You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘aliens’ tag.

I was a little (all right, a lot) worried before I went to see this film.  I had been looking forward to it for a long time, and had hyped it up so much in my mind that I was afraid that it would be a massive disappointment.

I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

From almost the very first moments I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat.

Kal-El

We open on the birth of Kal-El.  The room is clearly alien – the floating machines and the clothes give that away.  After the birth, Jor-El holds his new son in his hands – and we cut to one of those scenes which, once you’ve seen it you can’t un-see it.  An impressive alien vista is shown, with a large beast in the foreground.  It raises its head and bellows towards the sky.

You’re more likely to understand what I’m saying if you have children, or were a child yourself around 1994.  If you need a hint, click here.

I really love what they’ve done with Krypton’s architecture.  Not for them the overly traditional ice palace motif.  Instead we have a truly advanced race, with flying cities and technology that can change shape at need.  The development of their tech followed logical lines, too – their designers had clearly been influenced by the natural world that was around them, four-winged creatures and all.

Once he’s been sent off into the void (and the story of how that happened was very exciting, with its high-speed chases, theft, treason, and attempted coups) we cut to 30-year-old Clark living on Earth.

His youth is told through flashbacks, but it doesn’t feel forced or out of place.  What I loved about his childhood was that he struggled.  He didn’t fit in, and he knew it.  From the terrified “what’s wrong with me?” to the plaintive “can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?”, this was a child who was desperately afraid of being different.  He couldn’t fight back when he was bullied, not because he was afraid of being hurt, but because he was afraid that everyone would find out that he couldn’t get hurt.

When he learns how to fly you can see the pure joy on his face.  Here at last is something that makes it all worth it.

Lois Lane

Finally, a Lois Lane who is not the most unobservant reporter ever.  Bravo!

 am not an expert at drawing on the computer.

A normal Lois response to situations.

Dru-Zod & Friends

General Zod was very much a victim of his upbringing, and I liked that he wasn’t just evil without reason.  The one problem with his reasoning that I had was not at all the fault of the film.  It was this line:

“Everything I have done, I did for the Greater Good of my people.”

Which is fine unless, on the way to the cinema, you have had a conversation about Hot Fuzz.  If you’ve seen it, you will see what I mean.  If you haven’t, I pity you.  Go see it.  And then try to listen to that line with a straight face.

This is not a picture of General Zod.

Zod’s friends, however, had some interesting ideas about how nature works.  Evolution always wins, does it?  Hmmm, and all of those extinct species which evolved and then died out?  Still, one dud line in a film of that length is a pretty good ratio.

What next?

There were no major loose ends that screamed “insert sequel here”, but there were a number of avenues that could be explored in future films.

The first is, of course, Lex Luthor.  He wasn’t mentioned at all in the film, but there were several occasions where buildings and vehicles with “LexCorp” splashed all over them were seen (and often destroyed by the fighting).  Whether this was a taste of things to come or simply good background remains to be seen.  I for one wouldn’t say no to a film in which Lex was irritated at all the property damage.

The other idea I’d like explored is the question of Clark’s children.  For reasons which I won’t go into for fear of spoiling things, this would be very interesting.  And with his clear interest in Lois already demonstrated, we just need to discover whether Humans and Kryptonians are compatible in order for it to be a perfectly valid plot.

Conclusion

Five Stars.  If you haven’t already seen it, go as soon as you can.

Advertisements

A female of the species, going about her business.  All is fine, until suddenly, attack!  An ugly, insectoid creature leaps upon her.  It injects its eggs into her body, where the developing larvae happily eat the internal tissues and then burst out through the abdomen.

Sound familiar?

You think I’m describing the plot of a film, don’t you?

This is real.

The wasp Dinocampus coccinellae injects its eggs into the body of a ladybird, which plays unwilling host to them.  After bursting out of its hiding place, the larva builds a cocoon under the ladybird, which remains in place to protect it while it develops.  When exposed to lacewings, unprotected cocoons were devoured utterly, but so were 85% of cocoons protected by dead ladybirds.

Because this isn’t just a space-alien horror film.  This is a zombie space-alien horror film.

The ladybird usually remains alive – in fact around 25% of affected ladybirds survive the ordeal and completely recover – but is partially paralysed.  Venom released by the larva causes it to twitch and grasp, warding off predators.  In this state, only a third of cocoons get eaten by lacewings.

What’s your favourite nature-zombie story?

Tzk’l scratched at his ar’dh with one forelimb.  He glanced at his podmates to see how they were reacting to what they had discovered.  Mrrk’l was frowning pensively, while Pyk’l was clearly upset, his ppdorth drooping in a most unattractive way.

“Why?  Why would anyone do that?”  Pyk’l moaned.  The damage to the first two experiments wasn’t too bad.  A trace of foreign contaminant, some lingering pressure holes.  The third experiment was ruined, the tkali structures set back decades in growth.  There was traces of fire damage, something which should have been impossible on the planet in question.  Four, five and six were fine, apart from traces of the same contaminant that tainted the first two, although the logs from the gravity generators on Five showed some unexpected readings.  It had taken many drrr to clean the contaminant from the atmospheres of the planets, and the podmates were frustrated.

The three podmates were approaching the seventh experimental planet, intent on discovering if there was any damage to this one.  They hoped not – Seven was the most promising of the experiments and it would be a shame if it were ruined.  It would decrease the un’k of their pod and require them to send one podmate to the home world for retraining.  However, given that the damage extended to all of the other planets in the system it was very likely that this one had also been ruined.

They slipped into orbit around the planet and within seconds a picture was building up of the surface.  Mrrk’l hissed, his ar’dh twitching uncontrollably.

“The experiment shows the same contaminant.  No damage detected yet, but analysis shows that if the contaminant remains for longer than one drrr there will be irredeemable changes to the biosphere.

“Begin the cleaning process,” instructed Pyk’l.

Tzk’l instructed the computer, and soon three rescue pods were racing towards the atmosphere.  When they touched the outer edge they slowed and began scrubbing the air to remove the contaminant, a polycarbon string molecule with nano-fibre attachments.

Tzk’l was watching the readouts closely, and he began to notice something odd.  The contaminant levels were not dropping as fast as they should be.  He released another rescue pod.  Perhaps one of the pods was not working as efficiently as it should.  The rate of cleansing increased, but it was still not as fast as it should be.  He frowned.

“Mrrk’l, what is the status of the surface scan?”

“It finished 2 ikkitz ago, why?”

“Is there a foreign body present?”

“You think the source of the contaminant is still present?” asked Pyk’l.

“The cleansing is not proceeding as fast as expected.  If more contaminant was being released it would explain it.”

“Hum.  You are correct.  The scan shows a foreign body present on the northern continent.  It is large – a spaceship, perhaps.  A smaller body is present also, emitting lower amounts of contaminant.”  Mrrk’l’s ar’dh was twitching at a ferocious rate.

“Can both be removed from orbit?”

“The smaller, perhaps, but the larger is too heavy for our tractors.  The smaller appears to be a life form, I’m not sure how it would react to being removed.”

“A spaceship and a life form?  Mrrk’l, are you sure?”  Pyk’l’s ppdorth stood tall, and his eyes were bright with excitement.  Mrrk’l was oblivious to the rising mood in the lab, however.  His voice still reflected anger.

“Yes, the scans are definitive.”

Tzk’l had caught on to what Pyk’l was implying.  “If we discovered alien life – just think how high our un’k would rise!  The ruination of this experiment would be forgotten.  We must go down there.”

Quickly, the shiplab was instructed to land next to the foreign contaminant.  The three podmates emerged with no regards for safety protocols or experimental contamination.  If they could not remove the alien life form the experiment was ruined anyway, and if they succeeded in removing it they could fix the experiment later.

The alien spaceship was sleek and shiny.  It was roughly half the size of the podmate shiplab.  There appeared to be no sign of dzuuzi engines, which led Tzk’l to believe that it was powered with some primitive burning compound.  How this race ever managed to get into space was a puzzle best left for another time.  He waved around his ar’dh and pointed towards a wooded area.

“The trail of contaminants leads in that direction.”

The three set off to hunt down the alien life form inhabiting their experiment.  Very quickly they were under the trees, dappled sunlight making ever-changing patterns on the leaf-covered ground.  The trail of contaminants led in a wide arc through the woods, and the three followed it for perhaps half a klkkk until they came to a clearing where the sunshine fell unhindered from above.  At the edge, leaning against a tree, was the life form.

It was bright white.  It seemed to consist of a long thin trunk with two high branches and two low branches.  The lower branches were horizontal, bent out to the side.  The trunk and upper branches were almost vertical, leaning against the tree.  There was a soft rasping sound coming from the figure, and Tzk’l wondered whether it was an attempt at communication.  The noise didn’t change when the podmates approached, through, so perhaps it was a natural sound emitted by the creature?

Mrrk’l hesitantly reached out and touched the top of the being.

“Hard, feels like synthetics.  Perhaps this is an outer shell?  Something protective like those who engage in dangerous experiments wear?”

“There is nothing dangerous here,” scoffed Pyk’l.

“There is nothing dangerous to us.  This creature may be different.”

“True.”

Pyk’l poked the lower branches of the creature.  “It is softer down here.”  The creature twitched slightly when touched, and began to squirm.  Suddenly it let out a loud scream, almost too high pitched for the podmates to feel.  It unfolded at a remarkable rate, becoming entirely vertical and causing the three podmates to leap backwards.  The lower branches were revealed to be a very effective locomotion system, and the podmates watched in astonishment as the figure disappeared into the distance at high speed.

A metal replica of the creature, until now unnoticed in the shade of the trees, whirred into motion and followed the creature at a slower pace.  The podmates followed it curiously, attempting to talk to it but getting no response.  It led them directly back to the alien spaceship, where it disappeared into a hatch.  The spaceship immediately started to emit huge quantities of the contaminant, and slowly began to rise into the air.  It gained speed quickly, emitting a horrible whine.  The podmates ran back to their shiplab and entered the control room.

Tzk’l commanded the rescue pods to continue their cleansing work while Mrrk’l set the shiplab to follow the alien.  They had left orbit and were well on the way to leaving the system when the alien ship suddenly shivered and then disappeared.  One moment it was there, and the next it was simply gone.

“Where did it go?”  Tzk’l asked.  The others shook their heads in shared bewilderment.

“That did not look like dzuuzi engine output.  The alien race must have found some other way to travel long distances.  We must examine the data before we can learn to track the spaceship.”

“It will be an interesting challenge.”

 

Apparently there are planets orbiting binary star systems.  In the past we’ve found single planets orbiting two stars, but it was thought that more than one planet would see the gravitational forces throwing them either into the stars, out of the system, or into each other.  Kepler-47, in the constellation of Cygnus, has two planets – and one of them is in the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist.

It’s probably a gas giant, but Prof William Welsh, from San Diego State University, said:

“Kepler-47c is not likely to harbour life, but if it had large moons, those would be very interesting worlds.”

Now I’m wondering what a day would be like on one of those moons.  Imagine, you are on a moon, orbiting a planet, orbiting two suns.  What would you see and experience as the day progressed?  Obviously you can’t answer that properly without knowing the lengths of the orbits involved.  My astrophysics is not good enough to figure it out even knowing the orbits.

On the other hand, is it important?  How many books have you read in which the protagonist noticed what phase the moon was in?  (Apart from books about werewolves, they don’t count!)  Unless the fact that there are two suns is central to the plot, why should it matter?  The occasional comment about the suns rising or the planet setting, and that should be enough.

As any self-respecting Brit will tell you, there is not a lot that a cup of tea can’t fix. Rough day at work? Put the kettle on. Broken heart? Pour yourself a cuppa. Alien invasion? You’ll be ready for an apocalypse as soon as you’ve had your brew.

(From the BBC.)

Alan had just put the kettle on when the classical music was suddenly silenced.  A shocked voice came over the radio in its place.

“This just in… a… I can’t believe I’m going to say this.  An alien space ship has appeared over London.  The craft, which is the size of Hyde Park, has so far not disgorged any aliens, or done anything except circle the city.

“Residents are advised to stay indoors and not try to leave, as the roads would quickly become impassable.

“We will give you further updates as they become available, so stay tuned.”

The music started up again.  A piano concerto, Alan noticed absently.  He mechanically reached for the tea-pot.  It was a beautiful cast iron pot, with a mesh basket for the leaves; it had been a wedding present many years before.  He pulled a tin out of the cupboard and put a spoonful of tea leaves in the pot.  The kettle clicked off, so he poured boiling water over the leaves and placed the lid on top.  By the time the tea had brewed, his mind was starting to work again.

Aliens!  I wish Maria was here, she would have loved this.  I hope they’re friendly.  I wonder why they haven’t shown themselves yet.  Maybe they’re trying to figure out who is in charge.

He poured a cup of tea into his favourite mug – a gift from one of the children, with “World’s Best Dad” splashed across the side.  As he settled into the sofa and picked up his book, the music on the radio suddenly cut off once again.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the spaceship has opened.  Five… humanoid creatures, with blue skin and what are being described as “rabbit-like” ears have emerged on what appears to be a floating platform.  They are floating towards the centre of London.  Hold on… yes, it appears that their target is Buckingham Palace.  We’re going live now to our Palace correspondent, Mark Aldridge.  What can you tell us Mark?”

“Thank you.  I’m standing here in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.  The Queen has refused the requests of her security detail and is standing out here with us, watching the platform approach.  Near her I can see a butler, he is carrying a silver tray containing a tea-pot, cups and saucers.  It appears that the Queen has decided to welcome the aliens to Britain by sharing with them that quintessentially British drink.  An interesting choice.”

“Thanks Mark.  We’re already getting some comments from listeners via Twitter and email.  Suzie from South London says ‘Cuppa tea?  Is the Queen mental?’, while Ron from Berkshire asks if the aliens will understand that it’s a drink.”

Alan searched around until he found the TV remote and flicked it on.  This he had to see.  The TV was already showing BBC News 24, but he suspected it wouldn’t have mattered – this would be on every channel.  Absently he turned off the radio.  The TV cameras were pointing away from the Palace, showing the aliens approaching.  There only seemed to be one reporter; he supposed it must be the same one talking on the radio and the TV.

Slowly, the platform descended.  The aliens – blue, with rabbit ears just like the reporter had said – stepped down onto the Palace grounds.  One of them opened their mouth and emitted a string of nonsense syllables.

“Alaoosh bokdai ik thandk berko, orch ik dram!”

Alan shook his head.  Languages had never been his strong point, but that definitely wasn’t English!  Turns out that aliens can’t all learn our language from TV.  Who would have thought?

The Queen stepped forwards, closely followed by her butler and what Alan could only assume was a bodyguard.

“We welcome you to the United Kingdom.  We hope you will enjoy your time here and make many new friends.  Would you like a cup of tea?”

She gestured to the butler, and he held out the tray.  The Queen took one of the cups and held it, and the man approached the aliens.  The tray shook slightly in his grip.  The lead alien poked the cups with a long finger – it had seven of them – and eventually picked one up.  The other aliens followed the lead of their comrade.

The Queen took a sip of her own drink, and this seemed to encourage the aliens to try theirs.  One of the aliens took a long slurp.  He started making excited sounds and the others all took drinks as well.  They all gestured wildly for a few moments, chittering at each other.

Suddenly, the first alien staggered.  His long ears drooped alarmingly, and he began to tremble.  The blue of his face was slowly turning purple, his eyes bulging.  The other aliens were alarmed, but were staggering and trembling themselves before they could do anything about it.  In a matter of moments, all five of the now purple aliens were lying on the ground, completely still.

The Queen took a step backwards, her hand raised to her mouth.  The reporter was droning on in the background about the terrible smell, but Alan wasn’t listening.  Had the Queen just killed five alien emissaries with a cup of tea?  He looked at the mug in his own hand with newfound respect.

A giant flash of light lit up the TV screen, and the camera shook wildly.  When the picture cleared the camera was lying on its side.  Alan could see the reporter’s unmoving leg, the rest of his body off camera, and behind him, the Palace in ruins.  It had been completely obliterated with one blast from the alien spaceship.  More flashes of light covered the screen, the camera shaking with each new impact.

And then, quite suddenly, the picture was replaced by static.

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 101 other followers