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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash - Mo's Journal
January 29th, 2007
02:00 pm


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Some Further Thoughts on Realism in Slash

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Date:January 29th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)

Matters of Degree and Subjective Taste

I am straight, and I like both.

Sometimes, it's a matter of what I'm in the mood for. Am I in the mood for a long, twisty, plotty bit of "realistic" slash, or am I in the mood for something short and schmoopy?

But sometimes it's a matter of degree. Really I think that the line between "realistic" and "fantasy" is very unclear, and is possibly different for different people. What one person thinks is a realistic ending, another might not believe would happen in a million years.

Also, I may want certain elements of realism in my stories, but not others. For instance, you say you want everything about your X-Men to be realistic except their superpowers. Well, I think that in a truly realistic world, Bodie and Doyle of The Professionals would be dead before they hit their 40th birthdays. However, I don't want to read stories in which either Bodie or Doyle dies! So how much "realism" do I really want in my slash?

On the other hand, I find stories in which one or both of the guys has never had sex with a man unrealistic. I don't like WNGWJLEO stories, and I don't believe bi or gay sexually active men like Bodie and Doyle would be same-sex virgins in their 30s. But many women obviously love these stories, because there are lots of them out there and they are very popular.

So I guess I also see the "realism" vs. "fantasy" debate also in terms of what exactly we want realism in and what we want fantasy in, and also as a matter of personal taste. Something I want to see realistically depicted might not be what other fans want to see. And something I don't want to see might be exactly what turns other fans on.
[User Picture]
Date:January 29th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Matters of Degree and Subjective Taste

So I guess I also see the "realism" vs. "fantasy" debate also in terms of what exactly we want realism in and what we want fantasy in, and also as a matter of personal taste.

Yes! And it's not just Bodie and Doyle - too many X-Men survive, as well, considering the danger they put themselves in (except in the comics, where they die and come back to life, which is not really morerealistic). And personal taste is always a big issue.

Example: I love mystery novels. I find the "amateur detective" genre not very believable when I stop to think about it. How can it be that one person stumbles over a murder mystery every time he goes to work, or grocery shopping or whatever and I've never been faced with one at all? But I'm willing to suspend disbelief for at least a few novels :-).

The fannish5 entry last week on pet peeves really revealed a lot of personal taste issues. minisinoo cares about Cedric Diggory's eye color - I couldn't care less. I care about proper train routes from Westchester to Manhattan, a subject that leaves many cold. As to unrealistic sex, everyone has stuff they can hand wave away, stuff they assume just happened while the narrator was looking the other way (I think anal sex should generally be with lube but I don't need a description of the lube being applied in every sex scene), and stuff they think is not even meant to be taken literally (someone - can't remember who - put "hot cum" on her pet peeve list, since semen is not hot, but I take it to be like "hot sex" or "hot guy" - meant metaphorically).

And quality of writing makes a difference, too. For all my insistence on realism as my big bugaboo, there are people whose fic I joyfully read even as I spot the unrealistic bits, just because they write so well.
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