Is Fiction Still Relevant?


I haven’t posted on my book review site Genre Book Reviews lately, and one very large reason has been politics. It should be obvious by my involvement with Chris Spangle, Joe Ruiz, Ryan Ripley, Miah Akston, Gina, and others that I am a very political person. It is a major hobby of mine that I wish were a career, frankly. I am passionately interested in politics in general. I often say that I enjoy discussing all the topics that ruin a tasteful dinner party: politics, religion, and sex. My other hobby is reading and writing fiction as well as the mechanics of writing in general. I enjoy the written word and love immersing myself in it.

Unfortunately, our world –the real world- is undeniably going to crap in a hurry. There is perpetual conflict in the Middle East, conflict with Syria and Russia, and the ever-looming threat of another economic collapse. The American government spies on the world via back door agreements, brute force, and a myriad of other methods to do it. Not to mention Indiana’s fight against HJR-6 .   An argument could be made that the climate is becoming too endangering to liberty for anyone to ignore politics. There is too much going on to claim dislike for political discussions as a reason to back out of the game.

But what part does fiction play in politically troubled times? Truly relevant fiction will address the social and political fears of the day. Humans crave a good story. Humans also crave the ability to change their troubled world even if it is impossible. This is perhaps one reason for the popularity of Marvel/DC movies and science fiction and fantasy media.

Read: “The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction” from the NYT (Debate)

I wonder at what point individuals will stop reading fiction that doesn’t move them or at least speak to their fears in a changing political climate. The debates in the NYT link I posted discusses’ young adults craving for truth. I wonder if the move toward libertarianism by the young generation isn’t also part of this desire for truth. Truth that reflects what is really going on in the world. I am curious to see what kind of fiction continues to become popular as time goes on.

Read: “In Defense of Fiction” (Life as a Human)

Overall, I say that fiction is still relevant. If as a culture we need to vent some of our subconscious worries about the world which implodes around us, we’ll find the book to do it. And historically, popular books and movies have done it. Think of the movie “Aliens” and its commentary on Vietnam and the military-industrial complex. Or you can see a whole list of books which have politics as a plot element (from Wikipedia). I believe  one of two things will happen in fiction. Either we’ll see a lot more dystopian and realistic fiction, or the opposite will happen and fantastic elements will continue to reign.

Only time, and maybe a war, will tell.

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Contributor Lynn Swayze is a left-leaning libertarian and feminist. When she's not engaging in political discussion, she works as a freelance direct response copywriter, project manager, and marketing strategist for information marketers. Follow her on Twitter @LynnSwayze.

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