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what are some good books or visual media with single protagonists?


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-The Terror (2018). Main cast is overwhelmingly male, as it is about the 1840 Franklin Expedition in the Arctic, but there are two prominent gay relationships, and flashbacks to Crozier's failed courting of Sophia Cracroft, which emphasizes the character's where any romantic relationship is never mentioned.

-Black Sails (2014) is full of complicated relationships. Romantic, platonic, platonic soulmates who have sex, triads. One of the main characters is heavily implied to be aroace. They really capture the messiness and complexity of actual human relationships, which are rarely as simple as we'd like to think. The platonic/sexual soulmates situation mentioned is my favourite, between Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham. They have sex, but she says as clearly as she can in 1700s speak: "Like we was two halves of the same thing. I can't be your wife, Jack. But you and I are gonna be partners till they put us in the fucking ground." Anne also has a romantic and sexual relationship with Max, another woman; Jack has no one, and is not seen as lesser for it. 

-Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, unless I severely misremember it hah.

-the 1984 Granada TV adaption of Sherlock Holmes, depending on how you read Holmes and Watson of course. That adaption is the only one I've seen so far which actually does Irene Adler justice, and they did away with Watson's two wives.

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I don't know if you like reading comics/graphic novels, but they're my specialty, so here are some I like :)

- Phantasmagoria by Ana, completed, 14 chapters, psychological, mystery, horror, LGBTQ+ characters (my personal favorite, CW: language, violence/gore)

- STENCILS by Raven & Blue Jay, completed, 3 chapters, horror, mystery (CW: blood, non-graphic violence)

- Humor Me by Marvin, on going, 15 chapters for now, drama, slice of life, comedy (it has romance in the genre list, but so far hasn't had any romance at all)

- Ultramarine Weather by Kan, on going, 13 chapters for now, drama, fantasy, supernatural, a few LGBTQ+ characters, takes place in 1974

- Chroma Key by Brandon Dumas, on hiatus, 3 chapters for now, drama, science fiction, action, the entire main cast is LGBTQ+ (also, the main character, Kim Koizumi, is aroace. CW: transphobia, non-graphic violence)

They are all available for free on Tapas!

Edited by sol
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A lot of the discworld series has single protagonists, small gods would be my favourite example with Brutha just being wonderful, I'm pretty sure I have mentioned this before but it is my favourite. Also pretty much any of the wizard based ones have mostly single characters (e.g. rincewind). It is canon that the wizards are not supposed to have kids (sourcery if I remember correctly) so they are basically all single.

Teppic in pyramids is also single and if I remember righlty he decides to travel the disc so no settling down to a relationship at the end of the book. Death is unsurprisingly not the romantic sort (and anyway, he has cats so why would he need romance).

The witches ones are kind of half and half, granny Weatherwax being possibly my favourite single character of all time, balanced with nanny Ogg being one of the most romantic (and lets be honest, sexual) characters in the series.

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On 11/30/2021 at 3:39 PM, nonmerci said:

If you like fantasy, Artemis Fowl. Except maybe some jokes in book 5 and a kiss that leads to nowhere in book 6, the main characters spend 8 books happily without falling in love, or thinking about it.

I loved Artemis Fowl as a child. Especially book two. But I lost interest after book five. Which book is your favorite?

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Book 2 is my favorite, but book 6 is a close second (if I forget the weird kiss lol). I just like the time travel in book 6, and we see how much Artemis grow through the books. (This, and Artemis fighting a younger version of himself is crazy)

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2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Book 2 is my favorite, but book 6 is a close second (if I forget the weird kiss lol). I just like the time travel in book 6, and we see how much Artemis grow through the books. (This, and Artemis fighting a younger version of himself is crazy)

Interesting. Maybe I'll give it a read for nostalgia. But what happened to the love interest from book five? Is she not in the later books?

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No she's not in the other books. Poor girl is not even mentioned again.

My theory is that the author wrote her because he thought he had to do romance (because, you know, little Arty hits puberty), but then realized he doesn't like writing romance and it was unnecessary, so he sent her to oblivion, hoping everybody will forget her. I'm probably wrong but it is funny to think about it this way. That adds to the reasons why I consider these books a good read for the aromantic people. Friendship is everywhere and romance irrelevant.

By the way, Artemis is the type of "children books" you can enjoy as an adult, so yes for the nostalgia.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, late to this party but I thought about this question, and I ended up sorting my bookshelf into categories by romance level.

books_sorted_by_romance.jpg

I have skipped over some that I have not read, and a bunch which are non-fiction. You may note that my bookcase does not contain an extensive amount of books. A lot of my own books are still at my parents place (they have a large house, and I, a small apartment). Still, with what I have, a fair number of these are actually about aromantic or single characters! I shall go through all of them under a tag (it will be a long list), so anyone curious can determine if any of these would be of interest to you!

Spoiler

Left to right, top to bottom.

First row:

Spoiler

This whole green block is Horus Heresy novels, featuring a cast of mainly space marines, all of which are asexual aromantic. Most books also feature regular human characters, but even there direct romance plots are very rare.

Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. The first book in the series. Being a super soldier fighting for the Imperium of Man still feels pretty good as long as you don't start questioning the morality of taking over every human civilization in the galaxy and killing everything else. Your commander-demigod-fatherfigure is the coolest ever. All astartes and primarch characters are asexual and aromantic. They do form deep platonic bonds, but not specifically romantic ones. The book does feature a number of regular human characters also, but romance isn't really an important factor for them either.

False Gods  by Graham McNeil. Follows the same characters as before, things are starting to go south.

Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter. The third book in the intro trilogy. This one is the first to mention the pair of Nathaniel Garro and Saul Tarvitz whose relationship might be considered a QPR by this community's standard, though being space marines, they use the term 'honour-brother'. If anyone in the community ends up enjoying the series and make it to this point, I'd be interested in your takes. There is a bit more of them in the next book.

Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow. Follows Garro, a little before and continuing after Galaxy in Flames.

Fulgrim by Graham McNeil. This one feature the Emperors Children Legion and their decent into being really weird. Fair warning, it get pretty weird.

Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon. This is a little different, it does not continue the story like the previous books but instead deal with the origins of the Dark Angels legion. It starts off more like a mediaval fantasy, taking place on the planet Caliban, a feudal full of knights and monsters. The Imprerium and its spacefaring technology show up eventually to everyones surprise. It that sounds interesting, this one could make for a good starting point into the series. It would not even require any previous knowledge about the setting, I don't think.

A Thousand Sons this is where I no longer have the books sorted in publication order, but rather divided in plots. This one works as a stand alone, and was my introduction to the series. Though, some aspects of the world might get a little confusing if you don't have any prior knowledge of the setting at all. I had a friend I could ask.

Fear to Tread Handles what the Blood Angels are up to after the introduction trilogy.

Deliverance Lost Follows the Raven Guard after the events of the book Fulgrim

Scars is another one of my favourites in the series. It has one of my favourite space-marine relationships, and a really cool old woman in it. The White Scars are from a heavily mongolian-inspired culture, and are a bit at odds with the rest of the Imperium. It could work as an introduction since it is about a legion that has been doing its own thing and don't know what's going on. Similarly to a Thousand Sons, some prior knowledge about the setting might help though, if you don't trust your ability to just pick up on stuff as you go along.

The Path of Heaven is hidden by the shelf but it is there. It is the follow the same plot as Scars.

Know No Fear starts the story about the Ultramatines. I find this book increadibly funny. Way funnier than it has any rights to be.

The Unremembered Empire brings the ultramatine, dark angel and blood angel stories together. This one also has a really cool old woman in it. And another one of those pairs that I wish I could hear the aromantic-community's take on.

Pharos follows directly on the Unremembered Empire plot. Another favourite of mine. Got some more content with the real tight friendship that was introduced in the previous one.

Deathfire is the third book in the Salamanders plot, but it was the one I liked the best so that's the only one of them I bought.

Note that these are just the books in the series that are my favourites, I did not buy them all as physical copies, and there is no need to read all of them to understand the plot.

I Then we have a dragon and a cat, and then another block

The Legend of Drizzt by R.A Salvatore. This trilogy consisting of Homeland, Exile and Sojourn (though I have placed them in the wrong order in the bookcase for some reason) deal with the drow Drizzt's life in the underdark and eventual escape to the surface. He remains single throughout this trilogy. There are more books about him (and friends), but they didn't keep my interest. This first trilogy I really liked though.

Ancillary Justice by by Ann Leckie. This one might actually qualify as having an aromantic lead, depending on how you see it. The main character is an ancillary, one unit which is part of a large starship's AI. A starship in this world can definitely feel love, but ships don't desire relationships the same way humans do. It takes place largely within a society which does not distinguish people by gender, which makes for interesting worldbuilding. And so does the way the AI's indentify, as being both a single entity, and having a large number of bodies at the same time. It is one of my favourite books, if you have any interest in science fiction at all, give it a try. If you like it, it has two sequels, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy.

Pegasus by Robin McKinley. This one follows a young princess and her assigned, bonded pegusus Ebon. It takes place in a nation where the human and pegasi populations have an alliance. These bonded pairs is how the alliance is kept alive, and bonded pairs can communicate to some extent telepathically, which is good because something about their languages makes it very difficult for them to communicate otherwise. This is another favourite, the characters are likeable and the worldbuilding is rich. No romance, the focus here is on the relationship between girl and pegasus. Unfortunately, the work is unfinished. It was supposed to be two books, this first one ends in a cliffhanger, and the second likely will never be written. I think it is worth a read in spite of this though.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. Y'all know this one. A bunch of guys go on a high-stakes road trip. Romance is not a focus.

Then in the next section we have

Arthur by Kevin Crossly Holland. A trilogy that I have in swedish, the english titles are The Seeing Stone, At the Crossing Places, and The King of the Middle March. The books does both a rather realistic depiction of a boys and eventually young knights life in the middle ages, and a telling of the legend of King Arthur. The question of who he shall eventually marry is part of the story, but it is from a historical perspective. I don't remember if he is actually engaged at any point, but there is some courtship in the latter two books.

Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce. This one made a big impression on me as a child, because I could feel the world grow as the main character learned more about it. It is about unicorns going on a pilgrimage to their old homeland, which they have been forced to flee. I think the main character might end up with kind of a crush on a friend of his by the end, but I don't think that counts as a relationship.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. This is a low fantasy sworfighting and intrigue. It centers two men who are definitely in a relationship, so it does not count for this thread, but I recommend it anyway.

Second Row:

Spoiler

One set of Siege of Terra books. It follows the Horus Heresy. I have not read these yet, but I am pretty sure all the primarchs and space marines stay aromantic throughout.

Some Star Wars books from the old EU, now called Legends. Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice and Champions of the Force. I have only read Jedi Search so far, was not a huge fan of it. Luke is single, Han and Leia aren't, as you might now. If you want read something of the old Extended Universe, I (and basically everyone, from what I can tell) recommend the previous trilogy, the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn.

The Rise of the Empire on the other hand contains a couple of stories from the newer Disney canon. They were ok. Most characters mentioned are single.

Now we get to the comics. Gunnerkrigg Court by Thomas Siddell. The main character Annie has stayed single throughout the story so far. Her best friend Kat is the one who ends up with the romantic subplots. It is a webcoming and can be read in it's entirety here if you're interested.

Third row: Manga

Spoiler

Magic Knights Rayearth has three highschool-girls transported from their regular lives to a magic word in order to save it. Even though the world has powerful magic users, this is something that, apparently, only those from another world can do. They get magical powers, weapons, armour upgrades, giant mechs, the whole thing is pretty badass imo. All three are single, as far as we know. The one time romance is relevant, well, it would be a spoiler.

Delicious in Dungeon Having lost all their money, but still needing to go back into the dungeon to rescue a friend of theirs, a group of adventurers forgo buying food and instead decide to eat whatever they can find in the dungeon itself. Their adventures include recipes of the monsters they eat. It's pretty fun. As far as I have gotten, and as far as I know, everyone in the party is single.

Usagi Yojimbo follows a rabbit samurai. He does fall in love on occasion, but stays single for reasons of honour.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a post apocalyptic story partly about Nausicaä herself, but also about the world itself, and how life has adapted to its post-apocalyptic circumstances. There is no romance. 

 

 

Edited by Jedi
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On 11/30/2021 at 7:50 PM, roboticanary said:

balanced with nanny Ogg being one of the most romantic (and lets be honest, sexual) characters in the series.

oh well… Nanny Ogg … yes, she’s quite “adventurous” for her age. -_-

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@Jedi
That's fun! Now I also want to categories my books according to level of romance. But I don't have a book case since they're all on ebook. Maybe I'll make a top twenty list. That could be a new long thread for those interested in adding their own.

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Haha, yeah I didn't even think to add ebooks to the list! Now that I look at those, it turns out that's where most of my romance-focused books ended up, so it wouldn't make for as relevant of a list. I just looked at the bookshelf and realized I have a lot of no-romance books in there, I think it made for a good visual x)

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