Editorial – November 2016: All decisions are based on choice.

October 30, 2016 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone

With our options for space travel so limited, let’s play around with one that tends to come out of the Science Fiction Handbook. Namely, if an alien spaceship arrived tomorrow and offered to take humans as colonists to another world, how many would take up the offer? Granted, said aliens wouldn’t be sure where it was as they travel from star to star but always on the look-out for an inhabitable world just needing inhabitants and giving a free passage. As such, you would probably be in hibernation until that happened but, unlike a generation starship, it would be you not your prodigy, several times down the line, that would get there. That’s got to be better than any human generation starship can do any time in the next couple centuries.

Looking at the pros and cons of this would surely weigh up a lot. Are these aliens truly benevolent? Do they have an ulterior motive? Maybe they just want an exchange for supplies and colonists would be, in relative terms, a short term cargo. They might just be generous and benevolent.

The benefits for mankind would be placing humans on another planet. The way we’re handling our own world right now, if everything goes pear-shaped, no more mankind. At least that way, we double the survival chances of mankind. If, as I’ve discussed in the past, that there aren’t that many sentient species, even a remote chance of preservation is better than no chance at all.

Of course, there is still a matter of choice in who would go. It would undoubtedly be a one way trip and the likelihood of sending a message back that you’d arrived safely very low but not impossible, depending how far they go. After all, messages would be at the speed of light and many generations down the line that it would even be a surprise that people have gone in the first place or even a legend. Think of the implications of that. It would make a trip to Mars look like a social distance in comparison. You would be totally cut off from Earth or rather than part of the civilisation you knew forever. Well, you and whoever else elected to go on such a trip. The qualifications for such would require an underlying ability for self-survival, self-preservation and maybe self-sacrifice and, hopefully, more than just degree qualifications if you want a decent genetic balance. Colonising a new planet will need a mix of brains and brawn.

Volunteers only so that goes back to who would go? Would it be people who have no family on Earth or should that not be an option? Would families go and individuals? All kinds of questions would need to be answered and probably very quickly. After all, I doubt if the alien mothership is going to reduce its own velocity much as it would take too long to get back up to speed. So much for the mothership in ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’, although sending smaller spaceships down to Earth makes a lot of sense. There would still be a grey area of how many people they would be willing to take as passengers, although I doubt it would be a token few for a colony. Genetic inbreeding would be a key concern as well as food supplies and a selection of animals. Who knows what technology they have. They might well decided upon a combination of eggs and life.

Even so, let’s go back to the core question: would you be prepared to leave all you know on this planet and go elsewhere?

Of course, there are always going to be some people who wouldn’t have any problems doing that. Look at the number of people volunteering to go to Mars and even that is thought of as a one-way trip. Even so, a longer trip would need a scattershot selection which might well include people who might not be thought of as being ‘the right stuff’ on one hand but needed for the genetic mix. At this point, you might be wondering on whether the term ‘volunteering’ would be used or some sort of lottery out of such people. Mind you, that might change completely if the Earth was likely to blow up in their starship’s acceleration burst. I think if that was the choice, all bets would be off and who wouldn’t want to go but how do you stop a stampede of volunteers?

Mankind has always shown an ability to survive, despite the damage we’ve caused to our own planet. Would we show any difference to a different world with what we know today? If the aliens are benevolent, then that would be pretty high on their list as well. Quite how they can enforce that as nomadic wanderers would be hard to say but, with superior technology, anything is possible. Would we dare abuse that or hope that another similarly inclined set of aliens might come along one day? A lot of questions. The answers can only come from you.


Thank you, take care, good night and would you still go regardless?

Geoff Willmetts

editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk


A Zen thought: The oft asked question which came first, the chicken or the egg, one has to remember, it’s always a surprise when the shell cracks open.


Observation: Have you ever wondered why in ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ that the aliens spaceship have the entire top or bottom, depending on how you look at it, dedicated to talking musically to another species? A secondary question from this is why choose music when they have ‘guests’ on-board who can speak the native language. Surely one of them could have volunteered representation?


Observation: If ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ was remade today or even then, we might have seen a different side to the aliens, ‘We put in an order for a batch of aliens this time and all they did was give us one.’ Hardly worth the trip unless they picked the other people up on the way out. After all, the scoutships did vanish when the mothership came in. I always thought they picked up the people who weren’t at the landing site.


Observation: Short of colliding with another spaceship or planetary body, why would cargo ships like the Nostromo in ‘Alien’ have a need for a self-detonation device, granted that it done by turning off its nuclear pile’s coolant system but why such an option?


Observation: People do not hear their own accents, even those around them with the same accent.



Category: Culture, World getting weirder

About the Author ()

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.

Leave a Reply