[DWJ] Porn? (was What are we reading?)

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Nov 4 08:19:32 EST 2009

Aimee wrote:
>Maybe I'll read a Heyer next, or
>something. At least with Heyer and Bujold you know it's going to have
>a roundly satisfying ending!

It's interesting how many people whose taste I respect seem to read Heyer,
out of all the authors who are called "romance" authors.  I am coming to
the conclusion that this may because it is such a relief to be able to read
about a human relationship without being suddenly dragged to sit on the end
of the bed while the people you have just met have sex.

The same feeling about "how nice not to encounter sex everywhere" might
apply to Bujold: I'm delighted that Miles has a sex-life, but I'm also
rather glad not to be given every sweaty detail about it every time he ends
up in the sack with someone.  And I revel in the fact that Bujold can make
sure I know that it is about to happen/has happened without feeling she has
to give me yet another guide to the naked human body's sexual responses.  I
got seriously fed up with the Anne McCaffrey in which she threw her
characters into bed together with graphic descriptions of their sex when
they got there: oh shut up, Annie, we *know* they are screwing, get on with
the *story* for goodness' sake, this was sold to me as an SF book not the
Kama bleedin Sutra!

I have been watching a discussion elsewhere about whether modern romance
books can be equated with soft-porn with justification (and very heated the
people defending sex-in-their-books do get about it, to be sure!): I really
do wonder, in a mild way, whether books whose main point seems to be who
did what to whom how many times round a bedpost can honestly be defined as
not being "porn at least to some extent".

I conclude that a book might be porn if people read it *for* the sexual
descriptions and titilation thereby, and not-porn if they read it *in spite
of* the sex-bits.

(In my darker moments I tend to wonder whether yeraverage reader not being
able to remember title or author two days after reading a book full of sex,
or the names of the central characters, might be enough to damn that book
whether it is called "porn" or not.)

I'd be interested to know whether people here, who obviously do read
not-porn not-romance (well, DWJ isn't porn, though some of her books have
romances in them) have views about this.


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