Guest Blogger: Nick Cole

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Never mind The Bullydom of Writing

I’m going to be blunt here. Sorry not sorry. But a lot of writers are jerks. In fact, more than that they’re bullies. Whether it’s aggressive, or passive, you’re going to find out in the wild west of Indie and Trad pub that there’s a lot of intellectual snobbery going ‘round about what you can, and can’t, write. What you can and can’t talk about.

And it’s all bogus.

Sure, it’s there. But never mind it. People are going to tell you, y’know… confidentially back channel and all, that your opinions are bad for your career. Bad for sales. You won’t get into the cool parties at WorldCon. Biggest of wigs might not like you.

Whatever.

Unless that is… you have the right opinions. Then you can just JAM those into your books and download your deranged thoughts on gender, sexuality, and the death penalty at your reader’s very expensive Trad Pub expense these days. Especially if you’re Stephen King or John Grisham (two writers I immensely enjoy despite their opinions.) Yeah, if you’re those guys, or, you graduated from some special “Ivory Tower” writing program and you’re a special voice of a generation, or disenfranchised victim group, that needs to bravely write about all the brave things everyone in the echo chamber agrees with you on and is writing about… well then, you can be opinionated. Please! Do! Opinion-ate! Be brave about all the stuff that doesn’t really offend any important people.

But, if your politics, or beliefs, aren’t popular… y’know… if you’re one of “those people” the Right People have decided to de-humanize. Y’know, because you vote for this week’s Hitler according to CNN, are Pro-Life or any of the other numerous horrible things you just cannot be according to the Smart People, then NO! You cannot, must not, should not, speak your mind. And they will make sure you know you should not be opinion-ating such horrors. There is always the ever-present yet subtle unspoken threat of being excluded, dontcha’ know. The unfriending. Done with a sanctimonious self-righteousness that’s to be applauded. If, that is, you hold the right opionions and vote Democrat. And RE: the unfriending on social media: Are their “truths” so sacred and true they must not be held up to any sort of discussion other than ritualistic agreements murmured to one another over cheese cubes and plastic glasses of chardonnay?

Apparently.

Trust me, they’re very double standard about this. Those who would tell you to keep it to yourself. They don’t mind braying about what they feel is right as they slam out explicative-filled rant-posts (Look at me Mummy, I’m a real muckraker because I can swear like a stevedore about my opinions!) But the moment you mention religion, or your particular flavor of whatever, you can almost feel the exasperation on their part. The bridge-of-the-nose rub/pinch as they take off their expensive wire-rimmed glasses and chant for the needed patience to endure your tiny intellect.

So… like I said: Poppycock.

I’m a science fiction writer. And scifi is already a heavily atheist-influenced and science enthusiast community. And in recent years it’s been high-jacked by progressives who saw a weak medium they could manipulate in order to further their propaganda schemes to fundamentally transform our society. So, popping up and pointing out that Abortion is horrific should meet with scorn, derision and being chased off the digital field with literal, and metaphorical, brick-a-bats from our cozy little village we call Sci-Fi. Should. But it didn’t.

Here’s what happened: Last year I wrote a novel called CTRL Alt Revolt! Fun little gamer novel, what some call LitRPG (Kinda like Ready Player One) My publisher (Harper Collins) was so offended by the fact that I showed an Artificial Intelligence being horrified by the callous act of murder we as a society call Abortion (It’s just a minor plot point in the book I used to give the Antagonist, a new born A.I. a good reason to fear for its life before it nuked the world) that they fired me. So I pub’d it as an Indie.

I’m recalcitrant that way.

I awaited the storm of self-righteous indignation from my peers within the community at large. I considered a career change.

Nothing.

Well, some scorn from the usual scolds but they’re boring and tired. Ask anyone.

Instead I sold a ton of copies. Won a major Science Fiction Award and significantly increased my reader base, as a whole community of angry fans and readers who are just plain tired and bored with agenda-driven message fiction swarmed Amazon and bought my book in droves. And here’s a stunner: They don’t even believe in what I believe. Some disagreed with me openly. Even super hardcore leftist socialists bought it, read it, and had a good time despite disagreeing with a few points. See, they’re smart people who can read something and think for themselves instead of needing a sermon via Slate, Salon, Wired, or whatever other entertainment the Radical Left is propping up these days, and still continue holding on to their beliefs. While having a good time. These are people who aren’t worried about being triggered by an image of a guy in a superhero costume. Or that Ghostbusters might give them PTSD. These are people who hate that “the right people” are playing games with what people get to write. These are the real free thinkers! They hate that PC ideas are taking the place of story and good old fashioned fun. They hate the scolds.

They hate it.

And… it’s not wrong to hate what is wrong.

So they bought my book. Enjoyed it. Criticized it. Talked about it and spread it around. And we had a good old time exchanging ideas and being challenged. And it was just a fun read in the end. Lotsa Star Trek-style action and Dystopian horror. A blog post I wrote at launch went viral and got 30K+ hits. I got some publishers who’d never heard of me offering me deals. People who’d never heard about me had to check me out. So… don’t be bullied by the intellectual (so they say) snobs who will passively, and aggressively, browbeat you into only maintaining the right beliefs and opinions within the echo chamber. They’re all doing that and their sales are terrible. No one can read the same Diversity Sermon ad nausem without fatiguing on the subject and medium. Be bold and speak up. Whatever it is. Fly your Freak Flag and never mind the snobs.

Why?

Because it’s different and people are tired of the PC Scold-meal being served up.

Your job as a writer is to entertain and challenge them in a charming manner.

If they can’t handle it then you don’t need them.

Good readers will read you even if they don’t agree with you. Especially if you’re good. I did. I do. I love Stephen King. Good times despite his lefty sensibilities. That cat rocks. Oh yeah and he’s a gun guy too so figure that one out.

In short. It’s okay to disagree. It’s not okay to remain silent. Literature was never about that until the bullies tried to make it that way. But they’re small minded and power mad.

Books should destroy small minds.

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You can purchase CTRL ALT REVOLT by Nick Cole from Amazon.com

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8 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Nick Cole

  1. Well done and congrats on the success of Ctrl Alt Revolt.

    Yours is a great case study.

    You tend to be closer to the vest with controversial topics – not intentionally trying to poke folks in the eye, yet your coming out party was really when the shit hit the fan with your former publisher.

    I despise the scolds and I’ve always had the attitude that well-reasoned people can see the same thing different ways without being stupid, crazy or evil.

    If only more people saw it the same way – they’d be less reactionary and we’d all be able to have a reasoned discussion.

    Sadly, much of the literary cadre, as a distinct group separate from readers, aren’t capable of impassioned debate without lowering themselves to condescension or name-calling. It shows poorly on them, but they’ll never see it that way.

    Their loss.

    Again, congrats Nick on your success and your continued career advancement. 🙂

    Like

    1. We agree man. The success story is encouragement to all of who find ourselves in the grasp of the machine. The days where writers can share their worldview through fiction are gone in the trad pub world.

      Like

  2. “I despise the scolds and I’ve always had the attitude that well-reasoned people can see the same thing different ways without being stupid, crazy or evil.”

    What Michael A. Rothman said++

    It’s a shame that science fiction, a genre that once prompted minds to open, is now infected with the intolerant who wish to close minds lest they imagine diverse views of the future that do not agree with theirs. I had thought this attitude was limited to an irrelevant froth of bigoted fans until I read of your experience with Harper Voyager.

    I don’t agree with all your views, Nick, but I bought the book and thought it was a thoroughly good read. I guess that means Mr. Rothman would describe me as ‘well-reasoned’, though I fear that’s hopelessly optimistic in my case. The logic in ‘Ctrl Alt Revolt’ that prompted the AI to let rip is original and makes a lot of sense. I have an aversion to message fiction, whether I agree with the author’s position or not, but I didn’t detect any here.

    I wish you continued success.

    Liked by 1 person

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