Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Only Villain

Most people don't get a villain.

Without a villain, you don't know if you're a hero. A hero doesn't appear ex nihilo, he appears in response to something, be it Mr. Injustice, Lord Tyranny, Ms. Jerk. But what a hero does not respond to is the mundane worries of regular people, be it hunger, sickness, death. Something that isn't necessarily anybody's direct, active fault. If you can't personify the problem, there's nothing for the hero to do except help out. And somebody who helps out is not a Hero, they're just a Nice Person.    

That's why people read stories with villains. The Hero has something to attack. He can punch Lord Tyranny in the face, sue Mr. Injustice until he cries, and he can remonstrate Ms. Jerk until she sees the error of her ways. Nobody wants to read about a Nice Person. There's no conflict. You can't yell at hunger until it stops making people hungry, you can't shoot at sickness until there's no germs left, you can't argue with Death.

Most people's only villain is Time, and time's only evil scheme is to go on until you run out.


This steam-punk project is wrapping up. For my next project I had a vision of a "generation ship", i.e. a colony spaceship in which the children of the initial passengers are intended to be the primary colonists. Then I ran across an image of a colony ship in an asteroid. And that reminded me of one of my gateway books to Science Fiction: "Earthseed" by Pamela Sargent.

Read it!

2000 words? Yes
Short Story "Timpani the Ostrich Rancher" - in progress (~4/5)

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