The Red Pelted Giant

Red Pelted Giant by Dave MelvinThis is half story concept, and half alien idea, as I found the images of this creature in Dave Melvin’s gallery (when I found images of the  Cloud Grazer):

I started to wonder how a ‘Red Pelted Giant’ like this could fit into a story. Here’s the description from the artist:

The word “Enormous” only insults this majestic roamer, whose mass is deceptively lighter than its appearance. The Red Pelt’s long arms and fused fingers allow her to travel while making the least impact on the Earth, who these ancient creatures worship and respect with a deep admiration. Usually active between the hours of dusk or dawn, these gentle giants stir a sense of awe and wonder in all who happen to see them, before they disappear back into the Earth’s lower mantle where it is believed they come from.

It’s definitely not a malicious beast, which makes it slightly unusual in science fiction. The usual trope is that we find a giant sci-fi monster and everyone screams and goes “Argh, kill it, kill it!” But this beast is peaceful, it’s even gone out if it’s way to evolve thin appendages to carefully tip-toe around without causing any damage or leaving giant footprints.

So imagine the scene, and this could be the start of your story. We’re on a world where these creatures are normal, they tip-toe around us each dawn or dusk, peacefully above our heads while we go about our daily business. It’s no more abnormal than seeing a squirrel on the way to work, it brings a smile to people’s faces because these creatures are a symbol of hope. Already I can imagine this in my head, and it feels like a pretty special concept. But it doesn’t have any drama, we need something to happen to make this a story, so perhaps this happens:

Something out of the ordinary happens. One of the creatures attacks a city. With one swipe of its hand it’s dealt huge amounts of damage. Unfortunately that’s the end of allowing these beasts to peacefully walk above us. Mankind has to retaliate, by either exterminating or keeping them away from the large cities. Walls aren’t big enough, so heavy weaponry is needed. Dozens of these magical peaceful creatures lay dead, and people feel pretty sad about it, but allow it to continue.

But then our protagnist finds that the creature who first attacked was provoked somehow. Some sort of Human action caused the creature to attack, perhaps the usually gentle creature was mind-controlled? Or perhaps provoked by mankind first destroying its home (if you want to go down the nature-loving hippy route). Maybe a further revelation of the motive reveals that someone profits from the extinction of these creatures, perhaps their bodies are rich in fuel?

The formerly-gently giants could fight back, and a bloody war rages over each town. With much damage, and the gigantic dead bodies falling onto highly populated areas. Perhaps the initial attack was the mischievous doings of nearby aliens, provoking trouble so they’re met with little resistance when they eventually invade after the dust settles.

A different twist to this story could be that the gentle creatures are transformed somehow into more monstrous creatures, via some sort of virus perhaps. They would turn into giant creatures of destruction.

Monster on a moon

Artwork by Dave Melvin.

Article by David Ball.

  • James Pailly

    Perhaps there is some natural cycle that alters their behavior, kind of like the changing of the seasons. Imagine if their mating season were somehow tied to the 11 year cycle of the Sun. We might share their planet with them for several years before observing this behavior.

  • Christmas Snow

    There are some interesting story lines and side-stories serving as a background for a fantasy/scifi story, given that this is a description adequate to a herbivore.

    The large size and migratory behavior has a parallel in our world, when we look at whales and whale-sharks, for instance: A community of parasites (Giant lice?), followed by that of their predators, the so-called “cleaners” of nature, feeding on them and providing proper hygiene for their home-creature. Their back is a safe-haven for nesting avian. A fur thick enough may even trap moisture and seeds may even germinate and grow into shrubs… A complete ecosystem! A classical speculative biology example is the “Grove-back” of Darwin IV by Wayne Barlough. I can imagine tribal communities building a small village on the back of a giant, complete with a fruit-and-vegetable garden… 🙂

    The creature, however, is unlikely to “tip-toe”, as the toes would poke into the ground and make walking cumbersome. They do not support the weight at these size scales.

    The explanation for the story: “One of the creatures attacks a city” Walks over it, more likely: Anything man-made structure that blocks its migration path in search of food is a call for trouble. Unable to walk over the houses without killing anyone, unable to eat from the fields without being shot is a good start for the plot. Humanity has to adapt, and ingenious ways of coping are constantly tested. Maybe the safest place is… on the creature’s back.