Friday, 12 December 2014

How Aliens Fight

Body shape and environment determine combat skills. On a proto-planetary asteroid, Dominic Flandry leads a four-species Terran crew against about twenty Merseians and one Chereionite. One of the Merseians:

"...made a low-gravity leap towards his opponent, whipped about, and slapped with his tail."
-Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), p. 292.

- like one of ERB's Barsoomian plant men.

A quadrupedal Donarrian:

carries on his back a nuclear howitzer with the man who will fire it;
hurls, tosses, kicks and stamps Merseians.

Two Gorzuni, standing shoulder to shoulder, fire blasters held in each of their four hands, thus penetrating any metal armor. An inhumanly quick Scothanian wields a wrecking bar. Human beings use blasters, slug guns, grenades and karate. Flandry captures the Chereionite because he is from a larger planet and therefore has stronger muscles.

This is not just another fight scene but one that takes account of the different physical characteristics of all the participants.(See also here.)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Still reading WE CLAIM THESE STARS. I agree, the different ways different races will engage in combat due to their physical variations is carefully shown here by Poul Anderson. I don't think all writers, even SF writers, would have shown as much care and thought as shown here by Anderson in a combat scene.

Glory to the Emperor! Sean