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Would this be too much (I hope so), or too cliched?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by sashamerideth, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    I have just had a great idea for my pov character, basic telepathy, but in two parts, sending and receiving. Some can do one or the other, my POV character is unique in his ability to do both. The price he pays, he can't learn to speak.

    Here is where it gets interesting, he falls in with a group of people that use giant bipedal reptiles as war beasts or beasts of burden. These creatures are presumed to be just animals, but they are not. They are of human intelligence but without our desires for society, company, etc... still working out the details after this idea. They growl, roar, and behave like large predators, but they are all telepathic senders and receivers, a language of impressions, complex ideas not in words maybe...

    I was thinking in addition to finding out about this society invisible to my humans, giving my POV character a romantic subplot with one of these animals. As far as anyone else is concerned, it is bestiality, but for my POV character, this is the closest he will ever come to love. This is only a subplot that I haven't figured out how to weave it into my main storyline of my POV caracter's friend falling from grace and his friends trying to bring him back.
     
  2. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    First problem I have with it is why a sapient group of creatures would ever become beasts of burden. Regardless of their other wants and needs, 'intelligence' often has the connotation of 'free will.'

    I'd knock them down a bit in intelligence (messes up the romantic subplot maybe, but I'm less worried about that) to something like dolphin or ape. Pretty smart, but not exactly what we'd call sapient yet. This means they can be 'trained' easily and not rebel at the fact that they are, in fact, being trained.
     
  3. They could be just as intelligent, but for hundreds, nay, thousands of years they've been treated as slaves/beasts of burden, and they're trained to that from birth, so most of them don't even have what it would take to break free or exercise their own free will. Maybe it's the MC's power that finally bursts the bubble.
     
  4. San Cidolfus

    San Cidolfus Troubadour

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    Well, a sapient species that practices stoicism or Buddha-like qualities of tolerance may allow themselves to be used as beasts of burden. If you want to delve into their spiritual/religious aspects, SM, this can warrant some exploration. In fact, in may require it, for the very reason Telcontar pointed out. Without getting too philosophical, if a species believes that all wrongs ultimately build to the higher good, or that suffering brings compassion, or that servitude to mortals conditions the soul for service to the divine, then they'd probably be fine with being yoked. You may want to add that this sort of wisdom comes with maturity and personal enlightenment, and individuals or younglings may not embrace the traditional philosophy.

    I'd say it sounds intriguing, and it could be quite good depending on where you go with it. Although...I'm not sure if you'd want to actually have a culmination of the romance. Might be a bit much.
     
    Muqtada likes this.
  5. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    Happened to humans a lot.

    Yes, in Greece or Rome slaves were sometimes deemed as not intelligent.

    I don't read much books with telepathic charcters, so it would be new to me, but that doesn't say anything. My usual approach with possible cliches is to add and modify details. They tend to break sooner or later when you do that.
     
  6. Why not?

    I mean, you'd think a telepath would have an easier time with language, rather then the other way around.

    Question: How exactly do you define a romantic relationship? Is this a platonic/spiritual love or are we talking physical attraction? If the relationship is platonic, is it different from a very strong friendship?

    Also, why is this the closest he can get to love? It's not like mute people can't love other humans. And again, telepathy should probably just makes it easier.
     
  7. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    Not necessarily. I worked in brain research for some years, our main focus was emotion not speech, but I understood that speech is produced in several steps in the brain. The actual words are about the last step in broca's area. Maybe with a telepath the function of that areal is modified.
     
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  8. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Plot points, and pulling punches on the forum. He is basically a ten foot tall built like a bodybuilder, so everything about him is inhumanly big. Admittedly he is still revealing himself to me. He has, for reasons not known to me, chosen a life free from emotional entanglement. He may not even have a complete emotional palette. The fact that he cares about my main character's well being is unexplained still.

    Telepathy doesn't make things easier if others can hear you and you can hear them. It is in my book, an ability that both parties to a telepathic conversation need to have.

    I will try to respond to each in reverse order but this is helping me nail down a few things. Might try writing a few scenes and see how they play out after this idea has stewed.
     
  9. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    If so many people are telepathic, don't at least some of them hear the telepathic thoughts of the lizards and realize they are sentient? Do people simply ignore it? Is there no PETA-type group or rebel freedom fighters who want to free the poor lizard creatures from their oppressing masters?

    Not to discourage you, but the romantic relationship between the telepathic man and a large lizard might be a hard sell..... as a rule, even open-minded people do not align with the concept of bestiality... Could the relationship not be one of deep respect? The lizard not being someone with which he wants to fornicate, but someone he desired the company of? (I had a woman in love with a dragon as a small side-plot once) If you're going to make him fall in love with this "beast of burden", how did they get to know each other so intimately, and are his feelings returned? because you mentioned they had no desire for company or society.

    I would encourage you write the scenes you have in mind. That might really help to shed light on the hows and whys that are really hard to include in a short summary.
     
  10. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    I have two worlds, one where telepaths are rare and one where they are nonexistent. As far as anyone on the planet with lizard beasts are concerned, these lizards are animals that can understand and obey commands. The people are also not as enlightened as we are, so our morals and ethics don't apply.

    I have in mind a society then where only the females are intelligent, males are just donors, true animals. So imagine the surprise and fascination when a big human with whom they have never been able to communicate is able to talk with them. Maybe it isn't love after all, but rather some twisted curiosity with no borders. I am liking that. Getting more and more out there.
     
  11. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Yes! Exactly what I was looking for. Telepahy in my mind would be like a wetware radio with limited range. Different control paths that go from conceptual thoughts, intent to communicate, then to output, but his output is short circuited to the telepathy line instead of the vocal speech center.
     
  12. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Some of set you have said I will grab, Buddhist in part, but everything you have said is a lot more human than I am after. I am finding myself inventing a new way of viewing the world, something completely alien to us.
     
  13. This was my concern as well. I mean, a lot of people find furrydom legitimately creepy, let alone actual bestiality. It's usually not something you can argue around, either - some ideas just make people uncomfortable on an instinctive level.

    Though, on the other hand, everyone likes a deep and personal bond between a human and an animal companion, so long as it doesn't get too weird - the dragon and the dragon rider, the unicorn and the maiden, etc. It's not an uncommon theme.

    Just, "romantic" is a bit of a strong word.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  14. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

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    I'm hopping on the train with making it a 'deep, personal bond' instead of a romantic relationship. Especially if you create a worldview that's totally alien to us, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to sell that deep a level of intimacy. The average reader can understand looking past outward appearances for friendship, respect, or any other number of deep emotional connections, but physical attraction would not sell well. It's awkward enough reading sex scenes in books, I can't imagine making it through any remotely bestiality and continuing reading.
     
  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'll be in the minority and say it's too cliched. I don't mean that we see bestiality too much. I mean that we see too many authors saying, "What can I do to shock people?" That attitude in a creative person is cliched, and that's what comes instantly to my mind with just the word bestiality. The moment I see that attitude, I feel the same way I would if I had read a cliche, and I put the book down.

    Because it's not shocking. I don't go "Oh wow!" or "No way!" I just sneer and put it aside. I know that's how I react. I've known a lot of jarring people. There's a difference between shocking and jarring. Something is shocking when character and plot come together in a surprising and timely way to create conflict. Something is jarring when the whole point of a plot is how gross it's supposed to be.

    And I mean, you're even suggesting that you "hope" it's too much.
     
  16. Hans

    Hans Sage

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    A love affair between a human and an insectoid alien was approached in Philip José Farmer "The Lovers". The alien in question perfectly mimics a female human, so it might be an easier sell.
     
  17. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    I was hoping you would weigh in. I have started writing the first draft of some of the scenes and I am doing some self moderation. My original ideas were too far out and this thread has helped me reign it back in. I don't want it as a shock thing but as a longer term development thing. It is a bit more science fiction, inter species relations, etc. and the prejudicial baggage that comes with that. Again, not the main plot, but a source of conflict that will be a trigger for a few events. After I do these scenes I will throw them up for critique and get general feelings.
     
  18. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Fair enough. The cross-species thing is an established theme, more or less, in Science Fiction. If you play off that theme, keep it shy of actual bestiality (people can still accuse him of that, I suppose), and sincerely aren't about just "shocking" people, I think you could probably make it work.

    Still, I don't think it's something I personally would be interested in reading.
     
  19. OGone

    OGone Troubadour

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    My thoughts pretty much correspond with the common theme on this thread, fine up until the point where you suggest they engage in a romantic relationship. Sorry if I've skipped details but these are beast like quadrupedal lizard creatures we are talking about, right? A deep relationship, maybe, but romantic bestiality is bestiality none the less and seems a bit too much to me.

    When I was young I remember watching an episode of "Samurai Jack" (no idea how popular it was, if anybody else watched it or not) where he stumbles across an advanced civilisation of humanoid creatures. Their cattle and mounts, which resemble mammoths, are eventually discovered to be telepathic creatures who couldn't communicate with the race which had enslaved them but could with Jack. It is found out that they once had their own civilisation which, I guess, is a similar story to what you are suggesting without the... bestiality.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  20. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

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    Can't win them all I suppose.

    I may have just solved my own problem when writing my scenes. Unexpected twist, shall I put it in the showcase as to not spoil the surprise?
     
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