Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I'm here today to talk to you about yeerks. I know I already wrote a blog about the Animorphs this year, but I don't care. Here's another one.

The reason that yeerks have been on my mind lately is that I've been watching a fair amount of Doctor Who with Lindsay. The premise of the show is that the Doctor is in possession of the last time machine in the universe, and he can use it not only to travel through time but to travel through space. The appeal of this show is that, like with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the possibilities are infinite and the overwhelming size of the universe is a central focus of the plot.
Now, I am the kind of person that immediately wants to emulate the things that impress me the most. Case-in-point, I read a lot of fiction when I was a kid, it made sense to me and I enjoyed it, so now I am trying to create my own fiction. Stand-up comedy also has this effect on me. This characteristic applies to more specific genres as well, so when I see a good science fiction epic, all I want to do is write one of my own. And what do you need to write a good epic? You need good and evil. You need the hero and you need the arch villain. You need other things too, obviously, but these are the most important and without them you might as well forget everything else because it'll never work.

And so immediately I find myself unable to write a science fiction epic, because I can think of no greater enemy than the yeerks. I mean seriously.

The yeerks are a race of parasitic slugs that enslave worlds from the inside out by slowly and methodically conquering the minds of each individual in the population. They squeeze their bodies in through the ear canal, wrap their bodies around the actual brain of the person they're occupying, and take full control of that person's every action and movement.

What evil this is! What an incredible concept. These things imprison their hosts within their own bodies. Forever. The host must watch helplessly as the yeerk uses his or her body as a disguise and tricks the host's family members and friends into suffering a similar fate.

But, there's a twist. Because without conquering other species and without inhabiting the mind of other creatures, the yeerks are condemned to a blind existence swimming around in muddy pools. Once they feel the sun on their skin and see the world and learn to eat and speak and run and do all the great stuff other creatures can do, they can't ever go back to that. So it's sort of a bitter-sweet war for them, and a nightmare for everything else in their path.

It's absolutely brilliant and I can't top it. Of all the infinite possibilities that the vast nature of the universe allows me, I simply can't beat a mind-controlling army of emotionally complicated slugs. And neither can anyone else. Just watch Doctor Who. The arch enemies of that show are goofy-ass robots with high-pitched nerd voices.


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