Friday, December 7, 2018

Is There A Place for Morally Ambiguous Characters?

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Last week, Rawyle Nyanzi wrote about black and white morality in fiction, and JD Cowan expanded on why readers love them .
Characters with clear moral codes make for compelling reading. Armed with an uncompromising view of right and wrong, they act decisively against evil wherever they find it. Yet, fettered by their same uncompromising principles, they must also struggle to preserve their souls in a corrupt and decadent world. When contrasted against clear-cut villains, these heroes shine all the brighter.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 5

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“You gave Federov to the Seebs?” Jansen asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“So that’s where he went.” Jansen jotted something down. “You were carrying other weapons with you. A pistol and two knives. Why didn’t you use them?”
“Why didn’t my client kill Federov, you mean?” Greenwald asked. “Mr. Lee didn’t have to. And if he had, he wouldn’t have found the killers. Justice would not have been served.”
Jansen glowered, as though contemplating other questions. Greenwald stared back. Jansen sighed, and asked, “What happened next?”
“We developed the situation.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 4

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“What about Vandemeer?” Jansen asked. “Did you do a séance too?”
I shrugged. “I tried. Dry hole.”
“Your file says you’re Tier One. You served in the Arcane Legion for twelve years, over half that in the Special Operations Support Detachment, with multiple combat tours. You couldn’t call him back?”
“I’m listed as Tier One because I have the paper qualifications. Gift-wise, I’m closer to Tier Three now.”
“Why’s that?”
“In layman’s terms, mana is attracted and retained by life. Living flesh, or materials that mimic it. The less meat you have, the less mana you can draw and use. It can be mitigated by training and arcanengineering, but…” I shrugged.
“Why did you have your limbs replaced?”
“How is that relevant?” Greenwald asked.
“Professional curiosity.”


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 3

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Greenwald leaned forward. “My client would like to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights.”
“No, it’s okay,” I said.
“Dom—”
“Look, we never actually committed a crime.”
Jansen sneered. “Really? Sounds to me like a conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
“Things aren’t black and white.” I straightened to my full seated height. “I knew Johnson was trouble when I walked in. I needed to get him out of the office, and that was the fastest way to do it. I did not have any intention of actually dealing with him.”
“Explain to me how that works.”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 2

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Detective Jansen twirled his pen in surprisingly dexterous fingers. “I understand your contract granted you extraordinary powers.”
“No more than regular police,” Greenwald said, “only for matters related to this case, and only because Mr. Lee is an accredited private peace officer in the employ of Lithsman Kinetics.”
Distaste crawled across the troll’s face. “A bounty hunter, in other words. Tell me, Mr. Lee, do you consider yourself above the police?”

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 1

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My lawyer has a reputation for melodrama, and today he was in fine form.
“Detective Jansen! Why is my client in a prison jumpsuit?” Abraham Greenwald demanded.
Jansen, huge even by troll standards, towered over the diminutive gnome. “Mr. Greenwald, his clothes were soaked with blood. They’re being held for evidence.”
“Evidence.” Greenwald sniffed. “My client’s been here for, what, six hours? Without a shower?”
“We had to take biological samples from his body. Evidence, you understand.”
“You’ve taken your evidence already, yes? He reeks and you won’t let him shower? This is a violation of police ethics. I’ll file a complaint with Internal Affairs.”
“Be my guest. Please, sit.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The One Law Part 3

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Twenty minutes later, Vincent finally arrived at the rally point. He was wearing the face mask. The inner layer scanned his face using microsensors. The outer layer took the data and randomly changed some elements, presenting a different face to the world.
The other killers were already there. Thunder grumbled across the sky. Rain fell in thick sleets, drenching his face but sliding off the nanofibres in his clothes and shoes.
“Sorry!” Bobby said. “I got lost! I’m so sorry!”
I’m at the rally point. Everybody’s here. Where’s the SDU?
Max snorted. “Don’t you have a map app?”
“It kept sending me round and round in circles,” Bobby groused.
It wasn’t a total lie. Vincent was searching for signs of the SDU. He saw nothing.
5 minutes.
Max shook his head. His eyes were still glassy. He must have taken another snort. “Come on, let’s go,” Max said.