Aliens Helped Write My Book

In my last post, I wrote about the existence of ancient aliens. And the show of the same name from the History Channel has sparked many believers and careers, such as the wild-haired man, and gave new life to Chariots of the Gods, written by Erich Von Daniken.

Initially, I was taken like a fool, buying the snake oil at a carnival. I was like, holy shit! Aliens had built the pyramids in Eqypt, the Great Wall of China, and written the Bible.

But then I found out many of the claims Ancient Aliens had made were false.

But it gave me a great writing exercise and helped create one of the provinces that exists in my book. I had pretty clear ideas of what some of the provinces looked like. There are seven, hence this site's name. But for some reason, one of them had eluded me because I didn't need to know what it looked like until I wrote my second book. And this was about the same time that I began to ponder about ancient aliens. So I thought, what if the world I created were visited by an advanced technological civilization? How would my world, or specifically, that province look?

And BAM, a vision popped into my mind.

I can't reveal the details, yet. But the next question was, how did the people build it if aliens weren't involved. My answer was, I have no fucking idea. And I don't really need to know.

Do the writers of any space odyssey really know how spaceships can travel light-years in mere moments?

No. Because if the physicists of today don't know yet, and aren't even close to having a working theory, then there's no way simpletons like us writers will know. That's not our job, unless the story requires it, in which case we'll make something up. Dilithium crystals anyone?

But this type of thinking allowed me to think outside the box and create a province that is different than any of the provinces that I've already created. So putting my mind in a frame where anything is possible opened my imagination.

Try it out as an exercise. What would your world or city or town look like, feel like, or how would it operate if an advanced technological species built it? Obviously, society would be shaped by this world. Would societal class matter anymore? How would natural resources be affected? And as a challenge, could you come up with how things worked, like space travel, weaponry, mind control, body control, creation of life, etc?

Suck My Dick

I was listening to a lecture about dating. The woman being interviewed stated specific things she looks for in men and gave an example of what she doesn't like. A guy had picked her up on their first date in a limo, took her to a very nice restaurant, and they ended up making out in the limo. He pushed her head to his crotch. She was immediately turned off, wasn't that impressed by the excessiveness of the date, and left the guy hanging...well pitchin' a tent.

When I talk to people who are in organized religion, I feel like that woman. Though there are times that I feel effeminate, but that's for another post.

I had worked for the USPS as a temp, and some of us were talking about the possible existence of UFO's. Another temp, a Christian, raised his head from the mail bin and said they absolutely do not exist. I asked why not? He said the Bible said so. I've only read snippets of the book, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't say UFO's do not exist. I'm also sure it doesn't even have UFO in it.

But, hey, I write about creatures that look satanic, so who am I?

I'd watched GOD'S NOT DEAD, directed by Harold Cronk, and I knew this movie was made by people who preach to the choir for the people who are in the choir. And in no way in Hell am I one of those people. Shit! I said Hell. Well...typed it. Twice!

I watched it because I'm curious about a lot of stuff, including the entity, force, or whatever people call God. The basic premise of the movie is that a philosophy professor challenges a Christian student to prove the existence of God. The professor, played by Hercules, Hercules—Kevin Sorbo—had stated to the class that God is dead, and the student wouldn't accept it. Challenge accepted!

Since we're supposed to be convinced that God does exist in the form that the Bible professes, there are two problems with the film.

First off, the student's argument for God's existence seems compelling. And the argument against is less compelling, a little manipulating, but that's OK.

The professor lost his belief in God when he witnessed his mother succumb to cancer. He prayed but God didn't save her. The student then rebuts and states sometimes the answer is no.

Uh...all right. So if I slapped you, then it's fine because sometimes I feel like slapping someone. I'm not God, so you say. But aren't we created in the image of God? See how I manipulated that? See how stupid that sounds?

I don't see dead people cause they're buried

Part of the professor's argument is Stephen Hawking, who claims in his book The Grand Design that the universe needed to be created so it created itself. The student then argues that that doesn't make sense. He uses this example (paraphrasing): It would be like claiming spam is the best tasting food because in all of history no food had tasted better. That statement proves nothing, professes the student, and he is correct. Creation vs Spam. Good points of reference to make when trying to prove God's existence.

The student then does some clever manipulation of words, which I'll spare you, and moves on to his next statement: Creation happened because God said it should happen.

I don't see how that statement is different than what Hawking claimed. Both suffer from the same failure, circular reasoning, as argued by the student in regards to Hawking's logic. 

In other words, you can't use the word to define that word. Define the word square:

Square - it's a shape in a form of a square.

Define spaghetti:

Spaghetti - an Italian dish in the form of spaghetti.

What makes the student's arguments compelling is his ability to manipulate our thinking much like a magician makes us look at one thing while he's doing another. And this is what I hate about organized religion. It's not the religion. If anything, all religions have similar goals, to give humans basic core values to live by.

But when people manipulate religion into something else, it pisses me off. And these people think they're so high and mighty they don't see that their own priests are committing atrocities like the molestation of boys.

Twisting of words, an evangelist most powerful tool, is the first problem with this film.

The second goes hand in hand with the first: vilifying those who oppose religion, in this case Christianity. The philosophy professor is the obvious aggressor and evil weasel antagonist. And we have the student's girlfriend who gives him an ultimatum, choose her or choose to accept the professor's challenge. Fine. He chose the challenge.

Hell to tha NO! He chose GOD.

Gawd, seriously? But the professor isn't the only one who was villainified. I know. That ain't a word. Neither was ain't and now it is!

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

I'm too sexy for my cape, too sexy for my cape, cape...

We have a Muslim father who beats up her daughter who secretly listens to Christian music on her iPod. Is the iPod GOD approved? Then we have Superman—Dean Cain—who plays a highly insensitive douche that breaks up with his girlfriend when he finds out she has cancer. All are cartoonish in their villainous villainified ways.

Very manipulative.

I love Fruitvale StationIt's the story about a black man who was wrongly shot to death by a police officer at a BART station on New Year's Eve. Part of the genius of that film is that the police were not vilified. Because that's not what the story is about. It's about the last day of Oscar Grant's life, a remembrance of him as a human being.

So too should Cronk have focused on the debate instead of trying to manipulate us into the final answer that God does exist. History shows that forcing and manipulating an idea upon a people doesn't bode well. And the fact that Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 17% is a reflection that his manipulation hasn't gone unnoticed. And to be fair, many Christians didn't review the film well, either.

Had Cronk focused on the debate between student and teacher, even in his manipulating ways (Spam anyone?) it would have been more interesting and engrossing. All that other stuff—for gawd's sake, leave Superman out of it—just magnified his forced hand in the film. And he'd only do that if he didn't feel confident that he could convince people outside of the choir that God exists. Otherwise, why force the subject in the first place?

Pot Holes

It was Bigfoot!

It was Bigfoot!

There are few things that could ruin a leisure drive. We’re not really concerned about traffic because we ain’t not going no wheres. I know. Bad grammar. Fresh air, people watching, feeling the freedom of driving, not being tethered to anything, maybe enjoying a cool drink, spending time talking to the love of your life, listening to her laugh, sigh, breath all add to the serenity of a leisurely drive.

Bam. Pot hole.

When we read a book, listen to a story, or watch a movie we’re in a similar mindset. We want drama, action, passion, adventure with none of the consequences. We may be invested in the characters, but we would never want to put ourselves in their shoes. Escapism.

Bam. Plot hole. OK. Nothing to worry about. Just like on our drive, one or two maybe three pot holes won’t ruin our enjoyment. But a dozen deep holes later, our experience will not only be marred, but we’ll not likely drive down that street again.

Ouch

Ouch

Prometheus has gotten so much flack for its story and plot holes that it has ignited the web. Just google Prometheus and plot holes and the result may surprise you.

There’s a special place in my heart for Alien. Not literally of course.

Hard Boiled

Hard Boiled

My 7th grade English teacher gave us a book report assignment and I had gotten my hands on the Alien novelette. She said she knew Dan O’Bannon, who authored the Alien screenplay, and were personal friends with him. I asked how, but I’d forgotten her answer. I know…bad, bad, bad. She asked if I wanted to write a letter to him and I said hellz yeah! Well, I just said yeah.

Then she asked my friend and I if we wanted to watch it after class. My friend was also a fan, but neither of us had seen the flick. We agreed and met with my teacher and watched Alien for the first time. The scene that everyone remembers and knows had left us speechless, scared shitless, where to this day any phantom lump in my chest or stomach ache brought fears of being infected with a chest buster. Fortunately for me it was nothing. Whew.

Dan O’Bannon graciously answered my letter and it’s something that I’ve been grateful for to this day.

Plot holes are to be expected in a story written by humans. It’s difficult to account for everything and have certain things not coincide. If we look at Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, there exist societal classes. We see this with Ron representing the poorer class, while Draco represents the higher, noble wizarding family. But if there’s magic, why doesn’t one just whip their wand and create money? We don’t find out till later in the books that magic in Harry’s world can’t create wealth and food. Since we in the "real” world live in classes, we accept classes in Rowling’s story without questioning it. So our experience isn’t ruined.

Do I have a zit?
Do I have a zit?

But when I, and apparently the rest of the world, watched Prometheus, the major plot holes became the focus of our disgust with the film. And it’s these inconsistencies that ruin the serene drive that we all paid good money for.

Many on the net tried to defend the plot holes. Some made sense. For example, the moon in Alien was labeled as LV-426, but the crew of Prometheus lands on LV-223. Prometheus the movie was the prequel to Alien. But the mystery of where those chest busters came from started on LV-426 and is where so much havoc resided during the sequel, Aliens. Many called this a plot hole. Since the ending of Prometheus left much to be desired, it also may have indicated to us that this is indeed not LV-426. OK. I just geeked out there.

This same person also said this is science fiction. We’re supposed to suspend logic. No. We’re supposed to suspend our disbelief. Like the existence of sound in space, gravity in a spaceship, or an alien growing in our bodies as big as our arms without us knowing.

So here's a small plot hole. I credit this to Red Letter Media review. One of the world building scenes where Guy Pierce plays an old guy hologram (get it?) looks at actual individuals who he calls to the stage, then continues to look at them when those individuals are on stage. Either that was a mistake by the filmmaker, or that is some gawd dayem advanced holographic AI.

This sun tan lotion better work. I'm pale as a ghost

This sun tan lotion better work. I'm pale as a ghost

The first scene is also questionable. If the Engineer killed himself to seed planet Earth, supposedly, then why did the dinosaurs evolve first? Did writers forget about the over hundred million years those big lizards ruled the planet? Well, it could be argued the Engineer seeded the planet after the dinosaurs died off. Then how do you explain the vast different number of lines of the genus homo? Like homo erectus, homo neanderthalensis, and the slew of other homos? Don’t laugh.

Sure, a species could evolve into divergent lines due to geographic barriers, food limitations, etc. But somehow homo sapiens made it, which coincidentally look pretty much like the Engineer. If I were to seed a planet with my DNA, I’d make damn sure it’s that exact form that evolves.

I don’t want to list all plot holes. They’re all documented. Here’s one place where you can find some: http://www.movieplotholes.com/prometheus.html

As storytellers, we try to minimize plot holes. I’m not sure if it’s possible to get rid of them all, especially when you’re writing sci-fi/fantasy. Just look at the Bible. But we should be able to at least get rid of the major ones and not ruin the experience of our audience.