Mother Was An Alien

It all started the first time I read Katherine V. Forrest’s collection of short stories called ‘Dreams and Swords’.

One of the stories was the first lesbian vampire story I’d ever read, and phew, was it hot! But that’s another story. (making out in null-gravity … my oh my!)

Another was called ‘Mother Was an Alien’. A rather tongue-in-cheek story I thought after I read it, but I was intrigued about where it might’ve ended up. Apparently so were a whole lot of lesbians because Katherine expanded it into a whole novel and called it ‘Daughters of A Coral Dawn’.

I read it, loved it, and every half decade or so re-read it and love it all over again. Not because it was particularly well written, it swings between naive and stunningly brilliant, (in me ‘umble opinion) but because for the first time ever in my experience I was reading a science fiction story that spoke DIRECTLY to my life as a lesbian living in a lesbian culture within the broader heterosexual one. What a revelation!

I don’t know whether Katherine did it deliberately but the ending of the story never felt quite complete. Eventually she wrote a second and third book in the series which rounded out the story arc perfectly. ‘Daughters of an Amber Noon’ and ‘Daughters of an Emerald Dusk’

In the third book she put forth a Gaia theory that’s just a little different to the one we’re used to here on Earth.

To paraphrase Ms. Forrest:

Not long after the Big Bang (‘not long’ bring highly subjective. We’re talking billions of years here) as proto-planets were forming out of gaseous matter, they also evolved a consciousness that we would call Gaia. The flora and fauna of the Gaia worlds evolved along with the Gaia consciousness and maintained an equilibrium that never allowed a single species to emerge and dominate the others.

Because the universe was a dangerous place at the time, many of the planets were bombarded by comets and other celestial flotsam and jetsam, some small enough to barely make a dent, and others large enough to cause what’s known as a Global or Mass Extinction Event.  This has happened at least five times that we know of in Earth’s history. The last one was about 65 million years ago. (does that date ring a bell?)

Katherine presents us with the concept that the MEE’s (for short) and meteor strikes in particular, were so devastating that the Gaia consciousness of the affected planet had to withdraw Her connection with the flora and fauna in order to simply keep the planet viable to support any kind of life. Without the global connection to maintain a balance a single species would gain prominence. This species would eventually create it’s own downfall, taking a goodly portion of the rest of the planets species and resources with it. (or would be wacked by another comet/meteor – same end result)

If you want to know how it all turns out you’ll have to read the trilogy!

These books are an example of how a writer can take a concept, turn it inside out and upside down, give it a good shake and see what falls out. It’s why I read all sorts of non-fiction stuff; scientific journals, knitting and garden and green lifestyle blogs, etc, and fiction – all sorts of fiction. It’s why I observe the world around me and wonder, “What if?”


 We have a two-fer. I couldn’t decide between these two quotes:

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”Marcus Tullius Cicero

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own”Alice Walker

11 comments on “Mother Was An Alien

  1. clarbojahn says:

    Glad to know you and your take on the world.


  2. S.P. Bowers says:

    It’s interesting isn’t it how so many writers have one or two books they can look to and say “it started here”.

    Loved both of the quotes at the end, so thanks for both.


  3. I find it hard to believe that humankind has only gone through one cycle on earth….Cicero got that right.


    • Widdershins says:

      I agree, if reptiles kept on popping up throughout the last couple of eras, then other species might just as well have too. Imagine the hominids that might’ve walked the earth as Pangaea broke apart. When Olaf Stapledon wrote ‘Last and First Men’ he extrapolated human evolution forward through two billion years and eighteen species. Wouldn’t it be something to go backwards in Time and do the same thing … hm-m … possibilities … like I don’t have enough to write about now!


  4. Sci-fi movies and TV shows are full of imagined evolutionary outcomes. I thought it was odd that they were always bipedal and the same height as humans; I’m sure that’s because the guest stars hired to play these characters had to fit into the rubber suits somehow!

    Imagine how hard it would be for humanity to negotiate and build relationships with aliens that were reptile in origin… or perhaps some other form of animal base. How would you shake hands? How would you know if they were lesbians??


    • Widdershins says:

      Had to chuckle at the last … And very good questions they are too. Food for thought: shaking hands is a very westernised male form of greeting, so any form of greeting would have to be thoroughly de-culturised. (just invented a new word!) And I reckon gaydar is a trans-species form or recognition.


  5. London Mabel says:

    The first lesbian book I read was some frontier romance. I don’t remember much about it, or finding it very compelling. lol. I have some Sarah Waters books I have to get to.

    As for SF, I found The Left Hand of Darkness to be kind of romantic, though it’s partway a buddy flick and partway a romance, because one of the protagonists is dual gendered.

    Excuse my sleepy brain for having nothing deeper than that to say.


    • Widdershins says:

      Sleepy brain did good … Sarah is worth getting into … Ursula Le Guin said of The Left Hand of Darkness that she regretted not taking the genderlessness of the character Estraven completely beyond his/its maleness … but that was a long time ago. I do wonder what she would do with it now?


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