Public service announcement

Dara points out over here that amongst the Puppy crowd, who cry out for a return to the good old days of science fiction when they didn’t have to be uncomfortable with their reading, a principle complaint is that you literally cannot judge a book by its cover. That they are getting ambushed by SURPRISE GAY! or SURPRISE TRANSGENDER ISSUES! or SURPRISE GENDER EQUALITY! that is not clearly called out on the cover. Dara calls out, quite correctly, that this is supremely hypocritical from a crowd that also points and laughs at the concepts of trigger warnings and safe spaces.

On a related note, on his post Guided by the Beauty of their Weapons, Phillip Sandifer delivers an exquisite smackdown of why this is shockingly ignorant of the history of the genre. Challenging political and religious and social questions have been part of science fiction since its inception, and you can’t exactly ignore this, even if you happen to disagree with the questions that current prominent works are raising.

Me, I’ll just note this for the sake of anybody who might be blindsided by any of my titles. For official reference, books by me contain the following, in no particular order:

Women in positions of power. Who will often talk to each other, about things above and beyond the men in the cast.

Characters of color, often also in positions of power, and who will in fact survive to the end of the book.

Love stories. For values of ‘love story’ meaning that why yes, I’m likely to have primary characters who will in fact fall in love, and who are very likely to actually talk about their feelings with each other like grown-ups do, and who are also very likely to do heroic things for each other in the name of said love. Also, there will be smooching.

Queer people. Who are just as capable as the straight people of having loving, committed relationships, and who will also survive to the end of the story, and who will not be shoehorned into “they’re villains because they’re queer” or “they will become figures of tragedy and lose their loved ones because they’re queer.”

Characters who represent multiple religions and who nevertheless somehow manage to peacefully coexist right out of the gate, or who eventually FIND a way to peacefully coexist after their religious preconceptions have been challenged. When multiple religions are represented in a plot, characters on all sides will be explored.

Persons who find themselves troubled by one or more of these elements in a story are hitherto advised to look elsewhere for their reading.

This concludes today’s public service announcement.

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