Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Meeting The Alien

A Multi-Species Civilization
A Multi-Species Civilization II
Items About Falkayn
Meeting An Alien

In Poul Anderson, For Love And Glory (New York, 2003), Chapter II, a woman and a large, tyrannosaur-like being meet a man and " anthropard...," (p. 12) as yet undescribed. Although the man is unfamiliar with the tyrannosaur-like species, he easily greets the woman and her companion with:

"'Greeting, my lady, sir.'" (p. 16)

- and asks, in Anglay, which language "Karl" prefers. When told that "Karl" is known as such only for human purposes and that he is from a planet called "Gargantua," the anthropard (cat-woman?) then easily addresses him as "'...Karl Gargantuan.'" (p. 17)

My point is only that it is no mean feat to converse so easily with intelligences whose bodies can be any size or shape. I have discussed this point in relation to Anderson's History of Technic Civilization (see the links above) and it arises again in connection with his later work, FLAG.

There are two problems:

getting used not only to all the different body shapes and sizes but also to the fact that any new acquaintance might look completely different from any that you have already met;

getting used to the minds that might differ as much as the bodies.

Lissa, the woman with the Gargantuan companion, reflects that:

"...she would never understand the nuances of his personality, nor he hers." (p. 12)

And Noah Arkwright, introducing an exploit of David Falkayn, writes:

"The nonhuman...can only show us those facets of himself which we can understand. Thus he often seems to be a two-dimensional, even comic personality." (The Van Rijn Method, pp. 264-265)

Despite this, Falkayn manages to converse with some pretty strange guys as if they were human.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

My thought is that, given enough TIME to adapt and a FTL drive, most people from the more advanced worlds of an interstellar civilization would be able to take in stride meeting intelligent beings from other races. Even including the most outlandish and strange looking races. And that would be even more true of, for example, humans who often or customarily associated with non humans.