melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-03-07 10:24 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #3: I heard there was some real kinky stuff in these, y'all*

Okay! Now that I have gone through all the paperbacks and have a better idea of what I actually have, this should be a fun one. :D

Results from last week's FMK.

How FMK works: I am trying to clear out my unread books piles. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away, immediately and with prejudice. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I am going to start officially closing the poll and picking winners on Friday nights because I don't always have time on Sunday to read a whole novel. (although not actually closing it probably, people can still vote.)

Link to long version of explanation (on previous poll)


Poll #18074 FMK #3: I heard there was some real kinky stuff in these, y'all*
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 49


Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (1980)

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F
16 (40.0%)

M
7 (17.5%)

K
17 (42.5%)

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqcueline Carey (2001)

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F
32 (74.4%)

M
6 (14.0%)

K
5 (11.6%)

The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure by Storm Constantine (2003)

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F
14 (60.9%)

M
5 (21.7%)

K
4 (17.4%)

Touched by Venom by Janine Cross (2005)

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F
11 (50.0%)

M
4 (18.2%)

K
7 (31.8%)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)

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F
16 (42.1%)

M
6 (15.8%)

K
16 (42.1%)

Guilty Pleasures by Laurel K. Hamilton (1993)

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F
12 (41.4%)

M
2 (6.9%)

K
15 (51.7%)

House of Zeor by Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1974)

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F
15 (71.4%)

M
4 (19.0%)

K
2 (9.5%)

High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris (1977)

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F
15 (71.4%)

M
4 (19.0%)

K
2 (9.5%)

Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman (1966)

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F
6 (17.6%)

M
1 (2.9%)

K
27 (79.4%)

The Healing of Crossroads by Nick O'Donohoe (1990)

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F
11 (50.0%)

M
2 (9.1%)

K
9 (40.9%)

Kildar by John Ringo (2006)

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F
7 (29.2%)

M
1 (4.2%)

K
16 (66.7%)



*I may have heard wrong
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

Re: TW

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-03-08 04:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Am I remembering correctly that Ayla has pale skin and Broud dark? Because if so—and it didn't ping till you mentioned their names; I'd forgotten both—then I'ma go change my vote to K.
slashmarks: (Leo)

Re: TW

[personal profile] slashmarks 2017-03-08 05:04 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't remember a skin color contrast. Ayla's blond and blue-eyed and the Neadnerthals are dark haired and eyed, though. (Later in the series sympathetic Cro-Magnons with darker coloring - iirc including skin - show up, so I wouldn't necessarily take it as intentional racist ideology, but it definitely reads that way in the first book.) ETA: and obviously intentionality is not necessary for a book to be racist, I just think 'intentionally produced this as propaganda' is a whole additional level of awful that will be a deciding factor for many people.
Edited 2017-03-08 17:05 (UTC)
gehayi: (zoe_you_paid_money (irulan_amy))

Checking the Source

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 06:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Am I remembering correctly that Ayla has pale skin and Broud dark?

I remembered Ayla as tall, blonde, blue-eyed and fair-skinned, but I didn't recall what Broud looked like at all. So I decided to double-check. Thank God for searchable books on Amazon.

Ayla is described on page 56 as looking "pale and washed-out" to Creb, the shaman of the titular clan, and Iza, Creb's sister, notes on page 30 that "[s]he had never seen eyes the color of the sky before." As for what Ayla looks like--check out this description from page 396:

"Rather than the round, almost barrel-shaped body structure of men and women, Ayla was lean. From side view she was slender, except for her milk-filled breasts. Her waist dipped in, then filled out to rounded hips, and her legs and arms were long and straight. Not even the red and black circles and liens painted on her naked body could hide it.

"Her face lacked the jutting jaw, and with her small nose and high forehead it seemed more flat than they remembered. Her thick blonde hair, framing her face in loose waves and reaching halfway down her back, picked up highlights from the fire and gleamed golden; an oddly beautiful crown for the ugly, obviously alien, young woman."

Oh, yeah. You really made her sound ugly, Auel.

Broud, from what I can tell, is never given a physical description, but his father Brun and his aunt Iza are, and it's emphasized that all of the Clan look alike. This is from page 30, and is what Ayla thinks when she first sees Iza:

"The girl's eyelids fluttered. She opened her eyes and looked into a pair of large brown eyes, deep set below heavy brow ridges in a face that protruded somewhat, like a muzzle."

And here's the description of Brun from pages 11-12:

"The leader of the small clan stared down at the imploring woman. He was much bigger than she, over five feet tall, heavily muscled and powerful, with a deep barrel chest and thick bowed legs. The cast of his features was similar, though more pronounced: heavier supraorbitaal ridges, larger nose. His legs, stomach, hair and upper back were covered with a coarse brown hair that was not enough to be called a pelt, but not far from it. A bushy beard hid his chinless, jutting jaw.

Also, while there's mention of Iza "losing her winter pallor to a summer tan" on page 10, Ayla never tans at all, remaining unusually pale in their eyes throughout.

So the Clan members--the members of a dying race, according to the book--are dark-haired, dark-eyed, generally darker of skin, and more animalistic (as well as far less able to adapt and thus less inventive) than the tall, blonde, blue-eyed white supermodel who invents absolutely everything.

Uh-HUH.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-03-08 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Yup. *changes vote*

Thanks.
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] elanya 2017-03-09 12:46 am (UTC)(link)
Okay but they are literally neanderthals. They had different physical characteristics. They had sloping brows and pronounced brow ridges, protruding lower faces and tiny chins. They were larger and over all stockier - barrel chested and with bowed legs, in fact. Compared to any archaic homo sapien, that is a fair and accurate assessment.

Auel gets a lot of things wrong, but we have learned a whole hell of a lot more about neanderthals (including having a better grasp of skin and hair, based on genetic studies). But back when this was written in 1986, her depiction was pretty up with contemporary interpretations. Did she have to make Ayla blonde to heighten the contrast? No, and I'm not denying that "Ayla invents everything!" isn't a problem. But her actual depiction of the neanderthals I will defend. As for them being a dying race - they did die out. Though there is evidence that they interbred with archaic humans, they were subsumed by them.
gehayi: (remusthings (copperbadge))

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-09 02:26 am (UTC)(link)
As for them being a dying race - they did die out. Though there is evidence that they interbred with archaic humans, they were subsumed by them.

They did. I'm just not comfortable with the dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark-skinned people being the dying race and the white blue-eyed blonde being the replacement. I know that the representation of Neanderthals pretty much matches what people thought back then, but the perception of Neanderthals as dark and Cro-Magnons as blond might have been, at least in part, rooted in subconscious racism. (it's not as if anthropology and racism haven't collided in the past.)

There's also the fact that Auel was actively trying to write about various isms. From the Washington Post, February 21, 1986:

By setting her novel far in the past, she said, "I can write about problems like racism, sexism, prejudice in such a way that people can deal with them as abstract concepts. They can have enough distance from their own lives that maybe they can think about them without the emotional hang-ups of the present day. Let's hold out something like the Neanderthals as a way of asking, 'Why can't we look at people as individuals, with individual human capacities and dignity, instead of seeing them only through group fear or prejudice?'"

That makes me suspect that, in line with her theme, she was trying to evoke and then subvert racist tropes, but didn't do very well at the latter. Because it does sound as if her intentions were good.
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] elanya 2017-03-09 03:11 am (UTC)(link)
I don't know if she was consciously trying to evoke real world racism and tropes, so much as to create a context where the concept of 'racial' prejudice existed - the quote to me suggests that was exactly what she was trying not to do. She wanted to make it more abstract, not root it in something concrete. I'm not arguing that she was successful in creating that distance, and I agree that the assumptions of the time regarding the appearance of archaic humans (stereotypical northern European) and neanderthals (overall darker) were pretty problematic, and that affects the book for sure. But I don't think she should be taken to task for the general description of neanderthal body types as stocky, sloping brows, etc.

There's a catch 22, as racist depictions of PoC often explicitly attribute them neanderthal-like traits. But it's not the neanderthals' fault for actually looking that way!
gehayi: (certainwords (ladytalon))

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-09 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
But I don't think she should be taken to task for the general description of neanderthal body types as stocky, sloping brows, etc.

No, describing them as being stocky or having sloping brows is okay. I don't think that she had to describe them in terms of muzzles and pelts, but again, I don't think she was being malicious. I just think that this was an unfortunate choice.
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] elanya 2017-03-09 04:06 am (UTC)(link)

enh.... I know some white dudes I would happily describe as being covered in hair that's practically, but not quite, a pelt. And I don't think that 'jutting jaw' or jaw 'that protruded somewhat, like a muzzle' is out of line for physical description of neanderthal skull structure, either.

gehayi: (donna looking up (knifecontrol))

Re: Checking the Source

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-09 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
We'll have to agree to disagree, then.