Since this is the last post for the A to Z Challenge, I wanted to keep this post short and sweet.
In the universe of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha is the name of the galactic sector in which Earth is located. This is a designation given by outsiders. The entry in the Guide regarding Earth is also written by an outsider, and it consists of one word: Harmless. Ford Prefect tries to make Arthur Dent, who as an Earthling is disgruntled by this lackluster entry, unsuccessfully tries to comfort him by saying the new edition will have an expanded entry. Earth will soon be described as “mostly harmless.”
In encountering this interaction, I have a few thoughts. Douglas Adams, brilliant as he was, couldn’t provide a true outsider’s perspective. After all, he was a human being, at least insofar as he could tell. He simply poked fun at a world of which he was inextricably a part. How might an actual alien species describe our world and the people in it? Would we seem impossibly strange to them? Quaint? Disgustingly violent? What other outsider's perspectives have you seen in science fiction? What might be the value in attempting to view our culture from an outsider’s perspective?