Goblins, Ogres, and Other Sub-Human Beasties

Brian Rush

Let’s consider another staple of fantasy fiction: brutish goons.

These are creatures that present an ugly caricature of ourselves: goblins, ogres, trolls, giants, and similar creatures. Their depiction involves a certain stretching and distortion of human capability both physical and mental along with a sharp downgrade of human behavior in its moral dimension. Either intelligence or physique is downgraded; if intelligence is low then physical capacity may be superhuman, but certainly not both. Sometimes a sub-human beastie may be as intelligent as a human being or even a little more so in terms of tool-use capacity and low cunning, but shrunken physically. At other times it’s the opposite: the creature is as dumb as a stump, but big and very, very strong. And ugly. And usually hairy, or perhaps scaly. Its social intelligence is far below the human norm even when its technical intelligence is reasonably high; these things can’t…

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About writing underdog

I'm an aspiring writer of fantasy and science fiction. I graduated from a university with a degree in Writing and a minor in Philosophy. I try to learn a little about everything. I hope to update regularly, meaning at least once per week. View all posts by writing underdog

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