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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Suspending Disbelief

I'm here to talk to you about angels, or rather, why I have so much trouble picking up an angel book.

Angels are the new It Girl in the paranormal world. We had werecreatures, vampires, demons, and now angels. It's a logical progression. There's something appealing about angels, not the least of which is they're usually very pretty according to the descriptions.

But, for me, angels are a very hard sell. I have a religious background, which means I have a firm idea of what heaven is like and what an angel is. Before I can enjoy a paranormal romance with an angel as a romantic lead I need to set aside a whole slew of beliefs: what heaven is, how the universe functions, the definitions of right and wrong, what an angel is, how angels interact with humans, ect... *

Compare that to the beliefs I need to lay aside to get through a vampire book: vampires don't exist and they wouldn't sparkle if they did exist. It's easy to suspend disbelief for vampires because all I need to do is remind myself that the book is a work of fiction. Problem solved. Angels are harder to accept.

So is bad science. I've quit two pretty good series in the last six months because the bad science in the book left my eye twitching. I threw a highly recommended historical romance against the wall last week because the author hadn't bothered to the simplest of research and by page ten I was foaming at the mouth over historical inaccuracies.

Now, it's entirely possible that the author was writing in an Alternative History. This happens a lot. I like stories with an alternative history twist. What I don't like is when an author can't convince me this could happen.

I'm very open to convincing. I'll believe in faster-than-light travel, shapeshifters, boys who fly, and mice that can talk. But it's up to the author to provide me an avenue of acceptance. The author needs to provide a way for me to set down my logical baggage and set it aside for the duration of the flight of fancy.

Science, historical inaccuracy, and religion all trip me up. I don't read religious fiction because - nine times out of ten - my eye is twitching by page twelve. If an author breaks all the laws of physics I want a semi-plausible explanation (warp drive, red goo, whatever! just give me something!) or I'll stop reading. If your history is butchered beyond belief and could have been fixed by a quick Google search, I won't read your book. I want to believe in the author's world, not seethe over lazy writing.

What's your hang up? What throws you out of a story and makes you quit reading?

*Note* I'm not saying avoid Angel stories. I've read a few I really liked, but they were very well written books by authors who knew how to set up a story where I could believe.


  1. Uh oh, I have an angel on the cover of my new novel! But I promise, no paranormal fake angels in the novel itself.

    1. I'll keep that in mind when I go book hunting later. :)

  2. Interesting post. I've never really gotten into the whole paranormal thing. Maybe this has something to do with it.

  3. I have the same feelings about the angel phenom. I've read some and enjoyed them but for the most part I just can't see angels as sexual beings *don't stone me*

    There are very few things that can make me STOP reading a book. I have only DNFd 3 books in recent memory. One was the first book in a VERY popular series and I just don't understand the hype. It was overly blasphemous (I swear I'm not a bible thumper I just think that no matter what the religion things shouldn't be poked at), the male 'romance' interest was described as looking ape-like (gross), and the female lead was a drug addict (I love me some flawed characters, but that's taking it a bit far)!

    *HA, I bet some know what series I'm talking about*

    1. I actually don't know that one. I was catching up on steampunk this last month. Sometimes the science doesn't hold up very well. I like realistic steampunk, not Magiv With Watches Glued On. :P

    2. I gave up on a steampunk series like that (after the 3rd book. I'm a glutton for punishment, I suppose), but it was because I had a hard time liking the heroine.

      I'm such a dork for steampunk that when I was looking for Halloween costumes for my son the other day I saw this and just about peed my pants. LOL.