Embrace the BLACK.
Embrace the VICE.
But most of all…
EMBRACE THE PSYCHO!!!
Part 1: Psycho Shatter (95YcH0_Sh4πeR)
Before I started the November 2021 re-edit of my fifth novel, Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth (which I’m just going to call PS 1985 for the sake of brevity), I went in with the idea that, after reviewing the story, I would have oodles of things to talk about regarding its development and my inspirations. Unfortunately, as I learned while re-editing it, the development of PS 1985 really is not all that interesting… But I’ll try to stretch it out a bit for the sake of making this a proper Ramble.
The inception of this project came all the way back in 2014, when I wrote a short story by the name of Psycho Shatter (95YcH0_Sh4πeR). I detailed the creative inspirations for this project back in Natalie Rambles About The Saga of Vincent Dawn, so I won’t go into detail again, but the gist goes something like this.
2014’s Psycho Shatter (95YcH0_Sh4πeR), which I’m just going to call PS Classic, started as an edgy joke project. Something I dabbled with in short outlines and page-long snippets throughout the start of 2014. However, after writing a pair of terrible stories in the form of Terrance & Urabe’s Alien Assassination Adventure and Return of Mighty Terra: 2052 – The DNApocalypse, I wanted to take a break and write something crass, vulgar, and overall deranged.
This led me to develop PS Classic from a casual idea into a full-blown project that I wrote throughout July 2014. This resulted in a 23,000 word story that was… basically a prototype for the first seven chapters, or ‘Phases’ of PS 1985. Though, there were a lot of key differences.
- The protagonist of PS Classic was a female character named T-Bird instead of a non-binary character named Vice.
- The story was set in the year 2000 instead of 1985, meaning there was more ‘modern’ technology like cellular telephones.
- Abigale Quinata was simply named ‘Abi-chan’ in her child form and named ‘Abi-senpai’ in her adult form.
- The background for the protagonist was far more limited in PS Classic, with T-Bird being a child who suffered from a degenerative disease that led her to become a murderer and rapist. Whereas Vice kept their mental faculties until they suffered from blunt trauma.
- The battle between the protagonist and the Abi was completely different in PS Classic, and had to be changed to avoid ‘pedophilic catgirl tentacle rape.’ Instead, PS 1985 features a more anime-inspired fight sequence, and also child vore.
While I have a bit of a complicated love-hate relationship with a lot of my earlier work, PS Classic was something that I continued to look back on fondly. So much, in fact, that I even went back to it in August 2016, fixing up many of its innumerous errors and creating a novella dubbed Psycho Shatter Re;Masturbated (95YcH0_Sh4πəR_Яë;M@$TürB8’D). However, I never released this work to the public and never plan to. Because despite all of my edits, I could not get around the biggest problem with this novella: Its narrator, Vincent Dawn. A character who spent the entire story cracking these bad, overly edgy, and demeaning jokes. While he was meant to be funny… he was simply insufferable. Vincent Dawn, as a narrator, was easily the worst thing about this novella, and no amount of light editing could make that better.
In order to do PS 1985 justice, I would need to remake the story, from scratch, and back in 2016, I simply did not want to do that.
Part 2: Psycho Shatter 2000: New Millennium Order
After shelving Re;Masturbated, I put the idea of a redux of Psycho Shatter aside until February 2018. I was part way through editing Psycho Bullet Festival: The Odyssey of Abigale Quinlan— a novel I spent 23 months on— and I was brainstorming new stories I could pick up after I finished this current project. What I came up with was an idea for a story that I named Psycho Shatter 2000: New Millennium Order.
PS 2000 NMO would have been set in December 2000 and followed a group of college kids living in a house together. The story would have begun with the protagonists finishing up their finals, holding a house party to celebrate the end of a semester. Then, on the very next day, after the main cast was introduced, the household would discover that their tiny college town was miraculously blocked off from the rest of the world thanks to a dark miasma. After some confusion, they would hear the voice of the central antagonist, Black Soul, who would announce that this town was chosen as the destination of their winter holiday.
From there, the story was set to devolve into a deluge of mental and physical transformations, body swaps, wackadoo sex scenes, and Black Soul was going to be a body hopping serial killer. If all of that sounds unspecific, you would be correct, as I quickly abandoned this idea after creating certain character concepts that were just… horrible. My brief concept bios for two of them read as follows:
- “A homosexual Asian man who is very neat, uptight, and tends to look after his friends like a doting mother. They call him Mom or Asian Mom.”
- “Another is a transgender woman who, due to her family’s wealth, managed to undergo a lot of surgeries at a young age, and is just attending college a few years later so she can experience what it is like. They call her Slut Mom, because she is a bit of a slut.”
…Yeah, that was a deadend if I’ve ever seen one, and I thankfully abandoned this idea shortly after envisioning it. Not necessarily because I realized the idea was bad, but because I came up with a WAY better one.
This idea came to me after my friend gammaflux brought up how I should write a body swap board game story, and I took to the concept like a fly to honey. I spent the next few months, throughout April to August 2018, doing general pre-production on a story that I named Psycho Shatter 2000: Black Vice Mania. A story that I still intend on writing, my current estimate for its release is December 2025, and I have not written the story beyond a general outline and a few tests.
The reason I bring this up is that, while I wanted to write Psycho Shatter 2000: Black Vice Mania, and I still REALLY do, the story would not work without establishing the character of Black Soul. I originally imagined PS 2000 NMO and PS 2000 BVM as both being direct sequels to PS Classic, but I quickly grew distasteful with this idea. So I reached the conclusion that, if I was going to make a sequel to PS Classic, I really should just remake it in its entirety.
Or in other words, I wrote PS 1985 because I wanted to write a sequel to PS Classic.
Throughout the remainder of 2018, I jotted down notes related to what I originally titled Psycho Shatter 1999: Black Soul Re;Birth, before eventually coming up with the final name of Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth. …Which I should probably explain before I get much further.
Part 3: What Is A Name? (A Miserable Little Pile of Secrets)
The “Psycho Shatter” was obviously inherited from the original story, and while the use of the word “Psycho” can be considered gauche or insensitive in some contexts, it remains one of my favorite words of all time. It, and the word “Shatter” both have a real punchiness to them, and describe the story fairly well, as the PS 1985 is extensively about a psychopath who destroys and shatters things.
The 1985 bit denotes the year, and as for why I went with 1985, the reason is twofold. I have a very limited understanding of the world before the 1980s, and would not be comfortable writing a story anytime before then. Hell, to this day I barely have a grasp of what the defining features of the 70s truly were, as I never learned much about that decade in school or vicariously through other media.
The specific reason why I went with 1985 was as a cheeky reference to the American localized version of 1984’s The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla 1985. I was a big Godzilla fan as a kid, and I always appreciated the title structure of the series. How so many of the films are these uniform versus titles, but there are these two oddballs thrown into the middle that just have the year attached to them: Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla 2000. Since I was already planning a story called Psycho Shatter 2000, I thought I should also write a story called Psycho Shatter 1985 to create a cheeky parallel to the Godzilla series.
Now, you might look at that and say: “…Why would you do such a thing, you autistic fuckwit?” Um… there is really no reason other than I thought it would be a cute reference to something. I also, in general, find the decision to include a year within a title to be just… wonderfully endearing. Metro 2033, Blade Runner 2049, Cyberpunk 2020, The Order: 1886. Something about this just clicks with me, and I think it is a great way to indicate when a ‘period piece’ is set without the need for any further elaboration.
“Black Vice” was something I went back and forward with for quite some time. The protagonist of PS Classic had an alias of Black Soul, and I was originally leaning on using that here. …But things obviously changed.
I was initially hesitant to use the term “Black” in a title of a work such as this, as it could be seen as equating ‘blackness’ with evil, vices, or any litany of negative things. However, I ultimately went with the word Black because, to me, it just sounded better than Dark. And if you READ this story and think I am saying that black people are in any way bad… then you must be pretty bad at reading. Literally the only black person in this story is lied to and manipulated by white people into doing shitty work for shitty pay, before she is murdered by a white person. If anything, I would argue that white people are the real villains… in general, but also in this story. As such, calling the story White Vice would make sense, no? Well, yes, but I wanted to save the name White Vice for another project I’ve had cooking on the back burner for a couple of… years… I am really bad at finishing projects, aren’t I?
As for why I went with the term Black Vice instead of Black Soul, the reason for that is actually a funny, or maybe just roundabout, story.
The name Vice comes from a failed body swap centered role-playing project that I did with my buddy, gammaflux, back in 2016. The project, which was simply dubbed College RP never got past the outline phase, and most of this is my fault, as instead of making an RP, I was more interested in creating a collaborative novel with gammaflux. And together we prepared a 26,180 word outline… I wrote over 20,000 of those words while gammaflux watched me write and offered feedback.
Despite all of this planning, we never actually got started on this project, but we did brainstorm ideas for a sequel, and one of those ideas involved the introduction of a malicious antagonist by the name of Vice. The general idea behind Vice was that they were a person who has lived for hundreds of years, and spent them in tens of thousands of different bodies. I envisioned them as someone who loved body swaps and believed that the world would be a better place if people were not tied down to a single form. But instead of merely giving people the option to swap bodies, Vice was to be a radical who wanted to swap an entire college campus, before potentially moving onto larger targets.
Very little of their character transferred, and I mostly stuck with the name because… I think it is a great name for a villain associated with body swapping. I explain the reasons why in the novel itself, with Vice explaining the many meanings of their namesake, which was pretty much just a gussied up version of my own rationale for this character.
Vice means immoral or wicked behavior. Vice means to substitute or, in some antiquated forms, change something. A vise is a metal tool used to keep objects in place… that can also be used to murder someone. Also, it sounds cool and can make for a good villain name… that I might have unintentionally stolen from the character of Lord Vyce from Atop The Fourth Wall. Which, for those unaware, is a comic book review show, and one I have been watching weekly since… 2009.
As for the final, and arguably most perplexing, word of this title, Rebirth is somewhat commonly used as a subtitle in remakes, or revivals, of Japanese video games. The most famous examples are probably the Konami ReBirth series of WiiWare titles, including Contra ReBirth, Gradius ReBirth, and Castlevania: The Adventure – ReBirth. Or the remake of the cult classic Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Amnesia: Rebirth. However, the stylized “Re;Birth” is lifted directly from Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth trilogy, which I played through back in 2015. Those games are not good… but they left an impact on me.
Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth is a roundabout, complicated, and genuinely bizarre name for anything, and… that was actually my intention, believe it or not. I have a fondness for complicated and flowery titles. And after working on something called Psycho Bullet Festival: The Odyssey of Abigale Quinlan, I decided to fully embrace this love by creating the most ostentatious title I could without being a pompous asshat about them.
Though, I will admit that part of me does regret going with such complicated titles, as Google Docs does not support auto-complete without the use of a paid subscription or extension. And it gets REALLY annoying having to type out the same title over, and over, and over again.
Part 4: Birthing a New Breed Of Psycho
After I poked away at the concepts behind this novel throughout 2018, and wrote an outline throughout January 2019, development on Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth began in February 2019. This was immediately after I completed The Saga of Vincent Dawn, which was a lengthy and… unconventional novel, and after its completion. It took a lot out of me and, for my next project, I wanted to work on something that would not take me an especially long time. Something I knew I would enjoy writing. 9 months later, I was done with PS 1985, and began posting it on Natalie.TF, complete with custom header images and a cover. All of which I made myself after I learned how to create and manipulate basic art assets for what I affectionately dub “Pixel Art Dioramas.”
Unlike some of my previous projects, there really are not any interesting development stories to share, or going-ons in my life that delayed the novel by a significant amount. I set a release date of 11/18/2019, as I wanted to celebrate my 25th birthday by releasing my fifth novel. I gradually worked on it throughout the year while pursuing my Master’s in Accounting at Northeastern Illinois University. I was happy with the story when it was released, and I am still happy with it to this day.
The actual planning part of PS 1985 had two main phases. First, I recalled the events of PS Classic and rewrote them from scratch. Changing a few things that did not work especially well, while adding some completely new scenes and elements all-together. The masturbation scene, revised character backgrounds, a change in time period, an overhauled encounter with Abi. These were the biggest changes/additions in going from PS Classic to PS 1985… but the similarities end after the first half of the story.
PS Classic concluded shortly after the protagonist defeated Abi, woke up in a police station, and used their powers to escape the station. In my mind, the story was done at that point. And I chose to end it by having Vincent Dawn shift from his role as a narrator into a God figure who abducted the protagonist out of the story for… complicated reasons.
For this remake, however, I wanted to continue things into the second day. I wanted to explore Vice as they used their powers to the fullest, and wreak havoc on the town of Murinova. This concept alone presented me with a world of opportunity, but I almost immediately ran into an issue. I could not think of a way to make Vice, operating at full power, an interesting protagonist.
As of Phase 8 in PS 1985, Vice is an all-powerful god who can alter and rework reality however they so choose. And they do not have any goal greater than wrending as much chaos as possible. I, quite simply, could not think of a way to make their exploits or actions interesting, which led me to rethink the focus of the remaining chapters of the story. I decided that, instead of following Vice as they went about their exploits, the more interesting story, or stories, would be the ones that the citizens of Murinova experience. What they are doing, and what they are subjected to, as Vice goes about their grand plan to destroy this town and kill the vast majority of its population.
As for where the inspiration for these stories came from… that is a fairly tricky question. Though, I think the biggest single source of inspiration for all of this, for this more in-depth and detailed look at a rural small town in the American midwest, was none other than Higurashi: When they Cry.
I started playing the horror visual novel series in 2015, and despite going through the games at an almost glacial pace, I grew more and more invested in the small rural Japanese town of Hinamizawa. I enjoyed the vibe it offered with its slow pace of life, dense forests, and tranquility of an era where information was distributed through paper and radio. I took this kernel and effectively combined this setting with that of Greenvale from Deadly Premonition in order to create the base I worked off of in order to bring the town of Murinova to life. To the extent that many locales and set pieces described in PS 1985 were lifted directly from these two sources.
The inclusion of a community center that doubled as town hall. A single-story police station with an underground jail. A big field with nothing but weeds and a play structure. The dense forests that seem almost as if they loop in on themselves. Stumbling out of the forest, only to find a slope going down to a paved road, where a traumatized character is approached by a helpful person in a police car. There’s a lot of little things I pulled directly from these two sources.
Anyway, moving onto more specific inspirations, Phase 9 focused on a young child cannibalizing their mother in order to become an idealized version of her, before stealing her life for themselves. The inspiration for this story came from the manga series Pupa by Sayaka Mogi. A comic about a young girl who eats her brother’s flesh in order to prevent herself from transforming into a monster. Along with various mother/son TSF works, ranging from Mother Son Swip-Swap by Tange Suzuki to the litany of TG Caption sites I have frequented over the years. I truly do not have much to say other than that, as this inspiration… inspired me to create a gross and gore-filled mother/son fusion story .
Phase 10 began by carrying heavier inspirations from Higurashi: When they Cry than just about any part of this novel. What with the eeriness of being alone in a small town, the horror of being abducted by two people who storm out of a van, and the whole quarantine angle that is pushed during the latter chapters of the series. …Only for things to go full on hentai with their inspirations later. The sex scenes between Vice and Tom Grain were inspired by my continuous exploits with TSF hentai comics. And they granted me a way for me to explore a sexual power play in what I consider to be a narratively appropriate manner. And while I could have simply left things like this, I saw this scene as an opportunity to throw in a TSF sequence, and… I probably should explain what I was doing here, because this… this was weird.
I think the catalyst for this sequence was the Mr-DNA and Dr. Otto comic series Learning Japanese (1, 2, 3). These comics depict an American student as he is transformed into a Japanese woman… with full-body oshiroi applied as part of their skin for some reason. What interested me about this concept was how it was not only a transformation of one’s race and sex, but the protagonist lost their ability to speak English after the transformation. Instead, they could only speak Japanese, barring a few English words.
I think this was an incredibly interesting concept, and I wanted to explore what it meant for one to lose their sex, their race, AND their native language. So I threw that idea in here, turning Tom Grain into Tomoko Goto (the joke is that their initials are TG), but I wanted to do… something more. After going to the trouble of creating a character like Tomoko Goto, I did not want to kill her off. I wanted her to escape from this hellhole and have a full life.
So, looking for further inspirations, I thought back to the classic anime film Spirited Away and the idea of traveling into another world through a natural gateway. This gave way to the idea of Tomoko stumbling through the woods and winding up in a world where she could better live. And as a ‘Japanese’ ‘woman’ who could only speak Japanese, there was no better place for her than Japan. With that idea in mind, I then stole a bit more from Higurashi and came up with what I thought was a satisfying yet open conclusion for this chapter. And who knows? Maybe Tomoko Goto will return in a future story… that might just happen to be set in beautiful Nihon.
Oh, and the decision to use actual Japanese phrases was… one that I’m sure some people would dislike, but one that I believe was a good call. In fiction, and writing, it is not uncommon for characters who do not speak the native language the work is presented in to say phrases or words from another language. I have seen myriad other creators do this, and I felt it was appropriate to use words and phrases from another language in this context. Specifically, because I wanted to emphasize how Tomoko cannot speak English, and does not understand it. Plus, I kept the actual Japanese in this story fairly basic and rudimentary. Simple enough that I could find the phrases with a simple Googling. I tried to avoid machine translations, but I only know a few Japanese words, so I probably screwed something up.
Phase 11 was inspired by… Long story short: I am rather fond of works that depict children as violent psychopaths. Children have abundant stamina, energy, and while they lack the upper body strength of adults, they have the potential to be genuinely threatening figures if they so choose to be. With this love in mind, it should be no surprise to hear that one idea that I really wanted to explore here involved an army of children patrolling the woods surrounding Murinova. A group of child soldiers who would use their innocent demeanor to lure all who tried to escape. All before murdering them with a series of makeshift weapons, such as gardening tools, blunt objects, and so forth.
Now, the secondary inspiration for this story was… the American/Vietnam war. I admittedly know very little about the war, other than what I picked up from cultural osmosis, film, and high school history. Despite this lackluster set of qualifiers, I wanted to try my hand at writing about a Vietnam veteran who freaks out as he sees the surrounding chaos. In doing so, I revived an older character by the name of Dick Kikansky. In this rendition, I turned him into a ‘middle-aged’ man who steadily lost his marbles as he encountered PTSD flashbacks to the awful shit he saw back when he served in the military.
I did this partially to create parallels and show just how fucked up things were getting at this point in the story. Also, I figured that, in 1985, in a small rural town, there were pretty good odds of finding a Vietnam veteran who was coping with PTSD by living in some place tranquil.
As for the ending part, the bit involving Dick’s wife, Susan, that was a remnant of a scene I had to cut from the original draft. Phase 11 initially began with Vice raping an older woman, Susan Kikansky, with their newly acquired penis. As Vice raped the 40-something-year-old woman, Susan’s skin became loose and flabby and, after finishing, Susan’s body was reduced to little more than a sheet of skin. And from this screen, a little girl, a younger of Susan, emerged, tearing away her old skin before thanking Vice for freeing her, and promising to act as Vice’s minion. This, along with a cannibalism scene where Susan was originally going to eat her husband’s corpse, were both cut. I felt that I was going too far with these scenes. As I was aiming to add a second back-to-back rape transformation sequence and a third cannibalism scene.
Phase 12 is easily my favorite part of the entire novel, and the reason why should be fairly simple. The introduction is largely an exploration of the relationships of the Quinata family. In PS Classic, Abi was a character with no origin or background, but for PS 1985, I wanted to craft and explore her origins, and what I came up with was… a lot.
I began this thought experiment by asking myself how and why a child like Abi, a multi-ethnic brown-skinned Asian child, age 7, in 1985, would run away from home and wind up in a 99% white rural town. 5 minutes later, I wound up with the following answers:
Her parents are career opportunists who move across the world regularly and are in a town near Murinova to investigate a regional headquarters. However, by traveling so much and to so many countries, Abi has grown upset with her parents and their continued neglect, as they put their work before her. This, combined with news that her parents intended on ‘getting rid of her’ by sending her to a boarding school, caused Abi to do what most young children only say as a threat, and ran away into the woods. Except, being such a hardened child, she committed to this concept before reaching the home of Black Vice.
For her parents, I imagined them both being Asian, but being from different countries, in order to give Abi more of a mixed heritage. Partially because Abi’s key inspiration, Abigale Quinlan, is an omni-racial character. And partially because I just thought it made sense for an ‘interracial’ couple to travel the world together, instead of a couple of the same race.
When it came to actually writing Mr. and Mrs. Quinata, I did not want to paint them as bad people. Just people who made bad decisions and wished to atone for their mistakes. I wanted to make them likeable characters with a sympathetic goal, as it would make their encounter with their daughter, Abi, all the more impactful.
The verbal confrontation between the three was one of my favorite bits to write in this entire novel, as it is filled with such righteous conviction against child abusers. A group of people who, as I said in Natalie Rambles About The Saga of Vincent Dawn, I consider to be the worst people in the world. While the transformation and battle sequence… were also quite fun to write, as I was effectively writing about two people turning into bootleg Kamen Rider monsters, before directing a kaiju battle sequence. Which might sound incongruous, as there are no kaijus in Kamen Rider… but I don’t really care.
To me, Tokusatsu is one big idea bucket, and I pluck whenever I want from it when I feel like it. Though I mostly focused on Kamen Rider because… I just felt like it, I guess. I think Kamen Riders look cool. I know Kamen Rider was popular in the early 80s. I think that being a casual fan of Kamen Rider added to Abi’s character. And I would have rather had Abi dress up like a masked rider than a member of a sentai squad. Also, I ripped off the designs of the monster forms for Mr. and Mrs. Quinata from a Kamen Rider Super-1 monster known as Elekibas. You could say I was being lazy there… and I was. Hell, I didn’t even read the fan wiki bio. I just looked at the general design and remixed a few elements to make something new.
Phase 13, meanwhile… came pretty automatically by comparison to everything else. The only real point of contention or confusion would be whether I was planning a follow-up, and the answer is yes. I intend to continue this story with a short story by the name of Psycho Shatter 1985: The Day After and a full novel by the name of Psycho Shatter 2000: Black Vice Mania. Both stories have outlines prepared, but nothing has been written, because I am bad at getting projects out the door.
Part 5: Trans-cend Gender
Something that I needed to address in PS 1985, based on the concept alone, was the gender of the protagonist. In PS Classic, the protagonist, T-Bird, was a transgender woman who began the story in a male body, ended the story in a female body, and was referred to using she/her pronouns throughout the majority of the story. The reason for this largely had to do with how the character of T-Bird was a bastardized bizarro version of Terra Honyaku. A transgender woman who helped create a utopian future society after acquiring the body of a robot from a distant galaxy. …It’s a long story. Read The Saga of Vincent Dawn for more details.
For PS 1985, however, I wanted to reevaluate what this character’s gender would be. Black Vice is a white man who, for reasons never explained or detailed beyond generic vagaries, steals the body of a black woman, which they wear for the remainder of the novel. I could have made Vice a transgender woman, but that just did not seem right for the character I was crafting. After establishing a firm backstory for them, and deciding to double-down on the character’s depravity, I chose to give the character ‘it’ pronouns. But after finishing the first draft of Phase 1, I realized how annoying it is to write a story where the protagonist is referred to as ‘it.’ But more importantly, I realized how frustrating it is to read a story where the protagonist is referred to as ‘it’.
Accordingly, I replaced all applicable instances of ‘it’ with they/them. I originally did this to keep Vice’s gender ambiguous, as they themselves would still be musing about this. Yet, as I wrote the story, I developed the impression that Vice would technically consider themself to be non-binary.
Now, the story is set in the 1980s, so Vice does not know what ‘non-binary’ means, and probably does not know the difference between gender and sex. However, I still think that it was the right move to make them non-binary because… Vice ends the story as a god in a world of humans. They end the story existing above culture and society, as an individual capable of terraforming the nation and rewriting history. While they could choose to return to their masculine roots or embrace their femininity, pronouns and all, they choose to carve their own path, experimenting and making a new identity for themselves with their newfound freedom. They implicitly position themself as someone beyond gender.
Part of my decision to do this stemmed from how Vice is a psychopath and serial killer, meaning that they would have a looser grip on society and norms than most people would. And another part of this decision stemmed from how… I have a lot of transgender woman characters, and I wanted to do something different with Vice. I wanted them to be something different, and I think that the non-binary identity suits them.
Now, does that mean I think poorly of non-binary people or associate them with psychopaths and serial killers? N-No… What? Why would you, hypothetical straw-person, even correlate something like that? If people want to say ‘fuck it’ to the established trends and pave their own path by using their own damn pronouns and expressing themselves however they want, more power to them. I have nothing but respect for non-binary people, as they do not feel the need to nestle around one gender for comfort. Instead, they pluck bits and pieces they like from males and females while forging something new and self-made.
I think non-binary people are dope… and that might be part of the reason why I made Vice non-binary. Because, in my twisted, politically discordant, hell-scented brainscale, non-binary people are inherently cooler than males or females. Because they do not stick with the hand they were dealt. They do not transition from 0 to 1. They transcend the binary and achieve a new, fresh, and sexy breed of excellence all their own!
Part 6: The Good Kind of Psycho
When revisiting my novels like this, I always need to ask myself if the novel I wrote is good or bad. And with Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth, my answer is as follows:
I genuinely do not have any regrets with this story. I feel like I did everything I wanted to with this premise. In my re-edit, I caught many grammatical errors and rewrote dozens of passages for the sake of clarity and quality, but I did not happen upon anything substantial that I wanted to change. I think the story is focused, effective, and does everything I wanted it to do.
…But is it good? Well, I think it is, yeah. I think it is a creative story that has fun with its premise. Though it is dark, I believe it is clear that I, the writer, am relishing in the darker subject matter, while never taking things fully seriously. And I think that the story is well structured, building up to a large climax part way through. All before simmering down to a second half that, while different, adds something new to the story to keep things interesting, without losing focus as to what the story is about. A wretched individual who, for reasons both unknown and irrelevant, gained the powers of a god, and what twisted fantasies they bring to life with these powers.
That being said, I would still give Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth a 7/10.
That might come as a surprise to some of you, because if I have no problems with this story, then why is this not a 9/10 or a 10/10? Well, the answer is a philosophical one. In order for a work to be great, it needs to have aspirations that allow it to be great. And while I had aspirations with PS 1985, I never truly wanted to make it great. I never thought I was writing a great story, and even though I enjoyed revisiting it as a reader, I would not describe it as a great work by… any metric I can imagine. I wanted to tell a good story, and I believe I did just that. I created something good, not great, and I am perfectly happy with that.
I am content with my place as a decent writer and storyteller, and I have no true aspirations to create a great work or something that will ‘change the world.’ I want to write stories that leave me satisfied and creatively fulfilled. You could say that this is a pessimistic attitude to take, and it is. I appreciate every single reader I get, but I never started this hobbyist career as a writer to amass clout, audience, or attention. I just picked up the metaphorical pen so I could hone my skills to the point where I could write something that was ‘good’ and so that I could fulfill my more creative needs. And I can comfortably say that I did just that with Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth.