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:
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.
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 TuesdayWho could hang a name on you?When you changed every new dayStill 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.