Sunday, July 02, 2006


Is he a god from outer space? Or is he --or she-- simply perceived to be a god because his or her technology is so superior, and because he (or she) can do things we can't explain away?

At some point, the reader is going to want to understand what this person does that makes him or her be recognized--or mistaken--for a god or goddess.

It's not enough to call a Regency hero a rake if he isn't sexually active. If the romantic hero is a pirate, he really ought to attack another ship. If he is a highwayman, he has to rob someone. If he is an alien, he probably ought to have different morals, and believe (rightly, if he's here!) that his own civilization is superior and more advanced than ours. Would he think we're cute? Quaint? Backward?

If he can read minds, how can the heroine keep any secrets? If he is all-knowing, where is the internal conflict? If he does mind sex, how does he feel about the common or garden variety?

So, if the hero is supposed to be a god....
What does an author of good taste and delicacy do?

Is it enough to say he is a god, and maybe have him indulge in a bit of shape-shifting, like Zeus? The Greeks and Romans have such great precedents! If he's only THOUGHT to be a god because he's an alien with superior technology, and a better body, how much does he need to do to convincingly maintain his status while he is visiting?

So far, my alien djinn romances haven't shown my alien "gods" at home. Apart from staging impressive displays of apparent "levitation" and secretly surveilling everyone, they've been too busy with their sex lives, reinvigorating a decadent gene pool, and dealing with various political crises including assassination attempts and royal weddings that don't go off with the proper dignity, pomp and splendor.

I think I'm onto something with the wire-tapping, though, if my next hero is going to be --to coin a phrase-- the answer to a maiden's prayer. Maybe not my "next" hero. I'm trying to write a swordfighting hero's story, but the incorrigible Djohn-Kronos (from MATING NET) keeps rearing up and demanding his own Happy Ever After.

Happy 4th everyone!

Rowena Cherry


  1. The Goddess Rowena wrote:If he can read minds, how can the heroine keep any secrets? If he is all-knowing, where is the internal conflict?

    Every system of magic has to have its price. That's common world crafting (and having thoroughly enjoyed and hooted my head off over Rowena's books I know she knows this but she did ask...).

    So a goddess or goddess-like character can't read minds all the time. Or perhaps if she can, it gives her a blinding headache and she has to at some point stop. Or perhaps if he can, there are strict edicts preventing him from doing so. So he doesn't without permission.

    If his or her talents and powers are greater than the other characters, then that may ostracize him. Set him apart in a way he might not like. Few enjoy being a freak; less enjoy being a freak show.

    All magic, talents, powers in SFR novels should come with penalities. I know Jacqueline's out of town but she has some wise words to that effect on her site. ;-) ~Linnea

  2. The Accidental Goddess, Linnea, makes a great point about The Cost of super powers.

    The headache! I love it. I wish I'd thought of that!!

    My alien djinn males have lost the power to read minds (too much inbreeding among the royal family) however, they do know how to mind shield... by thinking very hard and single-mindedly about sex.

    It seems like something guys do.


  3. RE: The cost of super powers...
    Well, it just makes sense, Ro. Translate it into our real-time. The diva opera singer often gets voice-cord nodules. The pro golfer gets back or hip problems. The marathon runner has knee injuries.

    In my An Accidental Goddess, Gillie had could hold non-corporeal form but she had a time limit. Her nano-essence side-kick and mentor, Simon, had the same time limit in reverse--he could hold corporeal form for only a short time. Just as an opera singer can't sing non-stop, neither could Gillie use magic non-stop. There has to be a limit and a regeneration point.

    In my Gabriel's Ghost [SPOILER TERRITORY], Sully had to use a certain drug (honeylace) when he DIDN'T shift to his 'other' form often enough. That's how he regenerated--by going back to his natural state in energy field of the Kyi.

    So the penalties for magic and/or extraordinary powers come in all flavors. :-) ~Linnea