I used to discover new books by going to physical bookstores and spending a pleasurable hour searching through the shelves. That method is effectively obsolete now, as damn near everything I read is something I discovered online (on Twitter, more often than not) and added to my Amazon wish list. Sometimes I end up at Barnes and Noble anyway, though, and for whatever reason every time I set foot in that place nowadays it leads to a blog post.
I came across Christopher Ruocchio’s Empire of Silence at some point in the past few days; I don’t remember exactly when, but comparing something to Dune is guaranteed to get my attention and I added it to my wishlist. We ended up celebrating my birthday tonight with steak and book-shopping, and I happened to find a copy of the book on the shelf somewhere. I wasn’t familiar with Ruocchio– I think this is his debut novel, but I’m not 100% sure, and he’s definitely a young guy– and my first thought upon seeing his author picture was … well, judgmental. I’m not gonna bother saying how, but he’d done nothing to deserve said judgmentalness.
And then I noticed that his author bio mentioned his Twitter feed, and so I pulled my phone out and went to look at his Twitter, specifically to see if he was posting anything on Twitter that would give me an excuse to not buy his books. And I came across this Tweet:
I’m also trying *very* hard not to talk about politics. We’ve all our positions and beliefs, and in my view it’s not wise to go to storytellers for advice on how to vote.
If I slip sometimes, be patient. My primary role here is to entertain, not preach.
— Christopher Ruocchio (@TheRuocchio) July 5, 2018
Here’s the thing: my opinions on politics are very very apparent from my Twitter feed, and still pretty goddamn apparent from my blog posts. I am absolutely certain that there are some people out there who might enjoy my books but won’t/wouldn’t have given me the chance because of my politics, and that’s okay. Anyone who doesn’t want to read my work for any reason whatsoever is absolutely free to not do so, as none of you owe me anything.
My personal rule on the politics of authors and various and sundry other artists who I support is You Don’t Want None There Won’t Be None. I’ve never deliberately gone looking for someone’s political ideas before deciding to check out their work before, but there have definitely been some authors– Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons come to mind immediately, and I threw away a John C. Wright book unread once I found out what a piece of shit he was, and I’m sure there are others– whose work I no longer read or never started because I find them to be such odious people. But if you either keep your shit to yourself or if you put it out there you do it in such a way that you don’t immediately convince me that you’re a boil on the asshole of humanity, I’ve never been one to go looking for bullshit. But if you put it out there, well, there might be consequences.
But that’s exactly what the hell I was doing– trying to comb this dude’s Twitter feed for a reason not to buy his book, because something about the way he looks set me off.
I don’t like the fact that I’ve turned into that person.
Long story short, I bought the goddamn book, which I was gonna do anyway, but as soon as I realized I was trying to find a reason to write this dude off and not buy his book I decided I had to buy it. And I’m gonna try harder to rein in my own dickishness in the future, because this shit is ridiculous, and I don’t want to do it again.
Now I just gotta hope to hell I like the thing. 🙂