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by Roderick MacDonald
Category: Science Fiction
Description: Who hasn't wondered what would happen if aliens were to visit our planet? MacDonald explores the thought processes of these extraterrestrials and how their visit could affect us.
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, 2002 SynergEbooks
eBookwise Release Date: September 2004
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [320 KB]
Reading time: 209-292 min.
"A long time ago in a galaxy far away, the chances are that nothing happened and if it did, we are never likely to know. This book goes through every fallacious belief we have ever held about the possibilities of faster-than-light travel, transporter beams, wormholes, flying saucers and close encounters. It systematically builds them up and takes them apart. To demonstrate how aliens are most likely not among us or at least not in the manner we may expect, Rod MacDonald has created the Exordicans. They, he tells us, lived on a distant planet and many millennia before Earth came to be inhabited. The planet civilisation developed to such an extent that interstellar space travel became possible. Alongside the ability to choose more or less eternal life, this means that these 'people' can travel. They become the explorers of space but the circumstances allowing them this chance means they are the most introspective bunch ever to set off on a journey. The Exordicans travel in several converted asteroids and eventually end up here. He details the changes their bodies and minds go through and reasons they might have for stopping off on Earth. Soon it becomes apparent that he is describing the familiar picture that is drawn by abductees around the world: the grey alien. He develops his arguments quite comprehensively in a series of chapters. It is a learned and scientific approach that manages not to talk down to readers like me. It is an essay that chooses fact over belief but backs up his arguments in an enjoyable and entertaining way. It is not a trivial approach and may well give SF directors cause to throw away their film scripts as he debunks practically anything ever made or wrote about the subject with suitable references to popular culture. With two useful appendices about evolution and extending life you will now be armed with the knowledge to shoot down in flames anyone who dares to suggest that the alien encounters of 'Taken' are in any way realistic scenarios. Despite all that it makes me wistful because with this knowledge backed up with solid science, I will no longer 'watch the skies' for ET or hope for a close but benign encounter. Read and enjoy but "Star Trek" will never be the same again!"--Sue Davies, SF Crowsnest.com
The Martians Are Coming!
We've heard this cry many times before in old 50's science fiction movies. A reflection, perhaps, on our western fear of communism, this had more to do with current events than an envisaged invasion from space. The planet Mars, coincidentally red in colour, produced an overspill of invading Martians with a predilection to covertly substitute themselves for honest, decent earth people and so spread out like a cancerous disease. The reasons for this are twofold: communism was envisaged as an insidious, creeping conversion process leaving the convert a cold, emotionless zombie similar in appearance to a normal human but inwardly much different, and secondly, this was by far the easiest way to portray aliens in a low budget movie before the age of computerised special effects.
Mars was also a hopeful place for life to exist. Some still had notions of a world where vegetation stubbornly clung to life on the dry surface, below which a race of Martians fighting the elements in an austere battle for survival greedily longed for the abundant resources of the blue and green earth just 40 million miles distant on its closest approach. Even respectable scientists believed that under the conditions then thought to exist on Mars, the chance of some form of life was reasonable. The Mariner and Viking space programmes of the 60's and 70's gave us a picture of a much more inhospitable world where even the existence of an extinct microbe was doubtful. However, the pendulum has swung the other way. Latest research for life on Mars is much more hopeful. There is strong evidence to suggest that early in its existence, Mars was wet. The Mars orbital spacecraft has revealed some features which looked suspiciously like ancient coastlines and others which resemble sedimentary rocks laid down in the ancient seas. I think we'll know for certain by the year 2010 whether or not life exists or has existed on Mars.
As for communism, it subsided after Ronald Reagan spearheaded the last great battle of the cold war. We found, surprisingly, that the communists, removed from their system and despotic leaders, were people not much different from ourselves, and when their threat had been neutralised, the problem was one of finding the next bogeyman. A moustachioed gentleman from a land situated between the Tigris and the Euphrates seemed to fit the bill for a while, but now, added to this, we have a conflict with terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. Maybe the future will show that, basically, removed from dangerous idealism on both sides, these people are also more alike than different. We now know that microbes notwithstanding, the Martians are not coming in their flying saucers. However, Mars is only a cosmic stone's throw away and it would be surprisingly negative and unrealistic for anyone to suggest that life did not exist elsewhere in the universe.
When you look up at the sky on a clear night, approximately 2000 stars are visible. When telescopes are used, more and more stars, normally too faint to be seen by the naked eye, appear into view, but when images are recorded with the world's largest telescopes, the most numerous objects by far are galaxies. Down to the faintest magnitudes that we can observe, all we can see, excepting the occasional star, are galaxies. Hundreds of millions of galaxies, billions of galaxies, spread out in curious sponge-like structures throughout the universe. Each galaxy, of course, could be like our own: a disk formation composed of one hundred thousand million stars and this is only the portion of the universe that we can detect. The immensity of the universe is staggering and really beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as ourselves. So, for all we know, there could be billions of planets out there, absolutely teeming with life, separated from us by huge distances and the laws of physics. On the other hand, that does not mean to say that they will not visit us at some point in the future and an idea of their possible thought processes or psychology would be useful. It may also be the case that an alien visitation would not be a pleasant experience, for us at least, and only the foolhardy would not wish to consider the consequences. After all, there is nothing to lose should nobody appear in our skies from afar and everything to gain if we have prepared ourselves should this unlikely scenario emerge.
The aim of this book is to discuss the possibilities of life from elsewhere in the galaxy visiting our world and then to consider the thought processes of these extraterrestrials. What makes them tick? Why have they come here and what do they want? How will their visit affect us? What will be the final outcome? There is a reasonable amount of science in this book but most of the background material is contained in the appendix sections which follow the main chapters. The science is necessary to put forward some of the arguments as to the nature of extraterrestrials but, for those not of a scientific inclination, don't worry--this isn't a science textbook. Throughout the text, except for a small section, distance measurements are given in miles. People in Britain and the United States still think in miles. Despite a scientific education, I still think in miles rather than metres and kilometres. This isn't a cultural statement, it's simply the way I was brought up, and to get the book's message over to people, I've chosen the simplest method. Now, it's time to look at the myths about aliens--unidentified flying objects and other phenomenon of a similar nature to examine them--and see beyond to what might be the truth!