Guest Post: Robert Eggleton author of Rarity from the Hollow
ashley | A few months ago I read a strange and important book by Robert Eggleton. Rarity From the Hollow was about a little girl with a hard upbringing who falls in love with a robot and is asked to save the universe. The book left a lasting impression, but it was Robert Eggleton’s passion and dedication as a children’s advocate for over forty years that really stuck with me. Author proceeds from Rarity From the Hollow were donated to a child abuse prevention program in West Virginia. (www.childhswv.org)
Robert was kind enough to pull together a guest post for us about true love in science fiction.
My First Time: True Love in Science Fiction
By Robert Eggleton
No, this article is not about your first sexual experience. Better! It’s about the first time that we fell in love, with a book. Do you remember? Of course you do, because it was and will always be the one of the most significant occurrences in our lives.
AWWH, but I can’t remember her name – I mean the book’s title. I was so much in love that it made me dizzy. After she let me read her though, she cheated. She let somebody else read her, and even said different things to the new lover, I mean reader.
Maybe the same thing has happened to you: I got addicted to love – became a regular book whore, reading one after another, sometimes without proper protection, such as by reading content that took me outside of my comfort zones. In 1963, I was twelve years old and working at a drug store after school and on weekends. The pharmacist / manager would let me take home paperbacks if I returned them in same-as-new condition. Attracted by its cover, I took home Martian Time-Slip by Phillip K. Dick.
At the time, I was an aspiring, inexperienced, hopeless romantic. Superman had a girlfriend, Lois, and he even later locked lips with Wonder Woman. Spiderman loved MJ. Dick’s book, however, STRETCHED my imagination, including how seduction, infidelity, and true love fit into a science fiction story. Since then, Captain Kirk has chased women all over the universe and many science fiction books have had strong romantic elements. Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy have also become popular subgenres of speculative fiction.
Over the years, one of the most controversial science fiction authors to have included romance (and sex) in speculative fiction has been Robert Heinlein. While he created many strong and competent female characters, some feminists have accused him of misogyny. I didn’t pick up on that element of his writing compared to the historical sexism of science fiction in general, but I didn’t enjoy thinking about Friday (1982) enjoying rape. So, I asked Lacy Dawn, the protagonist of my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow, to address the matter from her perspective as an adolescent:
Excerpt from Chapter 10, Lacy Dawn Goes to the Movies
Scene Preface: A genetic spawn millennia old, Lacy Dawn is eleven Earth years in this scene. Her destiny is to save the universe. An android that had been sent to recruit and train her totally messed up. He intended to show Lacy Dawn a video about her role in human evolution, but instead picked the wrong “movie” for her to watch. The mistake was made because the android had been preoccupied by a threat to his own existence – deactivation due to inadequate progress on the assignment to recruit Lacy Dawn. The following exchange between the android and Lacy Dawn is being monitored by Universal Management:
………The video began. Lacy Dawn squirmed in her chair.
This movie ain’t about stars and planets and stuff like that.
A steady beat of drums increased in tempo and became a reverberating bass note. A group of bipeds with long, sharp teeth invaded a village of bipeds with short and stubby teeth. Long Teeth chased a deer which ran into the Stubby Teeth’s village. It escaped because the two groups got into a fight.
“Daddy lost a deer last year because Harold said he shot it first. They got in a big argument and it got loose. It’s sad. It walked around hurt and everything until Daddy found it and put a bullet in its head.”
The video scenes were bloody.
I’m used to blood.
Long Teeth raped the village females.
Daddy rapes Mommy every now and then. Mommy says it’s all her fault because she don’t give it up like a good wife.
He looked at the screen, put an index finger to his lips, a learned human gesture, and stopped the video.
“Sorry, wrong CD,” he whispered.
I hope the monitoring of my performance missed the error.
“I love you, DotCom.”
He got up to look for a different video.
“I learned something from you today, DotCom,” she said.
Someone else is listening.
“I learned that evolution doesn’t result from the good guys or bad guys winning the gene pool game. There are many other factors. A tall mom and a short dad don’t always have a medium-tall kid. Each parent has dominant and recessive genes that can combine in a number of ways. I learned that a horrible event can have a positive long term result. It’s like when the meat-eaters raped the female vegetarians. It was a very bad thing that made very good babies who reproduced and advanced the species. That’s what happened to my cousin last year. She told everybody about it, but had the most beautiful baby girl who is the pride and joy of the family. You’re so smart and have helped me so much. I’d do anything you asked me to. I know you’d never ask me to do anything that would have a bad final outcome.”
DotCom was summoned by a beep to his monitor.
My performance evaluation has been revised.
“Management has reached the conclusion that intensive monitoring would be an inexcusable waste of resources. Your immediate supervisor has been ordered to take a week’s vacation without pay,” the e-mail read.
“Thank you,” DotCom said to Lacy Dawn.
“For what, Dude? What’s the next movie?” ……..
“I was a love child,” Lacy Dawn said to him the next morning. “My mommy told me so.”
“Do you still have those disturbing videos on replay, Lacy Dawn?”
“I guess so. It’s so mean. I can understand switches and beating people up. I can understand not buying someone medicine. I remember when Grandpa wouldn’t buy Grandma her heart pills and she died.”
“I apologize for showing you the wrong video,” he said.
“I don’t understand how someone can turn an act of love into an act of hate. It don’t seem human. Sorry.”
“Quite a few human psychology theorists have earned good wages with that issue. Lots of human psychotherapists have made ends meet also. If you want, I can build a lesson plan on the subject and plug you into it this evening.”
“Naw, rape is just one more pain in the butt called life. Excuse the pun. It’s not a subject worth a plug-in. It’s the images and not the psychology that freaks me out. I know the remedy—let’s get to work.” ……
Rarity from the Hollow is an adult literary science fiction novel. The content addresses social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Capitalism, and touches on the role of Jesus: “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.”
Most book reviewers have commented on these elements of the story. Several book reviewers of the novel have privately disclosed to me that they had been maltreated as children, one of whom publicly disclosed that she is a survivor of rape:
“…soon I found myself immersed in the bizarre world… weeping for the victim and standing up to the oppressor…solace and healing in the power of love, laughing at the often comical thoughts… marveling at ancient alien encounters… As a rape survivor… found myself relating easily to Lacy Dawn… style of writing which I would describe as beautifully honest. Rarity from the Hollow is different from anything I have ever read, and in today’s world of cookie-cutter cloned books, that’s pretty refreshing… whimsical and endearing world of Appalachian Science Fiction, taking you on a wild ride you won’t soon forget….” http://kyliejude.com/2015/11/book-review-rarity-from-the-hollow/
But, Rarity from the Hollow is also a love story. Perhaps because the other content overwhelms some readers, only a few book reviews have commented about the romance element of the novel:
“…A unique way to bring two different races together. At first, I was worried that I was not going to be able to like the world Mr. Eggleton had created. But I was surprised that as I read more of the book, the people had a way of touching a part of you that I was not expecting at all. A good read for any lover of satire and science fiction. A well written book.” – Mia, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
At first glance, it sounds weird – a semi-romantic relationship between a girl and an adult-looking android. When you read closer, however, the reader quickly discovers that:
- The android doesn’t have any private parts, “not even a little bump,” or Lacy Dawn would have never trusted him;
- She is actually millennia old, her existence predates his;
- She is much more emotionally mature and is waiting for him to grow up;
- The android is her boyfriend for when she is old enough to have one;
- He never gets farther than to kiss her on the cheek, once;
- And, Lacy Dawn vows not to have sex for the first time until after she is married following a very long engagement.
There is another romance in my story, one that does involve off-screen sex. After the parents have been cured of their mental health problems with the help of the android, they fall back in love. Please don’t read Rarity from the Hollow if you are easily offended because a vibrator is mentioned and you might get a buzz.
I love love. I love books. I love reading love stories. I can’t imagine any story worth reading that doesn’t involve even a mention true love. As a hopeless romantic forever, there will always be an element of love in anything that I write because I can’t help myself.
“If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go….” — http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html
You can find Rarity From the Hollow here:
Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Doghorn Publishing