Yesterday, I was approached by a publishing company to do some work; specifically a series of novelettes for serial publication in 2016. Each story would have to be stand-alone, but inter-related, in the same world, either different characters, or the same characters. With custom illustrations.
I batted the idea around a bit; honestly, my calendar is awfully full, but I've had some good experiences working with small publishers on startup projects, and I'm interested in the idea.
(Young Adult, LGBT, space opera...)
I told the editor in charge (EiC from now on) that I'd think about it, but I was really busy and I wouldn't make any promises right now...
Talked about it with the husband... pushed some ideas around. What kind of tropes in science fiction / scifi light (space opera) would I like to turn on their heads? What's a typical sort of Young Adult format that would be easy to write in, give a bunch of interesting, inter-related stories. As novelettes, world building would be sort of limited (17,500 is the max word length per story) so I'd need to do some tropes, just to get people into it quickly...
Husband made some suggestions, which I love, we batted the idea around some more. I came home, batted the idea around with my creative consultant and occasional co-author, who brought up some moral quandaries, ideas, and general approval.
And then, I was talking to another friend about it - admittedly, it was an open forum, but I was excited about the opportunity and I wanted to see what this friend thought.
"LGBT?" demands someone I don't know, who's just recently been invited into the group. "Why would you want to politicize science fiction?"
Him: "I mean, good storytellers don't have to include stuff like that, it's not necessary to tell a good story, do you think Asimov and Heinlein and the greats were including political shit in their stories?" (giving him credit, he did list a couple of other science fiction writers that I haven't read... and so I can't specifically remember who they were.)
Me, "Well, actually, I do think so. I think the science fiction world is very white, heteronormative, male-centric and perhaps it's a good idea to tell someone else's stories, once in a while."
Him: "So tell me where science fiction authors are telling people to behead the gays, one book, where specifically that happens."
Me... "wha? I said hostile, and most of the authors you listed have had some serious issues with non-whites and women, and there's not a lot of inclusiveness for the LGBT community...."
Him: "And you think there's an audience for that? I mean, why would anyone... I don't think it'll help anything and you'll just discourage real people from reading it. You put an agenda in your work, and it just makes for crappy work."
Me... "real?... I AM a member of the LGBT community..."
Him: "And you read regular science fiction without all this political, LGBT crap in it, and enjoy it, right, so it's not like you NEED that... it's not NECESSARY for you to get in people's faces like that to write a good book. I mean, name me one book right now, that needs that sort of stuff. One book that would be better."
Friend, female; "Hey, I'm a white, straight, female and I love stories with different perspectives, I'm very supportive of LGBT and I think they should be more in fiction works..."
Friend, male; "There's someone who can't see around his privileged."
Other people in the group, chiming in on my side... (to give my friends credit, everyone in the immediate vicinity came to my defense.)
Him: "Well, I don't want to read shit like that."
Another friend, "I think this conversation needs to end."
Me ::still incoherently angry:: "You're right, it does."
I'm going to take that fucking contract. And I'm going to write a fucking awesome story.