What if the author’s a ratbag?

11, February,2008

Has a writer’s beliefs / lifestyle / opinion, influenced your decision to purchase a book (positive stories are allowed)?  What line would they have to cross before you walked away from them? 

Why I ask is due to a couple of podcasts I’ve listened to lately. Recently, on Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, the author Terry Goodkind was interviewed I like a ripping yarn, and the few books I’ve read of Terry’s definitely fall into that category.  In the second half of the interview he was asked why he thought fiction was in decline, which devolved into an exposition by Goodkind on Objectivism. 

Objectivism is (according to my very biased view) a philosophy where greed is not only good but heroic.  Obviously, there is more to it than this and it has many adherents in the U.S. – particularly in the libertarian, hill billy militias (Damn!  Sorry my bias momentarily got the better of me again).  If you want a more informed view you can look it up in wikipedia. 

Right or wrong it’s a philosophy that I (obviously) have real problems with, and it definitely colours the way I think of Goodkind as a person.  I like his books but knowing a bit more about the author will probably lessen my enjoyment of them. 

By way of comparison have a listen to the interview he did on the Dragon Page, Cover to cover where the issue wasn’t mentioned.

Another podcast was an interview with Howard Jacobson on the Bat Segundo Podcast.  He is a forthright author with some strong views on Jewishness and Zionism.  An interesting interview but I don’t think I’d like to have around for dinner.

 So my fellow readers what would make you walk away?
Are the author and the story totally separate beasts?
Do we applaud their willingness to openly stand by their beliefs, or would we prefer not to hear it if it interferes with us enjoying the story? 

To any published writers – without giving anything away, are there areas you steer clear of in interviews, or have been advised to steer clear of? 

To any involved in publishing what advice would you give a prospective author? Are their no go zones?

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One Response to “What if the author’s a ratbag?”

  1. Favela Cranshaw Says:

    What is the bias that colors your view of Ayn Rand?


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