Would you read a book with an "evil" main character?

Discussion in 'General Books' started by Berserk, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    I've been thinking about writing a science fiction novel in which the main character is evil throughout most of the book. Here's a summary of the story so you can tell what I mean by evil.

    The time period is a few decades from now, based in the United States. America has experienced another terrorist attack on it's territory, and this time it is catastrophic. Because of this, the government has segregated non-Muslim Americans from the Muslim Americans. A Muslim boy, who is of Northern European ancestry(with blonde hair, blue eyes), wants to work to end the segregation.

    His mentor, who is a Muslim man who preaches peace and reconciliation is assassinated by the government. The boy who is devasted, meets an extremist Muslim who teaches him a false version of Islam and he eventually becomes a terrorist as a result of this. After years of training, he enters the non-Muslim city through covert means and conducts terrorist operations. Meanwhile, there's a huge investigation to find him. Since he is White, and he has forged documents, the investigators cannot tell automatically that he's Muslim. He is eventually captured and informed that it was the extremist group he's a member of that actually assassinated his mentor, because they didn't want to end the violence.

    The main character then has a change of heart and wants to make up for his past actions by bringing down the terrorist network. With the aid of the government, he accomplishes this, and brings the top members to trial. He is assassinated before he can testify at the trial however.


    So, do you guys think that a story like that could work? Or would you be able to read it because the main character is a terrorist throughout most of it? Keep in mind also that I'm a Muslim, so I'm not trying to attack Islam with this story. I have knowledge of Islam, and will portray it in an accurate manner, representing all viewpoints.
     
  2. Viscion

    Viscion New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Well, we already know the beginning, middle and end now. Not much point in writing it. Also i don't think the fact that it is based on Muslims would sit all that well these days. Perhaps it would be better to make up races, just in case.
     
  3. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Only a small percentage of sci fi or fantasy readers visit this forum. The story will still be new to the vast majority of people. Plus, it's not the the beginning, the middle, or the ending that matters, but rather how I write it all. Anyone can come up with a brief summary, but it takes a good writer to make that into a good story. Also, Muslims are not a race, but rather a religious group.
     
  4. rhapsody of serendai

    rhapsody of serendai Thorn's Lover

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    157
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Planet SpringSprong
    Ratings:
    +157 / 0 / -0
    Sounds good, plus I sometimes love the bad guy as much as the good guy!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Tixie

    Tixie ...

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    114
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Deep inside your soul
    Ratings:
    +114 / 0 / -0
    Yeah... there is something special about them, and I love it :)
     
  6. rhapsody of serendai

    rhapsody of serendai Thorn's Lover

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    157
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Planet SpringSprong
    Ratings:
    +157 / 0 / -0
    I always fall in love with the bad guy (not wanting to, mind!) and I love it when he comes good in the end
     
  7. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    215
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    England
    Ratings:
    +225 / 0 / -0
    I want evil characters, I want them to win so there's no fairy tale ending :D

    Your synopsis doesn't really give us a hint what's 'sci-fi' about the idea, other than being in the near future? As it stands it sounds more a politically themed action thriller. I wouldn't bank on getting a US publisher to print for you as they'd likely be more worried about becoming a target by upset muslims or anti-muslims :( That said I like edgy books :)
     
  8. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    I will add sci-fi elements to the story, such as the city being futuristic, and futuristic weapons, etc. However, I want the main focus to be about the characters. In that respect, I think I'm similar to George RR Martin. His series, A Song of Ice and Fire is not like a traditional fantasy series in that magic plays a small role, and there are no other races besides humans. But, his books are captivating because of the characters.
     
  9. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +49 / 0 / -0
    I have no trouble with "evil" heroes.

    However, you may want to consider the realism of the story. A few decades from now there is unlikely to be any seriously anti-Muslim feeling on that kind of level. Realistically, yes, Muslims are just as likely to cop it in the future as any other group, but if you publish it now with all this "terrorist" confusion still fresh people will assume that you're just piggybacking off and escalating the problems of current society.

    Have you considered a smaller timeline; maybe six or seven years? Taking into account the exponential technology arc you could still have futuristic stuff. Then you could realistically make it a huge escalation of the current government problems -- the only problem would be that you character wouldn't be born in segregation...
     
  10. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Yea, that's what I meant. Sorry if I didn't come across very clearly. The catastrophic terrorist attack is supposed to occur in this time, maybe a couple years down the road. However, the character is born into a world of segregation. Therefore, by the time he becomes a terrorist, it will be about 23 years from today. And, the government has built a futuristic city to protect the non-Muslims from any future assault.
     
  11. clouded_perception

    clouded_perception clouded_perception

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Ratings:
    +49 / 0 / -0
    Righto, gotcha. That makes sense.

    Of course you'd have to publish quick before it goes out of date.
     
  12. LyannaWolfBlood

    LyannaWolfBlood Ella Dictadora

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    6,374
    Likes Received:
    230
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Ireland
    Ratings:
    +230 / 0 / -0
    The summary sounds good, Berserk, and I like reading about the bad characters too :D. Of course, the summary is the easy bit, but it does sound promising.
     
  13. Árëlin Milloway

    Árëlin Milloway Toast Tiger

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    3,406
    Likes Received:
    169
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    A Pirate city in international waters
    Ratings:
    +169 / 0 / -0
    I like the story line, but what about creating your own 'beliefs'? Instead of using Muslims and so on; that would be safer, wouldn't it, to avoid 'critisising' religions?
    If you've ever read 'Noughts and Crosses' by Blackman; she writes about different races, but has changed the point of view from what we have today; this way she's avoided mentioning rasism in a 'harmful' way...

    I do like the story, though, and I really enjoy reading books without 'black' and 'white' characters [good vs. evil...] and I think it sounds like ti could be successful!
    -Good luck :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Omega3R

    Omega3R Mi ne sijemo.

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Over the hills, and far away.
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0
    i'd love to read such a book, given that it is really well written. it would be interesting to write book with a villain as a main carachter. really. i like villains.
     
  15. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2003
    Messages:
    5,496
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    BFE
    Ratings:
    +24 / 0 / -0
    I think that is any good novel the antagonist must play a lead role. I find stories with facesless or generic enemies too childlike, as a rule. There are a few I have read that the "bad guy" or a less than savory character is the focus and I think it gives an interesting perspective.

    I'm thinking of Waylander . . .
     
  16. Omega3R

    Omega3R Mi ne sijemo.

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Over the hills, and far away.
    Ratings:
    +7 / 0 / -0
    but if you have such a perspective, don't you really get the effect that the narrator justifies the villain, so you begin to have understanding for him?
     
  17. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2003
    Messages:
    5,496
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    BFE
    Ratings:
    +24 / 0 / -0
    If the story if written well, it won't seem like the narrator justifies the villain, rather the villain justifies his own actions. After all, why would someone go out of their way to become a "villain" if they didn't have some justification for it.

    I also think there's such a thing as no villain in a story. Can't there be two people struggling against each other and both of them doing it for a noble purpose?
     
  18. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Not in old fashioned fantasy like Tokien, or Brooks. Neither of those authors really try to justify the actions of their evil characters. Their characters see themselves as evil and therefore work for the forces of evil. My character will be working for what he believes to be the correct side. Just like many Nazi soldiers thought that they were doing the right thing in WWII.
     
  19. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Cool. I'm glad that there are so many open minded people. I'm also throwing around another idea but I don't know exactly how I will go about implementing it yet. It has to do with reworking the ending.
     
  20. Berserk

    Berserk New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    Generally in fantasy, the antagonist is barely mentioned accept to remind the readers what the purpose of the protagonists quest is, i.e., to stop the bad guy from doing something. The villain is in a way deified so that his powers are far greater than the protagonist, atleast at first, then the protagonist manages to beat him despite all odds. I aim to make my characters more realistic. Neither the protagonists nor the antagonists will make good decisions all the time. Sometimes the main character will seem like a genius, and other times he will commit huge blunders that could/will cost him his mission.