Grim Bureaucracy is currently free on the Kindle over at Amazon that runs until the 21st! If you prefer a print copy then I have a Goodreads Giveaway that is active until then as well. If you miss out those opportunities, print copies are available through Amazon and I plan on making it freely available through the Kindle as often as possible.
The Dark Watchman is coming along nicely. I’m excited about some of the recent developments to the story. When I was first coming up with the idea I kept thinking about how evil is normally associated with living in the shadows. I became obsessed with creating an anti-hero that wielded the power of darkness against the forces of evil. The main protagonist of The Dark Watchman series will have the abilities of an elemental with control over dark energy. Evil needs to know that there is no escape even in the darkness. Evil can take on any shade. Hell, even that psychiatrist that helped you so much with your personal demons might really be a cannibalistic serial killer.
In my stories I am going to make it a point to not be afraid to show the results of collateral damage. Lately I keep being reminded of the harsh criticism of the movie Man of Steel. Warning, spoilers ahead. In my opinion I saw nothing wrong with what is the biggest argument with the movie as a whole. There is a lot of commentary on the fact that most of Metropolis got destroyed and that Superman killed General Zod. Never mind the fact that Zod is trying to destroy all life on the damn planet with his machine and that Superman did the best he could to keep collateral damage at a minimum. When he is taking on multiple Kryptonians whose directive is to destroy the world then they are probably going to try to direct the fight back to where the most damage can occur. In the end it came down to Zod or the family he was directing his laser beams at. Superman chose to save the innocents and kill Zod to end his murderous rampage. In some ways Zod may have wanted to die in the midst of battle as an honorable way to go. Did Superman violate his “do not kill” policy? In a way yes, but he did so because he was presented with an impossible choice. Is Superman any less of a hero? I don’t think so. He is the one that has to live with the fact that he decided to make an exception to the rule in order to protect an innocent family that was not able to protect themselves. In fact, I argue that it may make Superman more of a hero for doing what he did. The people arguing that the collateral damage and impossible choice ruined Man of Steel are the same people forgetting that time in one of the most popular comic arcs when Superman and Doomsday killed each other. There was nothing Superman could do to prevent some of the collateral damage then either. Metropolis got its ass handed to them because that happens when you have someone with the force of Superman battling the equal and opposite force of Doomsday. I didn’t see Superman walking around Metropolis punching people’s heads off or decapitating them with his laser eyes. That would be a violation of Superman’s character (pending of course upon whether or not he is infected with red Kryptonite or if Bizarro is being an ass that day). I also recently got asked why on Earth Batman would be fighting against Superman in the new movie. I had to explain that their personalities commonly clash and that the trailer does a great job of depicting that Bruce Wayne lost some shit in the collateral damage of Superman’s fight with Zod. Although Superman didn’t directly take a shit in Bruce Wayne’s Wheaties, I could understand why Batman would confront him about what happened. I am hoping that Batman comes around to understanding that Superman did what he had to do.
Another hero that comes to mind that has a similar “do not kill” policy is the pure hearted Goku from Dragonball Z. He is not afraid to risk his life to protect those that can’t protect themselves. One of my favorite quotes of his goes like this, “I am the hope of the universe. I am the answer to all living things that cry out for peace. I am protector of the innocent. I am the light in the darkness. I am truth. Ally to good! Nightmare to you!” The battle between Goku and Frieza does a great job of highlighting the age-old struggle of good vs evil.
Goku does everything he can to minimize collateral damage and to end the fight without killing Frieza. In the end, the entire planet of Namek is sacrificed and Frieza is mortally wounded. Goku walks away leaving us with this message, “Though you brought all of this upon yourself, it’s a shame your life had to end in such a miserable way. I wanted to save you Frieza, but you wouldn’t let me. And now you will have to share the fate of the planet Namek, which you yourself destroyed. I’m tired of fighting, I’m going home.” Goku may not have directly killed Frieza but in the end he didn’t go out of his way to get him off of the planet either. He left him to reap what he had sown.
I believe that both of these heroes acted heroically in the dire situations there were forced to face. The writers of both of the above show great examples of utilitarianism. What would you do if given a similar impossible choice?