Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

A perfect enemy

Written By: Bob - Nov• 02•11

I’ve got the first five chapters of my novel outlined and think I’ll be finishing up the opening sequence of events this weekend. While the larger theme of man against his environment in the absence of the technology he has become dependent on will pervade this book as it does in most books of this type,¬† I’m finding myself drawn towards incorporating some sort of human villain as well.

Oddly, enough I’m pulled in two conflicting directions at once as I seek to come up with a good foil for my protagonist. Part of me wants the villain to be nothing more or less than identical to the protagonist, another survivor simply trying to do the best he can to help keep his “tribe” alive. The other part of me wants a darker, less humanized and ultimately more terrifying force as the bad guy, or his harbinger.

For whatever reason, the Cylon heavy raider ace-of-aces Scar from Battlestar Galactica keeps popping up in my head.

Cylong Heavy Raider "Scar" from Battlestar Galactica

Scar is aggressive, cunning, elusive, and deadly, preferring to strike from ambush mode in an orgy of violence. He preys upon the weak, identifying and separating  new Viper pilots from their wingman before cutting them down, like so many of the dogfighting aces of the first and Second World Wars.

There is no way I can plop down a living alien intergalactic fighter aircraft into the genre I’m writing for, but I’m pretty sure that if I wanted to go this route to give the reader a more recognizable villain to root against, I could incorporate Scar’s characteristics into a human foe. I just need to decide if I want to go with the more ambiguous man against man/man against himself theme of similar protagonist and villain, or if I want to go with the more clear-cut case of something like good and evil.

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One Comment

  1. You said: “Part of me wants the villain to be nothing more or less than identical to the protagonist, another survivor simply trying to do the best he can to help keep his ‘tribe’ alive. The other part of me wants a darker, less humanized and ultimately more terrifying force as the bad guy, or his harbinger.”

    I can see both in one. There are multiple approaches to survival. Combined with variable desires for ‘power’ (however illusory or irrelevant to the issue at hand), and the vagaries of human psychology, nearly anything is possible, especially in high-stress situations.

    I don’t recall the source of the meme, but someone once pointed out there are two basic approaches to interplanetary civilizations: one mostly benign, dedicated to creating a synergy between the multitudes of cultures. The other, a ruthless imperial structure, where the various others are merely resources to be used to benefit the central, ala imperial Rome. As with groups, so with individuals.