Friday Five: 15 Aliens We Admire
Friday, July 29, 2011
If Friday Five has taught the Pornokitsch hamsters (us) anything, it's this: we really, really like monsters. We spent days agonzing about our morally ambiguous characters last week, but this time around we decided on a subject and had our lists written out within about half an hour.
And our subject? Aliens.
Our choices span universes. Be sure to land a few of your favorites in the comments.
I could use this to write about the five most likeable or amusing aliens, but then I'd just end up talking about the Doctor and Alf, and where's the fun in that? So here are my five favourite alien aliens:
Nicholas Fisk's books were weird. In Trillions, a shower of crystals land on a British seaside town, and they want... well, no one quite knows. They mimic what they see, but they're so truly alien that understanding them seems impossible. How cool is that? And all in a kids' book that can't have been more than 150 pages long.
Talking of cool, when I was around eleven and reading Trillions, I thought first contact with an alien race would be the greatest thing ever. Then I grew up and watched Alien. They look like they come from another planet, they move like they come from another planet, and they want to IMPLANT THEIR ACID-DRIPPING BABIES IN US! I rest my case.
Even in literature, humanoid aliens often feel a bit too human. The Ortheans of Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed had recognisable emotions and motivations, but a culture that was fully worked out and interestingly different – the product of an alien race that only differentiates into male and female at puberty. Clearly Ursula K Le Guin's brilliant The Left Hand of Darkness was an inspiration, but Orthe has always been the one that stuck in my mind.
If SF authors are to be believed, the universe is littered with the remnants of long-departed super-powerful civilisations. Andre Norton's Forerunners were the first example of this I ever read and they've remained my personal favourite of Those Who Came Before and Left Only Mysterious Ruins Behind.
Yes, I know Avatar was just Dances with Blue Skinny People, and the Na'vi are yet another example of alien noble savages, but I loved Pandora. The amazing spectacle of its alien ecosystem was what I dreamed of seeing when I was a girl reading Andrew Norton and Nicholas Fisk in her local library, and for that I'll forgive Avatar almost anything.
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