Saturday, April 18, 2015

Environment as a Character

I haven't actually done too much with the environment as a character in my books. It's been highly interesting to read what each of my fellow Whores had to say this week, made mental notes for myself for the future. I've had sandstorms in my ancient Egyptian books, and done quite a bit with the edge of the Afterlife and the Lake of's a short excerpt from Magic of the Nile where the hero is crossing through the Lake after the goddess Sekhmet has helpfully parted it for him:

Purring, Sekhmet released her grip on his arm, and he sprinted forward, into the lake, running down the center of the path she’d cleared for him. Uncanny, glowing creatures flopped on the black sands, gasping for the world of fire they normally swam in. The stench from the lakebed was overwhelming. He tried to avoid the grotesque fish and other animals as he went, nearly falling when something squished under his sandal. Catching his balance, he ventured too close to the wall of fire and a long, suckered tentacle snaked out to encircle him. He parried the blow with the shield, bringing the sword down on the thick ropy limb a second later, severing it. Accompanied by a deafening scream from below the fire’s surface, the stump withdrew into the lake. The piece curled around his waist fell away. Kicking it aside, breathing hard, Sahure broke into a run again, realizing he had to keep his distance from the boundaries.

Here are a few of my favorite movies where the environment is front and center in the story:

Dante’s Peak – the volcano, the acid lake, the earthquakes, the boiling hot springs, the flood, the lahar, the ash so thick you can’t see…and it was a pleasure to watch Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton battle through all this. I had no idea Forest Service trucks were so sturdy!

Last Days of Pompeii (the 1985 version with hunky Duncan
Regehr and Linda Purl battling the volcano)…

Twister – Bill “Going Green” Paxton and Helen “He’s with Me” Hunt chasing tornadoes of all sizes, with their merry crew…when I lived in Northern Alabama, in a tornado alley, the weather was an even bigger phobia for me than snakes. I dreamt several times I’d died in a tornado so….moving to California took care of that issue. But then, we have…

Earthquake – the kinda dumb one with Charlton Heston – and Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones (love him) and Don Cheadle (adore him), which also featured quakes along the way, and for which we saw some key scenes filmed in downtown LA one night….

Armageddon – the environment in question is outer space and an asteroid but with Billy Bob Thornton leading NASA and Bruce Willis leading the charge, we were ok.

The Day After Tomorrow, if I may add one more?

In all of these the characters had to act and react to the environment.

I apologize if this post is a bit disjointed but a very dear friend got rushed to the hospital tonight with bleeding in the brain and so I’m not at my best, waiting for updates.

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