I suppose the advantage of fiction is sometimes the good guys get to win. Everyone needs some hope and something to strive for. Otherwise life is something of an exercise in nihilism. It’s why we derive comfort from stories where the rich and powerful have to operate under the same rules as Fred Ordinary-Bloke, where government is accountable and logic and common-sense win through.
I must admit these sort of fictions and at least temporarily losing myself in them becomes very attractive when things are falling apart. A good book – for me anyway – leaves me coming out of the other side feeling a bit uplifted, maybe reminded of some of the good things and people in life and unpleasant and obstructive petty bureaucrats parasites finally get their come-uppance, instead of being immune to the direct consequences of their actions.
As a writer, there certain advantages to having petty bureaucrats end up as villains getting tarred and feathered and run out of town – like banks and tax collectors you can be sure that a very high percentage of your audience have had run-ins with the ‘type’ (they seem to run to type across nations and cultures) and will dislike them without you having to do much character work. It’s rather like any politician in fiction is likely to be a crook, any lawyer likely to be dishonest. I know, fiction and reality run too close together, but there is a limit to how much belief the reading audience can suspend.
The same is true the other way, too. No matter how much effort the MSM and the trad publishing industry put into trashing the reputation and value of intact families… we actually all know the outcomes are better for children from them, most of the time (Yes, there are times and places when getting out is not only a good decision, it is the only sane decision, but the figures don’t lie, any more than they lie about the fraud which took place in the US elections. Kids – on average – benefit from father figures, and substitute for this when it isn’t around. Sometimes they find a good proxy, but mostly they don’t. Of course, the same applies to mother-figures, but custody typically goes to mothers.)
So if I was to characterize the kind of fiction I enjoy – and I believe a large part of the audience do to (maybe not petty government bureaucrats, who appear to derive their pleasure from, well, being in power over their fellow humans, and appear to love nothing more than functionless but massively expensive red-tape.) it would be books that lift me up with characters I can believe in, in situations which, um, don’t happen too often – whether we talk of space-travel or actually cutting red tape.
I’ve spent my writing career on producing books with this at the core. Books I hope leave you feeling lifted up and slightly better after reading them. It’s what I want from a book, (and yes’ I’m reading a lot of old faithfuls right now) so it makes sense that that is what I would put into writing them.