Happy holiday season, everyone! As 2018 draws to a close, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to discuss a trend I’ve noticed emerging this past year in popular fiction: the bonding between human and non-human protagonist.
When Guillermo del Toro’s film “The Shape of Water” won Best Picture, many folks were puzzled. How could a movie about a woman falling in love with a merman (more fish than Arielle ever was) possibly take home a such a prestigious Oscar? Well, as someone who held a childhood fondness for the Creature of the Black Lagoon, I was pretty impressed. Suffice to say, that fondness had extended to other arguably bizarre objects of fixation such as Gollum, Q and Odo of Star Trek and a certain excitement over the inferred ‘special bond’ between Charlie and the titular Autobot of the newest Transformers film, “Bumblebee“.
As a faithful del Toro fan, I marveled at the trend he seems to have brilliantly capitalized upon: Growing tired of mundane humans, human protagonists might just seek a bit more exotic than vampires or werewolves. Heck, my vampire fad passed ages ago to seamlessly flow into an apparent lasting affinity for extra-terrestrials. In particular, the less human, the better – hence Odo, a gelatinous shapeshifting alien and Q, a member of a super race capable of space-time manipulation and often compared to deities by lower life forms. Yes, as popular as he is, the android Data was developed by humans and as such, is still a little too human. He’s all yours, Tasha. 🙂
This kind of acceptance and expansion upon what can be widely considered attractive is wildly encouraging, even starting simply with humans learning to embrace difference in each other, such as those of different sexual orientations, religions or cultural backgrounds.
That said, we have a long way to go. So while the vast majority of humanity undulates its way around war, oppression and bigotry, I’ll be here fawning over alien life forms and creating my own exotic creatures for others to consume. Now, I want to hear from YOU. Those of you who are authors – what types of creatures have you created and do they interact or form close relationships with a human(like) protagonist? Readers – What has been your favorite non-human creature and character in fiction thus far and why?
For 2019 reading, check out sci-fi debut Apex Five!