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Monday, August 11, 2008

There's Something About Cyborgs....

Full credit to Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame for the picture

I'm working on a steampunk/sci-fi noir piece. The whole idea is Tracer Bullet and Dick Tracy meet space ships. I love it. The character line up is my dream team of players, but I have a minor character who is starting to steal the spotlight.

I wish I could draw, I'd love to have a picture of him, but I can't. So let me describe him....

Evans was a rookie cop when he got involved with a bust gone bad and his skin was peeled off his body. They fixed him up with a titanium shell and sent him back to work. Sixty years later (people live longer in the far future) he's the chief of police on the bad side of town. He's blunt, concise, and taciturn. He makes Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice look positvely chatty.

For the first few books I have plotted out the main character (Harlowe) gets pulled out of early retirement and sent to hunt down a series of improbable killers. The first is a serial killer who vanished for 22 years. The next is someone who sends creepy letters detailing murders throughout the first book, and then starts killing. I haven't plotted it out much past that but I know, at some point, Harlowe gets captured and his erstwhile partner rushes to the rescue.

Harlowe's partner is Kassi Troy. Former princess, priestess, and victim of every atrocity of war. She's a little bit bitter and she tends to keep people at arms length. She's very independent. She volunteers with the force because she's bored, not because she wants to do good or save the world.

And my cyborg is in love with her.

This came as a bit of a surprise when I was working up the outlines. Evans stepped in and said he was going to go with Kassi. It turns out he's been mooning over her since their first intro but had been to shy to mention it to me. But when I went writing Kassi into trouble he stepped in.

What to do with a cyborg in love.... and why cyborgs of all the good creatures in sci-fi?

The fascination with cyborgs isn't all that new. They show up in a lot of fiction and they're wonderful because they represent something very familiar to the modern audience in a new way.

Cyborgs are the outcast. Cyborgs are almost human. Almost like all of us.... but not quite.

I have one cyborg character who was turned after an accident crushed his legs. His fiancee rejected him and he wound up back at war. Evans had his skin ripped off, he doesn't look human but inside he is very human romantic.

Despite the hard metal exterior and the bristling weapons array cyborgs, like their fantasy equivalent zombies, are beautiful creatures. They deserve some love and respect. Go on! Go create a cyborg and see how much fun they are!

I'm off to work on Harlowe and Evans first adventure (or misadventure - they're a cynical pair). :o)


  1. Ever since the Terminator, I've loved cyborgs. I think they have huge possibilities in fiction because they are caught between--not AI, not human, but a bit of both.

    Too, it's interesting because with technology being what it is, the day is not far off where fiction and truth may meet.

  2. Though it seems we're set to skip the metal phase and go straight to organic cyborgs - science has already grown a complete, brand new bladder, which was then surgically implanted in a girl who, owing to a rare condition, was born without one...

  3. o-O

    You realize that I now need to run off and adjust some five odd chapters of biotech chop shops, don't you?

    I think organic replacements would be fine in a sci-fi world, but probably they would be the high end. The cheap and dirty replacements in back alleys would be the metal that doesn't need to be organically fitted....

    *has shiny ideas in head now*

    Ah! I need to go write...