In my last installment I asked for questions and thoughts from my readers. The one question I received was actually part of an email reaction. The reader wondered at the level of violence in Genesis: Atom & Go. Could Atom achieve the same ends without all the gunplay and death?
This got me thinking about violence and our perception of violence as a means to an end. I have my own thoughts on the matter, but what really matters is how if fits into Atom’s world.
Violence without purpose is anarchy.
I think the first piece of the puzzle, that is Atom Ulvan, is the contrast that violence affords him as a character. If Atom was just a loving father nobody would be amazed and/or surprised that he was able to love Margo as much as he does. But that was not his role. He was the Left Fist of the Emperor. He commanded fleets and legions at the word of the emperor. Atom is a man of war and violence. And so, to have him be able to set aside his sword to lift his daughter in her time of need creates a parallel in the character that fleshes him out.
If there is a cross-over from our world to that of Atom and Margo, it is that there is a place for both love and violence. Now, I’m no expert. I’m not writing a treatise on whether violence is acceptable or not. What I am looking at is the role of violence in my book. On the frontier, laws are only enforced if there is someone to do the enforcing. Oftentimes, people are forced to protect themselves.
Words can resolve conflict. But anyone who thinks words will always protect them, has never been forced to deal with a brick wall intent on causing bodily harm.
Atom manages to find a lot of brick walls.
I believe the other reason violence is popular in film and literature is that on some level we all want to be heroes. Atom embodies that thought for me. I know it is impossible, but I want to be a security blanket that shields my children from all harm throughout their entire lives. For more of us, it’s the simple want to stand up for ourselves in a way that we often avoid.
I don’t believe we all want to seek violence, but I do believe every one of us has wished at some point in our lives that we had the skills, brains, and confidence to dominate a situation.
In Genesis Atom is that hero.
When life throws fight or flight situations at us, most of us choose the flight. The firefighter who runs into a burning building, the soldier who charges to neutralize an enemy, a police officer who approaches a potentially dangerous situation when everyone else has run away . . . these are heroes. Most of us could not mentally do what they do. But on some level we want to.
Situations do not remain grey when violence is introduced. It clarifies the scene. When guns are drawn, Atom can assess and act.
Only one thing truly matters to Atom, protecting Margo. There are times when he puts her in harm’s way, but only when he knows he is at an advantage.
Does all this mean violence is good? No, but it is effective on the pages of my books.
* * *
Sidebar, Trinity is almost complete. I’m within 30 pages of completing my second draft. I know sci-fi is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you could share Genesis: Atom & Go with anyone you think might enjoy it, you would be my hero.
In the meantime, keep on reading, keep being someone’s hero, and keep on flying the black.