Arrival of a spaceship through primitive eyes:

Total posts: [11]
Only Sane Fox
One of my current projects is a Humans Through Alien Eyes story where the alien perspective characters are at a late stone-age level of technology. Were this Earth, it would be stone-tipped arrows, semi-permanent shelter and domesticated dogs, with the agricultural revolution just around the corner.

A key scene I need to write is the arrival of a spaceship as told through their low-tech view of the world. The sonic booms made by the ship are easy enough to translate into thunderclaps which don't match up with the weather. The actual landing, however, that has me stumped as far as the description goes.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
See ALL the stars!
Well, what does the ship look like? A flying saucer would be different from a Borg cube would be different from a helicopter.
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
Let it be the Lunar module, a D20 with insect legs shooting fire out its arse as it decellarates for landing.

UG, he say "Me hear mighty thunderclap. That strange, weather sunny with light showers. Me look up. Huge spider, hand arms wide ("hand" = 5; "arm" = yard) descending towards me, farting fire out its arse. Ug run away and hide under tree. Me look up, me see normal sized spider floating down towards me. Normal spider have hand and 3 legs. BIG spider have hand less one legs.

Big spider on ground, mighty rumbling of the Earth. Spiders mouth opens and vomits forth these white blobs. You know when a child makes a doll out of clay and it's got sort of blobby arms and legs. Like that, clay people only moving around, golems. Me scared.

Then a golem takes a spear and rams it in the ground. (planting the flag) Everybody knows that spear in the ground is the universal sign for Peace. Ug about to say Hi to them. But there was a flapping rag tied to the spear. Rag coloured red white and blue in a pattern of hand and three (British Union Jack/Flag has 8 lines) Now me scared again. Everybody knows that tribes with a spider totem are cannibals. Then the golems started playing golf. Everybody knows that Golf-players are evil capitalists who enslave people. Ug run away.

The golems/clay people/astronauts poke around, do experiments etc for a couple of days. Then the BIG Spider eats them, farts fire out of its arse and flies into the sky.

Many years later, Ugg's grandson Ogg is tribal bard and recites the tale "And if you tell that to the youth of today, they won't believe you."

edited 12th Mar '11 3:47:33 PM by Dagobitus

Only Sane Fox
I can describe the ship landing through the viewpoint of someone whose world-view includes concepts such as aliens and spacecraft. I'm just not sure how to translate it into a stone-age world view.

Here's a rough version of the modern viewpoint:

It started with a double sonic boom. Within minutes, the clear sky was filled with a roar, startling the animals of the forest. Kyla watched as the alien craft descended towards the clearing.

It was a good fifty metres long by ten high but organically curved for aerodynamics. Its forward motion slowed and small blue thrusters controlled the final vertical stages of its descent until it gracefully landed on three landing supports located behind the nose and under the wings.

The impact shook the ground slightly and the engine noises died down. Kyla watched from her hiding place as a door on the side opened and a biped jumped down and grabbed the end of a metal ramp, locking it into place on the hull with a metallic clang before dropping the other end to the ground at its feet.

That's roughly the scene I need to translate into a stone-age world view. I'm planning on making the stone-age locals pretty intelligent and making educated guesses about the humans' equipment. Sure, they'd be bound to make mistakes, but I think they'd be able to understand the humans' explanations, once the humans learn enough of the local language to explain things to the curious locals.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
6 NotSoBadassLongcoat13th Mar 2011 06:06:44 AM from People's Democratic Republic of Badassia
The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24
Try Daeniken's books and his hypotheses about the flashy things in Bible and other religious texts being descriptions of alien landings.
"Alice in Wonderland was about a chick getting high as fucking balls on a Hunter S. Thompson type list of drugs." - Mark Von Lewis
Only Sane Fox
That name sounds familiar. Didn't he write Chariots Of The Gods?, suggesting that the god legends were misremembered alien visits? I remember reading it years ago. Unfortunately, I don't remember much about it.

edited 13th Mar '11 11:23:33 PM by Roxor

Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
Destroyer of Worlds
t should be awe-inspiring and god-like, if that helps.
Only Sane Fox
"Awe-inspiring" is a given. Heck, even today, people still find our large-scale technologies awe-inspiring, even if they know how they work. You can look at, say, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and think "wow, people built that".

"God-like" doesn't help me, given I have no reference for it. To me, "god" is one of those words which can mean anything.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
Destroyer of Worlds
What I'm thinking on that, is that it should be like they are witnessing an actual god landing. Hell, maybe they even think it is a living being at first. Hard to describe what I'm thinking.
Only Sane Fox
Thinking it's some kind of beast at first seems reasonable, at least, while it's still in the air. Once it gets close enough to see some details, I think the static shape and optical properties of the materials would probably start them thinking that it's artificial. They'd probably think it's made of stone, and given we do use ceramics on the space shuttle today to guard against the heat of atmospheric entry, it wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption for the locals to make.
Accidental mistakes are forgivable, intentional ones are not.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.

Total posts: 11