Saturday, May 6, 2017

Politically Neutering Novels

I read a review of the new William Gibson book, where he believed HC was going to win and then had to retool his novel to take place in an alternate universe where she had.

And I can sort of relate. As I mentioned, I toned down the archvillain in Retrograde Horizon considerably after the election. He’s still quite evil (he was part of a plot to kill everyone in his country – some 300k people – except for his clones, thus taking fascism to a political-is-personal level). He doesn’t speechify about his evil opinions anymore though, and he doesn’t deliver any “now I’m going to kill you, Mr. Bond” lectures.

Then I excised the exciting gunfight scene that takes place in their equivalent of the Oval Office. It was a little bit like a YA version of the climax of Reservoir Dogs, and it seemed silly and over-the-top when I wrote the first draft in 2015, but then in 2017 it didn’t. I hope you like the replacement scene. I agonized over it for months.   

I thought that a sinister and silent villain who doesn’t talk much would be less scary than a ranting crazyman. I was wrong. It is my personal opinion that the villain is even more scary now that he’s not posturing about his divine right to rule over the mongrels. You can sort of extrapolate that from his actions, and if you’re not from his clan, he doesn’t deem you capable of understanding his concepts anyway; you’re just another subhuman that needs to get out of his way.

Then I’ve got another politician character who is a little more complex, being a personification of Pluto bringing Persephone to Hades, but he’s nuanced, and has both liberal and Trumpian characteristics. I can’t really talk about him in passing; he’s deep. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a liberal, albeit the pragmatic kind that is primarily interested in universal healthcare for US citizens. I’m less likely to protest lack of diversity than to go write diverse novels and then commission covers depicting the characters in all their diverse glory, just to give you an idea of how my mind works.  I’m currently disgruntled about Trumpcare passing and hoping for a backlash in the opposite direction, as even Trump is admitting that Australia does it better. On bad days I’m convinced we’re about to start trading nukes with North Korea (where they were celebrating Fearless Leader’s birthday with movies about mushroom clouds over San Francisco, a city Trump would probably sacrifice in a red hot minute if it would justify a nice expensive war), and on good days I’m more about hiding out in my comfortable turtle shell thinking positive thoughts about the long range future while waiting for the crazy politicians to go away. 

Because when I’m in my creative zone, Trump has been dead for centuries, and we all have health care, and the continental US is now three-and-a-fraction different countries ever since the meteor reconfigured it. The people who like ATVs and guns live in a different region from those who like artisan IPA and dulcimers, or those that like synth pop and fashion, and travel is very difficult. None of today’s worries translate, and everyone looking for some escapism is welcome. 

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