Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Feature Interview - Richard K. Morgan

"Takeshi Kovaks, Carl Marsalis, and Ringil Eskiath are three of your main protagonists, and all are fairly dark characters, anti-heroes each. Takeshi shoots people in the head to deprive their consciousness of rebirth, Carl is racking up the death toll from chapter one, and Ringil snaps children’s necks like it was nothing. How do you see the role of heroics within a society that creates these people?

I think that as a culture we have spent in the coin of heroes so lavishly over the last few decades that the whole currency is pretty much devalued. Our heroic figures have become bland, tame, teen-friendly, moral, and middle-American to a fault. Above all, they are safe. Great prowess in violence is seen as a handy little sub-set of skills that you can switch on and off as required, and the rest of the time you just revert to being this likeable average guy getting on with his white-picket-fence average existence. You pick up the sword and defeat the evil enemy, then when the war is done you go back to doing whatever cuddly things you were doing before—it’s essentially the lie we told, most recently, about all the men who fought and came back from the second world war, the lie whose rancid expedience it took the Vietnam debacle to really expose to public awareness.

Now, thankfully, we all know what a dangerous lie it is. Violence scars, it disfigures lives and souls, whole societies and generations sometimes, and there is no going back from it. And the individuals who excel at it are anything but safe to have around afterwards. That’s a truth I try to come back to constantly in my fiction, and guys like Ringil are the result."

4 out of 5