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Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Poll: Do you stop reading authors whose political beliefs you vehemently disagree with?

A new poll is up, folks.  This is partially in response to the Elizabeth Moon fiasco, but mostly in response to the occasional discussions among readers and authors about whether one continues to read authors who hold unfavorable political beliefs (such as Orson Scott Card or John C. Wright, et. al.).

There are three answers:  yes, sometimes, and no.  Simple enough, right?  You can find the poll on the left sidebar (scroll down a little).  But if you'd like to leave a more detailed comment, feel free to do so here.

The poll will run for two weeks.

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  1. I answered "sometimes," because for me it depends on how far the writer goes in "real life" in opposing things I believe in and also on whether or not I detect a blatant agenda that I don't like in the fiction itself.

    For example, I don't bother with Card anymore because he went way over the line in his non-fiction work with his nutty hatefulness about gay marriage, and he is so extreme on that that I cannot divorce that fact about him as a person from his work. I still adore ENDER'S GAME, and always will, but he is so crazy politically that I can't feel good reading anything else of his that I haven't already. On the other hand, I used to enjoy as light, somewhat mindless recreational reading Dean Koontz's novels, and I did so knowing all along that he, too, is someone that I have little in common with ideologically. But then I noticed that in recent years he just can't keep the Fox News sound-bite-style politics out of the fiction itself. When I read the third ODD THOMAS novel and it was riddled with words like "Islamo-fascist," I decided I'd had enough. His stuff isn't great "literature" anyway, but it's fun-reading value evaporates the second that blatant references to current events framed in a right-wing style of verbiage start showing up in the fiction.

  2. We're on the same page, then. I put "yes," but that's because every case where someone's politics are so diametrically opposed to my own have resulted in my inability to read their work. People who I disagree with on little things don't bother me, but I can't support homophobes or racists (unless they're dead, in which case I have no issue reading their work as cultural elements).

    Thanks for the comment :)

  3. I'm a sometimes as well. There are times when I read a book and I have no idea what the writer's political views are, and to be honest as long as it's a good story that I enjoy I don't care. If the beliefs don't colour the writing to the detriment of my enjoyment of the work then it doesn't bother me. If they leak into the book and spoil it for me personally then I'll stop reading work by that particular author.

  4. Elfy: Do you have an issue with an author who writes characters with different political beliefs than your own? Because I don't particularly have a problem with that. I'm more concerned with the personal politics of the author, since my money basically says I support them. If an author writes a character who I disagree with, that's different, since it's for artistic purposes.


  5. Anonymous10:17 PM

    I never planned on reading anything by Card or Wright, but I won't read anything by Simmons since he's a horrid person.

  6. How is Simmons a horrible person? I'm no familiar with any controversy related to him...