Sunday, December 16, 2007
The latest comment on the horror of twincest as romance pariah of the month (following Karen Scott) comes from Dear Author: "Once your top selling book is a twincest threesome novel, I’ve lost interest in your books. If you are looking for Daddy/Daughter roleplaying stories, I’m not interested in your collection, no matter how diverse it might be". Now I love and read both blogs but there would be no need to have my own blog if I saw everything exactly the same way that Karen and the Janes do.
As a new post adds a development that solidified a feeling I have been having over the last several days. Karen's response could be summed up as 'ewww'. Which seems quite reasonable to me. Of course some people don't like some kinks and as more kinks are catered to, more people will stumble across their squicks from time to time. Dear Author seems to combine proving kinkfic with being a fly-by-night company, unprofessional and providing a poor quality product. Or at least all of these things appear, undistinguished within a few paragraphs.
So what is my thought? Well there is a phenomenon called 'moral panic' that connects deviant sexualities with a threat to a whole community--in this case presumably the mythical romance community. I say mythical because although I enjoy mixing and mingling with many writers, readers, bloggers and other participant in the romance genre more often than not the message I get from any given spokesperson for the community at large could be summed up as 'you are not really one of us'.
I would concede the point if I thought there was some kind of monolithic democracy community that determines what romance is or isn't. I don't read 99% of fiction that is shelved under the romance banner. I look forward to the day when everyone is in that same boat because romance will be as diverse as, well, people are. And what is the difference between the moral panic and a real menace. That is simple: the actual magnitude of the threat.
A lot of epublishers suck, but the worst that happens is a few writers learn a lesson, a few readers get a bad book and gravitate to publishers that are objectively good, and subjective appropriate for their tastes. And maybe along the way they learn these these are two different things. Or maybe they don't. These new epublishers will not "alienate more epress fans" because we are not a monolithic club of like minded people. That is why Dark Eden has a twincest book as a top seller. They have found a niche and attracted readers to it, those that are repelled should not, unless their cognitive powers are very limited, be repelled from ebooks in general but only from Dark Eden in particular.
A lot of epublishers are spreading into niches that the current alpha presses like Ellora's Cave don't cater too. Or at least the smart ones like Dark Eden and Noble Romance are. So twincest readers can and do buy that material, the writer sells, the readers get what they clearly want a few people go 'ewww' and go elsewhere. Viva la difference, more people get more of what they want. Romance cater to more people. Some in the former alphaphile majority will no longer be able to choose books at random of the internet, or off the shelf, and know it will always cater to the kink-formerly-known-as-'normal' (you know, whiteheterofemmesubbaldchestedrichguyphillia--now found at the back of the store between vegephillia and horse flogging fetish.)
And unless you believe letting these people read their kinks is polluting the genre or our society as a whole diversity is a good thing. And if you do think one of these things, take a good long look at your own material and whether it truly is blameless or perhaps just reflecting the perversion of the majority. I may not share your kink, but I will defend to the out-of-breath your right to write, read and distribute it--and if it includes love and a happy ending--to call it romance. I don't care if it is a story of two post-apocalyptic cockroaches or a man and his sentient My Little Pony. I don't need to like it to think that it 'counts' or even accept that it is a good story (just not for me). (Okay, maybe the pony one).