Becoming the Bad Guy

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

We usually interview our good guys and gals when we do character interviews. How about we do an interview with our favorite bad guy?

I’d love to interview one of my bad guys. Unfortunately, there are only a few that survive to the end of the story and they aren’t willing to talk.  

Not only that, there is always the chance of them revealing spoilers, particularly in the case of my series where the bad guys remain constant (and unknown, to the reader and the other characters).

I thought about interviewing the shadowy mastermind behind the events of the Balcom Dynasty series of novels, but that would reveal not only what has happened so far but what is to come. It could even give away their identity. It might make a good interview but it would hardly encourage anyone to rush out and buy the series.

So, could I resurrect one of the deceased and somehow talk to them? How about the Master of Automata, from my Steampunk adventure The Sensaurum and the Lexis?

I don’t talk about Steampunk very often, it’s a genre I love writing as its style reflects a vanished era, like the prose of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne.

Then I had a thought, perhaps, instead of interviewing, I could show how it all started?

With that in mind, we go to Norlandia, a land powered by Steam, clockwork and the new-fangled science of statics. To the Institute of Medical Statics in Metropol City and a confrontation between Professor Woolon and Aldithley, an upcoming scientist. The institute is researching the nervous system and a means of using it to control artificial limbs.

It was the moment when a decision was made, to follow the path of evil.

Woolon was red-faced, his rage apparent.

“You have done what?” he shouted. All work stopped, people looked up from their benches. Woolon was normally quiet and thoughtful, whatever Aldithley had done must have been serious.

“I merely connected the limb directly to a device that I have made,” he replied.

“And where was my permission to do this?” asked Woolon. “we work in scientific method here, you do not wander off and pursue your own plans.”

Aldithley pulled a sullen face. “and how might we progress without a flash of inspiration, Professor. Your methods are so slow, we will never achieve anything.”

“You dare to question me, again? I am working as I have been told, carefully, with a mind to ethics. If you cannot do that, you are not welcome here.”

Aldithley gathered up the items on his workbench and stuffed them into a wooden crate. “Very well, I’m sick of your constant complaining. You prevent me from developing my ideas.”

“But your ideas, as you call them, are dangerous. Untested. I cannot permit you to follow them.”

“Then I shall take my work and find a more receptive audience,” he shouted as he marched from the room. At that moment, he hated Woolon and the restrictions placed on him by the government. He would have done anything to prove himself right. He had a good idea who might be interested in his work, perhaps he could enlist their help?


A day later, Rodney Nethersole, proprietor of the Prosthesium and manufacturer of artificial limbs, stared across his desk at the man who had asked to see him ‘on a matter of the greatest importance’. He knew who the man was, his grievances and what he was working on. But he kept that knowledge to himself. Char had been offered and accepted.

“Tell me again,” he said, “of your ideas.”

“Woolon has devised a method of connecting the nerves of the body to an artificial limb,” Aldithley replied, “so that, once it is fixed to the body, it can be controlled, much as a real limb is now. The things you produce here will be obsolete once the method is perfected.”

Nethersole shook his head. Aldithley was obviously clever but he was unaware of the ways of the real world. “That’s interesting, but it is scarcely news to me. As the leading maker of prosthetics, I am in discussion with the Ministry to produce these marvels once they are approved. Why do you come to see me?”

“We had a falling out, Woolon and I,” Aldithley explained. “I have many ideas for improvement of the basic design, using properties of the statics wave which I have been investigating. My theories were not appreciated by those I shared them with. Dare I say it, I believe my discoveries could also be used for control of the mind itself. Woolon was against me. He treated me like a fool and I would like some sort of revenge for the slights I have endured. It occurs to me, that if we were to work together, we would be able to use our combined efforts to make him pay.”

Nethersole thought for a moment, remembering the contempt in which he too was held. The rulers of the land thought him a mere tradesman, wealthy but not through birth, therefore of no account. Then he imagined an army, with their minds under his control. There would be no limit to what he could achieve. This naïve scientist, ensconced in the world of research, might just provide the means.  He could easily be manipulated, a little flattery and inducement would be worth it for a prize such as that.

“My life has been similar,” he said. “There are those in authority who have wronged me. I have long wanted to teach them a lesson. Perhaps if we joined forces, we could make the people in power take notice of us. Tell me more of how we could control minds.”

The story of what happened next is told in The Sensaurum and the Lexis.

Is Jackson Thwaite ready to discover the secret of Makewright Orphanage?

Although he doesn’t know it, he has been selected to be part of something vital to the land of his birth.

Norlandia is a country under threat, as never before. The old heroes are but a memory, while evil forces gather, seeking power.  

They are armed with the latest devices that perverted science has devised.

Control of Norlandia and everyone in it is their ultimate aim.

Who will stand in their way?

Under the command of the mysterious Mortimer Langdon, all that stands between civilisation and anarchy are Jackson and the rest of The Orphan Detectives.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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4 Responses

  1. phil huston

    Welcome back! “What? I was looking for an argument.” “Sorry old boy, this is abuse.” “I see. Well then, where can I find an argument?” Down the hall there, to the left, just beyond Berating.” “Ahh. Thank you ever so much.” “Certainly. Now get out you colossal waste of air. You smell of pigs shite and your mother was a two penny whore.” “Yes, yes. Quite…”

    Hey, I can’t paste out because your site’s locked, and I’m generally lazy but here’s the two penny whore’s tip for making a story pop before one shoots oneself in the foot.

    “You have done what?” Woolon shouted, his face red with rage.
    “I merely connected the limb to a device that I have made,” Aldithey said.
    Then we get to demanded, not asked because things like replied and asked are self evident or defined by punctuation. All that other stuff is you telling us the story instead of the story telling itself. We know it’s serious by Woolon’s reaction. Get on with it. This is a good bit, just get all that splainin’ out of its way! I’m sure you’re tired of me harping on you guys but “dammit, man” the only thing between you and a million dollars is a decent editor.

    • Richard Dee

      Thank you, I’ve missed reading everyone’s posts during my self-imposed exile.

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