[LMB] reader response survey - heroines

Lois McMaster Bujold lbujold at myinfmail.com
Tue, 24 Jun 2003 12:27:27 -0500

Hiya --

    Apropos another conversation and some thoughts I've been revolving
lately, I have a question for the male readers on the list to kick around.

    I am, through long experience, intimately acquainted with how female
readers process heroes of literature -- the Falling In Love With Impossible
Men syndrome in all its permutations, from Athos the Musketeer through
Shelock Holmes, Spock, Strider/Aragorn, Ker Avon and so on down the ages
(Bernard!  Prince Hal!), and oh yeah, the sidekicks too.  Reaching its
extreme expression, I suppose, in slashfic, where *all* the heroines are
swept off the stage as so much unwanted clutter.

    It has only recently occurred to me to wonder -- how do guys process
heroines?  Do they fall in love with them, and if so, in what ways?  I don't
think the answer can be either a mirror or an inversion of the female reader
response.  So: what female characters have you all fallen in love with over
the ages (and all your ages), how, and why?  What do you do with them, in
your heads, when the book is closed?  (Well, besides *that*, though that
would be interesting too.  I mean, I *know* what the girls do...)  What
literary heroines have riveted you?  Is there such a thing as Falling In
Love With Impossible Women?  Or does the overwhelming air time the heroes
get crowd them out for you, too?  And so on.  Discuss...

    Ta, Lois.