Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sci-fi deer hunt for predatory aliens

I see a lot of deer when I bike to work, but I can't usually get close enough to take a decent photo. This one, from Friday 9/4/09, wasn't horrid.

Thinking about deer and hunting in a sci-fi context brought me this idea:

Picture an alien race of intelligent predators. They live in an urban environment but they all want the thrill of the hunt. They don't want their prey to be too tame, because that makes it too easy.

They handle this by sensefiltering all the prey animals. It's the idea of a totally computer-moderated sensorium, where you and I could be in the same room and have completely different experiences...but applied to animal life.

So, your deer, for example, can live right in the middle of a city, in greenbelts or whatever, and never interact with buildings, cars, people.

But, when one of the aliens wants to hunt, he tells the computer (or it just senses his hormonal change) and suddenly he's visible to the prey. They want it to be sporting, so if you're too close to a deer, it gets a warning. Otherwise, you both now inhabit the same reality.

This would be fun if shown as an image of idyllic nature: that is, we first see the happy deer wandering peacefully through a city, never straying onto the roads it can't perceive, never seeing people. Then, clawed death.


  1. I like this idea a lot, but the sensory filter will probably need to represent certain objects in the real artificial environment with simulated versions in the false natural environment. Ie, deer will walk right in front of vehicles they can't perceive and get flattened. But if they think elephants or rhinos are lumbering past . . .

    This would work if the technology also included failsafes to help avoid the animals. Combine the two and you could probably get a workable parallel existence as long as the aliens are willing to put up with some inconveniences from the creatures in their midst.

  2. Right, and you could make this as simple as imaginary walls in front of roads...or intellicars programmed to avoid the deer.

    There's some Traveller minor race in one of the GURPS traveller books that engages in hunts onboard their starships. And for that reason they have more corridors than usual. ;) Some inspiration there. But man, that's dedication to the hunt. :)

  3. Hey, you know I'm such a geek on such things and I happen to be at home . . .

    It is the Drakaran of whom you speak, detailed in Traveller: Alien Races I. They are described as "man-sized one-eyed tyrannosaurs covered in beautiful jeweled armor". Pretty cool.

    As obsessive as some of the folks up here are about hunting, I can actually see a carnivorous species going for something like shipboard hunts. At least the right-wing conservative members of a carnivorous species. :-)

  4. Anonymous2:18 PM

    So, what? We punish the urban deer for eating our decorative bushes by giving them PTSD and 'Nam-style flashbacks?

  5. It's not about punishment. It's about venison and a higher quality of life for that venison until it becomes venison...tasty, tasty venison.

  6. What? This about alien carnivores maintaining hunting traditions in urban environments. How about we make the deer look like big cockroaches rather than Bambi?

    (And typically we punish urban deer by hitting them with cars. They might prefer the flashbacks.)