Saturday, 1 April 2017


Can we divide fiction into the kind that has villains and the kind that does not? Needless to say, Poul Anderson wrote both kinds. In Anderson's Dominic Flandry series, Tachwyr the Dark is Flandry's opposite number but it is Aycharaych, weaving an interstellar web of deception and subversion, that is the main villain.

In Anderson's Time Patrol series, there are installments that have a time criminal villain whereas others instead feature problems generated by Patrol members themselves. The arch-villain that does emerge, Merau Varagan, is not just a time travelling Aycharaych. Their motivations are entirely different.

SM Stirling devises an endless succession of villains. In the Emberverse series, the Lord Protector and his wife are joined by the malicious Tiphaine. Stieg Larsson also excels in the creation of villains. Before we encounter Lisbeth's gangster father, Zala, we must first meet both her rapist guardian and a sadistic serial killer. Larsson's point is that there are Men Who Hate Women, his original title. Stirling's point also seems to be that there are a lot of really bad people out there.


S.M. Stirling said...

Tiphaine isn't malicious; she's vengeful and ruthless, though.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Thank you. I did ponder which adjective to use.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

I can't say I LIKE Tiphaine d'Ath, but she does have some saving virtues, such as courage and loyalty. And she is one of your more plausible women soldiers, being not only very strong and well trained, she accepted the logic of her mode of life by refusing to have a normal sexuality and have children.