Thursday, March 23, 2017

Writing and Politics

For some time, I've been aware of the whole SJW vs Sad Puppies debate. Here's how the whole business seems to me.

First: it's artificial. If I understand the story right, the whole argument was started in the first place by one particular author to get his books on the Hugo ballot. Apparently it worked. I think that's disgusting.

Second: as with all artificial political polarization, neither side has a monopoly on trolls, bad behavior, or dumb ideas.

My take: As was said in War Games, the only way to win is not to play.

So I will go on as I have been going. I will include non-white characters in my stories because they fit in my stories, because their presence in the story implies background that might not otherwise be there, or because the character grabbed me by the throat and insisted. They do that sometimes. My characters may or may not be cisgendered for those same reasons. I will refrain from writing some demographics in worlds too close to the real because I do not feel I understand their cultural experience well enough to get it right. Disabilities are somewhat easier for me to imagine, so I will do my research and use as needed, or as the character demands.  I will write male or female characters, including as narrating characters, as I or they see fit. 

If you identify as a Sad Puppy or an SJW, and my work offends you?  Easy. Don't read it. It's ok to put it down.* There's more science fiction out there than could be read in one lifetime. No-one covers what you think is burningly important? Well, paper's cheap. Write your own. Set the world on fire, if you can, and I will cheer you on because you made it, even if your work's not my thing. I won't tell you what you should read or write. I ask only that same courtesy.


*Harlan Ellison has written stories where I hated everyone in the story, hated the narrative voice, and hated what was obviously about to happen. I still couldn't put the damn thing down, or forget it once I got to the end. I hope to have chops like that some day.

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