Charlestown City Paper Baffled!

“I just don’t think most women would be interested in these books” says the Charlestown City Paper about False Colors and Transgressions.

Romancing the Bone

I continue to be baffled at how few people seem to be aware of the whole slash phenomenon.  Do these people not have internets?

Comments (2)

Anne LyleJuly 24th, 2009 at 5:33 am

I think this comment is telling: "It almost seems like they weren't romance novels, but more like stories about the struggle between religion and sexuality in olden days."

I get the feeling that the reviewers aren't really into historical fiction and they want to see more idealised gay romances where the characters aren't struggling with guilt – more like a contemporary romance in fancy dress. Maybe that would work in a fantasy setting (I've seen plenty of fantasy with that kind of utopian setup), but historical – not really, and especially not that particular era and milieu.

I can however understand gay men wanting a more positive experience from romance, one that takes them away from the guilt and prejudice of real life into something a bit more idealised, more nearly the equivalent of straight romance. I think that's why this type of m/m romance is more popular with female readers – we bring a very different experience to the story.

alex_beecroftJuly 25th, 2009 at 11:53 am

Yes, I think that, while 'romance' is the closest category for the books, calling them 'romance' is raising some false expectations. False Colors and Transgressions really come more from a slash tradition, created by women who don't read mainstream romance because they just can't get along with it or are not interested in it. So calling FC romance makes people expect a level of escapism which the books aren't aiming for. I know Erastes thinks of hers as historical fiction first and not really romance at all. We're neither fish nor fowl, really 🙂

My experience is that there are gay men who like the fact that these books don't gloss over the fact that it was hard to be gay in the past. I've had one guy tell me that he sent Captain's Surrender to a friend of his who was just coming out because he thought Peter's conversion scene would help this other guy with his own self-acceptance. And generally I get more fan mail from gay men than from women. So it's definitely ringing a bell with some gay men. It makes sense though that there would be others who wanted to see more escapism. I guess you can't please everyone 🙂

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