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Mar 20, 2016

SIHA 2016: Nominations

humanoid
We're almost a quarter of the way through 2016, so today I set forth into the interwebs in search of interesting aliens. It looks mighty bleak out there.

I came into 2016 with a hope that The X-Files season 10 might reveal something interesting about Chris Carter's brand of perpetually incompetent alien invaders, but that was a wash. Maybe Carter is hoping for a bigger alien CGI budget in season 11.

"aliens could be as different from us as we are from the trilobites"

Terminus
The film Terminus has an interesting approach to alien contact, but (I've not seen it) I see no evidence that the film tells us anything interesting about aliens. Maybe Terminus is an Australian rip-off of Childhood's End. Given the grim tone of the trailer, I doubt if Clarke would be flattered by the imitation.

Artificial Life
the monolith in 2001
I suspect that the folks in Hollywood have a serious problem with how to imagine and depict extraterrestrial artificial life forms. Stanley Kubrick just used a black box, which was pretty boring.

Beyond the issue of physical form looms the larger question of intent. If an extraterrestrial artificial life form came to Earth across vast interstellar distances, how would it interact with us? Unlike the situation depicted in Terminus, what if an extraterrestrial artificial life form came to Earth long ago? The answer given in 2001 was boring: the alien device somehow "stimulated" human evolution, then did nothing for a million years.

Of course, if you create a science fiction story in which aliens arrived on Earth long ago and they did not have a "hands-off" policy, then you have to explain why these meddling aliens are invisible to the poor bumbling Earthlings. There are many possible answers to this question and I wish the folks in Hollywood would put them up on the screen, particularly interesting ones, not the kinds of idiotic dystopian ones that are so popular these days.

Story of Your Life
 Story of Your Life (Arrival) will reach theaters in 2016. It will be interesting to see how the intentions of these aliens are portrayed by screen writer Eric Heisserer.

Hopefully there will be some solid science and fun investigative science fiction in Story of Your Life. Can Hollywood invent a sensible reason for alien interest in Earth or will the aliens just show up and provide an excuse to make a movie?

"Arrival isn't really about aliens. It's about people" um... that does not not sound good

Just Sayin'
Alien tourists visit Earth: an old science fiction plot returning in a film adaptation of 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties'. I have no expectation that anything good will come from this, but it is triggering flashbacks to Earth Girls Are Easy. Let's get David Bowie spinning in his grave.

Search for Interesting Hollywood Aliens (SIHA).
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Next blog post: in search of the first science fiction author
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