Sunday, June 26, 2022

Lit List Short Reviews: Deus Ex by Miles Watson; Echoes in the Dark by P.L. McMillan; Healthy Fashion: The Deeper Truth by Alyssa Couture

 Lit List Short Reviews: Deus Ex by Miles Watson; Echoes in the Dark by P.L. McMillan; Healthy Fashion: The Deeper Truth by Alyssa Couture

By Julie Sara Porter

Bookworm Reviews

Deus Ex by Miles Watson

Miles Watson, the current master of short fiction, is at it again. This time, he crafted a short story that reads like  a Greek Tragedy. It is about Magnus Antonius Magnus, a dictator that has conquered the world. Now he faces the inevitable rebellion and regime change as forces conspire against him.

Normally, I am a huge fan of expanding a work. In this case, letting us know how Magnus became a leader, what happened with the previous regime that he wanted toppled, and how Magnus became paranoiac against his competitors and former allies. There is enough of a potential backstory to make a three part novel series. 

It would be great but that's not what the story is about. It's not about Magnus' rise or what he did to become a dictator. It's about his fall. It's about the leader who realizes too late that they won but lost their soul. In fact, one doesn't have to read the entire story of Magnus' life to know what happened. We just have to read the biographies of real life dictators. They all had the exact same trajectories.

Speaking of dictators, it is nice that Magnus is based on the old Roman Imperial Leaders and not anyone specifically current or more like he is a composite of all of them. It's too easy to point at a leader from another country or political party or any following and say "This is him." It's much harder to say "In similar circumstances and mindset, that could be me." Anyone with even the best of intentions could later use them for selfish and malicious purposes and counter the ideals that they once held, becoming the thing that they despise. 

Then once that happens, they can see it all come crashing down around them.

Echoes in the Dark by P.L. McMillan

P.L. McMillan's Echoes in the Dark is a short 16 page horror anthology. It's like a nightmare. It gives you short scary fragments that you remember and those are usually the most memorable parts of the dream. You remember the scariest parts.

There are only four stories. They are:

 "Family Roots"-This is about that reclusive family that everyone in a small town spreads rumors about. Weird things happen like enemies ending up missing or dead, family members who might be a little too close to each other, and a history of suspicion and magic surrounding them.

In this case the family in question are the O'Mearas. In the 60's the mayor challenged them abd was later found dead of a heart attack. In the 80's five mem corners matriarch Molly O'Meara, a few days later all five fell in a two foot deep river and drowned.

 Mallory Shaw, the narrator, goes on a date with Mitch O'Meara. When her father protests their relationship by going on a shooting rampage, Mallory has to make an important decision over whose side she is on.

This a powerful story with a twist ending that shows that sometimes those who spread rumors can be just as monstrous as those they accuse. Sometimes family isn't always who you were born into,,it can be who you feel closest to.

"Unseen Cost" This is a very brief story about Kyle, a formerly visually impaired young man going through a surgery to give him sight. Throughout his life, his best friend ,Alex has been there to encourage him and now she is there during his surgery.

This story reveals the cost that comes with regaining ones senses. Sometimes they have to face the world the way everyone else does.  They may not like the world in which they are exposed to and are forced to accept as normal.

"Affirmations" -This story shows that affirmations and positive words have power of their own as sometimes they strengthen anembolden the person on the receiving end. But sometimes those ends are not always comforting.

Mary is unhappily married to Bob, an alcoholic. The chalkboard has messages like "You can do it," "Your life matters " and "Hello witch." Bob certainly did not do it as his abuse shows. He could care less about her feelings. Mary didn't do it. The words just…appear. But they are filled with strength and courage that help her stand up to Bob's cruelty.

Things become terrifying when she takes the words to a darker conclusion. It shows when someone is backed in the corner, they will do anything to get out.

"Warm"- The last story is a flash fiction, only a paragraph long about a man investigating a woman's grave

It's uncertain what is actually going on. But the setting description gives a creepy atmosphere. You just know something terrible happened or is about to happen.

Healthy Fashion The Deeper Truth by Alyssa Couture

Alyssa Couture 's Healthy Fashion: The Deeper Truth proves that if you are what you eat, then you are also what you wear. A person's clothing style can and should reflect their commitment to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is an interesting concept and shows that the paths to holistic wellness don't always begin and end with diet and exercise.

The first part of the book discusses how fashion should be beneficial to the body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Mostly she encourages wearing plant based fabrics and naturals materials such as cotton, hemp, linen and so on. Encouraging plant based manufacturing welcomes textile manufacturers from around the world and creates a greener industry that protects rather than pollutes the environment.

This type of fashion gives back to the Earth what is taken from it by encouraging biomimicking or adapting to nature. 

Mentally, universal fashion encourages diversity and understanding and erases racism, prejudice, class, and hierarchy in fashion. Couture suggests adapting and changing fashion trends to encourage more diversity and thought into clothing rather than just appealing to wealthy buyers who encourage conformity. More archetypes reflecting personality, and less stereotypes reflecting societal expectations, she writes. (For instance someone with an innocent outlook may want to wear bright cheerful colors or a Sage personality wearing thoughtful colors.)

"Fabrics are like crystals," Couture writes. Like crystals, fashion is a reflection of a person's emotions. (Of course is it emotions that reflect the clothes or the other way around is the question. When a person is depressed, do they want to wear bright yellow or red?) Since fashion can be a form of visual art with its attention to color,ntextile, and style, it stands to reason that fashion could be a form of art therapy. Some of this therapy includes wearing clothing that invokes good memories, personal connections, and comfort. 

Spiritual fashion is not religion, Couture says. Instead it is wearing clothing that exudes a positive energy. Synthetics for example could exude more negative energy because of their mass production, and their form of holding too tightly to the skin and not allowing air to come inside. The clothes that are more spiritual wear allow for breathability, and are less restrictive in movement and size. In some ways, they reflect the individual wearer and not force the wearer to conform to a specific size and body type to fit the clothes. One of the ways to be more spiritually centered is to wear galactic inspired fashion and accessories, such as celestial and prismatic prints or galactic codes that reflect sacred geometry. It helps the wearer connect to a more universal level that goes beyond Earth and into the universe or metaverse.

Understanding what fashions help the body, mind, emotion and spirit shows that clothes really do make the person. They might make them whole.

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