Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Why Should Women Be Attracted to "Termite Queen"?
I was asked if I had a post detailing why I think my science fiction novel "The Termite Queen" should appeal particularly to women, so I thought maybe I should address that. I have a close friend who has been the first to read all my writing, and after reading "Termite Queen," she remarked, "This is women's fiction." I could see her point. It's a story with a strong female protagonist who falls in love with a man with a dark psychological secret. It's a compelling and poignant love story that could easily have been told in an entirely different context. Set it at the beginning of the 21st century, cut out the off-world adventure and the strange alien characters, fabricate a different catalyst to initiate the plot and take it to its denouement, and you would have the same story. It then might easily fit into the category of literary fiction for women.
But it does have those other things and that makes it special. It has giant intelligent termites, and that's why I spend a lot of time stressing the appeal to women. I don't want females to be put off by the idea of yucky, giant bugs. These are not your cliched monsters who ate Minneapolis. They are not there to provide an agent for the Apocalype. These are real "people" with real people's subtleties and problems.
And I should also make the point that I can understand that some males might be attracted by the space travel, the off-world adventure, the concept of giant aliens, etc., only to be disappointed when they find out that so much of the book is given over to the love story and to the psychological subtleties of the characters. In particular, I think my book is not suited to the young, macho male crowd (age 15-30) who seek out stories with furious space chases, car crashes, superheroes, and hot chicks. I couldn't object if such guys bought my book, but I doubt very much they would like it.
However, I have had certain men buy the book who became totally fascinated with it. They were older men, well educated, with literary or scientific inclinations. I think that's the key. I've been told the book is literary science fiction, and I like that designation. The chapter epigraphs, mostly poetry, set the tone. This book is for educated readers, no matter what sex or age.
I even know of a smart thirteen-year-old girl who gobbled up Volume One over a period of 24 hours! So my advice would be -- buy the book, no matter what your demographic, and give it a try!