The older hero
I’ve spent most of my life doing… stupid things. I was going to say energetic, adventurous, exciting, bizarre, and, um, stupid. But only the last is really universally true. For someone, somewhere anyway. But as I flopped into my chair this evening, to try and write a post, having 1)got through my word count (just), 2)Written a blog post, 3)worked on the farm fencing(AKA earning some money) 4)Worked on my container-cum-workshop-in-the-future’s roof, 5)done some minimal gardening – or we do not eat (yes, I still grow catch or raise most everything but the basic food groups of coffee and chocolate. It’s cheap but also time consuming and hard work.), 6)cooked supper, 7) writing this. 8) going to shoot and butcher some more wallaby -we’re low on dog tucker) fitting it in basically by cutting back on sleep, that maybe stupid is the only right word. When I was the other side of 50 I thought it was intelligent and the only way worth being. Now that I have finally grown up a tiny bit, and I hurt a lot more after a long hard day… well, I am not so sure. On the other hand, I am too obstinate to quit.
But I was, in my ample spare time reading a few books for homework for the next Karres novel (I read very fast to make up for writing slowly) and it stuck how young all the heroes were. So I started looking at other books, scanning my mind… There are exceptions (PEBBLE IN THE SKY springs to mind), but heroes have a median age of about 28, I’ll swear. And the female ones are younger. Now in real terms this is a good idea. Get rid of the meat-heads young before they breed. Think of it as evolution in action, encouraged largely by writers who avoid that sort of dangerous sh1t. And I suspect we all have a finite cup of courage, and if you’ve been quaffing liberally at it as a young snot, and you’re still alive by 40, there’s not much left. (While some of you have expressed doubts about this I really am a very quiet tame sort of bloke these days. Just still fairly stupid about getting involved in odd things.) Still… I wondered. SF is supposed to be greying. You wouldn’t guess by looking at the heroes. Do we fancy ourselves as 28 in our daydreams? I’ve written, deliberately, heroes of younger ages for those target markets. Is there a market for targeting the older hero. Or is he a boring old fart, who likes a little snooze at lunchtime? (yes, I know, there’s PI Bolg 1728 years old and still counting, but Bolg is a Pict, and written by Freer so it’s no use expecting him to be typical)
And if it is generally applicable to sf/fantasy… in Romance I swear they all die at 35. But this isn’t true, surely? And what is their median reader age?
Okay, I’m brain-dead, and tired too, and still need to go shooting. Short post this week. But tell me, why do all the PC darlings whine like deranged mosquitoes with no volume control about PoCLGBTalphabet-soup characters, but nary a word about older ones (who, boringly, are tired, hurt a bit, and think warm dry socks are really exiting?).