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Rule 34
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Rule 34 > shocked by the sexual content?

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Kwame | 1 comments I hadn't even really thought of the sexual content in the book being particularly extreme until Tom and Veronica mentioned it. Did anyone else feel this way? Am I really just jaded?


terpkristin | 2815 comments I definitely noticed both the sexual content and the vulgarity as I read. I don't know if it was because it was so "extreme" or if it was just because I guess most books I read don't have quite so much of either that it stood out. I remember being kind of surprised when I came across the first passage that I found rather vulgar...surprised enough that I was taken out of the story.


message 3: by Kate (last edited Jan 17, 2012 04:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments I'm broadly in favour of sexual content in books. Life has sexual content. Books should reflect that, at least some of the time.

When people talk about the sexual content, are they referring to the colonic irrigation machine (gave me terrible flashbacks to Chuck Palahniuk's short story Guts, which nearly made me throw up on the bus when I first read it) and the (view spoiler), which was defiantly a case of, please pass the brain bleach, or the (view spoiler)?

Or are they talking about the safe, sane and consensual stuff?

The former was uncomfortable and yucky, but I didn't think it was gratuitous, in so far as it was in service to the plot and wasn't written so as to actively make me want to lose my lunch (unlike Palahniuck).
The later wasn't anything strong enough to have prevented me recommending the book to my parents.

But perhaps I am a just a filth soaked gutter dweller, certainly I am desensitizes enough to have barely registered the vulgarity, then I am a Dubliner, and we are known for our foul mouths (so are the Scots to be fair), and I'm considered pretty bad even by other Dubs.
The sweary characters were all the sort of people I'd expect to be sweary anyway.


terpkristin | 2815 comments For my part, I was referring more to the former. And the foul-mouthiness. Not that it isn't "real" but it's just so rare I see it...it took me by surprise.

Thinking back on it, I agree that the people that were foul-mouthed were people I'd expect to have that trait. But I also had a tentative at best hold on the characters, and since I so rarely see it, it definitely caught me by surprise.


Molex Brown | 18 comments I agree with Kate, I hardly noticed anything that was too vulgar.There were a few uncomfortable moments, but they were all necessary.


message 6: by Kris (last edited Jan 18, 2012 09:48AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kris (KVolk) | 777 comments I didn't think it was extreme though it was something that I noticed. More of a "huh I wonder what he is going to do with this?" kind of response. I am always interested in the choices the writer makes to engage the reader and how those choices play out in the story and then seeing the response those choices elict. I don't really judge the content per se but the effect it has on the story and myself as the reader. If the writer is wanting to make me feel uncomfortable and disburbed and they do that in way that makes sense to the story and it is well written to me then I applaud them for doing so. Bad choices not well executed do become more easy to see when they do gratuitous things that don't advance the story. Shock for shock effect isn't a good read. Of course it is all subjective which is why forums like this enhance reading with discussion.


Seth Buchsbaum | 31 comments For some reason the vulgarity made me think of Iain Banks (writing fiction, not in his Iain M. Banks Culture persona). Is it a Scottish thing? I haven't read any Banks in a little while but something about the story beyond the setting made me think of it.


Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments Seth wrote: "For some reason the vulgarity made me think of Iain Banks (writing fiction, not in his Iain M. Banks Culture persona). Is it a Scottish thing? I haven't read any Banks in a little while but somethi..."

I'm not sure if it's a Scottish thing so much as not swearing a lot is an American thing.


Seth Buchsbaum | 31 comments Kate wrote: "Seth wrote: "For some reason the vulgarity made me think of Iain Banks (writing fiction, not in his Iain M. Banks Culture persona). Is it a Scottish thing? I haven't read any Banks in a little whil..."

I guess I meant less the swearing and more the sort of general tone towards sex/drugs/violence. I feel like I've read a number of books by non-American authors (a ton of books by British authors who don't live in Scotland) and didn't get the same vibe. It may just be a Banks/Stross thing.


message 10: by Kate (last edited Jan 19, 2012 12:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments Well there's certainly a sub genre that probably doesn't have a name, but would include Scots like Banks, and Irvine Welsh, that's mostly about the white urban poor/lower middle class, drinking, drugs, sex, violence and petty crime. But I'd probably include Helen Walsh, who's from Liverpool. I'd hazard that Stross is drawing on that tradition.

There's probably other examples, but my knowledge and contemporary british fiction is pretty patchy, can anyone else chime in on this?


Paul 'Pezski' Perry (Pezter) | 374 comments Kate wrote: "Well there's certainly a sub genre that probably doesn't have a name, but would include Scots like Banks, and Irvine Welsh, that's mostly about the white urban poor/lower middle class, drinking, d..."

I was about to mention Irvine Welsh, along with James Kelman, as part of the subculture/underclass Scots tradition (Kelman is awesome but quite tricky to read as he writes in very strong dialect). Not sure I'd include Banks in that, but I'm sure it's among his influences. The British attitude to profanity is pretty laid back, and lot of (especially younger, working class) people use profanity almost as punctuation. Even beyond that, though, I've noticed that many Americans find us Brits foul mouthed. For instance, I've grown up with the word 'bugger!' as a low key, almost friendly, exclamation ("bugger this", "silly buggers", etc).


Tamahome | 4448 comments Is it true that in America we're shocked by sexual content, and in Europe they're shocked by violent content?


Molex Brown | 18 comments I grew up in New York, I am not shocked by much.


Vladimir | 33 comments Paul 'Pezski' wrote: "For instance, I've grown up with the word 'bugger!' as a low key, almost friendly, exclamation ("bugger this", "silly buggers", etc). "

Well, Americans wouldn't find you to be foul mouthed for using bugger (or bloody) as those words aren't used as profanity in America (bugger isn't used at all, and bloody just refers to things that have blood on them).

Americans would rather find Scottish people to be foul mouthed as they tend to use the same profanities as in America (f*** and s***) as can be seen in Rule 34.


Tamahome | 4448 comments And if they said 'shagged', we think they're Austin Powers fans.


Lorie (LorieChristoffel) | 59 comments Haven't started it yet but I quit listening to 1Q84 because of the TMI sexual content.


terpkristin | 2815 comments Lorie wrote: "Haven't started it yet but I quit listening to 1Q84 because of the TMI sexual content."

The sex in Rule 34 is to some extent equally TMI-ish but very different. To me, it felt more out of place in the story of Rule 34 than it did in 1Q84 (and it really shouldn't have felt that way, given what Rule 34 is...).

As I've said in this thread and in others, I don't mind sex in books per se (nor vulgarity), but in this case, both kind of took me out of what I was reading. Not really sure I can identify why, though. Upon reflection, many books I've read have had sex scenes, sometimes quite graphic.


J.A. (JAGort) | 1 comments Tamahome wrote: "Is it true that in America we're shocked by sexual content, and in Europe they're shocked by violent content?" As a generelisation yes.


Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 638 comments Tamahome wrote: "Is it true that in America we're shocked by sexual content, and in Europe they're shocked by violent content?"

I think that goes for books as well as movies. I can't speak for other countries, but in general people here frown upon violent content a lot more than sexual content. Of course it always depends on the details, but in general, the answer is yes.


Ewan | 79 comments Seth wrote: "For some reason the vulgarity made me think of Iain Banks (writing fiction, not in his Iain M. Banks Culture persona). Is it a Scottish thing? I haven't read any Banks in a little while but somethi..."

I read this book a while back and I can tell you that it really does channel a Scottish view of vulgarity and sexual content even if a tiny bit fictionalised fo effect. It was a refreshing change for someone who has spent a fair bit of time in Scotland and Edinburgh specifically to see that represented so well.


Ewan | 79 comments Tamahome wrote: "Is it true that in America we're shocked by sexual content, and in Europe they're shocked by violent content?"

As far as I can tell, living in europe, the US is rather upset by too much violence and too much sexual content and we just get on with it.


Ewan | 79 comments Lorie wrote: "Haven't started it yet but I quit listening to 1Q84 because of the TMI sexual content."

I read both and in both of them the sex/vulgarity seems to be entirely within the scope of the fictionalised universe and builds characters or setting.

I can understand if you have an issue with the discussion of sexual activity as a whole but you can take my word on it that neither of these books takes advantage of the fact you'll be reading it to push unnecessary smut on you.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1112 comments I have finally gotten around to listening to Rule 34. (I've got about 2-3 hours left.) I haven't found the sexual content to be over the top, but I've probably become used to it. Up until the point I'm at now, there really haven't been any detailed sex scenes, just talk about sex/sexuality and some really disgusting murders that involved weird sex.

The only thing that got to me was Liz being gay in this book. I don't recall her lesbianism ever being brought up in Halting State and am pretty certain she hooked up with a male character. I'm almost certain she was straight in the first book.


Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments Liz's sexuality wasn't brought up in the first book, she was all business.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1112 comments But, didn't she end up having an affair with the POV guy? If I recall, it was a romantic thing, not just a one night stand. It's been a really long time since I read the book, so I might be due for a re-read.


message 26: by Kate (last edited Mar 17, 2012 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments No, (view spoiler) Not Jack and Liz.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1112 comments I guess I need a re-read.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Rule 34 (other topics)
1Q84 (other topics)
Halting State (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Chuck Palahniuk (other topics)
Helen Walsh (other topics)
Irvine Welsh (other topics)
James Kelman (other topics)