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aries1988 : alien   3

What Happens If China Makes First Contact?

Science fiction is sometimes described as a literature of the future, but historical allegory is one of its dominant modes. Isaac Asimov based his Foundation series on classical Rome, and Frank Herbert’s Dune borrows plot points from the past of the Bedouin Arabs. Liu is reluctant to make connections between his books and the real world, but he did tell me that his work is influenced by the history of Earth’s civilizations, “especially the encounters between more technologically advanced civilizations and the original settlers of a place.” One such encounter occurred during the 19th century, when the “Middle Kingdom” of China, around which all of Asia had once revolved, looked out to sea and saw the ships of Europe’s seafaring empires, whose ensuing invasion triggered a loss in status for China comparable to the fall of Rome.

Every so often, a Hans Zimmer bass note would sound, and the glass pane would fill up with the smooth, spaceship-white side of another train, whooshing by in the opposite direction at almost 200 miles an hour.

seti does share some traits with religion. It is motivated by deep human desires for connection and transcendence. It concerns itself with questions about human origins, about the raw creative power of nature, and about our future in this universe—and it does all this at a time when traditional religions have become unpersuasive to many.

China could rightly regard itself as the lone survivor of the great Bronze Age civilizations, a class that included the Babylonians, the Mycenaeans, and even the ancient Egyptians. Western poets came to regard the latter’s ruins as Ozymandian proof that nothing lasted. But China had lasted. Its emperors presided over the planet’s largest complex social organization. They commanded tribute payments from China’s neighbors, whose rulers sent envoys to Beijing to perform a baroque face-to-the-ground bowing ceremony for the emperors’ pleasure.
astronomy  seti  china  alien  chinese  project  state  scientist  scifi  technology  development  2017  future  human  discovery  history  Space  interview 
november 2017 by aries1988
The Consuming Fervor of “Arrival”
When aliens come, how will they get here? Well, unless they are sly infiltrators of the flesh, they will probably go for the kind of boastful, get-a-load-of-us craft that was immortalized by Douglas Adams in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He wrote, “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” That was true of “Independence Day,” and it is doubly true of “Arrival,” in which a dozen mountainous ovoids—charcoal gray and rough to the touch, like a pumice stone—show up at various locations around Earth. Rather than land, the vessels suspend themselves in dignified fashion, with their tips facing downward and not quite touching the ground. Whatever their occupants want, it’s a pretty cool way to make an entrance.

what lingers, days after you leave the cinema, is neither the wizardry nor the climax but the zephyr of emotional intensity that blows through the film.
movie  scifi  critic  2016  alien 
november 2016 by aries1988
The Visit: What aliens would really mean for us as humans
The most frightening aspect for me was Beaver’s sense of how public panic would cause society to break down. I thought panic leading to Armageddon was just a Hollywood cliché, but the MoD officials I spoke to had seen this process under way during the Bosnian conflicts of the mid-1990s. Their assumption – that society tips into anarchy very quickly – was deadly serious and sincere. Beaver and Sheriff told me, more or less, that the varnish of society is very thin: fear cuts through it quickly.

And there’s hope in the fact that we conjure up aliens in the first place. We long to be seen by something other than ourselves, because then our own existence is strengthened. Alongside it is this suspicion that perhaps the alien is resting inside ourselves: that while we’re alone in the universe, we don’t truly know who we are.
alien  opinion  howto  safety  space 
january 2016 by aries1988

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