Saturday, 30 November 2013

How Serious Could This Get?

How far would Poul Anderson's and Gordon R Dickson's Hokas take their role play?

Would Socrates drink the hemlock?
Would Caesar accept assassination?
Would Jesus accept crucifixion - and expect resurrection?
Would Charles I accept execution?
Would Czar Nicholas and Lenin persuade the population of a large country to reenact the Russin Revolution with the same outcomes?
Would Trotsky accept the ice pick?
Need I go on?

One response to such questions could be, "This is only humor!" Of course. And I expect that the three Hoka volumes, which I have yet to read in full, will remain on that level. But questions can always be asked.

Alan Moore has shown that extremely powerful dramatic effects can be achieved by taking joke characters seriously and asking, "What would follow if this were true?" Young Billy Batson was tied up and gagged so often to prevent him from saying, "Shazam!", that the adult Batson might have developed a fixation about being tied up and gagged? And a super-strong villain moving at super-speed would be able to commit in a few hours atrocities far worse than any in history so should a visual medium not show such atrocities in graphic detail?

Nowadays, one question in my mind when reading lighter fiction is often: what might an Alan Moore treatment of these premises look like?

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