Singapore-based Chuang Shyue Chou, in his blog, The Garden of Forking Paths (great title!), gives an enthusiastic thumbs up to Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughter.Now, I'm not taking issue with Chuang's review, and I'm thrilled he enjoyed the book, but one comment struck me as food for further thought: "A final note on The Martian General's Daughter, strangely enough, the novel is marred by a few lines of unnecessary Christian propaganda near the end. I wonder why."
It struck me as similar to the way that some readers and critics felt that China Miéville's Iron Council(my personal favorite of the Bas Lag books) was "marred" by the inclusion of overt Marxism.
Now, I am neither a Marxist nor a Christian, and I'm no fan of propaganda in fiction whether I'm a fan of it's object or not, but there's a difference between propaganda and an author writing from out of his/her own perspective. I don't have to share an author's belief system to enjoy their craft, any more than I have to endorse human sacrifice to admire the construction of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán (and that would be an extreme example.)
So, not taking issue with Chuang, and very glad he's reading Pyr books all the way in Singapore (awesome! keep it up!), but do people feel they have to agree with an author to enjoy them? I've always loved science fiction for its extreme wealth of ideas of every size and stripe, and don't feel the genre - which is ultimately a set of tools, not a school of thought - should be limited only to a liberal/socialist world view, even if I happened to share that world view. I love that Heinlein can write a book in 1959 that gets him accused of fascism and two years later in 1961, write a manifesto of the free love movement. That's the kind of, oh, let's call it infinite diversity in infinite combination, that I've always loved about our genre.
More of that please.