As a science fiction writer, I've been asked if I "believe" in the existence of space aliens.
To me, that's not even a question.
We're novices at exploring the universe, but we've still found hundreds of exoplanets, with even more possible but unconfirmed. True, most of these are "super jovians" - gas giants larger than Jupiter - simply because larger planets are easy to find. Huge gas giants don't support our kind of life. This does not mean they don't support any kind of life - for all we know there could be life in Jupiter's atmosphere that we haven't found yet.
For the kind of life we are to be comfortable, we need to find a "goldilocks" planet - that's slang for a planet in the temperature range for liquid water. We have a few candidates - but planets like Earth are simply hard to find. What we can be sure of, though, is that there are billions of planets in our galaxy.
The math simply makes no sense for none of them to be like Earth. A planet like Earth could evolve a species that, while it probably wouldn't be that much like us, would breathe similar air, eat similar food, and communicate in a way we could understand.
Science fiction writers have been speculating on the nature of aliens for decades. Right...oh, actually, nope. Believe it or not, the first person to come up with the idea there might be people living on planets or other stars was an Italian man named Giordano Bruno. You probably haven't heard of him. He published a book in 1584 that argued that the universe was infinite, contained an infinite number of worlds, and they were all inhabited by intelligent beings. Not surprisingly, Bruno ended his days at a stake in 1600. Most people put the popularity of aliens down to H.G. Wells and his War of the Worlds.
Modern science fiction writers like to have fun with alien biology and culture. Vernor Vinge is a particular genius in his regard - he created a sentient race (the "spiders") that was capable of hibernating for centuries and another (the "tines") that are multiple-bodied "packs" creating their mind and personality using radio. While budget considerations limit Star Trek aliens to the humanoid form, Vulcans and Klingons have captured many imaginations. Science fiction writers and readers love aliens, if only as a way to reflect a mirror back on ourselves.
In my own book, I created the alien "ky'iin". There's a lot more about them...both in the book and in my notes and my head. The ky'iin are bipedal and roughly humanoid, but with very different faces. They communicate using both speech and gestures, with a word's meaning potentially changed completely by stance and body language. Oh, and they have three sexes. The third sex, the ly'iin, play no part in genetic reproduction but a big one in parenting. (Especially as the females traditionally dump their eggs at the feet of their mates and walk away - just as in some species of bird, ky'iin males are the egg tenders). But like all science fiction aliens, they reflect aspects of ourselves...and some aspects of the animals with which we share this beautiful little planet.
Back to whether I believe in real aliens - yes. I believe it is impossible for a universe this large not to harbor multiple sentient races. Do I believe they landed at Roswell?
I'm keeping my personal jury out on that one.
This is a bit from my soon to be released novel Transpecial. I hope you enjoy it.
Humanity Fired First
The Contact War. Started by humans who could not bear to face the alien, who could not even look at them without killer rage and terrible fear overwhelming them. The destruction of the 'Valley Forge' marked a new and dangerous era for humanity. Key to their salvation? A young woman from Mars, a brilliant linguist with a profound social disorder...for only the autistic, it seems, can see the beauty within the ky'iin. Yet, can this young woman, who barely understands her own kind and has no experience in diplomacy truly stop the destructive war?
Jennifer R. Povey writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, Digital Science Fiction, and Cosmos. Her first novel, Transpecial, will be published by Musa Publishing in 2013.
To learn more about Jennifer, please visit her website.