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Creation Myth
October 5, 2008 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Pequeninos, Thranx, Fithp, Psychlos, Aalaag, Hani, Mahendo'sat, Kif, etc. Do you recall if any of these science fiction aliens (or any other sf aliens) have their own creation myth? At first glance it seemed a easy research assignment. I have no trouble in coming up with creation myths for real cultures, but I'm coming up with 0 in imaginary cultures.
posted by francesca too to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's been a few years, so I don't remember whether Mary Russell's The Sparrow goes into great detail about the creation myth of the aliens involved, but I think it might be worth thumbing through to find out, because it is a) theological in subject matter, b) written by an anthropologist, and c) very good.

I'll keep your question in mind and try to come up with something better.
posted by Hildago at 1:24 PM on October 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not exactly sure, but I think the culture in Le Guin's Left hand of Darkness had creation myths. That's the closest one I could think of.
posted by rainy at 1:25 PM on October 5, 2008


How about the Hugo-winning A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny? About a linguist who travels to Mars and translates the Martian holy books into English.

There's a copy online (though it appears to be a bad scan, with some typos).
They said that some god named Malann had spat, or had done something disgusting (depending on the version you read), and that life had gotten under way as a disease in inorganic matter. They said that movement was its first law, its first law, and that the dance was only legitimate reply to the inorganic . . .
posted by Hildago at 1:39 PM on October 5, 2008


I'm a couple seasons behind, but didn't the new Battlestar Galactica have some kind of creation myth for the Cylons?
posted by Hildago at 1:40 PM on October 5, 2008


Pequeninos are from the Ender's Game saga. They are seen in Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind.

Their creation was because of the Descolada virus, which made them into a... 3 "evolution" species.

They are first grub like creatures that are birthed from a female mother tree, of which there is one. They then evolve into a bipedal pig like creature. From that point, a distinguished member of the tribe is chosen and eviscerated which causes them to grow into a brother tree.

I really wish that I could recall if they had a creation myth. :/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequeninos
posted by DonSlice at 1:41 PM on October 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you are looking for just imaginary creation myths and not specifically SF, Samuel R. Delany has a Neveryon short story, "The Tale of Potters and Dragons", which contains the creation myth of a matriarchal society. It can be found in the collection "Tales of Neveryon" and I think has actually popped up in Gender Studies courses in the past.

Specific SF examples are failing me at this point but Le Guin, Delany or other social-centric authors would be a good bet.
posted by selfnoise at 2:12 PM on October 5, 2008


What about Klingons?
posted by belau at 2:17 PM on October 5, 2008


Does the discworld of Terry Pratchett count?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_(world)

Not really aliens perse...
posted by jesirose at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2008


I assume that the little many-armed guys from Viltvodle Whatever don't count?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2008


Not alien, but not exactly us either:
In "Great Sky River" there are pretty clear legends.
In Gene Wolf's Book of the New Sun and Book of the Long Sun, there's a lot of creation mythology lurking in the background.
Larry Niven's "Protector" and the Ringworld series (pretty much the whole Known Space milieu, now that I think about it) explores an alternative creation story for terrestrial humanity.
posted by adamrice at 3:59 PM on October 5, 2008


The Skroderiders of Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" have a creation myth that features fairly importantly into the plot.
posted by Horselover Fat at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2008


Probably the most elaborated creation myth is in the realm of fantasy, with Tolkien's Elves. The first part of the Silmarilion, basically.
posted by chengjih at 5:04 PM on October 5, 2008


It's for aliens, right?

If it's just fantasy cultures, then Diane Duane's Middle Kingdoms series has a whole creation myth, but a) it's not a very well known series and b) it seems to be a variation on a Neopagan creation myth from the Feri tradition, or as published by Starhawk in the Spiral Dance

(A multiform goddess, who makes an error in the original weavings of the world, who gives birth to two divine twins, where, because of the error, one kills the other - the cause of both love & death. Er, from what I can remember).


But hey, does Terry Pratchett's books count?
There's the dwarvish myth here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discworld_gods#Tak
But I think it was actually some complicated combination of an absent minded creator god, and Rincewind going back in time and dropping a sandwich in the ocean. Or was that intended to be our world.

Sorry, that's all I got.
posted by Elysum at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2008


According to The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Many races believe it was created by some sort of God, but the Jatravartid people of Viltvodle VI firmly believed that the entire universe was, in fact, sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. The Jatravartids, who lived in perpetual fear of the time they called "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief" were small, blue creatures with more than fifty arms each. They were unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel."
posted by amphioxus at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just finished the Ender saga, and I am pretty sure the pequeninos at one point had a creation myth, which the descolada caused them to forget.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 5:33 PM on October 5, 2008


Thanks everybody, a lot of excellent pointers.

A'Tuin as the mythical creator in discworld is very close to what I'm looking. I don't think that the descolada, being actual part of the pequeninos reproductive cycle, could be considered mythical creator.

Any more details on LeGuin?
posted by francesca too at 8:05 PM on October 5, 2008


Just checked Tolkien, LeGuin, and Zelazny! Thanks for the great help, everybody!
posted by francesca too at 8:27 PM on October 5, 2008


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