Can belief in aliens replace religion?

First, sorry for the clickbaity title, but earlier this morning I noticed this article from Futurism on my Twitter timeline so I thought it was time for a little analysis again.

The article mentions that now a growing number of Americans believe in aliens, and that they might hope that the aliens could turn out to be our saviours, rather than a religious character.

Someone out there? – Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

In the article, a professor describes how the belief in aliens works like a growing new religion, and that the threats that our planet and our civilization currently face (such as pollution, climate change, inequality) could add to the belief – and maybe even demand – that an external being could actually save us.

First, I have to admit that although at this time there still is no hard proof that aliens have visited or are currently visiting the Earth, there are many reasons to believe that they exist. While we have not managed to actually make contact with aliens yet, it is likely that they are out there, and that they might be more advanced than we are.

There are shows like Ancient Aliens that investigate the possibility that aliens have visited the Earth in the remote past and actually helped our civilization evolve, or even helped creating us. The problem that occurs is, why would aliens have visited us? And for those that believe they have helped create us, why would they do this? Would they do this to help another species because they’re nice fellows, or maybe for another reason? Could it be possible that they maybe do not want to visit because they think we’re jerks?

We will have to wait for the aliens to tell us, should they visit soon, because everything else is guesswork.

But for the time being, at least the growing belief in aliens might stand for something good: the growing acceptance of new concepts.

Do you believe in aliens? Let me know in the comments.

Visit the full article on Futurism here

How to draw an extraterrestrial👽

When it comes to world building, one of the questions you have to ask yourself is: How do the people in your story- and on your planet- look like? And why do they look like that? Are their eyes bigger because their sun isn’t that bright? Is their skin darker because their sun is very warm? Are they monsters with tentacles or do they resemble humans? Why are they wearing that cloak, or that hairstyle? You should have a story behind each of these questions. And drawing your characters might help you build your world.

I just wanted to share a little guide as to how I am drawing my aliens. This drawing does have a bit more than 70 layers, and two extraterrestrials from The Chariots of Orion.

1. Sketch

When you have an idea how the drawing should roughly look like, dedicate the first layer to make a sketch. Don’t worry about the background just now, you can add that layer later. Note that I have also sketched the body parts that are not visible in the drawing. This is to make sure that the clothing fits the outlines of the bodies.

2. Outlines

Once you have decided what your drawing should roughly look like, and sketched the shapes of the bodies, switch to black ink to draw the outlines of the drawing, such as clothes and hair. Leave out complicated parts like hands, or hair (as in this case, Arikmé’s pompous hairstyle), and dedicate individual layers to them, in case you have to redo them several times. This sketch already does have separate layers for both figures, and for body parts such as hands.

3. Faces

It is time to draw the faces! Facial expressions are hard to draw, so you’ll want separate layers for them. Now you ought also determine the body language of the characters. How’s their relation, what are they talking about? Note that Dagon (on the left) is a higher official than Arikmé, and that he is slightly shorter than the warlord, but he doesn’t seem to look up at him. Arikmé is (as the ones among you that have read the book may already know) very proud, and whilst he reports to Dagon, he will still keep his attitude.

4. Filling and clothing

When you have done the outlines and the clothing, you can start to fill. The colour of the officials is black, and a golden and a silver belt signal a very high official, so both men are wearing black. Dagon wears a white cloak, not only because he is a higher official, but because the colour white is reserved for the king. Also, his headdress indicates that he does have more power than Arikmé. Being a warlord, Arikmé wears a cap on his head. This cap does have more than five layers, each for every colour. Note that I still haven’t done the faces.

5. Faces and hands

This is the hardest part. I first did a few layers with the eyes, and later created a layer for the skin colour, and pulled that layer under the previous layer. It’s less distracting when you can draw the eyes on a plain background. The skin colour is always hard. It’s best to try several shades until you find one that fits. The Alonians don’t really have only one type of skin colour, but they all have a shade that is rather tanned (think North Africa, South America).

Now, also Arikmé’s hair is drawn.

6. Finishing touches

Now you can draw things you forgot or want to add. Arikmé got piercings, his crown, and a sword. Dagon got some outlines for his cloak and jewels for his crown. The sign shown on Arikmé’s crown and on his robes is the character Yaxal, which stands for serrated rock, strength, and cleverness, and does have the sound “y”. There is also a female form of the character with the same sound, but a slightly different form.

7. The background

Now you can draw the background. It is easier to create the landscape after you’ve drawn your characters. I went for the city of ancient Meryo in Alonia, with the river and the desert in the background.

I hope you had fun reading this guide, and that it helps you start with your own aliens👽

What the “Chariots of Orion” is about and why I started to write sci-fi

The Request – The Chariots of Orion 1 is my first sci-fi novel to be published! But why does a producer and singer start to write sci-fi?

First, I’ve always loved astronomy and science fiction. When I was little, my dream was to become an astronomer. We know that this didn’t work out. But that didn’t stop me from loving astronomy. Maybe it was because of this fervour that I wanted to create a novel about what could happen if we met an intelligent, highly advanced civilisation from outer space.

The world of my book and its countries I’d say were built on logic, rather than only fantasy. I wanted to create a completely fictional, but still realistic – somewhat believable – world for my extraterrestrial civilisation. As much as I love H.P. Lovecraft and especially the Cthulu series, I wanted to create extraterrestrials that were similar to us, not monsters with tentacles. Don’t get this wrong, I love stories with monsters with tentacles, but I thought that the message of the book, “what would happen if we met a highly advanced civilisation from outer space? What if they would attack us?” would be easier to limn when the civilisation is physically similar to us, because they’re looking similar like us, but don’t function like us.

But then, I wouldn’t dare to claim that my kind of civilisation is realistic… Who knows what aliens might look like? They might actually have tentacles, like in “Arrival”, and be terribly advanced, too. And who knows if they would be friendly inclined?

Analysis: Sunburns, evolution, and aliens

Last week I was sitting there, covered in cooling ointment, my arms (and my face) completely red. How come? I caught a bad sunburn after spending the day outside with my bro, doing research for my novel.

How is that possible? How do you get a sunburn when you actually are climbing about rocks and boulders, and you’re surrounded by fog?

It seems as though our bodies are just not capable of dealing with so much sun. But, wait- we are a species that evolved on a planet with a sun, right? Have you ever seen a giraffe complaining about sunburn? An ape? A jellyfish? So, how come animals can deal with the sun, but we can’t?

Aren’t our bodies used to the sun anymore? Were our ancestors not always outside? OK, troglodytes were supposedly dwelling in caves, but they did come out of them from time to time, didn’t they? So, what’s the deal?

Apparently, we lose abilities if we don’t train them. I for example was thrown out of ballet classes in drama school because I didn’t train enough. So, could this apply in evolution? If we only use dictation and autocorrect to write, could we actually lose our ability to write? Could our hands shrink? If we look up everything in the internet instead of learning it from books, could we damage our ability to actually learn things?

And if we were to invent devices which would allow us to communicate telepathically, would that mean that our ability to hear, and to talk would suffer?

I could very much imagine an alien species that has become so intelligent that they literally only need their brains to steer computers, which steer AIs, which steer, I don’t know, anything from administrating the society to provide food (but then, would such a species need food? Or would brain food be sufficient?), to choosing your outfit (maybe caps would be a trend).

If we had AIs doing everything for us from tidying up our kitchens to working for us, could that mean that we might lose the ability to…you know, everything? We would be nothing but brains, but unable to do anything without the help of our AIs, because we would have no limbs, no abilities left, and we would have forgotten everything about how we built all of this because our AIs are storing the information, not we. We couldn’t even talk, because we would use the AIs to speak.

So should we stop using sun lotion, to prevent evolution from taking away our ability to speak? Literature (and every physician) advises us not to. It might not be such a good idea.

And maybe, if we were composed only of brains, we would at least have become intelligent enough to invent a treatment against sunburn, because that really hurts.

Conclusion: You should really use sun lotion.

Would extraterrestrials really try to contact us? A few thoughts on the WOW Signal possibly debunked

With the WOW Signal possibly debunked, this leads us to a few questions.
The most important question is: Was it aliens? The narrowband radio signal – the ‘Wow Signal’ – that reached Big Ear telescope of the Ohio State University in 1977, was so strong that astronomer Jerry R. Ehman commented “Wow!” at the side of the printout of the measure. The signal had been received during a search for extraterrestrial intelligence project. Therefore it was reasonable that scientists thought that it might have been an attempt by extraterrestrials to contact us.

Now, the signal seems to have been finally decrypted, and scientists said that it had transpired to be no message from extraterrestrials after all. Instead, scientists were cited to have discovered that that the signal most likely was caused by a comet.

But this leads us to the question: Would aliens really contact us using radio bursts or radio signals? And would they accept that leakage of their technology could cause them being discovered by another civilisation?

Could other civilisations discover us humans because of our technology leakage? Well, yes, they could. The question is, do we want that?

I imagine that other species possibly would tell us, ‘Hey, are you mad? Do you know what kind of civilizations there are out there in the universe? Do you really want to lure them to the earth?’ If we imagine species like Giger’s aliens (you know, the ones from the Alien movies), I guess we really do not want to lure them here.

Stephen Hawking even warned that we ought not try to get the attention of other civilisations, because there could be evil civilisations, that could try to conquer the earth. We know that this is not so far-fetched, because we know that this is possible; we only have to look at earth’s history. When the Spanish discovered America, they conquered the continent and subdued the native people there. An alien species, especially a species that is very developed, could do the same to us. We know the way the native people in America were subdued; we do not want to find out what a civilisation, hundreds of thousands of years older than the humans, and way more advanced than the humans, could do to us if they’d attack and conquer our planet!
What if an extraterrestrial civilisation might think exactly like this? What if they are afraid of being discovered and subdued by an evil alien species? They would use some kind of contraption to avoid leakage of their technology. And then we cannot be sure that an extraterrestrial civilisation would use exactly the same technology. It could be possible that they do not use radio signals. Imagine a civilisation communicating using quantum communication. There wouldn’t be any leakage for us to examine, and maybe, there could be an alien civilisation near us and we wouldn’t notice. All we could examine would be the way the atmosphere is built up and whether the planet is in the Goldilock’s zone, and therefore could support life, or not.

If a species would attack this planet, they would not expect a developed civilisation, so the extraterrestrials there could use this as advantage. If they’d attack the earth, on the other hand, they’d know quite a lot about us, as we have sent years of tv programs, radio and other signals out into space. We might want to consider if we really want to have other civilizations know about the earth, or if we want to listen to Stephen Hawking and not try to lure alien conquerors near the earth.
What we can be sure, I guess, is that either way, if the extraterrestrials know about us and want to contact us, they will contact us.