"I never would have believed it, until one night I woke up around three o'clock in the morning. I felt something cold against my shoulder. It was the ceiling. I was looking down at my own body." Julianne Moore and other actors ask you to think about "the paranormal, one of the biggest issues of our age" in this ad for Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series of books. Curious about unexplained phenomenon? Tales of events, dismissed as chance, coincidence, or imagination, but what if they aren't? How could you explain it? How did these ads (if not the books) get so popular? Fittingly enough, it may have just been fated in the stars. [more inside]
Watch the Skies is a megagame which throws hundreds of players into the roles of world governments, corporations, the media, alien races and even the pope (Oh, don't forget the Whales) in a day long game of alien invasion* [more inside]
“In 1999, two Canadian astrophysicists, Stéphane Dumas and Yvan Dutil, composed and sent a message into space. The message was composed of twenty-three pages of bitmapped data, and was sent from the RT-70 radio telescope in Yevpatoria, Ukraine, as part of a set of messages called Cosmic Call.” [more inside]
Galaxy of Terror, Mutant (NSFW), Contamination and the joy of cheap alien knockoffs. Prefer the sequel? Here's Aliens remade under the name "Terminator 2". Sadly one take on the franchise that will not be seeing the light of day is Alien Identity, a fan film recently shut down by a cease and desist from Fox. Meanwhile the Neil Blomkamp Alien film continues to incubate.
“Derelict is an editing project for academic purposes,” explains Willins. “Prometheus wasn’t exactly an Alien prequel, but this treats it as such by intercutting the events of Alien with Prometheus in a dual narrative structure. The goal was to assemble the material to emphasize the strengths of Prometheus as well as its ties to Alien.”
Over a mere 22 episodes between 1994 and 1995, a rag tag group of adventurers, thrown together by a shadowy government conspiracy explored a strange new world, ruled by an underground government and populated with strange new creatures. [more inside]
Seth Shostak, director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, suggests in a NYT Op-Ed that we should "offer the aliens Big Data."
Such a large corpus — with its text, pictures, videos and sounds — would allow clever extraterrestrials to decipher much about our society, and even formulate questions that could be answered with the material in hand.Previously, Stephen Hawking has disagreed.
"What is amazing, is that you can see the feature while the rim is still in front of the line of sight". Unreleased images of "feature number 5" aka the bight spots on Ceres suggest it might be an ice plume. Also we're naming everything after agriculture deities and festivals.
Matt Zoller Seitz hosted a sleepover for his 11 year old son and his son's friends. Soon it came time to watch a movie, which produced: Notes on watching "Aliens" for the first time again, with a bunch of kids .
In 2037 mankind almost destroyed its own planet through greed, pollution and war. Salvation came through the evolution of a new species of hyper intelligent whales. Via telepathy the whales send their grief over the planets sorry state into the minds of every man and woman on earth. This made humanity rethink its ways and the Whale-Human Alliance was founded. With the guidance of the wise whales mankind healed its planet and began to peacefully explore the universe. But peace was not meant to last long. In deep space humanity encountered an evil race of marauding aliens bent on enslaving anyone in its path. Vastly outclassed by the weapons and fighting skills of the aliens the humans had to turn to their brother whales to defend them against this new threat...[2:55] [all videos contain animated violence and gore][more inside]
“Alien 3 was flawed from its inception and it was certainly flawed—actually, pretty fucked up—well before we started shooting. So there you go. Take all of the responsibility, because you’re going to get all of the blame.” — David Fincher [previously]
The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
Consider an arthouse, darker, noir version of Men in Black with secretive alien refugees trapped in Manhattan, tentacle sex and concept art by H. R. Giger. Clair Noto's The Tourist could have been transformed into a great movie in the right hands. Instead, it has languished in permanent development hell since the 1980's. Some call it "the greatest scifi screenplay never produced" (Article, part 1 and 2.) Decide for yourself and read Noto's original screenplay. [more inside]
You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
You may have heard how sounds travel farther during a temperature inversion, when air near the ground is cooler than the air above. But do you know how this phenomenon is related to the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico? [more inside]
Flickr user Missing Brick recreates scenes from Aliens (and a few more) with Lego minifigs.
Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication is a free book (PDF) from NASA. The premise is that communication with alien lifeforms will have some (cautious) analogues to interpreting past cultures, and to the work that anthropologists and linguists do cross-culturally. Among the 16 chapters are: Beyond Linear B - The Metasemiotic Challenge of Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence; Learning To Read - Interstellar Message Decipherment from Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives; and, Mirrors of Our Assumptions: Lessons from an Arthritic Neanderthal.
Swiss media report that HR Giger, famous for his dark and iconic Alien design, has died. He leaves behind a large body of work, much of it displayed in his own museum.
Xenophobic Chill Descends Upon Moscow [NYTimes] “...For now, we have not encountered real aliens. However, the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors in Russia has unfortunately become an incontestable reality.”
The collaborative wiki-as-fiction site, Secure Contain Protect (previously), held a contest to determine which entry will get the coveted SCP - 2000 spot. The theme? Science Fiction. Read the winning entry here, and the rest of the alien-spaceship-crashing-memetic-virus-watching-living-TV-show-spreading contestants here.
On September 13, 1999, nuclear waste from Earth stored on the far side of the Moon exploded in a catastrophic accident. The explosion knocked the Moon out of orbit and sent it, and the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha, hurtling uncontrollably into space. Their subsequent trials and adventures were chronicled... in Space: 1999. [more inside]
Twenty years ago tonight, id Software uploaded Doom to an FTP server at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completely changed the video gaming industry. [more inside]
Starships were meant to fly.
Originally created as a special feature for the out-of-print 2003 Aliens DVD, Superior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' is a warts-and-all documentary about the making of the film.
Andy Martin has a plan to draw a different alien every day for a year, and animate and score a different alien world each month. He's now on month #7. You can see the aliens on the Illustrated Aliens tumblr, or jump right to The Planets on Vimeo. You can read more about his process in this Skwigly interview.
UFO is a 1970 British science fiction television series about a secret military organization which defends the Earth from Alien invaders. The series was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson, who previously created the "Supermarionation" puppet TV series in the 1960's (Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5), and would later create Space: 1999. The production is highly stylized, from the cars, hair styles, and future fashions to Ebert-worthy parties of the future, mesh space shirts and groovy theme music. [more inside]
From The Weyland-Yutani Archives:
During Alien's pre-production, Ridley Scott drew up a story board presentation of Alien for 20th Century Fox. These storyboards are known as 'Ridleygrams'. This story board presentation contains scenes and FX shots that were later re-written or dropped due to budgetary reasons.[more inside]
Is It That Hard to Make A Decent 'Aliens' Game? It is if the abysmal reviews for the new game Aliens: Colonial Marines are accurate. Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker lists the worst moments, while Destructoid's Jim Sterling tears it apart and recommends better Alien games. [more inside]
'Meet Sluggo – a green semi-subterranean inhabitant of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This strange little creature first appeared back in 2008 on a sidewalk, and since then started peaking out of walls cracks, chilling on ledges or doing his daily routines all over the town. Turns out, it was drawn by a local graphic artist David Zinn.'
Illegals -- Aliens as oppressed or oppressing groups in Avatar, Super 8, Attack the Block and... Alf? (Previously)
A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
Alien: Engineers - the original script for Prometheus.
“When Jim first came to me with this idea of putting two guys inside a giant alien queen suit,” Winston admitted, “I thought, ‘This man is out of his mind.’ Nothing like that had been done before. But in the next moment, I realized that if he had imagined it, we could probably do it.” - How Stan Winston and Jim Cameron built the Alien Queen. Original creature creature H.R. Giger was disapointed not to be involved, leading to this letter from Cameron.
We've finished our news, homo sapiens have outgrown their use, all the strangers came today, and it looks as though they're here to stay
"None of us are gods, evil, good, or any other kind of god. We are mortal. If I am cut, I bleed. If you are cut, you bleed. We are all flesh and blood. We are born. We live. We die. The only thing that makes us different is that we are a new kind of human being , One day everyone in the world will be like us. We are Tomorrow People, Hsui Tai, and you are one of us!" [more inside]
You're Gonna Make It Today: a reassuring message for these troubled times, delivered in the universal language of late 90's synthpop. [slyt]
Were you perplexed and mystified by the behavior of the Prometheus crew? Well, it'll all make sense once you watch this helpful training video. [slyt]
Alex Pappademas and Sean Witzke over at Grantland have a long, detailed, super geeky film-nerd discussion of the Alien franchise. "It's important to note here that this is a nuke-it-from-space kind of conversation in which just about every aspect of the original "Alien Quadrilogy" is spoiled, as are some fairly crucial plot points from Prometheus. The Alien vs. Predator movies are neither spoiled nor discussed, because that would mean acknowledging their existence. Some people will undoubtedly view this as curatorial negligence on our part, but we welcome their scorn. "
Not content with having re-imagined the Justice League, Cartoonist Dresden Codak reboots the X-Men with stranger mutations and more sci-fi backstory.
Mysterious Universe is more than just the site hosting a weekly podcast that covers the weird and unexplained. From UFOs and Men in Black to Bigfoot and Mothman (with the Shadow People and Black Eyed Children lurking somewhere inbetween), the Mysterious Universe website sifts through the news and personal accounts that crop up on sites such as Crytomundo, Phantoms and Monsters, and Your Ghost Stories so you don't have to. Though the podcast was almost brought down by the menance that is the Dibbuk Box, it is now in its seventh season and, like the site itself, shows no signs of slowing down. [more inside]
In the wee morning hours of September 20th, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill drove down New Hampshire's Route 3, through the Franconia Notch, and into the UFO history books. Five years later, John G. Fuller's account of their story, The Interrupted Journey, became the most well known alien abduction case of all time. Fuller's book was adapted into a made-for-TV movie in 1975. The book and movie brought the "Greys" into the public consciousness as the quintessential UFO occupants, although it has been alleged by skeptics that the Greys themselves were inspired by an episode of the TV show The Outer Limits. Last year, the state of New Hampshire erected a historical marker at the site of the alleged abduction. Skeptics and believers have been debating the case for decades now. Interestingly, a UFO enthusiast named John Oswald published an account in 1980 that claimed "Mrs. Hill was unable to 'distinguish between a landed UFO and a streetlight'", which even included a photo of said streetlight. It was not until 2007 that a science fiction writer who lives in the area where the "abduction" took place published an article which reveals the real "UFO" and puts forward a plausible explanation. [more inside]