doesn’t it?
In every instance of evil you can see how the act of putting yourself above others is where the acts of evil come from. Stealing from others to enrich yourself, violence to satisfy your own cravings, and sexual crimes to establish your power. All of these things stem from your own want and needs and how they matter more than another person’s.
Let’s take an example – murder. People kill each other for various reasons, they want to take something from that person, they feel that the person doesn’t deserve to live (and thus being better than them). Even self defence implies that the killer has a better reason to live than the victim. Now I’m not suggesting that self defence is evil, although the act of killing maybe, which leaves us with the other half of the puzzle – intent.
For something to be evil, it is not just the event, but the intention of the act. The legal system has a concept for this (mens rea), for example murder is only murder if some harm was intended to the victim, otherwise it is manslaughter (the terminology varies depending where in the world you are).
So in simplistic terms we can identify the nature of evil as not only being selfish in action, but also in intent. A question arises that for evil to exist  do both components need to exist. Is the thought of evil an evil act?
I certainly hope not! As a writer I craft stories about evil all the time and I don’t think that makes me evil.
Or does it?


Is it the rebirth of an ancient evil in a new realm? Or something much worse?

A sexy looking avatar grants wishes for people across the web, but nothing is truly free, and for those who accept, what price must be paid?

Sarah Mitchell must discover the truth of this creature and stop it while it can still be stopped, but why is a mysterious lawyer dogging her every step?

Faust 2.0 is the first book in the new Mitchell & Morton series.
Available now on Kindle:
Amazon (UK):
Amazon (US):

About Michael Brookes

Michael Brookes is an Executive Producer with a leading UK games developer. Working in games and writing are two of his life passions and he considers himself fortunate to be able to indulge them both. He lives in the east of England, enjoying starry skies in the flattest part of the country. When not working or writing he can sometimes be found sleeping. Which is good as that is where many good ideas come from.

Other Books by Michael Brookes

The Cult of Me

The first book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy.

For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by. With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn't even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act.

There he discovers that he's not as unique as he once thought.

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Conversations in the Abyss

The second book in ‘The Third Path’ trilogy.

Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.
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An Odd Quartet – Drabble Enhanced Edition

A quartet of dark short stories (10,000 words total) each with a twist in the tale. The drabble enhanced edition also contains some of my favourite drabbles (100 word stories).
The Yellow Lady
Grave robbing is a dirty business, in more ways than one. When he disturbs the grave from a childhood scary story he discovers it's not always treasure to be found.

This Empty Place
At the heat death of the universe, Death contemplates his existence.

Forced Entry
Terrorists seize an average suburban house. A Special Forces hostage rescue team is sent in and encounter more than they were trained for.

The Reluctant Demon
A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.
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