The Science of Alien

I’ve been digging through some old files and papers recently, partly prompted by sorting out the loft and also various hard disks with backups of documents and photos.

Amongst the papers I found this fun piece that I wrote back in 1994: A Speculative Paper on Xenomorph Biology.

I wrote it whilst watching a re-run of Alien shortly after finishing my degree. I got to wondering: what if we took the events in the films at face-value, what could we then guess about the Alien’s biology and origin? Reading it back now has made me wince quite a bit. Younger me needed an editor. I think I was trying for the feel of an academic paper or report, but its also obviously part science fiction story.

Despite it being a bit sketchy — and clear evidence as to why I never built a career as a writer! — it’s stood up pretty well I think. Even against the revelations in Prometheus. My fictional scientist even guessed that the “Space Jockey” (as its now called) was there as part of a terra-forming team, and that they were over-run by their own engineered, bio-mechanical servants.

For some better informed attempts at applying science to scifi/fantasy then you might want to look at “Godzilla from a Zoological Perspective” (why isn’t it free?!) or “The pyrophysiology and sexuality of Dragons“. The former is a semi-serious paper, while the latter was published on 1st April 2002. Also, check the lead authors name.

Anyway, thought I’d post that as a bit of fun for a Friday evening. Have a good weekend.

Revenge of the Sith

I have a confession to make: Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars film I’ve seen at the cinema. And I’m 33.
That’s probably enough to get me ostracised from geek society. I was old enough to see at least Jedi when it came out. And surely I should have been frothing at the mouth to see the recent films? I can’t put my finger on why I never bothered though.
For the earlier films it’s easy, as a family we were never great cinema goers, but we did enjoy gathering to watch the family movies on TV at Christmas. So Star Wars for me brings back memories of sitting with the rest of the extended family in a darkened room, post Xmas slap-up dinner. It was never really connected with the cinema experience.
For the later films I think my expectations were just low. And Lucas managed to fall short of even those. Episode I was pants, but Episode II was better. Simply because it was slightly darker and, frankly, more mature.
So you can see why I was grinning all over my fizzog after watching The Sith last week. And why my wife asked me, the next morning, “Are you going to do that all day?” in response to my unconsciously humming the Imperial March whilst giving the kids their breakfast.
“Dark” doesn’t quite cover it.
Sith repaints Vader as quite a different character. IMO, in the latter films Vader was more of a comic book villian: evil, but in an implied, even reserved kind of way. OK, so he offed a few people, but that’s par for the course for your average villian, let alone a Dark Lord of the Sith. In contrast, The Vader in Episode III is a nasty piece of work. He lives up to his potential.
I’m definitely going to have to go see it again. Not for the effects, as I found them to be standard Star Wars fare. The segue into the stylings of the later films was very nicely handled though. No, amazingly, I’m going to see it for the story. Really.
Here’s another final confession that will definitely seal my fate: Revenge of the Sith is better than The Empire Strikes Back. It’s. The. Best. Star. Wars. Ever. Evah I say.
Mind you, I still think Lucas should have given Dave Prowse a pop at wearing the Vader suit for old times sake.
And did you know that Vader has a blog now? Subscribed