The toxic phrase

dark empathy

Registrant
I'm afraid Strangeways that comment was from Defender, a member of the audiogames.net forum, a forum about accessible computer games.
there was a topic about representation in books which got very axe grindy, and I put a link to that article rather than trying to reexplain my position again, so whilst I appreciated Defender's comment, it's not unfortunately a reflection of that article reaching more people.

Interestingly enough, I have just finished a truly repellent book by science fiction writer Octavia butler, Imago, the third in her xenogenesis trilogy (also called the Lilith's brood trilogy).

One thing that made the book so repellent, is that even as it actively condemns all men as rapists, the protagonist; an alien of a third sex, quite freely wanders around using biochemical compultion to mate with whoever it will, even convincing a brother and sister to mate with it and each other very much against their will.

The book was bad enough, but what was even worse, is absolutely none of the reviews I've seen ever mention this issue. People talk about it being a "classic of feminist science fiction", or of it "presenting a different morality", but nobody actually questions what butler does, since of course it confirms all men are rapists and anything anyone else does isn't a problem.

From a writer who very sensatively and convincingly wrote a pregnant man story in bloodchild, and also one who, in previous books of the trilogy, actually questioned the aliens' moral position (I have reviewed the first two books of the trilogy), this was extremely disappointing.

So, I've sent off an absolutely blistering review, argued as completely and rationally as I can, and likely one of the few negative reviews of Imago out there.

I did not mention my own abuse in the review, but it's certainly written from that sort of perspective.

Again, I wonder if I'll get flack over this one, but we'll see when it gets posted.

All the book reviews I've written can be Found here, and the blog articles I've written for that site can be Read here.

Again, still trying to publish my short stories and poetry, and not getting anywhere finding an agent at the moment, which is really frustrating.

Luke.
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Okay, the webmaster got my review of Imago up very quickly, Read it here.

I think I only realised after finishing this just how triggering I found both the book, and the utter lack of reaction to it, lots of people said it showed a "different morality", but nobody actually questioned the idea that having sex with someone without their consent might be a bad thing, since of course the book confirmed many many times that all men were rapists.

I didn't realise until starting the review how upset I was about this, I wrote the review in almost a fever and ended up sleeping for a ridiculously long time feeling spaced out (it's also completely buggered up my sleep schedule, but in lockdown land that is hardly a problem).

Again, I don't suppose one opinion against a "classic of feminist science fiction", will make much difference, but at least it's out there.
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Thanks Strangeways.

I'll admit this one disappointed me quite a lot, since I was really hoping Butler would question the aliens actions a lot more, the way she seemed to be doing at the start of the trilogy.

Again, not all of my reviews mention Misandry or touch upon the issue, but I'll mention it when i see it, just as I also mention underused female characters or out right misogyny when I run across it as well, though of course that gets mentioned often in other reviews where as misandry tends to be utterly ignored.

There is even a really worrying trend at the moment of rewriting the actions of previously villainous female characters to be seen in a sympathetic light as well, which is down right scary!

Luke.
 
It's troubling to be sure. I am NOT a science fiction/speculative fiction reader, but even I have heard of Octavia Butler. It sounds like she has issues with men - which of course is seen as perfectly acceptable, since we're all a bunch of predators evidently.

It makes me sick.
 
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