Category Archives: Thoughts on things

Who Is The Real Sully?

I’m not Sully. Really. I’m not even sure I would want to be Sully. I see parts of myself in Sully and we have some similar life experiences.

But I’m not Sully.

Before Sully ever descended the escalator at the Capital City Spaceport with gun in hand and blew away the perp holding a knife to the throat of the daughter of a wealthy crook named Spencer Devereaux I had a vision of who Sully was.

I knew what Sully looked like, what he liked, how he acted, and most important, how he thinks about life 500 years from now.

Sully is a mixture of some of my favorite tough guy characters from books and film. He’s tall like Clint Eastwood but bulkier. His attitude and penchant for violence as a solution to “certain problems” is not unlike one of Eastwood’s most famous characters, Inspector Harry Callahan, AKA “Dirty Harry.”

There’s a bit of Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade in Sully as well. It would seem Sully just can’t help himself at times. Like Spade, Sully feels the need to poke at corrupt authorities and has a weakness for a woman in distress. Even when logic tells Sully to avoid female entanglements.

A man of few words, Sully is not as shallow as his emotional restraint would have one believe. Those the Inspector would call friends are few in number. But to those lucky few, Sully feels a deep sense of responsibility to protect and see to it they flourish as best as possible.

He’s a man with a conscience, who feels guilt over his failings as a man as well as his failures as a cop. Sully is not one who agrees with Tennyson’s quip “Tis better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all.” The Inspector feels loss with a depth and intensity that can scar a man’s soul.

A long suffering witness to the capacity for evil of both humanity and the individual, it is easy to understand Sully’s ambivalence towards such matters as faith and charity towards his fellow man. For this simple reason, God, who is not done with Sully yet, sends another flawed individual, Father Nathan, to be the thorn in Sully’s side when it comes to matters of faith and ethics.

Father Nathan, a man’s man like Sully, has suffered his share of tragedy and pain in life. In his efforts to make amends for his past, the priest makes Sully into a personal project of sorts. If nothing else, Father Nathan acts as Sully’s conscience at times.

Not much scares Sully.

Those few who know Sully well will tell you with certainty they know what does scare the Inspector. It’s more of a who than a what, though some would argue a clone is precisely that, a what.

Sully’s nightmare has long legs, long brown hair, big brown eyes, a slender but eye-catching figure, and while she stands a full foot shorter than Sully’s intimidating 6’6″ frame, Sarah can be every bit as frightening. A military grade clone with the maturity of a six year old child, Sarah has the looks of a mature woman. Even worse, she’s fully aware of the effects of her charms on men, even if Sarah doesn’t fully understand relationships.

The cybernetic eye and robot hand come from my fascination with the Terminator stories. It allows me a device to show Sully has suffered during his life, that life has harmed him, making him feel less than fully human.

Is there a future for the pair, for Sully and Sarah?

Who knows? Sully frightens Sarah as much as she worries and frightens him. The only difference is Sarah is willing to acknowledge the fact to herself. 

Utopian Society, Human Nature, and Crime

My wife will readily tell anyone who asks that I can be a bit cynical about my fellow man. Truth be told, I will readily admit that fact as well.

There is a concept known as Disruptive Technology. To oversimplify it for this newsletter, the concept states at different periods in human history a new technology will be developed that has a far-reaching impact on humanity, disrupting the world as it was known at that time.

This disruption brings with it many positive changes. These can include improved quality of life, economic opportunity, new jobs, and other new forms of technology.

The disruption can also bring with it quite a few negative changes. To name a few, specific skill sets are made redundant, forever eliminating those jobs. Society can be drastically altered in ways not foreseen. Families can be ripped apart and lives devastated.

The new technology brings change, change that is disruptive to the way we live and work. That disruption is both good and bad.

Economically priced steel and steam power were the technologies that drove the Industrial Revolution. Undreamed of prosperity came about as did many new inventions that made life easier.

The Industrial Revolution saw a rush of humanity from the countryside to the urban areas to take advantage of the newly created jobs in the new factories. With this shift came the problems related to overcrowding in cities: crime, squalor, inadequate schools, and a host of other social and economic issues.

Factory produced goods created new jobs and revenue streams for many. For others, it eliminated jobs and only offered long hours at low wages in return for others.

As I type this newsletter, we are currently going through another period of Disruptive Technology. This time it is the Digital Age. The combination of personal computers, the internet, and digital technology are producing unimagined changes in society.

With the advent of the tech billionaires, we’ve all seen the problems the new technology has created. Are youth are addicted to their iPhones, Social Media, and seldom read like the youth of the past.

Social Media has its pluses. It also has quite a few minuses.

We now live in the age of trolls. Real, living, breathing trolls. They live on the internet.

Much of the political turmoil and upheaval nations around the world are experiencing are made possible and in part often caused by Social Media.

We seem to have forgotten the wise adage of if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. The internet allows us to unleash our inner troll in the safety of anonymity.

The champions of technology love to claim the latest and greatest technology will make humanity’s life better. That we can eliminate all the ills of the past. Technology will set us free from this or that.

Don’t get me wrong.

I like lots of new types of technology. I have an iPhone. I use the internet. I publish my books in both paperback and ebook format. The paperback does not exist until you order it and then it is printed using a technology called print-on-demand. This newsletter is digital and delivered by e-mail.

But I have to shake my head at those who claim this technology and that technology will set man free. From biblical times to the present day, man has shown he is a sinful, broken beast.

We would be far better served to try to learn from the mistakes of the past and determine effective ways to prevent the same cycle of behavior from repeating. Instead, we look to technology as a cure-all.

It’s not. If we want to clean up the mess known as humanity we have to do something about humanity’s broken nature.

Until we do that, not much is going to change.

There is no technology, no utopian social system, or philosophy that will create the perfect social order for mankind to exist together.

But people don’t want to hear that. I guess hope springs eternal for some.

As cynical as it sounds, I’m convinced man’s not going to change much in the future.

Just ask Sully. 500 years in the future mankind is committing the same sins, breaking the same laws, and possessed of the same flaws.

It’s this very aspect of human nature that creates the life experiences and examples of human behavior that led to the development of the crime noir genre.

At least one good thing has come from all of man’s failings!