“What could they possibly see in each other?”
Interspecies Love for FF&P by Pamela Jaye Smith
Interspecies Love is an excellent story device through which to make observations on and suggestions for the way we humans treat each other, both as individuals and as societies, nations, and races. It is also a clever way to portray the more animal-like or just plain weird aspects of our human nature.
With so much romance, love, lust, and just plain sex going on between humans and vampires, humans and werewolves, humans and zombies, humans and who-knows-what let us first define Interspecies Love.
If the human is mating with anyone that is now or ever was an actual human who has been compromised by a DNA override such as a curse, a bite, the phase of the moon, that is not Interspecies.
Some creatures are on the borderline between human and non-human, such as fairies, elves, and gnomes, depending on the mythology and the story. In mythology there are myriad examples of humans mating with animals, angels, and deities. A modern version is Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire wherein an angel falls in love with a human and gives up his angelic form to be with her.
Examples in Myth and Legend
Sphinxes, griffins, centaurs, gorgons, Anubis and other such Egyptian gods, mermaids…. With so many part human/part animal creatures in the myths of the world one begins to wonder if there might not have been some facts behind the stories. Is it racial memory, the preservation of deep history in myth, the fanciful telling of science experiments gone bad? Or perhaps a misunderstanding of the complexity of evolution and the branching of the tree of life from single-cell forms to today’s humans? Many very interesting, fun, exciting, inspiring, or scary stories center around some mix of humans and other species.
Greek king god Zeus was a rampant womanizer of mortal females, immortal females, and half-mix females. Seduction was often easy because, well, he was king of the gods. Often though the mortal girls knew about his goddess-wife Hera’s jealous rages and preferred not to be turned into a cow so Zeus disguised himself for many of his affairs. As a bull, he kidnapped young Europa. As a swan, he seduced Leda, who bore him Pullox and Helen (later of Troy).
In a similar case of bird-to-human mating Christianity portrays the divine Holy Spirit as a dove, visiting the mortal virgin Mary – the result being Jesus.
Joseph Campbell tells the tale of a native American princess who marries a buffalo god to help save her people.
His Monkey Wife by John Collier is an amusing and pointed allegory for miscegenation. In this book an Englishman comes back from Africa with an astonishingly literate female chimpanzee who is in love with him. [Collier also wrote the screenplay for The African Queen.] Rudyard Kipling’s short story Bimi features a male orangutan who is dangerously jealous of his human master’s new wife.
Avatar is an excellent example of technologically advanced cultures taking advantage of other beings seen as “less than”. There is Interspecies romantic Love between Jake and Neytiri and a generalized respect and love by the human scientist Grace for the Na’vi.
In The Little Mermaid fairy tale a fish-girl gives up her voice in order to get legs and be able to walk on land and marry the prince.
The first Alien film shows female human crew-member Lambert being brutally and fatally raped by the Alien. Earlier, the male crewman Kane was orally raped and in the grossest case of interspecies breeding ever, gives birth to the new alien as it bursts out of his chest.
Mixed creatures such as centaurs, sphinxes, mermaids, etc.
Two very different versions of the same thing in juxtaposition…eyes, hands, sex organs, etc.
In Avatar the helicopters and the flying dragons represent the differences between the race of humans and the Na’vi. Clothing or lack thereof can also represent differences.
Compare and contrast – how are their heads/limbs/mouths/sex organs alike or different? Make the descriptions either wondrous or horrifying, depending on the nature of the impending relationship between the human and the alien.
Be clear about the purpose of the point of contact. In Star Trek Captain Kirk going after alien chicks reveals his character and creates character arcs. In Alienthe ‘mating’ is a story arc and drives the plot forward.
Show the differences before you get them together. In Galaxy Quest the aliens forget to turn on their Appearance Generators so the earthlings see them in their true form of tall upright octopi not even faintly resembling humans.
If positive results — A stronger bond to something higher and different.
If negative results – unfortunate, dreadful, or deadly.
Interspecies Love is a really rich situation you can use to make all sorts of statements and send all sorts of messages in your FF&P stories while greatly entertaining us in either heart-warming or terrifying ways.
Pamela Jaye Smith is a mythologist, writer, international story consultant and speaker, and award-winning producer-director. She authored THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE, INNER DRIVES, SYMBOLS-IMAGES-CODES, andBEYOND THE HERO’S JOURNEY. Pamela has taught writing at Romance Writers of America and Savvy Authors on-line, spoke at RWA Scriptscene 2012 Convention, UCLA Extension, RAI-TV Rome, Nat’l Film Institute of Denmark, LA Webfest, Marseille Webfest, and many more. Other clients and credits include Microsoft, Fox, Paramount, Universal, and the US Army. Pamela Jaye is founder of MYTHWORKSand co-founder of Mythic Challengesand Alpha Babe Academy.
© 2012 SHOW ME THE LOVE! book by Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan
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