Due Process in a Superhero Universe

http://melindasnodgrass.com/due-process-in-a-superhero-universe

http://melindasnodgrass.com/?p=2109

Tuesday night George and I were having a long conversation via text.  (Yes, Mr. Wordstar is a texting monster.  He’s the reason I had to go with unlimited texting.)  Truthfully we should have just picked up the phone and talked, but oh well.

Anyway, GRRM wanted to know if I had watched the latest episode of The Flash yet.  I hadn’t because of the time difference between L.A. and Santa Fe,  but we ended up talking about how the Star Labs Scooby gang keep locking people up in the basement in tiny rooms that appear to have no bed, no toilet, and that we never see them get a meal.  George asked if this bothered me?

My response — oh Hell yes!  Especially since one of the characters is a police officer and supposedly a good cop and a good man.

I understand this is fantasy and that super villains have enormous powers, BUT that doesn’t mean we throw out the Constitution with its guarantees of Due Process, right to a speedy trial, legal counsel.  I think they get away with it on The Flash because Barry seems so sweet and kind and approachable and the kids in the gang are all so cute.  Or you take the other approach and allow Jim Gordon in Gotham to become a vigilante cop which pretty much undermines the nature of the character.  But none of these disguise the fact that what is occurring is a grotesque undermining of the rule of law.

Yes, it’ makes things harder if you have to think about and address these issues, but that makes for good story telling and better writing.  To do otherwise is just lazy.  I can promise you if we even get Wild Cards going as a TV series we’re not going to dodge these tough questions and even tougher solutions.

Comparisons

http://melindasnodgrass.com/comparisons

http://melindasnodgrass.com/?p=2107


After writing for most of yesterday and staying warm while the rain and wind battered the house I decided to spend the evening on a movie binge.  Guardians of the Galaxy was on followed by Avengers — Ultron.  Boy is Guardians a _much_ better movie than Ultron. There was a seed of a good movie in among all the endless and often pointless action sequences in Ultron, but it gasped and died under the weight of the CGI action.


I noticed something else.  When Whedon thinks something is going off the rails he has a tendency to just tell you in the dialog.  It happened back in a later episode of ANGEL.  Angel and some of his Scooby gang have gone into a magical bookstore, and Angel is asking the proprietor a question.  I don’t remember the details, just that there was a lot of hand waving and nonsense being spouted and Angel then says, “You’re just making this shit up now, aren’t you?”  Or words to that effect.  That was at a time when the series was really flailing and floundering.


And Whedon did it again in Ultron when he gives Hawkeye the line to the Scarlet Witch.  “We’re fighting an army of robots — and I have a bow and arrow.”  He then goes on to add, “None of this makes sense.”  You were so right Clint.


Contrast all that frenzied action with Guardians.  Yes, there is action in the movie, but we learn more about the characters in everyone of those scenes — Rocket wants the guy’s leg because it would be funny, Gamora’s resigned statement “I’m going to die with the biggest idiots in the galaxy.”  How Peter will try to fast talk his way out of situations before resorting to fighting.  How Drax is so literal minded that he can’t understand a metaphor.  That apparently everyone in the galaxy apart from Peter, Rocket and the Ravagers are irony impaired.


What the two films do have in common is that at their heart is an ordinary man — Hawkeye in Avengers, Peter in Guardians.  Maybe that’s why I like to write about “nats” in the Wild Cards universe.  Ordinary people who can still be heroes.  There was exemplified in that underwhelming Superman Returns reboot back in 2006.  The one thing that worked in that movie was the role of Lois’s boyfriend, Richard White.  He proved to be just as heroic as the Man of Steel as he fought to save the life of the woman he loved and her child.  That was the most emotionally satisfying moment in the film.


Maybe it’s because there are just too damn many characters that have to be serviced in the Avengers films.  Which seems to be the case because the smaller movies are working better — Ant Man, Guardians, the Captain America films, the first Iron Man, Thor.


I point out these problems in the hope they find a way to address them before the next big blockbuster hits the screen.  I love these superhero franchises.  I watch Agents of SHIELD, and The Flash, and Arrow, and Legends, etc. etc.  I’ve enjoyed many of the movies, but I hope there aren’t too many more Ultrons in the pipeline.

Sticking the Landing

http://melindasnodgrass.com/sticking-the-landing

http://melindasnodgrass.com/?p=2105

I’m tiptoeing up on the final chapter of the next novel in the Imperials series. Usually approaching the end of a novel feels like a toboggan ride, but this one has me groping my way toward the conclusion. I think it’s a combination of things.  I can see the final scenes and how to present them if this were a movie where the camera itself can be a point of view but because this is a novel I have to present it through the eyes of one of the two view point characters.  In this case that my heroine’s eyes, and that pulls the focus in very close when it should be galaxy wide. This is also a huge moment that has repercussions for the third book so I have to set it up correctly and hopefully it will have a gut punch feeling.  No, I’m not doing a George and killing a beloved character…. not yet, but this needs to make an impact.  In fact now that I’m typing this I realize I may have given too much away in an earlier scene.  (Note to self — go back and check that before I get into today’s writing.)

 

In some ways we’d all be better off if an author could finish a novel series before the first one ever gets published. I’m grateful I’ll have a chance to tweak things in the first book before it actually goes to print because the more I write about the characters and the universe the more I understand it.  I have to make adjustments to the first book so things line up and aren’t confusing to readers.  Little things like what objects are called, and that hombres are enlisted men aboard a star ship and fusileros are the marines assigned to those ships.  Thank god for Scrivener where I can keep a list of organizations and what they call the galactic internet.  I also have this ever growing list of characters because the only way a series like this can work is if people we met in book one come back in meaningful ways in the subsequent books.  It does feel like playing catch up and it will continue until all five are completed


I also have to make sure this book ties up well and has a satisfying ending, but still keeps people anxious to see what happens next.  Especially since I’m about to make a jump of fifteen or sixteen years.  I made a three year jump at the beginning of book two, and a seven year jump in the middle of this book.  I think it’s important that long series not feel like the author is keeping a daily journal in a role playing game.  I try to keep very focused on the idea that I should just write about the cool shit and leave out all the boring stuff.  The years a character might serve aboard ship without incident aren’t very interesting.


So now I’ve had my moment on my blog psychiatrist’s couch and now I need to hesitantly approach these final moves.  Ciao and wish me luck.