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Thursday, September 15, 2016

A tale of two structures

Delta Man contrasts the Gamma novel with the Delta novel at Alpha Game:
GAMMA

Act 1

  • GP (Gamma Protagonist) is awkward, unattractive, and misunderstood, but smart and snarky
  • GP discovers the heart of the misunderstanding is his previously unknown incredible gift
  • GP enters a whirlwind of an adventure of discovering his gift as people are suddenly after him
  • GP defeats some minor foes with his gift but doesn’t know how
  • MV (Male Villain) is introduced, an ass for no reason, is a jock, and good-looking
  • MV has control over seductress Female Villain (FV) The FV is shown not totally responsible for being a villain

DELTA

Act 1

  • DG (Delta Guy) leads a pretty normal life, but is good at one thing in particular
  • He has a PG (Pretty Girl) who he really likes, and is on again and off again as he chases her
  • PG is pretty, not hot, wholesome, and DG comments he really doesn’t deserve her
  • GE (Great Evil) is introduced and may be led by an evil man but is larger than one person
  • DG cannot ignore the GE and is called to action
It's very eye-opening to see the way in which socio-sexuality so strongly dictates the very form in which an author's storytelling takes. It's not hard to see that one way in which science fiction and fantasy has changed dramatically, even outside the female influence and social justice obsession, is that it is no longer a Delta genre full of stories of challenges to be solved through technical competence and personal maturation, but a Gamma genre of full of stories of effortless success through the intervention of third parties or intrinsic wonderfulness.

Techno-thrillers and military fiction are now the Delta genre; one cannot read the Delta structure without stories such as Saving Private Ryan springing immediately to mind. As a general rule, revenge and the public acknowledgment of the secret king as the true king are Gamma themes, while becoming a man and reluctantly defeating evil then going home are the primary Delta themes.

I haven't really begun to consciously make use of this socio-sexual theory of literature in my own writing, but I am increasingly aware of the way in which my own perspective tends to affect my writing. As one critic noted, there are few incompetents in my books; even the most evil characters usually have a legitimate point-of-view, and it's not always clear who is supposed to be good and who is supposed to be bad.

Labels:

148 Comments:

Anonymous Moonbear September 15, 2016 7:15 AM  

I think it is a good thing not knowing right away who is good and who is bad.
Realistically the winner gets to chose who is good and who is bad.
Something to explore perhaps.

Blogger Orville September 15, 2016 7:35 AM  

So going back a few generations, would you consider Heinlein's protagonists Alphas? For instance Glory Road or Starship Troopers?

Blogger BassmanCO September 15, 2016 7:36 AM  

Isn't the villain supposed to be competent, generally more so (at least at the beginning of the book) than the protagonist? Otherwise, the good guy has nothing to overcome, there is no challenge and therefore little or no conflict.

And of course the villain has to have a legitimate point of view. Was the critic hoping for melodrama? Longing for Snidely Whiplash (the character, not our esteemed commenter)?

Anonymous AaS September 15, 2016 7:38 AM  

I haven't really begun to consciously make use of this socio-sexual theory of literature in my own writing, but I am increasingly aware of the way in which my own perspective tends to affect my writing. As one critic noted, there are few incompetents in my books; even the most evil characters usually have a legitimate point-of-view, and it's not always clear who is supposed to be good and who is supposed to be bad.

I'm very interested in an analysis how a sigma and an alpha story goes.

As to a Throne of Bones, it surprised me how much better a Game of Thrones was, despite GRRM disgusting view of the world, which clearly shows in the characters and how he tortures them. For me a Throne of Bones was too focused on the goals of the characters (and all characters shared that strong focus on goals) and skipped all irrelevant, mundane parts of life which do not affect the goal but make the book more colorful and engaging. In a sense the book respected the privacy of the characters too much and skipped many emotional parts or retold them afterwards from a distance. It also lacks supporting characters which are only in the story to make the main characters look better. I guess those are characteristics of a sigma tale who simply doesn't care about or even notices any of that.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 15, 2016 7:40 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Steve September 15, 2016 7:46 AM  

Edgar Rice Burroughs pedestalised women a lot in his MARS series. But they were always beautiful and attracted to the clean-limbed fighting man of Virginia.

Blogger Ben Cohen September 15, 2016 7:49 AM  

This explains why the new star wars is a terrible movie.

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 7:50 AM  

Edgar Rice Burroughs pedestalised women a lot in his MARS series. But they were always beautiful and attracted to the clean-limbed fighting man of Virginia.

ERB was classic Delta. Remember, Deltas pedestalize women even more than Gammas do. They believe you attract women through being honorable and strong and willing to fight for a woman. They at least have a theory of women. It's mostly wrong, but it exists. Gammas don't have a clue. That's why the girl always makes a move on the Gamma Protagonist without warning and for no explicable reason.

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 7:53 AM  

What Deltas don't realize is that their whole system is based on a false premise. They're actually trying to win the favor of the girl's FATHER by demonstrating their worthiness of her hand. That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now.

Blogger Orville September 15, 2016 7:53 AM  

Then Ludlum's Jason Bourne would definitely be a sigma. I'm talking the books and not the movies.

Anonymous Steve September 15, 2016 7:53 AM  

Harry Dresden would seem to be Delta fiction.

Harry is a powerful wizard, but also a bit of a loser and is awkward with women.

And he wears a fedora.

The only awesome real life fedora wearer I know of is JCW. For everybody else, it's Enchanted Hat of Involuntary Celibacy.

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 7:57 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Steve September 15, 2016 8:03 AM  

Is Rocky Balboa a Delta?

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 8:04 AM  

"Harry Dresden would seem to be Delta fiction.

Harry is a powerful wizard, but also a bit of a loser and is awkward with women.

And he wears a fedora.

The only awesome real life fedora wearer I know of is JCW. For everybody else, it's Enchanted Hat of Involuntary Celibacy."

Only on the covers. He actually never wears a hat in the books. But yeah, the Dresden files have the loner Delta vibe to them. He does actually transition as a character throughout the books, however, as he becomes a mentor for other characters (which is how most deltas transition).

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 8:06 AM  

Steve wrote:Harry Dresden would seem to be Delta fiction.

Harry is a powerful wizard, but also a bit of a loser and is awkward with women.

And he wears a fedora.

The only awesome real life fedora wearer I know of is JCW. For everybody else, it's Enchanted Hat of Involuntary Celibacy.


Forgive me my two-minute 'sperg...

Actually, the hat thing is a private joke between Bucher and the cover artist of his books. In the books Harry never wore a hat, but the artist thought the hat completed the duster look. So in the later novels...Buch started having Harry mention how much he didn't like hats, and the artist started making the hats on the cover more and more prominent. It's all good nated sniping between the two of them.

However, it's funny that you bring up Dresden. His first Dresden necel (Storm Front) you could make a very valid case that it followed the Gamma formula to a T...but Bucher wrote that back when he was in college and cheerfully acknowledges that it was a rough, genre-combo he wrote in college. As he got better as a writer, you could almost see Harry grow out of being a gamma.

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 8:08 AM  

forgive the typos...one should not 'sperg at 5am without coffee...

Blogger Fatherless September 15, 2016 8:13 AM  

Vox, unsolicited perspective on writing lower status characters, having read AGOT: they can't form their own plans and rely on higher ups, even if they don't like most of it. At least it's a plan.

Anonymous Moonbear September 15, 2016 8:14 AM  

"That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now."

Would I then be mistaken if I thought women today value "Visual" success since today's society is largely narcissistically driven rather than value of character?
IE: As seen on TV, one million youtube views!, huge print of gold lettering on the side of your building.

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 8:15 AM  

One final thought before I rush off to work...I wonder where the story of Ender Wiggin fits. You could make a secret king claim, but Ender is almost destroyed as a person by the cost and responsibility of the choices he had to make. I note that a lot of Gamma fiction (I am looking you right in the eye Charlie Stross) the protagonist does not take responsibility for their actions.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 8:15 AM  

@2 Orville:

Heinlein wrote a lot of Delta's Growth novels. His protagonists usually had potential, but needed to work hard to develop it. And as their abilities grew, they moved into leadership positions.

One other point is that the number of Alpha and Beta positions is a fairly fixed proportion of the total group size. Which can lead to some interesting dynamics when you have a group of men accustomed to being Alphas thrown into a situation where there aren't enough Alpha positions for everybody. Volunteer fire departments show this, so do elite military units. Is it better to be an Alpha in a bad outfit, or a Delta in an elite unit?

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 15, 2016 8:16 AM  

Dresden appears to be a deliberate model of a Chandler detective. Being a poor man is a requirement of that model. Now Dresden does have inexplicably attractive to high value women thing going on.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 8:18 AM  

@8 Vox:

I think part of the problem is that modern women really need the Red Pill For Women...and a mirror. ERB's heroines had more sense.

Blogger residentMoron September 15, 2016 8:20 AM  

A Tale of Two Structures.

I thought this was going to be another 9/11 thread.

(Hopefully this comment doesn't turn it into one.)

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 8:21 AM  

"Dresden appears to be a deliberate model of a Chandler detective. Being a poor man is a requirement of that model. Now Dresden does have inexplicably attractive to high value women thing going on."

I dunno, I figure the whole "shooting fireballs from your hands" thing, along with "violent confrontations with eldritch creatures" would tend to give a guy a boost the dating world.

But really, it's fiction. The women are beautiful, the men are dangerous.

Blogger residentMoron September 15, 2016 8:27 AM  

"Would I then be mistaken if I thought women today value "Visual" success since today's society is largely narcissistically driven rather than value of character?
IE: As seen on TV, one million youtube views!, huge print of gold lettering on the side of your building.
"

You'd be right, I think, but more pertinent is that you should avoid such women. Women of substance value men of substance.

Look for such a woman and aim to become such a man.

Don't settle for anything less in either case.

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 15, 2016 8:34 AM  

Ahem.

A few weeks ago I reread Summa Elvatica and the test.

Speaking of books, VD, any updates on your Selenoth series?

Blogger JaimeInTexas September 15, 2016 8:34 AM  

and the rest, not test

Blogger Tabcore September 15, 2016 8:46 AM  

I was immediately reminded of the protagonist Kip in Weeks' Lightbringer series, while reading about Gamma protagonists.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 15, 2016 8:51 AM  

This is a codicil to my earlier comment.

He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.

The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth,
Raymond Chandler, the Simple Art of Murder.

Blogger residentMoron September 15, 2016 8:59 AM  

"The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, Raymond Chandler, the Simple Art of Murder."

Thanks for quoting that, Cataline. It's a great description of a man, and all the more so for being so concise.

I've attempted (by some metaphysik I don't comprehend myself) to write such a man in my only completed novel, and one of the things that mystifies me about that is that I am quote plainly not such a man as is described. (There is some overlap, but not unity.)

I *have* read all of Chandler's work, so maybe it was an unconscious imitation. I suspect some might call it mockery, such is the level of my own craft relative to his.

Blogger Johnny September 15, 2016 9:05 AM  


By my lights the strongest themes are what might be called the hero gets a break. Somebody of little accomplishment, or in coming of age themes of few prospects, gets a break and makes good, usually with superior effort.

Clint Eastwood movies tend to be of that sort. They played on it only slightly, but in the original Dirty Harry movie Harry was a disliked cop of few prospects and few or no friends. The outlaw Josie Wales was a happy enough guy, but a sod buster headed for no great fame. And so on. Typically he is a somewhat flawed character who makes good, often initially through luck of circumstance. The challenge makes itself available to him.

The Rocky Balboa series of movies was of that sort. The initial break, a chance to have an exhibition match with the champ, is turned into a life altering event.

Star Wars had an element of it. Luke Skywalker got is initial opportunities by chance event.

The original Harry Potter movie was pure Gamma stuff. A little kid who has everything given to him.

I think a common mistake is to be a little too conceited. The hero gets it purely through ability. Than can come at the end, at the beginning there should be luck. Hey, that lures ordinary folk, us real life shnooks, into thinking we might make good.

Anonymous Broken Arrow September 15, 2016 9:17 AM  

VD wrote:What Deltas don't realize is that their whole system is based on a false premise. They're actually trying to win the favor of the girl's FATHER by demonstrating their worthiness of her hand. That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now.

Irrelevant in the West, and it helped build civilization for thousands of years. It's arguable that families arraigning or having great influence on who their children marry as in India and China is one of the reasons they are catching up to the West and may surpass it.

Deltas who cling to this view when searching for a wife or girlfriend will be very frustrated and consistently lapped by even the lowest Betas.

Blogger ÆtherCzar September 15, 2016 9:20 AM  

VD: Do you have any suggestions for how to go about writing believable characters who are significantly less intelligent than the author?

Anonymous ZhukovG September 15, 2016 9:21 AM  

I don't think Harry Potter can be neatly placed in the Gamma Fiction category. The most Gamma character in the books is Severus Snape, who thinks of himself as the 'Half-Blood Prince' and idolized Harry's Mother while losing her to an Alpha, Harry's Father.

Blogger Unknown September 15, 2016 9:23 AM  

So being totally new to the book reading scene, can anyone recommend some books with alpha main characters?

Blogger Wanda Sherratt September 15, 2016 9:25 AM  

I think Harry Potter definitely fits the Gamma mold. The last point isn't relevant at the beginning, because he's too young for romance when the story begins. But he does idolize his lost mother throughout the books.

Anonymous roo_ster September 15, 2016 9:26 AM  

Napoleon 12pdr wrote:
"One other point is that the number of Alpha and Beta positions is a fairly fixed proportion of the total group size. Which can lead to some interesting dynamics when you have a group of men accustomed to being Alphas thrown into a situation where there aren't enough Alpha positions for everybody. Volunteer fire departments show this, so do elite military units. Is it better to be an Alpha in a bad outfit, or a Delta in an elite unit?"

A few things help alphas negotiate an environment with a high proportion of alphas:

1. Formal rank / time in grade helps provide an external metric as to who gets to play alpha.

2. Time in unit / FNG status.

3. There is intra-alpha ranking even in the absence of the above.

=====

As to the question, that sorts itself out. Men who stay in Rangers/SF their entire career vs those who hew more closely to Abram's Charter and move out into Big Army.

Blogger Johnny September 15, 2016 9:31 AM  

Unknown wrote:So being totally new to the book reading scene, can anyone recommend some books with alpha main characters?

Kind of an old example, but James Bond stuff, books and movies

OpenID jeffro September 15, 2016 9:31 AM  

Conjecture: One reason why Leigh Brackett is so revered is that she moved sff protagonists from being primarily delta to being much more alpha.

Anonymous ZhukovG September 15, 2016 9:33 AM  

'Tactics of Mistake', by Gordon R. Dickerson has an Alpha protagonist. It even features the Alpha mentoring lower status males to form an effective team.

It is part of the Dorsai series of books, some of which are better than others.

Anonymous roo_ster September 15, 2016 9:40 AM  

ZhukovG wrote:
"It is part of the Dorsai series of books, some of which are better than others."

I read the first Dorsai book, was not impressed. Do they get better, worse, or are they hit and miss?

Anonymous Broken Arrow September 15, 2016 9:45 AM  

If you want a tough as nails male protagonist you might like First on the Moon .

Blogger Happy Housewife September 15, 2016 9:55 AM  

@Wanda

And it's no surprise that Harry ends up with a striking redhead...just like his mother

Blogger Bard September 15, 2016 9:59 AM  

I became tired of dresden. He should have banged every hot chick/creature as any serious wizard knows.

Blogger Bard September 15, 2016 9:59 AM  

I became tired of dresden. He should have banged every hot chick/creature as any serious wizard knows.

Blogger The Missus September 15, 2016 10:00 AM  

I would definitely put Ender in the Delta category over Gamma. Especially looking at the bitch he falls in love with in the later books. He pedistalizes her, and she refuses to give into him.
Now Bean I could more easily argue is a Gamma. Little loser kid from the streets who secretly was made in a lab, with genius parents. He effortlessly succeeds in flight school, and ultimately gets the super smart girl from flight school.
It's been over a decade since I've read them, but I'm very intersted in others' opinions of the series as well.

Anonymous Jimmy Pacek September 15, 2016 10:02 AM  

Just wondering, why does the scale go alpha beta delta gamma, instead of alpha beta gamma delta?

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 10:16 AM  

@34:

For Alpha, try E.E. Smith's works. Or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Correia's "Son of the Black Sword" is another good example.

Remember that Alpha does not necessarily mean a character who sleeps with every woman in sight. They are too busy...until The Heroine shows up.

Anonymous Deplorable Spartacus September 15, 2016 10:18 AM  

Napoleon 12pdr wrote:s it better to be an Alpha in a bad outfit, or a Delta in an elite unit?

Been there, done both. Better Delta (or Sigma) in an elite unit, hands down. Would you rather be Cap'n Smith, onboard RMS Titanic, or Michael Collins, not exactly on the Moon?

Anonymous Rolf September 15, 2016 10:19 AM  

@8 - click, suddenly a good bit of it makes sense. yes. Trying to virtue-signal to the father of the intended when he's got no say in the matter, and because of rebellious tendencies among so many women (by nature or "training") being approved of by dad may actually be hurting the suitor's chances. "What, pop, you like him, and you think he'd be good for me? Well, I guess I better get rid of him and find a bad boy or loser just to be edgy (or something)." Spite, maybe.

Just thinking out loud: If there isn't a strong man (or any man in a divorced home)at home for the daughter to gain an understanding of what a good protector / provider / leader is, wouldn't that strongly exacerbate the tendency to do things to spite / rebel against / get revenge on the father figure, leading to all the self-destructive pathologies that are seen in so many places (especially colleges)?

Deltas buying into it and treating women like they'd like a man to treat their own eventual daughter brings out contempt rather than respect, because women have come to *expect* nothing less than perfect treatment and see anything less as failure.

Anonymous Sheiko29 September 15, 2016 10:21 AM  

While I do enjoy some fantasy, tough when the majority/entirety of authors look like GRRM or larger. People like that will necessarily have severely limited life experience. So yeah, we do need more diversity in fantasy. More prom kings/top athletes/high caliber folks. Unlikely.

There's always Conan.

OpenID jeffro September 15, 2016 10:23 AM  

Ender joining some kind of weird "married persons religious order" just to get in with the lousy woman he fell in with is the most disappointing plot point in all of science fiction. Did the genes of the most brilliant military mind of his generation even get passed on...? Nope. His end game was to help raise six or eight kids of a woman that didn't even love him. Edags! Ender is like the Wil Weaton of science fiction. What a crock.

Anonymous Deplorable Spartacus September 15, 2016 10:26 AM  

Deplorable Spartacus wrote:Would you rather be Cap'n Smith, onboard RMS Titanic, or Michael Collins, not exactly on the Moon?

Now you know why Riker turned down his own command.

Blogger Deplorable Gaiseric September 15, 2016 10:28 AM  

Unknown wrote:So being totally new to the book reading scene, can anyone recommend some books with alpha main characters?
Just about anything written by Louis L'Amour

Blogger Frank September 15, 2016 10:28 AM  

Lol Stranger Things. Gamma as fuck.

Anonymous BGKB September 15, 2016 10:30 AM  

As one critic noted, there are few incompetents in my books;

If you ever made a book on gammergate you would have to include incompetents, with "previously unknown incredible gift" for BJs.

Longing for Snidely Whiplash (the character, not our esteemed commenter)?

Obviously he had a railroad track bondage fetish.

Gammas don't have a clue.

Eliot Rodgers knew women liked a-holes but couldn't even do a-hole right.

But really, it's fiction. The women are beautiful, the men are dangerous.

Probably the saddest comment on America today.

Kind of an old example, but James Bond stuff, books and movies

At least until they star GayNigger Bond.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 15, 2016 10:30 AM  

@34 Unknown

So being totally new to the book reading scene, can anyone recommend some books with alpha main characters?

Avoid like the fucking plague anything contemporary unless it's from Castalia. And yes avoid the new James Bond books in particular, the Gamma they hired to write him, castrated him.

You'll have to go back in time to find an age where being an Alpha was an everyday norm.

I'll stop beating this horse after this one.

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.”

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren't as good as others.”

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.”

“You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you.”

“As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style.”

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

“She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.”

“I merely say that all reading for pleasure is escape, whether it be Greek, mathematics, astronomy, Benedetto Croce, or The Diary of the Forgotten Man. To say otherwise is to be an intellectual snob, and a juvenile at the art of living.”


Raymond Chandler, various quotes.

Blogger J A Baker September 15, 2016 10:31 AM  

I wonder where Sherlock Holmes falls under. He is sort of a sexual.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 10:32 AM  

@48:

There are some interesting social dynamics that go on. An elite group adds socio-sexual status to its members. On the other hand, the opportunities to excel (and get promoted) are much better in a normal group.

A writer can mine either situation (or both) for plots.

Anonymous Rolf September 15, 2016 10:38 AM  

@34 - anything Conan, by Robert E. Howard. Now *THERE* is one ZFG Alpha.

Anonymous Spartacus xxxxx September 15, 2016 10:41 AM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”

This is hilarious. Why is this so hilarious?

Blogger J A Baker September 15, 2016 10:45 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 10:51 AM  

Good analysis.

I have read both these storylines many times. Correia's characters fall into the Delta side. Niven's Gamma.

Steve Zissou in The Life Aquatic is my kind of character.

Blogger Krul September 15, 2016 11:00 AM  

@34 Mike Hammer

Blogger bob k. mando ( the hardest troll here ) September 15, 2016 11:07 AM  

VD
As one critic noted, there are few incompetents in my books



i think this is one of those points of verisimilitude which is more fun to think about than to actually read.

unless the incompetent is there as comedy relief, i can't imagine how you're going to make the inner life of a dull and stupid person interesting. 'A Confederacy of Dunces' is a grotesque and awful book who's primary quality is that it is exceptionally boring.

this goes back to the bimbo boss who told me that i was "not illogical, you're not logical" ... because she was too damn stupid to know what the il- prefix did to a word. a fucking +50 year old White woman from Tennessee who doesn't know basic English.

i'm sure that, to the stupid person, their life is quite exciting. but that's only because they are completely incompetent at predicting the obvious consequent and everything is a surprise ( and thus, emergency ) to them.



30. Johnny September 15, 2016 9:05 AM
Luke Skywalker got is initial opportunities by chance event.



the Force allows you to foresee the future and sense the hidden.

the idea that one of only two remaining Jedi ( entities capable of training you ) in the entire galaxy just HAPPENED to have chosen your planet to hide on, and who just HAPPENED to have known your father and mother all happened by accident is absurd.

Star Wars was happenstance *to Luke* ( and the movie is from Luke's pov ). Kenobi knew what he was doing. and yes, we do know that Kenobi lied to Luke.



49. Rolf September 15, 2016 10:19 AM
"What, pop, you like him, and you think he'd be good for me?



fuck you, Dad.



49. Rolf September 15, 2016 10:19 AM
Deltas buying into it and treating women like they'd like a man to treat their own eventual daughter brings out contempt rather than respect, because women have come to *expect* nothing less than perfect treatment and see anything less as failure.



no, you've missed that women have a discontinuity in their response which is dependent on the *rank of the man*.

the <= Beta is always going to have fault found with him ... because he's failing the Shit Tests. and failing Shit Tests induces more Shit Testing ... until he's getting walked all over all day long and every day is one long, failed Shit Test.

the Alpha can do no wrong ( in the woman's PERCEPTION ) and can, in fact, abuse the woman in pretty much any way he wants. what was that English pop singer a couple years back who successfully demanded that his girlfriend provide him with her three year old daughter ... for penetrative sex? and she was happy to do it.

oh, it's worse than that:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Watkins_%28Lostprophets%29#Sexual_offences

TWO women were supplying their daughters to him at the same time. youngest victim was 1.

hang on, i need to find a spoon.

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 11:15 AM  

VD: Do you have any suggestions for how to go about writing believable characters who are significantly less intelligent than the author?

You are so asking the wrong author.

Just wondering, why does the scale go alpha beta delta gamma, instead of alpha beta gamma delta?

a) because I don't give a damn about the Greek alphabet, b) delta signifies change, c) it smokes out the Gammas who can't wait to show how smart they are by telling you that it's wrong.

Blogger Dire Badger September 15, 2016 11:17 AM  

Except for Jolie, Who didn't belong anywhere in the movie, "Wanted" would have been a good example of 'becoming Delta'

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 11:17 AM  

"woman from Tennessee who doesn't know basic English"

Redundant.

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 11:18 AM  

"c) it smokes out the Gammas who can't wait to show how smart they are by telling you that it's wrong."

You are such a glorious jackass. I laughed.

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 11:20 AM  

I currently have two non-fiction books almost finished. When those are off the table and making me money, I need to write the novel that's been kicking around my head for the last couple of years. Reading Nick Cole has inspired me.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 11:21 AM  

Vox/ Delta Man - are we going to see one of these for the Beta perspective? I know that AG is primarily directed at deltas and gammas, and are contrasted primarily with Alphas, but I'm curious about how betas fit into this.

Anonymous BGKB September 15, 2016 11:24 AM  

c) it smokes out the Gammas who can't wait to show how smart they are by telling you that it's wrong

and the bow tie wearing lambdas

Anonymous roo_ster September 15, 2016 11:26 AM  

"Do you have any suggestions for how to go about writing believable characters who are significantly less intelligent than the author?"

I have limited writing experience, but I do have experience with some of the less-intelligent of our species. And that is where I would point you: experience. Sign on with a temp labor agency and indicate you are willing to do grunt labor. You can learn and observe from even short gigs. If you stay on longer, you will get to know your co-workers and can then gently question them about why they are doing what they are doing.

Just trying to project yourself and write without the hands-on experience will result in abject failure. You really have to see and experience it to believe it and get a grip on the mindset.

Blogger bob k. mando ( the hardest troll here ) September 15, 2016 11:27 AM  

67. David The Good September 15, 2016 11:17 AM
Redundant.



i know people from Tennessee who speak good'n English. being from Tennessee ( even Pigeon Forge. Dolly Parton, you'll note, has fewer issues with language comprehension than she does finding cups large enough ) is no excuse for not knowing that "illogical" means "not logical".

you can see why she would think i was not logical, though. i'm sure pretty much everything i did made no "sense" to her.

Blogger Masha K. September 15, 2016 11:32 AM  

@51.Jeffro

Ender joining some kind of weird "married persons religious order" just to get in with the lousy woman he fell in with is the most disappointing plot point in all of science fiction. Did the genes of the most brilliant military mind of his generation even get passed on...? Nope. His end game was to help raise six or eight kids of a woman that didn't even love him. Edags! Ender is like the Wil Weaton of science fiction. What a crock.

OMG I can't tell you how much I love this comment. I have many Card fans in my online circle, but it always seemed I was the only one to hate that "love story" with a passion of a thousand suns. IF card was going for "Ender doesn't get to procreate, so as to make his story even more tragic" I would have preferred him to just stay a loner with just Jane the AI keeping him company.

Anonymous Steve September 15, 2016 11:32 AM  

Ender Wiggin was a mopey little bastard.

"O noes! I genocided a planet! O the pain! The pain of it all!"

THEY WERE JUST INSECTS YOU FOOL!

Bloody hell. Honestly, when did boys start worrying about killing pests?

Anonymous Steve September 15, 2016 11:34 AM  

Don't even get me started on those talking pigs in SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD

I'd have barbecued those little swines.

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 11:36 AM  

"I have limited writing experience, but I do have experience with some of the less-intelligent of our species. And that is where I would point you: experience. Sign on with a temp labor agency and indicate you are willing to do grunt labor. You can learn and observe from even short gigs. If you stay on longer, you will get to know your co-workers and can then gently question them about why they are doing what they are doing."

Good advice.

And yeah, Ender as a kid? Cool. Ender as a grownup? Loser.

Blogger bob k. mando ( the hardest troll here ) September 15, 2016 11:37 AM  

72. roo_ster September 15, 2016 11:26 AM
And that is where I would point you: experience.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0C4_88ub_M

this movie is quite painful. and yet, accurate.

i suspect that the vignette at the end, where the Chinese guy is jewing the quarry about load settlement, is just that the Chink got tired of all these retard Africans screwing him over and had started playing them back.

you have no reason to shovel the entire load level with the top of the truck. i know, i've driven dump tri-axle. you leave it heaped in the middle of the box.

if the tail gate won't latch, you load short and to the front.

the part in the middle where a load of pipe is delivered almost 1/3rd short is certainly theft.

the part at the beginning where the quarry is refusing to run the crusher+screen, you find out at the end of that that the battery is dead and they couldn't start the crusher if they wanted too.

but they won't tell the Chink what the problem is, they just say they "have to wait for the Boss". then, as he's leaving, they try to get him to replace the battery ( extra expense to the customer in need ) for them.

Blogger Jack Ward September 15, 2016 11:39 AM  

@69 David
Nick Cole could inspire just about anyone.
By the by, your gardening material has proved most helpful this last growing season. My wife could not believe how tall the corn got. And, the tomato towers were quite the conversation starter with visitors.
Well done, all that advice.

Blogger GK Chesterton September 15, 2016 11:43 AM  

And the true greats like Tolkien have characters that cover all of the bases.

Blogger Ivaneus September 15, 2016 11:46 AM  

I must vent a little bit about the wort book series I've ever tried to read, The Supervillainy Saga, or as prefer to call it: The Adventures of GammaMan.

I got through the first book because of 2 days spent travelling, but book two was unfinishable and I won't waste money on the third. The premise of the series sounded good, a normal guy gets superpowers and decides to be a villain instead of a hero if only I had known.

This "character" is every Gamma archetype: secret king, "snarky" coward, tries to be evil but is "too good" to be a proper villain, women are attracted to him for no reason he can discern (although he thinks the secret to women is to "treat them as normal human beings"), all the women are on pedestals and explicitly better than GammaMan, it just never ends!

If you want to see pure gamma dreck this is it.

Don't waste your time or money on it!

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 11:47 AM  

@bob k. mando

I saw Empire of Dust for the first time this spring and laughed all the way through it. Painful. The clash of cultures was startling and the Chinese pulled no punches. The guy that really had my sympathy was the obviously intelligent Congolese translator stuck between the irate Chinese and the incompetent locals.

@Jack Ward

Thank you. Grain corn, I assume?

Blogger Jack Ward September 15, 2016 11:50 AM  

Have been reading Michael Shaffer's first book in the Phoenix Empire series, 'Firing of the Crucible.'
Quite entertaining, I say. To the likes of Cole, Nelson, Grant, etc. Just pass the half mark on it and will buy the second book. His bio states they were co-authored with two women; one book someone, one book probably his wife. You can see the 'feminine' energy in the first book. At least, so far, is contained within plot with Mr. Shaffer definitely not a PC type left winger. He pretty much does much damage to the enemies of the AltRight, though the book precedes the acknowledged beginnings of AltRight.

Blogger Jack Ward September 15, 2016 11:57 AM  

@82
this was grain, bloody butcher, dry it on the stalk, then harvest and sun dry. Then shuck and run thru the dehydrator for full dry.
My wife got a grain grinding attachment for her Kitchen Maid mixer and does that thing ever do a great job! fully adjustable as to granule size. All our stuff is fully organic with not a commercial fertilizer or bug spray in sight. That first cornbread was to die for.
Note to readers. Do your ground prep right, use chicken broth, grown up dead hardwood leaves, some peat moss, and stand back. With healthy plants given such a start your bug problems are minimal.

Blogger Jack Ward September 15, 2016 11:58 AM  

That should read 'ground up dried hardwood leaves' darn it all...

Blogger ÆtherCzar September 15, 2016 12:11 PM  

VD: Do you have any suggestions for how to go about writing believable characters who are significantly less intelligent than the author?

You are so asking the wrong author.

Maybe. Maybe not. I figure you may have thought about how to do so, and may have better insights than other authors for whom it's easy.

Anonymous Revan September 15, 2016 12:12 PM  

@VD

Wouldn't Christopher from your Eternal Warriors series be a gamma, at least at the beginning of the book? That book proceeded differently than what is described by Delta Man, which I thought was similar to Eustace in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Is this because neither author is a gamma?

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:16 PM  

That Delta story sounds kind of like Dresden, which I like reading those.

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 12:20 PM  

"Jack Ward wrote:That first cornbread was to die for.

That is God's truth. Nothing like homegrown grain corn. I could not believe the difference between typical corn meal and our own cornmeal. Bloody Butcher is a cool variety, too.

But... I won't talk more on that here. Gamma vs. Delta story structure is a good topic and I shan't derail it to talk plants.

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 12:22 PM  

Wouldn't Christopher from your Eternal Warriors series be a gamma, at least at the beginning of the book? That book proceeded differently than what is described by Delta Man, which I thought was similar to Eustace in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Is this because neither author is a gamma?


Yes. And yes.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:23 PM  

Conan has to be an alpha.

Kull - he's kind of an alpha, but he spends more time thinking about things. So he probably not an alpha.

Solomon Kane - He seems solitary, yet he becomes the angel of death when he's on a mission. And very religious. I don't think he's an alpha, but I would not want to get on his bad side :P

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:26 PM  

@5 Steve
Edgar Rice Burroughs pedestalised women a lot in his MARS series. But they were always beautiful and attracted to the clean-limbed fighting man of Virginia.
---

The best series that shows how evil a Feminarchy could be are those Salvatore Drow stories. It's like Rule of the TrigglyPuffs.

One of the Conan stories, he gets pissed off at some bar wench, and throws her from a balcony in a mud puddle, laffs his azz off, then returns to drinking, or brawling, or something :P

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 12:28 PM  

Tolkein's protrayal of characters was excellent, as noted by a previous commenter.

If I were to guess, I'd place: Aragorn (Alpha/Sigma), Faramir (High Beta), Gollum (Gamma/Omega), Frodo (Beta), Boromir (Alpha), Denethor (Gamma), Sam (Delta), Gandalf (Alpha), Treebeard (Sigma).

Tolkein, despite romanticizing women, "got" the way people behaved, and he was a serious military man himself.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:29 PM  

@8 VD
What Deltas don't realize is that their whole system is based on a false premise. They're actually trying to win the favor of the girl's FATHER by demonstrating their worthiness of her hand. That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now.
---

That is some insight. I heard a tale recently about during the 40's or some early period, a girl came home late and some guy dropped her off. The dad runs out with a shotgun, shoots his car up and he escapes. Then he starts shooting at her and she has to get the hell out of dodge for years.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 12:33 PM  

@David - I'd put Faramir in the "reluctant Alpha" category. Especially given that Beregond is perhaps the most epitomic beta character in fantasy. Frodo is a bit hard to place - I'm not sure he fits neatly. And Gandalf is definitely Sigma, not Alpha.

Blogger bob k. mando ( the hardest troll here ) September 15, 2016 12:33 PM  

82. David The Good September 15, 2016 11:47 AM
I saw Empire of Dust for the first time this spring and laughed all the way through it. Painful.



what's painful is not actually the stupidity.

i can work with dumb people OF GOOD WILL. sure, they can't follow complex instruction sets, but as long as they're trying to do the best they can i've got little to no problem with them. you just have to check in on them regularly and make sure things aren't going off the rails. but they're going to stay busy.

it's the constant venality and screwing over of everyone around you all the time that wears.



82. David The Good September 15, 2016 11:47 AM
The guy that really had my sympathy was the obviously intelligent Congolese translator


despite his intelligence, he was still a lazy shit who was working WITH other Africans to fuck over the Chinese.

the Chink calls him out on more than one occasion for just standing there when it's obvious that the Chink could use help. in a situation where a Chink or Westerner would lend a hand without being asked, the Niggers all just stand around unless directly ordered to do something.

and even when directly ordered, they often refuse. at one point, the Chink is asking the translator to try calling the quarry owner again. seriously how difficult is it to pick up a phone and tap a couple of digits? and the Nigger refuses.

now imagine that you've been in Africa for an entire year.

AND EVERY DAY IS LIKE THIS.

listen, I'D LIKE TO GIVE YOU MONEY. but i will NOT give you money until you provide me with gravel. where is my fucking gravel?

*phone continues ringing*

Anonymous BGKB September 15, 2016 12:38 PM  

it's the constant venality and screwing over of everyone around you all the time that wears.

When they keep making the same mistakes that you would think are easily avoidable its hard to believe they are not trying to screw you over.

now imagine that you've been in Africa for an entire year.AND EVERY DAY IS LIKE THIS.

I believe the Chinese will eradicate blacks from Africa, at least in areas that have resources

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:41 PM  

@38 jeffro
Conjecture: One reason why Leigh Brackett is so revered is that she moved sff protagonists from being primarily delta to being much more alpha.
---

Yeah those are great.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 12:57 PM  

@79 Jack Ward
@69 David
Nick Cole could inspire just about anyone.
By the by, your gardening material has proved most helpful this last growing season. My wife could not believe how tall the corn got. And, the tomato towers were quite the conversation starter with visitors.
Well done, all that advice.
---

I'm going to 2nd this one. Tomatoes are going crazy, peppers are still popping up. The only thing that didn't work out great that I tried was Strawberries.

Blogger Ingot9455 September 15, 2016 12:59 PM  

On how to write characters less competent/intelligent than yourself:

Use your own intelligence to decide what the optimum plan would be.
Then degrade. Make sub-optimal choices at various steps in the plan. Make a choice that might work well for a certain rare circumstance but that would work average-to-poor for the majority of circumstances, and since you're the author, the circumstance doesn't turn out rare. And so on. Degrade further by choosing worse and worse plans, so you can learn 'levels' of average-to-poor intelligence.

If you are an INTJ, the 'mastermind' temperament who naturally makes plans and contingency plans and levels and layers of plans, this will be actually painful. But it does accomplish the task, and it allows some characters to be sharper/more perceptive/better than others while having graduation between them.

Blogger Doom September 15, 2016 1:00 PM  

Ah, some things are beginning to make sense. Edgar Rice Burrows was one of my favorites when I was quite young, preteen. Then I stopped being able to tolerate. I kept, over the years, trying to go back to his stuff, without success. He isn't the only one, but the one indicated here in such a way that it makes sense.

I don't hate females, I just realized and fully integrated the understanding that they are just as nasty as I could ever be, maybe worse, and rather easy... or could be. Nothing special about the sex with regards to morality or anything else. More predatory, just more passive about it. Passive? Devious. I even became brutal to my male friends who were stuck in that fem-worship thing. Brutal. To proving, for a while, just how wrong they were... if that didn't always work. Can't help some people.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 1:08 PM  

Stygians are gammas ?

"So the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come."
- REH Queen of the Black Coast

Blogger David The Good September 15, 2016 1:13 PM  

@Were-Puppy

Strawberries are secret kings. I hate them. Forget 'em and plant mulberries.

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 1:33 PM  

jeffro wrote:Ender joining some kind of weird "married persons religious order" just to get in with the lousy woman he fell in with is the most disappointing plot point in all of science fiction. Did the genes of the most brilliant military mind of his generation even get passed on...? Nope. His end game was to help raise six or eight kids of a woman that didn't even love him. Edags! Ender is like the Wil Weaton of science fiction. What a crock.

Now I don't feel bad about missing all the sequels...that's a shame. I love OSC's short fiction. I still reread Fat Farm from time to time.

Blogger lowercaseb September 15, 2016 1:36 PM  

David The Good wrote:
Strawberries are secret kings. I hate them. Forget 'em and plant mulberries.


It's time for you to write the Socio-Sexual Theory of Gardening....

...Volume 1

Blogger WATYF September 15, 2016 1:37 PM  

The Gamma Fantasy Novel almost perfectly describes Monster Hunter International.

Of course, MHI is awesome, so I guess that makes me a fan of Gamma Fantasy. Oh well.

WATYF

Blogger Sevron September 15, 2016 1:43 PM  

Anybody ever read Soon I Will be Invincible? The evil protagonist, Dr. Impossible, is clearly gamma, but he's also at least trying to figure out what the truth is and why he's a fuck up. He doesn't really change by the end of the novel, but I wonder if that's maybe part of the start of not being gamma.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 1:46 PM  

"The Gamma Fantasy Novel almost perfectly describes Monster Hunter International."

People keep saying this, so I'll bite. How do you figure?

Anonymous patrick kelly September 15, 2016 1:57 PM  

" c) it smokes out the Gammas who can't wait to show how smart they are by telling you that it's wrong."

That explains all the sperg bait.

Blogger WATYF September 15, 2016 2:08 PM  

All of these elements are included in MHI:

GP (Gamma Protagonist) is awkward, unattractive, and misunderstood, but smart and snarky (Owen routinely describes himself as awkward/unattractive looking, but has a bit of a mouth)

GP discovers the heart of the misunderstanding is his previously unknown incredible gift (no surprise here... he's basically "the chosen one")

GP enters a whirlwind of an adventure of discovering his gift as people are suddenly after him (this should be obvious)

MV (Male Villain) is introduced, an ass for no reason, is a jock, and good looking (This is kinda Franks and the FBI, although admittedly, the MV/FV trope isn't as present)

GP escapes with the help of a spunky, quirky, FR (Female Rogue) who doesn’t realize how pretty she really is (Owen and Julie)

FR helps GP unlock his gift but is better at everything else than the GP and is more intelligent and wise. Effectively the FR has no flaws
FR beds GP unexpectedly and loves GP for his snark, mid-level intelligence, and ignores his stupidly childish antics, weird personality, and total lack of friends (again, Owen and Julie)

FR and GP team up to beat MV (Owen and Julie)

GP discovers in the final battle that his gift allows him to be powerful as the gods but he’s magnanimous about how he uses it (seriously... he saves the whole world with a mysterious time-stopping power).

GP tells the FR a stupid joke at the end, she rolls her eyes, and kisses him (again, Owen and Julie. She has to make the moves because he's all, "She's too good for me, blah blah blah")

That's off the top of my head, although I haven't read them in a while. There might be more parallels.

WATYF

Blogger Ivaneus September 15, 2016 2:15 PM  

@106 I disagree on this one. Here's where Monster Hunter (the first) diverges from Gamma Fantasy:

Act 1
GP (Gamma Protagonist) is awkward, unattractive, and misunderstood, but smart and snarky
GP discovers the heart of the misunderstanding is his previously unknown incredible gift
GP enters a whirlwind of an adventure of discovering his gift as people are suddenly after him
GP defeats some minor foes with his gift but doesn’t know how
MV (Male Villain) is introduced, an ass for no reason, is a jock, and good looking
MV has control over seductress Female Villain (FV) The FV is shown not totally responsible for being a villain


Owen is "intelligent" but that is not an emphasized trait. He tosses out some one liners, but his snarkiness is not a major factor nor is it emphasized by the prose or by Owen. He also fits into regular society and doesn't have some "major flaw" that turns out to be the "gift" that is the crux of his super power.

Now you could argue that Grant is the designated Male Villain, but that ignores the fact that Grant is NOT the villain of MHI, Lord Machado is. Grant is set up as the opposite number competing for the love interest's affections and is a flawed, human character. Also there is no Female Seductress at all.


Act 2
First confrontation with MV who wants gift to be a bigger asshole, GP escapes
FV sent to seduce GP
GP has the greatest moral victory of all time, he turns down a hot woman with dark hair, and large breasts
FV found GP sincerity and respect for women attractive but must obey the MV
FV killed by MV since she failed and MV captures GP relishes being an asshole, brags about it, and has sex with hot slave women in celebration

Nothing described here happens in MHI.

Act 3
GP escapes with the help of a spunky, quirky, FR (Female Rogue) who doesn’t realize how pretty she really is
FR helps GP unlock his gift but is better at everything else than the GP and is more intelligent and wise. Effectively the FR has no flaws
FR beds GP unexpectedly and loves GP for his snark, mid-level intelligence, and ignores his stupidly childish antics, weird personality, and total lack of friends
FR and GP team up to beat MV
GP discovers in the final battle that his gift allows him to be powerful as the gods but he’s magnanimous about how he uses it
GP tells the FR a stupid joke at the end, she rolls her eyes, and kisses him

Nothing from this section occurs in MHI either. Owen only wins Julie's affections by direct confrontation with Grant, and Grant proving to be a vindictive A-hole and coward who alienates Julie himself.

It's easy to shoe-horn the first act of Gamma Fantasy to fit MHI but the next two Acts look nothing like MHI, and far more closely resemble the Delta Fantasy outline.

Blogger Ray Mota September 15, 2016 2:27 PM  

Let those who have wisdom count the Deltas. Let the blind dumbass’ end up in the ditch

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 2:28 PM  

It's easy to shoe-horn the first act of Gamma Fantasy to fit MHI but the next two Acts look nothing like MHI, and far more closely resemble the Delta Fantasy outline.

Larry grew out of it, both personally and as an author.

Blogger VD September 15, 2016 2:33 PM  

Now you could argue that Grant is the designated Male Villain, but that ignores the fact that Grant is NOT the villain of MHI, Lord Machado is. Grant is set up as the opposite number competing for the love interest's affections and is a flawed, human character. Also there is no Female Seductress at all.

I have to admit, I burst out laughing when the handsome jock (Grant) showed up. I knew instantly that he would lose the head cheerleader (Julie) to the nerd (Owen), even though they were engaged. That's the problem with being blind to socio-sexuality. You have no idea how totally transparent you are to those who are socio-sexually aware.

But it's easy to see that Larry's core mindset is Delta. Grant loses the girl because he shows himself to be ignoble and unworthy. Owen doesn't win Julie by humiliating Grant in front of her, which is how a Gamma thinks girls are won.

Interesting how junior high the Gamma psychology is. They genuinely believe they had a real shot with the head cheeerleader and only lost out because the evil jock hadn't humiliated them in front of her.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 2:46 PM  

"GP (Gamma Protagonist) is awkward, unattractive, and misunderstood, but smart and snarky (Owen routinely describes himself as awkward/unattractive looking, but has a bit of a mouth)

GP discovers the heart of the misunderstanding is his previously unknown incredible gift (no surprise here... he's basically "the chosen one")"


The key point you're skipping over is the "misunderstood" and how it's linked to the "gift". That's the tell, and it's not present. On the contrary, Owen gets along fantastically with the majority of the other characters.

GP enters a whirlwind of an adventure of discovering his gift as people are suddenly after him (this should be obvious)

Again, the focus for gamma fiction is on the gift and people being after you because of it. The sudden adventure is just a staple of everyman fantasy (including LotR).

"MV (Male Villain) is introduced, an ass for no reason, is a jock, and good looking (This is kinda Franks and the FBI, although admittedly, the MV/FV trope isn't as present)"

You should have gone with Grant, but he's a rival protagonist. Also, note that Owen is *also* a physical badass. That's contrary to gamma fiction (for good reason).

Doing quotes on my phone is a pain in the ass, so I'm gonna go short with the rest. You're getting caught up in the existence of the gift, rather than the nature of the gift (i.e. Owen has a gift (or curse according to Mordechai), but it doesn't keep him from getting his ass kicked about a dozen times throughout the story). Seriously, Owen couldn't even beat Jaeger, who was the least effective of the Big Bads. Not to mention that the female villain was the real power of the story, and completely evil.

That, and the part where Owen hits on Julie repeatedly, starting in chapter 3.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that the love story was cheesy as all get out, but it's not a gamma schedule of events. It's mostly Delta adapted to the modern manner of relationships.

The areas of overlap (snarky, pedestalization) probably do point to something about gammas. IMO one of the big things that differentiates gammas from longer deltas is how they respond to being uninvolved socially. Introverts accept it and really aren't bothered by it, but gammas both hate and fear it.

That's why the wish fulfillment of gamma fantasy is about suddenly being cool and accepted and powerful and taking revenge (because of the gift), while the Delta wish fulfillment is about doing really things and killing monsters for a living and getting married to the perfect woman.

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 2:47 PM  

*loner, not longer

Blogger Culture War Draftee September 15, 2016 3:34 PM  

Conan is very alpha, he dominates every situation he enters. A socio-sexual comparison between Howard's Conan and De Camp's with the analysis turned on the pasticheur could be pretty amusing.

This discussion got me thinking of Ethan Edwards. The character is played by John Wayne, who was the alpha of alphas among movie stars, yet just saying alpha doesn't quite add up to me. Edwards dominates situations, bucking Ward Bond's Ranger captain and anyone else who challenges him, which is pretty alpha.

On the other hand, Ethan's backstory is that he was in love with Martha but she married beta-brother Aaron. Maybe it's a simple matter of circumstance, but Ethan avoided them by joining the army (very delta, or maybe gamma) and then by taking up some undisclosed shady activities (?). When his brother's family is massacred & Debbie is carried off, Ethan spends years looking for her with Martin his sidekick. He definitely wants revenge, especially for Lucy & Martha. He takes himself out of normal life in a way that's kind of omega. When he decides to kill Debbie, I'm not sure where we are. MGTOW got nothing on this.

Maybe Ethan Edwards is really the greatest sigma in American film.

Anonymous Camilla Cameo September 15, 2016 3:54 PM  

This is really why I enjoy learning about male sociosexuality--using it to analyze fiction, and seeing lots of folks' takes thereon.

Many heroes seem alpha in their leadership but then delta in regards to women... or maybe I just have more to learn.

Blogger Jed Mask September 15, 2016 4:38 PM  

"What Deltas don't realize is that their whole system is based on a false premise. They're actually trying to win the favor of the girl's FATHER by demonstrating their worthiness of her hand. That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now."

Exactly. That's the case study of today's modern relations. Amen.

Blogger Jed Mask September 15, 2016 4:42 PM  

"Many heroes seem alpha in their leadership but then delta in regards to women... or maybe I just have more to learn."

No Camilla, you're right about many main hero protagonists being seen as "alpha" by their "leadership circumstances" in the role of a story and in different areas of life and social interaction (male) characters of different archetype socio-sexual ranks may act on behaviours of different socio-sexual ranks.

Blogger WATYF September 15, 2016 5:00 PM  

@111

Act 1 is almost note for note MHI up until the MV is introduced (but as Vox pointed out, in the case of MHI, it was instead the roguishly handsome yet not-worthy-of-the-oh-so-perfect-girl Grant who played that part, instead of a MV).

Act 2 doesn't match at all because of the lack of the MV/FV trope.

Act3 is pretty close in my places because it involves Owen teaming up with the oh-so-perfect-girl, of whom he knows he is not worthy, and then it involves him using a godlike special-snowflake power to save the world (and the girl).

And yes, he does hit on her, but he does it like he knows it isn't going to work.

I will grant you that the story (and the rest of the series in general) does eventually go more Delta, but the very first thing that popped into my head when I read the Gamma Act 1 was, "heh... that's totally MHI". There are most definitely Gamma undertones in the first novel.

Of course, I didn't mind that, as the book kicks serious ass, as do all of the other novels in the series.

WATYF

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 5:16 PM  

MHI is about 50% classic Gary Stu...and you can see that about halfway through, Correia realized he had a really decent plot idea going, his professional writing skills kicked in, and he turned it into a pretty good yarn.

He's been an interesting writer to follow. Every book has been more skillfully written...and Son of the Black Sword is a masterpiece.

Anonymous Qadgop the Mercotan September 15, 2016 5:19 PM  

Although both the outlines seem plausible as abstract types of which real fictions are instances, I struggle to identify either in all that I have read. Maybe it's assisted by rejecting such stories at decision-to-read time, and perhaps it's being way out on the Engineering Spectrum and tending to filter out all the mating-dance material as not interesting enough to waste cycles upon on the way through to long-term memory, except to footnote a few egregious cases where the protagonist gets the implausibly out-of-their-league girl (like Bob Howard in the Laundry, or Croaker in Black Company).

Boy-meets-girl is the ultimately mundane under-plot. I read for tales of of boy, girl, data-entity, wolf-pack group-mind or whatever encountering something anomalous and dealing with it. At least it's been many years since I last found myself paging ahead to get past the boring and badly written pornography of the obligatory sex scene in any of the spec-fic I've read.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 15, 2016 5:38 PM  

The other interesting thing about MHI is that about a quarter of the book is written from the perspective of the MV, who is Sigma as fuck. I suppose most sociopaths are. I'm pretty sure a Gamma could not have written those parts.
I love the part at the end where he realizes he's not the Big Bad, just a pawn in her game.

I just finished Son of the Black Sword a couple of days ago, and I agree it's an order of magnitude better written than both the Monster Hunter and Grimnoir series. I only detected one self-insert character, and that was rather subdued. Pretty remarkable for Larry.

I think though that it's going to turn out to be a mostly sci-fi story by the middle of the third book, when they have to get to the spaceship to get the unobtanium with the help of nanites.

Blogger tublecane September 15, 2016 5:40 PM  

@6-That was a female protagonist (barely),so not for the same reason. But yeah, she was a horrible character, and there was little to no drama in her entire arc.

I assume they're holding things back for the sequels, though, like why she's a bitch and why we should care. Which is even worse storytelling than regular gammatude.

Blogger tublecane September 15, 2016 5:49 PM  

@18-The villains of the book were Ender's adult handlers, who manipulated him in secret. The battles at school would've been boring had they not zoomed through them. (I don't crap about strategy and I figured out the going for the gate thing the moment I heard the rules. When learning a new game the first question you always ask is, "What is the object of the game?") None of the bullies were interesting, and the bugs were less than interesting.

It would've been a breezy read but ultimately an unmemorable book if not for the twists, and the Big Twist made the previously invincible Ender a loser.

Blogger tublecane September 15, 2016 5:55 PM  

@6-The female versuon, by the way, wouldn't be the Star Wars chick. It would be the girl from Twilight. The hunky, alpha vampire and alpha werewolf like her for no apparent reason. She does go through an ordeal when she gives birth. Then she becomes powerful through no effort of her own, the vampire vampires her, again because he loves her for no apparent reason.

Blogger tublecane September 15, 2016 6:01 PM  

@32-Base then on people you know, for one.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 6:45 PM  

@103 David The Good
@Were-Puppy

Strawberries are secret kings. I hate them. Forget 'em and plant mulberries.
---

yessir. I could probably write up a 5,000 word strawberry rant right now, but I'll refrain :P

Blogger Were-Puppy September 15, 2016 6:54 PM  

@117 Culture War Draftee
Conan is very alpha, he dominates every situation he enters. A socio-sexual comparison between Howard's Conan and De Camp's with the analysis turned on the pasticheur could be pretty amusing.
---

Lawd help me! Don't get me started on De Camp. Really, who thought it was a grande idea to add freaki' satyrs to a Conan story?

Blogger S1AL September 15, 2016 7:57 PM  

"I just finished Son of the Black Sword a couple of days ago, and I agree it's an order of magnitude better written than both the Monster Hunter and Grimnoir series. I only detected one self-insert character, and that was rather subdued. Pretty remarkable for Larry."

There is a direct, inverse correlation between the amount of time the story focuses on Larry Stu and the quality of the work. I say this as a huge fan of his work in general.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr September 15, 2016 9:41 PM  

@123: How'd that business with the human wench, Cynthia, turn out?

Blogger Bibliotheca Servare September 16, 2016 2:51 AM  

Lol, but strawberries are teh awsum! Seriously though, I love strawberries. Love them. *tries to hold in laughter*

Off topic, do you know if/when the dead tree version of "Compost Everything" will be back in stock on amazon? Amazon says they'll email me when it's back in stock, but if it's going to be a year or more I'll probably get a used one in the meantime, y'know? Ebooks are nice and all, but I really prefer a physical object that doesn't require electricity to function. Paper issue nice that way. *grin* Thanks in advance for any response! Oh, and "grow or die" rocked! :-)

Anonymous SciVo the Adorable Deplorable September 16, 2016 3:33 AM  

S1AL wrote:There is a direct, inverse correlation between the amount of time the story focuses on Larry Stu and the quality of the work. I say this as a huge fan of his work in general.

I thought about it, and I disagree with regard to the Grimnoire chronicles. The protagonist Larry Stu is totally awesome and kickass and every scene with him in it is great. On the other hand, there's also lots of great stuff about other characters; but he ties it all together. And on the gripping hand, the antagonist version just sucks all of the energy out of the room (not literally IIRC).

Blogger John Wright September 16, 2016 8:19 AM  

"That mattered back when the father decided who the girl was going to marry. It's irrelevant now."

Vox's theory will never be correct until he makes a ranking of female psychology.

All his types of men, alpha to omega, are based on an analysis of how to attract one type of woman.

Women not of this type he cannot fathom (and, fellow writers, do not heed Vox advice about your female character unless she is that one type, which he understands to a T.)

A Delta is not trying to impress the girl's father these days. But a woman of that type, let us call her a SHe-Delta, seeks the same qualities in her man her father would have sought for her. The Alpha Male is out of her reach and the Gamma Male disgusts her.

Women of this psychology do not react to being put on a pedestal negatively but positively, as if being called on to live up to a higher standard, a challenge she accepts.

It is not the way an Alpha Female would react. She regards the pedestal as a sign of male weakness, and seeks a stronger mate.

The Gamma female regards the pedestal as a mortal insult, a sign of condescension, and flies into snarky rage.

Myself, I suggest the Greek letters are misleading. The alpha males act like royalty; the gammas as the drunk and disorderly younger aristocrats lacking the manners of their elders but knowing themselves in line for the throne; the deltas as middle class yeomen, staunch and solid; the sigmas as highwayman; the omegas as untouchables.

Much ado has been made about the difference in virtues and philosophy between middle and upper classes, but it boils down to a basic point that Vox Day's theory also touches on: the Royalty are natural polygamists, the Yeomanry are natural monogamists, the untouchables do not bother with marriage at all, but mate like livestock. The female psychology of each group follows suit.

Blogger John Wright September 16, 2016 8:42 AM  

@132
"How'd that business with the human wench, Cynthia, turn out?"

For obscure injokes that only old timers like me get, you win the internet!

Good lord, you even remembered the name of Sylby Whyte's heroine.

Anonymous Instasetting September 16, 2016 10:01 AM  

#91....From the description, Solomon Kane sounds Omega.

#127...Belle from Twilight doesn't sleep around, her guy insists on their getting married first, and she gets everything a girl could want. Eternal youth, devoted Alpha hubby, rich and powerful relatives who like her, and a baby.

Message: Do right, don't be a complete slut, and you too can have it all.

Anonymous Qadgop the Mercotan September 16, 2016 11:55 AM  

@132You humans like to make it all about yourselves. I was merely in pursuit of certain trifling items that had come into that person's possession. It would have been the same to me had it been a Radeligian cateagle carrying the same trinkets.

Blogger tublecane September 16, 2016 1:18 PM  

@137-"you too can have it all"

But you can't. Not if you're Bella, anyway, because there's no discernable reason why two alphas would be interested in a girl like her. That's what makes her the female equivalent of a Gamma. There was some serious Secret Princess nonsense there.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 16, 2016 1:55 PM  

SciVo the Adorable Deplorable wrote:I thought about it, and I disagree with regard to the Grimnoire chronicles. The protagonist Larry Stu is totally awesome and kickass and every scene with him in it is great. On the other hand, there's also lots of great stuff about other characters; but he ties it all together. And on the gripping hand, the antagonist version just sucks all of the energy out of the room (not literally IIRC).
There are at least 4 Larry Stu characters, and a few I have my doubts about, in Hard Magic. I'll have to read more of the series to see if they turn out to be author-insert characters as well.

And that's why Son of the Black Sword is a huge step up from Larry's previous work. There's not a single character who is; hulking, Portagee, a gun ninja, an accountant, from a poverty-stricken youth, or is awkward with girls in the book.

Blogger S1AL September 16, 2016 4:02 PM  

"And that's why Son of the Black Sword is a huge step up from Larry's previous work. There's not a single character who is; hulking, Portagee, a gun ninja, an accountant, from a poverty-stricken youth, or is awkward with girls in the book."

I read the magic-sensitive merchant class fellow as a bit of a latter-day Larry, but it was a lot more subtle. And I happen to like subtle avatar characters.

Blogger VFM #7634 September 16, 2016 4:21 PM  


Vox's theory will never be correct until he makes a ranking of female psychology.

All his types of men, alpha to omega, are based on an analysis of how to attract one type of woman.


@135 John Wright
Alpha female: the beauty queen.
Beta female: the higher-end sorority chick.
Delta female: the average girl.
Gamma female: the bitchy, usually fat feminist who insists she's beautiful.
Omega female: the crippled, morbidly obese, or otherwise defective girl who's not in denial about her lack of attractiveness.
Sigma female: the very attractive but weird "alternative" girl.

Also, I suspect that the men of a given sociosexual rank tend to most often end up with their closest female counterparts.

Blogger Ezekiel September 16, 2016 8:11 PM  

roo_ster wrote:"Do you have any suggestions for how to go about writing believable characters who are significantly less intelligent than the author?"

I have limited writing experience, but I do have experience with some of the less-intelligent of our species. And that is where I would point you: experience. Sign on with a temp labor agency and indicate you are willing to do grunt labor. You can learn and observe from even short gigs. If you stay on longer, you will get to know your co-workers and can then gently question them about why they are doing what they are doing.

Just trying to project yourself and write without the hands-on experience will result in abject failure. You really have to see and experience it to believe it and get a grip on the mindset.


Having spent a few seasons doing work at places where I was quite literally the only white man there who wasn't a felon, I can attest to this.

John Wright wrote:
the untouchables do not bother with marriage at all, but mate like livestock.

Among the lower-functioning ones, you'll be lucky if they only go so far as mating *like* livestock.

Of course, there's also the (willfully) celibate omegas. HP Lovecraft and his typical protagonists come immediately to mind... in fact cosmic horror probably counts as "default omega" as much as revenge fantasies, the former is just what you get when the rage is gone.

Anonymous Avalanche September 17, 2016 9:40 AM  

@33 I don't think Harry Potter can be neatly placed in the Gamma Fiction category.
@35 I think Harry Potter definitely fits the Gamma mold.

Have to disagree with you both: Harry Potter fits the "Coming of Age" mold. An 11-yr-old (such as he is in the beginning,) is not any 'socio-sexual' class; he's a child. Harry grows up -- through the Hero’s Journey -- and becomes (a version of)an alpha.

If you have not read Joseph Campbell, and are interested in fiction, storytelling, human plot lines, ... the universe and everything, then you're fighting (and writing) without a sword!

Anonymous Avalanche September 17, 2016 10:25 AM  

@50 "a good protector / provider / leader is, wouldn't that strongly exacerbate the tendency to do things to spite / rebel against / get revenge on the father figure, leading to all the self-destructive pathologies that are seen in so many places (especially colleges)?"

No, the girls are looking (without knowing it) for what feels ("feelz") "normal." Because they have not had a (present) father who provides, protects, and cherishes them growing up, they do not know how "love" is supposed to feel. AND because they were thrown onto their own (meagre!) resources to protect themselves, they become masculinized: they do not have the inculcated sense of the world as a safe(-ish) place, so they become the human equivalent of fear-biters. (For those not familiar with dogs: fear-biters are not calm protector-dogs; aggressive when needed, sweet when not; they are cowards who don't trust anyone, so they bite first! How many feminist women do you know to be fear-biters?!) (Yes, I used to be one, for which I apologize abjectly to you men!)

(All those harridans out there are (unknowingly but) desperately trying to protect their little-girl selves; and are aggressive and hostile and ... bitey ... because they don't trust they can be safe! They're also trying to "be what daddy wants" (alas, nowadays, the pathology they're raised in/brainwashed into) so that daddy will finally love them!) (Doesn't make 'em any easier to deal with, but try to spare a moment of compassion for the hellish lives they've been brainwashed into!)

This is why so many folks -- male and female both! -- marry their opposite sex parent (or the opposite of their opp. sex parent)! They're trying to 'make it feel right.' (And, often, to 'do it over and get it right' this time).

I always get a bemused chuckle that I married a man for whom I was never quite enough ({shrug} Just like daddy!). My younger sister married a man (just like daddy!) who was involved in his own hobbies, jobs, interests: my husband and I described their marriage as the two of them sort-of walking in sort-of the same direction, sort-of near each other. (They described us as being welded together at the hip, which was true: In 17 years, we were apart for a total of 21 days! {shrug}) My older sister married an emotional lazy man (just like daddy!), whom she coddles and supports!

Whatever "love" was to you (male or female) in your childhood, is what "love" feels like! Unless you bring it into consciousness and deal, you will unconsciously bring it into your life and go through it again! (Yup, I sure did. Took me several years to notice, with a wry laugh, that I had, indeed, "married daddy"!)

Anonymous Avalanche September 17, 2016 10:40 AM  

@65 "you've missed that women have a discontinuity in their response which is dependent on the *rank of the man*."

(Sorry, feeling very "talkie" this morning...)

Mu husband used to tease me (semi-seriously) "f_cking women! always looking for the money!" because we'd been at the car wash and the most gorgeous car I'd (we'd!) ever seen came in -- midnight blue custom Lexus... Breathtaking! And the driver (to whom Michael began talking; he also had a Lexus) seemed to me like... well, James Bond! Handsome, suave, well-spoken, well-dressed... just ... he seemed like fit the car!

As they talked further, it came out that he was just the hired driver; not HIS car at all, and "suddenly" he became plain looking, his slight lisp became noticeable, he was ... no longer James Bond...

As we drove off, I told Michael about the noticeable 'shift in view' -- and he laughed and said: "f_cking women! always looking for the money!" (We both already knew that is so: men look for youth, beauty, and 'sexuality' (actually childbearing ability; hence the waist-to-hip ratio thing); women look for the edge of violence (protect), resources (provide), and kindness (cherish).

Rank absolutely matters; even to brainwashed women who discount it. The woman who makes a million dollars a year is NOT interested in the broke artist; she want the man who makes TEN million dollars a year! (HE wants the young, beautiful, healthy woman, NOT another breadwinner! Welcome to Nature!)

Anonymous Avalanche September 17, 2016 11:25 AM  

@102 "I don't hate females, I just realized and fully integrated the understanding that they are just as nasty as I could ever be, maybe worse, and rather easy... or could be. Nothing special about the sex with regards to morality or anything else. More predatory, just more passive about it. Passive? Devious."

Females lack the "off" switch that men have. A wolf rolls over; the winner stops. A bear or buck backs down, the winner stops. A man cries "uncle" -- unless the winner is a total cad, he stops. (And if he doesn't other men will view his AS a cad!) Intra-species male-on-male fights have an "off" switch built into the males (both surrender for loser, and quit for winner).

The inter-species 'loser' will fight on until death, because to stop fighting is to die anyway. Women are a prey species; hence the desire -- conscious or not! -- for a strong man to protect her from other men.

So, a woman? Will continue to attack until the surrenderer dies (or she is pulled off by others). She has no mercy (once her adrenaline is roused) and only force will stop her.

Nasty? Devious? Passive? The prey animal, the subordinate creature, MUST take on those 'qualities' -- because she (or he) cannot fight "honorably." (Slaves, subordinated peoples, yes and women must learn to be devious, as they cannot fight openly. {shrug}

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