Forgotten Science Fiction: A For Andromeda by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot

In 1960, astronomer Frank Drake pioneered the concept of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) with Project Ozma.

In 1961, the BBC ran a seven-part TV show called A for Andromeda about a SETI success story, later made into a book by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot.

Sometimes forgotten science fiction is worth pursuing when it is first to explore a new idea.

I’m reviewing the novelization, and my edition is the 1964 Crest paperback.  Only one complete episode and fragments of other episodes exist for the original television series, which featured Julie Christie in an early role.  According to Wikipedia the idea was developed by Fed Hoyle, an astronomer and author of The Black Cloud, and expanded with characters and dialog by television producer John Elliot, who wrote most of the script, and probably the novelization, but Fred Hoyle is given top billing.  Hoyle was a noted astronomer and I’m sure his name sold the book. 

I wish the original television serial was available, because the clips on Youtube make it look pretty good for a 1961 science fictional TV show.  The show was remade in 2006, but is not available on Netflix yet.  Youtube does have the complete “Face of the Tiger” episode in 8 video parts – this will give you an idea of what it was like.

 

However, we do have the whole book if you’re willing to track down a used copy, because it’s been out of print since 2002, and never widely circulated.

 

A for Andromeda 001

As far back as 1896 Nikola Tesla suggested using radio to contact ETs, and in 1924 radio audiences had to endure 5 minute blocks of radio silence hoping astronomers could hear broadcasts from Mars, so the idea has been around for awhile, but it was never used all that much in science fiction.

The basic plot of the story is scientists discover a signal from space with instructions to build a computer, which then decodes further instructions for building life forms.  Two other movies, along with A for Andromeda have covered this topic in film, first the 1955 This Island Earth, and more recently with the 1997 Contact.  In all three,  the early part of the story is about making SETI contact, and the rest of the story is about following the alien instructions.  This Island Earth was based on a book by Raymond F. Jones, a long forgotten minor SF writer who had some moderate successes in the 1950s and 1960s.  Contact, of course was based on Carl Sagan’s novel, and it’s probably the most famous SETI story.

James Gunn took a more realistic look at the idea in The Listeners from 1972, by having the story span a hundred years.  Any real SETI conversation will take centuries if not thousands of years.  Jack McDevitt tackled the subject in 1986 in The Hercules Text.  Less well known, is His Master’s Voice by Stanislaw Lem, first published in 1968 in Poland, but with English translations still in print.

All of these stories deal with common themes and issues surrounding the impact of SETI contact.  A for Andromeda was written during the early days of the cold war, so in that story, the message from the stars was mostly kept secret from the public.  I don’t want to tell you much about A for Andromeda in this section because there’s not a whole lot of dramatic plot develop, so why give away what little there is.  I read A for Andromeda just after reading The Day of the Triffids, and unfortunately Andromeda pales in comparison, because Triffids is a gripping classic page turner.  A for Andromeda is an interesting read, especially if you like to read stories about messages from space, which I’ve discovered that I do.

Strangely, science fiction has seldom used SETI as a theme, even though it’s probably the most realistic of all alien contact methods.  There are thousands of alien invasion stories, which says so much about our paranoia and lack of knowledge of physics and the reality of space travel.  If we’re to make first contact with alien intelligences who live on planets orbiting nearby stars, the odds are almost 100% it will be through SETI contact.

I thought it interesting in A for Andromeda that the story was less about aliens and more about getting technology to uplift Great Britain’s falling status as a world power.  It was also about computers and scientists working for secret government projects, and how the government has to spy on their own people because of national and industrial espionage.   I got the feeling while reading A for Andromeda that  the writers might have been influenced by Ian Fleming.

A for Andromeda is not a bad read, but it’s not a great one either – I’d mostly recommend it for the science fiction historian.

Analysis with Spoilers

Don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t read the novel and still plan to read it.

The aliens who send the message in A for Andromeda are very smart.  They give instructions to build a computer that queries the Earthmen about what they know and then customizes the message and results for them.  When the computer is finished it queries about the biological life on Earth, and then gives instructions for building a DNA sequencer.  Then it produces a strange Cyclops creature that has a symbiotic relationship with the computer.  From this experiment the computer learns more about Earth biology and then builds a beautiful young woman that the scientists call Andromeda.  Part of the book is about her education.  The novel doesn’t deal with artificial intelligence, but it gets very close.

As usual in these stories, some scientists are gangbusters to move forward as fast as possible hoping for a big technological payoff, while other scientists contemplate the horrors of what the aliens might be planning.  In This Island Earth, A for Andromeda and Content, the message has instructions to build something.  This is great for developing a novel plot, but I’m not sure if it’s realistic.  Would we ever follow such instructions without many back and forth messages of getting to know the folks at the other end of the SETI phone line?

All these novels have another common problem – how to present alien intelligence that’s greater than our own?  In This Island Earth the message turns out to be local, and the instructions to build a machine, a test to prove the scientists worthy of further contact and a flying saucer ride.  The moviegoers are taken to a distant planet.  In Contact, Jodi Foster is sent on a fantastic worm-hole jaunt to meet some rather god-like aliens, but upon her return her story is disbelieved.  Most alien contact stories are about invading Earth, or weird comedies like Men in BlackStar Trek and Star Wars are both famous for developing alien diversity, but how serious have they ever been?  Vulcan and Klingons aren’t very realistic aliens.

Science fiction seldom deals with the actual problems of SETI, making first contact and the dynamics of languages.  A for Andromeda handles the later problem by having the human form Andromeda commune telepathically with the computer.  Most real scientists believe our initial conversations will be about math, which will lead to physics, chemistry and eventually biology.  It will take a long time before we get to religion, philosophy and technology.

In the end, Andromeda is accidently killed before she can communicate what she might know about distant worlds.  The computer is destroyed before it’s real mission is revealed.  In other words, Hoyle and Elliot chicken out rather than speculate about what the aliens might really want.  There is a sequel, The Andromeda Breakthrough, but I haven’t read it or seen the TV show.  It is available as a special DVD edition along with the remaining fragments of A for Andromeda, but it’s not available in the U.S.  The Andromeda Breakthrough is available for digital rental and sale through Amazon, but I haven’t been tempted, it more about espionage.

Like I said in the first section, A for Andromeda is pleasant but mild read, mostly likely to appeal to readers who study SF literature.

JWH – 7/1/12 

The Origins of Higher Intelligence in Science Fiction

In the physical realm of reality, we humans have always believed we were the crown of creation, the smartest beings in a long chain of animal and plant creatures.  Yet, as far back into history that we have memories, we have speculated about metaphysical beings that were far smarter than us, who had amazing abilities.  God and gods, angels and devils, and a whole zoology of spiritual beings.  Over the centuries of progress and the development of science, we have come to doubt the existence of such metaphysical beings.  We’ve even asked ourselves, are we alone in the universe, and wondered if there are beings elsewhere in the vast multiverse that are as smart as we are, or even conscious of living in the multiverse.

Ancient Greeks speculated about life on distant worlds.  They even imagined the universe composed of atoms and concluded our world must not be unique.  Ever since then there have been people who thought about life on other worlds, or even the creation of better humans, or even the wilder ideas of the creation of smart machines and artificial life.  We just don’t want to accept that we’re alone.

For most of history, most of humanity has assumed we’re not alone, that spiritual beings existed and they were superior to us.  After the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, religious thinking decline and scientific thinking rose.  Among the population, a growing number of us has come to accept that physical reality is the only reality.  Instead of waiting for God to give us higher powers after we died, we started speculating on how we could give ourselves immortality, greater wisdom, and control over space and time, and we wondered more and more if there are other intelligent, self-aware creatures living in the universe with us.  Slowly, a form of literature developed to support this speculation and it’s generally called science fiction.

mary_shelley

In 1818 Mary Shelley spread the idea in her book Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus that we could find the force that animated life and overcome death.  That’s a very apt subtitle because Prometheus was a god that uplifted mankind.  Mary Shelley also promoted another great science fictional concept in her 1826 book The Last Man, which speculated that our species could go extinct.  If there is no God we must protect ourselves from extinction, and fight against death.  But actually, we wanted more.

HG-Wells 

Then in 1895 H. G. Wells suggested to the world in his novel The Time Machine, that humanity could even devolve, as well as go extinct.  Not only that, he showed how the Earth could die.  This was all inspired from On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin, which first appeared in 1859.  In The Time Machine Wells imagined life in 802,701 A.D.  Instead of picturing the obvious, a superior race of humans evolving, he envisions two species that had branched off from ours, and neither of which were superior.  He hints that there were greater versions of humanity in between the times, but now we had devolved.  At the end of the book, he suggests that humans devolve even further into mere creatures without any intelligence.  This powerful speculative fiction defined the scope of humanity for us.  We can become greater, lesser or ceased to exist.

Then in 1898 Wells gets the world to think about another brilliant science fictional idea, what if there are superior alien beings that can visit Earth and conquer us.  In The War of the Worlds, intelligent beings come to exterminate humans.  We don’t know how much more intelligent they are, but the Martians can build great machines and travel across space.  There had been other books about alien invaders and time travel, but H. G. Wells made these ideas common speculation.

John_Davys_Beresford 

In 1911, J. D. Beresford published The Hampdenshire Wonder, a book about deformed child with a super powerful brain, a prodigy or wunderkind of amazing abilities.  Beresford, his novel and ideas, were never as famous as his contemporary H. G. Wells, but The Wonder was an idea whose time had come.  How much smarter could a human become?  Readers of science fiction, and some people in the world at large were now wondering about the powers of the mind, as well as speculating about how powerful could alien minds be.  Stories about robots had existed before now, as well as Frankenstein and Golem like creatures, but the public had not fixated on the idea of superior machine intelligence or artificial life.   But we were on our way to imagining a superior man, a superman.

Prodigies were well known and speculated about, like musical prodigies and math geniuses, but Beresford suggests the human mind had a lot more potential in it.  He also zooms in on the resentment factor.

Gladiator_(novel)

The 1930 novel Gladiator by Philip Wylie suggests it’s possible to enhance humans with a serum to improve their physical strength.  There is no scientific reasoning behind this, other than to suggest we could have the equivalent weight lifting power of an ant, and the jumping power of a grasshopper.  All of this merely foreshadows Superman comics (1932).  The theory behind Superman is he’s an alien with advanced powers and not an enhanced humans.

Action_Comics

Comic books embraced the idea of super-heroes speculating about an endless variety of ways to get humans with more features and powers.  Comics have never been very scientific, and instead copied the ideas and themes from ancient gods and goddesses.  It’s all wish-fulfillment fantasies.  People are exposed to radiation and lightening all the time and don’t mutate.  However, all of this led to speculation about what humans could become, and how evolution might produce Homo Sapiens 2.0.

Odd_John_first_edition_cover

In 1935 Olaf Stapledon published Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest.  Stapledon went far beyond comics in his speculation about what a superman might be, how they would act, and how society would react.  Science fiction is now seriously philosophizing about the future and potential of the human race.

Olaf_Stapledon

Olaf Stapledon was a far reaching thinker and a serious science fiction writer.  Last and First Men (1930) describes eighteen species of humans, while Star Maker (1937) tried to write a history of life in the universe.  These books are not typical novels, but more like fictional narratives.  The scope of Stapledon’s speculation was tremendous, and few science fiction writers have tempted to best him.

Gray_lensman

1930s science fiction was full of stories about accelerated evolution, such as “The Man Who Evolved” by Edmond Hamilton, and this culminated in the super-science stories of E. E. Smith and his Lensmen stories (1934-1948).   Science fiction fans ate this stuff up, and many people consider the ideas in the Lensmen series as inspiration for the Star Wars series.  The stories involve two super alien races fighting a galactic war over vast time scales using client races that they uplifted with knowledge and superior technology.

Smith ideas weren’t completely new, but he put them together in an exciting series that really jump-started the science fiction genre of the 1940s and 1950s.  Smith presented the idea that aliens could be godlike or devilish in their abilities, wisdom and knowledge, and they could bestow great powers on those who follow them.  The science behind all of this is hogwash.  It’s pandering to ancient religious beliefs by presenting the same ideas in pseudo-science costumes.

Star Wars has the same exact appeal.  Humans, especially adolescent boys, and now liberated girls, want power and adventure.  These powers and adventures are no different from what Greek, Roman, Hindu and Norse gods experienced.  The excitement of Golden Age Science Fiction from the pulp magazines of the 1940s and into the psycho-social science fiction of the 1950s represents the unleashing of great desires.  Desires for immortality, of ruling the heavens, telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, flying faster than light, becoming as all-knowing as God.

Starting in the 1950s, especially with movies, and expanding in the 1960s with television shows like Star Trek, these ideas became widely popular, almost universal, and during the next 50 years, they came to dominate the most popular films.  There is a huge pent-up desire here for the fantastic and the transcendental through the powers of science.

Science fiction writers have often faced the challenge of presenting a super-advanced being, either a very evolved human, a powerful alien, or an AI being with vast intelligence as a character in their stories.  Generally, the assumption is super-intelligence equals ESP like powers.  How often in Outer Limits, Star Trek, Star Wars, or in written science fiction, have you seen a highly evolved human read minds, or move matter with thought, such as Valentine Michael Smith in Stranger in a Strange Land?  This goes way back in science fiction.  The same thing is true when aliens come down to visit in their flying saucers.  If they are presented as from an ancient civilization, they might not even have bodies, but they can manipulated space and time at will.

Isn’t that all silly? How does higher IQ equal overcoming the physical laws of reality?

stranger_in_a_strange_land_cover

Back in 1961 Robert Heinlein suggests that a very ancient race of Martians had conquered space and time with their minds, and they taught their techniques to a normal human, as if it was no more difficult than learning yoga.  Really?  Is that believable?  Well, science fiction fans ate this up too.  And then in 1977 Star Wars suggested similar powers for the Jedi.  Why do people want to believe thinking can be that powerful?  Well obviously, they hoped to have such power.

Valentine Michael Smith could make objects move or disappear.  He could kill people at will by sending them into another dimension.  He also had fakir like control over his body that allowed him to hibernate and appear dead.  He could also talk with ghosts.  Heinlein gives us no reason how these wild talents developed, or how they could function within the rules of physics.

Like Luke Skywalker learning to use The Force, people hope to transcend their old way of being through will power.  So far we haven’t had much luck with that concept.  The next step is to invent machines that could enhance us.

lthesixthfinger

In 1963, one of the classic episodes of the original Outer Limits has David McCallum, an ordinary miner, put into a mad scientist’s chamber and his body evolved with speeded up evolution.  McCallum’s brain gets huge, he grows a sixth finger on each hand and his mental powers become enormous.  This superman moves beyond love and hate and sees normal humans beneath his consideration.

This is a step beyond Heinlein.  It suggests that evolution will eventually produce a smarter human.  It gives us no reason why we should believe this.  One real theory about why humans actually evolved was to adapt to climate change so we could survive in many different environments and climates.  Humanity  has faced all kinds of challenges and we’ve yet to morph into anything new yet.

more-than-human

Back in 1953, Theodore Sturgeon proposed that mutations might exist in the population, in the case of More Than Human, suggested that six such individuals getting together to blend their talents into a gestalt consciousness.  The first part of the story is called “The Fabulous Idiot” and reminds us we’ve long known about idiot savants that have wild talents.  We have to give Sturgeon credit for sticking close to reality and not just making up some science fiction mumbo-jumbo, except that he suggests that misfits have ESP or telepathy, that darling concept of 1950s science fiction writers.  Without telepathy we can’t create the gestalt. 

There are humans with magnificent mental abilities, with photographic minds, wizards with numbers and math, but most of them have other weaknesses that keep them from being fully functional as social beings.  There seems to be a problem with the human mind focusing to closely on any one talent at the expense of general abilities.

Chocky

John Wyndham comes up with a solution of having an alien intelligence inhabit a boy.  This is sort of a cheat don’t you think?  Without explaining  how an alien mind can occupy our mind and why it’s mind is superior, this is no more than waving a wand and saying, let it be so.

Gary_Mitchell_After

Star Trek explores accidently accelerated evolution when the Enterprise hits a magnetic storm on the edge of the galaxy and crewman Gary Mitchell develops godlike psionic powers.  Like many stories about evolved beings, Gary becomes a threat to the normal people and feels no moral restraint about killing people.  Heinlein presented Valentine Michael Smith as being just with his use of powers to disappear people, but Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock see Gary Mitchell as evil and must be destroyed. 

This show was a second pilot for the original Star Trek series and Mr. Spock is very aggressive, brandishing a rather large and powerful phaser rifle.  Later on Mr. Spock becomes the ideal of mental self-control and evolved being, but then he’s a Vulcan.  The implication is control over feelings will lead to greater mental powers.

heinleinra-themoonisaharshmistress-berkley-001-500

In 1965 Heinlein returns with a newer version of Mike from Stranger in a Strange Land.  Once again, this Mike is an innocent, but a machine coming into consciousness.  Once again he has to learn about how the world works and to develop his own talents.  Being a machine he has new abilities that humans don’t and can’t have.  Now we’re onto something.  If we can’t evolve our brains, why not use our brains to build a better brain.  Mike is a friendly computer, but many people fear this idea.

colossus

Just a year later, in 1966, D. J. Jones images the world controlled by two giant military computers.  Of course, in 1983 the film War Games imagines another dangerous military computer with consciousness.  This happens quite often in science fiction, uppity computers that must be outwitted by slower minded humans.  We seldom get to explore the potential of a smart computer.

when-harlie-was-one

David Gerrold actually writes a science fiction novel that thoughtfully explores the idea of an emerging machine intelligence in 1972, and even speculates on many interesting ideas that eventually become part of the computer age, including computer viruses.  Gerrold builds on what Heinlein started with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

galatea-2.2

In 1995, literary writer Richard Powers explores the idea of machine intelligence with Galatea 2.2, where scientists build a computer named Helen to understand English literature.

wake

Then in 2009, Robert J. Sawyer began a trilogy about an emerging AI that evolves out of the Internet.  Webmind, as it names itself.  Webmind works hard not to be threatening and wants to help humanity.

Let’s imagine a Homo Sapiens 2.0, or BEM, or AI with an IQ of 1,000.  I don’t know if that’s appropriate for the actual scale, but the highest IQ recorded are just over 200, so lets use 1,000 as a theoretical marker.  Let’s imagine IBM’s Watson that had all that brainpower and more, so he/she was like a human with computer thinking speed and memory.

What would it mean to have an IQ of 1,000.  It would mean the AI, Alien or Homo Sapiens 2.0 would think very very fast, remember incredibly well, and solve brain teasers faster than anyone on Earth.  It wouldn’t mean it could read minds or move matter at will, although I’d expect it to deduce information about people like Sherlock Holmes.

Probably all math and physics would be a snap to such a being.  In fact, it would think so fast and know so much that it might not find much of interest in reality.  It wouldn’t know everything, but lets imagine it could consciously imagine calculations like those made in supercomputers to predict the weather, solve subatomic particle experiments or run the Wall Street Stock exchange.

What would such a being feel?  How would it occupy its mind with creative pursuits?

We feel as humans at the crown of creation, that intelligence is the grand purpose of the universe, but when you start studying the multiverse, that might not be so.  We’re just one of an infinity of creations.  There might be limits to intelligence, like physical limits in the universe, like the speed of light.

Science fiction hasn’t begun to explore the possibilities of higher intelligence, but I do think there are limits of awareness, limits of thought and limits of intelligence.  All too often science fiction has taken the easy way out and assumed higher intelligence equals godlike powers.  What does it truly mean to know about every sparrow that falls from a tree?  Is that possible?

Computers are teaching us a lot about intelligence.  Up till now they show that brilliance is possible without awareness.

Science fiction has explored the nature of alien minds, machine minds and evolved human minds over and over, yet these explorations have come up with very little of substance.  I often wonder if the universe doesn’t appear simple with only a moderate amount of intelligence, education and self-awareness.  If we could couple the mind of a human with IBM’s Watson, the resulting mind might be smart enough to fully comprehend reality and build almost anything that needs to be built or invented.  Such a being would know if it’s worth the effort to travel to the stars, or just sit and watch existence as it is.

JWH – 5/15/12

SETI: What Can Aliens Tell Us That We Don’t Know?

First off, decoding any messages from the stars will be difficult.  Just think about what aliens would have to figure out if they received Morse Code from us?  First, there’s the code, and then there’s the language behind the code.  Any kind of pattern recognition program would figure out the code quickly enough, and even discover the alphabet behind the code, but then what?  They might number our alphabet 1-26.  So they end up with a word like 7-18-5-5-14.   Of course, they don’t know that A=1, so the sequence 7-18-5-5-14 could be 26 different words if they knew the order of our alphabet without the starting point, and a whole lot more if they don’t the order at all.  But isn’t alphabetical order even an illusion for us?  Words are far more than letters.  Writing itself is a code, and language is hardwired in our brains.  Could we ever communicate with a differently evolved life form?

Would it be any easier if they got a radio signal with our voices without any kind of coding?  If they heard us say “green” would that be any use to them?  Okay, let’s go to video and have someone point to a color chart and say green.  Now we’re getting somewhere, we need video to have a visual Rosetta Stone.

Now imagine we get TV from the stars, what can aliens tell us that we don’t know?

Religion

Unless our bug eyed friends tell us about a God that’s just like one of ours, we’re going to think anything they say about religion to be just another one.  But what if they smugly inform us they rejected religion 100,000 years ago?  Or they draw a complete blank when we ask about their gods?  After thousands of years, we’re discovering that religion is make-believe, so any religion we hear about from the stars will probably be just as make believed.  But what if they try to convert us to some big-ass wild and wooly story about a creator that looks like living 1955 Buick?

If you want to read about alien religions there’s plenty you can hear about from anthropologists.  But if birdmen from Arcturus  emphatically state that metaphysical realms don’t exist, and neither do metaphysical beings, will the people of Earth believe them?

Ultimately, there are only so many outcomes to expect in this area, here are a quick handful of replies we might get over our SETI TV.

  • There is no God
  • There is a God, but our God is better than your God
  • Our God is much like your God
  • Our God says you should serve us or be destroyed
  • Hello God, you finally answered our call
  • Who do you think you’re talking to, we are God
  • What the heck are you guys talking about, we don’t comprehend

Philosophy

Like religion, philosophy is on the decline in our world, so why would we value the works of an alien Plato?  Would we embrace highly developed alien works of rhetoric, logic and ethics?  Wouldn’t it be bizarre if our new friends have a philosophical tradition that went through similar phases as our philosophers?

What if our new alien buddies give us something to think about that we’ve never thought about before?  Is that even possible?  What if their philosophy only works in the context of their biological framework and environment?  Has anything imagined on Star Trek for alien ways of thinking ever been new?  Earth people have thought of some crazy shit over the centuries.

And how many philosophical practices and disciplines do you follow now?  How often do you read Northrup Frye, Michel Foucault or Ludwig Wittgenstein?  Compared to what you know now, to what you could know if you studied, you could make many quantum leaps in your knowledge without SETI.

Mathematics

This is one area that scientists expect us to be in full agreement.  Will we become depressed if we find all the answers to the mathematical puzzles we hoped to solve ourselves for the next thousand years on an interstellar web site?  What if they give us the answer to the grand unified theory of the universe, and we can’t understand it, ever!

Again, is any BEM math we could get from SETI any less far out than all the math you ignore now?

Science

Shouldn’t their science just correlate our science and vice versa?  The whole idea of science is it should be reproducible anywhere.  To the average citizen of the Earth that pays no attention to science now, will it matter that our science will be validated by alien science?

If our new friends have been around millions of years longer than we have,  should we expect them to have science that makes us feel like dinosaurs?

Technology

Alien technology is what we want.  Movies like Contact (1997) and This Island Earth (1955) imagine getting a signal from another star with blueprints that tell us how to build super-science gadgets that will help us travel to the stars.  Would our far away friends trade the specs for a spaceship for the design for the iPad?  We want the tech to hotrod it out of the solar system.  Will we be disappointed if we don’t get it, either because it doesn’t exist or because their Federation bars them from giving it to us?

Art

Will the creatures from afar care about Monet or Breaking Bad?  Will they want to groove to Lady Gaga and Arcade Fire?  Will we want to read their version of Anna Karenina?  How many Japanese pop hits do you play while reading Vietnamese novels?

Does it Matter?

I think it will matter greatly when we discover we’re not alone in this universe, but beyond that, I tend to think we concentrate on very immediate surroundings and ignore the far away, so will stuff that’s very far away really matter that much?  Most Americans pay little attention to illegal aliens from Mexico, so why care about creatures from Epsilon Eridani?  Think about it, we have excellent science for global warming and evolution but most Americans reject those ideas for some stories they heard as kids at Sunday school.

Our world is full of alien concepts we’ve never explored, far out science and math we’ve never learned, mind blowing technology that’s beyond our current comprehension.  What do we do with this cornucopia of knowledge now?  Yeah, I thought so.  We spend most of our time figuring out how to rub genitals or some other physical impulse programmed into our DNA, so do we really expect to be uplifted by video from the stars by super beings?

Science Fiction

And if we do find SETI pen pals, what will they make of our science fiction?  Our dreams are so much bigger than our beings.  If intelligent life on nearby planets pick up this video on their SETI dishes, what will they think?  What if they don’t know it’s fiction.  What if the SETI signals we receive are their science fiction?

What if the most exciting stuff we get from the stars will be alien Sci-Fi?

JWH – 4/10/12