When I read novels that I think are just novels, but then make me think about things on another level, I still get amazed. As someone who would love to write a novel one day, I think, Would I be able to do that? I don’t know. Or, maybe it just comes out of authors naturally, because that’s the only themes they know. Like, with Harry Potter - themes, include oppression, fear, bigotry, but also love and hope. Was Rowling purposely creating stories around these themes, or because that’s what our world is like in real life, it’s only natural for those themes to fill the Potter books?
Same goes for The Host. You think you’re reading a book about alien invasion, but then you start thinking that it’s about so much more. It’s about war, living underground away from the enemy, loving someone you shouldn’t, discrimination, but also kindness and acceptance.
To go off course just a touch, when he was doing press for I Am Legend, Will Smith suffered some bad PR when he made a comment along the lines of understanding that when it came to the Holocaust, in Hitler’s mind, he thought he was doing the right thing. Of course people flew off the handle, but Smith in no way meant he agreed with Hitler. If you watch the movie, you see Will Smith’s character capturing the creatures, trying to “cure” them through medicine, and then unfortunately killing them. In his mind, he was doing the right thing – trying to save humanity. However, in the minds of the creatures, he was murdering them when they could quite possibly coexist. Now, I’m not saying that Hitler was right – God, no – but from his perspective he thought he was and I can see how convincing him otherwise would be near impossible.
So, since I’ve given those themes a lot of thought because of that movie, a book about alien invasion strikes a similar nerve. As a human, I can’t possibly think that aliens invading our planet is good, however, these aliens think they’re doing the right thing. Then, when an alien befriends humans who she shockingly discovers are murdering her kind to try to stop the invasion, she’s upset. But, in the humans’ minds, that’s what they need to do. Keep fighting. So, how do you reconcile that?
Both I Am Legend and The Host, and many other books and films, reflect our real world. We don’t believe what you believe, so we’re going to put a stop to it. You have to protect yourselves, so now we’re at war. The stronger “team” wins.
Coexistence. Whether male or female, black or white, Christian or Muslim, straight or gay, alien or human: Why is that so hard?
On a bit lighter note, Do you believe in aliens? Will they come here someday? Have they already arrived? Maybe we’re all already aliens? I’m kidding with that last one. Sort of. ☺