Roose Boltons Pet Leech

Queer characters in fantasy

119 posts in this topic

I don't think there's anything wrong with the concept of marketing to a certain readership, personally. There's going to be novels which are written for women, novels written for men, and novels written for both genders. This can indeed include titillating the characters with fantasy pairings such as Rand Al'Thor finding three women who absolutely will love to share him or, yes, Anita Blake and her harem.

You just don't get any extra points for female characters who exist to adore on the guy/reader or titillate the reader.

You may lose some, depending on how it's presented.

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23 hours ago, Lyanna Stark said:

Can I just point out these are only lesbian or bisexual in the sense that they are there to titillate straight men. Especially Phillipa Eilheart is so gratuitous it is utterly cringeworthy. This is actually worse than having them just be straight, since it indicates bisexual and lesbian women exist only as eyecandy to straight men, and their sexuality exists only to be objectified. It was utterly sickening to have to sit through.

There is, even to my straight eyes, a huge difference between queer characters existing seamlessly within the story, and when they are clearly inserted to be objectified and sexualised. The Witcher is horrendous in this regard, managing to objectify and sexualise women in an utterly brutal fashion, while simultaneously mocking female desire when even hinted it and generally treating any hint of female sexuality outside of the scope of "titillating to straight men" as unfathomable. It is only there as a reaction to male sexuality, and does not exist on its own.

Can the main character have romantic relationships with men? If not, then it's even worse: the women have a sexuality that is conveniently fluid and accommodates a male power fantasy whereas the player character is a predetermined straight man.

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53 minutes ago, Yukle said:

Can the main character have romantic relationships with men? If not, then it's even worse: the women have a sexuality that is conveniently fluid and accommodates a male power fantasy whereas the player character is a predetermined straight man.

A minor bit of controversy was made about Commander Shepard was able to have a sexual relationship with a man in Mass Effect 3 despite the female Shepard being able to have a sexual relationship with Liara from the start. The fact there's always bisexual one-sex women races but never one-sex male races in sci-fi.

Ditto Juhani and the Female Revan vs. Heterosexual Male Revan.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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3 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Straight women writing homosexual males for aesthetic purposes is one thing (though I dislike sexually objectifying people on principle... as a straight male, I do not actually find gratuitous lesbianism titillating,* and strongly prefer Queer characters to exist on their own terms, not simply to get the audience off). My much bigger concern is straight women enjoying the aesthetics of homosexual rape (*cough* Monette *cough*).

*Confession time. I have written slashfic, but purely for trolling purposes. My infamous Dobby, Gollum, and Yoda threesome is about eliciting nausea, not arousal.  

Might I see it?  That sounds as good as "Wet for Nessie."

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7 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

A minor bit of controversy was made about Commander Shepard was able to have a sexual relationship with a man in Mass Effect 3 despite the female Shepard being able to have a sexual relationship with Liara from the start. The fact there's always bisexual one-sex women races but never one-sex male races in sci-fi.

How thoughtful of those game designers, eh? :rolleyes:

The thing that irritates me most about that: it assumes that 1) women are to be objectified because 2) all video game players are male and 3) that all such males are straight.

Unless, by sheer coincidence, they always pick the single sex races by a toss of the coins and nobody has flipped heads. Ever. :P 

Edited by Yukle

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18 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

There's a yes, no, and a caveat to this Lyanna Stark. I don't want to undercut your point because you're like 99% right and there's a reason that plenty of bisexuals in fiction are there to titillate male readers and having my wife's fiction nearby, the same is exactly true for the female readers. You can easily go to The Vampire Chronicles and Anita Blake to get more than an eye full of how all the men lust after each other when they're not lusting after female characters. The whole Yaoi subgenre exists for this and well, men have their less literary version.

It's pandering, essentially, to the straight readers' sexuality.

HOWEVER, in the case of the Witcher, I'd like to clarify this isn't the case in the books. Phillipa Eilhart is a lesbian in the books (possibly bisexual) but is never shown to be anything other than a cold-blooded political schemer whose sexual preferences are just mentioned in passing as well as never come-up on camera, let alone to Geralt. Triss Merrigold's reference to being bisexual actually plays a role in the story as she is in love with Yennefer as well as Geralt but betrays both of them to the Lodge of Sorceresses. Geralt also never hooks up with her in the books either save in backstory. There's some definite sex in the books with Geralt but it's all with heterosexual women.

Ciri is actually a, well, I wouldn't call her a positive bisexual role model because at some point Sapkowski started to hate his characters. Either that or he got a sadistic pleasure from mentally and physically torturing them. If you're a cold-blooded bastard obsessed with lesbian sex, maybe you could see Mistle and Ciri's relationship as romantic but it's actually horrifically abusive on both sides as the power dynamics shift. Ciri later is set up for a relationship with men but her attraction is also due to being a slave who must sleep with one of the Elf Lords to avoid being murdered (which she doesn't).

This is a contrast to say, Kushiel's Dart where the bisexuality is definitely an element of titillation.

Or yes, the games where hot lesbian sexTM is the whole Philipa/Cynthia/Geralt part. Also, the "joke" sex scene of The Witcher 3. They also have Ciri think wistfully about Mistle and...no. Just no. Although, I feel bad for her character.

*F-ed up Witcher spoilers*

  Reveal hidden contents

Ciri after teleporting away from the Tower of Magicians loses her Chosen OneTM powers due to a magical accident. She's then captured by a group of local bandits who murder and rape with impunity but are beloved by the locals because they're so gosh darn pretty. They're all young and beautiful so people make excuses for them.

They're called the Rats.

Mistle is one of the prettier ones and second in command. She rescues Ciri from being raped by their leader, who thinks she's consenting, only to rape Ciri herself for the exact same reason. Ciri, realizing she's in a foreign land with starvation as a real possibility, "consents" to being Mistle's sex toy. However, because Ciri is a swordswoman, she is quickly promoted in the group and the power dynamics shift as Mistle falls in love with her.

Whereas Ciri looks down at Mistle as pathetic and starts using her for sex while verbally abusing her and destroying her self-esteem in revenge. Then Leo Bonhart captures the Rats and saws off Mistle's head in front of Ciri, perpetually traumatizing her forever. Because....the books are royally fucked up.

 

How good a novel is Kushiel's Dart?  I have been thinking of buying it, but thought it might be too much like Anne Rice, whose books I find horribly overwrought.

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29 minutes ago, SeanF said:

How good a novel is Kushiel's Dart?  I have been thinking of buying it, but thought it might be too much like Anne Rice, whose books I find horribly overwrought.

This is just my opinion mind you but Kushiel's Dart feels like an amazingly good novel which would probably be up there with Robin Hobb and Martin's works in my mental canon if not for the fact it's undermined by its premise. The book makes decent use of alternate history version of real-life cultures, politics, character building, and more.

It's just the central premise is the main character's homeland is populated by supernaturally beautiful, egalitarian, sexually liberated people who will stay young until they die of old age and have a culture focused on the joys of sex. They're also all bisexual. Not the characters, the race. This quality, by the way, is enforced by God or at least archangels. They're notably the French equivalent too but have influenced none of the England equivalent or other nations who remain primitive and sexist.

Most of the central conflict is how the beautiful French people with no problems are under threat by the ugly barbarians outside.

...

I love the work truly but there is a severe "First Fantasy World Tolkien Elf Punchability" quality to the protagonists' homeland.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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41 minutes ago, SeanF said:

How good a novel is Kushiel's Dart?  I have been thinking of buying it, but thought it might be too much like Anne Rice, whose books I find horribly overwrought.

Anne Rice is actually a pretty good analogy, prose-wise, and I fully agree with C.T. Phipps about Carey's France-wank. That said, it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

The Kushiel series (sympathetically) explores BDSM more than the bisexuality of the protagonists.

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25 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Anne Rice is actually a pretty good analogy, prose-wise, and I fully agree with C.T. Phipps about Carey's France-wank. That said, it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

The Kushiel series (sympathetically) explores BDSM more than the bisexuality of the protagonists.

.

50 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

This is just my opinion mind you but Kushiel's Dart feels like an amazingly good novel which would probably be up there with Robin Hobb and Martin's works in my mental canon if not for the fact it's undermined by its premise. The book makes decent use of alternate history version of real-life cultures, politics, character building, and more.

It's just the central premise is the main character's homeland is populated by supernaturally beautiful, egalitarian, sexually liberated people who will stay young until they die of old age and have a culture focused on the joys of sex. They're also all bisexual. Not the characters, the race. This quality, by the way, is enforced by God or at least archangels. They're notably the French equivalent too but have influenced none of the England equivalent or other nations who remain primitive and sexist.

Most of the central conflict is how the beautiful French people with no problems are under threat by the ugly barbarians outside.

...

I love the work truly but there is a severe "First Fantasy World Tolkien Elf Punchability" quality to the protagonists' homeland.

So, the English have never heard of La Vice Anglaise, in this world?

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They're not English. They're basically Briton/Welsh. The Germans get merged with the Norse, pretty uncharitably. Oh, and there are the Roman equivalents, who IIRC take a dim view of French bisexuality.

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7 minutes ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

They're not English. They're basically Briton/Welsh. The Germans get merged with the Norse, pretty uncharitably. Oh, and there are the Roman equivalents, who IIRC take a dim view of French bisexuality.

There's also two groups of Jews. The Christianized Jews who live in Sex-Narnia France and the African Jews who are Orthodox Jews but who got cut off from the main body of their religion.

In worldbuilding terms, Terre D'Ange is like a really really nice France where everyone bathes while everyone else is a decayed to irrelevance Roman Empire, Vikings, or Picts. There's also a rather nasty portrayal of North Africans and Persians but everyone is awful but for Terre D'Ange and the dumb but virile Brits who the perfect and pure Terre D'Angelans must learn to appreciate because they need badass Scottsmen since their army sucks.

It's really much better than I'm making it sound.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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4 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

There's also two groups of Jews. The Christianized Jews who live in Sex-Narnia France and the African Jews who are Orthodox Jews but who got cut off from the main body of their religion.

In worldbuilding terms, Terre D'Ange is like a really really nice France where everyone bathes while everyone else is a decayed to irrelevance Roman Empire, Vikings, or Picts. There's also a rather nasty portrayal of North Africans and Persians but everyone is awful but for Terre D'Ange and the dumb but virile Brits who the perfect and pure Terre D'Angelans must learn to appreciate because they need badass Scottsmen since their army sucks.

Does Terre D'Ange have better toilets than France?

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16 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Does Terre D'Ange have better toilets than France?

Oh everyone is clean and beautiful.

There's no STDs, unwanted pregnancy, or rape either.

Prostitution is one of the most respected jobs in the land.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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To be fair, there is the in-universe explanation that rape is a religious heresy. The country operates on an extreme Free Love basis, as per religious instruction from the angels - do what you want, with whomever you want, so long as they're consenting adults. 

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I'm a huge fantasy fan, obviously. I'm willing and able to suspend disbelief about magic, dragons, armoured polar bears, intelligent hats, redheaded desert dwellers and idealistic bankers, but pleasant French people with excellent sanitation is just a step too far for me. Will not be reading.

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1 hour ago, Hereward said:

I'm a huge fantasy fan, obviously. I'm willing and able to suspend disbelief about magic, dragons, armoured polar bears, intelligent hats, redheaded desert dwellers and idealistic bankers, but pleasant French people with excellent sanitation is just a step too far for me. Will not be reading.

I was more annoyed by the fact they don't get facial hair because, apparently, that's just gross.

Half of France's men also revolt against that.

:)

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5 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I was more annoyed by the fact they don't get facial hair because, apparently, that's just gross.

Half of France's men also revolt against that.

:)

 

5 minutes ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I was more annoyed by the fact they don't get facial hair because, apparently, that's just gross.

Half of France's men also revolt against that.

:)

Presumably, they don't eat garlic, or snails, or frogs?

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3 hours ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

Anne Rice is actually a pretty good analogy, prose-wise, and I fully agree with C.T. Phipps about Carey's France-wank. That said, it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

The Kushiel series (sympathetically) explores BDSM more than the bisexuality of the protagonists.

So is this basically Erotica in a fantasy setting or does it have a plot?

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