Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fear and Loathing and Erotic Romance

We human beings are a strange bunch. Over the centuries we have seen those who are different and instead of embracing those differences, as a group, we feel threatened. It is a primitive, protective response, stemming from the most basic primal urge to ensure the survival of our genetic material, which of course means the survival of our offspring.
Of course we want our children to live long and prosper...oh wait...that’s Star Trek! But you know what I mean. The only problem with this is that sometimes that desire gets confused and we act inappropriately maybe because our knowledge and command of the world has grown at a faster pace than our limbic brains can keep up with.
It would have made sense, way back at the dawn of human civilization to be very wary of strangers approaching you. In a violent age, where the strong overwhelmed the weak, outsiders could attack you or your extended family.
Our ancestors knew if someone looked different, then they had a different set of genes, genes that would compete for dominance. In the fight for survival, fear was a useful factor because it primed us for the fight or flight reaction. And we all know that fear can become linked to hatred and disgust...just ask me about how I react to snakes and spiders!
Like so many of our primitive responses, this fear of the unknown can be pretty out of place in the modern world. I could cite some of the more serious social issues, but for I think I can make my point better by looking at just two.
The first group comprise ten percent of the population by most counts. Throughout history they have been shunned and reviled in spite of there being strong evidence to suggest that those who belong to this ten per cent are born that way. The French, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic and English languages all contain derogatory terms that indicate members of this group are inspired by the devil. They have been described as sinful, burned at the stake and subject to cruel processes to turn them from their evil ways and restore them to normality.
Yep! I am talking about left-handers. Sinister, gauche, having two left feet, all derogatory terms for left handedness. It is no coincidence that right means correct. Lefties weren’t like the rest of us so we attacked them.
Another example of fear and loathing that I have only encountered in recent years is the vilification of red-heads. Suddenly it is so bad to be a ginger that people feel free to abuse them in the street.
So what has this to do with today’s blog, you may ask. Like many writers of fantasy and science-fiction, I am fascinated by the way we marginalize some groups. We writers get to explore the idea in abstract, creating a class of beings which we then torture for your entertainment. We create shape-shifters, vampires, aliens and otherkin. Then, nasty, manipulative things that we are, we make you sympathise with them, show you their basic goodness and proceed to give them a very, very hard time. If we’re doing our job right, readers see the injustice.
In my newest book, Warrior’s Apprentice, I have created a human-like race who dwell in the Underworld of Earth. Naturally, I have also created an enemy. What is a story without conflict, after all? In the book I explore the ways we are driven by fear--fear of sexuality, fear of strangers and fear of one’s own nature and fear of emotional intensity.
Combat-hardened Dvallin warrior Tybor has no room in his life for softness or sentiment. His job is to train the soldiers who stand between his people and destruction. He instantly despises Huon, his newest recruit, dismissing him as weak.
But Huon is determined to prove his worth. He accepts all the challenges Tybor throws at him, passing every test, until Tybor finds himself waging his own battle against his growing attraction to his apprentice warrior.
When Tybor discovers Huon is to be sent on a suicide mission to the human world, to infiltrate and destroy enemy headquarters by seducing Judie, the enemy’s weapons expert, he cannot let him go alone.
The ménage-a-trois seduction works as planned but Tybor is threatened by the emotions their passionate relationship triggers. He tries to deny the feelings Judie and Huon arouse in him while they flee their pursuers in a deadly race for survival.
To have a hope for the future, the master must bury his old prejudices and let himself learn from the warrior’s apprentice. Only when we see our fears for what they are can we rise to our true greatness.

Warrior’s Apprentice Alysha Ellis May 23rd Ellora’s Cave

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