In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Simply the Best.”
NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?
I think the idea of this is fundamentally flawed as it assuming that any form of extra terrestrial life will work on a similar basis of our life and will perceive and process information in the same way we do. But this comes down to our perception of how we visualise aliens, which if you think about is pretty much a modified version of the biped, because through the hubris of human race we perceive ourselves as the dominant design.
Which brings me to my title. Perhaps two of the most influential examples of British sci-fi do offer a twist on this topic: Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit and Doctor Who’s iconic enemy, the Dalek.
When interviewed on the subject of the Daleks Terry Nation has stated that “as a kid I grew up watching movies and I was always disappointed that I knew the Monster was a guy in a suit. So the first thing which had to go were the legs… ”
The original script for the first Dalek story, which is commonly referred to as the Daleks though it kind of has three possibly four titles it can be referred by, has the Daleks described as “hideous machine-like creatures, they are legless, a lense on flexible stand acts as an eye”. Straight up from the outset the Dalek was set out not to be a typical BEM. The design of course was down to Raymond P Cusick, who unlike Terry Nation made diddly-squat from the Daleks. But despite the break from the obvious costuming I believe part of the key to the Dalek’s success was the voice. The modulated robotic shrieking which not only adds to the unearthly quality but was easy to imitate by school children on the playground.
Quatermass and the Pit twists the idea with insect like aliens visiting Earth in the early stages of man and genetically modifying the indigenous primates to advantace their development to act as a colony by proxy. The essential idea being, Mars or wherever, was facing mass extinction and the Martians were unable to live on Earth and so altered the primates to carry on their genes.
I wonder if that will the purpose of the next Voyger probe.