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Dr. Who


Keeping Things Hidden: Why it Doesn’t Work for Me.

I like superheroes. In fact, I like superheroes so much I once wrote an 80k superhero novel that sucked so horribly I will never speak of it again(though the world might reappear).

Anyways, my one problem with the superhero genre (and one that seems to be disappearing in many instances) is the idea of the secret identity. Superman has Clark Kent, Spider Man has Peter Parker. But if  you think about it, there’s no way the general public hasn’t figured out their secret identity(though Peter Parker did reveal he was Spider Man in Marvel’s Civil War, but it was only as  choice). Every time superman appears, Clark Kent disappears.  The editors at the Daily Bugle never really try to find out exactly how PeterPaker gets all those amazing Spiderman pictures without being injured or dying.

In sci-fi/fantasy, its even worse, as magic, vampires, werewolves, aliens or whatever, are hidden from the general public. Books, movies, comic books, tv shows, you see this a lot. Harry Potter, the Dresden Files, Men in Black, Charmed ect. They all have ways to explain how these things are hidden, but the longer things go on, it gets harder and harder to accept.  Somebody has to see something, somebody has to reveal something, especially when these things regularly try to end the world. You can’t just expect people not to notice or accept the umpteenth flimsy explanation.

Not all worlds are like this, Dr. Who for example, does not try to hide what’s going on and its more believable that way.

And it’s not just worlds directly based on our own world that keeping things hidden can be problematic.

In the earlier versions of K23, I tried to keep Uthirans hidden from the average hominid, but it didn’t work. Yes, please ignore the entire continent full of dragons meddling in your political affairs(Cybermagic novels); or, please ignore your coworker behaving strangely, as they are anything but a dragon in disguise(Hidden in Plain Sight). The latter idea is why HIPS eventually stalled.

When I sketched out K23, I just made Uthirans part of society and it worked.

Sure there’s a reason sci-fi/ fantasy will use the hidden convention: they may look like average people, but secretly they’re superheroes, or wizards, vampire hunters, work with aliens ect, it’s called fantasy for a reason. And it’s appealing, it just doesn’t work in the long run After seven books or movies,  or seasons things remaining hidden gets harder and harder to accept from a world building perspective.

This is simply my opinion, of course. But for me, I find the idea of the  fantastical being all around us and accessible more fun and easier to work with, than it being secret with a just few knowing the truth.


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