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Not Bug-eyed Monsters? Their bugs, what do you expect?

  • Feb 20, 2011
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Rating:
+4
This is a "First Contact" sci-fi story.  The first meeting between humans and thranx. 

Well there just isn't any nice way to say it.  The thranx are really big BUGS.  They have legs like bugs.  Antennae like bugs and eyes like bugs.  They are bugs.  Lots of humans don't like bugs.  I think we have an image problem here.

But our story opens in the world of bugs.  Our hero, Ryozenzuzex, is a bug.  A very young bug in fact still in the larval stage.  Alan Dean Foster treats us to a view of reality from a bug perspective.  You always did want to be a bug, right?  Yeah, everybody did.

Anyway Ryo grows up and leads a normal bug life as an agricultural worker because he can't figure out what he really wants to do with his life even though he is quite bright until his home is invaded by the AAnn.  Didn't I mention the AAnn?  Well they are another bunch of aliens.  Big lizards this time however.  Well the AAnn are not very nice lizards and they engage in hit and run pirate raids whenever they please.  Well Ryo won't take this lying down like a good little bug so he attacks the miscreants with some agricultural equipment like a combine or something.  He manages to not get himself killed, heros aren't supposed to do that you know, and he receives a medal for his unconventional initiative.  It is the warrior bugs that are supposed to do that kind of thing and he didn't qualify.

But much later Ryo encounters rumors of another alien species.  Being insatiably curious he has to track them down.

It turns out the thranx encountered another space ship manned by weird mammalian creatures and captured the ship and crew.  From the perspective of the rational thranx they were insane.  The thranx did not know what to do with them.  They were being held captive in a remote mining hive in the arctic.  Oh yeah, that is hive not town.  These are bugs remember.  But although they had been held captive for months communication could not be established.  Maybe they could build interstellar space ships but they were really dumb.

Of course our intrepid hero manages to get to them and establish communications after helping one escape.  See you just can't trust a bug.  But then he helps all of them steal their ship and escape.  So of course they decide to kill him.  See you just can't trust a human.  But then they decide to let him live if he will lead an invasion against his homeworld.  But it's a friendly invasion they are just going to kidnap some kids.  But that plan grts screwed up by the AAnn.    See you just can't trust a reptile. 

So begins what ultimately becomes the Humanx Commonwealth, an alliance between humans and thranx to the annoyance of the AAnn.  Foster produces many more stories within the context of the Humanx civilization.  This story is a pretty entertaining story and better than the following three which explain in more detail how the alliance is finally formed. 

Those disgusting bugs must be stopped. 

BEMs of the galaxy unite.  You have nothing to lose but hairy primates.
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Not Bug-eyed Monsters? Their bugs, what do you expect? Not Bug-eyed Monsters? Their bugs, what do you expect? Not Bug-eyed Monsters? Their bugs, what do you expect?

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February 20, 2011
Fun review. It's been years since I've read Foster's stuff. I mean heck, he wrote Star Wars and that little Disney movie the Black Hole. I may check this out.
February 20, 2011
Foster is quite variable. Some stuff is very good though not hard sci-fi but other stuff kind of drags. The next two books of the creation of the commonwealth, Phylogenesis and Dirge aren't so great, just OK. The 3rd one Diuturnity's Dawn is better. But it may just be a personality thing. There are no absolute standards really just different reader reactions. I think James P. Hogan is better than Foster though none of his stuff has been made into movies. But I have disgusting hard sci-fi leanings.
February 20, 2011
Agreed, very disgusting. But, it's entertaining too, so keep up the good work! I've not read but of course have heard of Hogan's work. When I was a kid I was a big fan of James Blish's Star Trek novels. I'm currently reading a strange post-apocalyptic book, Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse and plan to start Vernor Vinge, A Deepness In The Sky.
 
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Nor Crystal Tears (1982) is a first contact novel about the meeting of the insect-like thranx and humans written by Alan Dean Foster that started the Humanx Commonwealth. It is written from the perspective of the thranx and the cultural lens through which they encounter "alien" humans. Foster would further expand on this theme, using another (unrelated) alien race, the furry Quozl in their eponymous novel.[1]

Plot introduction

The story follows a thranx, Ryozenzuzex (i.e. Ryo, of Family Zen, clan Zu, Hive Zex) who was an odd number hatching (thranx offspring almost always come in multiples of two) making him somewhat different from his brethern. Setting himself aside as different Ryo decides that he has to know what is the secret of the new spacefaring race that supposedly wear "their skeletions inside". To accomplish this un-thranxlike task Ryo travels from his home planet, Willowane, to the ice caps of the thranx homeworld, Hivehom.

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