Some themes can recur in a writers work whether wanted or not, simply due to the things generally thought about. Similar to the way writing tics can crop up, and with similar methods of recognising and excising those we don’t want. There are two main themes I’ve noticed recurring through my work.
I know I’ve used politics a few times in my writing, and for some types of story it can be unavoidable – fantasy stories where you’re dealing with those who rule. It’s also something I have a philosophical interest in, and I have examined different systems in different stories to varying degrees.
Geographicide, Expressions of Freedom, and Glyphpunk are probably the most overtly political stories, possibly because their shorter lengths make it easier to focus on without it becoming overwhelming. Geographicide is basically my view of the current state where political power is moving away from governments, whereas Expressions of Freedom explores the possibility of a direct democracy in the future (and how we’d inevitably try and mess it up).
Glyphpunk (and the in-progress Glyphwar) has corporate political control over a generally monarchic fantasy setting. It’s similar to Geographicide in its political outlook, and is probably a more detailed look at it from a made-up perspective.
My other stuff also has a fair helping of politics: Blade Sworn looks at the traditional fantasy monarchy, interacting with other forms of government; and Grey Engines (and the in-progress Grey Enigmas) have a kind of communist democracy, which wasn’t planned initially but was how the setting made sense after the first draft.
While all can be seen to reflect my political views, they’re not really simple enough for me to choose one to claim as my own. I don’t necessarily think there is a perfect system of government, although one may be better than others at a given time in a given situation. I’m probably more inclined towards direct democracy (which should be achievable given modern technology), but that’s mainly because it would democratise blame for the inevitable cock-ups we’d make if we had it.
It was a couple of years before I realised many of my stories involved disease in one form or another, especially Broken Worlds, which serves as a kind of lynchpin to the links between a number of the books.
Broken Worlds (the most in need of a revision, or even a complete rewrite) sets up things passing through from other dimensions that require hosts in this world. Manifesting in different ways (some changing the host physically) they serve as an explanation for any monsters I want to use, such as zombies, mutated animals, werewolves, and vampires (the latter two used in To Hunt Monsters, without making explicitly stating the cause of their diseases). This infection/possession is also a central plot point in Blade Sworn.
Rainbows in Eclipse has super powers as infection, although I’m undecided whether that’s in the future of the combined setting of the other stories or a separate continuity altogether.
It took a few years before it fully dawned on me that it was probably influenced by my father’s cancer. I’m not sure what purpose it served doing so, or whether it was simply a subconscious influence that was knocking about in my head, but looking back on them it was obviously a factor.
Since realising that I haven’t really used it much in my work, although when I go back to writing further in the worlds I’ve already established with it (Blade Sworn is the most likely, since I have a series vaguely planned there; also another series tangential to Broken Worlds and To Hunt Monsters). Not that these are planned for the immediate future, since after revisions on the current novel and two novellas I want to finish a short story series and write another novel (I’m scared to write down all the project ideas floating around in my head).