Saturday, September 19, 2015

Social Issues in Entertainment Reading

I am very concerned about many global social issues from climate, overpopulation, pollution, extinction of species, and the loss of native habitats, to food production and the inhuman manner in which many food animals are being kept, religious extremism, the war going on for over a decade, the destruction of antiquities. And that's just a start.  So many issues, so little time. Am I a worrywart? I wonder sometimes if it isn't my age as I worry about my grandchildren's future. I think of them and concerns enter my mind about the uneven quality of education across the United States, the cost of higher education, the increase in income inequality, failing infrastructure, and a democracy showing signs of changing into a plutocracy. I tell myself I'm using foresight, but maybe I'm just that worrywart. I don't think so, but maybe. I believe in human ingenuity, but for all the creativity, imagination, invention, and philosophy of humans in general, I find the species lacks any interest in foresight as to what might happen from their ingenuity.

Do any of these topics occur in my stories? Yes, even though I write scifi/fantasy. From the outcome of a cataclysmic century in Magic Aegis to corporate control and manipulation of employees in Crewkin, to genetic manipulation and indoctrination for super soldiers in Nanite Warrior, my stories contain social outcomes arising from some of today's issues. I like exploring where an issue might go, what might happen, and how humans will react. It might be hubris, but I like to believe perhaps I provide my readers a look at issues they can relate to without the histrionics of today's argumentative and often disbelieving population. I also believe such inclusions add to my story's depth, add to the setting and plotline, and even to the characteristics of the characters.

While I don't think all novels have to include social issues as part of the story, I do think issues are often the heart of a story, if only personal or family-related issues. These are often based on social issues, too. Topics like abuse, and PTSD among veterans, homelessness, poverty, misinterpretations of law, and the ethics and moral issues in contemporary society.

What current issues are important to you? How often do modern social/global issues take place in the stories you read, no matter what era or genera you write?

Please be sure to see other author's opinion on this topic:
Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire 
Beverley Bateman 
Margaret Fieland 
Marci Baun
Victoria Chatham 
Connie Vines 
Bob Rich
Rachael Kosinski 
Helena Fairfax 
Judith Copek


  1. A lot of food for thought in your post. The idea of writing a story set in the future when some of today's issues have already come to fruition gives us a way to skip the constant bickering and come face to face with the results of inaction. The example of Global Warming - whether it is part of an ever revolving evolution of the earth or spurred on by man's hand - we might have a book set in NY State in a time when the city that once occupied Manhattan no longer exists, or the islands of the South Pacific are so far underwater the refugees have already settled elsewhere bringing their culture with them. Thanks for this post and the topic.

  2. I watched a program where they showed engineers working on ideas to float New Orleans. It seems Waterworld might not be too far away, which might display just what you suggest.

  3. Rhobin,
    I love your point of how issues are always, somehow, the heart of the stories we write. If they weren't, the stories wouldn't need to change, the characters wouldn't do anything dynamic, and it wouldn't be that exciting, would it? :)

  4. I would say that issues are the center of our stories, but not necessarily social issues. Often, in romance anyway, it's more about their own personal issues, which may have nothing to do with social ones at all.

    Of course, science fiction, and even fantasy, are different beasts. Often, social issues do drive the story line in them.

    Excellent post!


  5. Robin, Great that you can find a way to weave some social issues into science fiction. I'm sure it helps the reader identify with your characters and their times. This was a great topic for posting and I've really enjoyed reading everyone's take on this topic which really affects us all.