There are times I feel the need to place an additional disclaimer to include “any social or political statements made by characters in this book do not necessarily represent the views of the author.” Apparently saying, “all characters are works of fiction, any resemblance to real people, dead or alive, is purely coincidental” is not sufficient.
Let’s face it, we authors write some crazy stuff. I certainly don’t support or encourage the behavior or views of Garran Holt from my Transcended Saga. Shut up, Freud! No one asked you. I mean, legal ramifications of embodying such a thing aside… But some readers can’t seem to comprehend the concept.
I got a bad review for The Sorcerer’s Legacy where the reader thought the book and series was great until I began pushing my commie, liberal, socialist agenda. Odd, I don’t recall doing that. I wasn’t even aware I had commie, liberal, socialist ideas or feelings.
I have to assume the reader was referring to Azerick’s handling of some of the city’s homeless during a particularly harsh winter. If you don’t know who Azerick is, let me give you his back story. Azerick was a boy born into wealth and prosperity, but he lost everything when his father was framed for crimes against the crown and killed. Azerick became homeless and lived on the streets. Another homeless family took him in, showing him far more kindness than his former wealthy friends.
SPOILER: Azerick slayed a dragon and laid claim to its sizable hoard and became one of the wealthier people in the kingdom. Kind of like the fantasy version of winning the lottery. He took some of that wealth and invested it into a shipping company like the one his father owned before meeting his end. Azerick acquired an old, rundown tower outside of the city, hired a bunch of workers to refurbish it, and made it his home. One of those darn super liberal job creators, right?
Azerick and his apprentice, a girl from a poor family he had adopted were eating one night and talking about how bad the winter was going to be that year. Ellyssa, his apprentice, asked what would happen to the street children who didn’t have homes. He hadn’t really given it any thought, but now that it had been mentioned, he recalled how miserable his years of homelessness had been, and he hadn’t even had to deal with such blood-freezing cold.
He rode out in the snow and gathered up as many of the homeless children he could. When adults began answering the call of salvation, he didn’t have the heart to turn them away, so he put them to work. He built a school and taught them a trade, or how to fight, and some to be wizards. He created his own small town and military. He turned homeless urchins who would have grown up to be beggars and thieves into productive members of society and a private militia that could stand up to a corrupt government. Sound like any die-hard 2nd amendment folks out there?
Because my story’s hero took pity on a group of less fortunate, providing them with food, shelter, and education, and turning them into a loyal following of well-trained soldiers and wizards, he, and as an extension, I, was denounced as a socialist liberal. Another reader was upset about a character referring to George W. Bush as an example of a person creating a conflict in order to stay in power.
What I’m getting at, is as a reader or fellow author, does perceived politics ever become a problem for you? Do you let it ruin an otherwise enjoyable book or movie? It’s an interesting psychological situation, but one that is becoming more and more prevalent in our society where people insulate themselves from any words, ideas, or actions that don’t support what they already think, even in the realm of fantasy.