Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Approach of the New Times

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Anthologies often have something to say about the times in which they were written. I had a science fiction class at the College of Charleston that was taught from an anthology compiled in the 70s. There was a feminist theme throughout, and it wasn’t because of curation. It was because of prevailing currents and social progress.

When submissions for THE END IS NIGH came in, it made me happy that nearly a third featured gay or lesbian themes. There was no discussion about this beforehand, no prompting, just serendipity and a long history of science fiction exploring the frontiers of ethics as well as the frontiers of time and space.

Gay rights may be the defining issue of our generation. This is not the theme of our anthology. The theme of our anthology is the approach of the end-times. But maybe a sub-theme is the approach of some new times…

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Check out THE END IS NIGH on Amazon. 22 brilliant shorts from greats like Ken Liu, Jamie Ford, Tananarive Due, Charlie Jane Anders, Scott Sigler, Annie Bellet, Paolo Bacigalupi, Seanan McGuire, and a new WOOL short from me.

14 replies to “Approach of the New Times”

I’ve made it through only about 5 of the stories so far, but they include a couple with with gay and lesbian characters. You know what? Their sexual orientation didn’t seem to matter. It was just a part of their character. Just like life. These authors are building great worlds that can exist and are believable, which makes me fall into the world right along with the characters. I may be a straight, white American male, but I would hate to live in (or read about) a world full of them!

And my 2 cents – This anthology is full of awesome. I keep waiting to find a weak story, but haven’t located one yet. Some are comfortable (Hugh), others unnervingly possible today (Seanan McGuire), and one just downright SICK (Matthew Mather). Don’t wonder…just buy it!

Yup. That’s what I love about these stories. It’s not about a cause, it’s just a distribution of relationships. We’ve progressed to an age where people can be gay without the story being ABOUT people who are gay.

Homo behavior…new? When did this happen?

In any event, you’ll piss off TONS of your readers if you go that route. People have morals. They have religion. Freedom of religion trumps sexual behavior every time.

Readers don’t like to be preached at either in a religious sense or a leftist (you) sense. Leave the personal politics out of your stories and you will sell more (though I doubt you need the money at this point).

Don’t like it? Don’t read it. This is THE core message of the internet and the self-publishing revolution. Authors can be true to themselves, not at the mercy of other peoples “morals” or subject to storytelling by committee.

I’m sorry the new “freedom of religion” talking point isn’t working out as well as the spin doctors had promised. It looked like a surefire scheme for helping bigots disguise themselves as victims. But then that anti-gay Arizona law came along, and it was so extreme that even Jan Brewer tore off down the tarmac to get away from the right wing. And thus another talking point bit the dust.

Anyway, nobody has a constitutional right to be protected from things they disagree with. If you want to fantasize that only straight people exist, go ahead. Daydream. Write up your daydream and publish it on Amazon. It’s a free country. But nobody else has any obligation to pretend that your daydream is the truth. Gay people exist in reality, and so they’re going to exist in fiction, too. Get used to it. Or welcome to the dustbin.

Just started. Love it.

This seems appropriate for today, considering:

“Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.

OK, so here’s the part I don’t get…why? I don’t care what a characters sexual orientation is. I’m all for gay rights but I don’t remember reading stories and having it pointed out what a persons orientation is. Is it really that important to character development? My concern is that it gives a story more of a political flavor than is necessary. There is a place to wave that rainbow I don’t know that everywhere is needed.

The thing here is Marcia that in the stories I’ve read so far, there isn’t any waving. In one of the stories, the main character is a woman who happens to have a wife. No overt agenda. No rainbows. Just a person you might meet at your work or on a plane or anywhere else in your daily life. The fact she is gay doesn’t affect the story in any way other than to build a character most people can relate to. Some folks might see this as pushing an agenda but when an author says that a woman is married to a man are they waving a straight flag? No… they are just building a character. Same thing here just using a broader brush to paint with.

The trick is to disarm the perception that including arbitrary gay story elements is only an attempt to appear avant-garde.

Boys and girls kiss in countless stories, and it’s part of the plot. For those who are attracted to the same sex, it’s as natural to see boys kissing boys in stories. It isn’t meant to make a statement; it’s just a fact of life.

I think TV shows are doing a great job of incorporating this. It’s the same with having minorities represented in popular shows. Imagine how strange it must be to turn on a TV show and not see anyone of your color, gender, faith, orientation.

Novels can do a better job. Not to further any agenda, but to show the world as it is. Just my opinion, of course.

Hugh–just downloaded it and I really look forward to reading it. But when are the other two anthologies due? Do you have a general publication date? Thanks and keep on writing!

Congratulations on the great reviews on this book! The first few pages in the book already got me engaged in it. I can’t wait for this book to hit local bookstores here in Malaysia. I might as well buy it in Amazon if I want to avoid all the waiting. I’m recommending your books to fellow friends too!

I agree 100% with this! I noticed that about some of the characters, then I kept reading. The great thing, the change, is these are NOT underlined in any way. The characters have a same sex parter the same way they have brown hair or green eyes. That’s why it’s so insignificant and so important. Jason Gurley’s fabulous story The Last Caretaker did that beautifully. For a slightly older example, the badly-treated show Caprica was amazing. One male character had a husband. That was not a storyline at all, just a fact. Revolutionaries often have to push back hard to be visible at all, sometimes screaming “This is not fair!” before anyone notices. The end goal might just be going unnoticed again. I truly believe that sort of acceptance leads us ever closer to equality.

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