October 16, 2014

Predator or Prey?

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.
One of my favorite authors, Faith Hunter, recently released her latest book in the Jane Yellowrock series, Broken Soul.  I love this series, not because it's about a vampire hunter, but because of the characters in the story.  They are tough, but human. They have faults. They love. They defend the weak.  The main character, Jane Yellowrock, at a young age accidentally absorbed the soul of a mountain lion into her own.  This mountain lion, known as Beast, is present in Jane's mind most of the time.  Since Jane is a skinwalker, she can shape shift.  Usually she shifts into Beast who is often known to proclaim whenever going up against a difficult foe, "Beast not prey."

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of predator and prey, primarily in regards to humans.  Think about any creature in the animal kingdom, and you can probably identify some trait that protects them from predators.  Animals like mountain lions, bears, other cat species, and wolves have sharp teeth and claws, not to mention their size and agility.  Some animals have a hard shell or outer skin.  Many have camouflage.  Even the giraffes I love to write about have large, dinner-plate-sized hooves which can crush your skull.  Not so long ago, I saw a video of a giraffe fighting off a pack of lions with just her hooves.  While her baby hid underneath her, I would like to add!

But what about humans?  We don't have sharp teeth.  We don't have claws.  We definitely don't have the power of a hoof. I've seen some people with wicked fingernails that could probably do some damage, and some people learn how to use their bodies as a weapon, but, let's face it, without specialized training, we aren't equipped to protect ourselves against predators.

At least not physically.

What's the difference?  Our brains.  We have the ability to design and build weapons and structures to protect ourselves.  We have the knowledge to develop techniques to fight off another person.  We don't fight off large predatory animals in a physical battle if we can avoid it.  In many cases, we would lose.  We use our brains.

Urban fantasy has experienced a huge surge in popularity for the last decade.  Why?  Maybe because we are fascinated by the idea of humans (or almost humans) who have fangs or lightning quick speed or the ability to transform into a predator.

As I said, I've thought about this a lot lately and would love to know what you think.  Or if you've thought of an animal that has no natural defenses, let me know.  I'm curious.f

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