Thursday, August 02, 2007

Babel Con

This is a busy week for me. After finishing the signing in Covington on Tuesday I largely took yesterday off and sat on the deck. In the evening I started to work on my panel for BabelCon this coming Saturday. I’ll be talking about Alien Evolution, although I’m hoping to give no more than about a 10 minute talk followed by a lot of discussion with and within the audience. I’ve got a number of questions to ask the audience if no one speaks up.

Since more people watch common movies than read common books, I’m going to ask for both good and bad examples of realistic aliens from TV and film. Then I hope we can get into some freewheeling discussion about why one is good or bad, based on the general concepts of evolution.

How about the group here. Anyone have any specific candidates for “poorly” designed aliens? How about “well” designed ones?


Pythia3 said...

Great aliens . . . "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
Cheesy alien award goes to the Green Lady on "Lost In Space" - the one who had a crush on "pretty, handsome Dr. Smith."
I can't remember the details of the "Lost In Space" aliens, but I do remember they were pretty bad!
I can't wait to come back here and read the comments left by others - because I know there are so many funny ones I can't remember.

cs harris said...

I've always thought it was funny that aliens are typically ugly. Earth has produced some creatures that we find "ugly," but most--even deadly tigers and polar bears--are beautiful or cute and cuddly. Perhaps it's easier for writers to create something ugly than a creature that's both beautiful and unfamiliar?

Lisa said...

My earliest alien recollection was the 1958 classic, "The Blob" -- first movie I ever saw on a color TV. Classic camp :)

I'm not sure why, but the most convincing aliens to me are always the shape shifting kind like the one from John Carpenter's, "The Thing" and the ones from "The X Files".

the walking man said...

Aliens...GW Bush and kin,
Dick (head) Cheney, 5 supreme court members, all of them may be terrestrially born but they are all alien to the American freedoms.



AvDB said...

Good aliens:

I agree with the X-Files and The Thing. I, too, like the sneaky, body-invader types. The Predator alien was good, too. The fact it was almost human in form made what it could do (and did) that much scarier. I also liked the aliens in Abyss, especially when they manipulated the water.

Bad aliens:

Alf? The Sleestaks?

Charles Gramlich said...

Pythia3, the close encounters aliens were very much the grays of UFO ology, which makes sense. My only issue with them is that they are too humanoid, but well done.

Candice, good point. I think this would be less of a problem if all the aliens didn't look human. I found the alien opera singer in "The Fifth Element" to be beautiful.

Lisa, "The thing" is one of my favorite movies. I think it's a pretty good alien.

Walking man, I'm not sure Cheney isn't a meat puppet for some alien controller.

Avery, I think the Predator is pretty good, despite being so human like. Some good differences, though.

Christopher Mills said...

Among the more "alien" movie aliens are the "bugs" from the film version of STARSHIP TROOPERS, the night creatures from PITCH BLACK, and – although vaguely humanoid, the beasties from the ALIEN series.

The adaptoid from Carpenter's THE THING was decidedly well-thought out, as were the Xenomorphs in Jack Arnold's IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and the television series FARSCAPE hada nice variety of alien designs, both humanoid and non-humanoid.

Bernita said...

Anyone want to lay odds that someone in your crowd will mention Jar Jar Binks?

Michelle's Spell said...

I'm out of my league on this question! But I've been to Roswell once. Hope you have a great talk!

Drizel said...

In a linkin park video(know its music), but they have huge flying whale thingies, they are quite annoying not realistic.:)
Hmmmm, its like you wanna think of the yukky ones but the brain does not want to let it out....arrgggg...
anyways enjoy the weekend.

Erik Donald France said...

Eerie alien -- David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (and his family on a dying planet).

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nothing beats E.T. A cute and cuddly alien. Very marketable. Pockets full of money for the creator, or better yet, the writer.

But not all aliens are cuddly; go to and watch "Spaced Out" by Andrew. They may be cute, but I wouldn't get near them.

LoveRundle said...

I wish I could be there to listen. If you ever get up this way to give a speech, you need to let me know.

Sphinx Ink said...

The most terrifying (and convincing) alien to me is the one in the eponymous ALIEN movies, facing off against Sigourney Weaver. Those creatures were truly the peak of creature-feature art.