Rules of a Responsive Reality by Michael R. Fletcher (guest post)

Michael R. Fletcher

Remember how the best episodes of any TV show were the ones that came in two parts? Remember how awesome the two-parter episodes of Magnum PI were? Anyway, this here is part one of a three part post on the rules of a responsive reality. Part two will be hosted by the Mighty Thor (James Schmidt) at on November 11th, and part three will be hosted by the excellent Wendell at

Some background: My dark fantasy novel, Beyond Redemption, takes place in a world where reality is responsive to the whims and desires of humanity. Mass belief—be it shaped by religion, politics, or public opinion—can cause sweeping changes in physical reality. Conversely, a single person, if insane enough to believe the impossible with utter conviction, can also twist reality. What follows is a brief discussion of some aspects of that reality.

I hesitate to give too much away. In part because I believe a large part of the enjoyment of a fantasy novel like Beyond Redemption is to be found in the discovery of a new world. If I spell everything out there will be nothing left to discover. And frankly, in many cases, I'd rather you figure this stuff out for yourself. Your interpretation might be different than mine. Maybe even cooler! That's fine; just 'cuz I wrote the thing doesn't mean I'm right! Also, I want to save things for later books.

Any discussion of reality, real or imagined (the reality, not the discussion), must start with definitions. If we don't define our terms, we can never know if we are discussing the same subject.

Definition: Geisteskranken
This is the single most important word we need to understand. In simplest terms a Geisteskranken is someone who believes something so strongly reality bends to their convictions. Simply wishing something were true is not enough to effect change, a person has to know something is true—believe it to the very core of their soul—to alter reality.

Wanting to believe you are the best guitar player in the world—or thinking that you might be—will not suffice. You must live your life as if that belief defines you (and it must), knowing deep in your heart that you are the greatest.

One must lose their mind, embrace insanity and believe the impossible, to make lasting changes. In short, Geisteskranken are delusional. Bat-shit crazy. They are insane enough to believe impossibilities so completely reality bends to their will.

Most Geisteskranken suffer a host of minor delusions above and beyond the one or two (or, occasionally three for the truly deranged) that define them. These secondary and tertiary delusions generally remain undefined as their effects on reality are negligible. Or at least incapable of harming others. Sometimes however these secondary delusions are powerful and the Geisteskranken becomes Comorbidic. Comorbidity general presages the final fall of the Geisteskranken, that moment when their delusions overpower their sanity and they lose control, spiralling over the Pinnacle. But more on the Pinnacle in Part Two.

Gehirn, the powerful Hassebrand in Beyond Redemption, is a perfect example. She is primarily a pyromaniac. She does, however, suffer at least one secondary delusion: Her self image is desperately warped. Gehirn believes (knows, in fact) that she is overweight and this delusion keeps her overweight. No matter how little she eats, as long as she knows that she is fat, she will remain so. Even the paleo diet won't help her! Arguably, her belief that someone is trying to poison/assassinate her is another delusion.

Definition: The Sane
Odd, perhaps, that I need to define this, but there you go. The vast majority of the populace is completely sane and unable to alter reality. At least on their own. Bring a crowd together and convince them of something (through advertising, religion, politics, economics, or any other popular mass delusion) and they become—as a group—capable of defining their reality. The sane are not powerless; far from it. In fact, the sane define most of this reality. Almost everywhere you go things fall down, night follows day, politics is real and important, and there's somewhere to go after you die. Almost.

The sane are even capable of countering, or even nullifying, the beliefs of the deranged. Surround a Geisteskranken with enough sane folks and their ability to twist reality will be limited or even nullified completely. But there's a catch. Convince that crowd that the person they're surrounding is a powerful Gefahrgeist (sociopath) capable of demanding their utter worship, and that Gefahrgeist will become more powerful, backed by the united faith of the masses.

Want to know more?
Tomorrow I'll detail the factors that define and limit the insane as well as how one becomes a Geisteskranken. Who doesn't want to warp reality with their madness?

Should be fun!


About the Author

Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author. His novel, Beyond Redemption, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion, was published by HARPER Voyager in June of 2015.

His début novel, 88, a cyberpunk tale about harvesting children for their brains, was released by Five Rivers Publishing in 2013. 88 is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere.

The next two Manifest Delusions novels, The Mirror's Truth, and The All Consuming are currently in various stages of editing while Michael tries to be the best husband and dad he can be.

Michael is represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.


About the Book

Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Paperback, 512 pages

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn't an axiom, it's a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.

Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.

But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates—The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left—have their own nefarious plans for the young god.

As these forces converge on the boy, there’s one more obstacle: time is running out. When one's delusions become more powerful, they become harder to control. The fate of the Geisteskranken is to inevitably find oneself in the Afterdeath. The question, then, is:

Who will rule there?


  1. That is such a great cover, Michael for Redemption.
    I probably wouldn't read 88, though, don't like children being used in such stories

    1. Fair enough. Though while the children may start as victims, they soon learn to fend for themselves.

    2. I keep telling people, Dez, Beyond Redemption is the best fantasy novel they haven't read this year. Such a mind-blowing book. :)

  2. Beyond Redemption is my top book of the year! I can't recommend this book enough!

  3. Beyond Redemption is the grimdark fantasy that everyone should be talking about. Amazing creativity is definitely on display throughout its pages.

  4. Great post, Michael! I look forward to reading parts 2 and 3.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum


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