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sunandshadow
07-19-2005, 05:45 AM
My romance is set in a fantasy culture where the whole race is having problems with infertility. (The infertility is symbolic of the culture's close-mindedness and stagnation because of their fear of change and refusal to evolve.) At the climax of the book a character whose unique ability is unshakeable loyalty and true-hearted love (the friendly or brotherly kind, not the passionate kind) meditates on their love for their various family members and accidentally creates a spell which fixes the whole race's infertility problem.

So, love and babies are often connected in romance novels. The question is, what is the underlying meaning? What, in the romantic fantasy which romance writers and readers prefer to the real world of rape and illegitimace, does love have to do with fertility? Why and how should love be a necessary prerequesite for fertility?

veinglory
07-19-2005, 06:34 PM
Because in a natural environment two 'in love' parents caring for a child makes it far more likely to survive?

Susan Gable
07-19-2005, 09:37 PM
So, love and babies are often connected in romance novels. The question is, what is the underlying meaning? What, in the romantic fantasy which romance writers and readers prefer to the real world of rape and illegitimace, does love have to do with fertility? Why and how should love be a necessary prerequesite for fertility?

First of all, I'm not sure what you mean about the "real world of rape and illegitimacy." Rape and illegitimacy happen in romance novels. (Hopefully no one is still writing heroes who rape, but that's happened in the past.) But you will find characters who've experienced one or the other.

And if you equate the "real world" to rape and illegitimacy, as opposed to the romantic "fantasy" of love being tied to fertility, then that's sort of sad. Jeez, when faced with those two choices, who wouldn't prefer the "romantic fantasy?"

Why should love be a prerequisite for fertility? Ummm....because we are NOT animals. Humans should never be looked at as only their biology, we're more than that.

Love and babies go together not just in romance novels, but in "real life" too. I think the desire for a baby is very much a part of us - even though we are more than our biological urges, the desire to procreate is a strong one. (Gads, I was watching old family videos last night, looking at my almost 14-year-old son as an infant, and thinking, "Oh, how cute, and wouldn't another one be kind of nice?" Luckily I quickly snapped out of it. <G>)

Love and babies also go together because love and sex go together. As you point out with your "rape and illegitimacy" examples, sex can exist apart from love. But love is the primary point of the romance novel. Sex is also an intrigual componant of many romance novels. Sex sometimes leads to babies.

I often have babies (or pregnancies) in my romance novels simply because of the complications/strong emotion they cause. Also I think babies are popular in romance novels because most women can relate to the whole baby/pregnancy issue. (How we all love to swap labor/delivery horror stories!)

And my final thought on this issue is: Sometimes a baby is just a baby. (i.e. why does there have to be a underlying meaning here? It is what is.)

Susan G.

sunandshadow
07-20-2005, 02:00 AM
I agree that humans should not be looked at as only their biology, but we are animals underneath. What I mean by the 'real world of rape and illegitimacy' is that in the real world human biology rewards (in some cases) male violence, both male and female infedelity, etc. A man and a woman may fall madly in love and have children, but that ideal scenario only accounts for something like half of all conceptions. A couple may be madly in love, but if one of them is infertile, no kids. And if the couple happens to be both male or both female they can't even try to have children together (althoguht they are working on technology for that.) And then lots of people who don't want kids conceive them accidentally. Overall, conception in the real world has a very weak relation to love.

I agree, it is sad, and a major reason why people buy romantic fiction to escape into a fantasyland more in accord with the human heart.

So in creating my fantasy world, I want to show my race evolving from our current animalistic way of reproducing to one more suitable for sentient beings - I want to give them a spell such that any two people who love each other can conceive a child together, regardless of gender or even species. And I want this to be the only way they can conceive children, so there are no unplanned pregnancies and sex is freed from its vestigial chains to biology to take its true role as a social/courting behavior. This would mean a baby is never just a baby, but always a blending of two souls who love each other.

I made this thread because I want to understand fully what symbolic importance people attact to fertility, love, and the intersection between the two. This will help me figure out exactly how my 'conception spell' should work, why love has to be the key ingredient, and why my species is having problems with infertility in the first place.

veinglory
07-20-2005, 02:14 AM
The human biology I was taught suggested that as humans have young that are very dependent on their parents for a long time the pair bond and multi-family community produce the best survival. Rape stragies make more sense when young are precocial (like dolphins).

Susan Gable
07-20-2005, 02:20 AM
I want to give them a spell such that any two people who love each other can conceive a child together, regardless of gender or even species. And I want this to be the only way they can conceive children, so there are no unplanned pregnancies and sex is freed from its vestigial chains to biology to take its true role as a social/courting behavior. This would mean a baby is never just a baby, but always a blending of two souls who love each other.

.

I think Heinlein did something like this. I believe he had a contraceptive that blocked conception unless BOTH parties agreed to create a baby.

I don't remember what book/series of his it was in, though.

Susan G.

AprilBoo
07-20-2005, 06:04 PM
I think part of the underlying tie between fertility and love is commitment. Having a child isn't something you do for a few hours. Once you are a parent you are a parent forever, and you will always have a relationship with your child's other parent. When you are formulating your spell, I think you should take that into account - love can be fleeting, and two people who are in love and both want a child may not be in love years later. Or is that too much "real world" sneaking in?

sunandshadow
08-03-2005, 01:23 AM
I finally had some more thoughts about what love has to do with fertility.

Fertility is a purely biological thing. It is associated with the animal side of people, and the mechanical nature of the universe. Love, OTOH, is a purely mental thing, associated with the soul and therefore magic. (Magic being the godlike soul exerting power over the physical world.) So the struggle of biological fertility vs. love-based deliberate magical conception is an expression of the larger dysphoria between the godlike soul of man and the mechanistic, physical world the soul is trapped in.

Homosexuality is a great test case for a battle between love and biology, because of course homosexual relationships are not normally fertile, and choosing to live as an exclusive homosexual appears at first glance to go hand-in-hand with deciding against parenthood. But, that's only if you're trapped in looking at things from the animal perspective. With sufficiently advanced technology, aka magic, there's no reason parenthood has to have anything to do with gender. And if they are not inherently linked, it becomes possible to consider that maybe they shouldn't be linked.

SLake
08-03-2005, 04:22 PM
For some reason I can't use 'post reply,' so it's 'quick reply' for me.

The process of love usually involves romance and all it's foibles, some nasty, which is what I understand AprilBoo to be indicating. Without all its associated difficulties and romance, surely the achievement of love woudn't be held in such high esteem?

I knew a gay couple who had a child -- they're not a couple anymore and the child, a boy, pines for a father which he'll never know, because his father was an 'anonmymous donation.' The mother who brought him up, I can't fault, neither can her son, the boy. My own parents on the other hand, hetrosexual, had as much love as a couple of cave trolls, so often I've thought I'd have preferred just an adoring mother like that of the boy, if I had the choice.

Could be the boy only yearns for a father because nearly everyone else seems to have one, so maybe wanting both genders as parents is just a programmed thing. Then again maybe it's just that we all yearn for what don't or can't have.

Enlightening us in this would surely be a magical thing. Good luck with your story, it asks some very deep and relevant questions!