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Welcome to one of my many blogs! (Don't ask.)
Warning: here there be dragons!
This is a place where you can find me, Lexi, venting and ranting and commenting and just basically babbling about... stuff. I dunno why you'd want to, this is basically a look into a madwoman's mind... Well, as long as you enjoy it and know what you're getting yourself into, knock yourself out. Not literally, though, okay?
♡ Lexi (CherriFaerii)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Which Lexi Talks About AAAAAAALIENS!

My personal philosophy.

Aliens are a fun subject to write about. They offer us a nice Deus Ex Machina when it comes to science fiction, they give us a cool lens to view ourselves with (and make unpleasant discoveries) and they make for fun graphic design.

Especially if they're all designed by H. R. Giger. (sarcasm hand)
But the thing is, not a lot of people really know how to handle aliens very well.

No, really.

Take, for example, Stephenie Meyer (and her assorted hangers on.) Much like her usage of vampires, she tried to present her aliens in The Host as the protagonist and the hero, and cast humanity as the bad guys. Now, that sort of thing has been done before. In the vampires' case, there is I Am Legend (the original ending, not the theater release one.) In the aliens' case, there is [Battle for] Terra. Yeah, there are more, but those were the first stories I thought of.

Now, these films/stories are excellent reversals of the role of humanity in such situations. In the case of I Am Legend, you find out [SPOILERS] that the "legend" in the title is actually Will Smith's character, the sole human who is hunting down the vampire-like, formerly human creatures that plague the world. The point of the story is to establish that Will Smith is the protagonist on the wrong side of the conflict. He figures it out in the final scene in the lab (the alternate ending) when the vampire-creatures break in to rescue the one he captured. He realizes that the female he has been holding captive and cruelly experimenting on is the mate of the leader, and the leader is merely reacting to Will Smith as a predator and a threat. The vampires are just trying to live, and here's Will Smith kidnapping them and going all mad scientist on them. Will Smith is the legend, the monster of the myth, the ghost of the ghost story. In this story, humanity is the antagonizing force, and we don't realize it until that bit with the butterfly tattoo and... and... well, obviously the screen test audience didn't figure that out at all, because they didn't like the end, with the monsters "winning" and Will Smith running away with his tail between his legs. Thus, the ending we got. But even so, if you saw past the Tinseltown-ization of the ending, you got a nice little role flip in which the humans were the bad guys and the vampires were the victims. (This is a carryover from the old film in which Vincent Price starred - The Last Man On Earth. Ask Maven of the Eventide. She is smart.)

Similarly, we have Battle for Terra, in which a peaceful alien civilization is attacked and prepped for invasion by humans from a barren Earth. The human characters we encounter take the Terrans' side and fight against their own invading forces. (Kind of like Avatar, but without the Mighty Whitey/Dances With Wolves overtones.)

Also known as "Dances With Blue Smurfey Cats"
This? This is how you do the "humans are the bad guy" thing.

Why haven't you watched it yet? GO WATCH THIS MOVIE.
So the problem with aliens is that humans can't really write them well.

Case in point.
Now, this is something I read regarding Stephenie Meyer's The Host. I can't remember who said it, but the quote was something like:
"The Host is science fiction for people who don't like science fiction."
"The Host does something other science fiction doesn't do - it's not about aliens invading and ray guns and spaceships and the Force. And that makes it different from other science fiction."
"The Host is about humanity, not about intergalactic battles."
"The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human." 
 Excuse me.
(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

New poll, which genre is the best at examining the human condition? No, no, let me explain. No, no, wait, let me ask you all a question:

What is the point of literature? Why does it exist?

Before you smartasses answer "to tell stories" let me ask why do we tell stories?

Some plausible answers:
  • to explain the world around us (mythology, some religious writings)
  • to spread religion, as the first printed collections in Europe were Bibles
  • history lessons
  • to provoke thought
  • to entertain
  • to make money off of fans (most likely)
But those are all secondary. Literature and storytelling exists because we, as a race and a people, are constantly searching for ourselves. We are trying to figure ourselves out. And storytelling is just another way to do it. You, writers, tell me honestly: how much of yourselves do you put into your work? The correct answer would be all of yourself. You must be invested in your writing. Otherwise, it will fall flat.

Anyhoodle, the point of literature (at least in my opinion) is to explore the human condition. It's to explore us.

You'd think that science fiction would be terrible at that, with all the aliens and ray guns and time travel and whatnot--
Pictured: the title card of a series that is terrible at making people cry
(disclaimer: I do not actually watch Doctor Who)
Except it's really, really good at it.

Seriously, what better way to examine humanity than through the eyes of a nonhuman? What better way to contrast our better and worse aspects than to put us side-by-side with another civilization, either further evolved or maybe behind us?

Just to reiterate: the moral of this story is that humans are a bag of dicks.
So when Stephenie Meyer claims to be doing something ~edgy~ and ~different~ by making it about humanity in the midst of an alien invasion, I ask... and others didn't?

Obligatory M. Night Shyamalan joke here
So upon the eve of the final Twilight installment (HALLELUJAH!) we are reminded that Meyer is producing a film adaptation of her other book, as well as the fact that she claims to be working on its sequels (*Darth Vader "NOOOOOOOOO"*) and I still remember when The Host first came out. People thought it was hot shit. People still think it's hot shit.

Sweet Baby Jesus. This sure doesn't look familiar.
It's not. It's terrible, it has flawed writing, the characters are awful enough that I want to punch them all in the face with brass knuckles, the plot is confusing, and it freaking ripped off Animorphs.

*gross sobbing*
So yeah. There's that.

I am not looking forward to The Host. I am not looking forward to the backlash it will bring. Meyer ruined vampires and werewolves for a while there, folks. I don't want her touching extraterrestrials.

I... I'm just... *curls in fetal position under table*

...Guys, I just wrote an entire rambling essay on aliens. There is only one way to close this out.

So say we all.

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