Recently one of my acquaintances, who incidentally has never read any of my work, said this to me when I was showing off the cover artwork of ‘Falling through the stars’; “Science fiction, huh? Full of aliens come to eat our brains, yeah?”
“No.” I replied, a little nettled.
“All about how UFO’s built the pyramids?”
“No.” Up until then I’d considered him quite level headed. Now I wasn’t so sure.
“You say you got an interstellar war in this book?”
“Yes, one earth based regime against another.” I replied.
“So the aliens stop the war and make people live together in peace?”
“Look.” I said, mildly annoyed. “There are quite a few non-human life forms described in my work, but there are no alien space ships and no super intelligent aliens who visit Earth. Read it for yourself.” As if I’d resort to some cheap Deus ex machina narrative device.
“No thanks.” He replied. “I don’t like science fiction.”
At this point I made an excuse and left the coffee shop. I think he was just trying to rile me for fun. Needless to say, he’s currently off my greetings card list. At least until he actually bothers to read my work and apologise.
Okay, I’m going to nail my colours to the mast; I am a writer of science fiction who does not believe that hyper intelligent alien species visit our little home planet for the following reasons;
1. The odds are against it. While ‘life’ throughout the universe may not be as rare as we have previously thought; there being millions of worlds out in our galaxy alone that probably contain the basics needed to support life. The path of evolution required to produce intelligent, tool using life forms is overlong and fraught with pitfalls. See this Wiki page on the Fermi Paradox.
2. The ‘evidence’ for aliens is wafer thin. Blurry photographs, laughably inauthentic video / film footage. Reams of unverifiable ‘sightings’ found to be misidentification of planets, stars, satellites aircraft or cloud formations. (See items 5 & 6)
3. Lack of conspiracy. Governments are rubbish at covering up anything, never mind UFO’s. Remember that Government is made up of people. People are fallible, they make mistakes, they gossip and tell friends and family things they aren’t supposed to. They take short cuts when pressured. They get flustered when out of their comfort zone. Secretive or unusual behaviour is painfully obvious. In short; Governments leak like the proverbial rusty sieve. It’s why the Cold War went on as long as it did. If the Atomic secrets hadn’t been leaked, the USA, British and French would have been the only nuclear powers in the world and history would have been very different.
4. ‘Aliens’ have not made themselves known. Truly. All a real alien would have to do is land their starship on one of the many spaces perfectly designed for that purpose, like an airport. Besides, why cross hundreds or thousands of light years or more simply to hide in the bushes? Especially from a species supposedly fifty times less intelligent and technologically inferior.
5. We would have seen and recorded them. The skies are watched. Avidly so. Satellites, meteors and comets are tracked not only by multiple government agencies in multiple countries, but also by an army of amateur astronomers. People who can tell the difference between a planet and a star, a satellite and a meteor. For every sighting of a ‘UFO’ there are multiple sightings of the same phenomena from a different angle which identify said UFO as something terribly mundane and indisputably natural or human made. There are millions of people who can actually tell the difference between aircraft contrails lit by the setting sun and atmospheric tracks left by ‘giant meteors’. Or even UFO’s and pigeons.
6. I’ve seen so-called UFO’s. Then had a damned good laugh at myself for being foolish. My first sighting was at six years old. I was on holiday with my family in Devon, England, at the time. One evening we heard a report of a UFO on the car radio. We’d pulled over for a pub supper, and I was sitting outside in the pub gardens when we saw it; a dark red globe high up in the sky with something dangling below. “Is that a balloon?” I said, staring up at it. “It’s a balloon!” A few other people confirmed. After we’d eaten we heard on the radio that yes, the ‘UFO’ was a Weather recording balloon. During the 1960’s, and until the technology was superseded, such sightings were quite common. Since then I’ve seen lenticular clouds, light reflected off high altitude aircraft, and foil party balloons filled with helium high up amongst the clouds. No alien spacecraft though.
7. There have been no ‘Alien abductions’. Every single one can be more easily explained by sleep disorders, isolation, hallucination, and chemical imbalance. For example; look up ‘Sleep paralysis’ which is a condition known to produce hallucinations of ‘abduction’. That’s even without graphic hallucinations related to extreme celibacy (Incubi and Succubi)
8. Timescale; While there is a possibility that super intelligent species may evolve on other worlds, who is to say, considering that there are star systems many times older than our little home in the Orion spur of the Milky Way, that any alien or artefact has to exist within our time frame. We have only been doing powered flight for just over a century, and only fifty five years since the first satellites went into orbit. That’s a very tiny time frame, and it’s worth mentioning that the Universe operates on a timescale so vast that even Earth based geological time may be considered the barest blink of an eye. So any putative alien civilisation might well be separated from us by millions, even billions of years as well as light years.
9. Yeah, but area 51, right? All the UFO’s land there. No. Sorry. Groom lake, Nevada, USA or the ‘Box’ as it is sometimes known, is a secret experimental testing facility, and ‘sightings’ have been made, but; and this is a big ‘but’; what part of ‘secret and experimental’ don’t these ‘Alien’ conspiracy theorists get? Of course they will see unidentifiable objects as new military airframes are trotted out for testing. Some of these have been disk shaped, and what’s more have actually flown. Prototype disk shaped aircraft go back to the 1910’s (McCormick-Romme ‘Umbrella’ plane and others). Other sightings might have been down to dirigible prototypes. Northrop-Grumman and Boeing have a couple of interesting designs. Perhaps a ‘sighting’ might even be one of the big circular radar arrays seen on Sentry AWACs.
10. These ‘invisible aliens’ are also remarkably silent. SETI, active since 1951 with access to radio telescopes and a huge network of volunteer observers, has yet to turn up any proof of super intelligent alien life. Not an electronic peep. Which is strange, because everything that moves off a reaction. To adopt a Newtonian metaphor, even events at the quantum level alter the behaviour of more familiar phenomena. Everything creates a knock on reaction. Electron charges are altered, electron flows initiated, molecules moved, heat, sound or movement generated. Nothing happens in isolation and everything has an equal and opposite reaction. So if super intelligent aliens have visited we should have heard something by now. Inverse square law or not.
The only logical conclusion to draw from the above is that there never have been any alien visitors, benign or otherwise. No little grey skinned bipeds with big eyes or similar. No distant or even close encounters of whatever kind.
This being the case, for the moment I will be restricting myself to human house guests, not ‘My favourite Martian’.