I don’t like to bring current events, especially politics, into Fantasy Authors Handbook—that’s not what this blog is about. Still, this year has been, let’s say, “different” in so many ways that that stuff has crept in, or in a few cases huffed and puffed and blown my house in. Now we come to Election Day, 2020 and how do I pretend that isn’t happening, and that it doesn’t have such massive consequences? We either get back to a stable if lumbering status quo, or we pack it in.

At least, I think.

I’m not old by most people’s definition, but neither am I young. I’ve seen elections come and go. The first presidential election I was old enough to vote in, my vote went to Walter Mondale. I sort of packed it in for a while after that, ignoring politics entirely for several years. Then my wife talked me into voting for Bill Clinton’s second term. After that I voted against George W. Bush, twice, then voted for someone for the first time since that first election, in which as a citizen of the state of Illinois I was able to help Paul Simon go to the United States Senate—I liked him. And I like Barrack Obama even more, and voted for him twice, then voted for someone I really didn’t like against Trump, and now against Trump again.

Okay, I voted.

And in the meantime I’ve gone back to trying not to get involved in politics, and I continue to avoid the news, especially the TV news. At this point, honestly, I couldn’t tell you the name of a single cabinet secretary. The Secretary of State could walk into the room right now and I would call the police because what the hell is this strange person doing in my house?

You might think I’m putting my head in the sand, pretending that if I can’t see it it isn’t there… and maybe that’s true, but really I’m just fifty-six years old and I’m tired. When I’m told about a problem my instinct is to try to fix it, and all the news does is present me with unfixable problems—and I’m all full up on impotent rage, thank you very much. In fact I’m trying to get rid of a bunch of it so if you know anyone interested in some impotent rage give them my email address. I’m willing to let it go for the price of postage.

Looking around at least a little, though, it looks like America has a generation of people in their twenties who are taking this moment in American history seriously. They have a positive if angrily-voiced agenda and they appear to be willing to vote. I love that. I’m behind them, if quietly, a hundred percent. It’s their time to shove this country forward, like people in their twenties did in the 1960s. When I was in my twenties I was a punk rocker. I didn’t accomplish shit. That was my bad.

If you’re a person in your twenties you should be trying to save the world. If you’re a person in your fifties and you aren’t hoping people in their twenties will save the world, you’re the person they’re trying to save the world from.

Get to work, young America.

And with that, I leave politics and current events again, and I promise, promise, promise, next week we get back to talking about writing fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general.

Whatever happens in the next week.

—Philip Athans

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Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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