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Literature / Wet Goddess

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"Does this animal look sexually abused? The dolphin, I mean. Those who denounce my conduct might have more credibility if they actually knew something about dolphins, sex or physics. In the water, you do what the dolphin allows you to do, or you get out. End of story."

There are many Interspecies Romance-themed novels with varying degrees of realism. However, Malcolm J. Brenner's Wet Goddess, first published in 2010, is a whole different story:

Author's Apology: I am sure almost anybody could write a better novel than this. Its chief defect, it seems to me, is that most of it happens to be true.

And since interspecies romance is viewed rather differently in real life, the controversy was unavoidable. There's much more to it, though. During his nine months long relationship with Ruby, a bottlenose dolphin kept captive in a local theme park in Florida, college student Zachary Zimmermannote  has an opportunity to learn a lot about dolphins... and humans.

You can find out more about the book on the official website, or read the first 50 pages for free.

Wet Goddess provides examples of:

  • Bestiality Is Depraved: An obvious implication of a real-life non-platonic Interspecies Romance.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Inverted. Zack creeps Ruby out by showing her the full range of humans' sexual taboos and inhibitions.
  • Dream Spying: Zack's nightmare turns out to be a vision sent to him by Ruby.
  • Ethical Slut: Ruby, and dolphins in general.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Ruby usually can only contact humans telepathically when they're stoned, or at least drunk. It's not always a necessity, though.
  • Interspecies Romance: Ruby and Zack develop a serious relationship. Ruby's ability to communicate telepathically definitely helps.
  • Ironic Echo: Ruby always appears in Zack's mind when he least expects it. Always.
    Zack: Oh, that's fucking great. Now I've got a dead dolphin swimming around in my head!
  • Mocking Music: At one point, Zack turns on the radio to take his mind off Ruby's death. Cue Ruby Tuesday playing.
    Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
    Who could hang a name on you?
    When you changed every new day
    Still I'm gonna miss you...
  • The Mourning After: Ruby always remained the first and foremost in Zack's heart.
    Zack [25 years later]: So here we are again, and not a day has gone by when I haven't thought about you, Ruby.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • After leaving to Evergreen State College, Zack has a nightmare of dolphins being confined in wooden boxes and rotting alive. It later turns out to be a message sent by Ruby.
    • Zack conjures one up himself to show Ruby the taboos of human sexuality.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Definitely so.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The protagonist is a college student in the 70's, after all.
  • Telepathy: Dolphins in general seem to be good at it, but only Ruby tends to make a serious effort to reach out to humans.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: One of, if not the most significant theme in the novel.
    If Ruby were a human woman for whom I felt the same affection and respect, would I have had a second's worth of second thoughts? Hell no! Given her native intelligence and her obvious passion, should species be any more a repugnant barrier than race? Wasn't the foundation of all racism the abhorrent fallacy that the despised human group was, in fact, a different, inferior sub-species?
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Ruby has a hard time understanding Zack's hesitation to have sex with her.