Evan Marcroft’s story “The Little G-d of Łódź” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 November 2018.
This story came out of two weird bellies.
It was born initially out of a long-standing fascination with the difference between a good ending and a happy ending. A happy ending, in my definition, is one where conflicts are resolved in a way that is satisfying to the reader. The prince slays the dragon, the robot wins his freedom, etc. Everything is alright, and we feel good for having watched it happen. A good ending in my definition, however, is an ending that is satisfying to the protagonist, regardless of how that makes us feel. In my writing, I tend to care more about the protagonist than those reading about them. This story began in my mind at the end, which I saw as happy only in the unique mind of its hero and apocalyptic to everyone else. The hero dies. Every one else dies. The bad guys win. The world ends. Nonetheless, the protagonist’s goal is fully accomplished, and I think we can all be glad for him. We’re here for our heroes, after all, not the other way around. Our function as readers is to propel their adventure through our observation, and to presume that a character struggles for our entertainment is the height of arrogance, now isn’t it?
This story was born secondly from my rejection of what I view as the ‘customary’ lessons of sci-fi and fantasy. I’ve read infinite stories where insurmountable obstacles are defeated by some combination of effort, bravery, love, trickery, imagination, and ballsiness. While it is nice to step briefly into a word where that happens, I’ve never found this to be reflective of reality, where oftentimes objectively small obstacles defeat towering heroes for all their trying. With this story I wanted to propose an alternate but equally valid message: that A.) sometimes no matter what you do you will fail, and B.) even complete failure can be overcome. The moral that built this story around itself is that defeat is not an outcome but a state of being escapable by operating outside of the context in which it occurs. When you lose at a game, flip the table. When the bad guys take over the world, blow the world up.
Also, the idea of a golem-based Gray Goo scenario is just plain cool. I think we can all agree on that at least.
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