Elizabeth Bear sez…

When asked what kind of responses she’d gotten from readers and critics about the emotional content in her books:

A very few squeamish male reviewers get fussed–almost exclusively about male same-sex relationships. I have, a couple of times, seen some of my work characterized as yaoi or slash, which indicates to me two things: one, that the reviewer is ignorant as to the meaning of those terms (I will accept “slashy,” although I think if you have a cannon gay relationship it’s not so much slashy as a book in which there are gay people); and two, that the reviewer does not actually understand that there are real gay people in the world who might like to read books about themselves.

But you know, it’s fair: I get teh gay on them, and they get teh dumb on me.

♥ ♥

Full interview here.

Brief thoughts on men writing women

I'm about halfway through The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks — it's one of the better things I've read recently, if not particularly original. Were I writing a review, I'd call it "a masterful retreading of old ground."

His female characters, alas, are uniformly one-note, and the book fails the Bechdel test* somewhat glaringly — in that it goes check, check, FAIL.

Sigh, I said. Guess I'll be adding him to the list of otherwise-decent male authors who fall on their faces when it comes to writing characters with two X chromosomes.

And then I had a thought: What if they're not actually good at writing male characters either? They just have a wider palette of archetypes to draw from, so it's less noticeable that they're reusing established character templates? o_O

This bears further consideration.


* Actually, it's pretty hard for anything without a female viewpoint character to pass the test (unless your POV dude is a creeper who listens at keyholes) so I don't hold this against most works. On the other hand, when you DO have women who talk to each other, and yet all they can talk about is men….. yeah.