This month’s article of “How To Think Like An Alien” focuses on Klingons. As the reader will notice, many of the steps in playing an alien race are going to be nearly the same from one species to the next, at least when we consider carbon based humanoids like ourselves. But once we cross into non-carbon based life forms, it starts becoming difficult, since in reality, we can’t relate to such a being. There are well known beloved beings in the “Trek Verse” that fall into this category. They regularly showed up on screen to be a thorn in Captain Kirk’s side. They were as much a mystery to the viewers as the Vulcans, though often times, had a far less developed backstory. It is only recently that we saw more depth added to their culture through television episodes, movies, and book mediums. Of the many species involved in the Trek world, this is very true of the notable Klingons.
Ever wonder what in the Federation that funny, white, brain looking thing in the market is? It comes in orange, white, green, yellow, and even purple or pink. It seems to be easily cross bred with others of it’s brassica family of cabbages too. Is it edible? Is it alive? First time I saw it, it looked like an alien Captain Kirk and his crew met on Triskilian. It wasn’t though, it’s cauliflower, and some Terrans aren’t to sure what to do with this oddball from the ground. The usual preparation I have encountered was boiling it, a method I wont try again. A friend and I solved our cauliflower conundrum with this little recipe. Use every color you can get your hands on for a beautiful dish, that is tasty too.
Odd title for an article, but not so strange if you are a writer of science fiction; whether it is for a movie or television show script, a book, or a role play game on a forum, thinking like an alien can sometimes be your ultimate goal. The first few items I mentioned are more likely for someone’s occupation, the last item is for fun. In this particular dimension and time, we haven’t had contact with alien cultures, that we know of. Any being from another world we write about for fiction is going to be based on a heavily modified Earth culture. Elements from those cultures would be downplayed, exaggerated, or conceptually “turned” ninety degrees.
Some aliens in Star Trek have some recognizable elements in them, such as how the Klingon Code of honor mirrors some elements Japanese Bushido code. Even the warrior’s armor has a faint Samuraiesque feel, but still is purported as alien as are many other races. To successfully write a character of one of these races, it is vital that you actually get into the mind of a being that is simply not human.
But how do you do this? The steps below will help you to get into the skin of nearly any alien race.
Another wonderful spiced tea! I made a tea for some human friends one winter during Christmas season. It was very well received by them, at the time I had run out of tea and spices from Vulcan because my friends are bigger “tea addicts” than I am. I needed to put together something on the fly for the large group,since we ran out of spiced apple cider. The recipe below is what I came up with,and it was well received. It didn’t taste the same but smelled wonderful, filling the home with a spicy comforting scent. I’m taking some Terran spices home: This “tea” is all spices!
During my time at Starfleet Academy, I spent my mid-semester breaks with a host family. One of those times was during the winter month of December,where I encountered a plethora of homemade breads, cakes, and sweets. In the making of these treats, the entire family is involved and they share a bond. The recipe below came from that family — it is easily and quickly made just as quickly disappears. It can be used during all times of the year, and not just winter.
Dark chocolate chips (2 10oz bags) (NOTE- If you have an allergy to chocolate or, like in Vulcans, it causes intoxication, carob chips can be used.)
1 cup dried cherries or any dried fruit
1 cup nuts (any type)
Preparation is easy. First place the nuts in a pan on a medium heat to toast them. Make sure to keep a close watch on them; nuts can burn quickly. While those are toasting, get a large bowl, place the chocolate or carob inside. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave for one minute, store, then every 30 seconds thereafter stirring each time until completely melted. Melting must be gradual, for chocolate can also burn.
Once the nuts are roasted lightly, add to the chocolate, along with the dried fruit. Mix carefully.
Line a lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil, pour the chocolate, fruit, and nut mixture into the pan. Place in the refrigerator for two hours or until firmly set. Once hard, slice or break into bits. Package in decorative tins or boxes.
Dark, milk or white chocolate or carob. Melting peanut butter with dark chocolate is a good choice too.
Dried fruit, crushed peppermint candies, or small sweets called marshmellows can be used as well. The only limit is your imagination.
- 8 g cloves (1.5 tsp)
- 8 g fresh cardamom (2 tsp, or 1 tsp if using ground cardamom)
- 18 g fresh ginger, chopped (1 heaping TBS)
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1 tsp fennel
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- A few pinches of cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 50 g (1/2 cup) red Rooibos tea leaves
- 1/4 cup (4 oz) honey
- 2 cups milk
Put all the spices in a pan with the milk, heat gently. You don’t want to scald the milk. The spices flavor will infuse into the milk. Heat to just boiling, add tea leave,bring heat down. Steep for six minutes. Strain all the spices and leaves. Add honey and enjoy.
The first time I ate Hasperat, was when I visited Bajor before I entered Starfleet Academy. Walking through the cities, taking in an ancient, I witnessed a vibrant culture trying to heal after a long Cardassian occupation. As with any culture, there are street food vendors for which anyone can grab a quick snack. It was there that I was formally introduced to the spicy bite of hasperat. Its a vegetable wrap that can be very briny and spicey.
One of my family’s favorite things to do, was to prepare meals together. I can remember being a small child, barely tall enough to see up to the counter, watching my parents make plomeek soup. The large strange looking squash thing on the table didn’t appear edible, but my theory became fact after I tried to eat it, though having too few teeth at the time.
If there’s one Vulcans are known for, it’s tea. It’s nice if the tea is spicy, but it’s even better when it’s hot and spicy. I was surprised to see how many types of tea Earth had, and with so many varieties, it would take me a year to try them all. One of my favorites is this tea recipe below. Later I will include an Ethiopian variety. I hope to send some of these teas home.
Gamers: A unique breed; creative, out of the box, problem-solving people. To the uninitiated, gaming can be a bit daunting, but fear not. I have a plan; I can walk new gamers through the process. You do not need to be a professional writer, you just need to have fun.
To start things off is that odd-ball word you may have seen floating around in that internet alphabet soup: PBEM RPG. It means Play By E-Mail Role Play Game. On the web, there are thousands of sites devoted to the PBEM RPG, in nearly any genre imaginable. I currently use a science fiction site that is running around in the Star Trek universe: UFOP: StarBase 118. In nearly all PBeMs, players work together to craft ongoing stories with unique characters. The story portions are called “sims,” told from the characters’ third person points of view. The writer has to keep in mind what the character is thinking, feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing, and tasting. Yes, all the senses need to be engaged with as many detailed descriptions as possible for the reader to get the full experience. Much like a favorite author does with their character. Before tackling anything, read, read, read and read some more. Ask questions of your fellow players about how they created their characters. What experiences did they use,terrestrial or alien cultures, et cetera.