Treatment of the Other in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Rendall, Samuel Richard
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The Chitter is an Adult Fiction novel written from the perspective of an omniscient narrator. It follows two key characters: Captain Arnie and Security Chief Alpha Grek. Arnie is Captain of the starship Lucian, and leads the exploration of a distant solar system when she encounters an alien race. She has to navigate the intricacies of interspecies diplomacy, while simultaneously battling the demons of her bloody past. Her story is one of personal growth, where she has to face her biases and fears, and overcome them to effectively lead her crew. Alpha Grek is a Martian, a genetically modified human whose people have only recently been freed from slavery through a violent uprising. Now he must try to find peace and keep his new home safe from threats within and without. He is the embodiment of the Other within the story, and how such characters are often portrayed in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The story follows the characters through their trials as a crew and shows what they will do with the burdens they carry. While they deal with the threat of first contact with aliens, this story is primarily focused on the struggles of the crew to unite and overcome their preconceptions and biases. Some, like Dr Karo, show the worst that humanity can be, providing a counterview to what the Captain must become to save her ship and crew. She also explores the consequences of humanity's actions in the past, and must decide if allowing others to repeat them is really what is best for those involved. While she struggles with the Othering of both her new crew and the aliens around her, she manages to overcome this through the events of the story.