Yeah, you really like to attack, don't you? While I think that's not good, it doesn't invalidate what you say.
Who is attacking? This is English Literature 101 stuff I'm saying.
The story must have a point, of course. Must it have lessons...must it convey values? Whose values?
The values of the person writing the story, of course. Now, it doesn't need "lessons" or "morals", but virtually all novel-length fiction does, even if it's trivial stuff like "Don't always trust the people closest to you".
It can be a good story even if you don't agree with and haven't internalized the author's own stuff therein.
Of course, that was my point.
A book comes from a person, so these elements being invisible are ignorance on the part of the reader or cowardice on the part of the author. Usually a mix of both.
...and if you've already internalized them, well, that means your mind is like a fortress...with its gates unbarred and unguarded. Not a good way to go.
I agree 100% Are we supposed to be arguing?
Anyway, my point is that the reader has accountability, too, and none of that needs to affect whether or not the story is enjoyable. Of course, enjoyment in the face of disagreement requires humility, but that's another topic altogether.
Yes, here I'm at a disadvantage. In order for me to evaluate the Elemental book strictly on its merits, I would have to pay at least $10 to purchase a vanity novel. To be perfectly frank, I and a number of my friends participate in NaNoWriMo , and I've been putting off reading some of their stuff, even though it's been freely offered to me. I honestly doubt that Brad's first novel will be any better than any of those, and there's simply no way that I'm going to pay to find out. I'd review it honestly if they sent me a free copy, though. I don't care about the DLC code.
I think it is possible to write a good story that doesn't have any "racial or political undertones" and is not "cliche fantasy". If it's really a good fantasy story, it shouldn't be hidden political propaganda. Of course it can represent the author's philosophical views (like the Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series, which is close to my views), but it shouldn't refer to the current political situation in the real world.
I think you're absolutely right, it does not have to have any of that. In fact, a story is quite refreshing when it does not. I think referring to the actual situation with a fantasy story is called hiding. It's an attempt at deception.
Context is always there. Some authors are just better at "hiding" it than others. An author can only write on the basis of his or her life experiences, and that's just a fact. Some of the most successful authors make no attempt to hide their politics. An example that Brad would appreciate would be Ayn Rand, whose books would be meaningless without political context. In short, using fiction as a substitute for real-world testing of political ideas is not only acceptable, its often quite good reading.