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November 17, 2019


Do atheists recoil from a Caravaggio painting if the subject depicted is religious? I think such a response must be very rare. Ask the same question about a work of modern fiction. Slightly different, isn’t it? People choose to read a work of fiction because they are interested in some aspect of it, such as genre, the subject, the author, the cover, the price, advertising, recommendation. If one of these aspects disinterests them, they wont read the book. Fair enough. The aspect we’re talking about here is ‘subject’, of course. At what point would your average atheist say, ‘No, that’s too much religion for me, thank you,’ and put the book down?

I can only invert the question: at what point...

August 18, 2019

Where did the story come from? It was a long time ago, but I can remember a dream, and I usually say that that was the starting point. I think it was the start. I think it was the spark that took some ideas I was working on and put life into it, ignited my passion for it, urged me to find out more about what preceded the strange scene I had dreamed, and what might happen after it.


I was taking a sabbatical in Malaysia for a couple of years, practising the craft of fiction by writing short stories that were for my eyes only – crazy stuff that was just me allowing my creativity free reign. There was even one about how giraffes, all over the world, were suddenly able to fly. Mad, embarrassing t...

January 13, 2019

There are two particularly cruel scenes in the novel I Am Not Gog, and the second of them is also quite distasteful. I’m sorry about that, but they were both important to the story and partly based on real events.

The first involves a couple of nasty girls at school: Madie and Tates, the two bullies who set about ripping young Lydia’s false fingernails off. Their names are simple anagrams of two English words. If you want to cheat and see what they are anagrams of, I’ve put the solutions after the space at the bottom of this blog.

As ghastly as the scene is, it actually happened to the real-life person who inspired the character of Lydia. I used to work at one of the social projects she freq...

December 9, 2018

With Christmas approaching, it seems fitting to take the opportunity to share some insights about Lydia's night of clubbing at Christmas. As it involves numbers, I'll use it as an excuse to share all the other insights about numbers and dates in I Am Not Gog.

On the seventh day after meeting her, Joshua texts Lydia that he loves her. Seven weeks after meeting him, Lydia finally yields to his love at the nightclub. Seven months after meeting him, Joshua suffers that which would motivate her to take possession of her own liberty. This is an example of an underlying use of numbers to support the allegory, in this case centred around an incident in the nightclub.

The club, where Joshua finally w...

December 10, 2017

The image here was the first, rudimentary sketch of Lydia by Su Koh. It is nicely loaded with ambiguity and foreboding. Ambiguity of identity is central to the whole novel. This is conveyed in the name of I Am Not Gog’s protagonist, Lydia Japhethson.

There has been much speculation as to who the original Gog of Magog were and where their homeland was. I found the most commonly accepted location was somewhere in western Asia Minor, or stone age Anatolia, as it then was. At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy about Gog of Magog, it had long been the empire of Lydia, which lasted 1200–546 BC. Ezekiel lived 622–570 BC.

It’s important to bear in mind that a tribe (or two) coming from the Lydian empi...

October 22, 2017

We need to talk about evil and what it's doing in the novel I Am Not Gog.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Although opinion varies on this, I see Ephesians 6:12 as a short list of three types of evil forces in descending order of authority, the last clause being a summation of them all. In context, coming after the exclusion of ‘flesh and blood’, Paul appears to be talking about purely spiritual forces. But, whether you believe in spiritual forces or not, we all know that what everyone calls ‘evil’ becomes manifested, ultimately, by flesh a...

August 16, 2017

How might the rantings of a grumpy prophet in ancient Babylon come to throw light on who was really to blame for a murder in a quiet Leicestershire town in 2005? Or, for that matter, how might it help us figure out what the enigmatic UMDIP might be?

In one, short paragraph, the gist of a particular prophecy given by Ezekiel (38-39) is this: In the ‘latter times’, God will cause Gog of the land of Magog, in league with many other countries around the world, to besiege and attack Israel. God will then cause great losses among the attackers, by both turning them against each other and giving them some mysterious disease. Thus Israel will prevail and the whole thing will, once and for all, demo...

July 29, 2017

The surface story of Lydia’s journey is a fun and easy read (with some dark moments), and it is not at all necessary for the reader to even be aware of the complex allegorical scheme behind it in order to enjoy that story on its own terms. However, the allegory is there for enjoyment, too. It’s like a big puzzle for the reader to discover the clues and signposts and figure out what it all might mean when she puts the pieces together. I find that sort of thing stimulating and fun.



The allegory would only be completely obvious to people who are already very clued-up on various subjects. I hope most reasonably bright people with a passing familiarity with those subjects would get something fro...

July 28, 2017

This is going to be a repository of insights about the novel, I Am Not Gog (and later works as they come). It might get a little tricky at times because I don’t want to give any spoilers, not just about the plot but also the allegory — I don’t want to give all the answers to what things really represent or there wouldn’t be any point in making an allegory in the first place. I’ll have to do some careful ‘talking around’ some things to give some clues but not hand you the answers on a plate.

It took me over twelve and a half years (on and off) to write, edit, and publish the novel. This is largely because of the complexity of the allegorical structure beneath the fairly simple surface story....

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This is a repository of insights about the novel I Am Not Gog (and future work). There will be new insights every month or so until we have a full library and nothing is left unexplored. If you came here to find out more about the allegory of the novel, start by clicking HERE.

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I Am Not Gog. A novel by Matthew James Hunt.

© 2015-2019 Matthew James Hunt. INKTAP Publishing