A rape fantasy fiction book has made the rounds and started up the controversy of labeling, warnings, and what is romance exactly. There’s bound to be many, many, many posts on this as it’s a hot topic and one I think that bears discussing.
I’m going to take a twist and go for a broader topic than just what is romance and ask if the term “M/M” has become synonymous with erotic romance. I wonder if readers have the expectations when they read “m/m” that they’re reading erotic romance. This may not be correct but I think a lot of readers do actually have these expectations.
I say I review M/M books. To this end I read/review gay literature, poetry, fiction, romance, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, urban fantasy, historical, mystery, western and honestly a wide range of sub genres. I personally think of M/M as synonymous with gay literature. But this isn’t really necessarily true.
The majority of m/m books DO seem to be erotic romance. So much so that it’s hard to separate these terms. There is nearly no romance without graphic sex. Closing the door is a lost art and one many readers are happy for. There is the occasional book without graphic sex but this is definitely, definitely the minority not the majority. Which isn’t to say that’s bad, it’s just the current trend.
So romance is really more equated with erotic romance within m/m and it seems as though m/m is most often linked to erotic romance. If you look at the epublishers that produce the most m/m – samhain, loose id, torquere, dreamspinner, lethe press, blind eye books, amber allure – how many of those produce almost exclusively m/m erotic romance? I rarely even hear Lethe Press or Blind Eye Books considered m/m and in fact most readers put them more in the gay literature column. That’s fine for me I’ll read both but it removes the m/m when erotic romance isn’t present. This is especially true for Dreamspinner, which is having labeling troubles of its own with readers – see Teddy Pig’s post for more.
What do you think? Do you think that m/m is by definition erotic romance? And is that a good or bad thing?
This is such an incredibly broad topic that I’ll likely be doing more posts on it in the future but it’s one aspect of the current wanks going around that I’d love to hear more about.