NRA: Cater to their feelings

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 120-122

First, a quick reminder that Buck Williams is a jerk:

It was nearly time for Buck to head for Palwaukee Airport. Verna Zee was back at the Global Community Weekly office with the new (to her) used car Buck had promised to buy her from the fleet of leftovers from New Hope.

Verna, you’ll remember, had graciously loaned Buck her car so that he could go to look for Chloe after the bombs fell.

He abused it, blowing a tire, and then abandoned it. He’d promised Verna to replace it with “a better car,” and, apparently, has fulfilled that promise as minimally as possible.

A few chapters back Buck bought a car for himself. He used his Global Weekly credit card to buy a $100,000 Range Rover even though it was for personal use, not for work. (Buck stopped doing work in the last book, although he still collects his salary.) But he won’t use the company credit card to replace the car he took from his employee. She’ll have to make do with one of the Rapture-surplus cars Loretta had collected at New Hope.

I’m sure Loretta and Donny Moore gave Buck a competitive price for the car — just like with the laptops. I’m picturing them in the church office, counting the money, as Donny asks, “Do you think Buck will ever realize we just sold him Irene Steele’s car?”

Loretta, we’re told, “was at the church office fielding the constant phone calls about Sunday’s memorial service.”

And here’s how I imagine those calls going:

“No, it’s just for Bruce. Only Bruce. … Yes, I realize that our church lost dozens of members in the bombing, and millions more are dead all over the country, but … no, no, you’re right. You’re absolutely right, but it’s not up to me. … Buck Williams planned it. … Exactly, yes. …”

Chloe hobbled around on a cane, needing crutches but unable to manage them with her sprained wrist in a sling. That left Amanda to take Buck to the airport.

“I want to ride along,” Chloe said.

“Are you sure you’re up to it, hon?” Buck said.

Chloe’s voice was quavery. “Buck, I hate to say it, but in this day and age we never know when we might or might not ever see each other again.”

“You’re being a little maudlin, aren’t you?” he said.

The last time Chloe left the house she was badly injured in a car wreck due to a nuclear bomb. She also knows, for a fact, that the second, third and fourth seals of divine wrath are being poured out on the world, meaning that “a fourth of the world” will be dead in the weeks to come. So rather than seeming maudlin, her comment seems appropriate.

But the authors have to treat this like a “quavery” bit of overly emotional thinking on her part because that will allow Buck to callously dismiss her feelings, after which the authors, through Amanda, can deliver yet another Lesson in Christian Marriage.

That’s the point here, with this lesson meant to be some Mars-Venus business about men being too practical and unfeeling while women are overly emotional. The authors here are thus reminding good, godly husbands that they need to cater to the sensitivities of the weaker sex and pretend to be paying attention when their wives prattle on about their feelings. This is similar to the earlier Lesson in Christian Marriage in which godly husbands were urged to pretend to appreciate any “frilly,” feminine knick-knacks their wives have used to decorate the home.

That’s my summary, but look at what the authors have written here and judge for yourself if it’s accurate:

“You’re being a little maudlin, aren’t you?” he said.

“Buck!” Amanda said in a scolding tone. “You cater to her feelings now. I had to kiss my husband good-bye in front of the Antichrist. You think that gives me confidence about whether I’ll ever see him again?”

Buck was properly chastised.

The lesson here seems to be, roughly, “Husbands, cater to her feelings and make her think you’re really listening when your wife talks about … oh, you know … whatever it is that wives talk about when they talk about all that woman-ish stuff.” I can’t figure out whether the authors are simply unaware of the way their lesson on listening reveals that they don’t listen, or if this is actually meant to sound patronizing. I may think of “patronizing” as a bad thing, but I’m not sure the authors agree that it is. (If husbands are patrons, after all, why shouldn’t they be patronizing?)

After the lesson, Buck, Chloe and Amanda pile into the Range Rover — Buck driving, of course, because it’s his car and because penis — and head toward Palwaukee Airport.*

Buck was amazed that the built-in TV had survived Chloe’s crash. He was not in a position to see it, but he listened as Amanda and Chloe watched. Nicolae Carpathia, in his usual overly humble manner, was holding forth.

Nicolae Carpathia, we have just been told, usually comes across as “overly humble.” He seems like a fake, in other words, a condescending phony.

He is a fake, of course. He’s the Antichrist — a false messiah. But the thing about any decent false messiah is that he has to seem like the real deal. That’s the salient fact about actual phonies — they seem genuine.

I think part of the problem here is that the authors simply do not trust their readers to dislike Nicolae without making him utterly unlikeable. This despite the title of the book: Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist. His rise, we are told, is due entirely to his charisma, his preternatural charm and superlative eloquence. Yet they’re afraid to allow him to be or even to seem charismatic or charming or eloquent.

Instead what we get is every bad writer’s favorite method of making one character seem smart: making everyone else seem stupid. Consider poor Chaim Rosenzweig. He’s supposed to be a genius, but he comes across as clueless and dimwitted, utterly fooled by Nicolae’s obvious fraudulence and “overly humble” phoniness.

In this scene it’s not just the foolish Rosenzweig who is fooled by Nicolae’s obvious pretense — it’s the entire world.

Jerry Jenkins’ provided himself with another way of handling this. Back in the first book of the series he went to great lengths to establish that the Antichrist has supernatural powers of mind control. I keep waiting for him to make use of that in scenes like this — to suggest that Nicolae is working his mojo on the whole world through this broadcast while only the redeemed, those who enjoy the magic of divine protection, can hear what’s really going on.

But Jenkins doesn’t do that here. Instead, he falls back into the trap he set for himself by insisting that Nicolae is the greatest orator and most convincing speaker of all time.

Again, don’t ever do this to yourself as a writer. Don’t ever give a key character any superlative skill that will at some point have to be demonstrated on the page. Robin Hood stories are fine — you can describe an arrow hitting its target without having to wield the bow yourself. But don’t try to tell readers about the world’s greatest poet, or the world’s funniest comedian, or the most compelling orator of all time, because eventually you’ll have to back that up by supplying the poetry, jokes or oratory that live up to such descriptions. And unless you are, yourself, the greatest poet, funniest comedian, or most compelling speechwriter in all the world, then you’re trapped.

Jenkins is trapped. He is not the greatest speechwriter in the world. He is, rather, a terrible writer of terrible speeches.

And instead of great, or good, or even adequate oratory from Nicolae, what Jenkins gives us instead is this:

“Make no mistake, my brothers and sisters, there will be many dark days ahead. It will take tremendous resources to begin the rebuilding process, but because of the generosity of the seven loyal global regions and with the support of those citizens in the other three areas who were loyal to the Global Community and not to the insurrectionists, we are amassing the largest relief fund in the history of mankind. This will be administered to needy nations from New Babylon and the Global Community headquarters under my personal supervision.”

So New Babylon, the capital of the one-world government established after all nations were abolished, is going to oversee the distribution of “relief funds” to the various nations that need them. What?

“With the chaos that has resulted from this most sinister and unwise rebellion, local efforts to rebuild and care for the displaced will likely be thwarted by opportunists and looters. The relief effort carried out under the auspices of the Global Community will be handled in a swift and generous way that will allow as many loyal members of the Global Community as possible to return to their prosperous standard of living.

“Continue to resist naysayers and insurrectionists. Continue to support the Global Community. And remember that though I did not seek this position, I accept it with gravity and with resolve to pour out my life in service to the brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind. I appreciate your support as we set about to sacrificially stand by each other and pull ourselves out of this morass and to a higher plane than any of us could reach without the help of the other.”

It’s difficult to imagine that banal, contentless speech uniting the entire world behind its beloved leader. I’m not sure I can imagine anyone listening to the whole thing without changing the channel.

Buck shook his head. “He sure tells ’em what they wanna hear, doesn’t he?”

Set aside that the meaningless pile of throat-clearing noises above is being presented to us as an example of superlative oratory. Focus, instead, on the idea that this speech is also the authors’ best attempt to convey an oily politician pandering to the masses and giving them exactly “what they wanna hear.”

Who, ever, in all the long history of human experience, has ever wanted to hear that? How are the masses being pandered to by that indecipherable puddle of rhetoric?

This echoes the problem we saw earlier with the Lesson in Christian Marriage. Husbands are instructed to seem like they’re listening to their wives when they say all that stuff they’re probably saying, whatever it is. And politicians are criticized for pandering to the masses for saying all that stuff the masses want to hear, like …  you know, whatever that stuff is that the people want.

The authors have no idea what it is “they wanna hear,” because they view ’em — the masses, the maddening crowd, the hoi polloi — the same way they view their wives: as alien, inscrutable and unknowable. As a different, and subordinate, species.

And thus it doesn’t occur to the authors that it’s actually very easy to portray a politician saying what everyone wants to hear. Just have him say what you want to hear. To portray a crafty Antichrist spinning words to deceive the entire world, have him say the kinds of things that would deceive you.

Sometimes the authors’ lack of empathy is due to a lack of imagination. But here — with their world as with their wives, with the masses as with the Mrs. — they avoid empathy because they regard it as impossible. Empathy works by remembering the ways that you’re just like everyone else, and the authors refuse to accept that they are.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* This is not a long trip. I looked it up. Palwaukee Airport is only about 7 miles from Mount Prospect.

Yes, they’ll be driving through a post-nuclear wasteland, but we’ve already seen that the roads are fine. The only after-effect of the nuclear attacks on Chicago’s highways seems to be that there’s less traffic than usual. And anyway that’s downtown, in Chicago itself. The city was attacked with nuclear weapons, not the suburbs. If things that happened in cities were in any way connected to life in the suburbs, then, why, suburban churches would have to change almost everything they’re doing. And that’s just silly.

Palwaukee Airport is a good 18 miles from downtown, so no problem there.

Oh, and Buck Williams is certainly the only person who decided to fly out of the smaller suburban airport after O’Hare was destroyed in the bombing. So no need to worry about crowds or a riotous mob-scene when they get there.

In real life, it’s not called “Palwaukee Airport” any more, by the way. It’s now “Chicago Executive Airport” — they changed the name about 10 years after Nicolae was written.

There may be a lesson there for anyone writing stories with a near-future setting. It’s probably best to avoid using the present-day names for any airports, stadiums, concert venues or convention halls. Those names are too likely to change, making your “future” seem oddly antiquated.

I’m not criticizing Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins for failing to foresee this name-change. It’s just a novel, after all, it’s not like the authors claim to be prophets or something. Oh, wait …

The fact that, 15 years after this book first came out, Palwaukee is now called “Chicago Executive” does not undermine the credibility of their prophecy. What does undermine their credibility as prophets is the fact that, 15 years later, the airport — and the rest of the world — is still here.

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  • fraser

     I actually see  a fair amount of nurturance in romance novels, though I admit my reading is a small sample of the total out there

  • You must read better ones than those I’ve been reading. I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge of romance novels, but have been unable to finish any. I keep running into ones in which the hero rapes the heroine, but it’s never acknowledged as rape. I’d even take one in which the hero rapes the heroine and it’s explicitly called rape and then he reforms, rather than the non-acknowledgement that consent is a thing that I’ve been seeing. Do you have any recommendations?

  • fraser

    In fairness to the author, she’s not that inflexible. If you’ve got kids, adjust your costume. If your husband prefers a different outfit, adjust accordingly (and if your husband wants to sleep late, let him). But yes, she does assume husbands will all want sex or at least the sight of a sexy woman when they get home (along with dinner ready to go and lots of ego boosting) and that you should structure your day to make it happen (she does believe sex should be fun for both parties, but if the wife’s not into it tonight, she should do it anyway).

  • I’m guessing she thinks it’s impossible for the husband not to be into it tonight.

    I do think that, in a sexual and romantic relationship, if one person wants sex and the other person’s just kind of “meh” (rather than actively not wanting it), it’s a good thing for the “meh” person to have sex to please their partner. But this is only if the relationship is already open and honest and healthy and etc. 

  • fraser

    Are you reading recent novels or older ones? There was a phase in the eighties when several lines required the first sex be rape in some fashion.
    It’s been a while since I’ve read much (it was much easier when I worked a bookstore) but Georgette Heyer’s regencies are a lot of fun (The Grand Sophie in particular). Some of Nora Roberts are good and also Betina Krahn’s. Julie Kenner’s Aphrodite’s Kiss and its sequels are great as a series superhero romances. Obviously YMMV

  • Lori

    IME it depends a lot on what subgenres you read and how old the books are. Alpholes definitely still abound, but they’re not that hard to avoid. Outside UF there is still a lot of gender essentialism, almost all of it unexamined, but there are also plenty of heroes who are supportive and nurturing. Of course there’s also a lot of stuff that kind of looks a little bit like nurturing, but is really just taking over and running things for the little lady’s own good, so there’s that.

  • Lori

    I keep running into ones in which the hero rapes the heroine, but it’s
    never acknowledged as rape. I’d even take one in which the hero rapes
    the heroine and it’s explicitly called rape and then he reforms, rather
    than the non-acknowledgement that consent is a thing that I’ve been
    seeing. Do you have any recommendations?  

    Are you reading mostly historicals, especially older ones? I rarely run into unacknowledged rape any more, especially in contemporaries. Which is good because that’s an auto-wallbanger.

  • I’ve been reading recent ones, set in the modern day, which is why I did not expect this. The last I gave up on was a Nora Roberts one published in 2012. It is not acknowledged that the hero rapes the heroine; it’s supposedly just hot sex. But it’s not, it is rape, she is specifically trying to protest and he does not let her speak, then he uses his strength to overpower her and do what he wants. Oh and this is a guy whom the reader is supposed to believe is super-sensitive (but who is actually a controlling stalker and rapist.)

    I would greatly prefer the old-fashioned trend of having the hero rape the heroine that *acknowledged* that it was rape.

  • Fusina

     What gets me about this sort of stuff is how the women are portrayed as being both uncontrollably passionate and totally passionless, simultaneously.

    I went and read the other bit about princesses and heroes, and truth be told, I didn’t want to be Cinderella, I wanted to be the fairy godmother. Told a therapist that once and was told that showed I was mentally disturbed (I was, but I still don’t see that as a symptom) because a normal girl would want to be Cinderella.

    Yeah, yeah, I’m not normal either. I take great pride in that now.

  • I wanted to be the fairy godmother and Cinderella, both. I made up stories about how the fairy godmother or other female mentor character taught the heroine how to also be a fairy godmother or etc. after the heroine came back from her honeymoon. I wanted to be a princess who would become queen when she was older, married to the handsome prince and having magical adventures (some with him and some without), all of it. 

    I’m angry that we teach girls it’s either-or. Like if you’re a woman, you can either have romance OR you can do awesome non-romance stuff. It’s a pervasive lie.

  • Jenny Islander

    Wonder what your old therapist would have thought of me?  I always wanted to be the princess.  Princess Leia.  With a blaster.

  • Carstonio

    What was the purpose of that editorial policy? Did the editors assume that readers would slut-shame the heroine? The tactic seemed to perpetuate the old myth that a woman will inevitably fall in love with her first partner.

  • Jenny Islander

    I used to just love LaVyrle Spencer’s romances.  She has loads of plot, fun descriptions of historical periods and subcultures, and no “romantic” rape whatsoever.  She does get a bit purple and silly when she starts describing “interesting revelations of the marriage bed,” but most of the time she just writes good vivid prose.  NOTE that she does sometimes depict triggery stuff, always realistically and sometimes graphically.  I have ROT13ed spoilers if needed.

    Recommendations:Morning Glory, my absolute favorite and a book I still turn to when I’m feeling blue.  It’s about two people in 1930s Georgia who have nowhere to go but up.  Avoid the movie version; it chops up the story something awful and is a total waste of Christopher Reeve.  Gur ivyynva zheqref uvf ybatgvzr zvfgerff naq nggrzcgf gb senzr gur ureb.The Endearment is about a nice 19th-century Swedish homesteader who writes away for a nice Swedish farmer’s daughter fresh off the boat in New York, but gets an Irish-American city girl and her little brother.  From her viewpoint, it’s a fish-out-of-water story as she struggles to adapt to life in a Swedish farm colony. Gurl terj hc va n juberubhfr naq ylvat nobhg ure vqragvgl jnf gurve bayl jnl bhg.  Haorxabjafg gb ure yvggyr oebgure, fur unq gb unir svefg-gvzr frk jvgu n wbua gb trg gur zbarl sbe gur genva.Years is also about an adult farmer and a teenager, but in the 19teens.  This time she’s a schoolteacher and he thinks he’s never going to get married again–for good reasons, but of course there’s a happy ending with wedding bells.  It’s also a love letter to the Great Plains.  N grrantr fghqrag nggrzcgf gb encr n yvggyr tvey, ohg vf pnhtug naq chavfurq.That Camden Summer is set a few years later, in Maine.  The heroine is a divorced public health nurse and her love interest is a local widower.  Together they struggle past the stigma of divorce and other, worse perils. N ybpny “cvyyne bs gur pbzzhavgl” vf n frevny encvfg.  Ur unf nggnpxrq arneyl rirel jbzna va Pnzqra naq ur nggnpxf gur urebvar nf jryy.  Gur jbzra onaq gbtrgure gb gnxr uvz qbja.

    Those are the first that come to mind.  Gotta go, preschooler is poopy.

  • Jenny Islander


  • fraser

    I think a lot of it came out of the school of thought that women want romances about being dominated by alpha males. And I know at least a few women who enjoy hot rape scenes in fiction.

  • Lori

    Told a therapist that once and was told that showed I was mentally disturbed (I was, but I still don’t see that as a symptom) because a
    normal girl would want to be Cinderella.  

    That is so upsetting. It totally made me do the Kermit the Frog hand flail. Your therapist was a very, very bad therapist. Aside from being stupid and untrue, that”s just not something a therapist should ever say to a client. That person should not have been allowed to practice. [Kermit hands]

  • Isabel C.

     Heh. Well, not to do the blatant plug thing, but I like to think I’ve been pretty good about consent in mine. ;)

  • Isabel C.

     Also–damn you, keyboard–Galen Foley, Susanna Fraser, and Rose Lerner have been good for historical stuff. For modern, I like Emma Holly and Angela Knight, which are heavy on the paranormal–which I like, but may not be your thing–and also on the sexually-empowered women, so that’s good.

  • Lori


    Did the editors assume that readers would slut-shame the heroine?  

    This is part of it. Even now there are plenty of women (and I’m not just talking about readers of Christian fiction) who can be terribly judgey about a heroine who frankly enjoys sex. It’s the subject of much ongoing debate on the blogs. The tide is definitely moving away from that, but there’s still a market for it.

    Fraser is right about the rest of it. Some women like it. Some actually enjoy rape fantasy, which is their deal and they’re as much entitled to their kink as anyone else.

    My issue is that I think there are still a scary number of people who aren’t exactly into rape fantasy, they’re just so steeped in rape culture that they don’t understand good consent and therefore don’t recognize the lack. That’s not a kink, that’s just fucked up and bullshit and that’s what I find upsetting.

  • Tricksterson

    Oh I anna be big time mainstream author
    And talk with Ellen and Oprah on TV
    Oh I wanna be a big time ainstrea author
    And all I gotta do is write romantically

    I’ll set my book in a time romantical
    The type of place my readers would like to be
    With flashing swords and pirate hordes fanatical
    And all of it done of course romantically

    I’ll write myself a heroine thats virtuous
    A sweet young thing who’s heads not filled with fluff
    She’ll have a nature feminine and nurturous
    With a hidden yen for dark and sensual stuff

    I’ll write myself a tall dark handsome hero 
    Named Billy Shane, from whom she can’t escape
    She’ll say she hates this cruel eyed rogue so strong  and virile
    But we’ll know it’s really love right fom first rape

    Oh I wanna be a big time mainstream author
    And all I gotta do is write romantic
    The plots are crap but the money’s fantastic
    All I gotta do is write romantically!

  • Lori

    Emma Holly seems to do mostly paranormalish stuff now, but in the early days of her career she did erotic contemporaries. AFAIK they’re all still in print.  And yes, she knows the difference between kink and lack of consent. In fact one of her books is about a woman who bails on her first kinky relationship because the guy is over the line and she recognizes that she needs to GTFO.

  • P J Evans

     I’ve never considered signing up for it. For many reasons, one of which is TMI.

  • Carstonio

    The two examples I’ve read seemed to reflect the good girl myth. She can’t have desires on her own, these have to be awakened by the seduction or rape.

  • P J Evans

     That’s probably why I’m sitting three feet from a couple of them. *g*

  • Lori

    How do you feel about steampunk? I’m enjoying Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series and I don’t think there have been any consent problems. I just finished the 3rd one last month and there definitely weren’t any in it. The heroine is very good about saying what she does and doesn’t want and the hero listens to her. As a bonus the heroine is from a women-only village and there’s a nice tolerance message there (which I didn’t find too heavy-handed, although I suppose some people would).

    Double Down by Katie Poter (which I think is ebook only) deals with consent from the other angle. The hero has a lot of shame about his kink (role play) and has trouble getting it through his head that yes means yes. The heroine leaves him and won’t take him back until he pulls his head out of his ass. I won my copy in a contest and was really surprised by how much I liked it. It’s not my usual thing but I thought the author did a nice job dealing with the difference between privacy and shame and the fact that when your partner is into it being ashamed or not taking yes, as yes is insulting, not respectful.

    Before I unload any more reqs, are there some particular subgenres or kinds of stories that you like or have no interest in?

  • Carstonio
  • Lori

    I am so very tired of Fox News and For News affiliated asshats trolling us all for cash. So very tired. There is just not enough STFU in the world.

  • The Rules has been able to sent me into foaming-at-the-mouth rage since I was a teenager. It’s basically about creating a false persona that your target will fall in love with.

  • Fusina

    It took me a long time to trust therapists again. I’ve gotten to the point where I can get help when I need it, and am also getting to the point where I can both self diagnose (things are going wonky in your head) and solve (this is the episode in your past you are dealing with and work on how to proceed from here). But yes. He was an RTC type–This I knew, but didn’t know enough to run like hell away from–long story.

  • Fusina

     Well, DUH! Who didn’t? She didn’t just wait to be rescued, she shot back! And she took charge! Over the snarky pirate dude! She didn’t even back down from the Wookie!

    My mum never did understand why I loved the first Star Wars movie so much. She thought it was shallow and derivative (okay, it was, but it had Leia!)

  • Fusina

     Oh dear god. Seriously?

    As the tee shirt says, “You can only say WTF so many times before you give up and just get drunk.”

  • I wanted to be a princess. Wonder Woman, specifically.

  • Lori

    I am so sorry that you ever had to deal with that. It was not your job to know enough to run. It was the job of the licensing board and his colleagues to know that he shouldn’t be practicing. Of course if he was an RTC all his colleagues probably were too. Ugh. I’m glad that you’ve been able to get past it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I read a book that advised the wife (stay-at-home, natch) to tidy the house and have a bath to make herself “nice” in anticipation of the husband’s return home from work because it’s not OK to make him put up with coming home to a tired-looking wife with messy hair.

    Said book also instructed the wife not to bother the husband with her problems when he first comes home, but to wait at least 30 minutes before bringing anything to his attention. Because his job is hard and he needs a rest! Yes, you may have spent the day in the emergency room because little Johnny fell of his bike and needed stitches in his scalp, but the husband had meetings!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Seconded. Princess Leia was smart and feisty and generally awesome. Plus when you grew into the adolescent phase there was the bonus that she ends up with early 80s Harrison Ford.

  • cyllan

    I second Isabel C’s blatant plug, and toss in a strong recommend for Courtney Milan’s historicals as well — all of which (as I recall) operate on the Enthusiastic Consent level.

  • Msmilham

    I could never read these books because they hit too close to home, living RIGHT in the suburbs they were talking about. Eery to see post-apocalyptic places I go every day haha.

  • That’s not a kink, that’s just fucked up and bullshit

    Yep. I have the rape fantasy kink myself, but it is *fantasy*. And if it is not explicitly acknowledged as rape: one, that doesn’t trigger the kink. Two, it is seriously disturbing, because too many people don’t understand consent in the first place, and think “he covered his mouth with hers so she could not protest, used his greater weight, size and strength to put her where he wanted her, and proceeded to do as he liked” is perfectly okay. And that if the woman or girl is aroused or confused at any point, that somehow magically means she consented. 

    Also, I don’t like rape fantasy in anything mainstream. I want it cordoned off into pure fantasy erotica, no ties to the real world whatsoever. I write a little myself and will never share it with anyone but my husband. I have nightmares of some MRA jackass quoting me to “prove” that women really want to be raped. Besides, I already get enough flack from certain internet feminists for having this kink in the first place.

  • Before I unload any more reqs, are there some particular subgenres or kinds of stories that you like or have no interest in?

    I don’t like magic on Earth at any point in history in novels for adults, whether contemporary or historical. (No idea why, I just cannot finish books with that as their setting.) I do not like male-only pov in any romantic novels. I cannot stand when women or girls (or anyone) are insulted for enjoying and excelling at traditionally  feminine pursuits. 

    Otherwise I like pretty much anything that’s written well. 

  • Lori

    Do you count steampunk and magic on earth? If no,t I would suggest trying the Brook series. The first one is The Iron Duke.

    I’ll did around in my reading records and see if anything else jumps out at me that I think is worth passing along.

  • aunursa

    That was actually snippets from four different reviews.  With 62% of the Amazon reviews rating Nicolae 5 stars, there are surely millions of “fucking morons” who feel the same way.

  • You could try heading over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and take a look at some of their reviews.  You can sort them by grade, and see if anything with, say, a B+ or higher strikes your fancy.  They have no patience for the Old Skool rape era, and save their funniest D- and F-grade reviews for such books.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Yeah, and I still hadn’t gotten over being disgusted with Buck’s asinine attitude when we read the section a couple of weeks ago where he first borrowed her car.  If you were in a moment of desperate need and someone tried to help you, particularly if that help came at some inconvenience to themselves, could you imagine yourself sneering about what second rate equipment they gave you without immediately feeling kind of ashamed?  That’s what made that scene so disgusting:  Buck was pretty much rolling his eyes the whole time at those stupid lesbians and their junky cars, and the narrative agreed with him, holding him up as a can-do guy and a wonderful new RTC who gave that crappy little lesbo car the treatment it deserved.

    And now, we get another sneer:  new (to her) suggests that as far as Buck (with the tacit agreement of the narrative) is concerned, Verna got all the car that a frumpy dyke like her has a right to expect. He didn’t really have to even go out of his way to find it:  it was right there at New Hope

    That is why I still shake my head about the Stephen King praise for Jenkins.  I know it was sort of concluded that he was probably  mostly being tactful to a fellow writer he happened to meet face-to-face, and that maybe they just hit it off – but when I read sections like these I wonder how it would be possible for anyone with sense to “hit it off” with Jerry Jenkins.  It seems to me you couldn’t write a scene like this without being a colossal jerk; such a colossal jerk, in fact, that you couldn’t talk to him for five minutes without his colossal jerkitude expressing itself. 

  • Lori

    If you’re point is that millions of people can’t all be morons, I beg to differ.

  • Lori

    Steven King is not a woman and when he and Jenkins met it was in the context of a charitable effort to help a male friend. It’s possible that they didn’t discuss the sort of things that would make Jenkins’ jerkitude obvious. It’s also possible that King is the kind of person who doesn’t notice sexism and homophobia because he’s not the target.

  • It’s possible for people to hide their jerkitude for quite awhile.  Hell, sometimes the people with the most to hide are the best at hiding it–I read a study recently where it was observed that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder make a better first impression than most other people do.

  • Isabel C.

     Aw, thank you!

  • Isabel C.

    And yeah, I need to find some Milan soon. I’ve heard good things.

  • Isabel C.

     Ah, yeah, my recommendations are probably not so much your thing, then: I tend to be very much AU-with-magic in both my reading and writing tastes. The historicals I mentioned are good and non-paranormal, though.

    And yeah. Rape kink as kink is fine. Rape as normalized That’s The Way It Is because Good Girls Don’t Want It On Their Own makes my teeth hurt.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Yes, that’s a good point.