A little more progress. I got my 750 words in today. Only just. But in editing for publication this got condensed more than a little. I thought I had some pretty good ideas as to the odder themes of Skavoon literature, but I was mistaken. This is still speedwriting and only slightly edited. I’m finding this method of quickly writing things down as my stream of consciousness leads me to be a fairly good creative. Except when it isn’t… So far this has been very useful for creating interesting cultural tidbits. It wouldn’t be of much use for the more technical and scientific aspects of world-building, although it is good for sputtering a foam of ideas onto a framework. Sanding the result down and smoothing it into a real artwork is for later :).
Consider this a definite work in progress. Here goes…
The Skavoon will have many of the same themes in their literary tradition as humans. The odd questions of their sexuality and familial relationships will not be the only aspects affecting their lives or even, perhaps, altogether dominant. But these attributes will be a major source of the differences between humans and Skavoon. If I haven’t said it before, I will now say any planet is a BIG place. The variation in environments across the surface of a planet would be huge. That is true for any planet, at least any human habitable one. The same would be true of any species. At least any intelligent species. The number of very different human cultures is huge in spite of the fact that every one of them is composed of people with very similar or even identical biological requirements. The possible range of Skavoon cultures would likely be at least as large. I will probably focus on a small subset of these…
What I intend to look at today is how the differences in basic biological drives would generate differences in the kind of literary traditions that would develop among Skavoon.
What are some of these driving differences? Clearly, they would have a greatly reduced concern with the welfare of their young children. There might be humor relating to a parent remembering where it buried the eggs. I won’t go into detail, because the joke would be completely opaque to a human. Grover Norquist might get the joke… Some Skavoon comedies might well be quite horrific to a human.
How about the intimacy of the relationship between a mentor and a protege? This is an enormously emotional and significant thing. “Babies ate my protege!,” could be a major theme for a Skavoon Shakespeare. On a less psychological level, more Ludlum-esque themes could be based on the kidnapping of a protege by an enemy of the mentor. The exchange of information in the process of raising a protege to adulthood is deep and immense, if imperfect. An older protege approaching adulthood would be very loyal to its mentor and convincing one to betray secrets of its mentor would be very difficult, but newer proteges might possess a good deal of information that could be readily extracted by a morally corrupt individual. Even more emotionally based stories looking at the pain of being without ones protege and the frantic search to recover it would be common and very powerful.
Looking at it from the other side, the premature loss of a mentor could be not only emotionally painful, but physically damaging. A bonded adolescent can seldom fully bond with another potential mentor, so they often can never fully learn to be part of their society. They could be doomed to a life of being very much like an autistic human: not quite able to relate or understand other Skavoon or to behave in a socially appropriate manner.
Romance, at least in the sense of meaningful sexual relationships leading to lifetime commitments, would be unknown or not terribly significant as a genre among the Skavoon. Once again, the mentor/protege relationship fills this space. The process of a young Skavoon searching and bonding with its protege is one of the strongest and most universal themes in Skavoon tradition.
In addition to this, the Skavoon might have a lot of literature and humor that might be perfectly translatable to a human experience. Some Skavoon stories and songs might make perfect sense to a human. Until, you know, some reference to something outree comes up!