Sunday, June 20, 2010

From Formspring: Assorted Questions pt.2

These are almost all anonymous, and while some are serious, most of them are for fun. Several of these are adult in nature, so you've been warned. I have some very strange friends. Of course, I prefer it that way. Thanks, guys, for making my formspring so much fun:

How many dragons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
 Dragons can see in the dark.

My son only eats dog food what is the best brand to buy him?

What would your breath weapon be?
Fire, probably. I know that seems boring, but it suits my personality. A close second would be lightning. Actually, now that I think about it...I might choose lightning. There is something very cool about blasting things with lightning. If I had to pick something really outside the box...there is a dragon in one of the later books who's breath weapon is a black of metal shards. That's right, her breath weapon is metal. Which's metal. I might take something like that.

What did Hawk sell his soul for? No, it wasn't a donut.
That's great that you brought up a Dungeons and Dragons game from like ten years ago. Nice. I should point out that Hawk did not know he was selling his soul at the time. He just thought he was telling a nice man a story about his past. In exchange for this, he got a magic cloak. Yeah...also it had rainbow colors on it. Whatever.

What was the thing we summoned to kill the 'fleshless child'?
Again with that old Dungeons and Dragon's campaign? I believe it was giant crabs. Now, those of you who aren't familiar with 2nd Edition DnD rules won't remember this, but in 2nd Edition ADnD (as it was called at the time) Summon Monster spells were called Monster Summoning. Unlike 3rd Edition DnD, where the caster picks an extra-planar creature to summon, in 2nd Edition you actually summoned a random creature from the local ecosystem. These were chosen at random based on the game-master's roll on a series of charts. Since we were in a coastal cave, the spellcaster in the group summoned giant crabs.

So, the fleshless child--basically, kind of like an anti-Christ baby with no skin--was destroyed in a highly dignified manner by giant crabs. That happened.

Who's your favorite vampire from literature or mythology? Who's your favorite dragon from literature or mythology? Besides ones you've created that is.
I'm going to cheat on the vampire question, and name a "real" vampire from history: Fritz Haarmann. No, he couldn't turn into a bat or anything, but he did drink the blood of his victims and was frequently referred to as a vampire. Haarman was a real-life criminal who preyed on young boys. The vampires in my books tend to be detestable creatures, much like Haarman. They prey on children because their minds are easier to manipulate, and they can be overpowered with less effort. Vampire in my books are predators, and as such seek weakness.

My favorite dragon...that is a tough choice! Jörmungandr is probably a safe choice: any dragon that can kill a god is worthy of respect.

I really like how male and female dragons have their own sort spin on their respective roles. Does this mean that dragons can have paraphilias, or be sadists, misogynists, or have even more messed up behaviors?
Thank you! I'll deal with each behavioral issue separately.

Dragons rarely have paraphilia--sexual arousal by relatively non-sexual objects, like shoes or car keys. Paraphilias in humans are complicated, but tend to emerge due to a lack of sexual boundaries during the formative years of a child's sexual development. That's the theory, anyway. Since dragons don't develop the same as humans, they don't usually have the same sexual identity issues. That doesn't mean dragons can't turn non-sexual objects into triggers for sexual arousal, but they tend to do so of their own volition, rather than compulsion.

Dragons can very easily become sadists. Dragons rarely experience fear, so they don't relate to it very well. Likewise, pain isn't something a dragon has to deal with on a regular basis, since they are so difficult to hurt. They are aware that other creatures aren't as sturdy, but tend to lack empathy for that suffering the way a human might with another person or even a lesser creature. Most dragons don't enjoy hurting other creatures, but they aren't particularly bothered by it unless the creature suffering is someone the dragon cares about. Sadist dragons come in two forms. The first is the curious dragon. Slightly predatory, these dragons don't so much enjoy causing pain as much as they do seeing the result. These dragons are as likely to cause emotional pain as physical. The second kind are far more dangerous: the nihilist dragon. These dragons just like killing things...eventually. Some of them love to fight (more than the average dragon) and so won't usually pick on someone unless there is some chance that they might beat them...otherwise, what is the point? Less common are the nihilist dragons who enjoy torturing weaker creatures because it's fun for them. More than just idle curiosity, these dragons believe their position of power give them the right to do whatever they want with anything weaker than they. Again, this kind of dragon is exceedingly rare, as other dragons have very little patience for them.

Finally, misogyny. Dragons don't have much in the way of gender roles. Their ancient structure was patriarchal, but they abandoned that system and adopted the new way after their patriarch system led to endless struggles and fights. This is why dragons don't revere fatherhood. It is unlikely that a dragon would treat another dragon differently based on their gender. It is even less likely that dragons would treat a human differently based on their gender, skin color, ethnicity, or religion. They usually don't care enough to notice, unless the human has something they want.

How fast can a dragon fly? Could one break the sound barrier?
I may have to get back to you on the exact speed at which a dragon can fly, but it varies by dragon. Typically, dragons with bigger wings are faster. A dragon carries itself through the air with very powerful wing, each single flap strong enough to carry it up into the air. The bigger the wings, the more force they can exert and the more power they have. Rapid flapping allows them to build speed and altitude, after which they can coast for some time before having to recharge via more flapping. If a dragon is in a particular hurry, he can flap constantly--almost like a hummingbird--but this quickly becomes tiresome. Because they use their tail and neck to steer while in flight, the longer these parts are on a dragon, the more agile a flier it will be. So a dragon with huge wings but a short neck and stubby tail would be a very fast flier, but not a very agile one. A dragon with small wings but a long neck and tail would be agile, but not fast. A dragon either small wings, short tail and a stubby neck would be a slow, clumsy flier.

Yes, dragons could break the sound barrier.

I know what you're thinking, and I don't want you to get all scientific on me here. These are dragons. Their wings are far more powerful than the rest of their body or limbs. Having very powerful wings for flight does not necessarily mean they will have arms and legs that can exert the same force or pressure. I know that doesn't make sense scientifically, but these are dragons...they don't actually exist. It's fantasy. So, don't go throwing up some jackass mathematical equation trying to show that in order for a dragon's wings to be powerful enough to break the sound barrier, it would have a limb strength powerful enough to pick up the Earth and throw it into the Sun. It doesn't work that way. Just let it be...Joe. Don't act like that wasn't you asking ;-)

I've heard some of the love scenes in your book are pretty intense. What will you do if the publisher wants you to cut them down or remove them?
If that happens--which, I doubt--I will probably offer the chapters as free downloads on my website when the book comes out, so long as the publisher doesn't have a problem with that. I don't think that will be an issue, though: the sexual content in my books is comparable to contemporary novels in the same genre by best-selling authors. Still, you never know what the marketing team at a publisher will want you to do, so I can't make any promises. 

What happens when nearly every person on the internet is a troll? When less than 5% of the human population remains? We'll only have enough lulz to last 'till the end of the month. What then?
When there is no more room in PacSun, the douchebagged shall walk the Earth...

Do you think humans have a responsibility to bring back animals that have gone extinct because of human action via cloning, genetic engineering, etc.?

If dogs had thumbs and could stand upright (but they were still dogs), could they be trained to pick fruit?

Which past job/occupation would you say helped you develop most as a writer?
Working for the State, definitely. There are a lot of advantages to a State job. The pay isn't great, but it's steady (compared to similar private sector jobs) and the benefits tend to be nice. Unfortunately, State workers are a lot like cops, teachers, and other public service professionals: not only do you have a lot of work to do, but the rules under which you are to operate change frequently...and rarely do they make it easier. In addition to the kinds of things I saw doing investigations for the Department of Health and Senior Services, I learned that I'm not a person who does well when forced to work within boundaries. I am much better off as my own boss. Also, recognizing my dislike for boundaries led me to the conclusion that I can't write within boundaries, either. Conventions of genre don't mean as much to me, even though I write in a genre that literally allows almost anything to happen, so long as the chronology is contemporary.