Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Grumpy Bulldog vs Rigid Reviewer Thinking

About two months ago I got an annoying review on my novel Secret Origins that said:
Yet another terrible book by this author that completely disregards and degrades an individuals sexuality as somehow sudden gender change can(f.y.I. it cannot) affect a persons sexuality with no respect for the established sexuality that themselves initally set up. Makes for an incredibly irratating read.
The first thing that annoys me is the way this “reviewer” singles me out with that crack about “another terrible book by this author.” As if I’m the only author who ever has a straight man change into a woman and then fall in love with and/or fuck a dude. Hello, pretty much everyone does that! Even far more famous authors like Viriginia Woolf in Orlando and Yann Martel in Self; so why are you singling me out? Go pick on them! They did it a long time before I ever did.

The other thing is this idea that if someone does change sex they have to like the same sex as before. Look, I get that being gay or straight isn’t a choice. But these are just stories. Sudden gender change isn’t a real thing unless you’re one of those Jurassic Park dinosaurs or the frogs they were based on. It’s just fucking fantasy, dude. Who’s to say that if you a straight guy were changed into a woman by an alien artifact or a witch that it couldn’t alter the way their brain is wired? You can’t be so goddamned rigid about something that isn’t real.

It’s like when I wrote an early draft for what eventually became Sisterhood. Sylvia the witch was battling some “class-4 demons.” This dude on a critique group said, “That’s not a class-4 demon. A class-4 demon is…” There aren’t fucking demons! They aren’t real! You can’t set rules in stone for something that doesn’t even exist. It’s like people who say vampires can’t sparkle like in Twilight. Why not? Vampires are as real as the tooth fairy; they can do whatever the author wants them to do. You don’t like it, write your own goddamned book.

This “reviewer” should have read the book Secret Origins was partially based on, the Girl Power book I wrote back in 2013. Because in that one they did still like the same sex. For instance the Aquaman character was gay so when he became a woman he still hooked up with men. And the Batman character hooks up with a girl, which was then ironic because he used to give the Aquaman character a lot of shit about being gay. The Flash and Superman characters still liked the women they were with before.

And going into Secret Origins the game plan was for the Batman character to hook up with Melanie, the nerdy girl who befriends him after he becomes a nerdy teenage girl named Wendy. But then I decided to throw in some relationship drama where Melanie asks Wendy to talk to a boy she’s crushing on. The boy doesn’t want anything to do with Melanie, but he likes Wendy and they eventually become a couple.

Part of the idea behind this was to force Wendy to come to terms with how she treated her former sidekick who is gay. When she found out, Wendy basically had him exiled to a boarding school out west. Now that she’s starting to like boys, she has to start asking herself some hard questions because inside she still thinks of herself as a boy, so if she likes boys what does that make her?

Of course you can’t embrace complexities like that if you just say “This is how it is and that’s that.” It’s kind of sad though because someone skewered Girl Power for the gay sex scenes and then with this review someone basically accuses me of being a homophobe. It’s that old adage that you can’t please everyone—or anyone as it often seems.

4 comments:

  1. Transgender is a hot button issue and has been for some time. Additionally, people in the LGBTQ group (myself included) are looking for allies who have the ability to portray characters in a way that makes understanding easier for those who are having difficulty understanding and processing gender. So with regard to the reviews you are getting, my guess is that the particular reader going through your books is probably being offended by the indelicate way in which you approach an issue that is clearly close to their heart.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think you've ready any of those books to know how delicate they are.

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  2. As we all know, even best sellers and classics have 1 star reviews (and plenty of them) It seems they couldn't please everyone either.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah but they get more than 1 or 2 reviews too. :-P

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