Tis the season to be spooky!
It won't come as a surprise to any of you that I love Halloween, so what better time to talk about the second monster-ific installment in my Avenir Eclectia saga: "Only the Strong"!
My initial concept for Dressler was always that of a loving father who could kick major butt. I'm a kid of the 80s and I remember Arnold Schwarzenegger from Commando, the muscled Father-Of-The-Year who saved his girl and didn't take flak from nobody. Dressler was certainly cut from the same mold, though he's a bit more morose than John Matrix ever was.
When it came time for my second story, I wanted to put Dressler in his element, to establish, right off the bat, that though he's heartbroken over his daughter's illness, he's still a cunning and capable soldier. I don't know anything about mining or archeology or exploration or any of that. What I do know is big guys shooting the ever-living bejeebers out of some giant killer bugs.
Making Dressler a bug hunter was a given. When I made that decision, though, I had no idea of all this wonderful backstory that Walt described! In fact, the only other bug hunter story I read (I think it was yours, Kat) had the hunter--Jax--stabbing a bug with a pointy stick. Now, I thought it was a great story, but I vividly recall running back to Grace and asking her clarify what she meant in her original AE backstory by "giant bugs". "Grace, are we talking the size of a football or the size of a car?" Because, when I think of "giant bug" I think--
Luckily, Grace--ever accomodating--assured me that there was room in AE for killer bugs of all sizes. I wanted Dressler to have a gun, because I was certain there was no way any hunter was going to go up against giant killer bugs with a stick, no matter how Schwarzenegger they are :p In fact, in my mind, I'd envisioned whole teams of mercenaries, with various automatic weaponry, blasting every critter in sight!
But, alas, while exciting, that's not very practical. I was dead set to respect the work of those who came before me and wanted to incoporate the spear. Thus I came to the conclusion that Dressler was a meat hunter, and filling a bug full of bullets would only ruin his main export. Plus, I decided that the loud bangs of guns might scare off the cuddly devils, thus leaving him empty-handed.
What I settled for was a compromise. Giant bugs, a spear when best (because nothing spells "tough guy" like going all toe-to-toe-Harryhausen against an oversized beetle with a sharp stick, now that I think about it), a gun for last-ditch-effort/protection, and a muscle bound action hero with enough guts and moral center to save Trebs, a guy he doesn't really like, from the deadly pincers of these giant beasts.
I was really happy with how that all turned out, in the end, and have to thank Kat for inadvertantly keeping me in some semblance of reality--otherwise we might have had a whole planet of deadly killer beetles, and a war with hunters! ...Wait, that actually sounds kind of cool... Perhaps a story for another day... :)
Now, in the spirit of the season, I leave you with a trailer of my personal favorite "giant killer bug" movie: Them! Happy Halloween!