Jan. 25th, 2016

kiki_eng: whale wearing headphones that connect to a heart (whale music)
"Something about them in their own world and how it works for them"

[personal profile] sinesofinsanity, what is this thing you do to me?

Right. Okay. So you've got your woodland creatures carving out human lives. Stuff like Redwall and Disney's Robin Hood and William Horwood's Duncton Wood, which totally looks like some adorable Redwall shenanigans on the cover, but is some serious Game of Thrones shit inside and I am pretty angry about that cover, still. It's fine.

So, yeah, a lot of the time when humans tell stories about non-humans they're basically doing humans dressed up as animals and there's some furry stuff going on there, I feel. Sometimes there are more animal behaviours incorporated into the characterisation, like The Jungle Book (it has been such a long time since I have read or seen that thing) or Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern, but everything is very much through a human lens. It's a really human thing to do, I feel; we draw faces on everything and see them everywhere and anthroporphise and personify everything.

Sometimes we create new creatures - instead of tucking human minds into rats and trees we tuck them into something new, something alien. Some imagined monster, like in Monster's Inc. or some kind of alien life, like Pilot and Moya on Farscape.

The Goa'uld and Tokra of Stargate are good examples of our striving to find something truly alien, but they're basically angry humans in tiny little snake-let bodies who put on human suits. That same universe also has the crystal entities (SG-1 S1E07) and energy entities (SG-1 S4E20) that do a bit of a better job at the alien thing. I feel like we're always going to relate to other life in human terms, though, I don't think that there's really a way of getting away from that. I do think it's cool, how we look for and find life in different places.

We dream about it in computers, and the robots we make tend to be very human even if they're not humanoid, like the robots of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Often we get sentient computers who lash out because of some bit of programming - glitch or no - or in order to ensure their own survival. There are so many episodes like that. Farscape's bots were dog-like maintenance robots, which is actually a pretty cool deviation from making everything human-like.

The Daleks are really great - angry jellyfish creatures in metal shells. I feel kind of cynically that their motives are still pretty human, though - the quest to destroy everything not of their tribe. ...and then there was Oswin, who was a Dalek who had been human. I really do not feel that Daleks and humans are that far apart.

I am a fan of this thing where we explore the possibilites of life and what that means, that we look for sentient life in the deep ice or in black oil (The X-Files, and both of those are so creepy) and that we do actually find it in real life in such extreme temperatures and places where there is no oxygen, and we do find some incredible intelligence in creatures who are not human. Dolphins and octopi, man, I feel we should be treating them with a fair amount of respect, and, failing that, fear.

You know in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* the dolphins leave us to be demolished along with the rest of the planet to make room for a hyper-pass. I am just saying. There is also the thing where we have primates, who would probably be classified as humanoid, but they are all these different species, and we do get tool-using primates and primates signing with us, which is very cool.

*which also has the mattresses, and the re-incarnated creature destined to be killed by Arthur Dent - there is some really great stuff in those books

I feel like any character we create is always going to be defined in human terms. ...and I think that's going to be true even after we find alien life. I really don't think we can get away from or change how we relate to the things around us; we are always going to be human. (Unless we become robots.)
kiki_eng: striped mug held by a woman wearing a sleeveless top (Hawaii Five-0) (mug held by Kono)
...and then I made a reblog if you sent Denna mail-type tumblr post to spread this thing some more. I hope she gets so much mail.

The goal is for everything to be sent by the 30th, like a flashmob with postcards. Details are on the tumblr post and also here.

If you're not on tumblr and want to leave a comment here that you did it that would be cool. --If you do it but don't want to leave a comment that is also cool, but you should tell your friends to do it, too, so she gets more mail. ALL OF THE MAIL.

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