Great artists, in both literature and the visual arts, have famously struggled with poverty when producing their masterpieces or bodies of work. In the science fiction genre some great exponents of it have, also, subsisted on tobacco and coffee; especially in their formative years. Is poverty a literary inspiration or is it simply the fact that writing as a profession pays poorly in the majority of instances? Science fiction and fantasy novels are loved by millions worldwide, but reaching that audience through the established platforms can be economically exhausting.
Poverty as literary inspiration: the no credit check myth is alive and well, even in the age of electronic books. Despite the fact that online publishers are unburdened by the costs of paper and ink, and that writers can self-publish on Amazon, writing remains a profitable pathway for the few rather than the many. Science fiction writers toil in basements and at their desks, often after work, to tell the stories they hope will propel them into cultural and literary acclaim. Few SF writers are ever acclaimed as literary giants, because the genre is still considered to be too low brow.
Science fiction stirs its audience with tremendous ideas, more than with form and structure. Writers like JG Ballard, Brian Aldiss and Robert A Heinlein, who were challenged early in their careers financially, stretched the envelope of human conception in their many and varied works. I am sure that each of the writers was forced to seek out no credit check loans at certain times. Writers are famous for their shameless behaviour when it comes to money. Debt management is an issue for most writers, as they make their way in the world; especially when their newness goes unappreciated.
Most writers say that having the determination to finish a book is the most important quality a writer must possess. There are more unfinished novels in the bottom drawers of aspiring writers, than completed ones on the shelves of book stores. Whether poverty is truly an inspiration for great art, is sorely debatable, but to get the job done and to possibly get paid for it is a spur that ‘want’ can furnish. Science fiction and fantasy, often, removes its readers from the hum drum of daily living, perhaps it also allows its hungry writers to persevere with their craft. A noisy unfulfilled belly may be ignored by lofty thoughts written down amid a cornucopia of brilliant ideas. Getting to the place in the story where you can write ‘the end’ is the writer’s first accomplishment. What comes next is, like the future, unknown, but, often richly imagined.