Friday, June 11, 2010

Life As We Don't Know It

Take a creative writing class and call me if someone doesn't say at least once "Write what you know". I've always wanted to ask how someone could write what they don't know because - well - how would you even begin? That's why, no matter how strange and alien a world may be in a science fiction novel, every alien aspect is described in terms of what we humans can reasonably know. Our aliens must be modeled on perfectly mundane, earthbound critters, if only because they're all we've got. Maybe. Based on a chemical puzzle, scientists hypothesize that Titan may be home to an alien cellular life form. If Titan is host to a brand of E.T., it certainly will not be life as we know it. Life on earth evolved in a watery soup and that watery soup remains captive in every cell in our bodies. On Titan, the soup wouldn't be H2O - it would be liquid methane and ethane. Which may mean that life as we don't know it is odder than we ever imagined. And possibly stinkier than we imagined.

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