Ace Tropes: Eventually Revealed as Ace

This is part of a series on tropes in fiction with ace characters. To link or follow this series, please use the “ace tropes” tag on this blog.

Jughead: Worse than me getting kicked out? / Other Character: Look, there are only, like, five gay guys at Rivendale High! My romantic options can't take that kind of hit! You just don't get it cause you're asexual...

From Jughead #4 by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson

Sometimes a recurring character in a series / long (web)comic / etc. will eventually be revealed as ace. This is a trope which is specific to serial fiction – there must be a significant amount of real life time and progression of the story between the installment where a character is introduced, and the installment where the character is revealed as ace. This can happen in novel series, comic book series, movie series, TV shows, webcomics, etc. However, when a novel or movie is released whole, even if a character who is introduced at the beginning is not revealed to be ace until the very end, it’s not an example of this trope. On the other hand, if it’s a serialized novel, one chapter is released per week, and it takes ten chapters between a character’s first appearance and the reveal as ace, then that is definitely an example of this trope.

For clarification, I will explain what this trope is not:

  • This trope is not a creator putting out a Word of Ace after a series is complete, such as Tamora Pierce saying that Keladry of Mindelan in the Protector of the Small quartet is ace long after the quartet was initially published.
    ​­
    Though Pen has yet to be revealed to be ace in Interface, Lucy Mihajlich has said that she will be revealed to be ace in the third book in the series. Conditional on Lucy Mihajlich following through on that promise, I am including Pen from Interface as an example of the ‘Eventually Revealed as Ace’ trope.
  • This trope is not a new character who happens to be ace being added to a series, such as when Diane Duane put in a completely new and explicitly ace character (Lissa) in the tenth installment of her Young Wizards series.
  • This trope is not (necessarily) an ace character coming out to other characters in the story. It’s about the audience learning that a character is ace, not other characters learning that the character is ace, though sometimes both the audience and other characters learn that a particular character is ace at the same time.

To be fair, it’s not clear how much time must pass in the real world or how much story must happen for it to count in this trope. For example, even though Clara appears in the prologue of the webcomic Heartless but it’s not clear that she is ace until Chapter 2, and it took several months to get from the prologue to Chapter 2, I don’t consider this an example of the trope because the stories of webcomics tend to move really slowly and I feel like the amount of story covered between the prologue and Chapter 2 was so little that Clara was still practically a new character.

By contrast, Erin in the webcomic Girls with Slingshots (GWS) first appears in strip #654 which came out in 2009. At the time, I was a regular GWS reader, and I followed the various subplots around Erin until I stopped reading GWS about a year later. After I stopped reading, in GWS #1363, which came out in 2012, Erin was finally revealed to be ace. When I found out about it (much later) I was a little surprised that Erin is ace, but it did not contradict anything I remembered about her. Clearly, a 3 year wait in real world time between installments, and more than 700 comic strips worth of story is enough for it to count as an eventual reveal.

Anyway, enough with the definitions. Let’s see this trope in action.

Sometimes there are hints that a character is ace long before the reveal. Hiresha, the protagonist of the Lady of Gems series, is not revealed to be ace until the very last book, The Dark Lord’s Wedding. However, even in the early books in the series, there are hints that she is ace. Would I have picked up on those hints or headcanoned her as ace even if I had not known in advance that Hiresha was a canon ace character? I don’t know. However, her reveal as ace is consistent with the way her character is presented throughout the series.

Though sometimes creators intend for a particular character to be ace all along, sometimes they decide that a character is ace long after that character has been established. I have not verified this, but I suspect that Jughead from Archie Comics was not originally intended to asexual rather than heterosexual.

When a fictional work has multiple creators, getting all of the creators to consistently portray a character as ace, even after the reveal, may not happen.

Something which happens a lot with this trope is that people in the audience get used to the idea of a character being allosexual (possibly because the character had romantic interactions and the audience assumes romance and sexuality are connected, or simply assumes characters who are not marked as ace are allo) well before the character is revealed as ace. Thus, the reveal is sometimes shocking. It can be a positive shock – ace fans in particular tend to be happily excited when a recurring character is revealed as ace (though this may not happen if there is a problem with the presentation of asexuality). Non-ace fans may also be pleased. On the other hand, some members of the audience may react negatively to learning that a particular is not what they thought.

An example of this happening is the reaction to the ace reveals the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. In Part and Parcel (the third installment of the Sidewinder stories, which is part of the Cut and Run series) not just one, but two recurring characters are revealed to be ace. El, who is ace, reacted thus when she encountered the first ace reveal scene in the book:

I read a book last week that made the breath catch in my throat, made me pause and re-read a dialogue exchange once, twice, and then punch the air and shout “YES AWESOME!” That book was Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux.

However, while El was very happy about this reveal, some fans of the series were upset, claiming it was unrealistic, even going so far as to describe it as a ‘slap in the face’. You can read more about this in El’s essay “The Mythical Unicorn of LGBTQIA Novels (Or, the A doesn’t stand for Ally.)”

One factor which might have caused some of the negative reactions to the ace reveals in Part and Parcel is that the Cut & Run series contains a lot of highly detailed sex scenes. Certain readers may like the series mainly for the erotic parts, and thus may particularly resent that two of the recurring characters are ace (though most readers seem to be okay with the presence of ace characters).

By contrast, I have yet to find anybody reacting negatively to Hiresha in Lady of Gems being revealed as ace. Maybe that just reflects the fact that a lot fewer people read Lady of Gems than Cut & Run. However, (allosexual) readers may be more willing to accept Hiresha as ace because she appears in a dark fantasy series, and they perceive her aceness as fitting the general weirdness of the stories (if this is true, then there are some problematic implications here, though these would not negatively reflect on Lady of Gems itself since I don’t think there is anything wrong with including ace characters in generally weird fiction).

Why do reveals get delayed to the middle or the end of a series? Obviously, if a character was not originally intended to be ace, that would explain why the reveal is delayed. Another possibly reason is that the ace character may not have words until midway through the series, and though it is very possible to indicate that a character is ace even if they do not have words, it is easier to reveal when they have words. Being ace may not become relevant to the story until a later part of the series. Also, a character may be revealed as ace when they transition from being a non-POV character to a POV character. Finally, a creator may wish the audience to get to know the character as an individual before they do the ace reveal so that aceness will not be the character’s defining trait. There may be other reasons, but those are the reasons that come to mind right now.

Examples:

Shortland Street (TV show)
The Lady of Gems series by A.E. Marling (Hiresha)
Supernormal Step (webcomic) (Fiona)
Archie Comics / Jughead (Jughead)
The Cut & Run / Sidewinder series by Abigail Roux (Digger & Kelly)
Shadowhunters (TV show) (Raphael)
The Ultraviolet / Quicksilver duology by R.J. Anderson (Tori)
Girls with Singshots (webcomic) (Erin)
The Hidden Gem trilogy by Lissa Kasey (Jack)
Sister Claire (webcomic) (Claire)
The Interface series by Lucy Mihajlich (Pen)

Questions:

1) What are the advantages of revealing a character as ace as shortly after they appear? What are the advantages of delaying the reveal until long after the character’s first appearance?
2) What factors may influence how ace audiences react to a reveal? What factors may influence how non-ace audiences react to a reveal?
3) What character from an ongoing series/webcomic/etc. would you love to see revealed as ace (even if you never expect it to happen in canon)?

About Sara K.

Sara K. is an aromantic asexual from California who has previously lived in Taiwan. She blogs at the notes which do not fit, has previously been a contributor at Manga Bookshelf, and has written guest posts for Hacking Chinese. She enjoys reading, travel, live theatre, learning languages, and gardening.
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40 Responses to Ace Tropes: Eventually Revealed as Ace

  1. I.C. says:

    1. I’d say the main advantage of revealing a character as ace early is the lack of ambiguity about their identity, so the reader knows what to expect. (Providing they know about asexuality that is.) It also helps ace readers, since they know that this character is 100%, unambiguously ace, not merely a headcanon that could possibly be refuted at any time. That’s not to say I wouldn’t headcanon an “ace coded” character as ace, only that I’d be much more cynical about them as far as possible representation goes. Another, more difficult but equally as important angle, is that revealing a character ace straight away prevents them from read as otherwise an MOGAI identity instead, causing some readers to be upset or even angry when their perceived representation is “taken away”. I must specify that this kind of problem is much more prevalent on tumblr – where I blog mainly, so I don’t know how this particular point would sit outside the fairly charged politics there.

    As for advantages of leaving the reveal for a bit later – if the narrative is focused on the ace character, it allows them time to grow and accept their identity – giving them a coming of age story. Otherwise, if the character is ace and has always been intended to be ace, I’d much prefer them to be out as ace from the start, mostly because I’m rather wary of having my ace headcanons torn from my hands, so to speak.

    2. As far as how an ace audience would react to the reveal, I think a lot of us just want more representation, so we’re quite happy to accept what we’re given. I’d say that a character being rather prominently “ace coded” also helps, since it doesn’t come out of nowhere for the ace reader. However, we should still critically examine ace representation. If, say, the ace character revealed was a villain or otherwise antagonistic, and there were no other ace characters in the story, I would not be quite so happy.

    I mentioned it briefly above, but I’d say that a character which was more generally “queercoded” being revealed as ace is not always satisfactory for other MOGAI folks, particularly if that character is popularly headcanoned as otherwise queer in the fandom. I’m not saying that this is ideal, or in some cases, even acceptable, only that it’s something that might be taken into consideration if writing a more ambiguous character. The pushback against the character of Jughead, pictured above, demonstrates this point pretty well. Another thing to consider is that, while asexuality is not a very well known identity – there are some indications of whether a character might be ace to a more unaware audience. Unfortunately some of these indications are rather stereotypical, and not necessarily a good representation of ace people as a community, but I’d say an ace character in an explicit work of fiction, or a character previously implied to experience sexual attraction (whether by engaging in sex or just making comments to that effect) is less likely to be well-received by a non-ace audience. Naturally, aces can have sex (although a lot prefer not to and this should be explored too), and can make comments to the effect of “that person is hot” and still be ace, but this is less understood by those unengaged with the ace community.

    3. Personally I’d love to see Allen Walker from D. Gray-Man revealed as ace, though sadly that falls into the “next to impossible” category. It’s a headcanon I hold very close to my heart.

    • Sara K. says:

      I totally know what you mean about not having to worry about headcanons taken away. When a character is explicitly ace early on, I am much less concerned about losing that precious representation (though there is still the risk that it is another House episode). I also consider this to be a major advantage of revealing that a character is ace as soon as possible.

      I think you also make some good points about a character being queercoded before the reveal and how non-ace audiences may not understand certain types of acecoding or certain ways asexuality can be expressed can be a major influence on how non-ace (particularly non-ace queer) audiences react. All of what you said applies to the example of the Cut & Run / Sidewinder series and how some (non-ace) readers reacted.

  2. Rivers says:

    I definitely think that it is best to reveal an ace character as ace as soon as possible, putting it off can end of creating quite a few problems. The exceptions would be if the character doesn’t know they’re ace until later on, or if the POV characters don’t know that the character is ace until later on (funny enough I actually plan to do both of these in some of my personal fiction stuff).

    • Sara K. says:

      It’s hard for me to say whether revealing as soon as possible or delaying the reveal is better since so much depends on the context. As soon as I think ‘revealing ASAP is better’ I think of all of the exceptions, and as soon as I think ‘delaying the reveal is better’ I think of all of the exceptions…

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    I’ve only just started watching the Shortland Street asexuality storyline via clips on YouTube, and I haven’t seen the full context by any means, but I believe this was an example of this trope too, because Gerald, the ace character, was in over 60 episodes of the soap opera: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0318802/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_6
    before the hints of the asexuality storyline began. (This conversation quoted in the first post in this AVEN thread: http://www.asexualit­y.org/en/topic/30413­-asexual-character-o­n-nz-soap-opera/
    happened prior to clip #1 of the storyl­ine on YouTube, and notice the date of this thread!)

    From the clips on YouTube, he seems gay coded to me, and there are many mentions of if he might be gay by people around him. I’ve heard he turns out to be biromantic asexual. I intend to keep watching the storyline soon but it’s just a thought.

    ~~~~~

    The biggest advantage to waiting to have the asexuality reveal is that a bunch of people who might have been actively avoiding “niche” fiction that focuses on “weird” identities might get invested, and then be shown asexuality in a new light, in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise considered it? These fans might be more sympathetic to asexuality as an orientation that a likeable, “normal”, person could have if they first grow to love the character or even because they first learned to trust the writer/creator. Just a thought.

    • Sara K. says:

      I’ve only seen a few clips of Shortland Street from the asexuality, so I was not aware of that. Hmmm. I really ought to get around to watching the whole asexuality storyline (though I don’t think I’ll ever watch the whole series, even though I like soap operas).

      • luvtheheaven says:

        I would love to have access to full episodes rather than just the clips of the asexuality episodes,and done context of what Gerald was like in some episodes prior to this storyline, but my searching on the Internet has turned up nothing so far in terms of it even being a possibility to watch these decade old NZ soap opera episodes, which isn’t that surprising but still. I’d have been wIlling to put some money toward this soap opera that was representing asexuality before I’d ever even heard of the term lol…

        • luvtheheaven says:

          rather than just clips of the asexuality *storyline, and *some context (I meant to write, but was rushing with typing on my phone and didn’t check against autocorrect closely enough).

    • Siggy says:

      Hmm… I knew that Gerald was an example of this, but forgot to mention it. IIRC, people were speculating that he might be gay before the ace storyline.

      @Sara, I love the Shortland Street ace storyline, and would strongly recommend it, but not even I watched the whole thing. At some point the soapy melodrama really got to me. Maybe it was the surrogacy storyline, or maybe it was when it became clear that Gerald and Morgan would bounce together and apart over and over until one of them dies.

      • Sara K. says:

        Well, I’ll have to go through it when I can (which will not be anytime soon). I have a high tolerance for soap opera, if it gets too ridiculous then I’ll probably laugh at it.

        • AceAdmiral says:

          It’s kind of a slog, but I recommend watching the SootmouthNZ clips to the end and also tracking down the clips from when Gerald came back for the anniversary special. Some of the best stuff is at the end, and the return special made me forgive them for all the melodrama that led up to it.

  4. luvtheheaven says:

    Oh and I also would like to say that I’ve seen plenty of “eventually revealed as gay, lesbian, or as bisexual” characters’ journeys played out on tv shows, and even know about some on one’s I never watched (say, Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I think even in that kind of non ace version of the trope it’s better if there are hints and it seems planted all along, rather than if it’s obvious the writer tacked on this identity to the character later, or completely erased implied “straight attraction” moments from earlier in the serialized work. I don’t mind if the sexual orientation of a chatacter hasn’t really come up yet, either because the chatacter is too minor or some other reason, and then it’s revealed. I tend to enjoy more queer representation however we find it out. But it feels more fully realized as intrinsic to who a character is if the orientation is revealed early on, that’s all.

    I must say I am not trans so my opinion shouldn’t hold much weight, but I actually loved the revealed trans eventually way of handling Aaron on The Fosters, as I just never even considered that he wasn’t cis and it felt realistic and well done… but meanwhile the Pretty Little Liars and Glee season 6 version of the “eventually revealed as trans” trope were each really painful to watch for different reasons.

    So similarly for ace stuff I could see myself saying “it depends”, it depends on a lot of other factors whether I’m gonna like the revealed ace later trope.

    • Sara K. says:

      I’ve only read a little bit of the Cut & Run / Sidewinder series, so I’m not the best person to judge, but it seems to me that the “straight attraction” moments were explained away by the ace character believing they were straight, therefore they felt obligated to act straight (this explanation is in-story, not Word of God). I haven’t read all of the the relevant scenes, but I can buy this as a realistic explanation of why a character who seemed straight is revealed as ace. However, some (non-ace) readers thought that this was a sign that the writer didn’t know her own characters, and was just trying to tack on an extra identity to cater to the ace snowflakes or something. I actually do not know whether or not the writer planned for those characters to be ace all along. There were definitely some hints planted for the demisexual character which I caught, so my guess is at least that character was planned to be ace long before the reveal.

  5. Tabitha says:

    If I’m looking to read something just for the ace character, then I’m not a fan of the late reveal, and might not bother reading the thing at all if I know I have a long wait before asexuality comes up (unless it also interests me for non-asexuality reasons). “This webcomic has an ace character!” isn’t exciting to me if I’m going to have to wait literal years before I actually see that confirmed in the comic itself.

    • Sara K. says:

      If I’m looking to read something for the ace content, yes, I want the ace content, dammit! I’ve had my share of frustration with an ace story not having as much ace content I want.

      That said, I’d rather have a delayed reveal which results in some very substantial ace content than an early reveal where the ace character just says ‘by the way, I’m ace’ and it is never addressed in the story again.

      • Tabitha says:

        Very true, I’d definitely also prefer that over it being mentioned once and then never again. Then I read the whole book waiting for it to come back, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t.

  6. I really appreciate this post, as I’ve been working on a story in which I made the main character ace, and since I’m not ace myself, I needed some insight to learn how I should handle her reveal and characterization. This post gave me a good start on learning how to write an ace character. Thank you!

  7. Siggy says:

    My observation in ace webcomics is that even when they have an eventual reveal planned for a major character, the authors often say so far in advance. I get the sense that they want to wait until the appropriate time in the story to reveal that a character is ace, but don’t want to actually surprise readers. (On the other hand, I’m suffering from selection bias, because if the authors didn’t mention that they would have an eventual reveal, I wouldn’t have heard about the comic.)

    My favorite webcomic, Gunnerkrigg Court, features multiple eventual reveals as LGBT, and the author did not hint about them beforehand. I really like that a comic with so many queer themes has achieved such mainstream popularity, but often irked by same mainstream popularity (given how people miss or misunderstand the queer aspects), so I guess I can’t be satisfied.

    • Sara K. says:

      The more casual readers of a webcomic may miss the Word of Ace. Still, I think announcing far in advance via Word of Ace while delaying the reveal is an … interesting compromise (and one which can slide into acebaiting if the webcomic creator doesn’t follow through). Lucy Mihajlich is doing the same with the Interface series.

      • Siggy says:

        It is acebaiting! I definitely ended up reading a lot of webcomics that claim to have ace characters, but where none are to be found. I expect in some cases the comic will go defunct before it ever happens. Or it ends up being a minor character who mentions it only once. Or maybe the author just headcanons their own character as ace, and never plans to actually put it in the story. My expectations are quite low, and I won’t stick with a webcomic unless I like it independent of any promises.

        • Sara K. says:

          Perhaps you could write a post about acebaiting? (I think you would be more qualified than me because you have had more personal experience with being acebaited). In my experience, self-published writers – including ace writers (!) are worse about acebaiting than LGBT+ publishers, but even the self-published writers don’t seem to do it nearly as much as webcomics, based on what you say.

          • Siggy says:

            Yeah, maybe eventually. I generally don’t know which webcomic authors are ace or not though.

          • Sara K. says:

            While I understand why you would want to know which webcomic creators are ace, I think that acebaiting is acebaiting, even if the creator is ace (in fact, in my individual experience, creators known to be ace are worse about this than non-ace creators or creators whose orientation I don’t know). Maybe you could focus on your experience as a reader and how announcing ace content without following through makes you feel?

  8. Rachel says:

    Since, I’m a superhero comic nerd, I’m going to address question number 1 using comics, rather than asexuality, because I’ve seen these very scenarios play out in comics many times:
    – The advantages of revealing it soon:
    – allows for it to cement as a part of their central characterization
    – the character is “working as intended” throughout their history and doesn’t collect a bunch of
    contradictory story elements that don’t jive well with their later-revealed sexuality
    – The disadvantages of revealing it soon:
    – characters that are not well established can have a precarious shelf-life, especially in the
    land of superhero comics, and minority characters tend to be new cast additions without well-
    tested market potential. To illustrate my point: every one of you has heard of Batman, but
    most of you probably haven’t heard of the relatively new Latina Green Lantern Jessica Cruz.
    This statement isn’t to insult Cruz as a character, but unless she becomes super-popular,
    she’s only ever going to be a side-character and may be doomed to obscurity in a few
    more years. Comics work like that.
    – The advantages of revealing it later (on a pre-existing character anyway):
    – well established character with a comprehensive background (corollary to what I discussed
    above), complete with a fleshed-out characterization that doesn’t explicitly or implicitly revolve
    around being “the asexual one”
    – The disadvantages of revealing it later (on a pre-existing character anyway):
    – retconning a confirmed or presumed-majority character into a minority can create problems:
    their new minority status may clash with their pre-existing characterization or stories, the
    change may feel arbitrary, or the change may not stick and get explicitly or implicitly
    overridden at a later date (which creates even more problems and generates controversy).

    I can provide examples to ponder, if anyone is interested.

  9. Tabitha says:

    I think Lauren Jankowski’s series (the Shape Shifter Chronicles) is an example of this trope; as you said in your review, you can’t tell the MC is ace in the first book, but I’m pretty sure the author has said it’s made explicit later in the series.

    • Sara K. says:

      Perhaps, but I have never seen any confirmation of this, and I would prefer confirmation from a reader/reviewer rather than a writer for this kind of thing. However, I have not found ANY reviews of the later books (if you know of any such reviews, feel free to point them my way!)

      • Tabitha says:

        I sadly don’t know of any reviews of the later books either, but on this page Laya says she’s read the first three and notes that it’s made explicit at some point–I don’t know if that’s in one of the books she’s read, or just going by what the author said, though: http://aroaessidhe.tumblr.com/aroacebooks

        I also wonder if it will be stated earlier in the series in the new editions that are coming out?

        • Sara K. says:

          I’d still want more information about the ace content in later books (and no, I’m not going to read them myself unless I see reviews saying that they are much better written than the first book, because reading the first book was an extremely unsatisfying experience for me). And it would not surprise me at all if Jankowski has changed it for the new edition since both RoAnna Sylver and Claudie Arseneault have change Word of Ace into explicit mention in the second editions of their books.

          • Tabitha says:

            I plan to read the new edition of the first one at least, so it’ll be interesting to see if it has been made explicit there!

  10. Tabitha says:

    So I love this series, and that’s inspired me to think of several more ace tropes!

    1. The token ace: Lunaside, A Word and a Bullet, Kimchi Cuddles, and Chameleon Moon are all ones I can think of that fall into this. The character’s asexuality feels tacked on, or the character only exists to represent asexuality.

    2. Coming out: I can’t think of any ace books that involve coming out to one’s family or in any large-scale way (but if those do exist I’d be really interested), but there are a bunch that involve coming out to one person (in all of these it’s a friend or romantic partner): Aces by Kathryn Burns, Dragonoak (the word isn’t used because it’s fantasy, but it still read like a coming out scene to me), Guardian of the Dead, Quicksilver, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (not yet published, but there was a free version posted online for a while; not sure if it’s still there). And then in Every Heart a Doorway Nancy comes out to a few of her new friends/acquaintances at different times.

    3. Unwanted attention: The ace faces unwanted sexual and/or romantic interest from another character/characters. Demonosity, Guardian of the Dead, Clariel, Mr. March, Sinners (and kind of Cold Ennaline, although it’s pretty weak there).

    4. I don’t know what to call this one, but basically it’s characters having names that are relevant to their orientation: Vanilla, Ace (ace characters have this name in both Kimchi Cuddles and Rock and Riot), and Valentine (it must have been intentional irony to give that name to an aroace character, right?).

    And I feel like “discovering asexuality” could be its own trope, although it would overlap a lot with some of the others.

    And a silly/meaningless one: names that start with N. Nancy, Nadine, Nevian, Niavin, Nikki, and Nash x2 are all ones I know of.

    For all of these I’ve mostly just listed things I’ve read, so I’m sure there are more examples (of 2 and 3 especially) that I haven’t thought of or don’t know of.

    • Tabitha says:

      I remembered that A Word and a Bullet and the short story “Tala and Prince Hart” also include number 3.

    • Tabitha says:

      Quicksilver also has #3. A hallmark of that one seems to be that the attention is unwanted specifically because the character is ace.

    • Sara K. says:

      “Coming Out” is already on my list (I keep a list of ideas I have for ace tropes). I’ve also considered putting ‘token ace’ on the list.

      Also, if you want to write and submit your own ace trope post, the Asexual Agenda is always open to guest posts (if I’m available – which means in September – I could help flesh out guest posts with additional examples).

      • Tabitha says:

        I figured you’d probably thought of some of these already. I’ll be looking forward to your future post on coming out! And writing a guest post sounds fun; I’ll think about that…

      • Tabitha says:

        Also, have you seen this post about the trope of asexuality being associated with death? http://claudiearseneault.com/?p=1337 “You’ll Surely Drown Here if You Stay” by Alyssa Wong is another story that features the trope that isn’t mentioned in the post.

        • Sara K. says:

          I have read that one. The thing is, I’m not sure I buy it. Arseneault focuses on speculative fiction, which tend to have a lot of death in general, and I’m not convinced that the number of ace characters associated with death are beyond the standard deviation of what is expected for characters in general in those genres (especially since she uses such a broad definition of what can associate a character with death).

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