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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16 (40.0%)

7 (17.5%)

17 (42.5%)

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqcueline Carey (2001)

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32 (74.4%)

6 (14.0%)

5 (11.6%)

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

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14 (60.9%)

5 (21.7%)

4 (17.4%)

Touched by Venom by Janine Cross (2005)

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11 (50.0%)

4 (18.2%)

7 (31.8%)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)

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16 (42.1%)

6 (15.8%)

16 (42.1%)

Guilty Pleasures by Laurel K. Hamilton (1993)

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12 (41.4%)

2 (6.9%)

15 (51.7%)

House of Zeor by Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1974)

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15 (71.4%)

4 (19.0%)

2 (9.5%)

High Couch of Silistra by Janet Morris (1977)

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15 (71.4%)

4 (19.0%)

2 (9.5%)

Tarnsman of Gor by John Norman (1966)

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6 (17.6%)

1 (2.9%)

27 (79.4%)

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

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11 (50.0%)

2 (9.1%)

9 (40.9%)

Kildar by John Ringo (2006)

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7 (29.2%)

1 (4.2%)

16 (66.7%)

*I may have heard wrong
cyprinella: a red octopus on a white background with a red star above it (Default)

[personal profile] cyprinella 2017-03-08 04:02 am (UTC)(link)
Oh man, I read the first Crossroads book probably around when it first came out. I had no idea there were sequels.
watersword: Brendan Dean, played by Joe Flanigan, from Thoughtcrimes, resting his chin in his palm, looking disgruntled. (Stock: bored now)

[personal profile] watersword 2017-03-08 04:09 am (UTC)(link)
Oh man there are so many wonderfully terrible books in this list! I am verklempt with joy to know there is a book called The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure by someone named Storm Constantine, this is the BEST NEWS.
watersword: An open book (Stock: book)

[personal profile] watersword 2017-03-08 02:02 pm (UTC)(link)
OH MY GOD please please please read it and tell me all about it, that's amazing and beautiful and perfect.
muccamukk: A soft-focus close up of Peggy, who is wearing bright red lipstick. (AC: Lips)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-08 04:15 am (UTC)(link)
I think almost all of these are sort of not very good, but if you hit the right idporn they're FABULOUS. I voted kill on the ones that creeped me out, and fuck on the ones that are worth a tumble. I'm not sure I'd marry any of the before I tried them :D
muccamukk: Phryne putting Jack's tie back on, both leaning in close. (MFMM: Tied to You)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-08 04:27 am (UTC)(link)
I voted against Gor more on grounds that it's Terribly written though. I didn't even make it to the kink to see if I liked it or not. Just AWFUL.
muccamukk: Uhura sitting at her station, her self in colour, everthing else in grayscale. (ST: Uhura)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-03-08 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
It's pretty short. Given how much terrible, terrible prose you'd skim, you could probably just buzz through it. I feel like you'd be sorry tho.
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)


[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-03-08 04:28 am (UTC)(link)
"Kinky" is not the word for the Auel. "Rapey" is the word for the Auel. I loved that book to bits as a teen, though, and afaik Auel isn't skeevy like MZB, and the rapey isn't in later books as I recall, and for those reasons I voted F rather than K. But I figured I'd give you a heads up.

I have a recollection of rapey somewhere in the Kushiel series but I don't think Dart is the one. The whole Kushiel series is HELLA kinky, though.

idk the rest, though I've heard Ringo's name. Or rather, I've heard "OH JOHN RINGO NO"...
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

Re: TW

[personal profile] alexseanchai 2017-03-08 04:35 am (UTC)(link)
I don't even remember what OJRN IS.
gehayi: (annie being human (gehayi))

Re: TW

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 07:03 am (UTC)(link)
The Cro-Magnon Ayla gets raped repeatedly in The Clan of the Cave Bear by the Neanderthal Broud; the two loathe each other, and it's stated that he's doing it not for sex but to publicly humiliate her.
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.

alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)

Re: Checking the Source

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

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.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

[personal profile] vass 2017-03-08 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
I voted Marry for The Healing of Crossroads, but I very strongly vote for reading the first two books in that trilogy first.

You should be warned that I voted F for the Gor and Kildar not in your best interests but because I thought the review might be entertaining for me. So be warned.
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)

[personal profile] fairestcat 2017-03-08 04:57 am (UTC)(link)
I voted M for the first Outlander book, because I quite liked the first couple books in that series, but I advise against getting too invested, the series becomes the bad kind of soap opera really quickly.
egret: Capt. Janeway reading a paid (Default)

[personal profile] egret 2017-03-13 01:35 am (UTC)(link)
I read the first few Outlander books while unemployed (got them from the library) and they went down like highly diverting potato chips but there is a lot of questionable stuff in there. I would never return to them but can't deny I enjoyed them that once.
rushthatspeaks: (Default)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-03-08 04:59 am (UTC)(link)
I wound up reading that entire John Ringo series because I wanted to find out if the OH JOHN RINGO NO review was accurate. It was. Then I felt rather as though I had eaten my weight in marzipan: impressed with myself, nauseated, and worried that I'd gotten some on me. DON'T DO IT. Or if you do, remember that Kildar is probably the best and least offensive of these, and avoid the others like the plague they are.

Kushiel's Dart is legit a good book.

If you really feel the need to read a Gor book, I can send you a link to Gay Bejeweled Nazi Bikers of Gor, the parody a friend wrote which also happens to duplicate everything you might want about the actual Gor reading experience.
nicki: (Default)

[personal profile] nicki 2017-03-08 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
So I didn't vote on Guilty Pleasures because it is, in and of itself, a perfectly OK book, but series turns out... not. It's like a first date that goes reasonably well but eventually leads to a toxic relationship full of fighting and fucking that eventually ends up mostly with fighting and even the thought of sex leaves you nauseous.

Fair warning though, I was in the LKH anti-fandom for years so I might be a bit prejudiced.
slashmarks: (Leo)

[personal profile] slashmarks 2017-03-08 05:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I didn't vote on it, but I'd say just get rid of it if you aren't intending to read more of the series; the first book is basically mediocre paranormal romance without any sex scenes, so you aren't going to get quality OR entertaining fail out of it.
slashmarks: (Leo)

[personal profile] slashmarks 2017-03-09 03:04 am (UTC)(link)
Guilty Pleasures is the name of a club that's important to the plot. Deceptive, isn't it?

My gut reaction was no, but thinking about it some more I'm less sure, though you might have to read some of the series to get anything out of it. In particular, the creepy-sexy vampire romance lead doesn't seem to have been originally intended as a romance lead; the protagonist rejects him repeatedly through the first few books to the point of actually going no contact when she doesn't have to deal with him for work.

So, if you were interested enough to read the first several books, the evolution from unromantic-borderline-stalker to love interest could potentially be interesting in terms of genre evolution, and the evolution of the vampires in general from more classic to more paranormal romance types.

Eg. The villain of the first book is a child vampire played for horror, and a lot of tropes that aren't often used in contemporary paranormal romance are used, for instance, making eye contact with vampires is always dangerous and you can tell, looking at them, that they're dead at the beginning of the series. As the series goes on, the vampires get less creepy and disgusting, and the protagonist gets powerful enough things like avoiding eye contact get less important to her.

However, the quotient of sex and rapiness also goes up as the series goes on, and the writing quality goes downhill, so YMMV.
rachelmanija: (Fishes: I do not see why the sex)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-03-08 07:04 am (UTC)(link)
I really like Kushiel's Dart but it's a love it or hate it book. It has a very distinctive narrative voice that you will probably love or hate within two pages, so it's an ideal candidate for a fuck. The kink is almost entirely BDSM; the heroine was born blessed by the angel of S&M (seriously) and so has supernatural masochism (seriously) in a country where sex work is holy and consensual, and everyone is very, very pretty. There's lots of luscious description and politicking. Bisexuality and poly or open relationships are the norm, and while the main romance is straight, the heroine's most interesting (foe-yay) romance is with another woman. I don't recall rape in book one but it does have underage characters in sexual situations in a world in which the age of consent is lower, and consent issues involving that and a lack of safe/sane/consensual.

I also honestly like Clan of the Cave Bear, which I realize is a minority opinion. Later books are ridiculous but the first is an engrossing work of anthropological historical fiction with tons of cool cultural worldbuilding, some interesting characters, and soap opera. It does have a rape.

And (this is starting to become a theme): parts of Outlander are lots of fun. The first half or so is pretty enjoyable cross-genre time-travel romance with some unusual genre aspects. There is a romance which I was not so into and which has some sketchy issues (though also some unusual genre aspects - the heroine is married in her own time and the hero is a virgin) and there are rape threats and rape. Though that ALSO has unusual genre issues as it's a man who's raped. There's a really WTF healing vagina scene. The whole book is original in ways it doesn't get credited for because of the problematic/trashy/unappealing elements.

The Healing of Crossroads is book three in a trilogy about veterinarians in fantasyland. It is a bizarre mix of charming and incredibly grimdark and WTF. I would fuck book one (The Magic and the Healing first. No rape! Lots and lots of torture and animal harm, though.

Please fuck Touched by Venom. I am not going to defend that one. It is hilaribad. Also, rapetastic.

I have not read the Storm Constantine book but I hear it has flowery prose and flower-shaped penises.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-03-08 07:14 pm (UTC)(link)
So many other commenters were warning for rape that I assumed it was on request.

I strongly object to books where the author doesn't seem to know the difference between "rape" and "building a foundation for a loving relationship", though, which, as you know bob, comes up a lot.

In that case, kill Outlander. Not rape per se, but definitely sketchy issues along those lines.

The first Cave Bear book has no kink whatsoever. The size kink (as well as the male lead) comes up in later ones. As it were. The rape in the first book is not played for kink at all; it's explicitly an act of violence, not sex.
gehayi: (hermione books (lilacsigil))

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 07:27 am (UTC)(link)
I remember reading the Zeor series when I was a teenager, and I didn't see anything kinky about it. Humanity has been divided into two types, the Simes (predators) and the Gens (prey). Differentiation between the two appears in puberty, when a Sime goes through changeover, which means fever, convulsions and, after hours or days of agony, the emergence of tentacles on their forearms. Two sets are for gripping the forearms of a Gen; the third seizes the life energy called selyn produced by Gens, without which a Sime cannot survive. Simes who can take selyn from Gens without killing them and who can transfer selyn to other Simes are called "channels." Unfortunately, channels are rare. A Gen in Sime territory (at least at the beginning) is likely to be captured, penned and killed, like cattle. A Sime in Gen territory is likely to be killed by terrified Gens.

All of the books I read formed a generational saga, as they follow a family of channels, the Farrises, over time.

I suppose that transfer--when a Sime takes selyn from a Gen--might have looked kinky in 1974, as transfer involves forearm-to-forearm grip and lip contact. So it looks like two people kissing while in an awkward hug. And since the lead Sime and Gen in House of Zeor are both male, some people might have found this shocking in the Seventies. Plus it's basically science-fiction vampires. However, IIRC, transfer is not treated as sexual or exciting but life-threatening. Honestly, the focus of the series is on Simes and Gens finding ways to live with each other and recognize each other as people.
gehayi: (Default)

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 06:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Huh. I never heard of Kraith.

I don't recall the Sime tentacles ever being used in a sexual way, though--at least not in canon. Maybe people just associate tentacles with porn.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spock melds with RatCreature as Kirk. (mindmeld)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2017-03-08 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Just how much of it is there? Quite some time ago I've read quite a bit of what's online here:

Which is like six collected volumes plus supplementary materials.
ratcreature: TMI! RatCreature is embarrassed while holding up a dildo. (tmi)

[personal profile] ratcreature 2017-03-08 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Glad to help. I mostly remember that it did not hit my kinks quite right, but I was curious enough about the old skool TOS kink to keep reading.
stellar_dust: Stylized comic-book drawing of Scully at her laptop in the pilot. (Default)

[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 09:00 am (UTC)(link)
I started Outlander and couldn't get past the first chapter. The main character was like "but WHY do I HAVE TO stay in an adorable b&b in a remote Scottish highland village just because my BORING HUSBAND wants to do POINTLESS HISTORICAL RESEARCH?? Ugh so boring my life sucks"... I just went, yeah, I am probably not the demographic for this. And it wasn't compellingly written enough to overcome that, so I gave myself permission to stop.
gehayi: (shinykaylee (aladriana))

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 09:33 am (UTC)(link)
I have to say that staying in an adorable B&B in the Scottish highlands and doing historical research sounds like Paradise to me!
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)

[personal profile] petra 2017-03-08 11:35 am (UTC)(link)
Likewise. Claire (Clare? I don't remember and I've read a lot of Gabaldon's doorstoppers) takes a specific kind of person to be relatable in the beginning.

And then comes the m/f domestic discipline and m/m rape.
gehayi: (mr darcy with sharks in space (inlaterda)

[personal profile] gehayi 2017-03-08 06:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, yuck, yeah. And let's not forget the Depraved Bisexual (which the rapist is supposed to be).
stellar_dust: Stylized comic-book drawing of Scully at her laptop in the pilot. (Default)

[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 12:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Ikr? Willfully-historically-ignorant-person-gets-schooled-by-time-travel CAN be an interesting trope, but I just wasn't feeling it in this case.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-03-08 12:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Voted K on a few just because of my (decidedly incomplete) knowledge of them, voted F on several I know nothing about just for the titles (High Couch of Silistra! What a great ridiculous title.).
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2017-03-09 02:46 am (UTC)(link)
I... wow.
rushthatspeaks: (dirk: be uncertain about this)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-03-09 03:09 am (UTC)(link)

That may be the most early-seventies SF cover I have ever seen.
skygiants: Ucchi from Gokusen saying "Whoa!  This isn't for kids to watch!" (AUGH MY EYES)

[personal profile] skygiants 2017-03-08 04:07 pm (UTC)(link)
every time someone else indicates they might read the Crossroads books a fallen angel gets its wings in my heart

(My dad gave me his copy of Clan of the Cave Bear to read when I was ten or eleven and sulking because I'd been barred from the library for excessive fines. This is one of my favorite stories about my parents.)
Edited 2017-03-08 16:07 (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)

[personal profile] oracne 2017-03-08 04:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Zeor is Teh Crackz.

Everyone seems to like Kushiel except me - I did not find it sexy in the least. It's all, spank her and she comes, the end. No tension.


At least Outlander is interesting from a genre pov - it sort of mixes the big epic historical romance with time travel, which I think is the first time I saw that mixture.

The first Laurel K. Hamilton is interesting because it's noir paranormal, not very romance-y at all, but I think it sparked off the Paranormal Romance boom.

I've met John Norman. Do not read his books.
Edited 2017-03-08 16:20 (UTC)
ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)

[personal profile] ambyr 2017-03-08 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Since no one else has mentioned it . . . I have read (okay, skimmed) High Couch of Silistra. It is definitely a collection of pages bound within covers. I am not really sure what else to say about it beyond that. You may wish to have a brief fling for amusement value, but I see no reason for it to live on in your permanent collection.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2017-03-08 06:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Oooh, finally some I've actually read!
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)

[personal profile] synecdochic 2017-03-09 03:48 am (UTC)(link)

I will agree with everyone, btw, and say that you will either love the Kushiel books or hate them. I adore them -- the first trilogy, at least, which is High Political Fantasy of the very finest and scratches all my "outsider character viewed as unimportant discovers reserves of inner strength and becomes pivotally important to the political machinations of the realm" itches like whoa -- but on the first readthrough I did have to let a lot of the politics go by me without trying too hard to cling to them. It wasn't until around halfway through the first book, after the second "everything is way more fucked up than we thought" or so, that I started really understanding who all the various players and factions were.

So my advice would be, don't feel like you have to understand everyone's motivations or desires up front, because a lot of the plotting is more subtle than the standard High Fantasy drawn-in-very-broad-strokes factioneering and it takes a bit for everything to really shake out and start becoming clear. I'd give it at least until when Phedre leaves the City of Elua on a first readthrough, if not longer. Everybody does eventually start making sense and you realize all the plotting and machinations have been very internally consistent all along, it's just that the book throws a lot of names and connections at you all at once and is willing to let you flounder for a while.

I do hope you'll like it, though; it's one of my favorite High Fantasy series, precisely because of how intricate and complex the motivations are. It's not without flaws, of course, and it does suffer a bit from "this book is trying very hard to postulate a society without hangups about sex but was written by someone who was raised in a society that has a fuckton of hangups about sex and therefore is sometimes unintentionally skeevy about things it's trying very hard not to be skeevy about", worldbuilding-wise, but I do love it very much anyway. And it's got one of my favorite fictional romances ever.

calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)

[personal profile] calvinahobbes 2017-03-08 06:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, some titles I actually know and have opinions on!

People have already said this stuff in greater detail, but I voted K on Auel and Gabaldon for the rapey-ness of those particular books. I read Auel as a young teenager as well, and Clan of the Cave Bear is super gross in a way that the sequels really are not, so if you haven't read those I would actually recommend the next in the series just to get a sense of what those books were about. I only read Gabaldon very recently and rage-quit it - the author really loves how the MC's Scottish clansman husband has to constantly ~teach her a lesson, and I really hated it.

The first Anita Blake books are not necessarily bad as such, just intensely vampire idfic-y? The series just goes on way too long. So - F.

And I haven't read Kushiel's Dart, but so many people are enthusiastic about those so I want you to read it and report back, so also F.
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (Default)

[personal profile] calvinahobbes 2017-03-08 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Right, that's the title :P I actually started with that one and only read #1 later and was pretty appalled by the difference.
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 08:51 pm (UTC)(link)
The first part of Mammoth Hunters is all about Ayla learning to survive all alone in a mountain valley, that part is a pretty cool survival story, though it does have a fair dose of "ayla invents everything that was ever useful for humans."

COTCB is very based in the Latest Paeloanthropological Research of the 1970s. So there are some cool bits where she invents actual people to go with excavated Neanderthal burials, and I think even the part at the very beginning where Ayla is orphaned was based on a find, and other stuff like that. But also paleoanthopology, including popular paleoannth, still hadn't really got started on all the self-reflection it needed(needs) to do about race. I also think the main reason it has sequels is that it got really popular - so the later books have kind of a different tone and are slightly less must-cram-all-known-cro-magnon-facts-into-book (though there's still a lot of that). The later books are why the series has a rep for lots of sex, but IIRC it's not particularly kinky sex, just relatively often and graphically described.

IDK I would say read the first one for its place in the history of popularized paleoanthropology, and then decide if you need to keep it and/or read the others. Starting with Mammoth Hunters is fine if you want story and sex (though actually I can't remember if she meets the dude in that book, they might not meet till the beginning of 3? IDK. He's in book 2 but he has a separate storyline), you won't be lost or anything if you skip the first one, but COTCB has a unique place in literary history.

Or you could just read that fanfic where Mulder and Scully get transported back to caveman times, I wonder if I still have a link?
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 09:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I am pretty sure fic was primarily inspired by auel, so perhaps by the recursive property of transformative works? There was survival alone followed by meeting other homo sapiens and cave art and I think they had a baby? They might have come back to the 90s at the end for the sole purpose of annoying Skinner.
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-10 10:42 am (UTC)(link)
hahaha omg it still exists:
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 09:58 pm (UTC)(link)
For the Norse stuff, as far as finding vinland plants in Iceland, we would know it if we saw it in the botanicals, and no one has seen it yet. Afaik no one is specifically looking, but one of the most likely spots is glaumbaer, and nothing popped up there. I am less sure about non Iceland stuff but I can't recall hearing anything specifically. If not, it's probably because developing a research plan specifically to look for those connections would be difficult and probably hard to get funded. Taking bot samples from near places where the population of interest lived is now pretty standard (along with animal bones of course), and isotopic work on skeletal samples is also becoming more common (can suggest, among other things, where ppl grew up). So to go beyond what is already being done you would need an idea of specifically WHERE to look, other than the sites that at already being worked on, that you suspect has a very good chance of providing such evidence, if it exists.
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 10:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Of course that's all trying to approach the question archaeologically. It's possible a geneticist could find a suspicious plant species and do some regression similar to what has been done for early human migration? I'll try to remember later to send you a link to some stuff about arctic plants (unless I already added you to that folder?) I can't recall specifically hearing of any one doing quite what you ask, but I wouldn't necessarily knew, especially if it's like, a Danish PhD ecology student.
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[personal profile] genarti 2017-03-08 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Isn't that The Valley of the Horses? I thought Mammoth Hunters was the third.

And yes, the first book is quite different from the rest -- it's all about Ayla growing up with her adoptive Neanderthal family, and the male lead doesn't even show up until book 2, nor does any romantic plotline or consensual sex for Ayla. It's interesting, as [personal profile] stellar_dust says, for its place in popularized paleoanthropology, but definitely flawed. The sequels contain much more sex (though IIRC mostly vanilla except the size kink stuff), and still a ton of Let's List All The Plants Ayla Just Picked And Their Medicinal Uses plus worked-in real artifacts but less awkwardness about Neanderthals and somewhat less frantic cramming in of all the Latest Research that Jean M. Auel could think of.

The "ugly" bit in gehayi's quotes up there is one of the more hamhanded bits of the occasionally genuinely interesting way Ayla's basic assumptions about the world (including, but very much not limited to, what people do and should look like) were shaped by growing up among Neanderthals Of The Latest Paleoanthropological Research of the 1970s. There are both physical and cognitive things that everyone around her is good at that she struggles to barely manage, and things she's good at that seem miraculous, and so forth. Some of it, IIRC, is genuinely neat! (IIRC because I haven't read any of these books in about twenty years, and I was a teenager and a lot more oblivious to subtext at the time.) But some of that comes out too in book 2, when we have the male lead's POV on her as well as her own on him, though no longer any Neanderthals onscreen IIRC. But also, yeah, there's unexamined stuff including some awkward race stuff, not helped by the fact that later on we see dark-skinned Cro-Magnons but in book one we've only got Ayla The Tall And Blonde And Blue-Eyed. The fact that I remember it twenty years later means there's probably more racial awkwardness I've forgotten, too.
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-08 10:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes you are right I had the titles backwards! It's been, oh God probably nearly 20 years since I read the first ones...

And I agree on the rest of your analysis!
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[personal profile] elanya 2017-03-08 10:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Reading through the comments here, if you are not put off by the very concept of reading about a fictional character getting raped and having how that affects her, you should at least give Auel a shot. That said it has been like 15 years since I read it. I did a book report on it in grade 9. I don't remember how far into the sequels I got, but not very. Still smh at the male lead from the second book that all the virgin girls wanted to be their first because he was so well hung. Ambitious, that!
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[personal profile] elanya 2017-03-09 12:17 am (UTC)(link)

Apparenltly I have stronger opinions about this book than I realized :V

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[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-03-08 10:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I had a tired eyes moment and thought you were saying that there is a book called Transman of Gor and thought "...that is not what I expect from the Gor universe."
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[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-03-08 11:10 pm (UTC)(link)

It would be an amazing revenge fantasy.

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[personal profile] katherine 2017-03-09 02:23 am (UTC)(link)
The fourth in Auel's series has mammoths in considerable detail and the human characters getting inspired. Maybe some mammoth roleplay if you squint and this is me resisting flipping through to confirm...

The wording of the mammoth's activities is strongly borrowed from Cynthia Moss' non-fiction Elephant Memories.
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[personal profile] sylvaine 2017-03-09 04:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I am terribly fond of Storm Constantine's Wraeththu series, though I suspect it's even cringier than I remember :D
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[personal profile] stellar_dust 2017-03-10 10:31 am (UTC)(link)

Somebody at HÍ thinks you should read the gor book I guess