Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest blog: Cedar Sanderson's "I Got Politics in my Fiction"

What's this, Declan? Exploiting the image of a hot redhead to garner hits? Not today.

This blog post is brought to you by the awesome Cedar Sanderson, author of nineteen novels in science fiction / fantasy.

Yes. I feel I now need to step up my game. The best I can do is a guest blog over on her site.

Like me, Cedar is also not someone who likes .... gah ...politics. But, again, like I did, she tried to get away, but they reel her back in. Even when she's designing kittens with butterfly wings from scratch. 

No, I'm not kidding.  Though I may be getting ahead of myself. She's obviously a metric ton smarter than I am, as she is currently going after a dual degree in forensic science and microbiology.

I better let her explain.

I Got Politics in my Fiction

I didn't mean to. I’d happily spend the rest of my life ignoring the stinky mess in the corner we call politics. I’m much happier contemplating the consequences of science extrapolated into the future, and not the very far future, either. Did you know that an organism can already be built from codons up? That’s like making an apple pie from scratch, only you wind up with a yeast baking your Mycoplasma genitalium. How much longer until you can get a build-you-own Kiddie Kitten Kit: with bonus butterfly wings? Unfortunately, the life in a lab is a lot smaller and duller than most fiction readers are willing to put up with for very long.

That, and I have this tendency (again, I never meant to do this!) to write fantasy, which involves creating whole new worlds. In order to explain how they work, and the civilization hangs together, I must dabble in politics. It drives me crazy, and every time I have to get into it, I wind up blocked and behind schedule.

It’s taken me a while to figure out what it is that gets me, and why I wind up unable to write politics. I am, on a personal level, determinedly apolitical. I vote, and I won’t vote unless I have some idea who I’m voting for/against (and I won’t get into the voting for lesser weevils most Presidential elections leave me doing). But I’m not at all interested in it other than that. This is why I have trouble with writing it. Politics makes me feel like B’rer Rabbit fighting the Tar Baby. No matter how much you struggle, you just get stucker.

Which leaves me feeling all sticky when I write about politics. In the current series, I’m writing a fantasy world which touches on ours, and which is run by a non-heritable monarchy backed by an aristocratic council. In some ways – they have a Charter – it’s a bit like the American system. I didn't write it intending to be that, I was spinning off threads in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the king and queen of Faerie. It’s a very old, stagnant society, but it works, and as one character points out, why mess with that?

The only book I have out where I did touch on sort-of-current politics I have been blasted for in reviews as having written it as a commentary on our current leadership. Which makes me chuckle, because I wrote that novel – it is my first – long before this guy was even a blip on the national radar screen. That book has other faults (it is my first, after all) but the depiction of a President happily inviting aliens into the White House is not based on any one person, simply my perception of politics being the art of deception and power.

I think that is the core of it. I see politicking as lying, and I can’t abide deceit and manipulation. Any political-types in my books are likely to be portrayed as shady at best. The Queen of High Court in the current book was given an offer she couldn’t refuse – not and keep her life and freedom. I think I’m looking forward to the next book, set in our mundane world, with a little plot and… darnit. Small town politics.

‘Scuse me. I have a muse to go hunt down and have a conversation with.

Cedar Sanderson was born an Air Force brat in Nebraska and spent her childhood en route to new duty stations. Her formative years after her father left the Air Force were spent being home-schooled on the Alaskan frontier. She removed to the "more urban" climes of New Hampshire at the beginning of high school. She has had the usual eclectic range of jobs for Fantasy/ SF authors, ranging from Comedy Magician to Apprentice Shepherdess. She counts the latter as more useful in controlling her four children and First Reader. Her fascination with science dates to her early childhood spent with her grandmother on the Oregon coast studying the flora and fauna and learning to prepare a meal from what she could glean from a tidal pool. This lead to a lifelong interest in science, cooking, and herbalism.

At present she is attending college in Ohio pursuing a dual STEM major in forensic science and microbiology this. Her first two times in college were for theology and liberal arts. She is maintaining an average of nearly 20 credit hours while running a household, an entertainment business, and writing multiple novels on the side. This has the result of leaving those watching her indefatigable efforts panting in exhaustion.

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