Groking the Alien

I’ve noticed some movies coming out lately that seem to assume that the only way for humans to truly understand aliens is to literally become an alien.  District 9 and Avatar both seem to be about humans who have to change into an alien to see their POV.

In my current WIP, I have a similar trope, except that my heroine simply lives with the aliens and befriends them to learn their ways. Kind of like Dances With Wolves, except that she’s not at war with the aliens when the story starts. But she is the descendant of humans who had a long war with similar aliens. So perhaps that knowledge has given her some perspective, or at least the rationale to look and listen before shooting to kill.

In my story, the heroine is forced into accepting a protector role for the indigenous aliens in their fight with a more ruthless race.  She didn’t have to become an alien, she  just had to show them empathy.  Respect their ways and offer new ideas slowly, so as not to cause them to fear her. To me at least, this way of dealing with aliens is a bit more mature for our species.