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 Post subject: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:16am
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So alien races are frequently defined by an overriding personality type, or a special ability, or some other form of racial trait. And sometimes, sci-fi writers choose to apply these to humanity, making us distinctive in some way. Sometimes we're the only basically benevolent species. Sometimes we're the only ones to develop religion. Sometimes we're the only species to have war or crime, or maybe we're just better at it. Sometimes the only ones with individuality, or soft squishy bodies. Sometimes it's something ridiculous, sometimes it's something that makes us think about ourselves and how we would appear to outsiders.

Since you're making up aliens, you really get to pick how they're different from us, and how we're different from them. I thought it'd be cool to have a thread to discuss some ideas in this direction, and some of the things that have already been done. Off the top of my head:

Farscape (where did you think the title came from?) humans have shitty eyesight. Though the Sebacens were originally humans transplanted into the Farscape galaxy because they were outsiders and thus neutral in regards to Galactic politics.

Uplift humanity is the only species in a very long time to develop into an interstellar power without having an advanced race give us technology, and thus possesses a deeper grasp of science, since the answers were all earned through research, not looked up in the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Hitchiker's Humanity is a tiny component in the most advanced computer ever built. Also the only species to play Cricket. But mostly, we're harmless.

Star Trek For a long time I wondered why there were so few aliens in Starfleet, then I saw Enteprise. Now I know that humanity is the only species to ever give a shit about Starfleet or the Federation, with a few exceptions like Spock, who are clearly outliers.

Star Wars According to Borsk Fey'lya, the defining quality of humanity has always been our insatiable lust for power. Everyone knows that. I think there's a fair bit of revisionist history going on with Fey'lya's administration, but it's amusing to think that others would view the human race that way.

Babylon 5 Tough call. Londo likes our resolute determination in the face of impossible odds, Delenn says the strength of humanity is the ability to build communities out of disparate elements, President Clark and co. say the best quality of humanity is "not being aliens." At one point, human art was a craze on Centari Prime.

Animorphs Out of almost a dozen sentient alien species shown in the book series, humanity is the only one to develop a sense of taste and thus, culinary arts.

Posleen War One of three races physically and psychologically capable of violence.

March Upcountry Humans are the least trustworthy species known to the Alphari, having neither telepathy or a rigorous honor code as a deterrent to lying or stealing.

So... how would you make us different form every other alien race if you were writing? Have any more to share?



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:34am
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Mass Effect humanity are newcomers to the galactic stage who in just a few short decades upstage everyone else and become saviours of the galaxy, at least up until ME3 comes out (where the boot will be on the other foot lol)

I like the idea that B5 got (mostly) right and ME got (mostly) wrong, where humanity are newcomers relatively speaking, and aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer or the strongest or the quickest etc. I like the idea that earth is something of a backwater and seen as a 'developing nation' so to speak by the galactic community. What would humanity's place be in those circumstances? What would we try to do? Would we try to fit in, or try and make ourselves stand apart or be distinct? Something like the Uplift books without the idiocy like uplifted chimps and dolphins. Everyone else is literally that much more powerful than us that we wouldn't last five minutes in a Real Fight, but we're not really in danger of getting wiped out. Rather, the danger comes more from aliens who want to 'help' us (kinda like an ineffectual UN*) or exploit us, like in the way multinationals do to 3rd world countries. But then I think my idea is in danger of becoming an allegory, and I cry a little.

*which wouldn't be much different from the actual UN



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:41am
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I read a decent story (at least conceptually) on the internet following Stofsk's idea - basically, our first contact isn't violent or benevolent, but capitalistic. Aliens show up, and offer us the cure for cancer, and fusion power, and some old rustbucket FTL ships they were going to scrap anyways - in exchange for legal sovereignty over Jupiter. And the Moon. And Antarctica. And a few hundred tonnes of uranium per year...

It was called 'Snake Oil', as I recall.

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:43am
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In video games it's arguably worse than television - humans are generally defined by as the 'diplomacy' guys (ludicrous on the face of it) or the 'trade' guys (which is why we destroy our own economies). Of course, this is because diplomacy and trade are great things to have bonuses in, especially compared to 'shoots a bit better' and 'whoa gets a bit more rocks'. The fluff ALWAYS has humans being PLUCKY and PUNCHING ABOVE THEIR WEIGHT and UPSETTING THE BALANCE OF POWER. Why?

AMERICA. That's why.

Anyway in other scifi I can think of some where humans are depicted as functionally retarded and defeated by a paranoid child (Invader ZIM) or greedy and violent (S:AAB).

This thread has taught me that I really don't watch much scifi with aliens. Are they ever there for a reason? Are they just DA BAD GUYZ?



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:07am
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StarControl 2 was good for that. It was one of the few games where humanity were almost a joke. The fluff description of humanity was hilarious. But that was very much a campy and not-serious game.

The problem with aliens in sci-fi is that they're usually barely-disguised inserts for real world countries or peoples. Like how the klingons in TOS are like the Soviets. It was only in TNG when the klingons got really fleshed out as something a bit more than just 'Space USSR', and most people decry it as being 'Space Vikings' instead. Even in B5 humanity UPSETS THE BALANCE OF POWER basically and were also SPECIAL because we BUILD COMMUNITIES etc. The good thing about B5 was that JMS was adamant to not give humanity any kind of special edge. We don't become badasses tech wise like in Star Trek, running around on awesome spaceships like the Enterprise and so on. But still, nobody in the galaxy ever thought to create a place located in neutral territory where representatives of all the different factions could come together and hash out their differences peacefully? Seriously? In thousands of years nobody ever thought about this, but humanity did so after it got its ass kicked in a war with the minbari?

@NUA: that's an interesting concept, but I would do it in a different way than merely Space Capitalists come here and caveat emptor etc. Probably something to do with culture. Like as far as resources go, we wouldn't matter. Aliens could just mine an asteroid belt in a far off uninhabited system and be better off for it. But maybe they're interested in us the same way anthropologists are interested in people living in the middle of Papua New Guinea. Or deep within the Amazon. I think a story were aliens come and actually try to help us, but they don't fully understand us and we sure as shit don't understand them, could have a lot of potential for interesting drama. Something like Clarke's 'Childhood's End' but without the transcendental stuff.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:15am
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This is because the pop-culture sci-fi we are mostly exposed to is from America, and thus Americentric in view. Humans are a young emerging space nation that are plucky and punching about their weight? Turn of the century America. Humans win a grueling war against bad aliens and establish themselves as a great space power? WW1/2 America. Humans have a cold war against another huge alien empire? Cold War America.

This isn't a definition of ALL American sci-fi, but a lot of it. Certainly Star Wars isn't an allegory for America, neither is Dune or Foundation or some of the shows and works out there. But it's a big factor, when you guys brought up how other alien specieses are just pastiches of other nations.

It would be intriguing to see what sci-fi from other nations that are not-America is like. They probably have much less to do with "Earth/humanity/Spacemerica's status in the galactic stage with all these alieno-furriners" and have more to do with actual exploring weirdo sci-fi in/human condition stuff maybe. Who knows.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:23am
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Stofsk wrote:
StarControl 2 was good for that. It was one of the few games where humanity were almost a joke. The fluff description of humanity was hilarious. But that was very much a campy and not-serious game.

The problem with aliens in sci-fi is that they're usually barely-disguised inserts for real world countries or peoples. Like how the klingons in TOS are like the Soviets. It was only in TNG when the klingons got really fleshed out as something a bit more than just 'Space USSR', and most people decry it as being 'Space Vikings' instead. Even in B5 humanity UPSETS THE BALANCE OF POWER basically and were also SPECIAL because we BUILD COMMUNITIES etc. The good thing about B5 was that JMS was adamant to not give humanity any kind of special edge. We don't become badasses tech wise like in Star Trek, running around on awesome spaceships like the Enterprise and so on. But still, nobody in the galaxy ever thought to create a place located in neutral territory where representatives of all the different factions could come together and hash out their differences peacefully? Seriously? In thousands of years nobody ever thought about this, but humanity did so after it got its ass kicked in a war with the minbari?

@NUA: that's an interesting concept, but I would do it in a different way than merely Space Capitalists come here and caveat emptor etc. Probably something to do with culture. Like as far as resources go, we wouldn't matter. Aliens could just mine an asteroid belt in a far off uninhabited system and be better off for it. But maybe they're interested in us the same way anthropologists are interested in people living in the middle of Papua New Guinea. Or deep within the Amazon. I think a story were aliens come and actually try to help us, but they don't fully understand us and we sure as shit don't understand them, could have a lot of potential for interesting drama. Something like Clarke's 'Childhood's End' but without the transcendental stuff.


IIRC, the Ferengi purchased Warp Drive from the Breen in exchange for a 'small mountain' of latinum. And the Galaxy was never the same again. And the Centauri sold Jump Drives to B5 humanity, as part of a 'goor relations' deal because millions of Centauri thought Earth art was kitschy.

And I can't believe I forgot to include the Stars are Cold Toys wherein the elder races use and abuse the younger races, anhiliating them without mercy, unless they have something valuable to offer. There is, for example a race known as Counters, who can do math in their heads more quickly and accurately than any computer tech known to the elder races, so they're kept around. What is the real name of their species, their culture, history etc. Who knows? They're Counters. That's what they do.
Humanity? We're the only ones who can use the 'verses FTL to it's full extent. Most races are sent into a coma or have their minds broken by FTL travel, for humans its a high better than sex or drugs. Other races have to use a watered-down 'safe' FTL that's less than half as fast. So humanity becomes a race of courier and freighter pilots, in a 'federation' where all younger races are defined by their single useful ability.

There are also a number of works where are specialty is our rapid pace of technological progression. Anyone else bothered by these?

EDIT: and Shroomy? The book I just mentioned in this post is Russian. I was lucky to get a translation.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:24am
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in Jack Chalker's Quintara Marathon series, humans while presently exploited and oppressed are believed to be destined to become the dominant species in the galaxy for a simple reason: we're the fastest breeding intelligent species in the galaxy.

In Theodore Sturgeon's The Cosmic Rape, humans are unique in being the only species to develop intelligence as individuals instead of a telepathic hive mind. Timothy Zahn also wrote two stories with the same idea; we were also the only species that had developed the concept of "fun".

In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Hunters of the Red Moon and sequel humans and near-humans are singled out as being the only species-group that lacks a specific mating season, and as a consequence are regarded as a bunch of unreliable sex maniacs.

In Timothy Zahn's Quadrail series, humans are singled out as being the most recent and least important interstellar culture, and so are the last to be targeted by the Bad Guy of the series, giving them a better chance than the others.

In The Course of Empire humans are regarded as important by some of their conquerors the Jao because the Jao's enemy the Ekhat made the Jao. Humans are a natural species, the one intelligent species the Jao can be sure that the Ekhat didn't engineer any subtle genetic traps into.

In They're Made Out of Meat, humans are unique in, well, being made out of meat. Which the protagonist aliens think is disgusting.

In Brain Wave, humans are unique in that we evolved on Earth while it was passing thorough a natural phenomena that for about 75 million years (not coincidentally, since the dinosaurs died out) that drastically negatively affects how well an organic brain functions. Until Earth finally begins to move out of the phenomena, and everything on Earth gets smarter, and smarter, and smarter...And it turns out that normally intelligent species reach human level intelligence and stop; it's a stable evolutionary niche. Humans however developed a much more powerful brain as a way around the suppression effect, and in normal regions of space are the most intelligent species by far in the galaxy, apparently.



"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:26am
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Oh yeah, in all kinds of Sci Fi - mostly RPGs - Humanity is the most ADAPTABLE, so that they can be the baseline.

I don't know how I'd define Humanity if I had to make every alien race a special snowflake. There are a couple possibilities I like - the first is to just make Humanity the most physically adept of all species. Other aliens have been living in rarefied, tuned, central-heating space colonies basically forever. We still have disease resistance and muscles from living on a shitty planet for a long-ass time. But there's not much story potential from that.

But following from that, it might be neat to take the big physical advantage we did have as early hunters - fantastic endurance - and extrapolate it. Something not entirely unlike Londo's compliment - Humans will continue to fight or persist long after most species would give up.

However, as a cynic who wants all his fiction to be GRIMDARK and filled with SOULFUL TEARS, I would naturally want Humanity to have one of those back-handed qualities that helps but makes us sound kind of like assholes. Like, take Delenn's 'we build communities' thing. It could that that of all the spacefaring races, Humans in fact are good at forming communities - because we're more willing than any of the other spacefarers, who would likely be the Alpha predators from their planet all, to live on our knees. Humans are remarkably good at sucking it up and taking it when required (and talking about how we'll take death over tyranny when the authority allows us to say so). So human communities can be remarkably robust and driven by fascist strong leaders since we bend the knee quite willingly and are willing to be subjects to a higher power quite readily, where maybe most Aliens are more fractious. This could also lead into the 'Aliens don't really get religion' thing.

This would also be nice just as a 'hur hur i guess the AMERICANS were wrong am i rite'.

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:38am
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Ahriman238 wrote:
Humanity? We're the only ones who can use the 'verses FTL to it's full extent. Most races are sent into a coma or have their minds broken by FTL travel, for humans its a high better than sex or drugs. Other races have to use a watered-down 'safe' FTL that's less than half as fast. So humanity becomes a race of courier and freighter pilots, in a 'federation' where all younger races are defined by their single useful ability.

That reminds me of David Brin's The Warm Space. Society is largely dominated in power if not numbers by AIs and Uploads, who use helium cooled brains. It turns out that hyperspace however is literally boiling hot - too hot to make cooling liquid helium for their brains practical. A proper shipboard environment for old style organic humans however it turns out can be sustained just fine. Which means that the heretofore largely passive (because they feel like dead-enders - they still have the vote) old style humans are about to rise up and demand star travel NOW!

Ahriman238 wrote:
There are also a number of works where are specialty is our rapid pace of technological progression. Anyone else bothered by these?

Sometimes. In my opinion it's not really an intrinsically bad idea for how to make humans special; its just been overused.



"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 02:53am
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Nieztchean Uber-Amoeba wrote:
Oh yeah, in all kinds of Sci Fi - mostly RPGs - Humanity is the most ADAPTABLE, so that they can be the baseline.

I don't know how I'd define Humanity if I had to make every alien race a special snowflake. There are a couple possibilities I like - the first is to just make Humanity the most physically adept of all species. Other aliens have been living in rarefied, tuned, central-heating space colonies basically forever. We still have disease resistance and muscles from living on a shitty planet for a long-ass time. But there's not much story potential from that.

Actually there is; that was more-or-less an important part of what made humans in Alan Dean Foster's The Damned trilogy the supersoldiers of the galaxy. Not so much that we were better than everyone else at everything, but that we were generally better physically and definitely the most well rounded. And the reason wasn't that they lived in space too long; it was because we evolved on the only habitable planet that has multiple continents with a highly varied climate instead of a supercontinent. The species that could beat us at one thing were seriously handicapped in others; the stronger and tougher ones were much clumsier, the only other intelligent species that could swim at all well was stupid and not so good on land, the faster runners had worse endurance and were flimsier (a human accidentally broke one's wrist), etc. Plus, the more common advantage that we're the most warlike species. And as a bonus, when the telepathic bad guys the Amplitur try using their power on us it drives them mad.

Another; in The Bully and the Crazy Boy by Marc Stiegler our advantage is that we're irrational. The aliens are highly aggressive, ruthless, more intelligent, and have better technology; but we blindside them by strategies that their rational-self-interest minds can't foresee; like surrendering a space station, letting their troops on board and then blowing up the station. We won't give up and be slaves no matter how outmatched we are, we're willing to do things like fight a battle to the last man which they never willingly do.



"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:01am
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The only thing lamer than humans being smarter than every alien ever ever, is humans being so DAYM CRAZEE that the smarty-pants always lose. It's not just lameass nerd author wanking to his two real friends; it's fucking stupid. There's nothing more terrible than bland authors trying to write about 'intelligence'.

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We won't give up and be slaves no matter how outmatched we are


Remember; science fiction is not about America sees itself. AT ALL. :lol:



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:06am
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Stark wrote:
Remember; science fiction is not about America sees itself. AT ALL. :lol:

Since it isn't an American specialty; it isn't.



"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:12am
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Lets move on from the endless rehashes of Captain Kirk making a computer explode by telling jokes, shall we? :lol:

It's just a giant laugh that despite y'know six thousand years of recorded history, terrible authors can honestly write shit like that and not think 'wow, this is pretty dumb'. It's ALMOST as bad as humans being NATURAL DIPLOMATS. :lol:



Elfdart wrote:
my first manager and I spent the better part of an hour in his office asking an insanely hot female employee to go through the "B" authors in the Lit section. Why? Because that would make her climb up on the ladder right where the security camera was and gave us a perfect view of her perfect gazongas
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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 06:20am
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I dunno. In Star Control, the entire reason the Humans are important is that we're the most paranoid. Giant stockpiles of nuclear weapons sitting around on Earth made it easy to arm a lot of ships as basically cheapass missile busses. The rest of it, all of the other aliens are better at. And that the human standard of living allows for ruinous military expenditure. It's kind of a joke, but could also be made serious. Humans can stomach worse living conditions to churn out weapons :P

In Wing Commander/Freespace/Other similar settings, Humans aren't special. There's only two or three races known who have powerful tech, and they're directly comparable opponents. All other races are far less developed.

I suppose you could also bring up 40k. In 40k, Humans are the most capable of hate and fanaticism. And mass sacrifice. And Bureaucracy.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 07:28am
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Nephtys wrote:
I suppose you could also bring up 40k. In 40k, Humans are the most capable of hate and fanaticism. And mass sacrifice. And Bureaucracy.


I'd say the 'nids and maybe the Orks have us beated for mass sacrifice. Mankind certainly are great with the bureaucracy in that setting though.

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 10:49am
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There are "The Gentle Vultures" and "An Alien Light", where aliens are puzzling over the fact that the humanity didn't blow itself into radioactive dust before discovering FTL.



Q: How are children made in the TNG era Federation?

A: With power couplings. To explain, you shut down the power to the lights, and then, in the darkness, you have the usual TOS era coupling.

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 11:01am
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StarCraft: Humans are the new kids on the block, and hold their own against the others mostly by sheer orneriness. That also leads to major infighting, however.

X*: Three different human factions have developed due to a nearly 800-year separation. The Argon are adaptable, democratic traders. The Terrans are adaptable, democratic, xenophobic paranoids. The Goners, numerically a footnote compared to the other two, are pacifist religious fanatics.

* Tiny descriptions due mainly to the lack of depth the games get into with any of the factions. They're basically stereotypes: religious fanatic Paranids, arch-capitalist Teladi, war-loving Split, pacifist Boron, insane robot Xenon, inscrutable destroy-everything Kha'ak.



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Borgholio: The GOP would blame Obama and use the subsequent nuclear winter to debunk global warming.

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 01:59pm
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I think the title is a tad misleading, since it's not so much about humans being objectively superior in all ways. If you go back enough, you do find stories like that, because John Campbell liked them and published the biggest SF magazine in the world at the time, which influenced the genre a lot. It was the drop in popularity of the European racial narrative in the '60s and on, I think, that really changed the most common theme into "humans are good at some things but not at others," as opposed to just being The Best.

Though even back then there were exceptions. Doc Smith's Lensman setting has enormous numbers of alien species, many of which are superior to humans in nearly every way- psychic power, resistance to the lure of corrupting influences, physical strength, senses humans can't even imagine, and so on. Even while the human protagonists are so exceptional as specimens of humanity that it stretches modern suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, they treat various alien peers and rivals as very much their equals.

Ahriman238 wrote:
Star Wars According to Borsk Fey'lya, the defining quality of humanity has always been our insatiable lust for power. Everyone knows that. I think there's a fair bit of revisionist history going on with Fey'lya's administration, but it's amusing to think that others would view the human race that way.
Since Fey'lya is one of the most scheming, power-grabbing politicoes in his setting, with a truly epic knack for shooting his own side in the foot rather than allow anyone else to succeed at his expense...

He is not even remotely qualified to call anyone else out there power-hungry. Well, not anyone this side of Gharlane of Eddore.

Stark wrote:
In video games it's arguably worse than television - humans are generally defined by as the 'diplomacy' guys (ludicrous on the face of it) or the 'trade' guys (which is why we destroy our own economies). Of course, this is because diplomacy and trade are great things to have bonuses in, especially compared to 'shoots a bit better' and 'whoa gets a bit more rocks'. The fluff ALWAYS has humans being PLUCKY and PUNCHING ABOVE THEIR WEIGHT and UPSETTING THE BALANCE OF POWER. Why?

AMERICA. That's why.
I don't know: I mean, if AMERICA was the reason, wouldn't human dominance over everyone else just be assumed since obviously all humans are SpaceAMERICANS? The idea of humanity as the mercantile and diplomatic specialists who are flexible and can deal with diverse cultures and therefore come out on top sounds very un-AMERICAN to me. Almost... French. ;)

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We won't give up and be slaves no matter how outmatched we are
Remember; science fiction is not about America sees itself. AT ALL. :lol:
Why is "not giving up and being slaves" uniquely AMERICA, as opposed to being a trait of, say, the Polish Resistance? Or, heck, Tamil Tiger suicide bombers? America does not have a monopoly on bloody-mindedness.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 03:25pm
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Quote:
I think the title is a tad misleading, since it's not so much about humans being objectively superior in all ways. If you go back enough, you do find stories like that, because John Campbell liked them and published the biggest SF magazine in the world at the time, which influenced the genre a lot. It was the drop in popularity of the European racial narrative in the '60s and on, I think, that really changed the most common theme into "humans are good at some things but not at others," as opposed to just being The Best.


No, no, no. It's a refrence to the Farscape episode 'Crackers don't matter.' where... you know what, it's probably easier just to show you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWkbtpBGqOc&feature=related[/youtube]

Or not. Link here because embedding hates me.

Quote:
Since Fey'lya is one of the most scheming, power-grabbing politicoes in his setting, with a truly epic knack for shooting his own side in the foot rather than allow anyone else to succeed at his expense...

He is not even remotely qualified to call anyone else out there power-hungry. Well, not anyone this side of Gharlane of Eddore.


It's even funnier in context. It's from the second book of NJO, Dark Tide 1, where Leia is addressing the Senate to warn them of the new Yuzhan Vong threat and Fey'lya, now Chief of State, compltely brushes her off. Then he accues her of making stuff up to cover for a hotshot Jedi and her own failures. He patronizingly tells her that everyone knows all humans have an insatiable lust for power, that she's done well to stay ahead of it so far, but she just couldn't let it go and has ton invent an enemy rather than let someone else run the New Republic.
Only one person stands up for Leia personally, and no one really challenges the assumption of power-hunger on the part of all humans. Then again, it's implied many times that the NR was having trouble dealing with the backlash of the human-dominated Empire.
And, of course, even after seeing the threat of the Vong with his own eyes, Fey'lya never apologizes or retracts his statement.



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:10pm
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Carvin' Marvin
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Oh yes, I hate, hate, hate, HATE this trope. It's been done to death. Fucking human exceptionalism *grumbles*
Ahriman238 wrote:
And I can't believe I forgot to include the Stars are Cold Toys wherein the elder races use and abuse the younger races, anhiliating them without mercy, unless they have something valuable to offer. There is, for example a race known as Counters, who can do math in their heads more quickly and accurately than any computer tech known to the elder races, so they're kept around. What is the real name of their species, their culture, history etc. Who knows? They're Counters. That's what they do.
Humanity? We're the only ones who can use the 'verses FTL to it's full extent. Most races are sent into a coma or have their minds broken by FTL travel, for humans its a high better than sex or drugs. Other races have to use a watered-down 'safe' FTL that's less than half as fast. So humanity becomes a race of courier and freighter pilots, in a 'federation' where all younger races are defined by their single useful ability.

There are also a number of works where are specialty is our rapid pace of technological progression. Anyone else bothered by these?


I am, and so is Lukyanenko (the bloke whose book you're talking about). He wrote a short story called "An Evening Discussion With the Special Envoy," in which alien ships show up over Earth, they demand territorial concessions, etc. During the conversation with the alien ambassador reveals that they're expanding into the sector because the previous owners of it ascended to godhood without ever bothering to contact Earth. In the end, the aliens not only leave the Earth alone, they even share technologies and promise to protect humanity. Why?

my own translation wrote:
"This city..." the Grag said. "Is one giant monument"
"It's a little over eight hundred years old," Anatoly inserted. "We have other, older cities."
"Eight hundred Earth years," the Grag repeated thoughtfully. "Amazing. Incredible. Unheard of! At that time my great-great-grandfather, who had sadly left this world before I was born, had invented the wheel. I still believe that this had been the main stimulus for Grag's development. Eight hundred years! And you've barely managed to make it to space in that time!"

The Special Envoy walked over to Anatoly. Put a grasping three-fingered hand on his shoulder.
"My friend, the Tiu had protected you most carefully. Now, we shall accept that sacred burden. Fear nothing: no one shall hurt you. Who will dare raise his hand against someone so...so...

He paused for a fraction of a second, his tongue twitching sympathetically as he searched for the right word, which he of course found.

"...so pitiful"


Which about sums up my views on the issue. :P

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 04:33pm
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fgalkin wrote:
Oh yes, I hate, hate, hate, HATE this trope. It's been done to death. Fucking human exceptionalism *grumbles*
<snip>

my own translation wrote:
"This city..." the Grag said. "Is one giant monument"
"It's a little over eight hundred years old," Anatoly inserted. "We have other, older cities."
"Eight hundred Earth years," the Grag repeated thoughtfully. "Amazing. Incredible. Unheard of! At that time my great-great-grandfather, who had sadly left this world before I was born, had invented the wheel. I still believe that this had been the main stimulus for Grag's development. Eight hundred years! And you've barely managed to make it to space in that time!"

The Special Envoy walked over to Anatoly. Put a grasping three-fingered hand on his shoulder.
"My friend, the Tiu had protected you most carefully. Now, we shall accept that sacred burden. Fear nothing: no one shall hurt you. Who will dare raise his hand against someone so...so...

He paused for a fraction of a second, his tongue twitching sympathetically as he searched for the right word, which he of course found.

"...so pitiful"


Which about sums up my views on the issue. :P

"Humans are inferior" is also a form of human exceptionalism, you know. The works where humans are just another species are the ones where humans aren't special.



"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 05:34pm
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Carvin' Marvin
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Yeah, I know. Humans ought to be somewhere in the middle.

It's just it's nice to see a setting where humans are not the best at everything, and the much-vaunted rate of technological development is actually shit. :P

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin



My Fundie Guide The World Has Ended.....Life Goes On
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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 05:36pm
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I don't think humans should be in the middle at all; that's just people's insecurity.

In any story where humans are being contacted by aliens or moving into space, they should be the worst because they're the newest, regardless of anything else. In Star Control, the only people more primitive than humans were recently-uplifted marsupials.



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 Post subject: Re: Humans. Are. Superior. PostPosted: 2011-09-18 06:02pm
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Only that's not necesserly true, you could quite easily write a story where humanity just happens to be the first there, doesn't mean they were the best, just the roll of the dice resulted in us being among the first star farers instead of newbie fish in an old pond.



This odyssey, this, exodus. Do we journey toward the promised land, or into the valley of the kings? Three decades ago I envisioned a new future for our species, and now that we are on the brink of realizing my dream, I feel only solitude, and regret. Has my entire life's work been a fool's crusade? Have I led my people into this desert, only to die?
-Admiral Aken Bosch, Supreme Commander of the Neo-Terran Front, NTF Iceni, 2367

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