Sorry for the radio silence recently, I've been swamped with a few projects all coming to a head at once. I'm having to pick up some slack in several locations for a really massive project that is nearing completion, and as annoying as that is I've actually learned a lot from the experience so it's not all bad. But it signifies that some changes are needed, I can't keep going like I've been going.
In other news; I've been pumping out a metric shit tonne of words recently, for a project that I'll be releasing early next year some time. Besides that, I've been doing a final edit of the big one that will be released before the years end, as well as planning what I'm going to write for NaNo WriMo. I've been planning to do this challenge for years now but every year something pops up and I miss the chance, so this year I've been planning ahead.... and that's where the trouble started.
I had this idea for a Dystopian story.
See, in terms of the political spectrum, a Dystopia is often a Right-leaning government oppressing individuals who are more Left-leaning and progressive. The Handmaids Tale is a great example of this; women's rights are swept away as a Christian totalitarian government takes over the United States and calls itself 'Gilead' for some reason... it's all very inspiring for the modern day feminist movement, and there have been rallying cries of how it's a tale that needs to be told, and how gosh darn relevant it is in the era of Donald Trump.
And that's all fine, but...
People on the Left aren't the only ones who can experience a Dystopia - it's not a genre that's bound to any one view point or ideology, here - I'll rip a description straight from Wikipedia.
"A dystopia is a society characterized by a focus on that which is contrary to the author's ethos, such as mass poverty, public mistrust and suspicion, a police state or oppression. Most authors of dystopian fiction explore at least one reason why things are that way, often as an analogy for similar issues in the real world. Dystopian literature is used to "provide fresh perspectives on problematic social and political practices that might otherwise be taken for granted or considered natural and inevitable"
A Dystopia can be experienced by anyone, it's all relative. One man's utopia is another man's dystopia. For a long time, the focus has always been on how bad things could get if the Right gain too much control, but that's not the only Dystopia out there. What would a Dystopia *for* Right-wingers look like?
That's what I was going to explore, and I was going to grab a bunch of different ideas and current fears of people on the right and make this world that would be horrifically alien to them.
- Sexbots - it's been popping up more and more lately, this is an absurd topic that has people from all walks of life freaking the fuck out.
- Equality run rampant - Straight White Males have had generations of privilege, now they've entered an age where they're paying off that debt.
- Feminism and Islam - because I felt like ruining my entire life by making fun of this team up.
- Universal Income - because if we're getting laid without effort, why not get paid without effort as well? Another topic that people are talking a lot about.
- New World Order - Globalism run rampant to the point of there being no borders anymore, the Right-winger's worst nightmare.
- Self Grading College Degrees - because how couldn't this absurd trend cause problems?!
I had a vague idea of what the plot would be, it was going to be about this guy who is more white than most people can be in this world, and he's an ex-serviceman looking to find a partner despite a few issues he's got. Men don't marry anymore because divorce courts are so in favor of women and instead they just bang sex robots. Women have taken over the workforce but since they're allowed to self grade they're mostly totally unqualified and the global economy starts to crash as men simply bow out and women under-perform too much to be able to handle it. The worlds population is down below 3 billion, despite it being 2100 or something like that, people just aren't having kids anymore. Men don't want the risk and the burden while women put their careers ahead of children and see motherhood as a joke.
The protagonist would see all the issues with this ailing society and seek to end it, by destroying all the sex-robots.
He'd go on some merry adventure until he came face to face with the president of the world, she knows things are failing but she refuses to give up power and go back to the old ways of things, she'd "rather rule in hell than serve in heaven." And just as he's being carted away to jail, to become breeding stock to help boost the dying worlds numbers, he's rescued by a rebel group. They don't plan to stop the government, they just want to let it die so that they can step in and rebuild from the ground up.
The rebels wouldn't have been pro-male or anti-women or anything stupid like that, just a basic egalitarian group that recognizes that one extreme is no better than the other, and that both groups need one another, that they *are* one another. And the story was going to end with the protagonist walking off into the wilderness with these rebels, not bothering to try and take out the Dystopian government but simply letting it fall on its own, like they inevitably do.
So that was the idea.... absurd to the nth degree, like all the best dystopias are.
The thing is, though... I hung out with my cousin and her two girls on Friday, and I got to thinking. Even though I classify myself as a Centrist, there's no way that this story couldn't be construed as Right-wing. And that's the point, obviously, I was going to write a Dystopia that bucks the trend and goes against what people are used to.
What happens when gender affirmative action and safe spaces go too far? Beats the hell outta me, but I'm sure it'd be just as bad as if Nazi's start marching down main street, just for different people. One extreme is just as bad as another. The very fact that it's your idea of Utopia means that it's another person's dystopia, that's how life works.
And so I'm going on a bush walk with my cousin and her two girls, we're talking about Wonder Woman and looking at water dragons and all that good stuff, and I realized that I just don't want to invest so much time and negativity on such a story. It would be a pretty shitty world to live in, but then I don't want to live in world of Nazi's either, and I think that such a book would only give them a stronger foothold in the world.
I'm not here to support either the Left or the Right, I've got a little bit of both in me. I support gay marriage but I also want people to stay the fuck away and not interfere with my own rights. I like a free economy but I also think there should be a safety net for those that need it. I'm all for multiculturalism but I also see the benefits of nationalism... sorry I don't fit into one camp or the other, I'm kind of complex. I find people who support either camp to be like sock puppets, hollowed out and someone else's ideas with someone else's voice.
And everyone thinks Centrists are wishy-washy fence sitters who lack convictions, so what the hell would I know?
But mainly I decided not to write the story because I don't want to be the guy that writes a Dystopian story about how horrible it would be if roles were reversed and women ruled the world... and nose dived it into the ground. As interesting as that story might be, it'd cop so much flak from everyone, everywhere, that I'd be hearing about it until the day I die. And honestly, I don't want my cousin's girls to read that story one day and wonder how I could write something like that when they were already in my life.
I'm not just a Centrist for shits and giggles or to save myself the trouble of having to pick a side, I chose to be a moderate because it allows me to observe. As a writer, I need to be able to step into anyone's shoes and try my best to think like they think, to feel what they feel. I can think as a Nazi one day, and as a radicalized anti-establishment freedom fighter the next. I try to keep my views out of a story when I'm writing it, and instead allow the characters to have their own views. That's kinda hard when you're bringing a viewpoint that's been warped by propaganda and inhereted beliefs.
I will be the first to admit that I've had some issues over the years, issues with trusting women included. You don't spend three years, and thousands of dollars, on therapy for no reason at all... But I'm trying to move on from all of that, and this story would have been a massive step backwards for me. I'm focused on moving forward these days, and although that doesn't mean I'm ever going to become a flag waving feminist, is does mean that I'm going to try to live with love and respect for others, and treat them how I'd like to be treated.
Except the characters in my post apocalyptic stories, I am going to make each and every one of their lives an utter fucking nightmare...