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05/31/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (4:41 am)
I can’t sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind races with thoughts and possibilities. 48 years of life has brought me to a strange place where I find the complicated dynamics that have shaped my life being revealed to me; I say revealed and not discovered by me because I am convinced that I cannot discover anything of my own accord. It is as if I lack the understanding, and then suddenly that understanding is uncovered within my being. It is a strange time in my life, one where I am led to question… everything. I question why my life has taken the path it has, I question why I have made the choices I have made, I question what is right and just, what is truth, and what is reality.


I even question if what is right and just, if truth, and if reality truly exist. There are theories, legitimate theories, that the reality we live in might be a mere simulation; an advanced simulation run on an advanced computer, and we are merely characters moving through that simulation. As a longtime avid gamer, I can’t disprove that theory, anymore than I can disprove the existence of God. It is simply inconclusive. Therefore, I must accept it as a possibility. If the nature of reality cannot be proven, then I must accept that questions about the nature of reality are irrelevant and let reality itself fall away as I continue to question elsewhere.


Why do I question? Aside from my amusement at the irony of questioning why I question, I think it’s a legitimate question to ask. I’m searching; searching for answers, searching for truth. I’m searching for what I can prove to be real, what I can stand on; for a foundation upon which I can build my house; build myself. 48 years of life have torn down who I thought I was, and now I am asking myself the question, who am I? Not just what do I think or what do I believe, but who am I?


In an effort to understand myself I look to the world around me for answers, but the world around me is shifting and unstable. Like myself 48 years of life have seen the world itself slip into chaos; merciless, selfish chaos. I don’t think I will find answers there. And in the end, isn’t this the question we are all asking ourselves? Who are we? Some of us, most of us spend our lives accumulating wealth and possessions as if they might convey some meaning onto our lives. Certainly, they convey value, because we as individuals, and society as a whole assign them value. We all want a nice house filled with furniture and personal possessions, we all need to be mobile, so we all want a nice vehicle to get us around, so that we can conform to what society tells us is a successful person who has value. But do these things really give us value? Do these things really make us any better than anybody else? In truth, I must conclude that they do not. Possessions only have value because we assign them value. Do we have an inherent value, and if so where does that value come from? Certainly, I believe I have value, that my life has value, and I think that most people believe their lives have value as well. This is something that goes beyond the empty materialistic veil that the world tries to pull over our eyes, telling us that if we make a lot of money, if we live in nice houses, drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes we are valuable. In fact, many of those people who have those things in an effort to create greater value within themselves attempt to minimize and curtail the value of others, which is something I inherently see as a contemptible act.
No instead, I think that our value is something deep within us. But the answer to finding that value isn’t something I will find by looking out there. I have to delve within. I have to question, I have to search.


And if the world is false, if the world is illusion, if the answers can’t be found in the world around us, then the world itself must be stripped away. That which is false ultimately has no value. For all I know the world might actually be nothing more than an MMO video game, and I might just be a player character, and not even a particularly impressive one at that. Yet here I am questioning whether that might actually be the case where of my other fellow player characters are not. They adhere and conform to one belief system or another, and they accept what the world tells them is true because the acceptance of these truths make them comfortable. While I do have my own biases and my own beliefs, can I truly and honestly search within for the answers that I seek if I do not commit them to scrutiny? No, I don’t think I can.


So what do I value? While I have possessions, while I need possessions, they offer me no truth. There is some value to be found in them because they offer me function, but it’s a temporary value at best, because all possessions expire, and when they expire their value expires with them. There are things that I do value that last. Love, compassion, human kindness. These things give life meaning. They give me meaning. Why? Because when a person shows me compassion, or does something nice for me, it confirms that I have value. They value me. I find my meaning in those moments. So it seems to me that a meaningful life is one that maximizes these interactions. Likewise, rejection, rudeness, these things make me realize that the person I am interacting with places no value in me, and prompts me to respond in kind, so a meaningful life is one that minimizes these types of interactions. When a person fails to acknowledge my value whether it be in a job, or a relationship, or it just be some random individual I run across in the street, I remove any value I had placed in them, and I move on searching for value elsewhere. This is a human response; a rational response, and it is a just response.


So if true value cannot be conferred by society, but it can be conferred by individual people, then it is individual people in which I must place my hope and my faith. But what about God? God tells me from his various works that I have value, and I admit that I do take comfort in the value that he offers. Yet God is nebulous. I cannot interact with him like the person that I interact with. Yes, I can pray, sometimes I even feel a physical sensation that I have come to believe to be his presence, but the truth is, for all I know, that physical sensation may just be my own body responding to my own conscious want for divine interaction, and not the presence of an all-powerful creator being. I accept on faith that God is with me, but even still, I cannot prove that he is with me. I tell myself that God wants it this way, because God demands a choice; you can accept him, or reject him. Adam and Eve rejected him in the garden when they ate of forbidden fruit, and mankind was cursed ever since, or that’s how the story goes. But in the end, I can no more prove this than I can prove God’s existence. Still, he has value to me. He gives me comfort, and that has value. He shows me infinite patience and compassion, and I believe he guides my steps. And yet, not everybody will choose to believe like I believe, and to respect the choice that I believe God demands means I must respect their choice as well. To fail to do so is to defile the choice that God demands, and defiles the person who has chosen to believe differently than I do; it devalues them, and is in fact an ungodly act.


So am I searching for value for myself, or for all people? Am I in this journey of searching merely for myself? Why am I even writing this down? Ultimately, I don’t know. I am writing it down because I feel compelled, even driven to record it. If this is just for my own benefit, or for the benefit of others, well time and circumstance will reveal the answer to that question. But this leads me to the next question, is the value that I seek, the value that we all seek merely an internal thing or is it something external? Or is it both? If value is something that can be conferred by others, and yet it is fully internal then it is a mere sensation, a feeling, and it is a temporary sensation that will eventually pass at that. And yet I value it, and therefore it cannot be merely external. I must conclude that for the concept of value itself to have any value it must be both internal and external. But the concept of God only offers me internal value, not external value. While I am open to discussing my faith, I have never really plumbed the depths before of why I feel it to be a private affair, and I cannot determine ultimately whether the act of sharing my faith values, or devalues the individual with whom I am discussing it. In this day and age, with the tone of the world turning so much toward disparity over even the smallest and most minute of details, is there a way to offer my faith consistently in a way that does not devalue the individual that has chosen differently than I have? I suppose the real question here is this: is there external value to be had from my faith? I must conclude that the answer is that it’s inconclusive. So can true value be gained through faith? Perhaps, but perhaps not. That too is inconclusive.


So value is both an external and internal thing, yet it cannot ultimately be conferred by the world around us, or by faith in God. So where does true value lie? And how do I know that I’m not a player character in some MMO? How do I know that any of this is real? How do I know that I’m even real? It is my capacity to question. Here I am questioning the reality in which I exist that implies that I have some value beyond said reality. If I indeed am a character in a video game, then there must be more to me than what is within the game, because my understanding extends beyond the game. Perhaps my value might extend beyond the game as well. But what if we’re not in fact living in a video game? What if the universe is exactly what it appears to be? Well here I am still questioning reality. My understanding still extends beyond reality, and this implies that perhaps so does my value. Does this imply some kind of afterlife? Perhaps it does, but not necessarily. The question of an afterlife is much like the question of God. Ultimately, although it brings me comfort on a personal level it is inconclusive, and therefore the value of it is also inconclusive. And like my question of belief in God does that mean that I must reject it? Not necessarily. But if I am to respect the concept of choice, the idea of free will, then I cannot devalue those who choose to believe differently than I do.


So ultimately, here I am standing in nothing, searching for something. Where is this place that I have arrived at? It is a beginning; the beginning of a journey, the beginning of a search for truth, for value, for me. Where will it lead me? I honestly have no idea, but the uncertainty of it is as important as the journey itself, I think.
03/25/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (7:01 pm)
As of this writing, the Prowlers & Paragons Kickstarter is 6 days in, and has $20,521 of the $28,000 goal. Help my friends at Evil Beagle Games get this great project funded, and get a super-fun superhero tabletop RPG in the process!




http://bit.ly/PnPUE
03/25/2019
Category: Books : Song of the Multiverse : 
Author: Brett Baker (6:47 pm)
"Song of the Multiverse, Vol I: Adagio of Awakening" has received its first review, and got 4 of 5 stars. You can read the review here:


https://mybookabyss.com/2019/03/25/adagio-of-awakening-by-brett-j-baker-royal-crown-press/


Naturally, I will be addressing the grammatical issues she addresses in the review. That is the beauty of digital publishing, you can always go back and revise, even if the book is for print. But she says a lot of great things about the book too. You can get your copy here.
03/19/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (6:54 pm)


The Prowlers & Paragons kickstarter launched this morning, and has raised over $8000 in less than 8 hours. If you play tabletops and/or like superheroes this is the game for you. Click below to check it out!

http://bit.ly/PnPUE
03/18/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (6:53 pm)
So my friends over at Evil Beagle Games are launching their Kickstarter tomorrow for Prowlers & Paragons, a superhero RPG. I want this game to be successful, first because I am friends with several members of their leadership team, second because it's an absolutely fun tabletop RPG (I've been playing in a campaign since August, or September,) and third because if it is successful, I will get to write an Anime and Giant Mecha v. Giant Kaiju sourcebook for the game. If you're into RPGs, superheroes, or even Anime, check out the kickstarter!

http://tinyurl.com/y4as2kqn
02/03/2019
Category: Books : Song of the Multiverse : 
Author: Brett Baker (12:21 am)
Another excerpt from Song of the Multiverse, Vol 1. From Chapter 1 when Rin experiences the music of the multiverse for the first time:

Rin gradually became aware of the sensation of weightlessness. She floated on soft winds, with no ground below her, and nothing but shifting blues, greens, and purples to be seen in every direction. As if representing the passage from day to night to day again, the colors seemed to oscillate back and forth between lighter hues, and darker shades. And then she became aware of the music; the music that had been there the entire time, like a child hiding, playfully waiting to reveal itself. In a rising crescendo, the joyous, rapturous orchestral fanfare filled her soul full to brimming over.

And she became aware of a new melody as her own soul responded with its own music. The two songs soared and intertwined like a rising duet coiling around one another. She listened and heard her own voice responding as it joined with a countless chorus of voices singing together as one in this orchestral magnum opus of infinite proportions.

Then the chorus slowly faded, and the colors grew dark as they yielded to blackness while the music fell silent. Rin’s eyes slowly opened. She was awake; sleep still lingering in her tired, heavy eyes. She was in the bedroom of Watanabe’s safehouse. Lexi’s side of the bed was empty, but she sat nearby on a chair, scrolling through a list of search results on a holomenu that hovered before her.

“What time is it?” Rin asked sleepily. A holomenu appeared, displaying that it was 5:37 am. “Lexi?” Rin began, “What are you doing?”

“Searching for information on this Watanabe” Lexi replied as she continued to scroll past public profiles in the citizen database.

“Why?” Rin asked.

“I don’t trust him” Lexi replied. “Do you?”

“He seems to want to help us,” Rin answered. “And he hasn’t really given us any reason not to trust him.”

“There’s something he’s not telling us,” Lexi said. “I can feel it!”

“It’s late” Rin began. “Come back to bed.”

“Ah-ha!” Lexi exclaimed suddenly. “I’ve found him!” Lexi rotated the holomenu so Rin could see as a public profile expanded. It was certainly the same man.

“Kenjiro Watanabe” Lexi read aloud. “Born 2033. It says he works downtown. 410 Michigan Ave., Suite 133D.

“What are you going to do?” Rin asked.

“Get dressed,” Lexi replied. “We are going to go pay a visit to Watanabe’s office.”
02/01/2019
Category: Books : Song of the Multiverse : 
Author: Brett Baker (1:06 am)
From Chapter II, Rin and Watanabe discuss what Rin has been hearing:

While Lexi settled in to sleep, Rin went out on the rooftop of the building to listen.

She could again hear that symphonic chorus transposed over the sounds of the city. Finding a spot to settle in, she soaked the music in and let it fill her. Rin didn’t understand the significance of the music. She just knew she wanted more of it.

But she wasn’t there long before Watanabe appeared. “What are you doing up here?” he asked.

“Listening” Rin replied.

“You’re hearing that music again?” Watanabe offered as he settled down on his haunches next to her, and listened.

Rin nodded wordlessly.

“Have you ever heard it?” Rin asked finally.

Watanabe shook his head.

“What does it mean?” Rin asked. “That I can hear it but nobody else can?”

“I don’t know for sure,” Watanabe replied. “But I think it indicates that you share a very powerful connection to the multiverse.”

“What do you mean?” Rin asked.

“Most theorists like to believe that the universes of the multiverse are like bubbles in a drink, all coexisting at once. But that’s because those of us who have actually traversed the multiverse are few and we’re not a very chatty group. Earth is the central nexus of the multiverse. I don’t understand why it is, it just is. I believe all universes coexist in the same location, they just vibrate at different frequencies, kind of like the strings of a violin. Those vibrations rise, crescendoing to forte, and fall to piano in turn, together forming a harmony and a melody in the celestial symphony of existence. That, my dear, is what you are hearing; somehow you have tapped into the multiverse in its purest, most primal form.”

“But if you’ve never heard it, how do you know?” Rin asked.

“There are stories of a very select few who have heard the music. Special people who gained wisdom and insights beyond imagining, just from listening.”

They fell silent as they listened again, and Rin’s consciousness danced on the gentle lilting notes of the multiverse’s song.

“I’m scared” she finally admitted.

“Scared of what?” Watanabe asked in reply.

“Scared that the music will go away, and I won’t be able to hear it anymore.”

Watanabe smiled and he got to his feet. “I don’t think continuing to hear will be your challenge, Rin. The challenge will be understanding what you hear. I’m going inside now. Try to get some rest. We have a busy night ahead of us.”
01/29/2019
Category: Other Stuff : 
Author: Brett Baker (7:25 pm)
I will be at WhimsyCon 2019! WhimsyCon is a Steampunk & Literary Convention in Denver. It will be March 1-3 at the Hyatt Regency in the Denver Tech Center. I will be sitting on 3 panels. Here is my schedule:

Sat, 11:00 AM-11:50 AM, Fighting the Day Job (Wind Star A – Literary)
Sat, 2:00 PM-2:50 PM, RPG World-Building (Mesa Verde A – Steampunk)
Sat, 6:00 PM-6:50 PM, Marketing for Writers (Mesa Verde C – Maker)

If you would like more information on WhimsyCon, you can find it by Clicking Here.
01/28/2019
Category: Books : Song of the Multiverse : 
Author: Brett Baker (1:39 pm)
Song of the Muiltiverse: Volume I, Adagio of Awakening is live in Kindle format.

Click here to get your copy on Amazon.
01/27/2019
Category: Books : Song of the Multiverse : 
Author: Brett Baker (10:14 pm)
Yes, you read that correctly. Volume I of my brand-new series Song of the Multiverse will be coming out on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats within the next 72 hours! check back right here at http://www.brettbaker.ws for more information. When it is available follow the link to the amazon page where you can buy it. It's just that simple!

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