Are humans the meanest species in the universe?


Melinda Snodgrass got the idea for her science fiction novel High ground when she started thinking about how horrible human beings can be.

“I had a sudden vision of this nine-foot-tall alien creature resembling mandibles and claws – just a disgusting, horrible creature,” Snodgrass says in episode 370. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “And that was hidden in absolute horror from the little man who was holding the machine gun. And I had to think about humanity and our tendency to be really evil, evil monsters. “

The novel takes place in a universe in which the human kingdom called the Solar League has conquered five alien species, which now live as servants and second-class citizens. Snodgrass thinks this is a pretty likely first contact scenario.

“If we invent a drive faster than light, go out into space and meet other aliens, I’m convinced the first thing we’ll do is get the holy shit out of them,” she says. “So instead of always fighting invasive aliens, we do they are alien invasions. “

She also believes that any moral progress that people have made is much weaker than people think, and that women’s rights could quickly disappear if having a child becomes a priority, as is the case in the Solar League. “When you go out into space and colonize planets, if you happen to end up on a planet other than a golden-haired planet – a world very similar to Earth – where there is a harsh environment, the thing that becomes a precious commodity is your ability to sustain the population,” she says. “So over the next few years, women are returning to a much more traditional role.”

All of this creates a lot of conflict for her character Mercedes de Arango, one of the first women to attend the elite military academy of the Solar League. That’s the inconvenience Snodgrass, who used to be the only female lawyer in her law firm, can relate to.

“I literally ran down a bunch of male lawyers from this big office building and I heard them shout, ‘We hear Charlie hired a girl.’ Where is the girl? ‘”Says Snodgrass. “And everyone came and looked at me in their office like I was a creature in a zoo. It was very bizarre. “

Listen to the complete interview with Melinda Snodgrass in episode 370 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some of the most important parts from the discussion below.

Melinda Snodgrass about her father:

“My father was fantastic, he was the center of my life. I loved him so much and he gave me every opportunity – to study opera in Europe, to ride horses, when I was 16, he sat me down and said, “We’re opening a checking account and you have to manage it.” and on and on. At the time of his death, he ran a small natural gas and oil company, and now I actually run that company. I took it over in 2002 and have been running it ever since. So, I have such a sense of history because I am the heir – or heiress – of the company. … Still weird, because sometimes my father would slip. I had a half-brother, who was much older than me, and Dad would sometimes say, ‘My other son John.’ And then people love it Senator Montoya, who had lunch with us that day, laughed and said, ‘Wait a minute, what is she?’ “

Melinda Snodgrass on Roger Zelazny:

“Roger and I have become very close in the last two years of his life. He joined our playing group, he would come to dinner with us many, many evenings. He was just the most charming, kind person I had ever known. … When I first started writing, this literary agent I had – who was also Victor Milanis and Bob Vardemanagent – we were all at this evening, at a local science fiction convention, and she said, “You have to change your name.” And Roger immediately said, ‘No. No, he doesn’t know. ‘He said,‘ Look at my name. Even though I’m on the bottom shelf in every bookstore, no one forgets my name. ‘And he turned to me and said,’ Don’t change your name, because that name no one will ever forget. ‘ And I kept it. ”

Melinda Snodgrass on Cinema Jean Cocteau:

“[George R.R. Martin] turned it into arguably the best independent bookstore in the Southwest. Because, in addition to the small cinema, there is a bar – they have a license for alcoholic beverages – and there are concessions, and he has artists who hang their art for a few weeks, so you can see various artists from Santa Fe, and he has all our books . And when they’re not making movies, he’s going to have events. Connie Willis she will come down, and I will interview her, and then she will sign. … So you can go in and buy some books and have a White Walker cocktail while you’re there, watch an independent movie, and when George is in town, you’ll often find him there, folded in his armchair by the fireplace, visiting people in the evenings. “

Melinda Snodgrass on Star Wars: Episode V – Empire Strikes Back:

“I was in this law office and I hated it. I would walk into work in the morning, close the door, cry for about 15 minutes, then take control of myself and get on with work. … [Victor Milan and I] went to see The empire strikes back, and we got to the scene with Yoda and Luke, and Luke said, ‘I’ll try,’ and Yoda will say, ‘Do it or don’t do it. No attempt. ‘And for some reason it was like lightning to me, and I was like,‘ I can spend the rest of my life in this law firm, and in a few years I might have a big office and terrorize some young people link the way they terrorize me or they can try to chart my own life. ‘Do it or not, no attempt.’ So I walked into the office the next morning, typed my resignation, packed the plants and diplomas, laid them on the boss’s desk, and walked out. “

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