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With the political shifts in the United States just this week, namely through SCOTUS decisions, I'm glad I waited to post about Abaddon's Gate, the third piece of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse space opera. (I wrote about the first two books here and here.)
You see, I was going to write about personal change versus external change. Plot versus story. Who has the most room to grow, to change, to fall, and how that's the character whose story should be told.
Completely separate from that, I enjoyed this excellent tweet:
My favorite bad review of Abaddon: "libtard social agenda (gay religious leaders)" If that's what you hated, we aren't writing for you.
— James.S.A.Corey (@JamesSACorey) June 14, 2013
Spoiler-free context: one of the point-of-view characters in the book is a female Methodist preacher who is married to a woman. Also, her sexuality plays no significant role in the plot. Her role is not to advance any agenda, promote any political schemes, or rub her crotch all up in her wife's business for your viewing pleasure/disgust.
The Expanse books excel at projecting forward a plausible development of humanity. What happens when cultures and languages are isolated together in a carved-out asteroid, what happens when colonies on other planets become independent political entities, what happens when our current social "debates" become an accepted part of existence. Things like, for example, homosexuality.
Our society changes just as characters change. In both cases, I find the most effective change to be an internal shift. When people view the world differently than they did before, and their outlook changes how the interact with the world, they have changed. It's no coincidence that my favorite characters in each of the Expanse books are the ones that undergo the most internal growth.
This change cannot be prescribed. It is not simply the acquisition of knowledge or awareness. You're not a new person because you took Algebra II. And for all the celebration over the end of the Defense of Marriage Act this week, we're not a different society because of it. Sure, the rules are different -- but as a culture, our views on marriage have not changed a whit just because some judges decided on the constitutionality of a law.
But that change will come, and it will be aided by the politics. Abaddon's Gate isn't wrong to presume a lesbian preacher will be no big deal in the future. In a few hundred years, it should be so NOT a big deal that it's hardly worth mentioning.
Just as the plot of a novel affects the characters, the repeal of DOMA this week affects our American society. (Maybe even some other societies out there -- shout out to you, Irish friends!) Now, let's wait and see how everyone grows by the end of this saga.