Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

No inbetween

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I was standing on my soapbox… ok, on my Italian blog… and I was talking about those guys that play the Amazon algorithms to increase their sales in ways against the company’s rules. A friend of mine is doing a series of videos on the subject, and if you are trying to make a living by writing, the presence of people that game the system is a problem – a livelihood-impacting problem.

And I was taken to task by a reader because, you see, I often write about adventurers, thieves, people living outside the law, rule-breakers and other shady characters – and are not these individuals that abuse the system to make money in the same class?

It’s easy to write about adventurers and other shady characters in smoky, exotic taverns, when you are not a victim of their activities.

Based on the same reasoning, of course, Lawrence Block, author of the books about thief and bon vivant Bernie Rhodenbarr should not complain – or, probably, call the cops – should his house be robbed, and Max Allan Collins, chronicler of the exploits of hired killer Quarry, should not speak against shootouts. And by the way, I highly recommend anything by Block or Collins, and the Rhodenbarr and Quarry books in particular.
And, further extending that line of thought, horror writers should not have any right to speak up should their house turn out to be haunted, or should a demon eat the cats in the neighborhood.

In other words, it’s silly.

But this led me to ask myself a new question: does my writing in any way glorify the evil-doers and bring down the victims?
I do not think so, at least after a cursory review of my stuff.
Also, does writing humorously about real-life knaves from the ages past amount to condoning knavery in our everyday life?
Should I refrain from trying to stop, say, a pickpocket on the bus, because I once wrote

“pickpockets are skilled professional, it takes no skill whatsoever to rob you by pointing a gun”

Or maybe – only maybe – there’s people out there that knows no inbetween?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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