Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aliens and Halloween: Spacemen

Okay, that was a bit of a sexist title.  Spacepeople?  Spacewomen and spacemen?
Sod the PC bollocks!  SPACEHUMANOIDS WITHOUT A GENDER BIAS!

Space suits for Halloween come in two basic varieties: NASA astronaut gear and skin-tight body suits.  The old Flash Gordon or Star Trek Next Gen look would be the latter type.  I'm not sure how it happened but at some point a consensus was reached in sci-fi that in the future we'd all wear highly functional but unflattering clothing.  Without pockets.  Which is really not all that functional, come to think of it.  Ah the future.
"Greetings, fellow space professionals!"
Detailed scan, please.

Buzz Lightyear-now that's a character I can get behind.  Buzz actually gets to cover multiple zones of costuming in that he is a spaceman, he is a Disney/Pixar creation, he is animated, and he is kid-friendly.  The full Buzz costume is a great piece of work, although a helmet would be nice.  And this guy needs gloves.  There are actually a few different options with Buzz.
What is so damned interesting up there?  Oh yeah, an actual Buzz Lightyear costume, you dick.
Oh come on, make an effort you ass.  Yeah, you can get a Buzz t-shirt and just show up at the party, but you aren't winning any awards.  Well you might do, if there is an award for one-quarter assing it.  Yes, not even going to give this guy a half-assed.

Okay, I own a pair of these.   Not really appropriate at an all ages party, but I'm sure there are parties where this is a real winner.

To infinity...


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seasonal Comic Spotlight: The Scarecrow

There aren't many characters that are themed as scarecrows in comics and that's a crying shame.  The most famous of course is probably DC Comics's Batman villain the Scarecrow, but Marvel has a villainous Scarecrow as well.  In 1975, however Marvel tried out a heroic Scarecrow.  Sadly the character didn't last very long, and although it still exists in some form today, it is by no means an A List character.  Which is a shame because I quite like the character.

"Laugh not, mortals, for I am not an onion man...I am the Scarecrow!"
Why should the scarecrow be a villainous character?  Is not the purpose of the scarecrow to protect?  Does it not protect our crops from harm?  Yet Halloween imagery is replete with both happy and monstrous scarecrows.  Comics, on the other hand, tend toward the villainous model making scarecrows a symbol of fear and evil.
Jonathan Crane, DC's Scarecrow, who first appeared in comics in 1941, but really gained his popularity during the Silver Age. 
DC's Scarecrow (above) is a master of fear.  Although he has been changed over time to include some martial arts skills, he is primarily a psychological villain that uses fear gas to overcome his victims.  He delights in sowing fear.  He's a jerk.

In 1975, Marvel tried a different tactic by introducing a somewhat heroic Scarecrow in issue 11 of Dead of Night.  The comic was originally of the anthology type and reprinted older stories but issue 11 featured the debut of a new horror character.  It was also the last issue.  I'm not suggesting those two things are related in any way.

In the 70s Marvel had a slew of horror comics.  In 1971 the Comics Code Authority had relaxed its standards a bit allowing the use of classic monsters as long as they were presented in the manner of their literary forebears, such as Frankenstein and Dracula.  This allowed the company to produce reprints of work that had been published pre-Code from when the company was Atlas, and it allowed the introduction of new horror comics such as Tomb of Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster.  It was also the New Age era and interest had shifted from science fiction back to supernatural stories.  In the Golden Age plenty of supernatural characters had existed.  It was common for a hero to gain their powers through a magic talisman or through studies of the mystic arts.  Marvel's own Doctor Strange appeared in the 60s and had great appeal with the late 60s college crowd who were involved in various counterculture practices.  The New Age 70s brought a wave of supernatural characters to Marvel's stable, some of which still exist today, like Ghost Rider, whose covers proclaimed him "the most supernatural hero of all".  In these early to mid 70s comics Marvel did not shy away from Satanism either.  Later characters identified as or with Satan would become Mephisto and various other extra-dimensional entities that simply convinced humans they were the Adversary.  We can say then that the New Age was the Bronze Age of Comics.  At least at Marvel.  (You know, there is a whole post I could do about the New Age Bronze Era supernatural comics, and I just might)
Dead of Night #11 (above) was the first appearance of the supernatural Scarecrow.  The character inhabits a mysterious painting won at auction by Soho artist Jess Duncan and is the sworn foe of a demonic cult that worships a being called Kalumai.  Jess Duncan, his brother Dave (a straight-laced reporter type) and Jess's girlfriend Harmony are set upon by cultists of Kalumai who knock the brothers unconscious and kidnap the girl for sacrifice.  After they leave Dave is seen staggering out of the loft and shortly thereafter the Scarecrow appears and destroys the cultists.  The story ends with the trio looking at the painting.  During the issue the Scarecrow displays strength, agility, the ability to control trees, crows, and an otherwordly laugh that drives men mad. The issue also set up the basic premise that the Scarecrow painting was painted over the Kalumai painting to serve as a guardian to stop Kalumai from coming to Earth.  He never speaks.
Marvel Spotlight #26 marked the second appearance of the Scarecrow and continued the basic story-line from Dead of Night #11 with the trio of the Duncan brothers and Harmony and the mystical painting of the Scarecrow.  As a comic series, Marvel Spotlight was used to launch the careers of several of Marvel's horror stars including the Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night and Son of Satan.  Those three proved popular enough to get their own titles, but not our boy Scarecrow, sadly.  Perhaps this was because Jack Russel, Johnny Blaze and Daimon Hellstrom were all sympathetic monsters, fighting against their evil natures/curses and they could talk, while the Scarecrow seemed to enjoy his task of fighting demons and said nary a word.  Apparently (according to research) fans liked the Scarecrow, as letters and interest was positive, but this did not generate or warrant a series.  Genius.
In this adventure the Scarecrow demonstrated that he can apparently command sea life and affect elements.  I think he was just non-specifically magical, to be honest.  We continue to suspect that he is somehow tied to Dave Duncan and Harmony is again menaced.  It is also revealed that his Kryptonite is fire, naturally.  Well, he is made of straw, right?  The issue ended with a to be continued someday note.  The next issue of Marvel Spotlight featured the Sub-Mariner, by the way.
I know it looks like the Human Torch is blasting that orange dickbag, but it's not what it seems.  Also, fire again?  Scarecrow is either the bravest man of straw ever or completely unaware of his main weakness.  Well that and verbal communication. 
Confession time: I hate the Thing.  I dislike most Marvel Comics characters to be honest.  I loathe the entire Fantastic Four, and that includes the Thing.  The few Marvel characters I do like all end up cancelled or screwed with royally as well.  Marvel Two-In-One was a series that teamed up the Thing with a different Marvel character each issue.  Two-In-One #18 marked the last appearance of the Scarecrow in the 1970s and his last appearance before the character was re-written in a manner I find most unfitting.
In keeping with the concept of such team up books, the Thing is shoehorned into the lives of Jess, Dave and Harmony via his girlfriend, Alicia Masters.  They are attending a late night art showing at Jess's Soho loft where Jess and Harmony ask Thing to help them with this Scarecrow business.  Grimm decides he doesn't believe their tale.  It's a bunch of hooey.  This is a guy that has fought Galactus, time traveled where he became Blackbeard and admitted to himself in that very issue that he'd met the Son of Satan just four issues before, but he finds the Scarecrow from a painting and a run of the mill demon cult just a little too hard to swallow, like a hedgehog canape.  So naturally a party goer is transformed into a fire demon and the Scarecrow shows up and he and the Thing fight the demon.  Scarecrow demonstrates the ability to control weather by summoning a flash flood and to control darkness.  The demonic fire of the villain burns up the scarecrow painting and the Kalumai painting underneath and Scarecrow disappears into the ruined painting seemingly forever.  Jess and Harmony are stunned and give voice to their belief that Dave was the Scarecrow.  Dave is missing as the issue and the original career of the supernatural hero both come to a close. The issue is mostly bad and no way to end Scarecrow's story. The writing is pedestrian at best. Throughout Scarecrow's three appearances there is much discontinuity. Sometimes Jess says Dave is the elder brother, sometimes Dave says Jess is and sometimes Dave is given a different surname from Jess. The House of Ideas was famous for churning out work in a sweatshop style so I assume this was just a result of that sloppy work style. For all of the flaws, however, the 70s version was far superior to what was to come and derserved more appearances.

Dr. Strange 38-40 featured the Fear Lords, a group of extra dimensional beings, demons if you like, that represent aspects of fear as the villains.  These Fear Lords were plotting to scare the hell out of people or something.  Whatever cosmic beings do, since they don't rob banks.*  Scarecrow, now revealed to definitively not be Dave Duncan, appears but is called Strawman.  I refuse to call the character Strawman.  Not only do I think Scarecrow was a better and more apt name for the character, I don't like his name suggesting that he is a token that is easily defeated.  Unlike the other Fear Lords, Scarecrow seemed to be helping humanity and aided Dr. Strange in his struggle.  It was hardly a stellar appearance for such a great character.  In fact it was downright depressing.  However it is worth mentioning that in Dr. Strange #32, in a flashback, it was revealed that the Scarecrow completed his original mission of defeating the demon lord Kalumai, so that's good.  I guess.**

A meeting of the Fear Lords***


His look stayed much the same but the art was just better in the 70s.  The tighter lines give Scarecrow a rougher look.  He's too bright in the 90s.  Not spooky enough.  His head is too round as well.  I like the onion look of the old days and the reddish eyes better than white-no-pupils.
See that?  That is a character expressing his existential anguish over how he was royally boned by the company that created him.
Not counting the Fear Lords story-line, the Scarecrow had all the powers you'd expect from a scarecrow, assuming you expected a scarecrow to have any powers whatsoever.  He doesn't scare crows, but then I've yet to see a scarecrow that does.  In keeping with fictional logic he commands them.  He's a pretty good fighter for a being made of straw and raggedy clothing and, at least in the 70s, seemed to really enjoy beating the stuffing out of evildoers.  Actually he seemed to enjoy outright killing them.  His change from a silent, save for the otherwordly laughter, horror hero to a talking, plotting, Fear Lord, albeit one that seems to be for humanity instead of against it (he runs a cable channel dedicated to horror programming to help humans face and adjust to fear) is not really to my tastes.  I understand he has appeared recently in small roles in other books, now firmly tied to the mystic set, but I have yet to read those offerings.

That about wraps it up for the Scarecrow, one of my favorite short-lived horror heroes and an unfortunate victim of the whims of pop culture based publishing.  A true Halloween Hero if ever there was one.

Keep those pumpkins lit.

* It's pretty funny how villains that were your standard bank robbing types get morphed into weirdo cosmic types as the Ages of Comics move along.  It's hard to take some of them seriously, especially when just twenty (sometimes less, sometimes ten) years ago they were firing off glib one-liners and puns while posturing to give heroes a reason to get out of bed and put on their tights.  Could be worse though.  You could start out as a decent Golden Age villain, then become a fun Silver Age villain then find yourself in the modern TV drama era where you have a bunch of effed up psychological problems and a homoerotic fixation with a man in a costume vaguely resembling a bat.  COUGH Joker COUGH

** Actually it's bullshit.  Here is the problem, and it might say more about why the Scarecrow never got his own series than anything else I've postulated thus far, with the concept in general: single purpose story-line.  Most comics are open-ended affairs with heroes that can face off against any number of different villains over an indefinite number of issues monthly.  Superman may have an arch-nemesis or two but he's not on a specific mission to beat Lex Luthor over all things.  He's out to save the world, all the time, from everything.  Batman's mission will never end short of his becoming dictator for life of the world.  Upon creation the Scarecrow had a definite story about being a guardian in a painting that blocked a hell dimension from Earth and pitted him against a demon lord called Kalumai, that he apparently fought long ago and locked away in the first place.  Perhaps it is just coincidental that he is a man of straw that looks like an Earth scarecrow.  Regardless, in each of his appearances in the 1970s (all three) he fought against Kalumai in some way.  It's his job.  He couldn't just show up and stop a robbery unless it was an artifact somehow related to his main quest/raison d'etre.  Ghost Rider rode around and fought anything he felt like, because he didn't have a single villain tied directly to his story.  Now I suppose that had the Scarecrow gotten his own series the Kalumai story would have been the opening arc of the ongoing tale, so I might be wrong.

*** They have meetings.  They actually have meetings, in a hall, around a table.  Look at those sad bastards.  They look like the Legion of Doom, which also has a Scarecrow.  Coincidence?  Yeah, probably.  Listen to me, people; they have damn meetings.  They probably have an executive assistant, or maybe they each get to bring one lieutenant with them like mobsters and they drink espresso and discuss business.  And what business do they discuss?  Fear.  They discuss fear.  They discuss bringing fear to Earth and who has the responsibility to bring what fear, like I suppose one of them gets to bring fear of clowns or some shit and they treat the whole thing like a cosmic business.  Because as we all know cosmic level things like the fate of universes are all about balance so even the beings we see as villains have to have their meetings to keep the business working.  In their special Team Fear HQ they are all articulate and erudite beings discussing weighty matters but as soon as they show up Earth-side it's all "Raarrrgghhh, quake mortals at the power of Satact, Lord of Standardized Testing and Permanent Records!"


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Movie Review for Rikalonius

AMC has been doing its Friday the 13th marathon yesterday and today.  I am always interested in which films get shown and which ones get missed, usually because a network only owns rights to show or copies of certain films.  I don't think you ever get a smooth start to finish on any network.
My favorite is part 6.


Why?
Well, since you asked, Part 6, subtitled Jason Lives was the beginning of the second cycle of the F13 franchise and really codified so much of what the fanbase thinks of when they think of F13 films, indeed what those who deride the films sight unseen think of them as well.  The film is a monster movie, plain and simple.  The original slasher formula was discarded in favor of a classic monster movie.  Echoes of Revenge of the Creature, the first of the sequels to Creature from the Black Lagoon can be seen in Jason Lives.  If  you've never seen Revenge of the Creature you should.  It is a real treat.  So often we have implied power in the monster films.  We believe Frankenstein to be very strong but when we get to see it that is another matter.  In Revenge the Gillman goes on a land rampage that results in his flipping over cars, among other things.  The suggested great power of this perfectly adapted aquatic monster is shown in no uncertain terms in the sequel.  The same can be said of Jason Lives.  The director looked at the script and told the producers he wanted to do it as a comedy.  The producers told him he could on the one condition that he was not allowed to make fun of Jason.  So he plays Jason straight, and then has fun with the picture and it works.  Once upon a time I would have told you that Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday was my favorite, and it still rates highly with me, but Jason Lives currently holds the top spot.
When I say it is the beginning of the second cycle of the F13 franchise, I might need to qualify that.
Friday the 13th was not supposed to have any sequels.  The first film was made in 1979 and released in 1980 by Sean Cunningham as a potboiler.  It was a suspenseful film with a fair amount of gore (there had been gorier films in the past, however) and fit the "slasher" paradigm. (Some say it codified the paradigm)  The film made scads of money and Paramount wanted a sequel.  The original backstory was retooled in the classic fashion to tell us that young Jason Voorhees did not die in Crystal Lake, but instead grew up in the woods, a wild man, and witnessed the beheading of his mother.  This legend is delivered around the campfire in the fashion of a classic campfire tale because that is the origin of the whole story.  Jason would become the killer for the 3 sequels that followed the original until his demise at the hands of Corey Feldman in F13 pt 4 The Final Chapter.
This marks the end of the first cycle.  F13 pt 5 was a bit problematic.  I can't say, properly, where to put it.  Paramount sort of pulled a Halloween III Season of the Witch moving the plot and characters away from Crystal Lake, but keeping a character from the previous film, providing a new copycat killer masquerading as Jason V. and suggesting that Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman from Pt 4, now in his late teens) would inherit the role of Jason due to being driven bonkers by his experiences with Jason.  It was called A New Beginning and it might have been but the box office returns suggested that the fans weren't happy.*  F13 pt 5 was trying to start the second cycle, its subtitle makes that clear, but it proved a false start.  Thus it was Jason Lives that started the second cycle.  The second cycle of F13 featured a reanimated/undead Jason Voorhees, brought back to a semblance of life by a bolt of lightning.  No more the backwoods stalker-killer, Jason had become a true monster.  Much of his rage, formerly directed at people that invaded his territory, the woods of Crystal Lake, was now directed at anything that moved anywhere near him.  No longer was he hiding his deformed face out of shame and systematic abuse, now he seemed to be completely comfortable with his role as a destroyer of life for its own sake.  As I said, monster Jason.  Where in previous films Jason's face reveal would show a basic look that varied with make-up artists, now he was a rotting beast of exposed bones and part of the makeup was to make him more rotted and more monstrous.  The supernatural had officially arrived to the series, and none too soon given the popular horror films of the second half of the 80s (e.g. Nightmare on Elm Street films, The Lost Boys).  In previous films Jason is often in hiding and then people come into his orbit, but as of 6 Jason keeps getting "put to sleep" so to speak.  Going undead dormant like Dracula with a stake, only to be revived when the stake is removed to kill again.  The second cycle also has the hallmark of cartoon violence.  This goes with Jason as a monster, his increased strength and durability and so on.  While a creative kill was always important to the series, the Jason of the second cycle performed stunts that never would have been attempted in the more "realistic" first cycle, such as picking up a person in a sleeping bag and beating them to death by swinging them into a tree.  Jason Lives is thus the high point of the whole franchise, being the first time monster Jason appears, and being a monster movie, and it would never be that good again.  Per the Wiki it was the lowest grossing of the films, but a fan favorite, and pre-figured Craven's much celebrated Scream for its use of meta-humor, fourth wall breaking, and combination of horror with action.
Sometimes they show F13pt6 and sometimes they don't.  I think it is always better when they do.  After all if you are going to give them the worst (Jason Takes Manhattan) you should give them the best as well.



*To be fair the slasher genre had already peaked and was in decline when F13 pt V was released in 1985.  The spectacular box office of 1984's A Nightmare On Elm Street had brought the supernatural back into the horror genre, where it had been largely absent for years.  Halloween's unpopular H3:SotW in 1982 meant that the Halloween series would remain silent for 6 years before Michael Myers and Sam Loomis would be resurrected along with the franchise.  Thus since the slasher genre was already in decline, it might be a bit unfair to say that the change in direction of F13 pt V was solely the reason for its failure.

Aliens and Halloween: Transition to Something Spooky

Halloween is about the spooky.  Combining space and spooky is not that hard, really.  Aliens grabbing your face and implanting their spawn into your chest cavity is not a light-hearted concept.  Okay, Mel Brooks played it for the funny in Spaceballs.  You got me.  John Carpenter, however, played it straight when he did his film adaptation of Joseph Campbell's Who Goes There? as The Thing and that is classic horror and paranoia.  A creature able to perfectly imitate any lifeform it ingests and has advanced technology and knowledge far beyond human levels is the stuff of (wonderful) nightmares.  Who can you trust?  Can you trust yourself?
But an awesome costume that does not make.  Just showing up to the party in an anorak and a beard wearing a sombrero (you, not the beard, obviously) and telling people that you are R.J. MacReady does not really sell the Halloween vibe.
Zombies sell the Halloween vibe.  I hate it, but it is true.  (Look, I'm 98% sick of zombies)
Now space zombies can be done a variety of ways.  You can get a NASA astronaut costume and some zombie make-up and go wild.  Essentially zombies are people that get zombiefied.  So any walk of life costume can be converted into a zombie costume with a little effort.  Of course if you just put on zombie make-up and a space suit you are not going to win any prizes.
There is, however, a commercially available space zombie costume that does get my approval.
Mr. Chekhov make your heading for the Lucas Quadrant.
Mr. Sulu, screen please.
"This sort of shit never happens in our Utopian future stories."
Thank you.  Aaaahhh...shit...Detailed Scan, quickly!

Death Trooper.  According to Mr. Spock the entire concept of a zombie, much less a zombie Storm Trooper, is highly illogical.  That dead organic tissues can be reanimated to such an extent that the entity will be able to function in a semblance of life, ambulatory and capable of limited fine-motor skills, is found only in the ancient Earth superstition of Voodoo and rampant fanboyism.  McCoy tells me that the half-breed is so bound by logic that he can't accept what he sees right in front of him, which is an ambulatory dead man wearing aesthetically creepy armor.
Death Troopers come from the 2009 novel Deathtroopers by Joe Schreiber and represent the first (to my knowledge) fusion of two insanely (but inexplicably) popular pop culture concepts: zombies and Star Wars.  People seem to love Star Wars and a large number of those same people love zombies.  So zombie Storm Trooper.  It's pretty much what it looks like.  It is a great Halloween concept for combining Sci-Fi and Horror though.

Assessment: Those shoes just don't work.  I like the look otherwise.  Stormtroopers started off as the frightening faceless enforcement power of the Empire's iron will but quickly degenerated into the Keystone Cops of space fiction.  Is a zombie Stormtrooper the cure for such an ill?
Probably not given how piss easy it is to kill zombies.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore Lucas Space, now proudly brought to you by the world's wealthiest anthropomorphic rodent.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Aliens and Halloween: Space Cowboy

Alien species help to define the science fiction genre in the same way that elves and dwarfs help to define the fantasy genre.  In a sci-fi work the aliens can be enemy monsters, helpful companions, or remote observers, just to categorize a few options.  With a few exceptions, however, the heroes of the works are humans.  Thus the aliens provide the trappings for the setting more than actual content.  In Star Wars Lucas put the aliens on display at the Mos Eisley cantina but outside of that scene we really only have Chewbacca to provide the alien flavor.  The fans latched onto those aliens, aided by Kenner action figures, and fans being what they are, they spun an Expanded Universe of tales about those aliens.  This is the sort of obsessive behavior the sci-fi and fantasy fans are known for displaying.
As previously touched upon, the standard for the genre is to assume that all members of a species are alike until proven otherwise.  All Bith love music and make great musicians.  All Wookies are poor losers.  So on.  To some degree these stereotypes are why we love the aliens so much, but then it is in our nature to play with the stereotypes to develop more cool characters.

Details, please.

This should be one of the coolest things to ever come out of a Star Wars property.  Cad Bane, space gun-slinging bounty hunter just annoys me all to Hell.

Assessment: Maybe Star Wars is a big sandbox for us all to play in (until the big bearded kid kicks down the castles and takes away your pail and shovel) but this Clint Eastwood-Duros-With-No-Name wannabe just doesn't fit.  There might have been a time when he did, but that was before the whole thing became about Jedis and Sith all the damn time.  Cad Bane appeals to the kiddies, but then one is left to wonder why given that the Western in general, and Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns in particular, are not relevant to a modern young audience.
As Mr. Spock would say, "This individual demonstrates belligerent behavior and an alarming lack of regard for the law."  Or the law of fashion, Spock.  I mean it.  What the hell are those things on his cheeks?  I've seen plenty of Duros before and he's the first with cheek pipes.  Damn, Lucas, you suck.

Stay tuned for more aliens and Halloween fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aliens and Halloween: Nebula of the Undead

As everyone knows, vampires are a firmly entrenched part of Halloween.  Indeed they are a firmly entrenched part of American culture as a whole.  There has a been a television series on the air featuring vampires for almost twenty years now.  If one ends another will start or have started recently to keep the disease going.  The ubiquitous nature of these blood-sucking fiends means that even outer space is not free from their undead taint.
"Blah!"
That looks awfully familiar.  Detailed scan!

Just what I thought: Space Nosferatu.
Space Vampires are nothing new.  From Planet of the Vampires to Lifeforce to the Necroscope series, the idea of the vampire as an alien entity has been explored with varying degrees of success.  Given the amount of unfiltered cosmic rays in space I would imagine being a space vampire is like being a slug in a salt mine, but what do I know?
Regardless the idea here is that vampires, including the kind that suck energy instead of blood, (which is not really much of a vampire is it?  I'm being pedantic here, I know) have been seen in science fiction for a number of years.  Aliens can be pretty frightening.  Vampires should be pretty frightening.  Alien vampires therefore should be at least twice as frightening.

Assessment: All vampires suck and must be destroyed, so why should alien Nosferatu be an exception?  There is no coming in peace here.  Even if, say, he comes from a planet where he is the native intelligent life form and they all drink blood instead of water that's still a problem to be dealt with using the tried and true methods.  What is the probability that we scan this guy and find out that he's not the native inhabitant of his planet but indeed one of the natives infected with the Vampire Virus.  Because once you go sci-fi you start labeling supernatural things as virus or mutant and take all the magic out of it.  Next thing you know things are sparkling and it's all a big mess.  I'm betting that a death ray set to full power will toast this guy up just as quickly as a stake through the heart.  
He does have the robe and high collar look, so I suppose he might just be an alien and not a Space Nosferatu.  On the other hand...
Computer, enhance segment beta 2, beta 3, gamma 2, gamma 3.
"Blah?"
Ha!  There is no way in Space Hell that is not a vampire.
Just look at that sucker.  Let me see, let me see, Prime Directive...here it is: No identification of self or mission.  No interference with the social development of said planet.  No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations.
Not much help there.  But it doesn't specifically say we can't blast this sucker out of existence and since he hailed us that means that...sod it!  SET PHASERS TO STAKE!  FULL POWER!

That was close.  Come back soon for more useful information. 




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Aliens and Halloween: BIB

Beings In Black.
The general assumption when dealing with aliens is that they are either monstrous killing machines that have no intergalactic technology (the kind that hitch rides on meteors or you meet when you visit an uncharted planet) or they are highly advanced entities beyond our understanding.  Yet we always manage to defeat them.  Because we are awesome.
However we should consider that the alien killing machine, when encountered in its own environment, is just a normal animal native to that world.  Imagine you are a Grey and you land in the African savanna and meet some lions.  Holy space crap!  They have giant teeth and claws!  They move at blinding speeds and cannot be reasoned with!  Get to the saucer!  Get to the saucer!
These definitely aren't the complacent mooing Terrans we are accustomed to dealing with.
That's what it is like to meet the monster aliens.  They are the roaches, lions, deer, cows, platypuses and so on of their worlds.
Now the second type, being the highly advanced type, are probably like us.  By that I mean that any truly advanced civilization will have a staggering variety of personalities present in its population.
One of the big failings of science fiction is the idea of homogeneity among all beings save Earthlings.  All Vulcans are logical.  All Klingons are proud warriors.  And so on.  From a literary perspective this is fine in the short run as these are merely allegories but in long term cases, such as a long running series or series of novels (and comic books) we have to explore and accept the notion that any advanced species with civilization and culture will have its criminals, its aberrant members, its greedy plunderers, its hippies, its politicans and its working Joes.  Just like us.
Captain, what's that on the screen?  
"Just out for a little ride, I take it?  I'm going to need to see your license to operate a starship and your cargo manifest."
Can we see a detailed scan, please?

Standard Type 1: Grey but this one is green.  We should not confuse it with the saurian breeds for this is definitely not of that lizard variety.  Indeed these are the guys from Mars that left Mars long ago after an unfortunate incident involving an atomic reactor, two Martian dolphins and a cotton candy machine.  Fleeing from Mars they determined that no other sentient species should ever have to suffer a similar fate.  Rather than go on an anti-nuke crusade or send nanobots to planets to try to get them to recycle the Race Formerly Known As Martians decided to take more practical steps.  There are few problems that a smart suit and a Flenobian Death Ray won't solve in short order.

Assessment: The RFKAM are-

Desist, Earthman.














I beg your pardon-

Begging will do you no good.  You do not assess.  You have not the qualifications to assess.  We assess.  Since the day when we shed our Corinthian helmets and pteruges we have been as far beyond your race as you claim to be beyond your Earth canines.  Your presence in this sector is not authorized by the Intergalactic Enforcement Council Code 11789321998933432 Zeta-
Intra-Galactic.

What?
Intra-Galactic.  Let's be honest.  The galaxy is big and so far my investigations have not gotten out of it.  You Riffkam types can't possibly have left the galactic boundaries yourselves and even if you have this council has no authority outside of it.  You have no member systems outside of the Milky Way.

Shut up, Earthbeing.  Turn this ship around and get the Spacehell out of here before I run you all in for resisting a Galactic Peace Officer.
Next topic there, Space Ace.

Well, you heard the, um...man?  Tune in next time for more helpful information.