“Hey, you’re not an alien!”

November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve come to want certain things from aliens.  While we humanoids grow up basing opinions off of precedent, as we do with most things, our life experiences tend to deconstruct and reform our expectations of certain things; certain things, including aliens.  While years ago I settled for humanlike aliens with different colors, shapes, and misplaced body parts, that doesn’t whet my appetite anymore.  Both because it’s not original enough for me, but it’s also just very improbable to have a remotely similar evolutionary pattern in intelligent life somewhere else in this universe.  So the real alien aliens will likely be far distant from what we can recognize.  But I still want to be able to recognize my alien as an alien, you know? And for me to recognize them, I figure they need at least some characteristics comparable to how we perceive life. So consider the seven biological characteristics of life

  1. Composed of cells
  2. Different levels of organization
  3. Energy usage
  4. Responsive to environment
  5. Growth
  6. Reproduction
  7. Adaptive to environment

Personally, I want my alien to be at least number four, responsive to the environment.  My alien does not need to be composed of cells, it can be composed of something else, say different conglomerations of metallic atoms.  This would necessitate some kind of organization.  Perhaps the organization is rather simple rather than complex, like a lattice rather than a cellular system.  For energy it could consume electricity, ions, other atoms, maybe not necessarily full food sources.  By all means it does not have to grow.  Perhaps, however, it constantly shrinks and grows to very extreme levels, like a puffer fish, but the size of a planet.  And while reproduction would seem necessary, who is to say that whatever alien we are dealing with has not been in existence since 14 billion years ago?  But what I feel would allow a human such as myself to recognize my alien as alien, and not a can of soup is its responsiveness and adaptation to environment.  The most alien of aliens should still interact on a macromolecular level with its surroundings to really be a recognizable life form.  That’s what would prevent me from calling any atom or any rock an alien life form that’s just different than us.

So I would imagine my alien lies on the outer boundaries of each of these characteristics of life.  Its chemical makeup is unclear, maybe even liquid of an element unknown.  Its color is implacable, at times appearing silver, yet at other green or even purple, much like the surface of a puddle of oil.  It pulsates between very large and small sizes rapidly, but blurs together, much as a hummingbird’s wings appear solid with rapid movement.  While there are no distinguishable features likes eyes, or ears, it moves with certain contained grace.  It makes no apparent attempt to contact or communicate with us since we are so foreign.  Yet, it clearly lives, it clearly reacts and it clearly responds to us.

Imagine such an entity whose motives were unclear.  An alien whose presence is without explanation or any apparent harm.  The most alien of aliens need to be recognizably foreign, yet strange enough to peak our curiosity.

Regardless of how weird real aliens may be, these little guys will always win my heart.

-Kevin M (B7)

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