An Excerpt from “The Life and Times of Nathan T. Freeman, Master Defiantist”

Below you will find the second installment of my “Totally Fabricated Bios”. These were perks on my IndieGoGo campaign (successfully funded, btw!!) wherein I promised to write a short biographical piece on the contributor, with no guarantees as to its accuracy. This one is for a new friend, but one who I think will stick around in the friends column for quite a long while. His name is Nathan T. Freeman, and I met him and his lovely family in Acapulco, Mexico at a conference for contrarian geekatrons. 

Nathan requested that I write his bio in the style of the recently late Terry Pratchett (rest his soul). This, needless to say, was quite a challenge. For one thing, Pratchett is a Writing Legend. He was a master of both fantasy and parody and was one of the most prolific writers SF-F ever saw. His Discworld series alone is comprised of so many books that the scholars have lost count. And all of them are exquisite.  I was only being asked to write around 500 words, but to be honest, I had my doubts that I could pull it off.

In the end, I think I did ok. Before beginning, I immersed myself in Pratchett for several days, both reading his books I had on hand in my spare time and listening to a newly purchased audiobook while driving, eating and sleeping. I still didn’t feel ready. So, naturally, I procrastinated. A few days later, an idea hit me and I knew it was time to put the ass in the chair and pound keys. The following is the result. It is short and sweet, and I think it does emulate Pratchett’s voice, at least a little. There are two or three sentences that are decidedly un-Pratchettarian, but all in all I think it’s a good effort. Plus, I invented a pretty brilliant system of magic for this bio, called “Defiantics”, which I think I may have to recycle for novelry purposes. Enjoy!

An Excerpt from “The Life and Times of Nathan T. Freeman, Master Defiantist”

Defiantics, defiantist, nathan t. freemanThere are many names that the “T” In “Nathan T. Freeman” could stand for. A good, upstanding name like Terry would ring nicely. Thomas or Timothy would raise no eyebrows. However, Nathan T. Freeman is cursed with a perpetual shortage of fucks to give for the relative positions of people’s eyebrows. For a man like this, a more… unconventional middle name is required. If you wanted to go for something more unique, Tarachand or Tarlo would suit. But even such exotic names as these lack a certain contumaciousness. The man behind the name, you see, is a Master Defiantist. He is, in fact, the world’s foremost authority on anti-authoritarian magic. Therefore, it is only right that the “T” in question should stand for “The”. And so it does.

Nathan The Freeman began his illustrious career in the mystical arts of anti-authoritarianism early in life when, at the appointed hour, he obstinately refused to exit his mother’s womb. Labor had begun in earnest and all of the required paperwork had already been signed and notarized, and still, Nathan neglected to emerge. Days passed, along with a law or two regarding the need for a firm governmental response to the rising problem of prenatal dissidence. Nathan completely disregarded the mandates and continued to cling to the uterine walls in a contemptible display of disobedience. The delivery nurses threatened to strike and several powerful men in Washington were quite displeased. Finally, after he’d achieved notoriety as a dangerous anarchist-type and the president had declared him an Enemy of the State, Nathan leisurely made his way down the birth canal and, demonstrating incredible small-motor control for a newborn infant, proceeded to flip off everyone in the delivery room. Except for his mother, for whom he naturally felt a loving fondness.

From his origin story one can see clearly that Nathan was destined for greatness, though perhaps not the sort of greatness that gets people put in history books, and certainly not the sort that rulers hand out medals for. No, the greatness of Nathan The Freeman skipped the socially acceptable path of development entirely, forging its own course, thumbing its nose at the opinions of anyone who was not Nathan The Freeman. When, at the age of ten, he showed a promising capacity for magic, society urged him to try his hand at the art of soothsaying. After all, the priests and presidents of the world badly needed talented young diviners to assist them in their quests for domination, and the pay was quite lucrative indeed. Or, failing that, society suggested, he might look into bureaumancy. The job security couldn’t be beat. Society had rather a long list of ideas for how Nathan’s magical gifts ought to be applied. There was conjury and alchemics, bewitchery and curatives. But Nathan had no interest in any of these areas of expertise, and so he just made up his own. Thus he became the founder and first practitioner of defiantics.

Defiantics is an art in which the goal is to get the object of the magical experiment to behave as it wishes, rather than as society, physics or the defiantist wish it to behave. It is therefore a rather imprecise magic, and there is no way of predicting the results of a defiantist enchantment. While an ordinary magician might command an apple to change into a tortoise, the defiantist simply asks the apple what it wants to be. More often than not, the apple remains an apple, though it may be seen to expel a worm or to change its skin from red to green. But every once in awhile, the apple completely and unapologetically throws off the yoke of oppression and decides instead to be an intergalactic spaceship. This has caused some problems, as intergalactic spaceships are not supposed to exist, as such.

The prevailing opinion among experts is that defiantics is a useless and dangerous magic, and that such unruliness should not be tolerated in the magical arts. The academicians have succeeded in wiping the method out of the textbooks and barring entry for would-be defiantists to the most prestigious institutions of magical instruction. However, a few vocal iconoclasts claim that defiantics is far superior to the conventional schools. These rogue professors have been accused by the establishment of being themselves victims of defiantist spells and charms, to which the rogues have responded that even if it were so, it would only serve to prove their point.

Nathan himself remains silent on the controversy, saying that he is too busy being a badass to pay much attention to establishmentarian quibbles.

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