The History of Science Fiction


Rockets to the moon. Buck Rogers. R.U.R. What do they have in common? They’re all iconic firsts, marking the beginning of science fiction in their varied forms – novel, movie, radio and television respectively. Martians were the first alien species, i.e., from outer space via John Carter. Here endeth the history lesson. It’s fascinating, isn’t it – our preoccupation with space travel, time travel, aliens, monsters – mostly varied forms of evil, where our own examples of inhumanity, gruesome reality, are far more horrifying? Do we really need to invent new nightmares to scare and thrill us? Apparently, we do.

"I try. I don’t always succeed. You see, it’s the journey. It has to be fun."

The question really is – why? I have several theories, my own beliefs included. Perhaps another day, when I’m feeling bolder, more courageous, and fearless of offending readers in this fiercely politically correct world, I might divulge them. My beliefs or theories on why we constantly seek new ways to horrify ourselves, when all we need to is open the newspaper or watch true crime to be alarmed.

What I would like to talk about – albeit the title of the blog doesn’t suggest it – is the probability that there exists life outside of our own little world, the third rock from the sun, a small blue planet that represents a speck of dust in this vast universe.

Here are two statements that I believe to be true. They may come as a surprise, though may require explanation to fully comprehend. Statement 1: I believe that life definitely does not exist, has existed and will exist. Statement 2: We are extremely unlikely to be ever visited by aliens.

Alright. Explanations first, followed by justifications. Statement 1 simply means that aliens most likely existed before life as we know it and can record and will definitely exist after we are long gone, dead and buried, but not in our lifetime. Statement 2 follows as a consequence. If aliens do not exist in our lifespan, they can hardly visit, can they?

Do aliens exist, or did they die out?

How do I justify this seemingly ridiculous assertion? The answer is in one simple four letter word: time. Whatever does it mean? You see, while we all appreciate how vast this universe is, and how small we are in comparison – I’ve used the phrase speck of dust and I mean it – we don’t quite see the time we are on this planet quite the same way. There are reasons for it. We’ve managed to convince ourselves that we are immortal. Not each of individually, of course, but we believe that humanity will never die, despite overwhelmingly staggering evidence to the contrary. Dinosaurs died, didn’t they? Oh, one might argue that they weren’t as smart as us, but I’d like to point out the pains we are taking, have taken and will continue to take to destroy our planet. And no, I’m no eco-fanatic. I’m simply stating a fact – our reaction to those warning us of global warming, exploitation of resources on the planet, diminishing reserves of fossil fuels, extinction of several species – with the blind faith that ours will not be one of them. Although the first recorded signs of human life are several million years ago, our conscious existence began only a few thousand years ago. In fact, conscious, sentient humanity has been around for around a fraction of a second – 1 or 2 nanoseconds, if the life of earth itself were to be considered 1 year.

Global warming is a hot topic issue, where do you stand on this debate?

Assuming statement 1 is true, then aliens may well have existed or will exist before or after these few nanoseconds, taking the same several billion years to evolve after their planet is created. Even if they are mildly smarter, they may have ventured to their nearby planet in their galaxies like we’ve done, but not in the same time period as our existence, let alone to our galaxy.

My hypothesis therefore is justified by this simple extrapolation of the history of life on earth, despite the history of science fiction, which, in my opinion has been created to entertain and maybe even to distract ourselves from the evil that rests within us.

This is not a metaphysical discussion. Nor is this a religious one. I am spouting but another theory. For those who might wonder where I stand, be rest assured that I am not an atheist. I do believe in God, and that God created humanity and other forms of life, making damn sure that humans and aliens don’t interact by the simple creation of time. I also believe that there is such a thing as evil, but that is part of us – not an external force tempting us to do bad things. The Devil does exist, but only to punish us for the sins that we commit. Aliens are highly likely to be just as good and bad as we are with both good and evil within them. As for androids, robots and AI, just read my previous blog. I’ve been crystal clear about those too.

I try. I don’t always succeed. You see, it’s the journey. It has to be fun. It has been for me thus far and I have hopes for the future. Hope you enjoyed it. I know that I did. Let me know what you think.

Mark Ravine