Saturday, December 28, 2013

The revenge of the not particularly heroic, nerdy wee fella

Earlier in the month, I did a post about how "strong female characters" bore the bits off me, and the same is true of "strong male characters". 'Tis a bit dull to see characters reduced to one buzzword, y'see, or at least in my opinion.

And I shall tell you what else bores me: heroes. Indomitable slabs of beef, who crush their enemies, and hear the lamentation of their women? Peerless warriors at the very peak of physical perfection? You can keep 'em!

I'll take the nerdy wee pleb over that, any day, because seriously, where's the "triumph over adversity" that we all love to see, when the hero in question is already written as being indomitably perfect (when it's a truth universally acknowledged, or in my head at least, that perfect people are, when you get right down to it, gits)?

I suppose, really, that I just love the idea of the average little lad and/or lass being the one who saves the universe, especially if it's clear that they want no part of such enterprise. They're not necessarily cowards, per se, it's just that there's heroes and soldiers and lots of other people trained in the arts of fightin' and cussin' and quaffin' and righteous murder, and they're much better at the whole universe-saving gig, so why not let them do it, because they'd be better at it anyway, right?

But then, that's the point, really. People like that are expected to be badasses. Being a badass is sort of their whole reason for existence, so it's not surprising when they actually, well, do it. I always find it far more satisfying when the average person (who usually wouldn't say boo to a goose) suddenly snaps, decides that enough is enough, and proceeds to take the bad guys to the cleaners.

It makes it that much more awesome.

All in all, that's why I love Rincewind (the "wizzard" who saves the world by, basically, running away from everything) from the Discworld novels, by the utterly peerless Terry Pratchett. It's why I love Swerve from the IDW Transformers comics, the little bot who just wants to run a bar, and who really can't shoot straight for the life of him.

That's what I was aiming for with John Harley, the main character in the first Cynos Union novel, Messiah's Shard. He'd be the first to admit that he's a pleb, that he's hopeless at driving a boat (or, as you may well find out in a future novel, piloting a shuttle), and that his fighting style is best described as "flail wildly at something till it goes away", although he does have an indomitable moral core, and the knowledge that some things are just wrong. Somehow, he has to become the one who'll save the entire universe and put those things right.

So yeah. Big, beefcake, perfect heroes? They can get stuffed. I'll take the crap one who overcomes their own essential crapness, to save the entirety of existence, thanks.

Incidentally, if you want to read about how John Harley overcomes his inherent crapness, to save the universe, then the first two Cynos Union books (Messiah's Shard and The Non-Random Dog) are are on sale, for FREE, till the end of the year. Go and grab 'em while they won't cost you anything!

The ever-expanding and growing Cynos Union Series is available to buy now! Subscribe for more news from the world (and brain) of Mark W. Bonnett!

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