Politics in your books- open and subtle

Hey, i just wanted to start a thread about the political views that influence your writing on both a superficial level as well as a more unconscious level. Do you actively try to avoid being political?

if so, then how do your characters make moralic decisions? After all, proving a character right or wrong on a certain decision does send a political message, even if you do not intend for it.
(example, if you have multiple religions and one is more based on catholicism and one is more a pagan worship and it turns out that the pagans are right then this sends an anti-religious message, even if you didn’t mean to do it and only made the pagan gods real, because they where objectively cooler?)

Do I make sense? I guess I will just start with my own experience:

I actually used Marxist ideology as a backbone for my worldbuilding, having the history progress in circles of revolution and counterrevolution, which ultimately gives rise to the civilisation i depict in my book. And although i actively try to show the flaws of my ideology in my book (with the only overtly communist state being a pretty hypocritical dictatorship), my work keeps sending a subtly collectivist and anti-capitalist message, as there are no overtly evil characters, but everyone is just victim to their circumstances, but the antagonists are mostly rich guys in suits who kick down on the protagonists for not conforming.

Your turn now. How does your ideology influence your writing?

I try to make the stories about the characters and their failings rather than putting society in general at fault, but I’ll admit to some political leanings sneaking in. In general, I’m a moderate, and so both the traditional, religious camp and the anti-religious rebellious camp are shown in positive and negative lights. Eventually, the rebels will turn out to be right objectively on the object in question, but they’ll also have committed mass murder at that point, while the religious camp is hardly perfect, as they’ll have been fighting pointless crusades for decades when that comes about.

Rather than focusing on espousing my viewpoints, I prefer to hit home the idea that no one is perfect or correct and that the world is a morally gray, ambiguous soup, not divided into black and white.

But then again, I have written some really clunky political analogies into my works before, lol. I try to avoid it nowadays since it tends to take away from the story to suddenly have a political allegory in the middle of it. But that’s different from basing the whole plot around politics.

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I personally think political allegory can be extremely badly executed, which is why i try to avoid it as well, but i believe that centering your Worldbuilding arround a certain worldview can be insanely effective. Tolkiens worldbuilding is basically a re-telling of the biblical creation myth with fantasy flavour to make it cooler.

When you compare that to other Worlds which have a really, really fleshed out worldbuilding, such as GRRM’s “A song of Ice and Fire” then you notice that the plot can easily be super-cool without a guiding theme, but when you start to explore the world beyond what is shown it just turns into weirdness.

Martin has admitted that most of his worldbuilding beyond Essos and Westeros was just to show “how little Westerosi know about the World”, but alot of it just simply doesn’t make sense. Like for example the Ghost-Grass of which the Dothraki believe it will one day cover everything and extinguish all live, even though the Dothraki are closer to the Wall then they are to the next stash of Ghost-Grass.

A world which is just built to be mysterious, without a guiding theme may just become whacky when you get deep enough into it. Kinda like our real world, where particle physics eventually breaks the rules of logic and becomes unappealing for people.

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It really depends on my story. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s open. Since I write historical fiction/fantasy, the politics are way different than if I were writing in the present.

For example, my main characters are all Atheists (except one, and that main character is pagan because the book is set in the Iron Age :joy:). But I want my main characters to be Atheists for the political and religious statement that I am an Atheist too and I think religions are wasteful/dangerous to the 21st century reader.

I also play around with morality in my novels, which can be tied to politics. Morality is extremely fascinating because yes, we have umbrella morals (for the most part) in the world, but when you get down to individuals, everyone’s morals are different.

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I highly agree with that.

I dislike books who gloss over the specific individuality of people by saying “oh all elves are pure and uppidy and talk about anchestral bloodlines all the time” or “oh all dwarves are grummly and greedy and fall by their own hybris.”

I think an author should respect their characters individuality and the cultural framework they grew up in are more “guidelines”. A good example for this in my Work is for example Kisme, who is completly opposed to what all the other Elves believe about sharing and the greater good, because she grew up in a completly different culture.

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I’m LGBT, so unfortunately I don’t have much of an option… everything I write is political.

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A have some themes in my stories like the government shouldn’t be trusted and genetic engineering humans to advance the race is really a bad idea, but it’s likely the average reader isn’t going to assume it’s a message.

oh boi, you havnt seen agressive readers yet, they assume the craziest things.

Apparently I haven’t.

Okay, if you wanna see a true, nuclear hot aggressive read, then watch this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZCa78Rk964

I write near-future science fiction. Robots, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, mutant clones, nanotechnology, neural laces, subliminal mind control. Yeah, that stuff. It’s inherently political because the characters take a point of view on those topics. It’s also political because any good fiction says something about “the human condition”.

It took me a while to get a good enough grasp on that “human condition” term so that I could say something about living this human life in a way that is engaging and entertaining while also carrying an underlying theme. In the polarized political state of the US that seems to be divided between compassion and anti-compassion, I think it’s okay, if you want, to be political and come down on the side of compassion.

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In The Jedi Reborn, I touch on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I actually wrote that sequence to get my brain around the ethics of the situation.

In Pernicious Suitor, I have the MC going to a school where most of the student body (her included) are conservative, following Trump blindly because that’s what they’ve been told to do by people they respect.

I’m going to have her be challenged by the love interest to apply biblical Christianity to her politics—showing her how her politics are an outgrowth of fear and a lack of faith in God to take care of her regardless of any imagined or real threat. She will end in applying “love thy neighbor” and “take in the strangers (foreigners).” She might not end up a Democrat, but she will adjust her thinking and examine acts and not speech only.

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That sounds like a super awsome connection to have. Let me follow you

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I wrote a story that is set during a war and has a strong reference to the innocent victims of war. I got the idea from an anti war film and used a similar symbol.

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