Saturday, May 13, 2017

Something Different. Or Maybe Not.

My younger son writes, among other things, fiction set in the world of super heroes and super villains. This morning he pointed me at someone else's work in that genre, a novella: Interviewing Leather. I read it.

The narrator is a reporter working for a Rolling Stone equivalent in a world with super heroes and super villains. His assignment is to interview a mid-level super villain, more precisely super villainess, who goes by the name of Leather.

It is an enjoyable story with interesting characters, plot, and moral issues. But what most impressed me was that the author took a pattern of behavior that came into existence for literary reasons, to make good stories, and constructed a persuasive explanation of why real people would act that way. Not easy to do when "act that way" involves a lot of dramatic posturing and dialog by both sides, most of it well suited for the dialog bubble of a comic book but entirely unnecessary for either committing crimes or stopping them.

To see how he managed to pull it off, read the story.

Discussing it after I finished, my wife raised the question of whether the story would work for the book I plan of stories that teach economics. It might. Part of the background is a description of the economics of the super villain business. Much of the point of it is people taking the actions that achieve their objectives, which is what economics is about, although neither the objectives nor the actions are exactly what we are used to.

If you read the story, or have read it, let me know if you think it belongs in my book.


Unknown said...

Yes, I think it belongs there. It's less preachy than the Poul Anderson story, and I think will at least cause some folks to think about why it belongs in your book, which is all to the good.

gurugeorge said...

Yeah, it's fun and very well written. It reminds me a bit of Defending the Undefendable by Walter Block: it shows how the rules of economics apply even when there doesn't seem to be anything officially "economics-ey" at a superficial glance. So in that sense, it fulfils the remit of easing people into looking at things through an economics lens.