Tweet of the Day: Fueling Fiction with Nonfiction
Aliens are a staple of science fiction. The reason why heroes travel across dozens of light years to reach new worlds is to meet the inhabitants, and sometimes to sex them up as well.
However, aliens do present a bit of problem.
And what is the problem?
Glad you asked.
Well, they are alien. As in they are not us. From human-looking aliens with strange cultural trappings to things out H.G. Giger‘s imagination the reason why aliens are well, alien is that they are not human or at the very least they are from our planet.
Which brings us to the question of the day:
How Alien is Alien?
Or how alien do you want your aliens to be.
Now, if your just cruising by the planet of the week, a bit of spray paint and a few extra ridges should do the trick. But if your story is set in a war torn galaxy between humanity and a god-like race of beings bent on our annihilation, that is a bit different.
Probably is it somewhere in between.
You know how much I like sliding scales.
Unless your going for the incomprehensible yet completely homicidal alien race (which makes killing them with the biggest guns/bombs available without any moral repercussions a viable option) you need to establish some kind of connection between your alien race and humanity (and the audience). There has to be just enough to allow the audience to connect with or at least understand the alien’s motivations, specially if they are part of the cast in some way. Otherwise they become part of the furniture, something interesting to look at, but not worth bothering with more than a few minutes at a time.