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Bewildering Stories

Humans and Aliens
in The Dohani War

part 2

by Martin Kerharo

Part 1 of this discussion appears in issue 524.

Regarding the Nazi-like genetic engineering ways of the Dohani: they are benevolent, but they nevertheless have an arrogant attitude when it comes to interfering with other races of the galaxy.

They did change the Caterpillars, who are now a very different species from what they used to be. As Don pointed out, the Dohani didn’t have much choice, given they were faced with the same communication problem they had with humans; it was impossible to negotiate with them.

However, I would like to (humbly) draw a parallel with the Culture “universe” of Iain Banks. To sum it up, the Culture is a huge space-faring civilization whose members seem to be mainly humans and robots. When they encounter a new intelligent species, they often try to make it more peaceful, using covert agents to impose democracy and such. (I read these books a looong time ago, so I don’t remember all the details.) But they are playing God, and often their plans explode in their face.

The Dohani do the same thing. They were lucky with the Caterpillars, who are quite happy with their change. Humans, however, are a much more individualistic species. They’re not ready to accept a de facto Dohani domination. And that will eventually lead to more conflicts... The Dohani will have a hard time just to understand humans. They don’t understand hatred.

Which by the way points out a flaw in the story: Jane obviously hates humans. However we can say she is sort of an alien even among the Dohani. She is much more emotional, and being the only one of her kind in the universe is hard. So, her creators forgive her everything, and she can be seen acting like a spoiled child at times.

As Gary says, “However, I have a harder time placing the Dohani in relation to human beings, because they are far removed from our common experience. And the more attenuated “aliens” seem from our perspective, the less plausible their relationship with humans.” This is so very true, and I haven’t done enough to portray their alien nature.

And finally, Don said, “The Dohanis’ experience with the Caterpillars, Jane, Dexter and, now, Lucy points directly to a future where humans will come equipped with ‘implants’ of their own.” In fact, when I thought about writing a third story in this series, I was thinking there would eventually be a schism between the pro-Dohani and the pro-Human groups.

Dohani and hybrids would be forbidden to set foot on any human world, and hybrids would be forced to leave. A few human worlds would again defect to the Dohani, which would cause further tensions. Not war, but constant harassment and bickering from the humans, who want to keep their independence at all costs.

Now I really don’t know what story to tell with such a starting point...

* * *

Gary suggested, “Perhaps Jane is intended to form a bridge between the two cultures or civilizations.” Well, that was not the Dohanis’ initial intent. She was designed to be a spy!

Bill Bowler about Predators: In a few novels inspired by the first Predator and Alien movies, long before the AvP movie, there’s a woman, Machiko Noguchi, who’s chief of security on a new human colony.

Unfortunately, Predators have a tradition of releasing Aliens (Xenomorphs) on that planet, to hunt them. There’s a big mess as usual, and at some point Noguchi allies with a Predator because it’s the only chance she has against the Xenos.

The Predator is mortally wounded, but just before dying he marks Noguchi on the forehead (exactly as in the movie AvP), which means she has successfully passed the test to become a Hunter. Later, another Predator ships arrives, they stumble on Noguchi, see her mark and accept her as a member of the pack.

So she turns her back on Humanity to hunt with the Predators, which she loves doing. But the story doesn’t end here...

It turns out most of the Predators are jerks. They don’t like the “ooman” much and keep harassing her, even though she proves multiple times that she’s a very good hunter. In the end she gets fed up and betrays them when they’re about to slaughter a human colony or something like that.

So, befriending Predators is quite difficult. You have to find one who is smart. And, as the movies show, most of them tend to be pretty stupid :-)

Copyright © 2013 by Martin Kerharo

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