Tag Archives: stargate

Misused Words in Science Fiction: Sentient, Sapient, Intelligent, Speciesism, Uninhabited

In science fiction, one tends to see the same handful of words being thrown around, in which the writers 1) do not know the definitions of the words they are using and 2) attempt to misuse the words to prop up anthropocentrism, ableism, and speciesism, to try to alleviate guilt for needlessly harming fellow animals.

Let’s unpack these commonly misused words:

sentient – adj -able to perceive or feel things

This includes any beings who have nervous systems, ganglia, nerve nets, etc. This includes just about all fellow animals, with the possible exceptions of sponges, corals, anemones, and hydras.

Speciesists try to place a dividing line between various galactic anthropocentric races who mysteriously speak English and all other fellow animals, claiming other fellow animals can’t feel and perceive with their senses, ignoring their sensory organs (eyes, ears, etc) and reactions to sensory input, such as fleeing from danger, crying out, happy purrs, etc.

sapient – adj – 1) wise*, or attempting to appear wise, 2) relating to the human species ( Homo sapiens )
(*wise – adj – having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment.)

Definition 1: Speciesists try to place a dividing line between various galactic anthropocentric races who mysteriously speak English and all other fellow animals, claiming other fellow animals can’t have experiences, learn, and show good judgement. There are plenty if YouTube videos showing cows operating farm doors and watering spigots, dogs teaching puppies how to use steps, crows using tools (including a frisbee as a makeshift sled on a roof), bees teaching one another, etc. The inability to speak English (or some other human language) is not a justification to harm someone (ableism) or assume they have no intelligence. Some humans can also be mute, for varying reasons, and there are also varying levels of intelligence and talents among humans.

Definition #2: Non-human galactic beings who mysteriously speak English are often mislabeled sapient, but the definition should technically not be used to describe any beings other than humans and human hybrids– and still should not be used as a divider to treat others inequitably– only as a racial description and nothing more. Due to definition #2, I avoid this word altogether due to its current speciesist connotations.

intelligent -adj- having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level

Same as definition #1 above.

speciesism – noun- the assumption of human animal superiority leading to the exploitation of other fellow animals

Speciesists, ironically, misuse the word as a stand-in for racism among various galactic anthropocentric races who mysteriously speak English. Speciesism applies to all fellow animals, not just English-speaking, humanoid beings. One who shakes hands with ET and also eats the bodies and reproductive secretions of other animals is still speciesist.

uninhabited – adj- (of a place) without inhabitants

Specieists misuse this word to represent only galactic anthropocentric races who mysteriously speak English. If birds, turtles, insects, and other fellow animals live in a place, then, the place is *not* uninhabited. Only barren islands or worlds devoid of all life are truly uninhabited.

Now that you know the inherent biases and misuses of these words, be on the lookout for them and don’t be fooled.


Wraith Are Not “Soul-Sucking”

Sometimes, non-Wraith fans describe the Wraith as “soul-sucking.”

This doesn’t make sense (as with many other things non-Wraith fans say).

Lifeforce and souls are two separate concepts.

In “Rising,” Sally described the feeding process as taking years, not souls. Wraith need lifeforce, not souls, just as vampires need blood and not souls. It is that simple.

Range of Tooth Sharpness in Wraith Fanfics

Wraith tooth sharpness in fanfics is diverse.

On one end of the spectrum, Wraith can kiss and do the whole range of sensual activities without inhibition. It is only a deliberate biting down, such as into a neck, with force, that will cause tooth marks or scrapes.

At the other end of the spectrum, the teeth are razor sharp. Even kissing results in cut lips and tongues and the Gift of Life may be needed to fix up their human lovers.

Somewhere in the middle, Wraith can kiss, but can’t do anything else orally. Humans have to step in and show them how these other sensualities are done and the Wraith are not able to reciprocate.

Among those who like their Wraith with sharper teeth, there are also sometimes bits of fan canon going along with it, such as Wraith marking their chosen lovers with bites and/or feeding marks. The Wraith heal over, but their scent is said to change, and the humans have both the marks of affection and a scent change. The neck biting is sometimes said to be sensual in and of itself, even heightening the peak of lovemaking for both human and Wraith, giving and receiving.

The prominent bite aspect of sensuality seems like vampire lore crossover. At least to my eyes, Wraith teeth don’t look *that* sharp and one can run their fingers or tongues along sharper or pointier teeth, such as chipped teeth, and not get cut. Cats and dogs have pointier teeth and I’ve been able to inspect them and slip them medicine without cutting my fingers (so long as they don’t try to bite with applied force). Also, for younger Wraith who probably can’t regenerate and have to eat solid food, I can’t imagine them trying to chew and cutting their tongues and cheeks on their teeth. That said, there is some basis for biting: Wraith are sometimes called space vampires and the “38 Minutes” Iratus bug was sure digging John’s neck. πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

Seeing these theories made me pick up some paranormal romance books with vampires*, even if I don’t incorporate any of it in my fanon. Because, research! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

*not Twilight!

Neurotypical Bias in Stargate Atlantis

Stargate Atlantis, in at least two season 5 scenes, presents a strong neurotypical bias. These scenes, in their attempt to look down upon Wraith culture in a racist, Western imperialist, and chauvinist way also 1) erase the existence of non-neurotypical fans on the autistic spectrum, by way of pretending all humans enjoy and engage in needless banter (Woolsey’s banter was a lie) and 2) falsely frame the neurotypical way of using small talk as a standard by which to judge others.

It could be that what is cultural and/or neurotypical for Wraith is to avoid small talk. Or, maybe the Wraith are sick of having their homes being broken into and blown up and having upwards of half ofΒ  their friends and family killed off and they are not in the mood to chat with those invading, neocolonialist humans. Whenever Todd tries to talk to Rodney, John cuts their conversations short, but Todd offers them food and doesn’t point guns at them.

Either way, the reluctance of the Wraith to engage in banter with the New Lanteans is understandable and should not be something to hold against them and their culture. Neurodiversity, like cultural diversity, is to be recognized and supported.

DEX: They know we’re here.
McKAY: Apparently. I’m receiving a transmission.
SHEPPARD: Docking instructions.
McKAY: What, no “Hullo, greetings weary travelers”?!
SHEPPARD: Guess not. So much for the red carpet.

WOOLSEY: Thank you for coming.
TODD: Thank you for having us.
WOOLSEY: Today is an historic day. Robert Grosseteste once said …
TODD: I would like to get started as soon as possible.
WOOLSEY: Y-yes, of course. But I wanted to recognize …
TODD: I have my doubts that your plan will be effective … so shall we drop these unfounded pleasantries and get to work?
WOOLSEY: Very well. Doctor Keller, lead the way.

New Kenny Wraith Fanfic Screening Rule

New rule for screening which fanfics to read: from now on, I’m skipping over anyone’s works who writes Kenny out.

If someone can’t tell the difference between Kenny, Rhys, Jareth, and Tubbs, they don’t pay attention to details, even important details, and the stories usually are not worth the time.

Not sure what took me so long to make this rule. πŸ˜›

Could the Nox help the Wraith?

Along with thinking about how near-ascended Ancients could help Wraith with their healing powers and Goa’uld sarcophagi could be used to heal them from starvation, each rejuvenating and nourishing Wraith cells, could the Nox also help?

The Nox are capable of giving the Gift of Life, in their own way, with the Ritual of Life, healing and even reversing death. The Nox help all races, so they are not bigoted. They seem to be vegan*/non-speciesist, which makes sense if one is supposed to be not bigoted and non-violent. πŸ™‚

Because the Ritual of Life takes at least three, there would have to be enough Nox to be able to perform this ritual every 3-4 months, for each Wraith, the time it takes for each Wraith to run out of lifeforce energy, barring no injuries.

(*Stereotype caveat here: While the Nox are awesome, caution is needed that vegan characters are not portrayed as to promote myths of “purity” or ethereal qualities that make them seem like some kind of saints who don’t belong of this universe, who have magical wills, and/or who were born that way.Β This is an older trope, but exists elsewhere in Stargate, too, such as the food the people near ascension were eating in Stargate Atlantis “Epiphany” seemed vegan/plant-based. That makes nonviolence appear unattainable for mere mortals. Vegans are just ordinary people who don’t want to harm, or pay others to harm, fellow animals and our numbers are growing, so we were not all born that way. That’s it!)

Erasure of Conscientious Objectors in Entertainment

As a vegan viewer, the trope of seeing characters who don’t eat fellow animals being erased gets really old, really fast. Even shows aimed at children and teens are not exempt. The characters are usually given minor roles and usually vanish within an episode or two (Pria, Orville). Or, they were never really committed to begin with (Lisa, SGU), have bits of animal bodies snuck fed to them or they are forced to eat them (Rachel, Drew Carey; The Vegans; The Race) as jokes for speciesists in the audience, dress in false stereotypical clothing (The Vegans; The Race), and/or abandon their ethical commitments without preamble (Topanga, Boy Meets World).

But, watching Voltron Legendary Defender, and seeing so many of the Blade of Marmora being killed off made me realize progressives and conscientious objectors of all kinds are treated this way.

Stargate is no exception to this trope. Besides the Stargate Universe example above, Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Origins have it worse:

*Todd’s crew in “Infection”

*Zaddik and Ellia

*Queen Egeria and the Tok’ra

*Niam and the other Asurans who want to ascend

*Queen Betty and her well cared-for worshippers

*Aset with her Harcesis child and kind ways of ruling

*Just about all the humans in Origins (who were diverse and tolerant of race, religion, and sexuality and truly exemplary and exceptional for that time period)

Stargate Infinity comes out relatively unscathed, as an exception, with a colony of Tlak’kahn conscientious objectors who peacefully share a planet with another race.

So, why does this keep happening in so many shows, even when humans stand to benefit?Β  Why are so many progressives and conscientious objectors erased or nearly erased to the point of being too small of minorities to tip a balance? These characters are true heroes!

Is it to enforce anthropocentric hierarchies that humans are separate, that peace can’t be had, that nothing can change for the good? What does that say about the state of humanity?

Why can’t humans, including writers of fictional characters, let nonviolent progressives and conscientious objectors live and show them the respect they deserve?

Maybe when human kind stops killing off other kinds, conscientious objectors will be allowed to exist more prominently in fiction.

Until then, I won’t let myself and my values be erased and I won’t let my favorite Wraith character of Todd’s crew be erased. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m putting up inclusive Wraith fanworks modeling nonviolence.