Oh (little green) man, I’ve been looking forward to this beautiful, beautiful Seriously Geeky Sundays challenge, as delivered with the usual power, grace and style that one expects from Just Geeking By‘s fantastic Heather! Things I love: science fiction, aliens, space ships… it’s all getting a hot mention here today, in this very post!
So thanks as always to Heather, and to you lovely readers, and let’s blast off… to space!
“Tomorrow is National Moon Day, the anniversary of when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. It’s a day in our history when our world got that bit bigger and that means it’s time to talk about adventures in Galaxies Far Far Away.”
Question 1 – What is Your Favourite Sci-Fi Fandom
Now see, my kneejerk reaction here was to go straight for the Alien fandom, the first two movies, Alien and Aliens, were absolutely a central part of my childhood (suitable, I know) and growing up obsessed with blasting aliens with pulse rifles and blowing them out of the God-damned airlock was just the way things were.
But Alien 3, Resurrection, Prometheus and, to a lesser extent, Covenant… they were mostly garbage! The 3rd instalment almost broke poor David Fincher!
So, instead, let us take a trip to the year 40,000, into the eternal war between a besieged human race and the many, many alien forces that want them gone… the world of Warhammer 40k!
I first got into 40k as a kid, when my brother and I found a rather battered board game at a car boot sale (that’s flea market for you Americans) called Space Crusade, basically a board game version of the 40k tabletop experience. Yeah, some parts were missing and the poor dreadnought mech was a bit broken (my dad fixed it with plastic glue, legend) but overall it was a thrilling experience, playing as heavily armoured and tooled up space marines, gunning down hordes of works, gretchen, space marines corrupted by the chaos gods, terrifying genestealer aliens and, of course, the mighty dreadnought, all fixed up and ready to kick your butt back to the year 39,999!
After many years, in which my brother and I collected many models (and lost them again years later) I dabbled in the tabletop game proper with a T’au army (they were decent! Anime aliens!) with my Shart Select co-hosts and that was when I got into the Black Library, Games Workshop’s in-house publishing arm.
I have mentioned before about how much I love the Gaunts Ghosts books, as well as the Eisenhorn and Ravenor series, all set in this grim yet rich universe, and highly recommend that any fans of sci-fi give them a go!
Question 2 – What is Your Favourite Fictional Planet?
Wow, I prattled on a bit there, didn’t I?
When it comes to planets, I always liked a good, bleak snowy one, where life can barely cling on by the skin of it’s teeth and nipping outside is likely to turn you into a sad popsicle. One of the best of these bleakly beautiful world is Voeld, which appears in the sadly maligned (but still decent) Mass Effect: Andromeda. An essential world for the intergalactic colonists to get on top of, it is swept by mighty blizzards and, if the pathfinder and her crew knock about outside of the all terrain buggy for too long, they can indeed go all frozen and dead-like.
I spent a long time here, doing a lot of the duller sidequests just to enjoy the unforgiving yet wonderful scenery.
Question 3 – Who is Your Favourite Alien Character?
There were a lot of runners-up for this category: Tali Vas Normandy, Garrus Vakarian, the Predator… but only one takes the win…
The Alien Queen!
Yes, this giant, spindly, egg laying horror was an absolute heroine of mine growing up, just for that final act in Aliens where, upon the sabotage of her egg chamber by Ripley, the matriarch rips herself free of her egg sac (ouch) and pursues Ripley and Newt through the rapidly destabilising terraforming plant, even squeezing herself into a cargo elevator and hiding in the landing gear of the Sulaco‘s dropship, such is the extent of her rage. Once back aboard Sulaco, the Queen reveals herself once more, by tearing android Bishop in half and, after some pursuit, having a punch up with a walking stacker truck being driven by Ripley, it’s bloody epic all these years later and needs to be seen to be believed!
Oh, and of course, the old girl does indeed get blown out of the God-damned airlock! Also, how amazing does that sequence look in HD? Holy Moses, it could have been made in 2020!
Question 4 – What is Your Favourite Alien Species?
I’m staying on brand here, it’s the ever lovely Xenomorph from Alien, specifically, the original variant as seen onboard the Nostromo in Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic. It’s essentially an organic killing machine, stalking the dark ducts and corridors of freighter ship Nostromo, picking the crew off one by one.
The way it got there is also wonderfully macabre and a lesson about poking around in creepy looking, derelict alien spaceships. If looks like an egg, and opens grossly, don’t put your face over it, John Hurt!
The best way to enjoy the Xenomorph outside of the movies, by the way, is to play Alien Isolation, a survival horror game made by Creative Assembly that came out a few years ago. The Xeno in that game is probably the most terrifying, unpredictable hunter in all of video games, what a blast!
Question 5 – What Alien Creature Would You Have as a Pet?
Okay, technically they’re mechanical, but they did come from the stars, so shush!
It’s the cute lfying saucer thingies from Batteries Not Included! I mean, come on, LOOK AT THEM! I remember crying as a kid when one got battered by a bloke with an axe, it broke my little, child heart and I was so happy when they mended it again at the end!
Question 6 – What is the Visually Stunning Alien Landscape You’ve Seen In a Fandom?
You might have figured out, by now, that there’s something about bleak, miserable planets that fascinate me, perhaps it’s the lack of humans ruining everything that makes them more enjoyable?
One such world is the then-unnamed planet that the Nostromo (yes, Alien again) touches down on in the original movie, to answer a mysterious distress call from an equally mysterious derelict space ship (spoiler alert for a 40 odd year old movie, it’s a warning, not a plea for help!) I watched this movie with my dad when I was about 9 or 10 (I was obsessed with the action figures and all of that, he took pity on me) and my first thoughts of that world are still etched into my memory to this day. The rolling mist, maze of jagged rocks, constant storms and the derelict ship itself, my mind was longing to know what was around every corner, what did the rest of the derelict look like, what the bloody hell was the “space jockey”, the ship’s dead alien pilot, what did he look like when he wasn’t all dead and mummified? (screw you, Prometheus, big grey bald blokes? Nah!)
And then, once again, Alien Isolation delivered, a flashback scene lets you explore the planet and derelict in first person, essentially as a new character tastefully (and stupidly) following John Hurt’s footsteps… right up to the facehugger!
And there we have it, another successful mission among the stars! What are your favourite sci-fi species, worlds and characters? Why not let me know in the comments, it could be fun you know…