I’ll Never Read This Way Again

So… Would you read a writer with whose political opinions you disagreed?

Right now, I see you staring at the screen, going “Woman, if I didn’t, I’d never read anyone at all.”

Right.

However, as you know my blog immediately pre and after the election earned me a spate of letters saying “I was one of your greatest fans, but I’ll never read you again, as long as I live.”  I know Larry Correia gets those now and then too – as does probably any other conservative/libertarian/to the right of Lenin writer who dares to express a political opinion.

Most of those are fake (of course.)  They are another example of the tolerance brigade’s “shut up, you’re ruining the choir” techniques.

And some them, I’m sure, are absolutely right.  I’m sure?  Yes.  One of my favorite authors – not naming her, but arguably the person who got me back into reading SF/F after I dropped out in the late seventies/early eighties; someone I used to order every book as soon as advance ordering was available; someone whose books I evangelized, to the point of buying them in French to send to my brother (who, curiously, loathed them) – has remained unpurchased for the last five years.  This is all the weirder, since her books are not normally overtly political, and the opinions she does express are in no way left much less extreme left.

I had never thought about why I didn’t buy her since then – I mean, I know the precipitating incident, but not why it made me flinch from buying her new books – until we were discussing this last Friday with friends we had over for dinner.  Even then I had to think about it for a while.

This author’s great appeal to me, was how sensible she was about the insanity we call for reasons of easy classification “the twentieth century” because, I guess “insanity with year markers” was too long and “The Crazy  Years” might not be over yet.  In fact her entire oeuvre, even when it didn’t touch on history, was marked by such a strong common sense that it was one of its appeals to me, in a field where, back in the nineties half the writers were writing about people needing nose filters to go outside within ten years.

The precipitating incident was her starting to bring her politics to conventions – in the form of buttons worn, of speeches given at panels, of conversations that made me realize not only had she completely bought into the left nonsense but she had bought into some of the crazier left nonsense, wholly unexamined.  I don’t mean that she was to the left of Lenin (though I think by now she is.  That stuff has its effect) but that she had bought into things that, on the face of it, made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and that she too – like all the other crazies – conflated libertarian with nazi.  (Vee shall take over und vee shall leev you RUTHLESSLY alone.  You have been warned!)

That she brought this stuff in where it had NO REASON TO BE was the shock.  It was like she thought it gave her gravitas, or made her sound intelligent, or something.

And that’s why I haven’t bought any of her other books.  I am very afraid to run into this lack of sense in a new book, and then go back and re-read the older books, and realize that what I’d taken for excellent good sense was merely the regurgitation of what she thought people wanted to hear.  Which would, in turn, make those books and my memory of reading those books, into embarrassing faux-pas of interpretation on my part.  Because of that, I haven’t re-read any of her older books, either, because, well… I’m afraid of discovering bad things I didn’t know were there.

In case you were curious, no, I won’t stop reading some writer because his wife happens to act like a asshat (in a way not out of keeping with her profession.) And in general I won’t stop reading some author because he said something that makes me go “ew” – not unless it is pushed in my face when I don’t expect it, and the utter lack of tact shows less than common sense.  (I DO think that the penalties for asshat-dom being so skewed in our field ARE a serious indication of trouble, though.)

But the “I have found this about you and I’ll never read you again” can be real.  Which is why if you can, as an author, you should keep off politics – and religion, and any other hot button —  as much as you can, as long as it doesn’t relate to your books.

Right now you’re scratching your head.  Yes, I am aware I came out of the political closet.  But look here, the reason I did it was that I could either do that or continue writing largely about nothing.  Or worse, continue trying to stealth, which amounted to living a lie and was starting to twist me in ways I didn’t like.

Okay, not about nothing, but the layers of stealthing in my earlier fantasies and SF almost make them hard to understand and often when people latch on the superficial meaning, it loses me readers forever (which is why the Magical British Empire is getting revised).  Here’s the thing: when you write about history, or the setup of modern society (did anyone notice my shifters are NOT on welfare?  And they work?  And pay for things?) or just about anything at all that touches on society, economics or history, you don’t have much place to hide: not when you’re one of the damned.

What do I mean by one of the damned?  Well, the filter of the publishing world – and the critical world – is very fine indeed when it comes to opinions they cast to the outer darkness.  That is in general any opinion not to the left of Lenin.

Trips for that “I don’t trust you” or “I’ll never read another of your books” include your woman being insufficiently “strong” or your having women murderers in your mysteries, or your writing about warfare as though it were, sometimes, necessary, or your having a character who smokes tobacco (!), or your having a character who raises a middle finger to ANY authority (I had a huge argument with both agent and publisher over the refinishing – Daring Finds – mysteries because my main character won’t OBEY her addled, ex-hippie parents.  No, I’m not joking.  She’s 31.  They think her lack of following their plans for her life makes her “unsympathetic.”) or, of course, having the Baen logo on the spine.  (This is known in the field as “Baen taint.” – pour that taint on me baby!)

As I said, I don’t think I ever stealthed well enough to get that boost the establishment can give you – well, for one, note the lack of exploited Latinas in my books (rolls eyes.) – and so though I sold well enough to continue being bought, I was never going to win any fervent readers.  I was never going to be on the shelves enough to sell decently, even.  On top of that, writing while trying not to offend anyone was like running a race with both legs in a sack.  If you can’t put your deepest convictions in your books, and you’re always self-censuring, then your books are going to read bland and blah.  I couldn’t keep it up, and things leaked out

By the time I’d written the three space operas, I figured my politics were out there, for anyone who wanted to know them.  If people willfully avoided them and kind of winked sideways at my other books, they could pretend not to know.

Going “political” on my blog might erase that effect – maybe.  Here’s the thing… if I’m going to write every day my blog too has to be about stuff I care about.  Which means I’m going to write about what last hit my funny nerve; the latest news that made me think; things that interest me and things that revolt me.

I have tons of non-political interests, but they’re not the sort most people want to read about: I love cryptozoology and tin-foil-hat stuff – the weirder the better – and I like cats; and I’m passionately interested in the craft of writing.  Enough there to write blogs about?  Sure.  But not everyday.  Sometimes the idea/problem in my head is political, at least by the new definition of “political” which means it pertains to living in modern society, paying your bills and sending your kids to school.

And, as I said, there’s no way to make my ideas acceptable.  I could stealth enough for the OLD Marxists, by staying off stuff like TANSTAAFL.  But there is no way to stealth for the new identity Marxists, who think that who you ARE is political and unless your identity fits the right box, you’re a traitor of some sort.

So I gave it up.  Did it hurt my sales?  I don’t know.  I won’t know for a while.  BUT it was the only way I could continue working.

I’m betting on at least half the population being as disgusted by the whole show as I am.  I could be wrong.  And a good portion of that half might have never read sf/f OR have given up on it long ago.

I simply didn’t have a choice anymore.  And to an extent, too, I think, yes, we need to start revealing ourselves so that our brothers and sisters in the left (or simply wanting to fit in) don’t become ever more extreme because they think that’s what everyone believes.  And so that people can read genre again, without fearing that it’s just a never-ending left-propaganda show.  And to break the sense of “everyone believes this” the establishment has tried so hard to foster and which affects our type of Odd most of all.  It’s a duty.  A post of duty.  You don’t quibble with duty.  At least, I don’t.

Still, I try not to ambush people with partisan politics.  I still think most of my posts are of a social and philosophical bend, not political – and I run a greater risk of putting people to sleep than of inciting their animus.

And anyone on my facebook who doesn’t wish to know my political opinions or my off beat philosophy can simply ignore my blog.  I wish most of them were that discrete in their politics.

I try not to offend people, but you can’t stop those looking for a reason to be offended.  And then you have to wonder how much difference there is between them and the “shut up” brigade.

But do I care about an author’s politics as such?  Not unless they rub them in my face.  And in fact, though I’m not stupid, and I’m aware his politics differ from mine, if someone told me that there was a great political blog by Terry Pratchett, I’d probably stay away with intent for fear of reading something that would destroy the pleasure I have in his stories.

In the end, after it all washes away, only the stories matter.  None of us could care less that Shakespeare was a despicable propagandist for the Tudor regime.  We care that his stories touched the core of humanity.

And for writers who can do that any political taint will wash off.*

*This writer makes no such claims, except to say that she’s working on it.  It’s the only thing worth working on.

News: Our very own Foxfier has delivered herself of The Baron, a bouncing 7 and a half pound baby boy, who is focused on the important things of life – right now, eating.  Keep mommy and baby and the rest of her young family in your thoughts, if you’re so inclined.

My very first published book, Ill Met By Moonlight, is free, right now on Amazon.  Also, my friend Ellie Ferguson has her romantic suspense book Wedding Bell Blues out for free as well.

If you tell me what promotions YOU are running in the comments, I’ll make a post this afternoon.  And now I shall go for enough caffeine to de-zombie-fy.

 

 

 

186 responses to “I’ll Never Read This Way Again

  1. Congratulations to Foxfier–
    My newest offering at Amazon– Urban Werewolf (contemporary fantasy) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CAY2PAM

    Also– my poetry at my blogspot http://scrambledsage.blogspot.com

  2. I know how you feel as a reader. If I only read authors who I agreed with politically, well, there’s about half of the Baen stable, and, erm… Have to think about it awhile. My response to folks like Scalzi has mostly been to stop reading their blogs. It takes things like publishing something like “Little Brother”, a poorly written polemic thinly disguised as an SF YA novel and then having it pushed incessantly with thinks like “get this for every young person you know, it’s important” to get me to take an author off of my list.

    • There’s definitely author blogs I don’t go to. If the politics and what-not I disagree with aren’t forced on me, I don’t seek it out.

      The two authors (off the top of my head) that I don’t read either started to put their politics into the novels or else were asses at SF conventions. (I so sort of wonder if who I’m thinking of and who Sarah is speaking of are the same person.) I named her on my blog but it really doesn’t matter who it is, only that when you’re sitting in the audience at a panel and the author starts being stupid, you’re constrained to sit (because walking out is rude) and you’re constrained not to respond (because interrupting the panel is very rude.) There’s a power-inequity that feels abusive.

      I suppose that the funny thing is that I never had read her books, though I bought a couple and got them signed, and now I won’t read her books BECAUSE I DON’T TRUST HER. It’s not some retaliatory thing, it’s not punishment.

      • That is my issue. If it were punishment, I’d buy them used and still read them. I’m afraid to read the new books, because I’m afraid they’ll taint the ones I enjoyed, and I’m afraid to read the old ones again for fear they’ll be tainted. If I’m angry at her again it’s for messing up the things I LOVED.

      • Daniel Neely

        You’re showing far more respect to the idiots than they deserve, or would show you if your roles were reversed. If a panel is offensive or boring I’ll leave; and if the people who were raising my blood pressure or trying to put me to sleep have a problem with it: It’s their problem not mine.

        While I generally do sit towards the back of the room if I’m skeptical about the panel subject or don’t know any of the panelists; sitting in the front row won’t hold me down if the panel sucks. I’ve also noticed from sitting in the back that most panels have a slow but steady trickle of people leaving and rejoining during the course of the hour, so walking out isn’t making as visible a statement as you seem to think it would.

        • Unfortunately I LEARNED to seat as far back as possible. I’ve had to leave friends’ panels because of “kid or friend emergency” and the looks in their eyes…

        • I’m on the staff now (which is another reason to be circumspect) but the problem is mostly solved for me because I don’t get to many panels.

        • I have sleep apnea, therefore I am rarely adequately slept — especially while attending a con. If a panel is boring I will fall asleep before deciding to walk out.

          I have sleep apnea, therefore I snore. I cannot claim to snore loudly because I only snore while I am asleep and thus must rely on indirect evidence. The local airport is about seven miles away and has, on occasion, called to complain that they can’t hear whether a jet’s engines are running properly and would somebody please wake me.

          Usually if somebody manages to say something offensive before putting me to sleep I try asking a pertinent question that makes clear the inherent contradictions of their actions and their views.

          • ahh so what do you say if someone nudges you awake? because the author’s pissed? I know what my answer would be “what are you complaining about? You bored me into unconsciousness. that’s your problem not mine.” Although being me I’d probably be a hell of a lot more blunt.

      • Synova | April 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm
        > only that when you’re sitting in the audience at a panel and the author starts being stupid, you’re constrained to sit (because walking out is rude) and you’re constrained not to respond (because interrupting the panel is very rude.)

        BULLSHIT.

        That is *exactly* the time you need to up-and-out. Despite what some folks think: Silence Is Acceptance.

        And I say this having u&o-ed on some well-known (in Lefticle circles) author at Corflu. (And since another Corflu is going to be here in Portland this coming weekend…. >:) )

    • As I think I mentioned once before, Scalzi’s essay on rape and abortion made me so incandescently FURIOUS that whenever I see his name on a book cover, I’m going to be reminded of that essay and want to throw the book across the room. Chance of my buying any of his books now? About zero. But it’s a pure gut-level, emotional reaction, not a decision I made consciously. There are other authors whose politics make me roll my eyes, but whose books I can still enjoy — but if an author’s name on the cover triggers intense disgust, I’m not going to get as far as opening the book.

      The only other SF authors I can think of that I rarely read any more are ones where I started noticing things in the novels themselves. For example, I used to enjoy McCaffrey’s books a lot as a teen. As an adult, though, I started to notice how very Mary Sue-ish most of her protagonists were, and I realized that I was no longer interested in wish-fulfilment fantasy. (And the scientific error I noticed in one of her books — Powers That Be, I think it was — didn’t help either. A character is suffering from vitamin D deficiency, and she calls it scurvy? Really, now? That one broke my suspension of disbelief HARD, and I think I just put the book down and didn’t finish it until months later.) But that’s got nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with “I don’t read her because I don’t enjoy her writing style.” Which is perfectly rational.

      • Oh, and congrats to Foxfier and her husband! (I missed the announcement in the post, so I had to read the comments to get it.)

      • Not directly related – George Carlin was a stand-up comedian – but I still watch his recorded shows/etc. Sure, he often gores MY pet oxen ( conservatives, military, etc….) but god knows he gored some others (environmentalists, feminists, self-esteem). And the guy could be funny.

        That said, it was sad watching one of his last HBO specials and realizing that despite his anti-BS schtick, he was so sadly cynical about symbolism/etc., and had descended to subscribing to utter, unalyzed, unchallenged bullshit that fit his biases. One example would be “George Bush was Stupid” to the extent of cracking illiterate jokes. He might intensely disagree with the president, and even hate how (he feels) the election was “stolen” – but the man was provably hardly illiterate or stupid.

        I don’t know what changed in the mans last ten years because up through the mid 90’s he was much more balanced and less prone to subscribe to utter unanalyzed BS.

        And it saddens, not angers me.

        • So was Chris Rock. And what you are seeing is simply what Sarah is talking about: everyone in any of the entertainment fields has been told that unless they are strictly orthodox, they will be ostracized: no work, no friends, nothing.

          And this removal of any vestige of tolerance or civility is spreading to every aspect of life. It cannot continue, and it won’t, and when it is stopped, it will be ugly.

      • There’s some necessary churn stemming from greater reading knowledge and more familiarity with the tropes. (I just finished a book where I deduced the villain because he had yet to be suspected, and went,”Hmm– closed casket funeral — I bet you Grandma will show up just fine.”)

        More so if you’re a writer and read stories to analyze them, because the analyzing imp refuses to go away when it’s time to read for pleasure.

    • It’s funny you mention Scalzi. I was working my way into his books, and enjoying them when he said something spectacularly stupid, and I don’t even remember what it was (could have been the rape thing, but I don’t think so), but I haven’t bought one of his books since. Maybe it’s the disgust reaction. I try not to take too seriously any writers’ political orientation but that one seems to have stuck. I can’t remember any others that I stopped reading because of something like that, but subconsciously I think I just left the entire genre.

      • I find this applies more in theatre (stage, movie or home), where a performer (director, writer) can become just too much and block my ability to suspend disbelief. I love baseball and adore the movie Bull Durham but Sarandon’s and Robbins have made their politics so much a part of their personas that I have to work too hard to see the character rather than the actor.

        I have similar issues with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, albeit for different reason.

  3. A hearty welcome to the new Fox Cub! Has he already been read his first book? 😉

  4. Yanno, I guess I might be politically tolerant. I only shitcan authors who rip me off. OSC is evidently now renting out his name for pocket change. He’s done. Scalzi was selling chapters in serial release, but #2 was too thin. He’s done.

  5. Congratulations to Foxfier and family for their new addition! As long as sane people keep having babies, we’re still fighting! May the new Fox kit live long and love life. And read science fiction, beginning with Heinlein.

    • Congratulations to Foxfier and the little one.

      Now we need pictures. 😉

      On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 11:42 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > ** > Mike Weatherford commented: “Congratulations to Foxfier and family for > their new addition! As long as sane people keep having babies, we’re still > fighting! May the new Fox kit live long and love life. And read science > fiction, beginning with Heinlein.” >

  6. “Still, I try not to ambush people with partisan politics. I still think most of my posts are of a social and philosophical bend, not political – and I run a greater risk of putting people to sleep than of inciting their animus.”

    Your blog posts are a dense read, but don’t put me to sleep. And the reward for understanding the blog itself, is getting to read your comments back to your readers, which is extremely lively.

    • Birthday girl

      This is exactly what attracted me to your blog, Sarah, and this blogmmunity … the free exchange of ideas, even ideas I don’t care for sometimes, but grownups having fun with thinking.

    • Well – I’m not sure if it would be a good thing or a bad thing if Sarah’s blog kept me awake nights….

      • None of Sarah’s have ever kept me up nights. Ringo’s post about Zombies, and scriptkiddies however gave me frelling nightmares and I LIKE zombie movies.

    • I think ive understood one maybe two posts. Although its A: been what two weeks. B) I am learning which is good. C I’m only mostly confused as opposed to all the confused.

      I dont even know what other authors politics I read. Is Baen a certain way then? I have read a lot of Baen sci fi. For a given value of a lot. Gonna start on Carnifex tonight. Saving some of the RAH for later. Might welll blog about it/recent thoughts.

      • Dorothy Grant

        Any house may have authors with a range of political beliefs, but Baen is the only house where they’re all out and proud, and the publisher doesn’t care if they’re far left, far right, far statist, or far libertarian as long as the story is good.

  7. There’s blogs I don’t go to. What I don’t like is being ambushed at a Con. I’d prefer to let books speak for themselves.

    I never did quite get the impulse to leave a “I’m leaving and never coming back” post, though. People do that everywhere, blogs, usenet, whatever. There seems to be a compulsion in some people to slam the door on their way out.

    • There’s an author whose pages I don’t read, though I enjoy most of his books (a few don’t thrill me, but they’re mostly in a couple of series he writes that just don’t satisfy me). He’s quite open to being on the left (small “L” – not insane, but on the wrong side of truth). It infests his blog, but not his books. Oh, well…

      • There are authors/bloggers whose published work I find informative and enjoyable, but whose blogs exude so strong a “no conservatives allowed” vibe that I don’t waste my time reading them as being “too much straw, not enough clay in those bricks they’re erecting.”

        When that seeps into their published work — when you know who the villain is as soon as he (always a “he”, enit?) is introduced because the author has dressed him with a “black hat” and and has him curling his mustache — the author’s books get dropped. They are no longer writing fiction, they are writing polemics and I don’t even like those when the author’s politics coincide with mine.

  8. Congratulations to the Fox carrier. I hope you get plenty of rest, I hear newborns are good for that.

    I don’t read many books. There’s a current exception of a certain madwoman from Portugal who currently lives in my hometown. Hopefully she’ll stop putting stuff out so I can finally get a full night’s sleep.

    I do a lot of reading online, mostly because the interactive element allows me to confront the idiots I come across and show them exactly where they’ve turned off their brains (and Synova, I don’t bother being polite because these barbarians are using civility against us). They may continue to believe foolish things, but the truth is where it needs to be. I think it’s because my Celtic heritage has given me an appreciation for whiskey and bagpipe music as well as an urge to, from time to time, strip naked, paint myself blue, light my hair on fire, and charge screaming at the enemy.

  9. I have never quit reading an author because of their politics, well not directly. If you write a diatribe that I find appalling I may quit reading you because you are an idiot who can’t write. Eric Flint is probably as close to diametrically opposed to me politically as anybody writing, I love his stuff, any message he sticks in is subtle. I agree with most of Col. Kratman’s opinions though not a strongly as he does, Can’t stand to read his fiction because of the politics. (note, I agree with what he says but his writing sends my BP spiking). It is funny that we now live in a country where 3 airheads with good voices can have their opinions held as important because of their fame, despite there not being enough sense between them for one normal person. And both sides are guilty, no other way to explain the “importance” paid to the opinions of low talent “celebrities”

    P.S. Congratulations on the latest kit Foxifier

    • I like both Kratman and Flint’s works although I like Kratman’s better. Eric I avoid reading in public because I confess to occasionally spending time yelling at the books, (his politics do come through, more subtly in some than in others) but he is a good enough writer to drag me through my irritation with the politics that slip through.

  10. One thing is that we extrapolate what we think reasonable for human nature. A Marxist who really believes that the colletive action problem will go away with the end of capitlalist is only going to write a readable book if he doesn’t have that in it. . . .

    Part of the problem is that you can see the ideology much more clearly behind the ficitonal veil once you’ve seen it clear.

  11. Congrats to the Foxfier den!

    As far as the politics thing — I’m a bit mystified as to how one can write, particularly historical fiction which is mah thang, without getting somewhat into the political mindset of the era. In the times I like to write in, people were still convinced there were three orders of mankind: those who pray, those who fight, and those who work, the latter class being of course exploitable in every conceivable way for the benefit of the other two. Leave that out of a medieval-set story and you risk dressing 21st century folk up in period costumes — they simply do not ring true.

    And as far as the political-buttons-at-cons: I’m guilty as charged. However, I don’t think it’s a heinous thing. I view it as a “this is who I am” sort of thing. One can’t get a sense of an acquaintance’s total person by way of his/her fiction. It should probably dig deeper than that, and I would guess for some, the political-slogan button worn on the tee shirt does exactly that.

    My favorite con button for myself: “raising teenagers is like trying to nail Jello to a tree.” I think that says more than enough about me.

    • It’s not someone saying “who I am” that bothers me. I know this is hard to explain because people often don’t expect someone to be self-aware enough to be honest about what is really bothering them. There are lots of authors at cons who say who they are, who I know are completely my opposite; religiously, politically, everything; who I enjoy immensely and have no hard feelings for. A couple I like very well indeed, or even feel like “she *gets* me.” Others, (and one in particular)… not so much.

      Because it’s one thing to get in a blog pile-on or something or to paint with a broad brush and fuss about “those stupid so-and-so’s” when you’re out for coffee with your posse, and another to reveal on a panel that you can’t be bothered to understand or be thoughtful about what motivates people who (for the sake of argument) are wrong.

      If someone gets up on a panel and instead of saying who she is “I like Obama” instead expresses that anyone who doesn’t like Obama is a brainless and hateful racist trying to destroy the country… or instead of “I’m an atheist” explains how brainless and hateful anti-science Christians are going to plunge us into no end of disease pandemics because they don’t like evolution… How do you trust that person to write a story where the make-believe characters in it who don’t agree with the author are portrayed with any depth?

      • Yes. This is exactly what I mean.

      • “If someone gets up on a panel and instead of saying who she is “I like Obama” instead expresses that anyone who doesn’t like Obama is a brainless and hateful racist trying to destroy the country… ” Yes, exactly! And why give that person money as a reward?

        Once helped start and chaired a Tea Party (Hi, Celia! {waves}). Once someone does the “tea-bagger (snicker)” joke, or opines that everyone knows that we’re all just racists, or such–that’s it, I’m done. No more of my money for them. Maybe I’d read a free book, or even a used paperback, but it’s unlikely. How is a “racist tea-bagger” like me supposed to enjoy it with their name on the cover?

      • So many people use “This is who I am” to implicitly declare that any behavior they want is justified by being part of their self-definition.

        • “This is who I am.”

          And yet, they wear clothing.

          • RES
            You’ve been to SF cons. BE GRATEFUL they wear clothing.

            True story — touring home of Charlie Brown, the owner of Locus, in CA. Someone noticed a hot tub on the back porch and said “Oooh. A hot tub.”

            Charlie, thoughtfully “Yeah. When I moved here we used to get naked and have all these parties. Then about twenty years ago, we looked at each and realized even we didn’t want to see ourselves naked anymore. It hasn’t been used since.”

            😛

            • I’d use a hot tub for soaking my arthritic bones, which will be covered in a bathing suit. Only my hubby would see me. I’d need his help to get in and out of the tub.

              I can’t see being in a hot tub nekkid. Splinters in unfortunate places.

            • Hmmm, I am under the impression that I have had accounts – second hand I assure you – of that hot tub from LASFA members of that era …

    • THAT is not partisan politics.

      Also, it’s not that hard. All you need is a barrel 😉

    • One reason — a major reason — for reading historical fiction is to get a proper flavour of the politics and the perspectives of the period depicted. I suspect few here would object to a novel accurately depicting the attitudes of the cavaliers and roundheads, for example. Many here would eagerly buy a novel set during the American Revolution that ably depicted the views of a John Dickinson or a Tory loyalist.

      What drives us batty as a belfry is an Elizabethan novel with a female protagonist whose politics are as enlightened as those of Rachel Maddow — and the society accepts and praises her for them (except the mean fundamentalist Christian husband her parents forced her to marry, a man who views his sexual gratification as his husbandly right and quotes scripture at her while raping her — graphically described.)

      Imposing contemporary politics on previous historical eras is rape of a different kind, but still manages to be wholly offensive.

      • Yes exactly. And same goes for the future society where all women are slaves and all men b*stards, and which wasn’t even created for carnal gratification (say what you will, John Normal had the advantage of being direct and fulfilling a need.) but to show young women what will happen if they don’t Continue Marching Shoulder To Shoulder against the evil oppressor.

        It seeds hatred between the sexes for no good reason and distorts the view of history for even less good reason. I’ve said it before: if aliens had come up with a scheme to stop the human race from reproducing, none better could be devised than modern feminism.

      • Oddly enough, I recently read a blog post and subsequent comments — from romance readers — that were complaining that in a historical setting, a heroine regarded it as a loathsome flaw in the non-heroic husband that he expected her to have sexual intercourse with him, instead of it being something she had after all undertaken when she agreed to marry. Given that the man always had plenty of other flaws, they agreed the writer should focus on those rather than the ahistorical one.

        • We have established that compulsive readers (aka, the book-buying public) will read cereal boxes in the absence of nothing better. Such ahistorical nonsense as you’ve just cited publishers providing proves the point. We will read badly written, badly researched, badly typeset drechlichkeit if the publishers refuse to provide better — but now our complaints can be made public.

  12. I just published a YA novel, Vulcan’s Kittens, and I’ll promote it today… http://cedarwrites.wordpress.com/my-stories/ It is a mythology mash-up, there is no sex in it, but horseback riding, and kittens, and goblins. I worte it for my daughters, and they are already begging for the sequel.

    I plan to take a short story free, but don’t know how long it will take to get there from execution on Amazon.

  13. Whee! A new little fox kit! O frabjous day!

  14. Congratulations to Foxfier, too! Babies are so much fun, and so tiring.

  15. At the margin an author’s politics might make a difference to me. If I liked, but didn’t love the author’s books, I might stop buying them if I didn’t like the author’s politics. I probably would be more critical of the author’s books as I read them if I don’t like the author.

    On the other hand, other than this blog and one other related one, I’ve never bothered to try and learn anything about any authors of fiction so it has very little effect on my reading habits. I would’ve suspected most readers couldn’t care less about the political life of authors of books they read and I have to admit to being surprised that Sarah has gotten so many emails from readers saying they won’t read any more or her books.

  16. My latest book’s promotion was earlier this month, but it is still inexpensive. And I’m pleased that if has been well-received in a manner an author appreciates: people have been buying it. It is “Well-Traveled Rhodes” and the link is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C90H65Q

  17. When I pick out a book I look for an interesting story. I don’t get wrapped up about what the author’s politics are. If the book is filled with political crap contrary to what I believe I doubt I’ll like the story and won’t buy the book.

    However, I do reserve the right to not buy books if I think the author is an ass. There was an author, SFWA officer, who went into a childish rant in the SFWA Suite at a Worldcon. The author was just plain wrong, but rant on he did. I have not, and will not ever buy one of his books. If someone gave me a free copy, I’d toss it in the trash. That’s how much of an ass I think this person is and I have no desire to spend my time reading his work.

    The other part of me allowing authors to have their opinions is that they have to allow me to have mine. If they rant on with their opinion, but won’t allow me to have my opinion, well they get classified into the “ass” category and I move on. There are too many good books out there that I haven’t read yet for me to lose sleep over not reading the works of someone I can’t respect.

    Keep on writing Sarah, and be true to yourself. You are not alone and I for one haven’t found you to be “preachy” in your work. You tell great stories with good characters. If someone reads too much into that, well they need more hobbies.

    Alan

  18. I can’t think of any author I’ve quit reading because of their politics. There are some I’ve quit because of quality control problems, and a few that I just couldn’t get into their style. Maybe it comes from grad school, where you had to read the stuff, especially if you disagreed with the thesis.

  19. Hrm…. I guess my policy on these matters is best described as “inconsistent.”

    Any author who’s done the dirty to somebody I know (and not just a snub or stupid party behavior), I’m not going to buy, although there are a few people I know are known to me as jerks who are still on my buylist. (Not gonna ask them to sign, though.) And I am prone to buy books by people I like, even if I don’t like the books, as least for the first few books.

    Some sf writers are nice at cons but have deeply disturbing, even offensive books, and I never know how to deal with that; are they just having fun with their ids or what? The one guy I’m thinking of, I think he just liked writing male fantasy power trips that made no freakin’ sense; but in fandom, he was a perfect gentleman and nobody had a bad word for him. (And to be fair, the power trips sold good, and all his unpublished sweet romances from zines didn’t.)

    There are a few people who have come out with such horrifying political opinions or tasteless comments that I just can’t respect their writing anymore, and there are some people who build total crup into their books such that they are unreadable. OTOH, I am perfectly willing to buy good stories from people whose political views are stupid but not shoved in my face at all times and throughout the book.

    I did actually and recently stop reading a book for feminist reasons, though. It was by an allegedly feminist writer who’d put her grrlpower heroine into the position of being an exotic dancer for a living, for no particular good reason, and without much realism about the consequences, when I happened to know that the author knew a fair amount about such a life not being a good one. I put the book down with great force. (Yep, getting realllll tired of “urban fantasy.”)

    • Some sf writers are nice at cons but have deeply disturbing, even offensive books, and I never know how to deal with that; are they just having fun with their ids or what?

      Not impossible. Some of the smut I write is, well, smutty and/or calculated to be both hot and disturbing, because I love it when people go, “Beth! You are so evil and disturbing! We are in awe!” (Happened in a high school writing exercise, really. I’d been writing heros, unicorns, that sort of thing, and we were doing a “write for X time, then hand to someone else,” and after the first one got kind of twisted ’round by the Class Punk… Okay, I wrote the villain. And the teacher said, “BETH? YOU wrote THIS?” And the ability to break people’s minds was just so addictive!)

  20. Not sure who to blame. In part it was my grandad growing up under soviet communism, and digging through the histories of what they preached and how they whipped up the crowds (Road to Damascus (Linda Evans/Ringo was chilling in how well it echoed that…). In part it was my stint trying to figure out many of the Progs around me when I had many that were friends, and imbibing of the cool aid to see if it made sense – and thus learning to see message in EVERYTHING (because it either has the right message or an EEEEVIL message, y’know), and in part my own attempts at writing or extensively listening to Howard and Brandon at “Writing Excuses” for fun and time spent analyzing movies.

    Either way, the underlying assumptions and messages jump out at me far too clearly far too often now.

  21. There are a couple I’ve stopped buying for semi-political reasons. Mostly, though, it was that the series they were writing had gotten stale and then I caught a rant about something so insanely stupid that I just had to stop. I’ve had to look for new stuff to read (shape-shifting dinosaurs? cool!) and I’ve caught up on my classics reading list. I’ve also been a bit more out there with my writing. I’m kinda sick of the ‘standard’ Urban Fantasy schtick so I’m gonna write something I want to read and my politics are gonna show up in it. Not front and center but they’ll be there.

  22. I was discussing this last week also, explaining the Tsarnaev poem stupidity with my wife and one of her friends. I don’t look for reasons to be offended by authors, outside of their work, although sometimes they go out of their way. Charles Stress ruined his Clan Corporate series for me by injecting a ludicrously stupid Dick Cheney character in it indiscriminately tossing nuclear weapons around (I had chosen to ignore the cover blurb by the fatuous Paul Krugman. Never again.

    • Michael Brazier

      Yes, the Merchant Princes books – though it was the ludicrous Donald Rumsfeld analog in book 6 that did the series in for me; the Cheney analog made some sense as a character, as long as you forgot who he was supposed to be. I rather think, though, that the series was broken for reasons other than the political. When the main protagonist of the first two books spends nearly all of the next four completely deprived of agency or importance, you’ve got to wonder why Stross introduced the main protagonist at all …

    • Rob Crawford

      Heh. I have the pettiest reason for not reading Stross I can imagine.

  23. The only reason I stop reading a writer is if the writer interjects political comments into prefaces, forewords and other places such things don’t belong. I used to subscribe to both Nature and Science, but when Bush Derangement Syndrome comments started appearing in science articles, I stopped both subscriptions. I didn’t mind such things in editorials, but not articles. I’ve heard of such things in concerts, plays and the like as well.

    Nor do I read “squishy” leftist work. I lived for a year in Berlin Germany while the wall was still there, and I occasionally took the street cars (run by East Germany). Anyone who has lived behind the iron curtain has a visceral reaction to it (not counting the useless idiots).

  24. I don’t do the whole “I hate your politics; I hate you.” thing. My alpha reader– a dear friend — is a raging loony California born and bred liberal. Feminist, even. And I’m writing about a character (whom she loves, BTW) who is at least accused of being a created sex object, though she actually isn’t. It’s a deliberate subversion of the feminist myth. And Alpha is in on the joke. And helping me refine it.

    I don’t quite get where Elizabeth Moon is coming from — especially not after having read The Deed of Paksenarrion et al and deeply appreciating the moral(s) of the story. I guess… let it be a lesson in the complexities of the human heart. HOWEVER… I am eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in MMPB. And I suspect the — ahem — beyotches up in Madison are about two blocks short of a Jenga tower anyway. (And those near the bottom.) (Think about it.)

    As I see it, it’s all about the details. For example. Sarah makes the distinction about partisan politics. I think that’s an important one. Except for the time that Jack Chalker ranted at me that “People like you” (libertarians) were responsible for the deaths of millions of people and then wouldn’t provide context or reference, instead leaning on his credentials as a history teacher, I haven’t really had a problem interacting with liberals when I was cloaked, because I was able to turn their “we’re all about the same things” canard back on them.

    What? Are you against ordered liberty? You’re saying that there are no goods the state can provide a free society? You’re saying that the purpose of government is not the defense of the rights of the people?

    Of course, when I go off on a rant that collectivism is objectively evil (turning another of the Left’s shibboleths back on it, but a bit more subtly), that’s another thing altogether.

    But I don’t generally promote or defend a particular party. Certainly not Republicans, who I think need to join communists on Reagan’s Ash Heap. And I don’t have a problem with authors’ expressing political opinions. I just refuse to contribute to the campaigns of enemy political parties, not that that’s usually a problem. I do, however, reserve the right to eviscerate their idiocies. Not that they’ll either know or care.

    All due congrats to the Foxfier clan. Be thankful that wasn’t the usual fox litter, but only one cub. That’s plenty.

    M

  25. Ideally I’ll be imbibing the work, not the author, but it doesn’t always happen that way in practice.

    If I have the feeling that a conversation with the author would be time well spent regardless of disagreement, a political disagreement won’t affect my reading decision. To some extent it works the other way too. When my point of view is advocated in a lame embarrassing way, I’m inclined to distance myself.

    • Niven’s Law: “There is a technical, literary term for those who mistake the opinions and beliefs of characters in a novel for those of the author. The term is ‘idiot’.”

      There should be a corollary for authors who use the characters in their novels to express their personal opinions and beliefs.

      • There is. The term is “bad”.

        • And that is why, even though I agree with a lot of Ayn Rand’s opinions (though certainly not with all of them, but that subject would take WAY too long to go into), I’ve never felt any desire to read Atlas Shrugged. Because by all reports I’ve heard, both from people who hated Rand’s opinions and people who loved her opinions, the characters in Atlas are paper-thin cutouts (not even the thickness of cardboard) whose sole purpose is to serve as mouthpieces for Rand’s views. In other words, it’s a political treatise disguised as a novel — and while I’m fine with reading political treatises when they present themselves as such, when I pick up a novel, I’m looking for a story, not a political treatise.

  26. Probably Pratchett is far more to the left than I am, but (with the exception of possibly some things he tossed into “Snuff” and the one before it) I find his Discworld stuff isn’t inconsistent with my own beliefs. Most of his stories involve individuals taking up responsibility and getting something done, and who is more laissez-faire than Vetinari? If he suddenly became virulently libertarian, he’d not have to edit his stories much.

  27. Yay! A baby.

    Sends significant glance to my children. They flee the room. But congrats Foxfire.

  28. As for politics, if I know too much about an author’s politics,then I become a bit suspicious, and keep expecting the sucker punch in their writing.

  29. I read very indiscriminately when younger, including lots of leftist stuff. Fortunately, it didn’t take, and Heinlein’s sort of stuff did. Now, if I find that a book is tiresomely leftist, I may not finish it. That is fairly rare though, as I either read Baen books, or whatever is in the local library. Baen is reliable.
    A plug for my own book, new on Amazon this month. ‘Iron Magic’
    is an SF/Fantasy blend. It’s the first book I wrote that I thought was good enough to flog to publishers. I was absolutely thrilled when Baen emailed me to say they were taking a second look at it. They eventually turned it down, but how often does any unknown author’s unsolicited manuscript get plucked from the slush pile?
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C8E9692

  30. Tom Bridgeland

    Oops, didn’t mean to take up bandwidth with the cover pic! Any way to edit that out? I don’t see an option to edit posts.

  31. Dorothy Grant

    Have you ever had someone point out something, offhandedly, about a book or series that completely ruined it for you? (and they didn’t even mean to?) The human brain is excellent at pattern matching, and once you see a pattern, it’s almost impossible to unsee it.

    I used to really enjoy one science fiction author, until a friend (coincidentally, the one who introduced me to him in the first place) mentioned “I can’t read him anymore; not since I realized all his books are six-month compilations of slashdot articles.”

    The next time I picked up a book of his, I could see it. All of the dazzling brilliance of ideas and worldbuilding was gone, replaced by “Oh, yeah, I remember when they were doing the run on that… Hey! There’s the meme that was really popular then, twisted a bit and snuck on in!” ..and without that, the plot and character weren’t enough to hold my attention, while his politics went from ignored background noise to annoying.

    When the pattern overwhelms plot and character, be it political or merely predictable, I stop reading.

    • Dorothy Grant

      And congratulations and wishes for at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep to Foxfier!

      Some of us create short stories – you went and created a whole ‘nother human life story!

    • “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”

      Someone pointed out that those who walk away are perfectly useless. They have kept their pretty little hands clean without benefiting the child.

      • I knew there was a reason that story bugged me. It’s 100% no-win. Free the child, and everyone else’s life goes to pieces. Walk away, and you walk away from suffering. Hang around, and you’re benefiting from suffering.

        And it’s a situation that ought not to be no-win…

        • It’s a sad result of the author buying into finite-pie economics. I like her Left Hand Of Darkness, or did when I first read it (the structure doesn’t hold up well thirty years later) and I loved the first three of Tombs, but the rest? Blech.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Ringo said, IIRC, something about coming back with an army.

          My initial reaction, kill the kid, to spite the society. Those sorts of societies need killin’ on general principles. Then kill as many as possible before they kill you to put a stop to things. That said, I was not inclined to think well of the society at least from the point they mentioned temple prostitution.

          I had a poor opinion of temple prostitution as a result of my own values. I think I had also read portions of the Old Testament by then.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Freeing the kid, thereby making the rest suffer, is not a no win situation. While she doesn’t explicitly describe the mechanism, it seems functionally identical to a deal with the devil. The temple prostitute bit may be a Biblical reference, to help set the tone, or it may simply be Hippy stuff. By agreeing to things, one way or another, the coming of age right amount to signing off on the thing, an evil act in of itself. As such, I think there are legitimate grounds for causing them to suffer, if it works as a punishment.

  32. Happy birthday to The Baron!

    There are a few authors that I read with trepidation. I like their worlds too much to want to give up on them and in most/all of their works, their politics aren’t there or are still balanced with voices from “the other side” who are commendable enough that it works. But every once in awhile… 😡

    I’m looking forward to a world where authors can just write without having to make sure their works screech party line.

  33. William O. B'Livion

    I like Ian M. Banks work, regardless of the fact that he’s rather far to the left–I do note that in his Culture books he’s basically invented the world it is conceivable that socialism could work–they have cheap energy, machines to do all the “real” work and are able to significantly re-engineer humans. Since those are basically the 3 conditions necessary for socialism to function well, it doesn’t bother me (it also doesn’t really come up in the stories).

    I stopped reading Stross’s books when the next one in the series started getting really bad reviews concerning his depiction of Christians. I’m not one, but I’ve got a lot of family and friends who are, and I’m afraid that if I read the book I’ll get so pissed off that should I every find myself on that isle I’ll hunt him down and show him some things the that would make him wish for Case Green Nightmare. Probably a bit unfair of me, but f* it, there’s enough in the world to get pissed at.

  34. Alright, if the picture doesn’t work then here’s his post…..

  35. “So… Would you read a writer with whose political opinions you disagreed?
    Right now, I see you staring at the screen, going “Woman, if I didn’t, I’d never read anyone at all.”

    I wouldn’t answer the question that way, I’d answer it the following way
    “Well;; duhhhhhhh of course I do.” I’ll give two examples, and relatively well known ones at that.
    Eric Flint? very much disagree with his politics, but do enjoy his writing. John Scalzi’s politics make me wanna kick his teeth in…but I do enjoy some of his books, not all mind you but some of them.

  36. Turning it around, there are some authors I’ve STARTED reading because of their politics. Larry Correia for example.

    I tried reading the free sample Scalzi’s Redshirts, and this was before I knew anything about him, and it just seemed too derivative, like clever fan-fiction.

    • There’s this latino immigrant lady who’s a total geek that I’ve stared reading, and am trying to get my sister and mom hooked on, too…..

      • (Seriously, the Daring Finds or whatever the furniture books are grouped under may as well be aimed at my sister’s heart.)

        • Belated congrats, Foxfier and your Todfox both! May your kit be sweet, smart, and sleep well.

        • They’re my most girlie books. I’m still fighting the house to the death for books one and three. Okay, not to the death but to the pain. Next up — in which my husband, a real live mathematician, points out the impossibility of their statements.

          • Just ask..I’ll go all UGLY Wolf on them again. They really didn’t like it when I went from that incompetent twit of an editor, straight up the chain to the CEO and insinuated they should both perhaps be seeking jobs more in line with their skills…cleaning toilets and mopping floors…

      • > There’s this latino immigrant lady who’s a total geek

        Yes, but is she a WISE Latina? 😉

    • I tried reading the free sample Scalzi’s Redshirts, and this was before I knew anything about him, and it just seemed too derivative, like clever fan-fiction.

      I tried it from the library. Got one chapter and I think three paragraphs in, and… it struck me as just NASTY. Mean-spirited. A really long version of folks being snide while watching TOS, but without as much love coming out.

      • I liked his Old Man’s War series, actually liked the sequels better than the first one. (I only read the first three books) I have never read anything else of his, by everything I have heard those are not only his best books, but also those in a genre I would prefer over his others. I won’t say I wouldn’t read anything else he wrote, but he is in my personal opinion (note I have never met him in person, and sometimes people come across totally different in meatspace) a despicable human being, so I have never put any effort into looking for more of his books.

        • You didn’t read Zoe’s Tale? Which is the story told from Perry’s adopted daughter’s perspective and covers EXACTLY what went on, when she went with her alien bodyguards/escort?

          • No, it sounded good, but wasn’t out yet at the time I read the others and I never got around to picking it up later.

    • The codas at the end ruined it for me. Too much self-congratulation in writing the first coda in first person, second coda in second, and third coda in third without adding anything to the story. The editors should have smacked him for that, IMO.

    • I’ve heard enough people say Redshirts was lacking that I didn’t bother. I do love his Old Man’s War series though.

  37. I’m not running a promotion, but I continue working hard on my two part politically incorrect science fiction series about anarchists, libertarians, Catholics and Mormons staging an anti-authoritarian revolution.

    http://morlockpublishing.com/the-book

    Or, to recast it as a promotion, I deliver a free chapter on the blog

    http://morlockpublishing.com/

    with some regularity.

  38. I have been apparently reading books form authors who hold opinions I don’t agree with for a long time. If they get to blantly polotical i ususally ignore them.

    • I have no idea what most writers’ politics are, and the only time I’ve ever actually gotten rid of books was when Stephen King made his ‘learn to read or you’ll end up in the army’ statement. but I’d stopped buying his books after I read the end of The Dark Tower and thought, ‘I waited twenty years for THIS?’ so it wasn’t too difficult a decision to make.

      • Scott, I kinda enjoyed King’s books somewhat when I was working at a major bookstore chain. the ones I really liked were the Dark Tower books and after a while I A. got tired of waiting for the next ones in the series and B…got bored with them.

  39. There’s been a couple of authors that I got into while they were still up and comers that I was a huge fan of, led cheers for, followed their blogs and their books and bought their stuff…
    And now I just don’t have the enthusiasm for them any more. The reason this (and “Rats in Their Heads”) hit me so hard is that I see what happens when I disagree.

    One of those authors (and it’s a darn shame) just bought into the whole “Rats” premise by putting something on Facebook about how shameful it was that some blogger’s top ten list for the year had a distinct lack of gender-equality.

    And the other… well… kind of wound up making me the object of an hour-long rant on their podcast regarding “things not to do online regarding sharing your political opinions.” (THAT was a treat, let me tell you.)

    Which, again, is a darn shame. I love these people as individuals, and have regarded them as caring, compassionate people. And it just bewilders me to no end to see them turn into… I don’t even know what. And it’s totally turned me off of their books.

    • I PROMISE even if aliens attack, I WILL NOT make you the subject of an hour long podcast. Even if I start making podcasts. For one, your name would sound REALLY funny in my accent. 😛

    • Zachary, *grin* one of the ones that entertained me the most was the complete meltdown on Amazon in the reviews and comments of a romance author. she didn’t like it when a reader basically told her the book sucked and proceeded to rant and rave and say nasty things, blaming the readers, the publisher, her editor and then other people found it and added their two cents and things just went completely to hell. *evil grin* She was saying nasty things and making threatening comments to everyone involved and then saying that she was going to call the FBI on commenters for threatening her, which they never did. It was spectacular. she went through and deleted all her comments about 72hhrs and over 30 pages of comments into it. Many of us cut and pasted to our blogs though. I got a plagarism complaint from the owners of the website that runs one of my two blogs, early last year. Yes the senile stupid twit was busily still 2yrs later, erasing evidence of her gross stupidity. I sent a nasty gram to the bloghost company stating that “I didn’t see how it could be plagarism when it was cut and pasted and gave full credit to the stupid twat by name for the entertainment her meltdown provided and happened in full public view on an international fracking website in the first place” and deleted the post. should have cut and pasted it to my facebook page and my other blog which is strictly for politics, before deleting it. sigh…oh well.

  40. Generally, I don’t like the idea of someone simply writing off an author, or other form of entertainer, over political disagreement, though there are thresholds. If someone goes well out of their way, especially to the point of making a spectacle out of themselves, for the purpose of telling you how how much they loath you or someone you sympathize with, I can understand you not wanting to buy their works or how you could find that person’s sentiment too distracting to enjoy their works.

    If I overheard someone I knew as being a big Second Amendment supporter say he didn’t want go see a movie because one of the actors, when asked during an interview, said he supported gun control, I’d probably roll my eyes. But if the same person said he didn’t want to see the next Jim Carey movie, I’d understand. The aforementioned Stephen King statement about telling kids to learn to read or they’ll end up in the military is another good example. It’s one thing to not want to read someone because of his or her beliefs, and another to not want to read the works of someone who hates you and desperately wants you and everyone else to know it.

    Congratulations to Foxfier. Since you appear to be an anime fan, I foresee one of those fury little hats with animal ears in your son’s near future.

    • My icon is actually a BESM character drawn by my then-GM, who later became my boyfriend, and later my husband. Part of why I started dating him is because the way he taught me the game was the same way he taught the other new guy in the group!

      • For those who played BESM: she’s a gunbunny werefox half-Japanese school girl. The other members of the party were a ninja with a demon in his gut, a paladin who was Lawful Stupid, a Gnoll samurai, a half-elf whose idiot ancestor dedicated the firstborn of each generation into becoming a male ripoff of Zelgadis from Slayers (SHE was not impressed with his phrasing of it as a MALE warrior) and a steel-wool sheep that was previously a fighter, and a guy I can’t remember who had a bag of holding that he’d pull utterly random stuff out of. Including a giant spatula for fighting. Oh, and a wizard whose battle tactics consisted of casting web and following it with fireball…when we’re all meleeing. (since mine consisted of yelling “get down” one round before I shot, it’s anime-zing that nobody died.)

        Nearly died laughing…..

        • That truly does sound anime-zing! I’ve never played BESM, but that sounds awesome. I can appreciate such outlets for creative insanity. The closest thing I’ve got to that is the used copy of the Sims 2 I got a while back. In one house, thanks to some mods, I’ve got Captain Jean Luc Picard and Han Solo living as roommates. Picard chose the thankless career of pickpocketing as his vocation and spends his free-time DJing. Han Solo, a freeloading womanizer, spends his free-time cruising in his car which is little more than a toilet, bathtub, and a set of wheels somehow all fused together. Once I get their music skill up, they’ll form a band. Picard will be on guitar, since there is no option for his little flute, and Solo will play the stand-up bass. All they need now is a drummer.

          One candidate for the drummer slot is their neighbor, a lonely hospital manager and vampire with an inviting swimming pool in her front yard. Everyone is welcome to take a dip, but, if you want to leave the pool, your only way out is a path leading to her Maze of Fire(TM), which is a large arrangement of pyrotechnic displays, that have a nasty habit of setting nearby items or people on fire, filling up her backyard and was built at the exact same time, coincidentally, when people in the town started disappearing.

          If only someone made mods allowing for fully-armed gnoll samurai, then I would be in Sim heaven.

        • That truly does sound anime-zing! I’ve never played BESM, but that sounds awesome. I can appreciate such outlets for creative insanity. The closest thing I’ve got to that is the used copy of the Sims 2 I got a while back. In one house, thanks to some mods, I’ve got Captain Jean Luc Picard and Han Solo living as roommates. Picard chose the thankless career of pickpocketing as his vocation and spends his free-time DJing. Han Solo, a freeloading womanizer, spends his free-time cruising in his car which is little more than a toilet, bathtub, and a set of wheels somehow all fused together. Once I get their music skill up, they’ll form a band. Picard will be on guitar, since there is no option for his little flute, and Solo will play the stand-up bass. All they need now is a drummer.

          One candidate for the drummer slot is their neighbor, a lonely hospital manager and vampire with an inviting swimming pool in her front yard. Everyone is welcome to take a dip, but, if you want to leave the pool, your only way out is a path leading to her Maze of Fire(TM), which is a large arrangement of pyrotechnic displays, that have a nasty habit of setting nearby items or people on fire, filling up her backyard and was built at the exact same time, coincidentally, when people in the town started disappearing.

          If only someone made mods allowing for fully-armed gnoll samurai, then I would be in Sim heaven.

          • Probably a good thing I haven’t gotten into the Sims yet, it sounds like I’d get hooked.

            • It actually is pretty addicting for a few hours or days at a time, in short bursts, but eventually I start running into the limitations of the game or it starts to feel monotonous and I stop playing for weeks or months, until I decide play again. At least that’s the way it is for me. Since I try to turn the game into bizzaro land, I generally have a lot of fun until the game won’t let me do the crazy things I want the sims to do. Others who play the game more as a life-simulator might enjoy playing it in a more consistent manner.

              Also, I made some of the stuff sound more interesting than it is. When I said Picard was a pickpocket, you don’t actually get to see Captain Jean Luc Picard lurking behind people and sneaking off with their wallets. (That would be awesome.) He just drives off to work, like a normal job, for a few hours and comes back after his shift is over. I think in the Sims 3 you might have more interaction with careers, but I’m not sure. Now that I think about it, I might have to look into the Sims 3 to verify this. It would amuse me to watch the crew of the starship Enterprise burglarize people’s homes so they can trade in their loot to buy an enormous hookah (Which in the sims games actually exist, but they are censored by being turned into these bubble blowing things.). The main problem with the Sims 3 is that it costs a gazillion dollars when you start adding the costs of all the expansion packs. A lot more than I want to spend on it, just to dink around with it every now and then, especially when the older games are super cheap used.

      • That guy sounds like a real keeper (which you obviously got). My daughter and I have been playing D&D for a couple of years, and I finally got through to her what a paladin is by showing her Adventure Time episodes.

        “Heck yeah. I’ll kill anything evil. That’s kind of my thing.”
        (Slays horrible beast. Test giver then responds…)
        “FOR YOUR FINAL FINAL TEST – SLAY THIS ANT!”
        “Is it an evil ant?”
        “Well, no… but it’s not good either… it’s neutral. Now, SLAY THIS UNAFFILIATED ANT!”
        “NEVER!”

        • For more references, there is Order of the Stick — though it takes a bit to get to the good paladins, and the first one can only serve as a terrible warning.

          There is also Rusty & Co where Madeline the Paladin is really, really, really cool. Dumb as toast, but really cool. (What else can you say of a woman who was tricked into thinking that first a hoe and then a shovel were magical weapons — and can really kick butt with them?)

  41. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    How do you define Political?

    Seriously. I piss people off regularly, and I know I do, because I’ll quite often argue all three sides in an argument, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The more mistakes you make, and the quicker you make them, the faster you learn.

    There’s nothing wrong with having beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with writing to your beliefs. If fact if you don’t, you are an idiot. There’s nothing wrong with “advertising” things that you want people to know about, which is why I often drop in bits and pieces into the background. People may or may not notice, but they are there.

    The average reader wants to be entertained, not lectured to. A lot of writers make the mistake of lecturing. Ayn Rand is an example of a lecturer.

    Bob Heinlein is an example of a writer who got it right, as is H. Beam Piper. Both were entertaining, and managed to teach without lecturing. There’s some absolutely fascinating historical stuff in Piper for example, that most people miss, in part because the references have changed since his time.

    Wayne

  42. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    OK. I’m going to tell an allegory. My apologies if this is a bit long, but what Sarah wrote resonated, but maybe not in the way she expected 🙂

    I’ve always had a mind which had a tendency to come at problems sideways. That’s what it did here.

    For the purposes of this allegory Human Society is roughly divided into two classes of people:

    1) Influencers – those who have ideas and scatter them to the winds
    2) Normals – those who receive the ideas

    There is some transfer between the groups of course. Some Influencers give up and become Normals. Some Normals aspire to better things and become Influencers, much like many of the early Science Fiction writers were drawn from the ranks of the fans who took part in the letter columns of the magazines.

    Both classes of people are blind, because their eyes have been glued shut by the Gods, who think this is a hilarious joke.

    All of the population of Earth is in one enormous room that stretches off to infinity. All of the dead are in another room, which contiguous in space, but in another dimension which is only a tiny distance away.

    The Normals are standing passively. They are bling. Every once in a while a piece of paper blows into them. They grab it, and feed it into a badly designed optical character recognition scanner which then reads out what the piece of paper says to them through an earbud.

    Because the system is badly designed, they often do not really understand what the piece of paper says. Even worse, sometimes the piece of paper they get is partly in languages they don’t understand mixed with languages they do understand. This causes confusion.

    They tell their friends and relatives who are standing close to them. It gets passed along by word of mouth, with the attendent accuracy problems.

    Meanwhile the Influencers, which is to say writers, singer/songwriters, etc. are standing around a bunch of beasts, which they believe to be one beast. They are attempting to determine what the beast is, but they are suffering a great deal of confusion. Since they are standing around 1,000,000 beasts, both real and phantasmagorical the results they are shouting out at each other make no sense. To make things even worse, some are bare handed, some are wearing thin gloves, some are wearing hockey gloves, or baseball mits, or astronaut gauntlets, or just about every conceivable type of hand wear. Also some aren’t using their hands, they are using their tongues, feet, buttocks, breasts, thighs, or other body parts to feel the beasts, in their attempt to understand what they face.

    As they investigate, each Influencer extrudes sheets of paper which blow away among the normals. How much paper, and how many sheets is determined by their popularity, which is often determined by luck rather than skill.

    An added form of confusion is provided by the Gods. Loki and the other tricksters are guiding Influencers from beast to beast, so that an Influencer can be feeling the snout of an elephant, and then the tail of a dragon, and not realize that he/she is feeling a different beast. Odin is really pissed at this, and is trying to head Loki off, but he’s being stopped by Frigg, who is upset that Odin isn’t paying enough attention to her. All of the other pantheons are there too, and all have their own problems.

    A few Influencers have managed to crack one eye open a bit, and know something is wrong. None of them can see a whole hell of a lot, not more than parts of two or three beasts, and those not clearly, because all of them are wildly myopic. Nothing makes a damned bit of sense, but at least they know that something is wrong.

    End Allegory

    Effectively what I’m saying is that Sarah is right, and Sarah is wrong. From the data in front of her, she’s right. From the data in front of me, she’s wrong. I’ve got hold of a different part of a different beast, and I’m wearing a different pair of gloves. Or maybe I’m using my buttocks, or forehead. Who can tell?

    Wayne