This is another novella I’m reviewing for Asexual Fiction from Riptide Publishing Month.
What’s the story, Wishbone?
No, just no. Do not put that theme song in my head.
Fine, go ahead and write your own blurb, just like you typically do for these reviews.
Carla is a cupid working for Aphordite Agency. She has amazing aim for shooting her love arrows, but she is terrible at chemistry, which is why she kept on shooting arrows at an aromantic person. Then she sees a succubus, Leeta, come to the agency, looking for romantic love, and Carla’s boss is all like “No, you’re a succubus, we won’t help succubi find True Love because succubi just want easy meals, now GET OUT YOU SUCKY SUCCUBUS!!!!” This goes against Carla’s values – of course everyone deserves a chance at True Love. Thus, she makes it her mission to find True Love for Leeta.
What sexual and/or violent content is there in this story?
There is a sexual scene … whether it is a sex scene depends on how one defines such things. Also, one of the main characters is a succubus.
There is no violent content (unless a cupid shooting love arrows at people counts as violence).
Tell me more about this story.
It is, in a sense, a romantic comedy. At least, it follows some of the common rules of romantic comedies, such as when a matchmaker tries to make a match for someone else, and they keep on rejecting the matches, and the matchmaker actually feels relieved that the matches aren’t working out, you know what’s going to happen…
I actually don’t have much to say about the story.
There are hints in the story that Carla is asexual, but it’s never stated explicitly, and even if Carla is asexual, well, I find the way this story presents aromanticism to be much more interesting.
Okay then, aromanticism?
On the aromantic content scale (1 = least aromantic content, 10 = most aromantic content), I rate this story as being a 3. Whereas the words ‘asexual’ and ‘ace’ are never used in the story, the word ‘aromantic’ is used multiple times. In fact, I am 80% certain that this is the first fiction story over 5,000 words I’ve read which uses the word ‘aromantic’ but does not use the words ‘asexual’ or ‘ace’.
At the beginning of the story, the anecdote of Carla futile usage of love arrows on an aromantic girl establishes that aromantic people exist.
In the story, succubi are stereotyped as all being aromantic, and this is why the agency does not even bother to try to find love matches for them. This is clearly the inverse of the situation of aromantic people – it is assumed that humans, as opposed to, say, robots or aliens from outer space, are alloromantic. At the end of the story, this comes out:
Yes! Yes, while it seems as though it’s a rarer phenomenon, what with them being an aromantic species on the whole, it looks as though romantic Sparks might be found in as many as one percent of all succubi and incubi. Statistically, that’s right around how many aromantic people exist in the world of the romantically inclined. Which is a pretty big number!
Now … is Carla aromantic? It is stated repeatedly throughout the story that Carla is bad at chemistry, and it’s hinted at that it is because she does not actually understand romance. Hmmm. And then there is this bit:
“Mm.” Leeta shifted on the couch, recrossing her legs and curling her tail. “Have you ever been in love?”
“Oh, me?” Carla laughed and waved a hand. “No, not yet. But that’s okay! A lot of cupids are late bloomers anyway.”
That bit made me think ‘hmmm’. The following passage makes it seem that Carla wants to want ‘love’ rather than simply want ‘love’.
And here we get to the mess that is discussions of ‘love’ in English. In contemporary English, ‘love’ is often assumed to mean ‘romantic love’ even when the context does not suggest that. And since this is a story about a cupid whose job is to spark romances, her culture is hyper-amantonormative.
But she does fall in love with Leeta, described thus:
Leeta was in love with her. And Carla could feel her own love pinging back to meet it. It made her feel very brave.
Is Carla romantically attracted to Leeta? Is the love she feels romantic? As a reader, I’m not sure. However, given the way Carla described her previous experience of never feeling ‘in love’ (romantic love?) for people, I suspect she is somewhere under the greyromantic umbrella.
Was this written by an asexual?
I don’t know.
Was this written by an aromantic?
I don’t know.
Hey Sara, do you like this story?
Yes, I do.
One may buy this from the Riptide Publishing Store or various eBook retailers.