Perception is not the same as reality. That simple truth has been echoing through my head, after reading a “review” of Hard as Roxx. Now, all things considered, it wasn’t a bad review. And, I wouldn’t care if it was a bad review. I care that it wasn’t honest.
The review, you see, decided that my 360-page story was “lesbian literature” (whatever that is) because the primary romance in the story features two women. The reader was mad because he hadn’t been forewarned about the entire plot before spending his less-than $3. He, apparently, doesn’t care for LGBT storylines (tough sh*t) and gets annoyed whenever Sci Fi features sensuality or sexuality. His perception is that’s NOT Sci Fi.
Dude. Where the hell have you been?
Science Fiction has always been the cutting edge of the literary blade when it comes to social change. Goodreads’s listopia features one list of Sci Fi with LGBT characters that’s almost 500 books long. My “romance” which features zero explicit sex, was an homage to my favorite Sci Fi series, The Gaea Trilogy by John Varley. It fit, although my story is vastly different. I’d even planned on making Roxx a trilogy, with the last two books entitled Cool Like Jazz and The Outlaw Jessi James.) Book 2 is where you cry a lot. Book 3 is where the entire world goes to shit.)
I will almost certainly never write those books.
Why? Because I’m tired of dealing with
stupid motherf*ckers people’s misperceptions. Let’s investigate. Roxx, according to some, has too much romance, and sex among gorgeous women (and a drunken threesome with a guy) is icky. Science Fiction should be about technology. There’s not enough action when you add icky s-e-x.
I estimate Roxx and her girls are responsible for killing around 40 people in the book. This doesn’t include a full-out war against a city full of robots. In fact, Roxx has a 1 on 7 battle in the very first town she encounters.
Roxx danced with the other six men, keeping her two daughters behind her. Her music was the Dead Men’s sounds of fear, the happy gurgles of Jessi’s laughter at her big sister who was playing peekaboo as the baby moved with her mother in the bloody dance, the cheers of the town’s womenfolk as one man, then the next, and, finally, the last, fell to the dirt. The men had touched her daughter. They had been Dead Men from that moment. It had simply taken Roxx seven minutes to instruct their hearts to stop beating. Those beats interfered with the music in the bitch’s head.
Now, with music stilled, and with death to be mopped up by she didn’t care whom, the bitch went back to sleep, and Roxx slumped into the chair in which once sat the group’s leader. She sat, watching the villagers, still on alert. After a time, she relaxed, convinced the village folk no more cared about the death of the men than she did.
Simply put, there’s more action in this book than any other book I’ve written, with the exception of Emprise. So what’s the real message? People are bristling because 1. Roxx isn’t a video game superheroine who dresses like a leatherclad whore, 2. She’s being “aggressively” pursued by a woman, which she kind of likes, and 3. She doesn’t like rapists, and is known to kill them. In commentary, a reviewer actually compared her “aggressive” female pursuer (her best friend) to a group of soldiers who rape a woman to death.
Um, that bit was based on a true story, you dumb, gay hating piece of sh*t.
As for technology, I defy you to find a Sci Fi book that has more. And, all of my technology is real, most in development. Spend a year in research, learn what I’ve learned, and get back to me with your commentary. Tech isn’t the main point of a scene. Technology should slip into the background. It’s scenery, not the story.
“Okay,” Roxx answered, smiling, “but remember, you asked for it.” She slid into the unmanned cab, her longs legs filling the open cabin. Trint climbed in, facing her.
It was a small cab, with the passenger cabin taking virtually all of the space, except for a small compartment for luggage. As it used the same conductive plastic as Jazz’s bike, there was no need for a traditional engine, exhaust system, or drivetrain. Instead, there were small batteries mounted on the wheels, as hubcaps, which powered the vehicle. The cabs followed tracks embedded in the roadway that connected to an assembly on its chassis. Being computer controlled, it required no driver and hence no front seat. Instead, there were two plush bench seats, each facing the other, and nothing else.
“Nui Morocco,” Roxx commanded, and the cab glided into motion. “I’m suddenly feeling chiseled and elegant.”
I spent 2 years of my life creating a vivid world that’s just west of reality, in an apocalypse that could actually happen. And, people object, because my tall, strong, tough, feminine main character is bisexual.
Sorry, the world still isn’t the place I perceived it to be. The main misperception I object to, after all, is my own. I thought the world had moved onto the 21st century. It’s still 1954. People still skip over my books because 56% of my DNA is African. I am not willing to compromise what I want to write in order to accommodate
stupid motherf*ckers judgmental people. However, neither am I willing to keep writing when people don’t buy my books, because I don’t write the same crap other people write.
At some point, you have to look in the mirror, and recognize Van Gogh’s shadow staring at you. Maybe in another life, people would want stories with actual people who live on earth. And LGBTQ characters? They’re in all my books, although they’re closeted in some. (In The Stream series, Charlie’s sister is gay, although it’s never mentioned in the books at all. Why? She would say it’s none of your business.)
Lesbian Lit. The sad thing? Lesbians would probably love Roxx. She would have made a killer movie. But, men would love her too, and she’d love them right back.
Kamal, fortunately, was not interested in fighting. “I am so sorry.” He met Roxx’s amused smile with a slight one of his own. “It’s just you are so …”
“Tall?” she asked. She liked being tall, but was quickly bored by the obvious.
Kamal frowned. “No, sculpted. You look absolutely chiseled and elegant. Y-you both look elegant,” he said, his head turning from Roxx to Trint.
“I just assumed you must be a robot, because, well, I’ve never seen a human who looks like you.”
Now it was Trint’s turn to stare at Roxx with a look akin to mild fear. She stepped back, likely to avoid getting any of Kamal’s blood on her new blouse.
Roxx, however, was not considering violence.
That is the best compliment of me whole bleeding life.
She walked to the flinching Kamal, held him by both ears, and kissed him. Her eyes rolled back in her head and closed, as the first male tongue since Jace’s danced with her own. It was not as nimble as Trint’s tongue, but after years of abstinence, a new tongue was a delight. As the elevator door opened, she stepped back, and out. Kamal gasped, but remained there, mouth ajar and eyes closed.
“Cheers, darling,” Roxx said. “That was the best compliment, ever.” She turned to the pouting Trint and pulled one folded arm, leading her towards Kamal. He stood in the same spot, though his eyes were now open. “You should kiss him, Trint. He is an amazing kisser.”
Trint took a step toward Kamal, whom Roxx now feared could faint. “Wait. No. I’m not kissing you.”
Yeah, dude, you’re totally right. Romance screwed this book up, but good.