Just a Few Random Notes

April 2nd, 2008

Forgot to say in my blog earlier: Throughout the short story, I was really banking on the twist ending that the Kimonians are actually humans and that that was what Bishop and the others were going to become, so when he was talking about school and advancing, I thought, Aha! I was right! He’s going to educate himself and develop slowly into a very tall beautiful smart thing! No go, though. And maybe that’s just the self-centered humanness in me talking, always instinctively wanting to make us the best and most important and the center of everything.

Or: “I am the core and center of my universe” is a fair statement for anybody. Which is probably slightly misquoted, but it’s from Theodore Sturgeon‘s novella, The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff, which “Immigrant” kind of reminded me of. Sort of. In a very roundabout, only tenuously related way. In the novella, there are a couple aliens studying Synapse Beta Sub-Sixteen (I’m surprised I remember that!), which is . . . hard to describe. Reflex, kind of. Social impulse? Subconscious hive-mind? Okay, let me go to Google for this one: Synapse Beta Sub Sixteen is akin to a social inner-ear, a “reflex of reflexes,” allowing an individual to “reflexively adjust when imbalanced in his sociocultural matrix.” This synapse allows for cultures to evolve as a single unity, to, at times of great crisis, rise up and overcome – without this synapse, no culture stands a chance at prolonged survival. 

And they find out we don’t, as a whole, have it. Unless, er, you set our house on fire. In which case we Synapse Beta like mad. Anyway, the point is, since we don’t use it, we’re prone to selfishness/violence/greed/et cetera. So as I read “Immigrant,” I remember thinking that (if we could pretend that both the story and novella existed in the same sci-fi realm) perhaps the Kimonians just had buckets and buckets of Synapse Beta Sub-Sixteen, which would explain their society. Because, honestly, even if the entire human race was incredibly intelligent and telepathic, we wouldn’t have the peaceful, money-free, for-the-greater-good* society that they have. We would still probably be greedy, shifty, and aggressive, because, well, we’d still be human. The Kimonians must possess some secret Ingredient X that negates all those petty, self-serving ambitions. Because in all our centuries of human advancement, we still haven’t managed to shake those. We’ve just gotten more sophisticated at executing them.

*I don’t think I can use the phrase “the greater good” without thinking of Hot Fuzz. Ah well.


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