Monday, December 31, 2012
Axe-grinding vs Story-telling
The citizens of a representative democracy are responsible to know what its gubmint is doing and replace corrupt rascals with just statesmen. The only problem is that both parties prefer to put no one but weenies on the ballot.
Let's be clear: I think the Republican Party is every bit as corrupt as the Democrat Party.
This poses a problem for the writer who is also a citizen: what do do about this?
I have friends whose politics are as contradictory to mine as night is to day. And they've poured their politics into their writing making all the villains like me and all the heroes like them. This makes their stories as readable as a Jack Chick tract. Tolerable if you agree, intolerable if you do not. The ratio of axe-grinding to story-telling is over ten to one.
I've also seen slightly more sophisticated tales wherein the labels are scrubbed from the heroes and villains, but they act out allegories of good and evil while sermonizing about the virtues of their position. Atlas Shrugged comes to mind here. It's a little better than a Chick tract, but I still skipped past the 20 page sermons by John Galt, et al. Here the ratio of axe-grinding to story-telling is improved, but still heavy-handed.
who aim to misbehave. They spend a fair amount of time when they're in civilization scrubbing logs of incriminating evidence and bribing bureaucrats to overlook minor infractions. And they find the Feds like to infect everyone's computer with dormant spyware.
None of this gets in the way of a ripping good yarn. The hero and her handsome male companions go rocketing off into space in search of treasure with the gubmint a few steps behind trying to stop them and/or steal the treasure for themselves. I figured the axe-grinding to story-telling ratio was fairly light-handed, but I should get a 2nd opinion from a statist.
Bajoran), or pointy ears and eyebrows (Vulcan), or spots on their skin (Trill). Why, you might ask Gene Roddenberry? Because more elaborate makeup and alien get-ups cost too much, he'd say.
McCloskey has no such constraints. He devises aliens with tri-lobed brains, or 20-lobed brains, and he gives them really alien forms. Like 40 limbs, no sense of smell or hearing, but a sense of mass. And he gives this a plausible explanation without getting bogged down in technobabble. High marks for making his aliens alien.
"The Trilisk Ruins" is the first novel in a series. If you buy this and like it, be prepared to buy a few more follow-up novels. I just did.