How taboo is bestiality in a novel? Well, if it is bestiality, that is.
You see, I'm working on a novel in which the main character is part human, part horse. (No, not a centaur, that would be too cliche). He is a typical male human except for three equine-like features- hooves, a tail, and genitals (no, Not that big). So in other words, sexually he is a horse... I guess by now you've figured out that this is a fantasy. Anyway, since he is not interested in girls, but in fillies and mares, would it be bestiality if he does it with a filly or a mare?
In my novel I have the preacher of the church the MC and his family attend say that it is wrong. He even quotes Leviticus.
April 6th, 2007, 02:46 AM
This is because of that post of mine with the dead hooker and the billy goat, isn't it? Okay, I'm sorry. I was trying to be funny, but I was wrong. You could've just told me to apologize. You didn't have to do this to me. You're frickin' evil, man...
Okay, seriously now... To say it bluntly, bestiality will deep-six your chances at going mainstream. You won't have an easy time pitching your manuscript and if you do get published, you're book will probably be shunned for the most part. Also, twenty years down the line, when you're at the height of your campaign for mayor, some reporter will bring out the story and hand victory to your opponent. Do you really want that to happen?
However, the protagonist you describe is what I'd call a Demihuman. Since he's not fully human, that gives you some leeway, but he's still human enough that the prospect is rather dicey.
My question is this: How far are you planning on going with this? Do you actual intend to have a "love scene" or are you simply making the point that he's attracted to horses? In the latter case, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. If it's the former... well, good God, man, why? >_<
The condemnation of his proclivities by the clerical establishment poses an interesting conundrum. What exactly is kosher for someone like him? It doesn't sound like there are any others like him. If he's too human for horses and too horse for humans, what's left for him? (Then again, that could set the stage for an adventure to find a female of his kind.)
April 6th, 2007, 10:01 AM
If you read a lot of what I'm afraid we now call "classic" science fiction, it sometimes had a lot to do with sex. (Yes, I feel old now.) Heinlein's Stranger in a strange land comes to mind immediately, as well as LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. At least at that time, works like those pushed the limits, some even said "beyond". Many times what was presented was a parable to point out that different is not always bad. It's a tried and true literary tradition.
That being said, if you are going to write such a story do your best to write it very very well. Yes, if you do well you'll get a reputation, but writing a nice, safe, PC story is not sufficient to elevate you above the crowd.
Good luck with that.
April 6th, 2007, 10:05 AM
What you are describing is a satyr, not a centaur. While satyrs are usually made up of deer or goat parts, a two legged hooved, horse-tailed creature counts in the family. But if he's not an un-human creature but someone human who has a weird, magical mutation, then it's not a case of a creature acting out of its nature, such as a satyr, but of a human attacking an animal because of a biological and psychological problem.
How you might want to handle a scene of bestiality depends on what you are doing with your story. If it's a satiric social commentary sort of thing, then clearly you can have such a scene and the reactions to it, but you will have to consider how you are handling it. Maybe it would be better, if a humorous story, if he just admires and talks about the mares, instead of actually does anything.
If it's meant to be a different sort of story, not humor, then you'd have to consider what the purpose of the scene is. If it's a horror novel, or a dark fantasy, or some sort of test for the main character, then the scene might have a role to play.
A scene like this and a story like this may be more likely to find a market in general fiction as a non-category fantasy, then as a category contemporary fantasy, especially if it's a religious satire. Then again, I don't know exactly what you are doing with the story, so I couldn't tell you.
April 9th, 2007, 12:41 AM
You have a point about him being something like a satyr, Kat... note: I said 'something like a satyr' He is no more related to a satyr than a bumblebee is related to a sparrow. I still consider him equine (at least partly, and in particular sexually). Here are two paragraphs where he describes himself, and if you notice, he even mentions satyrs...
(Oh, yes, there is just a little comment preceding the two paragraphs, and a little postscript following):
I have posted this on a number of forums and quite a few people talk about the 'ick' factor. I don't understand why. My MC's lower body is that of a horse (I have edited my novel so that instead of just hooves, tail and genitalia... well, let me quote what my MC says about himself, maybe that would shed new light on this subject):
I look at my naked body, focus my attention on my genitals. Youíre a freak, John Francis Piper, a goddamn freak. Look at you: one half human male, and the other half, equine male. From my waist down, I have a horseís body; my coat is chestnut, just like my mother. I am the proud owner of a horse sheath and a horse penis that is not yet as large as a full-grown horse, because I am, after all, still a colt. My testicles are almost as large as a stallionís. Maybe itís got something to do with Pa screwing a mare named Springlea seventeen years ago when he was drunk as a fisherman in an ocean of booze. When they told me, I thought they were joking because Iíve never known Pa to drink much, but then I looked at myself and thought maybe, just maybe, it was the truth. I knew it was impossible, but here I was, part boy, part horse, alive and breathing.
My genitals are equine and so are my feet and a long, thick tail that would make many a horse jealous. My feet arenít human feet, theyíre hooves. After sixteen years Iíve learned to live with these differences, but it was no easy path. When I was younger, I used to get teased a lot, and the teasing got me into a lot of fights. Kids used to ask me why I wasnít a centaur, because then they could ride on me. When I looked up the word in the encyclopedia, I saw this creature that looked like a horse, but had the chest and head of a man, and I thought I wouldnít want to look like that because then I would have to live in a stable. And I sure didnít want people jumping on my back. So Iím glad I look like one of those satyrs, except that my lower body is that of a horse, and not a goat, and besides, I look much more handsome than those ugly dudes, if I do say so myself.
Now I would be surprised if my MC was interested in anything but hot fillies. He has no interest in human females.
April 9th, 2007, 03:29 AM
You don't understand the "ick" factor, do you? Reading that passage of yours, you find nothing objectionable? You, my friend, are the epitome of "broad-minded". Carry on, carry on.
Unfortunately, not all of us are quite so progressive. Now, please excuse me while I go gouge out my mind's eye.
April 9th, 2007, 10:12 AM
So how does this 'ick' factor relate to my main character? You and I are completely human, so of course we think differently. My MC is different, so...
If he were to make it with a human female would the 'ick' factor disappear?
April 9th, 2007, 10:13 AM
An important question is "Why?" Why is this story about a half-equine man? Why is he half-equine, rather than, say, half-canine, or half-aquiline, or any other combination of human and animal? It seems the sexual aspect is of primary forcus for you, or that could just be an artifact of the OP. So why not half-bovine, a reversed minotaur, who was birthed from a woman-bull pairing in the mythology. Interestingly enough the minotaur myth seems to have many of the same elements you've brought up so far. Back in the day, bulls were the pinnacle of virility, but has the western world shifted into a horse-culture, the stallion took its place.
Just had an odd, thought though... if his father is a man, he'd get his Y-chromosome from his human parent. Seems to indicate his sexual characteristics would be more of a human quality. Then again... no since bringing genetics into a story like this.
On an unrelated now, why does every writing forum I frequent eventually have a conversation about bestality? :) Of course, the set up was little different last time around.
Would you consider, Human-Elf relations bestality (if they're seperate species?), how about if Princess Leia chose Chewbacca over Han? Or in this situtation, who does the satyr pick, the woman or the goat? (the correct answer for the satyr is whoever has had the most drinks).
April 9th, 2007, 11:32 AM
Number of things of things have come to mind.
One, the subject is one of the few that I have even seen as a no-no with regards to Erotica. To actually take the subject to to use it to say something meaningful about life, the universe etc(with out shouting 42) is going to be very difficult to do, take a writer of great skill and stand about a .000000000000001% chance of ever being picked up, if that is the reason for you writing this.
Two; from the section you have put up it seems that the two are capable of interbreeding, so this character of yours can't be a one off and the world you are talking about can't be "this world" (Hope that makes sense.)
Three; I would ask yourself why you want to write this tale. You can write a tale of crossed lovers/forbidden love without resorting to "shock tactics", which to be honest this smacks off to high heaven. I just feel you have chosen to go with the ick factor as James calls it, instead of trying to write with skill and thought.
And to be honest what you describe is a centaur.
Edit; KatG has said things better than me *grin*
April 9th, 2007, 11:34 AM
So he's a mutant -- a human born with, in this case, magical? horse parts. Was he born from the horse? This is rather confusing. Or is he simply like Kaftka's famous character and is, inexplicably, half-horse?
The issue with bestiality is sentinence and choice. Chewbacca was a member of a sentinent alien race, the equivalent of a human. If he and Princess Leia got together, it would be by the conscious choice of both of them -- by mutual consent. Likewise human and elf relationships. These are not bestiality. Bestiality is when a human sexually assaults an animal, who is not sentinent and cannot make a conscious choice in the same way a human can to participate. Any sexual response from an animal is forced, and the act is essentially a rape. There are, though, in much older tribal religions, beliefs in the magical power that can be obtained by sexual congress with certain animals and there are myths along those lines, but in these, the animal essentially has a god spirit.
Now this character finds himself only half-human, if I understand it right, and attracted to horses. Likewise, it would be difficult for him to have relations with human females, even if he wanted to. His interest is not the result of a psychological fetish, but of biological imperative. But, since half of him is human and he's sentinent, the act is still assault, though with less moral blame to it than perhaps would attach to someone fully human.
Still, the course of action that would probably be advocated for him would be to not have sex at all, that because he is not fully of either species, he should not have sexual relations with either. His big problem would be if he is around female horses who are in heat, but he could avoid being near horses altogether.
So then the question becomes what are you trying to do in the story with this situation. Are you looking at human sexual politics? Are you trying to do something comic? Are you trying to make a commentary on religion, society, equine science? What is the purpose of the story and of having this character? Simply to outrage or experiment? Because what you do with this character and how the audience will react to his dilemma and his behavior will have a lot to do with that.
Also, you originally said that the minister character was the main character. Now you're saying that the half-horse man is the main character. Which is it? Because that will have a great deal of effect on the story as well.