Bones of Contention

A reader brought up an interesting point concerning the non-linear prologue in Heroes’ Day: should the action in a prologue take place before the action in the main narrative, or is it okay to jump ahead, then backtrack with the first chapter? Granted, the prologue should physically be placed before the first chapter, but does its content have to precede that of Chapter 1 as well? My stubborn opinion: of course not. A prologue exists to impart relevant information to the reader before he or she steps into the author’s world. This may or may not involve a step outside a novel’s time line. But I suspect the dilemma here is that I didn’t explain exactly (or roughly, for that matter) when Hades’ and Zor’s National Training Center meeting took place. It only becomes obvious several chapters in that they probably met in October, shortly after the Patriot Cup broadcast.

So, author oversight or planned factoid left for the reader to discover? I’m swearing by the factoid thingie. Anyone who’s kept up with my fodder over the years knows I have a habit of leaving it to my reader(s) to figure out certain small details. The hard part is getting them to trust that I’ve remembered to include the relevant information somewhere down the line. If Heroes’ Day had that coveted Tor logo on the spine, this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but alas, it doesn’t, and so I must pull double duty, coming up with clever ways to impart this and that while steadily insisting that I’ve left out important bits here and there because it’s more interesting to find out along the way. I think it’s doable.

This comes as a surprise even to me: I’m reworking my first novel, Time Chaser, and plan to put out a “special” version of the book, with substantial new material, a modified ending, the “Breakfast with Chronos” novella in its entirety, and proper (read: sexified) cover artwork. I was never all that happy with the original paperback release; this is a chance to change history. For better or for worse (I’m hoping for the former).

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs was…okay. As others have pointed out, it (like Bender’s Big Score) seemed disjointed—though BBS was able to negate a lot of its shortcomings through its intricate time travel plot. Still, TBWABB does have merit, as evidenced by my new MySpace profile pic:

Oh, my!!!

Overall, however, Futurama just doesn’t seem to work as well in the long format as did, say, The Simpsons Movie. In the series, Fry and the gang seemed so much more resourceful; in the movies, they’re kind of just led along by the plot. And right there is another bone of contention: both Futurama movies are about the entire world being subverted without trouble by the antagonists (the scammer aliens in BBS, and now a giant tentacle creature in TBWABB). Ludicrous, yes, but otherwise retreading uncomfortably familiar territory. One has to wonder which unnameable horror from beyond will take over the world in Futurama Movie #3 (and #4). Nevertheless, despite the fact that neither Leela nor Amy got naked this time around, TBWABB wasn’t bad viewing. Stephen Hawking discovered a new form of crowd control; Professor Wernstrom posed in a Speedo; and let’s just say the movie’s ultimate punchline was 100% gross-out.

Here’s looking ahead to Bender’s Game.