I know some people who have a list of authors they refuse to read not because they don’t like the writing style or stories the author creates. No, instead they refuse to read them because they disagree with the author’s politics, religion, or anything else that has nothing to do with the story. This reasoning is ridiculous.
Now, I do have authors whom I no longer read, but I can’t think of any that I’ve stopped reading because of the aforementioned reasons. In both fiction and nonfiction, I regularly read authors whom I disagree with. If I only read those whom I agreed with, I would never learn.
Here are some of the authors whom I read but aren’t like me in thought.
Richard Burlew. I heartily enjoy Order of the Stick. The characterizations are spot on. It isn’t often that I care for the characters the way I do Roy and company. I’m watching with glee as Belkar Bitterleaf finally exhibits character growth. Sure, it started out as fake, but it appears genuine now. I’m eager to see where Rich takes it.
Now, I don’t know for sure Richard’s political standings. I do know that he’s to the left of me, but that isn’t hard to accomplish. I have less knowledge of his religious beliefs as I do not recall them being stated. If I had to guess, I would say he is an agnostic based on his statements of “the [OOTSverse] has a verifiable afterlife.” That doesn’t stop me from enjoying the stories.
John C. Wright. I devour Wright’s fiction and nonfiction. He’s an exception writer, the kind that comes along only once a generation. But he’s Catholic while I am a protestant pastor. He has said some things regarding protestant theology that rather make me blink.
Lloyd Alexander. With the Chronicles of Prydain, Mr. Alexander blessed the twentieth century with it’s best coming-of-age story. Taraan’s journey from childhood to adulthood is shown in his physical body and mirrored in his thoughts. If you haven’t read the series, you are missing out. I disagree with Lloyd as he was a nihilst.
Brad Torgersen. He’s Mormon, and that means he and I have many differences in theology. But The Chaplain’s War promises to be a fantastic piece of fiction. It’s on my reading list, but it will be a while before I get to it. I have to read EMP: Heading Home and Death’s Doors before reading it. Somewhere in the mix, I’m looking forward to reading Sarah Hoyt and Kate Paulk.
L. Jagi Lamplighter. The little I know of her outside her writing comes from her husband’s blog. She’s a Christian Scientist married to a Catholic. I am enjoying the Rachel Griffen series and was considering the Prospero series. However, I will not be buying the books from Tor. Any company that allows one of their high-ranking editors to berate, swear at, and bellow at one of their own authors for any reason does not deserve my reading money. Let alone that this man yelled at a woman because he was mad at her husband.
Naturally, I don’t agree with any writer 100%. However, many of them whom I enjoy, our differences are too minor to list here.
In the last few months, there have been Hugo voters bragging about how they weren’t going to read some works on the ballot because they were nominated by the wrong people and the authors might be presenting badthink. Say what? You are so insecure of your beliefs that reading a piece of fiction that was merely nominated by the wrong people can cause you to change it?
There are writers whom I refuse to read their works. How is that different? Is it different? Yes, in several ways. First up, I am not refusing to read them based on their religious or political beliefs. In others, I have read their work and found it underwhelming. There are too many good books out there to waste on the mediocre ones.
Robert Sawyer. Over a decade ago, I read one of his books-Humans. It stands as one of the few books I couldn’t finish. The books was written from the view of an alien outsider encountering the United States. Sawyer felt the need to continually scream that anyone who disagrees with him is stupid. Every single idea in Western Civilization was wrong. While the plot idea was fascinating (a parallel earth where Neanderthal came to prominence instead of Homo sapiens), the continual cudgel of “you’re wrong, you’re so stupid” made me throw the book down in disgust. This is the only book I’ve ever done so with. I can take a few eyerolls here and there, but when the entire book is a thinly-veiled screed (and a poorly written one)? No. But, I did attempt the book. I had no ideas of any of Sawyer’s views before I began. After a few chapters, I concluded he was an atheist and a hard leftist. I have never seen anything from him that counters either idea, and I looked. I did read reviews of his other books. Both those who rated them high and low had drawn the same conclusions.
Larry Correia. I find Correia has a great imagination and can tell a great tale. However, Correia’s characters swear heavily. I don’t want to read that. He says it’s realism. I say be creative with the characters expressing their displeasure. Until then, I’ll give others my money. As for his politics, he’s on the right probably as far as I am.
George RR Martin. This is one of the giants in the field whom I do not recall ever reading. I plan on never, ever reading GRR Martin. People whose opinion on books I trust have said the Song of Ice and Fire or whatever is not worth reading. To a man, they have said it glorifies evil. Any character with likable traits dies in gruesome ways. They have also said the number of rapes in the books are stomach turning. Yes, bad things happen in war, but I don’t want or need to read about them in graphic detail. (And someone has said that for all the rapes, there is not a single loving act of congress.) I have no idea on his religion as I have never seen fit to look it up. I do know that he’s a leftist, but I had already decided to never read his material before I found that out. I certainly had suspected it before it was confirmed to me.
Besides, if realism is Martin’s thing, why is he writing a FANTASY series? Mythic creatures. Magic. Yeah. Things you won’t find in the world we call reality. Most people read fiction to escape the realism of their lives for a little bit.
When I write, I don’t expect to make everyone happy. In fact, I lost at least one star on an Amazon review because I made the character “too Catholic.” Near the end of Rebirths, Derke goes to confession. The reviewer did not like that at all. However, the story was set before any kind of Reformation was happening, and it would have been out of character for Derke to forgo confession after the sin he had committed.
That review is actually a point of pride for me. As mentioned, I am a protestant pastor. That I was able to write a character unlike myself so convincingly makes me smile.
So what authors do you disagree with but still read?