Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Amazons

The Amazons of Classical Mythology were a nation of women devoted to war and hunting. They were generally antagonistic but never particularly villainous. Their valiant soldiers were readily slaughtered or sexually enslaved.

Some Amazons were better than others. Their queens and champions were renown for their beauty and prowess. Only the greatest of heroes were manly enough to best them.

The Amazons were mortal and only human in a universe teeming with fantastic entities. Though skillful and relentless their warriors were useless against superhuman heroes. Their armies were defeated in every war of theirs mentioned.

The Amazons are peculiar indeed. The very idea of warlike women remains a novelty to this day. Friendly or hostile, Amazons were slain by heroes. They were belligerent yet never sinister. They were aggressors yet sympathetic victims.

The Amazons readily suffered defeat and humiliation yet they remained proud and their realm was never vanquished. True to their womanhood they found their identity and strength in their solemn devotion.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thoughts and Feelings

Religion tells us to believe in something beyond ourselves yet relies on us entirely. Science pretends to be objective as if somehow divorced from the humanity of its scientists. Politics pretends to be caring as if assuming control of every life and resource was the epitome of compassion. The arts express our fancies and passions regardless of stark reality.

Human genius is irrefutable yet we mix it with speculation and agenda. Alas, our thoughts are innately corrupted by our feelings.

I am a writer and an artist. I am mindful that my feelings color my thoughts. Rather than pretend to be inhumanly objective I celebrate my humanity. I allow my thoughts to be fanciful. I refine and shape them into stories and images. I create works that entertain, enlighten and inspire.

Knowledge is impersonal. Wisdom is dispassionate. A human being is a person. We have feelings. Our hopes and dreams are what we strive for. The best of us imagine. We see possibilities and boldly explore them. For better or for worse we bring our thoughts and fancies to glorious fruition.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Throngs and Sentries

The silencing the sentry and hero versus throngs are my favorite fictional action themes. The sentry must prove easily subdued. The throngs must prove easily slaughtered. The idea of both is the ordinary being utterly outclassed by the extraordinary.

I love the idea of the supposedly common proving itself exceptional. I am inspired by triumphs of the underdog. I am contemptuous of the truly ordinary, however. Only the excellent should excel. Mediocrity is unworthy of recognition.

The extraordinary exceeds the ordinary. A “hero” is a protagonist of extraordinary prowess. The “throngs” are the anonymous, ordinary folk as antagonists. The “sentry” of the silencing the sentry theme is an individual of the “throngs” on guard duty.

The silencing the sentry and hero versus throngs themes are a celebration of individual prowess besting the anonymous many. As themes of good against evil they are freedom and justice putting slavish conformity and mindless obedience to shame.

Good against evil resonates in fiction because it is the ultimate struggle in reality. The outcome of that struggle determines whether we rise or fall within. The “hero” of our fiction represents the individual in reality. His fight is our fight. We are thrilled with anticipation as we watch him stalk our enemies. We are inspired as he outfights the overwhelming odds that swarm us. The silencing the sentry and hero versus throngs are my favorite action themes because they are unassumingly the most relevant.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Space Opera

Adventure, exotic worlds and speculative technology: the space opera. Alien races and anomalous phenomena are common to the lore. The setting is usually the future but can just as easily be the past or present. There may be magic but such is typically tweaked and renamed. Regardless of its diverse particulars, the space opera is what it is and we recognize it immediately.

The fine line between science fiction and fantasy is the subjective notion of plausibility. The space opera is expected to be science fiction or fantasy in the guise thereof. Strange or advanced technology is a must. Should utter weirdness be the technology it must be explained “scientifically” even if such an explanation is sheer nonsense. The space opera must somehow be “futuristic” regardless of setting.

We are stirred by strangeness and thrilled by adventure. Like heroic fantasy, the space opera is all about being weird and adventurous. Realism and intensity make a story gritty and the space opera is no exception. Still, it is the unusual reality of the genre that gives it its distinct appeal.

The space opera is the epitome of all fiction. Science fiction, fantasy, adventure, horror, mystery, romance and war are all commonly associated with this one of every genre.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dominatrix and Useless Henchwomen

The villainous dominatrix is ubiquitous in contemporary fiction. She is strong, assertive and outright dangerous. We love her for being aggressively sexy and darkly admirable. She is a sleek, comely predator and we are thrilled watching her hunt and kill.

The useless henchwoman is virtually unheard of. Even when glimpsed she is barely remembered. Do you even know who I am talking about? Probably not.

I am a writer and an artist. My useless henchwomen are girls of the common folk. They may be clones, robots or whatever but they are the proletariat of their faction: the cheap labor of villainy. Plentiful and individually insignificant they are pitifully expendable. As foot soldiers they are the sacrificial pawns of their elitist masters.

The villainous dominatrix is popular for obvious reasons. The useless henchwoman is not so obvious thus not so easily appreciated. She is the cannon-fodder of villainy as a damsel in distress. We resent her for being villainous yet pity her for being a helpless victim. Our mixed feelings conflict, making us uncomfortable. Many of us would rather not bother with her at all.

Most of the useless henchwoman's few admirers prefer that she is never slain. They are more comfortable limiting her to slapstick action. As for myself, I have no use for such nonsense. Our beloved character cannot equal her brother lest she prove herself in his stead. The useless henchwoman must be allowed her place in gritty action or she has no place in high adventure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chivalrous Sexism: Villains

The mainstream is uneasy when it comes to female villains, especially in adventure fiction. Originally, such a character was to be either a seductress or a hag or both. Currently, a female baddie is expected to be a dominatrix. She is not to be slain by heroes, especially if she is young and beautiful. If the fiction is gritty, she is to be a victim in her own right.

Male characters are allowed to fill any and every niche of villainy, including seduction. They are the bosses and underlings alike. Some of them are all brain and others all brawn. No act is too dastardly for them. They challenge heroes in dramatic struggles to the death.

Female characters are limited to a very narrow criteria, especially in the villainy of adventure fiction. Currently, they are not allowed to be cowardly in their evil. They must be assertive and of exceptional prowess. Heroines may slay them but heroes are to refrain from doing so. Should a female villain perish at the hands of a male protagonist, her death is to be a momentous tragedy, especially if she is young and beautiful.

Male villains run the entire gamut. Female villains are restricted. It is simply easier to neglect feminine villainy entirely. Woe unto us that such often occurs.

The unwritten rules are not always followed. The mainstream is uneasy when its lines are crossed but forgiving should the offence find favor.

I am a writer of adventure fiction. Many of my villains are female. Some of them are within the narrow perimeters of the mainstream. Others are not. Honestly, I discount the "rules" entirely. My girls are bosses and underlings alike. Some of them are all brain and others all brawn. No act is too dastardly for them. They challenge my heroes in dramatic struggles to the death.

Men and women are different, in both reality and in good fiction. That said, female characters should be allowed to strive and explore in every genre. They should have a place either high or low, good or evil. Let honesty, not policy decide their fate.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Strange Galaxy: Consolidated Diversity

Strange Galaxy is a "space opera" without spaceships, robots or flying cars. Its magic is actually called "magic" and is entirely plausible. Alien races are strange but not ridiculous. Guns and swords are equally modern but not the weapons of the same armies. Spatial shifting, not unreal velocities, is the means of interstellar travel.

Strange Galaxy is a world of many worlds uneasily shared by mutually alien races. Their sciences and philosophies are derived from mutually alien perspectives. Their architecture and instruments are the products of mutually alien natures. The reality of cause and effect is the same for them all, however. For their every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. "Survival of the fittest" determines which races thrive and prosper.

Strange Galaxy is crafted to be fantastic yet realistic. It is to be exotic yet familiar. It is to be gritty yet not cynical. Humanity is its dominant race yet humans are the weakest of its Great Races. Technology produces the deadliest weapons but magic provides the better defenses.

Strange Galaxy is a collective work of art, fiction and games. It is to be enjoyed. It is to be inspiring. It is not a particular story nor a specific cast of characters. The world of many worlds itself is the Strange Galaxy. Its races and their civilizations are the main characters. It is a consistent and clearly defined science fiction fantasy universe rich in particulars to choose from. Enjoy.