Monday, August 11, 2014

Some People Have a Firm Grasp of the Obvious

People who review my novel Girl Power on Amazon and Goodreads always see the need to point out how similar the heroes in the story are to certain DC Comics heroes.  And my reaction is, "Well, duh."  Because it's right there in the opening scene of the book:

Chapter 1

Bears absolutely no similarity to this guy.
The call comes in just after eight in the morning.  Midnight Spectre is still down in the bunker, where he’s ostensibly taking a nap before a board meeting at Holloway Corporation, followed by another night fighting crime on the streets.  Instead of napping, Midnight studies the most recent surveillance reports from the bugs he’s planted throughout the city.  There doesn’t seem to be much happening on the surface, but looking deeper he can always find something.
The eagle-shaped symbol that begins to flash red indicates the caller is from the Super Squad.  With a sigh, Midnight shoves the reports into an icon on the desktop to bring up the call.  A stern-faced woman in her thirties comes onto the screen.  “Something I can help you with, Major?” Midnight asks in his trademark rasp.
“The alarms we set on Dr. Roboto’s old fortress have been going crazy,” Major Carrie Dalton says.
“Probably a rat in the wiring,” Midnight says, but he’s already bringing up the island’s security system on the screen.  It’s easy enough since he designed it.  Major Dalton is right; there’s definitely something going on there.  Something has set off not only the motion detectors but the seismic detectors as well.  That can only mean something big.
“I assume the rest of the gang is on the way?”
“I thought I’d give you a head-start this time.”
“That’s generous of you.”
“Any idea what we might be dealing with?”
“Not yet.  Whoever’s there has deactivated the cameras.  I’ll see if I can get more on the way.”
The screen goes blank.  Midnight gets up from his chair.  He’s still dressed in his costume, so all he has to do is go into the hangar, where the jet waits.  Jasper is already there to fuel it up.  “What shall I tell the board?” he asks.
“Give them the usual excuse,” Midnight says.  The usual excuse is Rob Holloway met a pretty girl at a bar and decided to sweep her away to Aspen or Vegas or Monaco or someplace like that.  A Photoshopped image to corroborate this will appear on the gossip sites by the end of the day.
He hops up into the cockpit to run through the startup routine.  He hasn’t needed the jet in two months, but everything checks out green.  Jasper stands away from the plane to flash him a thumbs-up.  Midnight nods and then cuts in the vertical lift jets.  The roof of the hangar opens to allow the jet to rise into the air over Holloway Manor.
Once he’s high enough, Midnight transitions to the normal engines.  The jet rockets away at over Mach 3, towards the south Pacific.

Hmmm, does that sound in any way familiar?  One person on Goodreads accused me of doing a 50 Shades of Grey and writing a fanfic and then changing the names.  Ha.  I mean you couldn't just change the names; you have to change their costumes and slightly alter some of their powers too.  It's not really a Find and Replace job.  And me being lazy, I of course just wrote it the way it is right from the start.

Anyway, you can get the whole book for free on Amazon and Smashwords (and by extension B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc.) and then credit yourself for figuring out the obvious as well.


  1. This post seems suspiciously similar to one Michael Offutt wrote a few years ago... wait a minute, I've never seen you and Michael in the same place at the same time!

  2. I think the difference between your books and "50 Shades" for example is that yours have a reason for playing off the superhero tropes. If "50 Shades" had been written as an example of how vampire fiction could be eroticized, it might be a fair comparison.

    I haven't read '50 Shades,' but I do get tired of people ripping on it. I hated the "Twilight" books (also never read) as much as anyone, but I have a healthy respect for someone who writes a book that everyone in the world loves. Give EL James some credit. She wrote bondage fiction that became supermarket bookshelf stuff. How many people know that Anne Rice tried to do the same thing before the vampire books? But Rice's "Sleeping Beauty" books never made it into popular culture, let alone made into a movie.

    Maybe those people weren't complaining about "50 Shades," but I took this opportunity to rant. Anything popular seems to be doomed to be criticized harshly. I saw an article where "The Goldfinch" is now being ripped apart by critics who think it's too lowbrow, ever since people started liking it. An introspective literary novel about the impact of guilt across generations is too LOWBROW.

    I'd like to see something like Joyce's "Ulysses" become just SUPERPOPULAR, with people openly reading it and a movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid, and all kinds of memes like a picture of a cat laying on a couch with a paw across its eyes and a caption "TRIED TO RUN A SIMPLE ERRAND, ENDED UP RECREATING HOMER'S ODYSSEY", just so that critics would be all "Hmmmf. Joyce doesn't even use proper grammar."

    Also, that cat poster sounds pretty neat. DIBS.

  3. At least people are taking your work seriously. That is kind of a compliment. As for my writing, I usually get told in my one star reviews that my book is boring or something like that "and I couldn't finish." It's either that or they absolutely loved it. One or the other....

  4. It's an obvious homage to the characters but that can make it easier to understand the characters. You don't have to explain the characters and motivation of the character because we're already familiar with Batman



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