Monday, 30 December 2013

Sons of Anarchy and The Son of God (part 2)

by Yvonne M Carson

Last week I explained what I like about SOA. This week I draw parallels between its characters and characters from another story.

DISCLAIMER - the following is merely my personal pondering and is by no means intended to cause offence to anyone. Neither is it the basis for any kind of theology!

SPOILER ALERT - you may want to skip the sections on Opie and Clay to avoid some plot reveals

Jackson Teller / Jesus
Often known by his initials 'JT', Jax reminds me of 'JC'. He is also a stepson who is very close to his mother. Jax is just a loving son trying to do right by his dad (also not seen). He is a man who works with his hands (a mechanic). JT has a vision and is on a mission. He sometimes has a beard.

Gemma Teller Morrow / Mary
JT's 'mom' is married to Clay Morrow, who is not the father of her son, but from whom her son learned his 'earthly' trade. Gemma is hugely influential in her circles and is almost revered by her many followers. She has known the loss of a son. She does not have a beard.

Harry 'Opie' Winston / John the Baptist
Opie and Jax grew up together, like brothers. Opie's dad, Piney, and Jax's dad, John, were very close (like Elizabeth and Mary). Opie always had Jax's back and was willing to die for him too. He has an awesome beard!

Alexander 'Tig' Trager / Simon Peter
Tig is a 'go-to' guy, ready to do anything - but he often gets it wrong, being led by his emotions, and is very prone to violence. Simon Peter cut off a servant's ear in John 18 v 10… exactly the kind of thing I could see Tig doing. He has a short beard.

Filip 'Chibs' Telford / Matthew
Like Matthew (aka Levi, a Jewish tax collector working for Rome), Chibs was thought to have betrayed his country by serving in the British Army whilst also being involved in pro-IRA activities. Both are fiercely loyal to their leaders. He has a medium beard.

Robert 'Bobby Elvis' Munson / Andrew
Elvis is very manly ('Andrew' means 'manly'). He is also a treasurer and club secretary, good at dishing out resources like Andrew giving out loaves and fishes. Bobby is Jewish. He has a full beard.

Clarence 'Clay' Morrow / Judas Iscariot
Need I say more? He has a beard.

Did I mention I like beards as well as tattoos (see part 1 last week)?

So, may be you've gained great spiritual insight from this reading. May be you've just enjoyed it and laughed a bit. May be you've just indulged me. I just know that without the grace of God, I'd probably have been some Prospect's old lady by now!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Sons of Anarchy and The Son of God (part 1)

by Yvonne M Carson

I love a good story and, for me, the more removed from my real life the better. So of course, I just love Sons of Anarchy (or SOA), an American TV drama all about the shenanigans of a Motorcycle Club (or MC).

There are other reasons to like SOA:

1. Charlie Hunnam, who plays lead character Jackson Teller (aka Jax / JT), is not only 'phwoar' in the looks department (frequently displaying a full back tattoo), but is also a Geordie lad (ex of UK children's drama Byker Grove) and a pretty fine actor too!

2. A lot of the male characters have bulging biceps, pert pectorals and plenty of cool tattoos on display. Some even have amazing beards (if you like that sort of thing).

3. The female characters usually have plenty of poultry parts (breasts, legs and thighs!) to show off and they have their own fair share of tattoos to boot.

I like tattoos! Did I mention that?

Of course, there is liberal use of vernacular vocabulary (they swear - A LOT); characters frequently get intimate (they have sex - A LOT); most characters are involved in some sort of illegal activity (they commit crimes - A LOT); plenty of folks get injured or die violently (there is A LOT of violence); and generally, this isn't the kind of show you would expect a good Christian gal to write about.

So why am I? Because beneath the surface 'sleaze', the story has what intrigues me the most: ordinary folk facing the human condition; their desire to 'do right' conflicting with their desire to 'do the right thing for now'; their search for love and meaning…their search for God?

It seems to me that the MC, like any unit or institution (or family or church), has its fair share of complex characters. So I've drawn some parallels between those in SOA and some others I've come across…

Come back next week to read what I've found.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Gathering in the new year

For the first time in a good while, SUB will be gathering together in the new year.

Please put FEB 1 in your diaries and come along. Location is to be confirmed, but Claire will be hosting and the theme will be Blood.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Female authors of gothic, horror, fantasy & science fiction (part 7)


Welcome to the final blog in this series:

Holly Black (1971-) - Spending her early years living in a decrepit Victorian house obviously had an impact on Holly, who went on to write the children’s fantasy series Spiderwick Chronicles (2003-2004) - five books in two years! Holly has also written a number of young adult fantasies, graphic novels and short stories.

Sarah Pinborough aka Sarah Silverwood (1972-) - A prolific and witty tweeter as well as a writer of horror fiction, supernatural thrillers, fairy tale reworkings and tv scripts. Daughter of a diplomat, Sarah grew up in the Middle East, spent many years in boarding school and had a career as a teacher. Sarah uses the Silverwood psuedonym for her young adult fiction. Her writing goes from strength to strength, with 2013 being a big publishing year including her VERY saucy fairy tale trilogy Poison, Charm & Beauty (all in 2013), Ripper-era thriller Mayhem (2013) and the sublime and touching The Language of Dying (2009, but reprinted December 2013). I love Sarah, she's very funny.

Stephanie Meyer (1973-) - Controversial for introducing the vampire who sparkles with her best-selling Twilight series (2005-2008). This, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a vampire romance that has been turned into a big movie franchise, leading Stephanie to sell over 100 million books and earn over $50m in 2009 alone. Although receiving an English BA in 1997, Twilight was apparently her first attempt at writing fiction. An author whose religious belief (Mormonism) hasn’t stopped her delving into territory others might shy away from, her character actions are probably directly influenced by this background.

Gail Carriger (1976-) - Gail is the pen name of Tofa Borregaard, archaeologist and steampunk fiction author. Her main work to date is the Parasol Protectorate series (2009-2012), which is paranormal romance about a woman without a soul living in an alternative history version of Victorian England, where Werewolves and Vampires are treated as equals to the Human citizens. Gail is currently working on a 4-book Finishing School series (2013-) for young adults.

Erin Morgenstern (1978-) - Although Erin (usually a painter) has only written one book so far, it’s made a bit of a splash. The results of one of Erin’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) products became the inspiration for her novel The Night Circus (2011).

During the course of this blog I’ve noticed a gradual move from gothic horror to fantasy, with sci-fi tending to remain on the fringes. There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of recognisable authors as time goes on as well as an increase in the volume of output from those authors. Encouraging trends, but I’d like to see some more gothic tales balancing out the fantasy. It’s also encouraging to see that perseverance has paid off for a number of these authors (and paid off handsomely for some). If you’re a female author waiting for a breakthrough, don’t lose heart!

As always, feel free to leave comments and thank you for reading this blog series - I hope you've found it informative and have added some books to your reading list.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Female authors of gothic, horror, fantasy & science fiction (part 6)

In our penultimate blog for this series, the heart of the 60s brings us some authors that may have slipped under your radar and one that most definitely won’t have:

Jacqueline Carey (1964-) - Jacqueline has written a trilogy of trilogies known as Kushiel’s Legacy (2001-2011) along side others like The Sundering series (2004-2005). Although I haven’t read them, there appears to be themes of fantastical alternative histories and religious imagery, such as Angels, Saints, Martyrs, etc.

Caitlin R Kiernan (1964-) - As well as being a published palaeontologist, Caitlin is the author of dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, comics, novellas and short stories and some would add ‘weird fiction’ for her The Red Tree (2009). I know her best for having scripted The Dreaming (1996-2001), a wonderful comics series spin-off from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman world.

J K Rowling aka Robert Galbraith (1965-) - You must all have heard of J K Rowling, author of the massive Harry Potter series (1997-2007). A true rags to riches story, Jo is leading by example by giving huge amounts of her newfound wealth to charity. Controversially, her latest novel The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013) was written under a male pseudonym to try to get some distance from her now very famous real name.

Trudi Canavan (1969-) - The Australian fantasy novelist supported herself initially as a graphic designer. Trudi’s career received an injection when she the Aurealis Best Fantasy Short Story award for Whispers of the Mist Children (1999). I know her best for the successful The Black Magician Trilogy (2001-2003). Apparently Trudi received a seven figure sum from Orbit to write a prequel and sequel to that series, which goes to show that writing CAN pay and doesn’t have to rely on building a franchise (like Potter, not that there’s anything wrong with that either)!

As always, feel free to leave comments. Next week will be our last in this series, showcasing the youngest authors on my list.