Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]


A couple of years ago I went back and re-read an old science fiction series that I had read in my youth, and I was amazed at how much racism had crept into the story since I read it the first time. But rather than people of certain ancestries having noble or base abilities and morals, the heroes were all “superior” human beings developed through eugenics. And there was no argument from the common people; they all recognized their betters. (Unless they were working for the bad guys, in which case they did everything they could to undermine the trust placed in the Good Guys.)

I’ve heard the same complaint made against the Star Wars series. The most capable characters are all Jedis or of noble birth; everybody else is a stormtrooper who can’t shoot or a civilian that gets shot anyway. Or Jar Jar Binks.

Makes me itch, it does. I don’t mind larger than life heroes and villains, but someone who’s the hero just because he’s the right kind of person, not so much.

On a different note, I think you’ve touched on the reason why bad writing can still be so successful. Some stories are so good that people want to hear them no matter how badly they’re told. Dan Brown’s novels appeal to latent conspiracy theorists, and there are a lot of them. Stephenie Meyer’s work appeals to any number of relationship fantasies. Burroughs is in the same vein whether he’s writing about Tarzan or John Carter. His heroes appeal to those of us who want to believe in someone who knows what he’s doing, and has the guts to do it.


10/20/14 @ 15:12
Comment from: Aunt Bann [Visitor]
Aunt Bann

I haven’t even THOUGHT about Tarzan for years, now. When I read him in the comics, I don’t think I believed much of it. But you do have a good point, in the fact that most people (and I don’t deny that I’m probably one of them) want to believe that the hero/heroine is exactly what the writer has chosen to make him/her!

Thanks for the idea. I’ll have to think about it a little more.

10/20/14 @ 17:44
Comment from: Daddy [Visitor]

It might be an excellent exercise to take one of the Tarzan books, preferably #1, and re-write it without the racism, etc that you mention. It might make a really *good* book then. One thing that has caused me not to like them, especially, is that because of the stereotypes, the stories become predictable, and therefore, a little boring. The same could be said of course for much of sf, which you know is my favorite fiction genre, lest it be poetry of virtually any kind.

02/06/15 @ 05:19

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