Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beware the Bottom Probes.


I remember, before I was taken on by Macmillan, getting cornered at a house party by a woman who, upon hearing that I wrote SF, wanted to talk to me about UFOs. I remember, when I was in my twenties, seeing something up in the sky out the back of my parent’s house: a sphere, silver on top and black underneath which, when I saw it, shot off at great speed. But now, I need to let you in on a secret: I don’t believe we have been visited by aliens.

I don’t believe flying saucers are playing peek-a-boo with airliners or having races with Airforce jets. I reckon that object I saw was a weather balloon caught in a high wind, or maybe, just maybe, it was some sort of military drone. I don’t believe a spaceship crashed at Area 57 and that the US military has some bug-eyed monsters on ice. I don’t believe the greys, with a technology capable of propelling themselves across a distance of a minimum of four light years, have come here to stick probes up the bottom of an Arkansas yokel.

You see, I’m a science fiction writer, which means I don’t buy into crap. I buy into logic, emphiricism. Crystals don’t heal, homeopathy is bunk, the only way anyone can predict the future by the stars is if that person sees a monster meteorite on a collision course with Earth. Faith is not proof; there is no invisible friend in the sky. Any theory that doesn’t adhere to Popper’s dictum is not a theory. A tin-foil hat will not stop the mind control rays from Alpha Centauri and walking under a ladder is only unlucky if someone drops a pot of paint on your head.

And these will maybe contain some interesting, rare or even unknown natural phenomena. They will contain delusions, sad attempts at attention seeking, lies, and maybe some truths about just how suggestible is the human mind. Sorry and all that.

5 comments:

Michael Stone said...

I've had similar conversations.
"Do you believe in aliens?"
"I believe there's other lifeforms out there, yes."
"So you believe in UFOs!"
"Um, clearly there are unidentified flying objects, but I don't think for one second they're piloted by aliens."
At which point I'm branded a pedant and left alone. This suits me. :)

Swainson said...

Don't tell hse there was someone working up a ladder with a pot of paint or there will be hell to pay.

@MS
I have similar conversations on why i read sf/fantasy rather than normal fiction; my reply is it's all made up so what is the difference.

Then branded a pedant they bog off!!

Graeme said...

I'm still concerned by the anal probing... it would be interesting to find the records of a given areas cottaging or dogging activities from the local enforcement officers, and the A&E records from local hospital to see if there is a correlation between light bulbs, rubber chickens and milk bottles being removed from the anus's of people whose names subsequently turn out to be false, but who bare striking similarities to individuals allegedly abducted by aliens for a haemorrhoids check.

Or am I alone on this branch of UFO investigation?

Paul said...

I have seen several UFOs. But I mean that in the true sense of being objects I could not identify. I have seen a star move in the night sky. And not in a linear way as a satellite might. I've seen an object go horizon to horizon faster than any plane should, and in the company of 10 others.

I don't believe I've seen any aliens yet.

Neal Asher said...

Some people are making some huge assumptions: UFO = aliens, I don't want to die = god, lots of snow = global warming, I didn't die = prayer works ... etc.