Novel #15

So we come to 2004 and an odd novel called Hero To…?. Clocking in at around 82000 words, it turned out not as good as I would have liked, but serviceable.

I started by writing a superhero story. I always wanted to do a story with some sort of superhero as the main character – turning that graphic novel/comic book staple into a novel length treatment. But I didn’t want it to be fan fic; I wanted my own hero. I started with some sort of alien trapped on Earth, then a mutant, but the fact that both these have been done to death and anything I come up with would be just cliché after cliché made me look in a different direction.

And so we have the last of my whiny emo-lite adult characters. Feeling sorry himself after being caught abusing steroids, a former sportsman in Adelaide is attacked by a creature. The poisons in this strange beast’s body – which rot the internal organs of other people – reacts with the steroid-enhanced body to create a super-strong human being. And so he goes after the creature that attacked him while the River Torrens goes into flood and he has a love affair with the female owner of a gym.

Having said that it didn’t work, at the time I was really happy with it, and so I sent it off to a couple of publishers and one agent. Interestingly enough, it was the agent who got back to me with something other than a form letter/rejection. She said that the story intrigued her, but that I should turn it into a screenplay or a script for a graphic novel.

I had no idea how to do either those things, so it still sits unloved in the pile.

I think the bad guy cop character is probably the most interesting character, the good guy cop character is way too two-dimensional, the love interest is convenient, but the hero is, I think, rather well-developed.

The original concept was that there would be a sequel, Hero Two!, where the hero, now living in the Riverland of South Australia battles another water creature, and finally Hero, Too, the third book in the trilogy, where a giant snake attacks his new home in the Clare Valley, but with the other two creatures (or their relatives) returning, and the Hero apparently giving up his life to save everyone, though he survives in case I wanted to do another one.

Needless to say, the two sequels were not written.

Oh… and the ellipsis lives!

 

Excerpt

Daniel hefted the barbell above his head from the floor in one fluid motion, then dropped it to his chest before slowly pressing it into the air again. He dropped it to his waist, then placed it back at his feet. He looked briefly concerned, flexed his shoulder, rotated the joint quickly. No pain, no burning sensation, no discomfort. Not a thing.

He faced Lynda, standing beside him, and her expression reflected his own amazement. “What was that?” she asked nervously.

“It’s better,” he grinned.

“After just one shot yesterday?” she asked incredulously.

“Apparently,” he returned. But she could tell he was hiding something. His eyes darted away from her quickly. But she could not for the life of her even begin to imagine what that could be.

“So you don’t need the junk anymore,” she smiled, deliberately changing the subject.

“No…” Daniel rubbed his shoulder. The fire had started to burn again inside it, but apart from that, this morning’s strange leakages had seemed to be a purging of his body. Even the scars and sores from the fight appeared to have cleared up a little more than would otherwise be expected. So maybe he had made a mistake when he had arrived here and spoken to Marcello… “I don’t need it…” he finally muttered.

“Are you okay?”

He smiled. “Fine.” He was not going to question it, though, just accept what was happening to him. This time, that was all he was going to allow himself – total acceptance… and the hope for more of the same…

“Daniel…” Lynda’s warning tone snapped him out of his mental contemplation.

He cast her a glance and smiled again. “What’s up?” he asked as he squatted to grab the bar and resume his exercising.

“You don’t need the juice any more.” her voice was full of foreboding.

“No, I don’t,” he agreed. Need was the wrong word. Because the problem was not his miraculous healing, but the way he had felt. The adrenaline rush, the muscle burn, the amazing feeling of power and strength that ran right into his brain. He had missed it. He missed the rush of being in the middle of an ‘up’ stage of a cycle. He missed the increased power he felt in his every sinew when he was on a down stage of the cycle. He even missed looking like a Greek god in the middle of a football field with all female eyes lusting after him and all males eyes filled with jealousy.

 

Rejection total: 69 + 4 = 73

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