> He possesses more of what you would call ‘innate
> intelligence,’ but he has not perfected the mechanical brain through
> whose operation this innate intelligence can be transmitted to
> others and, applied for practical advantage.
TOM: Oh, c’mon, how many people do you know perfect mechanical brains?
CROW: Joel did!
> Now this creature that I am using is, as you might say, full of
> sound without meaning.
JOEL: How we might say? How would you say?
> His brain is a lumber-room in which he has
> hoarded a conglomeration of clever and appropriate word-forms with
> which to disguise the paucity of his ideas, with which to express
CROW: Um …
> Yet the very abundance of the material in his storeroom
> furnishes a discriminating mind with excellent tools for the
> transportation of its ideas into other minds.
TOM: [ Professor Ralston ] Are you calling me stupid?
JOEL: [ As Amoeba ] I’m saying you have an abundance of deficiencies!
TOM: [ Professor Ralston ] Well … okay then.
> "Know, then, that I am not here by accident.
CROW: I had long and fully planned to land my flying saucer at a 50 degree angle in the middle of this corn silo!
> I am a Space Wanderer,
> an explorer from a super-universe whose evolution has proceeded
> without variation along the line of your amoeba.
TOM: Look, I don’t want to nitpick.
JOEL: Of course you don’t, honey.
TOM: Just, ‘evolution’ or ‘variation’, which of those words aren’t they using right?
> Your evolution, as
> I perceive from an analysis of the brain-content of your professor,
> began its unfoldment in somewhat the same manner as our own.
CROW: With cartoons of fish stepping up on land.
> But in
> your smaller system, less perfectly adjusted than our own to the
> cosmic mechanism, a series of cataclysms occurred.
JOEL: Does this involve blowing up the moon and jolting Earth into a new orbit?
> In fact, your
> planetary system was itself the result of a catastrophe, or of what
> might have been a catastrophe, had the two great suns collided whose
> near approach caused the wrenching off of your planets.
CROW: And if their diplomats weren’t able to find a face-saving solution to the crisis.
> From this
> colossal accident, rare, indeed, in the annals of the stars, an
> endless chain of accidents was born, a chain of which this specimen,
> this professor, and the species that he represents, is one of the
> weakest links.
TOM: Is Lilith Lorraine getting back at one of her professors?
CROW: Show *you* to give me a B *minus*.
> "Your infinite variety of species is directly due to the variety of
> adaptations necessitated by this train of accidents.
JOEL: If only no planets had formed then we’d all be amoebas!
> In the
> super-universe from which I come, such derangements of the celestial
> machinery simply do not happen.
CROW: Amoeba-boy’s getting a little snobby there.
> For this reason, our evolution has
> unfolded harmoniously along one line of development, whereas yours
> has branched out into diversified and grotesque expressions of the
TOM: Why, thank you for noticing!
> Your so-called highest manifestation of this
> principle, namely, your own species, is characterized by a great
> number of specialized organs.
CROW: Is … is Amoeba-boy talking about breasts?
JOEL: Oy, aliens, always like this …
> Through this very specialization of
> functions, however, you have forfeited your individual immortality,
> and it has come about that only your life-stream is immortal. The
> primal cell is inherently immortal, but death follows in the wake of
TOM: Also in the wake of being eaten by a bear. Just saying.
> We, the beings of this amoeba universe, are individually immortal.
CROW: So there’s no escape from Great-Aunt Carol and her inappropriate questions.
> We have no highly specialized organs to break down under the stress
> of environment. When we want an organ, we create it.
TOM: From … ?
JOEL: Never you mind!
> When it has
> served its purpose, we withdraw it into ourselves.
CROW: We draw the shades and hide from neighbors.
> We reach out our
> tentacles and draw to ourselves whatsoever we desire. Should a
> tentacle be destroyed, we can put forth another.
JOEL: Our contests of rock-paper-scissors can take years to decide!
> "Our universe is beautiful beyond the dreams of your most inspired
TOM: So neener neener neener on you.
> Whereas your landscapes, though lovely, are stationary,
> unchangeable except through herculean efforts, ours are Protean,
> eternally changing.
CROW: [ As an onlooker ] Get me the one they call Heraclitus.
> With our own substance, we build our minarets
> of light, piercing the aura of infinity.
TOM: Your buildings are made out of people?
> At the bidding of our
> wills we create, preserve, destroy — only to build again more
JOEL: It’s all great fun except when you’re signed up to be the sewer this week.
> "We draw our sustenance from the primates, as do your plants,
CROW: Are they telling us that ferns eat apes?
TOM: That’s how I make it out, yeah.
> and we
> constantly replace the electronic base of these primates with our
> own emanations,
JOEL: Your ferns charge up apes?
CROW: Even for aliens these are kinda weird mamma-jamas.
> in much the same manner as your nitrogenous plants
> revitalize your soil.
TOM: [ Onlooker ] “Um … are you completely sure you landed on the right planet here?”
> "While we create and withdraw organs at will, we have nothing to
> correspond to your five senses.
CROW: Though we have a perfect match for your Five Mrs Buchanans!
> We derive knowledge through one
> sense only, or, shall I say, a super-sense?
JOEL: We know everything through our hyperdimensional sense of taste!
TOM: Thus we travel the cosmos finding things to lick!
> We see and hear and
> touch and taste and smell and feel and know, not through any one
> organ, but through our whole structure.
CROW: You’re making this creepy, Amoe-boy.
> The homogeneous force of
> our omni-substance subjects the plural world to the processing of a
> powerful unity.
TOM: Dilute, dilute, okay?