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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Creating Alien Aliens, Part 9: Aliens In OUR Solar System?

Five decades ago, I started my college career with the intent of becoming a marine biologist. I found out I had to get a BS in biology before I could even begin work on MARINE biology; especially because there WEREN'T any marine biology programs in Minnesota.

Along the way, the science fiction stories I'd been writing since I was 13 began to grow more believable. With my BS in biology and a fascination with genetics, I started to use more science in my fiction.

After reading hard SF for the past 50 years, and writing hard SF successfully for the past 20, I've started to dig deeper into what it takes to create realistic alien life forms. In the following series, I'll be sharing some of what I've learned. I've had some of those stories published, some not...I teach a class to GT young people every summer called ALIEN WORLDS. I've learned a lot preparing for that class for the past 25 years...so...I have the opportunity to share with you what I've learned thus far. Take what you can use, leave the rest. Let me know what YOU'VE learned. Without further ado...


There have been discussions regarding aliens in our own Solar System since before HG Wells penned WAR OF THE WORLDS in 1897. In that classic, the aliens are from Mars and though we conceivably have the same basis for life, DNA, we still don’t understand the aliens.

I might point out that the MARTIANS don’t understand alien life either!

Sarah Zettel postulates not only do Humans live in the clouds of Venus, but there was an ancient alien civilization on the surface…an now another set of aliens are looking for a new home…The Sabre Project of the short film, “Mindslaughter” has Humans terraforming Venus in a flash and discovering too late that the millipede-like aliens had not only an underground society, but had written records. There are of course, the series of Venusian adventures of ER Burroughs.

CS Lewis saw aliens on Perelandra and Malacandra (Venus and Mars to us), as wildly varied as life on Earth – but entirely different spiritually. Where Humanity had it’s Adam and Eve moment and FAILED the test, Mars passed it and Venus is on “the night before the exam”. AC Clarke had aliens on Mercury.

In fiction, Jupiter and its moons host alien life as well, as do Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto/Charon/et al. There are alien worlds likely beyond the edge of the Solar System and into the near-interstellar Oort Cloud.

So, what ABOUT alien life in the Solar System? What ABOUT us ignoring it because it doesn’t conform to what we’ve decided “alien life” should be. STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and most of the UFO (or now, officially, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, or UAPs) community are determined to believe that life out there is basically just like life here…except the fact is that, we haven’t even explored HERE to any extent and we’re already postulating Interstellar (or even Intergalactic!) Civilizations without even making an attempt at discovering life as we do/don’t know it right here.

We’re more-or-less sure that there are no detectable radio signals coming from any of the planets in the SS, except for ones we’re sending back ourselves. But, what about OTHER kinds of signals?

NO: I CATEGORICALLY REJECT TELEPATHIC POWERS AS ANYTHING BUT A PLOT DEVICE FOR STORIES THAT WON’T WORK WITHOUT IT…I’m (kinda) sorry, but I don’t allow my little kids to do it in the Alien Worlds class I teach (for recent article I wrote on it, go here: https://theworkandworksheetsofguystewart.blogspot.com/2020/11/ideas-for-how-to-teach-writing-class.html). I’m neither going to use it myself nor believe that the only way we’re be able to communicate with intelligent alien life is by certain people being able to “thought talk”… (Have you ever thought of how incredibly complex talking to another HUMAN would be telepathically? How would you keep your thoughts to yourself? Could they randomly go wandering around inside your head? And what language would people THINK in? STAR TREK’s “Devil In the Dark” came close to almost making it realistic when Spock telepathically tried to talk to the Mother Horta and only got searing waves of PAIN!)

Anyway, how about we see if we can contact aliens on Earth? How about ones that your local chapter of Save Whatever Animal You Want To routinely point out that are near-Human intelligence? Chimpanzees? What about communicating with Elephants? (If aliens like Vulcans, Endomorphs, Hutts, Heptapods – and all the other ones get to have capitalized names, then Dolphins, Chimpanzees, (both of which weren’t all that smart and needed our intervention to Uplift in David Brin’s Uplift novels…) Dogs, Cats, Elephants, and the rest some people believe are practically Human…should be our priority for communication.

But except for a few freaky gorillas and chimps and dolphins whom we’ve taught pidgin forms of English, we honestly don’t CARE about communicating with them, not on any real level.

We want the Wookies! Show us the Andorians! Send us ET! Lemme talk to the Worm Aliens! Where is Optimus Prime? Maybe the Great Gazoo? Fine then, where’s Superman? One of the Lantern Corps aliens? OK, I’ll take the Pug…

But, no. I honestly don’t think we’re ready! We’re not even interested in talking to the aliens on Earth, and the Benevolent All-Mind sees that. Aliens from around the Solar System, Alpha Centauri A, the Near Stars, or the Orion Arm don’t seem interested in chatting with us…or even invading us for that matter! We’re left blinking wide-eyed and looking up to the night sky and wondering if Fermi was right: “In the summer of 1950 with fellow physicists Edward Teller, Herbert York, and Emil Konopinski, while walking to lunch, the men discussed recent UFO reports and the possibility of faster-than-light travel. The conversation moved on to other topics, until during lunch Fermi allegedly said suddenly, ‘But where is everybody?’”

Were, indeed. Perhaps, people, the aliens are right here in our zoos…

Below, please find a bit of help in tracking down Alien Aliens In Our Own Solar System:
Mercury – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_in_fiction
Venus – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_in_fiction
Mars – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_in_fiction
Jupiter and its Moons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_in_fiction
Saturn and its Moons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_in_fiction
Uranus and its Moons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranus_in_fiction
Neptune and its Moons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neptune_in_fiction
Trans-Neptunian Objects – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluto_in_fiction, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Neptunian_objects_in_fiction
Image: https://image.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/alien-human-600w-136457129.jpg



Guy Stewart is a husband supporting his wife who is a multi-year breast cancer survivor; a father, father-in-law, grandfather, foster father, friend, writer, and recently retired teacher and school counselor who maintains a writing blog by the name of POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS (https://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/) where he showcases his opinion and offers his writing up for comment. He has 72 stories, articles, reviews, and one musical script to his credit, and the list still includes one book! He also maintains GUY'S GOTTA TALK ABOUT BREAST CANCER & ALZHEIMER'S, where he shares his thoughts and translates research papers into everyday language. In his spare time, he herds cats and a rescued dog, helps keep a house, and loves to bike, walk, and camp. He thinks out loud in print at: https://faithandsciencefiction.blogspot.com/


2 comments:

Arisia said...

Question: ... um ... I'm finding it difficult to put my question into words ... I'm not intending to be flippant or disrespectful, but how would you class God? Is he alien? How does he communicate with us? Does he sometimes use telepathy?

Lately I've been thinking about the theology of time travel, and now that you've brought it up, I probably need to add the theology of telepathy. As a gift from God.

GuyStewart said...

Hmmm...I've never thought of that!

Obviously, God speaks to us; rarely out loud, but the Bible and some people I've known and met have physically heard God speak (Mary heard the angel speak to her about her pregnancy by the Holy Spirit); but I don't think I have heard God speak out loud.

So, is God alien? Yes, by definition. Is God AN alien...is He a life form? If so, "yes", if NOT, "no". Is telepathy how God speaks to us? Tentatively, and by definition, yes. I like thinking of it as a gift from God! Another question though, is it ONLY between God and us; or can it be between Human and Human or Alien and Human? Thanks for the thoughts! I'll be mulling this for a while!