META/SW10: Mind Control (Re: Journey Into #17 (HCC44))

Scott Eiler seiler at
Sat May 10 18:27:12 PDT 2014

On 5/10/2014 3:49 PM, Tom Russell wrote:

> Body-snatching, as used here, and body-hijacking, as being used by
> FEVER in the pages of JOLT CITY, are identical in terms of results to
> "mind control", as the nominative owner of said body is not
> controlling what that body does. But that person isn't really there
> any more (in the case of the body-snatch) to be "controlled", or if
> they are (the FEVER hijacking), they're watching passively and unable
> to do anything about it because on a mechanical level their body is
> no longer responding to their brain. Which to me is deeply unsettling
> and violating.
> Whereas with "true" mind control, the person has his memories and
> personality, and thus the illusion of free will and agency.
> Brainwashing, experimental brain surgery, that doesn't bug me, but
> the whole Mesmero/Puppet Master/Lorelei thing does. Which might be
> more unsettling and more a violation than the body-hijacking or
> -snatching, but there you go. (I think what also bugs me about it is
> its use as a trope to absolve characters of responsibility for their
> actions.)
> So, like you said, a largely semantic difference. :-D

As an author of mind-controlling characters, I should probably weigh in 

I don't recall ever writing a story about body-snatching.  I figure mind 
control is mostly about planting thoughts and urges in someone's head, 
not about puppetry.  I think I'm in harmony with Tom on this one.

My original flagship character was Ellipsis.  His first superhuman power 
was telepathy combined with mind control.  He has always been willing to 
*read* minds, at least sparingly.  But even *that* is annoying to him. 
He doesn't particularly *like* other people, let alone their minds. 
When he exerts mind control, it's minimal but blunt.  Like putting a 
thought in someone's head, "I Need To Leave This Guy Alone."  In my 
stories Ellipsis is *suspected* of having mind control, but no one can 
prove it because he's also a mutant supergenius who can "read" and 
influence people even when telepathy is electronically suppressed. 
Besides, Ellipsis has the equivalent power of a nuclear bomb, so that's 
what most people worry about.

RACC knows of one of my other characters, Philippe St. Joseph Lateran. 
Mind control is all he has.  And he only has one thought to plant:  "I 
Am / He Is So Cool".  Once people think Lateran is So Cool, he can tell 
them to do anything.  Everyone whom Lateran is not personally 
controlling thinks he's pretty pitiful.

I have an alien species with mind control powers.  They are the Space 
Jellyfish.  I'm still kind of figuring them out.  But they're highly 
sociable and their thoughts sort of "bleed" naturally as part of a hive 
mind.  When their species first arrived on Earth, they used this ability 
to get some Earthlings to defend them.  They have since organized other 
species into hive minds with them.  This will be a major plot feature 
when I resume Powernaut 2005 comics.

(signed) Scott Eiler  8{D> -------- ---------

When you *are* the leader... whatever goes wrong... whether you did it
or not... *you* are held responsible. - Barack Obama

I know. - Archie Andrews

- from Archie #617, March 2011, scripted by Alex Simmons.

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