It seems that almost everyday my newsfeeds pops up with some article claiming that an alien artefact or lifeform may have been discovered, even The Guardian posted an article last month with the title ‘Is ‘Oumuamua an alien spacecraft? Initial scans show no signs of technology.’ For those of you who have more important things going on in your lives, Oumuamua has been classified as an unusually shaped asteroid. You’re probably wondering why this interests me and why my blog is about aliens and not my New Year’s resolutions. Well I’m interested for two reasons; one because despite the fact that humans have found no evidence of alien life many people still believe there is alien life out there (myself included), and second, because I’m writing a science-fiction novel with aliens right at this very moment.
The classic argument as to whether or not aliens exist is; well if they did exist then surely we would have found real solid evidence of their existence by now. Seems logical right? There must be aliens out there with a superior technology that would have been able to contact us by now. The problem with this train of thought is that it assumes that any extra-terrestrial lifeform would be sentient, more intelligent and more advanced than the human race, it also assumes that this sentient lifeform would have evolved with the same or similar motivators as those which helped humans to evolve, and at the same rate. Which given that the universe is so large and there are so many possibilities that could have resulted in the formation of life, especially ones that humans haven’t even thought about yet, then this doesn’t seem very likely.
There is also another train of thought that says; well if there have ever been more advanced lifeforms out there then maybe they have already died out? With how humanity looks set for total destruction due to climate change and our terrible overuse of resources, then it isn’t too difficult to imagine that another alien lifeform may have died out due to similar causes before being able to become advanced enough to get out into space properly. This is plausible but again begs the question as to why we haven’t found anything yet? The universe is so vast and we are only aware of the ‘observable universe’ which even at the lower estimates is 250 times smaller than the entire universe. If we wanted to see direct evidence of intelligent alien lifeforms we would have to assume that other advanced alien lifeforms exist in our part of the universe, which again, seems unlikely.
From what I have seen and heard so far from my short time on this planet, most sci-fi novels tend to be set in the future as opposed to the past. Having only read a couple of sci-fi novels myself which include H.G. Well’s ‘Time Machine’ and Randolph Lalonde’s ‘Origins’ my knowledge of the genre is diverse but limited. I see keen sci-fi readers all the time who come into the bookshop, but they tend to be a quiet breed, they come in, buy a few novels and leave as quickly as possible. The only conversation you can expect from these types of sci-fi readers is the simple question, ‘do you have any science-fiction?’
I’m a great believer in drawing inspiration from the world around you, but I do tend to laugh at newspapers who pump out articles about aliens and alien technology. Obviously there is a readership for these types of articles, otherwise they would never write them. What I find so interesting is that people are clearly fascinated with the idea of the existence of alien lifeforms, whether it’s scientists looking for single-celled organisms and bacteria, or staunch believers in alien UFO’s, or just the average person looking up at the sky and wondering ‘what if?’
My current WIP is a sci-fi novel called ‘Lost Frequencies‘, but even though the characters technology is somewhat advanced, it is set in the past, billions of years in the past. I can’t say that I set out working on my novel with the mind-set that it would be a sci-fi, it’s more like that is just where it has ended up. I tend to write novels which don’t fit easily into just one genre, but maybe it is both a blessing and a curse that I haven’t read much of the sci-fi genre before embarking on my own idea. It means I have to use my imagination more and think things through, and I have little to compare my work to, so little to get anxious or stressed about. Though in a few years time, if I manage to read more sci-fi, I may look back and think ‘what the hell was I thinking? I should have definitely read more sci-fi before writing that book’ but I guess we will just have to wait and see.