The Worst Possible Responses We Could Get From The Stars – A Blast From The Past from August 2013

*With deepest apologies at doing two BFPs today. But we have a fridge being delivered at 7 am, and I was emptying current fridge and freezer till half an hour ago. I promise writing tomorrow – SAH.*

The Worst Possible Responses We Could Get From The Stars – A Blast From The Past from August 2013

The problem of getting into the frame of mind where you want to gore sacred cows is that sooner or later you’re going to run onto the fields of your childhood and gore Betsy, the cow who let you pet her when you were really little.

What I mean is that having started to doubt pretty much all ideas of the seventies and beyond, I find myself doubting some of the ideas that thrilled me to the core when I was an embryonic geek aged twelve or so.

Take for example the search for extraterrestrial life…

I remember how impressed I was when I found something about Voyager and what we’d sent our potential playfellows in space.  It seemed like a wonderful idea.  I mean – we wanted to talk to these people in space, so surely they’d want to talk to us?

Think of the wonderful scientific and philosophical exchange, the things we could never learn while locked in our symmetrical, bi-gender, ape-based bodies.  I mean, we could talk to ammonia-based aliens, reptile-like aliens, or things we couldn’t even imagine, but who would be intelligent and have wonderful secrets to reveal.

Sigh.

Then the seventies came to an end, and the effluvium of drugs saturating western culture receded a little, and we looked down at ourselves and saw that we were wearing bellbottoms and ran to cover them up with fig leaves.

What I mean is, I – alas – grew up and, like many ideas that seemed perfectly wonderful in the seventies, I started having serious doubts about the way we’d gone about searching for extra-terrestrial life.

I wasn’t so jaded, mind, that a few years ago I DIDN’T install SETI on my computer.  (I had to remove it, it made my old laptop very slow.)

But last night the guys and I were discussing the idea of search for extraterrestrial life and I realized how bass ackwards it is to be sending them all this information about us.

I’m, of course, not the first one to come up with this.  One of the reasons I love Independence Day was that the whole movie is a denial of a character’s optimistic statement that “They didn’t come all this way looking for a fight.”

This hooks up with the whole idea of Robert A. Heinlein that serious space exploration will only be undertaken for colonization or hope of colonization and that if some species has survived and become the strongest in the world they are not lotus eaters who like to pet furry bunnies.

More likely, like us, they’re bunny eaters, red in teeth and claw.  And if they are more advanced than us, they might very well also be stronger, meaner and more determined.

The whole idea of aliens being more enlightened, purer, less interested doesn’t seem to be supported by “how species survive.”

Oh, sure, if we really were created by a superior intelligence, who worked directly – and not through natural laws – with the clay of the universe, perhaps some of those beings out there, really are like onto angels.  (Although in at least one telling, angels come in two varieties.  And in others angels range from bloodthirsty to unimaginably vile.  Keep that in mind. If you have A LOT of time to waste, buy yourself a Dictionary of Angels.  Reading one gave me the idea of an eternal life with bureaucracy no one can understand, not even the angels.  No, I’m not writing it.)

BUT if we’re going with scientific principles, chances are that the aliens in Puppet Masters are cuddly and friendly as a puppy compared to the creatures that wait us in space.

So what on Earth possessed us to send them a whole heap of information about ourselves?  And to still look so hard for them with SETI?

… I got nothing.  Judging from the history of Earth, while the Aliens might have a lot to teach us, the most likely for us to learn it is by reading their entrails after we kill them all.  Sadly, that might be the best thing, because otherwise they’ll be reading ours.

Our sending that stuff out to the cosmos might in fact mark us as the “special” class of the cosmos.

Short of the massive force of Independence Day, which at least would make us feel important (as we died) here are some of the more dispiriting messages we could receive back, (and these would be written in English unless otherwise marked.)

–          Okay.  Whatevs.

–          How precious.  Is that the best you can do Buttercup?

–          You call that a civilization?  My kids can build better on a weekend in the backyard.

–          Riiiiiiiight.  Why don’t you stop trolling?  Your supposed information is internally contradictory and no one would be stupid enough to send the key to their civilization to us.

–          Ah!  Funny.

–          Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

–          Pervert!

–          We have filed a restraining order with the Galactic tribunal. Please cease your transmissions.

–          (this one would be in some alien language and it would take us years to decipher to find it says) The over-under on conquering your sorry planet is three minutes.  We’ve sent our invincible armada your way.

–          (This one too, after incredible effort, we’d manage to read and it would say: )  Another one?  Another one?  Why is it that every species that hits this state of development sends out one of these? And they all think they’re so special!  It’s a good thing we have some morals and don’t eat children, or you’d be gone.  PS – Take off those bell bottoms and find some fig leaves.  Have you looked at yourselves in the mirror?

148 thoughts on “The Worst Possible Responses We Could Get From The Stars – A Blast From The Past from August 2013

    1. “I buy planets! I can give you a great price for yours, as-is, and close in a week!” 😛

      “Upgrade your tachyon hypercom service now! No roaming charges within your local galactic cluster!”

  1. “Surrender the top 500 leaders of each of your nations. If you fail to comply, we will hunt them down ourselves using what you call ‘1 kiloton nukes’.”

        1. Oh, I’m sure we all thought of it. Just didn’t post it.

          OTOH incomplete.

          Should have been: “Take our leaders… please.” … “Are you sure you can’t use more? We’ve got more!”

          Then watch the aliens glance at each other and say “Um. Never mind. Bye!” and run away. Dang aliens.

      1. “We give bulk discounts! You want wholesale pricing? We can do that. 90 Saturn days orbits, same as cash. No deposit required!*”

        *No returns allowed, see terms and conditions [on a stone tablet on the surface of Jupiter] for details.

  2. that sooner or later you’re going to run onto the fields of your childhood and gore Betsy, the cow who let you pet her when you were really little.

    Hey, wait a minute! What did you call me? 🤣

  3. I’ve run into people hand-wringing about the Pioneer and Voyager “messages” and, well, as I pointed out then, if anybody finds them within the next thousand years (aay), then they already know we’re here. Most likely to any far flung civilization that finds them, they’ll be the equivalent of the statue in Ozymandius: “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.”

      1. TBF though, if there are aliens, this is not just giving them information. It’s telling them we’re hippie dippie bunnies. It’s like wearing a sign saying “please rob me” in a tough neighborhood.

        1. However, as I tried to get through to the person in that old converastion (which seemed to be a concept they could not grasp) was that anybody finding those probes anytime wihin the next several thousand years will already know. And beyond that? Well, the world will have changed so much that it will, frankly, not matter.

        2. Well, there was a short story about a human FTL spaceship hunting down those old probes to destroy them.

          Mankind had learned that we do live in a touch neighborhood and hunting down those old probes. 😉

          1. One of the favorite pastimes in the game Elite Dangerous is to go out and visit the 2 voyager probes. They have them at the correct positions for the year (3107?) that the game is set. Unfortunately your weapons have no obvious effect on the probes (or so I’m told 🙂 I wasn’t trying to carve my initials in them with my main lasers, no really officer). I think they also have the recent Pluto probe, Don’t know if they have Pioneer 10 . I will note that on one of the probes (voyager 2? been a while since I went) the name on the plaque has worn off so just V, G, E and R are visible, a little in joke…

            1. I don’t think the Pioneer probes were going to exit the solar system (though I could be remembering wrong). Kepler (the Pluto probe), on the other hand, will overtake the Voyagers in just a few years, as it is travelling FAR faster, so in 1,000 years, it will be considerably outside the playing field compared to those two.

              1. Pioneer 10 and 11 are both leaving. In fact, those may be what Sarah came across in the mid-seventies, since the Voyagers weren’t lauched until 1977.

              2. Wayne Elite Dangerous covers the whole Milky Way 🙂 . Although it cleverly instantiates around solar systems. Where the Voyagers are takes about 20 minutes to get to from Sol/Earth. There are 2 classes of FTL travel. Jumps/hyperspace take you essentially instantaneously between two systems. For hyperspace limit of range depends on ship and hardware tops out at ~80 Ly/jump, though 15-20Ly is more common. Essentially you jump, get a hyperspace screen (can you say load screen 🙂 ) and end up near the star(s) in the new system. Local in system travel uses a different method they call supercruise. Some systems (e.g. Alpha/ Proxima Centauri) are very spread out (.22 Ly in the case of Proxima and Alpha Centauri) and so you travel via supercruise where your speed can top out at 2001c (although even on the .22 ly run to proxima centauri you rarely exceed 1800c). Thus the famous Hutton Orbital Run (Hutton Orbital being near Proxima Centauri) that takes ~90 minutes of real time, and yes people do it, gamers can be a bit crazy and it is kind of rite of passage.

              3. Do you mean New Horizons for the Pluto probe? Wiki (yes, I know) lists that, but not Kepler. The same Wiki article also mentions that while New Horizons will eventually pass both Pioneer 10 and 11 (sometime next century for the first one it catches up to), it’s not expected to catch up with the Voyagers.

              1. Elite Dangerous is available on Steam. It’s designed to be played on-line, though you can also play it in an off-line session if you’re not interested in dealing with other players trying to kill you for giggles.

                1. That nonsense is why I don’t even look at games that DON’T offer a way to play solo. I love the Diablo franchise, but so far I haven’t seen that option in Diablo IV, and it’s not going to be on my buy list until it does.

                  1. You can play Elite Dangerous without the other players (private ) or with only specified players (private group). But right now it does require internet connectivity to provide connection to the servers that provide the shared universe. And yeah the Griefers are kind of thick in certain areas…

              2. It plays on PC, Playstation (4&5) and Xbox (one and series X/S). For the PC you can get it through Steam, for consoles from Microsoft and Sony. The version on consoles is NOT contemporary with PC, Frontier Development (Dave Brabens company) has decided to leave the consoles at the last update and not add the Odyssey updates that add First Person shooter/explorer to the exist space ship exploration/combat/mining/trade in the existing game. The latest version takes a moderately hefty PC. If you want a free version of the original Elite (with greatly improved graphics) you might want to look at Oolite (http://www.oolite.org/) that will run on a far more reasonable machine.

          1. I take it you too grew up to tales of relatives who made a hobby of acting drunk in tough parts of town with their paychecks hanging out of their pockets?

          2. Fox? I thought we talked about not giving me story ideas?
            Imagine the aliens reading it and going “It’s a trap. And marking the sector “here be dragons””

            1. Oh, like anyone knows what might give YOU story ideas.

              I mean, I’m bad enough – I got one just because Tully referred to someone’s Great Dane as CHEE-WAH-WAH.

          3. “I have an army.”
            “We have a Hulk.” – Marvel’s The Avengers

            Also:
            “You can’t do this!”
            “I’m a barbarian. You said so yourself.” – James T. Kirk in “A Taste of Armageddon”

            1. The TV episode doesn’t ring a bell, though a guess at the title (Damon Knight FTW) got it. I’m not sure I saw much Twilight Zone in syndication, and 10 year old RCPete didn’t always get to watch TV if homework was in store…

              OTOH, I probably read “To Serve Man” a couple of years later at the local library. Once I found the SF section in the Adult floor, the corner seat was mine.

              [Suppresses emerging joke combining the alien cookbook with something from Alton Brown. The World Is Not Ready.]

      2. Probably. No one else even knows that they’re out there (unless the group in question is already spying on us). And even if one of the probes happened to be aimed at an inhabited star system (which is extremely unlikely) the amount of time it would take to actually reach that star system is so long that we’ll have likely developed FTL (assuming that it’s possible) and made our presence – and location – known via other means. Otherwise, you’re talking about needle in haystack when no one else even knows that the needle is out there.

        Though, amusingly, my understanding is that a Transformers TV series posited that Decepticon leader Megatron had managed to sneak a message onto the golden disc on one of the Voyager probes.

        Or maybe the probes will eventually bounce off of the interior of the crystal sphere surrounding our solar system (and hopefully not shatter it), making the whole thing moot!

        😛

    1. I do recall one cartoon where a Pioneer is discovered by an alien family and the plaque is considered… “Give it to {Timmy}. He collects postage stamps.”

      1. Then there’s the cartoon where they wonder why the people weren’t wearing clothing. (The people talking look like the people on the image but are wearing clothing.) 😉

    2. Yeah, though I do remember a strip from the Vexxarr webcomic where humans using their first starships reverse-engineered from the tech they acquired when they captured Vexxarr did make a point to stop by at least one of the probes and remove that message.

  4. Actually there is a way to make sense of the “oooh we are super peaceful to the point we no longer have the emotion of Fear” type aliens.

    They are a demonstration of overwhelming power in the galactic community. In the style of the feathers at Roman banquets.

    1. I read a story about us making contact with aliens, and the translation group worked out that the aliens didn’t have a word for ‘war’. Which naturally made all the fluffy-headed peaceniks ecstatic, and got the military dreaming of easy conquest.

      Later, they found out that the aliens had words for ‘frontal assault’ and ‘sneak attack’, ‘saturation artillery barrage’ and ‘orbital strike’… what they really didn’t have was a word for ‘peace’, or even a concept of the absence of war. They made no distinction between ‘war’ and ‘life’. Oops.
      ———————————
      “Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here — this is the War Room!”

  5. To me, the chance of someone finding the Voyagers and deciphering them is so extremely small that it might as well not exist. I don’t think we have much to worry about with those two probes. I’m much more concerned about the stray transmissions we’re sending out. Those are much more likely to be pick up by someone.

    As for what those someone’s might be, I think the safe money is on conquerors coming our way. That would be bad. A much smaller possibility would be they just ignore us. And the infinitesimally small chance that they’re friendly is about as probable as the multiple irregularities of the 2020 election being just coincidences.

    There’s a lot of great stories about human alien relations. Off the top of my head I can think of Isaac’s Universe short stories, various John Ringo books (Posleen, Looking Glass, Prince Roger), Marko Kloos, Keith Laumer, Brad Torgerson, etc.

    1. I’ve ended up subscribing to Isaac Artgur’s take. Hiding in space is basically impossible, so if there is anyone to know we are here, they already do. And if there is a race running around genociding their neighbors, their bigger nastier neighbors will find out and likely decide they need to be gone.

      That doesn’t mean contact with aliens will go great, but I suspect it will be the sort of disruption that happened when the native American tribes first ran into the European explorers. Likely pretty shattering, but more in the giving a set of car keys to someone who has never even seen a car before than a high-c fraction kinetic kill vehicle plowing through earth.

      I mean, unless their idea of daily travel is a high fraction of light speed car, then it probably will be exactly that…

      Which might be a plausible reason for a zoo scenario to hold up: every single prior uplift attempt has resulted in a giant smoking crater where the low tech world was, so trying it is seen as attempted genocide/blood sport rather than doing good.

      1. And if there is a race running around genociding their neighbors, their bigger nastier neighbors will find out and likely decide they need to be gone.

        Ah, the Aztec solution!

        IE, you may be able to beat any one of us, but give a crystalizing event and you can’t beat ALL of us!

        1. Too many people forget that it wasn’t just Cortez and his conquistadors that brought down the Aztecs, or Pizzaro conquering the Inca. There were a hellalot of people that were quite fed up with those cultures and helped the Spanish.

      2. Unless they just happened to be driving by our little backwoods garden within the last hundred years I highly doubt they already know we’re here (unless there’s some unknown FTL signals we’ve been sending out). And space is enormous, kind of like the Big Sky Theory of flight.

    2. It doesn’t really make for great science fiction stories, but I think a more likely scenario will be aliens stopping in the solar system on their way through, stealing the asteroid belt and some or all of the large moons for construction materials, then moving on, without paying us any more attention than we would an anthill. That is to say, completely ignoring us unless we manage to annoy them. If we annoy them, they would probably start with just destroying whatever spacecraft we sent, but if we persisted, would send about 100,000 containers of rock to scattershot the Earth’s surface. If we were somehow able to send something after THAT, they would resort to more drastic measures.

      1. Chris Nuttall had a short work where the aliens ignored Earth in favor of mining the asteroids.

        When Earth objected, the aliens basically said “You’ve remained on your little planet and ignored space so the rest of your star system is “up for grabs”.

        The aliens also said “Don’t bother us or else”.

        Unfortunately, the Earth governments did bother them and the aliens didn’t even bother to invade but “threw rocks at Earth”. (Heinlein readers know what “throwing rocks” mean in this context.)

      2. FM Busby did a novel (“Slow Freight,”) where an alien multigenerational ship comes through the Solar System, breaks up one of Saturn’s moons and heads in-system to pick up the Moon. Because they don’t use radio and have no idea we’re there…

  6. A common misconception is that Lovecraft was writing horror. He was writing science fiction with the entirely plausible premise that aliens that could truly travel among the stars themselves would be so advanced and powerful as to be utterly incomprehensible to us, and that we would be less than gnats to them.

    1. That would be me too. But ONLY when I try to do it with the notifications icon at According to Hoyt. If I use another WordPress site and its notification icon (e.g. Cat Rotator’s Quarterly) all works fine (???!!!) including getting my notifications for According to Hoyt. This is using Firefox either from Linux or Windows 11. Chrome from a Chromebook works fine… WordPress Delenda Erat !!!!

      1. HMMM using Microsoft Edge (ick spit blecch) things work fine. Something is browser specific in WordPress, how pleasant.

      1. This is Bessie. Bessie is a cow. When her peak milk-producing days are over, she’ll be called Hamburger.

  7. In one of Chris Nuttall’s stories, he had a historian talking to a class of cadets about humanity’s first contact with an alien species. Basically he said, humans imagined that only peaceful species would reach the stars but ignored that humans had reached the stars and humans weren’t that peaceful. 😈

    Fortunately, humans won that fight. 😉

      1. Yes, but humans thought they (the humans) were peaceful.

        Oh, IIRC Jerry Pournelle in his Man-Kzin War stories decided that the Earth government of that time had “brain-washed” humanity to be peaceful. 😉

        1. I think the book jacket said something like “The Kzin discovered that the reason Man studied war no longer was because they were so very good at it.”

          The idea that only peaceful civilizations would make it to the stars was a significant point made by the crew of Angel’s Pencil. Possibly reflective of the hippie nonsense of the sixties when the story was written (1966).

          I don’t think brain washed is correct. Suppression of history and a trip to the psychiatrist for any child that scuffled on the playground.

          1. Or the Auto-Doc (automated doctor) treated them.

            Niven had some “interesting” ideas in his Known Space stories. Nice author but “Come On Larry”. 😉

          2. Ahh the Kzin Law. To wit : A fusion Drive’s usefulness as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency.

    1. Right, because all available evidence from this planet says only the peaceful cultures have bothered to explore outside of their visual geographic sphere.

  8. Since we’re throwing out radio signals and stuff like crazy as a side effect, the “send nudes” spacecraft is kinda redundant. 😀

  9. The Aliens are extremely upset with us.
    Apparently the Voyager probes are right smack in the middle of a major interstellar transit zone and they’ve had to reroute all their traffic so we don’t realize they’re there if one of them hits a probe.

    1. Well, there was a SF short where the Aliens brought back one of the Voyagers and asked Earth’s leaders if it was ours.

      When told yes, the Aliens fined us of littering. 😉

      1. (ginormous alien craft drops Voyager from the sky)
        Alien transmission: “FINE IS”
        Some guy: “Oh, everything is fine!”
        Another guy: “No, they mean we have to pay a fine!”

        1. I remember that one! Pretty sure it was in Analog. The aliens returned Voyager with a message: a picture of Voyager and FINE NOT IS. A second message had half-a-dozen Voyagers and FINE IS.

          Which NASA eventually figured out meant, “Since this was our first offense, they’re letting us off with a warning. If we keep sending those primitive probes out beyond the heliopause, though, we’ll be fined for littering.”

          Of course, more of them are already on the way…
          ———————————
          Thor: “Merriment can sometimes be as great a burden as battle.”
          Heimdall: “Then you are doing one of them incorrectly.”

    2. That would be like putting someone down in the Great Plains and having to reroute around them to avoid hitting the person. Only very much more so. Three dimensions, can move freely without roads, and much larger

      1. Kind of depends on the nature of interstellar space travel. If they have a point-to-point transfer/transmission method, it may require no obstructions, or only permit obstructions of a minimal nature to function. i.e. it is “straight-line” and unable to dodge.

        1. Rogue planets or comets would be plentiful enough to create problems, then, given the distances necessary to have a straight line between two stars with Voyager inbetween.

  10. Whenever I contemplate that space-faring species will be peaceful and benevolent, I think of the Krell. I think they were intended as a lesson in the pitfalls of hubris but they also remind me that an intelligent, technophilic species probably arrived there via an evolutionary path analogous to the one that created us.

    I also know I am generalizing from a single data point.

  11. You post this right as I’m watching someone’s playthrough of XCOM: Long War…

    (For those not into computer games: XCOM is a turn-based tactical squad-based game where you fight back against an alien invasion of Earth. Long War is a mod that makes the game take 2-3x longer to finish, and adds a lot of extra optional complexity to add even more strategic depth to an already-deep game.)

    1. The original XCom from the ’90s was amazing for the time. Creepiest music and there was one of the aliens that issued a scream when you found it that was bone chilling. Stupidly used to play it up in a dark room with headphones on and nearly had a heart attack when my wife came in to ask me something and touched my shoulder…

      1. A Chrysalid? That doesn’t sound that bad…

        There’s a mission in the expansion for the XCom Reboot that has you send a team to investigate a small Norwegian coastal town that’s gone completely silent. The first half of the mission is sending your team to investigate a wrecked ship. The second half of the mission is getting your team back to the extraction point before the entire town gets napalmed to kill all of the chrysalids infesting it.

        Fortunately for players, due to the way that the mechanics work, chrysalids in the reboot are much less dangerous than they were in the original game.

        1. Yup that’s them the Chrysalids. They were serious bad news in the original game, especially if you stumbled onto some before you had gotten to far into the research tracks. Original also was more random, so you could hit them EARLY in the first half dozen missions.

          1. They tend to pop up just a bit into the reboot. But they don’t have that much health. And due to the way that the damage works, they’re not nearly as dangerous as they were in the original game. The potential is there, but the mechanics largely prevent it.

        2. ‘The Chrysalids’ is a 1955 science fiction book by John Wyndham, about telepaths in a post-apocalyptic society where to be a Mutant is a mortal sin.
          ———————————
          When I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city…

          1. The chrysalids in X-Com are a highly aggressive, largely feral alien species. Their attacks are poisonous, and people killed by their attacks will turn into zombies. Shortly afterwards, the zombie will hatch into a new adult chrysalid.

  12. Given that:
    A) life has existed on Earth for ~4 billion years give or take, and
    B) there are no recognizable signals in space that we can see, other than ours, and
    C) we’ve been broadcasting EM radiation at the signal strength of a small star for ~80 years or so…

    …we can conclude that either A) there is no technologically competent life in 80 light years or B) there is, and they are hiding.

    Also, given that:

    A) space is extremely hostile to carbon-based life forms like ourselves, but
    B) there’s nothing but free energy for machines etc. in space and they don’t need life support and
    C) everything is ridiculously far away even at the speed of light…

    …anything that drops by to see why Earth is broadcasting Howdy Doody TV shows and so forth will probably be a machine. As machines, most likely they won’t be competing with us for resources etc. Coming all the way down here to the bottom of this wet, hostile gravity well will be purely for entertainment if they do it. We won’t have anything they need, right?

    They might drop by and tell us to shut up before the thing they’re all hiding from gets us. Otherwise it’ll just be because they want to hang out. ~:D

    1. The theory I like is Earth exists as an unknown civilization oasis in a desert of non-civilization so no one looks, let alone travels this way. Any emissions from this local of space are essentially lost in the background of known civilization. Couple of accidental flyby “while we’re here lets not waste the trip, pick something up” which results in (for them) unfortunate kidnapping of the wrong human. Havoc happens and the human finds themself in the civilized galaxy center.

      1. For some unsettling thoughts, apparently mature galaxies also seem to do quazar cycles. And it looks like the last time our galaxy did that wasn’t all that long ago.

        It is possible that the reason we don’t see anyone else here is it hasn’t been that long since the galaxy turned into a x-ray inferno and torched everything.

    2. Quite a while back I read a short story that was about a bunch of AIs, all sent by different alien civilizations, that were hanging out in our asteroid belt spying on us. And also, since each represented a different culture and had been sent with that culture’s goals in mind, they also had loose alliances between those AIs with (at the moment) similar goals.

      Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the story, or the author.

    3. Although we’ve been emitting radio frequency for ~80-100 years any reply (assuming lightspeed limitations) means they half to be half that distance so 40-50 years.
      One interesting thought is that free (i.e. in the atmosphere in large proportions) is not something you would expect to see as Oxygen is highly reactive and would tend to bind to other elements. It’s a big hint that there is SOME type of life, and that’s been in our atmosphere for a couple billion years since algae and othe plants got going. Webb (or perhaps say Webb++) might be able to detect that so any advanced race certainly might be curious about the third planet around that boring G0 star over there…

  13. If aliens arrive, they probably won’t tell anyone.

    Which means they’d have a lot more to worry about from each other.

    First dibs! Hands off!

  14. How many posts here, and not ONE mention of needing to demolish the Earth to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass!?

    /shakes head sadly

    1. I haven’t read through them all and just assumed someone else had already made it. Seemed too obvious.

  15. If there are aliens, they will also be made in the image of God and functionally identical to humans.

    1. Assuming a bit. They can easily be the degraded descendants, creations or mimics of the originals.

      Those appeals won’t get very far with the Daleks, or the Cylons, or the shoggoths.

      1. First of all, the aliens you mentioned are Fictional. 😉

        Second, IMO “Image Of God” may have a deeper meaning than “God Looks Like A Human”. Thus, Aliens may be made in the Image Of God but still look different than Humans. (Just think of the variations within the Human Species.)

        Third, If the Aliens are Fallen just as Humans are Fallen, then they may be as “nasty” as Humans can be (or worse).

        Fourth, I personally believe that differences in the Aliens’ thinking will be Cultural Differences. Just look at the variations of Culture (and thinking) within the Human Species.

        Finally, I mentioned that Aliens may be Fallen Beings (just as Humans are), But I suspect that if there are Non-Fallen Aliens out there, we’ll likely never meet them.

        1. Lloyd Biggle wrote a story that had 3 classes of worlds: Fallen worlds, such as Earth. Unfallen worlds, which did not interact with the rest, and one world that didn’t make the choice. Very odd story.

        2. Any imagining of an alien race, including the unfallen ones in Out of the Silent Planet, is by definition fictional, they still represent some plausible scenarios

          And I wasn’t talking appearance. The point is that each of the examples I gave is either something so utterly modified from its origin it might as well negate any kinship with alien sentients (the Daleks, or if humanity had become bodiless heads like NICE was planning in That Hideous Strength) or secondhand creations of an alien race – machines like the Cylons or monstrosities like the shoggoths – and so they would be “nasty” in ways and to degrees that even fallen beings wouldn’t.

          And we’d have no way at all to appeal to their better natures, cause they wouldn’t have any.

            1. I know Banshee already knows this, but giving detail for folks who are interested.

              Beyond being able to make moral choices, which is required because of what is observed, there isn’t any established “what does Made in God’s Image” mean.

              If you want humanoid aliens, you can always go to Jesus being THE man who was most perfectly in God’s image, and thus all people are reasonably recognizable as like Him, physically, unless deformed. (deliberately or otherwise)

              If you want literal-cloud-of-dust aliens, then go with the Can Make Moral Choices version of ‘in His image.’

    2. As someone else noted there are some stories along that line, Lewis’ space trilogy addresses some of that as does “A Case Of Conscience” by James Blish.

      What being “in the Image of God” means is unclear , the scripture in question is Genesis 1:27 (Net version used here)

      So God created mankind in his own image,
          in the image of God he created them;
          male and female he created them.

      In most modern versions(NIV, ESV, NET among others) this is set to indicate this as verse/poetry . There are some interesting translation notes that go with the NET available here:
      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis+1%3A27&version=NET
      It is an interesting thing to speculate on, but at present we are speculating without much information 🙂 .

      1. Agree, we’re speculating without much information.

        There’s plenty to speculate about but since we haven’t (to the best of our knowledge) met any intelligent aliens so we can’t be sure of much about intelligent aliens.

        Oh, I find it interesting that some speculation assumes that any aliens out there are millions of years older than us. Those people seem to think that We Could Not Understand such aliens.

    3. Considering how /Big/ God is, that may not be true. If they are made in God’s image, then they should at least be somewhat comprehensible to us (and vice versa). But if they have fallen, like us, they may have fallen in an entirely different direction.

      1. I so want Kate P to finish and publish that story about the Teutonic Order in Space – with all sorts of aliens as knights and lay-brothers.

        1. The first book has been finished for some time. (I did an editorial read on it.) But it is so clearly first in a series that, I believe, she held it back from publication because she wanted to have books two and three ready to follow it. And I think that’s right about when the writer’s block hit.

  16. I remember a short story I read years ago (and can no longer remember the title or author’s name) where a group of alien monks are discussing earth as a case study. We had to be destroyed, not because we sent the probes out, but because the included images were of nude humans and the deeply religious galactic community couldn’t tolerate having such nasty pornographers in their society.

    1. While I’m recognizing it was a joke/self-aware “gotcha,” I’ve been thinking on this…

      and it really demonstrates a failure to understand the objection to pr0n.

      It’s not some gnostic flavored “ew, bodies icky!“– it’s a matter of recognizing people, and human sexuality, as being holy.

      This does not align with genocide.

  17. Meh, we simply don’t have enough data to speculate meaningfully. If there’s no life under the ice of Europa, we’re going to have to wait until we get to worlds around other stars, compare evolutions, and see if we’re the Hokas, or the Scariest Things In The Universe, or somewhere in between. (I rather like Glenn Reynolds’s idea that we are the First Ones of the universe, myself.)

    For one example, James Hogan created his Gentle Giants of Ganymede, who were indeed evolutionarily pushed to gentleness, because they had two circulatory systems, one filled with instantly lethal toxins. Which kept predators from eating them, and also encouraged them not to get too frisky, since if they got a simple cut, they died.

    For another possibility, Terry Bisson’s dark, cynical, and hysterically funny short story “They’re Made Of Meat”, which is simply a conversation between an alien who has gotten our signals, and another alien who has serious trouble understanding, and then accepting, that, well, these humans are made of meat, rather than something civilized and acceptable and not utterly disgusting.

    We have one evolutionary history to judge from. A single data point, basically. Which means that whatever we conclude from that data point is almost certain to be wrong.

      1. Absolutely!

        Though that does give me an idea for a series of stories in the “Aren’t Humans Adorable!?” vein… But it’s the sort of thing where you’d have to make the humans seem alien, and as far as I recall, only C.J. Cherryh has ever been able to pull that off.

  18. “Why we are indeed ancient, and experienced, and wise. And we will come in our glory to pass judgement on mankind!”

    🙂

    On the other hand, not every interaction has to be a dominance contest. The world is absolutely full of animals with which I have no quarrel, and idly mean well.

  19. “We’re from the Galactic Empire, and we’re here to help you.”

    Seriously though, existential conflict with an implacable invader has been done to death, hasn’t it? And how often does Independence Day look anything like real colonialism?

    When the Japanese were first contacted by European traders/missionaries, they tried to isolate their country from the world to stop the cultural contamination in the world’s biggest ostrich move. When that finally failed, they did a complete 180, realized they were a medieval anachronism in a much vaster world that they couldn’t control, and decided they needed to learn everything to catch up. And they did.

    I’ve often said that the Men In Black/X-Files conceit of discovering intelligent alien life and trying to cover it up is one of the hands-down dumbest possible reactions we could have to contact with aliens. (It’s necessary for a certain type of fiction, because they need a way to explain the total lack of evidence to blend it with the world as we know it.)

    If aliens contacted us, it’d be far smarter to have all hands on deck to understand everything we can about them.

    1. If someone told me that Japan was the inspiration for Beast in Black’s Crazy, Mad, Insane I would both accept it and recognize it as a major complement.

      I was stationed at Sasebo; some of the buildings on base were from pre-WWI.

  20. We have grown impatient with you, vassals! You havent built us a pyramid in millenia! Meow.

  21. Love it. On the Three occasions I have seen UFO 🛸 once with four other people including a police officer we just said “that’s weird “ as a bright green light shone down on the cottage where my family lived. The police officer joined us as he had spotted it from a motorway bridge and came to investigate. The next time. A brilliant light like a star dropped out of the night sky and seem to be heading towards the ground before shooting back into outer space 🪐 “That’s weird” I thought as I step indoors.
    The third time was I was picking my mother up to take her to my sisters for Christmas and as we got into my car my mum looked up. ‘Oh look”. High above us was a huge double circle in the cloudy night sky. With in the double bands were eight small black circles. It was as though you were viewing it from beneath. I told mum just to get into the car. If the car hadn’t started then I might has crapped myself but it did. Mum kept saying “what was it?”
    I told her to forget about it. Two days later, my sister’s son-in-law was reading aloud an account from a newspaper of an UFO 🛸 sighting over the town where we lived.
    Mum said “Oh that’s what we saw”
    All eyes turned on us. “You should report it “ they said. I said “Why it’s already has, us reporting wouldn’t make any difference.
    The thing is you only have to look at what we do to our own planet and people what do you think we will do to another beautiful and amazing planet. Destroy it with our greed and pollutions 😢

  22. Piers Anthony’s “Macroscope” was a bit different from most of his ouvre; hard SF based on a bad first contact scenario.

    Memetics wasn’t part of the SF canon in 1970 – it wasn’t even a thing until 1976 – but Anthony’s novel had it. Signals were received from alien civilizations, but they were overlaid with conceptual patterns that drove sufficiently-intelligent people catatonic or insane.

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