salinea: (Default)
Pat from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist (yes, the same who called Priviledge of the Sword chick lit ^^), re-posted a bit of an interview he did of Hal Duncan (who wrote Vellum and Ink - I reviewed Vellum over there - ETA: Hal Duncan also has a blog which you can check out) which really cracked me up :


Previous depictions of homosexual characters in fantasy/scifi books have always been somewhat clumsy and didn't ring true. And yet, instead of trying to get readers to "accept" it, you just went ahead and put Jack and Puck's relationship as a central storyline throughout both volumes. Was that intentional from the beginning? INK contains graphic sex scenes between the two, and I was wondering what sort of responses those sequences generated among readers and critics?

One of my pet hates is the fetishisation you get in certain types of fantasy, particularly vampire fiction, I have to say, where gay equals frilly shirts, sensitive pouts and lingering looks with doe-eyes. Man, at least slash is subversive in applying that aesthetic to straight characters, and at least slash has the guts to get down and dirty. That stuff is just softcore boy-on-boy goth porn. Even when it's not so deeply fetishised, there still seems to be a tendency to stereotype gays as refined rather than rough, fey rather than fiery, cats rather than dogs.

The second problem with gay characters in genre fiction is that they're generally marginalised as subsidiary characters, which smacks of PC tokenism. Yeah, so your heroine has a Gay Best Friend; big deal. So your team of heroes has a tagalong queer; I'm not impressed.

The last problem is that even when you get a fully-fledged protagonist they're generally just not genre enough. By which I mean, the writer feels the need to show that it's "normal" to be gay, so the characters are rendered in a Realist mode rather than as Romantic heroes. They're intelligent, sensitive portraits of gays as "just like everyone else". Bollocks to that. The fetishised gays are annoying. The marginalised gays are frustrating. But the normalised gays are just plain dull. I want a gay character who blows shit up. I want a gay James Bond, a gay Jerry Cornelius, a gay Superman, a gay Indiana Jones, a gay Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare. Achilles wasn't normal. He was an uberfag, dragging Hector's body ten times round the gates of Troy for killing his boyfriend. Now that's what I call a hissy fit!


I see what he means about the first criticism (which one also finds in slash when people speak about "feminization" (sic) of characters), and I think the second exists in a few novels but not that many. I'm not sure I remember any instances of the third in genre fiction, but that may be because of the inherent blandness of such a character type. I actually think that there's a lot of interesting stories dealing with queer themes generally speaking in SFF but that's just IMHO.

It really amuses me when he says slash at least had the guts to get down and dirty ^_^ (I compared his work to specific kind of slash when I did my own review).

Thoughts?
salinea: (Default)
Okay, it's been, like, months since I last did reviews of books read, and I actually read a fucking lot of books recently, so I'll try to do them all by bits and pieces before the end of year. Crossover conversations will wait, I'm afraid. (so will drabbles). Sorry.

Soooooo some of those books :
The Limbreth Gate and Luck of the Wheels by Megan Lindholm )

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson )

Vellum by Hal Duncan )

Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan )

That's all for today!

February 2016

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