Serve Me : Blog Hop
Guest Post by Gabriel Belthir
“Culture Clash and Sapiosexual Romance”
When approaching the sensitive subject of race in fiction, I think the best idea would be to begin by explaining my viewpoint on the subject. Firstly, I am Caucasian. Welsh and Irish, to be more specific, and quite proud of my heritage. Secondly, I am married to a lovely Finnish man who is also proud of his heritage. Lastly, I am a sapiosexual, and have always considered myself to write sapiosexual romance with a homo-erogenous bent.
‘Sapio’, in Latin, is the word for ‘wise’, such as Homo sapiens, which means ‘wise human’. Therefore, a sapiosexual is attracted to intelligence in place of race, gender, or any other definable factor. This is the platform I come from, but as I’ve explored various flavors of people through my writing, I’ve been truly surprised by the response, from knee-jerk anger to flowering fetishism that poured forth from the readers.
In “As You Wish”, from Storm Moon Press’ Serve Me anthology, the story I put forth was an interracial one. Choosing a runepunk (steampunk with magic) setting, I ended up realizing I’d be confronting Victorian-era racial factors head on with a bulldozer. I was counseled against it. I wrote it anyway, because apparently I’m an outlaw like that. Apollo was charming to me. He was beautiful, strong, intelligent, and deserved his day on the paper.
In our story, Samuel, a bank accountant with a decent home, is invited to the slave auction of the quasi-mythical Viscount. He purchases a slave who is there without his own consent, in contrast to the rest of the voluntary slaves. He’s told Apollo is guilty of murder. In the carriage on the way home, the subject of his crime comes up.
Apollo’s initial character is one of anger. Even with slavery abolished fifty years prior, he’s forced into chains by this elite society. He expects Samuel to be no different, and says so, implying that a racist mentality had forced his choice to kill or be abused before. The choice to use a racial slur from Apollo’s lips was a terrifying one, though it was perfectly acceptable in that time period. It’s not until he realizes that Samuel never even processed his race as a factor that he softens and the romance can truly begin. Samuel saw something he desired, and took it for himself. The Viscount believed that all things happen for a reason. This, to me, is the epitome of sapiosexual romance.
However, perhaps all of the sensitivity to race is not the responsibility of the author. In Lily of the Wastelands, my first novella, I presented a character who was broad, strong, and spoke in pidgin English most of the time. His race was never stated. I received serious blowback for presenting a racist character. Curiously, I polled several readers to find out what their interpretations were of the character. I got everything from black, to Haitian, to Native American. The readers who were informed they’d jumped to conclusions were mortified.
I found that the delicate dance of race in “As You Wish” was an interesting one. It added a level of tension to the relationship, both in Samuel’s naivet・ and Apollo’s scars. In the Victorian-era world, Apollo possessed very few rights and abilities. The perception of the generation was still of his race as servants, only one generation removed from slave owners. Racial slurs were prevalent, from the carry-over ‘negro’ and others that shan’t be named to the terms for ‘domino’ or ‘mulatto’. They weren’t even considered slurs to the majority of polite society. Samuel, who wasn’t from a slave-owning family, lacked the attitude of the upper class. This won him a loving, supportive relationship that I won’t spoil here.
To be a sapiosexual writing romance is to walk a strange line, and being genderqueer an even stranger one. I love writing characters I’m attracted to. To me, a hero is someone resourceful, intelligent, and brave. It’s a mild departure from the traditional view of a hero versus a protagonist. I demand smart characters. I’m not really disposed to care whether they’re white or black, male, female, or other. I want them to have three dimensions and their own fears and loves. I want them to think their way out of situations and fall in love with other intelligent and unique beings. I love reading it, and I endeavor to write it. In my opinion, the demand for sapiosexual romance will do nothing but rise, and we’ll embrace interracial, interspecies, and other interesting pairings because they’re a good match and little else.
Serve Me – Now Available at Storm Moon Press!
For some people there’s nothing more appealing than the idea of a man forced to serve against his will, as a second-class citizen: a slave. Despite the dark history surrounding forced servitude and slavery, there remains a growing desire for depictions of fetishized slavery fantasies. Like rape fantasy, the appeal for readers in slave fiction lies not in a desire for the actual act, but in the ability to explore such things in a safe space. Many people harbor a secret wish to be forced into certain acts that they know they want, but have been socially conditioned to abhor. Such is the core of the Serve Me anthology. Be warned: these are not stories of consensual, negotiated power exchange. The stories in this anthology focus on true sexualized, erotic slavery: stories of men forced, coerced, or otherwise bound into a second-class life servicing another in whatever ways their master sees fit.
Idris is part of The Spoils of war: the last surviving member of a barbarian clan, he is famed in the gladiatorial arena for his bloody ruthlessness and outside the arena for his carnal appetites. His inner beast is calmed by the presence of his slave and lover, Theo, but to be true to his heart, Idris may have to risk breaking it.
Samuel has spent years striving toward the Viscount’s circles, where rich and fantastical parties are given and elaborate slave auctions held. He thinks he wants a young lover, but when he buys an Adonis known as Apollo, he realizes what he was truly missing. Now Apollo gives the orders, and it is Samuel saying, As You Wish.
Life is Unforgiving for Aidan and Aaron, criminals who have been doomed to live as slaves to vampire masters, whose appetites can be agony… or bliss. When Aidan is given a new lease on life with a benevolent Master, his relief is tainted by pain at leaving Aaron behind; pain which only his Master Ryce has the power to end.
Yuta is a gentle giant who joins a local gang for the sense of family that they can provide, but when they leave him high and dry in the middle of a failed heist, it’s his captor, Takashima, who shows him what family can really mean as the vicious gang enforcer tenderly turns him into Takashima’s Pet.