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Otter Nerd from Titan

Dreamed 2012/4/15 (and follow-up 2013/2/9)


Finish Sun And Moon, Ice And Snow by Jessica Day George. A stubborn girl wins her polar-bear lover.

Start a much raspier book--Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez. Reminds me of the cheerfully amoral cyberpunk of Rudy Rucker. Monsters come out of the closet. But there are degrees of monstrosity. Some you can work with, some you can't...

Around sundown I bike over to the Red Victorian, a peace center in the Haight-Ashbury, where my friend Hallie leads a vocal improv group. Starts out just us, but eventually grows to five or six. Fun, though Hallie worries I push people too fast. I think she misses cues when people have had enough prep-talk and are ready to sing. But then we're both so nerdy I'd call us both borderline Asperger cases. So I'm not claiming superior people-sense--just less awful people-sense.


I'm at a dogshow--but as with human pageants,
It ain't just looks today, or clever agents--
you better have superlative stage-presence!
And dogs go on alone to shine; rejoin
their pet humans only in the wings.

Not only dogs. In the waiting room
Wolves groom. A puma sprawls atop
her tiger mate. Their auras fuse and seem
a stripéd sphinx. Affection's glow.
Not what my guide led me here to show!
His pet theory: "Humans tame carnivores alone
'cause we're hunter-killers--Predatory Man!"

Oh? We've tamed a hundred breeds:
canary camel elephant, parrot seal geese,
carp cow cat, mynah horse. Ooh, so fierce!

But now my carnivore-agenda guide
rants on the latest news: that alien
who just flew here from Titan. Mammalian,
otterlike, just a yard long nose to tail,
with a cream pelt and polka-crescents:
red green and blue, like a curbside snow
where Pollock dabbled in fluorescents.

The ermine's best-known quote so far:
"Earthlings are so friendly!" Blind
to our butchery, or does she calm
and charm humanity so much that she
hasn't yet seen our ferocity?

But my exobiologist guide is sure
"the Titanide's anger-blind, her mind
incomprehensible. Her moon drove down
a weird evolution-fork in that haze.
Those ethane seas are few and small;
wide dry plains, no hunter-cover!
The otter may be alert for other
threats than a Terran hunt and pounce.
Earthlings, beware! The Titanide may be
a monster with alien ways to prey."

I doubt his doubt. Our earth abounds
in desert and savanna, open grounds
where (if you keep an eye on the lions)
prey has the edge, and mostly wins.

How's Titan differ? Its native critters
may need no hair-trigger rabbit jitters!
Maybe she skunk-sprays gasoline,
or shocks like an eel. Or is elephantine
Back home on Kalseru River Plain. Or
is lovability the best defense?
Whether omni, carn, or herbivore,
she speaks of us as potential friends.

Besides, I find the Titanide's
otter-dance delightful--
nerdy, yes, but curious and playful.
In contrast, my exobiology guide
marches paranoid-stiff; a guy to shun!
Trust your otter. She's more fun.

Sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: an alien from Titan who looks a bit like a paint-splattered ermine/otter.



I was skimming last year's journal and came across "Otter Nerd from Titan." I wonder if the otter was really me.


A friend of mine here in San Francisco had some medical testing, and got a shock: he looks quite human, but he turns out to really be a gene-modified (and surgically disguised?) giant Amazonian otter! He doesn't know who did it or why, doesn't remember being an otter... yet the DNA evidence is incontrovertible. It's even possible he was female before the gengineering (and operations)? that made him, well, him.

He always seemed human to me. A bit kooky, yeah--it's why I liked him. Yet once I know his history, I see he'd make a perfectly plausible otter too. It sure proves emotions and character are readable across species as well as gender.


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