Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones


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Post March 18, 2005, 09:17:24 PM

Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

I truly enjoyed this story. I loved the concept of the blue sages and different levels of women who were slaves and yet held all knowledge, even when it came to war. The men, both the good and the bad, thought they held all the power, but they were powerless without women. Perhaps I'm biased, being a woman myself, but that was satisfying in itself ;-)<br><br>The mix of old knowledge and new made this story stand out. I've seen coutless movies using airships in battle, but usually the enemies are badly matched against zepplins. It's not believable, to me at least, that zepplins could fight against airplanes, but the medusas in this story were perfectly matched to the zepplins. And that made the action scenes incredible. I could picture it all in my mind as it happened. Using the medusas to crush the airships was great and more than just a little frightening. <br><br>David Jones (is this the Monkee? that would be so awesome) created vivid scenes, characters, and dialogue in this story. It should be published in a paying magazine. I'd buy it. <br><br>My only quibble is that I would like to know more about the background. The Doyen is a great character, a religious leader that has his flaws and myriad doubts, but I want more. I'd be interested in reading about how his wife was stolen. Also, the Ogema was bad, but only in passing. We heard a bit about how he abused the women and kept slaves (didn't everyone?) and filled the temple with pornography, but he wasn't exactly evil. I would have liked to see more of his character.<br><br>Overall, I think my qualms amount to this: MAKE THIS A NOVEL!! I want all the details I guess you couldn't put in a novella. It's a good short story, but it seems like there is so much more bubbling under the surface of this one.

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Post March 18, 2005, 10:29:27 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

Doyen & Ogema<br><br><br>The story started off a tad slow, with a good bit of exposition and info dumping.  The story didn’t really pick up until the battle started, and then it rolled.  Just a thought:  Would it be better to start the story with the battle, and then have a flashback or two to provide background?  <br><br>Once the story got moving, it was packed with action/adventure, and I'll agree with Kiiras that it might make a good novel--maybe even a good flick.  <br><br>But I just knew that Doyen would prevail--how could he not with The Almighty backing him?   I thought--and this is just my opinion--that  the religious aspects of the story took away much of its appeal.  Atheists might shake their heads and roll their eyes, and  some Judeo/Christians  might be offended. <br><br>One thing I found a bit strange.  Doyen, supposedly a religious figure and a biblical prophet,   had a previous life as a shepherd.  The Bible teaches that we have but one life--no incarnation, thank you!  (Incidentally, I don't see how his previous life had anything to do with the story.)<br><br>Personally, I found that I just couldn’t get into the story because of angels, divine miracles, and such.  I believe--and again, this is just my opinion--that having wizards, sorceresses, and other magic creatures to help Doyen achieve his victory would have made for a better tale.  I think most readers--like me--are conditioned to accept magic, sorcery,  and such.<br><br>I took it that this was a post apocalypse type story, with Atlanta becoming Lanta, Mexico becoming Mehico, etc.   I was reminded a bit of Sterling Lanier’s “Hiero’s Journey,” a post apocalypse tale written in the 60s, where Delaware became Dalwah, and so on.  If this was a tale that takes place in the future southeastern U.S,, then where in dickens did the flying medusas come from?  No explanation was in the story--if so, I missed it.  (In Hiero’s Journey, the strange creatures are explained as resulting from nuclear war--as was fashion in the 60s.)<br><br>For the most part, I enjoyed reading Doyen and Ogema , an interesting and exciting tale.<br><br>Donald<br><br><br><br>
Last edited by dsullivan on March 18, 2005, 10:30:30 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post March 18, 2005, 10:48:17 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

Thank you both for your comments.<br><br>Kiiras, I was shooting for a short story and ended up with a novella. I doubt I'll make this a novel, but thank you for the encouragement. Like most folks here, I have a novel already in the works, but it has nothing to do with the Doyen's world.<br><br>Dan, the Doyen didn't have a previous life as in reincarnation. He used to be a shepard and was called to become a prophet later in life. I thought I made that clear since Mitzu called him Passe. <br>I understand your qualms with the religious aspects, but it was central to the character and the culture. I think it's strange how, in today's society, people are so offended by religion, even when it is basically innocuous. If the religion had been druidism or some made up sect that worshipped a giant creator rat, would you have felt the same? Many people sneer when they pick up a story about wizards, unicorns or flying saucers. To each his own. <br>As for the medusas, asking where they came from is like asking a caveman where the dinosaurs came from. Perhaps the old crones on Stone Mountain have the answer, but it's not generally known. Biology and evoluction don't mean much when you're living hand to mouth. Heck, most people today can't tell you where elephants came from or how and why they developed. <br><br>I understand you saying the story started slow, but I was trying to establish the characters. I wanted readers to know that both Luce and her mother understood air battle and war in general. <br><br>Again, thank you both for your comments. <br><br><br>-- david j.
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Post March 19, 2005, 12:53:55 AM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

Dan, the Doyen didn't have a previous life as in reincarnation.  He used to be a shepard and was called to become a prophet later in life.  I thought I made that clear since Mitzu called him Passe.  

  david j.
<br><br>When rereading, I can see it. Missed it the first time; read through it too fast I s'pose. Apologies.<br><br>Donald<br><br>
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Post March 20, 2005, 11:46:38 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

In general, I enjoyed this story. Strong writing and a well-wrought world. It ought to be expanded into a novel.<br><br>I had no problem with the use of the Judeo-Christian system per se (and I'm no friend of that tradition); I think it holds a wealth of material from which to construct an alternative world. Angels are such ambiguous characters... Remember the flick Prophecy (I think there were two of them actually) with Eric Stoltz and Christopher Walken?<br><br>But I did have a few quibbles:<br><br>(1) Samanth's display of knowledge was mediocre at best. With respect to the military doctrine, nothing of what she said indicated that she knew more about warfighting than anyone else. Perhaps seeing her ply her knowledge in a skirmish or solve some sticky battlefield dilemma presented by Ogema would've been more convincing than have her answer something from what seemed like Military Strategy 101.<br><br>(2) The arrival of the medusas to win the day was disappointing. Had Doyen been a friend to these creatures, perhaps constructing his four airships from some other materials while Ogema slaughtered them by the hundred to build his fleet, then it would've been a wonderful revenge to see these beasts lay waste to the armada built from the blood of their brethern. Further, I think I would've preferred seeing Doyen take out Ogema's yacht in a one-on-one battle (I hoped that's what was going to happen and was bummed when he called the Medusas back). Then Doyen has more agency. Maybe we could've seen his battlefield skills and a little more humanity from him. That would've been a more resonant ending to the battle scene to me. <br><br>Praying at every turn and relying on the will of God just seems so passive. <br><br>Anyway, David has talent and this is a rich world that I would really enjoy seeing more of.<br><br>Dan E.<br><br>
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Post March 29, 2005, 02:06:42 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

David has real talent. His prose seems so effortless. That's something you can't teach.<br><br>This is a good story. A bit of deus ex machina with the medusas appearing, but that's okay, since it is God that directs them (through Doyen, of course). However, I wondered a bit about the angel and how Rose and Luce knew that the medusas would miraculously defeat them.<br><br>I enjoyed the backdrop of Atlanta (called Lanta in the story) since I live in the area, with further references to Stone Mountain, which, by the way, also figured heavily in my story last year. But why no references to its most famous feature, the carvings of the famous Civil War heroes?
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Post March 29, 2005, 08:52:25 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

Thank you very much for the comments. As for the civil war carvings. . . well I really didn't think of them, sorry. I did consider mentioning "Underground" Lanta, but decided I'd be pushing it abit with that. Perhaps I should also have added "the big chicken", that'd be a hoot.<br><br><br>-- david j.
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Post April 03, 2005, 08:33:01 PM

Re: Doyen and Ogema by David Alan Jones

I think it's strange how, in today's society, people are so offended by religion, even when it is basically innocuous. If the religion had been druidism or some made up sect that worshipped a giant creator rat, would you have felt the same? Many people sneer when they pick up a story about wizards, unicorns or flying saucers. To each his own.
<br>I think a part of this may be the source of power. Tapping into a supernatural being's power is all well and good, but only if there are limits. If Doyen is using the conventionally known "Almighty", then there's nothing that particular version of God can't do. I doubt if there was anything in Druidism or Giant Rat worship that could call forth a horde of mountain-sized medusas at the wave of a hand. The power revealed is so strong, that at least in this case, didn't require that Doyen or his army even be there. God could smite them from above, without any of the rest of this story needing to take place. Or more surgically, Almighty God could have had all the bad men drop dead of instant heart attacks. End of story.<br><br>Now, if you're using the power of the Big Rat, there are just some things you can't do, and you have some reasons to need humans to help the righteous win out against Those Without Tails if you're ever going to see the nirvana that is the Great Sewer Party at the End of the World. :)<br><br>I would have liked more description. (Coming from me, that should be no surprise.) These airships, I had trouble picturing them. Were they just nets holding in sacs with gondolas underneath? How were they armed? How does one engage in air-to-air combat wih zeppelins? I caught that that some of them had their sacs punctured, but wouldn't airships be of such prized value that they wouldn't be destroyed unless they had to be, much like sailing ships in the pirate era? I pictured a lot of grappling hooks and boarding parties. Otherwise, flaming arrows may have made the best weapon instead of cannon balls.<br><br>I understood medusas were like jellyfish in the air, but what color was a medusa? The skin was nearly translucent, but when punctured, green blood and bile ran down its sides. If the skin was see-through, wouldn't it all have been green, then?<br><br>There seemed to be a formatting error:<br><br>"And worth more gems than you can imagine," said Rose, still gazing at the ships overhead. She looked so sad, so forlorn in that moment<br>[part missing]<br>I'm your daughter, thought Luce. If only she could say the words. If only she could be certain of Rose's loyalties."<br><br>--What was left off?<br><br>I was confused by the number of Doyen's ships. When they down the Medusa, they say it will make 2 ships, and they only need 40 more. But there are only 4 in the Black Berth. Was his fleet 4 or 40 ships?<br><br>I think I needed to see more about Doyen's past. The story is quite a ways into it before I really got behind him and started sympathizing with his character. Perhaps if we knew how he had grown up to this point, how he had gone from herding sheep to attacking caravans, to becoming a prophet chosen by God to lead an army. That's quite a trip, and I was sorry I missed it.<br><br>I didn't see the need for the character of Luce. She didn't contribute anything special that couldn't have been done by others. Doyen could have seen his wife dragged down with his own eyes just as well as those of his daughter.<br><br>I had trouble putting my finger exactly on what point the climax was. Was it when Doyen ordered the medusas to attack the second time? That was the only "choice" scene that I saw where different outcomes could have happened based on someone's actions. But in terms of drama, Rose being dragged down with her captor is more dramatic. This confusion, I felt, kept the plot resolution fuzzy and undefined. <br><br>Once upon a time, a pro author scolded me: "When maintaining a narrative voice, it is jarring to the reader to sandwich lines in 'high,' or formal diction in an otherwise plainspoken narrative." She was right. Diaphanous, nematocysts, unctuous, bole, & erudite coterie sent me scrambling for my dictionary, and didn't fit the rest of the vocabulary. What's more, it's hard to keep readers in the narrative flow with their noses in a dictionary. That author called these "precious darlings" and recommended that they be the first things cut, and I now pass the same advice to you.<br><br>On the positive side, David's "got game", as it were. A wonderful notion, and an interesting, diverse universe on a scale that I just don't get to see enough. There are great character choices. Showing the worry inside a Prophet--genious. I loved that. <br><br>However, I felt the plot just didn't measure up to the rest of this glorious world. It was unfocused, and resolved with divine intervention instead of good, human drama.<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on April 03, 2005, 08:44:20 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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