Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trials of the Extra Terrestrial

Bizarro is brought to you today by Invasion of the Coffee Tables.
I've used the Bizarro alien icon in cartoons as more than just a "hidden picture" before, but I think this is the first time he has been the subject of the joke. For anyone keeping a detailed scrapbook of every minute detail of my career, flag this page with a Post-it note and a star! Then see a counselor about seeking a more worthwhile pastime.

It is interesting that we nearly always imagine aliens to be about our size or, if they are evil, much bigger. But I can't recall ever seeing a story about tiny aliens. I'm sure there are some and sci-fi afficianados who see this post will leave some examples in the comments section, but it certainly isn't common in film or TV. I did a cartoon a long time ago about a race of extra-terrestials who were the size and shape of golf balls and were terrified by our species' treatment of them.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote a novel years ago in which the Chinese had conquered the world by developing a way to shrink themselves to microscopic size. While the rest of the world was in ruins as people fought over scarce resources, the Chinese had virtually unlimited resources because they consumed so little and their enemies could no longer even see them. This has nothing to do with this cartoon, but I thought it was a brilliant idea and wanted to tell you about it. (Yes, science geeks, I know there are holes in this plot as this would drastically increase the number of other predators they would encounter, but let's put that aside for now.)

If extra terrestrials that were the size of, say, birds visited our planet and were not well-armed with more advanced weapons than ours, we would subjugate them and eat them, of course, as we do to everything else we can dominate. There are some people who will eat anything with a pulse and claim it is delicious, so it probably wouldn't even matter what they tasted like.

There have been many stories of aliens that are more powerful than we that want to eat us, of course. I enjoy these kinds of stories as I hope that people will see the obvious parallel to how we treat our fellow beings on this planet, but that never happens. Unless a Planet of the Apes scenario actually takes place, I'm certain it never will.

I hate to end on a serious note, so let's all have a look at this, from Night Deposits, a random blog from my buddy, J. C. Duffy.


SB said...

A book you might like: Under the Skin, by Michael Faber.

b0b said...

If tiny aliens were invading our planet, we might not even notice them, especially if they prefer living in salt water.

Yet Another Steve said...

Oh, the tiny aliens are here, we're just doing our best to ignore them. They have no weapons and aren't big enough for us to eat so we're not equipped to deal with them.

Love your friend Duffy's stuff. Reminds me of dear departed & fiercely missed B Kliban.

Garrett Williams said...

If a human were to eat an alien, I'm certain they'd catch some sort of alien disease they aren't immune to yet, and likely spread it to the rest of the world.

Neil said...

I believe The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or one of its sequels featured an invading alien force that had miscalculated its relative size and was accidentally swallowed by a dog.

Mathias said...

"For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across---which happened to be Earth---where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog."
From hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams.

RaleighRob said...

No tiny aliens?
Have you forgotten about The Great Gazoo?

vladhed said...

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by the late and great Douglas Adams, includes a brief anecdote "where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog."

Well, you asked for it :-)


Anonymous said...

There's also the 1987 film "*batteries not included".

Tom said...

Small aliens? The original Twilight Zone series episode "The Invaders" where the character played by Agnes Morehead, alone in her desolate country house, is attacked by tiny space creatures.

Phoenician said...

I'm not a terribly big sci-fi fan, but one of my favorite chapter book series was written by Bruce Coville.

His four books -- Aliens Ate My Homework, I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X, The Search for Snout, and Aliens Stole my Body -- featured aliens that were just high enough to reach a grown man's navel . . . of course, their main mode of hiding from site while on Earth was to shrink their spacecraft, so they first appear no taller than two inches.

Written for little kids, but it pleasantly has themes that any well-adjusted (or not) adult can enjoy as well.


oh there he is :)