Title: The Final Book: Gods
Author: SW Hammond
To Be Published: June 13th, 2017
Genre: Fiction / Science Fiction / Mythology / Visionary & Metaphysical
Recommended Age: 16+
Content Warning: Historical battles with swordplay and the violence / gore of war
In the beginning there was love. The Goddess of Life in an elated romance with a beloved mortal. Her sister killed him. Their combined actions ripping a hole in destiny and plagued mankind with an age of unprecedented corruption, vicious holy wars, and religious absolution.
Though long forgotten by the mortals they serve, Zeus and his Pantheon continue to foster and protect mankind which is tearing itself apartâbut even God isnât infallible. After failed diplomacy, the King of the Gods is left with no choice but to take the persona of a modern manâthe famed genetic scientist Dr. Hork. In an effort to preserve the future by reshaping the past, Dr. Hork uses Project Genesisâthe transfer of consciousnessâto send subjects back in time. However, not without devastating failures. Subjects of the experiment wreak havoc upon humanity until a familiar character is reborn to correct the course.
Reincarnated and ready to fulfill his true destiny, Joshua Bach is the catalyst the Gods have been waiting forâand Dr. Horkâs final beacon of salvation. Ferociously idealistic, the free-spirited young man struggles to come-of-age in a time and society ruled by money and corruption. Under the wing of the Gods, Josh rediscovers his purpose, along with a love that can only be considered timeless.
This epic blends human history, ruthless mythology, science fiction, and the supernatural to tell a love story of the futureâbringing Gods across all faiths down to earth in the modern age and within your reach.
About the Author:
Sean William Hammond is the author of The Final Book: Gods and The Mixtape Manifesto: A Pop Culture Confessional. He is also a freelance writer contributing to music zines, adventure and lifestyle magazines, and new media technical websites across the world. On his official website, SWHammond.com, youâll find a mix of his articles, essays, and personal memoirs that encompass pop culture, politics, relationships, and thoughts on life.
SWâs writing style, particularly within his commentary, is often compared to Chuck Klosterman with countless references to pop culture, especially music. Hammondâs honest approach creates an easy camaraderie with the reader, then tests the boundaries with sensitive subject matter. Philosophy, ethics, and virtue continually square off against an instantaneous hedonism celebrated throughout societyâwith Hammond in the middle, struggling to keep his head above water.
SWâs fictional writing makes a conscious effort to blend perception, rumor, and fact leaving the reader to question reality. His stories are often rooted in truth, taking place in historical settings or by playing on modern headlines, making use of common and relatable themes to drive home critical points about the human condition. Though grand, epic, and futurist, the backbone of his novels hinge on basic principles of morality, or lack thereof.
Hammond has a unique background as a music and sports industry professional. He has worked in the Commissionerâs Office of Major League Baseball as a Marketing Coordinator, was an Assistant of Arizona Operations in the Kansas City Royals farm system, and operated Spring Training stadium audio for the Los Angeles Angels. He is also credited as a Marketing Representative for Sony Music Entertainment, a Senior Tour Manager for the Vans Warped Tour, and an intern at WAR Records / United Interests Management.
Born just outside of Denver, CO in 1983, Hammond hasnât settled down much since. Aside from Colorado, as a child he also lived in Maine, California, and Utah. As an adult he returned to Colorado and Utah, also adding Arizona and Nevada to the list. He has visited 49 of the 50 states, vowing to make it to Alaska one day soon. Seemingly only content while in motion, Hammondâs dream is to one day own a catamaran and sail it around the world. He currently resides in Las Vegas, NV studying philosophy at UNLV. Hammond has never been married and has no children.
Excerpt From Chapter 23 - Transmigration - The Final Book: Gods
âSeriously though, Billy. Whatâs going on? Unless youâre looking for a space monkey, what do you need me for?â
âGive yourself some credit. I just thought you might like to come along for the ride. Unless this sort of thing is in Milan or Dubai, Pom could care less. Plus thereâs someone there I want you to meet. Or rather, who wants to meet you.â
Josh twisted his brow with confusion but remained quiet allowing William to elaborate.
âHer little joke, attending the Space Symposium. Sheâs a longtime friend.â
âSo what, youâre setting me up?â
William roared with laughter. âNo, not that! Sheâsâ¦sheâs a very interesting woman. I told her how you and I have been spending a lot of time together, talking philosophy. Weâll just grab a drink after and say hi.â
âThatâs fineâ¦ But I still donât get it.â
William tried to explain. âShe sees the world in a very unique way. I thought you might appreciate that. No big deal.â
âOkay,â Josh agreed, feeling there was more to the story. âLetâs hope I donât disappoint.â
âOh and, JoshââWilliam looked over at himââletâs keep this between you and I. Itâs nothing underhanded, just avoiding unnecessary trouble. Ana and I have a bit of history, which Pom is fully aware of, but it will always be tenderâ¦ No sense in stirring the pot.â
Josh remained silent, uncomfortable with Williamâs request. He didnât like the thought of lying to Pom, as she and he had become quite close, just as he and William had. Also Williamâs infidelity irritated him; he couldnât understand how someoneâs eye would be able to wander with a woman like Pom at home. But, most importantly, he was disappointed that William placed him in the middle. Regardless of Williamâs affairs, Josh didnât want to be an accessory to something that could potentially upset Pom.
âI know what youâre thinking,â William said, âand it reaffirms my decision for you to meet Ana. I know youâve grown close with Pom. I also know youâd do things differently than me, and thatâs why Iâm proud to call you my friend. But life isnât so cut and dry, Josh. Temptation isnât your viceâ¦â He paused as he tried to conjure up the appropriate words. âWithout Ana, we wouldnât have our amazing daughters who have had a tremendous impact on the world. Iâm not exaggerating when I say that those girls have changed the lives of millions of people. The world is a much better place because of my weakness. Yes, that came at the expense of Pom, but whatâs the greater good? Whatâs most important?â
William had never opened up to Josh about his personal affairs and Josh wasnât quite sure how to respond. He felt tremendous objection with Williamâs rationalization of his actions, but didnât want to outright judge the man.
âI donât know, Billy,â Josh began. âHonesty is usually the best policy. It sounds like youâre justifying poor judgment by the serendipitous outcome of superb offspringâ¦ I mean, what if your children with Ana grew up to be heinous, or even normal. Would those ends justify the means?â
âWell, thatâs the odd thing about destiny: itâs inevitable,â William replied. âThose girls had to be born, they were needed. Destiny exploited my weakness, a character flaw of mine, in order to put forth what the world needed.â
âWow,â Josh said, taken aback by Williamâs explanation. âYouâve done a lot of great things, Dr. Hork, almost other worldly things. But youâre speaking as if youâre chosen. The odd thing about destiny isnât that itâs inevitable, but itâs that we donât know what it is. Itâs not like we have a map or checklist of the future.â
âBut what if you did? What if you did know your destiny? Would that still make my actions dishonorable? Knowing the outcome of the greater good?â
Josh turned to look out the window. âYouâre suggesting that you have a crystal ball and thereâs only one way to do things. That almost makes it worse. Knowing your destiny and still not finding an honorable or honest solution with Pom to achieve the same outcome.â
William remained quiet, allowing Josh to explain himself.
âDestiny is an excuse for poor actions,â Josh continued. âItâs a self-fulfilling prophecy. You believe in your destiny, so therefore you actively seek it out, and it eventually becomes you. By adding the âcosmic mysticalâ element, you relinquish accountability and responsibility. You just blame your actions on the gods. It was their will for you to sleep with that woman, not yours.â
âHow would one honorably explain conceiving a child with another woman?â William asked, looking over at him out of the corner of his eye.
âThatâs my pointâyou canât now. Honesty has to start from the beginning. If you knew that infidelity or flesh of another is your vice, perhaps you shouldnât have married. Itâs selfish, Bill. You placed your desireâyour âdestinyââabove your wife.â
There was a long pause.
âWhoâs to say you couldnât have had those amazing daughters, who changed the world, with Pom?â Josh added.
âTheir mother for one,â William quickly replied. âThose girls arenât great because of me, itâs because of Ana.â
Josh was silent, still looking out the window to avoid Williamâs eyes.
âYouâre right, though,â William muttered. âIâll be the first to admit that I didnât handle things properly. I hurt Pom, and Iâll always feel terrible for it. I wish I had as much wisdom at your ageâ¦â
Josh sighed. âBilly, I wasnât trying to insult you. You and Pom have your own relationship and arrangement. I donât know the complexities and it has nothing to do with meâ¦ I just donât like being put in the middle.â
âFair enough,â William said as he stared blankly through the windshield. âSometimes I forget who Iâm talking to. Someone who actually practices what they preachâ¦ Speaking of preaching, I guess youâd have to believe in God to believe in destiny, then?â He eased the conversation away from his personal affairs but was enjoying Joshâs thoughts on morality.
âAbstractly, destinyâs just a really fortunate excuse for a lot of people to do a lot of bad things. Thatâs the problem with man mingling with Gods, or religion.â
William was intrigued. âExplain.â
âBeyond diminishing personal accountability, an unintended consequence or not, once you cut through all of the ritual and teachings, the bottom line is that religion completely devalues life. The entire premise of there being something after this world inherently makes the existence weâre currently living less important or less precious. With the promise of something more after life, something greater, it makes death much easier to accept.â
âA religious authority, priest or bishop, can paint the picture of a glorious afterworld and use that to manipulate followers into either being good to one another, or to wage horrific wars. If you die along the way, which we all will one day, thatâs actually a good thing because now youâre home with God. And who doesnât want to be with God?â Josh said sarcastically.
âWhy do you think people go along with this notion?â
âTheyâre seeking a cause and effect to existence, an explainable reaction. They try to understand unfathomable things that happen during life, creating reasons to justify manâs relevance on a cosmic levelâusually by attributing their lives to a larger concept such as religion or destiny. The only way to ease the guilt of bad decisions, things that canât be reversed or reconciled here on Earth, is to atone to an unearthly being. The thought of being completely insignificant in the universe is more difficult for the human mind to accept than a utopia governed by a bearded man in the clouds.â
âSo I take it you donât believe in God, then?â William cocked his head with the question.
âIâm not foolish enough to say that. I can tell you with all certainty that I donât believe in any religion operated by a mortal man, but Iâm wise enough to say that I donât know about God. Iâm able to admit that I donât understand. My mind is completely openâliterally anything is possible because I have no way of knowing one way or another.â
âWithout God or a greater purpose, whatâs the point of getting out of bed?â William pushed.
âBy having tremendous value and respect for the life you currently have,â Josh replied. âBy understanding that being alive is completely unique and preciousâsomething to be worshiped, to be celebrated. Our singular personal existence in the vast universe is so rare, so exponentially unlikely, that it shouldnât be wasted by lying in bed. You won the lottery just by being born.â
âThatâs a pretty sober way to look at things. Uncomplicated.â
âI think thatâs a big problem with religion as we have it, itâs been manipulated into a tool of social control and discipline rather than a source of profound thought on the human experience. When did the belief of God become synonymous with marriage or shellfish, even goodwill or war? God doesnât have anything to do with those things.â
âOr interchangeably he has everything to do with all thingsâ¦â William added.
âRight. And thatâs a completely valid argument as well,â Josh agreed. âBut remember that slippery slope because you canât pick and choose Godâs miracles. If he has everything to do with all things, then heâs then equally responsible for healing the sick as he is for murders at an elementary school shooting.â
âWhat do you think, Josh?â William questioned him intently. âDo you think God has something to do with the murders of children?â
Josh took a deep breath and tried to articulate an answer. âNo. My vision, or ideal of what God is or would be, wouldnât be involved in that. I feel that God is removed from our daily activities. I see him as a creator and protector of humanity, but not as a personal babysitter. While he may have given life, heâs not in control of my soul or who I am. I donât feel he has any interest in or control over my personal âdestiny,â though Iâm sure he wishes general goodwill to everyoneâlike a father wishing his sons the best in life, though boys can still grow up to become murderers and rapistsâ¦ I donât know what God isâ¦â He then hesitated. âIâm not sure if heâs from the âother sideâ or if heâs just from another worldâ¦ Maybe thatâs one in the same? I donât know, I see him being more human than a fairy tale. He couldnât have been perfect if he created us in his own image.â
William let out a wild grin and found a bit of humor in Joshâs comment on perfection. His approval encouraged Josh to keep going.
âYou know how history tends to paint a glorious picture of the past, elevating certain battles or men above the restâlike our founding fathers? Somehow the realism of them as humans, with all of their many imperfections, mistakes, and outright terrible deeds have been lost over time? I think thatâs happened with God exponentially over the thousands of years. We choose to only remember the good stuff.â
âYour God sounds pretty down to Earth,â William said, as he continued to smile. âHe could be living among us and we wouldnât even know.â
Josh smiled back. âOf course. Or, you know, we could have evolved from sludgeâ¦ Hereâs one thing I donât get about modern religion. God has helpersâangels, right?â
âSo basically the whole monotheism and polytheism is pure semantics. Everyone knows Zeus was king, or the Abrahamic God is big chief god, so whatâs wrong with showing his helpers, Poseidon or Gabriel, some appreciation? All of the religions have âangelsâ or saints that perform the same functions as the Greek and Egyptian âgods,â yet it was worth killing everyone and decimating cultures over that nonsensical subtle difference.â
âReligion isnât about logic, itâs about faith.â
âI guess thatâs my problem. I have an unwavering belief and faith in life. I think God does, tooâthatâs why he bothered creating it.â
âThe end doesnât justify the meansâ¦â
âExactly. Faith is an awesome thing, having belief in something is powerful and unifying. However, when that faith is tied to an organization that is responsible for millions upon millions of deaths throughout history, the little bit of good they do does not outweigh the bad. It has nothing to do with forgiveness or reform, some things just simply canât be undone. Faith and ideology are not justifiably worth dying or killing over, and Iâve never understood how someone can convince themselves that it is.â
âWhat could be more honorable than dying for God?â William asked.
âAre you serious?â Josh scoffed. âGod doesnât want you to die for him, thatâs not why he made you. Thatâs like fucking to preserve virginity. He didnât create humans so they would kill each other over abstract concepts. Dying to protect lifeâthe thing God createdâor fighting against the oppression of the inalienable rights of life, Iâd consider that much more honorable.â
âKind of like our government, then.â
Josh rolled his eyes. âIf you believe in the liberation of oil fields and other strategic resources, sure. The government doesnât care about life unless it can tax it. Our government took a crafty lesson from religion. It has exploited the fundamental concept of freedom to propel its own agenda. Instead of using the word âgodâ like religion does, they just insert the word âfreedomâ and the propaganda is the same.â
William chuckled. âYou donât believe in government or religionâ¦ Whatâs left, anarchy?â
âAs soon as any organizationâreligion, government, corporation, nonprofit, or a person starts to manipulate their own beliefs to acquire power, conceal motives or agendas, lie, threaten, oppress, condemnâitâs corruption, Bill. I canât support an institution thatâs lost its virtue.â
âThe picture of young Joshua Bach is becoming a bit clearer,â William remarked. âSuch principles arenât going to make life easy.â
âTell me about it. Iâm basically thirty years old and can barely support myself. I canât stand our financial systemâ¦ Do you know how hard it is to not have a cent of debt to your name? The bank isnât my master. I refuse to be a part of an institution that is more concerned with share prices than the product theyâre creating or service theyâre providing.â
âThatâs noble, but not entirely realistic.â
Josh raised his voice. âWhy not? All it takes is for people to stop believing. Just as religion canât exist without faith, neither can our system. If people, one by one, no longer allowed their good intentions to be exploited, no longer fed a system that was corrupt and brokenâit would vanish. It canât operate unless people believe in it and perpetuate it.â
âI suppose thatâs easier to say if you have nothing to lose.â William paused. âIf you had a business, house, familyâestablished roots into the system, itâd be harder to turn your back on it.â
Josh was silent for a moment, then continued. âI agree. You know the types of things I think about? Iâm afraid that Iâm too poor to fall in love. Not only would I have to fully step into the corrupt systemâmeaningless job, underwater mortgage, vehicles with an expiration dateâbut if we decided to have children, Iâd have to bring them into this cycle. I wouldnât be able to afford a private school or tutors, so theyâd be educated by one of the worldâs most mediocre school systemsâby designâthat teaches them just enough to get by, so they can find another meaningless job and start the process all over again with their children. Itâs so complacent. Everyone knows itâs wrong, everyone knows itâs broken, but no one has a gun to their head. Thereâs no immediate threat, so no one does anything. Itâs a slow cancer. As soon as it gets bad enough to take action, it will be too late.â
âYou do have your freedom,â Williamâs tone was hollow. âWhat if your child breaks the cycle? It just takes oneâSpartacus.â
âWhy canât I be the One? Why my son? Why always the next generation?â
William looked over at him out of the corner of his eye. âYou speak of revolution, my boy.â
âBilly, I donât want to wage a warâ¦ I just want reform, an awakening. Has mankind always been so dishonest and self-serving? When did prophets become profits?â Josh said with bitterness.
Another long pause filled the traveling automobile, as Josh looked through the window at the city streets intently with a grave scowl.
William finally broke the silence. âI got you pretty worked up, didnât I?â
âIâm not asking for perfection, Bill. You and Pom are a perfect example. Mistakes were made, intentional or not, but at some point you had to be honest with one another. You had to agree on the future you wanted to create together and put the past behind you. You had to do what was right for your children, and Iâm sure it was hard. Iâm sure it still is. But look what youâve done. Things at one point were broken, and you fixed them. I donât know the young William Hork, but I know the man next to me now and thereâs no one more honest and virtuous. Youâve matured into an individual with compassion, foresight, strength, experience and wisdom. Youâre not perfect, but youâre damn close. I want that. I want that for man, for society. I want humanity to mature into what I know it can be.â
William looked over at Josh and without question saw the man he once knew over 2,000 years ago. Sitting in his car beside him was the spitting image of the young Israelite with his soul on fire. His bleeding heart and passion had been masked by the youthful exterior, but there was no denying the complete transmigration of Lesous Nazareth into Joshua Bach. The young manâs words, his conviction, and his virtue made it clear to William that the second coming was upon him and that Lesous was finally ready to fulfill his destiny.
âI donât know what to do, Bill.â Joshâs tone had become disheartened. âI donât have a bottomless playbook full of answers, but you know when something is wrong or when it is right. The truth is absolute. Itâs like the weatherâyou canât control or manipulate truth. It just is.â
William smiled as he pulled into the entrance of the Broadmoor Resort, where a parking valet waited. âI think Ana will be quite pleased I brought you. Long overdue.â
Josh let out a deep breath of air, trying to calm himself. âIâm sorry, Dr. Hork. I usually donât get so riled up, I prefer the rhetorical debates.â He then smiled. âI hope I didnât offend you. You know how much I think of you and Pom.â
William laughed. âOffend? Josh, my boy, I feel as though Iâve been searching for your honesty for millennia! I enjoyed every word and know there was no malice behind it.â
âI respect you. Pom, too. I just donât want anything to mess that up.â
âA man of conviction,â William said. âI crossed the line by trying to cover my own hide and you corrected me. I admire that. Not many have the gumption to speak upâ¦to not allow someone to stand in the way of doing the right thing.â
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