To take a break from the firehose of LBGTQ-themed reading material I usually consume, I went to the library and signed out Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, published in 1974. I was expecting a nice heteronormative science fiction war memoir, and it started off really well. There were boy soldiers and girl soldiers and mandatory bed pairings for everybody. But by the middle of the book the homosexual agenda reared its ugly head, and three quarters of the way through things got intense.

It’s probably just confirmation bias (or the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?), but it seems that I rarely pick up reading material without running into something LGBTQ-themed. Modern science fiction and fantasy is obsessed with including LGB (and increasingly T) characters. But even classic literary literature often (sometimes?) includes surprising cameos by The Gays, or at the very least surprising references to homosexuality.

I do not know that all this homosexuality is necessarily a bad thing. And I am sure that if I looked hard enough I could find some red-blooded exclusively heterosexual fiction. It’s just surprising, given that our existence was supposedly whitewashed out of history.

At the same time, I am not convinced that exclusively-straight fiction is a problem. As uncomfortable as it may be to contemplate, straight people exist in the world, and they deserve to have adventures too regardless of whether we make guest appearances. Furthermore they have the right to write about their bizarre sexual practices, and if that makes us squeamish we should close our eyes or skip over those parts. I feel uncomfortable with the notion that exclusively heteronormative literature is somehow deficient or politically incorrect.

Incidentally, I feel this way about other attitudes that we find offputting. Asimov is still a great writer, even though his sexism really rubs me the wrong way. I do have my limits (Stories of the East by W. Somerset Maugham was one of the most flamboyantly racist books I have ever read) but in general I love old writers and old writing and old ideas, and stories from the past have a lot to offer even if the writings are socially and politically incorrect now.

Incidentally, The Forever War is pretty great. It is definitely worth a read.


2 thoughts on “Homoliterature

  1. I know exactly what you mean. When I was a teenager I almost had an orgasm reading The Outsiders by S E Hinton. My mother couldn’t understand why I couldn’t put it down at the time.


    1. Did WordPress eat my original comment to you? Or is Big Brother trying to censor my warnings that nobody should be allowed to read smut like S.E. Hinton until age 25 at the very earliest?


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