Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Puny Humans

In Science Fiction on June 30, 2010 at 12:43 am

I always feel bad for humanity in science fiction. Most of the time, they are significantly dumber than other, comparable, humanoid aliens. Almost all the time, they are considerably weaker, too. Vulcans and those newcomers from Alien Nation…those guys make us look like such losers.

And how do we poor man-animals hang in there. Well, we tend to display some resourcefulness, some chutzpah. Either we show some kind of crazy ambition or we breed like rabbits compared to these nearly asexual space creatures or something. And I get it. Humans are easy to figure as the baseline for competence, and creatures from space would clearly be more competent, more advanced, more powerful, etc.

And I have no problem with aliens being smarter than us. I mean, they may have mastered inter-dimensional warp drives or faster-than-light tachyon engines or whatever, so sure, I can concede the aliens being super-advanced. But I would like, occasionally, to see a change in the physical inferiority.

I mean, wouldn’t be awesome if humans, by complete chance, are the biggest bad-asses in the universe. Like, our gravity is stronger than most alien worlds. Or maybe our perception of time is far faster than others, or our reactions are ultra-fast in comparison.

In some universe, this might be the scariest thing to walk into a galactic cantina.


I like to think that humans might be the Wookies or the Gammoreans of the universe. Maybe not the brightest or most inventive, but the greatest mercenaries or bodyguards in the ‘Verse. How come it never works like this?

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  1. In John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, humans are genrally inferior, of course, they still kick ass due to some clone body enhancements and human ruthlessness, but on a basic level… inferior

    Except on this one planet Earth wars with regularly where the inhabitants are almost completely identical to humans… except that they’re six inches tall. So the humans just wade through their cities like Godzilla hurling G.I. Joe figures through buildings. It was pretty funny

  2. scooter! I hadn’t checked your blog in forevs! stoked that you’re posting again!!

    I like the idea of brainy but wimpy aliens teamed with average humans being the muscle of a space team…get to work on that…

    Trying to think of a fictionverse where humans aren’t always crappy….we seem to do well in the comic stylings of the men in black films…And i’m confident that none of those bug aliens could write a pop rap hit like mr. smith…

  3. I believe wookies are actually quite intelligent.

    • I’ve heard they are pretty smart, too. I’ve also heard they are tend to pull your arms out of your socket if they lose at holo-chess, which I guess is the reputation I was referencing more. I just think it would be funny if aliens were like: “Oh shit! I heard that humans are so crazy, that on their home planet, they actually go to war with EACH OTHER!!! We do not want to fuck with these people.”

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