Ok, I confess, this is a contentious issue. Even I’m not 100% convinced because I can think of exceptions to my own rule. For example, the sentry guns in Aliens. In fact, most of the guns in Aliens (especially the Smartguns). Jesse Ventura’s character Blain in the movie Predator carried a M134 minigun; ‘old painless.’ Awesome weapon. The Predator’s shoulder mounted laser cannon is pretty cool too. Hey, who am I kidding? There’s lots of guns in movies that appear cool.
But, despite these fine examples, I still, deep down, think swords are cooler than guns. Why, I hear you ask? Simple, dear reader. It’s because swords are an elegant weapon that take skill and a great deal of dexterity to wield effectively. Anyone can turn a gun into a deadly weapon – simply pull the trigger. But a sword – no, not really. It requires a great deal of training to become an effective practitioner. True, the same can apply to the use of guns (think of snipers for instance) but do you need to be incredibly fit, strong and agile to be a sniper?
Take the samurai for instance. Most of them trained from a young age, living and dying by the sword and by their own code (bushido). The way of the warrior. To become truly great (like Miyamoto Musashi), in the use of daisho (long and short – katana and wakizashi) required years of intense dedication and training. Nothing less would suffice. I admire that, respect it.
That’s why I’ve always been drawn towards characters that used the sword. David Gemmel often had well-drawn characters that were highly trained swordsmen. Fritz Leiber used the Gray Mouser and Fafhred. In other media, particularly movies, I loved Blade. Think about the Kill Bill movies. Deadpool/Wade Wilson (last seen in the Wolverine movie) is an awesome character who I’m looking forward to seeing in his own franchise.
Anyway, the point of this blog is that I chose the main character in Rapture, Sam, to use swords for a reason. I just thought it was cooler and more elegant. Besides, if he used guns, what’s he going to do when he runs out of bullets (and he would – everyone knows that in post-apocalyptic societies, resource scarcity is a major problem)? I know what weapon I’d prefer to have in my belt when confronted by hordes of screaming demons.
phillip w. simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.