Archive for Wanted

Wanted: Superheroes

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Uncle Sam wants YOU!

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Have you ever wished you could find that one book that was about _____? Have you ever found yourself wondering what a book with a certain kind of theme or message would be like? That’s exactly what “Wanted” is all about. A semi-regular feature, I use “Wanted” to talk about all those books I wish I could find that nobody seems to have written yet. If you happen to know of some books that fit my criteria, I would love for you to send them my way through the comments!

I need a (super)HERO!

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a good superhero story. Superman from the 70’s? Yep, watched them ALL (including the crap-tastic Superman IV AND the sh*t on a stick remake Superman Returns) and loved them. (Well mostly. The soundtracks were good at least.) Batman? Lois and Clark? The Avengers? League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Green Lantern? Heroes? I’ve seen them all, at least in part (there’s a lot out there!) and own quite a few on DVD for re-watching on a regular basis. Despite my obsession with superheroes on visual medium, I have a terrible confession to make – I can’t make myself finish a graphic novel to save my life. I’m fine with Manga, and several web-comics. I just… don’t do American style comic books.

You know what would be great? Superhero novels! I know I can manage novels (obviously) and I would get one of my favorite kinds of story at the same time! I would eat it up like candy, I tell you! Sadly superheroes, while able to jump tall buildings in a single bound, seem unable to make the simple hop over the genre barriers.

“But what about Paranormals?” you say, “They’re kind of like superheroes!” And you’re right, they are. They have super-strength, super-hearing, super-whatever, so they could be superheroes. The defining line for me is how they use their super-whatever. Most paranormals being published now are so concerned with concealing their identity that they completely squash their powers, or they only tell a few people, without even bothering to figure out a way they could use their powers secretly. I love me some secret identities! Few of them use their powers to help anyone (other than their romantic interest, of course) and none of them seem to be interested in the vigilante type of justice that superheroes always seem to favor. (I’m not condoning this kind of behavior, mind. Just because I happen to find it very attractive…) I know I’m being picky, but there is a difference – let’s have our super-paranormals stand for something, instead of just hide out behind their secret identities!

Some novels I’ve read that do work as superhero novels:

The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer

The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix

White Cat by Holly Black (sort of, and I don’t know if this holds through the whole series, as I haven’t finished it yet)

I’ve also heard that The Vindico by Wesley King is a sort of reverse superhero novel, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on it since the first review I saw.

Do you know of any superhero books that I’m missing out on? Am I just being too picky? What kind of novels do you want to see become the next big trend?


Wanted: Non-Western settings!

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Wanted
Uncle Sam wants YOU!

I want YOU to write my next read!

Have you ever noticed how frickin’ many of the books that are out or coming out are set in a Western culture? I don’t mean like cowboy boots and spurs, I mean a Western belief system and Western cultural rules. I can understand why – a lot of authors are from a Western culture, and most of their audiences are from a Western culture too. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be interesting to read about somewhere else!

This trend has been slowly changing. There are several recent books that use less Western cultural elements – I just finished Shadow and Bone which is set in a Russia-like fantasy world, Eon and Eona use an Oriental calendar year and belief system (apologies if I’ve offended anyone, I don’t know enough about those belief systems to be able to tell which one it is) and The Immortal Rules references the occasional Japanese (I think) cultural element.

I really appreciate these books, because I’m lazy. I know, awful of me to say. I love learning about other cultures, but I don’t want to do it out of a textbook. I either want to GO THERE and find out for myself, or I want to read an interesting story about it. Funnily enough, you learn quite a bit about other cultures by reading fictional stories about them, even if some of the stuff isn’t quite true.

Some settings I want to see, for any writers who get to it before I do:

  • Retell some non-Western fairy tales! There are tons of great ones, but some of my favorites that I rarely see are Baba Yaga (Eastern European) and the Firebird (Russian).
  • Set a story in India – I would LOVE to learn more about India and see something set there. I, personally, would probably write a steampunk set there – the exotic culture clashing with the English industrial revolution seems like the perfect playground for a writer’s mind (See Scott Westerfeld’s  Behemoth for ideas)
  • A modern contemporary in an oriental culture – when I think of China or Japan, I think of Geishas and dragons and Mulan. I’m pretty sure the culture is WAY different now, and I’d love to read about it.
  • Technically it’s still Western, sort of, but wouldn’t it be interesting to read about the ancient cultures in South America? Or maybe even modern cultures there. I’m not picky!

What other places would you like to read about? What do you think the next trend in literature should be?

Have you ever read something and thought “Gee, I wish there were more books like that!”? Or maybe you’ve had an idea and thought “Why aren’t there more books about that out there?” Wanted is a new semi-regular feature at Creativity’s Corner to discuss all those books that don’t exist, but we wish they did!

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