Trope-a-Day: Exposed Extraterrestrials

Exposed Extraterrestrials: Averted entirely, for reasons as disparate as regulating temperature, protection from environmental hazards, etiquette, and perhaps most significantly of all, pockets. (Literally everyone in the galaxy who isn’t actually sessile has invented pockets, and arguably the ones who are have too, except they call them cabinets.) Even those species (say, the dar-bandal) whose fur privilege takes care of the first three above still wear a Waistcoat of Style for the sake of the pockets.

15 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: Exposed Extraterrestrials

  1. I recall more than one SFnal setting where clothing has become more or less optional, with no need for shoes or warmth and “modesty” is “obsolete” (oh god, all that horrible 70s sf…), and yet there still existed pocket belts and jewelry to signal both rank and style.

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  2. It strikes me that there’s one body plan for whom the “pockets” argument wouldn’t be all that strong: The marsupials and their analogues.

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          • You say that like no one’s been clever enough to think of a solution to that problem in a world where genetic tailoring is as commonplace as suit tailoring.

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              • If that fact is seriously the case in the totality of the Associated Worlds, with all of its love for Awesome But Impractical solutions to esoteric problems us baselines don’t have here, then I can only conclude that they are all suffering from a staggering and otherwise oddly specific blind spot in their collective imagination.

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                • Key word, though: Awesome . (Also: for many biodesigners, elegant.) I think this, along with a few other technological possibilities that probably won’t be showing up either, falls under the cousin trope Kinda Gross, And Impractical . Ain’t no reputable market for that.

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                  • I thought “‘Elegant’ is in the Eye of the Beholder” ’round these parts, and that the Empire is above anti-sophont discrimination on purely subjective grounds 😉

                    Besides: Seriously, no one uses vector-control forcefield micro-generators (for instance) to keep everyday objects dry, dirt-free, and otherwise free from contamination generally? Even outside of this (admittedly very niche) application, I can see such a thing put to use in, say, raincoats (or even for keeping your immaculately-tailored outfit high and dry without having to suffer the indignity of concealing it with a raincoat).

                    And finally:

                    Always made me wonder where those ‘licenced nudists’ kept their spare change.

                    Since the subject was breached, I figured I might as well provide at least one plausible answer.

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                  • Furthermore:

                    (Literally everyone in the galaxy who isn’t actually sessile has invented pockets, and arguably the ones who are have too, except they call them cabinets.)

                    Which seems to imply that someone out there doesn’t have any hang-ups about repurposing parts of their own bodies in order to store and carry things.

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  3. Look, I’m not trying to suggest that my ideas are the only option. I’m not trying to suggest that they’re even a commonplace option, or that there aren’t better alternatives (hovering companion “pack-drones”, Orion’s Arm-style utility brushbots, integrating your important gadgets directly into your body, paying someone to carry all of your gear for you, etc.).

    I’m also not trying to suggest that pockets aren’t useful, or that they’ll be going out of style in the far future — they’re a cheap, simple, and low-tech solution to a common problem, as has been correctly mentioned before in this thread and elsewhere.

    All I’m trying to say is that, with a little imagination and creativity, it’s not impossible to conceive of a solution to how to carry things with you if you don’t want to use belts or pockets for whatever reason or in whatever situation.

    (And that includes situations with clothes as well as without — at least in our world, there’s something of an unspoken rule of etiquette that you don’t put pockets on formalwear — or, even if you do, you don’t use them except for small, thin objects like handkerchiefs and coins — because sticking bulky things in your pockets can spoil the silhouette of your outfit with unsightly stretching and bulging, making your outfit look ill-fitting and you look uncouth.)

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