So this isn’t actually a question that someone asked. It’s something I’m currently encountering in a book I’m working on where a dragoness and a human male develop feelings for one another… and someone ‘suggested’ it might be bestiality (ugh!). Not only that, we see it in various other stories as well. In The Orville, we see an amoeba-like creature hitting on a human woman. She rejects his advances of course, but that got me thinking.

Let’s put this one out there… in Fantasy, where does a humanoid and non-humanoid romance or just affection become taboo? Where are you crossing moral or ethical lines… or just pretty much driving away a more squeamish audience?

Humans have a tendency to look at non-humanoid species in fantasy as almost animal in nature. Now, one could argue that apes are also humanoid, but as they’re of lesser intelligence, and not entirely self-aware, a relationship there would be also be considered gross and rightly so.

All right, so now that I’ve disgusted everyone… let’s go into Sci-Fi and fantasy. Where do we draw the line between a relationship and… what would be considered bestiality? Well… that’s tough…

(I can’t believe we’re covering this again…)

First of all, the definition of bestiality is as follows:
“sexual intercourse between a person and an animal.”

Okay, fair enough. However what is a person and what is an animal?
Well let’s look at the definition of an animal:
a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.
“animals such as spiders”
  • a living organism other than a human being.
    “are humans superior to animals, or just different?”
  • a mammal, as opposed to a bird, reptile, fish, or insect.
    “the snowfall seemed to have chased all birds, animals, and men indoors”
  • a person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive.
    “those men have to be animals—what they did to that boy was savage”
  • a particular type of person or thing.
Okay… well what’s the definition of a person
noun
noun: person; plural noun: people; plural noun: persons; noun: first person; noun: second person; noun: third person
  1. 1.
    a human being regarded as an individual.
    “the porter was the last person to see her”
    • used in legal or formal contexts to refer to an unspecified individual.
      “the entrance fee is $10.00 per person”
    • an individual characterized by a preference or liking for a specified thing.
      “she’s not a cat person”
    • an individual’s body.
      “I have publicity photographs on my person at all times”
    • a character in a play or story.
      “his previous roles in the person of a fallible cop”
So just so we get everything straight, an animal is a non-human mammal, or a human devoid of being civilized. Or, more ambiguously, a particular person or thing…
While a person is a human being regarded as an individual.
So by that definition, only a human being can be a person. Okay, fine. Fair enough, but then what is an elf? Elves typically (unless you’re a Harry Potter fan) are superior forms of life to humans. They’re in tune with nature and are actually more intelligent, or at the very least, equally intelligent. Are they animals? Or is it because they look similar to humans that this somehow satisfies the requirement.
So then perhaps… in terms of fantasy, we need to set aside the dictionary definition of what a person is. I think in many cases, we as fantasy writers, have already done that.
So what should the definition be?
Perhaps… “A sentient, self-aware, life form”?
Some might say that you should add the ‘humanoid’ to that definition. I do not necessarily think that’s necessary. How can something be taboo if it’s two creatures, both of sentient, self-aware level of intelligence?
However… I could be wrong, what does everyone think? If you made it this far and aren’t icked out too much, let me know!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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