Tuesday, February 24, 2015


TELL ME TUESDAY is a feature that oozed from the fried brains of myself and my best blogging buddy, after a mind twisting Armchair BEA Twitter party.  It is a weekly, or bi-weekly feature (depending on your reading style), where you tell us what you are reading now, and why, and what you will be reading in the future from your tbr pile, and why. I am oh so curious why people read what they read. So tell us!!

Pili at In Love With Handmade
With her 27th TMT post!!
& Rex Robot Reviews

Go have a peek at what they are reading too.

This is how I feel right now...

This TMT is going to be a little different. I am going to tell you why I am NOT reading something right now.

If you stopped by last week you know that after I finished reading The Infinite, I was going to start this steampunk book and was excited because I had never read any full-fledged steampunk before.

I was enjoying it...


The main character who is supposed to be an intelligent, independent, COMPASSIONATE, free-thinker starts repeatedly using the the word "poof" to describe some of the guests attending her ball.

[poof, poo f] 
nounBritish Slang.

Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous termused to refer to a male homosexual.
Offensive. an effeminate male.
Also, pooff, poufpoovepoofter.
1840-50; French pouffe

Now... I know not everyone would know the specific definition of this descriptor, but the reader would know from the context that the protagonist was using it as a slur, much as someone today would use "that's gay", or the more serious "f" word.

I emailed Month9 Books and basically told them that although I was enjoying the book, l was a bit rattled about the use of this word and included the above definition. I continued saying that my problem was it was repeatedly said by the MC, and it was not used as a positive teaching point, nor did it add anything to the story.

They forwarded my email to

Georgia McBride Media
Home of Month9 Books, Swoon Romances, and Tantrum Books

In return Ms. McBride sent me an abrupt reply in which she justified it by comparing it to the "N" word being used in Histoical Fiction. Shockingly, to me, she actually spelled the word out.


"As for your concern, I would say that it is no different than using the word "n***er" or "colored" in a book which takes place before 1980. As a historical piece, we must allow for use of words that were popular, slang or not, at the time in which the story takes place. Not to do so would offer an inauthentic presentation of the times."


An INAUTHENTIC PRESENTATION OF THE TIMES in a Science Fiction Steampunk novel set in the 17th Century, where they have humanoid robots that talk and are emmigrating to a place called New France? Hmmm...


She concluded with this...

"I stand 100% behind the language used in our books as an authentic representation of the times in which they take place."

Well, let's see.. there are a few cracks in that statement even if you do consider Science Fiction set in the 17th Century "Historical Fiction" for your justification.

1. This is an offensive British term and the story is set in France.

2. Ths term wasn't used until the 1850s and the time period for the story is the 17th Century.

3. The slur was being used to describe men who dressed in fancy lacey clothes and knew how to dance, and this would have been not only acceptable for the upper class of that time, but preferred. Therefore, this word, even if it did fit the time period, would not have been used to describe these men.

4. The French word, if it was applicable for that time period and circumstance (which it would not be), would have been "pouffe".

Was I expecting a return email saying HOLD THE PRESSES we have made a huge mistake in the use of this slur? Of course not. However, I would have liked a much less dismissive reply. One that said they would look into the matter and do a little research as to its appropriateness and level of potential offense to readers. Also, maybe after some Googling that updates to the ebook might reflect some changes to the text. Keep in mind this is an ARC that doesn't come out until May.

Why any author or publisher would want to take the chance of offending a certain group, or give the impression that intelligent, compassionate teens would use slurs against a certain group, and that it's okay, is beyond me. Especially in a YA book.

I am going to finish the book later, if only to include this information in my review.

What do you think?


  1. Hmmm, I guess they wanted to go for authentic in some things, but if it's science fiction/alternative history and steampunk... I'm not sure why being so hell bent on being "accurate" to the language...
    I quite agree with your concerns btw!

    1. I'm not against them using it if it was to show it as a bad thing to do, but the MC is a positive character portrayal, so basically they are telling the YA audience it's okay to use slurs.

  2. Wow! Totally agree with your points in the post. I am impressed that you took the time to email and all that. I know that certain words were used in the past, but I think the majority of the authors refrain from using them in today's world because they can land them in trouble, not to mention that is a sure way to get your book banned. I think I am going to pass on this one.

    1. I certainly wasn't expecting as haulting an email as that. It's too bad because the book is great, but the frivoulous use of that term is certainly going to have an impact on my review and rating. I feel authors who write YA have an obligation to have their books be a positive influence on there audience.

  3. So, I've read many historical fiction books set prior to the eighties without the n-word or poof. Does that make them any less accurate or subtract something from the book? NOPE. I hope the finished copy is less offensive. If you want Steampunk that has fun, but also includes the LGTB community, try the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I rest my case.
    ~Litha Nelle

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I was enjoying the steampunk flavor of this story and am interested in reading more of it. :)

  4. Woah, yes that does seem a little ridiculous. I do totally understand characters using slang/offensive language for the time of the book. (Basically everything written by Mark Twain is horrifically offensive.) I don't think this makes the slurs "acceptable". NO. But I give leeway because of historical accuracy. ALTHOUGH, like you pointed out...it's in the wrong era! So that's odd.
    And a disappointing response too. :(

  5. Yeah, even if they didn't mean it they could have said they would research it. Which actually, the author should have done in the first place. :(

  6. This is exactly how I feel when YA authors have their characters immediately refer to other girls as "sluts". It seems like such a go-to phrase for anyone a character perceives as a threat. I'm glad you are standing your ground though.

    1. Ugh, I know. If the publishers are not open to the feelings of readers, how are we wver gling to move forward in literature to not be bigoted, racist or sexist!

  7. Just read this right now and the whole post BLOWS. MY. MIND. Seriously, what the hell is with that dismissive reply? You actually had legit points with your complaints, and the way they replied to you was so elitist I cannot even. And I get being authentic with the times and all, and I can tolerate slurs and slang if it's necessary to the plot, but a repeating offense of the main character without any remorse at all doesn't sit well with me. And it's bloody SCIENCE FICTION STEAMPUNK, how the FUCK is that historical fiction, how the FUCK does that even resonate with the times back then, when back then THERE WERE NO HUMANOID ROBOTS AND SHIT!?!?!

    Sorry for my outburst, but this thing just really disappointed me! What an awful reply. Instead of saying, "We're sorry to have offended you, we did not intend to do so. We merely wanted the book to be authentic to the times it was set in" but nooo, they had to be rude and be assholes about it.

    Once again, I'm sorry. I just felt really passionate for you in this one, lol. I'M ON YOUR SIDE, LALA!!!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. I am glad you are on my side! I should have had you write my email. I really don't think the woman has even read the book, to be perfectly honest because her answer was really off base wirh the "Historical Fiction" factor. The whole "staying true to the times" justification kind of goes out the window when it steampunk.

  8. I don't really blame you for emailing them. I get incredibly irritated when I see someone use 'gay' as a derogatory term in modern YA, even if it is realistic. If it's not there to further the story, to show some type of character flaw which is later addressed then I rarely see the point in it. Being offensive for the sake of being offensive is not a good way to go. Plus when it comes to science fiction allowances are made for 'accuracy' because no one is expecting every tiny detail to be accurate, unless your aim is to make your main character a bigot.

    1. Yes! If it is being used to make a positive point as part of the MC's growth, or as a,teaching point from a secondary character, it is fine with me. When the slur is coming from an MC who is supposed to be intelligent and open-minded, it is not okay.

  9. Holy. Cow. Welp. Like really...HOLY COW. I'm actually pretty impressed you e-mailed the publishers - It's never occurred to me I could do that (of course I haven't come across anything super offensive in any of my ARC's, so there you are). But seriously. It's like...I'm trying to think of a specific example, but you see excuses like that all the time about using trans actors for trans characters, or having leads that are not white. They give excuses like there's a real reason for it...but the excuses are always kind of moot when put in context of the whole film (especially when it comes to sci-fi/fantasy which is notoriously bad about it). Anyway, I'm glad you called out publisher/author. Hopefully even if it doesn't change this book, it will change what sort of things they accept in the future!


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