On Fri, Jan 31, 2003 at 03:47:28PM -0500, Barbara Baj wrote: > I don't want to start up a war of male versus female, > but I *am* curious on a matter after re-reading my earlier > rambling post about fantasy/sci-fi. > > I'm wondering how many people are lost to a book (or genre) > because they either don't identify with the hero(s), or can't? Or perhaps > lost interest in a book, series or author because of such things? I almost never identify with a character; it's not one of my requirements for enjoying a book. When I do identify with a character, I find it either disturbing or deeply engrossing or both. That said, what puts me off books or series or characters or worlds is not whether I can identify with any viewpoint character, but whether I come to feel, over the long run, that the basic milieu acknowledges my existence, or that it is indifferent to me, or that it is hostile to me. Or rather, since naturally the author mostly hasn't a clue that I exist, whether the milieu is friendly, indifferent, or hostile to people who happen to be like me in some fashion that I consider important. I have been put off writers and series because of the attitude towards women they evidence. Being female isn't really very important to me, but sometimes that importance is insisted upon by others. This drives me nuts in real life and it drives me nuts in fiction. Sometimes it's insisted upon with a list of requirements or asserted characteristics that I disagree with vehemently; sometimes it's insisted upon in subtle ways. Sometimes there is no overt insistence, but one will notice a pattern in the portrayal of certain kinds of characters. Whether or how much this bothers me is highly contextual. But it certainly can and has. I've also been put off writers and series because of the attitude towards other aspects of my character and personality they evidence, but this does not happen nearly so often. More people have extremely strong (and often, in my opinion, extremely stupid) opinions about gender than about many other things that really matter to me *in the context of reading a novel*. Naturally I am failing to think of any examples, but some will probably come to mind later. I don't know how typical a reader I am. -- Pamela Dean Dyer-Bennet (pddb at demesne.com) "I will open my heart to a blank page and interview the witnesses." John M. Ford, "Shared World"