I Hope I’m Not Starting a Dumpster Fire

As mentioned elsewhere, I’ve got that collection of short stories coming out this week. One of those stories, A Hole in the Pack, has a situation with very ambiguous consent.

At the end of the story, I invite readers to consider whether the… initiation ceremony David goes through to enter his new family is consensual or not.

Now, I have strong feelings about consent and the complexities of it. And even stronger feelings about how we don’t actually talk about the ins-and-outs of consent nearly as often as we should, instead throwing around sound bites and assumptions lacking heavily in nuance.

So… for folks who read/have read A Hole in the Pack, I invite you to use the comment section here as a discussion space. Share your opinion, respond to other folks, let’s see — not if we can come to an agreement, but if we can come to an understanding of the many different ways to view this situation.

Obviously, comments will have spoilers. I’ll put up a comment with my take on the 31st.

Warning: Moderation may be erratic (due to spooniness), but comments will be heavily moderated.

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You can pre-order Whips & Fangs on Amazon and elsewhere. If you don’t want to wait, you can read A Hole in the Pack now, by joining Jess’ Pack.)

With that said:

A Hole in the Pack Discussion below!


One thought on “I Hope I’m Not Starting a Dumpster Fire

  1. Okay, so I didn’t seriously expect enough interest to start a dumpster fire, but didn’t expect crickets either. Hopefully a few more folks will chime in eventually.

    My first thought was I’d call it a type of ambiguous consent, except that in romance/erotica ‘ambiguous consent’ as come to be a code for consent that has been coerced, which, no that’s not ambiguous consent, that’s NOT CONSENT. It’s okay to write noncon, it’s okay to enjoy noncon, but can be not with the euphemisms, please/thanks?

    But in some ways ambiguous is a good word for the David’s consent in A Hole in the Pack. We simply don’t know if David would have given full consent to becoming a werewolf if they had told him, ‘hey, joining our family means becoming a werewolf!’

    Hold that thought though, cause let’s look at the other side of the equation.

    Impact>intent, but intent still matters. The pack wasn’t trying to coerce him or trick him into consenting. They’re just stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to trusting people with a secret that could literally get them turned into lab ‘animals’ if it gets out. They were up front about the fact that they had secrets, that if David wasn’t okay with only learning stuff when he fully joined they had no problem with him backing out.

    So (back to David)… for all he knew, he was signing on to join the mafia, a secret guild of assassins, or the fucking KKK. And he chose to sign on anyway, trusting to these people that any secret they kept was one he could live with.

    End of the day, this question is really about, can you consent to the unknown. And I think, if we are going to respect the agency of the person giving consent, the answer has to be yes. Yes, if you are able to give consent at all, then you are able to make a decision to consent to an unknown. Or to consent to an unknown within set limits. Or any of several variations.

    But only if you are informed that there is an unknown. If you consent thinking that you know everything, and then someone springs a surprise on you, that’s not consenting to an unknown, that’s a nonconsensual bait-and-switch.

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