Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Blade, A Fang in the Night

Today is my fifth day of writing 1,000 words a day. It’s also been the hardest to get around to the task. Some of this is because I actually had work to do, which I certainly prioritize over my own projects. To do otherwise would be unethical. I’ve also been rather engrossed in a novel I’m reading. It’s a novel I’ve wanted to read for a while. Not this specific one, but the topic. It’s a variation of the fantasy assassin story. Much like Brent Weeks’ Night Angel trilogy, but with it’s own take and a female protagonist. I’ve been eager to find a novel in this vein with a heroine. It turns out it’s hard to find a strong heroine who doesn’t turn into a sap every time some glittering mope looks at her funny. I’m about ¾ of the way through the book and am only now encountering any potential romantic interest. I’m interested to see how she handles it, since her assignment is, one way or another, to ruin the man. There are a lot of possible roads. Hopefully none of them glitter.

This book, by the way, is free for Kindle only. It’s called Child of the Ghosts by someoneoranother. He also has another free novel called Demonsouled. So far I like this novel better.

I’m not sure why but I’m a big fan of novels that feature assassins as the protagonist. Maybe it’s the same dark fascination that we as a race have with vampires. Assassins are mysterious, deadly, creatures of darkness that let us walk in the shadows with them. Their morality is grey at best, black at worst. Yet so often in fiction they follow a personal code of ethics or honor. Perhaps that’s the crux of it for me. I don’t really believe in a black and white morality and while I don’t really believe in assassination as a means of solving problems, I enjoy reading about characters that exist outside the status quo of culture and form one of their own, even if they follow that path alone.

The autonomous, individual culture of these kinds of protagonists appeals to me because that is a distinct facet of my own personality. Note that I don’t refer to it as a counter-culture. Sticking my thumbs in my ears and wagging my tongue at the world isn’t the purpose. Individualism is. I hold to the beliefs that are important to me in spite of what the world urges me toward. An example can be found in something as small as not watching, nor owning, a television. It astounds many people that I am so disconnected from that which fills so much of their free time. As a result I’m rather out of touch with pop culture.

I have never regretted the points where I found myself standing on the sidelines watching the ‘civilized’ West go about their days. (Perhaps ‘domesticated’ West would be a more appropriate term.) Their choices often boggle my mind.

A woman I met recently is a prime example. She’s new to the area and just moved into her house. One of the first things she did was go out and buy a 55” TV, which I consider excessive, personally. I can think of much better things to spend that kind of money on. When I asked her what she spent on it, she responded, “What matters is that I saved $700.” I’m sorry, I beg to differ. Saving $700 when you spend a fuckload isn’t “saving anything”. Sales and rebates are mostly mind games anyway, to get you to buy when you might otherwise go home with all your money in your pocket. Just say no, consumer. Go home with your money.

Already being rather unimpressed with said person and her domesticated Westness, you can imagine my excitement when she decided to share with me the fact that she had held a “puppy shower” for her dog when she got it. I was also not as moved as she expected when she showed off the calendar that just arrived in the mail: it was made with pictures from the day she bought her new car. Who does that?

Not being a fan of rampant materialism, loathing the boob tube and otherwise having different values from the ‘average Joe’, it’s easy for me to be drawn to bold, dark characters who are as defined by their flaws as their heroics. It’s why my favorite protagonists are Lestat, a myriad cast of assassins and Ender. Even when their actions don’t shape the world around them, they transcend the bourgeoise. They move through the world as giants of personality, characters instead of caricatures and I can barely rip myself away from their stories.

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