On aliens and being alien

I’m still thinking about a sci-fi story that I’d started planning (and writing!) a few months ago. It’s playing with the idea of aliens invading Earth, and that being the ‘alien’ planet…sort of. But it’s also ideas on humans, what makes us human or alien, how we think…

The best sci-fi in terms of aliens that I’ve come across…actually, there’s two. One is Hyperion, because the Shrike is just weird. And the second, annoyingly, I can’t remember the name of. It involved insect-like things in swarms that took over a human and attacked Earth, so everyone left through portals; I remember that I liked it because it was truly alien! It was a different species, with different thought patterns and understandings, and no real frame of reference between the two species.

But anyway. So I was thinking about a human, brought up in this alien environment. She can look different, sure; slightly scaled skin, no hair, augmented eyes. But what about the emotional side, the thoughts, what we consider to be human?

She’d be wary, reserved, with no outward signs of emotion. She wouldn’t cope with being kissed or touched, after any touch is an attack. Kindness would be a gesture or a word. Love would be actions. She’d smile, because that’s a universal human thing – but maybe she wouldn’t understand jokes or humour. And interactions with others? That could be interesting.

The problem I’ve got is to make someone human enough to be understandable, but inhuman enough to be alien. But hey, writing’s no fun if I don’t push myself!

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