My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Tim Lees to talk about how the power of Obstinancy relates to The God Hunter.
Iron Man is “The Invincible”, the Hulk is “The Incredible”, and I am “The Obstinate”. This quality is also, according to my wife, my greatest weakness. Or at least my most annoying trait. No doubt Superman annoys people as well. Let’s hope he isn’t married to them.
On the face of it, obstinacy is not a pro-survival feature. It’s a failure to adapt, an inability to respond to changing conditions. When the lungfish tells you that the pond is drying up and you should drop your gills and join him, you say loudly, “No it’s not,” and attempt to wallow in your last few micrometers of water. Obstinacy is a label many people go to great lengths to avoid. Obstinate politicians recast themselves as “principled” while their enemies call them “bloody-minded”. Obstinate actors become “difficult” or “driven”, implying they possess some special vision their directors somehow failed to share. And so on. I, however, am just obstinate.
I’ve been like that my whole life. School was worst. If I didn’t like the rules, then I decided they were wrong, and ignored them. This wasn’t even willful disobedience. I simply would not play the game, and that was that.
I read Dracula in the back of the French class, having concluded, at the tender age of eleven, that I would never go to France and therefore had no need to speak French. Not that the book was necessarily more fun than the class (though it probably was) – this was the Bram Stoker Dracula, a Victorian novel, and some of it was hard slog, but I persevered. In short, I was obstinate. And my French is terrible.
Later life was much the same. I walked out of jobs, abandoned homes, dissolved relationships. I decided to travel, though I had very little money (and very little French). There were things I wanted to do, and I did them, even while my friends were slowly recovering from their years of unemployment and carving out careers for themselves. I had a secret: I was going to be a writer.
This is where obstinacy just might have its uses. There are, I believe, people who find writing easy, get into print without much trouble, and generally have a high old time of it. I don’t know who they are, but I can theoretically postulate their existence. Most of us, however, aren’t so lucky. When it comes to writing, it takes an age to learn the craft, and another age to find someone both willing and able to put your work before the public. Even that is no guarantee of success, only a chance at success. It’s like the Olympics. You can spend your whole life training for it only to come in 12th and be forgotten. Nor will there be anyone to sponsor you in the meantime. Friends will laugh at you. Strangers will kick sand in your face. Small children will point at you and giggle. Your own family will pass by on the other side rather than admit they know you. But never mind: you are obstinate. You are a writer. You wear your writer’s costume under your street clothes, just in case you’re suddenly called upon to win the Booker. The rest of your life may well go to pieces in the meantime, but never mind. Spider-man went through this, and all he could do was swing around skyscrapers and fight crime. Pretty meagre skills, compared to yours.
I’ve known some talented writers who simply gave up, recognizing that the amount of work required just isn’t worth the outcome. And they’re right. But what if they’d been obstinate, hey? What then?
About The God Hunter:
Registry field op Chris Copeland arrives in Hungary on a routine mission: find a sacred spot, lay down a wire grid, and capture a full flask of a god’s energy. But when his arrogant new partner, Shailer, sabotages the wires, things go very, very wrong: the god manifests as a mirror image of Chris himself. Chris quickly destroys the god, and, for the good of the company and his own career, buries the evidence.
Six years later, Shailer is a rising star among the energy industry’s corporate elite, while Chris has taken a break from operations. But when a mysterious serial killer begins stalking Budapest-a psychopath who bears an eerie resemblance to Chris-the operative is forced back into the field.
With the help of Anna Ganz, a brusque, chain-smoking Hungarian detective, Chris tracks the monster across the globe. Only the real danger isn’t a killer on the outside . . . it’s Chris’s treacherous colleagues at the Registry who refuse to acknowledge the terrifying forces they’ve unleashed in the name of profit-forces whose origins lead back to the dawn of man . . . and beyond.
About the author:
Tim Lees is a British author living in Chicago. His short fiction has appeared in Postscripts, Black Static and Interzone, among many other publications. He is author of the collection, The Life to Come, nominated for a British Fantasy Award, and the novel Frankenstein’s Prescription, described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a philosophically insightful and literary tale of terror.” When not writing, he has held a variety of jobs, including teacher, conference organiser, film extra, and worker in a psychiatric hospital. His blog is www.timlees.wordpress.com.