Monday, August 29, 2016

The Navajo Influences on the Aliens in Sons of Taldra

The Taldra novels happen in an alternate reality, with Valchondria as a parallel to Earth. In Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure, I refer to an alien race attacking the second colony ship from Valchondria. It was part of the reason the Valchondrians shut down the space program a thousand years ago and banned contact outside their atmosphere.

For the sequel, Sons of Taldra, I wanted to go back and explore that race. And why not make them shapeshifters who attack Valchondria? The idea of a past encounter with shapeshifting beings in the past sounded like Native American mythology, and I found that reading more of it helped me flesh out the invaders.

Though the spelling varies, yee naaldlooshii is a Navajo term for skinwalkers; it means “with it, he goes on all fours.” These creatures can take any animal form. They have glowing eyes and actually enter into people’s bodies by looking into their eyes. Some aspects of yee naaldlooshii stories appear in the book, though I can’t discuss that too much without spoilers.

I decided to go with the name Naadloosh, singular or plural, with Yee Naaldlooshii as the name of their home world. I limited them to just a few specific forms, but they can usually change at will, like in the Navajo stories. I also added some new twists to them, but again, spoilers.

Shapeshifter tales aren’t limited to the Navajo, but their version became a strong influence on my aliens. Native American storytelling offers rich, important looks at how various tribes explored their universe. Some links follow.

Please also see Why Taldra’s Family is Iroquois and the Degranon/Sons of Taldra glossary. Read about Sons of Taldra at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

AmericanFolklore.Net: Native American Myths

FirstPeople.US: Native American Legends

Google: yee naaldlooshii images

Native American Lore Index

Native American Shape-Shifters of Myth and Legend

Native American Werewolf Legends Presents: Yee Naaldlooshii

Navajo Skinwalker Legend

Skinwalker - Yee Naaldlooshii - He Who Walks on Four Legs

Warpaths2Peacepies: Skinwalker