X is for Xenophile

Xenophile would be a lover, admirer, or friend of aliens, the opposite of xenophobe. I think I tend to have quite a few xenophiles in my science fiction, any that actually involve aliens, such as Star Patrol or the Aurigae universe stories. I’m drawn to those people who want to learn about alien civilizations, to teach them more about humanity, and who think that the mutual learning will make both species richer. Vanessa from Kitchen Scale takes the xenophilia a bit further than most of my other characters, planning to declare a life partnership with her Libran sweetie, Doomah.

And in many of these stories, my xenophiles are set against xenophobe antagonists or foils, who distrust aliens, (which, if they’re not humans, might be the Earthlings,) and have goals which would involve creating a gulf between the two peoples.

I’m drawn to xenophile characters in my favorite stories from other people, too, like Louis Wu in the Larry Niven Ringworld stories. (And his stepdad Beowulf Shaeffer, come to think of it.) The young wizards from Diane Duane’s books generally love getting to know aliens, especially if they’re wizards too. And then there’s Liz Parker and her friends from Roswell…

…Which makes me think of xenophilia in an urban fantasy or paranormal context. Werewolves, vampires, and fae might not be aliens in the extraterrestrial planet sense, but they’re definitely outsiders from ordinary humanity and represent “the other” in these stories. So that would make characters like Sookie Stackhouse, Elena Gilbert, and even Bella Swan xenophiles, right? 😉

So, which side do you come down on; xenophile or xenophobe?