Never had the nerve to write at length. I know people who have tremendously fascinating political ideas… ideas for reshaping the planet, novel government systems, new ways for societies to function.
They’ll talk to me at long length about “why the world should be this way”.
My advice to them ends up being the same: Write science fiction. Get it out of you because you’re NOT going to see the world change the way you want it and you’re going to be frustrated with these brilliant ideas with few to listen to you.
I don’t know if anybody ever took me up on that advice.
But, it’s primarily advice I should take myself. Always easier to give than to take.
I’ve never been military and they wouldn’t have taken me anyway. [1/2 deaf / 1/2 blind, other things, although I *probably* could’ve squeezed in the Navy somehow]. In some ways, I fit the 2nd wave Gen-X stereotype.
But I was an early adopter to tech. “Whiz kid” in the 80s.
I also never felt intimidated by figures of authority. They’re people just like me. So, whether in school or various jobs, I’d give advice freely to people at any level and found, more often than not, that I was listened to. Like you say, it’s a good feeling.
Sometimes it can be used nefariously though: One manager at a Pharmaceutical job I had (not my boss, just in a nearby department) would utilize my abilities. Nice guy, so i didn’t mind. He said of me, “Ken, you’re my secret weapon!”
One day, I realized what this meant. It means he was taking all the credit for my work and passing it off as his own and his reliance on me was interfering with the people I was supposed to be working with.
So, I had to cut him off. I could no longer be his secret weapon.
Always have to have both eyes open, alas, although most people seem to be generally cooperative and amicable, thankfully.
You breathe power and authority into their words. I can feel it.
I never felt any excitement over stories with simple gunplay unless it had a significant context. I’m very particular about science fiction. I don’t like most of it and have only a few that I’ve ever enjoyed.
Were I to attempt a military basis for a civilization, I would likely fail in authenticity, as I lack the necessary experience in that area. My naivety would show.
I *could* do clashes of ideologies however. I’ve had a lifelong fascination with subultures, in their organization and what ideals ‘drive’ them. Whether it is groupings of people for religious reasons, political reasons, “fandom” (furries, people who follow a particular philosopher, the influence of a movie or TV show on a generation of people) – they all get my fascination.
Subcultures have various things in common which would make a lot of the writing simple. Yet it is their distinctions that would be the most interesting to me.
In religions, there can be subtle theological differences that can affect their whole worldview. Where do they fall on Calvin? Fate or free will? They can have all of the same structures yet a single point of difference can ripple through time affecting their attitudes towards a diverse set of issues.
What differences between two ancient Christian giants, the Orthodox and Catholics eventually led to the Great Schism and what has the past 1000 years done with them since? Why did one lead to splintering and the other cohesion?
Psychologists and psychiatrists, seemingly working on similar issues, have vastly distinct solutions and attitudes. Why is that? Where did it come from? What could this lead to?
There’s common human factors involved. Ingroup / outgroup type stuff. Yet it’s the distinctions that I find fascinating.
So were I to do a reading of your works, I’d probably focus on the subtleties of cultures and how their interplay led them to the point where they were at battle. That’s the level of context that I find fascinating.
It’s been a while since I’ve read fiction but should I decide to, you’re right on the top of the list. I’m confident it will not only be enjoyable but I’ll walk away smarter at the end of it.