Tuesday, November 24, 2009

M/M Via UF

I'm not sure I can tie it down to one specific moment when I suddenly thought - "I must try m/m" - though I will give it a go. :)

One thing I appreciated whilst reading urban fantasy / dark fantasy / science fiction, was that whilst the main relationship might be explored and develop over several books often there were other relationships explored alongside.

And every so often these minor relationships were m/m. If I had to pick out one sentence that was the definitive 'hook' that got me into m/m it would be:-
"Everything I have done," I heard him whisper, "I have done for you, my lord. Will you not do this one thing for me?"*
The only problem was that these relationships were usually romantic in the traditional sense (rather than romance) and therefore doomed.

So you'd read this wonderful sensitive, erotic love story and it would end:-

  • with one of the protagonists dying

  • with both of the protagonists dying

  • with one protagonist in exile and the other dying

  • with one protagonist in exile and the other who was bisexual doing the right thing and marrying the woman he was promised to

  • with one protagonist in exile and the other remaining alone

  • with both protagonists ending up with women (You know who I'm talking about I'll mention them by name later)
Not surprisingly I didn't find any of these endings particularly satisfying. I guess there was a part of me that still missed stories which focused more on a love story between two characters. However, I was in no hurry to meet Cinderella again.

In the end it was a combination of Kushiel's Dart which hooked me on this m/m thing and what ended up being the non-relationship between Butch and Vishous that finally got me to take the plunge into the m/m world. (Yes...I used the B and the V word).

Where should I start though?

I wish I could remember how I first ended up at Waves blog, or at Rain on the Roof, or at Jen's blog (now on hiatus) or Jenre's blog - Well Read. A series of happy coincidences I think. I lurked and asked for recommendations and finally chose my first forays into the m/m world.
A Strong and Sudden Thaw by R.W.Day
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
(I think My Fair Captain was in there somewhere as well. :) Would these books disappoint and dissatisfy?



I think I possibly made the best first two choices ever. Unlike the m/f romances I'd had problems with, these stories focussed on relationships between individuals - none of whom were billionaires, or incredibly amazingly talented at their jobs, or who had an amazingly incredible talent that the world desperately needed. They were just people, flawed individuals finding a home in each other.

Hey, I'm not denying that if one guy is hot, then two guys are hotter. But if hot sexin' was all it was about I'm pretty sure I'd get bored of the m/m genre pretty darn quick. And that doesn't look like happening any time soon. :)

Tomorrow I'll recommend some of my faves.

* - quote is taken from Kushiel's Dart, Alcuin to Delauney.


Jenre said...

Great post Lesley. You've been so succinct in your reasons for turning to m/m and I can sympathise with those reasons :).

To my shame Wicked Gentlemen is still in my tbr pile. I have it in my m/m drawer at home and just can't seem to find the time to get to it. A String and Sudden Thaw is just such a beautiful book - it's one of my DIK books here.

Jenre said...

or even A Strong and Sudden Thaw. Drat to my crappy typing :).

LesleyW said...

Jenre - I started Wicked Gentlemen not sure whether or not I would like it. Not really sure whether steampunk was my thing. But I was completely pulled into the world and it's one of my favourites. So I hope it won't be in your TBR pile for much longer.

And I sympathise with the typing. :)

Tracy said...

For me I kept seeing the m/m reviews around - got hooked on Man Love Mondays at Lisabea's blog and want to know what the hype was. :) It was great to see that there was no hype - the ones that were recommended to me were just wonderful love stories that happened between 2 men. I love romance in all it's forms and I'm so glad I got to add another sub-genre to my romance reading. :)

I still need to read Wicked Gentlemen!

Teddy Pig said...

Dang, I thought for sure I would be blamed for my constant bad influence and leading nice M/F readers astray.

But no it always seems to be that old Butch and Vishous that finally breaks em down screaming into the arms of My Fair Captain.

Chris said...

Really, putting V with a ghost to avoid the whole V & B thing?! WTF was that all about anyway... *shakes head sadly*

Um, yeah, that was probably one of my influences, too. :)

Hee hee - I'm having a fine time contemplating what A String and Sudden Thaw would be about. ;)

DonnaS said...

De-lurking 'cause this is a topic very close to my heart. I'm so totally with you on the migration (flight?) from m/f to m/m. There are very, very few women in romance books that pass the "yeah, I could imagine having a beer with her" test -- even less the "wow, she could be me!" test (to date, no one yet...)

My gateway drug - ah, story - was Caught Running, followed shortly by WA Hoffman's Raised by Wolves series. It's been full throttle ever since -- much to my reading delight, and budgetary downfall. A Strong and Sudden Thaw is such a gem, and while steampunk isn't so much my genre, Wicked Gentlemen is still a darn good story.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

Kris said...

Lesley, what terrific books you started with in m/m. Both are such gems.

I also started to notice m/m relationships more and more in UF and fantasy. It wasn't until I started reading ebooks; however, when I realised some UF and paranormal authors were actually incorporating m/m/f and m/m relationships that I became well and truly hooked on the genre.

Really looking forward to your recommendations tomorrow.

LesleyW said...

Tracy - Yes! I'm going to pimp Wicked Gentlemen.

TeddyPig - Sorry. Butch and Vishous guilty again.

Chris - LOL. And I think B&V probably did bring more than a few people in.

LesleyW said...

Donna - nice to see you commenting. And I'm really glad that my posts have struck a chord. And you're so right about the - have a beer with her - test. Whereas I think I could with most UF heroines.

Kris - yeah I really lucked out on my first two. But I think I waited quite a while because I wanted it to be the right book. I know I go on about A Strong and Sudden Thaw but I think your first introduction to a genre can have a big impact. I also go on and on about Bitten being the best UF ever, that's the book I consider to be my first 'proper' introduction to UF.

Lea said...

Hi Lesley:

Excellent post. I'm very new to the m/m genre but have read a couple of stories and am looking forward to reading more. The one you have spotlighted here sounds very good.

I don't think I will ever abandon my m/f reading in romance completely but a change is needed now and again and I'm looking forward to reading more m/m in the future.

Thank you for your post. :)


Renee said...

I love the idea of B & V being a "gateway drug" (so to speak). I just finished the book last week, and it was with a sniffle that Butch did, in the end, "get the girl".

Another romance that I think is a mainstream romance entry point is Jules and Robin from Brockmann's Troubleshooters series. How could one not root for Jules to have his HEA and "get the guy"?

One mainstream spec fiction (fantasy/steampunk hybrid) that had a m/m couple with an HEA is Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett. I loved it, and am currently reading (and enjoying) the sequel, Shadow Magic.

Wicked Gentlemen is one of my favorite reads of the year. I can't wait for the sequel!

Looking forward to tomorrows post, Lesley. :-)

LesleyW said...

Lea - thanks for posting. Hope you get some ideas from todays post when it goes up later.

Renee - Lol, I think B&V have a lot to answer for. And I also loved Jules and Robin. Thanks for the rec on Havemercy. I will keep my eye out for that one.

Amanda said...

B&V are the only m/m experience i've really had but think I'm getting closer to trying some m/m cause getting a little fed up of the m/f. However I don't think I'll completely move away from m/f.

Can't wait to see what yout fav choices are!

LesleyW said...

Amanda - Hope todays recs tempt you to have a go. :)

Emilie said...

I'd started reading m/m books long before I heard of The Black Dagger Brotherhood, or the Troubleshooters series, or of TeddyPig. ;) In fact, I think I learned of all of those from Lisabea's Nose in a Book. But I'd read Scott&Scott's Romentics books -- gay protagonists with a deliberately Harlequin-like plot -- and started getting Amazon recommendations of: "If you liked this, then you may like that." Once I'd read J.L. Langley's "With Love," I was hooked.

There's no need to stop reading m/f romance if you start reading m/m. I read more m/m books these days, but I still read a fair amount of m/f romances. I read some menage now, too, although it's difficult to find a story with a well-balanced menage. But I think the Troubleshooters series would be an awesome way to get into m/m romance. Jules is such a great character.

Unknown said...

Hey Lesley, as much as I love the smex I am quite sure if there was not something else there, some indefinable quality - I would have gone off m/m too. Look forward to reading your recs!!

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