Aramis Fox has garnered a smattering of interest since its inception. Here’s what’s been said about it to date:
- Back in 2009 Angela Meyer did an interview with me that touched on the concept of writing fiction on twitter among other things.
- In late 2013 Aramis Fox was featured in an article on ABC Open Central Victoria.
I also did an interview in 2012 with film-maker and comic critic Martyn Pedler for Vagabond Press’s Geek Mook, to accompany an extract that they published. Sadly it never saw print, so for posterity I’ve reproduced it below.
AN UNPUBLISHED INTERVIEW WITH MARTYN PEDLER
Why twitter? Is there a link between the now-now-now of the twitter format and the perpetual present of comic books?
Twitter and comic books certainly both have an immediacy about them, and both can be used to generate a kind of pleasurable, entertaining information overload.
The direct answer to “why twitter?”, though, is that I was curious about the potential of twitter to house content other than fragmentary memoir, linkblogging and self-promotion, which is all non-fiction. I wondered what it would be like to use it as a fiction delivery method, and when I started looking around I found other people doing that very thing, so I figured I’d have a go too.
I was particularly inspired by Max Barry’s Machine Man novel, which he serialised in 500-word chunks online over a six-month period in 2009. I really liked what he was doing, but I was dubious about my ability to write 500 words a day (or even a week). Twitter’s 140-character limit seemed much more achievable for me.
The reason that Aramis Fox is a superhero story is that when I started this twitter-writing project I tried to jump straight in without much forethought or planning, and superheroes are on my mind a lot, so a superhero story just naturally fell out of my head.
I was surprised when the (ahem) real world of the story turned out to contain other established superheroes. Do you think the urge to mimic a comic book ‘universe’ is a fannish one?
Well, I am a comic book fan, so there may well be fannish aspects to my aproach to writing superheroes, but I assure you that the fanboy/nerdboy/geekery aspects of Aramis Fox (shock! horror! a suphero twitter novel is geeky!) it’s just my subconscious spilling all over the keyboard (read: 30+ years of voraciously consuming superhero comics).
In terms of superhero origin story tropes, I much prefer the one where someone gets powers and has to work out how they fit within a fantastic, superheroic world, as opposed to the one where nobody’s ever heard of superheroes before and the protagonist has to work out how they fit into a “real-world” world. I think I prefer writing the first kind of world over the second world, in general.
Even before this reveal, Aramis is very aware of his place in popular culture. “Hey, check it out! I’m a fugitive superhuman on the run from the government!” Why is that important?
Aramis is just being glib when he says that. At that early stage in the piece I was still sort of sounding out what the hell I was doing, so little signposts like that helped to establish in my own mind what the story was about. It was also a way to indicate that Aramis is familiar with superheroes and their place in his world’s popular culture, which isn’t all that different from their place in our world’s popular culture. Except, you know, that they’re actually real.
As it turns out there hasn’t actually been much “on the run from the government” stuff. I may introduce some kind of government agency for superheroes down the track, but I suspect it’ll be a much more under-funded overly bureaucratised, impotent government department that’s quite out of touch with how things are done in the real world, because that’s the side of government that interests me personally at the moment.
(Also: comic narratives always provide the chance to dramatically use powers so quickly, don’t they?)
Fair cop. But what kind of story would it be if your protagonist got super-powers and then didn’t use them for ages and ages?
Aramis writes: “I unload my origin story. Two things: 1. it’s nice to talk to someone about it, and 2. it’s a pretty crap (ie, vague) origin story.” What happens to a superhero without a powerful origin story to drive their stories forward? Or is that what we’re going to find out?
At this stage Aramis is looking into how he got his powers, and I do have ideas about how that may have happened, but I’m open to changing my mind on that as the story develops.
What I’m interested in is considering how a superhero (or, more specifically, someone with powers – I haven’t decided at this stage whether Aramis will put on the tights and cape) who isn’t an A-lister incorporates their new abilities into their life. If you can fly and shoot lasers from your eyes there seems to be a pretty clear path to celebrity superherodom there, but things are much less cut and dried if all you can do is, for example, move things at a distance.
I plan on presenting Aramis with a few choices as to what he can do with his powers. I’d like to focus on what his powers can actually do and try to think of all the different applications of those abilities, rather than leaping straight at the “super powers means becoming a superhero” conceit. He could just as easily use his powers in construction or to restack library shelves.