My problem has always been twofold - "Where the fuck do you start?" and "What if I'm shit?". The second one has been the hardest hurdle as I'm a creature of confidence, someone who'll gladly do absolutely anything until someone tells me I'm shite. It's probably says something about my own maturity levels that I still crave the pats on the back I used to get at school for being a very clever boy. It'd be nice to have someone read along as I write and tell me how well I'm doing, but my ultimate fear is that sycophancy - or worse, indifference - leads to me being found out.
Ho hum. Dry your eyes, as the song goes.
Anyway, this was written at some point in 2007. I think, but I'm not sure, I'd already read the first of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch's brilliant novels, all of which, as everyone is aware, are far more than Tolkien with swearing.
Let's create a world.
The world must have, in the first instance, Good and Evil. These are the basic cornerstones of the Fantasy World. Everything is in black and white, East and West a la Tolkien. This is primarily because in a finite world there is always something to fight for, something definite. Hence, the Oppressed and the Oppressor, the Hero and the Villain.
In a Sci-Fi world, this isn't necessarily the case. There are more grey areas in Sci-Fi, thanks to the pure black of space. The vacuum sucks up everything, morality, reason, sanity. Nothing is for certain because infinity has no absolutes. Sci-Fi, Lucas aside, is the home of the grey area.
These are the basics.
Standard pulp fantasy to this day is the home of the linear plotline (well, duh, it's a book) and the po-faced, dull arse hero. There are twists, but they're all retelling Tolkien with various levels of swearing and shagging. Fantasy Hero embarks on a journey for (insert reason here), has a bit of a shit time in book two, then overcomes everything to save the day in book three. Wahey.
So we have, from a programming point of view, the following variables:
define Hero as Cliche(Background, CharacterTraits, Destiny)
define HeroEntourage as GroupCliche(ComedyName, Background, GrudgeAgainstHero, PercentageOfBeingAnnoying); HeroEntourage.LoveInterest; HeroEntourage.BigMusclyThickDude; HeroEntourage.StealthDude; HeroEntourage.SlightlyDodgyGuyWhoIsEitherBadGuyOrRedHerringDude; HeroEntourage.WiseOldSmartArseMentorDude
define UltimateEvil as OhNoNotAnotherOne(ReasonForBeingEvil, StupidLevel)
define UltimateEvilHenchmen as NotWorthNamingJustGiveThemARedShirt(CoolSwordThough)
define Prophecy as OHNOESTHEWURALDISENDING
Standard Trilogy Trajectory
if WaffleFactorGetsTooHigh then HaveRandomFight
then TalkAbout Hero.Destiny
then HeroEntourage.LoveInterest GetsRevenge
define Prophecty as OoohExciting
then kill Hero.Entourage(SomePoorBastard)
define HeroEntourage.WiseOldSmartArseMentorDude as ReallyFuckingHigh
then kill Hero(DidntSeeThatComing)
define Prophecy as LoadOfShite
define Hero as UltimateEvil(YesReally)
define Time as Malleable
define God as ViciousBastard
define UltimateEvil as NotThatBadReally
define Prophecy as HowTheFuckDoIWorkThisOneOut
define UltimateEvil as HeroAgain
define HeroAgain as GrimAndGritty(UnshavenAndWearingATrenchcoat)
define Prophecy as OooohThatsClever
define Hero.Destiny as HopeItWasWorthIt
I probably thought I was being very clever.