I’ve a lot of sympathy for Mark Lawrence on this point. Life as an author in the online SF community when your politics are somewhere in the wide middle can be pretty crap. For starters both extremes distain you (perhaps, unconsciously, more than each other) but, worse, is the fact you immediately deny yourself an inbuilt support network that’s there for the taking and would festoon you with retweets and followers overnight. There’s something uniquely gruelling in seeing your hard-worked-at, singular think piece sink whilst someone else’s boilerplate in-tribe rhetoric get’s lauded like Christ riding into Blog-post Jerusalem. It’s a right mug’s game, sheer digital masochism.
For my own part, jumping on the right wing Sad puppies foam-fest is utterly, comprehensively unthinkable. Just no. Writing impassioned common-all-garden social justice speeches is a lot more attractive (I agree on the basic stuff after all. I consider myself left wing) and in my needier moments I’ve thought about doing so. But, ultimately, I feel it would be to betray the multicultural British city that raised me (Oddly, social justice terms and philosophies become more impractical the deeper into a multicultural provincial UK city you go, in the same manner you saw less and less jingoism and flag-waving the closer you got to the trenches in World War 1. People are too busy just getting on with things).
Theoretically, the answer would be for those in SF’s wide middle to get a greater sense of themselves as a faction (as it were), but I’m sure you can see the inbuilt fault there without me having do drag out ‘herding’ and ‘cats’ themed cliches.
It’s an insoluble problem, one set to only get worse. I guess the likes of Mark Lawrence and myself just have to weather it. Bloody bastard authenticity and all that. As always, the words of Kate Bush provide a sliver of succour: ‘To succeed in heaven is hell/ To succeed in hell is HEAVEN!!!’