FIELDS OF FIRE has been out for not quite a week, and it’s sitting on 54 Amazon reviews and a 4.8 star review average already, which is much better than a sharp kick in the crotch. Thank you to everyone who has bought it, and extra special thanks to those of you who took the time to leave a review.
I don’t usually respond to reviews, especially not on Amazon. Reviews are for other readers, not for me. But one thing caught my eye as I was skimming the reviews—a reader who gave me a favorable review, but felt that I threw in a gay Russian space marine “for diversity”. Truth be told, when I wrote Dmitry, I didn’t know he was gay until I got to the scene in ANGLES OF ATTACK where Dmitry and young master Andrew have a drink together and show each other pictures of their main squeezes, as soldiers do when they have downtime and some alcohol in front of them. I’m not the kind of writer who claims that my characters have their own will—they do what I tell them to, goddammit, because I’m the master of their universe—but that was a moment where a character revealed a little detail that I hadn’t intentionally sketched out, but that felt natural and proper. Dmitry pulled out the picture of his spouse, and my brain just went, “He has a husband. Huh, Of course he does.”
So no, I don’t sit down with a character creation sheet and a checklist for Maximum Diversity(tm) and threw in a gay character to advance an agenda, score Social Justice Warrior brownie points, or engage in virtue-signaling. Dmitry is gay because he is, and with all the crap these soldiers have to deal with in their alien-besieged dystopia, I found it appropriate that at the very least, showing someone else a picture of your same-sex spouse is not worthy of special commentary above and beyond “Nice picture” in that version of the future.