Marcella, sister SFF Seven bordello mate and longtime crit partner, sent me this amazing glitter card. She's been reading - and giving excellent insight on - this series from the very beginning. If I'd had more time, she would have been top in my thank you's in the acceptance speech. I remember hitting midpoint on that book, The Pages of the Mind, panicking and sending it to Marcella. Braced for her to tell me I'd gone horribly wrong, down some twisted path of no return, I opened her email reply. In which she scolded me for stopping where I did and to keep going, dammit.
I tell you, folks, there's nothing better to keep you sane than good writing friends.
Our topic this week at the SFF Seven regards Third Rails in Genre Fiction: What subjects are too dangerous for you to touch? Or do you touch them anyway?
I love that whoever suggested this topic used the metaphor of the third rail - the electrified rail that provides current to the train. Touch it at your grave peril. Without it, there's no power.
What makes a subject "too dangerous to touch" has everything to do with reader response. We might cavalierly chant that rules are made to be broken, but in truth the rules are there to keep us from touching something lethal that might get our fool selves killed. At the same time, art is a way of communicating - and sometimes that means shocking people and touching a nerve.
The third rail I haven't touched yet but really want to? Bestiality.
Did you flinch? Yeah. It's a dicey thing.
Bestiality is sexual contact between humans and animals. All other squick considerations aside, bestiality violates the Golden Rule of Consent. An animal is unable to consent, thus is strictly off limits for sexual contact.
See, I write about people who can shift into animal form. And the blurring of lines between human and animal natures is a theme with me. If a shifter retains human awareness in animal form, then they can consent. And it seems natural to me that, in a relationship between shifters, sex in animal form would be part of that.
I haven't gone there yet, but that third rail is right there, humming with power. I'm just gonna have to touch it...
It's gonna burn SO good.