Why is there so much evil in the fiction world?
From Star Wars and Wonder Woman to The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, it seems the most popular movies and novels share a common ingredient: a conflict pitting good against evil. In SciFi, this evil often takes the shape of dark forces, dystopian governments or wicked, greedy individuals on a quest for domination.
In my own books, too -- Ignition and the subsequent installments of the William Hawk series -- the conflict centers on evil. Pure, thick, malevolent, all-consuming evil embodied by the character Roivas.
Even as I write, I can’t help wondering: why? What underlies the staying power of evil as a source of inspiration and entertainment? Why are people everywhere so deeply fascinated by evil?
Clearly, the real world is filled with evil. Just glance at the news: we’re all bombarded constantly with stories of despots and dictators, violence, greed, cruelty and cold indifference to the plights of those suffering at its hands.
Is writing about evil and consuming stories with evil at their core our very human way of trying to come to terms with this reality? Is it a cathartic way of expressing the evil we may feel in ourselves at some level? Or, perhaps, is it an opportunity to cathartically combat the evil we fear, to help us feel more empowered against it?
For now, these questions are as impossible to answer as why I prefer chocolate ice cream when some prefer vanilla. Being drawn to evil plots can feel like a sick, perverse twist of the personality if we let it, or it can simply be an interest -- a fascination that we cultivate, knowing -- or at least hoping -- it will never impinge on our real lives.
To me, true darkness serves to enhance the brilliance of light. I write evil to show how it can be overthrown...one small act of goodness at a time.
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