Because Blogger's "Adult warning" often goes into a perpetual loop (isn't working properly), I will be making all new posts at my WordPress blog. You can follow it even if you do not have a WordPress Account. There're also my Twitter and my Tumblr blog, my Facebook and my Google+ page and my group.
(Update: Blogger hasn't fixed its problem with the "adult warning". Will go back to posting at my WordPress blog)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Book and Film Lists

One of Amazon's very clever innovations is to use the (free) input of its customers to create added value for customers and itself. Stuff like customer reviews and customer lists. I've created two lists, though I will be setting up more; one for romantic gay or bi stories; and one for good gay films.

Looking through the list of books I'm struck by how many are 'slash': Swordspoint, The Fire's Stone, The Protector, Luck in The Shadows, Wraeththu, Fire From Heaven, just to name a few. Now traditionally (and some would say, strictly speaking it still is so) slash is about taking heterosexual characters from say Star Trek or Starsky and Hutch and have the two blokes get so close they discard societal taboos and become lovers. At first, slash was written by women for women. But gay-shaded blokes like me find the emotional sensibility of women when they write about men very appealing. I never liked the cum-and-go culture of gay life prevalent when I was a young man. My attraction to men was always much deeper than sex, sometimes, indeed, instead of sex. I'm not saying men don't turn me on. I like cuties of both genders. What I am saying is that my relationships with men were always, from my side, about love and friendship and companionship, and I could (and often did) do without the sex.

So I was drawn to m2m stories written by women, starting with Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault, and then of course (which gay-shaded man hasn't read it?) The Charioteer. To my way of thinking, slash has broadened from Spock/Kirk (which is where the term 'slash' comes from, where it was and still is used to indicate the pairing) to any m2m story whether written by a man or a woman where the 'feel' is like the first slash stories, or like the stories written by Mary Renault, Marguerite Yourcenar (her Memoirs of Hadrian, about the Emperor Hadrian and his Greek slave Antinous, is a masterpiece) and their ilk, which are not 'slash' but are written by women. And I consider that I write 'original slash', reflecting my propensity towards romance rather than sex.

There are sex scenes in my writing. I've put them in partly because I object strongly to the fact that heterosexual sex scenes are treated as acceptable, but homosexual sex scenes are preceded by a warning ("may offend"). In ElvenSword there is a het sex encounter between Fluin and Ilya, and it seemed only reasonable to put in m2m sex between Fluin and Steppan or Fluin and Lthon. But the drivers of the relationships between my characters are love and affection and respect, and only secondarily sex. As it happens, writing good sex scenes is hard. They take me much longer than even dialogue which is hard to get to appear natural without being natural. Real dialogue is elliptical, confusing and boring when written down -- think of the transcriptions of Nixon's phone calls.

As it happens, right now I'm working on Will and Emma's sexual reconciliation in Footy. The hard thing isn't the sex. The hard thing is making her forgiveness and his love convince within the context of the bedroom scene while Sean, Will's lover and Emma's friend, is alone in the bed in the spare room. So I suppose I'd better go and finish it!

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