1. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

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    Controversial things on the setting...when is it too much?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Veltman, Nov 19, 2018.

    My sci-fi novel set in the 2130s will feature a terraformed Mars ... but I was going for a different and (in my opinion) interesting near future: After it's terraformed, wealthy tycoons, businessmen and all sorts of people with means found in Mars an opportunity. Carving a place in the sun for their fringe ideologies and opinions, establishing new countries before the Earth's nations could fully colonize and control it. As a result, the former red planet is home to a new confederacy, the fourth reich, tax ravens, small monarchies, etc.

    Needless to say, there will be tension and wars, and the atmosphere will be bleak. However, the main point of this thread is: the nazis.

    Including them anywhere seems to cause uproar, especially when they aren't portrayed as full-blown cardboard monsters. My idea is that the created from scratch country will already be big enough and there wouldn't be any minorities to antagonize, so they would be less aggressive and warmongering than the RL counterparts, just trying to build their ideological utopia and minding their own business(mostly). Their country would, in the novel, have suspicious and tense, but peaceful relations with other countries, similar to how it was during the appeasement policy.

    How does this tie up with the main plot? I'd say it involves military elements as well as espionage. The MC will have to go there while looking for someone elusive. He will at some points be going against the law and causing trouble, and at some points, characters from the reich will aid him in his objectives as well.

    With that said, am I going too far in shady territory? Will I be bashed and my work outright rejected everywhere because of these things? Should I just scrap everything Nazi related and play it safe?
     
  2. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    The Nazis relied on the appeasement relationship while they were securing their power-base at home. Once they had their home under their control, they turned their attention to engaging in "glorious," "heroic," and "manly" violence against everybody else.

    The presence of diversity is not what makes angry violent white people angry and violent – if that were true, then every white person in Europe and America would be constantly angry at and violent against people of color – and the absence would not make them stop being angry and violent.

    Nazis are radicalized by the previous generation to believe an ideology of violence and bloodshed, and they radicalize the next generation to believe the same. Having this ideology go so largely unopposed in their culture would make the culture's commitment to the ideology stronger, not weaker.

    Nazis love to claim "If everybody different from us went somewhere else, then we wouldn't have to kill them! The problem is that they live here, not that we're angry at them for living here! We're just trying to protect our people!"

    But Nazis are capable of being wrong.
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Nope. There are plenty of fictitious factions that can be likened to
    the Nazis, in varying degrees. Though you can't portray every single
    person in the faction as a monster, since not everybody will agree with
    the Gov's agenda or politics. So have fun and create a rich and interesting
    story with what you have. :superagree:
     
  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I'd be more concerned with the 'sci' part of sci-fi rather than the grip hold of the politics and ideologies. To my mind, pushing things many more thousands of years into the future would hand your story more credence/acceptance in the genre. A shade over 100 of those years is way too short for humanity to establish a foothold on Mars @Veltman. Better still, just don't nail the time down at all—wriggle room then to concentrate on your (complicated) world building.
     
  5. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

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    Thanks for the input. Why do you think the chronology is such a big deal?
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I agree that pure realism is a problem with such a short timeline, but I'd handle that in the opposite direction: Go steampunk. This all sounds very steampunk.

    However, I'm unclear on the value of having (1) Nazis who are (2) not evil. Eh?
     
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  7. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    During the run-up to WWII, what you coyly term "appeasement", the Germans were preparing for war. The persecution of Jews, and several other groups began long before the onset of war. The Nazis were always evil. To portray them otherwise is ludicrous.
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed. The fact that Germany was treated unfairly in the Treaty of Versailles and thus had some legitimate grievances does nothing to excuse the Nazis for the rest of their ideology. I can buy "Good Germans" who weren't taken in by Hitler but had to go along to survive, or even people who were caught up in the fervor, but to feel sympathy for someone who wants to move to Mars because it's judenrein? Nope, not for me.
     
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  9. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    There would always be minorities for them to antagonize. Consider their policies of euthanasia or forced sterilization of the physically and mentally disabled. Or their genocidal policies against LGBT folks. Any political dissidents would face grave danger, and religions whose values conflicted with Nazi policies would also be eliminated. It doesn't get much attention because the policies were never fully implemented, but Hitler and his inner circle intended to destroy mainstream Christianity and replace it with a more Nazi friendly version that was stripped of all Jewish influence and "slave morality".

    In real life, the Nazis weren't aggressive because they actually needed territory; Lebensraum was a way for the government to justify the genocide, slavery, and colonization of Eastern Europe to the German people. The Nazis were aggressive and warmongering because their ideology demanded they be.

    To understand Nazi policy goals, you have to understand that they believed--and modern ones still believe--that a Jewish-Bolshevist-Capitalist conspiracy seeks to destroy the Aryan race by any means necessary. That there aren't any Jews in this Nazi nation wouldn't be enough for actual Nazis; they wouldn't tolerate their existence anywhere because they viewed them as an existential threat. Thus why the Nazis considered WW2 a war of self-defense.

    If Mars has become home to a bunch of nation states built on fringe ideologies, I'd imagine there would be a communist state or two. This Nazi nation wouldn't sit back and tolerate its existence. In the Nazi mind, communism is one of the conspiracy's primary tools to subvert Aryans.

    Then there's the sense of entitlement. If they're the "master race", the thinking goes, then all those pesky "subhumans" are fit to live only under their heel. You can look up their plans for Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and Africa to see this. If this state is actually following Nazism, they likely harbor similar ambitions toward their neighbors.

    Ultimately, a Nazi state is unlikely to be able to coexist with anything other than similarly racist, nationalist states. If your heart's set on an insular, dictatorial fringe power, I'd go with some sort of original form of fascism. It'll be easier to make that fit your story's needs than it would be to use Nazism.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  10. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

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    I like your post! I fear everyone else hasn't interpreted my posts as well as you have. This state will not peacefully coexist happily ever after with everyone else. There will be a communist state that they will antagonize and go through a cold war with. (I didn't invent it yet, Russian or Chinese would be too easy/cliché). I never said they were not evil either @ChickenFreak, just not outright hostile/at war. Uneasy peace is what I'm aiming for here. Also, why did you say Steampunk fits my plot?
     
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I vote for steampunk because otherwise the technical issues around terraforming and building such a complex society on Mars in such a very short time is likely to overwhelm your story. It sounds--and I may have this wrong--like your story is about culture and politics and rivalries, not about hard science. Trying to make the hard science work is likely to be distracting.

    Steampunk redefines the laws of physics, but without requiring magic. Look at, for example, Amazon's description of Arabella of Mars. ("When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s....")
     
  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    It could also be Cyberpunk. :)
     
  13. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

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    I believe this impression may have been caused by the nature of this thread, it's focused on the political and ideological part and not on the tech and science aspect, because it's not relevant to the discussion here. See where I'm coming from?

    @Cave Troll Why do you think so?
     
  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Cyberpunk has more tech advanced options, that Steampunk just can't
    really meet. Though I have seen a Sci-fi/Dieselpunk movie once, that had
    spaceships that ran on diesel. So IDK.
     
  15. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Because I'm interested in most takes on what Utopia ought to be and enjoy reading the subject. I'm interested too in well thought through world builds and this is born from (especially when taking on something new) subtle assurances relayed through the read that the writer know his/her onions. Finding a fully terraformed Mars colonised/populated and with mature governance only a hundred years on from our timeline would have me roll my eyes and likely put it down. And that'd be a shame as it may otherwise be an entertaining, thought provoking read—the suggestions of shifting it to another universe or refraining from locking it in to the near future, I think, would widen the scope of its appeal.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think you could pull the elements of Nazi-ism you want and use them without actually using the Nazi label. You can have a violent, fascist state intolerant of diversity any time you want to!

    That said, I don't think there's anything at all controversial about including Nazis in a piece of fiction as long as you portray them as evil, so I think that's why people are thinking you may be planning to portray them as less-than-evil. I mean, what's the controversy you're worried about?
     
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  17. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    I'm with BayView. The concept of a near-future mars colonized primarily by extremist fringe groups sounds interesting and if presented properly could be believable. Portraying neo-nazis as one of these groups does not strike me as problematic or offensive. It is actually fairly relevant to the recent publicity of extremism that has popped up in the US recently.
     
  18. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    I think not having enemies will make a fascist regime less stable, not more! Fascism, and dictatorships in general, need real or invented enemies to reinforce the sense of identity and "us against the world". Looking at historical dictatorships, when they run out of admitted enemies or go too long without conflict, they start purging their own ranks for "disloyalty".

    I think there's a useful distinction between an understandable villain and a sympathetic one. Making Nazis sympathetic....no, I wouldn't recommend it. But at least for an individual Nazi or two, even if their reasoning is repellent, it can still have internal consistency that makes sense to them and that they can support with arguments that have superficial logic. Even most Nazis don't go about thinking "Man, I love being evil!" because they don't think of themselves as evil. Someone can follow a disgusting ideology without being two-dimensional.

    Also, this sprang to mind. :)

    [youtube]
     
  19. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    @Cavetroll, I have read the book about the B17 crew led by Charley brown and the BF-109 pilot, "A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II," The book is written from two autobiographical POVs, that of Charlie Brown and the Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler, from before the war, through their encounter over France, and the post-war years, to their ultimate reunion in the 1980s. As such, it gives a rare look into the German side as they viewed themselves as patriots defending their country... which most I am sure did.

    Another along that line is "Iron Coffins," by Herbert Werner, a surviving U-Boat commander, written in 1969, which had a very good foreword by CAPT Edwin L. Beach, USN of the US Pacific submarine force, who praised the German sailors' professionalism in going out, when in 1944-1945 90% (yes 90%!) of U boats going out on their first patrol never returned... and still they went out.

    Nazism is equated with any government using brutal repression to work its will, but in fact it is an economic policy in which the economy is subordinate to the political regime and serves its end. Repression and mass murder and the "Master Race" theory were means to an end, not an end. I certainly do not advocate it as a political philosophy, any more than I advocate its close cousin communism, in which the government owns, rather than controls, the means of production. But you can certainly write it from the point of view of those who do.
     
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  20. AbyssalJoey

    AbyssalJoey Member

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    I'm with @X Equestris in this so I'm just going to say this: Can you please not call them Nazis in your story? I'm so tired of seeing Nazis everywhere, keep the way they act and think but please, for the love of God, change the name and the symbol of the faction.

    P.S: It would also be nice to see other kinds of "Evil Empires", there are more historical examples to draw from people!!!.
     
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  21. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  22. Asher Janos Hawthorne

    Asher Janos Hawthorne Member

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    Most reasonable people will at least give you a fair shake, There is a difference between speaking about it and promoting it after all. focusing on the fact that the people in the reich are still individuals and some may not even be a huge fan of whats going on back home, may help ease things a bit. keep in mind that there will always be dissenters to a regime.
     
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  23. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    My first thought was when I read this that are nazis (or neo-nazis?) so ubiquitous right now that their ideology would garner so many supporters that National Socialist Mars would become a thing? Like, aren't they really really fringe these days? Or maybe you're envisioning a future where they have more institutional power.
    Come to think of it, it'd make sense there were Jews among the "wealthy tycoons, businessmen and all sorts of people with means" that invest in Mars...?

    So for me it's a bit much (willing suspension of disbelief and all that), but not because portraying nazis as the bad guys is somehow offensive.
     
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  24. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Not in the United States, unfortunately.
     
  25. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    I get that the US is called the most powerful country in the world, but I wonder if Mars would still end up all-American? Russians have a space program too, and, well, if the OP wants an oppressive oligarchy on Mars, it doesn't have to be nazis that run it...

    Though of course if he's set on writing about nazis, fair enough. I don't even think it's that controversial nowadays, unless you want to publish it in Germany, I guess.
     
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