Friday, September 3, 2010

Fantastical Randroids

I've finished reading the 5th Terry Goodkind volume.. I forget exactly the title.. though thats sort of a summation of the whole series up to this point.

He gets flack a lot, and I don't always agree with it. I'm not someone who just seem to say he sucks as a blanket statement.. He may, but not so far.. His books just aren't memorable and I've been having a harder and harder time working my way through each one. He has moments that are very close to being riveting, and then ruins them with pages of completely out of place drawing room style dialogue.. but I've read much much worse, and their is a lot worse out there.

The thing though, that I think bugs them, Is that Goodkind is heavily influenced by the "philosophy" of Ayn Rand.. of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and other such books. I'm not going to comment much on its Political implications except to say that I feel it requires a much higher caliber of human being than actually exists in order for it to work as she describes it. Beyond that I don't really have an opinion on it.

But that seems to be what Goodkind is attempting to produce, the clean cut wholesome sort of people who are so lacking in avarice and greed yet are driven and ambitious enough that they can actually live harmoniously in a world where her concepts can flourish. It isn't a world in which you work to simply get rich, but rather work to produce really good output and that all proceeds from such are rightfully yours.

You could see bits of his fascination with her ideas creeping in as far back as the first volume, Wizard's First Rule. But it was largely absent from the 2-4th volumes. But it reared its ugly head with a vengeance in Volume 5 with his transparent caricatures Bertram (Bill) and Hildemara (Hillary) Chanboor (Clinton).

So it got me thinking, I know that this particular Author (Rand) has an extremely devoted following, especially amongst college kids and reformed-via-Reaganomics Hippies like my father. Quite a few Fantasy and Sci-Fi books, lots of music, and a Government Think Tank(the Rand Corporation) that if not actually influenced or named for her, clearly share many of the same philosophical leanings instanced in their infamous concept of Game Theory on which almost all modern politics and marketing are based..

I know that Anton LeVey, the leader of the Church of Satan was inspired by her.. and also by the grotesque "Might is Right" written by the enigmatic Ragnar Redbeard (possibly Jack London in a Johnathan swift, A modest proposal sort of mood).. So I can't personally say how much of her philosophy he borrowed.

I know that quite a few early tracks by the band RUSH were heavily inspired by her.

Anyone else have any specific Examples?


Trey said...

Steve Ditko (co-creator) of Spider-Man was a Rand proponent, and his version of her philosophy informs the Question to some degree, and his Mister A to a large degree.

Alan Moore referenced this with his characterization of Rorshach in Watchmen.

I'm less charitable to Goodkind's books than you. I think their repetitive, and flavorless--like so muich mass-market modern fantasy--and I never got to any of heavyhanded philosophy.

Lagomorph Rex said...

I'm glad you mentioned Rorschach.. I'd totally forgotten him... which really.. how does one forget Rorschach.. but I've only been exposed to the Question via Justice League Unlimited. and Mister A, I'd not heard of till now.

Anyway, yeah I don't want to be seen as an apologist.. cause I'm really not. I've only actually liked about 10-15% of each the five I've read so far.. and I agree with you about them being largely flavourless. I can't even really remember what any of them were about that I've finished.