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.
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.