From the book SHOW ME THE LOVE! All Kinds of Love for All Kinds of Stories by Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan.
Got Love? Got enough Love? Got the right kind of Love?
No matter your genre or style, a good story needs some kind of Love to engage us emotionally.
Too often people think Love is just the romantic or sexual kind. But wait – there’s more.
Love of adventure, land, community, family, friends, warrior bonding, love of pets, love of learning, love of death and destruction, interspecies love, transformative chivalric love….
This series explores the mythical and psychological aspects of different types of love, plus suggestions for the Shining Moment, Cinematic Techniques, and Symbols.
Join us for a journey through many different kinds of love that can enrich your characters, compel your plots, and move your audience. The first three articles were on Love of Adventure, Chivalric Love, and Love for Animals. Now we look at Interspecies Love.
First let’s 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, etc., that is not Interspecies. It’s only when the other is really seriously definably “other species” that it’s Interspecies.
Interspecies Love is an excellent story device through which to make observations on and suggestions for the way we humans treat each other. It is also a clever way to portray the more animal-like aspects of our human nature.
Some humans have looked at certain animals and said, “Yes, let’s be more like that!” Typically they tended to eat the hearts and body parts of the creatures rather than mate with them. Lying down with a lion doesn’t have quite the appeal of slow-roasted lion heart.
A tendency among invading peoples is to categorize the people they invade as “not quite human”. They are animalistic, heathens, primitive, and not worthy of being treated like humans. There is also a tendency for the invading males to mate with the invadee females. It seldom goes the other way. And you seldom hear anyone pointing out that if the locals are “not really human” then is your mating with them bestiality?
Examples in Myth and Legend
Sphinxes, griffins, centaurs, gorgons, 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? Many very interesting, fun, exciting, inspiring, or scary stories center around some mix of humans and another 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. 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 (of Troy).
Examples in History and Current Events
Though we have no scientifically provable cases at this point, hundreds or thousands of years from now there might be plenty of examples of human earthlings mating with off-world species. It can certainly make for intriguing sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural stories.
Examples in Media
In Avatar there is Interspecies romantic Love between Jake and Neytiri and a generalized mutual respect and love between the human scientist Grace and the N’avi.
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. Eeewwwww!
In Babylon 5 some aliens had multiple sexual appendages which others found erotically fascinating, not scary.
Innocent love between aliens and humans is part of E.T. Friendship and brotherly love is part of Quadrant 9, Alien Nation, and Enemy Mine.
Two very different versions of the same thing in juxtaposition: eyes, hands, sex organs, etc. Mixed creatures such as centaurs, sphinxes, mermaids, etc.
In Avatar the helicopters and the flying dragons well represent the differences between the humans and the N’avi.
Key Element – The Shining Action
The kiss and the transformation because of it - frogs back into princes. The look of wonderment [Starman] or the look of astonished terror [Alien].
Galaxy Quest – Tech Sergeant Chen [Fred Kwan] (Tony Shalloub) is about to embrace the Thermian Laliari. We can only see them from the waist up and she still appears human. Then her octopus arms come up to embrace him and it’s really obvious that they are very different from one another. She gives him a questioning look, he shrugs in love’s delight, and they fall into a passionate kiss. To emphasize the alien nature of it, Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), makes a face and says, “Ooooh, that’s not right!”
When bringing together different species you want to photograph them face-to-face from the same angle if it is a mutually accepting situation. If it is predatory in any way then the predator is at the higher angle looking down on and overpowering the prey. A most unsettling example is the alien attack on Lambert (Veronica Cartwright) in the first Alien film. We do not see the particulars of an actual rape but it is strongly implied.
Be clear on the purpose of the point of contact. In Star Trek Captain Kirk continually going after the alien chicks reveals his character.
Be sure to give us the follow-up. If positive results – a stronger bond to something higher and different for one or both characters and as in Avatar, for a wider group. If negative results – show us how unfortunate, dreadful, or deadly it is and how far that effect reaches, as in Alien.
Exercise #1 – Awareness
What is the most unique mating between species you have come across (presumably in myth or media)?
Exercise #2 – Writing
Write a scene where interspecies love/sex takes place. It can be either terrifying and oppressive or tender and loving. In your descriptions and dialogue compare and contrast the two beings: how are their heads/limbs/mouths/sex organs alike or different?
© 2015 Pamela Jaye Smith & Monty Hayes McMillan
Pamela Jaye’s BOOKS & SEMINARS can be found at the Writers Store and on MYTHWORKS, where you can also learn more about her consulting, writing, and pitching services. Mythic ChallengesAlpha Babe Academy
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