Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tall, dark, and continent

Am I going to talk about "continents"? Or "continence" as a heroic quality in an alien romance? Continence! Sexual continence, as opposed to sexual incontinence. We all think only of bladder control, because pharmaceutical company advertisements bombard us with solutions --or pills-- for that problem. As far as I know, there is no product to change the habits of the sexually incontinent. Possibly "continent" in the sense of sexual restraint has disappeared from the modern lexicon. I'll have to look!

Why do so many of us swoon over Spock, and scorn Kirk?

Kirk was supposed to be the hero. He was attractive in a short, brown-haired, pudgy/muscular sort of way. He had pecs and his tight top showed them. He scored with a different girl every week. He was impulsive, occasionally outspoken (rude), and he had tantrums. And, he got himself into trouble. He was like the sexually experienced, promiscuous, "rake" type hero that is so popular in romantic fiction.

Mr. Spock was more the traditional Regency romance hero.

He did not sleep around. He was almost invariably polite. He was formal.
I cannot recall him swearing. I cannot imagine him using any of the short, sexually colloquial terms that are a pre-requisite a book to qualify as "erotic romance". His wit was dry, and you had to pay attention to "get" it. Often he expressed devastating criticism just by raising one eyebrow. Jim's ways bewildered him. He was tall, dark, good looking, clean, well groomed. He was in control.

And he did that neat thing with his fingers. (But that's another story entirely.)

Mr. Spock --as a character, I don't mean I have the hots for Leonard Nimoy, bless him-- is the sort of hero that I'd like to write (and have my own happy ever after with!)

I see Rhett as potentially Spock-like.

(Rhett is in Forced Mate, also in Insufficient Mating Material. Get a glimpse of him in the "Insult and Injury" excerpt. Now he's getting his own story.)

The great dilemma is, would alien romance readers today want to buy --in effect-- a traditional Regency romance in outer space? Was the Star Trek movie where Mr. Spock got married the omega and alpha of the genre, or is there room on bookshelves for more sexually continent heroes?

(Games of Command is in my TBR stack.)

Rowena Cherry


  1. Well, I don't know. I wouldn't have gone out with either Kirk or Spock. Sure, they were each appealing in their own way. But, like I've said before, I drilled it into my head as a teen NOT to be attracted to any man - no matter how hot - who didn't also have excellent Dad Potential. Neither of these characters did.

    Since you mentioned GAMES OF COMMAND, I'll use it as an example. Branden had excellent Dad Potential, regardless of the lack of pregnancy or progeny in the story. He knew pain and humiliation and overcame it through the courage only love can create through hope. He was strong, but knew what it felt like to be weak. He was driven to protect and care for the one he loved, and not out of a fear of loss. He loved Sass. He loved. True love radiates out. It doesn't grab inwardly. Grabbing inwardly is selfishness and selfish men make lousey fathers. In real life, they also make lousy lovers.

  2. Anonymous1:06 PM EDT

    Well, and why not? Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophie come immediately to mind. Charles' very proper and almost stoic deportment makes a delightful foil to his (unknowingly, to him) incorigibly exasperating intended, Sophie. And now that I think of it, I see a parallel between them and GAMES OF COMMAND's main couple, Branden and Sass. Coincidence? Possibly. Does it work in a SF setting? Absolutely!

  3. I think the problem I'd have with a Spock-like character is that Spock was wholly devoted to his career and logic. There was no room for a committed love relationship. Of course, the Spock character was bound by the limitations of episodic television and movies. A novel doesn't have those limitations. Still, if you want a Spock-like character in a believable romance, you're going to have to infuse him with the ability to have one.

  4. Kimber an,

    Thank you for your comments, I am on my way to the library to see if I can borrow the video of the movie where Mr Spock got married.

    Maybe I just imposed my wishful thinking on the character, and saw what I wanted to see.

    I think a conscientious guy makes an excellent daddy.



  5. Yay! David!!!!!

    You read The Grand Sophy.

    You are a cool and surprising guy. In fact, you are a "shiny" guy! See tomorrow's blog to understand, if you don't.

    Best wishes,

  6. Rowena, actually, I think the best Spock episode for this would be the one where he, Kirk, and McCoy are sent back in time via a library/time portal thing. They travel back to a caveman-type era and find a blond woman who was banished there. She can never leave. I think Spock came the closest to love in that episode. I wish could remember the title! The ending didn't make sense - Spock left her there all alone - but it was necessary for episodic television.

  7. My editor would certainly throw my manuscript across the room if Rhett left his lover!

    What is your atavar waving? I can't figure out if she is a very bad golfer, a woman with a very long and whippy wrench, or a Tazer on a cattleprod.


  8. That's Junior swinging her daddy's sword as a 14 year old in the novel I'm currantly polishing for submission, a YA Science Fantasy entitled the HOLY BENNU. Click on her for a larger picture.

  9. Anonymous8:08 PM EDT

    Oh, I misspelled Sophy! Shame on me. I do know what "shiny" is, though, compliments of Firefly and Serenity. Btw, I think that was a clever slang term to use. One wonders if it will one day gain its own following outside of SF fandom.

  10. Read THE VULCAN ACADEMY MURDERS and THE IDIC EPIDEMIC by Jean Lorrah for a deeper exploration of Spock, Sarek, and Vulcan culture. You may have to find used copies, but they're bound to be out there. Vulcans know committed relationships (how could it be otherwise, with the bondmate system we saw in "Amok Time"?) -- they just express intimacy differently from us. As my husband and I were taught on our Marriage Encounter weekend, "Love is a decision" (not primarily an emotion -- not the kind that lasts a lifetime, anyway). Jean's "Night of the Twin Moons" fanzine series about Sarek and Amanda is even better, but I don't know how you'd go about finding copies of those.

  11. Ahhhh, "Amok Time"!!!

    Thank you Margaret. Just like elephants run amok during their must. I knew there was some subliminal reason why I related to Mr Spock.

    Thank you for all the references. Now I do not have to spend the night with Ricardo Montalaban and others (just borrowed 5 ST movie vids of the tape kind from the library)

    I'm more in the mood to watch a Joan Hickson Miss Marple mystery, anyway.

    Empress Hell scene is pending!


  12. I love the idea of a hero like that. Spock didn't have much sex appeal, but he did have charisma. The way you described him reminded me of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and how many of us are still nuts over that character?