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29 November, 2013

The First Thankgiving: Climax of America's Greatest Science Fiction Flick


Science Fiction Hero? 

Photo of Massoit statue overlooking Plymouth Rock. Taken by Greg Kullberg, 14 Dec 2007. Wikimedia.

 Why have most Americans never heard the actual story behind Plymouth Bay Colony's first thanksgiving feast? Scott Alexander suggests that the problem comes down to narrative. The real tale just does not fit easily into any of the standard genres Americans usually use to tell stories. For the truth to be known the story of Squanto and the Pilgrims must be retold in the only genre it fits: science fiction. To quote:
Mr. S, an ordinary American, is minding his own business outside his East Coast home when he is suddenly abducted by short large-headed creatures like none he has ever seen before. They bring him to their ship and voyage across unimaginable distances to an alien world both grander and more horrible than he could imagine. The aliens have godlike technologies, but their society is dystopian and hivelike. Enslaved at first, then displayed as a curiosity, he finally wins his freedom through pluck and intelligence. Despite the luxuries he enjoys in his new life, he longs for his homeworld. He befriends a local noble who tells him that the aliens in fact send ships to his world on a regular basis, quietly scouting and seeking resources while the inhabitants remain blissfully aware of these incursions. He gets passage on such an expedition.

Before his ship gets far, he is abducted and sold into slavery again, only to be rescued by a sect of alien priests who believe he may hold the key to saving his entire race. They are kind to him and ask him to stay, but when he refuses they reluctantly arrange him passage home.

Yet when he returns, Mr. S finds a postapocalyptic wasteland utterly unlike the world he left. America is empty, its great cities gone, a few survivors fighting for scraps among the ruins. 95% of the population is dead, slain by a supervirus unlike any doctors have ever seen. The few rumors from afar say Mexico, Canada, and lands further abroad have suffered the same or worse. He finds the site where his hometown once stood. There is nothing.  [1]
Read the whole thing here.



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[1] Scott Alexander. "The Thanksgiving Story is a Science Fiction Story." Slate Star Codex. 28 November 2013.

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