Monday, July 18, 2011

Doc Savage, Quake 4, Writing

You can download the newest issue of The Illuminata today, with articles and reviews, including an opinion piece by me on “Doc Savage: The Hero Problem.” If you’re a huge fan of Doc, try to remember that I really am a nice guy anyway. :)

The issue is: Vol. 9 Issue #3 July 2011, and you can download it as a PDF or an EPUB HERE.

Looks like a good writing day here. We’ve had four straight days of heavy, heavy rain, and though we definitely needed it we’re starting to experience some localized flooding, including some road closings. I’ve been inside a lot, playing a bit on my new video game, Quake 4, which is brought to you by the same folks who gave you Doom, my favorite video game of all time. Quake is not quite as good but is still fun. Primarily, though, I’ll be sitting high and dry in my house today, writing, writing, writing. Then napping. Wow I’ve got a good life. I hope yours is going as well.
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36 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can rant on Doc all you want!

Tom Doolan said...

You know, I like Doc Savage as a character...in theory. I like the idea of a superman with above average physical and mental powers. But I have two of the novels and have yet to be ale to get through either of them. I thought that it was because Lester Dent, though a good storyteller, was a horrible writer. However, now that I look at him as you put him out there, I can totally see that this may be another thing that prevents me from enjoying the books.

I agree 100%. Heroes need flaws. it's what makes them relatable. Unrelatable characters are the worst kind, and really just have no place in fiction, IMHO.

You should check out Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom. It's a kids' book, but it's written by a guy who wanted to share the wonder of the pulps with his young son. It's a fun book, and I'm looking forward to his next one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Interesting question: do readers begin to believe the writer herself must be questionable to come up with such things.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Yes. I tried one 'Doc Savage' book and didn't like it. I honestly don't remember if it was the story or the writing that turned me off.

People often drop Superman in this 'too perfect' camp, but Superman at least can have emotional conflicts. Doc is not only Superman on the outside, he's far too stoic on the inside, too.

Randy Johnson said...

Interesting piece. If you read some of the Docs published during the war, you would find a far different charcter, one that showed and reacted to fear. I don't know whether Dent was trying to bring his characters into a more mainstream line as the pulps were winding down. I'm far from an expert.

Deka Black said...

Quake 4? Good chpice. I'm more a fan fron old Infocom text adventures, but sometimes, nothing like flood the enemy's army with bullets. or lasers. Or whatever

Randy Johnson said...

Oh, one more thing. i recently read a quaote somewhere on the net, heck it may have been you, I don't remember. The quote was "The Spider reads like Robert E, Howard writing the Shadow."

Randy Johnson said...

Damn! One final thing. I swear. As for your take on Doc, I'll give you a hundred yard head start before I come after you.

jodi said...

Charles, you sound so happy and content. Cool. We need rain badly here, it's hothothot!

David Cranmer said...

Randy, What are you giving him a head start for?! Down with Gramlich!

Ok, ok. Charles makes many good points about Doc Savage. But, for whatever reason, I enjoy the heck out of many of the old titles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, not a big fan eh?

Tom, I definitely think Dent was not very good as a writer. He also had much better beginnings than he could ever pull off. Imaginative but not great at translating imagination to the page.

Patty, I believe a lot of readers think exactly that way.

Paul, I generally have not liked Superman but I do find him a more "human" character than Doc.

Randy, I definitely might prefer those War "docs" then. I think I actually did say that about the Spider. I like those stories quite a lot. Like Norvel Page. thanks for the headstart. :)

Deka, that's kind of exactly what I like to do when I play video games. I'm usually mentally tired by the time I start playing so I like a lot of action and shoot-em ups.

Jodi, our temps are not so bad but our humidity is way off the charts, of course.

David, I have a theory that those who read Doc when they were teenagers still like him, while those who didn't start until later are not such big fans. I only read a couple of his as a kid and I still 'like' those.

Richard Prosch said...

Y'know what always turned me off most about Doc --AND--the Shadow were all the additional agents they employed. Too many wise guy, quirky sidekicks!

David J. West said...

I've only see the Doc savage movie and that was painful Mystery Science Theater 3000 worthy.

Always good to have the days where you can work and enjoy yourself to boot.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, yeah, Doc's assistants really got on my nerves too, and were mainly just comic relief as far as I could see. For the Shadow, they were just always getting into trouble and seemed more trouble for him than they were worth.

David J., I saw that movie a long time ago. I have zero memory of it, which tells you what impression it made.

BernardL said...

It's always the simple things that are the most satisfying... and of course having the good sense to enjoy them. :)

the walking man said...

The napping sounds good, I can go there easily enough.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernardl, I'm learning that myself.

Mark, napping comes naturally to me. Lana says it's my super power.

X. Dell said...

Every opportunity for a good writing day is indeed a treasure.

I'll have to look at the Doc Savage download before I make further comment.

X. Dell said...

Just read the essay. I wouldn't think of Savage as gay, but rather misogynistic.

Think of it this way: these novels would seem to appeal to young readers, maybe late-teens, twenties, maybe early-thirties. Like Superman, he appears to be a child of the 1930s, the idealism of a young class of readers who longed to identify with a superman, or perfect man (Savage is a professor, an adventure, a surgeon and all sorts of things rolled up in one) who has the authority to order what would otherwise be superiors around (his sidekicks tend to be high-ranking military or former military officers).

If the hero had a flaw, then that would make it more difficult for a young male audience to project itself onto the character. They would probably see that as a weakness in themselves.

I've never been a fan of Superman, because, like you say of Doc Savage, he's simply a boring character. He doesn't strike us as realistic. If nothing else, we would say either he or his writers are in denial.

Then again, maybe those characters aren't written for people like you and me. At least I had the sense to stop reading Superman after only three magazine (ducks:-)

Erik Donald France said...

Cool I'll check it out~

Glad to see you're getting rain, although may it can taper off a bit now, send it over Texas' way for a while . . .

Erik Donald France said...

Hey, excellent article! Agreed. Too goody two shoes = boring and unappealing in fiction as in life.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell, I'm sure those characters, like Doc and Superman, aren't meant for folks like us. I do think that people who read them when younger get more in to them. I read plenty of stuff I don't much like. A lot of it is for research purposes. And the Doc Savage books are certainly easy reading. A couple of hours at most.

Erik, thanks for reading the essay. It's fairly clear today so we may be through with rain for a while. At least maybe we're through with the torrential downpours for a while.

Elaine Ash said...

Summer vacation, happy times. Enjoy, Charles.

Cloudia said...

Glad you Summer life is good, Charles :)




Aloha from Waikiki;


Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>

Greg Schwartz said...

Good luck with the writing!

Charles Gramlich said...

Elaine, absolutely.

Cloudia, very good.

Greg, thankee.

Carole said...

Enjoy the writing while the weather is bad. When it is good you will have to do outside chores during nap time. That's no good.

The Golden Eagle said...

I agree, heroes should have their flaws as a character. They have to be different to an extent, but not too perfect, either.

We need some rain--it's all sunshine and heat, and set to get hotter. Hope you enjoy the writing time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Carole, I actually make it a point not to do many outside chores. :)

Golden Eagle, I hope some rain comes your way then.

Danette Haworth said...

Mark, napping comes naturally to me. Lana says it's my super power.

Haha! Writing and napping--you forgot eating--the third element of contentment, which fortifies the writing and napping.

Charles Gramlich said...

Danette, I suppose eating is such a 'big' part of me that I just take it for granted. :)

eric1313 said...

The most recent games that I loved were Fallout 3 (a post nuclear apocalyptic type of game filled with radioactive zombies, evil human slavers, smugglers and cyber knights and the like) and of course, Knights of the Old Republic :) And I was a big Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind fan as well.

eric1313 said...

Currently, I live with a sweet gal and her kids, so her oldest and I like to play games. He's into the ubiquitous Call of Duty games. We play an awful lot of MW2 and Black Ops.

lol

A little too much...

cs harris said...

I never thought I'd welcome dark, rainy days, but it is such a wonderful break from the heat.

Lana Gramlich said...

My life is the best because you're in it.

Charles Gramlich said...

eric1313, I've got one of the Fallout games, I might have to pick your brain over some of that. I'm gonn have to try call of duty.

Candy, definitely. Most of the time in the summer our AC runs almost every minute, but with all the rain we've been able to cut back a little.

Lana, you are sweet.