Hiero's Journey - 5. Motivations of the bad guys

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Did these seem at all realistic to you? Or are they just too cartoonish?

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    Aldo's ascribed motivation as people who wanted to rebuild society by recapturing old technology was realistic. However, the actual unclean we met didn't really seem bear any resemblance to the people Aldo described. The people we actually met were pretty cartoonish - they even sneered a lot.

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    Yep, they're just pantomime villains out to cackle and be evil. It would have been a more interesting book if they'd come across as somewhat sympathetic, proposing a genuine alliance with Hiero and the abbeys. It could then have drawn out the contrast with the Eleveners, between the technology quick-fix of the "Unclean" and the sustainable eco-friendly development of the Eleveners.

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    Cartoon villains! Though I did like the fact that they were the technological faction, without the book being a big bash on science and technology.
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    @dr_mitch said:
    Cartoon villains! Though I did like the fact that they were the technological faction, without the book being a big bash on science and technology.

    It wasn't? The cartoon villains were technophiles and created monsters as servants. The benign demigod (Aldo) was a eco-activist who was espousing peace and harmony with all living things and could kick your arse with overwhelming force if you crossed him (hmm... Aldo == Yoda?). All the adventure took place in the wilderness and the viewpoint character was an outdoorsman, equipped with only a knife, a gun, and his mind (US frontier spirit wishful thinking). The whole book was steeped in technology being a necessary evil, not something that should be explored and lauded.

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    @NeilNjae for me there was just _barely_ enough nuance. The Eleventh Commandment came from a scientific background. The Metz sent Hiero on a quest for a particular piece of technology, one that's notably there for knowledge and not a weapon (though Aldo points out the military uses). And the threat from the unclean and leemutes is brute force and psionic power, rather than ordinary technology-- though they certainly use both ordinary and extraordinary technology, some of which is seen as dangerous or evil.

    It's a question of whether the morals of the story are with Aldo or Hiero.

    But it only barely avoids being a big bash. Anyway, for me, it at least avoids being obnoxious about it.
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    In my reading I felt there was more to Aldo just being a precursor copy of Yoda. For one thing, his use of psionics is different from Hiero or the Unclean, which suggests he represents a power that isn't cleanly within the Good (i.e. Metz) camp or the Evil (Unclean) camp. The Eleveners are further grooming the Metz and other civilizations - but whether that proves to be for good or another kind of ill remains to be seen. Throughout the second part of the book, Aldo keeps pressing Hiero to reveal what he's seeking, and Hiero seems reluctant to do so. Why? My thinking, until nearly the end, was that Hiero somehow didn't trust him - so Aldo could easily have become an adversary, and indeed the Eleveners could still become that in the second book. They have a strict agenda.

    This puts me in mind not of Star Wars, but of Babylon 5, where we have two higher powers competing for the humans, the Shadow and the Vorlons. The Vorlons at first seem like a help - they are on the side of the Humans, and it's even revealed they appear as angels to all the younger races. But ultimately people reject both powers. A similar thing happens in many Moorcock stories, in which at first it seems like the forces of Law are aligned with humanity, but ultimately they are shown to be too rigid, and that Humanity really needs a balance.

    So, to me, Aldo was really something of a dark horse in this story. He knows more than he lets on, has motives that are not necessarily aligned with Hiero's. Much the same can be said for the Bear, whose path currently aligns with Hiero's but won't necessarily do so in the future. The Bear Overlords are more or less inscrutable.

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    @dr_mitch said:
    It's a question of whether the morals of the story are with Aldo or Hiero.

    @Apocryphal said:
    So, to me, Aldo was really something of a dark horse in this story. He knows more than he lets on, has motives that are not necessarily aligned with Hiero's. Much the same can be said for the Bear, whose path currently aligns with Hiero's but won't necessarily do so in the future. The Bear Overlords are more or less inscrutable.

    That's an interesting point from both of you: who is the "good guy" in this story? Hiero is our viewpoint character, and from his perspective his motivation is good. But it's unclear whether Aldo wants what's best for people in general, or whether his desire to shape civilisation makes him just as much a monster as S'nerg.

    Gorm doesn't present himself as being acting for the good of anyone except the Old Ones, but people are happy to accept that he's generally against the Unclean and willing to help out Hiero for the time being. That could also be something interesting to explore in later books.

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    > @NeilNjae said:
    > Gorm doesn't present himself as being acting for the good of anyone except the Old Ones, but people are happy to accept that he's generally against the Unclean and willing to help out Hiero for the time being. That could also be something interesting to explore in later books.

    Mild spoiler: the Bear Old Ones do appear more in volume 2, in which they are basically trying to decide if humans in general and the Metz in particular can be trusted to make and keep an alliance.
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    Luchare is my hero. :smile:

    Cartoons, of course! We may not know who the "good guys" are, but we know who the bad guys are! They stand around sneering and twirling their moustaches and being all eeeevil all through the book. :wink:

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    BTW, I had definitely read the first few chapters of this book, then put it down and never came back to it. I know why - at this time I was not as appreciative as I have become of the uses of stereotype and genre expectation - and just thought it was silly. I was wrong - it's not silly. It goes beyond genre when it needs to, and not a bit if it doesn't, but Lanier crafts a fun tale here.

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