Space Elves YKTTW Discussion

Space Elves
(permanent link) added: 2010-10-12 13:51:56 sponsor: berr (last reply: 2011-01-26 11:59:26)

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Note: See discussion here, here (original ykttw), here, and here for reference.

This is a supertrope bringing together isolated references to Space Elves in three separate tropes: Our Elves Are Better, Proud Scholar Race Guy (Type II), and The Greys in one spot for the first time. Examples of each type would still fall under those tropes.

Launching soon, please respond with examples prior to launch.

There are certain races in Speculative Fiction that appear to occupy an equivalent niche that elves do in a fantasy setting; the idealized, Closer to Earth culture reaching toward utopian ideals, or the inscrutable, ominous Fair Folk for whom We Are as Mayflies.

When they are not behaving as a standard fantasy elf or, as is often the case, an enlightened mystic race such as Vulcans or Na'vi, they are off abducting humans, cattle, and children just like their Fair Folk ancestors.

Sometimes the elf-like race is implied to be Ancient Astronauts themselves, misremembered or otherwise. Sometimes they are literal Elves IN SPACE! or at the very least have elf-like characteristics such as longevity and Pointy Ears.

Some anthropologists have speculated that the tendency to imagine any foriegn intruders who are different from us as Elves Versus Dwarves is hard-wired, like the theory that humans are hard-wired to imagine dragons because monkeys were afraid of snakes.

By this logic, humans have an innate tendency to classify "alien" cultures as inscrutable, slender (tall and/or diminutive) beings who were here before us, have better tools and are not to be messed with,[[hottip:**:(all of which traits were once attributed to pygmies and other neolithic tribes by their Iron Age neighbors)]] versus swarthy, hairy fellows with large families, who are industrious, engage in untouchable occupations such as mining, and are migrants.[[hottip:**:(all of which traits were once attributed to the Irish and European immigrants, along with pygmies whom neighboring tribes wished to subjugate.)]] Space Elves and Space Dwarves would thus occupy an extreme niche as entirely legendary beings that personify the same archetypes.

Subtrope of Our Elves Are Better. There are three types of Space Elves: actual elves in a non-standard fantasy setting (compare Urban Fantasy, Mundane Fantastic); archetypal mystical philosophical beings (Proud Scholar Race) that could be elves if it were a fantasy setting (compare Proud Warrior Race, Proud Merchant Race for the Elves vs. Dwarves equivalent); and beings which are definitely alien but behave almost exactly like the Fair Folk and sometimes fill the same function (compare Ancient Astronauts, The Greys, Little Green Men).

Examples of all three types fall under this trope: Type I is a specific category of Our Elves Are Better. Type II is a specific category of Proud Scholar Race. Type III is a specific category of The Fair Folk.

Type II-A is an oddly specific phenomenon that describes the tendency of Type II's to manifest as a Blue Skinned Space Babe. It is a reoccurring theme in several works and universes that all seem to be referencing each other.

Type I: Elves In Space* (main article: Our Elves Are Better) *redirects here

Standard fantasy elves or equivalent beings with Serial Numbers Filed Off... In Spaaaace! These are surprisingly common in science fiction and Tabletop Games (compare Urban Fantasy). Ancient Astronauts may count as Type I if they are not merely mistaken for elves, but actually are elves who turn out to be an alien race.

Type II: Enlightened Mystic Race* (main article: Proud Scholar Race (Type II) *redirects here

Personality-wise, they may be aloof and detached, or (in the case of empathic types) quite gregarious. Either way, they have a tendency to be more mystical or philosophical than most of the other species in the setting. These are almost by definition Proud Scholar Race Guy (Type II), and they are typically pitted against Proud Warrior Race Guy in a straight application of Elves Versus Dwarves. For more information on Type II, see Proud Scholar Race.

Type II-A: Psychic Blue Space Babe* (main article: Green-Skinned Space Babe) *redirects there

Exactly What It Says on the Tin. For some reason, Space Elves, especially females of Type II, tend to manifest as a Blue-Skinned Space Babe and for quite some time now. Sometimes known as "blue hotties", they're more likely to be blue than green. Possibly because of the "little green men" stigma about science fiction, and the fact that green skin is more likely than blue to look like you have a horrible fungal infection. Sometimes they are part of a Sexy Matriarchy. Examples of Type II-A do not need to be listed separately, but are worth noting.

Type III: Mystic Alien Intruders* (compare: The Greys; The Fair Folk; Little Green Men) *redirects here

These are beings that fill the same function as The Fair Folk in the story or in popular consciousness, except that they (usually) Descended From Outer Space. This is very commonly associated with The Greys, although not always. Little Green Men can replace Leprechauns. Alien Abduction may take the place of a Changeling Tale. When they aren't snatching up our children, unnaturally extending our lifespans, or performing mystic rites on us for shits and giggles, they're snatching up our cattle just like the Brownies of old, and impregnating our virginal (swear to god!) women-folk, thus leading to Half-Human Hybrids. They may be Sufficiently Advanced, or older than the hills. See also Time Abyss. One thing Type 3's share in common is they are invariably Inscrutable.

Compare the Three Types of Proud Race Guy: Proud Scholar Race Guy (usually Space Elves), Proud Warrior Race Guy (posssibly Space Dwarves) and Proud Merchant Race Guy (all too often depicted as Space Jews, who may in fact be any of the three Proud Race Guys, or they may be standard ordinary people in a diaspora situation, thus occupying a middle position.

Note: Type II Space Elves (Enlightened Mystic Race) are also Type II examples of Proud Scholar Race.

Examples of Type I (Literal Elves In Space)

Examples Needed, Will update on launch.

  • The Eldar in Warhammer: 40000, naturally.
  • The Elves in ElfQuest.
    • The ElfQuest elves ironically didn't take on elf form until after they were stranded on Planet Abode, and didn't get back into space for about 20,000 years.
  • The fairies (including elves) of the Artemis Fowl series are traditional, native-to-Earth fairies, with magic that does some things, but they're also very high-tech and in a distinctly sci-fi setting. A fairy space probe plays a part in "Atlantis Complex," among other things.
  • Jak's race might be another example - Jak strikes one as Link IN SPACE!, and Link was an elf.

Examples of Type II (Enlightened Mystic Race)

See main page (Proud Scholar Race, Type II) for more examples.

  • Spock and his Vulcan ilk are scholarly, long-lived, pointy-eared, phlegmatic, and psychic.
    • Vulcans are also long-lived, vegetarian, and consider their way of life superior to humans'. There are already Vulcan examples in Can't Argue with Elves... because you can't.
    • Not only that, Vulcans are High Elves, Romulans are Dark Elves.
  • The Na'vi are Wood Elves. Type II-A to boot: the most recent example.
  • There's also the asari from Mass Effect. They also fit the scheme of Type II-A. Female, Blue, Space, Psychic, somewhat elfish.
  • The Abh in Crest of the Stars are blatant type 2's, with a good helping of Can't Argue with Elves--they're world conquerers and we're supposed to sympathize with them.
  • Not from a matriarchy or a female-dominated race, but other than that, Mira Nova from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command fits the bill of Type II-A'' perfectly.
  • The Elerians from the Orion games (2 and 3, not found in MOO 1) are a Type II-A.
  • The Syreen from the Star Control series of games are Type II-A.
  • The loroi from the webcomic Outsiders are Type II-A.
  • The Protoss from StarCraft fall under Type II and, except for the babe part, Type II-A.

Examples of Type III (Mystic Alien Intruders)

See also The Greys for additional examples, of a specific type.

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