Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lone Star

What a roller coaster of a day!  I was probably the least productive I've ever been at work yesterday as I obsessively watched the download-o-meter tick over.  Dryad downloads were around 60 when I went to sleep on Thursday and I was jolly pleased with that.  But I leapt out of bed like an electrocuted cat when I woke up on Friday morning and saw downloads hit 600!  After a few minutes I had calculated how much that would have made me if I wasn't giving it away for free, extrapolated forwards, factoring in ten more books with a marginal percentage growth on each one - assuming I garnered a loyal fan base - and declared proudly that, this was most definitely "It"!  I could extricate myself from the oft degrading drudgery of the daily grind much sooner than previously hoped.  I skipped off to work a very happy man indeed.

The day continued on its upwards trajectory, downloads hit 800!  My extrapolation ballooned until in my imagined world I was off to buy a big house with a massive pool and commence snoozing in the afternoon shade.  So imagine how I felt when the ticker clicked over 1000 downloads.  Over a thousand in just five days.  I quickly googled "average downloads/sales for a book in a year" and began to feel nauseous with delight.  Not only had I just taken ownership of my actual dream and published my book, but I had done something sufficiently interesting to pique the interest of over a thousand people!

I had just started to think "all I need now are some reviews" when one came in.... my head began to spin, the floor began to wobble and my over inflated optimism went all Hindenburg on me.  A one-star review! To quote my gentle and articulate sister - "Whoever that was is a bell end!" - brilliant, couldn't agree more.  My instant reaction, who is this person? Why one-star? I read the review and it was blindingly obvious they had not read the book, and a quick look at their profile revealed they have a clear agenda.  So next logical step? I must destroy this person.... but then I paused, took a breath and realised something.  I liked the review!  I really wish there were a few 5-star's on there to redress the balance but I can't control that.

The review was basically a throw away remark that my book is Liberal and left wing... BRILLIANT!  The book is first and foremost a science fiction story.  It's also a projection into the future which is based on my opinion of the current state of the world.   It doesn't paint a very positive picture of our future, run away climate change, capitalism and cruel authoritarian conservatism on steroids are the backdrop to the story.  So I guess the reviewer has focussed on the setting as opposed to the story, the writing, or the emotion.... However, what budding hobbyist writer would not want to be put in the same bucket as some of the greatest Sci-Fi authors, indeed some of the greatest authors there have ever been and ever will be?!  Ursula K. Le Guin, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley.. have written books considered to be liberal and/or left wing.  I am in no way comparing myself or my writing to them, but I feel utterly delighted that my book could possibly be considered through the same political lens.

I believe good literature should carry a message and that the value comes from provoking conversations and discussion.  Also in my opinion no other genre has more power to go deep into the world of "otherness" than science fiction, so by definition isn't science fiction inherently liberal?  If we act on instinct alone and remain afraid of everything and everyone who is different then what are we?  Isn't exploring how we interact with otherness, and talking about it what being human, liberal or otherwise is all about?   I think so, and am taking the review as a wonderful compliment.  It gives me credibility as a man with a message and that message is a good one.  I shall wear my lone star with pride, like a sheriff....  only less authoritarian of course....

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