While I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy, many members of my local writers group focus on science fiction. At a recent group meeting, we fell into a discussion of how hard it is to develop truly "alien" aliens. After all, anything that comes out of a human brain, no matter how sci-fi’ish, tends to be anthropomorphic and thus too comprehensible, even familiar.
Following the discussion, we assigned ourselves an abbreviated writing prompt: create and profile an alien, where the alien is of the sex opposite our own (e.g., my alien would be male). Of course, that the alien would have a sex at all is still anthropomorphic but…
Well, the whole “alien aliens” thing got me thinking.
Remember the movie Men in Black, where Will Smith’s character stands before an array of monitors tracking all the registered aliens on Earth who had taken on human form? (Elvis Presley, Danny DeVito and, I believe, Al Roker were among the many that showed up on the screens.) Anyway, that scene gave me the idea to make a collage of people past and present who I thought would be aliens in the MIB world too. My criteria was not consistent. Sometimes a person came to mind because of how they looked. Sometimes it was because of what they had said or done in life. Most times it was because of both.
And so voilà! Here’s my montage of “human aliens.” It was a fun exercise, and I challenge you to try your hand at creating your own collection. You’d be surprised how much your montage ends up saying about you rather than about the people you include.
And just for giggles, here’s my attempt to “write” an alien. I suspect I should stick to paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Science fiction is too hard!
My Life As a Oom’ laƱ
I may not be considered super virile for an Oom’laƱ, and my pouch spots certainly don’t attract the females with the longest eye tubes in the world, but I do alright. My crown bone juts out passably in the back, and my triceps are defined well enough. As long as at least one of our suns is up to illuminate these attributes, I get my fair share of tubing, wink-wink-lip-lip.
Still, I’m writing in my journal just in case I die during the night. No, I haven’t sickened, but I have seen six full rotations. My skin color is not the glorious blue hue of my youth, and I’ve noticed a second crease in my pouch mantel. You just never know, do you. And I live alone. During this cycle that celebrates the All-Wise attaining enlightenment, some part of me wonders if anyone will ever celebrate me.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much. I should concentrate instead on how proud I can be of what I’ve excreted this year. After all, I can digest both folia and burle plants without side effects. Indeed, my cak-cak is the reason for the structural integrity of many neighborhood hearths. I can safely say no other local Oom’laƱ excretes better or more earthquake resistant cak-cak than me.
I should also think about what I would like to do before I unite with the All-Wise. I’ll keep looking for a mate, of course, since who wouldn’t want twelve or so Oom’laƱ’se’bibs to add to their sibling-pod. I think I’d also like to visit The Great Ssooeessee Pond, even though it’s many paths away, just to dip my arches in its cobalt mud. But more than anything, I want to expand my food source. I dream of digesting that one plant that will make my cak-cak more than just a local commodity. It’s a dream, I know, but that’s alright. As the All-Wise teaches us, the Oom’laƱ have backward-jutting crown bones just so we can look forward.
Well, that’s all for now. Hope I wake up in the morning.
V’oo of the Oom’laƱ