Dead Planet XLII

Dead Planet XLII

“My personal speculation is this: the
Earth is part of a gigantic cosmic
construct, and is being pulled along,
like on a conveyor belt, towards its
proper place in that construct. When
Earth is a perfectly sized sphere
meeting cosmic specs, it will blast
off from the Milky way launch pad
and snap into its proper place in
the ultimate structure.”—Kenzaburo
Oe, The Pinch Runner Memorandum

Or do we get it? What’s there to get? What’s there to understand? What’s there to somehow comprehend—other than that the Other is already you? Somebody as close as your wife or husband or lover or domestic other? Could there to be an alien Other any more alien than that—if the mysterious alien were already a part of you?

A sort of soul-brother or soul-sister waiting in the wings? Like Deckard's kid? A sort of narcissistic twin-paradox kind of thing? Like Heinlein’s “Time for the Stars” (1956)—with telepathic contact between twin brothers going on during faster-than-the-speed-of-light space travel. So that telepathic communication could be possible—between the various torchships and Earth. As the various complexities of faster-than-the-speed-of-light space travel and exploration of nearby star systems—is smoothed out for future higher Exo-tech possibilities?

Of course, Stanislaw Lem the author of the novel which led to both screenplay versions of “Solaris” (2002) and “Solyaris” (1972) has written his own reactions to these film treatments of the Other.

In one interview, Lem says that he thinks both movies are failures—that neither one could possibly portray the Other since the “Other” is just that. It’s pure, unadulterated “Otherness”—above and beyond human comprehension and understanding.

It makes one wonder if indeed Stanislaw Lem’s novels and short stories are any better at it—compared with the filmic versions? Is it possible for science fiction—to portray, narrate or explain Otherness? Other than the Golden Days of SF—with Astounding Science Fiction magazine and a heavy dose of “hard science” adolescent juvie sci-fi “Sense of Wonder” stuff. Whatever that is?

Maybe Lem is right. Otherness is beyond human comprehension? Perhaps it’s up to the Others—to find their own way of contacting us? Perhaps they already have. Not through—vast SETI radar dishes spread out in the deserts like ogling eyeballs or ears listening to the static of the universe.

But rather more subtly human—in less intensely electromagnetically hypersensitive ways? Something more like what we already are—“all too human” naked apes constantly fighting with each other on this tiny blue marble planet?

Perhaps we are a “stricken species” as Paul Davies suggests in his “The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence.” As we circle our lonely star—out here seemingly in the middle of a vast cosmic nihilistic Nothingness?

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