I write smut. And so, I read smut. I wrote awhile ago about the “unreadableness” of most Tentacle Porn, complaining that the writing is juvenile, the characters hateful, the plot nonexistent, the authors’ descriptive talents paltry, and our empathy for the situation assumed. All of which adds up to “unreadable.”
A friend of mine who is more of a connoisseur of this sort of thing than I am suggested I look up “Alien Abduction Romance” instead. She averred that such stories had what I was looking for. In the AAR universe, human men are hapless and luckless, human women are absolutely uncontrollable fuckbunnies when given the freedom and power to be so, human women are desired the galaxy over because they can host and incubate just about anything inside their bodies, and alien males have penises of all shapes and sizes, exploring the topological limits of what can be shoved into a willing human orifice.
My first encounter with this genre was, to say the least, disappointing. Emma Taylor’s “Alien Heart” was just dumb. The first chapter is an “as we both know, Abby” in which the heroine and her sidekick discuss her apparent lack of romantic opportunities, followed by a sudden crisis, followed by an encounter with the alien… who’s more or less completely human. There’s nothing alien at all about him. He’s just a guy from another country with a crisis that requires a macguffin that Abby happens to have. They meet and we’re told they have passionate sex. “Boy being meets girl being beneath a silvery moon… which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.” The writing is flat, drab, and expository, when it’s not descending into Tom Swift levels of exclamation.
I can’t really complain about the plot; it’s under-baked, but then I describe my genre as “soap operas set on starships where the action doesn’t fade to black as the characters gen into bed.” It’s a fine genre, and I’m happy to share it with others. I just wish writers in this space would master a few books about plot, character, scene and sentence, and then read their works aloud asking themselves, “Does that really work?” None of the mastery and craftsship that I hope to see grow in writers is evidence here. There are better writers giving their works away for free on AO3. Sorry, Emma.