Abbreviated HFY, Humanity, Fuck Yeah! is both a speculative fiction subgenre and the name of
several social media communities dedicated to accumulating works written in this subgenre. This subgenre (and the large collection of literary tropes inherent to it) is also often called "Humans Are Space Orcs / Humans Are Space Australians," and "Humans Are Weird."
HFY works may be science fiction, fantasy, or any genre which entails human beings encountering or being observed by nonhuman sapient beings, such as elves, aliens, or our own robotic artificial intelligence creations. There are even HFY pieces written from the perspective of ordinary Earth animals, such as house pets attempting to rationalize human behaviour.
HFY tends to fixate on one or several traits of humanity, which are set in contrast to the traits of other races to whom we are compared within the narrative, as a way of demonstrating our sheer alienness by the cultural standards of those races. Likewise, HFY often describes Earth as a "deathworld," a place where the natural phenomena are so punishing that no sane race would ever wish to live here. HFY authors use ostranenie, the literary act of defamiliarization to ordinary phenomena, to present humans in a light which does make the simple fact of our survival throughout history seem a bit absurd and improbable.
HFY usually conveys a positive connotation to its human exceptionalism; humanity is depicted as either very sympathetic or utterly formidable, but rarely are humans depicted in a light that would be found insulting by humans. Even when the alien narrators are clearly trying to give offense, a strong humourous streak is maintained throughout, and when the narrators abjectly fear humans, the narrative usually demonstrates a sufficiently malicious act on the part of the narrators, to explain why humans have just cause for being dangerously hostile.
Some examples of HFY follow:
* Can you believe Earthlings regularly eat poison on purpose? Not just that! They do it for fun.
* Humans are obsessed with fire. They set fires inside their homes, on purpose, and in their ancient past they literally worshiped the fires they set in their houses, as manifestations of a protector goddess. This is completely fucking insane, when you realize that Earth's atmosphere is 21% oxygen.
* Are humans predators or herbivores? I can't tell. They have forward-facing eyes, but their dentition indicates a diet of plants. They don't appear to have any efficient natural weapons, either, but they can run 30 standard units of distance, and some of them do this as a form of entertainment, in celebration of a human who did the same thing and died at the end of the run.
* Humans appear to be incapable of conventional sorcery, but do not allow this to make you complacent! What they lack in magic, they make up for in impressive ingenuity at accelerating small masses of heavy metals to speeds capable of imparting deadly force, and none of our shields can stop them.
* When deploying your nanites to assimilate newly encountered races of sophonts, take special care to first jettison any specimens with bilateral symmetry and only two locomotor appendages. Several creatures with this body plan have demonstrated they already possess aggressive, fully autonomous hunter-killer nanites with organic rather than metallic molecular composition. These hunter-killer nanites have proven effective at disassembling our own components, and the interior pH of these creatures' bodies are detrimental to optimal mechanical function, even in specimens whose hunter-killers have been artificially suppressed. In some specimens, the hunter-killers are so aggressive that they even attack their host in response to innocuous stimuli; we cannot hope to assimilate them under these circumstances.
Humanity, Fuck Yeah! is the optimistic, boisterous answer to Cosmicism, Lovecraftian Horror, and other genres which capitalize specifically on a fundamental existential dread and sense of smallness within the universe. Even if why we matter has more to do with how altogether bizarre we are, and less to do with spiritual or metaphysical beliefs, HFY insists that humans matter. This, more than anything else, sets the genre apart from other branches of speculative fiction.
Edited to add, courtesy of raincomplex: "They're made out of meat" is another one of the terms used frequently in HFY literature. The phrase originates with a work of short fiction by Terry Bisson, published in Omni, 1990.
Iron Noder 2017, 30/30