Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I Write Sci-Fi: SuperHero Edition!

So, the characters in my book Glitch have have super-powers. I freely admit, I've been influenced by the super heroes, especially X-Men. I mean, could there be a better metaphor for being an awkward out-cast-y teenager than having secret mutant powers?? There's persecution, personal empowerment, muscular dudes and busty chicks in spandex!

Ahem. So yeah. I love me some super-hero awesomeness. My introduction to super-heroes were the tv shows of my childhood and teen years-- Batman, X-men, Smallville, etc. Fear not, there's no spandex involved in Glitch, but there might be some telekinesis, shape-shifting, and x-ray vision ;)

In my grad school lit classes (especially one amazing children's lit class), we talked about the "Sea of Stories". The Sea of Stories is just a convenient catch-all name for all those tales we keep telling and recycling over the millennia. Shakespeare did it, J.K. Rowling did it, even Homer! We tell stories like the ones we've read and loved. It is my opinion that there is nothing new under the sun--no one is telling a particular story FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Instead, we keep telling ourselves the same stories over and over, from the mythic Greek gods to Superman (who have a lot in common, by the way) to create meaningful stories for each generation. I think this is our job as writers, and why new books are constantly needed -- we are telling the old stories but making them new for this day and age. We're bringing new life and shapes to stories, allowing a new generation to feel that magic expansion inside their chests at reading a truly great story that resonates with ever part of their being.

So I declare: we need stories! Storytelling provides a way to give shape and structure to our actual lives. We need stories for our mental health, for our souls, for the child in all of us who wants to believe in a super-hero coming to the rescue of the weak and enforcing justice for all the many unfairnesses in the world!

*steps off impassioned soapbox* So, question to readers: if you could have a super-power, what would it be?

Me: I'd go for super strength. And maybe the ability to fly ;)


  1. Sounds like we grew up on a lot of the same superheroes. Jeff and I recently bought the old Superman and Batman cartoons from the 90s and darn if they're not still good! The Batman ones especially are very mysterious, clever -- if you can get hold of them, they're totally worth rewatching.

    Super strength would be nice, but I'm trying to think of something a little more practical for my life. Perhaps super smart would fix a lot of things. *G*

  2. Jodi, you crack me up. Can I ask for super smarts too? See, I'm not even sharp enough to come up with my own superpower... I need it more than you do ; ) Great post, Heather. Stay on that soapbox. Love you there.

  3. Yep, Jodi, i recently tracked down both Batman and the 90's X-men dvd's and watched through them with my kiddo - trying to inculcate the next generation in super-hero awesomeness ;)

    And gal, you know you ALREADY got the super-smarts, stop playin'!

    V: yay for soapboxes! And yeah... being overly dramatic and impassioned is kinda my wheelhouse - my soapbox is pretty much a fixed piece of furniture in our house ;)

  4. Oh my gosh, my favorite comic is X-men. I used to watch those cartoons all the time when I was a kid. I want the power to absorb other people's powers without killing them. (So Rogue without the drawbacks).