Sans All the Rape

I was having a discussion on twitter with some book reading peeps, and I was intrigued by a scifi book so many were discussing at that time. It felt imminent that I’d be buying and reading it, too. The premise sounded interesting, as did the sample for Kindle on Amazon. Somewhere, though, and I think it was a review on Goodreads, I read that it was quite violent. This made my spidey senses tingle just a tad, but enough. So I asked my fellow Twitter book peeps – is there rape? I didn’t find out in regards to the book on discussion, but was assured that the author uses “all the rape” in some of her other books.

And down went my perky reader flag.

Authors can have all the rape they want in their books, but apparently I’d still prefer to avoid it after reading one too many in a row in the last couple of years that turned me so far off the device, I might never find my way back to whatever path they were on. Instead, I think I’ll just try to keep to the path marked Sans All the Rape. It can still be a perilous road, but it doesn’t auto flip the rape switch.

In fact, if anyone out there has some recs for good science fiction and/or science fiction romance or fantasy and/or fantasy romance reads that are Sans All the Rape, that would be great. I’m talking about books populated with female characters that count. Female characters that are more than just a vagina or a girlfriend or an obvious peripheral stand-in to prop up the dudes around her so they might appear mightier and more awesome than the sun (I like dudes that are mightier than the sun just fine, but prefer equal treatment and consideration be given to the female characters around them).

I’ve read books that don’t do this, and it only makes me want more. They tend not to have all the rape. Because women aren’t just characters waiting for rape. No, it’s true. They have other parts besides a vagina (which, by the way, is such a nice part, when, you know, it’s actually appreciated as the female-owned part that it is), and those parts get showcased quite awesomely sometimes. Things like her valor, her integrity, her gosh-damned mistakes that she learns from and improves from, her kick-ass skillz with that futuristic fully automatic laser/grenade-launching/torch-firing/bullet-pounding shoulder canon (it’s quite big)…I think you get the idea. Something with a little balance fuh gosh sakes. Let’s make a list!

So if anyone has any recs, again, that would be great. And thank you. I’ll edit the post to reflect your suggestions.

Science Fiction & Science Fiction Romance (alpha by last names):

* Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (Split into two books: Shards of Honor and Barrayar)
* Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie
* Ravyn’s Flight by Patti O’Shea
* Damocles by S.G. Redling
* Linnea Sinclair’s entire catalog (though some find problems w/consent in Shades of Dark)
* Partials by Dan Wells

Fantasy and Fantasy Romance (alpha by last names)

* The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays, Magic Rises)
* The Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliott (Cold Magic, Cold Fire, Cold Steel)

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12 comments

  1. Thank you KMont…this is why you are none of my favorite bloggers and friends. I would recommend some SciFy for you of I read it…but I don’t.

    I think female authors demean themselves and women when they resort to this plot line…but then I am biased…

    • Hi, Flower! Hope you and yours are well! :D

      I have rarely encountered books that feature rape in any way to be good reads. And I mean whether it’s happening peripherally to characters that aren’t even named in books or to secondary or main characters. When the usage of it is such an afterthought. Tired of it. :(

  2. I am totally with this. Like, yes, rape is a real thing and it happens (more than we like to admit), but a lot of authors seem to use it as a shortcut for a personality. I’m burned out on NA because of that (also because of the generally terrible writing, but the rape-shortcut is a biggie). I have read books that were good that featured sexual assault as a plot device, but the author has to be respectful of the characters. Most of the time, the authors fail.

    But sci-fi books that are good and don’t feature rape: Damocles by S.G. Redling was a great read. It’s a bit slow, but I thought it was pretty dope. It’s a recent publication too. The lady MC is smart, resourceful, and in a healthy sexual relationship. It’s not romantic at all, but is just a cool look at how two alien (to each other) civilizations might learn how to communicate when they have zero things in common, including language.

    For YA, the Partials trilogy by Dan Wells is also pretty cool. I am really looking forward to the final book in the series. I can’t vouch for the that one to be rape-free, but I am mostly positive it’s not a thing in the first 2 books, peripherally or otherwise.

  3. I’m a big fan of Linnea Sinclair’s scifi romance, although you may have an issue with Shades of Dark – consent issues are openly discussed as conflict between the MCs but my take was that the concerns were addressed before lines were crossed. Though I have not enjoyed her other books as much, my all time favorite scifi romance is Susan Grant’s Moonstruck.

  4. I’ve just finished ‘Ancillary Justice’ by Ann Leckie. Natalie at Radish Reviews has reviewed it and there are reviews on Tor.com blog and io9. There are war crimes but no rape and the violence is critiqued by characters in the story. Also the default gender is ‘she’ even when a character is clearly a biological gender of ‘he’ the cultural default is to describe with ‘she’. Loved this book :)

  5. Thanks for the comments and suggestions, everyone! I’ll edit the post and start making a list soon. Had to go home sick yesterday.

    Merriank, I just bought Ancillary Justice, really looking forward to reading it!

    Kathryn, Sinclair is an excellent choice! I’ve read most of her books. I don’t remember having any issues with Shades of Dark, but I’ll note that possibility in the list. Thank you!

    Jade Lee, thanks for your recs! The way it’s used, as a shortcut as you say, for personailty is just the reason it can be so infuriating sometimes.

  6. Hear, hear to this post! For me the first series that comes to mind is The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire or anything she has already written to date for that matter. Obviously not a rec since you are already a fan but I thought it deserves mentioning. :-)

  7. Have you tried Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax books? Unless I’m terribly off (and I don’t think I am) there’s no rape there–though there’s a truck load of violence. And if you don’t mind a bit of a detour into YA, her Razorland novels have amazing female characters.

  8. I don’t read much SF, but I would recommend The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. It’s a SF road trip book with an understated romance, a strong female lead, and the male lead is basically Mr. Spock. However, because it’s a road trip, it is kind of episodic in nature, rather than having a strong central plot. I really liked it.

  9. For SciFi I strongly suggest The Rho Agenda trilogy by Richard Philips. The first book is called The Second Ship. It’s YA but I really enjoyed it although the first pages were hard to get into.
    I also love the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout (also YA).
    For a erotic/adult reading I liked the Brides of the Kindred by Evangeline Anderson. The first book was ok but in later books she developed the world just more and more interestingly.
    As mentioned above, Damocles is a lovely book.

  10. Definitely recommend the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. My daughter (14 yrs old) is reading them at my recommendation (she’s pretty mature for her age) and really enjoying them.

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