The first and only worldcon I’ve been to was in Spokane, in 2015. There was a controversy at the con involving a group called the Sad Puppies, whose argument was that SFF had been taken over by an affirmative action mentality. The Sad Puppies (and their littermates the Rabid Puppies) lost the day, but some of the division apparently remains.
I never thought of any of this as in any way involving me, aside from as an individual Hugo voter. Recently, though, I’ve found that reference to some of my published stories has fetched up in areas seemingly populated by frogs and puppies. Now first, I’m very much an animal lover, and second, any time my stories get attention and appreciation is a good day for me. Third, I’m leery of making assumptions about people’s motives. I hope people will like my writing, and when they do, I’m pleased – whoever they are.
So far, I’ve largely tried to avoid linking my politics and my writing. Still, I think there’s some potential for confusion at present, so for what it’s worth, I wanted to lay my cards on the table. In short, I’m a liberal snowflake social justice warrior vegan leftist animal rights activist.
I believe animals have rights. I believe they shouldn’t be eaten or used to make food or drugs. I’ve been a committed vegan for decades. I believe in equal rights. I want health care for all. I want estate taxes. I want more legal immigration. I want freedom of and from religion. I want separation of church and state. I don’t want prayers or the Ten Commandments in my school, city council, court, or Congress. I want free speech. I want respect for the constitution. I want fewer guns; I want actual regulated militias. I want greater income equality and a lower Gini coefficient. I want more policy and less grandstanding. I want to cut military spending – a lot. I want to increase foreign aid. I don’t want an official national language. I want environmental protection and real action to address climate change now.
That doesn’t mean I’m a progressive poster child. I think cultural appropriation is largely a crock. I’m skeptical of micro-aggressions. I believe in merit-based approaches and blind selection – but also that there’s a long history of discrimination that needs to be addressed. I’m confused by why it’s ‘okay’ to identify with one thing, but not with another. I believe in a generally balanced budget and paying off the debt soon – but also that sometimes a deficit is justified if it’s paid off within a couple of years. I want higher taxes (on me) and lower spending (on me). In other words, just like everyone else, I’m not a simplistic assembly of tropes, but a real person with complex views. But in general, you name an issue and I’m likely to the left of center.
I don’t think most people in the SFF world know who I am or care in the slightest about my politics. Generally, I don’t care much about theirs either. I understand that Orson Scott Card is pretty right wing; I still think he’s a brilliant writer. I understand some other writers are pretty left wing; that doesn’t mean I love their prose.
I don’t think anyone is buying my stories because they agree with what I think about government. I hope they’re buying or reading because my stories move them and make them think and feel about their world. I very seldom write message stories – I wrote one about gun control and one in favor of voting – and the only philosophically notable thing about my stories is that you’ll never find the good guys eating meat or riding horses. Still, for avoidance of uncertainty and por si acaso, here it is: I’m in the snowflake camp, and expect to be until I’ve melted away completely.