Tag Archives: controversy

Handling Rape in Fiction

Someone asked about how to handle rape in a writing group I’m a member of on Facebook. In particular, she was worried about legal issues when portraying a rape victim who happens to be a child. That is a very serious and heavy issue to write about. It was interesting reading the answers by various people.

Some people were outraged and asked her how she could even think about writing about child rape. She clarified that her book was about a woman who had been raped as a child and how she coped with it. It’s meant to also draw attention to the problems of human trafficking and how her government (the UK) was turning a blind eye toward child rape in certain ethnic groups. It is an issue in many places. Someone else pointed out that it’s a big problem in the US, as well, involving children being taken from Mexico into the US.

Other people provided some useful information. Basically, it’s fine to write about it, but don’t describe how it happened. That’s fine, because the author said she was writing about the aftermath, not about the actual event. Some who were rape victims themselves were supportive.

I’ve read books that involve child rape, including George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Although it’s a fantasy series, it’s similar to medieval Europe, where it was common for early teens to get married and start having children. It provides a degree of realism, rather than being politically correct.

I have a future fantasy series in which I will have a character who was a victim of rape as a teenager, and it looks at the response of both her family and society as a whole, as well as how she handles the attitude toward her. I don’t take this subject lightly. In my writing, I don’t take anything lightly. Although I am writing for entertainment, I also want to tackle important issues and make people think. I want people to be angry about various issues, or at least take them seriously. The treatment of women and children is a very serious issue, especially as a husband and father of a young child.

Authors often deal with very serious subjects. As an author or reader, how do you feel about rape being addressed in fiction? Not only rape, but also any kind of sexual abuse. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Watching the Hugo Awards

With all the controversy surrounding this year’s Hugo Awards, I found it interesting to watch the presentation of the awards on Livestream. If you want, you can watch it here.

The highlights were the multiple times they announced no winners due to a revolt against the Sad Puppies, a group of right-wing conservative science fiction authors who managed to nominate a bunch of hard sci-fi written by conservative authors who want nothing to do with female characters, gay and lesbian characters, or a growing international group of writers. Well, their efforts backfired, and several groups weren’t even awarded.

The big thing in these awards was that the winner, The Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, is the first translated novel to win the award. It was written by a Chinese author, and it looks pretty interesting.

Oh, and another thing, I loved the Dalek’s last line. Very funny. You have to see it.

What did you think of the awards, winners, and controversy?

Ever Watch the Moon Pass In Front of the Earth? Incredible

I saw this earlier. This animation is from several still images of the moon passing in front of the Earth. The images were taken from the DISCOVR spacecraft about 1.6 million km away from the Earth. It’s a quick video, so it won’t take much of your time.

I don’t think there’s ever been a video or set of images like this before.

Just a note about the moon. You may notice that the leading edge is green. This is not because it’s a photoshopped fake. It’s because they take three images in different colours: red, blue, and green.  The green image just happened to be the last one taken, and the moon had already moved a bit, so that’s why it has a green fringe on the leading edge. There’s an argument on Facebook about this, and some people are claiming it’s a conspiracy. Those people just don’t understand how images are made from spacecraft. They don’t just take a colour photo, they take three monochrome photos at three different wavelengths that correspond to red, blue, and green. Then they combine the images to give a true colour image. Since there is a thirty second delay between the three images, this green offset is the result.

Anyway, incredible set of images!

Writing Controversial Characters

Today, I did some work on Journey to Ariadne part six, and it’s mainly about a rather prominent character I’m introducing. She is somewhat controversial. She’s not just loud and opinionated, but she’s also not afraid to tell people they’re morally bankrupt. You see, this part of the story involves religion. But not just any religion, one that developed as an offshoot of Christianity in the late 21st century. One that becomes very controversial.

As I wrote it, I wondered if I’ve gone too far or if it’s too mild. I’ll see how it goes when it’s critiqued. I’m looking forward to that.

Just so you know, the religion doesn’t exist, but is a kind of extremely fundamentalist Christianity. It won’t play a major part in the story, but is important in establishing the character’s background.

So, who is interested in it?

Authors Answer 32 – Controversy

Controversy. Adding just a little can make a story quite provocative. Some people will demand the books be removed from the library, others will love it. There are so many controversial subjects that could offend someone. But who will write about controversial subjects? Some authors would rather avoid that.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 32: Do you write about any controversial topics?

S. R. Carrillo

I like to think the topics I write about aren’t very controversial, but honestly they prolly are (hm, let’s see – sex, violence, queer stuff, antiheroes, drug abuse, twisted families, incest, etc.). Like, my friggin debut novel is about a gay angel and the lost little demon who always wants to eat him. Can’t say I have any regrets, though – the weirder, the wronger, the more I fall in love with the story. Mwahah.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Honestly? I try to avoid controversial stuff, unless I feel very confident that I understand both sides of the concept and am able to represent it without appearing to be biased or hateful. For example, in my zombie novel, “Nowhere to Hide”, the concept of religion comes up a couple of times as characters deal with the idea of it being the end of the world. Normally I avoid talking about religion and my own personal beliefs, but since I’m an atheist from a Catholic family I felt that I could accurately portray both sides of that fence without making either character seem like a horrible person for their beliefs (or lack thereof).

I have been known to write about things that create an emotional response in others, however, and I think that doing so as a writer is pretty much unavoidable. No matter what you write about, it will make someone angry, so the key really is to just get used to that fact and learn how to deal with it calmly and with a good attitude.

Paul B. Spence

Sometimes. I suppose that depends on how you define controversial topics. I have gay and lesbian characters. I’ve dealt with slavery. The nature of freedom and choice. The nature of evil. Cloning. The rights of clones. Gender equality. Species equality. The necessity of war. Life after death, and the soul. And yes, all in one story.

Linda G. Hill

I don’t think my topics – the less than … happy ones should I say? are as much controversial as they are twisted. I love horror – grew up on Stephen King – so I take much of my inspiration from him. Having said that, it still all comes from inside me. I can’t even begin to understand it.

Jean Davis

That’s hard to say since I don’t find many things controversial. A Broken Race features characters with genetic defects and other various syndromes and disorders. I did my best to portray them well. Sahmara‘s main character is bisexual. I suppose that might be controversial for some.

H. Anthe Davis

I don’t specifically try to write about controversial topics, but I’ve found that my characters have strong opinions on certain matters, and backstories (and sometimes continuing stories) that touch on current issues that may be considered controversial.  I have characters everywhere on the sexuality and gender spectrum, and countries with varying opinions on the expression of such, as well as a lot of religious conflict — which is ramping up the further into the series I get, since one of the main faiths is deeply misogynist, one is strongly female-oriented, and another is a combination of mild misandrist and ascetic to the point of ritual self-mutilation.  ….So in short, yes.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Religion fascinates me, at least on an intellectual level as I’m not personally religious at all.  You’ll see it in my Jasper series, and some other stories I’ve worked on feature it in some form.  Class structures and economics are other topics I gravitate towards, mostly because I feel the heat of it myself.  It features prominently in a short story I’m working on called Deferment, about a woman taking action against her student loan provider and the consequences she faces as a result.  The fantasy series I have brewing in my head also deals with class structure.

D. T. Nova

What topics count as “controversial” is itself something that people don’t agree on, but the answer is yes. While a short summary of it might not mention it, teen sex and attitudes toward it are fairly important in my novel in progress.

The negative aspects of organized religion come up a few times as well, thought actually maybe not as often as you’d expect from the villains’ motivations.

Caren Rich

Not on purpose. I generally write about people in the South. Some of my characters are Christian, and that has ruffled a few feathers in critique groups. The books are not what I would label as “Christian Fiction”, but my characters go to church, pray, and mention God in a positive light. The characters are not perfect. There’s  adultery, murder, a little heavy petting (nothing graphic), among other things. My goal was to present real people struggling to be Christian in an increasingly difficult world. The novella, deals with a small town being forced to take down or move their Nativity scene.  I expect that one to cause a ripple or two.

Gregory S. Close

I’m not setting out to offend anyone with Greyspace, but the story is based on the concept that things in the religious domain (demons, devils, gods, angels etc.) are all real, but not necessarily real in the way that they are described by religion. I’m sure this will rub some people the wrong way.

I’m purposefully approaching it from a standpoint that all religions and folklore are based on primitive understandings of extra-planar beings, and that one religion is not intrinsically more “right” than any other.  So I expect some flak from those who do not like their own modern and accepted religion (Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist) on equal footing with mythological religions like the Norse, Greek/Roman or Native American theologies.  Not to mention that I’ll be throwing in faeries and the Tuatha Dé Danann into the mix.

While I’m not going to have Jesus in fisticuffs with Zeus or Thor throwing down with Buddha, I do worry that the premise alone will be problematic for some people.  No doubt that I’ll treat someone’s favorite demon or angel in a way that they don’t like (let alone their deity).  I’ve toyed with adding a Forward to the book, with an author’s disclaimer to remind people that I’m just trying to write a fun story, not a metaphysical treatise, but if it’s going to offend someone, I doubt that a Forward will salve the wound anyway.

Eric Wood

The only story I have written that I would consider “controversial” is about a woman in an abusive relationship. However, part of me doesn’t think it’s controversial as much as it is troubling. Unfortunately, the female character didn’t survive in my story (though, neither did the male antagonist). However, my story isn’t too far from some ugly and unfortunate truths out there.

Allen Tiffany

I don’t set out to do so. At least not with my fiction. As a columnist for a newspaper at a large campus, I certainly poked a few people in the eye. That was always fun. But with my fiction, if there is something someone finds controversial, so be it. I’m just telling a story.

Jay Dee Archer

Funny that this is asked now, because I’m currently working on a part of Journey to Ariadne that deals with religion and fundamentalism. I don’t think it’s too controversial, though. However, in the Ariadne series, I will include religion, genetically modified organisms (particularly food), slavery, discrimination, and experimentation on an intelligent species. Although becoming less controversial, I will include gay and lesbian characters, including those that are married and have children. There’s nothing saying a couple women or a couple men can have a child using their sperm or eggs, right?

In a fantasy series I have under development, rape, war, reincarnation, and polytheism.

So, I’m not against using controversial topics. I don’t go out of my way just to include them, though. If it fits the story, then it’s fine. I look forward to the hate mail.

How about you?

What do you think of controversial topics in novels? Is there anything you’d refuse to read? Is there something that would offend you? What would you read? Let us know in the comments below.

My Stance on Three “Controversial” Topics

Controversial is in quotes, because it’s not actually controversial in the scientific community.  It’s only really controversial amongst fringe groups, the religious, and those who really have no clue about the scientific method.

Climate change exists.  There is overwhelming evidence for it.

Evolution happened.  It’s still happening.  We’ve seen it happen.  It’s not “just a theory,” it’s a scientific theory that explains the fact of evolution.

Vaccinations work.  They are important.  I can’t stand the anti-vaccination movement.  You’re clinging to “research” done by a discredited doctor who did no real scientific research into the supposed link between vaccines and autism.  All subsequent research has shown there is no link.

And that is my stance on these three issues.

Religion in Science Fiction

I’d like some opinions. I’m currently writing Journey to Ariadne part 6, and it includes a big monologue about secularism. One character is deeply religious, while the others are more moderate, follow another religion, or follow no religion at all. It’s not shocking, though some may think it’s a bit controversial.

So, my question is, if you see something controversial about religion in a science fiction novel, how do you feel about it? I have read many that take religion on a very wild ride, altering the religions and making their followers more fanatical. Others marginalise religion, saying it serves no purpose. What do you think about this? I look forward to your answers.

Lots of Hate for Neil deGrasse Tyson

So, this happened.  I’m really curious about people’s thoughts.  I like Neil deGrasse Tyson.  I think he’s doing great things to help educate people on science and get people interested in astronomy.  However, he’s gotten a lot of conservative Christians angry.

So, Sir Isaac Newton was born December 25, 1642 (Julian calendar).  It’s a fact that can’t be changed.  Newton was a celebrated physicist.  I could see an astrophysicist wanting to celebrate his birthday.

So, December 25th was a Pagan holiday before it was Christmas. That’s a fact that can’t be changed, either.  What’s funny is that the traditions you see on Christmas aren’t even Christian traditions (the tree, presents, Santa.  And certainly not ham, because the Bible says pork should not be eaten).

Because Tyson is in the spotlight a lot, he gets vilified.  In my opinion, I don’t care one way or the other.  I’m not a Christian, and I don’t attack religion.  I like to get along with everyone.  But on the other hand, Tyson was just stating facts.  It’s how people interpret them that’s important.

Just my thought this morning. What do you think?  Happy Holidays, everyone.