Saturday, October 11, 2008

I will rule the world!

Villains who want to conquer/destroy the world are only too common, but there are a few ways to make such an antagonist stand out from the crowd and be realistic.

1. Motivation

Why does your antagonist want to conquer or rule the entire world? Every generic Dark Lord wants to do this, certainly, but these days, characters need more motivation. Here are a few ideas:

Ideology: The gods have charged her with bringing the Message of Hope to the heathen masses, and she’ll have to conquer them to do it. Or else a new religion is rising in other lands, and she’s afraid it will contaminate her people if she doesn’t act fast.

Greed: Other lands have gold mines and forests of spice-trees.

Expectations: The antagonist is a general and the order comes from above. What can he do but obey it and invade other lands? Or an ancient prophecy says that he will be king hereafter over all the world – I wouldn’t mind seeing an antagonist’s ambitions spurred by that.

2. Control

Especially in a medieval fantasy, how does the evil emperor plan to control what will happen at the edges of his empire once he’s taken over the world? How does he know his underlings won’t plot against him or break away from his rule? If communication is patchy or slow over such long distances, how will he control the world once he defeats it?

Harry Harrison’s Deathworld 3 delivered a beautiful answer to those questions. The warlord Temujin, leader of a nomad army, defeated several cities, ruled the world… and realized he’d lost his people’s traditional way of life. His nomad army was now living in the cities they had conquered, enjoying culture and civilization and fine wine. Temujin’s life was battle and riding and living in tents, but suddenly that was the old way. It was unwanted now that his people had the world at their feet.

It may be easier to conquer the world than to control it.

3. Logistics

If the Dark Lord needs a million-strong army to conquer the world, he’ll need a corresponding number of smiths, armorers, cooks, farriers, physicians, scouts, prostitutes, etc. Such a large army will need plenty of food and water, meaning their supply lines can be disrupted, and diseases will be more likely to spread among them (unless the Dark Lord uses magic or his brains to overcome these obstacles).

The conquering of the world is also going to be affected by the weather and geography of wherever the army is fighting. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 failed mostly because of disease, merciless weather and a lack of supplies, and this happened in relatively modern times. In Nux Varas, the land of my manuscript Redemption, the Triune accepts that much as they might want to rule the entire land, it’s easier to ally with the people in the frozen north than to fight them. The northerners have evolved to cope with subzero temperatures and lashing snow; no one else has.

4. Perspective

Too many fantasies would tell such a story from the point of view of the band of heroes out to stop the evil empire. Why not one from the perspective of the Dark Lord’s general? I thought the Witch-King of Angmar was interesting, and such a character would have more power than the band of heroes. He would also have to use his wits as much as that power, if he was working against the Dark Lord.

The main character could also be the Dark Lord’s advisor, spymaster, personal servant, ally, parent, on-again/off-again lover (not all of these simultaneously, though). The different perspective would be interesting. And someone close to the Dark Lord might not necessarily agree with him on the ruling-the-world part but would also see him as more of a three-dimensional person and less of an evil force to be defeated.

This could be much more complex and intriguing than the usual setup where the hero is all-good and the emperor is all-bad, where the readers know in advance who’s going to win. I’ve got plans for a future book where the character plotting against a republic to take over all the land actually does succeed in this. It should be an interesting write.


Anonymous said...

Are you aware that the news you are watching is interlaced with Communist China's propaganda,as
Communist China maps a realm of news with innocent lives?
Communist China is scheming a millennial terrorist activity by manipulating people's behaviors
through electromagnetic waves to contain criticism and harm innocent human lives.

1. The anomaly in community traffic of cars and motorcycles and drag racing,and reckless honking by
cars and motorcycles is exceeding an unprecedented level.
2. Communist China has the technology to scan the human brain waves through military satellite and
to discern and decipher their thoughts,scheming to instill individual interference focusing on each individual in need using the satellite electromagnetic waves.
3. Deploying electromagnetic waves is poised to project onto the human brain with certain sounds for the perception of grossly traumatizing or startling pain,or deploying the broadcast of noise via electromagnetic waves in sleeping humans with edited clips of films or through voice or image signals onto our brains or besiege our sensory functions with fabricated audible and sensory illusions.
4. It manipulates one's moods,such as smiling,nervousness,disgust,panic,anger,sorrow,desires,appetite,and so forth.
5. It interferes the human brain's thinking capability,memory or linguistic capability,to name a
few,causing spasms of muscles and fingers in the left and right hands,stinging aches throughout the body,coughing,yawning,trembling,involuntary blinking of the eye,runny
nose and so forth.
6. Electromagnetic waves are deployed to hinder the motoring functions of the body and neck,
disrupt the heartbeat or respiration,manipulate dizziness,deprive one's sleep,spasm,saliva gland,dental neural pain,etc.
7. Watch out that Communist China is infiltrating the news media by deploying electromagnetic
waves to besiege the broadcast media,map out viral disillusion or erroneous perception,and
investigate threats of brainwashing in viral spreading.
8. It further moved to deploy various symptoms in what one sees of media icons,gesture terms,
adding a skewed interpretation to one's cognitive awareness,misleading an individual to hallucinate or suffer,such as the North Korean's rigid smile,which is a tactic Communist China often deploys to counter the people.
9. By observing the resolution accuracy of Communist China's sound and image (scenario)
interference projected onto the human's brain,this can only be achieved with a certain level
of frequencies at the source of interference,hence there is no doubt that it has to be the
electromagnetic wave. Yet questions remain as to what range of frequencies the source of
interference deploys,or what kind of electromagnetic waves insulation chamber would suffice to provide an insulation yield? Communist China might deploy specific metal alloys as small scale molecular antennas, which are attached to the human brain in large number,creating electromagnetic waves when the human brain is in function,where the current created by Communist China's electromagnetic interference would poise to amplify in a staggering
number of multiplication,which Communist China can detect at all times to discern and muscles would excel the generation of electrode,which in turn create a corresponding electromagnetic wave within.
10. Some of Communist China's intimidation experiences in 2002:6.9 "Hey,are you tired of living?"6.14 "We had concocted the bombing incident at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan" "Jiang Zhemin ordered us to kill you,but without creating scenes"6.16 "The Pakistani
civilian troops confessed that they had schemed the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Pakistan,which we had manipulated them to confess,so what are you going to do about it?"6.19 "Hey,why don't you just go ahead and commit suicide""We are going to scheme
murder using the public bus"6.20 "Commit suicide by burning charcoal,get it?"6.25 "Jiang
Zhemin just does not like you,go hit your head against the wall".
11. I reckon that there are victims abound out in the street,no less alarming than wars,and those
not in the know or did not understand that Communist China's simple electromagnetic design
could easily turn people against each other,create moving incidents,little lese to say mislead
the youth to broach down the wrong path,suicidal prompting,design and fabrication of a host of society news (which Communication China refers to as movie making),as Communist China has had a decade long of the technology,and has long abused its technological advantages to scheme up design of abusing human lives by arranging fabricated news to poison and infiltrate the free world,manipulate and misguide the contents of the media,and deploy brainwashing and malicious
spread of viruses,done with insinuation and riddles.The fact that Communist China's slaughtering
the innocent had been the result of a high level of calculation,and a high level of rationalization,
where the threats are in existence,and cannot be ignored of their detrimental severity.
12. Communist China often coerce people to watch news compiled by the reporter Lu Yuling of the cable
news in order for them to be saved,but few are aware that Communist China had merely deploy the reporter to entrap many people. I do envision that those that turn to committing crime as framed by Communist China,the extra sufferings by the ordinary people,and the deaths of many innocent lives will not go unnoticed as hindered by a condoning attitude.
13. Nazi Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Chinese Liberation Army, security police and armed police have committed suppression and massacre on their own civilians. Hu, Jiang and the other atrocious butchers owe these innocent civilians! More horrible and serious is that they are using mysterious killing technologies to cause harms to human brains around the world, making advantage of numerous international politicians and journalists to help them commit atrocities and beautify their actions, aiming to overturn and suppress those innocent people and cover up their terrorist acts and win fame by cheating the world. Securing in the knowledge that they have strong backing, these arrogant and shameless butchers have committed tortures and mass killing cruelly to those innocent ones around the world. Unfortunately, neither these politicians and nor journalists knowing what is what would dare to express their conscience.
14. The inhumane acts and atrocities committed by Nazi China are far more vicious than that of Nanjing massacre in China during WWII committed by Japanese army, as Chinese government is using mysterious technologies to commit massacres to masses of bare-handed civilians around the world as well as launch violence and terrorist activities to suppress these completely unarmed people’s freedom of speech. These demons, like Hu, Jinag and Chinese Liberation Army, despise the chastity, dignity and precious life of those innocent ones and suppress the emotions of their beloved. Meanwhile, relying on the condition that most of people in the world will not be able to witness their vicious acts of violence and behaviors they have committed unscrupulously and shamelessly, these Chinese Liberation Army enjoys using cruel ways to torture, massacre and trample on these innocent people, physically and mentally, in one free world. The arrogant Hu, Jiang and those jackals nurtured under such ferocious power treat themselves as the symbol of benevolence and hero, as they fail to learn their gutless and vicious acts to trample on those innocent people. If these demons, butchers and dregs of human, such as Hu, Jiang and Chinese Liberation Army who have become frenzied and conscienceless appeared in the site of Nanjing massacre in WWII, they definitely would be the leading roles to act atrocities!
15. We don’t want to see masses of innocent people to fall victim to the hell on earth built by red China where they will be susceptible to tortures and massacres for thousands of years.
16. Despite being even unable to fend for themselves in face of the high-tech detriments and attacks from China, we can not tolerate the fact that these politicians and journalists will become the accomplices to help China commit its terrorist acts and suppression on these innocent people in the current era or an unknown future.
17. In view of the notorious, vicious and sinister Hu, Jiang, Chinese Liberation Army with blood-stained hands, we just cast doubt over whether these greats of knowing what is what who have negotiated with these demons will show their conscience to save these innocent civilians or will act just for the sake of their profits, or are under the control of China. In this current drowned world, how will these innocent lives be treated in face of the atrocious acts committed by these diabolical figures, or when these innocent people will witness the practice of democracy in China? Will these phenomena turn out to be the joint efforts and endeavors achieved by China and those powerful figures in the world? Are we really dedicated to overturning such adversity? Our goal is to eliminate the vicious power one day with our strenuous efforts, and we absolutely will achieve it!

Chen,Shun-Chuan 2002.10.13* Republic of China (Taiwan)

JH said...

Somehow, that reply is actually on topic.

JH said...

Also, no such discussion is complete without this:

Marian Perera said...

Spam me once, I forgive thee. Spam me twice, I delete thee.

And IMO that list is Required Reading for anyone writing speculative fiction.