Aliens: The Anthropology of Science Fiction (Alternatives) by George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin

By George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin

How and whilst does there end up an “an­thropology of the alien?” This set of essays, written for the 8th J. Lloyd Eaton Confer­ence on myth and technology Fiction, is con­cerned with the importance of that query. “[Anthropology] is the technological know-how that needs to desig­nate the alien if it is to redefine a spot for itself within the universe,” in line with the Introduction.

The notion of the alien isn't new. within the Re­naissance, Montaigne’s goal in describing an alien come upon was once excorporation—man­kind was once the “savage” as the synthetic units of nature managed him. Shake­speare’s model of the alien come across was once in­corporation; his personality of Caliban is delivered to the synthetic, political international of guy and incor­porated into the physique politic.

This publication is split into 3 components: “Searchings: the search for the Alien” comprises “The extraterrestrial beings in Our Mind,” via Larry Niven; “Effing the Ineffable,” by means of Gregory Benford; “Border Patrols,” by Michael Beehler; “Alien Aliens,” by way of Pascal Ducommun; and “Metamorphoses of the Dragon,” by way of George E. Slusser. “Sightings: The extraterrestrial beings between Us” comprises “Discriminating between Friends,” by way of John Huntington; “Sex, Superman, Sociobiology,” via Joseph D. Miller; “Cowboys and Telepaths,” via Eric S. Rabkin; “Robots,” through Noel Perrin; “Aliens within the Supermarket,” through George R. Guffey; and “Aliens ‘R’ U.S.,” by means of Zoe Sofia. “Soundings: guy because the Alien” contains “H. G. Wells’ generic Aliens,” by means of John R. Reed; “Inspiration and Possession,” by way of Clayton Koelb; “Cybernauts in Cyberspace,” via David Porush; “The Human Alien,” by way of Leighton Brett Cooke; “From Astarte to Barbie,” by way of Frank McConnell; and “An Indication of Monsters;” through Colin Greenland.

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Extra resources for Aliens: The Anthropology of Science Fiction (Alternatives)

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In their struggle, the alien “roller” reaches the man telepathically (avoiding the whole language problem). He felt sheer horror at the utter alienness, the differentness of those thoughts. Things that he felt but could not understand and could never express, because no terrestrial language had the words, no terrestrial mind had images to fit them. The mind of a spider, he thought, or the mind of a praying mantis or a Martian sand-serpent, raised to intelligence and put in telepathic rapport with human minds, would be a homely and familiar thing, compared to this.

Part of the Freudian definition of man, then, concerns this fact: that anthropos is never simply himself, but that his identity is primordially bound up with the alien other that misrepresents and disturbs it. ” 3 This confounding of the identical with the foreign, of the same with the other or the anthropic with the alien, is not, however, an accident that simply happens to an otherwise well-defined entity called man. It is instead the enabling, involuntary principle of man, the relationship that gives him whatever life he has.

For throughout, these dragon figures serve as conduit. Leading mankind, they are the means which the storytelling technology uses to pass from its primal state—that of devils and demons, of adversity between man and nature—to a new one, where man achieves dynamic identity with natural forces. This occurs in the final narrative of Jan, the last survivor. To be sure, Jan chronicles (in apparently futile manner) the rise of a new order out of the destruction of the old, human one. He still can do so, however, from a human point of view.

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