Saturday, December 26, 2009

This was my first experiment with scheduled postings... apparently it didn't go very well since this was supposed to go up on Wednesday the 23rd. My apologies!

Five!! of My Favorite Species
Technically if you've seen the movie already they're not spoilers...

Not since the eighties has a race of blue creatures been so well advertised. Indeed the hype machine has gone into overdrive on this one. I'm writing this Friday (the 18th) morning and still haven't seen the movie yet, so I'm not able to say whether it's well deserved, barely deserved, or complete hog-wash.
But what I can say is that, good or bad, Avatar is bringing us a new culture developed painstakingly and thoroughly (with even a fully functioning language created for them by linguist Paul Frommer) to get to know, which got me thinking. I've been privy to a rather large amount of fiction in my life, some of which is created so thoroughly that it takes on a life of it's own. As a chaser of motives and details, I've found more than one of these that was just so interesting I had to know more.
So in honor of the birth of the Na'vi, the newest people to join the universe of imagined culture, Here's a bonus Five!! for the weekend. Enjoy!

Who are they?
A race of shape shifters from the boundless expanses of Star Trek.
Why so interesting?
A Changelings ability to shift into virtually any alternate form stems from the fact that their bodies are a gel-liquid. For all the Changelings in the universe, only one hundred live outside their home planet. I find it interesting that those few end up with such different outlooks on life. They also view things from a different perspective as they are always evaluating, trying to understand that which they are not- but could be.
My Favorite Facts!
1.) A Changling has to return to it's original liquid state every 16-18 hours. If this is not done, it can have mental affects not unlike sleep deprivation, and intense physical pain.
2.) Though they can take almost any shape, human facial features are extremely hard for them to reproduce and their attempts often have swept and rounded features as a result.
3.) Two changelings can "join" in their liquid state, allowing them to share thoughts, emotions, and memories. This is considered highly intimate.

The "Fix-its"
Who are they?
A race of small autonomous machines from the movie *Batteries Not Included.
Why so interesting?
Honestly, it's the mystery. There's never any real answer given on why these benevolent machines are what they are or do what they do. This allows me a lot of room to ponder, which I appreciate.
My Favorite Facts!
1.) Steven Spielberg developed the story into a feature film from an (intended) television episode.

Who are they?
The terrifying race created by H.R. Giger for Ridley Scott's Science Fiction thriller Alien.
Why so Interesting?
Beyond the mystery of this ground-breaking monster, it has to be the life-cycle. In particular the idea of a bee like "Hive" ruled over by a single queen, with the drones serving her unflinchingly. As for their birth-- well you know all about that. It's a fact so disturbing it has to be real, and indeed many animals lay their eggs using other animals as hosts- and then eventually food...
My Favorite Facts!
1.) They have no form of verbal, written, signed communication; their race has no true name.
2.) Like bees, only the queen can lay eggs. Though protected ferociously, if the queen is lost a drone can eventually grow into another queen.
3.) A queens eggs can wait indefinitely for a life form that can support implantation.

Who are they?
The "walking carpets" that exist among thousands of other races in the Star Wars universe.
Why so interesting?
Wookies are a race that appears feral but are actually highly intelligent and capable of profound gentleness. That they are honorable to a fault is something that's always piqued my interest... Plus they're Wookies, I mean come on!
My Favorite Facts!
1.) Underneath all the hair wookies have sharp claws. In Wookie culture to use your claws in anger is the highest crime. Doing so is seen as giving in to the feral side of yourself, and is punished by a complete stripping of honor.
2.) Wookies are extremely long lived by human standards; Chewbacca is over 200 years old in Episode 4.
3.) Wookish cannot be correctly spoken by human vocal chords, nor English by theirs.

Who are they?
The main antagonist of the cult classic Blade Runner.
Why so interesting?
The story of Blade Runner is an evolution of the novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' by Philip K. Dick. One of the main themes of the book (and movie) is the exploration and discussion of intelligence and awareness. At what point does processing become pondering? And how deep must one ponder before it's deep enough to constitute personal contemplation. To me the Replicants are an embodiment of this question.
My Favorite Facts!
1.) To this day there is still debate over whether the character Rick Deckard was a Replicant, even among those involved in the movies production.

Happy Holidays if I don't see you before then!

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