1. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    The Superman Question

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Ochalis, Jan 3, 2016.

    My character finds himself in a world torn in two by the presence of a seemingly all-powerful entity, very much akin to the fictional comic book superhero Superman.

    One side embraces him: The conformists. They welcome him. They all passionately share the vision of a world kept in harmony by a strong protector. They see him as a savior, a guardian, a beacon of hope, in a world shrouded in darkness. They feel that humanity is too stupid to handle itself, and left to its own devices, has the potential to wipe itself out. The threat of a global nuclear war attest to that idea all too well. Our superman figure has taken it upon himself to prevent such an event from by destroying all weapons of mass destruction. Along with that, as per a superhero's duty, he has also destroyed major evil organizations, saved people from natural disasters, and stopped crimes all over the world, effectively making Earth a much happier place to be in before his arrival. They also feel that since he is not human, he is above human weaknesses, and reasons at a level unhindered by classical human ideologies.

    This side is the majority. The rebels, however, are a smaller group that seeks a seemingly logical mission: The immediate exodus of any (potentially) incredibly dangerous extraterrestrial life on Earth; Namely, our faceless superman figure.

    The rebels (name will be changed) despise this superman alien. They look at him as an immediate threat to all of humanity. They do not look at him as a hero- They look at him as an ultimately dangerous entity, one with the capability to wipe out the entire human race, should he feel like it. A being with such destructive capacity, in their eyes, has no place handling the delicate life on Earth, and for (what they believe to be) humanity's best interests, should find another planet to toy with.

    Another reason is that the rebels have a strong sense of pride (or dignity, depending on how you see it). They feel that humanity is an intelligent and matured species, one that can govern itself, without any external aid. They feel that his being here is degrading, and his actions, insulting. To them, he is like a supremely more powerful babysitter, watching over and happily protecting the weak and infantile human race.

    --

    So now I ask, which side should my MC identify with? All comments are appreciated!
    (on an unrelated note, if such a figure did exist, what side would you be on?)
     
  2. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    The MC should probably identify with whichever side is losing, to create the most tension. :p Rebels are a good candidate for that, although if the rebels are very powerful (despite their small numbers), then the MC could identify with the conformists.
     
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  3. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    Thanks for the advice!

    On an unrelated note, what side would you choose?
     
  4. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    I don't think an alien would just help us for no reason. There must be something in it for the him. Yeah, he could just be doing it for the sake of being good, but I find that highly unlikely.

    TBH, I'd still side with the conformists and enjoy life while it lasts.
     
  5. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I'd probably side with the rebels, but only enough to stir up conversation at parties, not enough to plant explosions. :p
     
  6. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    A very good objection.

    But think about this: What if you saw a baby deer caught in a trap? Would you not help it? Would you not interfere, because there is nothing "in it for you"? Are you to be nothing but a retreating sillouete in the eyes of the helpless and bloodied creature?

    Hopefully, you would help. If you possess the power to help someone or something in need, most of the time, the right thing to do would be to help it. Perhaps the alien feels it's the right thing to do.

    But maybe I'm just being irrational. After all, I shouldn't apply such human ideas of morality to an alien. What say you?
     
  7. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    It could go either way. Your best bet is to decide between one of the two, and to keep the reader guessing as to the correct answer until you reveal the details.
     
  8. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    How long should I keep them guessing?
     
  9. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    That's a question only you can answer. :p It just all depends on the particulars of your plot. Right now you have a setting, but you still need to figure out the details of the narrative: what characters the story focuses around, what their objectives are, and what conflicts they struggle through on the path to the conclusion. :)
     
  10. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    I see. That was a pretty dumb question, actually. o_O
     
  11. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    If we discovered a planet with a race of tribal aliens at war over foreign social customs, would we really spend the resources to understand and end their conflicts?
     
  12. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I can think of some star trek episodes where humans did that. :p
     
  13. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    My alien isn't in the same boat. Perhaps the humans who discovered those aliens would reject helping them resolve their conflicts, and that's understandable. Such an endeavor offers no clear reward in the end, and also costs resources. Any big organization that wants to turn a profit would be smart to not spend money and time on them. But my alien doesn't care about those things. He's a superhero! He wouldn't be a hero if he operated strictly on logic and his actions were done with only the success of himself in mind. What he does doesn't revolve around preserving resources, or time, or gaining a strategic advantage, or receiving reward. He's doing what every superhero usually does: Selflessly helping someone or something in need, no matter the cost.

    He saw humanity, confused and angry, a baby deer caught in a trap. He didn't think, "Why should I waste my time? Whether they live or die has no effect on me, positively or negatively. I have no reason to help it." And he doesn't, really. But he feels that he should, if he can.
     
  14. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Sure, but a flawless character lacks depth. For example, maybe his planet sent him to take over earth and collect its resources. He may have originally destroyed the weapons of mass destruction only because they would've rendered earth's resources useless. As he inadvertantly helps the people of earth, he slowly becomes a genuine vigilante, eventually fighting back against his own planet to save earth. Also, since the story is about the rebels, shouldn't they at least have something to stand on?

    Have you thought of an origin story for the superhero yet?
     
  15. Ochalis
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    Ochalis Member

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    You know, I really haven't got anything going for our super spaceman yet. What you just suggested is pretty good, though. I don't suppose there's any room for a more tragic backstory without (being too much of a ripoff of superman)?
     
  16. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    If you want something more tragic, make him mortally dependent on his planet when he has to fight against it.

    Super spaceman could be part of an immortal race that is kept alive only by life support that is manufactured on his planet. Even more tragic if they're running out of materials to manufacture their life support and Earth is the only planet they know that has that essential resource. Super spaceman has to choose between the death of Earth and the death of his home planet.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Traditional Superman was stuck on Earth, wasn't he? It was his home as well? So making the Earth safer helped make himself safer and gave him a more pleasant place to live.

    He also had formed bonds with quite a few Earthlings. His protective feelings for them extended to prod him to protect everyone.

    If your guy doesn't have those limitations and those bonds, he's a bit harder to predict. Does anyone know him? Is he approachable, can he give interviews and explain himself, etc.?

    I'd say your MC should be torn between the two groups for the whole book, and at the end he should forge a new path, one right down the middle - appreciating the alien help, but insisting (requesting) that the alien consult with humans (a rejuvenated UN, or whatever) before acting.
     
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  18. Toomanypens
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    I'd side against superman because its harder to understand as a choice and so will provide more intruige.

    I think a superman figure WOULD weaken the human race, and be only a patch solution that leads humanity to "slip" in its responsibilities. I'd make my main character NOT save someone he could have because he instead called for superman, so he struggles with his failure and his conscience.

    I wouldn't have him be angry at superman, but at the idea of relying on him when WE CAN CHANGE, and when we can choose.

    I'd have supermans supporters not understand the MC, and villainise him, so that he and his people are persecuted and targetted, and I would have him, in the final climactic battle kill superman, yet feel the pain of the whole world fall on him, because he broke the worlds heart, to help them rebuild, and wears the price of that tough love, and all who die as a result of him ripping the bandaid off.

    I'd eventually have the world recover, and a new era dawn.
    And have the MC honor the fallen superman, for showing the world, we do have a choice... and recognising that in his death he was a catalyst for change.


    Superman can't truly be a symbol for humanity until he dies like any man could.
     
  19. GrandJury
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    I say rebels. The conformists seem like a pretty boring option for an MC, IMO.

    As their name implies, the conformists are simply conforming to change. Not exactly a conversation starter. And anyways, I like the idea of defending our dignity as humans. Many of us would be angry at the idea of a alien race that possessed all the traits that made humans special, but so much more.

    It makes us look weak in comparison.
     
  20. Ochalis
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    I like the "rejuvenated UN" idea. But, since he's fighting crime all over the world, at random points of time, almost everyday- wouldn't it be difficult to appear before some form of a court before every action?
     
  21. BayView
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    Maybe he could have standing orders and guidelines, with his actions subject to UN review?
     
  22. WriterMMS
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    This pretty much the plot of the new super/bat movie coming out, batman being the just rebel in the story, lex luthor being the unjust rebel.

    Batman is genuinely rustled by the existence of superman while lex is playing to the fears of the massess to control superman.
     
  23. Ochalis
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    Cool idea. I wonder what they'd do if he violated their rules, though. They aren't exactly in a position of authority over him.

    Also, what side would you take if such a superman figure was flying out skies?
     
  24. psychotick
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    Hi,

    I like characters with a little bit of intelligence, and my thought is that no one with a brain cell should take either side. They are both potential disasters waiting to happen. If you support the super alien he could turn bad or have an unknown agenda which devestates life on Earth. If you oppose him - well your life expectency may well be short. And if you make him mad - well the Earth might not like him when he's mad!

    If you don't have to choose - don't. Get the hell out of Dodge! If you can't keep your head down and prepare for the end whichever way it goes. Think survivalist thoughts. Live long and prosper while the living long and prospering is good, and get in your bunker when it isn't.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  25. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Well, Santa Claus somehow manages to make an appearance at the mall during the holidays.
     
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