Friday, June 27, 2014

Minion Blog Tour and FREE Book Give-a-Way!

by John David Anderson
Published by Walden Pond Press
June 24, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0062133113

If you loved Sidekicked, you are going to be thrilled to read Minion. 

Today Superhero and author John David "Dave" Anderson teams up with Librarian-Sidekick Julee "Lightning Quick" Murphy at Book Egg to reflect on evil villains and the lure of the power of the dark side. Read on dear ones and be entranced.

If We Only Knew the Power of the Dark Side
Hi Book Eggers! Julee kindly invited me to write a guest post as part of the Minion blog tour, so I thought I’d explore one of the questions that prompted me to write the book to begin with:
Are villains cooler than heroes?
It’s one of the questions I asked myself as I was writing the novel Sidekicked. While Sidekicked’s hero Andrew Bean questioned what it meant to heroic, there was never really any chance of him exploring his darker side. Yes, he may have cheated on a math test, but if I had super senses like his, I probably would have “done better” in middle-school math too. The protagonist of Minion, on the other hand, starts the book by robbing a bank. Deplorable behavior, certainly, and not something you should try in your home town, but isn’t it also, you know…just a teensy bit…awesome? Is there something about being bad (or at least reading about people being bad) that’s just as satisfying, if not more so, than watching a caped crusader goody-two-shoes rescue every poor stranded cat from a tree? And if there is, what does that say about us?
Let’s start with this basic premise: Let’s just say that the Joker is cooler than Batman. Yes, Batman’s action figure is more fun to play with (he comes with more accessories), but he’s still not as compelling as the grinning maniac who invites us to dance with the devil by the pale moonlight. Case in point: The Dark Knight ranks fourth on IMDB’s Top 250 movies of all time. (Note that the three films before it are about convicts and the mafia). In our franchise-frenzied culture where the heroes stay consistent (even if the actors who play them don’t), one can’t help but wonder if it’s ultimately the villain that sets a story apart. Or at least a superhero story.
Of course asking if villains are cooler than heroes is begging the question: what do we mean by cooler? Certainly villains don’t provide better role models (though one might question what kind of role model the schmoozing Tony Stark provides, or how cigar-chomping Wolverine would look on an anti-smoking poster). Nobody wants to grow up and be like Darth Vader, going around force-choking everyone (though as a father of twins, I have seen my kids, hands extended, trying their hardest). Still, there is something compelling about a good villain.
Maybe it really is just the whole Freudian cathartic release thing. There is something primordially satisfying in watching a giant robot smash his way through downtown while hundreds of faceless bystanders run for their lives. I can remember spending hours as a kid building elaborate cities out of wooden blocks for the sole purpose of going on a five second, block-busting, chest-thumping, primal-scream-bellowing rampage. It’s okay, so long as someone stops the robot/monster/villain in the end so that we can all feel better about ourselves. Our fascination with evil is deeply embedded in every facet of our communal culture. It pervades our myths and our religions. It permeates our study of history. And it is, ever increasingly, the focal point of our books, films, and TV shows. From Felonius Gru to Hannibal Lecter, we are fascinated by villainy.
And why not? In many ways, villains are heroic. They overcome significant obstacles in order to achieve their goals (actually, most of them never achieve their goals—sucks for them). They have fervent beliefs that they stick to, often running against the majority opinion, which takes tremendous courage. Many of them are charming, well-dressed, and extremely intelligent. And while some of them (looking at you, Choke Vader) are not too kind to their underlings, others can be quite affectionate to the henchmen that serve them. Plus a good villain (oxymoron intended) often has a wicked sense of humor.
This doesn’t mean we should emulate them, of course, only that it’s understandable to be fascinated by them. Good is easy (though being good isn’t always). If you are looking for a reason to do good, you need look no further than the Golden Rule. We can do good for goodness’s sake. Evil, on the other hand, is interesting because it explores ulterior motives and impulses. Many of these are selfish, of course, but they aren’t always. Some villains actually believe they have something to teach us about ourselves, or they have a vision for a world that, in their minds at least, is an improvement over ours. And there are some who do it just as a means to get by, forced by circumstances beyond their control to take the darker road. Perhaps those are the ones we identify with most.
Of course in the end, the hero usually wins because that’s how allegories go. Good triumphs over evil. Order is restored. The popcorn is spilled. The sequel is budgeted. And we get to close the book or walk out of the theater feeling secure in the knowledge that the powers of light are stronger than the powers of darkness. And I think they are, I really do. And I’m thankful for that. But I also can’t wait for that sequel. Not because I want to see the hero triumph again, but more because I want to see what nefarious schemes the forces of darkness come up with next.
Copies of Sidekicked and Minion sit side by side on my shelf. One a bright and shining blue, with Supermanian accents and a dopey, grinning hero on the cover. The other black as night with blood-red type and a mischievous boy peering over the edge of his sunglasses, obviously up to no good. I know which of the two I should be, the one, even, that I strive to be.
But if I was standing in a bookstore and only had to pick one version of this never-ending story to escape into, if only for a day or two, I’d have to say, that I’d probably be up to no good, too. 
John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked, Minion, and Standard Hero Behavior. He has no real plans to take over the world—mostly due to sheer laziness.

Author website: John David Anderson    John David Anderson on Facebook and on Twitter

 Thank you to John David Anderson and the good folks at Walden Pond Press for 
including Book Egg as part of the Minion Blog Tour. It's been fun!

*Be sure to enter the FREE Minion book give-a-way at the bottom of the post. 

Continue on the Minion Blog tour adventure. Keep an eye out for Free copies of Minion:

June 23 Maria’s Melange
June 24 The Library Fanatic
June 25 The Next Best Book
June 26 Jean Book Nerd
June 27 Book Egg
June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog
June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads
July 1 The Book Monsters
July 2 The Book Monsters
July 3 Read Now, Sleep Later
July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 8 Candace’s Book Blog
July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso
July10 Librarian’s Quest
July 11 Unleashing Readers
July 12 Trisha Perry
July 14 This Kid Reviews Books
July 16 Charlotte’s Library
July 17 Literacy Toolbox
July 18 Small Review

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  1. I really need to give this some thought. I haven't worked out the evil villain yet but they can only be defeated by HUGS....big HUGS...bear HUGS.....and maybe puppy dog kisses.

  2. An evil villain could be someone who closes down all the schools. Prevent it by showering kids with books!


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