Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cast them as cousins

Here's the latest Chinese dinosaur, Gigantoraptor, side by side with Jacques de Gheyn's zoomorphic monster in one of his drawings of witches' sabbaths. I vaguely recall that in A C Clark's SF, Childhood's End, when the advanced civilisation (and benign) aliens arrive on earth, their form is that of Satan - the first steps out of his UFO with a carefully chosen child playing with his leathery wings, as a way of managing the local PR problem. Reveries about the diabolic were just an anticipation of what will happen, but without the terror.

The one tonne, twice man height raptor is all over the web today: this is the best site I found. The Chinese assume it had feathers.

I looked for the complete de Gheyn drawing, and my cursory Google image search only hit my old academic course site. Basic, but there it is:


Decidedly Bookish said...

That drawing reminds me of this one: It's from Conservapedia or something similar. Always good for a giggle.

Adam Roberts Project said...

I read your post, and then immediately started seeing versions of those dino-devil-beasts all over the place. To add to D.B.'s Conservapedia image, here's something I saw on Boing Boing (your comment pad won't allow me to fold the url into an "a href" tag, so here it is, unshelled and naked):

Adam Roberts Project said...

Incidentally, your memory of Childhood's End is almost right. The alien Overlords' first strategy for handling the PR problem of looking like Satan is to hide themselves away from human view for fifty years after their arrival. Only after humanity has come to trust them (on account of their guiding humanity to an utopian existence) do they step out of their spaceships--you're right, with a child on their wings. The twist at the end of the novel (one of the twists) is that it turns out that it's not that the Overlords look like Satan, it's that Satan looks like the Overlords: the spacetime trauma with which the novel ends sent 'pre-echoes' of their image back in time, into the minds of earlier humans.

I'll proceed now to a complicated Freudian/ Lacanian and Queer-Theory reading of the novel, in which ... oh, is that the time?