I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in fiction and sci-fi lately. The new authors, that is, the old ones are doing fine, so far as I’ve seen. However, the old Greats are dying off and these new people are filing in. The disturbing trend happens to be the “Let anything and everything happen as it will.”
By this, I’m meaning the Mary Sue characters and lack of clear-cut definitions of what things can and cannot do within a book’s universe.
The Late Greats that I grew up reading had defined edges of what their magic or tech could and could not do. The ability to raise the dead wasn’t something that just anyone could do, and it had limitations. You simply couldn’t just go “HEAL!” and BAM, your corpse is totally un-ghastly and has the soul and mind of the original person reinstated, the heart’s pumping and all the pipes work, just like they’re alive again, except technically they’re a zombie. In the past, there were rules. You had to make preparations. You had to have enough power. Your corpse didn’t automatically regenerate back to a state before dying. Your zombie didn’t have the original’s soul. The zombie could only be used for certain tasks.
Take the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The zombies had limits. They had drawbacks. All three movies stayed true to those Zombie Rules and didn’t retcon (retroactive continuity) anything major.
Zombies just happens to be an example here, but I’ve noticed books lately that have not had Rules for anything put in place or stuck with. I’m given to understand that the last few Harry Potter books, especially the 7th, had a problem with retconning things. The magic worked however Rowling said it worked THIS time when LAST time it did something different. I’m not picking on Rowling, just the HP books are a widely known example is all. Meyer is also guilty of retconning important plot things because it pleases her to do so. And I could name a few others I know about who fall into the trap of just giving a character a power because they felt like it, or it was required at the time, regardless of whether the character has ENOUGH power already.
I suppose in Playing the Hero, I skirt close to that with Vathion. However, I counteract that with his insecurity and the fact that he messes up big-time several times in PTH and SERIOUSLY screws the pooch in Symbol of Hope. He is, after all, 16, more than a little whiny, and very reactionary.
My biggest danger of Gary Stu-ism is Kedetireen. However, I hope that society’s constraints on him will be enough to limit his OMG-SUPERPOWAH-ness. And I plan to have his powers work within a certain set of rules. Admittedly, I haven’t defined those rules yet and I need to before I get any further in Faith on Silver Wings. But, so far, I don’t think he’s crossed the line.
I suppose my point in all this rambling is that lately, the books I’ve been reading have been mildly Mary Sue-style and it worries me. I guess power-fantasies have their place, but there’s an abundance of them right now and I hope that this isn’t a trend that will last long. I like having a book universe work in a predictable way. Or, if not exactly predictable, at least logical. Randomly saying in book 3 that, oh, btw, I can change my appearance without illusions, to the point of giving myself a 30ft wingspan, and I’ve got rapid healing that was never mentioned before and healing was explained previously as a fairly intensive process that uses spells. But that’s ok. My rapid healing uses pure WILLPOWAH!
In other news, I’ve started working at yet ANOTHER project. This one, however, will be posted on my website as a webnovel. It’s called Ghost Talent. I’d decided to write GT because …I miss writing epic episodic stories. I spent several years writing a fanfic that was posted online and really enjoyed the feeling of power weaving and interweaving the strands of plot together. I finally ended that story at 400,000+ words. I felt so … very empty after completing that story. It makes me sad that if I even tried to remove the copyrighted material, I’d destroy the story. Ohwell. it was good practice! And a fun ride. so! I’ll move on to working at making original epic episodic stories. I’ve got what I think is the first chapter of GT written, it just needs some clean-up before I post it online. I also need to figure out what I’m going to do in chapter 2. I’ve got a lot of scenes written, but they’re actually chronologically before the first chapter… But I wanted to start GT off with a bang instead of easing into it.
I really reeaally need to pick an update schedule for my website, and this. I’ve been sporatic about updating the website. Usually about once every 2 weeks. I think if I had a job it would be easier.
Unfortunately, that’s getting into Personal Stuff and if I got into that topic on here, I’d start whining. Not a good thing to do on my 4th post!