Thursday, January 29, 2015
Magic Monsters and Reality
I read a rather funny cartoon online today. Kelly Turnbull's Manly Guys Doing Manly Things http://thepunchlineismachismo.com/. The strip had a rather goofy and immature character, Jared, who wanted to be an elephant-centaur rouge for their D&D session. A rogue is a combination of ninja and thief mostly noted for their sneakiness. A centaur-elephant is kind of self-explanatory, and no, I have no idea how they would be created. Nor, as D&D is set in quasi-medieval times, do I want to know.
So here you have a case of a creature that is weighed by the ton, who wants to be sneaky. Now obviously one can attempt to be whatever they wish, but their success in choosing to be an elephant-centaur rouge might be a bit limited. Just imagine the character running away from the city watch in a medieval town. Damn difficult, but possible, the Rogue could hide somewhere like a barn or blend into a crowd of other centaur elephants, or just stomp a few pursuers until the rest decided to abandon the search. But how would the Rogue climb? Or do a second story job? Could you see the character trying to escape by roof top? How about adding in some parkour moves to the escape, bouncing, vaulting, and scrambling along until the coast was clear without leaving a trail of crushed roofs and buildings in his wake? How does such a creature sneak?
So that is the great and weak point of imagination and of writing fiction. Sure you can have a centaur-elephant combination, and you can have that character’s job be sneak thief, but without going into an absurd Looney-Tunes cartoon, reality, and the limitations imposed by reality, must intrude at times.
A centaur-elephant could knock down most medieval buildings just by leaning on them, modern buildings as well. Even if the Rogue had the ability to climb, the structure probably couldn’t hold the mass and would collapse.
That is what great writing does, it changes one thing/ one fact/ inserts one absurd proposition, and then leaves the rest of the world as it is. In the Watchmen, we find out what kind of people would become heroes and superheroes, and how they would interact with the rest of humanity and how humanity would react to them. It's not pretty, and that is what make the comic so exceptional. The reader really doesn't need to suspend disbelief, just accept one small change to reality, and then follow the rest of the story.
Jim Butcher, Rick Gualtieri, Larry Correia, and I all ask the question, what would happen if magic and monsters were real? We then answer that question each in our own unique way. Each series, okay my first book isn't out until 1 March, but I just finished the rough draft of number three, is worth the money and time and I recommend anyone who likes well written fiction read them. I'll let the reader decide which is most realistic.