Pyrofennec does an excellent job highlighting the issues of Rape In My Anti-Tolkien. I wanted to elaborate a little on a more specialised area of fantasy.
Why is there so much rape in my gay fantasy fiction?
It doesn’t happen in books with straight male protagonists, unless it’s to his girlfriend, his wife, his mother, his sister. Rape is something that he never needs to contend with on a personal level. It’s just not on the radar. It’s this special crime saved for all the men who are not straight and women.
There’s a whole lot of awful tropes in fantasy fiction featuring gay and bisexual male protagonists. The heroes are almost always stunning beautiful and exceptionally talented, there’s usually a dark secret and a tragic past thrown in, they’re underappreciated, misunderstood, and their lives are filled with Angst with a capital A, but don’t worry about it, they’ll get over it with the love of a good man, at least until he dies in horribly tragic circumstances.
But what annoys me most is the prevalence of rape. I can’t say I’m too fond of the incest either, I’m certainly not fond of lovers being murdered or characters being killed just because. But I hate the rape.
Here is a list, of fantasy fiction, that I’ve read, which has cis-male protagonists who are either gay or bisexual (there’s a couple of exceptions but they’re listed below). I’ve mentioned accounts of both rape and deaths (except in the cases where I just can’t remember).
Just to be clear if magic is used to coerce someone into having sex that is rape. If someone is not conscious (and has given no prior consent) then having sex with them is rape. Forced to have sex, be that magically or otherwise, is rape.
As for the deaths, not all of them are equal. Some are the heroes, some are the heroes’ lovers, some are secondary characters, some are minor characters, some are the villains and some are mentioned in passing. For some books I’ve listed them out and others I’ve just noted there are deaths. Some of the books have worlds in which everyone is bi and so any death is going to be that of a bisexual character, others we’re speaking of 50% of the book’s non-straight population being killed off. I’m not going to differentiate here.
I’m not commenting on the quality or the literary merit of the books below. There are books on the list I enjoyed and books I loathed.
The Archer’s Heart by Astrid Amara
Two men are executed for sodomy. Prince Jandu Paran is forced to transform into a woman and as a woman he is sexually assaulted, but rescued before he is raped. Tarek is killed. Jandu’s lover, Keshan, is also his cousin.
Brothers of the Dragon Trilogy by Robin Wayne Bailey
Robert was abused by his father as a child and has flashbacks to being raped. His lover begins the book dead (to the extent the main character remembers his death), and while this turns out to not actually be the case, the two men are never actually reunited on the pages of the book.
Shadowdance by Robin Wayne Bailey
Innowen is raped by the man who raised him (who is under the influence of magic at the time). Innowen spies on his twin brother having drugged out sex with his mother.
A Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
Isolfr is gang-raped frequently as part of the magical society they live in. While the authors claim the hero is straight he engages in consensual sex with men on several occasions in the book. Many people die.
The Magravandius Trilogy by Storm Constantine
Tayven is subjected to a brutal gang rape and then left for dead. Tayven is raped by Bayard. Shan, who is straight, is gang-raped in a separate incident. Bayard, the villain and his brother, Almorante, are both killed. Valraven has consensual sex with his twin sister.
Dance of the Rings Trilogy by Jane S Fancher
Michael is sexually abused as a child and raped in prison. He’s also forced to have sex with a woman in a magical-ritual.
Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling
Alec is subjected to mind-magic that forces him to have sex with a woman. In the fourth book Alec is chained up, experimented on and forced to father ‘children’. Seregil is tortured by his own ex-lover. That ex-lover, who had been believed to be dead, was sexually abused and eventually castrated.
The Still by David Feintuch
Roddy awakes to find his best friend, Rustin, molesting him, against his will, in his sleep. Rustin is blackmailed into having sex with an older man. I’ve not read the second book but the reviews say that Rustin dies.
The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman
Basil is murdered. The man who murders him is also sent to death after sleeping with the main villain. One of the minor character’s lovers is killed. There is sex while under the influence of magic.
The Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey
Tylendel dies. A villain tries to seduce Vanyel and is killed. Moonshadow killed his own first lover by accident. Vanyel is gang raped. Vanyel is killed. Vanyel’s straight nephew tries to seduce him. Another character’s been sexually abused by his mother.
Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon
Valentine Strange and Aleister Grimshaw’s first kiss happens when the latter is addled with drugs. Valentine has sex with Aleister, when he’s been insensible for days, is incoherent, and asleep. Some villains are killed.
The Dancers of Arun by Elizabeth Lynn
There is consensual incest between two brothers. Sefer, the lover of one of the brothers, is murdered.
The Doctrine of Labyrinths Series by Sarah Monette
Felix spends much of the series being raped. His lover, Gideon, is murdered. Felix kills one of the men he slept with and he also eventually kills the main villain. In the very first page of the first book we’re told a story of how a woman repeatedly uses magic to rape a gay man. Felix kisses his brother.
The Steel Remains by Richard K Morgan
Ringil is gang-raped while at school. His lover is brutally executed for being gay. Ringil kills the two men (not counting the nameless stable-boy) he sleeps with in the book. I’d make an argument for the sex Ringil had with the dwenda not being consensual due to the amount of mind-manipulating magic that was used on Ringil at the time.
The Painter Knight by Fiona Patton
Simon’s lover, King Marcellus, is killed at the start of the book. King Marcellus is known for abusing any prostitutes sent to him. Rosarion, is dying throughout the book and succumbs to his illness by the end.
Maledicte by Lane Robins
Gilly is raped by a woman. A gay prostitute is murdered. The King and Vornatti are killed. (Maledicte’s gender makes the sexualities of the characters who’re only attracted to him complicated. There’s abusive power issues in the way that Vornatti acquires sex from both Gilly and Maledicte but I’ll elaborate further on that when I’ve reread the book.)
The True Game by Sheri S Teper
Mandor, mind controls Peter, rapes him and is eventually killed.
36 thoughts on “The Problem With Gay Fantasy-Fiction”
Here’s a question: Is there a fantasy novel or series that has a happy ending for gay people? Or where the sex isn’t tainted with coercion?
I think I’m going to need to try and compile another list for this.
The short answer it depends on how you define happy ending. There’s a number of the books above that do have happy endings. There are some other books as well but if I’m to answer this properly I’ll probably need to qualify my answers.
As for sex not tainted with coercion then again the answer’s yes but I’ll need to go dig out my list again. They’re not all good books either.
I’ve yet to find the book I’m looking for in fantasy. It’s a lot easier when you switch genres to urban-fantasy.
Any list you have, be it fantasy or urban fantasy, please post. I’ve been searching frantically for more POC and LGBTQ protagonist led stories. We need a list of resources of stories featuring gay characters (preferably as the main protagonists) who are actually done well.
I’ve got one, which I’m reading right now: Tanith Lee’s Disturbed by Her Song. So far, so good! I’m only into the first story. An amazon reviewer calls it a “lesbian gothic love story” and that’s pretty much spot-on. The prose is some of Lee’s best, too.
Cool! I generally like Tanith Lee’s shorter fic.
Oh my god, yes. Ugh ugh Sarah Monette and The Steel Remains and and and. I’ve also heard of the one in Lackey and there’s not enough UGH. I’ve read only two of the Nightrunner books and was already making faces at the bit where the sorceress seduces Alec, but I didn’t imagine there’s even more rape going on down the road (wtf forced to father children, wtf). I’d chalk this up to, not to mince words, many of these authors writing what’s very, very similar to what we see in slash fanfiction, where hurt/comfort is a lot of people’s kinks. And how do you bring about hurt/comfort? Why, rape and healing sex, of course!
Not enough EW.
I liked The Steel Remains, which is fucked up because Ringil’s pretty much every reason I avoid fantasy with straight male protagonists. It’s a book that does have a pile of issues. The sheer amount homophobia that exists in the society, the fact that even Ringil’s friends call him cocksucker and faggot at every single opportunity, the institutionalised rape culture at his boarding school. But it’s pretty much the opposite of the fantasy with the oh so pretty girly-boys who fall in love at first sight and angst and angst and angst some more. It’s refreshingly new and different in that. Now if a whole bunch of other books come out just like it I’ll be as pissed off about it as I am about all the Vanyel clones but I’m hoping that it’ll open a door in a different direction, and allow for better books to be published.
I think there’s an interesting review here. http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.com/2009/02/steel-remains.html
Now, I loathed Sarah Monette’s work. A Companion to Wolves was horrifically bad. I think it was originally intended as a satire on Anne Rice’s Pern books (which are also hugely problematic and the only reason they’re not listed is because the gay male characters are all in secondary roles, subservient to their straight overlords) but I just found the book atrocious.
The Doctrine of Labyrinths series was suggested to me by several people as an example of good gay fantasy. I found it horrible. She had some interesting straight characters. Felix was one huge mess though.
I quite enjoyed the first three of Nightrunner books. They were a step in a better direction from Mercedes Lackey’s books. The plot was admittedly bland, they weren’t quite the light-hearted, fun fantasy I’d hoped they’d be, and I’ve never been able to make myself reread them but I didn’t think they were that bad. The fourth book though was atrocious, it read like some sort of horrible fanfiction and it was very different from the first three.
I hate rape and sexual healing. It’s stupid on so many levels. I hate those fetishes. I just want to say IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! STOP WITH THE MAGICAL HEALING COCKS!!!
a satire on Anne Rice’s Pern books
I believe you mean Anne McCaffrey’s Pern Books, no?
Anne Rice, Anne Mcaffrey, they both write atrocious gay characters. Anne McCaffrey writes Pern, Anne Rice writes porn. That was a slip of the fingers and I can’t imagine how it happened. But thanks for the correction.
This is a terrific and terrible list — especially since a few of these authors have written books I absolutely love.
I do actually like a lot of the authors on this list which is what makes things so much more frustrating.
I have issues with Mercedes Lackey’s treatment of her gay characters. The Last Herald Mage trilogy has so many problematic elements. At the same time, as a teenager who loved fantasy books in the days before I had the internet, I was so glad to finally find gay characters in my fantasy-fiction. The Last Herald Mage is usually people’s first introduction to gay characters in fantasy. It’s certainly a step up from the likes of Anne McCaffrey.
When I first got the internet I did look for suggested reading lists. This was well before the days of me having a credit card and being able to use Amazon.com. I had my paper list and I’d scour the second hand bookshops. I’d take a chance by having books imported to me from the US.
Lynn Flewelling’s books were an improvement on Mercedes Lackey. The first three were pretty light fun and had less issues. They did have issues but the characters didn’t just live to be gay.
Fiona Patton’s Brannion World was fascinating in its concepts but I always felt the world was more interesting than the stories.
Ricardo Pinto’s Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy suffered similar issues. Fascinating world but read more like a guided tour of my fantasy land.
Storm Constantine who the library stocked and who actually had a display in the local bookshop.
Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint.
I had all these names and all these books and getting hold of some of them was tough and when I finally got a credit card and was able to purchase books from Amazon, and cringe at the shipping that cost more than the books, well it was wonderful even if the books themselves weren’t. It was wonderful they were there, that they existed, that I didn’t have to keep reading books with white, cis-male protagonists. They played about with gender themes and it was interesting.
But the trouble is, it’s been 20 years since Mercedes Lackey first published The Last Herald Mage, and it’s still being recommended to people. You just can’t have a discussion about gay fantasy without it coming up as an example of good fiction.
But yeah, with only a couple of exceptions, I don’t actually dislike the authors listed above which is one of the reasons it is a terrible list.
This shit really creeps me out on too many levels:
We see this level of fail all of the time because it gives writers an opportunity to exercise their not-so-veiled homophobia on gay characters.
@Pyrofennec: AGREED on the slash fanfic!!!! Especially given the heterosexist fail we’ve seen from cis fangirls with the gay boy fetish. In fact, given the fact that many of these stories are written by women and depict women raping gay men (not that being raped by gay men makes it any better obviously), I can’t help but wonder how much this is their personal fantasy/author insert.
And once again, several of these books were recommended to me and once again this bullshit was not mentioned. So once again, RVC Bard, I’m gonna need you to get my bail money ready.
Look, I can’t keep doing this. You fucking up my IRA.
See. That’s the problem with you modern black women.
You get your little college degrees and your little jobs and ya’ll think ya’ll are too sophisticated to take care your wifely duties like bailing yo man out of jail.
Yeah exactly. I’ve had this debate with slash fangirls who admitted that they fetishize gay men and internalize misogyny (“I can’t write female characters, they’re so boring” or “how dare this evil slut get between my slash pairing!”) and was chastised for, er… policing their sexual identity. To this day I’ve been unable to understand in what way “fetishizing/appropriating gay men so I can masturbate” constitutes an identity of any sort, unless you identify as a self-centered bigoted fuck.
Then there was the LAMBDA mess.
I suppose it would be rude to answer “well you can’t write gay men either”.
I’m not slashphobic. Some of my best friends write slash and m/m and yaoi. It might not be for me but they’re free to write what they want in the privacy of their own homes.
What is frustrating is the crossover and it starts impacting on the real world. The fangirls who yell at you for being homophobic without knowing what the word even means. The ones who scream prejudice at every opportunity.
Actually what maddens me is that one of my favourite authors, Steve Berman, publishes a book targeted at gay men and they claim he’s discriminating against them. That pisses me off.
The idea that they’re doing harm is even worse. That books by gay authors just aren’t getting the same exposure as those by their straight counterparts.
It makes me sad that there’s so little fantasy fiction out there with gay characters actually written by gay men. Now I’m not saying the women all do it wrong. I’m not saying women should only write women and men should only write men and each only writing about their own sexualities.
I’m not even saying all the books above are bad books. It’s just really frustrating the frequency of certain themes.
I do have a theory that some writers write gay men instead of female characters because you can get away for doing a lot of bullshit that just wouldn’t stand if you started doing it to a female character.
Quite–it’s not so much that women should write women and straight people should write straight people but, sometimes, it feels like straight women want to make male homosexuality all about *them* and their titillation and that’s just… no. It’s like this–I see books about my country and my culture written by white people, and I wonder: why aren’t books by my own people, about our culture, half so recognized? Why should I have to look to white authors as “authority” on my own experiences?
(Funny you should say, I’ve been accused of homophobia for going “so about slash, there’s all kinds of icky politics in there.”)
If you’ve been called homophobic then you’re in good company. Russell T Davies is also homophobic.
I’d guess it’s because they don’t actually want to read about your culture. They want to read about an idealised view of that culture. They want stories of white people going into those cultures and becoming part of them, better than them.
For what it’s worth they do a shit-poor job of my culture too and I’m white as white can be. But I know that’s really not quite the same.
Oh yeah, and do you remember Elizabeth Bear, who was one of the people that started off Racefail ’09? She’s written a duology featuring Shakespeare and Marlowe as gay lovers, and needless to say: torture, rape, healing sex. Do not want.
I have had her recommended to me. I read Carnival and found it a bit dull. She had a society that seemed to glorify gay men and demonise straight without accepting the potential of there being anything in between. It also seemed to further the notions that gay men are weaker and more feminine than straight men. And in an interview she said that she didn’t want to make it a society of lesbians.
I will admit to being curious about the Shakespeare and Marlowe books. Even if Carnival and Companion to Wolves hadn’t been so bad I might have picked them up just to see. People suggest them and say they’re great and I’d like them. But after Racefail I won’t be reading any of her books.
“I do have a theory that some writers write gay men instead of female characters…..”
Well your comment got me thinking. I realised I missed out some stuff from the list. Those books have huge issues in regards to women and the relationships between men and women.
In The Archer’s Heart, Jandu rapes his wife the one time they have sex, but he only did it because he’s gay and he didn’t want to have consumate their marriage.
In the Brothers of the Dragon books Robert spends more time ogling a woman’s butt than he does showing any sort of sexual interest in men. He’s meant to be gay.
Shadowdance, well Innowen’s bisexual, so he has sex with a woman and there’s that graphic scene of him spying on his brother and mother and being aroused by that. He’s attracted to his mother, he’s attracted to the woman he has sex with. His best friend, his companion who he comes to realise he loves, their whole relationship is kept so vague. And those two women, well they’re evil.
A Companion to Wolves is awful. The one sex scene that’s not described (all the rape, all the being taught how to have sex, all the sex with men is described in graphic detail) is when Isolfr sleeps with a woman. It’s meant to be the one person he has sex with under his own volition, because he wants to. She falls pregnant, of course.
In the Magravandius books Tayven has sex with a woman and has to tell her he loves her, despite being gay. He does this for magical reasons although not while under the influence of magic.
In Nightrunner, as well as the aforementioned rape, it’s mentioned that Seregil has to repay the hospitality of his hosts by having sex with their daughters, a different one each night. While Seregil’s bi (with a preference for men), can you imagine a story in which a woman must pay for her host’s hospitality by sleeping with a different man each night?
The Still, well the main problem with that is Roddy really wants to fuck women, but he can’t, because if he loses his virginity he loses his magical powers. Sex with men doesn’t count just as his relationship with Rustin is an immature boyish thing that apparantly needs to be cast aside or so say the reviews of the book didn’t read. Anyway Roddy tries to rape a woman and he’s not all that keen on the sex he’s having with Rustin.
The Fall of Kings, Campion’s bi, his first relationship with a woman that’s mentioned is a bit messed up but that’s consensual. He hooks up with Basil, and his family are pressuring him to get married to a woman. He tries to molest the woman he’s set to marry. I think he’s under the influence of magic then.
The Last Herald Mage, well one of the disturbing things about this trilogy with the oh so espoused gay hero, that no one’s ever going to mention is that Vanyel has much more sex with women than he ever does with men. He has 3 relationships with men, one with his one true love, Tylendel, one with a guard that happens in a short story and is vaguely referenced in the books, and one with Stefen, the reincarnation of his one true love. Whereas, Vanyel has sex with women because his father makes him. Between the first and second books (I think) he plays stud and fathers a whole number of children as favours to his friend, because his magic semen is so much better than anyone elses. This is especially problematic because 3 of the people he provides with children are from a native-esque culture which Vanyel doesn’t belong to. He spends the second book wondering if he’s in love with the Queen, because he had sex with her, just to father a child.
The Doctrine of Labyrinths, despite the fact that Felix is gay, and in the middle of being gang raped, that’s okay because they’re all men but then suddenly, the horrors, there’s a woman there too and it doesn’t matter that all these men are raping him, no what’s traumatic is that there’s a woman raping him too. WTF!
I can’t really remember The Painter Knight. In Fiona Patton’s other book, the Stone Prince, Prince Demnor, who is gay, who does not want to have sex with his wife, doesn’t want to really marry her, gets so drunk he can’t remember what happened and has sex with her. This is a good thing, because she’s not been taking her contraceptives, and it results in babies.
Okay, this list and the Anita Blake one that I’ve read on sparkindarkness’s LJ is definitely going in my ‘what NOT to write as a plot device for characters’ reference batch.
I did not know that this was prevalent in fantasy books (then again, I don’t read any fantasy books anyways since they all seemed boring, and none of them interest me) and I’m glad that I came here to read this before possibly fucking up and creating another problem.
Thank you for this eye-opening list, and the article with it too.
I just went looking for that Anita Blake article. Thanks for mentioning it. It was excellent. I’ve not read Anita Blake, I’ve heard about her, people keep saying the first bunch of books are good and then get bad, but clearly that’s not the case.
I like fantasy. Actually I love fantasy. Fantasy is my genre. I don’t particularly like high-fantasy and Tolkienesque works and wordy, wordy prose but I like the genre as a whole. I like the escapism. I like how different things can be done with it, how you can say “what if?” and create these fantastic worlds.
Admittedly fantasy isnt for everyone but it is a huge genre, which can encompass everything from short lighthearted capers to huge long 15 book epics.
I’m glad you found some use out of the list.
I’m trying to think of books where I don’t have any problem whatsoever with how the LGBT relationships are portrayed, and it’s not a long list. Even the ones below sometimes bug me.
So, a preliminary list of LGBT-positive books:
Laurie J Marks’ Logic series: Fire Logic, Earth Logic, Water Logic (with the fourth, Air Logic, to come). Featuring gender equality, sexuality equality, nakama as the standard family structure, communal child-raising, warring characters who try their hardesty to find peaceful resolutions, awesome elemental magic, an important PoC female character, and more. These are among my favourite books,
Catherynne M Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales has positive LGBT relationships (and wins in many other ways too, and is beautiful). Though there are a lot of LGBT relationships in Palimpsest, I don’t find them all positive: sometimes people are having sex they don’t want in order to get into the city. However, this applies to straight as well as LGBT people. (Straight people effectively being forced into practising bisexuality by their desire to enter the city? I didn’t like that so much.)
While I’m a bit torn on this one, I’m mentioning it anyway: Hal Duncan’s books, Vellum and Ink. Gay people suffer for their sexuality, but it’s grounded in true, real-world suffering; and the meta-construction of the world shows some universes where gayness is fine; although it also implies they will always suffer, again that seems grounded in pessimism about the real-world future of attitudes to queer-sexuality; I personally (as a queer person) found the resilience and anger and strength of the characters very positive. They will suffer but they will not give up. They will always be there. Lots of room for YMMV on this one, though.
I really hope there are more on my shelves that I’m just forgetting about, and these aren’t the only ones I own with positive LGBT characters.
I thought I’d answered this. Thanks very much for the list. I have seen those names crop up a few times but I’ve not read anything by any of them. Are the characters you’re mentioning the protagonists of the book?
While I agree with what you are saying I think perhaps you should not exaggerate your facts lest they hinder your message. You use rape here many times when the word is clearly inappropriate. For example in Maledicte the only person Gilly is actually raped by is Lady Mirabille, while he doesn’t relish sexual contact with Vornati niether does he dread it. In fact there are even scenes in the book where he initiates sex between them. In Nightrunner Alec has sex with Ylinestra willingly, even calmly discussing it with Seregil afterwards. And how is Valraven’s relationship with his sister abusive? If I remember correctly it was completely consensual and at the series end the two even vowed to become lovers again after the war was over.
Seriously, theres an argument to be had here but exaggerating the truth gets you nowhere.
I’ve read Flewelling’s extremely mediocre series. It’s pretty clear in that scene that Alec is being magically seduced. Though he may be bisexual and he doesn’t feel traumatized–though I vaguely remember he wasn’t feeling fantastic afterward–I’d question whether he was at the time in any shape to, you know, give consent. That niggling little thing.
Ylinestra used magic on Alec, that was made clear both during and afterwards. While Alec wasn’t traumatised by it, he was not comfortable. While he did give a ‘yes’ which was stated right after the ‘no’ and being under the influence of her magic at the time he could no more give consent than someone could have if you’d slipped them a date rape drug. In the scene afterwards he is still uncomfortable. But what’s he to do? Men do not get raped by women.
He did not calmly discuss it with Seregil afterwards. He was uncomfortable, he confided in Seregil that she used magic on him (and yes he does say ‘at first’ but what does that mean? Oh I just slipped him a drug at first?) Seregil is laughing and teasing Alec during the entire conversation. What is Alec to say?
The situation between Valravan and his sister is listed as an example of the abundance of incestual relationships in books that also contain gay characters. I will admit that I left out the consensual in that sentence but I thought that my wording made it clear that it wasn’t forced.
I’ll tackle Maledicte, when I find the book.
On second thoughts Maledicte’s going to need a proper read through, which I’d been planning to do anyway. It’s been a couple of years since I read it.
I did come away with the impression that it wasn’t consensual between Vornatti and Gilly. Vornatti might not have physically forced either Gilly or Maledicte, but he did use his power over the pair of them to remove their choice. There’s several scenes with Vornatti that really set my skin crawling. I’ll edit that out for the meantime until I go back and reread to get my thoughts together on the whole issue.
And I forgot the Mirabile situation which I’ll fix.
I’ve been reading Gregory Maguire. Wicked on its own doesn’t count for the list since it has a female protagonist. It’s probably just as well since the last thing the list needs is an orgy scene with a Tiger raping a minor gay character. It’s so jarring and unneeded. I presume that scene didn’t make it into the musical. Despite the prominence of bisexuality in his books I don’t like his Oz and so far I don’t think much of his treatment of same-sex relationships.
Son of a Witch does count, since the protagonist is a bisexual man (which is the only reason I’m ploughing through this mess). I’ve just reached the scene where he’s raped by a woman in order to save his life. I’ll update the list once I’ve finished the book.
Son of a Witch had me going “what in the fuck is going on here” with Liir’s sexuality in general. Actually, Liir in general.
I had a very difficult time with the whole series because while it was interesting enough to keep reading, Gregory’s characters had me consistently veering off from empathizing with them at all. Liir was the closest I got to actual empathy but the stunning storyline ignorance (which I suppose is completely normal to someone raised without the idea?) of the idea of polyamory that kept him consistently derping at Candle down to the end book made me want to hold my head.
I am wondering if it is somehow totally abnormal to come to realize of oneself without much prompting that one is polyamorous and that’s okay, or if most people (authors included) are even aware of the whole idea that you can be in love/in lust/limerence with more than one individual at a time and that’s not freakish or mutually exclusive.
Make that Maguire’s. I am not on a first-name basis with the man, ofc.
I loved Swordspoint and The Fall of the Kings and maybe after nearly one-hundred re-readings of both, I’m still wondering if we read the same thing in terms of the rape aspect. In the case of Swordspoint, I do remember Alec being kidnapped by Lord Horn in order to force St. Vier to call challenge and kill Basil Halliday. I also remember him being beat up, but not him being raped by Horn.
A Companion to Wolves was uncomfortable to read because I kept trying to ascribe human behaviors to men who for all intents and purposes were more animal than man (or were they???).I agree about The Doctrine of Labyrinths series though (but I still love the books).
I guess the problem I have or am experiencing when I read posts like this is that I feel “OMG I’m a horrible culturally/gender-ally unaware black woman who’s been brainwashed” or something, which I don’t think is the point of the topic. Still, reading is a personal and subjective experience and though Vanyel overall is a problematic character in hindsight, he was also the first introduction for a lot of folks to a gay hero who was somewhat a little more than just a caricature. He could and did kick butt. There’s a saying, when you know better you do better. We know better now and thankfully a lot of writers are doing better.
And I know everyone rags on Anne McCaffrey but she was my gateway drug into fantasy and I have a huge soft spot for her and I make no apologies for it. No, she certainly wasn’t on the same level as a Jacqueline Lichtenberg or a Suzy McKee Charnas, but she was one of the first authors who gave geeky pre-teen me self-sufficient heroines who had fabulous adventures. If I hadn’t started looking for other authors like her, it would have taken me a little longer to finally find my muse in Octavia Butler.
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