“The Songs of Loss are the sum of my worst dreams and my most wonderful nightmares. I mean, in that order.”
Axelle Psychée Bouet, author of the Songs of Loss
Translated by Alain Coubard
Warning on the contents of the Songs of Loss
I would have liked writing these lines not to be necessary, but the need for a clear warning has been highlighted. Our wish is to accompany this warning with a few words from the co-authors: Emilie Latieule and Alysia Loretan and myself.
The Songs of Loss, the novel series and the role-playing game, contain subjects, themes and scenes that include violence, eroticism, sex, oppression and injustice. The world of Loss is cruel, sexist, with a great lot of misogynist men. Its social system that is based on old patriarcal laws which discriminate women and which have been legitimised by the omnipresence of the influence of the Church of the Divine Council. And, finally, almost all the peoples practice slavery and see no evil in regarding a human being as a property. This content is an integral part of the universe of Loss. It is one of the cornerstones of the subjects treated in the novel series and in the role-playing game, along with a source of plots, dramas, contexts and reflections for role-players. If it is present, its goal is also to arouse the reader’s reflection.
These themes may offend or scandalize some sensitive readers. Therefore, mind this warning before you are overwhelmed.
A few words from the authors about the Songs of Loss
Then, why? I often regard this question as having an answer in itself, in what appears as an evidence anybody could understand whith a little thinking to me. But reality is not that simple, it takes an explanation, so here it is:
I am, like my co-authors, a feminist and humanist woman. As feminists and humanists, not necessarily to the same extent for the three of us, we know what the struggle that led to the creation of the relatively humanist and feminist contemporary society in which we live, and which offers us the freedom that is so dear to us was. And all these achievement are most recent. The primary evidence is that we are absolutely against any form of enslavement and discrimination. Nothing ever justifies nor excuses them. More than crimes, they are negations of humanism.
However, we tend to forget that in our world, the idea that one cannot use human beings as if they were a property or a product is a very recent concept. The end of slavery in occident was not before the second half of the nineteenth century and it was not without difficulty. Actually, even in France, the last slaves were freed in 1963 in the Mauritius Islands, despite the fact that slavery was abolished there in 1835. and to finish, we keep in mind that we can see that this notion, which seems almost natural to us, is far from being so everywhere on Earth at the present day, far from it, on a regular basis in the news. As of 2018, there are 46 million slaves on Earth… compared to 38 million in 2014.
As I mentioned above, we are also feminists. A great majority of people ignore that three women out of five have been raped at least once in their life in the world, that 90% of the women worldwide have been sexually assaulted at least once in their life, that the proportion of victims of assassinations is greater by one fifth for women than for men, and that the most evident rights of women, the equality with men, that we have exists only for a quarter of the world population.
Now, think that along history, it was sometimes much worse. In which matters and why was it so, and why was it also much better than you might think compared to our modern society and its partial and sometimes biased manner of treating history?
These reflections, shared with Alysia and Emilie, led us to the decision to neither soften nor minimize the violence and horror of which the civilization of the Lossans is capable, nor ignore its marvels, its touching aspects, its magic and its exoticism. It is a whole, and it is a lesson.
So, you may feel shocked, maybe even impressed, horrified or outraged! If the tone is neutral in the role-playing game, it remains free of compromise. However, we are not complacent towards the violences of Loss for it would be of little interest. But they exist and we treat them, so make do with it. In the novels, it is my goal to touch you, to move you and to revolt you! If you are indifferent to the torments of the characters, to the underlhying injustice of the story, it means that I have not reached my goal, which is to show the horror of the aspects of reality and history that we prefer to ignore. We know it exists, but we turn our eyes and our thoughts. Read, see the horror, be revolted by it, and think about it.
If you do not want to think about it, if you are outraged by what you read and my daring to write such despicable things, what can I do about it? It is up to you to think about it, to read more or not, to understand the message. Be aware of that: if this has shocked you, it was our goal. A goal that Alysia, Emilie and myself totally accept.
Good reading to all of you!
Alysia Loretan, Emilie Latieule & Axelle « Psychée » Bouet.