According to Russell Newquist, here’s generally what we can expect from Superversive Fiction:
If subversive is about tearing down the structures of society, superversive must be about building them back up. Specifically, I believe superversive fiction absolutely must contain some of the following elements:
- Heroes who are actually heroic. They don’t have to be heroic all of the time, or even most of the time. But when the time comes, they must actually be heroic.
- People are basically good. Not all the time, not in every case – and certainly not every person. But basically.
- Good Wins. Not every time – a good story always has setbacks in it. But evil winning is most definitely not superversive.
- True love is real. Again, maybe not for everybody. But it’s real.
- Beauty is real. It’s ok to show the warts. But show the beauty, too.
- The transcendent is awesome. There’s no obligation to show any particular religion, or even really religion at all. But superversive literature should show the glory and splendor of the wider universe around us, and it should leave us in awe of it.
- Family is good and important. Not every family, sure. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.
- Civilization is better than barbarism. This doesn’t mean barbarians are evil, or that they aren’t fun. But in the end, they’re… well, barbaric.
- Strength, courage, honor, beauty, truth, sacrifice, spirituality, and humility are virtues. This can be demonstrated by showing people breaking the virtues. But they must be recognized as virtues.
- There is hope. Superversive stories should never leave the reader feeling despair.
I think a number of my stories could be considered superversive, but not all of them. I think there is a great deal of power in tragedy as well as victory. I try not to let evil win in many of my stories, but not all of them.
Certainly, my heroes are flawed, but two of them focus on the strength of families in the face of adversity, and even my wee ghost story “The Apparition” illustrates the actions of a once reprehensible man who has come back from the dead to protect a child from the spirit’s past misdeeds.
You might even consider my longer fictional tale You Can Never Go Home, Especially If You’re A Vampire (I think) could be considered superversive. True, the protagonist Sean Becker is a vampire, but he’s also trying to hold onto his Christian faith (as mentioned in the bullet list, there’s a religious component to superversive writing) and finally say good-bye to the family he was forced to leave behind when he became one of the undead.
This is actually a series of stories following Sean’s “unlife” and his attempts to adjust to his new state of being while still remaining true to the person he was in life.
I have also created a series of stories for my eight-year-old grandson, starting with The Day A Dragon Came To Live With Us, I believe fits the bill. My grandson is sometimes my “co-writer” suggesting ideas since, after all, these stories are loosely based on his imaginary world.
The point is, I believe stories can be superversive without being overly sentimental, stereotypical, or overtly religious.
It’s a matter of believing in the good people can do, even if they’re not perfect people, and even if they’ve done bad things, such as my Grandpa character in “Finding Love Again”.
As I’ve said, not all of my stories can be considered superversive, because I don’t believe in locking myself in a box. Maybe those authors who are more dedicated to superversive writing would disagree that anything I write fits their definition.
On the other hand, in a divided and heavily pessimistic world, I think it’s important to emphasize the positive aspects of being human (even when some of my main characters aren’t human), not the negative. There are depressing and hope draining stories everywhere these days.
It’s time to tip the scales back to being supportive, nurturing, and courageous.