Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(io9)   What's the most believable alien in science fiction? Nerd fight, to the right   (io9.com) divider line 37
    More: Interesting, nerds  
•       •       •

5112 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jul 2013 at 8:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2013-07-27 08:38:36 AM  
9 votes:
kildall.com
2013-07-27 11:01:04 AM  
4 votes:
Niven did more than a decent job with his aliens. The Kzin, Puppeteers, the Outsiders--helium based intelligences with motives beyond the ken of life based on far warmer climes--and the Thrint and Tnuctipun and even came up with a good reason for so much of his aliens being based on similar chemistry, and the Bandersnatch.

The Moties, from his collaboration with Jerry Pournelle were impressive in not just their physical alien nature, but likewise an entirely different psychology. Niven doesn't postulate just alien critters, but what might drive these lifeforms.
2013-07-27 08:11:57 AM  
4 votes:
i.imgur.com
2013-07-28 02:44:21 PM  
2 votes:

Too late for Caturday...

mos.totalfilm.com
2013-07-27 04:44:23 PM  
2 votes:
media.tumblr.com

Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.
2013-07-27 10:56:01 AM  
2 votes:
davidszondy.com
2013-07-27 08:33:57 AM  
2 votes:
The Horta.
2013-07-28 01:57:53 PM  
1 votes:

LrdPhoenix: Just because they were large, hulking beasts in the past doesn't mean that they were always that way later on.  After all, when was the last time you made a nest of leaves in a tree, or jumped from one tree to another, or sunk like a stone in water, or flung poo at someone?  Or how about birds, their ancestors used to run down and kill things bigger than elephants, don't see that happening much anymore.


Point of order: Simians and humans shared a common hominid ancestor, but current thinking is that the typical simian traits you describe (living in trees, flinging poo, etc.) are traits that simians developed after the proto-humans and proto-simians split off into separate branches of the same evolutionary tree.  ie. Humans were never poo-flinging monkeys.
2013-07-28 12:12:28 PM  
1 votes:

jeanwearinfool: LrdPhoenix: Great Janitor: Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)

For the Klingons, the warrior culture is recent, post spaceships.
For the Pakleds, they aren't stupid, they just suck at communication.

So is the episode in STNG where everyone devolves to their more primitive forms not canon?


Just because they were large, hulking beasts in the past doesn't mean that they were always that way later on.  After all, when was the last time you made a nest of leaves in a tree, or jumped from one tree to another, or sunk like a stone in water, or flung poo at someone?  Or how about birds, their ancestors used to run down and kill things bigger than elephants, don't see that happening much anymore.
2013-07-28 05:19:06 AM  
1 votes:

Dadoo: Can you come up with something, anything, that gives you a clear speed advantage over running with four legs, without making the rest of your senses less useful?


Wings.
2013-07-27 11:04:54 PM  
1 votes:
Hanar
Vorlons
Octospiders
Shadows
'Prawns'

Humans.  We are aliens to someone.  And to me, humans are a very believable species.
2013-07-27 10:23:11 PM  
1 votes:

BullBearMS: The Tines and the Skroderiders from Vernor Vinge'sA Fire Upon the Deep and the Spiders from A Deepness in the Sky.

Several choices from Babylon 5 and Farscape,


Agree with the Tines and the Skroders, they were plausible. Agree about Farscape, too, they did a good job--a very good job when you consider their budget was significantly less than The Next Generation, and the aliens were often alot better. Stories were better, too, but thats another matter. Actually, now that you mention it, the Skroders and Pilot had some similarities.

Herbert did a pretty good job with plausible species in his Dosadi series, except perhaps for the pan spechi, and thats only because they "chose to look like humans". I think Herbert just decided that he didnt feel like having to figure out another the appearance of another group of aliens. The rest of their life cycle was interesting.

Gowachin Law FTW.
2013-07-27 08:14:42 PM  
1 votes:
Old Man Winter:

kildall.com

Thread over.


Th
2013-07-27 07:06:43 PM  
1 votes:
I always thought the aliens from Far scape were the most believable, not so much from a biological standpoint (too many humanoids) but they all *acted* alien. Their logic, judgement, and entire thought process was distinctly non-human. And it was the first show I saw where every new location wasn't a "planet of hats".
2013-07-27 06:46:10 PM  
1 votes:
I still get a kick out of the concept of "Talking Meat"


http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page 6.html
2013-07-27 05:50:48 PM  
1 votes:

Boudyro: 'm genuinely curious. Why would life from "wet" climates have trouble creating technology?

For my part I think that, until we learn otherwise, life will follow the patterns we've already seen. So it follows that there could be:

Insectoid
Mammalian
Reptilian
Saurian/Avian
Bacterial
Plants
Fish
Mollusks
Jellyfish
Amphibian
Probably a few more I'm forgetting . . .

We are already absolutely certain life forms of this type exist. Given a different planet with a different set of environmental variables one of them have come out on top of the evolutionary heap. An evolved-tool using race is something else entirely, beyond having opposable digitalia to use for grasping who can say?


The reason why wet environments would suck for creating technology: try to smelt anything underwater.  There is the strong belief that dolphins may be more intelligent than humans, but their living in the ocean and lack of ability to use or create tools is going to hold them back and keep them out of the stars.  The Ferengi, even though their planet is a muddy swamp with constant rain, they can still develop clean rooms to allow them to create advanced technology, and that's going to be needed before their technology can develop really.  Try taking apart a computer, dumping the parts into a mud puddle and then rebuild it, how well do you think it's going to function?
2013-07-27 05:37:29 PM  
1 votes:

Tommy Moo: [media.tumblr.com image 418x500]

Quarians from Mass Effect. If there ever were an alien race that evolved on a separate planet with an amino-acid based biochemistry like ours, it would have zero immunity to our viruses and bacteria and likely have respiratory/circulatory systems calibrated to a different atmosphere. There is no way it could survive on a human ship without constantly wearing an environmentally controlled full body suit.


Most people consider that a flawed idea  They may indeed have no immunity, but Earth viruses and bacteria did not evolve to take advantage of them either.  If you goggle it, you can find some interesting articles about it as a discredited idea.
2013-07-27 05:35:50 PM  
1 votes:

Great Janitor: Klingons (the fighting would pretty much limit how far they'd advance)
Pakleds (too stupid to get into space)


For the Klingons, the warrior culture is recent, post spaceships.
For the Pakleds, they aren't stupid, they just suck at communication.
2013-07-27 05:04:42 PM  
1 votes:
Assuming supersymmetry is a valid model of the universe and supersymmetric partners of fundamental particles exist, probably the most alien aliens are the "photino birds" of the Xeelee Sequence books (which are lifeforms made of leptino-based "dark matter" who are attempting to xenoform their habitats--the gravity wells of stars--to make them not susceptible to destruction by supernovae; alas, this also tends to be fatal to the possibility of baryonic life like, oh, pretty much everything based on protons and electrons and hadrons and leptons in general).

If we don't go into bionta based on supersymmetric partners, probably my favourite (and a good candidate for "most alien aliens ever depicted that one might run into in space") would be pretty much all of the methanopulmonic (methane-breathing) species in the Chanur Saga books.  About the only ones the oxypulmonics can really talk to in a sense are the t'ca, which are basically methane-breathing worm-like things that apparently have pentaradial symmetry (up to and including having five brain-analogues connected in a ring--like a biological Beowulf cluster) and who speak entirely in matrices of five (via harmonics, and yes, all the words in a "word matrix" can be read as sentences going forward, backward, up, down, and diagonally--and all the readings are equally valid); because of the unique way t'ca talk, translator computers of a sort are needed to render T'ca Matrix Talk to something folks with one non-networked brain can understand :D  (Oh, and they also tend to give birth whilst stressed.  The books do not go into t'ca sex or if t'ca (or any of the other methanopulmonics) even have analogues to gender; for all we know, t'ca could reproduce by budding when stressed.)  The chii tend to hang out with the t'ca, resemble a mess of sticks in constant motion, and nobody is sure if they are a client race or pets of the t'ca (they're apparently so alien that if they're sentient only the t'ca can talk with them); the k'nnn (one of my favourite alien races depicted, hands down) resemble giant dust bunnies/hairballs with spidery legs, have the most advanced tech among the races in the trade compact they're in...and are so damn alien that only the t'ca can talk with them in any sense (and apparently it is EXTREMELY rudimentary at that), did not understand the concept of trade when first discovered (when k'nnn ships would raid other ships and take what they wanted) and still do not entirely understand the whole "trade" concept (the most they've gotten it down is "we take what we want off your ship and we'll leave random old crap behind that we don't want"; fortunately for the k'nnn, their "crap" is pretty awesome according to the other races)...and have long, long, epic whalesong-esque songs they sing whilst in transit that could be epic ballads or could just be navigational instructions for all anyone knows.

If methanopulmonic races aren't considered likely...Puppeteers and Moties tend to be among my favourites for "races you can have a conversation with", and I'm also unreasonably fond of Nemo Ramjet's "Snaiad" speculative xenoevolution art series (basically he's created an entire world of non-namegiving species with a very different base than chordate-analogues--he's also enough of a biologist he can manage to make something plausible...and some of what he's come up with is wonderfully weird :D).

(I'll also admit to one of my favourite alien races in popular art being the Orz in the Star Control series.  Their/its actual nature is interesting as hell to me, but for those who haven't played the series...I'd rather not spoil the surprise too much.  Suffice it to say that they start out amusing (thanks to a translator machine that must be trying to work with the local equivalent of K'nnn) and turn out downright Lovecraftian...that said, I'm not so sure they're plausible alien aliens without, well, some particular assumptions re M-theory.)
2013-07-27 04:13:18 PM  
1 votes:

Great Janitor: Lochsteppe: Great Janitor: Most believable alien in science fiction...Well, if the ones that just aren't possible are:


Your anti-tit agenda sickens me.

I'm very pro-tit.  It just doesn't make sense for non-mammals to have mammary glands.


Did any of the characters/sources you cited ever say "These are mammary glands"?  No.  Avian/reptilian/amphibian/robotic species are just as entitled as we are to have two sexy, symmetrically-placed lumps on their females' chests. What they're used for is none of our business.  Check your mammalian privilege.

;)
2013-07-27 02:06:07 PM  
1 votes:
Believable ... because of their incredible acting.

images4.wikia.nocookie.net

1.bp.blogspot.com
2013-07-27 02:05:11 PM  
1 votes:

hubiestubert: Niven did more than a decent job with his aliens. The Kzin, Puppeteers, the Outsiders--helium based intelligences with motives beyond the ken of life based on far warmer climes--and the Thrint and Tnuctipun and even came up with a good reason for so much of his aliens being based on similar chemistry, and the Bandersnatch.

The Moties, from his collaboration with Jerry Pournelle were impressive in not just their physical alien nature, but likewise an entirely different psychology. Niven doesn't postulate just alien critters, but what might drive these lifeforms.


I like the Puppeteers. The fact that their brains are not near their sensory organs and are well protected in the hump makes sense. And the various Moties seem to be derived from a former, base species and are the only animals left on a planet that experiences frequent global wars.
2013-07-27 01:17:19 PM  
1 votes:
www.morethings.com
2013-07-27 01:03:38 PM  
1 votes:
encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com
2013-07-27 12:34:23 PM  
1 votes:
The space virus/bacteria from the Andromeda Strain.
2013-07-27 12:26:09 PM  
1 votes:
i290.photobucket.com

Elephants ... in ... SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE
2013-07-27 11:59:57 AM  
1 votes:
t0.gstatic.com
2013-07-27 11:02:12 AM  
1 votes:
Super intelligent shade of the color blue.
2013-07-27 10:47:19 AM  
1 votes:
#1 The Gorn

#2 The Prawns from District 9

#3 Predator
2013-07-27 10:16:08 AM  
1 votes:
www.sesamestreet.org
2013-07-27 10:07:25 AM  
1 votes:
also Vorlons and Shadows from B5.
2013-07-27 10:06:19 AM  
1 votes:
Asimov's extra dimensional aliens that had 3 distinct sexes until maturity.
From a very unique first contact short story that I can't remember the name of.
2013-07-27 09:21:33 AM  
1 votes:
Hmmmm. I'm thinking something bug-like, a la the Hive from Anne McCaffrey's Tower and Hive series, or the bugs in Starship Troopers. Or, we go to another world, only to get massively sick from the aliens we *can't*, sort of a reverse War of the Worlds situation.

Honestly, it may very well turn out that the least believable is the one that we will see first. A short convo with a friend yielded the assumption that symmetry is common to everything, so of course an alien would be symmetrical. But what if asymmetry developed on that planet as a survival trait?

I'm watching all the ST:TNG with my fiance, and I have to say, just the variety of aliens so far has been pretty cool, even considering how far removed it is. . . Or I suppose I should say how little ahead of the current technology it is now. (Cool moment when realizing we were watching the show on what is essentially a version of the datapad, only more versatile, really)
2013-07-27 09:16:30 AM  
1 votes:
Anything that has no resemblance to anything that ever existed on earth.
2013-07-27 09:09:52 AM  
1 votes:
It... honestly depends.

In my Space Opera setting 'The Phoenix Inheritance', the Precursor-race terraformed and planetary-engineered the galaxy to be biologically similar to each other, with a few oddities here and there. The result was that the most alien of the 'Precursor-Style' intelligent aliens were no more alien in thought than Randian Libertarians, Utopian Communists, Conservative Constitutional Monarchists, Ugandans, and North Koreans.

The same goes for the biosphere, it's all fairly compatible... if you consider North American Plains-grass to be compatable with South-Asian plants and such.

Whereas the Semita, the 100% racial villains of said setting, are incomprehensible. They are true aliens.

I don't know where I was going with this.
2013-07-27 09:02:56 AM  
1 votes:
That's a thread on a message board, not an article...

...oh, it's supposed to be an article? The author just didn't include any suggestions of his own? I see...
2013-07-27 08:36:19 AM  
1 votes:
images1.wikia.nocookie.net

/not really, I just like posting that
 
Displayed 37 of 37 comments

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report