Thursday, January 26, 2012


It’s no secret that I enjoy a good science fiction movie.  I don’t even mind the occasional TV show.  Many of them stretch the boundaries of believability with their silliness but occasionally you will find one that takes the subject seriously and somehow manages to remain entertaining.

Even in the great ones though like Close Encounters, aliens are always very humanoid.  That irks me.  In the 60’s they had an excuse.  There was only so alien you can make a person standing in a body suit.  It’s a dance with a delicate balance that the entertainment industry refuses to deviate from.  Even now the aliens are little more than obvious humans in makeup.

When we think back to the first sci-fi inspiring aliens, the grays from Area 51 even they were affected by this either lack of imagination or willingness to take a risk.  Sure they were creepy looking but they too had the standard human body shape.  When you think of strange looking aliens, you can’t help but think ALIENS.  Its not too hard to see the man in the bodysuit there too.  Just a more elaborate one.

On occasion we do get a film that covers other types of life.  Artificial intelligence, alien, animals and such.  It is rare though that we see a creature that is dramatically different from us and somewhat intelligent.  Will humanity always make everything we consider intelligent in our own image?

The more vicious or barbaric the less humanlike they get to be if we go by Star Trek standards which seem to hold even today.

Vulcan - Intelligent with suppressed emotions.  Evident in the brow and ears.
Romulan - Violent but still reasonable. More dramatic brow and ears with some forehead creases.
Klingon - Barbaric and unreasonable.  The least human-like face.

So what am I looking for?  Perhaps I’m hoping for something unexpected, something unbelievable or something that stretches the boundaries of the imagination and not just credulity.  Why MUST it have two legs and two arms?  Even when they get “crazy” they give the alien four arms and consider that wild.  Why must it have any limbs at all?  Why must it have a decipherable alphabet or hieroglyphic scripture?  Religion!??

I think we are very limited in our understanding of how life can evolve.  Throughout one individuals short life so many times the scientific understanding of how life can or cannot exist is turned upside down.  I remember as a youth asking questions about the possibility of life on Mars or other planets and the answers were abrupt and absolute.  “Life cannot exist on Mars because there isn’t any Oxygen.”  Or “The atmosphere of Venus is too corrosive for live to exist.”  Oxygen is also corrosive.

Alien?  Or homeless person?
I want to be able to watch a movie or read a novel where aliens are the unknown.  Where what we witness is new, not just remixes of animals we know.  Shoot some of the creatures we find in the deep ocean look more alien than anything we find coming out of Hollywood.