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Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Weirder Than Life Itself: A Difficult Task

Participants at the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), science fiction's annual global gathering, being held this year in Toronto, have a daunting task in front of them:

'You have to invent a species that is weirder than humans . . ." quips science-fiction author Edward M. Lerner, "and that's hard." Sitting in a conference room of the Metro Convention Centre, 100-plus fans are politely listening to a panel discussion on the travails and rewards of "designing an alien species." Various dilemmas are encountered, such as, if you have an aquatic space-exploring race that needs to travel on the surface of a planet with atmosphere, what would they wear? Would the glare of sun and clouds blind them? Wouldn't they be agoraphobic? The three panelists chat as hands anxiously wave in the air, audience members eager to contribute a clever detail. The atmosphere is polite, informational, utterly safe. We could be at a shareholders' meeting or conference of dentists.
Source: Globe and Mail

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