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Alien life is also refered to as extraterrestrial life.

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Alien life comes from other worlds. Alien life if a popular sci-fi subject. Alien life is said to abduct humans. In popular cultures, life forms, especially intelligent life forms, that are of extraterrestrial origin, i.e. not coming from the Earth, are referred to collectively as aliens or sometimes alien visitors.

Grey Alien.
Artistic depiction of a Grey Alien.

This usage is clearly anthropocentric: when humans in fictional accounts accomplish interstellar travel and land on a planet elsewhere in the universe, the local inhabitants of these other planets are usually still referred to as "alien," even though they are the native life form and the humans are the intruders. In general they are seen as unfriendly life forms. This may be seen as a reversion to the classic meaning of "alien" as referring to "other," in contrast to "us" in the context of the writer's frame of reference.

Isaac Asimov set out to overturn this convention in a short story in which a youth nicknamed "Red" saves a couple of captive dimunitive "aliens" and lets them return to their spaceship. Only in the last paragraph does the reader learn that the sympathetic viewpoint character is in fact a giant crab, called "Red" because his claws were unusually red, and that the escaping "aliens" were Earth humans visiting his world.

Alien life in movies.

There are several reasons for this humanoid depiction in movies. It makes it easier for an alien in a movie scene to simply be a disguised human actor. Aliens in movies, in order to catch our attention, must trigger instantaneous emotional reaction; this requires a design based on recognizable human facial features and expressions. It is easier to relate to an alien with features we recognize such as arms and legs, two eyes, a nose and a mouth, as well as behavior we recognize such as baring its teeth in anger or widening its eyes in shock or surprise.

However, if real extraterrestrial life exists, few scientists expect to find humanoid characteristics, believing that this would be too great a coincidence given an entirely different evolutionary scale. On the other hand, some of humanity's most defining characteristics are also extremely advantageous, such as bipedalism, opposable thumbs, dual forward facing eyes. Therefore, it is possible that alien life similar to humankind exists.

Prime examples of how aliens are viewed are found in the movies Alien, Predator, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The X-Files:Fight The Future, War of the Worlds, Independence Day, Men in Black, Signs and Cocoon.

Alien life in poetry.

There is a long history of writing about imagined meetings between aliens and humans, and poetry is no exception. Many serious poets, including former Poet Laureates Stanley Kunitz and Robert Hayden, have written celebrated poems on the topic of life beyond our world. The best of these poems complicate the expectations of the reader, such as Kunitz's poem "The Abduction" which subverts the popular notion of alien abduction by describing the event surreally and without the typical cast of characters. Other poems take on the topic as a way to offer an alternate view of humanity, or even a cultural critique. In Robert Hayden's poem "American Journal," an extraterrestrial describes American behavior to his superiors, and similarly, "The White Fires of Venus" by Denis Johnson, relates the observations of the inhabitants of Venus about humanity.

Alien life in video games.

  • The Mars People, Monoeye, and an unnamed race from the Metal Slug series.
  • The Unnamed Aliens of Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars who are "absolutely dependant on tiberium".
  • The Timesplitters from the aptly named Timesplitters series. ( It was found in Timesplitters:Future Perfect that Timesplitters are mutants).
  • The Chimera of Resistance: Fall of Man.
  • The Space Pirates, Chozo, and other races from Metroid.
  • The Zerg and the Protoss from Starcraft.
  • The Shivans from Descent: Freespace.
  • The Covenant from Halo and Halo 2.
  • The Locust Horde from Gears of War.
  • The Xen Aliens from Half Life and Half Life 2.
  • The mutants from Area 51.
  • The Skaarj from the Unreal game series.
  • The Furons. Aliens from the planet of the same name in the proxima Centurai system. From Destroy all Humans! Game.
  • The Blisk. Mortal enemies of the Furons,from the planet Mars.
  • The Nomads from Freelancer (computer game).
  • The Khaak from X: The Threat.
  • The Sirians, Gnaars, Kleers and other species from the Serious Sam game series.

Alien life in movies and television.

  • 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • Roger from American Dad..
  • Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons.
  • Xenomorph from the movie series Alien.
  • Various characters in Futurama.
  • Mork and Mindy.
  • ALF.
  • Doctor Who Various characters including the main character.

Alien life in novels.

  • Raising the Past by Jeremy Robinson..
  • The Chronicles of Soone - Heir to the King by James Somers.

Historical ideas about Alien life.

The fictionalization of extraterrestrial life occurred before the 20th century. The didactic poet Henry More took up the classical theme of Cosmic pluralism of the Greek Democritus in "Democritus Platonissans, or an Essay Upon the Infinity of Worlds" (1647). With the new relative viewpoint that understood "our world's sunne / Becomes a starre elsewhere", More made the speculative leap to extrasolar planets,

the frigid spheres that 'bout them fare;
Which of themselves quite dead and barren are,
But by the wakening warmth of kindly dayes,
And the sweet dewie nights, in due course raise
Long hidden shapes and life, to their great Maker's praise.

The possibility of extraterrestrial life was a commonplace of educated discourse in the 17th century, though in Paradise Lost (1667) Milton cautiously employed the conditional when the angel suggests to Adam the possibility of life on the Moon:

Her spots thou seest
As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce
Fruits in her softened soil, for some to eat
Allotted there; and other Suns, perhaps,
With their attendant Moons, thou wilt descry,
Communicating male and female light,
Which two great sexes animate the World,
Stored in each Orb perhaps with some that live.

Fontanelle's "Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds" with its similar excursions on the possibility of extraterrestrial life, expanding rather than denying the creative sphere of a Maker, was translated into English in 1686. In "The Excursion" (1728) David Mallet exclaimed, "Ten thousand worlds blaze forth; each with his train/Of peopled worlds."

Why not also search for...

  • Abduction phenomenon.
  • Aleshenka.
  • Animorphs.
  • ALF.
  • The Alien.
  • Alien invasion.
  • Alien sidekick.
  • Ancient astronaut theory.
  • Are We Alone?.
  • Arilou.
  • black triangles.
  • Crop circle.
  • Dawning Star.
  • Dropa.
  • Elder race.
  • Energy being.
  • First contact.
  • Grey alien.
  • Invader Zim.
  • Destroy All Humans!.
  • Hollow Earth.
  • List of magazines of anomalous phenomena.
  • List of alien films.
  • List of space aliens in fiction.
  • Military flying saucers.
  • Nordics.
  • Reptilian humanoid.
  • Roswell rods.
  • Scientology.
  • Starchild skull.
  • The Disclosure Project.
  • The X-Files.
  • UFO (Unidentified flying object).
  • UFO conspiracy theory.
  • ufology.
  • Ummo.
  • Xenobiology.

Further reading about Alien life:

  • Roth, Christopher F., "Ufology as Anthropology: Race, Extraterrestrials, and the Occult." In E.T. Culture: Anthropology in Outerspaces, ed. by Debbora Battaglia. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • Sagan, Carl. 1996. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark: chapter 4: "Aliens".

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