- by Mike Van Horn
I just started reading “The Heroine’s Journey” by Gail Carriger. I opened to the Intro and read this:
Here is the Hero’s Journey in one pithy sentence: Increasingly isolated protagonist stomps around prodding evil with pointy bits, eventually fatally prods baddie, gains glory and honor.
Here is the Heroine’s Journey in one pithy sentence: Increasingly networked protagonist strides around with good friends, prodding them and others on to victory, together.
This brought tears to my eyes; then I laughed out loud. The heroine’s journey is the way I write my stories. Her second sentence could be a blurb for my trilogy.
Hey, I even have a heroine—singer Selena M, who sings real songs. My stories are told from her perspective.
I’ve been so frustrated trying to cram my stories into the framework of the hero’s journey, and they just don’t fit.
I write science fiction. The standard sci fi trope is to fight the nasty evil aliens who are out to invade Earth and destroy humankind. Ray guns and blasters and dogfights in space using World War II tactics. Stories like this no longer grab my attention.
My heroine Selena is a renowned singer who’s reluctant to sing her most meaningful songs because they make her feel vulnerable. She rescues an injured alien whose spaceship crashed on her hillside. The alien is also a singer, who ran away from home because she wasn’t allowed to sing her heartfelt songs, and set out with friends to explore the galaxy. The two help each other recapture their passion for singing.
A theme of my trilogy is Selena’s efforts to come to terms with her singing. How to honor it as the passion of her life. How to balance performing with flying off into space. How to perform her music on other worlds.
On this journey she forms multiple partnerships. With the alien that crashed. With two other women; they become the Three Spaceketeers. With several powerful men, including one modeled after Elon Musk. With a raunchy country singer and a brash New York agent. With two aliens who rescue her when she’s marooned in deep space. She trains a small AI device to develop a personality so it can be her companion when she’s alone in space. All of these help her on her adventures, help her when she’s in a jam, and saves her life multiple times.
Her antagonists are not bloodthirsty alien monsters but officious government bureaucrats who want to grab the alien technology for themselves. She doesn’t kill them; she outsmarts them.
She strides around with good friends, and they prod each other to victory. Yes, I like that! Heroine’s journey.
* * *
I explore several ideas in my stories that I may share with you in future posts:
— Why are aliens friendly? What happened to the hostile aliens?
— If aliens come to Earth, what do they want?
— What do aliens look like? Not too humanoid, not too weird. Why? How does convergent evolution play out?
— Why haven’t alien races spread throughout the galaxy, including Earth?
— Do the aliens evolve higher and higher intelligence?
— How does one plausibly leap between stars?
* * *
Mike’s trilogy includes:
— Aliens Crashed in My Back Yard
— My Spaceship Calls Out to Me
— Spacegirl Yearning
He’s now working on “book 4 of the trilogy”:
— Alien Invasion: There Goes the Neighborhood
Check these out on galaxytalltales.com. Available as ebooks and paperbacks.