[LMB] TSK and genre romance

Azalais Aranxta tiamat at tsoft.com
Wed Jan 28 21:33:17 GMT 2009

On Wed, 28 Jan 2009, Meg Justus wrote:

> No, but by definition they're not genre romance (the Romance Writers of
> America definition is here:
> http://www.rwanational.org/cs/the_romance_genre).

Wow, that is really enlightening.

I think the thing that I really don't like about genre romance
(and I *really* don't like genre romance, except for Heyer who
was around before the genre became so strongly codified) is that
in a lot of those books, the assumption that the world is fair
colours the text too strongly for my taste; it makes the world
seem unbelievable.

Also, the tension in most genre romances feels pretty artificial.
I'm always sure I know how the book's going to end.

I like books where the romance is not the main plot and there's a
certain element of doubt; and while I hate really depressing
endings, I don't like going into a book knowing that the ending
will be all roses and chocolate and never really having a doubt
of that.  (My favourite endings are optimistic, but not too
perfect and not too perfectly fair.)

In general, books "based in the notion that good people are
rewarded and evil people are punished" rarely come close to
satisfying me.

I like books where the world is scary and dangerous, evil people
frequently get away with it, there are many sides to every moral
question, people who appear to be evil don't think they are and
have a rationale, life is difficult, the problems aren't
simple...and the characters I like survive and find happiness
anyway.  The Chalionverse and the Vorkosiverse have all that

I also have a special place in my heart for heroes and heroines
who are brilliant, a little ruthless and not at all humble
(unless their humility is the result of being beaten down, and
they get over it like Ista did).  Extra points for witty dialogue
and intrigue.  If conversation over tea can seal your fate for
the next ten years and an outsider can unwittingly damn
themselves in five minutes by saying the wrong thing, I'm so
there.  (This doesn't have to be a courtier's story.  The
Retrieval Artist books by Kristine Kathryn Rusch have plenty of
this, with the lawyers and corporations and alien cultures.)  I
love culture clashes with high stakes.

Honestly I think that's why TSK didn't grab me.  Everyone was
just a little too salt-of-the-earth, and the opposition is plenty
unpleasant but mostly petty and small.  The personalities and the
culture are very Midwestern and the psychological realism is all
there, brilliantly written; it's just not the kind of place I
personally want to escape to.

It's an awesome series that I just don't find entertaining.  I'm
glad that it is doing well, because I adore Lois and want
everything she does to succeed, but I'll probably never read the
rest of it.  Sorry?

~malfoy, living down to her name again, what can you do? :)

Azalais Aranxta (~malfoy)
ataniell93 on LiveJournal and Vox

"I know the true world, and you know I do. But we needn't let it
think we all bow down." --Christopher Fry

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