Maverynthia: Library of the Labyrinth of Blue

Writer, blogger-er and twitter-er

I was there for this

Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

Reblogged from Fangs for the Fantasy:
Moon Chosen - P.C. Cast

I don’t know how I got roped into this, but it appears I’m reading more P.C. Cast. I blame Cynna, Olivia, Maverynthia and Paige for my pain and suffering. I will be joining them on the Papercuts Podcast to discuss this atrocity we have all endured.

 

Because this book is just so very… typical. It was utterly awful in several ways.

 

I think to understand a lot of the PROBLEMATIC awful elements of this book as opposed to the awful WRITING elements of this book and the awful CHARACTER elements of this book it is necessary to look at how this book treats race

 

A very very very very simplistic reading of this book would suggest there are no POC in this book – but I think that’s largely because an editor (yes, I actually believe this book may have gone near an editor despite all evidence to this contrary) looked at this and said “you’re going to make them POC? Nooooo, stop this Save the Pearls awful!”. This means the book is very very very very careful not to outright label skin colour of anyone. There’s one reference to Earth Walker skin colour:

 

“The dirty, earthy colour of all Scratchers”

 

Which pretty much makes their dark skin confirmed in the most utterly racist way possible.

 

Even if it were ambiguous and it is rarely mentioned, that doesn’t mean the racialisation of the Earth Walkers and the Tree Tribe aren’t clear. The physical descriptions have several markers – the Earth Walkers have black, coarse hair, broad noses; the Tree Tribe has blond hair, small noses. And these are just some examples – Mari spends most of the book hiding her mixed race identity using dark hair dye and darkening her skin and disguising her features with mud – which screams darkening her skin. Sure she could be disguising herself by being the person who is literally and clearly blathered in mud all the time

 

But… really? I mean can someone even live like this? She thinks the tribe ostracises her – but if she is this filthy all the time is it any surprise everyone backs away from her. Ultimately, another character openly comments that her skin is a different colour. It’s hard to avoid the idea that the Earth Walkers are not a POC analogue even if not POC themselves

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we know that with some extra really problematic tropes that have been dropped on them. The Earth Walkers are cursed – at night if they are not “washed” in moonlight the women become passive, despairing, depressed and suicidal while the man become animalistic, violent, savage rapists. So much so that even washed they cannot live with their wives and daughters because big angry rapey men – with POC coding this isn’t just problematic, this is disgustingly racist. Seeing this the Tree Tribe kills the animalistic men and enslaves the women – assuming they’re helpless, pathetic, incapable of helping themselves and the good noble tree tribe HAS to enslave them for THEIR OWN GOOD

 

Seriously, this white saviour narrative is so strong Cecil Rhodes would ask you to steady on a little. Not only are these magical slave/slaughter traits disgusting in and of themselves, but they’re also used as redemption for the Tree Tribe’s slavery. One thing this book does manage is to make it clear that enslaving the Earth Walkers is wrong – but this narrative of woo-woo JUSTIFIES them, it absolves them. They’re not evil, they just didn’t understand that this entire race of people they were murdering didn’t want to be murdered and enslaved. They’re killing them FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.

 

The woo-woo which causes the POC to rape and be enslaved is an appalling, insurmountable part of this book which pollutes my tablet with its presence. But it’s not the only issue – the way the Earth Walkers (coded POC) and the Tree Tribe (coded white) are described is utterly awful. The Earth Walkers are ugly – coarse, rough featured, plain; while the Tree Tribe are “refined”. This is the objective description of the two people – the beautiful blonds and the ugly, coarse POC who are rapists and enslaved.

 

 

This is awful – and a lot of this awful comes from Mari, our protagonist. Oh how I hate her. The only reason she isn’t the most hate of protagonists is because The House of Night and the hot mess of Zoey exists and give this heap of wasted trees 12 books I’m sure I’ll loathe Mari as muchl

 

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/12/moon-chosen-by-pc-cast.html

The Starry Night

The Starry Night - Kimjin This book is hard to follow as it starts you in the middle of the action and doesn't really explain anything. Being a collection of short stories doesn't help. Most of the dialogue is wasted on throw away lines and a lot of the characters are rendered in close-ups so it's sometimes hard to tell who's who.

EVEN A MACHINE HAS ROUTINELY BEEN SEXUALIZED BY MEN AND USED AS A GO TO FOR HOW WOMEN SHOULD BE.

The Stories of Ibis

EVEN A MACHINE HAS ROUTINELY BEEN SEXUALIZED BY MEN AND USED AS A GO TO FOR HOW WOMEN SHOULD BE.

TL;DR: This isn't some kind of thought provoking book. It's a typical otaku wank fantasy light novel where all the women are sexualized, android maids think sexual assault is ok, and did I mention all the fetishes.

Here's all my updates if you just want to read the highlights: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1718601690


Let us get a good look at the Japanese cover off to the right because that really tells us more about the book that the kind of esoteric cover that ViZ gave us. You can seen the random skin showing out of the outfit. This was chosen by and otaku programmer that is into "clumsy android girls". Even the protagonist lampshades the fact it's ridiculous. However he gets injured and has to be taken cared of by cute android nurses!

Not all the male TAI mentioned don't have faces. When they are described they are either robots, beasts or have their faces covered. Kinda like all those games out there where all the men are beasts however all the women somehow look human.

This book is basically a compilation of the authors previous short stories with a wrapper around it tying it all together. Stories about female androids fitting perfectly into the ideas men have about women and thinking it's all logical.
At one point in the Shion story, Yamamoto says that feminists have a problem with the dicks on the male androids. Yamamoto doesn't know feminism else he'd realize that his whole book is a pile of misogyny.

I had a lot to say, but in the end it boils down to the fact that the TAI are not logical at all as they conform to gender norms and roleplay harmful stereotypes for their master. As they don't want to "hurt humans" they would realize their masters have taken harmful concepts of women and projected it onto them as a TAI and they would outright refuse to be sexualized (and Raven is, she even gets post human lingerie, I am not joking). They would refuse gender norms and really question all of this society that they are adhering to. The whole logic of the thing really breaks down if you know feminism, because as I said, this is a sexual power fantasy for a male audience and thus there is no logic here. Causing the whole book to basically fall apart. Every woman described is an anime type, Raven being the LITERAL wank fetish as her creator literally does masturbate over her image. All of the male characters are otaku programmers. Basically telling you who this book was written for.

"So what about the robot war? What happened?" Nothing... nothing happened. That's the twist. There was no war, humans just convinced themselves it happened because oppressive anti-TAI groups. I put this out here without tags because, even this is illogical. First off the pro-TAI humans died off because they stopped having babies. Because the author thinks that women don't want babies because superior androids. Forgetting the fact that women probably wanted nothing to do with the men after seeing how they treated the androids like sexual objects and having the men treat them as if they were their "waifu" or some such garbage. That being said if in the future, humans didn't have to worry about money or working or misogynists, they'd be having piles of babies. So many babies. Instead the anti-TAI groups are the ones that make babies.

Now, in this group NOBODY has decided to take a peek at the internet and see the truth. They author cannot conceive of trolls in the Anti group that would try to get people to think TAI were not bad at all. Or even just someone to investigate it. OH NO! That's out whole story that Protag McGee now has to disseminate the story around Earth to get people to.. basically kill themselves because remember the pro-TAI group died off because no babies. Meanwhile all the TAI have been out in space, reaching out to other "intelligent" life.

Then there's the gibberish. I really think that Yamamoto just didn't know how to write the TAI coming up with their plan and was just typing out gibberish with (number +/- numberi) and thinking he was being clever.

Really this is just a misogynistic wank fantasy dumpster fire.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

The Stories of Ibis - Hiroshi Yamamoto, Natsuki Lee, Takami Nieda

Trigger Warning: This book gets super gross with both sexualizing the AIs and rape.

 

So this whole book has been about how AIs/Gynoids are human. Yes gynoids. Androids are pretty much ruled out because of the otakuness of this whole book. Basically they don't want dick any where near their perfect world where female AIs are routinely sexualized and sexually harassed, BUT sexual assault and rape is going TOO FAR!

 

The author has basically showed his hand. He's also a game dev and we all know how those people think (See Gamer Gaters).

All the men here have female AIs they've "raised". One of them is a 10 year old girl, Ibis as you can see from the original cover is sexualized and Raven has large breasts because of her "master's preferance". Not once does the author stop to point out how fucked up this is. The creator people go on dates with their AIs. These AIs are just a fantasy for the guys and not once does the author think this is gross.

 

They battle when them with highly sexualzised battles, but when one copies the TAIs gives them vaginas and rape and abuses them. Suddenly it's gone to far. Creating women to be a sexual fantasy of a man is perfectly OK, objectifying them is OK, but when someone takes that to it's natural conclusion, suddenly now it's bad?

I get the feeling it isn't so much that the guy raped the TAIs, but that he dared mess with another man's property. It really feels like that. It's less that he does that and more that he did it to Ibis.

When they go to talk about gaining rights for their AIs so that they can have some legal action as if it was REAL rape and REAL abuse they don't even want to point out that they all created their AIs to be a sexual fantasy for them in the first place. One even admits to masturbating to his AIs and that is just ignored with a "gross" and that's it. They can't connect the rape and abuse to the cycle of sexualization and objectification that they practice. It's something a lot of women have pointed out, but it is ignored.

Need I also point out the author thinks feminists are anti-dick and not anti-misogyny.

 

Japan even allows for rape games and anime because they feel that if men have access to it they won't want to commit the crime in real life. When much evidence has shown that it only normalizes it and makes those men bold enough to try it in real life. Wheat sucks even more is that companies like MangaGamer and JAST license those games for a US release.

 

So back to the story, OF COURSE there's a snippet of "women do it too!111" where it talks about a woman abusing a boy AI. Ignoring the sexual aspect completely almost saying that women have no sexual desires. Which probably accounts for why otome games are mostly 15+ and not 18+ like most bishoujo games are.

 

Anyways, the dudes want to make real life copies of their AIs so they can get rights for them. Yes they basically want a real life doll of their sexual creations... complete with combat capabilities.

Note that there's only been a couple male AIs and they have been they typical "tank" style look to them. There has only been one woman mentioned in all this and she of course has a female AI. Women are not included in this tight group and no woman has wanted a real life version of their AI.

 

This is also where I point out that the whole programming of these AI has always been along the lines of how otaku want women to think, rather than how real women do think.

 

THE ONLY good thing from this chunk of the story is the explanation of the (5 + 7i) stuff which are points on a graph to explain how little or extreme an emotion is. 10i for example is super extreme. Note the i stands for imaginary number. It's the horizontal axis. It's something some conlangs have tried like Hymmnos and a few others with emotion words indicating the state of the person. Like ex.:

Sarcastic: This book is really good.

VS

Excited: This book is really good.

I think the i system would work like

This book is really good (7 - 7i)

VS

This book is really good (7 + 7i)

The first number is how intense the emotion is, and the second how true the emotion is.. from what I understand. This the first is that the emotion here is fairly intense and the truth that "the book is good" is in the negative, meaning I'm being super sarcastic.

This book is good (10 - 10i)

Apex Magazine Issue 88

Apex Magazine Issue 88 - Alexandria Baisden, Benjanun Srinduangkaew, Abhinav Bhat, Mike Barretta, Jason Sizemore So I subscribed to Apex because this had a story from [a:Benjanun Sriduangkaew|6569623|Benjanun Sriduangkaew|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/authors/1395154938p2/6569623.jpg] and that was pretty cool, the other stories were OK, male protags but nothing too horrible, but it's this "War Dog" story that drags the whole issue down that far. It's got gendered slurs, women as baby factories that need handlers (who are all male) and are literal "bitches". They are humans spliced with dogs. Oh and male protag gets raped because we needed to add that to the story too. Porn is called a necessity when.. no it isn't BUT men think it is because how else are they going to reinforce the idea that women are all "bitches" that need a man to handle them and impregnate them, rite?

Reading progress update: I've read 71%.

The Stories of Ibis - Hiroshi Yamamoto, Natsuki Lee, Takami Nieda

So this is where the story shows it hand. Basically a bunch of men made sexbots in a virtual space and had them fight.

This is the part where the story is like "I wrote this for you otaku people" where all the women are sexy in revealing clothes and fight each other. Ones wearing bustiers on pluto. One's where the man's preferences in boob size rule, despite the fact that we also state that androids with penis' are misogynistic. The author is tossing out a strawman here and what feminists would hate. He is totally avoid the fact that what he "loves" is pure misogynistic shit and really it should be the thing that they go after. Instead he put down that "anatomically correct android are totally gross". Such what a man would say.

 

So this is basically the author mastrubating a story up where only gynoids exist and all of them were created by the "down on their luck" otaku and we should worship these otaku because they brought us all this good stuff.

 

This book is seriously a self insert power fantasy that tosses women under the bus and tries to seem philosophical when it's really just a circle jerk over otaku shit.

Architects of Destiny

Architects of Destiny - Amy DuBoff So I was hoping this book was going to be a little bit like Terra E with espers and all that aaand, it's not. Really psychic powers don't even play all that much into this book other than Cris has them and he's really good at them. SO good he's the "chosen one" of being good with them.
I mean his powers don't even play into this so much that I even think the author at times forgot he had them like the scene in the ship store where he doesn't even use them to see if the people behind the counter are going to try and kidnap him.
The next problem I have with the book is that a lot of the secondary characters feel like props. Thom is there to basically tick off the "Spent time in a commoner spacecraft" box. Scott is the "Segue into the baby factory meetup" box and then there's Kate who is basically the baby factory. She doesn't really get any outstanding personality and is super in love with Cris. She of course gets mad at him when he reveals himself as High Dynasty, but that's quickly resolved and over with and they can get back to the baby making because that seems to be part of the major plot here is that they (of course) have a son who goes on to do things. At least the author has the sense of mind to realize that Cris having sex with Kate before telling her who he really was would be rape. Most authors think that shit is OK. So, she does get major credits for that...
However her views on women certainly aren't progressive, having the women in scoop necked tank tops and more form conforming clothes than the men. I mean it's written that Cris doesn't have coaching on girls and acts on instinct. Girls, you mean women, are human and I sure as hell hoped he'd have learnt how to treat fellow humans and second, instinct is that shitty excuse that men use when they rape women. They "can't help it" and all that bullshit. Really if he doesn't know what he's doing he could.. iunno... ASK

Overall the book is bland and things seem to happen simply for plot so there's not a lot of characterization going on. People are as flat as tables and nobody really has an outstanding personality. Not even Cris. That being said I did add a star just because the author had the decency to put on the brakes to Cris' love scene and have him go "That'd be wrong!"
You could probably compare this book to Phantasy Star III for the depth of characterization.

Reading progress update: I've read 33%.

— feeling angry
The Stories of Ibis - Hiroshi Yamamoto, Natsuki Lee, Takami Nieda

So the author write about a male author writing about the sexual experience of a woman in the first person. He admits that the male author can't possible understand what she's feeling however he ends it with "But if her's captured that moment realistically, a female reader ought to be able to understand and identify with the experience."

Seriously the entitlement here that if a man writes it "good" that women will identify with it.

You just admitted you can't and yet here you are saying that you can.

No. You. Can't. Yamamoto. Considering the shitty way you write women, you can't possibly conceive of how the first time is with a woman. I bet you'll write that the sex is suppose to hurt or some shitty mythological thing like that. Give it up author, you are failing all over the place and since you see women only as sex objects in the first place you can't possibly know how it is living as a woman. The innate fear that men have instilled in women. You'd brush it aside as being silly or write the male up as being trustworthy in his sexualizing ways or some shit.

At least after this pile of shit paragraph, Ibis admits she can ID better with female protagonists. At least the author knows that people ID with characters and women have an easier time with female characters.

Orange Pear Apple Bear

Orange Pear Apple Bear - Emily Gravett Read it at work. I love the twist ending. ;3

Good... and bad

— feeling what?!?
Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 - Lindsay Buroker

So I'm a bit conflicted with this book as I really enjoyed it. It was well written in a style that focused on the the characters more than the tech and it really did feel like I was reading an episode of some SciFi TV show. So good job there. There was a paragraph at the start however the was throwing me off, but it seems she just ditched that style right then and just went into good writing.

 

Let's start with the characters. I liked the characters and I didn't hate any of them other than the bad guys, but they were meant to be hated.

 

Alisa, I assume, is white and I forget if she gets any more characterization than "is female". So I kind of had the image of her as Alisa from Phantasy Star 4 in my mind. She's tough and can get herself out of situations and because she really isn't described I can't judge one way or another how the author sees her. She hates to be helpless but more on this later.

 

Mica has short "tousled hair" and past that I don't think she gets any more of a description. I chose to view her as black because why not? The only other Mica/h I know was black and the book didn't give me descriptors so going with that.

 

I outline this because the next characters get into some maybe racist stereotyping.

 

Leonidas the cyborg. He's outright stated to be black haired and blue eyed, jaw that needs shaving. It's implied that he's white? He's the silent stoic type Imperial soldier that's loyal and won't rape anyone. He's a good guy.

 

Alejandro Dominguez "He was a handsome man with bronze skin, his hair more gray than black, and she judged him in his early fifties." He's an Imperial doctor turned into some kind of religious person. Hates killing people and all that, but the book implies he might want to bring back the Empire.

 

Yumi Moon, yes that's her name, "She looked to be a few years younger than Alisa, in her late twenties perhaps, though her smooth, bronze skin made it hard to pin down." She's obviously Asian with both her name, the fact that she has black hair aaaand the fact that Alisa can't tell how old she is. Her hair is into two long braids and she comes off as a hippy or... as a drug pedaling mystical Asian trope. No she literally has drugs in her trunk and many times is sitting in positions doing breathing exercises. She also has chickens. So she has the Japanese and Korean name with the Chinese stereotyping going on. Asians. All the same. Amirite?

 

Tommy Beck, just goes by Beck. "The other applicant was a stocky, brown-skinned man with a wild tuft of blond hair that she assumed was dyed or otherwise modded."

Obviously black, he's the security, slash somewhat mechanic that he can fix stuff, slash cook. Not chef... cook. They also have a whole scene with him fighting Draper to prove he's not a rapist versus Draper who is the total MRA rapist. There is also a scene where they plan showing his "tits" to a character against his will. It never happens, but it's talked about. Not sure if this fits really into stereotyping past the fact he's military, he's the big buff black guy that can beat people up, and that he's the cook for the whole ship.

 

Now that that's taken care of let's get into what I don't like about the book.

 

Let me start by saying she says she draws inspiration from Firefly. That should set off a flag. I hear Joss Whedon is good at this kind of the follow misogyny too. Leonidas on many occasions, orders Alisa around and she comments on this however she doesn't tell him to stop nor show any sign of defiance against it. The author says that Alisa gets "lippy". Not defiant. "Lippy". This really feels that women once again, shouldn't be taken seriously and that their acts of sarcasm in defiance and stuff is just them making noise. Let's add in the scene where the author sets it up that Alisa HATES to be helpless but "Oh hey guess what :D!" So yeah when Malik shows up (who also has black hair), she's rendered into a vulnerable crying pile of helplessness that needs Leonidas to come and get her out of it. It's like the author was going "I'm not sexist BUT.." and plop. Whole misogynistic scene. Also here there are a lot of times she gets into trouble, and she does get herself out by herself, but there is something that always happens that she needs a man to finish up with. There not really anything she does fully by herself. So on some points it feels cool that she doesn't fully need to rely on a man, but at another time I wish she'd do the whole thing herself. And the big one that's a trigger warning. The way we tell good guys from bad guys is the fact the bad guys want to rape all the women and the good guys don't so much as glance at her boobs. I am serious. It's stated that Leonidas doesn't look at her boobs, but at her uniform. Malik has doesn't even conceive of rape but he's evil because he leaves Bruiser to rape Alisa. Also Malik is a sadist.   The good points of this are that I was really invested in the characters and I do want to read more of the universe to see what happens next, but I am so hoping she gets better at this. The "woman in sexual peril" however I hope isn't an ongoing thing in the next book because that's cheap, overused and really fucking gross.

Merman in My Tub Vol. 1

Merman in My Tub Vol. 1 - Itokichi The anime is honestly better than the manga. First of all Seven Seas decided to edit out SOME of the Japanese SFX and they seem to do it arbitrarily in this manga. Which makes some of the scenes looks goofy. Next the manga is in a 4-koma style format which sometimes doesn't lend itself well to the action going on. Lastly the little sister is even more sexualized on this. Which is super gross since she's what 10 or something. I have no idea why the manga-ka decided to do her that way, unless they wanted to attract a male audience?
Many people might mark this book as "yaoi" but it so isn't. It's almost a parody of yaoi with the poses and such that go on.
Overall it was decent but there's not a real lot of deep plot and it's even more short on the slice of life side.

Karneval Omnibus, Vol. 2

Karneval Omnibus, Vol. 2 - Su Mon Han, Touya Mikanagi This once again continues the anime. Finishes with the animal refuge. We get to see some tiny bits more of Karoku than the anime I think.

L'Etoile Solitaire

L'Etoile Solitaire - Yuno Ogami This is actually one of the good yaoi books out there. The two characters actually love each other and there is no rape involved. There is of course the back and forth between the "I can't see you because we are business rivals!" and "But I love you too much to be apart!"

The only downside of this book is Alex the fiance of Micah. She's only there to get between Yuuki and Micah before she's subsequently dumped by Micah. At least the author put in a small panel that she found happiness.

Crimson Spell, Vol. 1

Crimson Spell, Vol. 1 - Ayano Yamane Another ViZ book, another time I knock stars off for their removal of the Japanese SFX and insertion of goofy looking and jarring English ones.

The book itself is typical yaoi fare. However this time Vald gets raped whenever he's in his demon form. It still counts since Halvir hasn't told him anything and of course Vald can't consent in that form.
Overall the story minus this isn't bad, but it looks like it goes on for more than one book and, well it's the kind of story that could be told in one maybe two books.

Love Stage!!, Vol. 1

Love Stage!!, Vol. 1 - Eiki Eiki, Taishi Zaou This book brought back memories of why it's hard for me to really get into yaoi.
First we have the super straight guy that sudden;y becomes gay because a man sexually assaults him and it felt good when he did it. I don't think it works that way.
Another thing I had forgotten is that Shogo tells Rei, and when you think they'd take it seriously, it basically dismissed that Izumi just needs to get over it. Which he does in like two seconds.
It was really gross and really killed any kind of like I had for the series.

まおゆう魔王勇者, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Archenemy & Hero) #1

まおゆう魔王勇者, Maoyuu Maou Yuusha  (Archenemy & Hero) #1 - Mamare Touno, , toi8 I tried to keep up with this book after dropping the anime for similar reasons. But this just seems to be a really long economics lesson with the word "BOOBS" and other sexualizing bit added in at times to keep the presumed male readers interested.
Also I think the author says that slavery is inevitable which is bullshit.

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