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Gail Carriger interviews David R Slayton about White Trash Warlock

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello my darling Gentler Reader! It’s been a while since I did one of these but please welcome the wonderful David R. Slayton to the blog today.

I met David at the dawn of time (shortly after Soulless came out). I believe it was at a book tour event at the Tattered Cover in Denver? David and I have since become friends. I am always excited to visit Denver the fact that I get to see him when I am there makes me that much more happy. It is a true joy to see him get published and join the pro author ranks. So, without further ado….

About you, the Author David R. Slayton!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

I like both, though I do drink more coffee. Cream in either, though a bit of honey too if it’s black tea.

Please describe your personal style for author appearances.

Upbeat goth. I have little sense of color, so I wear a lot of blues, grays, and blacks. That said, I try for a bit of dapper: a jacket or a vest. I like stylish boots. I have some black velvet jackets for the fancier conference parties.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

Lots of books on writing. Some out of season Halloween décor, including a Lego haunted house. Video game art books: Dark Souls, Thief, etc. – I pick up the art books for games that inspire my books and flip through them. I have a wooden box of tarot cards for much the same purpose. Or perhaps it is the small planter of purple mushroom lights. I made them on a whim out of silicone and LEDs, even soldered it all together myself. They add a little charm.

If you could travel in any type of conveyance, what would it be?

I long to take a train across America, a long ride from Denver, where I live, to San Francisco. I think it would be heaven to write, sip tea or coffee, and look out the window.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone?
(Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Chocolate on sugar. Am I insane?
(Gail pronounces you entirely sane. Sorry.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Pithy humor, and sometimes especially when it’s completely out of place. I once guffawed at a funeral. It was not my finest moment.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

Lemondrop martini, but never more than two.

David R. Slayton

I grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now I live in Denver, Colorado and write the books I always wanted to read while showing visitors the spookier and sillier sights, most of which show up in my books.

My debut, White Trash Warlock, is available now from Blackstone Publishing in paperback, ebook, and audio. You can find me on the web at davidrslayton.com or just search for David R Slayton – don’t forget the R, there’s a lot of David Slaytons running around!

About your book! White Trash Warlock

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Coffee and the food that most reminds you of your childhood, especially if you were poor. For me that’s fried salmon croquette patties and potatoes, both doused with ketchup.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Fear. In White Trash Warlock all the evil is done in the name of fear and the conformity it breeds.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Jesse. I think he’d be quite good at it.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

I deeply studied the classical civilizations of Greece, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire. I especially studied their transition to the Middle Ages. I’m afraid none of this has much anything to do with White Trash Warlock, though my epic fantasies wear these connections on their sleeves.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Bobby, for quite obvious reasons really. He is, to quote Adam, a dick.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

How Adam can walk into a situation, often with powers far greater than himself, and annoy but also bond with them. He also lacks a filter sometimes.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Blackberries and battery acid. Read it to find out why.

___________

Thanks for stopping by David!

I hope you enjoyed this interview and that you’ll give the charming White Trash Warlock a try. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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BOOK DE JOUR!

The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture

Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

My first non-fiction book! How to use ancient story structure to understand and crack bestselling genre fiction.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Mom Garden Wisteria Gate

Writerly Tincture 

The Wicked Wallflowers Club Podcast talking Heroine’s Journey

Book Nibble 

All Parasol Protectorate Books Japan Soulless Changeless Blameless Heartless Timeless Teacups Nook Bedding copy

The Parasol Protectorate Books Japanese Translations (not manga)

Quote to Sip 


Fictional Travel – Favorite Movies With a Strong Sense of Place

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m a pretty chronic traveler, Gentle Reader.

My parents put me on a plane by myself to the UK when I was 9. I pretty much never stopped moving after that. I’ve lived and worked overseas, as a student and as an archaeologist. Since I became a full time author I’ve travelled more, not less.

I also really love watching movies with a strong sense of place. And by that I mean my kind of movies ~ heroine’s journeys, romcoms, and queer dramas. Piper J Drake and I did a podcast on this topic for 20 Minute Delay so you can listen to our picks there as well, if you want.

Anyway as a companion piece, I thought I would concoct a list for you of some of my favorite movies that make me want to go somewhere. I’ve alphabetized by country/setting. (Incidentally, I have intentionally left LA and New York off this list. Far too much is filmed in those places.)

INDIA

Bride & Prejudice

I love this movie. I know, I know, it has issues but I have a weakness for Bollywood romances and this is take on Pride & Prejudice is directed by Gurinder Chadha! The genius who gave me one of my all time favorites: Bend it Like Beckham.

The two leads don’t have the greatest chemistry but I find everything else about Bride & Prejudice delightful.

I just want to go everywhere that they go, and no other movie has ever made me want to visit India as much as this one did. Also, I defy you not to get No Life, Without Wife stuck in your head.

Such a fun movie! It’s one of my favorite P&P adaptations, you can read about the others here:

The Great Pride & Prejudice Award Show! (Miss Carriger Recommends)

My book that visits India?

Prudence (specifically 1890s Bombay area) .

ITALY

Under the Tuscan Sun

I consider Northern Italy one of my heart homes. I excavated there in the late 90s for several summers running, near Florence. I’ve also traveled extensively throughout the country. I love the Como region in particular.

It’s the light and cadence of the language and the food of the northern parts of this country that particularly attract me. Also the vegetation and climate are similar to where I grew up in California.

Lake Como Italy in 2000 by Gail Carriger umbrella parasol

The AB and I once chatted about where we would be if we hadn’t met one another. My answer was probably living in Italy (at the time I had an EU passport). I always wanted to live and work in a place where I didn’t speak the language.

Under the Tuscan Sun was originally a book, a self-help memoir of the Eat, Pray, Love variety, but I prefer the movie. Still, as such it has serious flaws in terms of white lady syndrome, but that doesn’t stop the movie from making me yearn to return to Tuscany.

The movie is particularly evocative of the exact part of the country where I excavated and lived. It is a love letter to that part of the world. It is also a love story, if such can be said about falling in love with a different country.

I adore it because it so clearly reminds me of some of my youth as well as archaeology and my first real experience living in a non-English speaking country.

Also, in terms of movies that recommend Italy, I have to throw in the gorgeous Dangerous Beauty (about a female courtesan and famous poet in Venice late 1500s), Much Ado About Nothing, and, of course, Room with a View (for its intense worshipful look at Florence).

My book that visits Italy?

Blameless (Florence 1870s, I recommend the movie Daniel Deronda if you like this book). Yes, the Etruscan site they visit is a take on one that I worked on.

JAPAN

Spirited Away

Is it odd to have animation on this list? Not if it’s by Studio Ghibli. Many of their movies could be on this list but Spirited Away is my favorite. There is something about the evocativeness of the bath house and the spirits and the food in this one that really made me want to visit Japan. And yes, I admit it, I really just want to find soot spirits of my own.

My book that visits Japan?

Reticence (Meiji Restoration 1890s, although mostly a fictional floating lantern city).

NEW ZEALAND

The Lord of the Rings

The New Zealand tourist board did a smart thing when they embraced their identity as Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings movies. It was watching them that made me want to visit. And before you ask, yes, I visited, and I went to Hobbiton. At the time I had to sign an NDA because they were re-doing the set for the new Hobbit movie which hadn’t even been announced yet. So I can’t post the photos, but we visited. My mom cried. She read The Lord of the Rings out loud to my father when they were first married. And then to me as a child. It’s very important to her.

I also visited the glow worm caves and every hot spring and vineyard I could find, steampunk HQ, most of the coast line, and so much else.

I’ve been back twice now, both times I drove around in a caravan and to be perfectly honest, I kinda just want to live there forever.

I flipping LOVE New Zealand, I enjoy the weather, like how quiet, unpopulated, and remote it is. Remember I grew up super rural, middle of nowhere is my natural habitat.

It is the only place in the world, that I have been able to find, where the coffee is as good as the tea. It’s a flipping miracle. Their breakfasts are often UK in nature (which I LOVE). In fact, there is very little I don’t like about New Zealand, to be fair. There would be a steep learning curve on Mexican food, but I’m willing to give it a try. And if I want to truly eat Singapore isn’t that far away.

THAILAND

Until We Meet Again

For decades now, Thailand has topped the list of Asian countries I want to visit. Initially this was for one reason and one reason only: The FOOD. It has always been my favorite cuisine since I first ate Tom Kha Gai (the world’s best soup, no contest, no argument). The spice profile of Thai food is to my exact preference leaning towards bright, herbaceous, sour, and spicy. I like every vegetable in their pantheon and every protein. I have yet to meet a Thai dish I didn’t enjoy.

Then I met and fell into an enduring friendship with the amazing Piper J Drake. She’s Thai and we have discussed visiting Thailand on more than on occasion. Piper and I both travel so much we started a travel podcast together called 20 Minute Delay about traveling, often alone as a woman. Thailand comes up… a lot.

And then, oh and then, I got into Thai BL Dramas and all was lost. I specifically chose Until You Again, for this blog post.

This mini-series is available on YouTube and it features modern Thai college students plus reincarnation, lost love, so much pining, and so many obscure Thai desserts it’s like heaven in TV form. (Trigger warning for suicide and family homophobia.) Watching dramas like this one caused me to become deeply interested in the Thai spoken language.

Now I’m basically obsessed with visiting Thailand.

My books that visit Thailand?

None yet.

So those are some of my top want to visit places driven my the silver screen. What are some of yours?

Yours in motion,

Miss Gail

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BOOK DE JOUR!

The Enforcer Enigma, third the in San Andreas Shifters series.

TEE Enforcer Enigma SAS3 eBook

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

This book has a very strong sense of place too, since it is set in the part of California I grew up in.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Lotus Lilies, by American painter Charles Courtney Curran (1888). Terra Museum of American Art

Book Nibble 

Bonkers About Books says of The 5th Gender:

“I loved this book! It had everything I ever want from a sci-fi story and added in lots of lovely romance and then stirred the whole thing up with a murder mystery. With all my favourite tropes in one book, of course I loved it.”

Quote to Sip 


Fictional Travel – Favorite Books With a Strong Sense of Place

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m a pretty chronic traveller, Gentle Reader. My parents put me on a plane by myself to the UK when I was 10. I pretty much never stopped moving after that. I’ve lived and worked overseas, as a student and as an archaeologist. Since I became a full time author I’ve travelled more, not less.

I also really love reading books with a strong sense of place. And by that I mean my kinds of books comedy, heroine’s journeys, romances, and urban fantasy. (As a reminder here is a list of the tropes I gravitate towards and read for in fiction.)

Piper J Drake and I did a podcast on this topic for 20 Minute Delay so you can listen to our picks there as well, if you want: Ep 35 Books That Call Us To Places (iTunes). We go into the writer perspective on travel in great depth, how we use out travels to write settings in our books. Watch us on YouTube to see how much we hand wiggle and get excited!

Anyway as a companion piece, I thought I would concoct a list for you of some of my favorite books that make me want to go somewhere, a few of which I talk about on the above episode. I’ve alphabetized by country/setting.

Places to Visit With Fiction

EGYPT

Specifically the Nile and the archaeology sites along it.

Lord of Two Lands by Judith Tarr

Sailboat on the Nile, Cairo, Egypt, ca. 1895

This is a bit of a cheat as it’s Egypt during the time of Alexander the Great but I still think it provides and extremely strong feel of Egypt, especially the desert and Nile delta. Although never having been, I can’t say for certain.

My stories that visit Egypt?

Curious Case (Luxor 1840s), Timeless (Alexandria 1870s), and Imprudence (Alexandria, Cairo, Nile down through Sudan 1890s).

ENGLAND

Specifically the Yorkshire Dales.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

(Plus the long running TV series by the same name.)

This could be a huge category, since I grew up with British children’s book read to me by my English mother. The moors and the dales and the rolling countryside play huge roles in books like the Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, and so forth.

I wrote and set the Finishing School series in Devon because that’s were I spent my childhood. Defy or Defend takes place in Nottingham because I went to university there.

So why did I pick the Dales for England?

Well, James Herriot, of course. I grew up listening to All Creatures Great and Small on tape, reading his children’s picture books about animals, and watching the All Creatures Great and Small TV show.

This pick is a bit of a cheat, as these are technically non-fiction memoirs about being a vet in Yorkshire, but these stories are funny, sweet, touching and uplifting offerings full of quirky characters and their humans. I think, non-fiction or not, my readers will love these books.

Another movie suggestion?

Because it gives a great idea of the differences in setting in England during the Industrial Revolution is North & South.

All Parasol Protectorate Books Germany Soulless Changeless Blameless Heartless Timeless Teacup Octopus Nook Bedding

My stories that visit England?

Many of my Parasolverse books are set in and around England. Soulless and Heartless (19870s London), Romancing the Werewolf (I recommend Maurice as a companion movie) and How to Marry a Werwolf (1890s London, I recommended the TV series The Buccaneers), all of the Finishing School series (in and around southern England 1850s), Poison or Protect (countryside near Oxford), Romancing the Inventor (countryside near London, I recommend Tipping the Velvet if you liked this book), and parts of the Custard Protocol series.

GREECE

Specifically Corfu.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

(Also the movie adaptations plus The Durrell’s in Cofu TV series)

Corfu has been on my long list of places to visit but I’ve never managed to get there. I have been to Greece but not Corfu. My love affair with this place started as a child when I first read Durrell’s work, or more properly listened to them on tape from the library.

This pick is another cheat (like James Herriot), as these are technically non-fiction memoirs about being a British ex-pat growing up in Corfu prior to WWII. But Jerry and his eccentric family and how they cope with his pathological need to keep and understand animals (he would eventually become a zoo keeper and famous animal conservationist) are truly hilarious. Non-fiction or not, my readers will love these books, and will see the ways that they have influenced and inspired my own writing.

My books that visit Greece?

None sadly. Although I have visited.

SINGAPORE

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

(Plus the movie adaptation.)

Both the book and the movie give an intense feeling of visiting Singapore.

I truly utterly adore Singapore and it is one of the places on earth I consider a heart home, that is a place I could see myself actually living in as a resident.

This is a big statement for me as it is both hot (located almost exactly on the Equator) and a bustling larger city (I am, by nature and inclination a small town girl).

What Crazy Rich Asians doesn’t really cover is the food scene and hawker centers in Singapore, which were, of course, my favorite part.

My book that visits Singapore?

Competence. I promised a government official (also a fan) that I would have my characters visit them, and spent half my trip exciting researching what Singapore was like in the 1890s.

WALES

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

I have never been to Wales but when I read The Dark is Rising sequence of books I vowed some day to get there. What Cooper manages to do with her work is reflect the lyrical nature of the Welsh language and the rolling green softness of its topography in her writing style and in the serene yet tense nature of her prose.

I can’t say enough good things about The Dark is Rising series and it a CRIME that these books are more popular in the United States. Do yourself or your child a sold and check these out.

Also the audiobook (back in my day) was so good because you got to hear how all those welsh words are pronounced. I had read them as books first so when I listened to the tapes it blew my MIND.

My books that visit Wales?

None yet. Maybe after I visit?

Check out the podcast episode that inspired this blog post on 20 Minute Delay.

20 Minute Delay Podcast Free Download

Also find me talking about writing and researching setting on Dan’s Podcast, The Everyday Novelist Question 828: Faking Your Setting.

Here’s an FAQ all about world building.

And here’s a blog post with tips for researching Victorian set steampunk.

26 Tips for Researching Victorian Set Story, Steampunk & Beyond (Important for Writers)

Yours (can’t wait to travel again),

Miss Gail

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BOOK DE JOUR!

The Enforcer Enigma, third the in San Andreas Shifters series.

TEE Enforcer Enigma SAS3 eBook

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

A werewolf without rank or hope and an enforcer who has lived too long go up against the selkie mob.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Magic coconut pie, follow the recipe exactly (do not deviate).

Writerly Tincture 

Virtual Book Events You Won’t Want to Miss This Summer

Book Nibble 

Fictional Hangover Mug Gail's Books

Recent swag from the Fictional Hangover podcast.

Quote to Sip 

Quote Omega Mana Fox Shift Kitsune


BL Dramas THE LIST – What to watch? PART II

This is the second part of a two part series on BL Dramas through the lens of an American genre author. Some of the terms used in this post are a continuation of the discussion presented in the first installment, PART I: BL Dramas Discussed & Analyzed from a Writer Perspective

As such I recommend you read that article first! Or you might not know what I’m on about.

* Both articles discuss triggers, consent, and sexual acts. 

PART 2

BL Dramas: THE LIST

I’ve chosen and am ranking these series by the ones I think will be most easy to digest for an American queer-identified or queer-allied fan (I talk about my reasons in Part 1). In other words, the ones least egregious in some of the non-con and other sexual stuff are listed first. Don’t get me wrong I love many of these, but that doesn’t stop me from being troubled by certain aspects.

(Actor names: Thai names are given as chue len + first name. Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese names are given as surnames + first name.)

TOC

I’ve put trigger warnings in all of them, and I discuss some of my concerns with each. Hence the reasons this is such a long post.

Some of these characters start life as sub-plots in a mainly het drama. Some of the BL Dramas were so popular they got second seasons, or follow-ups. And some of them have multiple adaptations from a written work.

Where possible, I linked to the official broadcast, and suggest a watching order. As always with YouTube, I cannot guarantee the series will stay live.

1. SOTUS

SOTUS: The Series | SOTUS S: The Series | Our Skyy: Episode 5

  • Online: SOTUS Netflix 15 eps (from GMMTV official)
    • SOTUS S YouTube 13 eps from (GMMTV official)
    • Our Skyy 5 1 ep (from GMMTV official)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2016 & Post College 2018
  • Sexual Content: Just kissing, and very little of that
  • Hashtags: #kongpobarthit #sotus #sotustheseries #SingtoKrist

Tropes:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Younger seme/older uke
  • Unrequited love, pining
  • Love at first sight
  • Sunshine one loves the grumpy one

Concerns & Triggers

  • Hazing rituals, school sanctioned bullying
  • Stalker action by means of relentless cheer and affectionate (if unwanted) care

Summary

Based on an online novel, SOTUS by BitterSweet, this stars Krist Perawat (AKA Kit) as Arthit Rojnapat, the uke character. Arthit is older, meaner, grumpy jerk who goes after his junior Kongpob (played by Singto Prachaya) because Kong objects to the Faculty of Engineering hazing rituals. (If BL teaches you nothing else, it’s that in Thailand, if you’re in engineering, you’re gay.)

The first series follows Arthit succumbing to Kong’s relentless pursuit, and them coming out to their friends.

The second series is both flashbacks to their second year as a couple (when Kong takes over as head hazer) and their current-day relationship, which is Arthit’s first job and Kong’s senior year/internship. It deals with coming out at work and has some interesting insights into corporate culture in Thailand.

There is a one episode look in, as part of the Our Skyy series, which follows Kong deciding to study abroad and Arthit’s feelings of abandonment after being the object of his obsession for so long.

Some Thoughts

There is an earnestness to SOTUS that lends it an air of authenticity that other BL dramas on this list simply don’t have. There is very little physical intimacy, and almost none of the culturally-understood intimacy (like head touching or forehead/cheek kisses). That, combined with so few triggers makes it easy to see why SOTUS was so palatable to Netflix mainstream. And it’s why it appears first on my list. (Although He’s Coming to Me might actually be even better now that it’s widely available.)

There is much less overacting/slapstick although there are a few cartoon noises and interjected clumsy pop songs. So, be warned, if you can’t stand SOTUS for this reason, you won’t be able to take any of the others listed here except those out of China or Taiwan.

The surrounding friendship groups for both characters are quite lovely. This is the only example on my list that depicts solid female friendships (with each other and the boys), as well as a lesbian character.

I like the dynamic of the uke being in a position of dominance and social power, it effectively negates any non-con action. Plus Kong is such a sweetie who would never force physical intimacy. However, the flip does occur, with Kong’s only option being to follow Arthit around like a lost puppy, which gets kinda stalkerish.

Their relationship, when it finally develops, is very teasing and sweet. The chinks in Arthit’s armor are all the more special for how hard they were for Kong to earn. I like to think of these two as the entertainment industry’s first acesexual homoromantic pairing.

Bonus nugget of insider info: The general BL obsession with pink milk, engineering, and gear symbols comes from this series.

2. Crossing the Line

History 2: Crossing the Line 

History2: Crossing the Line

  • OnlineViki 4 eps (part of the History2 feed official eps 5-8)
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Setting: High school 2018
  • Sexual Content: Kissing and not much of that

Tropes:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Bad boy tough kid meets strict kindness
  • In world shipping
  • Younger seme/older uke
  • Big’ol love confession
  • Sports romance

Concerns & Triggers

  • There’s a sub-plot of two step brothers getting together that’s pretty taboo/odd
  • Characters depicted are minors (actors clearly are not)
  • Glorified fighting

Summary

Punk ass young trouble maker, Hsia Yu Hao (Fandy Fan), is basically press ganged by two senior students including Qiu Zi Xuan (Zach Lu), into joining the volleyball team.

Full of natural talent, he finds himself reluctantly interested in the sport, but more interested in Qiu Zi Xuan.

Soon enough, he falls madly in love with Qiu Zi Xuan, but the older boy won’t do anything in return, because his sister has a crush on Hsia Yu Ha.

Some Thoughts

The plot is thin but the earnestness of Hsia Yu Ha’s crush is charming. I liked how this addresses a cornerstone of the queer experience: how admiration for someone of the same gender can be initially misconstrued as wanting to be like them, when it’s really wanting to be with them. This BL drama is notable in that it has almost none of the triggers in terms of non-con etc that most BL has.

Basically this is just a sweet story of a boy who falls in love with another boy, declares himself, and then gets rejected… or does he?

Bonus points for accurate volleyball rep (I played in high school) plus a solid understanding of the love confession trope and classic representation of how it works in BL.

3. Until We Meet Again

 

Until We Meet Again

  • Online: Until We Meet Again YouTube 17 eps (from Studio Wabi Sabi official)
    • Between Us (in production spin off featuring side characters)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2019 & College 1989
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, hugging, touching, implied demands and off screen sex
  • Hashtags: #UntilWeMeetAgain #DeanPharm #WinTeam

Tropes:

  • Fated mates, eternal love
  • Instalove
  • Stern emotionless seme/sweet loving uke
  • Forbidden love, tragic destiny
  • Minor in world shipping
  • Older jaded seme/younger innocent uke

Concerns & Triggers

  • Suicide is both pillorized and romanticized, and it is depicted on screen in graphic detail
  • Homophobia in the past from family members with the power to destroy the relationship
  • Tragedy, lost love for one sub-plot
  • Seme’s shameful sexual needs injure or diminish the uke
  • Saving self for “the one and only” and having no other option but to submit

Summary

Until We Meet Again is the most dramatic drama to dramatize dramatically on this list. It stars Fluke Natouch as the uke character, Pharm (and boy does he have to cry A LOT), and Ohm Thitiwat as the older seme love interest, Dean. (Incidentally, Ohm is possibly the hottest human on Earth – fight me).

It’s based on The Red Thread by LazySheep which, I gather, is on Wattpad but otherwise impossible to get hold of in print/translation (for which I am VERY sad).

Two modern-day college students meet and fall in love, but are also plagued by a nostalgic misery and dream memories when they are together. These lead them to realize that they’re the reincarnated souls of two past lovers who committed double suicide because their fathers forbade a gay relationship. They have been tied together for eternity by a red thread.

Dean is an older student athlete who has never dated and seems always to be looking for someone. He’s stiff and unemotional and estranged from his family.

Pharm is a freshman who makes friends easily but lives alone and has various phobias and panic attacks. When they meet there is an instant connection. Dean begins a slow courtship of the shy sweet Pharm. Pharm responds with food (yes, please). While things are going well for them in modern times, the tragic deaths of their past selves threatens to undermine everything.

Dean and Pharm must determine exactly what happened, and why, and learn to forgive their families and each other, before they can heal and move on together.

Sub-plot: Swimmers flirting

Pharm’s protective friend Team, and Dean’s master of the side-eye tatted-up bad-boy BFF, Win, start a possible relationship which is supposed to continue in a forthcoming BL series Between Us.

Since I love WinTeam, and consider this one of the better sub-plots in all BL, I’m hoping Between Us happens. Win’s tattoos and piercings are fab, and it’s awesome to see an uke character like Team be all protective of Pharm, and tough with his seme. He’s so cute and fierce.

Also, notice Team drops the P’ with Win when they are alone together, but uses it in front of others? Interesting, no? He is, indeed, as Win says naughty.

Some Thoughts

First and foremost, we all need someone in our lives who looks at us the way that Dean looks a Pharm. The adoration is strong with that one.

Although, to be fair, I only really look at pastry that way.

You can feel Pharm and Dean’s need to love each other, and you really believe they are reincarnated.

There is so much crying in this series and so much pining it can get a bit frustrating. Dear Thailand, could we please see more of Fluke where he doesn’t have to be sad or depressed all the time?

The suicide thread is a big deal and runs throughout, so if that’s a trigger for you, do not watch this.

That said, Until We Meet Again, is probably the best, most cohesive, and well written stories on this list. The plot is so good and well paced and perfectly twisty.

What’s weird is how different Dean and Pharm’s current personalities are from their past selves, Korn and Intouch. That threw me a little. I wish Pharm had just a bit more of Intouch’s gumption.

Dean is impossibly kind and gentle with Pharm, but that does lead to the trope of “sex with the innocent uke makes him impure.” Dean is clearly ashamed of his sexual desire for Pharm and unlike most BL, the story is aggressively anti-dub-con to the extent of being anti sex. As if sex somehow cheapens their love, and Dean wanting to screw Pharm is a big’ol sin. I wanted Pharm to have more agency, even if only sexually. It would have fixed some of negative aspects of their power imbalance.

Despite its flaws, Until We Meet Again is possibly my favorite BL drama on this list.

It’s wonderful to see Dean’s strained relationship with his siblings and grandmother get repaired by Pharm and his cooking. What’s even better is how supportive and fun Pharm’s two besties are. Speaking of, Win and Team are adorable, and I really hope the spin-off happens.

This is one of those dramas that will put an ache in your throat for hours, so yeah, if you’re into that, go for it.

Also the food, the FOOD!

Food is a vital thread connecting Pharm to his past self, and it’s his primary love language. There is a scene where he feeds Dean a purple dumpling that is hotter than any sex scene ever filmed.

Pharm is an amazing chef and we get to see him cooking Thai meals and decorating Thai sweets. Also we learn about the meaning and history of many of the desserts.

Oh, and there’s no Faculty of Engineering theme in this one… who knew?

A quick word on Dean’s linguistics.

He doesn’t say much, in fact he’s as close to monosyllabic as you can get in Thai. He uses almost no polite particles, few honorifics or personal pronouns, and heaven forfend he ever Wai. In fact, by all accounts, Dean should be considered one of the rudest characters in BL (when actually that award probably goes to Type or Ae). However, he’s considered more like a curt aristocrat by the narrative ~ stern, like he can’t be bothered with trivial social mores, or aloof, like it’s not really his society to participate in.  It’s fascinating that Dean is not considered utterly intolerable by everyone. But the way side characters reference his attitude is partly based on his linguistic identity.

Bonus points for casting an out gay actor in a leading role, for an in-narrative self-identified bisexual character, and for discussing condom use. Also for an actual cohesive solid plot structure.

See BL? I knew you could do it!

4. Right or Wrong

History2: Right or Wrong

  • OnlineViki 4 eps (part of the History2 feed official eps 1-4)
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Setting: College 2018
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, topless sex scenes that fade to black

Tropes:

  • Student/teacher
  • May/December (12 year age difference)
  • Single dad/manny
  • Grumpy seme/sunshine uke
  • Out gay uke/gay-for-you seme
  • Found family
  • Old fashioned courtship

Concerns & Triggers

  • Uke experiences self hatred for his gayness
  • Child neglect and abandonment treated casually
  • Older seme in his early 30s but younger uke is only 19

Summary

Adorable sweetheart gay boy college student, Fei Sheng Zhe, with some confidence and self hatred issues meets the battle-scared cynical professor of his dreams, Shi Yi Jie. Turns out, they actually have met before, a couple of times and in different ways, until suddenly Fei Sheng Zhe finds himself the manny to the professor’s little daughter.

Shi Yi Jie is a divorced archaeology professor with a 7-year-old daughter, Yo Yo, who he’s trying to raise by himself (badly). After absorbing Fei Sheng Zhe into his family, he finds himself falling in love with the boy.

Shi Yi Jie is a little startled to find he’s enamored with a man, but he’s analytical and scientific and doesn’t have an easily ruffled personality, so he goes with the flow.

He decides Fei Sheng Zhe is perfect for him and starts formally courting him. He goes to Fei Sheng Zhe’s mother to ask permission and even agrees to a test of celibacy until Fei Sheng Zhe turns 20.

Then his ex wife shows up.

Some Thoughts

This one has some of the most Western sensibilities in terms of a classic American gay romance novel. It basically made me squee with the cute from about episode 4 onwards. It’s a bit rough going at the beginning but once the family dynamic is established and Shi Yi Jie’s neglect of his daughter is explained away, I loved it.

I didn’t even mind when the ex-wife shows up because she’s a perfect plot device for Fei Sheng Zhe to get his confidence back and claim his man. I love it when the uke’s lack of agency works against him and he has to step up and be more than just a passive partner. In Fei Sheng Zhe’s case, he remains sweet and submissive, but it’s established by the story that he will not be letting Shi Yi Jie walk all over him for the rest of their lives. Yes!

And when the sex finally happens, it’s very clearly mutual and super sweet. So, yeah for that, too!

There’s also some great dialogue.

Most of the time, because of translation, subtleties in dialogue are missed. This one has its issues but also some really well written moments that come across in captioning. There’s a scene where (very gay) Fei Sheng Zhe is part of a drama club and doing a romantic scene with his female BFF:

Fei Sheng Zhe: “Do I really have to kiss you?”
Actress BFF: “Yes!”
Fei Sheng Zhe: “But, you’re a GIRL!”

All in all, I left this series with an “aw, my babies!” feeling and hearts coming out my eyes. I think it falls short of a lot of BL lists because it satisfies so few traditional BL tropes, but also because only one half of the couple satisfies the criteria of boy.

But, gah, it’s SO CUTE!

“I don’t have to pay for your regrets.”

Bonus points for ready made family of adorableness.

5. Dark Blue Kiss

Kiss Me Again | Kiss the Series | Dark Blue Kiss: The Series | Our Skyy special

  • OnlineKiss Me Again Pete & Kao Cuts – Youtube 3 eps (from GMMTV official)
    • Kiss the Series Episode 14 – YouTube 1/2 of ep 14 (from GMMTV official)
    • Dark Blue Kiss: The Series  –YouTube 12 eps (from GMMTV official)
    • Our Skyy special (GMMTV official)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2016 – 2018
  • Sexual Content: Heavy kissing, sexual innuendo, implied sex, lots of shirtlessness
  • Hashtags: #PeteKao #DarkBlueKiss

Tropes:

  • Enemies to lovers but also friends to lovers
  • Bad boy meets kind nerd
  • Secret love/hidden relationship
  • Rough flirting of the pigtail pulling type

Concerns & Triggers

  • They punch the stuffing out of each other, especially early on
  • Pete is a real punk at the start with major anger issues
  • It’s implied that Pete’s relationship with Kao basically saves Pete from bad things
  • The poor little rich kid slander plot in Dark Blue Kiss is actually one of the better villain concepts I’ve seen in Thai BL, but it is really rough going content-wise in terms of child neglect, slander, and cyber stalking

Summary

You really need to at least watch the Pete/Kao fan assembled clips from Kiss Me Again or Dark Blue Kiss (their actual BL series) will not make sense.

Their sub-plot in KMA follows their journey from outright enemies in high school, to on-again off-again friends freshman year of college, to secret lovers. They are, indeed, in the Engineering Department.

Dark Blue Kiss picks up during their third year of college with Pete and Kao still together, out only to Pete’s dad and their close friends. Pete (Tay Tawan) brash and take-no-shit seme wants to be out, but Kao (New Thitipoom) sweetheart uke wants to remain closeted. Which effectively leaves him open to sexual blackmail.

Kao has to work tutoring high school kids to help support his mom and sister. His mom’s boss asks him to tutor his son, Non, who develops a huge crush on Kao. Meanwhile Pete and Non are in the same online competition and instantly hate each other.

Non figures out Pete is Kao’s boyfriend and starts a campaign to undermine Pete and steal Kao from him. Kao doesn’t see it. Pete gets increasingly jealous.

Non ends up claiming publicly that Kao seduced him (which has pedophile connotations), destroying Kao’s reputation and income, and putting Kao’s mother’s job at risk. All because Non has taken things too far and can’t admit he’s gay to his homophobic father. Of course, Pete comes to the rescue and Kao finally comes out.

There is a second plot line featuring café owner Sun, Kao’s sort-of ex boyfriend, trying to get bad-boy Mork to change his ways.

Some Thoughts

I flipping love Pete and Kao. They’re one of my favorite pairings in BL. There’s better sexual chemistry with some of the other couples (yes, Tharntype, of course it’s Tharntype, isn’t that everyone’s best?) but these two are so darn cute together. There’s a very puppy love teasing thing with them. It reads really well on screen as a college LTR.

They are more “equal” in their relationship than most BL couples, partly because Kao may be the uke but he doesn’t take any of Pete’s crap.

Also I LOVE LOVE LOVE their friendship group. Gah, they are all just so adorable.

And Pete’s dad. OMG Pete’s dad is beyond sweet, and so is Kao’s mom when he eventually tells her.

I can’t comment on the café sub-plot because I’m utterly unable to watch it for a really weird reason: the actor who plays Mork looks SO MUCH like my ex from college I actually find it unbearable. It’s not that I hate my ex or anything, it’s just creepy weird in a nails-on-chalkboard way.

Bonus points for little use of clumsy pop songs and cartoon sound effects. Across the board the acting is much smoother than many BLs. I actually really LIKE the intro music to Dark Blue Kiss. 

6. 2gether

2gether: The Series

  • Online: 2gether: The Series – YouTube 13 eps (from GMMTV official)
    • Still 2gether AKA 2gether the Series Season 2 (from GMMTV official)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2020
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, lots of sexual innuendo, implied off-scene sex, shirtlessness
  • Hashtags: #tinesarawat #2gether #brightwin

Tropes:

  • Fake boyfriends
  • In world shipping
  • Easygoing clueless uke meets demanding gay AF seme
  • Pining and obsession
  • Instalove
  • Embarrassing public declarations

Concerns & Triggers

  • Over feminization and predator-representation of “out” femme gay
  • Drinking and over drinking with sexual intent
  • Forced coming out
  • Bad singing
  • Overuse of cartoon noises
  • Egregious product placement

Summary

Tine (Win Metawin) is being pursued by an older flaming gay boy, Green. For various contrived reasons, Tine just can’t just say,

“No, go away Green.”

Because he wants to date girls and Green is cramping his style, Tine and his friends decide the best thing to do is to fake date the hottest boy on campus, Sarawat (Bright Vachirawit). Because obvs only a fake gay relationship will convince Green to go away (?!). Unfortunately for Tine, Sarawat is totally gay and totally into him.

Wat (the seme) is this introverted musician who kinda hates how popular he is with the ladies because, ya’ know, hella gay, and has been pining after this boy he met at a concert for, like, evs.

Lo, said boy shows up, demands he pretend to fake date, and Wat is gonna fake it ’til he macks all over it.

Tine spends the whole series just oblivious af and rolling with the punches (sometimes literally) until he accidentally finds himself in love with Wat at which juncture they promptly move into together.

There’s a sub-plot of Wat’s frankly awesome friend Man, King of Bi, getting the hots for Tine’s bitchy older brother. And another with his younger brother flirting with the campus bad boy.

Some Thoughts 

Okay so the fake boyfriend trope is so flipping contrived, and Wat’s cold/hot/awkwardness is unexplainable and unexplained but (and you knew there was a but) Wat is so gone over Tine it’s kinda adorable.

This one is the campiest, most over-acted, and most ridiculous on my list, yet somehow it’s become a favorite. It has a lot of problems with representation, but… argh, I still like it.

At first, because the Green thing is SO ANNOYING, and Tine so passive, I couldn’t even watch it, but Wat won me over.

2gether basically hits every BL trope there is with a club, dresses it up in a frilly apron, and then drags it around singing at it:

  • care and illness/injury tending
  • lost in woods
  • hair touch, tousling
  • teasing with sexual intent
  • confessions (and more confessions)
  • food = love
  • unrequited pining
  • arms around the shoulder in public (gasp)
  • love songs as public declarations
  • secret love songs as public declarations, again, and again, and again
  • possible ex girlfriends showing up at the worst time
  • caring when injured
  • and… REPEAT in Still 2gether

Okay yeah, the plot is cray-cray. But I kinda love watching this for Wat’s googley eyes, and Tine’s utter obtuseness.

Plus it’s nice to get a Thai drama where one of the boys is just clearly completely gay and all over his love interest both sexually and romantically. (Usually, it goes one way or the other and is closeted gay for you.)

Bonus points for condom representation, even if it is a gag gift.

7. 2 Moons

2 Moons the Series

  • Online2 Moons the Series – YouTube 12 eps (ripped only)
    • Gen Y the Series – recon, reboot, spin off-ish (ripped only)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2017, college & high school 2020 (for Gen Y)
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, sexualized tickling
  • Hashtags: #2Moonstheseries #PhaYo #MingKit #MarkKit

Tropes:

  • Willfull misunderstanding
  • Instalove
  • Older experienced seme/younger innocent uke

Concerns & Triggers

  • Uke can come off as innocent to the point of stupid
  • Uke has a collection of photos of Phana that is stalkerish bordering on psycho
  • King of awkward pauses
  • Casual references to rape as humorous
  • The music is really bad

Summary

Based on a three book series.

Phana/Dr Pha (so called because he is a med student) fell in love with a boy in high school but let him slip away. Years later that boy is a freshman at his university. Dr Pha is “Campus Moon” AKA hottest dude on campus.

Wayo, the love interest, is picked to represent his department in this year’s Moon competition. Pha doesn’t recognize him and they clash, although Wayo has also been in love with Pha since high school.

The 2 Moons series of books follows three pre-med best friends (the Wild Doctors) and their gay relationships. The main plot, the “2 Moons” of the title, features Dr Pha/Wayo. Their’s is a bog standard dominant demanding older smarter hotter seme falls instantly in love with, and in pursuit of, younger innocent uke. There’s some miscommunication to start but basically it’s a fated obsession on both sides.

This first installment starts a sub-plot of Wayo’s BFF, Ming, who’s a total womanizer but decides to go after Pha’s bestie, Kit, anyway. I like this better as a story. Kit is a prickly snarky asshat of a uke who resists being pursued by younger playboy Ming. My favorite 2 Moons sub-plot of Forth and Beam isn’t picked up until the second series, 2 Moons 2. This cast and iteration lost the rights to the series, but does a somewhat spin off of Ming and Kit, as Mark and Kit, in Gen Y. (Think soap operas, it’s complicated and illogical.)

Some Thoughts

This show is fluffy as all get up, the main relationship is basically just cute and pining.

I like some of this first installment better than the reboot, 2 Moons 2. But if you only watch one, watch that one instead. I think there’s slightly more chemistry between Wayo and Pha in this one, but that thread is my least favorite and the least interesting. Although Dr Pha wins first in class on the longing look of longing long-time, this version is very slow moving, but definitely more romantic in the long run than the second installment. (See what I did there?)

Bonus points for the adorable, enduring friendship between Wayo and Ming. And P’Forth, everyone’s favorite no matter who portrays him. Why are Thai engineering departments so good at giving us a tatted-up gay bad boy with a heart of gold? (I think we should make Win an honorary engineer.)

Oh and PinkMilk’s captioning is great, if you get their version. The extra MST3K commentary is most amusing.

8. 2 Moons 2

2 Moons 2 (reboot + further adventures)

  • Online: 2 Moons 2 – YouTube 12 eps (from Mello Thailand official)
    • 2 Moons 3 in production?
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2019
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, topless fooling around for the main characters, full on sex for Forth and Beam (fade to black)
  • Hashtags: #2Moons2 #PhaYo #PhanaWayo #ForthBeam #MingKit

Tropes:

  • Misunderstanding
  • Instalove
  • Older experienced seme/younger very innocent uke
  • Also playboy bisexual younger seme/jaded older uke
  • Also friends-to-lovers, sexual chemistry first, relationship second

Concerns & Triggers

  • Wayo can come off as innocent to the point of stupid
  • Wayo has a collection of photos of Phana that is stalkerish bordering on psycho
  • Casual references to rape as humorous
  • Some very predator behavior
  • Dub-con due to alcohol, possible sexual assault
  • In world shipping
  • Cliff hanger ending

Summary & Thoughts

2 Moons 2 recasts and then re-films 2 Moons on a compressed time line. Then the second half picks up more of the sub-plots and side characters and advances the story arcs into three romances occurring simultaneously. But basically the first half is exactly the same as the original 2 Moons, only as cliff-notes.

As such, I can’t avoid a direct comparison.

I like the Wayo actor slightly better in this one, but Dr Pha better in the first one (both actors have now left BL). Either way, these two take up the majority of the screen time but have the least chemistry and least interesting story arc.

I’m mostly indifferent on Ming/Kit casting since I like their characters and story better either way. But if you pushed me, I think I like these two actors better than those in the first installment. Prickly little Kitkit is so cute, and Ming a touch less sleazy in version 2.2.

However, 2 Moons 2 wins for me because I like Forth/Beam so uch. In fact, their sub-plot (which only comes to fruition at the end of this series) is my favorite from both 2 Moons adaptations.

Incidentally Forth… Engineering Faculty, here we go again.

Forth/Beam also the most modern feeling love story, in that they’re both brokenhearted, get drunk, end up in bed together, and have sex. Then bad-ass-squishy-center Forth decides he really wants to have a relationship with Beam and starts flirting hardcore in this teasing aggressive way. It works very well as a friends to lovers dynamic, and puts them on a more equal footing from the start than most BL. Although Forth is PUSHY.

All three romantic pairings end up basically together at the end of 2 Moons 2 but there is a cliff hanger for the Wayo/Pha relationship at the very end of the last episode, with sexual assault implications.

There is supposed to be a 2 Moons 3 although the actor playing Wayo has left the franchise. I’m hoping it still happens and that we get more of Forth and Beam. And, since I’m being all demanding of the BL universe, why not make them verse? Come on, break ground in a GOOD way Mello? You can do eeett!

Bonus points for a great portrayal of complexity inherent in the friends to lovers trope for Beam and Forth.

9. My Engineer

My Engineer the series 

  • OnlineMy Engineer the series – YouTube 14 eps (from My Engineer Official)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2019
  • Sexual Content: Kissing
  • Hashtags: #myengineertheseries #BohnDuen #RamKing #MekBoss #TharaFong

Tropes:

  • Misunderstanding
  • Rake changing his ways for the right guy
  • Grumpy/sunshine
  • Also tortured seme/sweetheart uke
  • Also friends-to-lovers
  • Also enemies to lovers (maybe)

Concerns & Triggers

  • Duen can come off as innocent to the point of stupid, but is also a complete brat
  • Dub-con due to alcohol, possible sexual assault (turned into a joke)
  • Some very predator behavior
  • In world shipping
  • Cliff hanger ending on two sub plots

Summary

Consciously playing on the trope that any given Thai engineering department is full of gay boys, this follows essentially two groups of friends. One group of all freshmen and mostly pre med, and the other all second year engineering students (natural-muh).

The primary couple is bad boy womanizer campus heartthrob Bohn and his earnest pursuit of bratty Duen.

Secondary couples include Duen’s over-protective, reticent, tattooed friend Ram and his sunshine boy, King. There is also a friends to lovers plot between two of the engineer BFFs, Mek and Boss. And an unfinished enemies to lovers plot between Bohn’s rival, Fong, and his love interest Dr Smolder, Thara.

Thoughts

If 2gether hit every BL trope there is with a club, dressed each one up in a frilly apron, and dragged it around singing at it, then My Engineer put them in moon god robes and surrounded them by thousands of Y-fans screaming and hurling little pickles.

The Bohn/Duen thread is fine, a pretty standard seme/uke. It’s a bit exhaustingly hot/cold constant misunderstandings and jealousy. Ultra pushy Bohn does all the pursuing and Duen all the “oh noes, I couldn’t,” “no, don’t speak, don’t speak,” plus requisite dashing into the forest alone. But at least Duen fights back on occasion, and his friends are sweeties. While it’s always fun to see a bad boy go soft for the dorky nerd of his dreams, Duen is a little too much of a whiney damsel for me, and while it has some sweet moments, I think some of the sub plots are better.

The Mek/Boss BFFs falling in love sub plot is mostly pat longing looks, but cute enough.

I liked the Fong/Thara sub plot, it’s more mature, and better acted, but was given very very little screen time.

The Ram & King sub plot is my favorite, and they were given a cliff hanger ending. Ram’s not-speaking thing is a bit overdone (maybe because Thai is not the actor’s first language?) but King is utterly adorable. His love language is lecture notes and potted plants. I mean, come on.

This was by far the best conceived and acted story arc. These two had the most chemistry among the four couples. (Although, what is with Ram’s family’s accents? His mom speaks English with a strong French accent and Ram speaks Aussie.)

Pretty much everyone loves them best and if the producers know their bread/butter situation, they will have a more primary role in the next season (should it happen).

The best thing about this couple? No clear uke/semi dynamic.

There is supposed to be a follow up season in 2021 with the same cast, but love in the time of Covid is hard, even for Thai engineering students. I’ll watch it if we get one, if only for Ram and King.

Bonus points for at least addressing how ridiculous the idea is that one half of a gay couple always has to be the top.

The TharnType Universe

My final BL dramas all take place in the same universe with tons of crossover characters.

The only major crossover character we see on screen in the core entries is Type (played by different actors). However, his relationship with Tharn is represented and discussed in almost all of them, so I’m went with “TharnType Universe” as the catchall name.

In world chronological order is:

  1. Tharntype
  2. Tharntype Special
  3. Make It Right
  4. Love By Chance
  5. Love By Chance 2
  6. Why R U
  7. SiafahZon Story
  8. Tharntype 2

But for various reasons, I don’t suggest actually watching them in world order.

All of these are pretty problematic so I am presenting them in the order I watched them.

10. Love By Chance

Love by Chance

This one released first. But in world chronology, it follows TharnType by a few years. Type appears as a “senior” (AKA not-freshman) side character in this series, but is played by a different actor than in TharnType & Why R U. 

  • OnlineLove by Chance – YouTube 14 eps (from Studio Wabi Sabi official)
    • Love by Chance 2 – a retcon reboot spin off featuring secondary characters (Viki behind a paywall)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2018
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, topless fooling around, almost full on sex with a fade to black
  • Hashtags: #AePete #LoveByChance #TinCan

Tropes:

  • Discovering identity
  • Friends to lovers
  • Care and protection

Concerns & Triggers

  • Depicted gay bashing
  • Blackmail
  • Aggressive consensual flirting
  • Some very predator behavior in the sub-plots
  • Non-con rape due to alcohol sub-plot = very bad

Summary

Based on My Accidental Love Is You by MAME12938, the main plot of this story is actually one of my very favorites, unfortunately there are distressingly messy sub-plots.

Ae (Perth Tanapon), a freshman in Engineering (of course) and also a football player, accidentally tumbles into Pete’s life (Saint Suppapong) and then refuses to get untangled.

Pete is a freshman at the International College (private, expensive, and taught in English) and Ae is in the Engineering department (yep) of the Thai program (which IC kids treat a little like being in community college).

There’s a lot of class and language use differences with the two main characters. I know I missed a ton of nuance not speaking Thai myself. I ended up researching at lot of stuff for PART I of this blog series on race, class and language because of Love By Chance. What I learned was fascinating and I really enjoyed this aspect of Ae and Pete’s relationship.

Pete is a smart rich shy boy who knows he is gay and is having all sorts of issues with an abusive ex, blackmail, domineering friends, and life in college. He physically runs into and then gets adopted by Ae, a rough and tumble boy from the other side of the tracks with a heart of gold.

Ae is super sweet and caring and decides what Pete really needs is a BFF/bodyguard/butler, and Ae is the boy for the job. Ae comes off as gray/demi/ace and admits to never really being interested in anyone sexually or otherwise.

As his friendship with Pete becomes more loving and intimate Ae finds himself really wanting to look after Pete and be with him all the time. Eventually Ae is surprised to find he’s sexually attracted to Pete, when he’s never been attracted to anyone before (so I’m going with demisexual).

Eventually, Ae decides that if Pete is it for him, he better seriously pursue him. At this juncture Pete tries to put the breaks on because he believes that if Ae has a choice, he should choose to love a woman. That way Ae won’t have to go through all the misery Pete’s been through as an out gay boy. Of course, Ae is having none of it.

Sub-plot: Can/Tin

Tin (seme) is an entitled prick with a poor-little-rich-boy abusive home life and huge chip on his shoulder who becomes weirdly obsessed with Can (uke) – outgoing, chatterbox, ADD, eccentric. Can has no idea how to handle it. Can is occasionally whiny and annoying but also hilarious.

Sub-plot: Tar/Tum

Technically, in world chronology, this follows Tar’s sub-plot in Tharntype and it is a (step?)brother-lovers thread. Younger brother/uke, Tar, returns from France still broken from being raped in high school, and still refusing to tell his beloved older brother/seme, Tum, about it.

Finally, Tar tells all.

There’s definite brothers maybe wanna get it on thing here. Are they step brothers or are we getting all Flowers in the Attic? I don’t know. I think maybe there is a language barrier issue that’s indicating to Thai watchers the exact nature of the boys’ familial relationship that the caption person didn’t realize NEEDS TO BE MADE CLEAR to the rest of us.

Or there’s just, you know, casual incest going on with this sub-plot.

Sub-plot: Techno/Kla

This is the biggest problem child in the TharnType universe, like worse than possible incest (okay, maybe not, eh, anyway). Techno is this happy-go-lucky party-too-much sweetheart who gets maybe-it-can-be-said-seduced but really just raped by Kla, into a relationship? Nuh uh, honey.

Kla is a sexual predator regardless of the fact that he’s a minor. He basically f**ks Techno when Techno is blackout drunk and couldn’t possibly consent. Also, Techno’s younger brother is selling his older brother’s ass to Kla.

This thread is unredeemable.

Some Thoughts

Ae’s sexual awakening aspect is handled well, and I love seeing demi represented on the screen (openly acknowledged or not).

I like that even though Pete is definitely a submissive, he is the one with more sexual experience. Ae, as the seme character, is sort of bumbling along, eventually doing actual research into how to have gay sex. It’s adorable. And yeah, education!

This is the only BL drama on this list that addresses lube as a necessity. (Although, condoms are repped in Until We Meet Again, Why R U, TharnType, and 2gether).

Lots of other standard uke/seme tropes are flipped. For example, a lot is made of the fact that Ae is shorter, poorer, and less well educated than Pete.

There’s fun glimpses of different kinds of family life in Love By Chance, too. Although Pete comes out to his mother, Ae considers but does not come out to his family.

The sub-plot with Tin and Can is intriguing, although the actors don’t have great chemistry together, I still want them to get their HEA. However, it’s left as a cliffhanger that’s picked up in Love by Chance 2. AKA A Chance at Love this spin off focuses on Can/Tin as the primary couple, but rewrites and retells their narrative as if their original sub-plot didn’t exist. Meanwhile the other sub plots continue, including Ae/Pete breaking up(!). I found this second installment very uneven.

Incidentally, Saint, who portrays Pete, goes on to portray a different character in the same universe, Tutor in Why R U. Just to confuse matters.

Bonus points for depiction of researching how to have gay sex properly and lube use. (The ONLY example I’ve yet encountered.)

11. TharnType

TharnType: The Series

Technically speaking, in world chronology, this series comes a few years before Love by Chance, with TharnType Special occurring at the same time/after Why R U.

  • OnlineTharnType: The Series – 12 eps (ripped only)
    • Why R U: Episode 2 part 1 – (ripped only)
    • TharnType Special (ripped only)
    • TharnType 27 Years Of Love (ripped only)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2019 (in world 2015, 2018 & 2020)
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, blow job, basically full on sex without being actually porn
  • Hashtags: #TharnType #TharnTypetheseries

Tropes:

  • Homophobe who’s closeted
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Care and protection
  • Bad boy uke/caring sensitive out seme
  • Grumpy uke/sunshine seme

Concerns & Triggers

  • Verbal gay bashing with little redemption
  • Possessive behavior, including violence and sexual claiming
  • Uncorrected conflation of gay with pedophile
  • Aggressive dub-con touching and more
  • Bargaining for sex, trading favors for sex
  • Childhood abduction and abuse described and somewhat depicted
  • Non-con molestation when drunk

Summary + Thoughts

Ooof, where to start with this one?

So Type (Gulf Kanawut) is a tough, hot tempered, immature jock, with some serious emotional control issues. He’s also a raving homophobe who is openly verbally abusive towards gay men. This all stems from being kidnapped and abused as a kid.

(The narrative makes no effort to separate being a pedophile from being a gay man, which is just one of its many issues.)

Freshman year he’s assigned this crazy-hot roommate, Tharn (Mew Suppasit), and guess what? Tharn is openly gay.

Let the fireworks commence.

So there is a lot of fighting and abuse hurled and punching/kicking each other. It’s pretty clear that Tharn has it bad for Type from the start, despite his jerk ways. Why, tho? Just because Type is super hot, I guess. (Although I would like to point out that neither is in the Faculty of Engineering, or all their problems might be solved.)

Tharn is clearly going to get Type ass-up if it’s the last thing he does. Oh and I mean ass-up. Don’t think Tharn is the good guy here. Pretty much by the end of the first episode he is leaving hickeys on Type’s inebriated homophobic ass (not literally) and arranging things so Type thinks he’s been f**ked while black-out drunk. Because that’s hilarious. Yet Tharn is praised by Techno (later to be drunk raped himself in Love By Chance) for not actually taking advantage of Type – because Tharn is such a gentleman.

Seriously?

Tharn starts aggressively teasing Type because he thinks they’ve got that kind of relationship going. Type starts pranking him back, if not sexually responding, until one day Tharn pounces and starts making out with Type. Tharn obviously expects Type to either succumb or just kick his ass. Instead, Type breaks down and regresses, then starts having nightmares.

Remorseful, Tharn realizes Type is dealing with serious trauma and switches tactics to becoming relentlessly gentle and nice, secretly caring for Type through illness, feeding him, that sort of thing.

Then, suddenly, Tharn basically forces a blow job on Type. FYI, BJs in yaoi are payment/penance submissive acts performed by the seme in order to woo the uke. They have a ton of subtext and are almost never depicted in BL dramas, so this scene is super significant in many ways, but still… consent is REAL sketchy here.

After that, Tarn presses Type to explain why he hates gay men when he clearly likes both Tharn and the BJ.

Type confesses what happened to him as a child in detail. Tharn backs off but falls utterly in love with Type and continues to dole out affection and friendship and flirting.

And then, suddenly, whoa boy, Type is like:

“Tharn, let’s have sex.”

It’s weird.

So then they start (still arguing, and Type still being a homophobe) sleeping with each other on the regular as fuck buddies. It’s hot and yeah, Tharn is an unequivocal top, (with one possible exception later on), but still…

What. The actual. F#$k?

So Tharn ruins Type for girls. Type tries to have a “normal” relationship with a chick, but can’t get it up, so comes crawling back to Tharn. Because apparently Tharn is so good in the sack that Type falls in love with him.

They become covert boyfriends.

Everything is lovey dovey until wham bang there’s some contrived reason why Type has to break up with Tharn and pretty much destroy Tharn’s heart. Turns out Tharn’s psycho bandmate stalker Lhong keeps ruining Tharn’s relationships. Type can’t come up with a better plan to expose him.

Type’s plan works. Lhong is outed as insane. Type and Tharn are finally officially together. Slowly more and more people learn they’re boyfriends. They totally adore each other.

And… the end!

In TharnType Special we get a series of reflective HEA on three years of a relationship.

The couple also has one really sweet appearances in Why R U episode 2 as they’ve kinda become the model gay couple for the whole campus.

I’M CONFUSED TOO.

TharnType 2 picks up 7 years later with them both working and still mostly closeted. Tharn wants to marry Type and the drama begins again.

Sub-plot: Tar/Tum

This installment covers the fact that Tar (Tharn’s sweet uke ex-boyfriend) was set up to be gang raped by Tharn’s stalker, Lhong. Tar then dumped Tharn because Tar was too messed up to deal. He refused to tell Tharn why or what happened. Also he’s somehow still being manipulated by Lhong. Tar had a mental breakdown and his brother is overprotective and blames Tharn (but doesn’t know what really happened).

Tar flees to France at the end of this series after confessing all to Type. Type and he form a friendship because Type understands rape/abuse first hand. In Love By Chance this thread picks up with different actors.

Sub-plot: Techno/Kla

We see the beginning of Kla stalking Techno. It’s not as skeezy as in Love By Chance, as nothing happens. The same actor plays Kla, different actors play Techno.

TharnType Special has a look in on Tin (all HEA over Can, so we know that worked out okay) and a visit from Pete (but no Ae).

Some More Thoughts

Look, I know, right.

Didn’t I say there were tons of problems with this one? Not the least of which is the plot. (What plot?)

Here’s the thing, the chemistry between the leads is insane. The way the look at and touch each other is flipping genius. There is a reason the internet basically went crazy over them and will not believe the actors aren’t actually dating in real life. (It helps that the actors, Mew and Gulf, are pretty happy to play along. They know which side their bread is buttered on… in this case, both. In fact, there is no bread, it’s ALL butter.)

Look. Okay. It’s just… They are profoundly hot on screen together.

Tharn clearly just adores Type so much and Type is such a little shit to him, and then such a big ol’ ball of angsty loving shit to him, and on screen they are SO GOOD together.

Also Type is not even remotely submissive, in fact I would hesitate to say this has a uke/seme dynamic at all, more of just a plain old top/bottom. In that regard, it makes this whole series feel more modern.

Type’s love confession is fantastic. I mean, it’s genius from a writer perspective.

So, bah. You’ve been warned, but, yeah CHEMISTRY WORKS.

Sigh.

Bonus points for a uke who is, eventually, really into sex and bottoming. Oh and condoms. Again, gag gift, but still… implied regular condom use, so thumbs (er) up for that!

Extra bonus points for breaking the internet and making modeling history: Mew and Gulf appeared in the February 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Thailand, the first BL couple to do so in the history of the magazine. The number of BL fans trying to read the article caused Harper’s website to crash. Since then multiple BL actors have appeared in Thai modeling campaigns, on billboards, in TV commercials, and in print.

12. Why R U

Why R U

Technically, in world chronology, this follows Love By Chance 2.

  • OnlineWhy R U – YouTube 12 eps (ripped only)
    • SaifahZon Story – 3 episode follow up
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College 2020
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, topless fooling around, groping, basically full on sex without being actual porn
  • Hashtags: #WhyRUtehseries #FighterTutor #zaintsee

Tropes:

  • Instalove
  • Discovering identity
  • In world shipping
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Hot then cold, pining
  • Coming out

Concerns & Triggers

  • Aggressive consensual flirting
  • Cheating (with/on girls)
  • Very bad singing
  • Gaslighting
  • Homophobic father
  • This is actually the least egregious in terms of triggers set in the TharnType universe, but unfortunately its also the most cheesy awkward, which is why it’s last on the list

Summary

Zon (Tommy Sittichok) learns about BL and the fact that his sister Zol is basically shipping everyone on his campus and writing about it. Suddenly, he starts seeing gay relationships everywhere and gets freaked out that he might want one, and maybe has a crush on musician Saifah (Jummy Karn). Or is Zol just writing this into existence?

Meanwhile, second year Tutor (Saint Suppapong who also plays Pete in Love By Chance) and third year Fighter (Zee Pruk Panich) have serious angst and chemistry and history. Everyone kinda knows they should be together but for some reason Fighter is super hot/cold and resistant to the idea and Tutor is sick of his bullsh**.

Fighter has had a crush on Tutor since Tutor was a freshman but he hazed and teased him instead of actually doing anything about it. Possibly he’s a closet case and resents Tutor for making him want, or maybe he’s just bad at flirting. Fighter has a homophobic dad and other issues (like being apparently unable to button up his shirts), plus, you know, a girlfriend (beard?).

Fighter’s near constant GAY PANIC every time Tutor gets close is, pretty much, hilarious. And Tutor is a real pushy uke. I get the feeling Fighter’s unequivocal hots for Tutor is actually considered a flaw in their ability to have a romantic relationship.

The separation near the end is very contrived but eventually they work it all out, through lots of sex, and hooray, HEA.

Oh, and are they in the Faculty of Engineering? Sure are.

Some Thoughts

The Zon/Saifah plot is weak, awkward, and occupies too much screen time at the beginning and almost none at the end.

Fighter Gay pAnic

Seme with a bossy uke be like: Wait, what have I gotten myself into?

However the Tutor/Fighter story is hot if utterly confusing and the actors have great chemistry.

Frankly anytime Saint (the actor who plays both Tutor and Pete) gets all heavy lidded and seductive you know someone is going down – probably the nearest toppy boy.

He’s actually such a different personality as Tutor that I had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t different lookalike actor siblings or something. So yeah, ACTING!

Storywise I like an aggressive uke with agency and secretly suffering meets confused emotional seme. (I just wish I had  a better handle on WHY Fighter is suffering so.) However, the plot is incomprehensible.

Why is Fighter such a jerk? Why is Tutor so mean to him at the break up? What did Fighter’s dad hope to accomplish? Is Fighter actually just totally gay and everyone knows it?

Nevertheless, it’s still sexy and it has a toothsomely sweet ending with an implication that Fighter actually lets Tutor top him… ooo how shockingly gay of him! Verse in the BL verse, who knew that could happen?

Bonus points for a falling in love musical montage ’80s rom-com style, condom use, consent (!), and a demanding uke who is as into sex as the seme. These two get the most fan made music videos, and with good reason.

13. Make it Right

Make It Right Seasons 1 & 2

This may or may not exactly fit into the TharnType universe but it does have one set of cross over characters, and for that reason alone I’m sticking it here on the list. This can be considered this universe’s answer to Love Sick. It’s not as good, but covers similar ground.

  • Online: Make It Right – YouTube Season 1 12 eps, Season 2 14 eps (ripped only)
    • Why R You (character check in) – ep 2 part 2 (ripped only)
    • Make it Live on the Beach (follow up mini series) – YouTube 5 eps (ripped only)
  • Country: Thailand 2016-2017, 2019
  • Setting: High school
  • Sexual Content: Just a little kissing for the main couple, topless simulated sex for others
  • Hashtags: #TeeFuse #makeitright

Tropes:

  • Friends to lovers
  • Secret romance
  • Solid surrounding friendship group

Concerns & Triggers

  • Parental neglect
  • Characters are minors and look it
  • Very messy plot
  • Cheating (with/on girls and with/on guys and more)
  • Sexual blackmail
  • Self harm attempted suiside (pills)
  • All the consent issues

Summary & Thoughts

Make It Right follows two boys, Tee and Fuse, and their extended (increasingly) queer friendship group and multiple relationships. Tee and Fuse are semi-friends who fall drunkenly into bed together in episode 1. There is some attempt at consent, but Fuse is drunk and Tee should know better. Fuse has a girlfriend and is not pleased with the resulting situation. Tee is the type of seme who feels responsible and emotionally attached after “dirtying” his uke, and when Fuse lashes out at him, ALSO feels really guilty about drunk fucking him without established consent (thank you!). This is the only one on my list that specifically addresses dub-con due to alcohol, and Tee spends most of the first series guilt ridden about it.

Fuse is basically a really easygoing cheerful dude. He’s also an idiot, who, it turns out, can’t resist Tee and basically strings Tee along (for sex) while deciding whether to break up with his (plutonic) girlfriend… for about 20 episodes. Tee just lets Fuse walk all over him (sigh).

So far as queer representation goes, Fuse is touted as gay for you, but Tee clearly really likes boys. But, there are a ton of sub-plot characters who identify as gay or bi, some of them are out, and one of them is femme. It’s kind of nice to see that get some rep in BL.

Tee and Fuse have the best chemistry of any of the couples, and the least sexitimes, they barely kiss (it’s kinda weird and might be ’cause the actors are minors) but some of the other pairings are cute (like Frame and Book) ~ if you can get over all the triggers and other issues.

The Tee and Fuse check in we get in Why R U is lovely. It’s nice to know they stayed together and went to college still a couple.

Bonus for condom use made sexy in Season 2 with Frame and Book, and for Frame (at least) acknowledging he likes all genders (even if the lens shows this as slutty).

Others of Note

I’m pretty sure these push too far into the extremes for my readers to enjoy, or the quality is just too poor, or they don’t have great endings. I’m listing them for the sake of record keeping and because they carry weight in the BL community.

Love Sick

Love Sick AKA Lovesick The Series Seasons 1 & 2

This might be thought of as the BL drama that started Thai BL. It was the success of this series in Thailand that convinced Thai production companies to film more BL series and monetize them on YouTube. The hand holding bookstore incident is iconic.

It’s an afterthought on this list mostly because it’s just SO LONG and the video/captioning quality is so bad. But I really like it.

  • Online: YouTube Season 1 12 eps (or go for the 5 hr BL cut), Season 2 36 eps! (ripped only)
  • Country: Thailand 2014-2015
  • Setting: High school
  • Sexual Content: Just a little kissing
  • Hashtags: #PhunNoh #lovesicktheseries

Tropes:

  • Friends to lovers
  • Fake boyfriend
  • Secret romance
  • Solid surrounding friendship group

Concerns & Triggers

  • In world shipping (light)
  • Characters are minors and Noh looks it
  • Very slow moving
  • Public singing for love
  • Cheating (with/on girls)
  • Later episodes in season 2 are badly captioned to the point of incomprehension

Summary & Thoughts

Love Sick follows two boys, Phun and Noh, and their extended high school friendship groups and many relationships. Phun, the rich son of a politician, is a model student with a girlfriend and can’t quite figure out why he’s suddenly obsessed with Noh. Noh is a goofy, easygoing, sweetheart, easily influenced by his friends, and a total gentleman. The two boys fall unexpectedly and deeply in love with each other.

This is touted as gay for you, but it’s actually a pretty decent representation of bisexual discovery, identity crisis, and sexual awakening.

Neither of them handle their burgeoning romance well. Both of them are already dating girls. So there is cheating, rejection, tons of confusion, and pining.

“It’s a terrible feeling not knowing where the line is between us.”
~ Noh to Puhn in Love Sick 2

There is nothing more than kissing (implied fooling around), and even that takes forever. But the leads have good chemistry and their friends are, on occasion, laugh out loud funny. This one is probably more realistic and less idealized than lots of other BL dramas on this list. It is way less tropey and lacking in camp. Also quite well acted.

The first installment features multiple couples (soap opera style) with Phun and Noh as the main plot, with het side -plots.

The second season drops most of the het stuff and picks up some BL side-plots for Noh’s friends. It’s very slow moving, messy, but has a somewhat happy ending. The captioning use of gendered pronouns and terms, makes it impossible to know whether Phun actually comes out to his father or not, and that’s a critical plot point in the final episode.

Note:

After rewatching Phun’s coming out scene a few times, and knowing a little more about Thai pronouns I’m reasonably sure the entire thing is actually gender neutral. So when you watch try mentally substituting they/them for all she/he/her/him. Also substitute lover/partner for boyfriend/girlfriend (we are in faen territory again) and the whole thing will make more sense.

Both Phun and his dad are alluding to the fact that Phun is dating Noh without actually specifying it. Thai pronouns allow for this because they speak in third person singular gender neutral (in English we would say singular they/them).

In Thai, self-gendering is obligatory (the word “I” has gender attached to it and changes depending on the speaker). So the 7+ ways to say “I” in Thai are all translated as “I” in English. But there’s an opposite comprehension issue with he/she translations. While third person can be gendered, he/she Thai pronouns are most likely to be gender neutral.

Note the highlighted Thai words above for he/she are mostly exactly the same? Regardless of whether the person being talked about is male or female?

The Reminders series has a check in with Phun and Noh as seniors in college. And while it’s fun to see Noh with hair, the couple isn’t treated well by the narrative and it left me ultimately disappointed. If you just wanna see what the two actors look like grown up, watch this music video instead.

Frankly, Love Sick would probably be much higher on my list were is not so long, the video so crappy, and the captioning so challenging.

Bonus points very little uke/seme dynamic and no consent issues.

Addicted

Addicted web series – Heroin 

  • Online: YouTube 15 ep + deleted scenes (ripped only) & Viki uncut version has better subtitles
  • Country: China (I know, right?) 2016
  • Setting: High School
  • Sexual Content: Heavy petting, rough kissing, one very hot fade to black sex scene

Tropes:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Bad boys
  • Poor little rich kid
  • Class struggles
  • Taboo relationship (both gay and step-brothers)

Concerns & Triggers

  • Ambiguous ending
  • Main characters physically fight, haze, and bully each other at the start
  • Kidnapping for love
  • Cheating (with/on girls)
  • One is poor the other rich and this is, somewhat, played for laughs
  • Divorce paints mother as a whore
  • Characters are minors, actors are clearly NOT
  • There is tons of subtext in terms of gay = perverted & unnatural
  • All initial sexual encounters are rough/rapey/demanding, however the one actual sex scene is not and is incited by the uke (but is probably what got this show banned)

Summary & Thoughts

Probably the best known and acted Chinese BL. Don’t worry, there is no drug use in this series (I was scared too) the subtitle “heroin” comes from the way the seme becomes addicted to the uke, plus a combination of their character names.

Bai Luo Yin (Xu Weizhou) lives in a poor part of town with his careless but loving father. When he’s 16, his estranged mother remarries a rich high-ranking military official. Meanwhile, Gu Hai (Huang Jingyu) has always hated his father and resents his new step-mother.

The step-brothers are unexpectedly placed in the same class in high school, without knowing each other’s background or their connection.

At first they hate each other, but Gu Hai realizes all his angst and physical violence and emotional feelings towards Bai Luo Yin are actually obsessive love (hello, classic seme). Then he decides to pretend to be poor, move in next door, and pursues Bai Luo Yin. (Oh, and Gu Hai has a girlfriend. Also, master of the pining sigh.)

Three episodes before the season finale (right when they stop fighting and start living together), this drama was removed from all Chinese streaming sites by order of SAPPRFT. This series is now inaccessible to Chinese viewers. Rumor is that China has banned the two actors from appearing on screen together (possibly because they have excellent chemistry).

The cut sex scene from the final episode 15 is available as a deleted scene on YouTube or as part of the final episode on Viki. I suggest stopping after watching that as the defacto ending.

If you, like me, become obsessed with candied hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida) AKA Bing Tanghulu as a result of seeing this show, it apparently tastes like a crabapple coated in red colored candied caramel, here’s a recipe.

Bonus points for the music in that sex scene, which is KILLER and perfectly chosen. Oh and for the fact that Xu Weizhou looks a bit like this generation’s Jonathan Rhys Meyers, because come on, who doesn’t want that?

Because of You 

Because of You 

I’m putting this on on my list so that Japan has some representation, but it’s not a favorite. New entry, Cherry Magic is MUCH BETTER. In fact it’s GREAT.

  • Online: Youtube 10 ep (ripped only)
  • Country: Japan 2016
  • Setting: Family drama
  • Sexual Content: Kissing

Tropes:

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Friends to lovers
  • Instalove
  • Bad boy, class struggles
  • Taboo relationship (both gay and step-brothers)

Concerns & Triggers

  • Poor meets rich power difference used as a body-rights grab, AKA I am rich and powerful so I should get to have you
  • Kidnapping for love
  • Bulling, rough flirting, stalking
  • Not much depth and almost no plot
  • Weird ending

Summary & Thoughts

Three rich brothers pitted against each other by their father suddenly find out that there might be a fourth brother, and he would be the eldest! They hunt him down, during which time the actual eldest brother falls in love with him; the middle brother falls in love with his assistant; and the youngest with his BFF. You know, as you do.

They eventually all end up together and as a family and decide to ignore their father and be decent humans to each other. Also there’s a lot of kidnapping and awkwardly staged martial arts.

It’s… odd, but a decent representation on Japanese BL and their hair is normal (believe me, hair is an issue in Japanese BL). And at least it ends happily.

The En of Love

The En of Love series – Tossara, Love Mechanics, This is Love Story

  • OnlineYouTube 12 Eps (from Studio Wabi Sabi official)
  • Country: Thailand
  • Setting: College, Engineering Department (of course) 2020
  • Sexual Content: Kissing, implied sex
  • Hashtags: #theenoflove

Tropes:

  • Instalove
  • Embarrassing public declarations
  • Younger seme, older uke
  • Also jaded uke, bi confused seme
  • Also playboy seme seduces much young innocent uke

Concerns & Triggers

  • Power dynamics in at least two of these stories are seriously nasty and exploitative
  • Cheating (with/on girls)
  • Lack of chemistry between the majority of the leads, some bad acting

Summary

This is a trilogy of linked romances inside the (you guessed it) the Faculty of Engineering department at a Thai university. One short series follows the next, featuring side characters that then become main characters.

The first installment, Tossera is the most banal. A young hot pre-med freshman goes in pursuit of the older engineering kid he’s had a crush on since grade school. It’d be fine, except there is no chemistry between the leads, and the actor playing the seme is not good.

On the flip side, in Love Mechanics there is a ton of chemistry between the two leads, but also cheating, lack of established romantic connection, being taken advantage of, and wimpy emotional integrity. So bah on plot.

The third one, This Is Love Story, I could not get over the weird twins thing, plus how much younger the uke looks. It just came off as super skeezy so I didn’t finish watching. Also, no chemistry, again.

All in all, a disappointing series.

Others Talked About

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and in many cases I simply skipped to the final episode to see what the end was like (and then didn’t watch because SAD). Or I read the comments and knew I would not enjoy the drama. In other cases, I don’t have platform access or the video has no eng sub.

The ones I’ve  listed here are ones I enjoyed or at least thought were okay.

  • Amore (YouTube) Philippines (half in English) messy house of gays boys, everyone loves Joey. DNF
  • As If You Whisper (Vimeo) – Korea, musicians fall in love which impacts their chances of fame
  • Bangkok Love Stories (Netflix) – Thailand, mixed couples soap series including 1 BL thread that is decent and has an HEA
  • Cherry Magic – Japan, it’s SO GOOD
  • Counterattack Web Series AKA Falling in Love with a Rival (YouTube) – Taiwan?, very bad captioning
  • Gameboys web series (YouTube) – Philippines (half in English) wonderful little series of two boys falling in love online in the time of Covid.

LOVED IT:

He’s Coming To Me (finally on YouTube GMMTV offical!) – Thailand, PNR of a boy (Thun) who falls in love with a ghost (Mes). It’s actually really good and features the actors who play Kong in SOTUS and Frame in Make it Right. They are great and both boys identify as gay in the narrative. There is even a good honest coming out sequence for Thun. The plot is also excellent, a favorite of mine.

  • History1: Obsessed (Viki) – Taiwan, uke dies tragically for love and then gets a chance to do it all over again
  • History3: Make Our Days Count (Viki 10 eps) – Taiwan, good but VERY SAD

LIKED IT:

History 3: Trapped (Viki 10 eps probably) – Taiwan, ambiguous ending, but if you just don’t watch the very last scene, this is actually good. That said, it is also not BL, it’s gay romance. I have it on the list because it’s classified as BL online, but this has none of the hall markers of a true BL drama.

It’s just a decent gay romance mixed with mystery and action. I recommend it. It’s about a police investigator trying to solve a cold case who falls in love with his only witness, who happens to run a crime syndicate. Tropes include: enemies to lovers, cop/criminal, grumpy/sunshine, cat & mouse, and bad boy with a heart of gold. Bonus: All the plaid suits you could ever want.

  • I Told the Sunset About You – Thailand, more a queer coming of age romance than a BL. High quality and very well done, think Call Me By Your Name, but rough going from a queer identity perspective. it felt almost too honest, but it might possibly be a work of actual genius.
  • Love of Siam movie (YouTube) – Thailand, ambiguous ending (early Thai BL)
  • My Bromance (YouTube) – Thailand, movie and also multiple series with different actors, one with a possible second season My Bromance 2, step brothers fall in love, tragic ending (so far)
  • My Day – Philippines, super cute chefs being all adorable
  • My Gear and Your Gown – uneven pacing but cute, enemies to lovers, high school to college
  • My Tee AKA ‘Cause You’re My Boy (Youtube 12 ep) – starts out as a fun high school take on fake boyfriend trope (also in world shipping, parental homophobia) but goes pear shaped into a sad ending (fixed in an episode of Our Skyy). It has some interesting takes on gender dynamics, condom use, and sexual communication but also contains undefined time-lapse and flashbacks which make the narrative hard to follow.
  • Oxygen the Series – Thailand, sweet and soft with great communication but one poor sub-plot

EXCEPTION ALERT!

Puppy Honey 1 & 2 (YouTube) – Thailand, actually this series started as a het romance with a BL sub-plot. But Pick and Rome got so popular they kinda took it over. I recommend it because Pick and Rome as a couple are so cute. It is quite gentle and low heat. It has lots of tropes that I love, and no triggers: grumpy/sunshine, Rome (the uke) is shy and innocent but also playful and confidently gay, Pick’s coming out crisis is handled well and never touted as gay for you, and they are good at communicating in each other’s love languages. The two actors Off and GUn have played a couple in several series now and they are clearly good friends and comfortable with each other. (The Papii thing kills me.)

  • Roommate the series (YouTube) – Thailand, short 5 episodes (15-20 min each) plotless but sweet drama of roommates falling in love. Could have been great with some character dev but… got Covidized, maybe?
  • Theory of Love (YouTube) – series in which film students pine a lot, happy ending, same actors as Puppy Honey
  • Together With Me, Together With Me The Next Chapter & Bad Romance (YouTube 13 eps each) – Thailand, the infamous (in BL circles) Korn and Knock romantic thread which goes bonkers in plot ways that seems to have driven fandom bananas (see #KornKnock). If you choose to enter this minefield it does, eventually end happily, but there is tons of cheating and weird personality flips and it’s all rather insane, more of a soap opera than a BL. Also these dudes are ADULTS.
  • The Untaimed (Netflix) – China, epic fantasy based on a BL story (yaoi?) with all the gay taken out, so it’s just a sad bromance, ugh, it could have been SO GOOD
  • Water Boyy (YouTube) – Thailand, movie and series with different actors, swim team friendship turns to love, sub-plot of student/teacher with creepy huge age difference, ambiguous end
  • Where Your Eyes Linger – Korea, bodyguard mafia, it’s fine
  • YYY the series and YYY2 – Thailand, extremely campy sitcom, with ambiguous ending fixed with an EXTEMELY weird follow up covid project.

AFTERWARD

You’ll note that my personal preferences do not include Korean or Vietnamese BL? I’ve seen some of these but in many cases I’m not wild about the story telling style and a lot of them have intentionally ambiguous/sad endings.

There are a few other out of the Philippines that I’m going to give a try. But I’m kind of stuck on anything filmed in Thailand right now, because I am fascinated with the language. It’s my favorite new thing to study.

Reminder

Unless attached to a longer series, I did not include movies or short films on my list. Also, I did not tackle anything for which BL was not a main plot or did not have, at least, the spark of a happy ending.

So if you’re a BL fan and you notice that some big titles are missing, that’s probably why.

Top Picks

  1. Best chemistry? TharnType 
  2. Most palatable & underrated? He’s Coming To Me
  3. Favorite plot & cast? Until We Meet Again
  4. Best character development? Arthrit (SOTUS series)
  5. Not BL but still great? Poly suspense adventure 3 Will Be Free

Okay, I’m done now.

Happy watching,

Miss Gail


BL Dramas Analyzed from a Writer’s Perspective: PART I

Gentle Reader, I have a lot to say on the subject of BL dramas. Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone out there is interested, but since I got sick I’ve watched way too many I decided I needed an accounting. I love many of them, but I am also troubled by them, and this is my attempt to unpack my mixed feelings as a reader, writer, and queer feminist. (Here’s a surface article if this one seems overwhelming.)

I’ve divided this into two parts. This first installment is going to tackle the bulk of my concerns and analysis of these dramas. PART II is a list of recommendations with trigger warnings: BL Dramas: THE LIST

* Both articles discuss triggering elements, consent, and sexual acts. 

Honestly this could get into PhD thesis territory. I’ve considered turning this into a short book I have so much to say on the subject.

Dean & Pharm in Until We Meet Again

As a result, and mostly for my own ease of use, I put together an anchored TOC.

TOC

First and foremost, I want to make something clear:

This is an analysis and discussion not a critique or a defense.

I’m recognizing that I come from an American/British cultural background and I can only judge from within that lens (there can be no objectivity to pop culture analysis).

I urge you, as you read, when/if you react negatively or positively to something I’ve written here, to pause and think seriously about what that says about you, your up-bringing, and your own culture.

So why do this at all?

What is interesting about fiction to me, as an author of the stuff (and particularly about romance and sexualized representations of queer relationships) is how it speaks to an audience about internalized cultural biases. Both to those audience members who have a queer perspective and those who do not.

What does storytelling say about how we individually (and our society as a whole) define love, sex, and relationships?

So with that in mind, let’s talk BL dramas!

BL Fandom

I don’t consider myself a member of the BL fan community. Apart from everything else, I’m way too old, and too much of a quasi-celeb myself to be AT ALL comfortable with the real world actor/actor shipping and other seeming-obsessive behavior of some BL super fans. So I won’t be using the BL lingo in this post.

In fact, the only lingo I’ll be using is sourced in literary pop-culture analysis, a few terms borrowed from yaoi manga (my introduction to BL), some accidental anthropological stuff, and terms used in the romance author community. I try to define these for you up front.

But first!

Oh wait…

Butt first!

Before my list of BL dramas, I have a ton of codicils and thoughts on cultural differences, queer rep, language, and so much more…

APPROACH

My path to reading queer romance started in Japanese yaoi of the 1990s and 2000s. Todays BL dramas share narrative elements with those stories. A lot of the tropes, archetypes, and themes of yaoi graphic novels are still in place, only now on the screen.

My path looked something like this:

  1. yaoi manga (translated into English by presses like DramaQueen in 1990s-2000s) – A Glossary of Manga Terms for Newcomers
  2. early 2000s m/m romance novels (from small presses like LooseID)
  3. indie gay movies and mainstream queer TV soaps like Queer as Folk and The L Word
  4. Brokeback Mountain
  5. indie m/m romance (at the beginning of  the eBook revolution, my first gay ebook was 2014, and it was Bitterwood which I still love)
  6. gay and lesbian rom-com movies (see some of my favorites here)
  7. gay romance novels & queer #ownvoices YA
  8. queer romance novels
  9. Asian BL dramas

Note that slash and fanfic are not part of my journey? I’m too old.

As a result, as an author, I make a distinction between m/m vs gay vs queer romance, particularly in the fiction world. Here’s a break down of that distinction…

TYPES OF GAY ROMANCE

These are MY DISTINCTIONS, the fiction industry doesn’t usually bother.

  • m/m romance:
    This has more voyeuristic gaze and is written expressly by (mostly straight) women for (mostly straight) women readers. Like yaoi it tends to have a het-style Dominant/submissive chassis (see seme/uke below). Here is the States m/m is sourced in fanfic and slash fiction. To this day I swear I can tell if an author of gay romance comes out of slash (arches brow at Mary Calmes). I don’t mind this, probably because of my own history with yaoi and sexual identity, but some #ownvoices and gay readers really don’t like the m/m style, gaze, fetishization, or moniker.
  • gay romance:
    This is either written by a gay/queer identified person or by a non-queer with a good working understanding of the gay experience as it is now, if perhaps over romanticized. Sex scenes tend to be more graphic than most yaoi or BL, and relationships more complicated, but there are often some residual tropes carried over from m/m and 80s style romance novels. So these can feel a touch old-fashioned in tone. (See also the bara distinction in manga.)
  • queer romance:
    This means the author has a relatively intimate knowledge of the modern queer life experience and makes some effort at honest representation, either because they are queer themselves, or have significant ties to the community sufficient to give them a good working knowledge of terminology and real world relationship dynamics.

Classic yaoi dynamic: Dean & Pharm in Until We Meet Again

I feel like many BL dramas are more m/m then they are actually queer friendly or gay rep. This foundation and resulting sensibilities may cause BL dramas to offend modern American queer identified people and their allies.

You have been warned.

In Asian BL, there are many differences between the dramas coming out of Japan versus China versus Korea versus Taiwan versus Thailand. (Those last two tend to produce my favorites.)

However, the overall tenor of possessive behavior and dubious consent, plus an insistence on a hetero-sexualized central relationship featuring a dominant (seme) pursuing a submissive (uke), is endemic to most BL dramas.

If that dynamic turns you off, these shows are not for you. There is one short series, The Effect, which basically tells this dynamic as the abusive relationship it is with tragic consequences, but every trigger warning in the world for The Effect.

This warning also holds for lots of heterosexual relationships represented in non-BL Asian dramas. Viewers just might not be noticing how passive the uke is when he is a she appearing in something like Eternal Love or Love O2O.

TERMINOLOGY

Speaking of which, for the sake of ease of comprehension, I’m going to use (and already have used) the following important yaoi terms:

seme & uke

Left = Dean/seme; Right = Pharm/uke in Until We Meet Again

  • seme refers to the sexual top or active pursuer (in binary gendered terms this is the masculine or heroic figure), he is usually taller, richer, sterner, and more physically fit
  • uke refers to the sexual bottom or passive pursued (in binary gendered terms the feminine or heroine figure, often the POV character), he is usually smaller, slimmer, kinder, and more gentle

This exemplifies a dysmorphic binary heterosexual dynamic imposed on any gay relationship in BL, and it’s practically mandatory to be considered part of the BL oeuvre. There are exceptions in the details, like the uke may be taller (e.g. Love By Chance), the couple may be equally fit (e.g. TharnType or 2gether), but one character MUST be a top and the other MUST be a bottom.

It’s almost as if love and sex can only exist between two men, or perhaps I should say comprehended to exist, as an unequal partnership. In this, BL has stronger ties to the kink community than the queer community and I tend to think of these as D/s relationships.

Not that that’s an excuse.

Other Terms Used Herein

  • BL drama: boy’s love or boy love – live-action movies, TV, or web series featuring a romantic story arc between:
    • two biological sex and gender-identified men/males
    • one or both of whom are in high school (wearing shorts) or college (wearing pants)
    • who fall in love
    • although the drama may not necessarily be a romance by the current literary definition of the term, as the story may not end happily (hence the reason these are called BL dramas not BL romances)
  • BJ: blow job, of course
  • D/s: Dominant/submissive dynamic where one partner is a sexual dominant vested with the majority of the power to control the relationship/sexual encounter and the other is the submissive partner from whom control is taken
  • dub-con: dubious consensual sexual activities, in which permission for a sexual encounter may be implied but is never expressly asked, and some factor (like alcohol or repeated “no”) makes it concerning even when a physically positive response is depicted from the submissive
  • non-con: non-consensual sex, in which permission for a sexual encounter is never expressly asked and no outside factors (prearranged safeword) make this in any way appropriate, by American definitions this is statutory rape
  • eng sub – English subtitles, when captions are provided in English (usually American spelling)
  • HEA: happily ever after ending that implies that the main couple will stay together in bliss
  • het: heterosexual
  • in world shipping: girl characters in the setting of the story fantasize publicly about the male characters getting together – it’s very meta
  • love confession: often public (but not always) verbal request/demand for acknowledged receipt of romantic interest, with an implication that a yes results in dating exclusivity or status change to official boyfriends (sometimes this confession is broken into two parts, “let me date/flirt with/hit on you and prove myself trustworthy as a partner?” and then “let me show the world that you’re mine?” e.g. 2gether)
  • LTR: long term relationship, usually depicted at the college levels (sophomore-senior), so 3-4 years
  • minor: means both or one of the characters is likely under the age of 18 as part of the story, although usually the actors are not
  • sub-plot: a secondary plot line featuring friends or acquaintances of the main couple who are also on a relationship journey
  • please ask in the comments if there are other terms I use and don’t define (I’ve been at the author game a LONG time and a romance readers since I was 10, so I chuck terms around like everyone should know them)

TROPES & ARCHETYPES

By my definitions, a trope is a culturally shared concept that is imbued with social meaning that helps to create a predictable metaphor or outcome to plot. An archetype is a character that is actually a symbol or motif.

Common TROPES & ARCHETYPES of BL dramas:

Fierce uke can also be possessive, see Tutor in Why R U

  • romanticization of possession, clingy behavior, jealousy, and jealous rages
  • food as a love offering also eating together or feeding someone as an expression of intimacy
  • gestures of infantilization from seme to uke in terms of bathing, feeding, ministering, scolding, orders, and discipline  
  • humor particularly slapstick and camp (except in Until We Meet Again, Addicted, and the History# series)
  • enemies to lovers and/or opposites attract (e.g. SOTUS)
  • friends to lovers particularly common in sub-plots (e.g. Love Sick)
  • instalove or love at first sight (e.g. 2gether)
  • forbidden/hidden/taboo relationships including step brothers falling in love with each other (e.g. Crossing the Line sub-plot )
  • romanticized rape or rape fantasies – I divide this into dub-con and non-con, see above (e.g. the TharnType universe)

    Tin’s “revelation” in Love by Chance

  • gay for you AKA It’s Okay, If It’s You
  • coming out or not coming out as a plot device (e.g Dark Blue Kiss)
  • diminished female characters or a complete absence of them (e.g. 2 Moons 2)
  • fantasized gay social equality in terms of peer group acceptance or encouragement (e.g. 2gether)
  • supportive friendships but unsupportive families (e.g. Until We Meet Again)
  • physical representations of romantic interest mostly as an exchange of jewelry (necklace, earring, rings, bracelets) or representative charms (e.g. the gear in SOTUS)
  • romance femme fatale a female character intent on separating the main gay couple, often an ex-girlfriend (e.g. Ping in 2 Moons 2)
  • the wise fool/noble jester usually a straight male BFF, but sometimes a female friend, who serves as comedic relief but also a plot device for knowledge transfer (e.g. Pond in Love by Chance)
  • romantically tragic endings – particularly in BL from Korea (I don’t review any dramas that have this trope, since I require an HEA from my entertainment)

AUDIO, VIDEO, CAPTIONS

VIDEO

The video and audio quality on many of the YouTube offerings is pretty naff. Sometimes unbearably so. It’s worth the extra ads for the HD, if available.

Most episodes are about an hour long and each is usually broken into 4 parts. When the listing says “uncut” it means these four parts have been stuck back together again. Not, you know, that kind of uncut.

Also, there tends to be over-acting as Americans might term it. It’s a little like something that might show up in a children’s show or panto, particularly in comedic side characters.

The irrepressible Win seducing Team in Until We Meet Again

AUDIO

Audio tends to lean on cartoon sound effects and dramatic music or romantic pop songs at major moments of emotion. To me this seems as if the audio tech doesn’t trust the actors to transmit the emotion needed for comprehension. There’s a puppet-like Punch & Judy feel to this.

Either you can tolerate the absurdity of this, or you will find most BL dramas unbearable. Try the ones out of China and Taiwan to avoid this.

That said, the first three on my list are the least egregious, but the music will always SWELL. (Pun intended.)

CAPTIONS (or eng sub)

The captioning (English subtitles) is mostly done by volunteers, many of them are Thai native speakers with ESL (English as a second language). So the translations are often off, odd, or occasionally incomprehensible.

Also, there are words that just don’t translate directly into English.

And also, there are English slang and colloquial terms, ultra-modern American parlance, queer vocabulary, and longer more old-fashioned terms, that just aren’t taught as ESL and so translators don’t know to use them. (Singular/gender neutral they, for example, would be very useful on many occasions. As would use of the word ravage.)

This can occasionally be really funny. I’ll give an example from Eternal Love (Chinese and not BL).

Basically, it’s all these dignified gods and everyone is bowing all the time. But instead of saying “rise” or “arise” after an obeisance, the social superior says, “get up.” Which, to a native English speaker, sounds very mean and curt and rather rude and modern.

Also somewhat hilarious given context.

Some common mistakes include (my guess at a better term from context):

  • giving me goosebumps – I think a better translation would be creeping me out or giving me the shivers/willies
  • scratch – often actually should be touch, tickle, or horsing around
  • itch – is also Thai slang for being horny, but usually just translated as itchy
  • rape – when spoken of in a joking manner usually should be ravage, fuck, screw with, or screw around with (I have a lot more to say about this in the Consent section) modern romance writer parlance might use wreck
  • this person – should be singular they/them
  • I like you – maybe should be I’m into you or I’m seriously crushing on you or I’m crazy about you, this one is difficult as Americans don’t really define this kind of relationship or level of intimacy as distinct from dating, see love confession in Terminology
  • pluralization of irregular nouns – stuffs, foods

There is confusion over the terms boyfriend and girlfriend… they don’t really exist in polite Thai. The word that’s usually used, faen, is non-gender specific, so more like lover. I kinda adore this as a queer person, but it means that when a man speaks of his lover, people tend to assume it’s a woman, so he is going to have to get very specific in order to come out, either using names, or outright saying, “My lover is a man.”

SETTING

All the BL series I’m going to discuss closely are set in alternate but contemporary Asian environments, mostly Thailand. Almost all of them are set in a college or high school environment.

They are all profoundly influenced by their source country. They have to be. Any Hollywood set piece goes out and promotes a whole mess of American ideals and assumptions, these do the same for their homelands. Nothing is explained, nor should it be.

Friendship and loyalty play huge roles in a high school/college context as acting surrogate family. There is a level of intimacy and involvement in friend’s lives (and love lives) that would be perceived as inappropriate by most Americans, or allowed only between very best female friends of long duration.

The same can be said of sibling relationships. Older siblings and older students have a familial obligation of care to their younger counterparts that can read to Americans as unpardonably nosy, bossy, and interfering.

Oh, and boys go to the toilet together.

Hopefully, if you enjoy the show, you’ll be motivated to learn more about the history and modern culture of its setting.

NAMES & HONORIFICS

FYI several Asian languages dictate that the speaker refers to themself by name in certain sentences, declarations, and contexts (outside of introductions). In Thailand you can use your own name instead of “I/me.”

For example when Pharm is introducing Dean as his boyfriend to his mother in Until We Meet Again, he states the equivalent of “this is Dean the boyfriend of Pharm” or “Pharm’s lover.” Even though Dean is sitting right there next to him. He doesn’t say “this is my boyfriend, Dean” possibly because there is no way to directly formally say that to a parental figure.

I have to say, as someone who meets A LOT of people and forgets names easily, I really like this. I wish English had this linguistic element. It would be great if there were more conversational reasons to say our own names, as it would give people consistent knowledge of correct pronunciation!

Also, a reminder that in China, Taiwan, and Japan, surnames come first. Also address and conversation usually dictates that the full name is used, even between intimates. Calling someone by a pet name or just their first name is always a significant moment and often somewhat intimate if not outright proprietary.

And now a word on Thai BL names specifically (both the ones they call each other on screen and the actor’s names).

The actor, Suppapong Udomkaewkahjana AKA Saint, plays Pete in Love By Chance and Tutor in Why R U

Thai Names for the BL Watcher

Naming conventions are complicated in Thailand, and some of them sound insane to Americans.

There’s a full/written/official/legal name (first + last) and then there is usually a conversational chue len or nickname.

The nickname tends to be the name the person actually goes by both at home and in society.

  • Sometimes the chue len is actually a nickname, as in – a shortening of the legal first name, like Kong for Kongpob.
  • Sometimes the chue len is more a childhood pet name (or in addition to), like Kit.
  • The chue len is decided on by the family. It is usually chosen and given around birth, so unlike in the States, it’s not something you get or earn from your friends (although is can be adjusted to this later).
  • Also it’s sometimes English, or at least written and presented in Latin script, particularly for actors and other public figures.
  • Sometimes it’s what Americans would think of as a normal first name, like Dean or Pete.
  • Sometimes it will seem very odd to Americans, like Team or Type (although it’s usually pronounced differently).
  • Occasionally it’s just the Thai formal first name, like Pharm.

The first letter of the nick name is often shared among sibling, e.g. in Until We Meet Again Dean’s sister is Del and his brother is Don.

Here’s more on Thai names.

Still with me? Okay, now Thai HONORIFICS!

Thai speakers put an honorific in front most names.

This indicates relationship of the speaker to the person they’re addressing. If you don’t know how this works, there are plot points in Thai BL dramas that will not make sense.

For the purposes of understanding Thai BL, here’s a quick breakdown:

Pharm in Until We Meet Again ALWAYS uses the P’ with his boyfriend Dean.

P’ or Phi is for colleagues, friends, and siblings older than the speaker: “P’+[name]”. Phi can also be used alone, e.g. “What’s up, P?” Captions sometimes use “bro” for this, but I don’t think that’s right. The P is rarely dropped, even between lovers. For example, in Until We Meet Again, Pharm calls Dean, who is older than him, P’Dean, even when they are in bed together.

A’ or Ai’ is for same age friends and social equals: “A’+[name]”. In BL the Ai is usually left off by speakers and caption writers. Exceptions are made for polite characters and plot points. For example, Wayo accidentally calls Kit, his senior, Ai in 2 Moons and gets chastised for not using Phi. (This is also a comment on how young and innocent Kit looks.)

Nong: The opposite of Phi. Nong is used for younger sibs or junior colleagues/friends although less often than Phi. It is not often captioned unless being emphasized by the speaker. Under certain circumstances Nong can be considered a diminutive like little one. When used alone it can be translated as “kid.” As in, “See you later, kid.” In Until We Meet Again many of the older boys interested in dating Pharm use Nong on him. Possibly because he is so slight and cute, but also because they know that his seme Dean (who hardly takes his hands out of his pockets) would fuck their shit up if they ever did anything to Pharm. So it’s a tease.

Duen of My Engineer, biggest brat in BL, which I only realized when I noticed he dropped the P’ so quickly

No honorific: Use of a name without honorific when intimacy is not established/codified is considered rude, or at the very least highly presumptive especially if the speaker is younger. Duen drops P’ with his seme (and senior!) Bohn right away in My Engineer. This is a sign of disrespect in response to Bohn’s rudeness but also shows Duen’s brattiness and sets up the combative nature of their relationship. Bohn perversely loves it, and even teases Duen by using the P on him! (Unheard of!) However, they do discuss and revert to the correct honorifics when out with Duen’s little sister, because they don’t want to set a bad example.

Khun: This more formal (gender neutral?) honorific is translated as Mr/Ms/Mrs but it’s rarely used in BL. It’s a character plot point in the SOTUS S final episode and joked about in Why R U

Naming honorifics are significant plot points in 2 Moons, 2 Moons 2, and My Engineer.

Here’s more on Thai honorifics.

THE WAI & HAANG SIENG

Thai greeting wai

The Wai or formal acknowledgment

In Thailand there is something called the wai, or formal Thai greeting/farewell. The wai consists of a slight bow of the head, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion and raised towards the face. The height of hands and depth of bow determines level of respect. In the gif above from 2 moons, Wayo and Ming are greeting P’Forth who is an older student from a different department. Ming (on the right) doesn’t know P’Forth as well as Wayo, so even though he’s a less submissive character he gives more of a bow, plus P’Forth is courting Wayo, so Wayo doesn’t have to be as servile.

Pete(L) is younger & entering P’Oh’s(R) territory so he bows first & deeper

The words usually spoken with the wai are sawat di which sounds, to my ear, like shwa-dee. This is followed by the krub/ka polite particle. Here’s one of the actors from My Engineer, Perth Nakhun, who is Australian but acts in Thai explaining how exactly to pronounce sawat di to both English and Japanese speakers – polyglot much?

So, as a woman, I would say “sawat di, kha” but Pete says “sawat di, krub.”

The closest Western cultural analogy I can think of is Victorian (and earlier) British use of the phrase “How do you do?” which would have been accompanied by a nod, bow, or curtsy.

The Wai is observed upon entering or leaving a house, with parents and members of older generations, and under various other circumstances like meeting older students, plus starting and ending conversations with strangers. It is an important gesture of politeness, gratitude, or occasionally abject apology, and also a means of extracting oneself from an awkward conversation (see Pete in Love By Chance). Younger persons should do it to older persons first, but if in doubt, always Wai.

If you’re planning to travel to Thailand you should read up on and learn the proper way to Wai. It is far far better to Wai than not to Wai.

The haang sieng or polite particles: Krub & Ka

Basically this is a word that comes at the end of a sentence, like spoken punctuation. It is also used alone to acknowledge understanding/or state inquiry. Krub (or khráp, or slightly less formally, kab) is for male speakers and ka (khá) is for female speakers.

Speaking a sentence without adding krub/ka to the end is considered curt, abrupt, and impolite (or at least very informal). They aren’t used often among close friends and older characters may drop use with younger characters in a school setting relatively quickly.

Examples:

Pete in Love By Chance has a near pathological use of krub at all times. He is VERY polite. If you travel to Thailand, BE LIKE PETE.

Type, when he meets Tharn’s family for the first time in TharnType, leans on krub as a crutch. This is a sign of his nervousness as Type is normally a notably crass/brash character who leaves off honorifics and swears a lot.

Dean uses krub with Pharm after Pharm tells him “no need to hurry” in Until We Meet Again. This is a joke way of saying “Yes, sir!” Dean is the seme character and older than Pharm, and prior to this was using gentle but informal language with Pharm. To switch to using krub under those circumstances is a way of teasing Pharm for his presumption in giving an order.

Just saying krub/ka alone is like a simple nod of agreement or acknowledgment of understanding.

However, as honorifics are gendered it’s way more complicated than that.

P’Money in Love By Chance insults Tin, who richly deserves it

An out femme gay man may use the feminine ka. But polite gentleman may also use ka when he is addressing a young female child in a kindly manner. Or a womanizer might use ka when picking up girls at a club.

There are variations, like “ha” or “haa”. They’re still considered polite, but not as much as krub/ka and carry other subtext as they are often used under very specific circumstances (affection, intimacy, siblings or family members) or by certain more fluid genders such as members of LGBTQ+ community or third gender (who also use ja).

There is also “wa” which is an informal mood particle that acts even more like punctuation and is only used among intimates. And finally “na” with is mostly used in questions and pleading, but can be leaned on like English speakers do with rising inflection AKA high rising intonation sentences ends to soften a declarative.

I’m not sure if these less formal particles are technically gender neutral or not.

From a queer perspective, krub/ka is a near constant way to verbally self-gender. Kind of like a formalized state your pronouns.

Here’s more on polite Thai speech.

FOOD

In most Asian entertainment, but particularly in the Thai dramas, food is a REALLY BIG DEAL.

I saw you feed him. (Until We Meet Again)

It represents lots of things: sharing, family, intimacy, caring, community mindedness, provision, non-verbal communication, and love.

Which, of course, I adore possibly more than anything and might be one of the reasons I keep watching these shows.

As a result, feeding someone carries intense weight and significance, as does serving someone from a communal pot. This is the kind of thing ONLY a boyfriend would do.

Since communal meals among friends are commonplace there are a couple of incidences of “mistakes” made trough the simple act of one boy serving or sharing food with his boyfriend when they are not out (see Pete with Kao at family meals in Dark Blue Kiss).

Also food offerings, like buying beverages or snacks, are almost always gestures of caring, and usually represent courtship.

PACING

The pacing of most Asian love stories is different from the Western romance world. It might take a few episodes for the love interest to even be introduced on screen.

In many cases 1/3 of the way through all you get is a lingering hand touch, a hair touch, or maybe a kiss of frustration. In some instances even when an LTR is depicted, maybe one or two kisses are shown on screen (see SOTUS S).

Don’t expect the normal pay out, or a high sexual content, either. The most you ever get to see is tops-off making out that’s very sensual (TharnType universe) or very rough (China and Taiwan do this a lot). Queer as Folk this is NOT.

There’s a lot implied tho…

AFFECTION

Okay, intimacy is different too. I’m not sure on the scale (and it various between countries) but much much much greater weight is given to the following than here is the ol’ USA:

Affection options ( Until We Meet Again )

  • face touching/soft caress (cheek, lips, eyebrows)
  • hair tousling or touching of the head/hair
  • wishing someone sweet dreams
  • hugging
  • forehead kisses
  • cheek kisses (which are more like snuffles in Thailand)

I get the impression these all have profound family-care true-affection emotional meanings, that imply a more significant romantic interest than just a lips-on-lips kiss, which expresses mostly sexual interest.

Also the head often has religious/sacred connotations.

Which is not to say mouth kissing isn’t significant, but a lips kiss seems to be more “just sex” ish, and therefore less romantic than, for example, a hug.

French kissing is rarely, if ever, depicted on screen.

Dean caresses Pharm’s face in public (GASP!) in Until We Meet Again, Dean is very handsy with his uke

For example, in Why R U, Fighter will kiss the stuffing out of Tutor given the slightest opportunity (even though Fighter is dating someone else). But it takes him forever and several aborted attempts to work up the courage to kiss Tutor’s cheek, and only after he’s made a vow of exclusivity.

Holding hands in public may be the only one that carries similar weight as it would in the States.

Possession, ownership, and proprietary behavior (even so far as obsession) is over-romanticized.

“I give five on my confidence, ten on my look. I give over a hundred on how clingy my boyfriend is.”

~ Type talking about Tharn in Why R U (ep. 2)

Distinctions are made between hitting on someone (flirting), dating or trying to date someone (possible exclusivity), and being officially boyfriends or a recognized couple (which I think is a bit more serious than in the USA, more old-fashioned like going steady).

Tharntype and a few others like My Gear and Your Gown acknowledge that there is also the concept of casual sex (fuck buddies) but this isn’t really considered an option in most BL dramas, possibly because they are less sex forward than the TharnType universe.

More food sex stuff from Until We Meet Again

Certain phrases we would say casually have sexual connotations, often associated with other cultural intimacies such as eating or feeding. You can sort of see how this might work.

For example, in Until We Meet Again, much is made of Pharm accidentally offering to eat Dean (like it’s eating in the BJ sense, or more likely offering to feed Dean in the BJ sense, since seme usually goes down on uke). Why R U plays with idea this too.

Later there is direct association between Dean eating Pharm, again as an allegory for sex. I think this could be better translated to the American mind-set as Dean feeding Pharm his cock in the ass-up sense of the phrase.

(Sorry to be crass, but there is is.)

On a less explicit note, wishing someone goodnight, or more likely sweet dreams, is often something only a lover (or someone who wants to be your lover) would do.

Otherwise there are formal/friendship ways of greeting/goodbye. Which brings us nicely to…

RACE & CLASS

There are some frank discussions of aesthetics and standards of beauty in BL, particularly out of Thailand. Pale or fair (AKA bright) smooth skin (in men and women), certain so-called Western-identified features (in men, like a larger nose) and tallness (in men) are considered (and called out as) explicitly handsome.

Subtext: Because you’re so hot? ( Until We Meet Again )

There is a companion implication that a really pretty uke or really handsome seme can turn a straight boy gay (e.g. Kit’s internal monologues about Ming in 2 Moons 2).

On several occasions the equivalent of “you’re handsome, are you mixed?” (race) is asked bluntly (see Tharntype). Also the Adam’s apple and thick eyebrows seem to be be somewhat fetishized.

The opposite is implied ugly, and clearly carries with it racial stereotyping and/or certain class/rural or uneducated implications.

King’s sister in My Engineer shipping her brother with Ram (before they get together).

Often darker skinned or shorter male characters, even when they are the love interest, are depicted or referred to as tougher, more violent, crass, less controlled, regrettably informal, or uncivilized.

For example, in Love By Chance, Ae (who is shorter and has a tan) is called the roughly translated equivalent of “grassroots shorty” while Pete (his love interest who is taller and very pale) is mostly referred to as Koon-Chai a kind of “princely gentlemen.” Although both of the Thai terms used lack a direct translation into English.

There’s clearly complicated linguistic underpinnings to class and wealth.

Most BL dramas take place in private high schools or at the university level, which puts a wealth barrier in place. There is also a clear language of formality that ties to class and money also effecting social dynamics.

Much is made of the physical differences between Pete & Ae in Love by Chance

Establishing who is older, and whether there is any familial relationship, is pretty vital right away (see my notes on naming conventions and honorifics above).

Not only what characters say, but how they say it to each other, carries significant weight and judgement. As Americans reading captions we cannot hope to fully understand the nuances.

Pete in Love By Chance is the most startling representation of this. His speech is very formal and polite, all the time, even in bed.

The contrast between how he speaks and how his seme, Ae, speaks is shocking even to an untrained ear, and must be profoundly significant to a native Thai speaker.

The best (not quite right) comparison to this might be how certain British accents are considered impossibly posh and blue blooded – like the Eton accent, while others are considered merely highly educated – like the BBC accent, while others are considered lower class – like the Cockney accent.

SEXUAL IDENTITY

There is an amorphous lack of definition to sexual identity in a lot of BL dramas.

Very rarely do characters outright identify as gay or bi (or in one case, gray/demi/ace). In a few instances, the couple never comes out of the closet at all, because it would be too dangerous.

Thus, these BLs are not necessarily queer affirming, and you’re often left with the impression that the HEA will be a struggle, even in the rom-coms.

GASP?! Alex in Until We Meet Again

The implication most of the time is that these are gay for you stories and that the main characters are not, in fact, actually gay. Instead, it’s just they are overwhelmed by this one person. There is a ton of discussion in queer author communities about the damage done by this trope in queer romances (not the least of which is bi/pan erasure), so I won’t be covering it here.

There are some exceptions:

  • Pete in Love by Chance, Tharn in Tharntype, and Fei Sheng Zhe in History2: Right or Wrong all openly identify as gay. In all three cases, their ownership and acknowledgment of this identity is a plot point and a problem for the character.
  • Alex in Until We Meet Again identifies as bisexual. And Frame in Make It Right probably would ID as Pan, if he knew the term.
  • Prae in SOTUS identifies as a lesbian.
  • There’s a kind of tacit acknowledgment amongst Kao’s friends in Kiss Me Again and Wayo’s friends in 2 Moons & 2 Moons 2 that when they date, they date dudes, but it’s never discussed openly.

And… that’s about it. (More recent offerings are expanding on this but it’s moving slow.)

Heterosexuality in BL

In a strange way, this gay for you underpinning diminishes any het relationships the boys also have, or plot points where a femme fatale is introduced. Loving a woman is seen as somehow different or lesser (in context of a feelings so powerful it literally turns a guy gay) and therefore a girlfriend is less important than the all-consuming obsession driving the primary gay relationship (that would cause a man to defy social normals and his own “natural” inclinations).

Only Love Sick directly addresses this.

This base assumption ties to a prevailing idea that gay love (and acting sexually as a result of that love) is both corrupt/unnatural while simultaneously being more/better/different than a heterosexual relationship. This means that cheating on an existing het relationship with a man, is somehow not bad, or not as bad, as other forms of cheating.

Owning a Gay Identity in BL

In many cases, characters are teased, beaten up, or abused by friends or family members for their love affair and that behavior is not condemned by the lens of the drama (it’s more: well, that’s life, dude, suck it up if you want to suck cock).

Trans women, gender fluid masc presenting, or femme out gay men are often depicted negatively, play stalker or predatory characters, or are, at the very least, queeny and campy. In Thai dramas these characters tend to always be present and have a liminal third gender-esque linguistic identity. In interviews, some of the actors refer to these characters as third gender, although the term is not in use within the dramas themselves (so far as I can tell).

In TharnType gay is conflated with pedophile without challenge. (There is a reason TharnType is such a long entry on my list, it has many issues.)

Type aggressively owning the term “Wifey” and a uke/bottom identity in Why R U

If friends/peers know about the gay relationship, casual use of and joking reference to the uke partner as “wife” or “wifey” might occur (from the seme himself and/or their more accepting friends). Yes, this implies that the wife is the one taking it, and yes, friends and outsiders (even family) have an almost pathological need to establish this dynamic.

In this sense, any gay relationship can only be seen or modestly accepted if it mirrors a heterosexual relationship.

Yeah, so, there’s also that. Sigh.

CONSENT

So in BL, from all I’ve seen, consent is NOT sexy.

Colloquially known in the romance business as non-con or dub-con both are a near constant thing in BL dramas. I am not excusing it, but it happens in het dramas out of Asian countries ALL THE TIME too.

Actually asking for it in Until We Meet Again

Particularly around alcohol. It is assumed that alcohol lowers a characters inhibitions so he does what he really wants to do. Or, at the very least, that in drinking too much he basically deserve to be taken advantage of. (Examples of this from American pop culture include 16 Candles and Revenge of the Nerds.)

Yeah, yech.

Whether booze-instigated or not, acceptance of the idea is based on this premise:

The seme is so overwhelmed with his feelings (and so bad at talking about them, admitting them, or dealing with how they change his sexual orientation) that he lashes out at the source of them, the uke.

This can take the form of fist fights (when we deal with an enemies-to-lovers trope – see Pete and Kao in Kiss Me Again). Or it can take the form of rape, or start as rape until the uke submits (argh).

There is a kink component to this and it means a lot of the sex scenes involve the uke being physically held down by the seme, even if the seme is a sweetling love muffin like Ae in Love By Chance.

Ae giving in to his seme urges and holding Pete down against the lockers in Love by Chance

One important point though, when the word “rape” is used in jocular/teasing conversation between characters (e.g. Wayo and Ming in 2 Moons), this is actually a flawed translation to get around censorship.

The Thai word used means “to do sexual things with force/intent.”

I think the correct modern term is probably fuck (as in the verb: aggressive, masculine, and penetrative), and the ESL doing the captioning doesn’t realize that screw is a pretty decent alternate term best used to get around blackballing or even the more twee and old-fashioned ravage.

There’s also a trope of actually kidnapping someone for love, especially in BL from China and Japan. So, huh?

Safe, sane, and consensual?

Not so much.

The underpinning assumption is basically: if the uke doesn’t like it, he’s a dude so he should just defend himself physically.

TharnType is horrible on this one.

For example, as if to prove the point that “uke likes it or he’d just fight” we actually see Type, in a jealous rage, fully defend himself by kneeing Tharn in the groin, thus proving that he can fight if he wants to. It’s just in the past he hasn’t bothered.

Dean touches Pharm immediately in Until We Meet Again establishing intimacy/ownership on the basis of their shared past life

TharnType also defies code by representing a sexual relationship between equally physically fit men, where as most BL pairings have a size/fitness differential.

The smaller and sweeter the uke, the more the onus is on the seme to “be a gentleman” while simultaneously sanctifying when he “can’t take it anymore” because the uke is “just too darn cute.”

Most commonly this is expressed as “the uke doth protest too much” AKA “no means yes.”

I actually remember the USA university no means no campaign of the late 90s. The sweeping policy changes were much discussed by students at the time. You see, in my lifetime, there was indeed an American belief that saying “no” was really just a flirtatious way of saying “yes,” and that the dominant partner knew better and only had to push a bit harder to get the submissive partner to relent.

The idea of protesting as a form of flirtation/encouragement permeated 80s American romance fiction, and still pops up (I’m looking at you, 50 Shades), and it’s a prevailing part of the kink scene because it is still perceived very sexy whether we like it not.

Here are some ways this manifests in BL:

How dare you want sex? (Until We Meet Again)

  • Seme is overwhelmed by his lust for uke.
  • Seme won’t take no for an answer because his needs are too great and his needs take precedence.
  • This is what the uke really wants, anyway, isn’t it?
  • If the seme makes the choice for the uke, then the uke is not at fault and is still an innocent.
  • If the uke is interested in sex, he’s made impure or dirty by this interest.
  • The seme must read the uke’s mind and know what the uke really wants.
  • Sex of any kind diminishes both parties but particularly the one submitting, so the uke can’t possibly bear the responsibility of wanting sex, so the decision must be made by the seme for both of them.

Those are only some of the damaging messages underneath this narrative device. It doesn’t stop this from being used A LOT in BL dramas.

Tutor in Why R U is the only uke character on my list with an active interest in sex (expressed aggressively). His seme, Fighter, still spends half their time together worried about hurting him and trying to be a gentleman. That said, in TharnType Type comes around eventually to loving bottoming, but this series has so many issues with consent I can’t legitimately use him as a positive example of anything.

Oh and safe sex?

Let’s just say I spend an inordinate amount of time yelling at the screen about condoms and lube.

CRASSNESS

Friends Teasing BL

Many of these dramas are far more frank about masturbation and non-sexual bodily functions than Americans are accustomed to seeing on screen. You’ll see outright discussion of both, particularly from straight male side characters who usually play the wise fool archetype to the gay boys (like Pond in Love by Chance and June in Kiss Me Again).

There are also female/gender queer friends fulfilling/playing jester roles who act in clownish or in overly flirty ways. These characters are rarely considered threatening, no matter how outrageous they are, because female is identified by the narrative as submissive and therefore safe and non-aggressive. Straight men will happily flirt/joke with out femme gay characters, and a protective seme usually feels safe leaving his uke with a queer gender-fluid support group (e.g. 2 Moons 2).

On a more serious note, threat of man-on-man rape is casually joked about (even if they might not exactly mean rape, more ravage, sometimes they really do mean rape).

Also non-con voyeurism, peeping Toms, perving, and plying someone with alcohol with sexual intent, are all considered rather cheeky and not necessarily negative.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Product placement in most BL dramas is totally egregious. So so so bad. Really, honestly, awful. But hey, whatever makes enough money to make these, I guess?

The worst offender is 2gether, but most of the Thai dramas feature significant product placement. It’s how the series are paid for, one assumes. This doesn’t happen as much in BL out of Taiwan.

Okay, I think that’s all the warnings I have.

Other People’s Thoughts

Still with me?

Then read on for Part 2: THE LIST!

Happy watching, may all your dumplings be purple and all your milk be pink,

Miss Gail

Tutor & Fighter in Why R U


If You Like My Books, Try These Black Authors (Gail Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

It’s weird, Gentle Reader, to try to figure out what people like about one’s own books. But after ten years I have some idea, so I hope you’ll humor my list attempts.

I believe that people read my stuff for comfort, because I’m gentle to my characters, and light and fluffy and funny. People come back to my books because I have queer representation, and because they know there will be romance, found family, and an HEA – basically lots of Heroine’s Journeys.

I tend to think of my stuff in terms of what it is not: gritty, dark, tragic.

So with that in mind, I have some book recs for you that I tried to organize loosely by what you might be looking for next. I chose two per category to focus on, but there’s also longer lists at the bottom.

Something steampunk?

For lovers of the Parasolverse…

P. Djèlí Clark‘s The Black God’s Drums 

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air–in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Scott Westerfeld called this book:

“A sinewy mosaic of Haitian sky pirates, wily street urchins, and orisha magic. Beguiling and bombastic!”

Nikki Woolfolk‘s series of steampunk novellas

Based in an amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone, her characters are also immensely tough, charming, and queer AF. She also has a cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? She knows what she’s talking about too, she is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. Which are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world.

Something with strong tricky female main characters?

For lovers of the Delightfully Deadly series…

LL McKinney‘s A Blade So Black (The Nightmare-Verse series)

Is a thrilling YA urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland, if you or your teen reads Marissa Meyer, then this series is for you.

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Alyssa Cole‘s historical spies series, The Loyal League

Cole writes romantic historical, scifi, and contemporary with lots of queer rep. Honestly she has something for everyone. Her historical series is period-drama-delightful full of machinations and spies, so if the Finishing School was your jam, try this series.

Something whimsically alt history?

For lovers of the floof…

C. L. Polk‘s acclaimed Witchmark

Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) with more to come, was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk’s novella The Midnight Bargain is described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!

Rebel Carter’s Gold Sky series

This is the first in a Western shared town series all of which feature different interracial couples and groupings, fluffly alt-history of the best kind. This first one is two men who love each other and their mail order bride, the second features is a mail order groom, and the third a best friends to lovers romance.

Fun & Sexy?

If what you really love of my books is when I get all over with the sexy, then here are some authors who bring on the heat with a side of humor and romance.

A. E. Via‘s Promises series

Via’s gay romances featuring tough military-types with soft squishy centers are some of my favorites, I chronically reread. The sex scenes are numerous and extremely hot, and written with such skill. I would take a master class from her on how to do sexy and emotional at the same time. If you’re a chronic romance reader Via will have hit up at least one of your favorite tropes. I happen to be a big May December fan, so the first Promises book is one of my favorites. Tough bounty hunter with self-worth issues is pursued by a much younger lawyer who came back into town expressly to reconnect with the man of his dreams. Gah, so good.

Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series

Guillory’s rom coms are (so far) het central, but her supporting cast of characters is always super representative and queer friendly. Lots of found family themes and a ton of humor. Start with The Wedding Date:

“A swoony rom-com brimming with humor and charm.” ~ Entertainment Weekly

“What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel….One of the best books I’ve read in a while.” ~ Roxane Gay

YA with serious girl power?

For lovers of the Finishing School series…

Dhonielle Clayton‘s The Belles series

Okay if you like Hunger Games or The Selection then you need to read these books RIGHT NOW. No, seriously, start with the first one and just keep going. If you have a teen who liked either of these, hell I’ll chuck Maas into “also like” mix, they should be reading these books. They are THAT GOOD.

Brittney Morris‘s debut SLAY

“Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther – inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.”

Queer rep?

For lovers of the San Andreas and Supernatural Society series…

Alyssa Cole‘s Reluctant Royals series

Already on this list once, here Cole is again, this time for her reluctant royals series. More light-hearted than her historical stuff and mostly with het central characters, I would start with the adorable lesbian novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.

Holley Trent/H.E. Trent pick your joy, she’s got it all

Seriously, what does this woman not write? She’s amazing. Whatever your preference, she’s probably written you the romantic joy you crave: scifi, paranormal, contemp with poly, menage, gay, het). I like scifi romance a lot, so I would start with Wager.

More Black Authors Writing Queer Joy here:

Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

Authors from above will also appear on this list, for ease of copy/paste and printing.

More Black Authors Writing Genre Fiction

Mostly SciFi & Speculative Fiction

Mostly Fantasy & Horror

Romance

There tends to be more romance on my lists than other books because I gravitate so strongly towards the heroine’s journey, and romance is a guaranteed HEA. These days I read more romance than ever before, so I have a better understanding on what’s happening in this field.

YA

More Lists!

More we can do?

If you are a member of the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group there is a long ongoing list available:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/the-parasol-protectorate-group/poc-authors-to-read/556926225245343/

(Hot link not permitted, you’ll need to copy and paste into your browser, and you need to be a member of the group. Sorry, it was the best way to organize the fans, I do pull from there to update my lists here.)

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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Note, this is an ever growing list, as I find more I’ll add more, I promise!

The links?

Where possible I linked directly to the author’s main website. For the book links, some of these authors write indie, and some of those are Amazon exclusive, in which case the link I shared goes straight to Amazon. Otherwise I’ve included links to as many platforms as possible, including audio when I find it. At no extra cost to you these links have affiliate codes. Anything I earn from them I will double and donate to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


Gail Carriger Meets Mercedes Lackey ~ A Fangirl Story (Video)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Dear Gentle Reader,

Mercedes Lackey is one of my favorite authors. She is important to me as an inspiration. When I got to meet her in person I learn she’d my books and enjoyed them, I might have lost my tiny mind.

Gail Carriger Mercedes Lackey Fangirl

I still get giddy thinking about it.

Here is a short video in which I tell the story of the first time I met Mercedes Lackey. I am not the hero of this story. It is embarrassing because I was a professional author and went total fangirl. Please, enjoy my embarrassment…

So, yeah, what a fan girl I was! How much I do I owe to author/narrator Lauren Harris?

“Are we… HUGGING friends?”

I want to reiterate that what Lauren and I wanted to impress upon her was the fact that her books were so very important because they gave us a model of fantasy that included alternate sexuality. As she went to pains to point out, there were other genre authors doing this before her. But those authors were generally less accessible to young women.

Her books were/are important because in them queer wasn’t a big deal. It just was. And so when Lauren and I began to write it just was for us, too.

Normalization.

That, my darlings, is a powerful instrument of change.

Lackey Books!

Here is a short list of some of Lackey’s books that I recommend all the time:

The Last Herald Mage series

The first fantasy book I ever read with a queer main character. Warning, it’s hella sad.

The Arrows series

I think of these books as YA and I still love them so much. There’s some triggers for violence and bullying, but certainly no worse than hunger games. And since these are about be special but also about finding friends and family and making your way in the world… so good.

By the Sword 

This stand alone is probably my favorite Lackey book and if you are going to start anywhere, start with this one. It’s so good. A lady knight type character kicking ass and taking names, finding her place and her family, upsetting monarchies… you know, as you do.

Knight of Ghosts and Shadows (with Ellen Guon)

This was one of the very first books I ever read that had a poly-amorous triad at its heart. Lackey wrote urban fantasy before it was cool, and did it with her usual charm and aplomb (not to mention a few subtle jabs at various dominant cultural paradigms).  Want your elves in LA and bumming about the Renaissance Faire? Then this book if for you. The romance is very light, but still present, and this book may have the most romantic ending ever. (Read my full review on Goodreads.) (no ebook edition)

Lackey Queer by Ursula Vernon @ursulav on twitter

By the amazing Ursula Vernon @ursulav on twitter

More about my relationship with Mercedes Lackey and her work?

Queer Characters? Blame Mercedes Lackey, Behind The Supernatural Society (Special Extras)

This Is Why I Write: 10 Books That Inspired & Formed Gail’s Identity As An Author (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Want monthly books recs in your inbox? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR!

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy Gail Model Green Vintage Dress Boots Brown Square

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Tsana’s Reads says:

“I recommend the book to fans of Gail Carriger’s other supernatural Victoriana books. I also suggest it’s a pretty good place for a new reader to dip their toes in, since the book stands alone well and introduces the particular flavour of Carriger vampires (and werewolves, but less so).”

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Green Teacup Orchid Stensil square

Writerly Tincture 

On the origin of the word “blurb.”

Book Nibble 

A fun podcast interview I did with a bunch of librarians on the PLP Fiction podcast talking books.

Quote to Sip 

Quote Changeless Scottish Kilts Knees Ivy


Black Authors Writing Queer Comfort

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

One of my reading wheelhouses, Gentle Reader, is queer comfort. These are books, mostly romances, featuring queer characters where trials might happen but things all turn out okay in the end. One of the reasons I like these books is because I see them as writing into existence the future we all want.

I struggle to come up with what I can do to help the world right now, and mostly my practice is to try to put good out into it. I’m a reader and a writer, that’s what I know best, and that is where my voice carries the most strength and weight.

So here, without further ado, for Pride and in support of Black authors and artists, are some amazing Black voices – writers – creatives who bring joy and comfort with their talent.

Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole’s reluctant royals is more light-hearted but her historical stuff is way more period-drama-delightful so it’s a case of pick your edition with Cole. Most of her stuff is het, so I would start with her charming queer novella, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy.

A. E. Via

Via’s gay romances featuring tough military-types with soft squishy centers are some of my favorites, I chronically reread. The sex scenes are numerous and extremely hot, and written with such skill. I would take a master class from Via on how to do hot and emotional at the same time. If you’re a chronic romance reader Via will have hit up at least one of your favorite tropes. I happen to be a big May December fan, so the first Promises book is one of my favorites. Tough bounty hunter with self worth issues is pursued by a much younger lawyer who came back into town expressly to reconnect with the man of his dreams. Gah, so good.

Kilby Blades

Describes herself as an author of romantic fiction (rather than romance) but her queer offering, Adam Bomb, is definitely romantic. However, if you don’t consider yourself a romance reader, do yourself a favor and check out some of her other offerings. Not only is her website a thing of beauty and a joy forever, what’s amazing about Kilby Blades is how sharp she writes, I think the blades thing runs true in all her work. Also, if you’re an author yourself, check out her non-fiction, particularly the Book Marketing Audit.

Christa Tomlinson

Tomlinson writes both gay sci fi and gay superheroes, yeah! I’m into the sci-fi ones, you know me, it’s a niche I totally adore. Tomlinson also writes heterosexual romance. Almost all her stuff is in KU, so if that is your jam, check her out!

C. L. Polk 

Like my Parasolverse? Try C. L. Polk whose acclaimed Witchmark (followed by Stormsong) was described as “a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.” Polk has a new book this fall, The Midnight Bargain, described as a “fantasy of manners.” Yes please!

Nikki Woolfolk 

Nikki is probably the one who, if you like my parasolverse stuff, you’ll like these stories the most. This is a series of queer steampunk novellas based in an amazing alternate historical USA world. Worth checking out for the world building alone.

Nikki also has a queer cozy mystery series (start with Mise en Death) featuring, you guessed it, FOOD! I mean come on, what is not to love? Nikki knows the insides and outs, too, because Nikki is ALSO the genius behind Belle Monde Chocolates. These are, without question, my favorite chocolates in the world. No seriously. They are amazing. If you don’t want to read, at least EAT. NOM.

Belle Monde Chocolates Nikki

More Suggestions?

More Lists!

* That’s my spy name: Bonus Bisexual. Can’t you just hear it over the coms, “Time to send in… da da da dum… the Bonus Bisexual.)

More we can do?

  • Order Books from Black-Owned Bookstores
  • Not feeling like reading right now? How about tea? Or chocolate? Or more tea?
  • Buy books with POC on the cover! Read amazing romance author Naima Simone‘s article about this. I’ve noticed it in my own sales and this is a horrible, rarely discussed prejudice in buying behavior (and publisher reactive behavior).
  • Write to and urge major book bloggers and taste makers (I’m looking at you BookBub) to consider books by Black authors.

Another fun article to read?

Why We Need Queer Escapist Lit from The Lesbrary

A fun watch?

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

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The links?

Where possible I linked directly to the author’s main website. For the book links, some of these authors write indie, and some of those are Amazon exclusive, in which case the link I shared goes straight there. Otherwise I’ve included links to as many platforms as possible, including audio when I find it. At no extra cost to you these links are sponsor codes. Anything I get from them will be donated to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


30 Days of Queer Reads for #ReadingPride

Posted by Gail Carriger

I like to participate in lots of book sharing memes on Instagram, Gentle Reader.

Since June is Pride Month, I decided to make my own to celebrate #ReadingPride.

06 June Queer Books Month #ReadingPride

Please feel free to gank this image and share as widely as you like, also to photograph or just Tweet/Post each day any queer reads you feel fit this criteria. The hashtag to follow is #ReadingPride.

I’m going to try to remember to do this each day, but in case I forget here’s my list.

What Would Gail Read MM Gay Romance Books

Gail Carriger’s #ReadingPride

  1. First queer book I remember reading ~ Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey (read about my relationship with this book and author here)
  2. A queer book that reminds me of home ~ Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews (because of the isolated beaches)
  3. A queer book that has been on my TBR for too long ~ Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (I don’t know why I haven’t read this yet) alternatively Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole is also supposed to be great
  4. A queer book with a name or number in the title ~ Loving Jay by Renae Kaye (a great Sydney-based author) or Atom Bomb by the amazing Kilby Blades
  5. A queer book where the main character has a fun or interesting job ~ Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala (alien linguist)
  6. My favorite queer graphic novel (for kids or adults) ~ Brother by Yuzuha Ougi (brings new meaning to the word graphic) 
  7. A queer book that I find myself rereading all the time ~ Earth Fathers are Weird by Lyn Gala (such a comforting book). Another queer book I reread constantly is AE Via’s Promises it’s just so sexy and sweet and bone achingly romantic, full of pining and sacrifices, and very hot sex
  8. A queer book with a happy ending ~ Taji From Beyond the Rings by R Cooper (it’s hard fought but happy)
  9. A queer book over 100 pages ~ Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (long book, long series)
  10. My favorite queer genre novel (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery) ~ Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson (I have lots of these, but this one represents both genres so well both fantasy and gay romance), how about my favorite queer steampunk novel? Invitation by Nikki Wolfolk, the world building is insanely good
  11. A queer book I love from a genre I normally don’t read/like ~ The Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane (I generally don’t like fairy tale re-tellings)
  12. A queer book with a strong sense of place ~ Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell (cold wooded winter atmosphere)
  13. A queer book that really made me think ~ Pansies by Alexis Hall (such a complicated take on childhood bullies, coping, revenge, reprisal, and forgiveness)
  14. A queer book that made me cry ~ Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton (the scene with his mom in the cafe)
  15. A queer book that made me laugh out loud ~ The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune (bone achingly funny)
  16. A queer book that is really personal to me ~ Bonfires by Amy Lane (it’s partly responsible for my becoming friends with Amy)
  17. My favorite queer book that is a sequel or spin off ~ A Fool and His Manny by Amy Lane (she has a whole Manny series but this is my favorite)
  18. My favorite queer book by a favorite author ~ For Real by Alexis Hall (Alexis Hall is a truly amazing writer who has written all kinds of queer in all kinds of genre, this is the only BDSM one, and it is truly remarkable and amazing)
  19. A queer book that changed my life ~ Knight of Ghosts and Shadows by Mercedes Lackey (for obvious reasons)
  20. My favorite queer book series ~ R Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series (I will read anything R Cooper writes)
  21. A queer book I recommend a lot ~ The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (it could have landed in many of these categories, it’s that good)
  22. A queer book that made me take action ~ Granddad’s Cup of Tea by Amy Rae Durreson (I have never waited so long and so hopefully to be able to recommend a story)
  23. A queer book by an author who is dead ~ The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault (such a painfully sad book from the queen of gay historical fiction)
  24. A queer book I wish I’d read when I was younger ~ Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (my life would be different if this book came out when I was a teen)
  25. Queer historical book with a strong sense of time ~ The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (the scion of Mary Renault’s first book, which is a work of genius)
  26. A queer superhero book or comic ~ Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
  27. My favorite queer children’s picture book ~ Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack and Stevie Lewis (every kid should get to read this)
  28. A queer book that made me feel uncomfortable ~ Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford (very violent)
  29. A queer book that made me fall in love ~ Frog by Mary Calmes (I fell in love with Mary Calmes)
  30. The queer book with my favorite ending ~ Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister

I hope you enjoyed this list and really hope you’ll consider participating and suggesting your own favorite books!

Meanwhile this is happening this month.

Gail Author Event Baton Rouge Library

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Did you want a special book recommendation once a month in your inbox? I send thsoe to my Chirrup members. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR

The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Your Vendor of Choice | Direct from Gail

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.

Boy Meets Boy says:

“This was smart and complex, contemplating human and alien nature as Carriger creates a fascinating species with their own complicated problems and foibles. Such contrasting dynamics always bring an interesting perspective in seeing ourselves from another point of view and to be more accepting and opening minded about others’ choices and beliefs.”

Here’s something lovely & meta for you: Dirty Mad Libs at Balticon 53 as part of the Nobilis Erotica podcast includes my cover art designer, Starla, doing said mad libs with 5th Gender.

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Lilliput Lick Window Look Suit Tie Bow Filter

Lilliput cosplays Madame Lefoux

Writerly Tincture 

These 2020 LGBTQ+ Romance Books Need To Be In Your TBR

Book Nibble 

Mike and I reading the first 30 minutes of The Curious Case of the Werwolf that Wasn’t

Quote to Sip 

Hilarious series of article titles on Sydney’s gay penguins, read from the bottom up.

Hilarious series articles titles on gay penguins


Lady Knight Books (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Dear Gentle Reader,

Can I talk to you about books featuring lady knights?

Lady Knight Books Header

Reading Glasses Podcast has this thing the call “Your Reading Wheelhouse.” One of mine is lady knights. I absolutely LOVE a book about a lady knight.

A little while ago I did this tweet…

My Favorite Lady Knight Books

Taming the Forest King by Claudia J Edwards (sadly out of print)

By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey

The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce

The Hero & the Crown by Robin McKinley

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Books Shelf YA McKinley Pierce Pope

Books I Have Not Read but Fans Suggested

  • A Knight to Remember by Bridget Essex
  • Starless by Jacqueline Carey
  • The Afterward by EK Johnston
  • The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
  • One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Rose Crown by Catherine Glenn

Other People’s Lists

And here’s an associated blog post:

5 Books That Will Shock Your Pants On: Reading About Women Who Dress As Men, or Girls Disguised as Boys (Miss Carriger Recommends)

If you want to know whenever I post a review, follow me on BookBub or Goodreads.

Yours (destined to be killed by a tumbling TBR pile),

Miss Gail

  • Did you want a book rec from me once a month? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

BOOK DE JOUR!

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy suggestion by Annie Earley

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Direct from me?

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Tiny Navajo Reads says:

“I love Dimity, I love Crispin and his morality, and I love how much a change of scenery can change not only a person, but their outlook on life as well. If you’re looking for more of Gail Carriger’s writing, or just want to know what happened to the girls after Finishing School, then you need to read this book next!”

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Fashion plate, 1909. vis she who worships carlin tumblr parasol

Fashion plate, 1909. vis she wo worships carlin tumblr

Writerly Tincture 

Four Problematic Tropes to Drop

Book Nibble 

Soulless has over 1000 reviews on Amazon. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Quote to Sip 


Silly stories of Gail the Fangirl, Bonnets and Glue Guns, Defy or Defend (Behind the Magic Video)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello my darling Gentle Reader,

Quick first update: My boxed set is on SUPER sale right now! (No idea how long this will last, I wasn’t told ahead of time and it might be a mistake.)

PP Boxed Set Sale

It is up at $6.99 for ALL 5 BOOKS (ebook USA & Canada ONLY). This is insane. I’ve never seen my publisher do this before! So take advantage while it lasts and please spread the word!

The Finishing School series is also on sale for $9.99 (ebook USA & Canada ONLY).

And now, your regularly scheduled blog post!

New video for you! More things making me happy.

Gail Carriger Blue Bonnet FB Live Pub Still

In which I confess that my only true skill in life is wielding a hot glue gun (with bonnet as proof). I tell the story of fangirling over Mercedes Lackey. “Are we… hugging friends?”

I mention my upcoming book, Defy or Defend, and give a few non-spoiler sneak peeks.

Go to Borderlands Books for a signed edition.

I talk about wisteria, playing neighborhood frogger, and my mom hilariously learning (or not) how to use video chat, and show and tell the books and tea making me happy right now.

Gail Carriger Facebook Live Lipstick Airy

Citations & Reference Links!

Rishi Masala Chai Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger Defy Or Defend FB Live Pritn Edition

Book Suggestions

 

Books That Make Me Happy (Miss Carriger Recommends Comfort Reads)

What My Set Up Looks Like

Here’s a bit from behind the scenes, the set up in my office before I start the Live video.

Office Behind the Scenes FB Live Blue Bonnet Hat Couch

Before you ask, pictured:

Yours (at least I’m trapped in style),

Miss Gail

  • Did you miss my latest release announcement? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR?

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

Writerly Tincture 

Why We Love Untranslatable Words

Book Nibble 

An ode to… Gail Carriger

Quote to Sip 

Quote Gail Talking Romance


My Biggest Gripes with Austen Movies (Miss Gail Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Generally speaking, Gentle Reader, when times are tough I watch Austen movies. I know, I know, but we all have our visual comfort food.

Austen Movie Sins Promo Blog Post

I don’t like to be negative here on the blog, but I figure taking sublime umbrage in a Jane Austen movie adaptation ranks pretty low on the totem poll of putting negativity out into the world. Still, if you come here for all things positive, best to skip this post.

Still with me?

For the purposes of this discussion I’m going to talk about only those movies and miniseries produced in the last 20 years.

I have plenty of gripes with the 1970s BBC series of adaptations, but those party stem from being made the 1970s, just as it would for some of the 1950s and earlier black & white productions.

All of these, then, I tend to think of as period pieces, both in and of themselves, and representing the aesthetic and directorial style of he time in which they were made. As such, I hold them to different standards.

So without further adoo…

Gail’s Biggest Pet Peeves in Austen Movies

Okay then, let’s talk things about Austen adaptations that bother me.

Hair Sins Austen Wear it Up

A Lady’s Hair Is WORN UP

For goodness sake. There is absolutely no excuse of any grown female character in an Austen movie to have her hair down and loose. Under no circumstances, outside of the bedroom, would this have been acceptable. Even young girls would have had it plaited or tied with ribbon, or treated in some way.

We are talking Austen characters here, basically tradeswomen and higher ranked. THE HAIR WOULD BE UP.  It is absolutely unacceptable in a period piece to break this society regulation. It’s upsetting to watch, breaks the suspension of disbelief, and instantly modernizes a character.

It’s like being at the Renaissance Faire and seeings someone in full proper garb… wearing sun glasses.

Sanditon hair ARGH

Sanditon is doubly egregious in this manner, her hair cut and styling are entirely modern, plus she is at a very windy beach half the time, where any normal human with long hair would tie it back, doesn’t even matter if it’s period or not. The director’s choice in this matter is unforgivable.

Billie Mansfield Park Austen Half Back Hair

Billie Piper’s half-back atrocity in Mansfield Park, and Jemima Rooper’s ultra modern bob in Lost in Austen, I’m assuming have something to do with the actress weighing in on brand image. (And yes, I get that Lost in Austen is portal fantasy, but if she’s putting on the period dresses she should put up her mother-fing-hair!)

Lost Austen Modern Bob

Incidentally, Gwyneth’s Emma is a bit too severely scraped back into a bun, she looks like a ballet dancer half the time. And I can’t stand even thinking about Kiera’s neck bangs in Pride & Prejudice.

Regency Hairstyles Jane Austen

What I expected?

At the very least: parted in the middle, curls at the side of the face, bun directly at the back or slightly higher up. Yes they got more elaborate than this, but this is the basic. Here’s a historical article on the subject. The 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini series does a decent job with the hair.

Glove SIns Austen

Ladies Wore Gloves In Public!

This is a harder one to spot in movies, but generally speaking, ladies and gentlemen of a certain class (or aspiring to that class) wore gloves in public for everything BUT eating. So sitting down at a meal, or eating from the buffet at a ball = no gloves. Otherwise, dancing, walking, socializing, visiting = GLOVES!

Pride and Prejudice Kiera Darcy No Gloves Ball Austen

In the Keira Pride & Prejudice movie she and Darcy are not wearing gloves at their dance, neither are Anne and her men in Becoming Jane.

Becoming Jane Austen Dancing No Gloves

The most recent Emma (2020) committed this offense in both directions. First Anya is dancing without gloves in “that scene.” Second she eats a strawberry with her gloves on. Sigh.

Gloves Eating Austen Emma

You need only watch Under the Greenwood Tree (Victorian later period, but still about the gloves) for the sexiest no gloves scene ever filmed. They are washing their hands and it’s practically a sex scene.

Not wearing gloves is a serious business. And I get that’s what the director is alluding to in 2020 Emma, but still, there is no excuse for her not to be wearing gloves at a ball! I mean they made special gloves exactly for balls!

Jane Austen Society Gloves

What I expected?

Gloves. I expected to see gloves. On ladies and gentlemen!

“I was very lucky in my gloves–got them at the first shop I went to…and gave only four shillings for them; upon hearing which everybody at Chawton will be hoping and predicting that they cannot be good for anything, and their worth certainly remains to be proved; but I think they look very well.”

~ Jane Austen, 1813

So those are my big ones, what are some of yours? Anything you peeve about in Austen movies?

Yours (destined to die on the tiniest of hills),

Miss Gail

  • Want a fun blog in this vein? Try Recycled Movie Costumes tumblr. It’s GREAT. 
  • Want more Gail grumbling about behind the scenes stuff? This goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

BOOK DE JOUR?

Defy or Defend, a new Delightfully Deadly book featuring Dimity!

Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger Free Download

PICK YOUR VENDOR!

Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

Upcoming Scribbles?

Gail’s Daily Tea Party

Tisane of Nifty 

Shoes Before Corset

Writerly Tincture 

5 Bookish Ways To Stay Connected Amidst Quarantine

NaNoWriMo is doing StayHomeWriMo

Book Nibble 

The first lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing.

The Austen character that I, Gail, most identify with…

Gail Carriger Austen Characters Catherine du Burg Lady Susan Fanny Price

Quote to Sip 


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