By Jo Franklin, children’s author
I’m always getting asked at my author events whether I think that aliens exist. I guess it’s a natural question given the title of my book – Help I’m an Alien. I suppose the simple answer is ‘Yes’. The universe is so big, it makes my head hurt thinking about it. I can’t believe that in such a massive expanse of stuff, Earth is the only place where some of that stuff is alive.
What do aliens look like?
No idea! I don’t think there is any reason why aliens should be humanoid. No other life forms on Earth walks upright on two legs and wears clothes, it’s very arrogant of us to assume that aliens will be like us. Aliens might be blobs that slither along the ground or they might be an intelligent life force that doesn’t have a body at all. Or maybe Ridley Scott was right and all aliens have tentacles and acid for blood. I don’t know, but I believe something is out there.
Are aliens here on Earth?
I don’t think aliens exist on Earth like in the film Men in Black. Or that they come to Earth regularly to abduct people like the Returners believe (you’ll have to read Help I’m an Alien to get that reference). I expect that aliens are too busy living their lives on their own planets to bother us.
Aliens haven’t been around as part of our cultural psyche for very long. I think that The War of the Worlds by HG Wells published in 1897, was the first alien invasion story. Aliens joined the public consciousness and they were totally mean. War of the Worlds opened the door to all sorts of fictional aliens. In books, magazines, films and TV. Not all aliens are aggressive but Star Wars is based around the Empire trying to take control of the Galaxy and many of the Star Trek stories feature aliens at war with each other even if the original Enterprise mission was ‘to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilisations’. Phasers (hand held Star Trek weapons) weren’t always on stun.
But aliens don’t have to be bad.
ET wasn’t aggressive and nor were his family. I’m not sure why they came to Earth or why they left baby ET behind but they weren’t a bad species.
I hope that if life does exist on another planet, humans can nurture and develop our relationship with them. I’m hoping that aliens do know how to teleport things from one place to another in a totally eco-friendly way and will share the technology with us, because I am fed up with traffic jams. They might know the cure for cancer. They probably have really interesting alien sweets and some cool gadgets. Or they might just be really fun mates.
I hope that aliens are good, not bad and that we can live in harmony with them if we ever find each other.
I love aliens. Especially Chewbacca.
Do you have a favourite fictional alien? Let me know.