Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Delicious Filling

When I was a kid, I had my very own set of invisible armor. It also had a magnetic deflector field for diverting armor-piercing bullets. And on my hip, a small box (invisible, of course), that could temporarily teleport me out of existence and right back again — all in the blink of an eye — in the very special case of ceramic armor-piercing bullets.

All of which explained why my best friend Nathan could point a finger at me from point blank range, yell “Bang,” and I could reply: “You missed.”

Whatever he came up with, I had an antidote. And he had a new poison. And on and on it went in that imaginative arms race familiar to anyone who ever fashioned their hand into a gun.

I carried this same imagination into other forms of entertainment. When I started playing DOOM back in the mid-90s, one of the things that struck me immediately was the inability to jump. You could slam on the spacebar all you wanted, and it might open a door or throw a switch, but your feet weren’t going to leave the ground. This was a shock to a kid who spent years pretending to be a mustached Italian plumber. A raised floor no more than knee-high would completely flummox my badass space marine.

Ah . . . but I had an answer. I was carrying EIGHT weapons, you see. Including a chainsaw and a chaingun. And a BFG. Of course I couldn’t jump.

“But what about in the very beginning, when all you have is a pistol?” my friend Nathan might ask.

“Oh, well, you see, my space marine has a bum knee. That’s why he doesn’t jump around. He tore it up in that bad tumble he had from the heli-jet on Titan. Hasn’t been the same since.”

Every video game limitation simply became a part of the story. The same for plot holes in films. And also in books. If my imagination could protect me from armor piercing bullets, it could certainly stitch together an odd tear in a plot here or there. In fact, the stories I used to fill these holes with often became the best parts of the stories. Like donuts suddenly stuffed with cream.

Sure, you can choose to be disappointed with the limitations of that game or the oversight from that filmmaker, but why? Why not augment the story a little and make it even better? Being impressed is a decision as much as being happy. Choose wisely.

18 replies to “Delicious Filling”

But the story wasn’t just about losing that one ring, the “least” of the great rings. It was about preparing Frodo and the hobbits to protect the Shire. And that could have never have happened on a direct flight. :)

Yeah I’m sure a flock of giant birds flying into Mordor would go unnoticed by Sauron’s eye. Sauron would have been like, “Hey there’s those eagles that are known allies of the wizards I’m fighting against. Should I dispatch the ring wraiths? Nah, I’m sure it’s nothing.”

The Eagles couldn’t go into Mordor while Sauron was so strong because of how much evil was there. The Eagles are celestial creatures and are very sensitive to such pure evil as Sauron. They might have been able to get Frodo closer, but they could never have gotten him right up to Mt. Doom. As such it was better for him to go it him self then to be carried part way and alert all of Mordor to his presence.

How did your imagination deal with every Storm Trooper having such poor marksmanship? I tried to tell myself it was a trade off for the armor but it doesn’t seem to offer any protection.

It’s the thousands of dead Jedi diverting their aim at the last second. Obi-Wan said he would be more powerful in death than in life. Unlike Lucas, I actually give him something to do!

I think I do that a lot on a subconscious level. I do know for sure that I’ll re-read, re-watch, or re-play something and be shocked that a scene I was sure was there wasn’t. I do know that occasionally this happens when a movie has been edited for tv or a game/anime edited for an American audience or what-have-you, but mostly I just think it’s my brain plugging in the gaps without notifying the memory.

I found “Sand: Part Two” today on Amazon. While I know that I am a little slow (looks like it was published on December 18), it was still a great Christmas gift. Thanks!

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