1. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    Sci-fi, Aliens yay or nay

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Wolfmaster1234, Jan 10, 2016.

    At the moment, I'm working on sci-fi piece and I have made the decision to avoid alien life despite the fact there are habitable planets other than earth (my explanation of how the atmosphere is breathable is due to large ice asteroids which struck the plant and evaporate eventually releasing oxygen into the atmosphere). I was wondering, do you prefer sci-fi with or without aliens?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have a preference for with/without aliens because the aliens are always us in the end. They exist in the story to talk about a certain facet of the human condition. What I do rankle at is impossible planets. Oxygen is the sluttiest of elements. It hooks up with anything that will give it the time of day. The Earth has amazingly abundant oxygen, but without some system to release it in free form (in our case, photosynthesis), all of it very quickly binds with other elements and you get a planet rich with oxides, but next-to-no free oxygen. As a fan of Sci-Fi, my personal advice would be to either completely gloss the oxygenation event and not bring it up, or do a little more research and come up with the something that releases oxygen. Could there just be plants/plant-like things? That's all it would take. Simple cyanobacteria (or analogue thereof) would do the trick.
     
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  3. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    Yeah I know the whole asteroid thing is a silly idea, it really more of a placeholder at the moment. The oxygenation event isn't really important. Maybe the planet's atmosphere could previously have had large amounts of other more reactive non-metals such as fluorine so a displacement reaction wouldn't take place that often meaning that a lot of oxygen would remain in the form of an inert gas.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, that aside, the question for me becomes one of: If aliens, why? What are they there for? What are you using them to say in the story? If it's just a matter of adding another prop, then I may chose against having them. When I have aliens in a story, they (as an idea) come to me because there is something I want to say with them. Some idea or concept for which they serve as a lens. Just my personal opinion because I am sure there are countless others who use them just to "mix things up". I'm just not one of them.
     
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  5. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    @Wreybies Well my story is more based around political and military elements, so they aren't needed in my story. I was more asking as of the genre in general and personal taste.
     
  6. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    I prefer aliens in the story as long as its not cheesy. I feel if we are advanced enough to find other planets we can survive on, then we definitely would have encountered some alien species.
     
  7. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I like both, but Aliens need to be inventive, not derivative. And just because a planet does not support human life doesn't mean it can't support life that has evolved to live in it's conditions.

    Your aliens don't even need to be intrelligent or have an active role. They can just be part of the world.
     
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  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I like sci-fi both ways, it is about the story and whether it is good or not.

    You could go 'Dune' and have the universe filled with more Humans, and no aliens.
     
  9. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I wouldn't include aliens unless you plan on making them relevant to the plot. It's definitely plausible to either include aliens or not. Scientists don't have any way of knowing how common life is in the universe, outside Earth.
     
  10. WriterMMS
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    WriterMMS Member

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    Depends on the story, if the story is set in an expansive pan galactic civilization it should have aliens, because by the numbers aliens should and do exist out there. If the story is set within solar systems you could have just humans.

    Whether aliens are intelligent as humans thats another question entirely.

    Most humanoid aliens are just a metaphor(?) for differing human cultures races etc.
     
  11. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    There's no data, though, on how common life is in the galaxy, or indeed the universe. We could be completely alone, or life could exist in nearly every solar system. No matter how expansive the setting, it's plausible for extraterrestrial life to be very common, non-existant, or anywhere in between.
     
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  12. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really don't see why not. I think it's extra flavour for your universe.

    If the aliens are advanced like humans, though, it's a lot harder to implement than say, chickens with squid-like appendages. If your story isn't about aliens, I personally wouldn't bother including especially intelligent ones.
     
  13. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Aliens aren't mandatory to science fiction. In fact, I find that when you incorporate aliens and other fictional beings into the genre then it becomes less science and more fantasy.

    I have a couple of science fiction ideas rolling around in my head at the moment, but I'm not even touching them until I feel confident enough to do them justice.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!
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    For what I'm writing: with aliens. But I write science fiction comedy, so that means just about squat for your story.
     
  15. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is kind of like asking someone if they want butter. It isn't enough information really.

    I mean, sure I might like butter, but what is the meal? If you follow it by saying ice cream, I personally am gonna turn the butter down.

    In writing, a really important rule(that can be so very hard to do) is for everything to have a point. But the thing is, that point can be anything. If you said. "I want aliens because I think they are cool and I have a very nice looking model for what they look like." Cool. No arguments here. It doesn't have to be some large political thing, it doesn't have to be some great grand philiosphyical discover. It can just be, because you think blue skin looks awesome.

    So me? Personal taste. I don't have one. I don't like it if they are shown as large and having no large point. But beyond that, I am fine either way.

    Take a show. Rick and Morty. I swear the aliens on there are just meant to be fun looking. Which to me is just fine. But if you are looking for some deep meaning behind an alien design, I imagine they look like butter on ice cream. Everyone is different.

    Just like a deep meaning alien design might be too boring to someone that likes the to just be random and cool looking.
     
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  16. Rob Rowntree
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    Think the answer is if the story warrants the aliens then use them. If not, don't.

    I love aliens and alien cultures done well.

    Writing really convincing aliens is hard. If a writer isn't careful they come out as human with oddly shaped bodies. With my current novel I set myself the task of creating a future where humans are a myth. Naturally they are not all gone, but some of my protags are aliens and I'm actively using their physiology and social structures to imbibe them with motivations that aren't human. It's proving to be very challenging.
     
  17. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    It would actually make sense to have some form of alien life, perhaps very basic.
    Have a look at the short stories from Stephen Baxter in Vacuum Diagrams. Many of these stories are about some basic life form on a planet and how that interferes with the actions of the people.

    You could have a political aspect in the story where they don't want to disrupt the current nature while the military don't care. Just as in Avatar, but it's a topic that could be incorporated in the story.
     
  18. daydreams
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    daydreams Member

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    I enjoy reading about other lifeforms and cultures. But science fiction can be about contact scenarios or us encountering other species or civilisations, but they can also be about what it would be like if intelligent life is incredibly rare and we're practically alone.

    Right now I'm reading Manifold Space by Stephen Baxter, about contact with aliens and ancient traces of alien activity and so on. Very good book indeed, with lots of amazing ideas.
     
  19. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Currently I favor nay simply because I'm tired of silly, non-sensical aliens in fiction. Aliens is one of my all-time favorite films, but fictional works with such cool portrayals of alien life forms are few and far between in my entirely subjective opinion.

    Mind you, this is all just a matter of taste and mine can and probably will change once I've gotten my fill of no-alien SF, but at this time I don't read alien SF unless the aliens are done in an exceptionally original and believable way.

    That's one of the reasons I love the pilot of Battlestar Galactica so much:
    the fact that they were fighting cold, calculating, unfeeling robots made the mood of the pilot all the more hopeless because they couldn't reason with such an enemy or try to appeal to any sense of pity or compassion since the cylons could feel neither. That just highlighted the cold despair of the situation and amplified the feeling of isolation and solitude of space travel when the characters felt they were completely alone in the universe.

    @KaTrian and I also prefer to write SF without aliens although we aren't completely against having some alien life forms in our stories: if we come up with something we feel is original enough and fits the story's world, then sure, we can have aliens, but as of now, if we were to start a completely new SF story, chances are, we wouldn't have any aliens in the story.
     
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  20. DoctorDoom
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    I personally prefer aliens on two conditions.

    1: They cannot be an allegory for a different culture or race. If you want a different culture or race, just use plain old humans. You don't need blue people with four arms in order to tell a story about discrimination and bias.
    2: They cannot basically be humans. The psychology must be different and the physiology must be different and if it's not you had better explain yourself.

    Now, in my own stories I have something that comes close to breaking these two rules, at least initially. There's a 'species' called Azulians that looks like
    [​IMG]

    Which is as close to human looking as my aliens get. In fact, in the book, since it's first person and the setting is a colony with no contact with the outside universe, it's never explicitly stated that the narrator is not a human. (The term 'Azulian' being used rather loosely to refer more to a nationality rather than a species or a race.) Rather, they occasionally grab things with their feet, bite through something a human wouldn't be able to bite through, rotate their ears to hear something behind them, see in the dark and can touch their knees without bending over or sitting down. That and they hop a lot more than humans and people are described as having 'bobbing' gaits, blue hair, opaque purple blood, etc. Also the word 'red' does not appear in the book, ever, because they can't see it. I also don't mention how tall anyone is in any units, just how tall they are relative to others. That way when in a later book a human describes one or vice versa, you're shocked to learn that they're around eight feet tall and that their color perception is completely different than ours. Their culture isn't an allegory for anything, it's just extremely hostile and antagonistic because their species, for reasons later discovered, has a really high prevalence of what is, essentially, psychopathy (or more correctly a measurable drive to violently kill other members of the species, preferably by hacking them into pieces). The reason being that they are a splice between humans and acirians, acirians being asexual creatures that reproduce by being chopped into pieces therefor they have those genetics to thank for their non-human traits. Their height being cause by the growth hormones in humans acting alongside the regenerative system of aciriens.

    As for plot relevance, I don't think you necessarily need a reason to use aliens instead of humans or vice versa. You could just enjoy creating different species and cultures and then dumping them all in some kind of galactic melting pot to see what happens.
     
  21. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I don't really care one way or the other really. But I find that people stray away from writing aliens because they have become cliche. But that is a fact for a lot of different things, you just need to know how to spin it and write it so that they aren't as generic as most aliens.
     
  22. Michaelhall2007
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    It's content I enjoy when reading sci-fi. I read both.
    A future without Aliens is totally understandable when you consider the size of the universe.
    Drakes equation would indicate that they are everywhere but I haven't seen any.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Doesn't matter to me, either. There is great SF both with and without aliens. I like all of it, provided it is done well.
     
  24. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In that particular situation, I'd be more intrigued by the humans' struggles to survive on a planet they haven't evolved on, rather than a fight with an alien race. Like The Martian. But I'd probably read it either way--I love sci-fi set on other planets.

    I'm really bored of sci-fi set in spaceships, and I'm almost maxed out on alien invasions on Earth.
     
  25. Justin Phillips
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    I think aliens have to be done well. Stay away from little green men unless it's supposed to be comical. I personally don't want to read about grays either. I prefer human like aliens, so you could go with the tall whites or the Anunaki. Those usually go with creation stories though, with them being the ones that created humans in their own likeness through genetic engineering. Alot of people make the creation story from the bible fit this idea, and replace God with the Anunaki.

    I hate bug aliens. I don't believe aliens evolved as bugs, and usually turn off a movie if they go down that route. To each his own though.
     

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