Exploring Neal Asher's Prador Aliens: Do You Have Any Fave Aliens in Fiction?

In summary: third of the way through. The proverb might be something like "When you cry in the forest, the animals will answer." However, it is not the only proverb that might fit this situation.
  • #1
sbrothy
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I'm currently reading Neal Asher a little more systematically. The books I read previously turned out to be part 2 of 3 and the-like.

This time I started with the standalone novel "Prador Moon" as I think the Prador aliens - even if maybe just a "little" over-the-top - is one of the best alien species I've seen from an author. Their lovable family dynamic (read: their complete and utter narcissistic disregard for their offspring) and their motives: they're not here for our water, or our women - except insofar as we're yummy devoured alive (which seems only 'fair" though as they treat their children just the same).

All in all they make Ian M. Bank's Affront look like a bunch of nice guys you'd love to spend an evening with.

Initially I found Asher's peculiar mix of bodyhorror and scifi disturbingly offputting but, it's growing on me (see what I did there?).

Do you people have any favorite, particularly convincing, and/or compelling aliens from stories you've read?

And just for the record, films are OK but, hate me if you must, I don't consider Star Wars scifi. "Drivel" maybe, "samurais in space" perhaps, but scifi? No.

EDIT:

It just occurred to me - thinking about my needless comment about Star Wars, and taking Sturgeon's law at face value - that opposite examples might be fun too. Though I rather suspect this could make this thread run into Sturgeon's law, itself, or God forbid Godwin's law.

But hey, have at it! :)
 
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  • #2
A reaction if it could be called that, is a piece of art which you can find represented on youtube, is a Cub Koda song called, "Martian Boogie". An alien was found eating at a place called, "Eats".
 
  • #3
symbolipoint said:
A reaction if it could be called that, is a piece of art which you can find represented on youtube, is a Cub Koda song called, "Martian Boogie". An alien was found eating at a place called, "Eats".

I'm not sure I found the right video. Regardless:

There's a Danish proverb which fits extremely well in this situation but I can't find an idiomatic translation.

In Danish it goes:

"Som man råber i skoven får man svar."

Somewhat literally:

"Yell in the woods and there's your answer."

I'm sure you have an idiomatic proverb that fits nicely but only a right tool would need further translation.

What I can take away is that I guess I asked for that. :)
 
  • #4
sbrothy said:
I'm currently reading Neal Asher a little more systematically. The books I read previously turned out to be part 2 of 3 and the-like.

This time I started with the standalone novel "Prador Moon" as I think the Prador aliens - even if maybe just a "little" over-the-top - is one of the best alien species I've seen from an author. Their lovable family dynamic (read: their complete and utter narcissistic disregard for their offspring) and their motives: they're not here for our water, or our women - except insofar as we're yummy devoured alive (which seems only 'fair" though as they treat their children just the same).

All in all they make Ian M. Bank's Affront look like a bunch of nice guys you'd love to spend an evening with.

Initially I found Asher's peculiar mix of bodyhorror and scifi disturbingly offputting but, it's growing on me (see what I did there?).

Do you people have any favorite, particularly convincing, and/or compelling aliens from stories you've read?

And just for the record, films are OK but, hate me if you must, I don't consider Star Wars scifi. "Drivel" maybe, "samurais in space" perhaps, but scifi? No.

EDIT:

It just occurred to me - thinking about my needless comment about Star Wars, and taking Sturgeon's law at face value - that opposite examples might be fun too. Though I rather suspect this could make this thread run into Sturgeon's law, itself, or God forbid Godwin's law.

But hey, have at it! :)

I remember I liked the "Krondaku" from Julian May's Galactic Milieu Series, the "Lylmik" being a little too incorporeal. I'm afraid I'm too old now for me to see in it what I did once. To much coming of age and superflous religion. It was a good read for a youngster back then though.
 
  • #5
sbrothy said:
I'm not sure I found the right video. Regardless:
There's a Danish proverb which fits extremely well in this situation but I can't find an idiomatic translation.
In Danish it goes:
"Som man råber i skoven får man svar."
Somewhat literally:
"Yell in the woods and there's your answer."
I'm sure you have an idiomatic proverb that fits nicely but only a right tool would need further translation.
What I can take away is that I guess I asked for that. :)
(Blank lines removed, in the quote, I did.)

You probably did find the right video or videos; but they may start slowly, and the fun mostly does not start until maybe a minute or two into it. My reaction before commenting was how you mentioned and described, amicable, friendly, helpful, some other favorable personalitied aliens from other planets, so upon some quick thinking, your post reminded me of Martian Boogie. I will post a link here:



 
  • #6
Oh. Thanks. My ears are a little red now. I thought you were messing with me (you still might be ofcourse :) )
 
  • #7
Just finished Jack Four(Asher) : the Prador are still the bad guys. There are timelines for his Polity Universe books, though ; give you the right order.

Lovable aliens ? ... Foster's Thranx I suppose (been quite awhile since I read those)... Weber's treecats... in that vein pretty much anything out of Andre Norton... Star Trek's Trills ?

Where do you draw the line between alien aliens and what is essentially humans in rubber masks ?
 
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  • #8
hmmm27 said:
Just finished Jack Four(Asher) : the Prador are still the bad guys. There are timelines for his Polity Universe books, though ; give you the right order.

Lovable aliens ? ... Foster's Thranx I suppose (been quite awhile since I read those)... Weber's treecats... in that vein pretty much anything out of Andre Norton... Star Trek's Trills ?

Where do you draw the line between alien aliens and what is essentially humans in rubber masks ?

Well for story purposes really nowhere, with movies I understand that it's budget restraints and necessary human recognizability (ironically) so I can look past it to the point that in my youth I originally thought Star Strek (and incidentally also Sesamy Street) was really German(!). In my defense we had but 4 channels then: 3 German and 1 Danish. When I posted the thread here I was thinking mostly of novels though. Movie aliens have a tendency to be downright annoying (Jar Jar Binks anyone?)

And no I haven't seen it but I loathe him all the same. ")
 
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  • #9
sbrothy said:
Well for story purposes really nowhere, with movies I understand that it's budget restraints and necessary human recognizability (ironically) so I can look past it to the point that in my youth I originally thought Star Strek (and incidentally also Sesamy Street) was really German(!). In my defensive we had but 4 channels then: 3 German and 1 Danish. When I posted the thread here I was thinking mostly of novels though. Movie aliens have a tendency to be downright annoying (Jar Jar Binks anyone?)

And no I haven't seen it but I loathe him all the same. ")

I'm a comic (graphic novel) fanatic and there's a good share of well thought out aliens, and indeed scifi stories there. I've read comics I consider better than movies. Comics have a capacity for worldbuilding detail quite impossible ikke movies. Let me see if I can find a couple that can compete.....
 
  • #10
I may be a bit too cynical but it seems that if the "general public vote about this , Sturgeons law immediately rears it's ugly head. I mean come on... the "Silver Surfer"?! "Galactus"?! "Superman"?!

But ofcourse I should beware of thinking I'm the smartest poeple in the room (especially on this forum) Most poeple just want to be entertained for an hour I guess..

Maybe they were fun when I was 12 but now they just seem beneath silly to me. Stupid is almost a too serious word.

I remember one particularly silly scene from some Deadpool movie where Deadpool beats a man brutally and at length with a fire-extinguisher which hardly hurts him at all. He then pulls out a 22 caliber semiautomatic and executes him with a single shot to the head. I can just imagine Newton and the laws of thermodynamics sitting in a corner crying.
 
  • #11
I am unsure if the suggestion of the character adds anything to the discussion but, "The Man Who Fell to Earth", motion picture, the main character Newton Farnsworth (definitely an interesting pick for a character's name).
 
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  • #12
I remember reading an excerpt (posted on 4chan of all places!) where one alien exasperated describes humans to another alien as dangerous freaks of nature. Unfortunately I haven't succeed in finding it again, and ofcourse asking on 4chan is just silly. It goes something like this:

"They breathe an explosive gas we use in our rockets as fuel (ie oxygen), drink a posionous nervetoxin we use as a solvent in many chemical syntheses (ie ethanol) - FOR FUN! They carry multiple infectious airborne pathogens which would kill us outright (ie the common cold etc)). Just now one escaped his cell and managed to kill several guards with his bare hands even though he was naked. We had to electrocute him several times to subdue him".

It's ofcourse silly as convergent evolution will probably see to it that any species who becomes the dominant predator on their homeworld will be a nasty piece of work (there are only so many ways to be a shark after all), and humans are pretty squishy. We don't even have any natural armor to speak of.

Buy maybe someone here will recognize the gist of it....
 
  • #13
sbrothy said:
Do you people have any favorite, particularly convincing, and/or compelling aliens from stories you've read?
I really enjoyed the "realistic" aliens in Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Truly alien physiology and behavior, and yet very interesting and lovable at the same time.
 
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  • #14
Mork, from Ork!
 
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  • #15
I'm glad I started this thread. There's a lot of stuff I've never heard about. It'll turn out to be a goldmine.
 
  • #16
I gave my local library a list of 10-15 "graphic novels". All of which I already read but maybe others would like a chance. After the woman responsible for buying them perused it she just outright rejected them all.

I was a little surprised as there were everything from scifi, crime, fantasy, slice-of-life and romance. I couldn't get much of an explanation either. I don't know if the thought I wanted them to buy them all, but it was just a list of suggestions. Frankly I was a little insulted. I mean is my taste *that* bad? Several of my suggestions wasn't there anymore because they'd just aquired them.

Perhaps I should try them one at the time next time...
 
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  • #17
symbolipoint said:
I am unsure if the suggestion of the character adds anything to the discussion but, "The Man Who Fell to Earth", motion picture, the main character Newton Farnsworth (definitely an interesting pick for a character's name).
That is who I would have chosen. I have been searching for the physics/maths he gave the scientist at the beginning but cannot find it as a clip.
 
  • #18
I did not like Neal Ashers crab-men alien - found it just another example of the tired trope of giving an Earth animal intelligence and technology. Larry Niven's tiger-men Kzin being another example. Only two books into Ian Banks culture, but the Empire of Azad in Player of Games was interesting
 
  • #19
I think I know what you mean. Still I think they have some redeeming qualities. The way they have an abundance of offspring just ready to thaw out and control with pheromones and food-additives. I'm not really clear about their females. I mean are they intelligent at all or is their "society" just hypertoxically masculine? There's this site with all these clicheed aliens.... lemme just see if I can find it...

Well, couldn't find it right now but I'll remember it suddenly. Stumbled across this one though:

They will look like crabs!.

:)
 
  • #21
Hornbein said:
I like Anders Sandberg's vortex knots that live in the superfluid/superconductive interiors of neutron stars. https://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/46709d53449d2
Whoever wrote this put a serious effort into the science. My main complaint is that in this fiction they are much too big. Such creatures would have to be microminiature, extremely small.
 
  • #22
My favorite aliens were both on Star Gate:
- Asgardians with Thor as the ship commander
- Nox the forest dwelling aliens with invisibility cloaks on their cities and technology

The replicators and their primal need to replicate were pretty cool too.

I wasn't so crazy about the Gouald or Wraiths or Ori all variations on the same bad guy theme.

https://gamerant.com/stargate-best-alien-species/
 
  • #23
jedishrfu said:
My favorite aliens were both on Star Gate:
- Asgardians with Thor as the ship commander
- Nox the forest dwelling aliens with invisibility cloaks on their cities and technology

The replicators and their primal need to replicate were pretty cool too.

I wasn't so crazy about the Gouald or Wraiths or Ori all variations on the same bad guy theme.

https://gamerant.com/stargate-best-alien-species/

The Goa'uld were a good example of alien aliens : worms which serve as memory adjuncts ; somewhat similar to Star Trek's Trill symbiotes. And - as in many SF stories - could be commentary on the evils of persistent tradition/knowledge.
 
  • #24
Three aliens I am quite fond of.

From Heinlein, The Star Beast. Apparently the pet of John Thomas, a teenage boy who inherited it from his father, and grandfather before, and great-grandfather before, all named John Thomas. It had eight legs, skin that repelled an RPG, ate a buick, breathes air but happy to be under water overnight, grew a pair of arms at a dramatic point in the book, turns out to be a lost princess from an alien race. And had been on Earth "raising John Thomases."

From Niven, the Known Space series. The Puppeteers. Three legs set with two forward and one back all with hooves. The back leg can be provide a significant kick to somebody attacking. Two heads with a single eye each, rising out of the body above the forward legs, thus looking like they are using hand puppets. Thus the name. The brain actually in the "body under a thick layer of fur. Massive cowards. Massive behind-the-scenes manipulators thus earning the name.

From Star Trek, the original series. The Horta. This was the critter that could melt its way through rock. Miners were destroying its eggs and it started defending them.
 
  • #25
symbolipoint said:
I am unsure if the suggestion of the character adds anything to the discussion but, "The Man Who Fell to Earth", motion picture, the main character Newton Farnsworth (definitely an interesting pick for a character's name).
Hah! Hadn't seen this one. Was that the new or old version? I mean was it before or after Futurama. :P
 
  • #26
BWV said:
I did not like Neal Ashers crab-men alien - found it just another example of the tired trope of giving an Earth animal intelligence and technology. Larry Niven's tiger-men Kzin being another example. Only two books into Ian Banks culture, but the Empire of Azad in Player of Games was interesting
Yeh Bank's Azad Empire. Fascinating book but a little unconvincingly executed. But ofcourse how would anyone describe a game without rules. Like "Calvin-Ball"? :P Also the trick where someone hides on the ship by being moved around is a little cliche. I doubt humans would have fallen for that.

My favorite is the one with the war-bonded team lead by that woman who always keep a cartridge in the breech or whatever it's called. Can't remeber it's name... Talk about "Chekovs Gun". :)

This one's his best I think: The Algebraist.
 
  • #27
sbrothy said:
Hah! Hadn't seen this one. Was that the new or old version? I mean was it before or after Futurama. :P
I do not know. The motion picture in which the alien, Newton Farnsworth, was played by David Bowie.
 

1. What makes the Prador aliens unique compared to other fictional aliens?

The Prador aliens, created by author Neal Asher, are unique in their physical appearance, culture, and abilities. They are described as large, crab-like creatures with multiple limbs, sharp mandibles, and a tough exoskeleton. They also possess advanced technology and have a hierarchical society based on violence and dominance.

2. How do the Prador aliens interact with other species in Neal Asher's books?

The Prador aliens are known for their aggressive and expansionist nature, often engaging in conflicts with other species in Asher's books. They view most other species as inferior and have a tendency to enslave or destroy them. However, there are some instances of alliances and cooperation between the Prador and other species.

3. Are there any notable Prador characters in Neal Asher's books?

Yes, there are several notable Prador characters in Asher's books, including the Prador King, Imminence, who plays a major role in the series, and the Prador Vrell, who is a recurring antagonist. There are also various Prador soldiers and leaders who are featured throughout the series.

4. How does the Prador society function in terms of hierarchy and leadership?

The Prador society is based on a strict hierarchical structure, with the strongest and most dominant individuals at the top. The Prador King, Imminence, holds the highest position of power and is considered the ruler of the Prador race. Other Prador leaders and soldiers must constantly prove their strength and dominance to maintain their positions in the hierarchy.

5. Are there any real-world inspirations for the Prador aliens?

While there are no direct real-world inspirations for the Prador aliens, their physical appearance and behavior have been compared to various creatures, such as crabs, lobsters, and ants. The hierarchical structure of their society also draws parallels to some animal species, such as wolves and primates, where dominance and strength determine leadership.

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