Friday, December 7

And from Peter again:

On Dec 7, 2007, at 6:21 AM, Peter wrote:

Hm. That answers my question of where your caste system came from. I admit to having thought you were a libertarian, that's my mistake. I guess I assumed you sort of fit your own perspectives into the book under the guise of Duncan, as sort of a wise old man who could tell the answers as you know it. Knowing that you actually created the character gives me much more respect for you as an author, regardless of your political standings.

I guess he just does a great job of seeming to have the answers when he should when Hari needs a bit of a push, but I suppose that gets back to your idea of your characters rationalizing their circumstances into what they think they need. If so, nicely done.

Did you think that the 'Reality-TV-From-Hell' required, specifically, a business-based caste system, or did it require little more than unwashed masses and the rest is part of the eternal sci-fi idea of drawing lines into the future based on current problems and their evolving solutions?


A lot of people make that Stover-Must-Be-a-Libertarian mistake; one spectacularly dippy reviewer (I won't mention any names, but her initials are C. How Stupid I. M. Morgan) claimed she could tell I was a Libertarian by looking at my author photo.

Apparently it never actually strikes anyone that Duncan's good advice to Hari (essentially: keep your head down and inch toward daylight) has NOTHING TO DO with political philosophy; as for Duncan being the "voice of the author," it never seems to strike anyone that Duncan is consistently portrayed as being (periodically) ENTIRELY FUCKING BUGNUTS.

One would think someone might have noticed that Duncan gets his philosophical ass handed to him when he goes head-to-head against Tan'elKoth, who can be read as a direct personification of mystic fascism. Or that the only character who is more often right than wrong in either of those books is Deliann, who doesn't really believe in ANYTHING . . . he's just stumbling along, trying to do the right thing . . . and Caine, who doesn't believe in anything either, except that people he cares about are worth dying for.

But hey, that's the breaks.

Anyway: it takes more than the "unwashed masses" to make the Studio work, because Actors have to participate voluntarily (facing almost certain death or dismemberment -- not to mention the willingness to murder innocent people -- for the hope of economic advantage and social advancement). Unlike, say, Roman slave gladiators, who could just be given a weapon and thrown into the ring, an Actor has to play along -- has to create a character that people enjoy being, and portray that character convincingly. I could go into greater detail on the social mechanics of it, but that's the fundamental concept.

Matthew Woodring Stover
numquam desisto


Chris Billett said...

I have to admit, Matt, that I have always seen you as more Deliann/Caine than Duncan/Tan'elKoth. Not entirely them, but the positive aspects, at least. Take that as a compliment!

Great post!

Joe said...

For the record, I noticed the philosophical ass-handing.

MWS said...

Hmm. The only features of character I see myself as sharing with Caine are a general lack of strong moral principles (except for personal loyalty), and a stubborn inability to Just Quit; I'm am nothing resembling ruthless, and haven't been described as tough for more than a decade.

Deliann, however -- being an over-intellectual namby-pamby pseudo-mystic toughguy-wannabe . . .

Well, as I've said before, Deliann is probably more like me than any character I've ever written.

Expect maybe, in some ways, Jacen.

Chris said...

You might not have seen Jacen lately... *ahem*

Yup, anyway. Those were the exact elements of Caine I meant, and, well, I meant them in a positive light!

MWS said...

I was talking about Jacen as I wrote him.

What others might do with his character says a great deal about them, and nothing at all about me.

Alex said...

Not that I didn't believe that anyways, but thank Kal. Not to say anything against other authors in particular, but everything I liked about the character of Jacen as you portrayed him in Traitor has subsequently been edited out of him since he was handed over to other authors. I'm glad I have Caine and company to pick up the slack in the philosophical area.

MWS said...


I wouldn't actually know (in detail, anyway) exactly what the other SW types have been up to with him; I haven't been keeping up with post-NJO fiction, because that's not my era. I have to read enough SW already, for work; I don't have time to read it for fun right now.

What I wrote about how writing a character expresses an author's own personal character was intended as a general comment on the process of fiction; on further reading, it looks like it might be interpreted as a shot at some other writers, which is a sport in which I do not indulge. Especially when they're friends of mine.

Alex said...

Oh, don't mistake me; I didn't mean to imply that you were criticizing other authors. I just wanted to say that I thought that your particular portrayal of Jacen was the one that most interested me, and that I identified most with. It was especially fun, since I read the Young Jedi Knights books as a kid, and had no real connection with Jacen as a character, even through the first half of the New Jedi Order series. It was only after Traitor that I found myself connecting with him, and finding something of myself in him.

MWS said...

Huh. So maybe you're more like me than you thought.

This, by the way, should not be mistaken for good news.

Tim said...

As a curious thought, Matt, will you ever repost that short story you wrote, about Hari as a kid? I wanted to reread it, but the link is gone.

Anonymous said...


I first read your book, Heroes Die, in 99 or 2000 I cant remember. It was immediately, and till this day, top 5 in my list with neighbors such as Salvatore, Gaiman and slow as molasses George R R Fucking Martin and one hit wonder Karin Lowachee.

I just finished reading Blade for the second time and while I didn't enjoy it as much as Heroes (a little too much like a lecture that I am not intelligent enough to comprehend or give a flying fuck about) I liked it. I liked the story the story parts...but every time the characters went on and on and on about social commentary and metaphysics and shit...I had to stop and smoke a joint.

My dealer would like to thank you by the way.

Anyway, needless to say, I hear about this new Caine book coming out and I can honestly say I am more excited about this book coming out than I have been about any other printed word.

So...all I knew of you was that you wrote those books, see?

Then last year I jump on board a certain project that is going to rock the Starwars fan community and your name keeps popping up.

Fuck me like a goat.

So...if you would be so kind as to drop me a line I would like to interview you in this documentary I am making.

I feel that this can be a mutually beneficial opportunity for the both of us and I can almost assure you that when you see what we have been up to you are going to unceremoniously shit your pants.

Big Ups
Mad Respect

Moe Suliman
Sandrima Rising - Producer

DanielJ said...


With a little Google-fu, I can see the story is still around. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

Hey Stover it's Moe again,

Did you get my email?

Sometimes my emails don't go through.
Happens all the time.

Drop me a line when you get a chance and if it hasn't and I will try sending it through Yahoo or something.

Many Thanks,

Moe Suliman

kng said...

Reading the first two Acts of Caine has put a mirror in my face and helped me realize who I am and who I want to be. My favorite part of Caine is that he would brun the world for the one he loves. When he says something to the point that deaths of everyone in the arena is cheap at twice the price, and that he would still be inclined to haggle. That is spot on. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.

kng said...

This blog makes me realize that I wish I was a man that proofread his comments and knew that "burn" isn't spelt brun.

Oh well.... screw it