Aliens In Isolation: an article by: GF Willmetts (article).

Ever since the finale of the 1953 film version of HG Wells’ ‘War Of The Worlds’, aliens on Earth could fall foul to the simplest Earth infections. Saying that, no author as far as I can recall has gone that way again lest they draw comparison to Wells’ Martians, even as we know there is no sentient life on Mars. Even so, there has been discussion over the years that assuming that there are similarities in DNA, infections could work both ways.

No doubt in some future realities, humans and aliens find solutions to such problems. Even so, in our current modern age, you would have to wonder how any extra-terrestrial visitors or residents on Earths would survive in our current pandemic. Notice how I put that as we have to assume DNA with the four components, adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, will share other similarities at a genetic level as what is alike can be affected alike. This makes no allowance for any other possible amino acid combinations or whether they could be infected. Certain blood components could prove toxic to any terrestrial infection and throughout any of the examples below, none have been shown with even the most simple cold let alone anything more serious.

To keep track of individual aliens visiting our planet in our current century would give a multitude of numbers that would be hard to track, let alone any who stay for long. Certainly the likes of the Zygons have an alien physiology beyond their chameleon device that would probably not be suitable for any terrestrial infection. The alien residents from the Gallifreyan-based universe on Earth are really few and far between in the modern day period and different enough to be immune to such infections.

I’m going to keep mainly to the species front and let you identify which ones I’m referring to most of the time. I mean, it’s not as though you reading this are novices in Science Fiction.

On The Film Front

Would our SF films reflect this in years to come or at least pass mention of it? For that we would have to look at current franchises and see how they would evolve. We can ignore the xenomorphs as if anything they absorb alien DNA into their own with abandon and probably have a natural immunity or able to utilise or disable its serious effects.

The hunter predators have a tendency to wear helmets, removing them only for a short time at the end of a hunt. If their human prey are infected, then after the usual 3 to 5 days, they might already have succumbed anyway. As it is also known that they study their prey intensely, then they would surely have some protection for themselves or avoid being infection. Equally, their luminescent green blood might be their own best protection. If all else fails, they can always code in their tactical nuke.

Being replaced by a pod-person might be an option because they are plant-based but would also be a total loss of mankind and not an intentional choice.

On The TV Front

The resident Tenctonese or Newcomers adapted to eating terrestrial raw foods and other nutrients that are fatal to humans. Presumably, their adaptability might offer some protection from the likes of the covid-19 infection or at least improve their recovery rate.

Another raw meat eater, generally live meals, are the Sirians or commonly called Visitors. Their true reptilian nature might well protect them from covid-19, mostly because no terrestrial reptiles have been infected yet. As they also see humans as part of their diet as a raw meat supply, they might also leave not wishing to eat contaminated livestock.

The Goa’auld that visited through the Stargate having a symbiote existence might have offered their own resistance. Very few of the many alien species encountered by the SG teams visited Earth, most were confined to the Cheyanne Mountain base. The spread of mankind from early Egyptian times across the galaxy does present a different worry and with covid-19, none should be invited to Earth and all SG teams quarantined before and after visits, lest they bring any potential pandemics home with them.

Before anyone mentions the ‘Star Trek’ universe, we would have to address the presence of Vulcans on Earth in our present century and that is fairly remote. Their copper-based blood might well be toxic to covid-19. Indeed, this lack of aliens in our present century on Earth would certainly also apply to those from the realities of ‘Babylon 5’ and ‘Farscape’, where visitation was only brief. I doubt if the likes of the Vorlons, who used avatars, would have much to worry about.

From that perspective, assuming we ever had regular alien visitors and could examine their DNA, would we exploit any immunity they had to see whether it could provide an inoculation for ourselves. I doubt if people would worry where the source came from even if they were told. Well, except for the truly xenophobic.

We can really ignore the greys from the X-Files of FBI agents Mulder and Scully as their extermination program of mankind has been cancelled and any of the hybrids left on Earth have an unusual blood combination that is likely to burn out human infection.

On The Supernatural Front

What of, shall we say the supernatural elements. Other than blood, vampires are a step away from mankind and not known for catching other infections. I doubt if they would want to convert all of mankind as they still need a food source to drink.

Lycanthropes metaphase between human and usually wolf but there would be no guarantee that this would protect them.

We can ignore zombies as they tend to be dead already. Likewise, we should only be grateful that demons roaming the Earth isn’t an observed fact else what would they do should they find themselves susceptible. If we assume any of these creatures have been roaming around, then it would have been more likely that they would have infected us beyond the small number becoming vampire or lycanthropes.

On The Comicbook Front

Whether super-humans of any order could be infected is something that should be explored. With the many battles between the ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’, one should really explored the type of costumes worn first and offering the best protection. Full-mask wearers, like Spider-Man, are likely to have the best protection. The same would undoubtedly apply to those wearing full battlesuits, as worn by the likes of Iron Man. If they have air intakes, it wouldn’t take much modification to have filtered vents to protect their occupant. Those with partial or exposed faces would surely have to wear mask modifications and hope the villains they chase do likewise and not become a fight as to who call removed the bottom mask first.

The physiology of Kree, Skrull, Badoon and Shi’Ar are sufficiently different not to susceptible. Certainly, the Inhumans with their susceptibility to terrestrial infections should stay in confinement and not mingle with humans. Other alien visitors to the Marvel Earth should at least be warned not to land without knowing whether they can be infected or not. This might well prevent any future invasion. However, Galactus might well think it would be easier to just digest our planet than risk contaminating other species.

Alien super-beings on Earth would no doubt offer a similar resistance as other, shall we see, more conventional or ‘normal’ aliens. Kryptonian physiology rarely lets anything in without kryptonite poisoning. However, the likes of Thangorians with their more human appearance might be more susceptible and it might be suggested to the Hawk police officers on Earth not to return to their home planet without quarantine first, although the distance travelling between the two planets would probably cover that. Not to with the planet Rann and Adam Strange should not walk amongst them when the zeta-beam takes him there.

Could any of these alien species offer cures for covid-19? Probably only in fiction. It should be pointed out that the likes of Doctors Reed Richards and Henry Pym are not bio-chemists and certainly not infection specialists. Whether Doctors Henry McCoy and Moria MacTaggert, both with backgrounds in genetics, could do anything remains to be seen.

Fictional Cures

The real problem with doing any fictional cure for covid-19 is that it would be purely fiction. I doubt if any writer would want to focus on it as a story subject matter purely because it might raise false hope to readers while no one knows when or how we might have it in the real world. Although there is generally an 18-24 month turnaround to get a novel released, the majority of topical subjects don’t generally become novels simply because it can become yesterday’s news by release. Although we don’t know how long it will be to find an inoculation, let alone a cure for covid-19, you can’t depend rely on it as an element in itself. That’s not to say authors can’t come up with a more general pandemic virus but you do have to wonder on what would be the focus? Living under such conditions and hope people can relate to it or finding a cure? Then again, do people really want to read fiction based on the situation we are currently living through or have some other problems in their reading matter as a distraction?

© GF Willmetts 2020

No copyright infringement is intended




Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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