Episode 499 - Life's worth?!

Oct 5, 2020

What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.

Topics and Show Notes

A few prime examples are gritty SciFi stories, westerns, war stories, and hospital dramas.
The first three dramatically undervalue human life so it doesn't make logical sense within the world it depicts: In deep space human life would be extremely valuable because it's a rare and practically non-renewable resource. The only way that changes is when you run out of survival resources (air, water, food) or it's a life or death situation, a casual attitude to life though doesn't make sense. In the old west it was the same situation for other reasons, murderers would be tracked down for thousands of miles and across many decades, the only exception was native Americans who shamefully weren't considered people for all intents and purposes, even slaves had more value. In war stories, especially historical ones, typically soldiers have no real survival instinct or self worth, they're happy to always fight to the last and run headfirst to their deaths, which is silly since battles were usually won when one side broke and ran after only a few deaths. Full scale slaughter only happened rarely and that was usually when the fleeing side was caught or captured.

Finally, hospital dramas tend to overestimate the value of life, where all stops are pulled out to save people who society doesn't value and can't afford to pay for the expensive and experimental treatments (with hundreds of thousands dollars worth of care given to them), or people too sick or old are given care they'd never recover from.

There are a lot of complex factors that influence the value of life in a story actually (emotional attachment, status, class, caste, gender, religion, politics, scope etc), but it's important not to get it too badly wrong or your story won't work as well.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Era of Iridore - Come through the sweeping tapestry curtains of copper and silicone, into the vast techno hall, past lords and ladies bedecked in flashing LEDs of many colours, knights fencing with glowing plasma blades, jesters toying with antigrav balls, and watch the minstrels play their laser harps and electric lutes!

Topics and shownotes

Links
Life's worth thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178520

Featured comic:
Raising Cain - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/29/featured-comic-raising-cain/

Featured music:
Era of Iridore - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Era_of_Iridore/, by Deno 85, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

Remember to join us for Quackcast 500 on Saturday!!!
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/oct/04/quackcast-500-show-your-love-for-the-d/

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Episode 323 - A space of your own

May 15, 2017

2 likes, 0 comments

Drawing in public can be a pain! You really need to find somewhere comfortable, with lots of space, good lighting, and the right atmosphere to be able to settle down and work on your drawings… It can be tricky to find just the right posy. But it also depends on the types of materials you use and the atmosphere that you want to experience while you're working. In this Quackcast we talk about Hyena Hell's newspost on the subject and people's comments, as well as our own experiences with trying to draw in public places and the annoyances of public harassment. Speaking of knowing where to draw, there's the cautionary tale of Canadian Archie artist Gisele Lagace, who was detained and body-searched by US border guards for carrying unfinished drawings! She was intended to finish them at her hotel so she could sell them at the convention, but according to the US border guards and their extremely “strict” interpretation of the regulations due to the current political climate in the US, that constituted “doing work” while on US soil, so she was denied entry and missed out on the convention she was booked to appear at. So there are other considerations to finding the right place to do your drawings! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Slaughter at Camp Notamoovi - Dark, suspenseful, mounting dread… it’s dark outside and something horrible is lurking, but it turns out to be a man with no trousers on chasing a raccoon with a pair of pants on its head… who are then both BRUTALLY MURDERED!!!!

Episode 320 - Making the reader believe

Apr 24, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast I wanted to talk about the magic of authorship: how the creator of a story sets up the whole situation so that they can convince the reader of anything. You can write a story about the smartest man in the world, and the reader will believe that they are, within the story, because you set it up that way: not just by having other characters reacting to them and forming that impression, but also independently convincing the audience of it as well by having them solving riddles and such or knowing lots of languages, quoting literary texts etc, but the creator doesn't have to be a very smart person themselves… Like Sherlock Holmes is seen as super smart because he's meant to, but Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't a super genius himself. You can write about a Casanova type charmer who's fantastic with the opposite sex and readers will believe, but only if you set the stage well enough. You as the creator set the parameters for anything to happen. Without having certain abilities or skills yourself, you can create a character with totally convincing skills far outside of yourself. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Gloom, it's creepy, ghostly, unsettling, uneven. This one gets under your skin and keeps you off-balance.


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