BearSleuth Opinion Piece: Why a Dumb Idea Can Still Make a Great Piece of Fiction


This week I bought Spider-Verse, another tie-in to the Marvel Secret Wars event going on this summer. I took it out and showed it to my house mates and was met with a chorus of groans. Indian Spiderman? Dumb. British Spiderman? Dumb. Spiderham? Freaking dumb. The idea of a superhero team made up of various alternate universe versions of Spiderman including one which is a talking pig version sounds pretty dumb on paper. But it works, it really works. The story plays with the idea of different Spidermen and Women dealing with adventures and genres that they aren’t used to, as well as exploring what it is to be a Spiderman/Woman.  

This got me thinking, Dumb ideas can make great stories. Take ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams. A man gets abducted and taken on a tour around the Galaxy where he meets a depressed robot, a space captain with two faces and an entirely bureaucratic race know as the ‘Vogons’. This sounds like a dumb idea but when told well and crafted into the sort of narrative that Adams became famous for it becomes a piece of classic fiction. This is important to remember when devising your own creative works, it is possible to take a good idea and make it great. In fact if you can take a talking tree and a cyborg raccoon then blend them with a space warrior, an entirely literally minded space barbarian and a pirate obsessed with music from the eighties you will be a god amoung men. And if you can’t you can always try thinking of an idea that isn’t dumb (but who’s got time for that).

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