The Invasion is Coming, and It Is Cuddly

This spider, for instance, is adorable. Admit it.

Why are our alien invaders always so disgusting? They are usually somehow insectoid, covered in slime, weirdly eyeless or many-eyed, and reminiscent of the ugliest termite hive you ever saw. I mean, I understand humanity’s collective distaste for insects from a cultural and psychological standpoint, but there is no real correlation with that disgust and actual danger. Insects kill people directly very rarely. Granted, they are significant vector for disease transmission but, then again, so are other humans and cuddly little rodents, and we tend not to kill them on sight.

Why, then, must our alien invaders always be some version of insectoid, monstrous, and disgusting? Insects aren’t even all that ugly, much of the time. People gush over the beauty of butterflies or coo over ladybugs, and they are just as ‘insect-y’ when viewed up close as your average earwig or cockroach. Can’t we admit to ourselves that ‘alien’ doesn’t mean ‘hideous’ automatically. Can’t the aliens be pretty?

Here’s an exercise for the speculative mind: Say Earth is invaded by an alien species, but they are the cutest little fuzzy balls of adorableness ever seen. Think, like, high-tech, militant puppies. When their Grand Vizier takes over our communications satellites and beams his demands to humanity, everybody’s first reaction is a head-tilt and a drawn-out  ‘Awwwwww!’ Then, you know, he/she/it starts talking capitulation and threats of military violence unless demands are met. By the end of his otherwise terrifying speech, what percentage of humanity turns the television off and as says ‘if they sold those in the pet store, I’d totally buy one.’

Like this guy, but higher tech and in a spiffy uniform.

I know, I know – some of you are saying ‘they totally did that in V.’ No, you aren’t getting it – they are cute. Actually cute. Like, if you rip off their head, they aren’t evil demonspawn underneath. They are every bit as cute as any other large, furry mammal in existence. Make them pretty like tigers, if you like. Tigers are scary; tigers are dangerous; lots of people want to hug and cuddle with tigers. Furthermore, in the case of V, they appeared to be humans and were trying to appear likable – humanity should know better than to trust itself when it’s being so nice. I’m thinking overtly hostile but physically adorable aliens.

Given this scenario, what happens? Do we surrender to our kitten overlords? Can we manage to muster up the proper racial hatred to smite our foes? Are we more willing to negotiate? Are we less willing to negotiate (you’d have us barter with Teddy Ruxpin? What the hell is wrong with you, man?). Do we not take them seriously, despite their invasion fleet of city-flattening strato-fortresses? What the heck happens to us when our aesthetic sensibilities are so colossally tweaked that we find ourselves in a state of internal struggle?

I can’t say for certain, obviously – this is all strictly hypothetical. In general, I’d wager on the side of the human race being bloodthirsty killers – there’s a lot of track record there. Cuteness hasn’t stopped us from waging wars before (even genocidal ones). Still, the after-effects would be interesting. Would furry things no longer hold the same appeal anymore? Would our aesthetic sensibilities change?

I can, of course, see the movie already. It’s a CGI comedy, probably by Dreamworks, and it’s tremendously stupid. It doesn’t have to be, though. You could get some serious mileage out of cute and dangerous aliens. Just sayin…

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About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on March 2, 2012, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is sort of off topic, but I couldn’t resist. It’s from the opening of the short story “From Gustible’s Planet” by Cordwainer Smith.

    “In physical appearance the inhabitants of Gustible’s planet, who called themselves Apicans, resembled nothing more than oversize ducks, ducks four feet to four feet six in height. At their wing tips, they had developed juxtaposed thumbs. They were paddle-shaped and sufficed to feed the Apicans.”

    Upon discovering Earth, the Apicans send diplomats and then decide to take up residence. Tragedy and hilarity ensue. So, not quite super cute invaders, but in a similar vein.

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