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Archives 2013 > Ethology?? Do any author knows about it?

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message 1: by mirba (new)

mirba | 24 comments I'm getting more and more annoyed at all this autors that writes about wolves and cats and lions weres without having any idea of what is the natural behaviour ot that species.
I mean it doesn't take much time to study the basics... it would take what? 10 minutes to read half a page of wiki on the ethology of the specie? 15 minutes to write a question in the yahoo groups?
Spending the evening watching national geographic during dinner instead of talk shows about mating forever?

Few examples of what annoys me most:
Like all this dominance crap in wolves... Anyone ever read about the real studies on real wolves??

felines mating for life??
Most of felines are polyamorous, they don't have the couple effect. In the lions the alpha female commands, the male is the king of nothing. He's mostly there to f**k when the female decides she's interested.
All the other species (leopards, tigers etc) are really indipendent and lives alone for most of the year. It's just the female that raise the kittens. And very often some of the kittens of the same litters are from different fathers.

And I could go on for hours and hours!
Is it only me that gets so annoyed by this errors?

message 2: by Emy (new)

Emy (emypt) | 59 comments Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It boils down to how well the story is written and how good the writing it. It works when the author is acknowledging that it's a human trait - i.e. these are weres, so combine human with another animal form. If it is an animal form giving traits to their human side, then most authors write it as if not all traits transfer, but that instinctive ones do. Some would argue against this, but overall humanity seems to lean towards troupes with pairings rather than the poly example given above. A blending of human and cat, therefore, I can see feasibly showing a mixture of traits - the need for the group, but the human need for a person they own.

At the end of the day though, it's how the author perceives their fantasy world. Assuming of course that weres aren't real... ;)

message 3: by Star (new)

Star Fouse | 15 comments Well now, I would almost go out on a limb and say Yes, you are the only one annoyed by this. However, I dont want to speak for anyone else. Also, are you talking about:

1. Authors writing about certain animals as if they are in their natural habitat?

I normally read PNR and such so I really havent come across any books where an author is writing about a wolf or bear in the wilderness or some kids dog in the backyard from the animals POV.


2. Authors writing about characters such as werewolves or shapeshifters?

In which case, there really isnt such a thing so their natural characteristics are therefore fiction and left to the interpretation of their creative author who most often goes by lore in the making of said creature with possible added characteristics thrown in to make the character more unique.

message 4: by Betelgeuze (last edited Mar 22, 2013 10:14AM) (new)

Betelgeuze | 158 comments Considering the fact that things like humans shape shifting into an other animal is impossible, I find the mistakes regarding animal behaviour rather irrelevant. With fantasy I suspend all disbelief and just enjoy the story.

Science fiction however is another matter. To me the science in SF should at least be within the realm of possibility.

message 5: by Dawn, Desperately seeking new worlds (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 4054 comments I like the story to make sense and I can suspend reality to a point. The thing is the author needs to build the world and keep it consistent. Otherwise I would be nuts lol

I mean you are right since when do wolves bite during mating?? Cats bite all the time and it is quite short.

Some stories stretch my imagination so much it ruins it like the dragon story. This always annoys me because in my mind it just makes no sense...how can you be a man and a dragon I mean not even the same species.

On the other hand it makes it sweeter when they do get the ethology correct for example this is what I like about Shelly Laurenston her cats are totally lazy and they do nothing but wait for the female to feed them. Or Kate Daniels when they poke fun at the animal side.

All in all it is author dependent if they can create a solid world I can go for it and enjoy the story. If the world building is faulty then I tend to nit pick.

message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa | 973 comments It doesn't bother me. Paranormal books are fantasy anyways so I'm ok with the authors taking liberties (although I hate it when contemporary authors make stuff up). I think the main draw to a lot of those book is the alpha stereotype & wolves, lions etc seem like strong animals to me. In real life elephants & parrots mate for life but that's just not gonna work for me. I'm going to have daydreams about that hot macaw......lol.

message 7: by mirba (new)

mirba | 24 comments @emy: yes, I like your answer. :) Some of the authors are ok. And it is probably because I really like weres and PNR that I get bothered quite so much. If I didn't like it, probably I would just not read it. I do remember a couple of series where they had this leopard shifters that played with each other and had hierarchy and dominance with alphas etc. and that kind of "mating forever" because your inside animal says that's your one and only mate. One series I loved, both the world building and the story. The other one I couldn't stand it and dropped after a couple of books. So while the occidental human female inside me goes all soft and happy at the thought of a "love" mechanism like that one, the ethologist starts screaming in my head and laughing aloud....

@star I do refer at authors in PNR. I wouldn't mind it probably so much if they would say it is a human trait amplified by the were virus, but most of the time they say something on the line "it's my cat inside me that has fallen in love with you".

But it's funny cause most of them then go quite a lenght to explain the physics of it (preservation of the mass in the change etc)

@Dawn. Ahah! I totally agree with you! yeah with the dragons at least they can take all the liberties they want, nobody has studied the ethology of that species yet! Even though some of the bad dragon stories test my patience a lot (I love dragons!), and then, in theory they'r not shifting, they're 100% dragons faking to be humans so they can fit in a shiny sport car (but then again why would they want to mate with a little tiny weak stupid human that's beyond me..).
On a fantasy note I loved the details and deepnes in the ethology in Michelle Sagara series.

@Alisa it's good for you, I wish I wouldn't mind much as well, it would leave me to enjoy the story without that voice in the back of my mind screaming what a panthera or a lion should be like..

@betelgueze: Luckily for me I know almost nothing of physics and so I can enjoy a sf book without this feeling of the world not being correct :D

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