Open Thread: Characters I Can't Feel Sorry For

There's such a fine line between victim-blaming and feeling like a fictional character deserves their inevitable bad end for the crime of being obtuse.

I've been listening to "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" from Audible and really trying to enjoy it because I love the idea of the story. I really love retro horror because it seems to be -- and I'm basing this entirely on "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Stepford Wives" -- entirely about the fear of being quietly replaced by an almost indistinguishable copy of the self. You yourself, the part of you that is you and unique and special, will be gone, but the world won't even know the difference. It's quite harrowing.

But because the book is pretty retro, the characters make horrible decisions because they've never heard of the horror genre, I guess. They've just now fled town because the Pod People are out to get them and sleeping is dangerous (because that's when the pods grow and replace you) and they holed up in a motel outside of town that probably isn't infected. And what do they do the next morning? If you guessed "go back into town, separate, and then walk into several obvious traps because they are too obtuse to live", give yourself 1,000 points.

Bonus points if you anticipated that the characters did not imaginatively explore the consequences of an entire town of Pod People and what that might mean in terms of a concerted hunt for them.

Here is a list of things that are keeping me from sinking as deeply in this book as I'd like:

  1. This book is a perfect example of Bechdel tests and why we need them. The two women characters never talk to each other (except possibly off-screen to produce dinner for the Menz) despite living in close quarters in the middle of a crisis. Each woman is owned by a man, and when more than one man is on-screen, the woman stops existing entirely. She only comes back into existence when the man is alone and needs someone to act on. Ironically, this is still one of the more female-friendly books I've read lately since at least the men sort of respect the women when they do exist. *lolsob*
  2. The main character thinks it's a good idea to keep the discovery of the Pod People as secret as possible because someone else might mess up the discovery in some way.
  3. The main character asks his military friend in Washington, D.C. to not alert anyone about the Pod People crisis because it probably wouldn't do any good.
  4. The main character thinks that medicating himself and his friends into heavy sleep is a good idea when Pod People who grow and replace you in your sleep are on the prowl.
  5. The main character thinks that visiting a professor in an infected town so as to absorb useless psychobabble about how the pods could come from space is a higher priority than escaping town.
  6. The main character is impressed that his friend got himself and his wife shot and captured to demonstrate the serious situation rather than abandoning the main character and legging it.

I'm on the last track of the book, and I'm pretty sure they're all going to die. It's hard for me to feel sorry for them at this point -- Earth is doomed because of their jackwagonry and they deserve their death.

UPDATE! Spoiler for ending: Nununununun. Gur znva punenpgre naq tveysevraq rfpncr orpnhfr fur pbzrf hc jvgu n cyna gung eryvrf ba uvz naq gur bgure zra orvat fghcvq naq frkvfg, naq fvapr gurl ner fghcvq naq frkvfg, gur cyna jbexf yvxr n punez. +20 gb lbh, tveysevraq. Gura fur ybfrf ure fubrf juvpu fybjf gurz qbja orpnhfr fur unf infgyl rkprrqrq gur nyybjnoyr dhbgn bs srznyr pbzcrgrapr. *fnq gebzobar*

Gura gur cbqf qrpvqr gung fvapr nccebkvzngryl 2 bhg bs 200 uhznaf ner orvat anexl nobhg gur jubyr vainfvba guvat, gurl zvtug nf jryy tvir hc naq oynfg vagb fcnpr. -20 cbvagf gb lbh, nyvraf. Zl PNGF jbhyq qb n orggre vainfvba guna lbh. Naq bar bs gurz ebhgvaryl snvyf gb whzc ba pbhagref orpnhfr fur'f ynml naq jnagf hf gb cvpx ure hc. Naq gura gur znva punenpgre dhbgrf Puhepuvyy orpnhfr fghzoyvat nebhaq va n svryq naq frggvat n srj cbqf ba sver vf RKNPGYL YVXR yvivat va Ratynaq qhevat Jbeyq Jne VV.

Gura gur znva punenpgre naq uvf tveysevraq trg zneevrq naq yvir bhg n dhvrg pbafcvenpl gb arire gryy nalbar nobhg jung unccrarq naq gura gurl purrevyl jngpu nyy gurve vasrpgrq cbq crbcyr sevraqf -- juvpu vf RIRELBAR GURL'IR RIRE XABJA -- ernpu gur fubeg yvzvg bs gurve cbq crbcyr yvirf naq qvr jvguva 5 lrnef bs vasrpgvba jvgubhg rire bapr srryvat yvxr znlor gur tbireazrag be fpvrapr! be fbzrbar zvtug fubhyq trg vaibyirq gb znlor ybbx vagb urycvat bhg be pbzvat hc jvgu n pher. Abcr. Olr, Qnq! Olr, Nhag Zvyqerq! Olr, Pbhfva Znel! Nunununun, -2,000 cbvagf gb lbh, znva punenpgre naq tveysevraq, sbe orvat ubeevoyr, ubeevoyr crbcyr.

Qrprag obbx, qrfcvgr zl tbbq-angherq evoovat. Qernqshyyl cnprq, gubhtu.

OPEN THREAD BELOW. Talk about things that frustrate the heck out of you when fictional characters do them in order to artificially heighten the tension. +100 points to the first person to bring up the "Dawn of the Dead" remake movie.


Yamikuronue said...

Oh man. Try the cheap Kindle scifi/fantasy books sometime. A lot of them are hilaribad.

There was one vampire book called The Blood That Bonds. Aside from the main character's name being Two (which annoyed the heck out of me, particularly as an ex-fan of Alexandra Erin, who wrote the cutest character ever who was named Two for a GOOD reason rather than just to be unique and speshul), the book was progressing as a fairly typical low-quality vampire story trying to cash in on the Twilight resurgence.

And then we got to the end.

Spoilers: Gjb unq tbggra NJNL sebz gur inzcverf. Fur naq ure arjsbhaq sevraq jrer serr. Gur punatrf gur inzcverf unq znqr gb gurz qhevat gur gheavat cebprff jbhyq jrne bss bire gvzr. Fvzvyneyl, fur unq tbggra njnl sebz ure yvsr nf n qehttvr-cebfgvghgr ol wbvavat gur inzcverf. Fb jung qbrf fur qb jura fur'f serr? Tbrf onpx gb gur cvzc fur hfrq gb jbex sbe, guerngra uvz, naq erfphr bar bs ure cebfgvghgr sevraqf. Bxnl, ernfbanoyr. Gura fur gnxrf uvf fhccyl bs urebva naq tbrf ONPX gb gur inzcver rapynir gb snpr n praghevrf-byq inzcver nf n uhzna. Hz ybyjhg? Ure inzcver oblsevraq unq qvrq snpvat uvz, jung qvq fur guvax fur jnf tbvat gb qb? Nccneragyl, guebj qehtf va uvf snpr. Orpnhfr urebva vf fbzrubj cbvfbabhf gb inzcverf. Naq gung jbexf. Lnl.

Seriously, WTF? I declined to purchase the sequel.

Brin Bellway said...

When they confront someone they believe to be a murderous villain alone. No backup, not even some bugs so if they die others can find the recordings and hopefully react to Knowing Too Much in a better way.

"I've worked it out! You're the villain who's been killing everyone in their way!"
[truthfully] "No, I haven't told anyone."
[surprised] "Wait, is that a knif--AAAGH!"

Somehow, this technique will sometimes actually work, even when it's not being performed by superheroes and the like.

Ana Mardoll said...

I think I totally have that book. Can't wait to get home and read your ROT13. :D

Wolfdorf said...

Oh god, this! I've recently read Peter Straub's Ghost story and couldn't get over the fact what a bunch of jerks the (new) Chowder Society are. Well, thanks to Ana's deconstruction training I found a lot of problems in this book.

gyroninja said...

There's such a fine line between victim-blaming and feeling like a fictional character deserves their inevitable bad end for the crime of being obtuse.

Wow, I never really thought of it like that before, but it totally is very similar, isn't it?

I mean, of course you got turned into a pod person when you slept there. The pod person can't help himself. Look at what you were wearing!

I guess when you look at things with critical enough lens, there's nothing written by a human that doesn't have some kind of ugly implications to it. Not even classic 50s sci-fi. (Actually, probably especially not 50s sci-fi).

redsixwing said...

When an awesome character gets nerfed because the author made them awesome to prop up someone else later, that's why, now shut up.
Spoilers for "Lord of the Changing Winds" ahead, because my gosh that awful book. Dx

"Ybeq bs gur Punatvat Jvaqf" unq n cnegvphyneyl rtertvbhf rknzcyr bs guvf, va juvpu gur juval jnaxre bs n fbegn-ybir vagrerfg, fbegn-frpbaqnel punenpgre, jub vf n gbgny cnva va gur gnvysrnguref gur ragver obbx nf jryy nf orvat n ovt frkvfg wrex, qvfpbiref gung ur unf HAXABJA ZNTVPNY CBJNEEEMMM naq pna fhqqrayl pbageby tevssvaf jvgu uvf zvaq.

Juvpu zrnaf gung guvf naablvat perrcb pna fhqqrayl pbageby gur bar njrfbzr punenpgre va gur obbx, n tevssva jubfr anzr V pna'g erzrzore qhr gb gur obbx'f njshy pnfr bs Snagnfl Anzvat Flaqebzr. Juvpu zrnaf guvf perrc pna fhqqrayl sbepr tevssvaf - gur bayl abauhzna fragvragf va gur obbxf - ntnvafg gurve jvyy. Nyy bs gurz. Gur ragver fcrpvrf vf va guvf crggl wrex'f unaqf - gur bayl gjb punenpgref V yvxrq unq gb fhozvg gurzfryirf obql naq fbhy gb uvz. Bs pbhefr, guvf jnf N Tbbq Guvat va gur obbxf, orpnhfr gur jnaxl juvgr thl jnf noyr gb bhgguvax gur tevssvaf va nrevny onggyr naq pbbeqvangr gurz gb qrsrng gur ovt onq, ohg oyrpppu.

It left a bad taste in my mouth for many reasons.

Mercedes Lackey is pretty bad about this one, too - suddenly to show how bad a villain is, a previously competent character will get beat up in some really stupid way (see here: Savil). Despite that, I still love the Valdemar books.

chris the cynic said...

1 in a hundred is actually a lot of humans.

I remember it coming up in an episode of First Wave where I thought it was handled well. (Which is surprising because the episode it came up in was an otherwise worthless clip show episode.)

Alien with authority: Who gives a damn? He's just one guy. We identified 117 types of human and his archetype is the only one that looks like it will be the slightest problem. The vast majority will be no problem and we'll deal with the ones like him as they come.
Alien with a brain: Yes, he's just one guy, and look at how much damage he's done. Now imagine what happens when everyone like him takes up arms against us. There will be millions of Cade Fosters. Think about that. Think about how hard it will be when we give them all a reason to fight.
Alien with authority: Screw you, you're just afraid.

Or something like that, it's been a while.

Anyway, 1 in a hundred would be almost 70 million. If they were causing enough trouble it might make sense to call off the invasion. That said, from your description, they weren't.

Will Wildman said...

When they confront someone they believe to be a murderous villain alone. No backup, not even some bugs so if (when) they die others can find the recordings and hopefully react to Knowing Too Much in a better way.

In the first chapter of my NaNovel, someone more or less does this, but thankfully the other person is not in fact a murderous villain. She instead thinks/says "Well, I'm very impressed with your bravery, but this was an incredibly ill-thought-out plan. Please tell me you're at least carrying the antidote for the poison that is obviously hidden on the pointy part of your necklace? Because having a secret weapon when confronting me was a good idea, but if you go and jab yourself by mistake you wouldn't even need me to kill you. Heck, I could frame you."


Talk about things that frustrate the heck out of you when fictional characters do them in order to artificially heighten the tension.

Splitting up in an unknown scenario. The latest episode of The Walking Dead has someone charge off on their own in order to find some people who haven't actually been missing all that long. Shockingly, this unnecessary rescue mission goes badly.

Not sharing their suspicions with friends because 'It's probably nothing'. If it's probably nothing, then you can laugh about it.
"Ha ha, for a second there I was thinking about how zany it would be if Leslie was the vampire all along and just playing us for chumps."
"Ha ha, yeah, I was totally thinking the same thing. We should both start wearing garlic necklaces and carrying stakes; I'm sure Leslie will get the joke."
"Yes! And we should rub Leslie with silver crosses, just to be sure. Ha. Ha."
"Okay, we're both actually thinking that Leslie is the vampire, aren't we?"
"You get a UV lamp; I'll get the chlorine trifluoride."


Point of interest: a friend and I are currently in the design stages of what we believe will be the first ever zombie-apocalypse harem-comedy chick-lit serial. If anyone has suggestions on things they think any aspect of such a serial would benefit from, I would be happy to take them under advisement.

Loquat said...

The first book of the Queen's Blade series (part one is free to download, the rest cost money) has some fun facepalm moments - the author apparently decided to strike a blow for feminism by having the sexists in her fictional society subscribe to a completely stupid form of Straw Sexism. How stupid is it, you ask? Let me put it this way: in a normal locked-room murder mystery, a murdered person is found in a locked room and there's supposedly no way anyone could have gotten in to murder them or out afterwards; in a Queen's Blade locked-room murder mystery, a murdered aristocrat is found in a guarded room and his guards swear nobody went in or out except for the prostitute the dead man had hired. Seriously, a guy comes home one evening with a hooker, and goes into his guarded bedroom with her, she leaves about an hour later, servants find the guy dead the next morning, and it looks like he was stabbed several hours ago, and NOBODY SUSPECTS THE PROSTITUTE. Everyone just runs around going "OMG the Invisible Assassin has struck again!" Because every Straw Sexist knows women are far too weak to shiv a grown man, and the idea that she might have been working with the assassin, or seen something suspicious, is just too ludicrous for words.

^Not a spoiler, btw, just an element of a main character's backstory. He's an expert assassin who sometimes disguises himself as a woman to get close to his targets. This always works, and nobody ever suspects a thing.

Heqit said...

Inkheart! I was so excited about reading it - I enjoy good YA fantasy, and I loved the premise. And THEN - and this isn't a spoiler because it caused me to throw the book across the room when I was only halfway done with it - the protagonists are staying at what is supposed to be a safe house in the country. The villain sends his goons to said "safe" house and captures the protagonists and has them all brought back to his Villain Lair, where he mistreats them horribly. Through Sheer Pluck (and a lot of luck), protagonists manage to escape from the Villain Lair! Yay!


I didn't even finish the book. I couldn't care about characters who were THAT dumb, or an author who would write something so damn annoying.

Bificommander said...

I recently saw Hellboy 2 (never read the comics, only saw the first movie), and I was snarking all throughout it. The crowning moment of stupidity was when the heroes approached the big bad who needed a last macguffin to awaken his unstoppable army. He'd taken his own sister, who had been trying to keep said macguffin from him and who one of the heroes had a crush on, with him with a "If you want to see her again speech". Said sister was linked to him such that any injury inflicted on one would be suffered by the other. Once they meet the big bad, the guy who has a crush on the sister reveals that he secretly did take the macguffin with him and hands it right over, saying that the other hero would do the same for his lover.

And he probably would, were she in any kind of danger. But there is absolutely nothing the big bad can do to his sister without harming himself in equal measure. And if he's willing to do that, he could do it from straight across the planet by just hurting himself directly. There was nothing to lose by just showing up without the macguffin and try to subdue him. And when the big bad sicks the army on the heroes, the guy says "You lied to us!", which isn't true because the big bad actually never offered anything in return for the macguffin, he only said he wanted it. So he and hellboy have a duel then, and at no point does the sister think of kicking her shin against the wall or anything to make sure the big bad loses. Only at the end, after hellboy beats him, turns his back (sucker) and he tries to stab him does the sister think of this... and she stabs herself fatally. Even though she could've just stabbed herself in the hand he was holding the knife in just as easily.

On a more general note, what's the difference between a horror movie character and a horror game character? The movie character says "Split up". The game character says "Reload!"

chris the cynic said...

My grandfather and his girlfriend/wife (I can't remember if they're married) went to see HellBoy 2 in theaters and liked it enough that they went back to watch it again. I bring this up for the same reason my dad told me: It's not exactly what one expects of a grandparent.


I'm not sure Abe was completely wrong to think she was in danger. There's a lot of bad that can befall a person without inflicting physical harm. That said, I have to a agree with the idea that it would have been better to get stabby somewhere non-fatal.

depizan said...

Somehow I'm willing to give Campion a pass on that one, though nearly every other example drives me up the wall. You'd still think he'd eventually learn better. Even with Lugg and/or others as back up meeting killers alone is not a wise move.

On the annoying side, I take off extra points for people meeting the killer alone to blackmail them. Really? You couldn't think of a safer way to earn money? Perhaps as a poison taster or chainsaw juggler?

JonathanPelikan said...

I'm very near finishing my LP of Mass Effect 2 in preparation for the arrival of 3 in early March.

So, the premise of the series is basically that humans have joined a larger galactic community using the power of science and ancient alien technology, including a network of warp relays that allow ships to transit nearly instantly across large patches of the galaxy and slower 'regular' forms of FTL propulsion. Everybody uses these Mass Relays.

In the story of the first game, your character, the heroic Commander Shepard, discovers that the ancient technology upon which all galactic civilization is built was a trap placed by even older forces, a race of machines known as the Reapers who appear and exterminate all intelligent life in our galaxy every, say, 50,000 or so years.

It's been about 50,000 years since the last reaping, incidentally, and they're coming. Soon. A single Reaper who arrived ahead of the main body of their fleet took on the combined naval forces of the four major allied species and nearly won before the tide turned on it. They have the ability to indoctrinate any living creature who spends even a decent amount of time near their stuff, altering their mind and even body into straight cthulu-level business.

The Reapers are compared to corporeal gods in terms of their power and capability to manipulate the world around them without even having to work at it.

In Shepard's past two missions, she's come into contact with human groups who have been tasked with researching Reaper technology, for different goals. Both organizations who sent these teams know about the Reapers, even though the galaxy at large refuses to believe Shepard's warnings. They know that Reaper technology is incredibly dangerous and safeguards must be taken.

Guess what the Commander's team finds on both missions. Guess what happened to both teams of researchers and experts.


Okay guys, in ME3 Shepard is instituting a set of guidelines for interaction with Reapers or their servants; if you have a sense of foreboding, dark and prophetic dreams, a sense that things just aren't right, strange impulses, if you start to find yourself longing for the coming enlightenment of the Reapers and their infinite glory.... RUN. Just start running. Take off in a ship and put some astral distance between your ass and whatever you were working on/with/whatever. Oh, and give the Commander a call about it before it boils over into a crisis, too.

As to victim blaming, I've always felt deep in my flawed heart that you know what? In the most extreme cases, yeah, take your blame, victim. Take it and absorb it deep into your stupid soul. I'm not talking about 'she was askin for it' or even 'bad part of town' but 'hey guys, i know Billie and Jamie died by high-diving off Mannett Point into the rocks, but c'mon, it'll be fun!' There has to be some line drawn, some lesson learned. Of course, in the vast majority of cases, victim blaming is bad, because most cases in our real world are of the first two classes rather than the third.

Ana Mardoll said...

That movie was so awful for about eight zillion reasons. I panned it on Amazon, but I can't get the link while out and about. So much potential for some good feminist messages, all completely trampled into the dirt and then river-danced upon. :(

Will Wildman said...

Of course, in the vast majority of cases, victim blaming is bad, because most cases in our real world are of the first two classes rather than the third.

(Content note: violence and crime)

The problematic 'victim-blaming' isn't about karma or ignoring consequences, though, it's about ignoring the hostile actor. Someone walking through the bad part of town is only in danger to the extent that another person decides to hurt them. Someone leaping off a cliff is danger whether the rocks like it or not. It isn't the rocks' fault if you leap on them; it is the mugger's fault for deciding to mug you.

It's actually a really clear dividing line, but we're kind of conditioned not to think about it that way. I had to think for several moments before I could figure out how to put it into words, just because it's such an unfamiliar framework.

valarltd said...

The Walking Dead is making me yell. A lot. They are too stupid to find water in GEORGIA? Seriously? And nobody is thinking long term, like "what will we do when winter comes?". Nobody is even thinking short term, like "maybe travelling with a mobile home on highly congested highways is kinda dumb, Maybe we should all ride motorcycles." they're all just stumbling along the same way they started.

I watched the first ep again, and have decided even from the first scene "Too Stupid To Live" was a fine description of the main character.

Now I want to write a zombie novel, one with what my editor calls "your own blend of macabre humor and peculiar pragmatism." Where the people sit down and think a minute, plan ahead and survive nicely, instead of just angsting and shooting.

gyroninja said...

The problematic 'victim-blaming' isn't about karma or ignoring consequences, though, it's about ignoring the hostile actor. Someone walking through the bad part of town is only in danger to the extent that another person decides to hurt them. Someone leaping off a cliff is danger whether the rocks like it or not. It isn't the rocks' fault if you leap on them; it is the mugger's fault for deciding to mug you.

Well, actually determining if there is a hostile actor can be tricky when it comes to horror movie tropes. I'm pretty sure that Zombies (at least, the shambling "braaaaains" kind of zombie) are closer to rocks than muggers, but what about pod people? Vampires? Werewolves?

Cupcakedoll said...

Hellboy 2 was dumb in many, many ways. It is best watched with the sound off so you miss the dumb but still get the full visual effect of the beautiful monsters designed by the Pan's Labyrinth guy.

Dav said...

I was highly amused by the architecture/engineering of the CDC in Walking Dead. What would the pitch have looked like.

"And then the security system we're going to install will fireball your entire multi-billion dollar research complex into *ash*."

I cannot *stand* Noble Idiot Syndrome, where a good character decides to sacrifice hirself for no actual purpose - in fact, often making things exponentially worse in the process. This is the person who will selflessly sacrifice their relationships and jobs and health and life without talking to anyone about it, or doublechecking to see if the sacrifice is necessary or even remotely helpful. I have no patience for that, since it's mostly used to create dramatic "tension". That's usually the point where I start rooting for the bad guys.

Ana Mardoll said...

I saw that one! And it blows it to ash in case of a sustained power outage!? One Katrina level outage and you've blown up your expensive government building. What.

I was distracted wondering about the beta testing for the system.

Mary Kaye said...

I can't stand it when two characters between them have the information they need to solve the problem, but they go on and on not talking about it, even with plenty of opportunities, so as to gin up more plot tension. I particularly hate this in romance plots (you want me to think these folks are soulmates when they can't even COMMUNICATE?!) but I hate it everywhere.

I also can't stand it when someone dies because their continued existence would be awkward for the plot, and for no other reason. The partly-Shakespeare play _Two Noble Kinsmen_ has an awful example of this, and it keeps being done to this day.

Rowen said...

Mary Kaye,

I'm currently VERY upset with Downton Abbey for that EXACT reason. I was intriqued to see HOW they'd get around having a character standing in the way. It seemed like it was going to be rather interesting, and what did they do? Noble death, out of the blue, for no reason. SO disapointed.

Rowen said...

When you say Dawn of the Dead remake, are we talking about the scene with the dog that basically screws everyone up? Or something sooner? Cause that's the moment I just lost it with the movie.

Dav said...

I know, right? Not to mention the upkeep. My building can't go a month without the fans breaking or the water pump falling apart or the elevator stopping (which no one bothers to post a note on, because *surely* no one in a building with 500+ people is going to have difficulty climbing multiple flights of stairs). I can't imagine adding a (gas? napalm?) line rigged to explode and not having multiple crises. The CDC doesn't even pay that well - how are they going to keep employees?

On a more general note, what's the difference between a horror movie character and a horror game character? The movie character says "Split up". The game character says "Reload!"

If it's a shooter, I'm usually grateful when my at-best-worthless, at-worst-harmful "allies" go away. AI has a long way to go. (Which is why I can cheerfully laugh myself sick over articles about how robot girlfriends are going to replace living women by the year 2020, so I guess there's an upside.)

Loquat said...

A slightly more on-topic example from Queen's Blade:

Gur nsberzragvbarq nffnffva unf tbar gb n sbervta pbhagel univat n fhpprffvba pevfvf naq nffnffvangrq bar bs gur cevapvcny pynvznagf gb gur guebar. Vzzrqvngryl nsgre gur xvyyvat, ur yrnirf gur pbhagel jvgu gur uryc bs n angvir fzhttyre jub unf ab vqrn ur jnf gurer gb xvyy eblnygl. Gur fzhttyre vf n gnyxngvir thl jvgu na vagrerfg va cbyvgvpf, gubhtu, naq ba gur jnl bhg ur fgnegf punggvat nobhg gur fhpprffvba pevfvf naq ubj ur guvaxf gur orfg pnaqvqngr vf gur cevapr Bhe Ureb whfg xvyyrq. N jvfr crefba, va Bhe Ureb'f fubrf, zvtug nterr jvgu gur fzhttyre, be bssre n qvssrerag lrg fgvyy ernfbanoyr cbyvgvpny bcvavba, be rkcerff qvfvagrerfg va cbyvgvpf naq svaq nabgure gbcvp bs pbairefngvba. Bhe Ureb'f pubvpr? Qebc inthr uvagf gung gur cevapr va dhrfgvba vf qrnq, naq npg fhecevfrq jura gur fzhttyre chgf gjb naq gjb gbtrgure naq fubbgf uvz va gur onpx.

Will Wildman said...

For clarification, none of the zombies are part of the harem, right? Because that I've seen. It wasn't apocalyptic or chick lit, though.

The zombies are your typical ravenous decaying monsters, so no, none of them are actual possible harem members. However, harem members are all potential zombie chow, because we take our apocalypses seriously. If a dude isn't interesting enough as a character, he may get turned or devoured and replaced with someone more fun.

Bificommander said...

That is an unusual choice for anyone in the grand- age bracket. Well, if they were entertained, by all means go see it.

I'm aware of the" save your love, damn the world" themes. It has its own kind of problems, but I wasn't knocking that. But I really think it didn't apply here. Now you are right, there are non-physical ways he could hurt her. But I can't think of any method he could have done so quickly while the heroes were in front of him. I'm obviously no expert on psychological torture, but I think it's a bit hard to do while Hellboy is 10 feet away and closing fast. The only thing I can think of is 'hurting the ones she loves'. Which is Abe. Who's comming to the rescue. So that makes it probably an even worse idea for Abe to go. Had they not looked for her at all, she could have suffered for it (though the fact that she's at any time able to inflict massive suffering on him does provide an obstacle), but there was no real reason to bring the crown piece with them instead of just charging his ass.

And the "you lied" comment makes it dumber because it implies Abe hadn't really thought about what he might do once he had the crown. At least Liz was saving Hellboy from an immediate mortal threat, was aware of what her choice meant, and was basing her decision on that she trusted Hellboy not to destroy the world. Abe was doing it for no real reason, hadn't considered any plan, and was somehow banking on the option that giving omnicidal maniac a doomsday weapon might NOT end up with the maniac killing them. There's a difference IMHO

chris the cynic said...

I was mostly responding to the idea that he couldn't harm her because he couldn't physically harm her. He absolutely could harm her. That doesn't make Abe's decision any less stupid though.

Silver Adept said...

I find that I really can't feel sorry for characters who are the opposite of Genre Savvy. I can understand the plot requiring some gaps in knowledge, but when you're requiring your heroine to deliberately chase the dangerous Bad Boy, knowing he's a vampire, and not having her feel afraid at all...and not giving an explanation as to why she's ignoring every survival instinct in her body, well, then there's not much sympathy when she gets killed and eaten. And even less when she Gets The Guy.

Similarly, falling into the same trap more than once without having something to help you beat it is pretty much a *facepalm* moment.

It's why I like Buffy, and John Crichton, and G'kar and Londo - they're all machinating and scheming and plotting, but they also have the Savvy to know what's going on. (Actually, I think B5 hangs a lampshade on it when Doctor Franklin goes out on Walkabout - the manner in which he finally meets himself means that he gets a dressing-down about heroism and rushing in without a plan...)

Ana Mardoll said...

One in a hundred is actually a lot of humans.

That's a good point, actually, and I hadn't thought of it that way. But since the aliens could pretty much win as long as the humans still needed to sleep, it still seemed like they gave up a bit easily. :/

Ana Mardoll said...

It's so hard with fictional characters though. Example: Bella Swan.

I want so much to be like, IF YOU HATE YOUR LIFE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BELLA. But... victim blaming? I'm honestly not sure. A genuinely depressed Real Life person can't just click their heels and get better. But Bella... I'm not sure if she's even supposed to be genuinely depressed.

It makes it really hard to deconstruct. *sigh*

Ana Mardoll said...


Favorite TV Trope. And when I say "favorite", I mean I hate it with a thousand fiery suns.

gyroninja said...

I want so much to be like, IF YOU HATE YOUR LIFE, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BELLA. But... victim blaming? I'm honestly not sure. A genuinely depressed Real Life person can't just click their heels and get better. But Bella... I'm not sure if she's even supposed to be genuinely depressed.

There's kind of an interesting death of the author thing going on there too. If a fictional character exhibits all the symptoms of clinical depression, but the author didn't intend for them to be clinically depressed, should we still treat them like they are, or not? I'm not sure either.

Ana Mardoll said...

Chris, I love both of your comments on depression just now. No time to do a longer comment, but I want to fold it all into a Twilight post someday. Or several!

chris the cynic said...

Partially inspired by this, partially inspired by a thread at the Slacktiverse, I've written someone meeting the traitor alone and unarmed and whatnot.

Fluffy_goddess said...

I'm always weirded out by characters whose genre savviness comes either too fast or too slow, but I thought Buffy did that particular dance well.

Then again, that show still had its moments of let's-do-the-dramatic-thing-not-the-rational-thing. For instance: it took blood to open the portal. It will take blood to close it. Stab him through the fucking hand if you must make with the stabbing, or better yet, make him take the sword in his still-bleeding hand and close it himself. Stabbing through the heart and then running away because you had to kill your true love is Not A Sensible Choice.

Though a lot of explanations got slipped in without a big fuss being made about them, so maybe I just missed whatever that was about.

Ian Zeilstra said...

So I've been watching Tetsuwan Birdy Decode. Long story short: a girl is infected with a parasite that will eventually take over her body and mature into a genocidal entity of mass destruction. Space cop Birdy knows this, and knows that killing her before this happens will definitely prevent it - this is stated and never refuted, so I assume it to be an axiom of the fictional universe. Unfortunately, she's sharing a body with an ordinary high school student who she accidentally killed, and he's in love with the girl, and between Birdy's irresolute nature and the boy doing everything he can to frustrate her efforts, she ends up not being able to kill the girl before the parasite matures and kills thousands of people, or before agents from her homeworld open fire with their orbital death ray in an attempt to kill the parasite, killing further thousands of people and destroying large sections of Tokyo. In the end, the boy, now back in his own body, absorbs the parasite from the girl and has Birdy kill him again, once more sharing her body.

And the massive deaths and ongoing refugee crisis turn into a major element of the show. And every time they're mentioned there's a voice in the back of my head chiming in with "and this all happened because you wouldn't kill one girl, and then use that body-sharing ability that you darn well had all along to save her afterwards."

So. Dumb. And it's a shame because the show's actually pretty good other than that.

Anthony Rosa said...

I haven't read through all the comments yet. Because you do this weird gibberish thing. I've seen it before, and I've seen you use it's name before, as well. But I don't know it right now, and I'd love to know what program to use to unspoil this stuff, because I'm having trouble contributing without it!

Rikalous said...

It's called rot13, because it moves the letters over thirteen places. You can decode it at

chris the cynic said...

Also if you look at the little icons at the top of the page, the one that says R13 will take you to that page so that you don't have to remember the address. Not that it's a hard address to remember, but if you'd prefer not to the icon is there for you.

BC Brugger said...

I find that as the years go by that there a certain movies I shouldn't even bother with.

1) NO wants to listen to me grumbling about the TSTL * gang.

Let's leave this heavy old axe here and go toddling off into the woods allegedly haunted by a well known serial killer! What could go wrong?

OB sheesh- sheesh

The plot should not hang on what an unlikable, inept schmoe your character is.

2 ) If being in twoo wuv is making you careless and someone else is injured- Imma vote you off the island.

3) People sometimes do bond very quickly when under a great deal of grief or worry or stress. Those bonds almost never last once the danger is past.

4) Movies LIED to you. If you go back into the burning house for the cat (who will later be found hiding up neighbor's tree) you will die in a fire. Get out, go to the household's agreed meet point and get on with things.

5)A lot of characters these days carry what they *call* go bags. They are ridiculously lite on actually useful and/or important stuff and someone will end up going back for it and get caught and oh look another book dropped in the don't bother box.

TSTL too stoopid tolive

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