The Superversive in “Sword and Flower”

Okay. Re-reading the discussion, and talking with a couple of the people involved, it appears my second post is the one that provoked the really strong reactions. I’ve thought about it some, and I think I’m still going to defend it; though admittedly part of this is my own fault.

Look, calling the biggest problem of the book the lack of the superversive is oversimplistic; more accurate is to say that the problem is the lack of believable or interesting main characters. The problem could be solved by taking advantage of a storyline natural to the setting and giving the main characters redemption arcs. This provides them with motivation and context for their actions and can even explain some of the nonsensical or ridiculous character decisions. And it’s a naturally superversive arc that can be incredibly powerful when done well.

Sure, there are other ways to solve the problem. But I was asked to look at it from a superversive critical framework, and for several reasons I actually do think this would be the best way to solve the book’s main problems. Everyone becomes more interesting, more motivated, more decisive, and even more relatable. Puzzle pieces start to fit; and it all fits in like a glove with the setting anyway.

Are there other ways to greatly improve the story? There are, sure. But this is the most natural, and I think the most powerful, option.

I don’t much care what Star Wars did or didn’t do. “Sword and Flower” isn’t Star Wars, it’s its own, original story. If we’re making a big deal about the huge variety of stories that can be told in the pulp framework I’m not sure why Star Wars suddenly became the standard to judge “Sword and Flower” by.

So yeah, to say “The biggest problem is the lack of the superversive” isn’t quite right.

More accurate is “The biggest problem is the lack of believable character motivations, and this problem could have been solved in a way that fit the narrative naturally and was superversive, which would have been a huge improvement.”

But that’s not as pithy.