Last night as I was for some inexplicable reason watching Celebrity Rehab and thinking about what to post for Bittercon., i was struck by a thought. That thought was struck by a question. After filing assault charges and a brief flirtation with a civil suit, I decided that I’d go with thought, that I’d take the abuse and stay with the evil that is thought. Because somewhere, somehow I had to set an example of how not to quit. Besides, Thought loves me!

     With all the stories about dark urban environments, the cold reaches of space, and the heartless politics of arenas from corporate to courtly and criminal to pugilistic, I have to wonder where the bad relationships are? Sure we’ve got relationships where the two people don’t get along. One is a defense attorney, the other is a street cop, that’s all well and good and creates emotional weft that we can all appreciate. But what about the battered party in a relationship? The person who arrives at work ready to slay adversaries with briefs, bullets or whate’er the weapon on their field of battle and yet can’t stand up to their (in)significant other? I know a few of this type, their the person who’ll tell school comities, police, and bad drivers do some anatomically improbable things, and then go home and never raise their voice except to apologize for their imagined faults to the one demon they can’t bring themselves to fight.

    Another type we don’t see are those involved in relationships that spin on the axis of addiction. In any relationship involving addiction one person is the symptom bearer. Everyone else is somewhere on the continuum of helpful to harmful. Most people being somewhere on the darkside, usually unintentionally. I think in the right hands, a story where someone wears themselves to a nub trying to keep someone they love well supplied with their drug of choice so that person doesn’t have to turn tricks or steal for a fix could be interesting.

    Obviously, at least in the context of science fiction and fantasy, these make rather poor things to hang an entire story on, but they do make interesting things to know about one or more of your characters.

  • The circuit of addiction plays an element in all the serious Larabee fiction (Magnificent 7, the TV show), as Larabee is an alcoholic – a fact on which his reputation is built, a fact that informs his relationship with his oldest friend, a fact that impacts his relationship with his best friend. A fact which every member of his team must take into effect as they go about their jobs.