FROM THE TRAVELING ROUND TABLE OF FANTASY BLOGGERS
I have often contemplated the nature of evil. What is it that drives men and women to commit evil deeds? I have concluded that evil folks are made, not born. And there are many reasons that evil doers continue on their path. The quest for power. Selfishness. An abiding hatred of everyone― including themselves.
Thus, as a writer, I have found that villains with myriad layers are more interesting, realistic and more fun than one dimensional evil doers—the villain tormented by love or guilt over his own deeds. The man or woman obsessed with material gain or power. This is the stuff of which great villains are made; such as the antagonists of my Immortal series, “Tehotep” and “Z100,” the villainess of The Switch II: Clockwork. Art, after all, should imitate life.
Then too, some evil acts may be committed by folks who are not necessarily evil but who have simply made the wrong choices (whatever their motivation). I recently had an inner dialogue about one of my newest characters. I concluded that the character was not evil. But she does make choices that result in mayhem. Who among us has not made bad decisions? And in my Immortal saga and The Switch II: Clockwork (which includes books I and II), I explore these questions through my characters—none of whom are perfect—and plots.
Yet what would a science/fantasy novel be without the fantastical?
Fantastic is described as wondrous and wild; to quote a few definitions. These are perfect metaphors for a SF/fantasy villain: an evil doer with preternatural powers and with dark foreboding or evil intentions. A villain can, and should, wreck havoc with the lives of one’s heroines and heroes.
In my novels my evil doers are imbued with fantastic powers―supernatural or man-made. Of course, I’ve given fantastical gifts to my heroines and heroes, too. Thank goodness for this! For how could they complete their life-changing quests without them? How could the plot twists and turns take place? How could the glorious battles I envisioned, happen? The fantastic too, is a perfect metaphor for speculative fiction. For as writers we don᾿t want the ordinary. We don᾿t want the humdrum.
We want the fantastik. This is stuff of which SF/fantasy worlds are made.
In my newest novels, which I’ll release later this year, Mona Livelong: Paranormal and Colony: Ascension, I’ve used both the evil and the fantastic to build my worlds. Take a gander below at the excerpt from Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective.
Sally looked closer, stretching his mouth further open with a gloved hand. She reached inside. “It looks like a key. . .How did I miss this?” Probing with her fingertips, she pulled the metal from where it was sticking just under his tongue. All at once, she jerked spasmodically.
“Yes. . . I. . .” The laboratory waved before her eyes. . .
Light from a single, gas streetlamp pooled upon the empty street. Footfalls echoed behind her, unhurried, yet unrelenting in their step.
She whirled around His big, tattooed body blocked the dim light.
He was a swarthy man, with dimpled cheeks and full lips, handsome, except for his glistening gray eyes; and his smile. . . a terrible cold grin, the grimace of a killer: a sadist. . .
I hope I’ve done justice to my characters. I hope my readers will be pleased.
Valjeanne is the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, and the steampunk novelsImmortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch II: Clockwork (includes books I and II).
She is a graduate of Spelman College, NCCU and a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective. She has been published under both Valjeanne Jeffers and Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson. Her writing has appeared in: The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family, from the Editors of Essence, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Pembroke Magazine, Revelry, Drumvoices Revue 20th Anniversary, and Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul Vol. I. She was also semi-finalist for the 2007 Rita Dove Poetry Award.
Valjeanne’s fiction has appeared in Steamfunk! Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction, Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, LuneWing, PurpleMag, Genesis Science Fiction Magazine, Pembroke Magazine, Possibilities, 31 Days of Steamy Mocha, and Griots II: Sisters of the Spear (in press). She works as an editor for Mocha Memoirs Press and is also co-owner of Q& V Affordable editing. Preview or purchase her novels at: http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com