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Aaron Gulyas is a historian, teacher and writer in the middle of writing a book for McFarland, and he’d like to talk to you a little about the subject he’s writing on:

Lately I’ve been immersed in 1950s extraterrestrial contact narratives: blonde, blue-eyed space brothers coming to save humans from themselves.  While most historians see these stories as indicative of nuclear fears and anxiety, I see it differently.  I see the phenomenon representing an intensive, species-wide self loathing.  Adamski, Van Tassel, Menger, and their compatriots told tales of space humans who got it all right millenia ago.  Earth humans, divided by racial enmity, class difference, and spiritual depravity may destroy themselves before reaching the level of their interplanetary peers.  Science fiction writers painted a future of techno-ease, the ET Contactees taunted us with the notion that such peace and leisure existed in the now—just not the here.  Magical technology and perfect peace existed, literally, everywhere but Earth.

These men and — less often — women continue to spin tales of worlds far away from Cold War tensions and 21st century fears.  Looking at our planet through their eyes, our wars become even less meaningful; poverty and want sink into incomprehensibility.  We haven’t failed to obtain a better future: we’ve failed to create a liveable present.  And through it all Orthon, Firkon, Ashtar, Hatonn and the other Space Brothers orbit the planet.  Still mouthing their platitudes about the Cosmic Law, smiling their inscrutable smiles, and watching us fail. 

Late at night, listening to the snow and ice pound the side of the house and sitting alone with the Space Brothers, I wonder if the emergence of the blank-eyed Grays, abducting and probing the unwary, was an unconscious reaction against the sweetness and light of 1950s contact narratives.  These people, watching us founder, are not our friends or brothers.  They’re vampires, feeding on our love and hope.

Thanks, Aaron.  You can find him on Twitter @firkon.

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  1. […] GUEST INFORMANT: Aaron Gulyas Alien encounter narratives as indicative of species-wide self-loathing. There’s a sentence that you won’t see outside of Warren Ellis’s website very often. […]

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