Thursday, January 13, 2011

Guest Blog: When Romance Isn't Romance

This is a blog posted yesterday by misaditas, and with her permission, I'm reposting it here because I think it bears repeating. You've all heard my rants about rape being portrayed as BDSM in fiction. Now, here's misa's take on rape masquerading as consensual sex in science fiction:

I write science fiction romance. I like to read SFR as well, however I've noticed some disturbing trends that I seriously don't like. For the purposes of this post, the alien is male and the MC is female, because that's how it usually is in the books.
The alien kidnaps the MC. Okay, I'm fine with that, as long as it pertains to the main plot. As a device to get the alien and MC together, it's questionable. Trust (and love) in your kidnapper is called Stockholm Syndrome and it's not sexy, never mind romantic.

The alien has a pheromone and/or empathic ability. This usually makes the MC physically aroused and ends up in rape. No, I won't call it sex - if the MC is saying no, if she is trying to fight the alien off, then it is rape, regardless of how aroused she is.

The alien has a different moral code. This is an excuse I've heard far too many times. I don't care if the alien comes from a different culture, has different rules and morals - if the MC is human, then the story needs to follow human morals. The clash is great anywhere but in the bedroom. Use it as conflict, but don't use it to coerce the MC into bed.

The alien uses mind control to "seduce" the MC. Just... no. Removing the MC's will can work in some stories but it does not work in SFR. I cannot believe that a MC can fall in love with anything that manipulates her in any way, least of all with what comes down to mental abuse (there's a very good episode of ST: TNG covering Deanna being mind raped - go watch it and then see if that's what you want to read/write).
Now, there is nothing wrong with these things of themselves. I want to read about alien aliens. I just don't want that alienness to effect the romantic relationship with the MC.I don't want to read a story that is basically mental, emotional and physical abuse masquerading as romance.


Well said, misa.


  1. Interesting - TeddyPig posted something similar earlier today.

    I agree - I don't want to read about abuse being packaged as romance.

  2. Ooh, interesting article. So we have rape in gay romance, rape in BDSM fiction, and rape in SFF.


  3. Thank you for having me, Lori.

    It's definitely a worrying trend. Why are publishers accepting this crap? Why are people buying it? (Rhetorical questions; sadly, I think I know why.)