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I’ve been sharing how often I hear the complaint that a particular book, movie, comic or game is “too political.” And remember how I pointed out how often writers are told that the only measure of success is the number of copies sold?

I have just three more words for you: Game of Thrones.

A big series full of big books with big sales figures, even before the big TV series. Well, if you’ve read these books, you know that they are extremely political. Every character, every plot event, involves some sort of political intrigue. The whole series is a meditation on politics and power.

Have all the “politics” done anything to alienate fans or drive down sales? Not so much.

In truth, almost any genre series you could name has some sort of political underpinning. To claim that this is a problem is to ignore the roots and history of science fiction and fantasy.

So go ahead and write your story with all the politics you want. Anyone who thinks they know better can just go ahead and write their own book. Maybe they’ll even got a hint about their own politics.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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By coincidence, just after my last post (“Too Political?”) a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was still angry about the threats to our democracy embodied in this election. She wanted to write something political. But she wasn’t sure if writers should get into politics. I whispered back to her (as one does on Facebook, by typing *whispers*) “All fiction is political.”

In the comments for “Too Political?” Alden mentioned how world building especially is full of politics. Who has power. How resources are allocated. You can see the author’s underlying assumptions in ways that are sometimes obvious or sometimes more subtle.

In a lot of classic SF, the cast is entirely male. It was just their assumption that only men would crew a starship (or whatever ship it was). There might be grotesque stereotypes of minorities such as Black and Asian people, and the author wouldn’t even see how bigoted they were being.

For authors working today, the world is different. We have to think more about bias and representation. And I think, the change is for the better.

We writers so often get told that making money is the most important part of our art. We have to sell copies to be considered successful. Lots and lots of copies. So then we’re told to only pick the hot, commercial topics. Things that are already selling well. Above all, we must not write anything that might offend a customer.

Never mind that my friend isn’t the only one who’s still upset about the threats to democracy. She might find a ready audience for her political fantasy story. Besides which, her existing trilogy has the main characters living in a matriarchal society. If that isn’t political, tell me what is.

I may have said this before, but the stories we tell are important. They might call for change, where bias still exists. They might show us how to create healthier relationships. If we want the world to keep changing for the better, the first step is for us to share the future we imagine, through our stories.

So I don’t think that writers can ever be too political. Whoever says that is just trying to shut you up.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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