Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Things that go bump in the night

I’m not a target market for most paranormal romance or urban fantasy books currently in print: There is no such thing as a vampire, and there is no such thing as a shifter (werewolf, dragon, yorkie, hamster — whatever you choose, it ain’t happening). Thus, I have a great deal of difficulty reading books with this sort of monster as a main character. Or in the book at all.

Why? Because of the physics and biology of the thing. Really, it’s the same reason nobody in my science-fiction books is going to have a romantic relationship with an alien. Ever. Bestiality makes me gag.

First of all, vampires are dead (the root of undead is dead; look it up). If you have a romantic relationship with a vampire, it’s necrophilia — euww…just…euww. Plus the fact that vampires are ‘immortal’ and they can create other vampires. Even if a vampire created one other vampire per decade, and that other vampire created one other vampire per decade, you get a geometric progression and after a while (it doesn’t matter how long of a while because they unlive forever), there’s nobody left to eat, just vampires. And then they all starve to, uh, death.

I realize this stems from the perfectly human desire to stay young and not die — I’m big on not dying, myself — but really, sleeping in a coffin and eating people (particularly when you don’t know where they’ve been and what/who they’ve been doing)? Sorry, I have other ways to accomplish the same thing that don’t strain my logic circuits nearly as hard.

And then there are shifters…sigh. Have you ever broken a bone? Dislocated a joint? Torn a muscle/tendon, heck, had a really bad cramp? They don’t go away in two seconds. Bones that snap and relocate themselves take weeks to reknit. Weeks. Sometimes months.

Do not let the word magic cross your lips in defense of this trope or you will be subjected to an eye roll — I’ve been practicing with teenaged girls, so my technique is almost ninja-class at this point. You will not survive.

The problem is in biology and organic chemistry; cells can only work so fast.

So a shifter will not turn into a wolf/panther/dragon/hamster/rhododendron for three nights in a row and then go back to normal for three and a half weeks, sorry. And if your bones, muscles and tendons start reshaping and rearranging themselves, you’ll be too busy screaming in incredible pain to be very menacing to anyone.

Plus there’s the whole mass factor–120-pound human female becomes a 70-lb North American wolf bitch. There’s 50 pounds of flesh missing in that equation. Or better yet, she turns into a 6-ton (12,000-pound) fire-breathing dragon! Where did the 11,880 pounds of scales, wings, talons and etc. come from? Dark matter? Insert derisive snort here.

All this rant is not against paranormal stories in general, but for pity’s sake, at least try to make them non-ridiculous. Have you ever come across phenomena you can’t explain? I have.

I live with a man who can tame any animal within seconds of meeting it; he once chittered at a feral rabbit on the VA medical center grounds and it started hopping to him. He wasn’t even speaking rabbit; it was the same noise he makes to talk to squirrels in our back yard. (It’s rather odd to wander outside and catch one’s spouse having a conversation with a squirrel, but I have done exactly that. That’s one of the reasons his blog name is Spooky Man.)

Not to mention the dogs, cats, bunnies, cows, llamas, goats, ferrets, and whatever else that have tried to follow him at the Western Idaho Fair. Spooky Man is not allowed in the animal barns unaccompanied.

Plus, I’ve got a ghost cat in my house — I have seen the black shadow of a long-haired cat flitting from one room to the other and we have no long-haired indoor cats. Even Tuffy, our long-haired outdoor cat (who refuses to become an indoor cat), has a Maine Coon-style outline, which doesn’t fit Ghost Kitty. Yeah, we named the ghost cat, which shouldn’t be surprising since I live with, well, Spooky Man.

However, I’m the one who scares away ghosts, identifies flying objects, explains magic powers (with string theory, but still…), and generally explicates the inexplicable. This is why I’m not a target market for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. If I were living the X-Files, I would be Scully.

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