To Believe or Not to Believe, or Maybe Just to Read

“Well, when you look into infinity you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.” -Calvin, The Days Are Just Packed, Bill Watterson

Infinity is a strange concept, especially when the majority of its breadth is conveniently hidden behind the blackness between stars. The scope of the universe is vast beyond imagination; and the more we learn, much thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, the more it seems that even the world’s top astrophysicists don’t fully understand the enigmatic origins and functions of spacetime. Setting all that unknown complexity aside, today I’d like to focus on a more speculative territory of the cosmos: non-human intelligence a.k.a. aliens.

While you may roll your eyes at the very mention of otherworldly beings, the discussion around their existence has been quite prevalent in recent news. Back in July, Congress heard testimony from current and former members of the military regarding the high number of encounters they and others have had with Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP), and the stigma surrounding the reporting of experiences with UAP for both military and civilian personnel. They further speculated on the advanced technology apparent in these phenomena and the possibility of past government interaction with non-human mechanics and biologics.

Let me be clear when I say that none of this is proof of the existence of aliens or non-human intelligence. The main goal of testimonies like these is to work towards establishing practices of transparency and open information in regard to UAP. They also bring the age-old question of “What If?” to the forefront of thought. What if we suddenly knew, without a doubt, that there were intelligent forces in action outside the bounds of life on earth? Would your day-to-day life be changed?  How would the collective and individual powers of the world react?  Whether you’re a skeptical Scully or an obstinate Mulder, the implications of the potential existence of non-human intelligence are equally earth-shattering. If you’re interested in learning more about the ongoing search for alien life check out these titles in our catalog!

From Our Catalog

Though the true nature of life beyond Earth may still be hidden from us, the limitless scope of what an alien encounter may look like has yet to be exhausted by the imaginations of speculative authors. Their endeavors give us plenty of concrete, albeit fictional, answers to the big “What If?”.

Politics are inescapable in nearly all aspects of new discovery. Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis explores the intricate political fallout after a whistleblower is abducted by and persuaded to serve as a translator for one of the aliens she forced the government to reveal.

Non-human intelligence isn’t limited to extraterrestrials. It’s all too easy to overlook the acumen of animals that appear less than human to our eyes. Ray Nayler’s debut novel, The Mountain in the Sea, explores the global conflict that ensues after a sentient species of octopus is discovered off the coast of Vietnam.

In all likelihood, the culture and topography of an inhabited exoplanet would be utterly unrecognizable to us. In one of Stanislaw Lem’s lesser-known novels, Eden, an estranged crew crash lands onto one such planet and slowly ventures outward into an increasingly bizarre and incongruous world.

Taking anomaly to the next level, life could exist on an extra-dimensional scale, fully outside the scope of our timebound lives. The Many Worlds anthology conceives a multiverse in which the world is constantly edited and upended by forces unknown.

In spite of its many meritorious mirrors of reality, fiction can only take us so far in the hunt for the truth. Until we find solid evidence of what other lifeforms may be out there, we’ll have to be satisfied with gazing into the night sky and allowing our imaginations to extend as far into the cosmos as we can manage.

From Our Catalog


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