Wow. So Larry Correia both read my review of Warbound, AND commented on it (in a totally awesome way, you should read it), AND LINKED BACK. I get 50 hits on a good day, Larry’s link spiked that to over 700 in a matter of hours. Yowzah!
I, knowing a good thing when I see it, can’t let this go without a counter-reply. :) Especially because his was a very thoughtful and in-depth reply, and I’d feel bad not saying “Thank you” at the very least. So, to start out, a hearty Thank You for engaging me.
First I must admit to a short-coming. I don’t know that much about how FDR actually did politics. I watch and read a fair amount of political fiction that is produced nowadays. The politicians in these, both the noble and the slimey, are always very shrewd, subtle, and conniving. They speak in understatements and implications, and everyone is pretending to play the game three levels below where they’re actually playing it, and hoping that everyone else thinks they’re only playing two levels above where they appear to be playing. This makes for awesome fiction, and it has colored the way I watch the political circuses our politicians play out for us. May be I’m seeing more levels than are actually there. Or maybe political intrigue really has gotten more intriguing over time. However I cannot actually say that I know enough about politics in the 30s to state that FDR was portrayed unrealistically. I only assumed that, based on fictional evidence. He may have acted like DeVito’s The Penguin for all I know. Which would be very disappointing. So, while I still have vague suspicions about FDR not being all that nefarious, I will admit that I don’t have a leg to stand on.
It is, however, still less fun for me to read. Cuz as I said above, I prefer the modern-day sort of political thriller. Just a personal taste thing.
And that leads directly into where me and Larry differ on our heroes. His next point is that the men acted period-appropriate when they treated women as things to be sheltered rather than people who can make their own decisions. This is true. But it’s also period-appropriate to a story set in the modern day, lots of people still act like that. I don’t think that matters as much, because the hero of a story is an ideal, or at least, closer to the ideal than a typical person. If we were to model ourselves after them, we should be slightly better people for it. And to me, having someone support that sort of view reduces my ability to look up to them. There were people who didn’t feel the need to impose their will on the women they cared for back then, even if they weren’t as common as they are now. I would prefer for my heroes to be of that type, similar to how I would prefer for the heroes I read in colonial-era fiction to not be slave owners and view it as distasteful.
Larry (I gather) views this sort of attitude as something that can be admired. He’s not a bad person or anything, but I disagree with him on that. He views it as protecting the ones you love. I don’t consider menacing the people my daughter loves to be protecting. (full disclosure – I don’t actually have a daughter) And likewise, I don’t consider it protecting someone to take away their choices (which is what was done to Hammer when she was excluded without being given the choice to help save mankind). I can see both of these things as character flaws that make up a multi-faceted character. Especially in Sullivan’s case, given his recent loss of Delila. But in that case those actions would be portrayed as flawed actions, whereas in Warbound they seemed to be presented as positive things.
This is the same reason I found the joy in violence distasteful. I love violence in my fiction. :) I enjoyed the violence in Warbound. Morgan’s Altered Carbon is one of my favorite books, in part because Kovacs is such a stone-cold badass throughout. Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold is brutal and bloody and I actually bought a physical copy, it was that awesome. However my heroes never enjoy the violence they inflict. They are good at it, and they use it as a tool to get what they want, but there is never joy in it. Desperation maybe, or rage, or even just cold calculation. I don’t know if that makes me a hypocrite. Maybe that joy really is somewhere deep inside, the vicious pride of triumphing over one’s enemies, of seeing them driven before you, etc. Maybe it’s only lip-service we pay to civility by pretending it doesn’t excite us on a primal level. But dammit, these are heroes. They are the idealized man, that we want to model ourselves after, and our ideals really shouldn’t act like they enjoy violence, even if they secretly do.
I won’t comment on the super powers & kanji, as I don’ t have much to add. It is, as he said, a fine line. I thought it was a bit over the line, obviously not everyone agrees. Which, given his popularity, is quite an understatement.
Obviously this is a bit of a philosophical divide which won’t be solved over a few blog posts. Actually it’ll probably never be solved, because people are fundamentally different. Which is why it’s good that we can disagree and still live side by side and occasionally read each others fiction and admit that it’s not bad, just not quite to our tastes. In any case, it’s been a long day and I have another long day before me tomorrow, so I’m ending this here. It was nice to get to engage an author about his work for a while. :)