Monday, January 31, 2011

Left v. Right

Alternate title: "Politics and the Art of Fiction", as inspired, most recently, by Brad R. Torgersen's Conservative SF discussed at Pajamas Media. My comment there:

Conservative? Liberal? All I know is I’m not seeing nearly as many Space Orgies in modern SF as were in classic SF.

It is my solemn duty to rectify this imbalance.

More seriously, when it comes to politics in SF, political science is science, and I want to speculate just as much on it as any other science. As a writer, I want to take that speculation wherever it leads scientifically, not wherever the politics of the day insist that it leads. I’ll take a run at a political concept from all sides that prove viable, whether in the same story or in two or more separate ones, as my interest and inspiration holds out.

If I want to write about the politics of the day, I’ll write a thriller (or a satire). But I won’t call it SF.

Taking off on that:

I am a political scientist and a writer, as such I am apolitical. My political preferences have no bearing on fact or fiction. When it comes to political "fact", I have a strong preference toward results vs. day to day statements, and when it comes to political fiction I have a strong preference toward, well, good fiction. It is highly unlikely that you'll ever find my political beliefs expressed in fiction. On the other hand, I am a futurist insofar as I intend to live there, and as such I reserve the right to describe the most awesome future possible and leave it to the politicians to let the scientists make it happen.

Here's the deal: in the last year of a political science education, there is a truth that is imparted to you, and you are not allowed to tell anybody. It's a truth that reveals anything and everything about your fellow human beings, and it opens your eyes to how all these human and inhuman connections affect everybody else. You understand the world for one second, and then you spend years understanding individuals. In this frame of mind, it is impossible to be political.

No, the secret is not "Pretend to know something they don't." That's the year before, and there's no confidentiality agreement because everybody already knows it, but chooses not to consider the possibility.


Anyways, if you want to see the benefits of a political scientist applying himself to fiction, I propose that you pick up my latest ePub short "Kritarchy".
For much of an Earth without nations, the roaming Judge-Ships of the Kritarchy are the only law, and Judge Lightner is one of the best. But when a vicious marauding fleet sweeps through the Kritarchy, the Judge finds out just how much the law is worth as he is forced to make one of his own.

If not, await my next story. Which may or may not include a zeppelin. One can never tell with airships.

Words? Yes
Short Story "An Aesop Amidst The Fairy Dust"
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Reading - ?


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