Sunday, November 20, 2011

Heroes With Prostheses

A correspondent recently expressed doubt that Viz-Igerd (a secondary antagonist in Knight's Fork) could ever be a suitable/marketable hero in his own right, because he has an artificial hand.

What about Wolverine?

Is Wolverine potential Romance hero material, even with his hot temper and troubled past? Where does the gentle reader draw the line?

Luke Skywalker had an artificial hand, as did his father. Does anyone wonder how many Jedi had bionic body parts? When one fights with light sabers, it seems likely that a lot did.

Did anyone fantasize about Lee Majors' "Six Million Dollar Man" in the late 1970's? Was Steve Austin the first cyborg hero? How influential was that show? And why don't they do a remake?

Wolverine, Luke, and Col Austin looked "normal" at least some of the time. Anakin went to bed with a hand of gold. Was that a problem? Be honest. So, now I'm thinking of other beloved heroes who have what I will brutally call "something wrong" with them. One is Laura Kinsale's "Prince of Midnight" who is deaf in one ear. One can certainly be hard of hearing and still be a hunk and a hero!

The Amazon forums have a discussion full of recommendations for heroes and heroines who don't hear well, but few of them have ear implants, unlike Arthur Dent, galactic Hitchhiker, who had a Babel Fish. I also recommend this link for a discussion of super senses.

Here's an interesting discussion of TV tropes about artificial limbs and "disability superpowers", including a link to characters who hot-swap their bionic parts according to their needs at the time.

There is also a link to an interesting article about when asymmetry is cool. As is pointed out, society tends to find symmetry attractive. Arms and legs should match. In my distant youth, I dated an Olympic oarsman. He was a Stroke, and one side of his back and shoulders was visible more developed that the other side. It never occurred to me to think of this as a deformity.... and it certainly has nothing to do with prostheses.... but what if the second most famous hunchback in History (Richard III) was simply a superb sportsman, whose muscles on the lance-hefting side of his body were over developed?

Check out the comprehensive Anatomy Arsenal listed here. It has to be admitted, few of these (particularly Fartillary) has great Romantic potential for the alien romance author, unless one is free of the constraints of a mass market editor, and probably work better for adolescent-oriented comic books..

Finally, there is a Listmania on Amazon where a reader compiles her list of favorite books with heroes or heroines who are physically imperfect, including some with bad knees. I recommend it to any alien romance author looking for the encouragement to write that disfigured or implanted or surgically "improved" hero or heroine.

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