elemtilas wrote:I can think of but one SF novel where food figures so prominently that it becomes the entire plot/setting of the novel. James White's The Galactic Gourmet. I recall reading with relish.
I see what you did there.
Micamo wrote:It's because in our culture gender and sexuality are very important aspects of our individual identities, and readers want to read books sometimes where their identities are shared with the protagonist. "I want to read a book where the main character is a lesbian like me" is as valid of a desire as "I want to read a book where the main character is a wizard." (Why not both?) Books are marketed so as to help them find their audience, and so the gender and sexual identity of the characters is thus important to this.
The reason why you don't see diet used this way is because while there are a few people who strongly identify with what they choose to eat, there generally aren't enough of them to make an audience. The people who strongly identify with their food choices tend to be vegans, and there are indeed books centering veganism. Maybe there are some hardcore paleo fans who are really hungry for a novel about paleo-ism. I wouldn't know.
BTW I expected "because it's popular" and/or "because it's a way to sell books" et/vel cetera to be intermediate answers.
My questions were more "why
is it popular?" and/or "why
does it sell books?" (perhaps among others).
I do not have any information more reliable than your assertion to support the idea that sexual orientation is more strongly felt as part of identity than food "choice" (wouldn't some regard the use of "choice" here as offensive as calling sexual orientation "sexual preference
(Of course, gender identity is, by definition, part of identity.)
For me, the unchosen and unchangeable parts of my identity that I can think of are two;
1. my nerdishness
2. my atheism
These are the only things I have ever had to "come out" about. Well, atheism and conlanging
; not nerdishness in general.
@Axiem; your response is essentially the same as Micamo's. It's a bit longer, so I won't quote it. There are some parts that are different; and I'll respond to some of them separately.
I still don't see why
sexual desire should be more important to identity than food preference, when sex is less basic on the Maslow hierarchy than food.
I still don't see why you and Micamo and as far as I can tell everyone else but me can tell that it's more important to identity.
I accept that it must be, since you can all see it; but at the moment I can't see for myself why it must be.
I don't think it's at all silly. I hope I haven't given the impression that I do think it's silly.
It's just that, relative to me personally, it seems inexplicable, or at least unexplained, or at least, not yet explained by an explanation I currently understand.
As for how to respond to questions about "what" an expected baby is going to be; some people might respond as if the asker wanted to know what race the baby would be?
(When I was around four, my mom brought my newborn youngest sister home, and I told one of the men who commonly worked for my parents "Sam! I have a new baby sister, and she's white, too!". At that age I had no idea how someone's race was determined.)
I like to read stories in which the protagonist has a very different gender or sexual orientation than the author, if the characterization is well done.
This requires at least two things from me; (1) finding out about the author and (2) reading the story just in case it might be well-done.
Not every reader is going to want to do that. Sometimes I can't do that.
Among other permutations, reading a story by a cis-hetero-female author about a well-characterized cis-hetero-male first-person hero is enjoyable.
Some people claim that the opposite arrangement can't be done; that no male author can write a well-written female protagonist or a well-written female-to-female relationship (sexual, parent/child, best-buddies, life-long-enemies, or whatever).
Some people used to claim that women authors couldn't write well-written male characters.
I love seeing counterexamples to those claims.
So clearly I'm one of those readers who does care about, at least, the gender-identity of the characters and of the authors.
It's just not all I care about. And I don't know (in a very fundamental sense) why booksellers know or think it's the main thing readers care about.
is one of my favorite authors.
I don't understand her personal life at all. It turns out I don't have to.
Some of my favorite stories of hers don't really have anything to do with the sexual orientation of her characters, and barely mention their gender-identity (beyond giving them stereotypical male or female names and using masculine or feminine pronouns). Among these are the Alabaster
Others, OTOH, very definitely have everything to do with the sexual and romantic orientations of one or more of the main characters. IMO those are good too.
Elemtilas mentioned the race(s) of the character(s) as something else readers and authors and publishers and retailers-of-fiction care about.
He said that the author can write "a story about (e.g.) black Americans" so that it effectively said "you dumb white people won't get it"; or, instead, can write it to have universal appeal.
I very much liked the movie Sounder
when I was young. As I recall most of the characters, including all of the main characters, were black Southron Americans. I don't remember having any problem with that, then.
Iyionaku wrote:Because who you want to spend time with will inevitably influence the plot, i.e. determine which persons become important in the protagonist's life and actions. This accounts for other topics like food as well (for example, if someone despises McDonald's they'll never meet someone who eats there every day), but not so much.
Good point, and well-put.
Iyionaku wrote:I thought they were not talking about genres, but certain plot influencers, and stated that the context drive is sexuality way more often than, for example, food.
Thanks. You appear to be right.
Iyionaku wrote:Which is only natural, in my opinion.
OK, but; Why
is it only natural?
@Reyzadren, @elemtilas; Thanks for your remarks, too.
qwed117 wrote:I guess one could say this is merely because that's the major conflict of the day. Our modern Bildungsromans must be at least centered on something that is important to us. We grow up in response to some crisis we suffer, some identity we no longer see, something that marks us disappearing. And I guess gender is where they lay strewn.
I can't believe I missed, and failed to respond to, this!
Yes, qwed117, I believe that is probably true.
It would explain why, for me, reading about nerds and/or atheists is more appealing than reading about transgendered or genderqueer or homosexual or bisexual or other-variant-gender-identities-and/or-sexual-orientations.
Those things were the major causes of my suffering when growing up, and nerdism and atheism are both more accepted these days, although, in the case of atheists, there's also a lot more overt hostility than there used to be.