Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

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?


  1. Wow, well to truly understand and outsider's perspective we would have to be the outsider. To try to get close to that in a storytelling fashion we would have to creat the outsiders first and understand them inside out.

    I've been wanting to read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for a while now. I watched the movie and really enjoyed it. I'll have to move it up on my to be read list. Nice final post by the way =)

    LittleCely's Blog

  2. Whew, We did it. Another successful A to Z! Congrats!

  3. In most of the science fiction I've seen, we seem to be seen as inferior - something that can easily be gotten rid of. I have no idea how we would actually be seen, though I think violent would certainly cover some of it.

  4. Congrats on finishing A to Z!

    The Hitchhiker's Guide is an awesome book. Although obviously you're right, Douglas Adam wasn't an outsider, but he does do a stellar job of providing us with a very different, and funny perspective on our on world!

  5. Congratulations! WE DID IT :)

    Thanks for stopping by at mine during the challenge xx

  6. My favorite sector in space. We would seem like ants to them.

  7. Or incredible juvenile. It could be that we are not so much strange but rather predictable that there are common elements that all advanced lifeforms go through.