From H.G. Wells’s tripod-controlling Martians to Douglas Adams’s poetry-loving Vogons, from the cosmic horrors of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos to the scholarly Sorns of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, science fiction writers and readers alike have long been fascinated with the concept of aliens.
Who are these beings from worlds beyond ours? Where have they come from? What do they want? Why are they here? And what is it about the concept of the extraterrestrial that inspires our imaginations and compels us to stare up at the stars and wonder who might be staring back?
Maybe it’s the stars themselves. Astronomers estimate that there are over 100 billion galaxies, and we’ve barely scratched the surface on exploration of our own. Who knows what worlds might exist beyond what we can observe with today’s technology?
Maybe it’s unexplained incidences on our own planet: UFOs, Area 51, and close encounters. From the time of ancient Egypt, there have been reports of “fiery discs,” “ships in the sky,” and other strange occurrences which we’ve come to associate with visitors from other planets. Even as recently as two months ago, residents of Southern California witnessed unusual-shaped objects hovering in the sky. Were they weather balloons? Chinese lanterns? Or spaceships surpassing human innovation?
Whatever the source of our fascination, this topic opens up a universe of creativity for our authors in this month’s issues, all of which answer one of our most basic questions about aliens in a different way: If aliens did come to Earth, would it be to help us? to harm us? or are they just looking for love?
Join us in this month’s issue on an exploration of brand-new stories that dare to ask the question: What if we’re not alone?
Flash Fiction Online Managing Editor