Most people today, I assume, believe that we are not alone, that intelligent life exists on other planets; it’s just that time and distance have prevented us from discovering it. Recent discoveries of planets in the “goldilocks zone” of other star systems that contain liquid water and are neither too hot or too cold to sustain life bolster this belief. Yet, despite all the UFO sightings since the 1950’s we have no tangible evidence of extraterrestrial life. Conspiracy theorists, of course, disagree. Nevertheless, there are good reasons beyond science why we believe it exists.
The principal reason, in my opinion, is the amount of star-travel science fiction that has become a big part of our culture. Star Trek and Star Wars are prime examples. There are a thousand others. Beside the willing suspension of disbelief, we accept those positive visions of the future because we believe in the goodness, creativity and ingenuity of the human race. We want to believe that’s what the future holds for our descendents. We can watch and enjoy all the post-apocalyptic visions of the future writers, producers and directors put before us, but we tend to reject them as prophetic.
Perhaps we will travel at warp speeds to the stars before some asteroid makes life on earth extinct. In the meantime, more pressing problems confront us. The aliens we are principally concerned with are Islamic terrorists that want to kill us and illegal immigrants that commit violent crimes.
Some of us think about space travel and alien life more than others. I obviously do or I wouldn’t have written The Transplants. I wrote it because I wanted to explore the idea of first contact between intelligent life from another planet and human beings in a new and different way. What if a couple of space aliens came here to save their species from extinction because they had nowhere else to go? What if their purpose wasn’t to destroy or conquer us or to chide us for our evil ways? What if all they wanted to do was live peaceful, anonymous lives. Would we fear and attempt to contain them, or would we welcome them with open arms?