Best Books 2002 (long, because I don't know when to shut up)

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Wed Jan 8 12:35:24 EST 2003

>> I got the book because, from reading the blurb and the comments, I
>> thought it was going to be a great friendship (or a Great Friendship)
>> book -- and it turned out to be slash.  I don't read slash, whether
>> it's slash fanfic, or professional fantasy.  End of story.
>> For me, it was a bit like finding a worm in my apple.
>> And though one man's worm is another man's witchety grub, it was a worm
>> for me.
> I guess my question would be . . . would it have been slash for you if
> the two characters had been of opposite genders instead of the same
> gender?

Nice one, Widdy!  Good question.  I haven't read the book in question, but I get
similar feelings, so if I try and explain my feelings, perhaps this could help
clarify the issue.

I don't like spurious sex in books.  Of any sort.  There seems to be an attitude
among writers (probably not just writers, but we are discussing books here...)
that if there is a romance between two characters in the story, it has to be
expressed sexually.

(Ob DWJ:  A very good counter-example is Deep Secret.  Here it is made quite
clear that neither Maree nor Rupert is sexually inexperienced, but their romance
proceeds all the way to a decision to marry without any sex at all.  And even
after that, not once is the sexual act described, or even mentioned.)

I find that if two characters in any book jump into bed together for no better
reason than their sub-plot's being a love story, it puts me off.  (And sometimes
the reason is not even that good.)

On the same gender / different gender issue, I think it is merely that, since I
am heterosexual myself, I am more interested in reading a romance between a
couple of different genders than one between characters of the same gender.
This gives me a higher tolerance for spurious sex if it is heterosexual.

But I don't like it (or, as a Christian, approve of it) either way.

I will admit that where the romantic sub-plot is homosexual, I have sometimes a
very low tolerance.  Spurious same-gender sex is what put me off Diane Duane's
"door into..." series, and Simon Ings' "City of the Iron Fish" (this latter
being an otherwise excellent urban fantasy.  The sex scenes were just too
explicit for my taste.  And I was put off despite the hero's getting his girl at
the end...).  But I wasn't put of Bujold's "Ethan of Athos", possibly because
the implied possibilities of homosexual romance weren't expressed sexually.

Just my two pennorth.


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