Of Men Made Gods, Osman Welela

Of Men Made Gods, Osman Welela

Of Men Made Gods: A Tale of the Lost Arts

Faced with a relentless enemy, the Danu, the First People, are forced to flee their homeland, but even in their remote refuge, their enemy pursues them, leaving all their hope resting in the power of their strongest magicians. Generations later, when the same foe returns fortified with magic of their own, the Danu face a choice that will define their race, and the rift between the faction that believes that blood magic is the only option to save their race and the faction that believes that blood magic will damn all that they stand for appears to be unbridgeable.

Of Men Made Gods is an interesting, thought-provoking fantasy novella, replete with magic and creatures of myth, and framing the dilemma of where a race’s ethical ground defines the race itself in an imaginative setting. Osman Welela’s civilisation of magic users holds themselves above all, keeping others only as slaves, which adds an ironic under-layer to the main storyline, and the gradual degeneration of the society’s values is clearly sketched in as the story progresses. There were a few typographical errors that periodically pulled my attention off the story, but overall I found this novella to be definitely worth the read; well-structured and offering food for thought along with its story.

The Block, Richard Seaman

The Block, Richard Seaman

The Block: Just Live ‘cuz You Can

One day, the stock markets crashed and kept on going. A victim of its drive to world disarmament, the United States government finally admitted bankruptcy, and the shockwaves travelled out in many directions. The Block: Just Live ‘cuz you Can is the story of the Baby Boomers in the early 2020s, with the central government placing the responsibility for their care on the states, pension plans vanished, and healthcare slashed to skin and bones, finding a new way to survive and look after each other. Doug Richards and his wife are two of the earliest arrivals in a community made available under the Federal Real Property Repurposing Act of 2025. It will come to be known as The Block.

The Block is a near-future what-if story, showcasing Richard Seaman’s incredibly strong characterisation as he describes how an incredibly motley group of older people band together and find ways to cope without the healthcare, the pensions, and the government support they’d been told to expect all their lives. Doug Richards is the protagonist of the story, and his first-person narration lets you experience his resilience and courage first-hand as he and his neighbours learn to look after themselves, working odd jobs and gleaning crops when they need to, and using barter for skills and equipment around the neighbourhood to make sure that everyone can eat. This book will give you a glimpse of ordinary people in old bodies and extraordinary circumstances, and make you smile through tears.