Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are your aliens weird enough?

they feel no pain [...]their lips are behind their front teeth, they breathe mostly through their skin, and acid doesn't really burn them

from Popsci
These aren't aliens. They are naked mole rats.

If a terrestrial mammal is so very weird, how much stranger do our aliens need to be?

18 COMMENTS:

Bevie said...

Aliens are difficult. They can't be weird just to be weird. That makes them dull. At the same time, if they are too like us that makes them unbelievable.

I think what makes them hard is that they're more than just what they look like. They also have language and culture. And those need to fit their bodies, too.

fairyhedgehog said...

It's trying to think how a totally different evolution might have ended up, isn't it?

JaneyV said...

The stuff that has evolved in the depths of the sea, away from sunlight, is even freakier.

Imagine if there was a an alien life firm that was so intangibly beautiful that we simply couldn't process what we see...

fairyhedgehog said...

The undersea monsters are definitely freaky!

Now a really beautiful alien is an intriguing idea.

writtenwyrdd said...

Like the dominatrix used to say, "If the freaky fits..."

Seriously, doesn't matter how freaky the character is according to some scale, but how their alien nature informs the story. Alienness, like any other story element, should be necessary to the story. Otherwise, the story could be set in ordinary reality.

But that would be boring, wouldn't it? LOL!

fairyhedgehog said...

I suppose I'm reacting against aliens that look, talk and act exactly like humans.

Whirlochre said...

Naked mole rats?

I thought that was boiled tripe.

fairyhedgehog said...

It's a pretty gross picture, I admit.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode where the aliens - who look human - change at the end into these little things that are dying. They only portrayed themselves as human in order to get what they wanted.

I've read SF books where the aliens defy description and yet the author does attempt to make some sense out of them so the reader can understand how different they could be. Not sure it really worked.

I think in our fiction, we really want something we can hang a hat on.

fairyhedgehog said...

On TV it helps if aliens are humanoid so that actors can play them! Although not so much now with CGI.

I have read books where the aliens were truly alien and I enjoy them, although I like Star Trek too.

Richard N said...

Some of my favourite aliens are the Ood, in Dr Who.

Once you understand the purpose - and intentional vulnerability - of the 'spheres on umbilicals' they always carry, then you begin to grasp why their culture is so fundamentally different to ours...

fairyhedgehog said...

I haven't seen the Ood, Richard, and google isn't being very helpful.

The most recent one I watched was the weeping angels and that was seriously creepy. I loved it.

pacatrue said...

That's the episode, Blink, fairyhedge, and it's quite good. Another good one is "The Girl in the Fireplace" though it's rather different than Blink. Both are written by the same guy, who only did about one episode a season, and the good news is that he's now become the headwriter for the upcoming 2010 season.

Which won't be available here until forever.

Robin S. said...

Ewwwww. Good Lord - I thought this was either some weird worm being in a movie, or something(s) that had cruelly been skinned.

Ok. Point made. If this isn't alien, then an alien isn't so alien, either.

fairyhedgehog said...

paca, I'll look out for that one. At least you get Dr Who even if it's very delayed. I'm tired of videos that aren't available "in my region".

fairyhedgehog said...

Robin, they are rather terrible, aren't they?

Richard N said...

Here you go, FH.

http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Ood

Looks like the back-story is more complex than I realised... but of course that makes it all the more fascinating. :-)

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks, Richard. They are rather good as aliens go, aren't they?

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