Big Damn Heroes

Repost from March 26, 2012:
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love nothing better than a real, honest-to-goodness hero. There is just something about a larger-than-life, two-fisted, rootin’ tootin’ good guy who beats up the baddies and rescues the girl that appeals to me on a primal level. I’ve got my favorite heroes from film, television, and literature and there are several qualities they all have in common.

Unconventional
My favorite heroes are men who follow their own star. While some, like Indiana Jones, may superficially appear to conform to societal standards (Archaeology Professor) they have a rebellious streak. You realize that, while they appear to conform, they have found their own way to gain acceptance within the system while operating outside its constraints. Another favorite hero who fit into this mold was Fox Mulder from the X-Files. He was a brilliant FBI profiler whose obsession with the paranormal landed him in the basement of the J.Edgar Hoover Building.

Others openly flout convention, like Daniel Day-Lewis’s Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans. He is the adopted son of Chingachgook, and though white, he eschews the ways of the white settlers in favor of living off the land like his father’s people. Paul Newman and Robert Redford brilliantly portrayed this kind of hero in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Still others are forced from their conventional lives, like Errol Flynn’s Peter Blood in Captain Blood, or Robin Hood, or Russell Crowe’s Gladiator, or the Science Fiction icons Han Solo (Star Wars) and Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly). These heroes are usually princes among thieves, men of honor and integrity who are forced into a society devoid of these things, and as such, they rise above their circumstances, holding to their own code and earning the respect (and often animosity) of those around them.

Which brings me to the next quality of a Big Damn Hero…

Integrity
No matter the mores of the society in which they operate, the Hero will always hold to his own code of ethics which is often in conflict with that of his society, but inviolate. Once the hero decides that something is “wrong” it’s wrong and nothing can force him to compromise his values. This often keeps the hero from finding success by the standards of his society, but he measures success differently.

Rugged Individualist
It only goes to reason that the unconventional man with integrity tends to be self-reliant and not in need of validation from others.

Resourceful
One of my favorite things about the Big Damn Hero is the creative ways he finds to save the day. I don’t care if it’s reprogramming the Kobiyashi Moru, raising an army of the dead, using himself as a diversion, floating away with the garbage, or setting his ship to self-destruct while he and his crew make their getaway in the bad guy’s War Bird, the hero is clever under fire. He is ready to sacrifice himself, and the things that mean the most to him, in order to save the day.

Invincible
Okay, maybe not really invincible, because Superman leaves me cold. It’s more the attitude than the actual invincibility that I love. One of my favorite lines comes from Galaxy Quest. “Never give up, never surrender.” That’s the attitude of a hero. No matter how bad things get, the Big Damn Hero never sees failure as an option. He’ll rescue the girl, save the world, stop the bad guy or die trying. I think that’s why I never saw Luke Skywalker as a true hero. He gave up too easily. Han Solo was the one who never stopped looking for a solution, a way out of whatever intergalactic pickle he’d landed in.

That’s one of the draws of Doctor Who for me. The Doctor isn’t invincible, but he is clever and resourceful and he never stops looking for the solution. He knows it’s there, he just has to find it before he runs out of time.


Impeccable Sense of Timing
The Big Damn Hero doesn’t save the day when trouble starts. He shines at the darkest moment when all hope is fading. The swashbuckling hero will burst onto the scene, swinging in on a rope from the rigging, swooping in from out of nowhere, with guns blazing and a heroic fanfare with lots of staccato strings and the entire brass and woodwinds section of the London Symphony Orchestra.

He’s got a determined glint in his eye and a crooked smile that asks the audience, “Did you miss me?” As he so handily manages the bad guys and the disaster with a quip and a flourish, I usually feel like batting my eyelashes, clasping my hands together. “My HERO!”

Heroes Gallery

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Book Review: The Whispering Tombs

THE WHISPERING TOMBS
A Quality Times Novella
by Gayle Ramage

Love Quality Times! She’s a tongue-in-cheek time-traveling adventurer. Her sidekick, Tim, is a great foil for her jaded demeanor as she’s dragged into an ever-increasingly dangerous adventure with twists and turns to keep you turning the pages! Tim, an unapologetic Whovian, tries telling people he’s a Timelord from Gallifrey, much to Quality’s chagrin.

In their first adventure (of many, I hope) Quality Times and Tim are on a quest to see the universe. With a time machine/space ship that shrinks down to the size of a child’s toy, all of time and space are theirs for the exploring. So where do they go? Why to a resort, of course. That’s where they meet Bob, a self-styled archaeologist complete with safari outfit and pith helmet. Bob’s hunky assistant Qez, a.k.a. Bluey the “sexy police siren” catches Quality’s eye.

Joining forces with Bob and Qez, Quality and Tim try their hand at grave robbing, I mean archaeology, and end up taking on more than they’d anticipated.

The Whispering Tombs is a rollicking good romp complete with betrayal, greed, grave robbing, gunplay and extinct critters that keep popping up at the darnedest moments. It’s a quick and fun escape that ends all-too-quickly and leaves you turning the page looking for more. You’ll gasp with surprise, laugh out loud at some parts and groan at others. All-in-all, expect to be delighted and entertained.

***

Meet Quality Times, just your average 21st century woman who happens to own a shrinkable time machine. Along on her intergalactic adventures is Tim, a self-confessed sci-fi geek who takes everything in his stride.

In ‘The Whispering Tombs’, Quality and Tim are residing at the luxurious Baala Haven Resort, on an unpronounceable planet, when they’re invited on a quest to find ancient hidden treasure by a wealthy alien archaeologist. Reaching the caves of Azrokaran, however, loyalties are tested to the very limits as those within the group reveal their true colours.

A light-hearted mix of science fiction, adventure and humour.

Spending “Quality Times” With Author Gayle Ramage

Good news! It looks like the Author Spotlight is going to become a recurring feature here on GNMB! I’m excited because I’ve met so many wonderful writers on my journey and I’m happy to share these friends with the rest of my world.

Today’s featured author is Gayle Ramage, a talented writer with a quirky sense of humor and a fascination for Doctor Who. You know me, I can’t resist anyone who says they want to grow their own TARDIS (check out her Bio down towards the bottom)! I invited Gayle over to kick off her blog tour celebrating the launch of her new release THE WHISPERING TOMBS – A Quality Times Novella.

So, (settling in with some fish fingers and custard) Gayle, tell me about yourself.

I’m a life-long resident of Scotland, having been born in Edinburgh almost thirty-one years ago and have lived in various places in the lowlands since then. I’m “living in sin” with my partner, and we have two children – a girl and a boy – under ten. I’m currently a stay at home mum while writing, but during my working life I’ve been a shops assistant, admin assistant, and also a Reprographic Assistant for a large law firm.

In other words, typical writer with a diverse background… oddly enough, sounds like a typical background for a Doctor’s Companion, too… hmmm… (shaking myself back to the interview at hand)

Why Science Fiction? What is it about the genre that attracts you?

I think mainly for the time travel aspect, though it’s so much fun and freeing to create worlds and populate them with non-human beings. I think with science fiction, to a certain degree, you can make up the rules.

Where did the idea for Quality Times come from?

Two words. Doctor Who.

Of course (eye roll.) Why did I even bother to ask?

I’m such a huge fan and wanted to be able to write my own ‘space and time adventurer’ story, but obviously I couldn’t use the idea of the TARDIS (bigger on the inside) so I came up with a shrinkable time machine.

Which I think is a really cool twist, btw.

There are also elements of Doctor Who spin-off “Iris Wildthyme” in there, too. (Wildthyme is a mature lady timelord whose TARDIS is a red double-decker bus. Her companion is a talking toy panda, while Iris herself enjoys a drink or twelve. The stories are also very humorous.)

I got particular enjoyment out of the overt Doctor Who homage, and the influence certainly shows.

Like the Doctor Who series, you originally published QUALITY TIMES AND THE WHISPERING TOMBS as a serial. How did that work out for you?

It started well. Especially as I’d made the individual parts free to download. Unfortunately, there was a problem with Smashwords, and I had to unpublish the parts there. I did have them up on my own website for a while, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to tell how many people downloaded them.

Qez or Bluey, made quite an impression on me when I first read THE WHISPERING TOMBS. Love the “sexy police siren” description. How do you come up with Quality’s off-beat observations?

I suppose I tend not to overthink what she will say, in some situations. Just like real life, sometimes you just blurt out things without really thinking about what you’re saying. For the “sexy police siren”, it was the first thing that came to me when I was needing Quality to liken Qez to something.

The overall tone of the story really grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek. Is this a departure for you from your other work?

I suppose, to a certain degree, it is a bit of a departure. The Quality Times series is a lot more humorous and, as you say, tongue-in-cheek than my other work. Cigs, Bolan and Strange Men With  Guns had a bit of humour in it, as did my christmas short story collection, Three French Hens, but they weren’t as quirky as Quality Times.

What comes next for Gayle and Quality Times?

Well, the second book in the series, The Grandparent Trap, is still in its first draft but I have the overall plot sorted out so I need to get that completed, edited, etc. However, with that story, it’s being written in third-person narrative instead of first. Also, we get to meet Quality’s granny, Necessity, who is mentioned in The Whispering Tombs. I also have a few plot lines for another couple of books, so that will keep me going, writing wise, for the foreseeable future.

Thanks, Gayle, for stopping by and best of luck with THE WHISPERING TOMBS.

***

If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of discovering the works of Gayle Ramage, I strongly recommend THE WHISPERING TOMBS. I’ve had the good fortune to read and enjoy the serialized version and I’m completely hooked! I can’t wait for the next installment in the QUALITY TIMES series! You can see my abbreviated review on Goodreads.

***

Meet Quality Times, just your average 21st century woman who happens to own a shrinkable time machine. Along on her intergalactic adventures is Tim, a self-confessed sci-fi geek who takes everything in his stride.

In ‘The Whispering Tombs’, Quality and Tim are residing at the luxurious Baala Haven Resort, on an unpronounceable planet, when they’re invited on a quest to find ancient hidden treasure by a wealthy alien archaeologist. Reaching the caves of Azrokaran, however, loyalties are tested to the very limits as those within the group reveal their true colours.

A light-hearted mix of science fiction, adventure and humour.

BIO
Gayle Ramage is a writer, living in the Scottish lowlands. She would love to grow her own TARDIS if only to go back in time to find out if her ancestors were as mad as she is.

LINKS

Living in “The Doctor’s House”

I realized one evening, not too long ago, that I live in “The Doctor’s House.”

At the turn of the twentieth century, Dr. S.E. Sanchez, Sr. built a home for his family and opened a hospital in a tiny town in Rural Georgia. In 1948, his son and namesake, also a physician of some note, carried on the family tradition by building another, more modern facility. Fast Forward to the twenty-first century – a writer and her husband buy the home known locally as “The Doctor’s House” and move their growing family in to take part in its history.

Even though I’m a Geek Goddess, I never really noticed the SF connection to living in “The Doctor’s House” until a friend of mine… hmmm… I often wonder what the etiquette is for referring to friends one has only met online. Some of the people I most look forward to seeing are on Facebook and Twitter. I like to call them “some of the best friends I’ve never met.”

Where was I? Oh yeah…  I commented that I wanted to build a TARDIS for my camellia garden. I know just the place to put it. There is a little goldfish pond beside the front porch. I figured I could christen the pond “AMY,” repaint my front door blue and stick a TARDIS in amongst the camellias and sit back to see who noticed and made the connection…kind of a Geek version of a conversation starter.

In response to my off-handed comment, my friend Jennifer, (another SF Geek Goddess,) posted a link on my Facebook page that had me howling. This YouTube video has been making the rounds of Geek sites everywhere.

So now, I’m looking around my little mini-farm and haunted hospital, scouting for wibbly wobbly timey wimey bits and pieces to use in TARDIS construction, and surfing the Internet… only to find that I am not the only Who-vian with an itch to entertain and mystify the neighbors. There are countless pages devoted to plans, discussion boards, how-to videos, and more. Dedicated Timelord wannabes share information freely.

So don’t be surprised if you’re driving along a rural Georgia road one afternoon and stumble across a gracious old house with a white picket fence, a camellia garden with a fish pond bearing a sign that simply reads “AMY” and happen to see a bright blue police box tucked in among the greenery.

That could be my house. I’ll be the one playing the nose flute while wearing a “Bag of Shame.”

Links to TARDIS construction:
http://tardisboard.proboards.com/index.cgi
http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/~trekker/policeboxes/myplans.html
http://www.blueboxproject.com/
http://www.instructables.com/community/Building-a-TARDIS-Doctor-Who/
http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-TARDIS-Replica