I am a total Earthling. By that I mean I am entirely used to this planet’s environment.
Here’s a small example:
One day I was out on my morning walk, and up ahead a wood pigeon sprang into the air and started flying toward me. With a 30-inch wingspan, it’s a fairly big bird. But I didn’t flinch. I knew that the bird, very common in my neighborhood, had no interest in messing with me. It would swerve with plenty of time.
Think of all the other potentially scary if not genuinely dangerous natural wonders we encounter on a normal day, such as a bee, dog, or cactus – to say nothing of technology.
Right now I’m writing a novel about Earthlings on another planet. How can they know if what looks like a bird or a mere stick of wood is really harmless? Well, they can’t, and not all of them are as brave as they need to be.
— Sue Burke