#323: Link read Truth of the Divine, a book about the ramifications of first contact. They and the GT crew chat about aliens as metaphors for immigrants and various “othered” groups and how these media reflect the historical and current patterns of human behaviors between social groups.
Josué Cardona 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network. Here at Geek Therapy, we believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Josué Cardona. I’m joined today by Marc Cuiriz.
Marc Cuiriz 0:22
Josué Cardona 0:24
Lara Taylor 0:25
Josué Cardona 0:26
and Link Keller.
Link Keller 0:27
Josué Cardona 0:29
Link. What are we what are we talking about today?
Link Keller 0:31
we are talking about aliens in general, but more specifically, I just finished reading a book called Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis, which is the second book in the Noumena series that she is writing. And it was real good. And I thought it had a lot of cool things that we could touch on and talk about aliens in general. But yeah,
Link Keller 0:57
Link Keller 0:58
Josué Cardona 0:58
Yeah, not what was what was it specifically about? Like, what’s playing out in that story that that like resonated with you and thought it would be a good conversation starter.
Link Keller 1:09
So a main plot point in the second book is talking about how the US government is responding to aliens being a thing and also being in America. And trying to argue whether or not aliens should get human rights if human rights should apply to them. Or if they should create a separate status for them which in the book, they refer to it as the third option, which is giving them some human rights. And that leads to a philosophical debate about personhood
Lara Taylor 1:54
about inalienable human rights?
Link Keller 1:57
Yes. Alien, right in the word. And basically talking about how a majority of the people who are arguing that aliens shouldn’t just get human rights are using arguments that are frequently used by fascists to dehumanize certain groups of people. And our main character Cora is deeply connected with one of the aliens that is there. The aliens name is ampersand. Through most of the series, he’s got a couple of different names, but ampersand is what she calls him. And they have a special alien connection that allows them to feel each other’s feelings to a certain extent. Not mind reading, but more empathy connection. And they are both traumatized people. And their trauma impacts each other and they care deeply about each other. But also sometimes they harm each other because it’s very difficult to deal with trauma and how it affects you emotionally and physically and having that relationship play out while they are also being sort of representative of the whole concept of how aliens should be treated by Americans. American government, humans in general. It’s a It’s It’s good stuff. It’s good stuff it The book takes place in 2007 2008. Which is actually it’s very funny in axioms and the first book george bush gets impeached because he hid he hid the existence of aliens from people. It’s it’s just that part made me laugh a lot. I thought that was very funny is like, what a fun little alternate history.
Josué Cardona 4:04
it’s too much. You hid too much.
Link Keller 4:07
Basically, it was like, a final straw.
Josué Cardona 4:10
you lied. This is this. You went too far.
Link Keller 4:12
you keep getting caught in lying to people
Josué Cardona 4:15
fool me once fool me….
Link Keller 4:17
Yes, yeah. But yeah, I think I think it’s a really timely conversation to have. It takes place in 2007 2008. But it feels very modern in that the way that we apply labels to groups of people and give them certain access to certain rights, and how those things are changing. Like the rules are made up we make them up and so we, how we apply them and then how we rationalize how we apply those rights to people is very interesting. I think it’s important conversation. In general, but especially in the past couple of years with Black Lives Matter, and immigration, and the way our government treated COVID and people with disabilities or previous existing illnesses, and how our government is very quick to just feel like you’re a person, except that you’re not like a full person who deserves all of the rights. And using aliens as a way to have those kinds of conversations, I think, is a nice Geek Therapy way of doing an uncomfortable thing. But in a fun, fictional way.
Josué Cardona 5:42
It sure is. So I just had a very intense conversation related to this on on conspiracy of light, which is another one of our podcasts, that’s that one’s less accessible than this one. That’s a deep dive into Babylon 5, a 25 year old Sci Fi series. But the thing that we talked about specifically was that there are we’re talking about right now we’re talking about the context of and I mean, in this conversation from, from the book is like the dehumanization, but it’s also about separation. And, and I love the idea that there’s only two like one representative from the side that can really understand each other to that point, so I have questions about how different the aliens are from us, that I want to get to in a second. But I want to I want to say that the conversation that I had with Woody on conspiracy of late, was about a point in Babylon five, where there are groupings of races of aliens. And it’s like, We are the bottom rung in terms of how long we’ve been in the universe. And then there’s others that have been like that are that are way older than us, and they’ve evolved so differently, and just view us very differently. And then there’s a whole other group beyond that, who were there before, even them? And they’re almost incomprehensible to us. Right. And I and I think it’s a, it’s a metaphor about how a lot of this stuff happens, right? It’s like, all these differences come up, and then you just, I think some of it, a lot of it is malicious. But a lot of it happens in a way that it’s, it’s hard to understand each other, right? Like, I mean, that’s, that’s allowed what I love to do, that we do here, right that we we talk about things that are popular, because all sorts of different people enjoy, you know, sci fi, and can get into a conversation about this and maybe find some common ground and understanding just the fact that we both liked the same thing, or enjoyed a thing, or felt a certain way about a thing allows us to connect in a way that is sometimes really, really hard. And it can even help overcome, you know, the different types of language barriers and experiences. So I’m curious, how different are the aliens in this saga, this this trilogy from humans.
Link Keller 8:27
So a lot of that aspect is talked about in the first book. They are what what the what the aliens referred to as as post organic, they have an organic like brain and brainstem, but they exist inside of it’ss not, like robot but like robot bodies, basically. They are often described as being sort of like Velociraptor shaped, they are bigger than humans, they are because of this non organic form, they are stronger and able to withstand, you know, more. They don’t have soft squishy human bodies, like we do. But it is revealed through conversations between Cora and ampersand that they have, you know, they have language, they have social structures, they have a hierarchy of you know, the more powerful aliens in charge of the lesser powerful aliens in charge of the even lesser lesser powerful aliens, they have titles that sort of apply to like their jobs, but also just their general purpose within the social structure that they exist in. But the aliens that come to earth so there is a group that has come to Earth before the book takes place, and they are being held by the government, but they are not in communication, like they do not talk. They don’t understand each other. And it doesn’t really seem like the aliens are interested in communicating or just sort of minding their own business. But once ampersand arrives on Earth, that sort of shifts things in that he immediately starts trying to communicate. And him showing up changes the interactions of the other alien group with the humans in that they’re like, oh, gosh, okay, I guess we do have to start talking. It’s revealed that this group of aliens, basically fled their homeworld, home group, and they are functionally refugees, and they are hiding on Earth. And part of the reason that they chose Earth is because 700 ish years before, they had taken some humans and like checked out the planet and be like, oh, there’s like life here. Is it intelligent life? mmm No, not really. And it was basically, like, wrote that off. But it turns out is like when they had come to earth is like, right after the Black Plague when we had very low population numbers, and a lot of our technology was lost or destroyed, or not in use. And so they had a lot of beliefs about what humans were and were capable of. That was a little ignorant
Josué Cardona 11:27
Link Keller 11:29
First impressions. Yeah, and so a lot of the conversation in the second book is ampersands, sort of reckoning with the realization that humans are an intelligent species. And they are not only very close to being able to do space travel in the same level that his alien group is, but is also evolving at a faster rate than they were. And so it’s gone from being like this Podunk little planet and back corner of the Milky Way We can hide on to to our super organism, which is what they call their group slash the leader of their group is going to see humans as a threat. And might, might come here and do a little planet wipe. And sort of dealing with the emotions of his part in that whole situation. Because it turns out, he was one of the aliens who had come the first time and taken humans off the planet. And so he’s like, I told everybody else that you guys were just stupid animals. And it turns out that that’s not true. And also, like, now I care about you. Oh, gosh, this is problematic. Uh Oh! but yes. So there’s, in the first book, there’s a lot of conversations that happen about like, coming to understand this foreign entity as having personhood, and understanding the ways in which you are similar and being like, Wow, isn’t that cool. And then also the ways in which are different and how awful that can be in in just a complete rejection of like, you guys. I guess the quick connection here is ampersand, the aliens, they are extremely long lived because of their being post organic. And so they choose when they are going to die. They plan that out in advance. And so the aliens when basically, they get to the end of their life, and they’re like, Okay, my family group, we’re all gonna kill each other, kill ourselves together so that nobody has to grieve, or live alone without your family group, or we’re just, it’s the end of our life, we all die together. And obviously, Cora and humans in general being like, oh, excuse me, what that’s not cool or acceptable, and how, like, you can’t apply that idea to us in any way. And the conflicts that arise in these differences between their groups, even if there are more similarities between them than there are differences.
Josué Cardona 14:17
Are you saying that that’s one of the philosophical like, reasons, to deny them the personhood?
Link Keller 14:24
No, that’s not really discussed so much with government officials. That’s more with Cora specifically. But he, he basically, ampersand talks about how when two groups interact with each other, the dominant group will overtake the other group and either wipe them out or assimilate them, and how he’s like Like, no offense, guys, but you’re not quite ready to handle our technology capabilities. And so if we do this as before, everybody knows about the aliens, its like if we do like come out, quote unquote, to people, that is going to have like a ripple effect on your, your culture, your species, your chances of survival. And that sort of thing.
Josué Cardona 15:33
That’s the that’s like the prime directive on Star Trek, right? It’s like, like, they’re not, they’re not at our level. They’re not at the minimum
Lara Taylor 15:39
they’re not ready yet.
Josué Cardona 15:41
You’re not this tall yet. So they can’t get on the ride. So we’re not even gonna say, Hello. We’ll keep an eye on him. But like, Yeah, but But it’s, I mean, it still happens to, to a degree. But throughout history, right, like, of course, it’s like, the savages the people above whatever, and then we treat, you know, we treated each other like animals. still happens.
Link Keller 16:06
Yeah. And that’s, that’s a big, like, conversation is cora is like, I want to act like this is a bad thing that you’re saying. But that’s, that is human history. Like, I can’t, I can’t refute that concept that you’re bringing to the table is like, yeah, no, the dominant group will come in and will wipe out the other group.
Josué Cardona 16:23
Yeah. Again, it doesn’t even have to be that different. Right. Like, it’s just whatever different whatever we can use to separate. To define one group, and another. And then, yeah, yeah. So then, so then when ampersand shows up, I’m interested in the in the, like, the empathy and communication piece. So then now they they do understand each other. And that doesn’t, I guess, I guess it just kind of clears some things up. But then my guess is that then it sounds like we just keep coming up with reasons to not right like to America keeps coming up with reasons to not treat them like any other refugee, that we’ve treated before, kind of I mean, it’s trying to connect it to current events right now. There’s a Supreme Court judge who’s who’s going through hearings, right? And it’s like, you’re just trying to pick at any little thing that you can, because you don’t want them to be the next judge. And that’s like, we all know what, what’s happening. And you know, we see it happening, but that’s kind of just how we do things. Yeah. I mean,
Marc Cuiriz 17:48
I do have to say that I am enjoying the great philosophical conundrums, and ethical dilemmas that are being presented here. This is 1,000%. My jam even though like, I don’t know, like I the way, the more you’re talking about this, the more I’m like, getting very deeply invested in this, and I am 1,000% going to probably go through this entire trilogy in a matter of 48 hours
Link Keller 18:13
to be cleared. The third book is not out yet. The truth of the Divine came out last year, so
Marc Cuiriz 18:21
Link Keller 18:22
I am sorry, I’m so sorry to say,
Lara Taylor 18:24
gotta read two, and then wait.
Marc Cuiriz 18:26
Link Keller 18:27
Yeah. The first book does sort of work on its own to just read it. The second book does feel like the middle of a trilogy, and I am like, Oh, now I gotta wait. But it was it was such it’s such good stuff. So meaty, mmm!
Josué Cardona 18:42
So I’m curious Marc, what was resonating with you about this? What do you feel?
Marc Cuiriz 18:47
I mean, It’s really just kind of like everything like? So I know, like when we when, when Link first, like brought this up about aliens? And I remember I posted like, oh, man, I have just the webtoon for this. And then you actually started talking about this. I’m like, Oh, no. And all it really has nothing to do with this at all. I guess the only the only thing that I could say that would like tie in is that okay, so the webtoon that, that I started reading and then it took a hiatus and then I kind of stopped reading webtoons for a while and I just came back into it just to kind of catch up on the the season two aspect of this thing. It’s called down to earth and to rom com, the webtoon which that is very telling me but I love it. It’s really great. But essentially, this alien comes to earth and is trying to live amongst humans trying to pass as a human. You know, and there’s reasons for it like they kind of hint at it that there’s some trouble back at our home world but you know, they don’t they haven’t really gotten too much into it just yet. But she has this ability where she can it’s almost like like an empathy link with whoever like she like touches foreheads with like she’ll like put her forehead on them and then like She’ll basically peer into that person’s thoughts and understand their feelings. And through that she was able to learn how to communicate, like she couldn’t speak, any, like speak the language, she couldn’t speak English at all. And then she does this. And then she has a basic understanding of what you know, the communication is like for humans. And then she’s with this guy, and he’s trying to basically teach her how to pass as an Earthling, which means like no floating, no doing this weird thing, and also not getting too excited. Otherwise, your eyes are literally going to glow yellow and have sparkles. Which is like the only thing I get, like, that empathy piece right there. Basically. That empathy link is really like the only piece I can say that, like, can actually tie into this book is like how closely connected like because the more she does it, the more in tune chic becomes with that person. And like he even started seeing like a little bit of like, what’s going on for her. And that’s kind of like why she gets hasn’t done using it, because she just does it willy nilly, then, you know, then people start peering into her mind. And you know, she’s a little bit more closed off. But dealing with like, the, like the ethical dilemmas of the book, and dealing with that philosophical thing of like, what you’re talking about how like they choose, when they’re going to just basically end the entire family line. Like, it really brings up the question of like, who the who, like, who is making that decision? And also like, what if someone disagrees? Like, what did they don’t want that particular time to be the end? Like, what what do they do? And like? Do they just have to say, suck it up? And say, Okay, I guess we’re doing this, or is it like? Or does that bring up some other questions in terms of like, how their society is structured? And this is something that like, even though, like, are they even given the choice to be like, No, thanks, I’d rather keep living. And, you know, and then having obviously having to have that conversation with a human, where our view on life is completely different than that. And, you know, we want to cherish every second we have, and also understanding that grieving is a completely normal process, and something that everybody goes through at some point in their lives.
Josué Cardona 22:21
Okay, so without going too deep into the, to the death discussion, just because I mean, we do have examples of groups within on planet Earth, our actual planet who do follow similar things in different ways. Like we do have example, it is not common practice the way apparently it is in it. But it does show something that does feel foreign, right. It’s like, we don’t do things that way. Like, that doesn’t even sound right. You use words like Oh, wish we cherish life, right? Like, like these other people, they don’t they don’t cherish it. We don’t we don’t know that. That’s how they feel, you know, like that, you know, we start making assumptions, especially if it if it hits something that we cherish. So I’m curious if, if there’s an example in the book of something that was the other way around, where I’m sure I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of them, right. But of stuff that ampersand saw, I was like, Why do humans do it this way? Like, that’s stupid, or that’s, you know, offensive, or we would never do that.
Link Keller 23:28
ampersands is sort of interesting, because he is an outsider, even within the alien group. The aliens that have fled to Earth, were basically all a part of a group that were like, the super organism was like, Hey, you guys are like, the outliers of our species. And that’s not cool. So you guys should kill yourselves. And they were like, huh, we don’t feel like it? and so
Lara Taylor 24:06
we cherish life!
Link Keller 24:07
So they, they flee. And once they are on earth, there are several of the aliens in the group that basically like, you know what, actually, I think this was a mistake, and they do kill themselves. There are several of the I think it’s like a group of 40 or so in the first group that comes to earth. And when ampersand shows up, he had been captured by another separate alien race, that is much more violent and had been tortured, and basically barely survived. And he gets there and his, his alien group sort of rejects him because he should have not survived that basically. And so he is outcast from everybody. And that is one of the ways that he and Cora are able to connect to each other is that feeling of separation, and not knowing where you fit in or what you should do? I don’t, partly because of his experiences, but ampersand is pretty firmly against what he calls militarists which is, who he is mostly interacting with through the government is, you know, Homeland Security and the Department of Defense and he sees them as part particularly bloodthirsty, murderous, flesh eaters, as what they call them is they’ve sort of applied that to humans in general, but the militarists are the worst of that. And so he’s like, No, you guys like you guys are the savages. And I don’t know that there’s very many other examples, because a lot of the time ampersand is withholding a lot of information from Cora, which is a lot of the conflict that they have between each other is that he is very much of the mind of like, if this information might cause you discomfort, or might cause you to like not want to be around me, I’m just not going to tell you which is very relatable human shit, right there. But yeah, that is a an ongoing conflict between Cora and ampersand is that ampersand is very willing to lie by omission or just straight up lie in order to keep Cora compliant to a certain level.
Josué Cardona 26:50
Is, is that the tone of the book sounds serious, like dramatic, right? Like it’s not, it’s not. It’s dark.
Link Keller 27:00
Definitely truth to the Divine is a lot darker than axiom’s end. And it gets a lot heavier in part because of how axiom’s end wraps up its final act. A thing happens that is very traumatizing to Cora. And Cora and ampersands have the psychic connection happens then. And so she is dealing with this traumatic events, and is sort of inflicting it upon ampersand psychically. And then he has his trauma from the previous alien group and being rejected and being a refugee and all this stuff. And he’s reflecting that back onto her.
Lara Taylor 27:47
not heavy at all.
Link Keller 27:49
It is very heavy. It’s content warning, there is lots of talk about self harm and suicidal ideation.
Josué Cardona 28:01
From from different perspectives, right?
Link Keller 28:04
Josué Cardona 28:04
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. That yeah, that’s, so what I was thinking about is, why do we use these stories, right about talking about othering. And, and fitting in and understanding and being, you know, accepted, in super relatable, and then how we, we, we touch them in different ways. So I started as we’re, as we’re talking about these things, and some of the stuff that you were saying Marc was like, Oh, how often do these stories come through and that we use aliens, right. And it’s like a new thing. It’s definitely not a new thing. But I started thinking about, like, how there used to be a lot of comedies about this, like Mork and Mindy and Alf,
Lara Taylor 28:55
3rd Rock from the Sun
Josué Cardona 28:58
3rd rock, My Favorite Martian. They’re right there. And they would touch on. I mean, because of the periods in which they were. There’s all sorts of stuff happening, but but some of them are touching more. Right, some of them go more into race, some of them go more into the socio economic stuff. Some of them are just, you know, but they always have like, they always touch something even in the comedy because something deeper and just more… There’s some kind of social commentary there. Right? Always because it’s really just about someone who’s very, very different. And I think it’s, I like how we can take an alien story and have that be completely. It goes to an extreme to a point where it like you said at the beginning, it’s kind of safer? right or feels more comfortable in the sense that it’s not like, it sounds like you’re describing a particular country right? like No, the sky is purple and the grass is a color that we can’t even describe. And it’s in five dimensions and blah, blah, blah, right? Like, they make up stuff like that. And it’s like it’s it, but we’re exploring the same, the same ideas. But taking that extreme, I think I, it’s, it’s cool to get wrapped up in it, and then you realize, like, Oh, damn, this is people like this every day, right? We’re, we’re struggling with this? No. Is there a favorite version of those stories that that you all have? Like, aliens in particular? Like,
Marc Cuiriz 30:48
Link Keller 30:52
Josué Cardona 30:52
Link Keller 30:53
Marc Cuiriz 30:54
The more you were talking, the more I’m sitting here thinking like, Ha, you know, this kind of sounds like Steven Universe
Josué Cardona 31:00
it kinda does!
Marc Cuiriz 31:01
Yeah, like this idea. I mean, like Steven Universe, it’s like the idea of like, what does it mean to be human? And does that can that apply to beings that are not from earth, and what we would traditionally consider as, as a human, like, just, you know, like, even having those humanistic qualities, and then you think of like characters like Blue Diamond, who has the ability to project their emotional state, on to other people. And throughout the show, you see her projecting her own trauma and her own feelings of depression onto everybody else. So that way, she can make other people feel what she’s feeling, and then having to work through that and understanding that, like, you know, maybe that’s not such a good idea. And then working on trying to, you know, overcome that. And, of course, you know, once they find out Pink Diamond is not actually shattered, then, you know, then she seems to be okay. And like, is better, at least working on that. And you see that in Steven Universe future too. But like, just the whole process of things, like with Peridot, and then with Lapis, like, working on sort of gaining a better understanding of two very different cultures, especially with Lapis, who was around during like, a much older era, and having to come to terms with after being sealed for 1000s of years. And then, you know, reestablishing what it like what these like how different humans are compared to maybe when she was first around. And even with gems to like, how they’ve changed and how they act differently compared to what she’s used to
Josué Cardona 32:40
different tiers. Yeah, yeah, I mean, the This is why it shouldn’t surprise you that axioms end started as Steven Universe fanfiction, and it just became its own. Is that true? Link? No?
Link Keller 32:51
I you know, I, I would’ve said I would have said no, but now that I’m thinking about it, I hope that Lindsay Ellis has watched steven universe? I feel like she would enjoy it
Josué Cardona 32:59
just turned its own so in to its own thing. Yeah. But the obvious the characters. Yeah, but but like Steven Universe, I love the idea that so what if aliens just moved into a beach house? And you just left them alone and let them do their thing? like, Why not? Why don’t why’s it gotta be a whole thing? There was a show called Alien Nation. do y’all remember alien nation? That and that one, it’s, it’s when the series starts it is deep into already, you know, this alien races integrated into American society. Like the protagonists are two cops, you know, like one of them’s of alien One of them’s a human? And I think that’s right. I think I’m almost certain that that’s correct. And, and, and so it explored all you know, all of these concepts, but from like, I guess from I guess it was a procedural? I don’t think it was a procedural. I mean, I know I’m describing a procedural but I think I don’t think it was, I think it was more of a drama, but that was just, you know, the kind of the lens that they that they took. And so you, you saw how the different you know, how all these differences were playing out. But again, it’s like you step back, you know, like, you’re just telling, I mean, you just, you could have changed, it didn’t have to be aliens. Right? It could have been could have been just any two different groups of people.
Link Keller 34:33
I just googled it and it is described as a police procedural
Josué Cardona 34:38
I guess I guess back then, that wasn’t a term that I use to describe television shows. But yeah, I realized by describing a procedural it was pretty good
Lara Taylor 34:51
a procedural with a twist!
Josué Cardona 34:53
Yeah, yeah. But it but it explored, right, instead of just like crimes and stuff it’s like, well, how would it be we had, you know, an alien race here, but I mean, but it’s not different from you know, a show that’s just about you know, any form of immigrant in a in a in a new you know in a place where they are immigrants okay Lara you’ve been you’ve been quiet
Lara Taylor 35:20
I know I’ve been quiet I’ve been quiet there’s been such good conversation going on um one thing that came up for me is it’s interesting because how you say it’s something that’s I don’t know you can pull back from because it’s not direct but i My example is Super Girl which Josué you stopped watching when you storyline I want to talk about came on because it was too real.
Josué Cardona 35:47
It’s true. It’s the way they handled it was true, but I’m glad you brought this up. I just want to I want to give the caveat that in Super Girl the main alien is like just a human looking really Kryptonians look exactly like humans. There’s other aliens that don’t look like that
Lara Taylor 36:07
there’s so many other aliens
Josué Cardona 36:08
yeah right? Like when you remember you mentioned like oh, I can talk about the Supergirl thing and I knew what you were going to talk about. But my first thought was like Oh, but like super girl just looks like everybody like it it’s just people literally just from another country you
Lara Taylor 36:22
know how many other times have like Superman and Supergirl been like the villain or like someone is terrified of them because of they can kill everybody like that, you know, just That’s how strong they are. Um, but I think the storyline and Super Girl focuses yet affects her some because people she cares about are being called out,
Josué Cardona 36:51
she can pass
Lara Taylor 36:52
she can pass Yes. But it also affects her right that the interesting thing is that the president at the time played by Linda Carter was an alien. And didn’t we didn’t know what the beginning but she was an alien. And we voted her into office not knowing she was an alien and she pushed through a alien Protection Act. And everybody was behind that. And then they found out that the she’s President the President’s an alien her She doesn’t look like a human it was just all a facade. Oh, no. Oh, no. We have to hate the aliens now. But the storyline was a lot about like, Oh, these alien refugees are coming to this planet. They’re stealing our jobs. That is the entire arc is that this guy’s dad lost lost his job because of I can’t remember exactly. It wasn’t the them stealing the jobs. I think it was closed down because they no longer needed it anymore. Whatever.
Josué Cardona 37:59
If I remember correctly. I mean, it bothered me because it was I think it was just it was just like note for note.
Lara Taylor 38:11
Oh, yeah, there were like families being separated. And it was like it was like our 20 Especially 2019 2020 It was like
Josué Cardona 38:20
Lara Taylor 38:21
everything we’re going through. And at the end though, you get super girl and other aliens. She is like the bridge between the two and she’s able to communicate and show people hope and and change things. I did not rewatch the end of that season. But the final season has a lot of dealing with kind of coming together and trying to rebuild after all of this hatred. And like, I don’t know, there were foster systems for refugee children that were aliens, specifically. Some of them not so great. And some of them okay. So this idea of aliens and human rights and do they deserve them, allegory for real stuff, but it shows up everywhere. The other thing I thought of is it’s not aliens, but Star Wars does a lot of with droids and Are they human? Do they deserve rights? That kind of thing. Josué we played in a Star Wars game? Where one of the main stories not the main story. It was a side story. But it came out to show really cool episode The Liberation the Joy liberation movement, where they call this all flesh bags and you call this flesh bags because you played a droid.
Josué Cardona 39:45
Lara Taylor 39:48
But that was a really cool experience to play through and kind of experience but that’s something we see especially with solo that movie And Lando Calrissian’s droid, which I cannot remember.
Josué Cardona 40:05
Yeah, the letter and a number. I think
Lara Taylor 40:09
I was gonna say K 2 SO but that’s not it
Josué Cardona 40:12
it was just 2. Yeah. Yeah, I remember that that was in that game. I was I had been hanging out with humans for a long time. So I didn’t I didn’t hate them, right like I had. But but
Lara Taylor 40:16
except for certain ones,
Josué Cardona 40:28
there was one in particular.
Lara Taylor 40:30
Actually, that was a Twi’lek. So that was just flesh bag.
Josué Cardona 40:34
True true. No, no, it was it was the kid. But I didn’t hate the kid
Lara Taylor 40:38
that was a Twi’lek.
Josué Cardona 40:39
oh he was? Oh, I don’t remember. But I mean, actually the character like, I cared too much. That’s why like, I didn’t want him close. It’s like, that’s how much I cared about humans. But yeah,
Lara Taylor 40:50
you were a healer.
Josué Cardona 40:52
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. The this bridge idea, right. So like, there’s like, ampersand and Cora. Right, like have this connection? Super Girl.
Lara Taylor 41:05
She looks like one of them.
Josué Cardona 41:07
Yeah, I mean, and she lives both lives. Right. Like, she lives as Kara Danvers, and she lives as as a super girl. But
Lara Taylor 41:14
and as Kara Zor-El, right? Yeah. None of them know her actual name.
Josué Cardona 41:19
Yeah. There’s, yeah. And I mean, Steven is half human, half. Half, gem. This idea? I don’t know how I feel about this. Like, as I think about it, right. It’s like, so because I think everybody here for completely different reasons, has experienced people making assumptions about us, right, and lumping us into one category or another. Outside of our, our, it wasn’t our decision, right? Other people decided things for us and, and disagreed with our interpretation. Right with our, with our reality, right? Like, they were like, Hmm, no. And and we’ve had to, and we’ve done this, and we’ve we’ve, we’ve we’ve passed as something else, or we have, or they’re just assumptions. And then and we’ve had this experience of Oh, but I didn’t know, right? Like, like, like the like the president, right? It’s like, oh, well, we thought you were human now. And we know that you’re not we can’t still be friends, you know, like, it’s not okay anymore. And that, but depending on if you meet certain characteristics or criteria, right, that you’re this, you’re the one like you’re the one who can bring together all of the sides. I used to love that, right? I like the idea of this, of this bridge of this thing that connected. But but that’s just another version of this chosen one, right? Or someone who has like very specific characteristics. There’s, it’s not like something that you can accomplish through through merit, or study. It’s like, No, you just looked a certain way, or you had a certain power, you’re had a certain ability, or you’re at the place at the right time. And so I think, like, because these stories repeat over and over and over again, and we see them. And then we explore them in media, like, what’s the answer? Right, like, like, it feels kind of hopeless, in a way, if the only bridge is one human and one alien out of all of them that have a psychic connection? Right? It’s like, or this one, you know, alien that? Luckily, she’s one of the very few who escaped the planet. And she is, and she meets all of the beauty standards of the 20th century. Right. And also, you know, et cetera, and things, you know, it’s, I don’t know, I’m feeling a certain way about it right now that like the what’s resonating with me is, is which? What are these stories getting at? And how, and I don’t think it used to feel this way about about these types of stories, right? It was like, oh, no, that’s cool. And when I’ve been someone who can, like, Yeah, I’d much rather be like, a version of the things that I was saying before that we’ve all been through. At least in this group. I think there are people who will who haven’t experienced this, but But I remember like not being you know, I was I was too American to be accepted in Puerto Rico. And then And then, you know, I was Puerto Rican, so so I was discriminated against in the States. And then I don’t know at what point later it was like, Oh, I’m exotic and I, you know, and it’s like, Oh, great. And now people like me for different reasons, or people, but it’s still people making assumptions and doing things. And then I’m sure like, I know two languages, I can bridge a gap, right? But then that means if you don’t have that psychic connection, then then you can’t help in that sense, or it’s also a lot of, it’s also a lot of pressure. On these one points, like, there’s a difference between a story where like, I think in alien nation, this happened a lot were like, there were a lot of mixed relationships, you know, and like, there were a lot of people for it, because there were so many. But a lot of these stories is focused on this one. This is the key to bringing people together.
Lara Taylor 45:45
It’s interesting because the last season of Supergirl brings up more of that, like brainy decides to stop wearing his like device that keeps him looking human. He has bright green skin, and bright yellow hair. And he’s like that most of the time and most of the aliens end up being themselves in that in that last season. So he’s also a spokesperson. So is Martian Manhunter both as a black man and as an A Martian. And they start showing that and then they have Nia Nall speak out as a trans woman, for aliens and for trans people. So Kara the bridge in that season? Because they needed that. And then they realized maybe the friends and they form like the Super Friends. So there’s more to things than just her?
Josué Cardona 46:53
Link Keller 46:55
I think one of the strengths of truth of the Divine and Steven Universe future specifically is exactly what you’re talking about where having a singular character be this sort of bridge between groups is both very empowering and incredibly traumatizing. Because it is isolating, but also you are in a position of power, you are a way for people to communicate. And there is so much pressure on you to do it. Right. Even though in that context, it’s like you have nobody to look to as to what what is the good version of doing this. And the bad version of do is you’re just winging it. And that’s one of the things that Cora is grappling with pretty regularly is she is, especially in the first book, she is functioning as an interpreter. And she’s like, I am not. I’m not a trained interpreter. And even if I was, that’s not like, there’s no training for doing this what I’m doing and so I am like the most knowledgeable
Josué Cardona 48:04
for the entire human race?
Link Keller 48:06
Well, more so speaking for the aliens to other humans and trying to get across the contents of what ampersand is, is telling her but also framing it in such a way that the government isn’t like, you know what, we should just nuke these guys like right now. And, and how much pressure that puts on a person to to exist in that space?
Lara Taylor 48:35
Yeah, and there are several episodes in that season of Super Girl where she like breaks down because she is feeling so much pressure to take care of so many people, and why can’t you all just stop
Marc Cuiriz 48:53
you know, with all of you guys talking and Josué the points that you were making. I actually have another thing of media that like it’s, it’s it actually does. To me personally, I think, like the more I’m thinking about it, the more I’m reflecting on it, it actually kind of shows what it’s like when you don’t have that one person that’s a bridge in poses. It’s kind of asking the same question that you’re asking of like, what where does this where does it go from here? And there’s
Josué Cardona 49:23
Marc Cuiriz 49:24
Josué Cardona 49:25
it’s the first time we haven’t brought up Percy Jackson.
Marc Cuiriz 49:27
I know. I don’t worry. No, it’s gonna happen at some point, but not today. It’s actually Destiny. Destiny 2. So you know, like you have the I think it’s like five or six different alien races, but in the newest DLC, the Witch queen. It really does have a lot of those sorts of themes in it. You know, I won’t spoil too much about the whole campaign and the story but you know, in the in the trailers, you know that the hive get a hold of the Light. And this poses a question of like, Why? Why is it that the traveler would give them the light? During the first battle like and destiny one? When the darkness was coming for the traveler, and it’s sacrificed itself, one of the main enemies of the Traveler was the hive? If so, why now? Would it bless it with the light, and give them the powers of the guardian? Or their abilities? And they kind of pose that question of like, what is this connection here? Why is this happening and there is no bridge like, they have Savathûn as like the main antagonist. But she’s not like a bridge, she’s not in any way diplomatic about anything. She’s, you know, many times trying to, you know, destroy us. So, like, there is no like, one person is a single representative or is psychically connected to anybody. It’s more of now trying to deal with this concept of like, there’s some differences then now there’s some similarities between us and the hive. How do we deal with that? How are we going to cope with that? What is the deeper meaning behind this? And also dealing grappling with the the fact that they don’t have an answer? No one can, the traveler can’t speak to people. So they don’t have a concrete answer as to why the hive have the light? Or what’s kind of going on like, or, you know, like, what were what are the next steps? Like they have to figure that out themselves and decide whether or not they want to try to work with the hive? Or it’s just going to be an endless combat thing?
Josué Cardona 51:38
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like, historically, that’s when, right, it’s like, well, this is why you don’t want to give rights. This is why you don’t want to give access to resources. This is why you don’t want to share. Because then, if you can go to school, also like then you can get educated and then you can make stuff and then oh, then you can own stuff and like oh, then you can have money. And then you have power. And you have authority Oh, like, oh, you know, if we, if we let you run for office, then you can be represented, like right all these things that we didn’t want to do that. And then but now now that you’re here, I don’t know what you know. Now what? It’s that it’s that
Link Keller 52:19
should aliens be allowed to participate in the stock market? These are the questions.
Josué Cardona 52:26
That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. Right. It’s like, No, we don’t want certain people to own land. And we don’t want but Right. Like this is, this is the same exact thing. And in Destiny, it’s like the humans. I mean, this is the whole core of the story, right? People are like, Yo, there’s this one amazing energy out there. And why did it choose you, we want it and so they’re kind of fighting over it. Like some of them are like, Oh, you must have taken it? And I’m like, no, no, but it’s our God given right. You know, it’s like, literally, the traveler chose us. It’s like, Ah, did it though, right? Like, they explore a lot of a lot of things. And like, why does the traveler do what it does? And, and there’s, everybody has different beliefs, and all these things are going through. But damn, that makes me really excited for the current DLC, because I haven’t haven’t played it yet. I have no idea. That’s what it’s about
Marc Cuiriz 53:16
you 1,000% should play it. Oh, my goodness, it’s so good. The lore is so good. And I watched a whole video about like explaining the things. And even going with that idea. Like, why does the traveler do what it does? And
Lara Taylor 53:28
no one knows
Marc Cuiriz 53:29
exactly, no one knows. But like the Eliksni or the Fallen like they were the ones that were last blessed, basically with the traveler. And then the traveler just up and left to them did it just was like and ever and I’m gone. And now I’m going to the humans. And and that’s kind of why like they’re chasing after because they want it back. You know, because now their whole society collapsed. But yeah no, I’m finding more and more that the the lore of destiny is is great. It’s amazing. should definitely be its own podcast in the future.
Josué Cardona 54:04
Look. I still haven’t played a game more than I’ve played Destiny. I’m down. Look, some of those campaigns aren’t even available anymore. You can’t even play them. So like we should. We should we shouldn’t do that for the good of the community. The what is it? It’s not a guild. It’s a
Lara Taylor 54:24
Josué Cardona 54:24
clan. Our clan is still up. That GT green flag.
Lara Taylor 54:28
It’s just what you me and Nina
Josué Cardona 54:30
all that’s left everyone else left?
Lara Taylor 54:32
Josué Cardona 54:33
it’s still there.
Lara Taylor 54:35
It is still there.
Josué Cardona 54:36
Yeah. Holding holding up. Yeah, we’re damn. Okay. Well, we’ll revisit this idea of a destiny podcast in the future. But But none of that there’s some good stuff there. Yeah, but like all stories that were just telling things that have happened before. This falls into the you know, we’re the chosen ones. No, we’re the chosen We were chosen by this deity or you know, this, this is why we’re better than you or etc. And I mean, these things just play out again and again. And it is it is fun to, to imagine. Well, again, I think as much as I love science fiction, sometimes conversations like this, because they are dealing with things that are like. It’s not. I don’t, I guess I guess I’m feeling it’s so weird. I feel like hopeless, right, in the sense that I can’t think of a of a version of, of science. I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of any right now. When I was like, Oh, that’s a potential solution. Right. I feel like, like, it’s all like, we’re always just playing out what we saw through history where like, there’s it never, it never resolves. Because because the stakes are so high. And so we do things like we do, we do assimilate, we change. I mean, I mean, right, like, at a very personal level, on a day to day basis, we code switch, we change, you know, we change the way we dress, the way we look. For different reasons, to accommodate, we do things that we thought we wouldn’t do, because because we’ve decided, pay rent, or do whatever or you know, or have something like we were not the chops, but then like at, at other levels, it’s like this whole group of people just assimilated, right? Whether by force or not, you know, there’s just repeatedly so many so many examples that over time, even after that happens, like that’s potentially a resolution, right? Like that’s, that’s a, that’s a a version of how you get rid of the of the differences is like, you’re Russia, and you just invade Ukraine, you and you and you annex it, or, you know, whatever. Sure, that’s one way, but then we always find ways to find division again. And I guess that if these stories were to, I guess they’re like, cautionary tales, right? Like, like, maybe if we repeat it, like they see it in different contexts. So with aliens, let’s do it with robots, let’s do with puppets, let’s do it with, with gems or
Lara Taylor 57:16
Josué Cardona 57:17
animals, right? Let’s do it with you know, every version of this, let’s make comedy versions. Let’s make drama versions. Let’s remake Roswell from the early 2000s. You know, and tell that story again, let’s just let’s just keep revisiting it. And maybe, maybe we will. We’ll figure maybe we’ll realize what we’re doing. What do you think? No? do you think do you think we’re,
Link Keller 57:42
I think that this is, the purpose of these stories is to really engage with human patterns of behavior and belief systems that pop up over and over again, and the way we deal with conflict and the way we respond to fear, most particularly fear of the unknown fear of differences and loss, how, throughout history, it’s not new, it can feel in the moment like this has never happened before. We’ve never dealt with anything like this before. But the realization is like, No, this is this is it. This is what we are coping with. This is what we are trying to exist within. And I love it
Josué Cardona 58:37
things we out in nature, right? Like also we see it play out in nature, right? Like I even like the idea of like, oh, there’s this like, super advanced race that’s watching us do the same things just like we’re looking at, you know, that other animals and bugs and insects and birds, like oh, yeah, no, like we’re all damn really? Shouldn’t Shouldn’t we know better No. Is it better? And then? No, it ebbs and flows, we find different ways to do it at that at the at the, at the most, you know, personal level like you’ve been, you know, small groups of people to entire societies and yeah, yeah, ugh
Lara Taylor 59:22
that repeating history repeating itself kind of thing. Reminds me of a hard time satire piece that I saw about Avatar The Last Airbender, it was like Avatar Last Airbender creators wonder how many animated children’s shows they’re going to have to make until we realize we’re the fire nation?
Josué Cardona 59:40
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, that’s that’s a good point. Yeah. Huh. Well, I bought axioms end I’m interested in in exploring that that story, regardless Because I like I like the idea of it. I like the way it plays out. I love that idea of like the second connection and that bridge. Curious how I’ll feel by the end of it if I if I reached the end of the of the trilogy, and how it maybe it’ll have a new way to figure things out.
Link Keller 1:00:18
I checked out axioms end and truth of the Divine from my local library. So I don’t know how the audio books are. I assume they’re great, because Lindsey Ellis is from YouTube, so she knows the importance of the sound of things. But yeah. Yay, libraries!
Josué Cardona 1:00:39
Yes. Yeah. Libraries. Yes. Yeah. Closing thoughts. Link gave us gay uhh gay libraries. Yay, library.
Lara Taylor 1:00:47
Link Keller 1:00:48
yay libraries gay libraries!
Josué Cardona 1:00:49
Yep. Marc, any closing thoughts?
Marc Cuiriz 1:00:54
I I I was I really loved this discussion. And I loved that. I had a lot more media than I initially thought to incorporate in this. So I know that the the entries for this is going to be pretty long.
Josué Cardona 1:01:09
Yay Destiny 2.
Marc Cuiriz 1:01:10
Josué Cardona 1:01:12
Lara, closing thoughts.
Lara Taylor 1:01:14
I am actually really excited about this book series. And I think I may pick it up too from my library
Link Keller 1:01:22
Lara Taylor 1:01:22
my ebook. My e card has been a savior during the last couple of years. And I’ve been reading more prose books instead of comics, too. So I cannot wait. I’m gonna check it out.
Josué Cardona 1:01:37
Cool. Very cool. Yeah, I know, I was a little. What is it espresso despresso. Is that Is that what you called me the first time Marc?
Marc Cuiriz 1:01:45
Josué Cardona 1:01:45
a couple weeks? Just yeah. I don’t know why, why it had this, that effect on me. But that’s what this is all about exploring how the stories make you feel and the reasons why and I think I think he just hits too close to home. A lot of the a lot of those stories and and I couldn’t think of during this conversation, a version of this. And I’m like, well, at least I still have this one story that really gets it right. And is like aspirational in the way that you know, we’ll figure it out. You know, like, I’m sure. I’m sure they exist, but I just can’t think right now. At least it’s gonna be hard. It’s always been hard. Okay, so join in the discussion in our community spaces, all links, all of that are in the show notes. For more Geek Therapy, visit geek therapy.org. Thank you for joining us. Remember to geek out and do good. And we’ll be back next week
Link Keller 1:02:46
Josué Cardona 1:02:48
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place to geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Characters / Media
- Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
- Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis
- Babylon 5
- Star Trek
- Down to Earth (Webtoon)
- Mork & Mindy
- 3rd Rock from the Sun
- My Favorite Martian
- Steven Universe
- Steven Universe Future
- Alien Nation
- Star Wars
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
- Destiny 2
- Avatar the Last Airbender
Themes / Topics
* Human Rights
* Black Lives Matter
* Cultural representation
* Difficult emotions
* Feeling alone
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* Ethical Dilemmas
* Making new friends
* Working with others
* Loss (other than death)
* New Life Event (New Rules)
Links / Social Media
Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com
GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org
GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord
GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy
Join the Conversation!
What are some of your favorite alien stories?