HK_01 wrote: Next, I hated Jade Kim. I absolutely hated her. Worst character in the entire series (so far). At first I thought I simply disliked the idea of a resistance in Hell, but then Tucker came along and I really liked him, but I still hated Kim. This is probably a request that will never be fullfilled, but if there is ever a book version, could it please be without Kim? I'm sure there's another way of introducing Caesar.
Jade Kim is a central character; she has her positives and negatives. There is a danger in writing stories that the protagonists all end up likeable and the antagonists unpleasant but that isn't the way life really is. Very often the "good guys" are unlikeable bastards and the "bad guys" are charming. In fact, the most dangerous antagonists are always charming (especially in my novels; if a character seems really charming and friendly, its a good time to watch out). Jade Kim has a lot of negative characteristics but they're also the negatives that would make her attractive to a man like Caesar.
the humans tend to have a terrible attitude and if I were an angel or demon I'd probably join the resistance. A good example of this are the Marines landing on the shores and being douchey to everyone, same with the army coming into the Eternal City or Stevenson and others snapping at people who respect the angels and worst of all the way Petraeus treated Michael. Come on, the guy saved you nuking a city of 200 million/months of street fighting, why would you act like an asshole?
Again, nobody is perfect. The parts of Armageddon that deal with occupation show both sides of the coin. The friendliness of American troops and their rather cloying sentimentality when dealing with people on an individual basis is one part of their picture; their treatment of people on an "official" basis when the civilians are en masse is the other. Both were demonstrated in Iraq, both have plusses and minusses (I had it explained to me exactly why the troops are trained to adopt the distant, remote and isolated attitude they use. It was selected for psychological reasons). People are depicted behaving the way they really do behave, not an idealized version of that.
On a somewhat unrelated note, in the chapter where the first Bowl of Wrath is poured, something is said about firing missiles in a way so that they hit the enemy before they can react and the Indians giving the Americans a bloody nose with that strategy. I just wonder when exactly this happened. As far as I'm aware, India was never at war with the US, and the native Americans definitely did not have jet fighter, so what exactly is this referring to?
Back in 2006, the USAF and the Indian AF staged a joint exercise in which the Indian Sukhois faced up to USAF F-15s. The result was that the Indians won big-time which caused significant angst in USAF circles and a quick re-evaluation of the tactics used against the Sukhoi. Of course the F-15s sent to the exercise weren't top-of-the-line or flown by the best we had but the results were still unexpected.
Simon_Jester wrote:Yeah, and again, I've always thought there was something deeply hypocritical, kind of disturbing, about how harshly humans are dealing with Heaven compared to how they're dealing with Hell. The demons constantly harassed us, drove millions of people insane using mental powers, and above all else tortured ninety billion people for anywhere from tens of millenia to centuries, inflicting the most agonizing horrors they could come up with... but at least they were honest! Yeah. Um. Right. The angels, well, they made people work like medieval peasants and didn't rescue anywhere near enough people from the demons as they should have. But they lied about being willing to rescue people, the bastards! Yeah. Um. Right. It just seems so... out of whack to me, that it suggests an underlying social attitude that's profoundly unhealthy- one more motivated by "FUCK YOU ANGELS!" than by any kind of logical, thought-out policy. Or any real desire to punish war crimes justly.
usagihunter101 has it perfectly; it's the betrayal thing. That's something humans find it very hard to get over. A classic is the difference between the way the US fought the Germans and the Japanese; there was a white-hot hatred of the Japanese that wasn't there when fighting the Germans and what set it off was delivering the declaration of war after Pearl Harbor. Or another example; when we caught some Russians spying on us, we shook our heads, grinned and traded them back for a couple of our people. When we caught an Israeli spying on us there was a deep sense of shock and the perp is in jail and going to stay there.
I agree that logically it doesn't actually make much sense but again, we have to deal with the world the way it is not the way we would like it to be. The daemons were never anything other than our sworn enemies; we never expected them to be anything else but when we actually fought them, they weren't terrifying, they were pathetic even ridiculous. Yet, they stood up and fought tanks with bronze tridents and died literally in their millions mostly without even understanding what it was that was killing them. Also, we as humans saw that. We saw the films of their dead covering square mile after square mile where they had been cut down wholesale. There is a model for that and that is The Great War, the BBC television series. Much of the slaughter of the daemons was taken from reactions to The Great War where human infantry was cut down by artillery fire in exactly the same way as the daemons were cut down (the parallel was quite deliberate). The daemons may have been our blood enemies but they paid for that with their own blood in huge quantities and were massively defeated. The psychological shock of the mass killing in WW1 was very profound and I tried to reproduce that.
Of course, when that defeat had been inflicted, we found out that most daemons were just as much victims of their power structure as we were (another thing that never changes). And so, a philosophical question is posed; to what extent was the average daemon, a serf-farmer, to blame for the atrocities committed by a power structure in which they were simply the powerless cannon-fodder?
The Angels, on the other hand, were supposed to be our saviors and protectors, they were supposed to be our deep and trusted friends and guardians. Instead, they were just as much our enemies as the daemons were, they just hid it. That's the kind of betrayal humans take really seriously regardless of cultural background. In military terms, they never took the beating the daemons did, as soon as they started to lose, they threw in the towel. The difference is very stark and goes right to the heart of the kind of people we humans are. The idea of respecting a courageous opponent is as deeply embedded in us as is contempt and hatred for those who betray us.
After all, think of the way an honorable opponent was treated in medieval times as opposed to the fate awaiting a traitor. The world has changed a hell of a lot since then but we actually haven't. That's another underlying story in TSW; human ability to make war and to kill has increased out of all recognition over the last 150 years but we are still the same basic people that we were 1500 years ago. That dichotomy and the extent to which our technological development has outrun our inherent abilities and attitudes is actually a serious problem.
Yes, it is disturbing. It's supposed to be. One of the functions of novels is to make us look at situations froma slightly different light and question something we take for granted. We (almost all of us) accept the "he was a real bastard but he was a brave bastard" meme for granted (take Baron von Richthoven for example). In TSW:A we had that attitude taken to its extreme; the daemons were incredibly brave and they paid a hideous cost for that bravery, one which we inflicted without breaking into a sweat. How should that affect our attitude towards them? And in TSW:P we found that the angels we had been taught to regard as our benefactors were in fact exploiters and oppressors. How should that affect our attitude towards them?