As a writer, I never know what will happen to one of my stories once it’s out there. I expect people to read it, discuss it, and critique it as a piece of literature and (to a lesser extent) as commentary about the world in which we live. I believe fiction should say something about the human experience—it needn’t be profound, but the more deeply a writer touches the reader, the more likely his work will to be remembered long after the reading is done.
Having appeared in the widely read Lightspeed Magazine, “Thief of Futures” has gotten the largest readership of any of my published works. Even so, I was surprised to see it included in an academic discussion of the politics of wealth and privilege. Samuel X. Brase edits a new publication called Cosmic Vinegar, which is dedicated to examining politics and economics as it appears in speculative fiction. In the November issue, Mr. Brase has some interesting things to say about how “Thief of Futures” reflects the current status quo of upward mobility being restricted to the wealthy and/or privileged while the faceless masses are left in poverty. When writing “Thief of Futures”, I never intended to take a subversive stand on this particular issue. That’s part of the point Mr. Brase is making: much speculative fiction accepts the status quo when it has an opportunity to be revolutionary. I can’t argue with his assessment. While the dichotomy between wealth=security and poverty=insecurity was something I wanted explore in this story, it alone wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.
I thank Mr. Brase for taking the time to read my story, and I’m glad that it inspired him to analyze it in a way that I never would have guessed. Even though he found my story did little to advance a new world vision in which upward mobility is decoupled from wealth and privilege, I hope he still enjoyed “Thief of Futures” for its human tale about what a man will do to protect his daughter.