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Earthlings for Dummies - Chapter 1: How Easy it Is to be Human

by Elfboy, LadyGemstone

"So this is the place," I mutter to myself as I look out the viewport of my shuttle, drifting lazily toward the beautiful green planet. I can practically smell the humans there already-- At least, what I imagine they smell like, carbon dioxide with a nitrogen after-burn. The plentiful water on their planet reminds me of home... I think for a moment of the perfect blue planet I left behind, all my friends-- Well, not friends per se, but colleagues, anyway-- who are now untold lenics away from me. It makes me sad for a moment, but as I glance over to my book, Earthlings for the Average Quiznarp by Dr. Zaylr, I shake it off and grin. Earth is where I really belong, and I'm going to enjoy my trip there as much as I can, with no regrets.

I sigh. Breaking the atmosphere of the planet will take a nauseating ride. My stomach, like most of my body, is soft, and perhaps not meant to be jiggled this much. Yet I will not deny my curiosity, and I cannot deny physics. I hold my breath and plunge my steering lever down.

Despite my being braced, the forward movement is still far faster than I can call comfortable. It takes mere seconds before I enter the planet's atmosphere, which I hit with a shocking jolt that sends my amorphous body quivering. Perhaps I should have taken the form of something more durable before embarking on this part of the journey, but it is too late now. My capsule grows warmer and warmer as my shuttle descends, and I wonder for a moment if the heat might kill me before the shaking does. Closing my eyes as tight as I can, I curl my tail around the rest of my body and hope for the best.

Maybe I shouldn't have bought the shuttle that was on discount. I shake my head. The surface of this world is jumping up at my face at a rate of at least thirty lenics an hour, and I turn the vessel towards the water, which, to my surprise, looks larger the closer to it I go. The book says this planet is less than twenty percent water. Strange... I suppose the book may not be correct. I'm sure it is just this one thing; Books are always correct. I must remember to send a hologram to Zaylr once I get back home. My thoughts are interrupted as the vessel hits the water and bounces back up to the surface, floating. I wonder in which atmospheric layer I left my stomach.

I sit for a moment, stunned by the impact. And then it slowly dawns on me-- I'm on Earth! For the first time in my life, in all of my people's history, one of our kind is actually on Earth. I press the button to unseal the capsule, and as the hatch hisses open, I squeeze out out of the capsule-- I want to breathe the earthly air.

My senses are assaulted as I wriggle free of my shuttle. The first thing I notice is the burning sensation on my skin as I touch the water, followed by the harsh scent of the air. I am not so sure that I will be able to swim to shore in this saline substance. I may need to activate the sailing mode on my shuttle. It's pretty solidly cloaked, as the earthlings are known to shoot at foreign objects. Still, it may be seen from the shoreline. I sigh and climb back into my ship, attempting to steer unseen to the nearest shore.

As I slide back into a comfortable position, I check the silvery blue scanner mounted to my flipper for wildlife. I see large gatherings of the humans on the various beachfronts, all a few lenics away. I'm searching for something more remote, yet close enough to their cities that I won't have to wiggle to far on land. I locate a small cove about a quarter lenic away from my current position. I decide that will do and steer towards it, no one notices me as I climb ashore. Looking about, I don't see any humans on the surrounding stretch of beach. Good, I suppose, considering that I have no idea what their reaction would be to my unaltered form. I see a structure, a building that looks slightly deteriorated, yet it could be of use. I wander in that direction.

As I move toward the structure, I ponder what quiznarp of a human named the thing. They call it a 'building,' but construction was finished long ago-- Shouldn't they call it a 'built?' I decide to adopt the term, as it's far more logical. Perhaps I can improve on humanity, as well as observe it! Once I am inside,I realize this built is darker than I expected and my eyes are not adjusted. I keep walking without concern. That is, until I hit my face. Then, I'll admit, I grow slightly concerned. Whatever I hit wobbles a moment from the impact, then falls down with a crash. Still too dim to see much, I slide over to the object to get a better look. It's oddly shaped, with a central trunk that branches off to several protrusions-- Five, I think, a short round one on top, and four longer ones to either side and on the bottom.

It takes me a moment to determine what this strange thing is, and then I remember what I read in my book about humans, and the description matches what Dr. Zalyr said he thought they'd look like. A thrill quivered through my body-- I just touched a human! Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to mind, it just continues to lie there stiffly, unmoving. I am not even sure that it is breathing. Unfazed, I beam and begin my transformation, my limbs lengthening and my portly body elongating, my antennae shrinking back and my muscle mass reducing and bones forming. Even my scanner adjusted to my new form, enlongating and stretching to fit what was now my wrist. I am not any longer a mass of muscle, I am now a vertebrate. I attempt to stand, flailing around and falling over; this body is very different.

As I struggle to control this strange body enough to stand, I get a better look at the human who lays on the floor in front of me. It's even stranger than I imagined them looking, with plastery white skin and an incredibly stiff posture. I look to its face and notice its strange lack of features, only smooth indents and bevels where the olfactory and visual organs are located. Feeling over my own new face, I find it to be identical-- Just the way I want it. Now I'm one of them, and they'll never notice that I'm not really human!

I look around, wondering if there would be anything else I need in here... ah! Humanoids are constantly wrapped in textiles! I pick up an oddly fuzzy textile from the floor surface and wrap myself in it. Though the top side is pleasantly soft, the bottom is coated in some rubbery material, probably to help it stick to my skin.Though not particularly comfortable to my tastes, this should suffice. I look around some more and find other pretty things: brightly colored quadrilaterals and elongated rectangles splashed with floral patterns. I'm attracted to the dazzling hues, much brighter than anything from my homeworld. I drape them over my shoulders. I am not sure what any of them are used for, are they ritualistic wear? My people have no use for these things. Do they eat them? They do not taste edible. I hope that they do not-- If they do, I do not wish to vacation here much longer. But, before I conclude anything, I must test how well I have done. I am entirely humanoid now. I am sure I will be accepted.

I glance back at the human on the floor, momentarily concerned-- Why was it just lying there? Then I recall what Dr. Zaylr wrote about the human state called 'sleep,' and decide that must be what was happening. It was hard to track, this 'sleep' thing, from our asteroid satellite monitoring earth, so Dr. Zalyr could not write much about it. I must remember to mention it in my travel logs once I find out more. I exit the built, still moving a little clumsily, but I am starting to get the hang of this 'walking' thing. Now that I'm sure they will accept me, I feel I must go out to interact with them. But where will they be? I remember seeing some further down the beach when I first landed, so I head in that direction, eager to meet these humans I've always dreamt of meeting. Though it's only been a few hours, this is already the best vacation ever. 

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6 Reviews

Points: 0
Reviews: 6

Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:27 am
DarthUbera wrote a review...

Now that that is out of the way well done. An interesting commentary on not just Humanity as a whole but how we perceive aliens. Id love to see how this character would react to watching the movie Alien.
Clever, although I'll admitt some subtleties I had to reread to fully grasp, some more description to give some hints might be in order.
Also did he get from a body of water to a clothing store? How?
But it was a brilliant read, Im curious about the next chapter.

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34 Reviews

Points: 910
Reviews: 34

Sat Apr 11, 2020 5:16 pm
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Elfboy says...

Okay, me and Gem did a little rewriting to clarify some things. We tried to make it clearer that the 'sleeping' human is a mannequin, and we made sure for Bob to mention his name, along with a few other minor fixes. I'm going to tag everyone who expressed interest below:

@EverLight, @Necromancer14, @HGsomeone, @Gravitem, @FlamingPhoenix, @Hkumar, @felistia, @LewisPencastle2, @Stellabeam

I like the fix up, its much better! Great job you guys!

I like the fix up, its much better! Great job you guys!

LadyGemstone says...


felistia says...

I like the change. It's much clearer. :D

HGsomeone says...

The story's looking good :)

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518 Reviews

Points: 8346
Reviews: 518

Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:50 am
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felistia wrote a review...

Hi EthanHoover, Felistia here with a review for you. :D

Before I begin let me apologies. It's been awhile since I've reviewed anything and I might be a bit rusty.


The only nit-pick I have was regarding the human. I've read the previous reviews and it turns out it's a mannequin. I wouldn't have guessed that from the description. My only suggestion is to maybe expand the description around that part a little.

Overall thoughts

Chapter plot: I quite like the premise of this book. It's not something I've read before, but I'm enjoying it so far. There were a few points in this chapter where you got a chuckle out of me. I can't go into depth regarding the story plot so far being that it's only chapter one, bit I can see how your main character could get into many fun situations. Now that I know the human was a mannequin I'm quite looking forward as to how the humans are going to interact with that. Could be funny.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't catch the main characters name? He seems like an interesting character and I'll looking forward to seeing his adventures on earth. I love how he's already decided that buildings should be called built. That got me laughing a bit.


The description over all was pretty good. I loved the part where the ship was entering the atmosphere. The description of how your main character felt was great. I felt quite sorry for him. The only part where I was having trouble picturing the scene was once he entered the building. I know it was supposed to be dark so that might be why you kept it a little vague. Over all though it was great.

Overall it was a very enjoyable read and I see that you've posted the next chapter so I'm going to head over to have a look. Thank you for posting the story and please tag me for future chapters as I'd like to keep reading. Never stop writing and I hope you have a great day\night. :D

Your friend, Felistia.

Elfboy says...

Hey Felistia! Thanks for the review, it's very helpful. We're trying to re-work the mannequin description, it has confused several people now, so I think we'll try to make it a little more obvious. We already were intending to explain it blatantly later, but that may not be enough. Also, you didn't miss his name-- It's not in the chapter, we didn't find a good place to put it in. It is in the description, though(You know it now, but for anyone else confused, his name is Bob).

Thanks again for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed the book! I saw that you reviewed chapter two, and three will be out soon. We'll tag you when it's published.

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26 Reviews

Points: 228
Reviews: 26

Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:53 pm
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LewisPencastle2 wrote a review...

I think this a really cool premise to start off on, it serves you well because you could really go anywhere with it if you didn't already have an outline for it. It has a lot of opportunity to be unique which you've already utilized in some cases, like the terms he gives things we know differently ("Built" was pretty good) and his comedic interpretation of other things. The only thing I'd say is at the end he mentions how it has only been a few hours, but throughout the chapter there aren't any breaks in time when he gets to earth (at least as it seemed to me) and appears as a continuous scene, which might've only taken up an hour at most. But thats a really insignificant thing and it's a very effective opening chapter overall.

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137 Reviews

Points: 6338
Reviews: 137

Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:57 pm
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Hkumar wrote a review...

It's a nice story being narrated from the perspective of an extraterrestrial who happens to be visiting our planet for some exploration. He sounds really sweet and adorable so far. The way he's describing Earth as per the limited knowledge from that book sounds funny. Also that fact that he thinks books are generally correct, I think he's going to put himself in trouble if he sticks to just the things described in it. Though I must say he was right in saying that we humans are known to shoot any foreign unknown object. I hope he doesn't end up as a permanent resident in Area 51 :p

I liked how he decided to use the word 'built', I mean he did give a rational reason for it lol.
Since he's a shapeshifter and I guess he is going to disguise himself as a human for now. I wonder what kind of look he had chosen.

His first encounter with a human or I should rather say may be statue or something was quite amusing. He assumed that the person was sleeping :) He appears to be so innocent and naive.

I liked your plot and will definitely keep reading your book. I hope there's more humour and adventure for us.
Keep writing :)

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51 Reviews

Points: 68
Reviews: 51

Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:21 pm

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24 Reviews

Points: 2191
Reviews: 24

Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:43 am
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Stellabeam wrote a review...


Oh my! An alien named Bob! I love, love, love the idea behind this story! I think it just delights me that an alien chose the name Bob for itself.

This first installment does really well in introducing Bob, his purpose here on Earth and his first adventures here!

I do have a couple of world building questions for you:

1. Why is Bob the first of his kind to visit earth? If he is the first of his kind how is there already a book by Dr. Zaylr about the planet and the phyisology of humans?

This part confused me a little. I thought either he could be the first to explore and then in turn write the book himself or come from a species of aliens that likes to vacation to Earth perhaps?

Whatever the reason is, be sure to explain it in further chapters!

2. How did they come up the name "Earth" for this strange, new planet? Because from an alien point of view wouldn't they have their own name for it?

3. The part where he ran into the human was a little confusing. Did the human pass out from running into Bob or was he already asleep? I think some clarification could be used here.

Overall, I love it! I would love to stay updated. Good luck and let me know if I wasn't clear on anything.

Elfboy says...

Hey, thanks for the review! The reason the book is so vague is that Zaylr never actually landed on Earth, just watched it from afar. We decided to let them call it Earth, because we didn't want to confuse the reader, and Bob's speaking english anyway, so we didn't change it. Finally, the 'sleeping human' is a display mannequin, I guess that wasn't as clear as we thought. We didn't want to just say 'it was a mannequin," but I guess it might need a little work.

Thanks so much for the review, it was much appreciated!

I wondered why we put villains in our stories when we have plenty of them in real life; then I realized that maybe we wanted stories where the good guy wins.
— nogutsnoglory