Aliens with domestic issues
- Would I want to see Mr Spock vacuuming up my dustbunnies?
I don't think the spectacle would be either romantic or funny. Not
for me, anyway. I'd be most uncomfortable about the situation.
I imagine that Mr Spock, if faced with the need to use alien
household appliances, would locate the appropriate user manual, study
the instructions, and carry out the domestic operation with great
efficiency and a deadpan expression.
Maybe he'd raise a quizzical, Vulcan flying eyebrow. Actually, that
might be romantic in a traditional Regency romance sort of way.
Does this beg the question Why? Why would a highly intelligent alien
take an interest in my housecleaning? Loveslavery springs to mind,
but if he's doing housework that would reflect badly on my libido and
sex appeal, wouldn't it? Maybe, the rational alien is on a quest to
recover some incredibly valuable (it would have to be valuable) and
tiny object that fell to Earth like a meteorite, and got lodged in my
I've almost got the makings of a story here!
Of course, in my home, a highly intelligent and efficient alien might
have trouble finding instruction manuals. If I were to write a blow-
by-blow account of the exercise, I think an alien would comment. His
remarks would probably be very funny to everyone except myself, the
butt of his cool wit.
I am sure many authors have written scenes where their aliens have
issues with human home appliances....
Dara Joy's splendid early novel, Knight Of A Trillion Stars, comes to
mind. What was it her alien hunk attacked with his broadsword,
thinking it was a rival? A TV? An answering machine?
Is chopping up the furniture the closest that any alien hero has come
to housework? If not, I'd love recommendations. Generally, I think
alien heroes tend to be extremely macho. They are world rulers,
starship commanders, space pirates, intergalactic diplomats or
trading tycoons.... they have servants, or orderlies, or androids to
do the domestic dirty work.
Maybe I just haven't read the right books. No one seems to wash their
clothes, or scrub toilets in an alien romance. Susan Kearney said
that her aliens' clothing was self cleaning (smart!!! and with nano-
technology, this is becoming a reality). Intelligent spaceships have
aircleaning devices that work a lot better than the monsters we keep
in our human furnace rooms. I once thought of modeling an alien
toilet on a whole-house vacuum.
Then I read a joke about a sexually adventurous man who did himself a
In FORCED MATE my alien prince does have a little bit of trouble
drawing a bath, mostly because he takes a macho stand (sitting on its
edge, waiting for the heroine to take her clothes off and get in)
without realizing that human baths don't automatically stop filling
once the water reaches a sensible level.
He also has trouble with a shopping list. How was he to know that
one does not buy Marijuana in the feminine toiletries aisle?
And... he has trouble with the heroine when she discovers that his
spacecraft toilets perform automatic urinalysis and a few other
functions and announce the results. Romantic? Maybe not, but it
appealed to my low sense of humor.
And then, there's recycling. We all do it, I suppose. My heroine of
FORCED MATE is grossed out when she learns how spacefarers obtain
yeast to make deep space bread. But that's getting into cuisine, and
housekeeping, rather than house cleaning.
My "thing" is to gaze at the underbelly of an alien character's
lovelife and poke fun at it. And, you might not have guessed it, but
of all the sciences in science fiction, Biology is my favorite.
I'll be gone for the next four weeks. Do you know the ins and outs of
a crab's sex life? I do. :-)