by Shelton Bumgarner
I’m writing a scifi novel and while I’m trying my best to be as middle of the road as possible, it’s quickly becoming apparent as a first time novelist that it’d difficult to ignore the political environment of my times. While this novel as always been something of a liberal’s fever dream of First Contact, I time and again I find myself drawing upon the surreal political events seemingly happening with rapid abandon around me as I write.
It goes without saying that today’s political environment produces surreal events at an alarming rate. As a would-be professional daydreamer dealing with the fantastical, you sometimes find it hard to compete. The novel I’m writing is meant to be my personal Stranger In A Stranger Land or, if you really want to push things Atlas Shrugged. The first of a proposed trilogy, it is extremely political in a way that I could say turning off a lot of conservatives if it’s not handled properly.
As such, I’ve done everything in my power to make at least one character — the female romantic lead — a sympathetic conservative figure. My goal is for her to be a mixture of Andrew Sullivan and Alexa Chung. I wanted at least one character to be “famous” at the beginning of the story and that’s what I managed to come up with.
My fear is if I’m not conscious of how my how my personal politics might come off in the context of the novel that the entire endeavor risks being written off as something of a liberal Turner Diaries. As you may recall, the Turner Diaries was, I think, written in the early 90s and it was influential in extreme Right wing circles because it was something of a Right wing political screed against the centrist politics of the day.
Regardless, my novel has nothing in come with that Turner Diaries other than it definitely expressions my personal political worldview. It takes so long to write a novel, and there’s so much work involved, that you as the author find yourself struggling with issues you never thought you’d have to face. Making sure you get a concrete political worldview in the novel without turning off 48% of your readership is tough.
But, like I said, I’m trying my best. While I’m going to try to get this novel published in the traditional manner, I’m fully prepared to self-publish if need be. I really believe in the concept and this is, by far, the farthest I’ve gotten in writing a novel to date.
Today I hope — hope — I can spend all day writing and reading. The muse is quite fickle with me and I tell myself in a really conspicuous manner I’m going to do all this writing and then turn around and do next to nothing other than listen to music and stare out into space.