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Humpday Sci Fi Musings

chicago dyke's picture

What do you think intelligent alien life would make of us?

I'm a big scifi reader, and I've read countless stories about this question. Seems to me most of the time, writers posit one of two things. Either they would be highly advanced, ethically and morally speaking, because that is a prerequisite to achieving the technology of space travel; or they would be totally predatory, and treat us as we treat "lower" forms of life on this planet. Personally, I'm not excited about the idea that intelligent life would come by for a visit. I'm too embarrassed by our own primitive natures to want to have to explain it to the Vulcans.

This is science fiction thread, so none of that downer stuff about how interstellar travel is impossible or how if other intelligent life is out there we'd have heard it by now. According to this NASA guy, the aliens are already here, btw.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

time travelers. I love that genre for some reason. I think it's the ability to get a different perspective on various times in history and I love history.

Geoduck's picture
Submitted by Geoduck on

Maybe as a novelty delicacy item. If they've figured out interstellar travel, they've also probably figured out better ways to create food/sustain themselves than by hauling millions of chunks of human-steak up out of a planet's gravity well. And even if their technological development is that unbalanced, the likelihood of our biologies being compatible in the first place is rather small.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

But that may just be because I just read Jacqueline Carey's Santa Olivia, which is awesome.

Very political, very feminist.

It's all about military crackdowns on citizens, as the end result of our anti-terrorism policies, and entire towns being annexed from the US government, into military hands.

Of course the residents of the town in the book, Santa Olivia(named for a saint, which becomes important later) are offered the chance to leave, but for poor people with no means, that choice means little.

People go on, doing their best to get by, trying to protect themselves from soldiers who aren't held accountable, and fellow townspeople who ingratiate themselves to the military powers, to gain power over other residents. Then a mysterious man shows up, who is actually an escaped genetic experiment, created by the Chinese government out of hospitals in Haiti. He was later captured by the US, who he then subsequently escapes. He stays in Santa Olivia long enough to father a daughter, who inherits his genetic abilities.

She then uses her abilities, with the help of her fellow orphans, to assume the persona of the town's matron saint. She also falls in love, with another girl, which I thought was just awesome, because you rarely read same-sex love stories that aren't played up for male titillation in sci-fi.

The general who runs the town, loves boxing, and engineers fight between locals and soldiers, promising the locals anyone who defeats his champion gets a one way ticket out of town. This unattainable carrot becomes attainable though, as the heroine decides to get into the ring, placing her friends in danger, as she struggles to give her town hope for the future, even at the cost of sacrificing herself to the military.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

i have a hard time recommending her work to men. sexist, i know. but for some reason, i just don't think most men should read Carey's work. a lot of it will confuse them. i guess that's wrong for me to believe.

but speaking only to women: Carey is complex, and at the very least should be read for that reason. she will piss off a certain segment of the feminist community with some of her stuff; i'd love to hear her and Twisty go at it, for instance. but the decidedly pro-woman voice of the novels of hers i've read has been worth the touchy issues that the material often raises. one thing Carey has absolutely proven: if you like richness and complexity in fiction, she's your grrl.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Of Kushiel's Legacy would bother some rad fems. They've even bothered me a bit, and I like dominance play.

But consent was always stressed throughout the series, and even though Phedre isn't kickass, she is still a formidable opponent to any ne'er do well.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

There are 9 more, 6 in one series, 2 in another, and 1 more that is the start of a new trilogy.

The six book series starts with Kushiel's Dart, then goes to Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar.

Those three conclude the first half of the series. The second half focuses on another character that is introduced later in the first half, and it is Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, and Kushiel's Mercy.

The two book series is one I haven't picked up yet, probably after I finish my Legacy of the Force Star Wars series.

The Kushiel stories are set in Terre D'Ange, which would have become France if the alternative history the Kushiel series sets forth hadn't happened. The series has continued, focusing on new characters, and it starts with Namaah's Kiss.

The Kushiel stories are the ones I started with, and I think they are absolutely incredible. That series is more fantasy than sci-fi. But they are fun, engaging reads, and definitely challenging. The women characters aren't all physically aggressive, they tend to use wiles and cunning, but they aren't helpless damsels by any means.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

Most Americans might agree; in fact, they act as though the space aliens have already taken over Washington and are running the country. BTW, this is not a good thing.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

Maybe aliens would send missionaries to convert us to their One True God, as many (all?) of the Christian sects sent missionaries to convert all the 'primitives' in Africa and South America.

I'm reading David Weber's By Schism Rent Asunder right now, which is about an Earth colony society which regressed* to a farming-level technology stage. Technological advances are stymied by stricture of the single, planet-wide Church. Religion, esp the proselytizing kind is often associated with anti-technological thought but, to steal from Bujold, religious folks embrace any sort of death-technolgy easily enough, so why not starfaring tech? At least on this planet, they're closely tied together.

* at least, this seems to be what happened. I'm having trouble finishing the book bc it's pretty boring. Disappointing, since I do like his Honor Harrington series.

Carey sounds great, she's on my list for the next trip to the book store!