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Warrior Lovers: Erotic Fiction, Evolution and Female Sexuality

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300093544
ISBN-10: 0300093543
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Darwinism Today Series

About the Author

Catherine Salmon is assistant professor of psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Redlands. Donald Symons is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
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Product Details

  • Series: Darwinism Today series
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300093543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300093544
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,682,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I came away from this wondering if the authors had taken the time to actually talk to any writers or fans of slash fiction at all. Because it really doesn't sound much like they did. I've been ten years in the Harry Potter fandom, seven of them as a writer and reader of primarily slash fiction, but also occasional het and femslash, and in my experience, most of what Salmon and Symond claim to be almost universally true of the genre reeks of the worst kind of BS.

One partner in most slash pairings is not habitually feminised, slash fiction does not always take place between two males who are close friends in the canon source material, such stories need not be set within the context of a loving, monogamous relationship, and lesbians do not just read and write femslash -- plenty of them enjoy male/male pairings! Those are just a few examples of completely wrong-headed generalisations made by the authors.

This book simply reeks of misogyny and gender essentialism. If you're already a slash fan, you'll be able to see it, but if you're not, please do not use this as a guide to the psychology behind slash fiction.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had low expectations for this slender book, expecting it to be perhaps a doctoral dissertation spun out into a monograph. Instead, Warrior Lovers is an extraordinarily lucid argument in favor of applying evolutionary theory to the study of human behavior, making its case with persuasive economy.

If you're familiar with the works of Steven Pinker, David Buss, or Margo Wilson and Martin Daly, then much of the content of WL will be familiar, but I suspect you will never have read the arguments rendered with such cohesion and clarity. This is the work of a man (Donald Symons) who has spent the previous four decades of his life contemplating human mating behavior, teaching and writing about it, and brings it all together in this tightly-written summary.

The book also addresses the phenomenon of "slash fiction," a subgenre of fan fiction, both heavily dominated by women, in the same way that graphic pornography is heavily dominated by men. Symons and Catherine Salmon (now a professor of psychology at the University of Redlands) place slash fiction within the realm of human cognition shaped by evolution, showing that it is congruent with other forms of sexual behavior explored in Symons' classic The Evolution of Human Sexuality and in much of evolutionarily-framed cognitive research since then.

If you're interested in reading a thoughtful discussion of the nature and origins of cognitive differences between men and women, this concise book should prove illuminating. It's an easy read, and a good one.
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Format: Hardcover
This book offers a remarkably convincing explanation of why some women should want to read and write male/male erotic romances. The book starts with a forceful and provocative statement of the fundamental importance of our evolutionary history to human psychology. The authors then argue how this explains some fairly basic differences in what men and women find erotic, drawing on some interesting comparisons between the behaviour of heterosexuals, gay men, and lesbians. They finally address the question of "slash" fiction and argue that, contrary to what one might think, the appeal of this material is actually rather similar to that of the heterosexual romance novels which are read by many women. I found this book well argued, thought provoking, and enjoyable throughout.
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Format: Hardcover
Most men have never heard of slash fiction, and when they do meet it they are liable to wonder how anything so bizarre could attract a large following among women readers. Why would anyone want to read stories, often sexually explicit, dealing with romances between well known fictional pairs of men -- Captain Kirk and Mr Spock, for example, or Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson? The creators of these characters may have been silent about their romantic involvement with one another, but the void is being systematically filled.

Catherine Salmon and Donald Symons take this quite seriously as a window into women's minds. Just as typical pornographic books and films reveal a lot about what men fantasize about, slash fiction, together with the better known romantic fiction, reveal as much about what women fantasize about. They take a fully neo-darwinist view of this, rejecting the standard view of many social scientists that there is no inborn difference at all between men's and women's minds, any difference that we think we see being entirely the result of environment and conditioning. For Salmon and Symons this standard view is nonsense, and for them the differences between men's and women's minds are real and have their origins in the evolutionary history of humanity. As they point out, commercial producers of men-oriented pornography and women-oriented romantic fiction (which at the time of writing was generating an annual income of about 5 billion dollars in the USA) are well aware of what sells and what does not, and, whatever maybe people's motivation for reading high-grade literature, such as the novels of Jane Austen, it can hardly be supposed that people buy pornography or romantic fiction for any reason other than that that is what they like.
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