Workshop Episode 24 (Guest Host: Andrew Mayne)

The Roundtable Podcast, Workshop Episode 24, with Andrew Mayne and Ben Delano Andrew Mayne – who’s diverse creative enterprises include Master Stage Magician, Media Producer, Podcaster, and Author of Fabulous Tales –  returns to the Roundtable to work his magic (ba dum dum) on a story workshop. This week, we are joined by Ben Delano (of the Reader/Writer podcast) presenting a tale of super powered heroes in the old west. It’s a fascinating mashup and everyone gets down to business in true Roundtable style. There’s (literary) gold in them thar hills, and by gum we’re gonna find it! (and for more literary gold, make the scene at Andrew’s Showcase Episode!)

PROMO: Tales of the Black Guard Anthology
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Mature Themes – listener discretion is advised

Workshop Episode 24 (Guest Host: Andrew Mayne)

[caution: mature language – listener discretion is advised]

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Comments (6)

Loved this week’s episode. Your guest host sounds amazing.

I loved the story idea, and think the hosts’ advice was spot on. I loved the concept. I can’t wait to hear it as a full cast production.

I thought Andrew was spot on when he said the source of the characters’ abilities has to be tied to the technology of the era. The snake-oil salesman seemed like a good idea.

I wasn’t sure about turning the salesman into an alien or a Nick Fury character. The Dark Tower meets The Avengers sounds a bit unwieldy. Quite frankly, I’ve always seen the superhero origin story as a formality to go through on the way to the real story.

The protagonists are fascinating. They have vivid backgrounds and there is so much to play with in the society of the 1860’s.

Good luck with your book.

I think you have an amazing premise. Superheros in 1859 is brilliant. Not just wild west stories, but also The American Civil War with Super powered people.

A for what the cause of the powers is, I think that you should allow speculation for as long as possible. You should have multiple theories suggested by different people.
Some people might think that it is a “sign of the end times” and that there is a biblical cause to the super powers.

Solar Flares could also be a theory. While a modern audience might not believe it, that doesn’t mean people of that time period wouldn’t see it as a valid theory.

Other people might think super powers are related to the new book that came out in 1859 “Origin of the Species” by Charles Darwin, making evolution a viable theory. (Why yes, you set a mutant powers story in the year Darwin’s Magnum Opus was published.)

The more different theories you come up with the better.

Thank you for your comments!

I’ve been working away at this story since recording, and certainly some of the elements have made it in. The teleporting ability of John Lawson has been stripped, I’ve got ideas for something that fits more with his other power set. I have used the Snake Oil man, although he will probably only be seen at the beginning. I don’t intend to make it known in the stories what caused the powers to manifest, but it’s a good idea that I know, so that I can keep a consistent story. I’ve got several red herrings planned (Including said Snake Oil man) to keep the reader guessing. I certainly have planned to include interpretations (right or wrong) of how Darwin’s new theory might have created these super powered men.

I’m certainly excited to get people with abilities into the Civil War, however there’s a few events I want my heroes to hit in the 18 months leading up to it (in fact their second adventure will be the Harper’s Ferry Raid with John Brown and will introduce Robert E. Lee into the picture as well.) I would suggest “1861: The Civil War Awakening” by Adam Goodheart, I’ve pulled no less than 4 story ideas from that book alone.

I’m trying to figure out what to call these people as well. Something that fits the time. Metahumans I think sounds too modern, I’ve thought of just “Supermen” but that doesn’t quite fit the bill either. I’d love any suggestions!

The word “Superman” was originally coined in the first decade of 1900’s as a translation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s word Übermensch, which was part of a book Nietzsche published in 1883. So “Supermen” does not make sense in that period. I think what they are called depends on the most popular theory of their origin.

Darwins, Evolvers (for Life Science Theory)
Demons, Devilspawn (For Religious Theory)
Sunspots, Flares (for Astronomical Theory)

Re. how to name the superheroes…

So what I’d do is I’d look into abolitionist dialogues of the day. Specifically I’d look into the terminology that slavery apologists used for defending enslavement. The language used by the slaveholders of the time defending the separation of the races, and their belief in the natural supremacy of the white “race.” If that term was used to describe these new people — people who are clearly showing traits that put them above normal human capability.

The fact that your protagonist is black would be an interesting subversion of the terminology…

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