Science Fiction on Alien Contact and Religion

(This was first published in Ufologist, Vol. 20, No. 6, March-April 2017)

If we were to learn tomorrow that life exists elsewhere in the universe, how would it affect our religious beliefs? In his book God and the New Physics Paul Davies, Professor of Natural History at the University of Adelaide, suggests the impact will be negative,

“The existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences would have a profound impact on religion, shattering completely the traditional perspective of God’s special relationship with man. The difficulties are especially acute for Christianity, which postulates that Jesus Christ was God incarnate whose mission was to provide salvation for man on Earth” [1]

On the other hand, according to a survey conducted by Ted Peters, Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Seminary in California, 83% of Catholics, 85% of evangelical Protestants and 92% of mainline Protestants did not believe, “Official confirmation of the discovery of intelligent beings on another planet would so undercut my beliefs that my beliefs would face a crisis.” [2]

Paul Davies may not be a believer, but his views seem more realistic. The existence of extraterrestrials should challenge and even discredit some of our religions, especially conservative Christianity which teaches that the Creator of the universe has a special relationship with this planet and became one of us and died so we could have eternal life. I suspect that the reason many of those, whom Peters surveyed, do not believe it would make much difference, is because they have not thought through the implications of learning extraterrestrials exist or they have a “faith” which has no connection to evidence or the real world.

Alien contact, either peaceful or violent, is a common theme in science fiction. Sometimes the impact of learning aliens exist on religion is mentioned or explored. Some science fiction agrees with Paul Davies that alien contact will mean the end of most religions.

In Childhood’s End (1954) by Arthur C. Clarke, giant spaceships appear over Earth’s major cities and impose a world government. The aliens called Overlords give humans a machine which enables them to look back into the past and see the origins of the world’s religions.

“Within a few days, all mankind’s multitudinous messiahs had lost their divinity” and “only a form of purified Buddhism” remained[3].

However, there is also a decline in science since there is no longer point in trying to learn and discover what the advanced Overlords already know.

In another Arthur C. Clarke novel The Fountains of Paradise (1979)   the Starglider, an alien probe, enters our solar system. Its superior knowledge leads to the discrediting of traditional religions except Buddhism (again).

Arthur C. Clarke presumably believes Buddhism will survive because some forms of Buddhism do not require a belief in God or gods and are more concerned with principles and practices. The discovery of aliens would not make any difference.

In Sundiver (1980) by David Brin, as a result of contact with extraterrestrials, “organized religion had been torn apart”[4].

“And the mere existence of thousands of space-travelling races, few possessing anything similar to the tenets of the old faiths of earth did grievous harm to the concepts of an all-powerful anthropomorphic God.”[5]

On the other hand, the Danikenites, who based on the writings of Erich von Daniken believe Earth was visited by aliens in the past, flourish. Many “New Agers” have already incorporated aliens into their beliefs. Alien contact will probably result in new alien-themed religions.

In “Miracle Day”, the third season of the television series Torchwood (2006-2011) the character Doctor Patanjali mentions the case of a Christian who loses her faith and commits suicide when she learns that aliens exist.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was an atheist and he expected Star Trek to reflect his atheist worldview. Brannon Braga, executive producer of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise, explained to the International Atheist Conference in Iceland in 2006,

“In Gene Roddenberry’s imagining of the future (in this case the 23rd century), Earth is a paradise where we have all of our problems with technology, ingenuity and compassion. There is no more hunger, war, or disease. And most importantly to the context of our meeting here today, religion is completely gone. Not a single human being on Earth believes in that nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry’s mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writer of STAR TREK and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of that universe. On Roddenberry’s future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And the world is better for it.” [6]

There are still religious references in the original series of Star Trek. The Enterprise had a chapel which is seen in the episodes “Balance of Terror” and “The Tholian Web”. In the episode “Who Mourns for Adonis?” Captain Kirk says, “Man has no need for gods. We find the one sufficient”, which implies Kirk is a monotheist.

Nevertheless, human society in Star Trek is largely atheist and secular. Religion is more likely to be a feature of alien societies such as the Bajorans or Klingons.

In the movie Star Trek: First Contact (1996) humans first encounter the alien Vulcans. Deanna Troi says, “It unites humanity in a way no one thought possible when they realise they’re not alone in the universe. Poverty, disease, war. They’ll all be gone in the next fifty years.”

Although it is never stated, the decline of religion was presumably another consequence of contact with aliens.

When aliens invade Earth in the television series Falling Skies (2011-2015), it apparently resulted in a crisis in religious belief. In the second episode the character Lourdes Delgado is still a Catholic and says, “I know a lot of people have lost their faith, but mine is stronger than ever.”  However, there is little evidence of her faith after the first few episodes.

Others have sought to reconcile alien life with a Christian worldview, such as The Cosmic Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, a Cambridge professor and Christian apologist. In Out of the Silent Planet (1938) Elwin Ransom is abducted by two men and taken to Mars which is called Malacandra by its inhabitants. The different species of Malacandrians or Martians live in an Edenic sate and are ruled over by an entity called an Oyarsa. The Malacandrians tell Ransom that the planets were created by Maleldil the Young who lives with the Old One. The Oyarsa of Malacandra explains to Ransom that Earth was one ruled by a great Oyarsa, who became the Bent One and started a war and was driven back to Earth or Thulcandra, the silent planet. One day Earth will be freed from the Bent One.

In the sequel Perelandra (1943) Ransom travels to Venus or Perelandra. Venus is largely covered by water with some floating land and some fixed land. Ransom learns that the Bent One is planning to attack and corrupt Perelandra. He meets the Venusian version of Eve whom Maleldil has told cannot sleep on the fixed land, only the floating land. There is a Venusian version of the temptation in the Garden of Eden where Ransom’s former abductor Weston, who is possessed by the Bent One, tries to persuade the woman to disobey Maleldil and Ransom tries to persuade her to obey him.

Lewis seems to be showing how alien life can exist and the Christian worldview can still be true. The Old One is God the Father. Maleldil the Young is Jesus the Son of God. The Bent One is Lucifer who is believed to have been a high ranking angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven. Lewis is suggesting that Earth has been quarantined. There is life on other planets which are ruled by angelic beings who have not rebelled against God and their planets have not experienced the evil and suffering which Earth has. Under such a scenario, alien spaceships could presumably not visit Earth.

In A Case of Conscience (1958) by James Blish, an agnostic, the Jesuit Ramon Ruiz-Sanchez is part of a scientific expedition to the planet Lithia. He learns that the reptilian Lithians live in harmony and have Christian moral values, but they have no concept of God or sin. From Ruiz-Sanchez’s worldview, this is impossible so he concluded that the planet was created by Satan to deceive them. Because Satan cannot create anything, the Pope excommunicates Ruiz-Sanchez for heresy. Ruiz-Sanchez decides that Lithia is a hallucination induced by Satan. He performs an exorcism over the planet and it disappears.

When Martians invade Earth in The War of the Worlds (1898) by H. G. Wells, the narrator hides with a curate who interprets the invasion as God’s judgement on the world for its sins and calls the Martians “God’s ministers.”[7]  Nevertheless, he still cannot cope and falls apart. When the narrator learns that the Martians have been killed by viruses, he refers to them as “the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth”[8] while he is “weeping and praising God.”[9]  The narrator was not overtly religious and was somewhat contemptuous of the curate’s beliefs. He still apparently believes in God at the end while the more religious curate tried to interpret the alien invaders to fit his religious beliefs and his faith was found wanting.

Both movie versions also conclude with a line from the book by its atheist author that “God in His wisdom had put [these viruses] on this earth.”

In the 1953 movie version of The War of the Worlds Pastor Collins believes that because the Martians are more advanced than us, they should be closer to the Creator. He tries to communicate to them that we mean them no harm and they vaporize him with their heat ray. As the Martians overrun Los Angeles, many people take refuge in the churches and pray. After the Martians collapse and die from terrestrial viruses, this is regarded as an answer to prayer.

In the 2008 remake there is no reference to any impact on religious beliefs, although maybe it is intended to be symbolic that the first building to be destroyed by the alien invaders is a church.

Aliens as God’s judgement is also a theme of The Forge of God (1987) by Greg Bear. When they learn that an alien machine is going to destroy the world, they also attempt to reconcile the existence of aliens with their religious beliefs and interpret them to fit their worldviews. Some Christians believe it is a hoax to set up a world government[10]. The President of the United States comes to believe the Apocalypse has arrived and the machine is God’s judgement on the world for its sins. God is going to wipe the slate again and start again[11]. Many fundamentalist Christians agree with him[12]. Others believe the aliens are representatives of Satan to soften us up for his conquest[13].

In some science fiction stories of alien contact, humans, who believe in God, assume that aliens, who are spiritually aware, believe in God or gods or apparently have souls, are their equals. Aliens without such beliefs are presumably truly alien and animal-like and inferior to humans.

In The Mote in God’s Eye (1974) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle humans have spread out across the galaxy and are ruled by the Second Empire of Man which is largely Christian. In 3017 the first aliens are encountered. Father David Hardy, the chaplain on the expedition to the aliens’ planet, has the task of determining their spiritual status,

“It was quite unlikely that God had created beings with souls and no intelligence, but it was quite possible that He had created intelligent beings with no souls or beings whose salvation was brought about by means entirely different from those of mankind. They might be a form of angels although an unlikelier-looking set of angels would be hard to imagine.”[14]

Father Hardy later concluded that there would be “no theological objections” to sending missionaries to the aliens[15]. The Church announces that they believe the aliens are not a threat to their beliefs and they are neither angels nor devils[16].

In another Liven and Pournelle novel Footfall (1985) an alien spaceship comes into the solar system. In a discussion on television a group of ministers do not think the existence of extraterrestrials threatens their faith. One says,

“[C. S.] Lewis points out that the existence of intelligent aliens impacts Christianity only if we assume they are in need of redemption, that redemption must come in the same manner as it was delivered to humanity, and that it has been denied them.”

Another argues that if the aliens had no concept of God or religion, that would not change the facts of God’s revelation to us and Jesus’ resurrection on this planet[17].

In Ender’s Game (1985) by Orson Scott Card, Ender Wiggins, a child prodigy, is recruited by the military and inadvertently exterminates an alien race. The sequel Speaker for the Dead (1986) is set 3000 years later. Human religions did not fall apart when they learned aliens existed. There are still Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans and Muslims. Portuguese Catholics have settled on a planet which is shared by the only other alien race which has ever been discovered, called “piggies”. The “piggies” have their own religion of ancestor worship. There is some discussion about God with the piggies who are not impressed with the Christian idea that God lives in their hearts. There are plans to take the Gospel to the piggies and evangelise them, but there is no suggestion that the existence of aliens and their religion somehow undermines human religion.

As in The Mote in God’s Eye they wonder how “human” the piggies are. Their level of spiritual understanding seems to determine whether or not they are equal to humans. Based on the Nordic language, there is a distinction between the “varelse”, which is truly inhuman, alien and animal, and the “raman”, the human of another species. The original aliens, which Ender exterminated, were assumed to be “varelse”. Then they realised they were “raman”, and humanity had committed xenocide. They were determined not to make the same mistake with the piggies which have become their “only hope for redemption.” [18]

Orson Scott Card is a member of the Mormon Church which believes there is life on other planets which have their own Gods who died for their sins, so they would presumably not feel threatened by contact with aliens. Perhaps this explains why his characters also do not believe aliens discredit their religious beliefs.

In Contact (1985) by Carl Sagan, Ellie Arroway, an atheist astronomer, discovers an extraterrestrial radio signal.  As it is most likely to be the case, reactions vary. Church attendance rises. Many religions attempt to integrate the existence of extraterrestrials into their beliefs. Some believe the alien message is from God and is a sign of the Second Coming or the end of the world. Others believe it comes from the Devil. There is a rise in New Age and apocalyptic sects. Some atheists claim the message proves God does not exist [19].

“Zealotry, fanaticism, fear, hope, fervent debate, quiet prayer, agonizing reappraisal, exemplary selflessness, close-minded bigotry, and a zest for dramatically new ideas were epidemic, rushing fervishly over the surface of the tiny planet Earth.”[20]

The assumption that contact with extraterrestrials will undermine belief in God is reversed in Calculating God (2000) by Robert Sawyer, in which the aliens believe in God and try to persuade atheist human scientists that God exists. An alien called Hollus from Beta Hydri lands at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and asks to speak to a palaeontologist. Much of the book consists of Hollus explaining to the palaeontologist Thomas Jericho how the evidence for design and fine-tuning in nature shows there must be a Creator God. Many of the arguments can be found in the Intelligent Design debate. “God” turns out to be a being from a previous universe.

Religion is a major theme in the revamped Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009) and its prequel Caprica (2009-2010). Set 150,000 years ago, the humans are polytheists and they create the Cylons, a race of robots who believe on one God and rebel against their creators.

Some Cylons look identical to humans and their artificial intelligence is so advanced that they are also emotionally and spiritually identical to humans, which raises questions of whether humans are unique in that they have souls or would they be no different from advanced artificial intelligence?

No aliens are encountered and the mystery of the Cylon God is never explained. It appears that “God” is an advanced alien (either biological or artificial) who regards both human and Cylon life as of equal value. “God” is working behind the scenes, manipulating characters and events, including religious beliefs, to ensure a remnant of both humans and Cylons survive.

In a lot of science fiction the existence of aliens does not pose any threat or challenge to religion and sometimes their existence even strengthens religious beliefs.

There is a lot of Christian symbolism in the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. A flying saucer lands in Washington DC. The alien Klaatu calls himself Carpenter, performs “miracles”, brings a message of change your ways or face judgement, is killed by soldiers, comes back to life, which is witnessed by a woman, and ascends to the heavens. Klaatu believes in the “Almighty Spirit” however the impact of learning aliens exist on human religious beliefs is not addressed.

In contrast, in the 2008 remake news reports say there are prayer meetings in the major cities. Some are optimistic, but most are apocalyptic and see it as a sign of the end of the world.

In Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land Valentine Michael Smith is born during an expedition to Mars. The rest of the crew is killed and he is brought up by Martians. When he is an adult, he is rescued and taken to Earth. Having been raised by Martians, Smith has a Martian worldview. The novel is basically a satire of human institutions and behaviour which Smith sees through Martian eyes. Religion is a major theme. Martians have their own religious beliefs and Smith ultimately founds his own church to bring Martian beliefs to humans. However, instead of exploring how Christians or other major religions might react to the existence of aliens and their different religious beliefs, the only religion which Smith encounters on depth is the Church of the New Revelation, a fictitious Gnostic cult.

When the alien spaceships arrive at the climax of the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind a group of humans board the alien mothership as part of an exchange program. Before they leave, they attend a chapel service where the minister says, “God has given His angels charge over you” and prays, “Grant these pilgrims we pray   a happy journey and peaceful days so that with your holy angel as a guide they may safely reach their destination.”

There is no suggestion that the arrival of aliens has undermined or discredited their belief in God. It could be inferred that they are equating the aliens with God’s angels.

In another Steven Spielberg production Taken (2002), about multi-generational UFO abductions, a nun in 1947 refers to UFOs as “God’s dancing angels” which suggests she interpreted the sightings to fit her worldview. Some abductees believe in God, but there is no attempt to explore what the existence of aliens means for their religious beliefs.

Jack the Bodliess (1991) by Julian May begins in 2040, 27 years after aliens intervened and brought Earth into the Galactic Milieu. The aliens “had severely restricted humanity’s intellectual freedom, religious freedom, reproductive freedom, media freedom, educational freedom, and freedom of choice in matters of lifestyle and domicile. They had seduced human youth with visions of high technology and new worlds to win.”[21]  Religious fundamentalists “lived and died embittered and ostracized.”[22]   Nevertheless, the main characters, the Remillard family, are Roman Catholics whose beliefs have not been undermined by the existence of aliens.

Like Star Trek, Babylon 5 (1994-1998) was also created by an atheist, J. Michael Straczynski, and set in the 23rd century. However, religion is more prominent. Babylon 5 was set on a space station where humans interact with aliens. The cast included Protestant, Catholic and Jewish characters. In the episode “The Parliament of Dreams” there are representatives from many human religions, but no one seems bothered about how the existence of aliens could affect their beliefs.

In The Sparrow (1996) and its sequel Children of God (1998) by Mary Doria Russell, the Jesuits undertake an expedition to the planet Rakhat, which orbits Alpha Centuri, after a radio signal of alien singing is discovered. The Jesuits’ beliefs are not threatened by the existence of aliens,

“The theological rationale for this mission had been worked out decades before there was any evidence of other sentient species in the universe: mere considerations of scale suggested that human beings were not the sole purpose of creation. So, now there was proof. God had other children.”[23]

The Jesuit Emilio Sandoz believes the expedition is God’s will. When the mission goes disastrously wrong, Sandoz’s faith is destroyed by his suffering and he believes God has betrayed him. Thus, The Sparrow and Children of God are not about the challenge of the existence of extraterrestrials to religious faith. Rather, the traditional problem of faith and suffering is put in a context involving extraterrestrials.

Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, star of the television series The X-Files (1993-2002), is a lapsed Catholic and a medical scientist who only believes in what can be scientifically proven. Scully’s faith is restored after she nearly dies from cancer. Her faith does not appear to be shaken after she discovers an ancient spaceship inscribed with passages from the Bible and other religious texts in the episodes Biogenesis and The Sixth Extinction. The logical conclusion should be that our religions were created by aliens, not God or gods. However, in the 2008 movie The X-Files: I Want to Believe Scully is apparently still Catholic.  The X-Files Wiki suggests,

“The occasional discrepancies in Scully’s beliefs could be blamed on The X-Files episodes having too many writers, each understanding the character in his own particular way.” [24]

Scully’s partner, Fox Mulder is apparently an atheist, however his quest to find the truth about aliens is basically his religion. It dominates his life and gives it meaning.

Some people would probably come to regard aliens as a substitute for God and religion. They assume the more advanced aliens would have found the answers to the big question, or maybe the aliens would not have the answers either. In the 1980 movie Stardust Memories Woody Allen plays a filmmaker who encounters aliens in a forest, but he does not get the sort of answers he was hoping for. When he asks, “Why is there so much human suffering?” and “Is there a God?”, they tell him. “These are the wrong questions,” and proceed to give him advice about his love life.

When he asks of he should help blind people or become a missionary, they reply, “You’re not the missionary type. You’d never last, and incidentally, you’re not Superman. You’re a comedian. You want to do Mankind a real service, tell funnier jokes.”

Similarly, in the 2012 film Prometheus the search for the aliens, which created humanity, has religious dimensions. It is the answer they are seeking. Elizabeth Shaw, played by Nooma Rapace, is the daughter of missionaries and, like Dana Scully, she wears a cross. However, she believes we were created by aliens which she calls the Engineers.

When this is confirmed on the expedition to what they believe is the Engineer’s’ planet, her partner assumes they have proved God does not exist and she can take her cross off. Elizabeth replies, “And who created them?” Instead of destroying her belief in God, learning they were created by aliens reinforced it, although her understanding of God is broader than that of conservative Christians.

They learn that the Engineers, who created them, changed their minds and decided to destroy human life 2000 years ago. Director Ridley Scott has said that in an earlier draft this is because we had crucified Jesus who was one of them[25].

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Mission to Mars (2000) also have the theme of aliens creating humans or manipulating their evolution, but there is no reference to any religious implications of this.

There are other examples of the existence of aliens affirming or restoring religious faith. Knowing (2009) Nicholas Cage plays Jonathan Koestler, a pastor’s son who has lost his faith and is estranged from his father. He learns that the world is going to be destroyed by a solar flare. His son and other children are rescued by aliens and taken to another planet to start again. There is plenty of Biblical symbolism. The aliens are reminiscent of angels. Their spaceships appear to be based on Ezekiel’s visions and their rescue of the chosen resembles an alien version of the Christian Rapture. Before they are killed by the solar flare, Jonathan is reconciled with his father and his faith appears to have been restored.

Similarly, in Signs (2002) Mel Gibson plays an Episcopalian (Anglican) minister, Graham Hess, who has lost his faith after the painful death of his wife in a car accident. The events of an alien invasion show him that his wife’s death had meaning and his faith is restored.

In the television series Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007)  aliens, the Goa’uld have, in the past, posed as gods to primitive humans, but there is no suggestion that Jesus was a Goa’uld. In the episode “Politics” the character Senator Robert Kinsey says that God will protect the United States from the Goa’uld. However, Senator Kinsey does not attempt to reconcile his belief in God who created the universe and has a special relationship with Earth and the United States and who also created aliens intent on destroying them.

In the original 1983 V miniseries giant spaceships show up over Earth’s major cities and reptilian aliens, who call themselves the Visitors, gradually take control of Earth. There is no mention of the impact of their arrival on religious beliefs. In the second part V- The Final Battle Father Andrew Doyle has joined the resistance. His faith is not threatened by the arrival of aliens. He believes the Visitors are also God’s children and attempts to negotiate with their leader Diana who disintegrates him and his Bible. His intentions and fate are similar to Father Collins in the 1953 version of The War of the Worlds.

In the “Pilot” episode of the remake V (2009-2011) alien spaceships appear over several major cities and the alien Visitors claim to come in peace. As is often the case with traumatic events, people flock back to the churches. The Vatican has no problem with the Visitors and says they are also God’s creatures and part of God’s plan. However, the priest Jack Landry says, “I’m at a loss to explain how God and aliens can exist in the same world.”

Jack comes to believe that the Visitors are false prophets and people are worshipping them instead of God. In the episode “Red Sky” he tells his congregation this is a war for their souls and they must choose between the Visitors and God. This would make Father Landry’s motivation for opposing the Visitors different from the other resistance fighters. They are a threat to his worldview and they are false gods which are leading people astray. It is a religious struggle. Nevertheless, V is on the right track that many people would probably come to treat aliens as their new gods.

In the second series it is revealed that one of the differences between the Visitors and humans is that the Visitors do not have souls. The Visitors may be more technologically advanced, but this implies they are spiritually inferior.

In Alien 3  (1992) the fundamentalist inmates on a prison planet are too busy trying not to be killed by the alien to discuss the implications of extraterrestrial life for their religious beliefs.

Not every science fiction story, which mentions both aliens and religion, is necessarily trying to seriously explore how alien contact would affect religion. Alien contact and religion is only a major theme in a few of the works discussed, The Cosmic Trilogy, A Case of Conscience, Contact and Calculating God. Science fiction authors have different goals in writing. Carl Sagan was apparently trying to seriously explore the impact of the discovery of aliens on human society. Others, like Gene Roddenberry, Arthur C. Clarke and C.S. Lewis, are concerned with promoting their worldview. However, for Mary Doria Russell and J. Michael Straczynski, religion is more of a plot device and they are not so much concerned with its response to aliens. Hence, atheists Roddenberry and Straczynski portray religion and aliens in the 23rd Century very differently.  Likewise, Robert Spencer, an agnostic, can write a novel resembling an Intelligent Design tract because he is more concerned with telling a story than promoting a worldview.

Opinions on the purpose of religion would also shape how one assumes it would be affected by aliens. If we believe religion is the source of ultimate truth (and the Creator of the universes came to Earth to die for our sins), then it is likely to be undermined and discredited or they will try to rationalize and incorporate aliens into their beliefs. On the other hand, if we believe religion is primarily a source of comfort, the shock of learning aliens exist may have the opposite effect and drive people seeking comfort and reassurance back to the churches.





[1] Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, Penguin Books, London, 1990, p 71

[2] Ted Peters, UFOs: God’s Chariots? New Page Books. New Jersey, 2014, p 265

[3] Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End, Pan Books, London, 1983, p 62, 63

[4] David Brin, Sundiver, Bantam Books, Toronto, 1980, p 60

[5] Ibid.

[6] Brannon Braga, “Every religion has a mythology”,

[7] H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, Signet Classic, New York, 1986, p 78-79

[8] Ibid., p 191

[9] Ibid., p 195

[10] Greg Bear, The Forge of God, Legend, London, 1989, p 118

[11] Ibid., p 205-206

[12] Ibid., p 271

[13] Ibid., p 148-149

[14] Larry NIven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote in God’s Eye, Futura, London, 1976, p 161

[15] Ibid., p 405

[16] Ibid., p 458, 466

[17] Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Footfall, Orbit, London, 1994, p 106

[18] Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead, Legend, London, 1992, p 38-39

[19] Carl Sagan, Contact, Pocket Books, New York, 1997, p 119-120, 127-128

[20] Ibid., p 129

[21] Julian May, Jack  the Bodiless, Pan Books, London, 1992, p 115-116

[22] Ibid., p 74

[23] Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow, Black Swan, London, 1996, p 145

[24] “Dana Scully”,

[25]  Sean O’Connell, “Dialogue: Sir Ridley Scott Explains ‘Prometheus’, Explores Our Past and Teases Future ’Aliens’ Stories”,