Christian Speculative Fiction discussion

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Calling superhero fans!

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message 1: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments I'm thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo this year with a superhero novel, so I'd like some fans to bounce ideas off of. The book will be aimed at a mainstream audience but the main character will definitely be a Christian... planning on at least one scene where he goes to his pastor for help.

The first question I have rolling around in my head is, what power set? Here's some of those that I've already considered:

* No powers, main character would be a cop that uncovers and thwarts the supervillain's plot. The moral would be that you don't need superpowers to make a difference.

* Disabled person using tech like Iron Man or M.A.N.T.I.S (for those of you that remember that defunct TV show). The weakness (and there's always a weakness) would be the battery life of his tech and his disability without it.

* Super-speedster like the Flash, with some electric-based powers. This one could be interesting, the explanation is that he builds up static as he runs which he can then discharge... but if he's been standing still or walking normally for a while it dissipates and so he has to run for a bit in order to "recharge."

Do you like those? Any other ideas?


message 2: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
David wrote: "I'm thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo this year with a superhero novel, so I'd like some fans to bounce ideas off of. The book will be aimed at a mainstream audience but the main character wil..."

I like the idea of a superhero with a disability. I am a bit biased in that since my son has a disability and loves superheroes, especially Spiderman. One of the issues I find with the few attempts to do protagonists with disabilities is that people often don't understand the internal world of those with disabilities. They often depict them as being angry, self-pitying people. This idea is so false it's ridiculous. Perhaps if someone becomes disabled as an adult, this would happen, but a person born with a disability often see this disability as their normal. They see the world differently than others and learn to cope with extraordinary abilities in other areas. I have known quite a few Christians with major disabilities who see their weakness as the tool God gave them to witness to the world about God's strength. They are very inspiring people. This is just my thoughts.


message 3: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments I had a long time friend who's now passed who had cerebral palsy, and one that's still a pain in the backside (in a good way) with MS, so I'd kinda hope that I'd be able to do a good treatment of disabled people.


message 4: by Lara (last edited Jul 21, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
David wrote: "I had a long time friend who's now passed who had cerebral palsy, and one that's still a pain in the backside (in a good way) with MS, so I'd kinda hope that I'd be able to do a good treatment of d..."

Awesome!


message 5: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments Hmm, maybe have the wheelchair turn into his armor?


message 6: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
David wrote: "Hmm, maybe have the wheelchair turn into his armor?"

That's a very cool idea! You can also see what you could do with more unusual disabilities. I read a story about a nonverbal autistic teenager with an IQ off the charts. He had to use a tablet to speak for him and ear muffs to deal with loud sounds, but he was brilliant in a Stephen Hawkings sort of way. You could add the tablet and ear muffs to the armor/wheelchair with some neat effects. That may be over the top with the disability, but he would be the last person in the world a villain would suspect as a superhero. It all depends on the story you want to tell with the main character. Sometimes an invisible disability is harder than the really obvious ones. Either way, I like your ideas.


message 7: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments Tell me about it, I have an invisible disability myself... The hemophilia I mentioned in the prayer request.

I think the wheelchair is the easiest for most readers to connect with tho.


message 8: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 500 comments Mod
David wrote: "Tell me about it, I have an invisible disability myself... The hemophilia I mentioned in the prayer request.

I think the wheelchair is the easiest for most readers to connect with tho."


Totally understand. I read an interview with an author who wrote a book based on her own disability and tons of people told her it wasn't realistic. I had to roll my eyes at that.

I will be praying for your struggle. Some of my son's struggles are hidden, and some are obvious. The hidden ones are the hardest to get people to understand and affect his life the most. Real life is often too complicated for fiction. The wheelchair is a great symbol for the whole issue of disability in general.


message 9: by Stan (last edited Jul 23, 2018 09:40AM) (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
Love this idea!

Immediate thoughts were Daredevil - blind and visits his priest often. I don't think that's quite what you have in mind, but it goes to show this idea can be done well.

My next thoughts were Hancock (starring Will Smith) - a messed up guy with superpowers who turned to the bottle rather than his pastor (if memory serves, he never had a pastor).

Then, the movie Unbreakable also comes to mind. The bad guy has extremely fragile bones, the good guy is unbreakable. If you haven't seen the film, watch it ASAP.

I like the wheelchair, has an X-men theme. I like having it turn into his armor like Ironman's suit though. Excellent idea. If you make him genius level, you could borrow from Black Panther and have the wheel chair actually be nanotech. Transformer concept is also a possibility.

A lot of possible examples that use both superhero and disabled in existing fiction. So, pulling inspiration from these or being totally independent of them should be possible in Christian fiction.

If you need to read about disability and Christian faith I would recommend Joni Eareckson Tada's books, especially her biography. Her artwork is incredible and even more so when one understands she paints with a brush in her teeth because she is paralyzed. Reading her biography may give you insight into what the superhero might struggle with and how his (or her) pastor might counsel. Reading about Nick Vujicic might also be helpful.

I am more excited after writing this than I was before I started typing. I'm looking forward to seeing how this project develops!


message 10: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments I was actually already thinking nanotech.

Not sure if I want to start him with an early version of the suit or just tell the history in flashbacks.


message 11: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments Now, the next question, if we use an armor-based hero, is what powers do we put into the armor? The field is pretty darned wide open there.


message 12: by Stan (last edited Jul 24, 2018 04:54AM) (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
David wrote: "Now, the next question, if we use an armor-based hero, is what powers do we put into the armor? The field is pretty darned wide open there."

Do you want a one-off book, a trilogy, or a series? If you want more than one book, I think starting early in his career and developing from simple to complex is better.

Also, my criticism of Ironman is that without his tech, he really isn't much of a superhero. He relies on a huge fortune and tons of R&D to be a super hero. Kind of the same with Batman. Daredevil doesn't rely on much beyond his heightened senses. I think the latter lends itself more to a need for a pastor. The rich guy always has more money to develop more tech. The poor guy has to look beyond himself sooner. Even with a nanotech wheelchair that turns into a suit of armor you'll have to answer where the money came from and who developed it? Does the hero have "old money" or does he have a current source of income? That simple decision will set a huge standard in you story line. If he's not got a source of money and you start simple on the armor, how does he attain the means to improve it? Or, she, of course.

I just worked through this question of money with a character I am developing. Not a super hero though.


message 13: by David (new)

David Fernau (DavidFernau) | 79 comments Well, I was gonna tie the money into his motivation for superheroing.

Basically, was gonna make him a child genius, one of the kids that graduates from high school and enters college early, and goes on to found his own tech company.

But such kids are often teased mercilessly and even bullied in school, and the wheelchair would just add to that. So he's strongly motivated to stand up for the weak and against those who think "might makes right."

I think that sort of experience would draw him towards a kind pastor as one of the few people he felt he could trust.


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