Authors, such as myself, who like to delve into the recesses of their own mind and contemplate their dark places tend to write about how those dark places may erupt into the world around them. (The artist must be tortured in some way, no?) Fiction, especially fantasy or science fiction, is a safe way to explore those notions, things that are uncomfortable or unacceptable in polite (and maybe even not so polite) company.
I like to explore why people do what they do. Why do they make the decisions they make. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Even the most evil of people walk down a path to get where they end up. That path is fascinating to me. What causes a person to make the decisions that they make? What false (or true) beliefs lead to that decision? Does it matter, in the end, if they are true or false in the actual historicity of events? If an individual believes them, does that not make them true?
It’s really fun to do this exercise with the bad guys. I’ve had people tell me that some people are just inherently evil. I don’t believe that. I think that people are born with certain personality traits that might incline them to make certain decisions, but they aren’t evil. A series of events makes them continually make evil decisions. Not necessarily external events either–I think more often than not they are entirely internal events, decisions that the individual makes about the world around them that causes them to react to the world in a certain way.
Akecheta and Laura Darkwood are two characters that I’m delving into at the moment, who are definitely bad guys. They take human beings and alter them to become what a customer wants, and then sell them for millions of dollars to the elite of society. That’s pretty nasty.
But why would someone do that?
For the money?
Well, yes, that’s pretty obvious, but they had to start somewhere, somewhere where there was no money. Originally it was just an idea that one or both of them had. Maybe Laura was in medical school and she and Akecheta were lying in each other arms, discussing the science of genetics and how wonderful it would be to able to truly get the best of everything into glorious chimera. That discussion could have led them down a road to create Darkwood Industries. I’m not entirely sure if that’s how it happened, neither has told me that part of their story yet, but it is possible. A simply thought, with no emotion or malice attached to it, can lead to awful and gory places.
One simple decision–and a person is good or evil.