Science Fiction often tantalizes us with aliens. This can prove a difficult balance, as readers need to understand these entities in order to respond intellectually and emotionally to them. If we are to see them as more than animals, they must demonstrate enough aspects of civilized behavior that we identify them as sentient beings. Yet, to be interesting, they cannot be too human or understandable either. Otherwise, why read stories about aliens in the first place?
In the Sutton Bank Visitor Center of the North York Moors National Park, a member of the staff saw me photographing this statue. She told me that bronze sculptures had adorned the metal rung that surrounds the wood. Due to the theft of some of these, the rest had been taken down, and the wooden statue moved inside to prevent further vandalism. The artist, Chris Kelly, had worked with local school children to produce these pieces. His intentions are to recast all of them in resin, those stolen as well as those remaining. Unfortunately, the preparatory drawings for some of those stolen appear to be lost, so not all the artwork is replaceable.
Official supposition is that the sculptures were scavenged for their scrap value, not because the thieves intended to sell them to beautify some wealthy collector’s home. Such stories are all too common, and to me, incomprehensible. Thieves who rip newly laid wiring from civic improvement projects, or who take basic copper architectural details from recently built homes: while no such acts are justifiable, I suppose I can just get my head around that. But for someone to steal irreplaceable artwork, creations crafted with love and care, that excite the senses, that invigorate the mind, that delight those who behold such creations…and then to sell them to be crushed or melted down….
Doesn’t that sound to you like a truly alien mind?
Pondering the incomprehensible,