obvious politics in fiction

[A few words from Andrew M. Reichart about a recent installment of the serial novel Insurgent Otherworld, co-written by him and Nick Walker.]

One of my fears as a writer is being seen as didactic. A lot of my characters spout political opinions, and I fear they’re taken as just Mary Sue mouthpieces for my own views. In reality, though, I can critique any political statement by any character of mine threefold, if not tenfold.

So here we have an open letter from some sort of witch-coven basically “cosigning” a previous open letter by a terrorist / freedom-fighter. Is this just the author (me) doubling-down on the mouthpiece action? Nah, opposite. My dream is for the careful reader to ask questions like:

What’s the social position of this speaker relative to the previous speaker? How does that affect the implications of them chiming in like this?

What are their shared interests? Are there points of intrinsic conflict, regardless of whatever promises or pretenses they may be entertaining? What’s the on-the-ground relationship between them?

Is this an example of a genuine comrade rallying their followers towards a shared cause? Or are they trying to ingratiate themselves, generate social capital through association, and/or even co-opt the initial speaker’s work?

Is this speaker going to do any actual work to support the first speaker’s cause, beyond this solidarity statement? Even if so, how are they going to direct their efforts such they can be sure they’re helping and not unwittingly hindering?

Of course these are the sorts of questions I’d hope anyone would ask regarding any political statement from anyone….

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