M/M "Romance"

Apr. 19th, 2019 07:31 pm
franzeska: (Default)
[personal profile] franzeska
I was chatting with [personal profile] lierdumoa about the fuckery going down on The Magicians. I haven't been watching, but this sounds like the latest in a long string of canons letting us down.

These days, most of the canons I consume aren't tv or movies or any of the standard things: I've spent the last couple of years mostly reading ebooks in the genre known as "m/m romance". A few of these are through the romance arms of major publishers, but a lot of them are self-published or from tiny presses. The style and tropes of the genre owe a lot to slash fandom, whether the authors profess themselves to be fanfic writers or not.

Some of these books are standalone romance novels or what is known in the industry as "series romance". (Book 1 is brother #1 getting his happy ending, book 2 is brother #2. Book 1 is a girl from a particular school, book 2 is her roommate, etc.) Some are erotica. A lot of the most popular series aren't anything of the kind. What they actually are is series urban fantasy that owes more to Buffy or The Dresden Files than traditional romance novels. Some are buddy cop series that sound like every casefic from the 80s and 90s. Some are Heyer pastiche regency romance.

What they have in common is a strong m/m plot (sometimes the A plot with background casefic, sometimes the B plot with the mystery shenanigans taking the lead) and a general lack of bullshit deaths. The authors in this genre generally share my tastes about who is too interesting to kill off, unlike TV writers.

Frankly, my life is a lot happier now that I restrict my consumption of mainstream media. So for anyone smarting from the latest idiocy on television who wants to take a little vacation in media that is more by us and for us, here are some recs:

Subgenre: The magic FBI

These series all feature protagonists who are homicide detectives who handle the weird cases or who are assigned to the X-Files division or who get recruited by the secret spy organization that handles magic or who openly work for the werewolf version of the FBI or something else of that sort. They're mostly set in a recognizable current day US.

PsyCop by Jordan Castillo Price - 10+ books and counting. I like how the lead is kind of a basket case at the beginning, but over the series thus far has gotten off drugs, made peace with a bunch of his childhood enemies, and started to piece together his missing memories of his traumatic years being experimented on. I like how there are some actual villains in this series, but a number of people you think are evil and/or dead turn out not to be.

Big Bad Wolf by Charlie Adhara - 3 books so far. The lead is recovering from a gruesome werewolf attack, gets assigned to the new werewolf crime bureau, and has to come to terms with working with a werewolf partner. Oh no, he's hot!

SPECTR by Jordan L. Hawk - 2 "seasons" of 5 books each. "Season 3" book 1's preview just went out to kickstarter backers. These are hilarious trash where a woobie goth gets possessed by a very nontraditional vampire and both of them fall in love with the hot federal agent trying to exorcise the vampire. Expect presumed dead and emo, over-the-top cliffhangers. The series features great supporting characters. There were points when the diversity felt a little Captain Planet grab bag to me, but OTOH, if you're tired of every single character in this genre being white and cis, it's nice to see something else for a change.

Subgenre: Lone Slayers, Secret Societies, and Cross-Country Road Trips

These are the Buffy, early seasons SPN, and Anne Rice's Watchers ripoffs.

Witchbane by Morgan Brice. 2 books so far, and it ties in to a couple of other series. The lead was hanging out in a supposedly haunted spot, having a few beers with his brother. When the brother got murdered by supernatural elements, he discovered an elaborate plot to keep an evil ghost alive with the sacrifice of descendants of the men who killed him. He saves victim #2, and they go on the road to put an end to the curse.


To be continued... I have to run off to dinner, and digging out the names of these takes forever.
franzeska: (Default)
[personal profile] franzeska
I'm typing up a tl;dr response on tumblr, so I'm going to post it here too for when Tumblr inevitably eats everything.

The comment on that post about how 95% of speaking roles are male and thus slash is inevitable. It reads:
"wouldn’t it be fair to say that hatred of women is still a factor - but on the creators part for giving us such little representation.

I also wanna see how different races and ethnicities affect the ships cause there’s is definitely a tendency to ship m/m if both the men are white. If one of them is a poc, the fandom tends to believe the ‘oh they are just friends’ narrative. But i would like to seem some real statistics about that"
Misogyny in the original source material is always a likely issue.

Fandom does ship a lot of white guys together, but we collectively spend a lot of time shaming slash fangirls while not complaining about the sea of white het. The m/m part of the equation isn’t meaningful: all of fandom ships a lot of white characters.

The ticky box stats approach can only tell us so much. Here are some issues that we need to account for in such an analysis: things quantitative measures miss )

I get why you want statistics, but to gather meaningful ones, we'd have to confront some of these factors.

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