icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

A Prescient Sci-Fi Story About Modern Life

I recently read a science fiction story by Robert Silverberg, "Alaree," which was originally published in 1958. A crippled spaceship from Earth has landed for repairs on a small, previously unexplored planet. There they encounter a small humanoid creature with whom they speak using a speech converter. The creature has great difficulty understanding the concept of "I" since on his planet all the creatures are "we."

He becomes close to the space travelers, watching as they work. Soon other aliens appear, all identical to him. He implores the captain to take him with him back to Earth and, after initially refusing, the captain agrees, Alaree having said that if he remains he'll die. On the return journey, Alaree behaves in a puzzling manner, staring into the face of each of the crew members as if trying to merge with them. Then he suddenly dies and the captain understands why: because on his world he had been part of "we" and, when losing this identify and becoming an "I," he could not survive.
This reminded me of the fear of some people to reject popularly held concepts, perhaps from the subconscious fear that, like Alaree, they couldn't survive.

Be the first to comment