Thursday, October 17, 2013
It Occurs to Me Who Ted Cruz Reminds Me Of--
Okay, now, you have to stick with me on this one, and it won't mean anything to most readers, and with this post, I probably cement my nerd cred, but--he reminds me of Terl from Battlefield Earth. I mean L. Ron Hubbard's 1982 epic novel, not the movie starring John Travolta. The reason I make this distinction is that the movie couldn't really convey some of what makes the book tick, and although Travolta's representation is, um, enthusiastic (playing villians is fun!), the Terl of the novel is kind of a more realized character. Actually, as characters go, he's got more interesting motivations than the heroes do, because they are just good. Terl. on the other hand, is a capable adversary with, let's say, more working parts in his mentality.
Just for background, Terl is a Psychlo--one of a race of imperialistic, exploitative aliens who have made war and enslaved multiple races, and pumped them and their planets for whatever valuta could be extracted. They are not a particularly introspective bunch, as aliens go, but Terl is something else again. He's a master Psychlo, he's been to the good schools, received all the right sort of training, and is ruthless and ambitious. Which makes him wonder a bit why he's stuck heading up security at a mining concern on a primitive backwater like Earth. After you spend a little time with Terl, you get the idea that anyone on Psychlo who has worked with Terl has decided they might like a few star systems between him and them, because he is Not a Very Nice Psychlo. He can fake it for stretches at a time, though, to get what he wants. He looks at everyone with the thought of "leverage" in mind--how they can be used to his advantage.
In order to accomplish his goals, he enlists (enslaves) several dozen Earth people to mine for him. He has them learn Psychlo because he has no interest in whatever gibberish they speak. He doesn't quite see them as sentient. The humans are able to plan a revolt under his nose, because it doesn't quite occur to him that people do things when he leaves a room. He underestimates them because he is convinced of his own superiority and never sees how he can be outsmarted. But it's because of this that the humans acquire an insight into who the Psychlos are, and the means to overthrow them.
I dunno. It made sense to me when I thought of it. And if you have to compare someone to a villian, you can't go wrong with 9 foot tall monsters from outer space.