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Just a few minutes ago I was thinking about old-time armies and how food used to be a problem for them. Why, I don't know. I also don't know why that thought led to this one: that a tactical advantage in that kind of situation to having an army of cannibals would be that food becomes less of an issue - your soldiers can just eat the corpses of their slain enemies. Again, no idea where the hell this all came from. My brain is weird.

Hell, they could eat the corpses of their fallen comrades, too.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
my_real_head
Jan. 19th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
I read some books with that premise, an alien species was slowly taking over the galaxy and treating sentient species as "food sources".

Brr.
fayanora
Jan. 19th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
Reminds me that there's a species of humans in my Mindeodean universe who think of other humans as food. The Mindeodean Empire and their allies, The United Front, keep that species largely isolated to one planet though.
fayanora
Jan. 19th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
That also reminds me of a book I read once, but I can't recall the title or author...
underlankers
Jan. 19th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
Do Bio-Chemical barriers mean anything in that universe?
fayanora
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
Not to mention taste. Biochemistry aside, some aliens probably taste NASTY.
underlankers
Jan. 19th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah.

And for that matter, there's the issue of prettiness =/= to edible. Especially since with things like frogs, the most beautiful ones are the most poisonous....
consortofvenus
Jan. 19th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
A thought: the most pretty one might have fake boobs. Mouth full of silicone, errr. Not that it takes a genius cannibal to check for such things during the 'cleaning' procedure. It makes me wonder, though, what a relatively unprepared cannibal would run into in this day and age.
underlankers
Jan. 19th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Eh.....it's worth noting that every person alive today has a form of genetic protection against major issues with cannibalism. Every single one, even members of isolated groups like the Andaman Islanders. Our ancestors did not exactly have the most pleasant or happy time of it, given that humans were as willing evidently to prey on our kind as we were on megafauna.
consortofvenus
Jan. 19th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Dude. That genetic protection is interesting. I had no idea.
fayanora
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
They're going to have to explain that one to me, because it sounds like BS to me, since a disease similar to mad cow disease is caused by cannibalism. Prions in the bodies which can't be cooked away, since prions are abnormal proteins. In fact, mad cow disease *is* caused by cannibalism - humans were putting cow parts in the cow feed, like ground up cow bones for calcium. Hence, mad cow disease.
fayanora
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
You're going to have to explain what you mean, because I know for a fact there's a disease among cannibals similar to mad cow disease, that is caused by cannibalism. Prions cause the disease. In fact, mad cow disease is from humans putting cow parts in the cow feed.
fayanora
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Indeed.
my_real_head
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Apparently not. Most sentient life were oxygen-breathing bipeds or quadrupeds with similar biochemistry.

That did irk me a bit too... the authors (David Weber and Steve White, books were _In Death Ground_ and _The Shiva Option_) operated within practical limits regarding the speed of light (aside from the stable wormholes), recognized that interspecies language barriers extended to the problem of reproducing the other species' sounds, controls and ergonomics are wildly different to the point where visual spectrums need to be accounted for, and that different species may have difficulty in different gravities and air pressures, but somehow they could pretty much all eat the same food. Alcohol had a similar effect on non-Terrans as well.

Oh, and one of the species couldn't see two-dimensional displays, requiring the use of "holotanks". I suppose they never had written language until the advent of the computer, too.
fayanora
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
In my Traipah storyverse, there are some Traipahni foods humans can eat and others that most people are deathly allergic to. It's a wonder there's anything there humans can eat, Traipahni biochemistry being so vastly different from Earth's. The Ah'Koi Bahnis are the only other humanoid species in that storyverse - they look almost exactly like us, and no one can quite figure out why, when other alien species are either "starfish aliens" or completely radical things; one planet yielded giant sentient molecules that resemble large puddles of mercury.

Also, Ah'Koi Bahnis (and I assume other Traipahni species) can drink alcohol without it affecting them at all. It's caffeine that makes them drunk.

Vaguely related is a factoid from Babylon 5, that alcohol had a very bad effect on Mimbari, making them behave like rampaging monsters. Oh wait, that's different from how it affects humans how? ;-)

Oh, and one of the species couldn't see two-dimensional displays, requiring the use of "holotanks". I suppose they never had written language until the advent of the computer, too.

How completely absurd. Although... they could have had something similar to braille. Yeah, that could work.
underlankers
Jan. 19th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
Why was it a problem for them? First, subsistence agriculture could barely feed people in peacetime. Second, armies have lots of full-grown men, and in the old days at least in the West you had Noah's Ark armies where maybe 85% of it wasn't even from the area. Third, logistics have always been key to warfare, the idiots focus on strategy or tactics, the geniuses focus on logistics.

As to an army of cannibals-actually, cannibalism did play a role in old-school siege warfare when the enemy was reduced to it to keep themselves fed. And of course in Palaeolithic times *all* human and related species of bipedal apes were cannibals.
consortofvenus
Jan. 19th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Where did you get that all humans and related species were cannibals? I'm very curious. As far as I knew a lot of carnivores will not eat each other, let alone their own species.
consortofvenus
Jan. 19th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Even chimps only do it rarely. Then again, rats and chimps do it and they're more like us than, say, wolves and lions in diet.
kengr
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
Fay, logistics is always important.

I *know* you watched Connections with me.

Consider that most foods (back in the old days) couldn't be stored easily. The ones that could (grain, beans, maybe salted or smoked meat) would not provide a balanced diet.

Alas, food is bulky and heavy. The few ways of preserving fruit and veggies before 1800 make them much heavier and bulkier.

You need a *lot* of food for an army. And you need wagons to haul it, animals to move the wagons, and food for those animals (no, you can't feed them by grazing. Not if they are doing heavy work)

You reach a point where you have more support people, animals and wagon than troops.

So "foraging" (spreading to the troops to steal food from the civilians in the area) becomes necessary. And if you are up against people like the Russians, they'll just strip the farms and burn the fields.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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