Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

SlipNet

Dagobah Resident
I think the universe sent me a message last week while clearing out my deceased Aunt's house, a sad procedure. In her book pile we had gathered, my Mum lifted up a book entitled "Selected Russian Short Stories". I took that as a message right there! It features stories by Chekhov, Dostoevski, Gorki, Pushkin and a few others. I've got the book by my side now, will be dipping into it. I like short tales, you can cram a lot of good info into a short tale. Maybe the need for positive dissociation is the chief message from the DCM there. This is a good thread, I'm gonna track back and read what's offered here. The conveying of positive life methods is much needed, looks like that's where this thread is headed.:-) As always for me, I'll keep things Karmic and Simple, it's the only way I truly learn something.
 

Martina

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Today after work I got the courage up and went to a library and boy I was so embarrassed:-[:lol::wow:, did you see a book cover? I finished Seven Nights in a Rouge's bed. In Croatian the title is a bit different, something like Seven Nights in a stormy castle. It's an easy read, very erotic. I think that dramatic shifts in mr Merricks behavior were deliberately made as such by an author so the whole book can be more tense for readers. I personally don't like when people pull that shit. Love should be honest and simple. I need to sleep over it, so the impressions can settle down:-)
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
So I finally finished Seven Nights last night and thought is was OK, but not great. Final grade is C+.
At first I was going to get to one of these books in due time, but reading everyone's reviews so far, and how some of the guys have really gotten into 7 Nights, have gotten a little excited myself and went ahead and ordered Indiscreet by Mary Balogh from the library. Plus, with Laura saying it's not as steamy as the rest and being a single guy and all, well... maybe I should start off slow and steady and work my way up from there. You know, exposure therapy and all.
The sex didn't actually affect me the way I thought it would. It was mostly concentrated into an 80 page string of continuous sex scenes in the middle of the book. At first it was kind of meaningful to me because the sex was the only way he was really able to open up to her and he tried to be excruciatingly diligent about treating her respectfully in bed. I found that part of the story uplifting and a little bit...ahem...arousing. To guys fully ensconsed in the porn generation, it would show how to actually be with a woman, rather than just basically using her. I quickly got bored of it however, because some of it was getting a little too kinky and I was just reading page after page of these graphic sex acts that were as explicit as anything one might find on the internet, and it felt like the book was falling into a porn rut. The culmination of that occurred during the bondage/oral sex scene, which was the biggest "Oh brother" of the entire book and actually made me laugh out loud. Yes, there was a legitimate (depending on your perspective) emotional reason behind why she binds him, having to do with him still being somewhat distant from her and forcing him to face her and fully accept her, but I thought, "Oh, this is just too much." I had expected the book to be a little bit slower burn, with the sex scenes more spaced out, but considering the author had kind of boxed herself in with this 7 day timeline, I guessed it kind of had to happen that way. Considering I had never been able to fully relate to the couple, just empathize with certain aspects of them, I was never able to really dissociate and materialize my imagination into their very sexual reality as if I were there. Towards the end of the sequence I was sort of glossing over the sex and actually remembered thinking how I hadn't watched the latest season of Star Trek Discovery. My level of horniness was actually very low, and the story became merely another subject for dissection and analysis. I actually can't very much imagine an audiobook version of this, imagining a narrator describe some of these scenes with a tone of machismo and bravado makes me blush. Not sure a female narrator would make me blush any less. If they ever made a movie depiction of this that was totally true to the book, it definitely would be putting one foot over the line between being a Not Rated and purely "Adult" film, at least in the US.

Fortunately, shortly after the bondage sexcapade, we get back to something resembling an actual plot, and the book gets a little bit exciting. Jonas ends up gallantly riding in to save Sidonie's sister in law, and by extension Sidonie herself, from being beat up by from her abusive husband. I respected him for that and finally started to actually like Jonas. Then he gets arrested for a murder he didn't commit. Sidonie has a plan to get him out of jail, but it requires disclosing that she knew he wasn't a bastard and is actually a lord, and has been keeping this from him the entire time, despite how much she was entreating him to trust her during their sexual adventures. Jonas is of course furious, and I think I would've reacted the same way initially, however she is basically saving his life and offering him a way out, which should count for something. He does realize this, but instead of showing her any gratitude or offering to really understand where she's coming from he just tells her that she hates her and never wants to see her again. Expecting him to be a perfect knight in shining armor and her to be a perfect lady is really getting into the unrealistic stereotypes but...sigh...these two, such drama.

A few months go by and they're both super depressed, but then end up chancing across each other again (big surprise) and Jonas learns that she's pregnant. What follows is three or four chapters where Sidonie wants back what she had while Jonas talks around her, pretending to hate her when he really doesn't. He marries her in a type of loveless shotgun wedding and assures her that she will never see him after that, much to Sidonie's chagrin. By this point I was like "Oh, just kiss and make up or don't. Quit dragging this senseless drama out so much." I couldn't really care less whether they ended up together or not. I thought it was sad that everything was going to hell after the intimacy that they shared, but I was ready for this novel to be over. And then the shining diamond in the rough appears. They learn at the last possible moment that trust is paramount and promise to absolutely not lie to each other about anything ever again, no matter how trivial. Well, well, there's a moral to this story after all. The closing page gives one a warm and fuzzy ending.

Trust is the fulcrum on which the entire plot rests. Lack of trust is what drives Jonas' descent and explains much of why he acts like such a jerk toward her. It also relates to Sidonie's initial "feminist" values, she will never submit to any man because she knows they will only abuse her, and she values her notions of independence above all else, love be damned. That little tidbit is an interesting little jab at our present times. Trust is what transforms Jonas from a beast into something resembling a man, and trust is what gives Sidonie the capacity to love. Their disingenuity and harboring of lies, and intent to deceive each other destroys trust and nearly destroys them. One could extrapolate that the lies and destruction of trust facilitated by postmodernist ideologies will destroy the world in a similar manner. So I guess Laura's point is if you are an average Romance reader and are emotionally invested in these two characters, the resolution of the story will plant a seed in your mind, even though you are probably intellectually unaware of the line of force behind the concepts presented in this novel. Although I'm not exactly singing this book's praises, it has changed me in a way, it made me think more about my feelings and be a little less dismissive of them in certain instances. I'm not quite sure where that's going though.

Unless the pacing is better in the next one, there wasn't actually enough there to make me enthusiastic about reading it. I don't think I can sit through another 150 pages of horribly cliched tropey stuff to have it dump me into 80+ pages of sex, with maybe 20% of that being inspirational sex, and then a little bit of heroics to then dump me into some tragedy, which then leads to a bunch of telenova style melodrama as we slowly beat around the bush about point the novel is actually trying to make. If the negative proportions are halved and there is more "meat," then I might be persuaded into reading it. I'm hoping that the world building in this series really flowers into a bigger more profound story instead of basically going back to square one every time with a new couple, with just a couple of elements carried over. The first chapter of A Rake's Midnight Kiss was included at the end of the book and it didn't move me at all. Then again, you probably can't judge any of these books by how they begin.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I prefer reading fiction books in Russian. The flow and the impact of the narrative is better this way. At least in my case. So I tried looking for authors that were mentioned in the first post, and couldn't find any in Russian. But I did find Mary Balogh, and already downloaded her books and will give it a read.
Perhaps one can find more. The authors were:
Mary Balogh, Jennifer Ashley, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, Alice Chetwynd Ley, Elisa Braden, Emily Hendrickson, Jess Michaels, Scarlett Scott, Dorothy Mack, Laura Kinsale, Georgett Heyer,
One can enter them into Yandex Translate and get an idea of how the names would be written in Cyrillic. Using the above examples I got:
"Мэри Балог, Дженнифер Эшли, Анна Кэмпбелл, Энн Грейси, Элис Четвинд Лей, Элиза Брейден, Эмили Хендриксон, Джесс Майклс, Скарлетт Скотт, Дороти Мак, Лора Кинсейл, Джорджетт Хейер,"

Then I entered one name, say "Anna Campbell" (Анна Кэмпбелл )and entered it in Yandex search and on Ozon.ru. This way I found a couple of titles.
 
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AdamJM

Padawan Learner
So, it seems that it might be possible to assist in altering reality by undertaking activities that remove fear, intimidation, inhibition and even entering into such realities via positive dissociation. These books, with all the qualities I’ve described above, appear to be a darn good way to do that. It’s not “heavy” literature, but entertainment of a very specific sort that engages emotions and depicts very positive role models and behaviors.

I know this isnt quite the same but for the past year or so ive been watching a youtube podcast called EFAP (Every frame a pause) where the hosts break down really poor film essays in a logical manner, ripping apart the often fallacious arguments and emotional reasoning which are basically synonymous with the genre. The running joke is to see how long they can push the podcasts length which i think is currently at 24 hours. Its pretty entertaining stuff stuff and also good to keep you on your rational toes.

K, im off back to watching keeping up with the kardashians 😏
 
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SlipNet

Dagobah Resident
Also gathered from my deceased Aunt's house, a complete works of William Shakespeare, at least a hundred year old book! A great find! She was an English teacher, had loads of interesting books. I've scanned the book, and the text is very readable, which is good for an old text. In terms of interesting downtime, I think I've hit the jackpot here, got two amazing books. I'll report back when I've learned something new.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Perhaps one can find more. The authors were:
Mary Balogh, Jennifer Ashley, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie, Alice Chetwynd Ley, Elisa Braden, Emily Hendrickson, Jess Michaels, Scarlett Scott, Dorothy Mack, Laura Kinsale, Georgett Heyer,
One can enter them into Yandex Translate and get an idea of how the names would be written in Cyrillic. Using the above examples I got:
"Мэри Балог, Дженнифер Эшли, Анна Кэмпбелл, Энн Грейси, Элис Четвинд Лей, Элиза Брейден, Эмили Хендриксон, Джесс Майклс, Скарлетт Скотт, Дороти Мак, Лора Кинсейл, Джорджетт Хейер,"

Then I entered one name, say "Anna Campbell" (Анна Кэмпбелл )and entered it in Yandex search and on Ozon.ru. This way I found a couple of titles.
Are there Russian authors, women in that case, that write romance of this genre? I would like to read them if the books were translated. I have the impression that Russians are romantic. The most romantic novel is Anna Karenina, right? :-)
 

Bluegazer

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So, it seems that it might be possible to assist in altering reality by undertaking activities that remove fear, intimidation, inhibition and even entering into such realities via positive dissociation. These books, with all the qualities I’ve described above, appear to be a darn good way to do that. It’s not “heavy” literature, but entertainment of a very specific sort that engages emotions and depicts very positive role models and behaviors.

Wow! Thanks for sharing this! It gives me good guidance on some things I want to write and have written. And I ask you, since I think it seems pertinent. Do you think there is any benefit to others if I write science fiction but with the added bonus of describing hyperdimensional realities? Saying things in the light but within the framework of a story that leads the reader to think and realize that there is something above their heads that is not just air and outer space. My only fear is that I will confuse and not achieve the goal of presenting them with what can potentially happen. I would really like to share what I wrote.
 

Kay Kim

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you all for recommendation about new kind of books, normally I never thought I read this kind of books but I realize that this have to be working/reading as group things, so I just ordered 9 Mary Balogh’s used books from eBay the cost was $20.00 including shipping cost.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm about to start The Unexpected Wife.

I've often thought a bit about high- versus low-brow culture, entertainment, et cetera. I think one potential explanation for the positive values and virtues seen could be rooted in how such cultural objects may (or may not) be able to serve the agenda of mass programming.

The institutions of culture typically flow from the top down, where more aspirational people in society seek to adopt the culture of the elites or the educated class they hold in high esteem. Since people seek to adopt more sophisticated tastes (if they ever seek to improve or refine them), one could say that these ideas or memes from the intellectual elite have much more "viral" potential than something coming from the "plebs," so to speak. It would make sense from the perspective of an STS agency to infiltrate these elites, which then spread their immoral views onto the rest of society through the universities, then schools, entertainment, journalism, et cetera. This is a sustainable model for changing and altering the culture slowly over time. Since the types of entertainment enjoyed or developed by the less educated over time are less likely to propagate to other parts of society (at least in the same way a more high-brow culture would) they could be seen more as poor candidates for mass manipulation and so get left alone by the 4D STS. So they could proportionally have less purposeful STS programming activity and that may tip the balance of the deeper elements of the genre more toward STO values. Could be totally wrong, but I thought I would mention it.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Wow! Thanks for sharing this! It gives me good guidance on some things I want to write and have written. And I ask you, since I think it seems pertinent. Do you think there is any benefit to others if I write science fiction but with the added bonus of describing hyperdimensional realities? Saying things in the light but within the framework of a story that leads the reader to think and realize that there is something above their heads that is not just air and outer space. My only fear is that I will confuse and not achieve the goal of presenting them with what can potentially happen. I would really like to share what I wrote.

I think that what would be helpful would be to read the recommended books here and get in synch with this particular project so we can all enter into discussion about it. The idea is for a large enough group to get on the same page, so to say.

Thus far, we have had a few very interesting discussions here around the breakfast table about what we have noticed in these books and really, quite a few arresting observations.
 

PERLOU

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
"La magie de Noël" de Marry Balogh : j'ai donc terminé ce livre hier soir, je suis assez d'accord avec Arkie, les hommes ne sont pas à la hauteur, ce sont les femmes qui bravant les us et coutumes de l'époque, armées de courage se battent pour leur amour et prennent la décision d'agir alors que les hommes restent pantois, sans elles l'Amour n'aurait pas été sauvé et leurs avenirs complètement différents...

"The Magic of Christmas" by Marry Balogh: I finished this book last night, I quite agree with Arkie, the men are not up to the task, it's the women who brave the habits and customs of the time, armed with courage fight for their love and take the decision to act while the men remain stunned, without them Love wouldn't have been saved and their futures completely different.
 
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