trouble: Meg from Disney's Hercules.  "You'd think a girl would learn." (You'd think a girl would learn)
[personal profile] trouble
I started reading Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books at exactly the right time in my life. I was a pretty angsty teen who, as I tell people, sat at the side of the lake in my town and threw rocks into it, thinking about life was just like rocks being thrown into a lake. Reading "Ha ha, unaccepting family/peers! I'm an Important Person with a horse that talks in my head, but I'm so good and awesome I'll never wield my powers against you for evil, even though I could!" was rather cathartic at that age.

I've noticed I haven't really enjoyed anything she's written that I've read since I grew out of that phase, which may just mean that the books are exactly the same, but I am very very different. (Now my "ha ha revenge!" self-told stories are all about getting Published in an important academic journal, because that way lies fame and fortune, obviously.)

And, of course, Lackey woke up one morning and decided that trans* people were subjects of mockery and ridicule and-- yeah.

The short form of the above is: I'm not Lackey's target audience anymore, and haven't been for some time.

Lackey has three stories that I'm aware of that explicitly include people with what would now be called cognitive impairments, but who she describes as "simple", "child-like", and "slow". In addition, she has a second-tier character in another series who is a Gryphon who is equally child-like, considered "misborn", and is a Very Special Lesson In Love to the main characters.

Below the cut I start talking about sexual abuse of people with disabilities.

'Simple' Human Girls/Women )

Gryphon )

I feel a bit weird talking about these books in this way. For one thing, the inclusion of people with cognitive impairments isn't exactly common in books, so on some level I feel I should praise - or at least acknowledge - that Lackey has included characters with cognitive impairments as the background of her world. As well, I generally think basically good things about some of the depictions of disability I've read in Lackey's work: I found her description of King Randall's degenerative and unknown pain condition to be realistic, although a bit of tragedy pr0n. I found her depiction of the disabled Herald that sang to Talia in the first Arrows books pretty simplistic (he just needed someone to love him!), but that whole series is pretty simplistic. I feel, perhaps unwarranted, that Lackey at least makes an effort to include disability in her stories.

I just find the way she goes about it to be difficult to deal with, because it seems to both brush up against reality and then act like reality isn't important. I don't know, your mileage may vary.
paradox_dragon: (Default)
[personal profile] paradox_dragon
(Originally posted at queerlit50 on LJ, but I thought y'all might be interested as well; the protagonist has Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic condition that leads to blindness.)

The Blood Books, or Vicki Nelson mysteries by Tanya Huff: Blood Price, Blood Trail (my favorite--it had werewolves, and werewolf society was fascinating), Blood Lines, Blood Pact, Blood Debt, and Blood Bank (a short story collection).

These are urban dark fantasy-mysteries set in Toronto (with werewolves, mummies, vampires, ghosts--that sort of thing). Vicki Nelson, the protagonist, is a PI (ex-cop, but she had to quit because of her eyesight failing due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.) It was cool to have a protagonist with a disability; she can be touchy about it, but she's utterly competent and she adapts. She investigates (gets dragged into) paranormal mysteries with the help of her vampire-turned-romance-writer sidekick, Henry Fitzroy (who's bisexual), and her ex-partner on the force, Mike Celluci. The three of them have a love triangle thing going on that I find obnoxious (I really hate the whole male-rivals-for-woman's-affection thing), but I quite like Vicki. She can be frustrating, as she is obstinate and independent to a fault, but she's strong and competent and human. I like Celluci as well, though Henry rubs me the wrong way a lot of the time. I also like that Vicki gets to sleep with them both (not cheating, they're just not exclusive) without being slut-shamed. As I mentioned in my review of the Smoke trilogy, a spin-off of this series, I have issues with the sexualized, non-consensual feeding by vampires on mortals; it's kind of rape-y and I feel like the problematic ethics of it get glossed over. But that's an issue with a lot of vampire novels, and the books were quite enjoyable other than that. The novels are fast-paced and fun, and if you like vampire novels, urban fantasy, and/or mysteries I think these are quite a bit better than most books in those genres.

These were the books that got adapted into the TV series Blood Ties, though I haven't seen the show and can't comment on its quality or say how closely it resembles the novels.
paradox_dragon: (Default)
[personal profile] paradox_dragon
Urban fantasy set in Toronto. Several protagonists, one of whom is disabled, a couple of whom are queer. Stand-alone novel. I liked it.

Cut for general plot & character discussion, no specific spoilers )

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