|"And So We Lay, We Lay in the Same Grave..."
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|Author:||Grymmscape [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:10 pm ]|
|Post subject:||"And So We Lay, We Lay in the Same Grave..."|
"Floating in the endless blue,
My seed of doubt I leave to you.
Let it wither on the ground,
Treat it like a plague you found.
All my dreams that were outside,
In living colour, now alive.
And all the lighthouses,
Their beams converge to guide me home.
And so we lay, we lay in the same grave --
Our chemical wedding day.
And so we lay, we lay in the same grave --
Our chemical wedding day."
"-- Bruce Dickinson/Roy Z., "The Chemical Wedding" (1998)
I was online, doing some general research into the nearly vaporous sub-phenomenon of Male-Oriented/Non-Romantic vampire paranormal book series, and reading some journals and forums related to Urban Fantasy and Urban Paranormal novels when I came across the acronym "HEA". I had NO idea what that meant, but a brief search revealed it meant "Happily Ever After". Apparently, for many readers, almost entirely female, who are fans of Urban Paranormal books and their franchises, that is a very important element in the success of the book and franchise: does it have a Happily Ever After. From what I gleaned from the posts on those sites, if not, then the book was at its best, worthless to them, and at its worst, intolerable (meaning they'll never read anything by that author again). It seems that, the logic of plot notwithstanding and the development of characterization notwithstanding, they consider books with "downer" endings or novels wherein major male/female character leads DO NOT hook-up romantically and ride off into the sunset with one another at story's end to be failures. And no, this attitude is not limited to YA novels.
Say what? You're kidding, right?
I assume these are intelligent, fairly well-educated, modern adult women. I can't believe that the HEA-element is THAT important to them. I guess it's a need for some kind of emotionally uplifting payoff in the novel's final denouement. Maybe its because the female readers become more invested in the book's characters... and maybe not.
But I read it in plain print on a site where the posts were from the readers themselves.
I dunno, but I find that kind of disturbing, not to mention frustrating. But I think it is definitely tied in to the fact that Urban Fantasy and Urban Paranormal novels are, for the most part, expected to be romances (or at least to have a heavy romance element in them). And that returns me to the whole reason I was online doing product research: why aren't there more of these supernatural types of genre novels and franchises that are oriented towards male readers? I know that there are a plethora (recently) of Zombie novels in the market and it seems that they are directed towards male readers and everyone seems pretty okay with that: must be the survivalist-fiction blood, guts and guns aspect implicit in the modern zombie mythology after following the George Romero-archetypes. Maybe it's because male SciFi-infused books are more gadget-driven and the stories with heavy supernatural elements tend to be more emotion-driven. The common wisdom, if there is such a thing regarding markets for genre fiction, is that men's stories tend to be more gadget-oriented while more women-friendly stories are more emotion-oriented. Otherwise, it's as if the mere fact that there's a vampire or a werewolf in the story means, by some unspoken agreement among the general genre reading audience, that it is aimed at women readers. For a certaintly, there has ALWAYS been a romantic element present in vampire fiction -- that's not news to anyone with any knowledge of general literary history/evolution -- but when did that become primarily ascendent? Vampires didn't USED to be "girly", were they?
Did I not get the memo?
Apparently it has something to do with the evolution of the marketplace and the dwindling of interest in male-dominated "hard" science fiction and with romance fiction becoming more inclusive of espionage and thriller tropes, and an upswing in traditional horror elements, but not the sadistic or gore-specific stuff. There is an interesting post about the differences between Urban Fantasy and Urban Paranormal genre types (and, by inference, their audiences) at these links:
http://www.vampireromancebooks.com/foru ... hp?id=1258 ,
http://tracycooperposey.com/what-exactl ... landscape/ ,
http://sciencefictionmusings.blogspot.c ... iters.html ,
and to a lesser extent: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/147 ... eamy-books
As I stated before: I dunno.
But my Quinn and the Moon-Chosen series just doesn't lend itself very well to emphasizing the standard romantic tropes for softer Urban Fantasy. Maybe because, even as a an adolescent,my genre fiction tastes in the fantastical were more along the lines of work by Michael Moorcock/Harlan Ellison/Robert Bloch/Larry Niven/Norman Spinrad/Ira Levin/Michael Crichton. I can't deal with fairy tales, they don't resonate. In keeping with those influences, the tapestry in my own work is larger (maybe meaning more politically acute, maybe meaning more complex), the stakes are higher, the scope more operatic and the world in which the action occurs is darker and much more "realistic", with actual real-world consequences for the actions of unusual, extrahuman or superhuman characters. "HEA" doesn't enter into it.
And I think I'll keep it that way.
|Author:||ttzuma [ Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:24 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: "And So We Lay, We Lay in the Same Grave..."|
I have to admit, I am also a fan of happy endings. Not every thing I read has to have a happy ending, but when it comes to horror, it's refreshing sometimes to come to the end of a book where you have come to love the characters so much to find out that things turn out all right for them in the end. Hell, Stephen King has made a pretty good living writing happy endings.
What I don't care for in endings is when the reader is left hanging. When you come to the end of a book and the conflict, or at least some aspects of the conflict, is not resolved one way or another, I feel cheated. As a reader who's invested his time and emotions in a novel's plotting and has bonded with the characters, I don't want to be left hanging wondering if the bullet killed a character I cared about, wondering if the monster was actually going to squash the protagonist like a bug, wondering if the falling knife was going take the life of the main character, or wondering if the hero was every going to wake up from the blow. I know in real life we are often left with cliff hangers, but when I read fiction it's to escape from real life. I don't care if it's Ed Lee or Dean Koontz, I want a break from reality and I want to be entertained, and if I'm left hanging, I'm not entertained enough to the point of satisfaction.
On another issue you brought up. Women do read more then men. It's a fact, though I don't know if men are reading less. I recently talked with the husband of a famous romance author, and he told me women buy up to 7 books a week, some up to 14. And not only do they read them, they go back and buy over and over again from the same authors. If these women buy that many books from an author, and the author wants to keep on selling books, the author is going to give these women what they want, and yes, they want happy endings.
I loved this post Joesph, please keep them coming. I love to read when an author puts down his personal feelings about subjects rather than just posting about the business, it's refreshing and welcome.
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