Junior Inquisitor

Junior Inquisitor

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Druids, Liberterian three-ways, and imperfection makes stories better.

As I’m focused on Christmas season, and all the bad puns I can find, this week's post is a bit short, but also, possibly, a bit philosophical. Don’t worry I promise to be gentle and prevent any existential crises. Short version - perfect worlds are boring, so make sure you show some flaws. Let me introduce Michael Timmons and his WIP The Awakening. Take it away Michael -

Blurb -The Druid War has ended with the defeat of Druidess Kestrel by Druidess Sylvanis.  Their Lycan armies have been released and set free.  Kestrel, in her defeat, found a way to escape justice and death by casting a spell allowing her to return when the last stone of the Calendar falls.  The spell will also awaken the power of lycanthropy in the ancestors of her champions.
Four individuals find within themselves the power of lycanthropy awakened, two of Sylvanis’ and two of Kestrel’s Lycans.  They must learn to control this new-found power as they discover themselves a part of an ancient war between two Druidesses.  Will these people learn to use their powers in time?

Excerpt –

Clint ran down the stairs and out the door at the bottom. The feeling had creeped up on him.  He needed Sarah out of his apartment. At first, he thought it was because he didn’t want her there. He realized why he was desperate for her to leave. He was going to black out soon. He needed her gone.  Or she would end up like those dogs and cats. Instead, she wouldn’t leave.  She had no idea what kind of danger she was in.  He certainly couldn’t explain it to her. After all, he didn’t understand it himself. He ran down the street, hearing Sarah call after him. She tried to follow him. He increased his speed and ran across a and into the back yard.

 Sarah had no idea what was going on. It was like he was running from something. Like something was chasing him. She had to know what was going on and followed. There was no one out this late at night and the full moon made it easy to see.  Still, he was fast and she quickly lost sight of him after following him into somebody’s back yard.  An occasional sound alerted her to his whereabouts and she followed as best as she could.

 Clint kept running. He could hear her. He ran hard, but going around fences and ducking in and out of yards slowed him down. His face hurt as if the bones in his jaw were breaking. His hands pained him, he looked at them.  They looked strange in the moonlight. His eyes must be playing tricks on him because it looked as if the bones were moving within his hands. They looked to be getting longer. The pain increased. Shooting pain encompassed his body. He felt as if bones all over his body were breaking apart and moving. He found a shed in a backyard and yanked it open. He noticed the padlock as it fell to the dirt. He moved into the darkness of the shed. Clint blacked out.

And now for a bit of a different review

Amazon - Freehold
Blurb – Sergeant Kendra Pacelli is innocent, but that doesn't matter to the repressive government pursuing her. Mistakes might be made, but they are never acknowledged, especially when billions of embezzled dollars earned from illegal weapons sales are at stake. But where does one run when all Earth and most settled planets are under the aegis of one government? Answer: The Freehold of Grainne. There, one may seek asylum and build a new life in a society that doesn't track its residents every move, which is just what Pacelli has done. But now things are about to go royally to hell. Because Earth's government has found out where she is, and they want her back. Or dead.

What happens when you enjoy a book, but you realize the author has gone from science fiction to apologia fantasy in their world building?
First and foremost, Freehold, as far as the overall story goes, was pretty good, despite rolling my eyes several times. I’m not criticizing Williamson’s story telling abilities, yes there were some secondary characters that could have been fleshed out more, the plot could have been tightened a bit, less world building, more pew pew pew. Legitimate literary critiques, but that’s not why I quibble with the book.
Williamson writes Sci-fi in the Heinlein tradition; Everyone employs rationalism and Randian rational egotism at all times, less government good, more government bad. Organized religion is generally bad, everyone is equally attracted to, and desirous of, every other adult member of society. Women all enjoy a three-way, sexual jealously does not exist, drugs are never offered to children, and addiction is not a thing. In short everyone is a calm, logical, fully-informed adult who makes only the most sagacious of decisions based not only on what their current best interests are now, but also what they will be in the future. Great Utopia, if you can find it.
The question, of course, is do good people make good political systems or do good political systems make people good? If all that is required to make man good is the “right” socio-political structure, what does that say about free will and agency?
I will give Williamson credit, he does show a few different times that not all is perfect on Grainne, however these are small isolated incidents that in no way reduced the nearly continuous adulation that is libertarianism in action on Grainne. That’s my quibble, there was very little grey in his world building. The story suffered from a lack of balance, the UN is evil, corrupt and mostly bumbling, as are all of its members and military, Grainne is good, a bastion of truth, light, and efficiency and its residents are the same.
The ship visits Heinlein, a libertarian world. It is not the nicest of places, and it is not a festering hell-hole of sin and depravity. As presented you might want to visit if you needed something shady, but living there would not be something anyone would wish to do unless insanely wealthy, a criminal, or both. There was both positive and negative about the planet, its people, and their system of government.
And that is what I look for in a story, plausibility. Where are the grey areas, the imperfections, how is the main character, or his town, or his organization or his planet not boringly angelic?
If I told you that all the beaches in Puerto Rico were perfect in every way, you’d grow suspicious. However, if I said that the best beaches for surfing were over by Mayaguez, for small kids try Gilligan’s Island (yes it does exist), and the beaches in San Juan were pretty good but can be rough, you’d be more inclined to listen. Why? Because there was variation, not all beaches are good for all activities.
One-size-fits-all may be a great logistics axiom, but makes for a dull story, or world. So make sure you strive for balance, show the not so great, the selfish, the negative, and you’ll have a better, more realistic character and world.
I will strive to do the same.
Speaking of dark and imperfect, how about a few stories of Witches, Monsters, and Madness to make dealing with the family easier?
Click on the links and enjoy.
Get it free here - Goth Witch of Philly

Junior Inquisitor Book One  
Now on sale for 99 cents!

Soulless Monk Book Two  
 Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX

The Witch’s Lair Book Three 
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC 
 Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
The Vampire of Rome Book Four

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