When writing fantastic adventures through space, it’s inevitable in most cases that you’re going to have them step out of that ship and encounter something not of this world. They could find the ruins of an ancient civilization. They could find an unknown spacecraft not of any design they’ve ever seen. And, of course, they could just run into some…
Yes, aliens, they’re everywhere in space no matter what you may think about the Fermi Paradox. It’s inevitable that there’s something out there, somewhere, which is at least as advanced as we are. Sure, cosmic filters and all that are a possibility, but they’re a possibility born out of insecurity and assumption of facts without evidence. So don’t worry sci-fi writers, even if we haven’t made contact with anything yet we’re more than sure to make contact with something in the distant future.
But when you get around to making these alien lifeforms there tends to be a problem in how exactly we’re supposed to bring them to life. Sci-fi is full of tropes on just what exactly an alien creature is supposed to look like and almost all of them stem from something we’d find down here on Earth. More than one novel has described their aliens as being “insect-like”, quite a few rubber faces have been glued to actors over the years, and one time there was an Outer Limits where the advanced alien intelligence was a talking Raptor.
There’s just one problem: science says that anything that evolved on an alien world has likely taken a dramatically different turn than anything we’ve seen before. So what exactly should we expect those aliens to look like? How do you go about creating something that isn’t supposed to be like anything you’ve seen before? Well, at that point you’re going to have to make some assumptions… Continue reading Writing Sci-fi: Safe Assumptions of Alien Life