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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

aw, crap

I knew it! Stephen Hawking says aliens will want to enslave us and eat our brains, or maybe our sun, or something, and he’s, like, the smartest smart guy ever, so he should know, right?


Then again… aliens can be cute:

Or dangerous only insofar as they will expect you to buy them pints:

Or cute and helpful on a planet-saving basis (though they may also expect you to buy them pints, because they never have any local currency):

(Wow: I never noticed before that the Tenth Doctor’s clothes sort of mimicked Ford Prefect’s. Weird.)



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easter eggs
  • CB

    Don’t worry, while Mr. Hawking is almost certainly correct (he is a mega-genius after all), we have nothing to fear so long as he lives since he will thwart any alien invasion with the awesome power of his Hawking Radiation! Hawking powers are GO!

    But in all seriousness, if aliens do show up any time soon and want to take our planet, we’re pretty screwed. There won’t be any War of the Worlds, with aliens coming down into our atmosphere where our weapons (or microbes) can conveniently reach them. Nope. They’ll just stop at the asteroid belt and lob big rocks at us. Odds are we won’t even notice we’re being attacked until the asteroids are nearly here and then ka-pow, there goes humanity with all the fight of an ant crushed underfoot.

    Kinda depressing, ain’t it? But hey at least it won’t be depressing for long. :)

  • Michael

    To compliment the above comment, I provide you with the following exchange from Farscape:

    D’Argo: “I’ve seen lots of your movies. And, in every film, the aliens are always evil and Earth always is victorious.”

    Bobby: “You mean we have to learn there are good aliens?”

    D’Argo: “No. I mean you have to learn you won’t always win.”

  • Kenny

    I was a bit surprised by this. I don’t think he was talking about Earth itself… afterall, Earth probably represents less than 1% of the raw materials in the solar system. It’s not even made of anything particularly special.Why would they bother? They could just take everything else and bugger off.

  • What’s surprising? He made an interesting speculation and people grabbed it out of context and made a huge deal of it. I read it on the front page of my local paper!

    The documentary series looks really good, and I’m excited to watch it. I can guarantee you he said way more than just the one thing about aliens. Hopefully it’ll be a reason for folks to tune in.

    If you’re into astronomy, physics, and alien speculation at all, I recommend the excellent BBC doc “Wonders of the Solar System” with professor Brian Cox (not the actor).

  • Kathy_A

    They were talking about this on the radio on Monday morning, and they made it sound like the aliens are going to be very “To Serve Man” with us. The traffic reporter (a glass-half-full type) preferred to think that maybe aliens would view us as pampered pets instead of livestock, puppies instead of chickens, which got them all to discuss who would be the perfect puppy-look human to send as a perfect sample of pampered-petdom.

    They decided on Elijah Wood.

  • *sigh* and to think one of the dreams of my lifetime is that we’ll have contact with another species from another planet… (NOT counting whales and dolphins and elephants and the japanese). now i’ll probably get my wish and get vaporized, instead of taken away in the TARDIS. damn.

  • “Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach,” Hawking said. “If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”

    In other words, they might not be much different than we humans. Then again they might be.

    It’s kinda silly at this point to make any speculations about the motives of alien visitors without any proof that such aliens even exist. Right now their existence is merely probable. We all know theoretically that life on other planets may be possible but most of us still raise an eyebrow in the direction of anyone who actually claims to have seen an alien so I’m guessing alien invasions won’t be a serious topic of discussion for a long while.

    Oh, well. At least the show got a lot of publicity–which shouldn’t be the most important point in regard to this subject matter but unfortunately, I suspect it is.

    Personally, I was more interested–and ultimately, a tad disappointed–in the story about the giant flaming lizard. Who would have expected The Christian Science Monitor to start going the way of The National Enquirer?

  • Isobel

    @ Newbs – Wonders of the Solar System was a brilliant series, I second your recommendation.

    I’m sure there’s got to be aliens somewhere else in the Universe, after all it’s big enough that even the minute chance that created us has had to have happened more than once (although I did once get told by a fundamentalist Christian that the universe actually isn’t big enough for it to have happened by chance once and ended up with us – I don’t think he quite understood what ‘infinite’ means). I had been under the illusion, however, that scientists thought any lifeforms would probably be so scattered across the universe that we’ll never meet, so I’m going to be interested to hear what Hawking has to say!

  • NorthernStar

    And I third Newbs recommendation. Fantastic series.

    Brian Cox is sciences’ answer to Richard Attenborough. Like that great man, he brings the subject to life in such an easily understood way that manages never to patronise or over simplify.

  • Isobel

    Or David Attenborough? :)

    I’m going to have to insist that David Attenborough lives forever because nature programmes just aren’t the same without him. He’s a very brilliant man.

  • CB

    I was a bit surprised by this. I don’t think he was talking about Earth itself… afterall, Earth probably represents less than 1% of the raw materials in the solar system. It’s not even made of anything particularly special.Why would they bother?

    Um, hello? Our precious bodily fluids?

  • marshall

    It might go something like this…

    From Monsters Vs. Aliens (I can’t remember the exact speech, but it goes something along these lines.)
    “Greeting Earthlings. Do not be alarmed, I mean you no harm. However, it is important to note that the majority of you will not survive the next 24 hours. Those of you that do will be enslaved. You should by no means take this personally, it’s just business. So, to sum up – I come in peace, you’re all going to die.”

  • Kenny

    CB Wrote. Um, hello? Our precious bodily fluids?

    They want snotters?

  • and to think one of the dreams of my lifetime is that we’ll have contact with another species from another planet… (NOT counting whales and dolphins and elephants and the japanese).

    If you’re going to count the Japanese as an alien species, I think we’ve already been conquered. ;-)

  • aquila6

    It’s actually kind of stupid that the press gave Hawking so much attention regarding this proclamation of us, when science fiction writers have already covered virtually every conceivable “man encounters aliens” scenario that there is.

    Hawking (and the rest of you) needs to read some of Stephen Baxter’s work, particularly Manifold: Space or anything from the Xeelee Sequence. The reality is that any alien species capable of interstellar flight is almost certainly capable of destroying us with virtually zero effort on their part — but aliens that powerful may just view us as ants and ignore us while they pursue their own plans.

  • aquila6

    Proclamation of HIS, I should have said.

  • Kenny

    @aquila6 Hehe. Who do you think you’re talking to? ;) Most of us are science fiction lovers.

    Ring was perhaps my favourite of Baxter’s books. Though the mechanism by which the Photino Birds throw galaxies at the Ring is never discussed. (I don’t even really understand how they’re aware of the Xeelee.)

    Have you ever read any of Ian M Banks books?

  • If an alien intelligence managed to avoid choking on their own pollution, nuking themselves out of existence, or going broke building conventional weapons, thus spending enough of their physical and intellectual resources to get off their world and cross interstellar distances, I’m betting that they are already not just more technologically advanced than we are, but probably wiser and more peaceful, too.

    Second, all of the natural resources needed for interstellar travel (as we understand it, and assuming the projected level of technological efficiency required for such travel) can be found on Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons, so any visit to Earth would be a side trip for tourists or anthropologists, or perhaps their robotic avatars, if they’re wise to our ways.

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Now there’s an interesting hook for a story: what if our first contact with aliens is discovering Saturn and Jupiter being dismantled? Turns out Earth is a protected wildlife preserve, but the mineral rights for the rest of our solar system have been auctioned off to the highest bidder.

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