Autism Live Interview: Grady P. Brown

A few months ago, I was a guest on the Autism Live webcast Let’s Talk Autism With Shannon And Nancy, where I talked about my books and how I overcame the limitations of my condition. Enjoy!

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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: WATCHMEN

Written by Alan Moore, Watchmen invites readers into an alternate reality where superheroes exist.  Most of my life, I have known about the classical superhero who has a strong moral compass, but Watchmen introduces me to a new type of superhero that is morally ambiguous.  I enjoyed the character, Rorschach because he represented an individual who possessed zero tolerance of evil even in the face of Armageddon.  With Doctor Manhattan, I witness a person who wields unlimited power and immortality and as a result becomes detached to the mortals around him.  The villain is what I would categorize as a gray character because his intentions to unify the world were good, but the price he was willing to pay to make that happen was too high.  I enjoyed the complexities of his plan and the steps he took to make his goal a reality.  What this graphic novel shows its audience is that the world is not as black and white as most people think.  Instead, it consists of different shades of gray with individuals who are neither good nor evil, but in between.  I would recommend this graphic novel for anyone who is searching for an elaborate and intriguing story.

CONCEPT: CYBORGS

As a devout science fiction fanatic, I have always been fascinated by the idea of combining man with machine.  In many ways, cyborgs make me think of Kurzweil’s theory of transhumanism in which humans would eventually evolve into machines or transfer their consciousness into a computer system.  When I developed Cyber Shadow’s character, I wanted to create my own cybernetic character.  However, as advanced as this technology may sound, there are bound to be a few defects.  One example would be that the organic components of the cyborg would reject the robotic parts just as a metal plate can be rejected by a person’s body.  Another example is that there would be a chance that the cyborg’s only senses would be seeing and hearing while their remaining senses would be either gone or diluted.  A third example would be that the cyborg may not require food because they may not have either a mouth or digestive system, but would have the subconscious need to feed, which would result in constant hunger that they could never satisfy.  While depicting Cyber Shadow, I tried to illustrate on the psychological impact these defects can have on him.  In Cyber Shadow’s case, the only organic component in him is his brain, so when his brain is implanted into his robotic body, his brain suffers considerable mental strain as it struggles to adapt to its new physical conditioning.  Before he became a cyborg, Cyber Shadow was a sadistic school bully who was already mentally unstable and the defects of his cybernetics only exacerbates these traits.  With these flaws in his psyche, I drew inspiration for Cyber Shadow’s personality from the bullies who harassed me throughout middle and high school and the disturbed android Roy Batty from Blade Runner, who was also a product of the inevitable mistakes that human technology would generate.  Overall, whenever one is developing new technology, they should be cautious about the effects it would have on the people they are trying to sell it to otherwise the consequences would be disastrous.

CREATURE: HIGH ELVES

I have been a connoisseur of fantasy and fiction all my life and, as a result, I have grown fond of a number of mythological creatures.  Among them are high elves, which have been described as the fairest of all beings, which could be an indication of angels without wings.  In almost every sword and sorcery story, elves have been depicted as being wiser and more knowledgeable than other beings.  For the longest time, I have admired the inhuman beauty and wondrous power that elves possessed.  With such tremendous abilities and dashing good looks, I thought that elves would make the perfect superhero and so I applied that idea into my work when I created Tinisha Dolaira, making her a member of the superhero team known as the Young Guardians.  While developing the characters for my series, I wondered what would happen if a high elf, who has been born and raised in a world where magic reigns supreme, is taken out of their comfort zone and placed in twenty-first century Earth.  They would be morally wise with strong ideals, but would be inexperienced about how the modern world operates.  I wanted to depict how such a scenario would occur and how the elf in question would survive in such an unfamiliar environment.

SUPERPOWER: IMMORTALITY

Even though the Young Guardians each have their own set of unique abilities, I gave them one power that they have in common: immortality.  They are immortal in the sense that they will never physically age, never get sick, or die of natural causes, but they can still be killed if the physical trauma they sustain is great enough.  In other words, even though they will not physically age, their minds will continue to sharpen as the years go by.  With this power shared among them, they would truly be Young Guardians of society.  I gave the characters this power because I realized that most superheroes would inevitably wither and die, leaving the world vulnerable to the wrath of evil.  So with agelessness, the Young Guardians will be able to save the world for a good long while.

CHARACTER CREATION: TINISHA DOLAIRA

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Tinisha Dolaira is the female lead of my series and love interest of Patrick Donovan.  When I created her, I based aspects of her personality on my late grandmother, which include a compassionate heart, a sharp mind, and strong moral code.  In addition, I made Tinisha the same age as my grandmother when she passed away.  In terms of species, I made Tinisha one of my favorite of all mythological beings, a high elf.  However, to avoid cliches from other sword and sorcery stories, I placed Tinisha outside of her comfort zone when she is transported from her home world into twenty-first century Earth.  She is very afraid and curious about how the modern world works and often turns to Patrick Donovan for comfort and explanations.  While she is inexperienced about the modern world, she is morally wise and has strong ideals.  Due to her advanced age, Tinisha serves as the big sister or motherly figure of the team.  Because of the nature of their first encounter, Tinisha feels like watching over Patrick and his friends to be her responsibility.

BOOK REVIEW: ERAGON

Written by Christopher Paolini, I did not know what to expect when I first read Eragon, but when I did, I was in for a surprise.  This story is an elegant blend between Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, two of my favorite story franchises.  I also enjoyed how the author described the mythological creatures that are depicted in the story, specifically the dragons and elves, which are two of my favorite fantasy beings.  Eragon allowed me to see the spiritual side of dragons, making them appear more human and less like animals.  When the author described the elves, it was like he was trying to illustrate the appearance of angels without wings.  I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys sword and sorcery.