Thursday, February 21, 2013

Caress of Twilight--chapter 18 NSFW


*sighs*

When I was eight years old, I walked into my grandmother's library. There was a burl wood table that had been there since before I was born. It was a very nice table. I'd looked at it every three to six months since I was old enough to crawl. But on this particular day I looked at the table and realized that the wood patterns were hiding the face of Satan.

I didn't go into that room for two years. I knew I was being silly, I knew it was just a wood pattern, but it was the face of Satan. 

That's what this book is. I said it was the "OK" series. I said it was the fun series. I said it was the series to go to if you wanted the fun of LKH's narrative voice and you wanted to stay away from the awfulness of Anita Blake's non-con. But I was wrong. The awfulness is there. In fact, the awfulness is worse. Much, much, MUCH worse. It's just casual, and as long as you don't look at it too close, you don't realize that it's the face of Satan. But it is. This book is officially a Hellmouth, and it's all because of this chapter.

And...Look. I know. I know. I know. I've tried, okay? I've tried. I've tried to keep from commenting on the racial aspects here because I know goddamn well I don't have the street cred to do it right, but it's gotten to the point where it'd be even more wrong for me not to comment on it. IT'S THAT BAD. So I'm sorry. I'm sorry for anything I get wrong, I'm sorry for anything I get right, I'm sorry this book even exists. This entire chapter should owe reparations to everyone, everywhere, forever.  That's how wrong it is.

I started this chapter being funny, there are funny moments in it, but this is not a good thing. This is not even something I should be joking about. I don't want to recommend that anybody not read my blog post, but you really might not want to read it today. I'm serious. Here are a bunch of pictures of cats being cute. Look at the pictures of the cats being cute, fill yourself with the adorability (...it's a word. IT IS A NEW WORD THAT I HAVE JUST MADE GODDAMN IT) of the kittens, and be VERY glad that your head isn't going to be filled with the shitstorm that is about to follow. This is worse than Kitto and the dog bed. This is worse than Kitto period. This chapter is so wrong that to ignore its existence and what it says about the attitudes of its author is almost as bad as trying to ignore the Holocaust.

I am very sorry this is here. I am willing to continue reviewing this book chapter by chapter, if only because I started it, damn it, and I finish what I stared, but if, after this, mentioning this book makes anybody feel uncomfortable, I will drop it and do something less wrong. Like Save the Pearls or The Caterpillar's Question.

This chapter is worse than Save the Pearls.

This chapter is worse than that entire book.

I am dead serious.








It's time for Merry to have sex with Doyle, LKH's not-an-African black man.

You can stop reading now.

And since you're not, let's start with the very obvious: How fucked up do you have to be for your fetish to be sex with a dark skinned man, but you have to make it absolutely positively clear that this dark-skinned man isn't actually a real kind of brown person? Oh, He's not human brown-black. He's tar black! Right. Yeah. Keep digging, Laurel. That hole's not deep enough yet.

He smiled. “We all are (auditioning to be king), Meredith. Some of the others may forget that in the rush of hot skin and sex, but you must never forget. You are choosing a father for your children, a king for the court, and someone you will be tied to forever.”
Yes. Guys can fuck whomever they want to, but a woman must always be mindful of her future mate and make sure that she picks somebody who will be a good provider of her children. Letting herself have a few minutes of fun would be irresponsible.

But you know, I never intended this to be a fancy blog about social justice and righting wrongs and making the world a better place. I'm not here to make sure all the cultural groups get represented in a responsible and respectful way, and that all the characters manage to address everyone without any kind of sexism, and that all the right whatever things are done at all the right moments. I'm not good at that, and that's not my intended job. I'm not accepting that responsibility. If I'm talking about something, it's not because I think it's an offence against X or Y, it's because I think what I'm reading about is morally wrong. That doesn't make me a good person or a good blogger. Calling this shit what it is, is the most basic thing that anybody who even hopes to call themselves a good person should do.

 But in the end, I don't know the game, I don't get the buzzwords. I don't even have a college education. I'm reviewing books because the writing in them is bad, and not because the message in them is bad. I don't intend to call somebody out on cultural appropreation--I don't know enough about the issue to make that call, and obviously I can't even spell the damn word--but I sure as fuck will nail their ass for research fail. I might get pissed off at somebody for turning a religion into their shiny object, but that falls under research fail too. I mean, fuck, guys, I can read John Ringo and enjoy it even though half of his books have an admitted rapist as a main character and the other half have main characters who are either kinked towards consensual rape play (Herzer Herrick, I'm looking at you.) or survivors of a harem where rape is more than a little fetishized. I like problematic things too much to be a good little warrior for truth and justice in the social way. I'm not here to gain anybody's approval--I mean, I'd like it, but that's not why I'm here. I'm here to have fun and enjoy myself talking about either so-bad-it's-good books, books that are actually good, my own books, and whatever-fucking-else I happen to decide I WANT to talk about today.

So I'm gonna make a little deal with this awful book.  If this sex scene is sexy in any single way, then this porn-book will have fulfilled its purpose and I will have to admit that it is a success in what it set out to do, which is being an equal opportunity porno for everyone. And I will have to be a little more lenient towards it, because this isn't intended to be a classic, or a commentary on life, or an educational portal into how to be a good human being. It's just porn.

The feel of his lips made me shiver, writhing in his lap. Doyle drew a sharp breath, his hands wrapping around my waist, across my thighs. He whispered, “Merry,” against my skin, his breath warm and fierce, his fingers digging into my thigh, my waist. There was such strength in his hands, such pressure, as if with little effort he could plunge his fingers into my body and bring my blood and flesh to the surface, peel me apart like something ripe and sweet. Something that had been waiting for his hand to open me, to bring me, to spill me in a rush of pleasure over his hands, across his body.

I am going to go pollinate with a fucking bush for the rest of my life. You just compared his foreplay to you pealing an orange using language that invokes the image of your body being skinned alive so someone else can literally eat you. WHO IS SUPPOSED TO FIND THIS SEXY? HANNIBAL FUCKING LECTER?

Something ripe and sweet. Dear fucking God is her vagina an overripe cantelope? Is he going to turn her into the jelly thing from "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream?" (I don't like Harlan Ellison. That is the only one of his stories I will ever read volluntarily. I read "Repent Harliquin said the Tick Tock Man" and you will have to put a gun to my head to make me read anything else he's written. Also, he's an asshole. I wanted that on the record) And what the fuck is he bringing her? Is he taking her someplace? WHAT IN THE BLUE GODDAMN FUCK DID THAT LAST SENTENCE MEAN?

The ONLY thing that I ask from a book is that it FUNCTION AS A BOOK. I am not an intelectual, I don't pretend to read classics, if I'm reading something it is because I want to and I really don't care how many smart-person-brownie-points it buys me, or how many social-justice points I lose. One of my favorite books is basically a three-hundred page lovecraftian penis joke. But there are some very basic fundamental things that a book needs to have to work as intended. If it's a western, there should be horses and cowboys. If it's a fantasy there should be long dresses, taverns that spell like piss and wizard hats. If it's sci fi there should be something in the book that does not currently exist (I consider CSI to be science fiction, FYI). Religious books should contain some kind of spirituality. Self-help books should actually help you. Romances should have more kissing than actual content. THIS IS PORN. THE PORNY BITS SHOULD ACTUALLY QUALIFY AS PORN. I SHOULD NOT FEEL LIKE I'M READING THE COLLECTIVE FANTASIES OF JEFFERY DHAMER.

But that has to be the low point in this sex scene. I mean, it cannot possibly get any--

He got up on all fours, straddling above me like a mare with a colt, but there was nothing motherly about the way he stared down at me.

Laurel K. Hamilton just managed to imply beastiality and incest in a single sentence.

This is the worst thing ever written by a human.

Also, I have yet to read a single paragraph where Doyle is not either compared to an animal or implied to be cannibalizing Merry. At one point he howls because he is supposed to be a Hound of the Great Hunt. At no point does he act like a real, sane person about to have sex.

In fact...Oh.

God.

Guys I just realized one of Merry's two dark skinned lovers was made from a transformed magical dog, and that the series explicitly says that's the reason why he's black. Because he's an animal turned into a man. This is not even just something kind of sort of implied by the book, it says so in the text.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I am ashamed to even exist at this point.

Doyle somehow hulks out from being aroused and starts chasing Merry around the room, and the text implies that it's not play. So somehow we've gone from this being a consensual, if icky as fuck, encounter to it being non-con YET AGAIN.

He tore me away from the door, threw me on the bed. I tried to slide off to one side, but he was there, his lower body pressing against mine, keeping me pinned to the side of the bed.
Tell me that is not a rape scene. JUST TELL ME. I FUCKING DARE YOU.

Also, I don't remember Frost leaving the room last chapter. Somehow he's just dissipated. Rhys appears after Merry screams due to Doyle being scary. Rhys has his gun out.

I believe that under certain circumstances "Ground Control" is a good thing, but if Ground Control for your sexual encounter feels moved to keep a loaded gun for your own protection YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

Oh, but Merry HAS to fuck this oh-so-dangerous aspect of Doyle's personality because if she doesn't he'll lock it away from everyone else and slowly die inch by inch.  BULLSHIT. If you can't keep your dangerous, not-nice aspects locked away where they can't hurt people, YOU FAIL AT BEING HUMAN. HAVING an impluse does not condone ACTING on that impulse. And if, for example, I were kinked towards bondage play and my mate were not? And I loved that mate enough to keep them? I DO NOT DO BONDAGE PLAY. And if I don't do bondage play and my lover is willing to shelve that part of his life for me? I DO NOT DO BONDAGE PLAY EITHER. THE. FUCKING. END.

And then this happens:

Even as his body ground into mine, forced small noises from my throat, he growled, “Do you want this?” 
“I want this.”
This is the first time a view point character in ANY LKH book I have blogged about has verbally consented to an act of sex. THE. FIRST. TIME. Now. Let's see. Who else in this series was carefully shown to be giving consent to every little thing he or she did?

Oh, right. It was Kitto. Because some instinct in LKH realized that somebody was going to call FUCKING WRONG on her writing and she wanted to make it absolutely clear that everything here is consensual. Her instincts are telling her that she has to make consent absolutely clear ONLY with the fake twelve year old and the black man.

With the pedophilia-in-all-but-name, and the utter garbage that we are reading right now.

I can't even comment on this. Other than to say I'm sorry until "sorry" stops looking like a word. This should not exist, and I am sorry.  I can't make this funny. I can't make this okay. I can't even get angry at the stupid anymore. It just makes me feel very, very, very sad, and I'm sorry.

And then we have this:
Then he began to drag himself out of me, and push himself into me, and the small waves of pleasure began.
Sex should not sound like you're trying to move a piano.

...unless you're talking about the headboard and not the amount of effort involved. Because if it's the headboard action it should definitely sound like you're moving a piano.

And when the sex is over, they "come to", so to speak, fucking covered in each other's blood. Yes. Being covered in blood is completely sexy and an indicator that a good time was had by all.

WHEN YOU ARE A MURDERING PSYCHOPATH.

And because ending a chapter with a character actually enjoying themselves is too much to ask out of LKH, Doyle has one of those patented laugh/cry hysterical fits that just give our lives so much fucking meaning.

I'd say something reassuring after this point, but I really, honestly, did not remember this scene being like this, and I can't promise that it gets any better. Or worse, if you're here for worse. This is an awful thing, it should not exist. I want to apologize to everyone in the world for this thing existing.

I am sorry.

14 comments:

  1. O_O
    Yet again, I don't remember a fucking second of this. I know I read this crap, but I don't remember any of it. Man, I must have really good brain bleach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the stuff with Kitto overloaded your brain (and mine) so much that we didn't see half of it. Because when your brain is back there thinking "Fake kid WTF" and "gee that dialogue was really lame" it's too busy to notice the whole "We made a man out of a dog and that's the reason why he's black!" awfulness.

      That's the only way anybody anywhere could have read this and ever thought it was okay. Otherwise humanity itself, collectively, needs to go drop itself down a black hole due to crimes to itself.

      Delete
  2. "he could plunge his fingers into my body and bring my blood and flesh to the surface, peel me apart like something ripe and sweet."

    Ew.

    So the dark-skinned BUT TOTALLY NOT AFRICAN 'CAUSE THAT WOULD BE GROSS lover has violent sex full of cannibalistic imagery and bestial noises? No racism here, folks. Move along.

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  3. 'Kay, the only chapter involving consensual sex I've ever heard of that sounded more like a violation of the Warsaw Pact ... and this is the dreck that gets published? What the hell am I doing wrong that I have to indie publish my own stuff while abominable crap like this sees the light of day?

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  4. Since you brought up liking Ghost (OH JOHN RINGO NO!) this seems relevant: http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/

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    Replies
    1. *nods*

      One day, if I am ever brave enough, I will blog about That Hideous Streingth. It's one of the best character study books I've ever read, but...well...

      The Fairy. Fairy Hardcastle is HEAVILY implied to be a lesbian. At no point does Lewis come out and say it (and in his autobiography he stated he couldn't condemn the institutionalized pediastry going on in his school because 1. he never had to deal with the temptation and 2. it was the ONLY good thing he could see in that school) but it's there and there isn't a single redeeming quality in her character. She's butch (IIRC there's a line about how she goes around "uncorseted" and how she applies lipstick without paying attention to where her actual mouth is) she employs tiny little female things as her lackies (They're called WAIPS, Women's Auxillery Institutional Police) and she's also implied to be a sadist. There's a lot of emphasis about how uncomfortable she makes the male lead feel with her jokes and attempts at masculinity, and given that the male lead is basically CS Lewis's self insert, that kind of says a lot. Her biggest contribution to the narrative is when she tortures Jane, the female lead, with her cigar. It's actually a pretty well done scene, but it's problematic.

      I'm trying to remember if there was a contrasting character on the other side, and the nearest I can get is Ms. Ironwood. She's the only single female on the "good" team, she acts as Ransom's nurse, and she contributes about as much to the narrative itself as does Ms. Hardcastle.

      I just don't have the guts to do the review. It'd basically be "Good thing, good thing, psychological thing, spiritual thing...awful portrayal of lesbian." and then the review would have to stop, because...you know, awful portrayal of lesbian is awful and it shouldn't be there.

      Delete
  5. "HANNIBAL FUCKING LECTOR?"

    that is literally the only point in reading about this travesty that I smiled.

    With the mare and colt imagery, I think she means like a mare giving birth to a colt that just fell out under her, maybe? Not that that's any sexier...

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    Replies
    1. I really hope so. I REALLY hope so.

      There isn't enough brain bleach in the world. :(

      Delete
    2. Mares will sometimes stand over their colts, either protectively or for closeness and comfort, while the colts are still small enough. That's the image I got from that line.

      It's not a particularly sexy image.

      Delete
  6. I don't...
    I'm part of the kink community, and I've seen my fair share of edged play (which is sort of pushing the limits of SSC, BUT STILL SSC). I've seen a man CRUCIFIED including his hands being nailed to wood (well, half saw, because I fainted) and I have NEVER HEARD of ANYONE waking up covered in one another's blood.

    How do you even do that? How do you not know that you're doing that? Why would you do that?

    Now my brain is broken :(

    Also the black man is literally a wild beast? Nope. No problems there!

    (Side note: do you know what LKH did to the wild hunt? Because I still can't get over it.)

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    1. " I've seen a man CRUCIFIED including his hands being nailed to wood (well, half saw, because I fainted) "

      How is this a kink? It just sounds like Easter in the Philippines. ;)

      And yeah, I see a big difference between what you've called edged play (Never heard that term before, but it's a good one) and WAKING UP AFTER A BLACKOUT COVERED IN BLOOD.

      Delete
    2. Whoops. I meant 'edge play. No 'd'.
      And I'm not really sure how the crucifiction's a kink, but hey he seemed fine after, so it's none of my business!
      But yeah... if you're not aware of what you're doing, then you step back from the pointy things.

      I *get* that it's fantasy, which sometimes means stepping away from the complications of real life issues of acting like a responsible human being (such as getting clear consent before hand, and having a shred of restraint), but the way that LKH constantly crows about her realistic depiction of BDSM is what triggers the book throwing part of my brain, because NOTHING that this woman writes is SSC or even remotely realistic.

      I think what bothers me the most about this scene is that someone does step in to make sure everything's okay (what with the bad sounds of screaming and pain) and if I remember correctly, Rhys comes off as the stupid one. But at this point he's already had kinky sex with her, so he has some idea how to read her energy and the intensity she can handle in the scene. So if he's coming in and seeing enough to pull a gun on his friend, I think we can speculate that some seriously bad shit is going down BUT IT'S OKAY BECAUSE THEY ARE IN LOVE, APPARENTLY :/

      Delete
    3. You know, I actually wrote something like "Please leave Herne the Hunter out of this, please oh please" because the Hunt is one of the elements of Celtic Mythology I love to pieces, and it's kind of in my own stories--Raziel, AKA that chick in the header up there, was a part of it before she wound up stuck on Earth--and due to my love affair with Susan Cooper and The Dark Is Rising Herne is a pretty happy part of my childhood.

      In short: No. No I don't know, because I skipped a third of this series and went from the third book directly to Divine Misdemeniors, and every time I considered filling in the gap, I realized that the recaps of previous books take up about a third of each following story, and all I would have missed was a lot of mumbling about avoiding Taranis and why Merry should have to surrender her guns. So finding out that LKH DID do shit to the Hunt? And that it was bad enough to scar?

      That sound you heard about an hour ago? That was my Darth Vader scream of despair.

      Delete
    4. Maybe I'll just spoil it for you so that you don't think that Merry has sex with it.
      She turns it into puppies. Fluffy, pretty puppies.

      Delete