Me Human, You Alien: How to Talk to an Extraterrestrial by Jonathan Vos Post
(c) 1996 by Emerald City Publishing an excerpt from a book entitled MAKING CONTACT: A SERIOUS HANDBOOK FOR LOCATING AND COMMUNICATING WITH EXTRATERRESTRIALS, edited by Bill Fawcett, July 1997, New York: William Morrow & Co.

Copyright 1996, by Emerald City Publishing
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
May be posted electronically provided that it is transmitted unaltered, in its entirety, and without charge.

Note: the book edited by Bill Fawcett has many fine chapters by other excellent authors. The excerpted book on this web site is an expanded version of the chapter by Jonathan Vos Post, which contains more quotations from and discussions of specific science fiction novels, stories, films, and teleplays.
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This is your first meeting with an un-Earthly non-human entity: an Extraterrestrial (ET). If you handle it well, you will be the greatest hero alive, and be able to make a fortune selling your story to the media. If you blow it, the repercussions could be unimaginably terrible, perhaps an interstellar war that could annihilate humanity. Feeling a little stressed out? Rule Number One: DON'T PANIC.{1} Just follow these simple guidelines, and all will be well. We hope. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Handfull of Coins, A Loop of String, a Flashlight, and Two Magnets

Hopefully, the extraterrestrial you encounter is not injured from the crash of its UFO, poisoned by local chemicals or germs, irrationally terrified of you, nor irrationally intent on injuring you. Hopefully, its senses will allow it to see the items you are carrying in your pocket right now -- if you've read this Handbook before this Close Encounter, and had time to prepare. If the ET has radically different senses, seems uncommunicative, or otherwise nonresponsive, then you will have to skip ahead to the time that teams of experts have been assembled to assist you in your task of Contact. But if these problems do not obstruct you, you will be initiating communications with a set of cheap, easily obtained communications tools, using the following: (1) 18 specific coins, totalling $3.27, as detailed shortly. (2) A loop of string, at least 48" (but no more than 72") in circumference. (3) A pocket flashlight. (4) Two small bar magnets. (5) A pad of paper and a couple of pens or pencils. This may not sound like much, but may work wonders. If you also have a camera, a videocam, and/or a cassette recorder, so much the better. Obviously, the more rolls of film, blank cassettes, and extra batteries you have, the better. Practice using your equipment beforehand, so that you may use it easily when under the unprecedented excitement and stress of First Contact. Photograph and tape everything that happens in your Close Encounter if you can. If not, then at least take quick and careful notes on what happens, using the paper and pen or pencil, until the experts can take the next steps. Good luck! Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pocket Change Worth Billions

Now that you've bought A Handbook for UFO Contact, make a further investment of $3.27. Get the following coins assembled, and keep them in a little envelope or pocket, separate from your usual pocket change: 1 Susan B. Anthony dollar coin $1.00 2 pennies $0.02 2 nickles $0.10 9 dimes $0.90 3 quarters $0.75 1 half-dollar coin $0.50 -- ----------------- ----- 18 miscellaneous coins totalling $3.27 Practice arranging these coins on a flat surface as shown in figure 1. These coins represent the Sun, planets, and major moons based on their approximate relative sizes as follows: SUN Susan B. Anthony coin (a silver dollar is even better, if possible) MERCURY a penny VENUS a nickel EARTH a nickel, circled by the MOON: a dime MARS a penny JUPITER the half-dollar, circled by the four giant Galilean moons: IO, EUROPA, GANYMEDE, AND CALLISTO, represented by four dimes SATURN a quarter, with its giant moon TITAN: a dime URANUS a quarter NEPTUNE a quarter, with its giant moon TRITON: a dime PLUTO a dime, with its moon CHARON: a dime When you meet the Extraterrestrial, locate a flat surface (sidewalk or bare dirt) between the two of you, and lay out the coins as you have practiced. If it is daytime, point to the Dollar coin, then point to the Sun, and say "SUN!" If you have your pocket flashlight, hold it close to the Sun-Dollar, so that the coin is brightly illuminated. Then point to the second nickel, pat the ground, point at the ground all around you, and say "EARTH!" Pick up the Earth-nickel and, keping it close to the ground, move it around the Sun-dollar, then put it back down where it was. If the moon is visible, point to it, point to the dime next to the Earth-nickel, and say "MOON!" Pick up the Moon-dime and, keeping it close to the ground, move it around the Earth-nickel, then put it back down where it was. Then be silent for a minute, back away from the coins, and watch for a response. If the ET knows the structure of our Solar System, as observed by it or its companions from remote observation, or by more immediate observation on the way in towards Earth, it will recognize the model of the Solar System that you have shown it. This will establish that you are an astronomically sophisticated being, who knows the way around your own local part of the Galaxy. The ET now has the chance to show you something about that Solar System model. It might, for example, place a few pebbles or sand grains in between the Mars-penny and the Jupiter-half-dollar to show you where most of the asteroids are concentrated. It may indicate planets or the Oort or Kuiper Belt of comets far beyond Pluto. It may convey some information about the Moon or some other planets, if it made one or more stops on the way to Earth. It may construct a model of its own Solar System. If it moves the coins into any new configuration, be sure to record that in your written or photographic notes. You have gotten information that may be worth billions of times your original $3.27. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Loop of String, Approximately 72" in Circumference

Allied pilots, during World War II, who had to fly over certain remote and exotic areas such as Borneo (now called Kalimantan), were encouraged to carry a loop of string up to six feet long, the ends of which were tied together to make a single loop about three feet long. The idea was that if they crash landed their plane in an area where non-English-speaking natives were likely to be present, the pilot should (when someone approached through the jungle), casually take the loop of string from his pocket and begin to make a "cat's cradle" string figure, and as many other string figures as he knew. It is said that, on more than one occasion, this was actually tried. In each case, the story goes, the native watched with increasingly friendly interest, and then politely borrowed the loop to demonstrate some string figures popular in his own tribe. It seems to me that such an anthropological First Contact technique might be useful in extraterrestrial First Contact as well. You will find out if and how the ET pays attention to your activity, have something to talk about, and -- after you've handed the loop to the ET -- learn something about how dexterously the ET manipulates at least one kind of object. If you're very lucky, the ET will show you patterns of its own culture. After all, the string figure has been (sometimes independently) discovered and perfected by members of the tribes, areas, or nations: Apache, Austria, Australia, Borneo, Chaco, Cherokee, China, Chippewa, Clayoquaht, Denmark, England, Eskimo, France, Germany, Hawaii, India, Ireland, Japan, Kabyles, Kiwai, Klamath, Korea, Kwakiutl, Lifu, Melanesia, Natik, Nauru, Navaho, New Guinea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Omaha, Onandaga, Osage, Pawnee, the Philippines, Polynesia, Pueblo, Pygmy, Salish, Scotland, Switzerland, Tannas, Tewas, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Uap, Ulungu, Wajiji, and Zuni. The best reference on how to weave with both hands a hundred intricate patterns supposed to represent natural and artificial objects is String Figures and How to Make Them {77}. Perhaps the most important anthropologist ever, Dr. Franz Boas, was the first to publish a careful description of how a so-called primitive people (Eskimo) make string figures, in 1888. Other cultures use "a thong of skin... a cord of cocoanut fibre ... [or] of human hair finely plaited. A woven cord which does not kink as easily as a twisted cord will prove most satisfactory; unfortunately, it cannot be spliced, the ends therefore must be knotted in a small square knot or laid together and bound round with thread." We describe below how to make the common "cat's-cradle" and Figure 3 is a copy of an illustration by Walter E. Roth in Brisbane, Australia, in 1902. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cat's Cradle

The first thing to do is to make the familiar "Cat's Cradle" as described below. It is known in many parts of the world. In Southern China, it is called Kang Sok = Well Rope; in Korea it is called Ssi-teu-ki = Woof-taking; in Japan it is called Aya ito tori = Woof pattern string-taking; in Germany it is variously called Aheben = Taking off, Faden-aheben = Taking-off strings, Fadenspeil = String game, and Hexenspeil = Witch's game. Step One: Take the untwisted loop of string and pass the four fingers of each hand through the loop, and then separate the hands, keeping the palms facing each other. You are now holding the loop taut so that each end of it passes across the backs of your hands and one side of the loop rests on the webs of flesh between thumb and forefinger. Step Two: With the thumb and index finger of the left hand, turn the left near string away from you across your left palm, and then toward you across the back of the left hand, bringing the string to the right between the thumb and index finger. Separate the hands, keeping the palms facing each other. You are now holding the loop taut. You now have two strings across the back of your left hand (a little loop around your left hand) and one string across the back of your right hand. Step Three: With the thumb and index finger of the right hand, turn the right near string away from you across your right palm, and then toward you across the back of the right hand, bringing the string to the left between the thumb and index finger. Separate the hands, keeping the palms facing each other. You are now holding the loop taut. You now have two strings across the back of each hand, and a single string across each palm. Step Four: Bring the hands together, and put the right middle finger up under the string which crosses the left palm, and draw the loop out on the back of the finger by separating the hands (palms still facing each other). Step Five: Bring the hands together, and put the left middle finger up under the string which crosses the right palm, and draw the loop out on the back of the finger by separating the hands (palms still facing each other). You should now be in the position shown in Figure 2. There is a loop on each middle finger and two strings across the back of each hand; the "cradle" being formed by a straight near string, a straight far string, and the crossed strings of the middle finger loops. Show this to the ET. Note its reaction. If there are two people involved in the First Contact, then you are in good shape. First of all, this means that one of you can be doing the talking, motioning, and demonstrating, while the other keeps notes, takes photographs, or narrates into a cassette recorder. If there are two of you, you can now "play cat's cradle" by first having one of you make the cat's cradle according to the above five steps, and then taking turns transforming it through a series of different configurations as follows. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Soldier's Bed = Church Window = Fish Pond

The next step in the game of cat's cradle has three different English names, and in Korea is called Pa-tok-hpan = Chess board; and in Japan nekomata = mountain cat. By "near", "far", "left", and "right" we describe the position of the strings as seen by the person from whose hands the figure is being taken away. Step One: Person "A" makes the Cat's Cradle as above. Step Two: Person "B" puts his left thumb away from "A" under the right near middle finger string and his left index finger away from "A" under the left near middle finger string. Step Three: Person "B" brings the thumb and index finger together and picks up between their tips the two near middle finger strings just where they cross at the near side of the figure. Steps Four and Five: In the same way, person "B" picks up the two far middle finger strings, by putting the right thumb toward "A" under the right far middle finger string, and the right index finger towards "A" under the left far middle finger string, then bringing the right index finger and right thumb together and picking up between their tips the two far middle finger strings just where they cross at the far side of the figure. Step Six: Now separating his hands, "B" draws the right hand away from "A" and the left hand towards "A" (figure 742) and carries the thumb and index finger of each hand, still holding the strings, around the corresponding side string of the figure and up into the center of the figure (Figure 743). Step Seven: Then, by drawing his hands apart and separating the index fingers widely from the thumbs he removes the figure from "A's" hands and extends the "Soldier's Bed" (Figure 744). There is now a loop on each thumb, a loop on each index finger, and a string passing across the backs of the thumbs and index fingers of each hand. The figure is formed of the four finger loops crossing in the middle, a straight near string and a straight far string. There are a series of other transformations that will end up passing the figures back and forth between the two players through at least eight configurations total, the other six of which are called in English "candles", "Manger", "Diamonds", "Cat's Eye", "Fish in a Dish", and "Clock." Consult the reference book listed, or a bunch of children, to learn the other positions. You may be challenged to learn more complicated string figures, too. Practice makes perfect. You can now not only play with children and other UFO enthusiasts, but have a chance to do something peaceful, interesting, and revealing when you make First Contact. When I first wrote this, I thought that I was the first to contemplate it for human-ET first contact. But in further researching this chapter, I found a science fiction author, the anthropologist Chad Oliver, had beaten me to the punch my some 36 years. In the novelUnearthly Neighbors {101}, I was stunned to read this paragraph [p.73, revised edition]: Tom Stein maneuvered two of the [ET] kids, both boys, down the trail that led to the stream [on Sirius Nine]. He took a length of cord from his pocket and made a skillful cat's cradle on his fingers. The boys were intrigued, and watched him closely. Tom went through his whole bag of string tricks--the antropologist's ace in the hole--and tried his level best to make friends. So give Chad Oliver credit, not me, when you play cat's cradle with an ET and make friends. Assuming, of course, that anthropologists and science fiction writers are on the right track at all. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Pocket Flashlight

A small pocket flashlight (with as many extra batteries as you like to carry) is a good thing to have in any case, as you know if you drop your keys in the dark on a moonless night. It may be very valuable during extraterrestrial First Contact. This surely applies if the First Contact begins, or continues into, the night. If the ET communicates with light (see the handbook section on "Sound, Light, Viruses, and Neutrinos," (a) Light), then it is absolutely necessary. The flashlight helps to demonstrate that you are a technological being. Don't point it first at the ET; that might appear hostile, rude, or weapon-like. The flashlight gives you a chance to point at various things and speak their names: "ground, tree, foot, human, ET, coins, string.... and what is that thing in your third claw?" Even parrots can be taught to learn the names of things repeatedly pointed to or held up: "This is a grape. I'm holding a grape. Do you want the grape?" The flashlight can be used to illuminate the pad of paper and writings done with pen or pencil. It can be used to illuminate the coin in the center of the coin-model solar system, to make it shine like the Sun. If you wear eyeglasses, or carry a magnifying glass or other lens, you can use it to demonstrate simple concepts of optics (Figure 4). You can cast shadows with it. If you have sunglasses or can knock use the plastic of your car tail-light, then you can project different colors, and name those colors. The use of the flashlight can be occasionally contrasted with, amplified by, or accompanied by the the flash of your camera, if you are carrying one. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Two Small Bar Magnets

If you have two little bar magnets, the kind often glued to the back of a decorative "refrigerator magnet," then there are some things you can demonstrate and test. The purposes of these experiments are four: (1) To show to the ET that you are a representative of a technologically sophisticated scientific civilization; (2) To provide specific scientific items and phenomena to talk about and to develop a common vocabulary, if possible; (3) To see how the ET reacts to demonstrations of scientific principles; (4) and to begin testing the properties of UFO or ET-related substances. You should have at least the two small bar magnets suggested here. You can enhance your demonstrations to the ET if you also have: (1) a pocket compass (2) a long steel knitting needle (3) a few iron tacks (4) a long iron nail (5) a sewing needle (6) a cork (7) thread or string beyond that used for your cat's cradle demonstration. Before you meet the ET, mark your bar magnets to show which are the north poles (the poles that attract the north-seeking end of a compass needle) and which are the south poles (the poles that attract the south-seeking end of a compass needle). What kind of magnets are the two that you are carrying in your ET communications kit? They are permanent magnets, as opposed to electromagnets that only work when electricity is flowing through wires. Permanent magnets have been known for thousands of years (at least since the ancient Greeks investigated the mineral lodestone, today called magnetite), but have become much more sophisticated in the 20th century. Two Japanese physicists, Honda and Takei (no, not the car company or the actor who played Sulu on Star Trek) in 1917 first added cobalt to tungsten steel to make powerful permanent magnets. In 1932 another Japanese team created even stronger magnets from alloys of iron, nickel, and aluminum. Many such materials are available under trade names such as Alcomax, Alnico, Hycomax, and Iconal. Other magnets are made today from ceramic materials. The poles of the magnets may be near the ends or the faces of the magnets. Magnetic rubber strips are often used on refrigerator doors, and rolls of this strip are available in hardware stores. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Experiment 1: Magnet and Compass

It is believed by some historians that the Chinese may have discovered the magnetic compass. The Chinese Emperor Hwang-To is said to have had a magnetic (lodestone) compass in his chariot, approximately 2050 years ago. We are certain that the French crusader Petrus Peregrinus, in 1269 A.D., gave detailed written descriptions of a floating compass and a pocket compass much like the kind we use today. Nearly 450 years ago Queen Elizabeth I's physician, William Gilbert, first hypothesized that the Earth itself acts like a giant magnet. He built a spherical model of the Earth out of lodestone and showed that it had a magnetic field around it similar to the field of the Earth. We think that the Earth's magnetic field is caused by a molten iron/nickel/sulfur material swirling in the Earth's core -- the so-called dynamo effect. The much more powerful magnetic fields of Jupiter and Saturn are believed to be caused by dynamos of metallic hydrogen, a substance first created on Earth (at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory) in early 1996. Most likely the ET comes from a planet that has a magnetic field, and therefore has some chance of recognizing the behavior of a pocket compass. Show the pocket compass to the ET. Say "Compass." Place it on the ground. Point to the needle that's pointing north, point with your arm and finger in that same direction, and say "North." Point in the opposite direction and say "South." Observe if the ET looks at the compass, in the directions that you have pointed, and write down or dictate into a cassette recorder what the response is. Move one of your bar magnets near the compass, so that the needle points away from north. Hold up the magnet and say "magnet." Show how the bar magnet can pick up tacks or the long nail. Write down what the ET says or does. If there are any pieces of UFO material or other substances nearby that seem related to the ET, pick them up and prepare to use them in the next experiment/demonstration. If possible, float one of the bar magnets on top of a cork in a puddle or open container of water. It should also point north/south, like the needle of a pocket compass. Finally, if you and the ET are still interested, you can show that the magnetic north pole and the geographic north pole are not in the same place. This is very important to people who use the compass the actually navigate. You can show the angle between true north (that is, geographic north) and magnetic north (as shown by the pocket compass) in your First Contact location. When the sun is at the highest point in the sky (noon, unless modified by daylight savings time) then hold a plumb line (a string or thread with any weight tied to the end) so that it casts a shadow on a piece of paper lying on the ground. This shadow will lie in a north-south direction pointing towards true north (geographic north). Now place your pocket compass on the shadow, and draw a line showing the direction in which it points. The angle between this line and the shadow is called the declination. Some planets have a very large declination, such as Uranus in our solar system. The ET has a chance to show whether or not it understands this, if the ET has given meaningful responses to other experiments/demonstrations so far. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Experiment 2: Testing UFO Material

You know from ordinary experience that some materials can be picked up by magnets and some cannot. The situation is a little more complicated than that, as shown in Fig.297. Instead of merely classifying materials into two categories, magnetic and non-magnetic, we need to be more scientific if we are going to analyze materials relating to an ET. Two centuries ago Michael Faraday discovered that all the materials he tested were influenced in one way or another by a magnetic field. Some were attracted by a magnet, and some were repelled although they weren't themselves magnets. We call the kind of material which is strongly attracted ferromagnetic because they behave like iron (Latin: ferrum). This includes iron, nickel, and cobalt. If you have a Canadian nickel, it is ferromagnetic because it is mostly nickel, and will cling to a magnet the same way as does iron. The kind of material that is very weakly attracted to a magnet (so that under ordinary conditions it seems that they are not attracted) are called paramagnetc. The kind of material that is weakly repelled by a magnet is called diamagnetic. Diamagnetic materials include bismuth, copper, glass, water, and mercury. These weak repulsions typically take a strong electromagnet to discover. Another category of material that has been rapidly developed since World War II is the ferrimagnetic which have magnetic properties although they are electrical insulators (nonmetals). Examples of this type are the ferrites. A ferrite rod is used as the aerial of many transistor radios. If there are pieces of the material of the UFO available, or pieces of material near the ET, test them with your magnets and make a first rough attempt to classify them as ferromagnetic, paramagnetic, ferrimagnetic, or diamagnetic. If the compass needle moves when you hold a piece of ET material near it, then that material is itself a magnet. If the material does not appear to be a magnet, but is strongly attracted to and sticks to one of your bar magnets, it is ferromagnetic. If that material is not shiny and metallic in appearance, then it may be ferrimagnetic, although this needs to be validated by showing that it is not an electrical conductor (which would require a battery and wires, or a continuity tester). If the material does not seem to respond to the magnet at all, it may be either paramagnetic or diamagnetic. If it is clearly repelled by your bar magnet, then it is diamagnetic. Maybe the ET has materials that are more powerful diamagnets than anything we have. It is worth investigating. To test for diamagnetism, you may need to suspend a piece of the material by a thread and dangle it right between the north pole of one bar magnet and the south pole of the other. If the ET material twists on the thread to line up with the line connecting the two magnets, it is ferromagnetic or ferrimagnetic. If the ET material twists on the thread so that it is perpendicular to the line connecting the two magnets, it is diamagnetic. See figure 296. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Experiment 3: Magnetization, Magnetic Induction, and Curie Point

Take the unmagnetized knitting needle. Hold your pocket compass (if you have one) to show that both ends of the knitting needle attract the same pole of the compass. Now magnetize the knitting needle with the bar magnet, as shown in Figure 290. Hold the knitting needle immobile on the ground, touch the north pole of one bar magnet (the end that attracts the "North" pointing pole of the compass) and drag the magnet along the length of the knitting needle to its end, then (keeping the knitting needle in place), pull away the magnet and repeat exactly a few time. The knitting needle should now be magnetized. Show this to the ET by demonstrating that one end of the knitting needle attracts a different pole of the compass than the other end does. Attach a chain of tacks to the end of one of your bar magnets as shown in figure 299. Strongly heat one of the tacks with a match flame or (better) a pocket cigarette lighter until that tack and the tacks beneath it fall off. When a ferromagnetic material (like the tack) is heated above its "Curie point" it stops being ferromagnetic. Hang a long nail (if you have one) suspended from the south pole of one of your bar magnets, as shown in figure 300. The X end of the nail has now become, by magnetic induction, a north pole, and the Y end a south pole. Bring the north pole of the other bar magnet near the Y end of the hanging nail. It should be attracted, and swing to point towards the north pole of the second bar magnet. Now bring the south pole of the other bar magnet near the Y end of the hanging nail. It should be repelled, and swing away from the south pole. When a magnet is brought close to a ferromagnetic material such as iron, some of the "magnetic domains" in the material change so that the material becomes a magnet. This process is called magnetic induction. When the magnet is removed, most of the domains change back to the way they were before, so that the material is no longer a magnet. Materials which act this way are called nonretentive or magnetically soft. Magnetically soft materials, like your iron nail, mumetal, and Permalloy C are used in the cores of electromagnets and transformers. They stop being magnets as soon as the electricity is switched off. Other materials, including steel, have microscopic magnetic domains that stay in place once changed by a magnet, so that the steel continues to be a magnet after being in contact with the magnet that touched them. Your knitting needle is an example of that. Take a piece of any ferromagnetic material you have identified from the UFO or ET. Stroke it with one of the bar magnets, and then see if it has been induced to become a magnet or not. Now you can determine if the ET material is magnetically hard or soft. [Some of these experiments and diagrams are suggested by, or modified from "Physics is Fun, Book Two", Jim Jardine, London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1964] Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Pad of Paper and a Couple of Pens or Pencils

Have some ready -- you should write stuff down. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Speech Lessons, Informants, and Two or More Extraterrestrials

Your best chance to start learning the extraterrestrial language is if there are two or more of them, and that they are speaking to each other. If so, the following steps are recommended, based in part on How to Learn an Unwritten Language {71}: (1) Determine what your best approach is to language learning. Some people learn best by merely hearing and mimicry (imitation), the way children learn, leaving the pattern making to their unconscious minds. A few people are natural mimics, who apprehend, react to, and remember new language patterns almost at once. If you are such a person, it is good luck for planet Earth, as you will not have to consciously analyze the extraterrestrial language in order to speak to the ET or ETs in a way that they will at least recognize as language. You should correct your natural bias by being particularly careful to record every ET speech act, and not being distracted by your own involvement in mimicry. You should make a concerted effort to use whatever analytical approaches are recommended in this Handbook, in addition to your own talent. Other people learn best by memorizing rules and vocabulary, then practicing speech patterns as examples of those rules. If you are such a person, then you will be virtually unable to use language patterns until you have explicit conscious insight and awareness of the relationships of sounds and system. To compensate for your bias, you must force yourself to make a social contact with the ET or ETs, thus avoiding the danger of an overly elaborate written analysis which does not contribute to the possibility of some small degree of conversation with the ET. (2) Make and effort to listen carefully, while recording, normal conversation between the two or more ETs (or, at least, any soliloquizing by a single ET). The ability to catch even a hint of the "drift of a conversation" will be a great success. At first, look and listen for the ETs' culturally acceptable indications of continued attention, or the YES of agreement. These are prerequisites for you to contribute to any dialogue or group conversation. The most likely opportunity for observing conversation between the ETs is when they are sharing a work task, such as trying to repair their UFO, or collecting samples, or tending to the medical needs of an injured ET. In case of such apparent injury, it is recommended that you don't do anything. The Hippocratic Oath of doctors says that first of all, you must do no harm. In the case of the ET, anything you do -- changing the position of the body, or wiping away fluid, or pouring water into a mouth, may be a fatal mistake. (3) Make many attempts to engage in conversations with individual ETs, using the coins, string, flashlight, and so forth as something to talk about. You should seek out chances for conversation, and should make a point of talking to every ET with whom you have direct contact. Make a particular effort with any ET which intuitively or analytically seems to be a child, based on body size or playfulness. You might well be wrong -- for example, a "dimorphic" species is one in which two sexes (if they have two sexes) may differ greatly in size or appearance -- but as we will explain in the section "What is the Meaning of Meaning?" Children, especially babies, have a superior ability to learn new languages quickly. (4) Spend several brief periods, within view of the ET or ETs, listening intensively to materials recorded on your audio cassettes, and mimicking them as best you can. These materials should include both connected texts and word lists. The texts that you will repeatedly try to mimic should be short enough to be repeated several times in a single listening and rehearsal period. The purpose of doing this is that the cassette recorded accurately records such things and rhythm and intonation pattern, and if you listen often enough, you may pick up enough "feel" to be ably to mimic, albeit crudely at first. This is not likely to be possible in "free conversation" where patterns may shift too quickly for you to follow. In addition, by using the cassette recorder, you can concentrate your attention on hearing and mimicry without being confused by trying to understand the meaningful content of the sounds or of planning to say something. Listen to recorded lists of words, to try to distinguish tone, stress, and length patterns. Listening for these things should alternate between lists in which one feature is identical, and lists with contrasts between items (as discussed in our section on "By Way of Contrast." For example, if the ET language has syllables, practice with one list of ET words that have stress on the first syllable, one with stress on the second syllable, and one with stress on the third syllable. (5) Gather new data whenever possible. There are three ways to do this. (a) Record and make written notes on any ET utterance you hear, and write down or photograph the context in which it occurred. (b) If one of the ETs volunteers a special role in trying to communicate with -- the "informant" -- then use the coins, string, flashlight, and so forth to provoke or elicit language data from the informant. (c) Record conversations between ETs on cassette. It is the unelicited data (a and c) that are most likely to be smooth and accurate; elicited data is likely to be "wooden" and "foreign," contaminated with the flavor of the English language that you are using in you speech. Conversely, some ET language details can be studied and understood more quickly if the crucial examples are elicited in a patterned way, such as by moving through the list of numbers, planet names, objects that you point to, or the Periodic Table of the Elements. (6) Processing of data. When the top scientific experts begin to arrive, they will take over this important task. It is vital that each day's collection of audio, video, photographic, and written noted data be processed almost at once. A backlog of material that has not been analyzed becomes a source of frustration and a roadblock in the way of further activity. This means that all audio-recorded data should be transcribed as soon as possible (and soon after, computerized). Each ET utterance elicited from the informant should be planned to illuminate some particular problem or an example of a particular pattern. (7) Organize the Contact episodes. At least the nucleus of what you learn every couple of hours should be a planned lesson, including drilling on the sound system (4 and 9), one or more grammatical patterns to be practiced until you develop some ET language habits, and some vocabulary items (the ET name, the name for "Earth", the words for "One, Two, Three") to be memorized within the grammatical context. You are both student, trying to learn a bit of the ET language, and teacher, trying to get the ET to get a little English. (8) Drill and memorize what you learn from each session. Review old sessions. Each session, you should hope to learn something new, have the ET learn something new, and have a shared experience of mutual satisfaction with progress. What you learn should be reviewed often, and not counted as learned until you and/or the ET can use that material in "free conversation" at normal speech speed. (9) Drill on the sound system with the informant. Each session, have several intensive minutes of contrastive listening and mimicry, especially by you of ET sounds that are different from English sounds, and by the ET of English sounds that are different from ET sounds. Your cassette recorded may not be up to the task, as only high-fidelity sound equipment can accurately record fine differences between phonetic sounds (such as "sss" versus "fff", or "t" versus a glottal stop). Contrastive listening means listening for particular sounds and, especially, listening to pairs of words in which similar but contrastively different sounds occur. In such drill, you and the ET are doing intentionally and consciously what a child does unconsciously in its hours of repetitive babble. There is a possibility that would help you very much, if you are lucky. That is, the ETs may have intentionally simplified their language, and made it more logical. They might communicate through, not an ancient "natural" language, but through a more modern, deliberately designed "artificial" language. After all, humans have proposed or created over 500 such languages since the 17th century, such as Basic English, OPA, Loglan, Interglossa, and Esperanto. If the ETs have created such a language, presumably to eliminate the threat of war, to aid in complex enterprises between beings of different birthplace, and to aid in international, interplanetary, and/or interstellar communications, then they have made your job vastly more simple. But don't count on it. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Protocol and Protagoras: The Empirical Approach

In this handbook, we assume that the evidence of the ET is so overwhelming that nobody on the scene can dispute the fact that humans and aliens must now communicate. We assume that the survival and comfort of the ET is not in immediate jeopardy, so that you may concentrate on careful communications while a team is brought to bear on solving longer-term problems. We also assume that your being in the right place at the right time makes you the focus of all activity for some time to come, and gives you access to an essentially unlimited line of credit from the local government and banking institutions. If these conditions are not met, you must simply do your best to apply the lessons of this Handbook as best as you can with the more limited resources at your immediate disposal. Let's say, though, that all is well at the outset. The first step is to be sure that you can concentrate on communicating, and not be tied up in local politics. Appoint someone you trust to be Political Liaison, and issue them this order: "Your job is to keep the politicians off my back while I talk to the ET. Issue a communiquŽ at once, citing this Handbook's "Appendix: Declaration of Principles Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence," the First Soviet-American Conference on Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI) {2}; U.S. President Jimmy Carter's and Secretary General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim's statements recorded on the Voyager spacecraft record {3}, the International SETI Petition by Carl Sagan and friends {4}, and the SETI Post-Detection Protocol [see Appendix]. Invite the delegations of all nations, as well as local, county, state, and federal authorities, to convene a council to agree on a political modality. That will keep them too busy to bother me." The 1982 film by Steven Spielburg, ET" The Extraterrestrial {5}, one of the most successful box office draws of all time, showed us a loveable extraterrestrial, but also gave the worst possible advice for you in your own Close Encounter. In E.T., the plot hinges on well-intentioned children hiding the abandoned extraterrestrial from government authorities, on the grounds that scientists would just want to kill and dissect it. Nonsense! Your job is to make sure that the proper authorities are notified, but that you have assembled such a winning team of experts that the government can't take the lead away from you. The second step, therefore, is to get the proper technical assistance. Appoint a second trusted friend as Technical Liaison, and issue him or her this order: "I need the following people and their staffs here immediately (then get him a copy of the Appendix: People to Contact for First Contact, listed at the end of this article). Never mind, for now, who they are. Trust me, they are all influential enthuiasts for and/or experts on Communications with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI). Tell them that they all work for me, and if they don't follow my orders, I won't give them access to data or list them as co-authors of anything. Go get them!" The third step is to secure local infrastructure. Appoint a third trusted friend as Logistics Commander. Tell him or her the following: "(1) reserve every hotel room, motel room, bed and breakfast, student dormitory room, and rental car or truck in a 20 mile radius; (2) phone the Regional Sales Director of AT&T, MCI, and Sprint and demand a dedicated T-3 phone line from each of them, being sure to tell each who else you asked; (3) call the PR Director of Apple, IBM, Sun, and Hewlett-Packard, tell them each that you need 100 top-of-the-line workstations and their fastest Internet server, fifty thousand gigbytes of hard disks, emergency power generators, and tell each which competitors you talked to; (4) call every restaurant and fast-food outlet within 20 miles and tell them that you'll list their names and numbers on press releases if they provide free food for the duration; (5) call the nearest major hospital and tell them you have over 100 top scientists arriving from all over the world who are already over-excited, and need stand-by medical observation and support. And get me a couple of aspirin." Theory is of little consequence right now. You need to tap the brains of masters of the field of communications and analyze how they actually work. The first man to do this was the fifth century B.C. Greek sophist Protagoras. He is credited with being the first to distinguish sentence types: narration, question, answer, command, report, prayer, and invitation. Today we classify more forms of what Firth calls "speech functions," such as: commands, requests, invitations, suggestions, advice, offers of assistance, gratitude, agreement and disagreement, greeting, leave-taking, encouragement, permission, promising, apology, threats, warning, insulting, pleadings, and so forth. "There are very many such terms in the everyday language (one might compare, on a different plane, G. W. Allport's collection of 18,000 terms in English referring to personality characteristics" {73} (p.47). Aristotle also said that Protagoras was the first to call attention to the distinctions of gender and tense. Your job is like his, except a million times harder. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

What Kind of Language?

We assume that the ET is not a super-linguist who already knows English, or can learn it while you are still getting a grip on the situation. We assume that he does not carry the equivalent of a Universal Translator (a probably impossible gadget) or The Klingon Dictionary: The Official Guide to Klingon Words and Phrases {6} by Marc Okrand. No, we must think long and hard about what Language is, and how our experience with human languages might extend to ET languages (Xenolinguistics). Francis P. Dineen, Georgetown University Institute of Languages and Linguistics, says that there are 11 characteristics of language.{7} He was thinking of human languages, so we will need to make a few adjustments. He lists: (1) Language is Sound (2) Language is Linear (3) Language is Systematic (4) Language is a System of Systems (5) Language is Meaningful (6) Language is Arbitrary (7) Language is Conventional (8) Language is a System of Contrasts (9) Language is Creative (10) Languages are Unique (11) Languages are Similar Let's take these one at a time, and reconsider them in the UFO context. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sound, Light, Viruses, and Neutrinos

Language is Sound. Or is it? Most humans speak and listen to language, using the same fleshy articulatory equipment to produce speech sounds and to hear them. The sounds may appear strange to you, but they may be accurately described in terms of the movements of organs such as vocal cords, tongue, lips, and teeth. But the primacy of speech is not absolute, given the importance of writing, and the use of various sign languages. We have no evidence yet that the ET uses sound, or writing, or sign language, so we must immediately find out what MEDIUM is used for language signals in the ET. Your science team, since they arrived, has been observing the ET with every scientific instrument imaginable. Ask them which medium the ET seems to be emitting the most complex signals in: Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(a) Light. Aliens may be emitting electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves [see "The Waveries" {99} for a story of ETs which ARE radio waves], microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, or gamma rays. Deploy any additional sensors needed in each frequency range, record everything, digitize those records into the computer system, and tell the scientists to set up software-controlled gadgets to emit coded radiation in whatever frequency or frequencies the ET is emitting. Examples in science fiction of light-communicating ETs include the novel "VOR" {8} (which stands for Violet Orange Red), and Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind {9}. Even on Earth, quite a variety of lifeforms generate light. As one essay {72} puts it: "Many insects, fish, crustaceans, squids, fungi, bacteria, and protozoa bioluminesce: They throb with light. The angler fish even hangs a glowing lure from its mouth, which attracts prey. A male firefly flashes its cool, yellow-green semaphores of desire, and the female, too, is randy, she flashes back her consent." The legend of the Fall of Troy includes mention that the news of ultimate victory was flashed from Asia Minor to Greece by a sequence of signal fires, a technique that led to the rise of the heliograph (relaying signals by reflecting sunlight by mirrors spaced far apart). Try to determine if the ET is emitting light by natural, biological means, or by the use of some hardware. Use your pocket flashlight and/or camera flash to copy whatever light patterns you can see. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(b) Sound. The ET may be producing subsonics, too low in frequency for humans to hear, as Blue Whales, alligators, and elephants do; or sounds that we can hear; or sounds too high in pitch for our ears, as dolphins, praying mantises, and bats can do. Bats "echolocate" by responding to the echos of the 50,000 clicks per second that they can produce (more than twice the frequency we can hear). The frequency range may be narrow, or it may cover many more octaves than human speech, as with dolphins. Record everything, and get it digitized for the computers. The microphone arrays set up by the science team will reveal this pretty quickly. Have them set up a computerized frequency transponder system to stretch or squeeze the sound into a human-audible range for the Linguistics sub-team to hear. Have your Tech Liaison bring John Lilly, at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, and any dolphins they can bring and keep comfortable. Dolphins might be better at sonic communication than humans, and might be useful ambassador-translators. A special case of sound is music, again invoking Close Encounters of the Third Kind {9}. As one poet {72} observed, "a single chord is a calling card and, at that, a mighty simple chord, based on universally shared mathematics. This is an old idea, going back to the Greeks and the music of the spheres. There has always been a connection between music and mathematics, which is why scientists have often been inordinately fond of music.... Science fiction argues that if music is mathematical, it must be universal. For interstellar space, don't bother with verbal messages; send a fugue. To be safe, send both," and indeed Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 carrying a digital record of miscellaneous sounds of Earth, including music. A popular joke (in NASA and SETI circles) is that the ETs land and demand "send more Chuck Berry!" George Rochberg, a composer, says that "music is a secondary 'language' system whose logic is closely related to the primary alpha logic of the human body. If I'm right, then it follows that the perception of music is simply the process reversed, i.e. we listen with our bodies, with our nervous systems and their primary parallel/serial memory functions." The problem with this theory is that, while every single human society has music, then music in each culture is different. Philosophy Professor and science fiction pioneer Olaf Stapledon agrees {68}: "Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars." Observe if the ET produces patterns of sound with an object -- it might be a musical instrument. If you can, imitate its sound with a harmonica, guitar, violin, or any other instrument that you happen to have on hand and with which you are familiar. But don't expect full emotional communication. As Victor Zuckercandl says in The Sense of Music: "We can translate from any language into any other language; yet the mere idea of translating, say, Chinese music into the Western tonal idiom is obvious nonsense." Music, like primary language, is arbitrary, in the sense of our section on "Arbitrary is as Arbitrary Does." In the novella "The Moon Moth" {53} the protagonist reads in the Journal of Universal Anthropology the following: "The population of the Titanic littoral is highly individualistic, possibly in response to a bountiful environment which puts no premium upon group activity. The language, expressing this trait, expresses the individual's mood, his emotional attitude towards a given situation. Factual information is regarded as a secondary concomitant. Moreover, the language is sung, characteristically to the accompaniment of a small instrument. As a result, there is great difficulty in ascertaining fact from a native of Fan, or the forbidden city of Zundar. One will be regaled with elegant arias and demonstrations of astonishing virtuousity upon one or another of the numerous musical instruments. The visitor to this fascinating world, unless he cares to be treated with the most consummate contempt, must therefore learn to express himself after the approved local fashion." This includes instruments such as: "stimic: three flute-like tubes equipped with plungers. Thumb and forefinger squeeze a bag to force air across the mouth-pieces; the second, third, and fourth little fingers manipulate the slide. The stimic is an instrument well-adapted to the sentiments of cool withdrawal, or even disapproval. Krodatch: a small square sound-box strung with resined gut. The musician scratches the strings with his fingernail, or strokes them with his fingertips, to produce a variety of quietly formal sounds. The krodatch is also used as an instrument of insult." Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(c) Smell. Smell is the most ancient and the most emotionally evocative sense you have. When you sniff an odor, molecules of the scent are absorbed by the mucous membrane of the fatty, moist, yellow tissue in your nasal cavity, behind the bridge of your nose, and stimulating microscopic cilia on special olfactory nerve cells which are replaced every month or so. The nerve cells send messages to your brain. In fact, the "olfactory bulb" in the brains of fishes is the evolutionary ancestor of your entire cerebrum -- the thinking part of your brain. You have, according to the popular "stereochemical" theory of J. E. Amoore (first suggested by the poet Lucretius in about 60 B.C.!), seven basic smell-receptors (shaped and sensitive molecules) on those nerve-cilia, and therefore everything you smell is a combination of seven basic smells. They are: pepperminty, floral, ethereal (alcohol, or pears), musky, camphoraceous (moth balls), pungent (vinegar) and putrid (rotten eggs). Something smells pepperminty to you if it has wedge-shaped molecules that fit into a V-shaped receptor site on your nerve cilia, and floral if it has a molecule shaped like a disk with a straight handle, which fits into a bowl-and-groove-shaped receptor site. Putrid molecules are negatively charged, and couple to positively charged receptors; while pungent molecules have a positive charge that links to a negatively charged receptor. In all likelihood, the ET will have a completely different set of basic smells. Your receptors are locks, designed to fit particular key molecules. The ET will have different locks and different keys. Still, it might be informative to present a series of smells, which are basic to you, to the ET, and to smell if it replies with any smells that you can recognize. On the down side, you might be poisoning the ET. A specially important type of smell communication is that of "pheromones" -- from the Greek words pherein (to carry), and horman (to excite). Precise scent molecules trigger some creatures to ovulate, to courtship behavior, to taking a dominant or submissive role, to mark territory, to identify family, to designate egg-laying places, or to make a trail back to home. Pheromones are important to insects and to mammals. Martha McClintock demonstrated that a group of women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles because of some pheromone in their sweat. One way of telling if the ET has evolved as a smell-priority creature is where its smell receptors are located. If the ET, for instance, is snake-like, with a head close to the ground, it is more likely to smell odors that cling to the ground. If the ET has feathery antennae, like moths or butterflies, it may have the super-sensitive pheromone receptors on these antennae. If the ET has four or six legs, and a head dropping close to the ground, then it may be somewhat like a bloodhound or truffle-hunting pig. But this is only a hint, not a certainty. After all, how can tell whether or not the ET is smelling with its feet? Well, maybe if it wears no shoes.... The chemistry and biochemistry experts on the Science Team have been running samples of exhaled and secreted gas and liquid from the ET through Mass Spectrometers and other analysis devices. They are coding that data for the computer system, and will now tell you if the molecular output from the ET is varying quickly over time. If the ET is like terrestrial insects in its use of pheromones and other chemicals as a medium of communication, we need to track the changes in smell, and be able to make stinky signals in return. Have the chemical synthesis sub-team make stocks of every chemical that the ET produces, and set up a smell-o-vision gadget that will puff software-controlled coded smells at the the ET. Call in the top perfume designers and "noses" from London, New York, Tokyo, and Paris, just to be sure. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(d) Taste. Follow the instructions for Smell, except based on samples from the surface of whatever part of the ET seems involved, such as mouth (as in people), antennae (as in insects), or carapace (as in lobsters). Pay attention to your master chef, but don't feed anything to the ET yet, for fear of poisoning. Our word taste comes from the Middle English tasten (to sample, touch, examine), which in turn derives from the Latin taxare (to sharply touch). Taste is important to mamals, who evolve a love for the flavor of their mother's milk; and later to tell good food from bad. Observe carefully to see if, how, when, and in what context the ETs eat, drink, and touch objects to the organs of eating and/or drinking. Observe whether they eat what appears to meat, or plant matter -- taste has different significance for hunting carnivores than for grazing herbivores. You have roughly 10,000 tastebuds on your tongue, as first noted by Gerg Meissner and Rudolf Wagner in the last century, with specific areas of your tongue devoted to the four basic tastes -- sweet (tip), bitter (back), sour, and salty. Your taste of food and drink is really a combination of taste and smell. The ETs may be cannibals, by the way, in the sense of eating each other, but unlike shlocky sci-fi movies, they will not want to eat humans. We are guaranteed to be extremely poisonous to them, if they have anything like an immune system responsive to foreign proteins. For a dissenting view, however, see Anything You Can Do.{69} Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(e) Touch. The ET may communicate through vibrations, squeezes, scratchings, or other tactile modalities. We are most sensitive to touch on certain hairless areas of skin: fingertips, palm, foot sole, tongue, nipple, and sexual organs. Many mammals are most sensitive with whiskers near the mouth. Look for what body parts the ET uses to delicately touch objects in its surrounding environment. These are probably among the more touch-sensitive places on its body. There may be social barriers to touch in specific places or in particular contexts. You don't want to accidently be guilty of extraterrestrial sexual harassment! The legal phrase, noli me tangere, means "don't interfere", but literally means "don't touch me." Your sense of touch comes from tiny encapsulated nerves called Meissner's corpuscles, buried between the top layer of skin (epidermis) and the second layer (dermis). You have almost 10,000 such touch nerves on each square inch of fingertip. You also have deep pressure-touch sensors, called Pacinian corpuscles, near joints, and in mammary glands and genitals, that signal to your brain what is pressing on your body, how your organs are shifting position, and what position your limbs, fingers, and toes are in (proprioception). These Pacinian corpuscles are also sensitive to vibration. In addition, you have Merkel's disks (which sense and signal about steady, constant pressure below the surface of your skin) and Ruffini endings, deep beneath skin, which respond to presure, and special nerves for sensing temperature, and the sensitivity to touch at the base (follicle) of your hairs. Maybe, but not surely, the ET has touch sensors of similar kinds. Observe carefully if the ET has hairs, Vibrissae (stiff cat-like whiskers), snouts, bristles, cerci (vibration-sensors on the bellies of cockroaches), antennae, tongues, bills, fingers, tentacles, or other parts likely to be touch-related. Look for how the ETs (if there are more than one) touch each other. Try to note which touches look like caressing, kissing, biting, sucking, scratching, patting, nudging, massaging, kneading, fumbling, wiping, tickling, fondling, grooming, brushing, stroking, prodding, banging, hugging, or licking. You may be way off base, but photograph, sketch, video, or note in writing whatever you can about such behaviors. If the ET reaches out to touch you, be very careful not to jerk away or to over-react. Try to touch it back in the same way. Gather some musicians (who can make precise motions with fingers or tongues), safecrackers (with ultrasensitive fingertips), chiropractors (good at bendings, twistings, pullings, and squeezing), doctors, chiropodists, manicurists, barbers, and masseuses. And have the Science Team set up tactile-transponders for computer input-ouput, that can translate touch into software and the reverse. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(f) Posture. The ET may communicate by wiggling its limbs or other body parts in a visual language. Your Science Team has been watching, recording, and computerizing its motions. Enhance that analysis with a top American Sign Language expert, Marcel Marceau or other available master Mime, modern dancers {89}, dance instructors, choreographers, semaphore signallers, and Labanotation folks who can translate choreography into computer notation and vice versa. Tell Robin Williams that you've got a sequel to "Mork and Mindy" in production, and fly him here. There are conventionalized symbolic gestures to convey narration and emotion in the dances of Indonesia, Indo-China, Korea, China, and Japan. "It would seem as if kinesthesia, or the sensing of muscular movement, although arising before language, should be made more highly conscious by linguistic use of imaginary space and metaphorical images of motion," says Whorf {45} (p.155). "Kinesthesia is marked in two facets of European culture: art and sport. European sculpture ... is strongly kinesthetic, conveying great sense of the body's motions; European painting likewise. The dance in our culture expresses delight in motion rather than symbolism or ceremonial, and our music is greatly influenced by our dance forms. Our sports are strongly imbued with the element of the 'poetry of motion.' Hopi [Native American] races and games seem to emphasize rather the virtues of endurance and sustained intensity. Hopi dancing is highly symbolic and is performed with great intensity and earnestness, but has not much movement or swing." Watch carefully for signs that the ET sometimes moves in dancelike or gamelike ways, but expect that the differences in the nature of those motions may be greater than the differences between European and Hopi dance. Weston La Barre {70} gives a referenced list of human gestural or allelo-languages, including: "the sign languages of Australian aborigines; the silent gestural language of European monks, designed to avoid interrupting the meditations of others, an allegedly international language of travelling medieval monks, reliably dated from, at the latest, the fourth century A.D. onward; the hand-language of deaf-mutes and those who would communicate with them; the gestural argots or kinesic trade-jargons of truck drivers, Hindu merchants, Persians, gypsies, carnival folk, burglars, street urchins, tobacco auctioneers, and others; the elaborate gestural language of the Hindu natya dance-dramas; the ritual handposes or mudras of Buddhist and Hindu priests in Bali; the drum languages of West Africa and Central Africa, the Jivaros, Melanesians, Polynesians, and Javanese; the 'whistling language' of the Canary Islanders and some West Africans; the special camphor-gathering language of the Jakun, and the allusive communications of Patani fisherman and many hunting peoples...." In modern American and international life, think of railroad semaphores, naval flags, and the universal code of weather maps, military salutes, and thumbs up or down. As scientist/science fiction author Gregory Benford warns, rules of thumb might be different for beings with different thumbs. R. L. Birdwistell {76} (pp.158-9) lists the basic assumptions of kinesics (the systmatic study of the communicational aspects of body motion) as measured in interpersonal contexts, in a way that we believe might also apply to Extraterrestrials: (1) Like other events in nature, no body movement or expression is without meaning in the context in which it appears. (2) Like other aspects of human behavior, body posture, movement, and facial expression are patterned, and thus, subject to systematic analysis. (3) While recognizing the possible limitations imposed by particular biological substrata, unless otherwise demonstrated, the systematic body motion of the members of a community is considered a function of the social system to which the group belongs. (4) Visible body activity like audible acoustic activity systematically influences to behavior of other members of any particular group. (5) Until otherwise demonstrated such behavior will be considered to have an investigable communicational function. (6) The meanings derived therefrom are functions both of the behavior and of the operations by which it is investigated. (7) The particular biological system and the special life experience of any individual will contribute idiosyncratic elements to his kinesic system, but the individual or symptomatic quality of these elements can only be assessed following the analysis of the larger system of which his is part. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(g) Biomorphic writing. The ET may have evolved (or been modified for) direct production of writings of some sort. For example, in the story "Help, I am Dr. Morris Goldpepper" {10}, aliens have specially shaped teeth for chewing sequences of symbols onto sticks that they pass back and forth for visual inspection and re-chewing. The ET may write on paper with self-made ink (like squid ink), or carve marks onto stone with diamond claws. Give it copies of any bits of material found on or near its person or from its vehicle. Look for variations of the "writing" methods devised by early human cultures: the knotted ropes and notched sticks of ancient China, South American indians, and West African and Australian natives. The quipu (knots) used by Incas in old Peru, included yellow ropes to symbolize gold, white ropes for silver, red ropes for soldiers, green ropes for grain, a single knot for 10, two knots for 20, a double knot for 100, and so on. The messages conveyed by these knotted cords evolved to such complexity that quipucamayocuna (offical keepers of the knot) were apointed to interpret them. It is possible that extraterrestrials have evolved some such non-pictoral non-written pseudo-writing, and may even have evolved special variations of their ancestral manipulatory organs to produce them rapidly and efficiently. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(h) Biological vectors. The ET may use other living things as the medium of communication. For instance, it may produce and analyze coded DNA (or its equivalent), encapsulated in linguistic viruses. In such case, add to the Science Team Dr. Leroy Hood, formerly from Caltech, now at the University of Washington in a chair endowed by Microsoft's Bill Gates, to build a computerized genetics-to-computer-to-genetics translator. And put the Centers for Disease Control on alert. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(i) Direct nerve contact. The ETs may directly join their nervous systems together and speak brain-to-brain. If so, get the top neurologists and microneuroanatomists to modify their squid axon voltage clamps into devices for reading and writing the electrochemical impulses of the ET nerves. Start the Science Team working on a neural interface to fit in between the ET nerves and a human volunteer's nerves. Note that our nerves use a particular pulse-frequency code, sodium/potassium ion transport scheme, and neurotransmitter menu likely to be quite different from the ET's nervous infrastructure. That's why the neural interface is a must-have. We may not have such a technology yet, but might evolve one in the future. This is suggested by the short story "Crisis" {98} by Edward Grendon in 1951: By 1980 the balance had shifted. The progress of the physical sciences had by no means stopped, but had slowed considerably. The social sciences, on the other hand, had moved ahead with unexpected speed. The integration between academic and therapeutic psychology had been the first step; the rest followed quickly.When the final rapprochement between psychoanalysis and neurology was made, there existed, for the first time, a comprehensive theory of behavior, not only of human beings and animals but of other--so far theoretical--nervous systems as well. Just as the mathematicians were able to postulate geometries that existed in no known Universe when they were first devised, the psychologists were now able to postulate non-Terran behavior systems. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(j) Exotic radiations. Outside the electromagnetic spectrum of (a), there are other forms of radiation which may be used by beings or civilizations. These include ions, electrons, neutrons, mesons, neutrinos, and gravity waves. Unless the ET is the size of a moon, it is unlikely to produce significant gravity waves, and unless it has a fission or fusion reactor in its belly, it is unlikely to emit neutrons, mesons, or neutrinos. Still, it never hurts to have the Science Team look for such emissions, and be prepared to produce similar ones, perhaps piped in through magnet-guided vacuum pipe from the nearest atom smasher. Neutrinos or gravity waves may, on the other hand, be the way to detect the ET civilization in the first place, but that discussion belongs in another chapter. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(k) Telepathy. While there is no clear evidence that people can ever "read" each others' minds, we are socially familiar with the notion of telepathy, and many cultures have such a notion. There are South American natives who believe that the drug Yage allows people to read minds in religious ceremonies, and J.B. Rhine and others at Duke University have performed experiments which tantalized some scientists for decades. It may be that telepathy would give such a Darwinian advantage to any creature that evolves it that the very lack of such creatures on Earth means that telepathy is impossible. But we can't be sure. After all, in one of the few science fiction novels written by a Nobel Prize winner, William Golding's The Inheritors {11}, telepathic Neanderthals are displaced by non-telepathic Homo Sapiens who, without the mental advantage of telepathy, are forced to develop language and technology. The suggestion here is that telepathy is actually an evolutionary DISadvantage. If the ET is telepathic, there are several possibilities. Maybe we can "hear" its thoughts, and it can't hear ours. This gives our Science Team an advantage to exploit. Maybe it can "hear" our thoughts, but cannot project messages back into our minds. If so, it has the responsibility to let us know, which puts us back to square one. Maybe we can sense its emotions, or it can sense ours. This is of limited value, since we may not have the same emotions, and even human emotional communications (i.e. music) produce at best ambiguous results. Kurt Vonnegut {12} (p.198) has fictional author Kilgore Trout write "Earth was the only place in the known universe where language was used... Everybody else used mental telepathy.... They [when humans taught them language] could get so much more done with language.... Mental telepathy, with everyone constantly telling everybody everything, produced a sort of generalized indifference to all information. But language, with its slow, narrow meanings, made it possible to think of one thing at a time -- to start thinking in terms of projects." If clear signals can go from ET to human and back by telepathy, we need a very disciplined human thinker to communicate. I suggest an expert in meditation, with a sense of humor and a delight in technology, such as the Dalai Lama. Whatever you do, keep everyone else out of telepathy range, or else the ET may tap into unspoken violence, prejudice, or the chaotic human unconsciousness. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
(l) Combinations. The ET may use two or more of the above modalities in combination. The "waggle dance" of the honeybee combines direction (with respect to the position of the sun), touch, and smell. As an example of (c) and (f), Kurt Vonnegut {12} has written about aliens who communicate by farting and tapdancing, who are all beaten to death by irritated rednecks. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Linear or Nonlinear?

Language is Linear. That means, for humans, that language sounds are produced by a series of movements of the speech organs, one after the other. We can represent human language by using distinct symbols for each individual sound, and by putting them in order from first to last in the same order as the sounds are emitted. The order of the symbols (left-to-right as in English, right-to-left as in Hebrew, or top-to-bottom as in Chinese) doesn't matter, as long as we are consistent. There is no guarantee that this is true for the ET. If the ET has a different perception of the flow of time, that is difficult, but does not produce an absolute barrier to communication.{13} What if the ET has a different perception of linguistic space? The alien might produce multiple sequences of sounds (or whatever) simultaneously, in counterpoint. For instance, it might make a series of eight noises in a row, each of which has eight frequencies simultaneously. The message would not be coded as a string or line of symbols, but rather as an eight-by-eight square of symbols, like pieces arranged on a chessboard. Musical composers and conductors may be said to think in two dimensions, which is why a musical score is written with multiple instruments from top to bottom as well as melodies written from left to right. An ET of this type might be speaking in crossword puzzles, rather than in words. So long as we can detect, record, and computerize everything the alien does, we will be able to solve the crossword puzzle or to detect the pattern of linguistic chess pieces. It will be painstakingly slow, but we can proceed. Similarly, the alien linguistic units may be connected to each other not in sequence, or in fixed two-dimensional array, but as a network of connected language atoms that point to, connect to, or refer to each other in a pattern which is different every time. This would be a spoken version of what Theodore Nelson calls hypertext.{14} It took Ted Nelson some twenty years to convince the world that Hypertext made sense at all. I know, because I was one of the two computer programmers who first put his idea into practice in the mid-1970s. Now, it is a commonplace on computers through software such as HyperCard on the Macintosh, or more astonishingly, the World Wide Web on the Internet. An ET that could speak Hypertext would be hard for us to keep up with, but the computer provides the essential interface. Eventually, an alien on the World Wide Web would be a kind of inter-society communications the likes of which we could not have imagined a decade ago. Another possibility is that the ET communicates in three dimensions or more at once. The ET might, for example, emit not just a sequence of sounds, but a phased array of sounds in frequency space to produce an acoustic hologram. Some people think that dolphins can send acoustic holograms to each other, which are like three-dimensional diagrams of the perceived or imagined world. We humans do not know how to think in holograms, but we can produce them and analyze them by computer. John Lilly and some dolphins in a tank would again be a useful translation team. Coincidently, one of Ted Nelson's first jobs was a documentary film-maker for John Lilly's dolphin communication labs, and my mother Patricia Frances Vos worked for Haskins laboratories, which analyzed recordings of dolphin speech. As Ted Nelson puts it, inventing a Lewis Carroll-like portmanteau word from "interconnected," "twisted," and "tangled" : "everything is profoundly intertwingled." Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Systematic, We Hope

Language is Systematic. That means that, in every human language on Earth, the number of symbols needed, to write speech in that language as a linear sequence, is definite in number. As few as a dozen letters might be needed (as in Hawaiian), or as many as fifty or so. But not every combination of sounds and symbols) is possible in any given language. That is, there are only a finite number of units that have only a limited number of ways to be combined. If this is not so for the ET, we are in trouble. If the ET language has an infinite number of units, we could never learn more than an infinitesimal part of that language. But we cannot conceive of aliens being able to handle that, either. We suspect that this is a universal law of language, applicable throughout the universe. Only infinite beings could use infinite languages. They would be as gods to us. The combination of linearity and systematic restriction on combinations lets us describe and compare languages, both in terms of sounds and grammar. To take an example from Dineen, table and stable are both common words in English, and each can be made into other English words by adding a single sound at the end (suffixing). We can now have tables and stables. But there is no sound that we can put at the start of (prefix to) stable that would make an acceptable English word, nor any sound that can be suffixed to tables or stables to make an acceptable English word. If there are no systematic limits to combining units of ET language, our linguistic experience will be of little use, and we can only hope that our Science Team will be provoked into making an unpredictable breakthrough. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

I Never Metasystem I Didn't Like

Language is a System of Systems, or a Metasystem. The table and stable example above is usually explained in terms of two kinds of linguistic reasoning. We would say that phonologically (in terms of sound system) there is no such word as jtable or ztable. We would say that grammatically there is no way to suffix a sound after the -s at the end of tables. That is, there is a system of sounds (phonology) and a system of grammar. Both systems are in force all the time, and both systems restrict the combinations and the order within combinations. There are also systems of style (stylistics) and meaning (semantics) which limit combinations and sequences. If the ET language is not this kind of Metasystem, or system of systems, each with its units and rules of combination of units, then our current scientific method of analyzing a language into each system, one at a time, is doomed to failure. Again, though, this is the kind of fruitful failure that could spur our Science Team to a great leap forward. But that would scarcely happen overnight. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is the Meaning of Meaning?

Language is Meaningful. The reason that you are in charge of studying the ET language is that we assume that the language is connected to almost every aspect of the ET's life and culture. On Earth, there is a stable relationship between the group of sounds spoken by people of one language and the civilized environment in which the speakers of that language live. We assume that the same is true of the ET. A child becomes a functioning part of his or her community primarily by acquiring language. The leaders of each society become leaders and exert their leadership primarily through their ability to communicate with their constituency through language. Let's look at each of these two sentences more carefully. A baby is not an adult, not only because the baby is small, weak, and unable to care for itself. The baby cannot fully understand what we say to it, nor to tell us precisely what it wants. True, a mother may be able to recognize her baby's cry from that of another baby. True, the baby can recognize Mommy and Daddy, and very quickly learn to respond to a few special voices and words. But it takes a couple of years of almost constant linguistic experimentation and play before the baby becomes a toddler able to speak and understand sentences. The baby also acquires its parents' language in the context of interacting with toys, foods, parents, furniture, and the patterns of daily home life. Three times in history experiments were performed to see if children raised in an environment with no language would speak a common proto-language or create a language of their own. First, Psammetichos, King of Egypt had this tried; then Frederick II, King of Sicily, in roughly 200 A.D.; and finally King James IV of Scotland, approximately 1500 A.D. (using deaf-mute nurses, cooks, and servants in a remote castle). These experiments would be considered unethical today, of course. Unfortunately, as the people of those times did not exercise what we would call controlled scientific methods, the results were uncertain. How then can we communicate with an ET, since neither of us are babies acquiring language for the first time? Babies have linguistic plasticity: an extraordinary ability to almost effortlessly learn any language or combination of languages spoken consistently in its environment. This seems to be due to a neural plasticity in which the baby's brain has an unusual ability to create, compare, and extend language patterns. Once the brain becomes less plastic, as we grow up, it becomes harder and harder for us to learn languages. The obvious solution is to have a human baby grow up while interacting with the ET, or an ET baby grow up in a human environment. It is in this way that we intuitively accept Tarzan {15} learning the language of apes while still a baby, or Michael Valentine Smith {16} learning Martian by growing up on Mars. There would be legal problems in allowing a baby to grow up around our ET, but perhaps there will be no faster way to truly acquire its language. Secondly, we said that linguistic power yields leadership. If our ET is a leader, perhaps we can count on it having special linguistic plasticity or discipline. But if it is just an ordinary crew member or passenger, it would indeed want to ask us humbly to "take me to your leader." Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Arbitrary is as Arbitrary Does

Language is Arbitrary. The reason that speech alone does not suffice for people to communicate if they speak different languages seems obvious. There is no particular connection between the sounds used in each language and the message being expressed in those languages. That is precisely why there are many languages on Earth -- 5,445 different languages by one recent count. If there were a one-to-one relationship between things and the words for those things, there could fundamentally be only one language, with one-to-one conversion rules to account for different sounds for the same basic words. There are a few words that do relate directly to what they represent, such as murmur, buzz, hiss, bang, whisper, hum, chirp, screech, slither, plop, babble, thump -- but these imitations of the sounds of their referents (onomatopoeia) is a very small part of human languages, which in any case render the imitations differently. For instance, the English "cock-a-doodle-doo" imitation of a rooster crowing is expressed as "cocorico" in French and "chicchirichi" in Italian. We should not expect the ET language to be very different in this concern. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Conventions: Pay at the Door

Language is Conventional. Although we have just established that there is no predictable relationship between the expressions we use to represent things and those things themselves, we may not deduce that language is totally unpredictable. When we consider a single item of language in isolation, it is certainly arbitrary. But no piece of language really exists in isolation; it is (as we have seen) part of a system of systems. This means that there are regular and accurately specifiable relationships between different units of the same language. When humans speak to each other, the formation and use of language units is so regular that it almost seems to be that there is an agreement between the speakers. This virtual agreement is what we mean by language being conventional. The idea that language is conventional goes back at least to Democritus, Aristotle, and the Epicureans. The agreement is not explicit; it is an implicit agreement of facts and actions. Speakers in the same linguistic community use very similar expressions to designate the same things, and use the same set of conventions to deal with similar situations. This is what creates linguistic systems and keeps them stable. Because language is conventional in this way, we can be reasonably certain that an accurate analysis of the speech of one person will apply to the speaking habits of another person from the same community. We believe that the same applies to extraterrestrials. Therefore, as you lead the Science Team in learning to understand the ET's language, you can rest assured that this will make it very much more easy to communicate with the second ET from the same outer-space community. There is a small but non-zero possibility that the ET language is not stable and conventional in this way. If so, we are in serious trouble. As Robert Sheckley has suggested in "Shall We Have a Little Talk" {17}, ETs with a sufficiently fast-changing language, and ability to adapt to the continous change in language systems, will be beyond our ability to communicate with them for more than a short and increasingly frustrating period: "I have learned an exceptional number of exceptions. Indeed, an impartial observer might think that this language is composed of nothing but exceptions. But that is damned well impossible, unthinkable, and unacceptable. A language is by God and by definition systematic, which means it's gotta follow some kind of rules. Otherwise, nobody can't understand nobody. That's the way it works and that's the way it's gotta be...." In Sheckley's profound yet funny story, the brilliant human linguist has struggled to learn a language, falls in love with an alien, and then is horrified as the language changes overnight into what he first suspects is a joke on him, then realizes is: "... a true language. This language was made up at present of the single sound 'mun.' This sound could carry an extensive repertoire of meanings through variations in pitch and pattern, changes in stress and quantity, alteration of rhythm and repetition, and through accompanying gestures and facial expressions. A language consisting of infinite variations on a single word!.... He could learn this language, of course. But by the time he learned it, what would it have changed into? .... All languages change. But on Earth and the few dozen worlds she had contacted, the languages changed with relative slowness. On Na, the rate of change was faster. Quite a bit faster.... It changed endlessly and incessantly, in accordance with unknown rules and invisible principles. It changed its form as an avalanche changes its shape. Compared with it, English was like a glacier.... An observer could never hope to fix or isolate even one term out of the dynamic shifting network of terms that composed the Na language. For the observer's action would be gross enough to disrupt and alter the system, causing it to change unpredictably.... By the fact of its change, the language was rendered impervious to codification and control.. Through indeterminacy, the Na tongue resisted all attempts to conquer it." Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

By Way of Contrast

Language is a System of Contrasts. The main reason why a single speaker's language habits are valid for others of his or her community is that language can be considered a system of differences. How those differences are manifest is not very significant. For example, parrots cannot produce exactly the same sounds as humans do, because they do not have human vocal cords or nasal sinuses or tongues. Yet parrots can produce sounds that differ from each other in a way analogous to human, and so we understand their imitations of our speech as if it were human speech. We don't care if the ET makes human-like sounds by vibrating a membrane, rubbing its legs together like a cricket, or directly stimulating air molecules. If it can make sound, we can analyze its language as if (within limits) it were spoken sound, as in the "Sound, Light, Viruses, and Neutrinos" section, part (a). Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

You're So Creative!

Language is Creative. As a system of contrasts, as discussed above, language is a pattern which is maintained in common to an indefinite number of speaking acts that refer to completely different referents. This pattern explains why we can, at any time, speak a sentence that no human being has ever spoken before, and immediately understand a sentence that we've never heard before. By using our imaginations to manipulate the phonological, grammatical, lexical, and semantic systems of our language, we can act as fiction writers or poets in extending human awareness of possible connections between things in a creative way. In a sense, poets create a whole new world through language. This is so important that we will conclude our chapter with an examination of the importance of poetry to extraterrestrial communications. First Contact with extraterrestrials will be very important in getting ourselves out of our parochial limitations of understanding. As Whorf {45} (p.154) suggests: "Science ... following these well-worn cultural grooves, gives back to culture an ever-growing store of applications, habits, and values, with which culture again directs science. But what lies outside this spiral? Science is beginning to find that there is something in the Cosmos that is not in accord with the concepts we have formed in mounting the spiral. It is trying to frame a NEW LANGUAGE by which to adjust itself to a wider universe." Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Unique in All the Universe

Languages are Unique. Because languages are arbitrary, systematic networks of contrasts (as we have shown above), each human language deserves to be considered as unique, one of a kind in all the universe. Even among the 5,445 or so languages on Earth, each has something that no other has. It may be a sound never used meaningfully (as a phoneme) as part of a word by other people, or a unique number of parts of speech, or a special way of combining those parts. Part of the challenge of learning a foreign language is to discover and master such individual patterns. All human beings descend from the same ancestors. Current research on the mitochondrial DNA suggests that all living humans descend from a particular woman who lived roughly 200,000 years ago in Africa. Other research on the X chromosome suggests that we are all descended from a particular man who lived perhaps 280,000 years ago, but almost surely no more than 800,000 years ago. It will be awkward to explain if "Adam" and "Eve" lived tens of thousands of years apart. Just as we have common biological descent, our languages all evolved (we think) from the same original language. So as different and unique as each language is, they are all cousins in the same family. Our ET does not have an ancestor in common with us. The ET language, similarly, did not descend from a prehistoric Earth language. The challenge for your team is that there are things, we don't know in advance which things, common to all Earth languages which might not apply to the ET. We must start out assuming that it's language is "more unique" than any we have ever encountered before. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS


Languages are Similar. As we have found, historically related languages such as the Romance languages have many features in common. All human languages, more broadly speaking, have features in common. All humans encounter and experience the physical world through the same senses (even if one or more is missing in an individual through birth, disease, or accident) and all of us experience in essentially the same way. In the early 18th century Leibnitz first suggested that all human languages derive not from an historical origin, but from a common proto-speech. The 20th century Italian linguist Trombetti argued that the Tower of Babel story is figuratively true, in that all human languages have a common origin. As James Beattie {74} said over two centuries ago, in 1788: "Languages, therefore, resemble men in this respect, that, though each has peculiarities, whereby it is distinguished from every other, yet all have certain qualities in common. The peculiarities of individual tongues are explained in their respective grammars and dictionaries. Those things, that all languages have in common, or that are necessary to every language, are treated of in a science, which some have called Universal or Philosophical grammar." The differences in linguistic systems reflect the "social organization of speech." Arbitrary selection of significant features of experience makes it hard to learn an unrelated language. It is easier for an English speaker to learn French or German than to learn Iroquois or Bantu. Because of the pervasive similarities between all human languages, it is possible to learn new languages at all. Since the ET may have a radically different social organization, a radically different set of senses, and a radically different way of experiencing the physical world, we must resign ourselves to the ET language having far fewer similarities to human languages than do any human languages to each other. This leads us to ponder a key question: what are bedrock, fundamental, inherent similarities between our view of the world and the ET view of the world, by which we can find SOME similarity, however slim, between its language and ours? We will look closely at this question, and then explore the answers in terms of the linguistic analysis that we must use to exploit those answers. Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS


Clues from Science Fiction

What do we know that we can be sure that the ET also knows? The key to this, if we are on Earth and the ET has come to us in a UFO, is that the alien civilization knows enough to be able to design, build, launch, and navigate their UFO! ¥ Gauss and Pythagorean Triangle ¥ Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey" ¥ Knuth and Arithmetic ¥ Leinster's "First Contact" ¥ Piper's "Omnilingual" ¥ Sagan's Intellectual Seive ¥ Aldiss' "Dark Light Years" ¥ Clarke's "Childhood's End" ¥ Dickson's "Alien Way" ¥ Gallun's "Old Faithful" ¥ Hoyle's "Black Cloud" ¥ Leiber's "Wanderer" ¥ Violent Sci-Fi Movies ¥ Yefremov's "Heart of the Serpent" ¥ MacLean's "Pictures Don't Lie" ¥ Mann's "Eye of the Queen" ¥ Masson's "Not So Certain" ¥ Niven's "Mote in God's Eye" ¥ Watson's "Embedding" ¥ Delany's "Babel-17" ¥ Vance's "Language of Pao" ¥ Lem's "Solaris" ¥ Sagan's "Contact" ¥ Pohl's "JEM" ¥ Moffitt's "Jupiter Theft" ¥ Clement's "Mission of Gravity" ¥ White's "All Judgment Fled" ¥ Farmer's "Mother" ¥ Lasswitz' "Two Planets" ¥ Oliver's "Unearthly Neighbors" ¥ Recent Fiction ¥ Le Guin's "Author of the Acacia Seeds" ¥ Sheckley's "Language of Love" to be done ¥ Fontenay's "Communication" to be done ¥ Kerr's "Communication" to be done ¥ Aarons' "Communicators" to be done

Gauss and the Pythagorean Triangle

This means that they know at least some of the same mathematics, engineering, and science that we do. This was first pointed out around 1820 by the supergenius mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss, who proposed planting a vast forest in Siberia in the shape of squares attached to the sides of a right triangle, thus allowing Martians to see through their telescopes that we knew the Pythagorean Theorem. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Weinbaum's "Martian Odyssey"

The first time this idea was explored in science fiction was in 1934, when chemical engineer Stanley Weinbaum's story "A Martian Odyssey" {18} introduced a fascinatingly different alien named Tweel, who, for the first time in literature, was as smart as a human but did not think remotely like a human. This birdlike Martian, who jumped into the air and landed on his beak as a mode of travel, was able to learn the human protagonist's name, and the human learn his name, but then their communications bogged down in mutual incomprehension: "I couldn't get the hang of his talk. Either I missed some subtle point or we just didn't think alike--and I rather believe the latter view." Weinbaum then solved the problem in a way that forms the basis of our Handbook: "After a while I gave up the language business, and tried mathematics. I scratched two plus two equals four on the ground, and demonstrated it with pebbles. Again Tweel caught the idea, and informed me that three plus three equals six." This first step -- communicating about elementary arithmetic, and then working up to more and more advanced mathematics -- is the recommended technique, as many scientists today agree. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Knuth and Arithmetic

The problem is, there are many different ways of representing numbers -- think of Roman Numerals. Your guidebook to alternative arithmetic systems should be Professor Donald Knuth {19}. In my own novel, One Hundred Trillion Planets {20}, human-ET communication is stuck for some time until the humans figure out that the three-armed ETs' number system was based, not on base 10 as is our (decimal) system, but on base -3 (negative trinary). Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Leinster's "First Contact"

Another classic story of human-ET communications, indeed the one that gave the name to this whole genre of fiction, was "First Contact" {21} by Murray Leinster in 1945. A human-crewed spaceship and an alien-crewed spaceship encounter each other thousands of light years away, in the Crab Nebula. They communicate by radio, again beginning with mathematics, and accumulate a vocabulary of words that they can both agree upon. They find that they, broadly speaking, think in the same way. Unfortunately, that means that they both realize that if either of them returned to their home planet, the other might follow and begin an interstellar war. "I'd like to say," said the skipper heavily, "the appropriate things about this first contact of two dissimilar civilized races, and of my hopes that a friendly intercourse between the two peoples will result." Tommy Dort, the radio operator, sends this message, and receives a response from the ET captain: "He says, sir, 'That is all very well, but is there any way for us to let each other go home alive? I would be happy to hear of such a way if you can contrive one. At the moment it seems to me that one of us must be killed.'" Rather than destroy each other on the spot, they have a clever idea: "Swap ships!.... We can fix our instruments so they'll do no trailing, and he can do the same with his. We'll each remove our star maps and records. We'll each dismantle our weapons. The air will serve, and we'll take their ship and they'll take ours, and neither one can harm or trail the other, and each will carry home more information than can be taken otherwise." They communicate so well that, by the end of the story, they are telling each other dirty jokes! Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Piper's "Omnilingual"

Further confirmation of our basic strategy was intelligently presented in the story "Omnilingual" {22} by H. Beam Piper in 1957. Human archeologist on an alien planet try to understand a vanished civilization. They succeed, based on the discovery of an alien "Rosetta Stone" which permits translation of the alien language. The key to recognition of shared knowledge is the Periodic Table of the Elements. Both humans and ETs have found the same inevitable pattern of the elements Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and so forth. From that pattern, on the "Rosetta Stone," the alien arithmetic and technology become quickly able to be decoded. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sagan's Intellectual Seive

As Carl Sagan has explained {75} (pp.232-233): "... the laws of nature ... are the same everywhere. We can detect by spectroscopy the same chemical elements, the same common molecules on other planets, stars, and galaxies.... Gravity, quantum mechanics, and the great bulk of physics and chemistry are observed to be the same elsewhere.... Intelligent organisms evolving on another world may not be like us biochemically ... but they must come to grips with the same laws of nature.... all those organisms who perceived their universe as very complex are dead.... Natural selection has served as a kind of intellectual sieve, producing brains and intelligences increasingly competent to deal with the laws of nature.... we will find that much of their biology, psychology, sociology, and politics will seem to us stunningly exotic and deeply mysterious. But I suspect we will have little difficulty in understanding each other on the simpler aspects of astronomy, physics, chemistry, and perhaps mathematics." Too many stories to mention involve a human drawing a Sun with orbits of planets around it, then pointing to the third circle and saying "Earth -- we come from the third planet." Any race able to fly from one solar system to another will have much of the same knowledge of Astronomy that we do, including Newton's laws, Kepler's Laws of planetary motion, and the like. Your Science Team will know more than enough to engage in dialogue on Astronomy, once the mode of communication and mathematical preliminaries have been established. The problem may come after this point of mutually comprehended science. Even human beings of different cultures and at different times think in alternative Paradigms, or patterns of thought, lists of essential questions and agreed-upon solutions, sets of implicit assumptions, allowable tools for problem-solving, and definitions of what things are in the universe of discourse. We may also find each others' social behavior distasteful or hard to fathom. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Aldiss' "Dark Light Years"

For example, in The Dark Light Years {23} Brian Aldiss describes an intellectually advanced but (to us) physically repulsive race with an intricate but alien code of social behavior, which tends to make humans who understand it become (by human terms) insane. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Clarke's "Childhood's End"

In the classic novel Childhood's End {24}, Arthur C. Clarke outlines a race of beings superior to human beings, who effortlessly communicate with us, but achieve their mysterious goals by educating human children to attain super-human powers, until our children's behavior passes beyond that of human and alien alike. On the same theme, Arthur C. Clarke's book 2001: A Space Odyssey {25}, and the film made in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick, involve human-ET communication which results in one man transcending human limits and human understanding. The inverse of this occurs in the short story "The Children's Hour" {96} by Kuttner and Moore, in which the apparently adult ET with whom the protagonist falls in love is in fact a superchild: A child can't completely comprehend an adult. But a child can more or less understand another child--which is reduced to the same equation as his own, or at least the same common denominator. A superman would have to grow. He wouldn't start out mature... Similarly, Ted Sturgeon's story "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" {97} has ETs on the verge of destroying the human race until they have fun with a child, and understand us at last: Throughout the continuum as we know it (and a good deal more as we don't know it) there are cultures that fly and cultures that swim; there are boron folk and fluorine fellowships, cupro-copraphages and (roughly speaking) immaterial lifeforms which swim and swirl around each other in space like so many pelagic shards of metaphysics. And some organize into super- entities like a beehive or a slime-mold so that they live plurally to become singular, and some have even more singular ideas of plurality.... Prognosis [for Earth] Positive. Their young are delightful. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dickson's "Alien Way"

The Alien Way {26} by Gordon Dickson follows an Earthman in an alien brain who struggles to learn the complexities of an extraterrestrial culture. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Gallun's "Old Faithful"

The popular story "Old Faithful" {27} by Raymond Z. Gallun... xx xxxxxx xxxxx Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Hoyle's "Black Cloud"

A particularly important novel for you and your Science Team to read is The Black Cloud {28}, by prominent Astronomer-Author Sir Fred Hoyle. He explores the communications problems between humans and a very intelligent and powerful, but very alien, creature made up of organic life distributed on particles within an ultra-cold "molecular cloud" in space. This novel also lays out (for the 1950s) a good summary of the kind of logistics needed to assemble and support a Science Team. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Leiber's "Wanderer"

The Wanderer {29} by Fritz Leiber is also a detailed and thoughtful examination of First Contact, in which a planet-sized UFO (The Wanderer) pulverizes our Moon for fuel and raises deadly tides on Earth. "Then a voice, strangely sweet and cajoling, called to him [astronaut Don Merriam] in only slightly slurred English: 'Come! Unsuit yourself and come down!'" [p.138]. The felinoid ET Tigerishka is offended that humans keep cats as pets, and on meeting her, Merriam ponders "It was unreasonable to think of an alien being being able to speak English without any preliminary parleying. Or was it?" [p.143]. It turns out that these ETs are telepathic, and disdain humans: "Monkeys! Cowardly, chattering, swarming -- no individuality, no flair!... We think he smells. Makes smells with his mind, too" [p.170]. They have a fabulous technology, though: "I come superior galactic culture. Read minds, throw thoughts, sail hyperspace, live forever if want, blow up suns, all that sort stuff. Look like animal -- resume ancestral shapes. Make brain small but really large (psychophysiosubmicrominiaturization)! We stay superior. You not believe?" [pp.192-3]. The story then gives an explanation for why we haven't seen ETs before, despite their being prevalent: "Because mankind is young, you think the universe is, too. But it is old, old, old.... You think that space is empty, but it's full. Your own solar system is one of the few primeval spots left, like a small, weed-grown lot overlooked by builders in the heart of a vast but ancient city that has overgrown all the countryside.... There is the drama of meeting other life forms -- shocks, moments of poignent wonder.... The universe is full.... Intelligent life is everywhere, its planets darkening the stars" [pp.255-256]. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
Violent Sci-Fi Movies Must we assume that ETs will be similar to us in warlike aggression, as in Murray Leinster's story, or so many violent Sci-Fi movies such as War of the Worlds {30}, The Thing {31}, Invaders from Mars {32}, Invasion of the Body Snatchers {33}, This Island Earth {34}, or Forbidden Planet {35}? Not necessarily. Out of the Silent Planet {36} by C.S. Lewis has protagonist Dr. Ransom enter into philosphical commmunications with peaceful and spiritual Martians. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Yefremov's "Heart of the Serpent"

Similarly, in "The Heart of the Serpent" {37}, Soviet Paleontologist Ivan Antonovich Yefremov endorses the optimistic notion that any creatures technologically advanced enough to be able to travel to Earth must have evolved socially beyond the need for paranoia and militarism. As editor Groff Conklin put it, in his introduction to a reprint of Edgar Pangborn's story "Angel's Egg" {100}: On the other hand, some authors take it for granted that the creatures from space will be friendly even though they are a few thousand years ahead of us, eager to help us even though most of us would blindly and savagely strike them down if we could, and willing to work painstakingly with the few humans who have the imagination and ability to learn, even though, in doing so, the aliens might become permanent exiles from their home planet. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

MacLean's "Pictures Don't Lie"

"Pictures Don't Lie" {38} by Katherine MacLean suggests that it might be a mistake to assume that aliens are very much like humans, even if they look very human on television. The story opens with our expectant view of: ... the airfield where They would arrive. On the concrete runway the puddles were pockmarked with rain, and the grass growing untouched between the runways of the unused field glistened wetly, bending before gusts of wind. Back at a respectful distance from the place where the huge spaceship would land were the gray shapes of trucks, where TV camera crews huddled inside their mobile units, waiting. Farther back in the deserted, sandy landscape, behind distant sandy hills, artillery was ringed in a great circle, and in the distance across the horizon bombers stood ready at airfields, guarding the world against possible treachery from the first alien ship ever to land from space. Reporters and scientists speculate on how human the ETs will be, and how earth-like their home planet. Nathan, the Military Intelligence radio decoder who first descrambled the ET broadcast recalls: You see, there's an old intelligence trick, speeding up a message on a record until it sounds just like that, a short squawk of static, and then rebroadcasting it.... I'd recognized a scanning pattern, and I wanted pictures. Pictures are understandable in any language.... I recorded a couple of package screetches from Sagittarius and began working on them.... It took a couple of months to find the synchronizing signals and set the scanners close enough to the right time to even get a pattern.... It took eight months to pick out the color bands and assign them the right colors, to get anything intelligible on the screen.... Nathan sent the Disney-Stravinsky The Rite of Spring, from Fantasia, as a TV broadcast into space, towards Sagittarius, expecting it to take years for a response. Two weeks later, when we caught and slowed down a new batch of recordings, we found an answer. It was obviously meant for us. It was a flash of the Disney being played to a large audience, and then the audience sitting and waiting before a blank screen. The signal was very clear and loud. We'd intercepted a spaceship. They were asking for an encore, you see. They liked the film and wanted more. The ETs later sent a TV melodrama of their own, and are given coordinates to land on Earth. But they are late in landing. The tension mounts. They still don't see the alien ship, but get a frantic message: Radar shows no buildings or civilization near. The atmosphere around us registers as thick as glue. Tremendous gas pressure, low gravity, no light at all. You didn't describe it like this. Where are you, Joe? This isn't some kind of trick, is it? .... Where is the landing port? Where are you?.... A half circle of cliffs around the horizon. A wide muddy lake swarming with swimming things. Huge, strange white foliage all around the ship and incredibly huge, pulpy monsters attacking and eating each other on all sides.... Nathan suddenly figures things out. My guess is that they evolved on a high-gravity planet with a thin atmosphere, near a blue-white star. Sure, they see in the ultraviolet range. Our sun is abnormally small and dim and yellow. Our atmosphere is so thick it screens out ultraviolet.... This business about squawk coding ... I was wrong. They don't speed up their broadcasts... The ETs move at a far, far greater speed than humans do. They are also far, far smaller. The ET spaceship has sunk in one of the little puddles on the landing field. In order to rescue them, if possible: We'll need a magnifying glass for that. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Mann's "Eye of the Queen"

The Eye of the Queen {39} by Phillip Mann, who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, is a psychologically sophisticated novel set a century from now, when the human race has contacted several extraterrestrial species. It becomes clear that an unseen force is preventing human spaceships from exploring certain regions of space, and gradually this superior force reveals itself: the 11-foot tall homanoids called the Pe-Ellians. Travelling to the Pe-Ellian world is Earth's greatest expert in alien linguistics, Marius Thorndyke, who tries to understand the aliens' language, culture, and philosophy, with unexpected consequences. Thorndyke is a founder of the so-called Contact Linguistics Institute (CLI). The CLI's great encyclopedia is called the "Grammaria Galactica." Perhaps the book you are holding in your hands right now will lead someday to a real Contact Linguistics Institute! In this novel, the key hardware for the CLI is the "CLI encoder" or "lightweight bio-crystalline encoder" which is a combination computer (for indexing and cross-referencing) and audio/video recording device. You, too, should be acquiring the best computers and recorders that you can. In The Eye of the Queen, there is "a history of antagonism between the CLI and the military wing of the Space Council." You shall be ensuring that the military, academic, and space program sectors will work together constructively. Some sayings from the Contact Linguistics Institute, and their "Contact Linguists' Handbook" which embodies the "Contact Linguists' Code" [p.32] and includes the following: * "The Earth is no yardstick whereby we can measure the known galaxy." [p.7] * "Do not rush to judgment. An alien race is not there to justify your prejudices, and you must always, at least in the early stages of a mission, avoid the temptation to like or dislike." [p.32] * "A contact linguist is a neutral observer, who always tries to understand the larger picture." [p.32] * "A few known belongings help to make even the most alien environment a bit more like home." [p.79] * "The most comprehensive [First Contact] plan ... Base-plan Alpha is a catch-all program ... [which] depends on a carefully graded sequence of questions which relate together, for example, climate and archaeology. Base-Plan is a program worked out for contact linguists who are in command of the flow of information." [p.86] * "True contact linguist manner -- cool, sequential, and purely factual." [p.111] * "The relevant section of the Contact Linguists' Handbook is very clear on the perils of too close an identification with an alien culture. The contact linguist is encouraged to participate imaginatively with a culture, but at all times to retain a sense of selfhood. Failure to do so invariably results in a loss of objectivity and can constitute the first steps towards madness. There are cases on file in which trusted and highly respected operatives have suddenly gone rogue and attempted to manipulate the local population" [p.123] * "In working with an alien race your method of procedure and inquiry must largely be guided by that race's sense of structure." [p.155] * The contact linguists' code is not just a book of rules and regulations, it is a moral statement, which binds one to certain kinds of actions and ways of thinking. Of course, different situations demand different reactions and one cannot plan for every eventuality." [p.211] * "The contact linguist's first responsibility is to his colleague. Don't become a mother, but don't lose your heart. The effectiveness of your work lies partly in the knowledge that you are never alone... Find common ground." [ p.212] * "A contact linguist scholarly lump rises in his throat as he thinks of the beautiful books he could have written. How he would have loved peeling back the layers of culture, revealing the meanings, coining new words that had no part in Earth's history, preparing the monographs, films, adding a new volume to the Grammaria..." [p.251] * "Over-ride Mortality ... is a technique taught to all contact linguists. It can be used only if the individual feels he is being taken over by an alien species.... Many alien life forms are parasitic.... It is an individualized program with guarantees [the human's] death instantaneously." [p.254] I suggest that you ignore the threat in this last quote: parasites have to co-evolve with their hosts. Since the extraterrestrial did not have an ancestor in common with you, it cannot be, biologically, a parasite. And if the extraterrestrial can "take over" you, it can do the same to anyone else, in which case you couldn't do anything about it anyway. Think positive! Don't panic! Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Masson's "Not So Certain"

In "Not So Certain" {40} British librarian David I. Masson (born in Edinburgh in 1915) embroiders a story of first contact told with knowledgable concern for and reasonable suggestions for dealing with the linguistic problems. In particular, xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Niven's "Mote in God's Eye"

The Mote in God's Eye {41}, by Larry Niven and a writing partner, suggests that when a human and ET spaceship first communicate, the dialogue will go something like this: "One, two, three, four blinked the light, and Cargill used the forward batteries to send five, six, seven. Twenty minutes later the light sent three one eight four eleven, repeated, and the ship's [computer] brain ground out Pi, base twelve. Cargill used the computer to find e to the same base and replied with that. But the true message was, we want to talk to you. And [spaceship] MacArthur's answer was, Fine. Elaborations would have to wait" [p.117]. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Watson's "Embedding"

The Embedding {42}, the remarkable first novel by Ian Watson, is one of the most sophisticated novels to focus on issues of human and alien linguistics. Watson argues that there may be patterns common to every human language except one (of the roughly 5,445) and that that one might be the very one needed to communicate with ETs. Ironically, in his novel, the essential language is spoken by a tiny Amazon rainforest tribe (the Xemahoa) about to be destroyed by a huge dam project. Indeed, at least 1,000 of the human languages are "endangered species," and when they die within another century, 1,000 views of the universe die with them. In The Embedding, three different linguistic plots are intertwined. (1) Children in an experiment live in an artificial environment speak a wholly artificial language. (2) The Xemahoa, under the influence of a certain drug, "maka-i," can speak and understand a language (Xemahoa B) normally incomprehensible to them. (3) The Sp'thra, extraterrestrials, offer space travel secrets in return for the "widest possible knowledge of language" to ensure their imperiled communications system. Ian Watson graduated from Oxford with a First in English, did research in comparative literature, and has taught in African and Japanese universities. His insights about alien linguistics in this novel include: ¥ The involvement of Rand, the Hudson Institute, NASA, and the National Security Agency [pp.21-22] ¥ "Ever since [MIT Professor Noam] Chomsky's pioneer work, we all assume that the plan for language is programmed into the mind at birth. The basic plan of language reflects our biological awareness of the world that has evolved us.... so we're teaching three artificial languages as probes at the frontiers of a mind." [p.45] ¥ "Speech processing depends on the volume of information the brain can store short-term .... but a permanent form isn't practical for every single word -- we only need remember the basic meaning. So you've got one level of information -- that's the actual words we use, on the surface of the mind. The other permanent level, deep down, contains highly abstract concepts -- idea associations -- linked together network-style. In between these levels comes the mind's plan for making sentences out of ideas. The plan contains the rules of what we call Universal language -- we say it's universal, as this plan is part of the basic structure of mind and the same rules can translate ideas into any human language whatever .... All [human] languages being cousins beneath the skin..." [p.49] ¥ "We shall have found out something about the mind's idea of all possible langauges..... All languages spoken by beings evolved on the same basis as ourselves. I can't vouch for languages that silicon salamanders elsewhere in the universe have dreamed up..." [p.53] ¥ "Honeybees evolved their communication system away from the direction of sound to that of dance. Only primitive bee still use noises. Evolved bees developed the aerial dance to express themselves more logically." [p.56] ¥ When the alien first lands on Earth, in Nevada, it says: "Nice planet you have here. How many languages are spoken?" [p.129] because it has learned English in three days, from audiotapes. "You can imprint a language directly into the brain then?" "Good guess -- provided it conforms to ... the rules of Universal Grammar!" [p.130] ¥ "We call ourselves collectively the Sp'thra. You do not hear the ultra and infrasonic components of the word so I drop them. It means the Signal Traders. Which is what we are -- a people of linguists, sound mimics and communicators.... Besides being expert communicators in many modes, we use language machines..." [p.132] ¥ "There are so many ways of seeing This-Reality, from so many viewpoints. It is these viewpoints that we trade for. You might say that we trade in realities..." [p.137] ¥ "The Sp'thra make the following offer for what we want to buy.... We will tell you the location of the closest unused world known to us, habitable by you. The location of the nearest intelligent species known to us ready to engage in interstellar communications, together with an effective means of communication using modulated tachyon beams. Finally, we offer you an improvement on your current technology for spaceflight within your solar system... [in return for] working brains [sliced from their bodies] competent in six linguistically diverse languages...." [p.143] ¥ The aliens are in an obsessive search for the Change Speakers: "They are variable entities. They manipulate what we know as reality by means of their shifting- value signals. Using signals that lack constants -- which have variable referents.... They are free. They shift across realities. Yet when we have successfully superimposed the reality-programmes of all languages ... we too shall be free." ¥ The aliens, on hearing about the Amazonian native Xemahoa now offer the much more valuable "interstellar travel technique." The novel does not have a conventional happy ending, and yet it does provide an impressive range of notions about the limits of language, and the possible value of human languages to extraterrestrials. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Delany's "Babel-17"

Babel-17 {43} by Samuel R. Delany is another novel which you and your Science Team must read and discuss. This complex study of alien language is strongly based on Delany's careful study of Semiotic and linguistic theory. He makes persuasive the possibility, for instance, that similar beings can agree on the idea of pronouns, but get absolutely backwards the relative meanings of "You" and "I." Samuel Delany is one of the world's science fiction authors most involved in linguistics, semantics, and semiotics (the science of signs and symbols). It's no surprise that his novel Babel-17 {43} is a fount of interesting speculation on languages and extraterrestrials. Earth has been under alien occupation for two decades under the Invasion. The leader of the political opposition is a poet, Rydra Wong. Because of her multilingual brilliance, she is asked to help the military crack the alien code "Babel-17." ¥ 'Babel-17,' she said. 'I haven't solved it yet, General Forester.... But I've gotten further than you people at Military have been able to.... First of all, General,' she was saying, 'Babel-17 isn't a code.' His mind skidded back to the subject and arrived teetering. 'Not a code? But I though Cryptography had at least established--' He stopped, because he wasn't sure what Cryptography had established.... The Invasion: Babel-17 might be the one key to ending this twenty-year scourge. 'You mean we've been trying to decipher a lot of nonsense?' 'It's not a code,' she repeated. 'It's a language.' [pp.8-9] ¥ "...there are two types of code. In the first, letters, or symbols that stand for letters, are shuffled and juggled according to a pattern. In the second, letters, words, or groups of words are replaced by other letters, symbols, or words. A code can be one type or the other, or a combination. But they have this in common: once you find the key, you just plug it in and out come logical sentences. A language, however, has its own internal logic, its own grammar, its own way of putting thoughts together with words that span various spectra of meaning. There is no key you can plug in to unlock the exact meaning. At best, you can get a close approximation.' 'Do you mean that Babel-17 decodes into some other language?' 'Not at all. That's the first thing I checked. We can take a probability scan on various elements and see if they are congruent with other language patterns, even if these elements are in the wrong order. No. Babel-17 is a language itself which we do not understand.' [p.10] ¥ 'What you're trying to tell me is that because it isn't a code, but rather an alien language, we might as well give it up.' 'I'm afraid that's not what I'm saying at all. Unknown languages have been deciphered without translations. Linear B and Hittite, for example..." [p.10] ¥ 'I'm not from earth,' she [Rydra Wong] said. 'My father was a Communications engineer at Stellarcenter X-11-B just beyond Uranus. My mother was a translator for the Court of Outer Worlds. Until I was seven I was the spoiled brat of the Stellarcenter. There weren't many children. We moved rockside to Uranus-XXVII in '52. By the time I was twelve, I knew seven Earth languages and could make myself understood in five extra-terrestrial tongues. I pick up languages like most people pick up the lyrics to popular songs... I came out of the whole business with total verbal recall.... But I also had perfect pitch.... By then I was nineteen and had a reputation as the little girl who could track anything. I guess it was knowing something about language that did it, being more facile at recognizing patterns--like distinguishing grammatical order from random rearrangement by feel, which is what I did with Babel-17.' [pp.12-13] ¥ "Three years later my first book came out... For anything after that, read the poems. It's all there.' "And on the worlds of five galaxies, now, people delve your imagery and meaning for the answers to the riddles of greatness, love, and isolation.... By the time Keats was your age, he was dead.' [p.14] ¥ "There's the whole problem of phonemic and allophonic distinctions. Your people didn't even realize it was a language, so it didn't occur to them--' Now he interrupted her. 'What sort of distinctions?' 'You know the way some Orientals confuse the sounds of R and L when they speak a Western language? That's because R and L in many Eastern languages are allophones, that is, considered the same sound, written and even heard the same--just like th at the beginning of they and at the beginning of Ôtheater.' 'What's the difference about the sounds of theater and they?' 'Say them again and listen. One's voiced and one's unvoiced. They're as distinct as V and F; only they're allophones in English and you're used to hearing them as if they were the same phoneme.' [pp.16-17] ¥ 'Most textbooks say language is a mechanism for expressing thought, Mocky. But language is thought. Thought is information given form. The form is language. The form of this language is ... amazing..... when you learn another tongue, you learn the way another people see the world, the universe.... and as I see into this language, I begin to see ... too much.' [p.26] ¥ The retranscribed material passed on the sorting screen. By the computer console lay the four pages of definitions she had amassed and a cuaderno full of grammatical speculations. Chewing on her lower lip, she ran through the frequency tabulations of depressed diphthongs. On the wall she had tacked three charts labelled: Possible Phonemic Structure... Possible Phonetic Structure... Semiotic, Semantic, and Syntactic Ambiguities... The last contained the problems to be solved. The questions, formulated and answered, were transferred as certainties of the first two. [p.62] ¥ 'Let's say the word for circle is: O. This language has a melody system to illustrate comparatives. We'll represent this by the diacritical marks: V - ^, respectively smallest, ordinary, and biggest. So what would VO mean?' 'Smallest possible circle?' said Calli. 'That's a single point.' Rydra nodded. 'Now, when referring to a circle on a sphere, suppose the word for just an ordinary circle is -O followed by either of two symbols, one of which means not touching anything else, the other of which means crossing -- || or X. What would -OX mean?' 'Great circles that intersect,' said Ron. 'And because all great circles intersect, in this language the word for great circle is always -OX. It carries the information right in the word. Just like busstop or foxhole carry information in English that la gare or le terrier-- comparable words in French-- lack.' [p.70] ¥ Abstract thoughts in a blue room: Nominative, genitive, elative, accusative one, accusative two, ablative, partitive, illative, instructive, absessive, adessive, inessive, essive, allative, translative, comitative. Sixteen cases of the Finnish noun. Odd, some languages get by with only singular and plural. The American Indian languages even failed to distinguish number. Except Sioux, in which there was a plural only for animate objects. The blue room was round and warm and smooth. No way to say warm in French. There was only hot and tepid. If there's no word for it, how do you think about it? And if there isn't the proper form, you don't have the how even if you have the words. Imagine, in Spanish having to assign a sex to every object: dog, table, tree, canopener. Imagine, in Hungarian, not being able to assign a sex to anything: he, she, it all the same word. Thou art my friend, but you are my king; thus the distinctions of Elizabeth the First's English. But with some oriental languages, which all but dispense with gender and number, you are my friend, you are my parent, and YOU are my priest, and YOU are my king, and YOU are my servant, and YOU are my servant whom I'm going to fire tomorrow if YOU don't watch it, and YOU are my king whose policies I totally disagree with and have sawdust in YOUR head instead of brains, YOUR highness, and YOU may be my friend, but I'm still gonna smack YOU up side the head if YOU ever say that to me again; and who the hell are you, anyway...? [p.111] ¥ She didn't "look at the room." She "something at the something." The first something was a tiny vocable that implied an immediate, but passive, perception that could be aural or olfactory as well as visual. The second something was three equally tiny phonemes that blended at different musical pitches; one an indicator that fixed the size of the chamber at roughly twenty-five feet long and cubical, the second identifying the color and probable substance of the walls--some blue metal--while the third was at once a place holder for particles that should denote the room's function when she discovered it, and a sort of grammatical tag by which she could refer to the whole experience with only one symbol for as long as she needed. All four sounds took less time on her tongue and in her mind than the one clumsy diphthong in 'room.' Babel-17; she had felt it before with other languages, the opening, the widening, the mind forced to sudden growth. But this, this was like the sudden focusing of a lens blurry for years... She looked down at the--not 'webbing', but rather a three particle vowel differential, each particle of which defined one stress of the three-way tie, so that the weakest points in the mesh were identified when the total sound of the differential reached its lowest point. By breaking the threads at these points, she realized, the whole web would unravel. Had she flailed at it, and not named it in this new language, it would have been more than secure enough to hold her. [pp.112-113] ¥ She wondered what would happen if she translated her perceptions of people's movement and muscle tics into Babel-17. It was not only a language, she understood now, but a flexible matrix of analytical possibilities where the same 'word' defined the stresses in a webbing of medical bandage, or a defensive grid of spaceships. What would it do with the tensions and yearnings in a human face? Perhaps the flicker of eyelids and fingers would become mathematics, without meaning..." [pp.140-141] ¥ She'd been thinking in Babel-17 and choosing her English words with it. [p.144] ¥ 'Maybe I can explain something to you this way: with all nine species of galaxy-hopping life forms, each as widespread as our own, each as technically intelligent, with as complicated an economy, seven of them are engaged in the same war we are, still we hardly ever run into them; and they run into us or each other about as frequently.... Wonder why?' 'Because compatibility factors for communication are incredibly low, Take the Ciribians, who have enough knowledge to sail their triple-yoked [sic] poached eggs from star to star: they have no word for 'house', 'home', or 'dwelling'. 'We must protect our families and our homes.' When we were preparing the treaty between the Ciribians and ourselves at the Court of the Outer Worlds, I remember that sentence took forty-five minutes to say in Ciribian. Their whole culture is based on heat and changes in temperature. We're just lucky that they know what a 'family' is, because they're the only ones besides humans who have them. But for 'house' you have to end up describing '... an enclosure that creates a temperature discrepancy with the outside environment of so many degrees, capable of keeping comfortable a creature with a uniform body temperature of ninety-eight-point-six, the same enclosure being able to lower the temperature during the months of the warm season and being able to raise it during the cold season, providing a location where organic sustenance can be refrigerated in order to be preserved, or warmed well above the boiling point of water to pamper the taste mechanism of the indigenous inhabitants who, through customs that go back through millions of hot and cold seasons, have habitually sought out this temperature changing device...' and so forth and so on. At the end you've given them some idea of what a 'home' is and why it is worth protecting. Give them a schematic of the air-conditioning and central heating system and things begin to get through. Now: there's a huge solar-energy conversion plant that supplies all the electrical energy for the Court.... One Ciribian can slither through that plant and then go describe it to another Ciribian who never saw it before so that the second can build an exact duplicate, even to the color the walls are painted.... in nine words. Nine very small words, too.' [pp.153-154] ¥ 'Babel-17 is more or less like Onoff, Algol, Fortran.... They're ancient, twentieth century languages--artificial languages that were used to program computers, designed especially for machines.' [pp.197-198] ¥ 'They [paradoxes] only exist in English and a few other analytically clumsy languages. Paradoxes break down into the linguistic manifestations of the language in which they're expressed. Babel-17 ... [is] the most analytically exact language imaginable. But that's because everything is flexible, and ideas come in huge numbers of congruent sets, governed by the same words..." [pp.209-210] ¥ The last sentence of the novel is: "And even without Babel-17, you should know by now, I can talk my way out of anything." Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Vance's "Languages of Pao" and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Another essential idea is fictionally explored in The Language of Pao {44} by Jack Vance. A rich and influential future human society designs new languages to order, on the basis that the limits of a culture's thought are set by its language. In Linguistics, this is known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis {45}. It is hard or impossible to think ideas that cannot be put into the words and grammar that you possess. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Lem's "Solaris"

Solaris {46} by Polish author Stanislaw Lem was made into an outstanding film {47} which some critics praised and others found impossible to understand. An entire ocean planet seems to be a single alien lifeform, with intelligence and power so far beyond the human level that our scientists are absolutely incapable of comprehending it. "We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact," says the scientist character Snow. Eventually, after a century of study is reviewed, the character Giese concludes "no semantic system is as yet available to illustrate the behavior of the ocean." Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sagan's "Contact"

Contact {48} by Carl Sagan (1985) was a remarkable first novel by the well-known scientist and author. It tells of signals being received from near the star Vega, consisting initially of "the first few hundred prime numbers in order," consistent with our "Rosetta Stone" theory of mathematics in common. The aliens also send a copy of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games TV broadcast, and an enormous encrypted "Message" which turns out to be blueprints and assembly instructions for a space-warp spaceship to carry a five-human crew to the center of the galaxy, so that superior aliens can gather our "feelings, memories, instincts, learned behaviors, insights, madness, dreams, love" for a sort of "Office of the Galactic Census." Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pohl's JEM

Frederik Pohl, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, wrote expertly about communication with ETs in his novel JEM {84}. The novel is about a 21st century cold war and its interrelationship with three intelligent species on the same planet (crab-like Krinpit on the ground, hydrogen-filled Balloonists in the air, and Burrowers underground (sensitive to smell, vibration, and touch). The ET focus of the book is indicated by its first scene being set at the "Tenth General Assembly of the World Conference on Exobiology." The character Danny Dalehouse is the author of "Preliminary Studies toward a First Contact with Subtechnological Sentients." Humans launch tachyon probes to the planets of many nearby stars, often finding life, but never finding intelligence until they send probes to a low-gravity dense-atmosphere planet, later called "Jem" of the dwarf star N-OA Bes-Bes Geminorum 8426, called Kung Tu-Tze (Confucius): ¥ "This time the sounds [from probe microphones] were louder and clearer, with far more definition.... But what sounds! Sometimes the resembled a chorus of bagpipes, sometimes a gang of teenage boys in a crepitation contest. Dalehouse had graphed the frequencies -- from well below human hearing range to higher than a bat's squeak -- and identified at least twenty phonemes. These were no birdcalls; this was language, he was certain." [pp.40-41] ¥ "The Krinpit have no eyes. They have photosensitive receptors on their carapaces, but there is no lens, no retina, no mosaic of sensitive cells to analyze an image and translate it into information. But if the scene was dark, it was also noisy. Every one of the Krinpit was constantly booming its name -- well, not its 'name' in the sense that the name of Franklin Roosevelt's wife was named Eleanor. The name was not an arbitrary convention. It was the sound each Krinpit made. It was sound that guided them, that palped the world around them and returned information to their quite agile and competent brains. The sonar pulses they sent forth to read the echoes were their 'names.' Each was different, and every one always being produced while its owner lived. Their main auditory apparatus was the drum-tight undersurface of the belly. It possessed a vent like a dolphin's that could produce a remarkable range of vowel sounds. The 'knees' of the double-boned legs could punctuate them with tympanous 'consonants.' They walked in music wherever they went. The exact sounds they made were controllable; in fact, they had an elaborate and sophisticated language. The sounds which became their recognition signals were perhaps the easiest for them, but they could produce almost any other sound in the frequency range of their hearing. In this their voices were quite like humans'." [p.48] ¥ "What came out of the tape player was a little like an impossibly huge cricket's chirp and quite a lot like a Chinese New Year festival in which Australian aborigines were playing their native instruments. 'What the hell is that?' Danny demanded. 'That,' she said smugly, 'is also language'." [p.61] ¥ "Certainly there's progress [with Balloonist sound analysis], Dalehouse. There's a definite grammar.... 'Preliminary Studies toward a First Contact with Subtechnological Sentients' seemed very far away! Dalehouse counted up the score. It was not impressive. They had made no contact at all with the crablike things called Kripit or with the burrowers. The gasbags had been hanging around quite a lot ... but they did not come close enough for the kind of contact Danny Dalehouse wanted." [p.111] ¥ After Dalehouse flies in a hydrogen balloon to talk with the Balloonists: "Voyage by voyage, hour by hour, some sort of communication began to build up. You never knew what part of your training was going to be useful. Those long sessions of [mathematical linguist Noam] Chomsky and transactional grammar, the critiques of [ethnologists] Lorenz and Dart, the semesters on territoriality and mating rites -- none of them seemed very helpful in the skies of Klong. But he blessed every hour of sailplaning and every evening with his local barbershop quartet. The language of the gasbags was music. Not even Mandarin made such demands on pitch and tonality as did their songs. Even before he knew any words, he found himself chiming in on their chorus, and they responded to it with, if not exactly welcome, at least curiosity." [p.119] ¥ Krinpit Sharn-igon complains "'Poison Ghosts [humans] killed my he-wife and did not eat him.' A flickering sound of disgust ... mixed with sympathy and anger." [pp.157-158] As we have said, aliens may be cannibals, but we would poison them. Nonetheless, as in Anything You Can Do {69}, ETs might be scandalized by human's refusal to perform ritual cannibalism. ¥ Human translators have their left and right brain hemispheres surgically disconnected to improve translation ability. "The creature was no longer a specimen to Ana. She was a friend. Into the cognitive half of Ana's brain the songs of the balloonist had poured. In the first day she had learned to understand a few simple phrases, in a week to communicate abstract thought; now she was almost fluent.... She sang to Ana of the sweetness of warm pollen in a damp cloud, of the hot, stinging sadness of egg-spraying, of the communal joy of the flock in chorus." [pp.178-179] ¥ "The Krinpit had a clear sense of time, but the vocabulary of terms to mark its units did not map well from one language based on a diurnal cycle [Earth] to another which had evolved on a planet without easy temporal reference points [nonrotating Jem]." [p.204] Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Moffitt's "Jupiter Theft"

In Donald Moffitt's fine novel The Jupiter Theft {85} we have a closer examination of the notion that ET language may be musical in nature. An interstellar spacecraft, the Cygnus Object, weighs as much as the planet Jupiter until it burns fuel while braking and shrinks in six months to the mass of Earth. Human spacecraft travel to meet the UFO, and find themselves essentially at war. The slender six-legged Cygnans capture Tod Jameson, and first contact begins: ¥ "Jameson squinted at the nearest alien. It squinted back at him with its three stalked eyes.... There was something primitive about the tapering, arrowhead-shaped skull. The jaws split it down the middle in a permanent reptilian smile. There were no teeth. The inside of the mouth, when it opened, was an unpleasant-looking rasp. The Cygnan put its mouth around its food, whatever it was, and filed it down. There was a tubular, needle- spined tongue way back in the gullet.... He was in biologist's paradise.... The nerve cord probably runs through the center of the body -- not dorsally, like us vertebrates, or ventrally, like terrestrial insects.... Because Cygnans aren't bilaterally symmetrical. They're built on a radial plan, like hydras or starfish...." [p.139] ¥ "They were naked except for tubular harnesses festooned with soft oval pouches. Their hides were clothing enough, a mottled pattern of golds and rusts that reminded him of something between a diamondback rattlesnake and a reticulated giraffe.... They seemed to have nothing resembling external sexual organs." [p.157] ¥ "These sacks and bales and queer pyramid-shaped boxes were stenciled with odd cursive symbols that, instead of following one another in straight lines like human script, wandered in random peaks and valleys up and down. There was a sound like a maniac trying to play Bartok on the harmonica, and Jameson realized it had been made by one of the Cygnans. The other Cygnan answered with an incredibly rapid fragment of twelve- tone solfege. Jameson came to full attention. There had been chords in all that quick passage-work, transitory but unmistakable, as if the Cygnan possessed multiple larynxes." [pp.161-162] ¥ "Some of them were standing erect on their hind legs, tails hanging straight down. Some were on four legs, their torsos upright so that they were shaped like little low-slung centaurs. They were jabbering at one another in a cacophony of quarter-tone scales and queer atonal chords, sounding like an orchestra of bagpipes warming up. 'Air," he mouthed. 'Dammit, don't you understand? I've only got a couple of minutes worth of air left.' Raising his gloved hands to his helmet, he made raking-in gestures with spread fingers. He let them see his open mouth sucking in air. No discernible reaction came from his audience. Even on Earth, body language was different between Arabs and Japanese, Scandinavians and Mediterraneans. Maybe his pantomimes couldn't work with creatures that had six limbs, radial symmetry, brains in their torsos, and, for all he knew, no lungs.... It was doubtful that they even understood his anguished cry as speech. Their own communication, Jameson guessed, depended on the pitch of speech components rather than anything resembling consonants and vowels -- and those fragments of reedy tone were too quick and transitory for even his gifted ear to follow." [pp.169-170] ¥ "He tried to talk, but they ignored him, talking instead among themselves with all sorts of chirps and whistles and concertina hummings. Once or twice, when his ear was fast enough to catch a fragment, he tried humming it back to them in perfect pitch, but the effort seemed to make no impression." [p.173] ¥ "Jameson never had to stop to think about a musical tone. They were as palpable to him as material objects, each with its own identity. These had been an F and a B flat in the piccolo range. No, not quite a B flat. It was almost an augmented fourth, about a quarter-tone off. He whistled it back to them. He couldn't manage both tones simultaneously the way the Cygnans did, of course, but he did the best he could, first arpeggiating it, then alternating it in a rapid tremolo. The large Cygnan lowered its prod. It fluted a rapid scale at him. Jameson did an imitation. There weren't too many notes for him to remember. It fell into a whole-tone pattern, like impressionistic music, with a cluster of those peculiar quarter tones at the center. The Cygnan corrected him. He'd been off a fraction of a tone at the end. It didn't finish at the octave. It was a fraction sharp there, like a bagpipe scale. He repeated the sequence fairly creditably. The two Cygnans held a brief, reedy conference. Jameson couldn't follow. It was too rapid and complicated, with all sorts of embellishments. He stood tensely waiting. The large Cygnan turned to him again and made a sharp attention-getting sound. Then it touched itself on the mouth and the tip of its petalled tail and sounded the tetrachord again. It waited. Jameson hesitated. The tetrachord had been easy. It was a handy, one-phoneme identification. Like, Jameson thought, a human saying 'I.' But this was more complicated. The second Cygnan repeated it for him until he got it straight. It started with an A-major triad, only a vibrations [sic] off concert pitch. Harmonics, Jameson thought, must be universal wherever there were vibrating strings -- or vibrating membranes. The third was slightly flatted, like a blues note. The two top notes then exploded into a parallel glissando, up a fifth, while the A held. Then back to the original bluesy chord. He gave it a try. He had to substitute an arpeggiated chord for the triad, then make do with just the top note of the double glissando. It sounded like a crazy bird imitation, but the Cygnans seemed to accept it. Like, Jameson thought wryly, tolerating someone with a speech defect. But when he tried transposing the little sequence to a different key, he met the Cygnan equivalent of blank stare -- a splaying out of the three eyestalks. Evidently the sounds had no meaning when the pitch was altered. It reminded Jameson of his early mistakes in learning Chinese -- the syllables whose meaning changed drastically when you used the wrong one of the four tones. 'Chair' became 'soap.' 'Sell' became 'buy.' Except in Chinese the tones were relative, and if you got a few of them wrong, your intent could usually be deduced from the syllables themselves and the context. In Cygnanese, apparently, tones were specific phonemes. Only those rare freaks like Jameson, who happened to be blessed with absolute pitch, could ever hope to communicate with Cygnans, even in the most rudimentary fashion. To Cygnans, most humans would be dumb as animals." [pp.178-180] ¥ Jameson ends up modifying a Moog synthesizer (electronic musical instrument). "When he was finished, not even Johann Sebastian Bach could have played recognizable human music on the Moog. It was a Cygnan speech synthesizer now..." [p.188] Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Clement's "Mission of Gravity"

Mission of Gravity {86} has one of the most vividly rendered alien planets with ETs ever written. Set on the planet Mesklin, where gravity is some 300 times as intense as Earth at the poles, and yet only 3 times Earth-strength at the equator (due to centrifugal force on the very-rapidly spinning planet), the methane-chemistry ETs (Mesklinites) explore weird parts of their world while being in constant radio communication with human beings in orbit whom they have already met face-to-face aboard the human spaceship. This is one of the first great "Hard Science Fiction" novels, dealing with meticulously accurate astronomy, chemistry, and physics, and also clearly presents us with intriguing aliens. Author Hal Clement (pseudonym for the high school chemistry teacher Harry Stubbs) even defines "Hard science fiction" for us in a related essay {87}: "Hard" science fiction is a recognizable field within a field; it is enjoyed largely by people who take their own scientific knowledge seriously; writing it therefore demands on the part of the author a fair amount of scientific knowledge and ability (partially replaceable by good research facilities and informed friends whose brains can be picked); and the worst mistake a hard science fiction writer can make, aside from failing to tell an entertaining story, is to write something that makes him look ignorant. He can disagree with accepted science, but he'd better have an impressive-sounding excuse. Experts have debated for over 40 years about whether or not Hal Clement was equally "hard" about his extraterrestrial communications and psychology. Following the analysis of academic critic Gary Westfahl88, George R.R. Martin comments: Although Clement is cited as being particularly good with aliens, actually the reverse is sometimes true.... The protagonists of the novel are Mesklinites, aliens admirably tailored to meet the physical conditions of their world in the best world- builder fashion.... Other than that, Captain Barlennan of the good ship Bree and his crew are virtually human.... Clement fails in the last test--he has not bothered to create an alien. The world overshadows its inhabitants. Similarly, Peter Nicholls says that the Mesklinites: are so different from us in appearance and environment as to be awe-inspiring, until they open their mouths, whereupon they sound exactly like Calvin Coolidge. David N. Samuelson says that "the greatest weakness" in Mission of Gravity: is its characterization of its aliens. They look like centipedes with lobster claws, act and think like Renaissance sailors, and talk largely like [19]50s engineers, at least as they are represented in American SF. Still, Gary Westfahl supports Clement's aliens as genuinely alien: Barlennan is more than a human sea captain in disguise. Clement goes to some length to explain some of the unusual psychological reactions such beings might have; one key moment comes early in the novel when Barlennan's human companion Lackland casually "picked up the tiny body of the Mesklinite. For one soul-shaking instant Barlennan felt and saw himself suspended long feet away from the ground.... His eyes glared in undiluted horror at the emptiness.... The fear might have--perhaps should have--driven him mad. His situation can only be dimly approximated by comparing it with that of a human being hanging by one hand from a window ledge forty stories above a paved street. To my thinking, Hal Clement is brilliantly anticipating the tradition of Piper's Omnilingual {22} by three years (book publication) or four years (magazine publication) that aliens can be very human-like in communication so long as they are discussing the commonly-shared aspects of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and so forth. As to how the ETs communicate between each other (as opposed to how they talk to humans after learning English), Clement describes his Mesklinite heroes in contact with a foreign tribe of the same species: His gestures were meaningless to Lackland.... How any understanding could be transmitted was a complete mystery.... He had not gained more than the tiniest bit of insight into their psychology.... So much of the Mesklinite action and gesticulation is tied in directly with the physical functioning of their bodies that its meaning, seen by another member of the same race, is automatically clear. This challenges our hope that humans could interpret ET sign language, as described in the "Sound, Light, Viruses, and Neutrinos" chapter of this Handbook, subsection (f) "Posture." Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

White's "All Judgment Fled"

The book All Judgment Fled {93}, by James White, is a novel of first contact by human astronauts who board an extraterrestrial spaceship which has entered the solar system, and is in orbit near Jupiter. The astronauts, entering with the best of intentions, are attacked by, and forced to kill aliens which they call "Twos", and which, fortunately, turn out to be escaped ET laboratory animals: We assumed the Two life-form to be unintelligent because they showed no indication of possessing an organized language [reviewer's emphasis], no manual dexterity in opening or closing doors or operating light switches and no inclination to communicate. [p.197] The astronauts are rescued from attack by the sole surviving intelligent ET, who exchanges sketches with them to communicate: He had to explain his idea to the alien then, but that was not too difficult because the old adage about a good picture being worth two thousand words held true even among extraterrestrials.... It had been relatively easy to exchange simple concepts via sketch pad, but ... It was just a great, fat caterpillar, an LSD nightmare with too many eyes and mouths in all the wrong places, for him to be able to read such a subtle thing as a facial expression -- and the problem cut both ways" [pp.214-215] Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Farmer's "Mother"

Philip JosŽ Farmer's famous short story "Mother" {94} has a notoriously Oedipal relationship between human and alien. Giant tentacled clam-shaped ET's communicate with radio on a planet visited by human astronauts. Human Eddie Fetts is lured to one of the ETs by a radio signal, abducted, and finds himself living within the womb of the ET "mother", where he is fed stew: That was how Eddie learned the second phrase of Mother Polyphema's language. The first message had been "What are you?" This was "Come and get it".... He experimented. He tapped out a repetition [on his radio] of what he'd last heard... Immediately after, a tentacle smote Eddie across the shoulders and knocked him down. The panrad [radio] zzzted its third intelligible message [which, in context, meant] "Don't ever do that! In this story, the surprise ending is that Eddie does not want to be rescued. He is content to retreat to the womb, and live out his days within the "Mother." Please notice the similarity between the name "Fetts" and "foetus." This is typical of the daring experimental writing of Philip JosŽ Farmer, who repeatedly investigated the possibilities of seemingly perverse relationships between human and alien, relationships which always made sense on their own unexpected terms. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Lasswitz' "Two Planets"

Perhaps the first modern science fiction novel to describe first contact between human and ET, with some concern for linguistic problems, was Two Planets {95} by Kurd Lasswitz, published in German in 1897. The human protagonists (Saltner and Grunthe) meet Martians ("Nume") who have colonized Earth's North and South Poles. The Martians look very human, and Saltner saves and falls in love with the female Martian "La." The plot is simplified by hints of a covert contact before the "first contact" and the existence of what this Handbook deems as unlikely as a Klingon-English dictionary: Surprisingly fast, mutual understanding by means of language had developed. This had, of course, been aided largely by the fortunate discovery of the small German-Martian phrase book. It turned out that it had been compiled by Ell exactly for those needs which would arise at the first encounter between scientifically educated men and the Martians. He had listed few terms relating to ordinary objects and observations, about which one could easily make oneself understood by gestures; but instead there were expressions for abstract notions, cultural history, and technological scientific things. The Martians as well as both [human] explorers were very much surprised by the fact that there was someone on Earth who not only knew the language and alphabet of the Martians but who also possessed a rather adequate knowledge of the conditions on Mars. From certain details, they were able to conclude, however, that this knowledge was related only to some distant past events and that the fact of the Martian colony at the Pole of the Earth was not known to the author of the phrase book; on the other hand, the project of the Martians to reach the Earth at one of its Poles was known to him. The name Ell occurred frequently in some areas of Mars. They also knew of a famous space traveler whose name was Captain All, who once had been left behind on Earth as a consequence of an accident, under circumstances, however, which supported the conclusion that he probably had perished. Still, it might have been possible that one or the other of these Martians had saved himself by getting to the humans and that he might have brought knowledge about Mars. [p.60] There is also the suggestion, perhaps for the first time, that (as we discussed earlier) humans could learn an ET language more easily if that were at least in part an artificial language designed for multinational multicultural use: It was also evident that the language of the Martians could be learned easily and that it fortunately could be pronounced with facility by people accustomed to the German tongue. Originally this dialect had been the language of the Martians who lived on the southern hemisphere of the planet. The unification of the different tribes and races of the Martians into a single federal state had originated from here, and the language of that civilization of Mars had become the official language. Its use through the millennia had simplified it and also differentiated it spiritually, so that it had become a means for the most fruitful and exact expression of thought; everything that was ambiguous and dependent only on feeling had gradually become clearer and simpler. As a matter of fact, this was the only language which every educated Martian was able to use to its full extent and which everyone else was able to use at least halfway correctly. Besides this, however, there were numerous, very different and constantly changing dialects which were spoken only in comparatively small areas; finally there were even colloquialisms which were used only within the circle of particular families. It proved to be an extremely essential characteristic of Martian culture that the general equality and leveling in social relations was balanced by an equally great diversity and freedom in the life of the individual. The surprising genius of the Martians made it now possible for them to learn German quickly; this rapid process of learning was made simpler through the circumstance that German as a language of a highly developed people was a great deal closer to the intellectual level of the Martians than the primitive Eskimo language. [p.61] This novel, ahead of its time in several ways, made little impact on the English-speaking science fiction world. It did, however, inspire Germans such as Werner Von Braun who were crucial in the development of modern rocket technology -- first amateur efforts, then the V-2 rocket weapon, and then, transplanted to America, the launch of the first American satellite and the Saturn V that brought a dozen men to the surface of the Moon. The cause-and-effect relating space science and science fiction is difficult to unravel. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Oliver's "Unearthly Neighbors"

Chad Oliver, an Anthropologist, wrote particularly plausible novels of First Contact -- a term, after all, which originated in the field of Anthropology. The first of his masterpieces. Unearthly Neighbors {101} in 1960 later had a sequel, The Shores of Another Sea. Here, we summarize the First Contact aspects of the first novel. A top UN official calls in a leading anthropologist on a hush-hush meeting: "They were discovered on the ninth planet of the Sirius system--that's about eight-and-a-half light years away as I understand it. Maybe I was a little premature in calling them human beings--that's your department--but they look pretty damn close.... all the survey ships carry strict orders to keep their distance in a situation like this. We did get some pictures, and sensors were planted to pick up recordings of one of their languages--" Monte pounced on the word like a cat going after a sparrow. "Language, you say? Careful, now. Remember that chimpanzees are very close to us biologically and they make a lot of vocal racket, but they don't have a true language.... Language? How are you using the term?" "Well, they seem to talk in about the same circumstances we do. And they are definitely not limited to a few set calls or cries--they yak in a very human manner. We have some films synchronized with the sounds, and several of them show what appear to be parents telling things to their children, for instance." [pp.12-13] Monte starts putting together a team of the best anthropologists and linguists for a mission of First Contact to Sirius-9, including his own very talented wife. One oddity: none of the photos show the ETs possessing any clothing or tools of any kind. They have languages, and that's a human characteristic no matter how you slice it. Forget about the ape hoots and whale whistles. If they have languages, you'd expect them to have cultures, too; cultures and languages go together like scotch and soda. I've never heard of any human beings without any tools at all... [p.19] The UN mandate is clear: We are determined to have a trained anthropologist make the first contact with these people--I'd like to think that we've made at least enough progress to avoid some of the more glaring errors of the past. [p.20] The trip will take almost a year, with new faster-than-light propulsion, to get the team there. The question becomes: How do you go about setting up an expedition that is designed to make the first contact with an alien, extraterrestrial culture? Monte didn't know, for the excellent reason that it had never been done before. [p.26] On the way to Sirius, the team studies the photos, films, and audiotapes: He listened to the sounds that came out of the speakers and perversely tried to make some sense out of them. It was impossible, of course. The voices sounded human enough; he could recognize what seemed to be words spoken by both men and women, together with utterances that sounded like the speech of children. But the sounds picked up by the hidden sensors of the first Sirius expedition conveyed no meaning to him at all. They were voices that spoke from across the immense gulf that separated one species from another, voices of a people who were more remote from him than a Neanderthal from the last age of ice... [p.32] The top linguist and anthropologist study together: "Got an action sequence here with a few sentences to go with it.," he muttered. "Give you some idea what I'm up against." A good clear picture formed in the air, sharp and three dimensional. A male native of Sirius Nine dropped down out of the trees--there was a distinct thump when he landed--and walked up to another naked man who was standing in a clearing. The pickup was amazingly sensitive, and Monte could even hear the rapid breathing of the new arrival. The man who descended from the trees said something to the other man. It was hard to catch what he said, because the sounds of the language were utterly different from any language Monte knew. The man who had been there first hesitated a moment, then gave a peculiar whistle. The two men went off together and disappeared into the forest. Jenike cut the equipment off. "Neat, huh? That's about the best we've got, too. I've worked out the phonemic system pretty well, I can repeat what that guy said without much trouble now. But what the hell does it mean?" "What you need is a dictionary." "Yeah. You get me one first thing, will you?" [pp.33-34] Monte reviews fiction and nonfiction about aliens, and notes to himself in his notebook: It's frightening to realize how ignorant we are, and how thoroughly conditioned by our own limited experiences. Stories and learned speculation about life on other planets always seemed to emphasize the strange and exotic qualities of the alien worlds themselves, but the life-forms that exist against these dramatic backdrops all live like earthmen, no matter how odd their appearance may be. (Or else they live like social insects, which amounts to the same thing.) All the caterpillars and octopi and reptiles and frogs have social systems just like the Vikings or the Kwakiutls or the Zulus. Nobody seems to have realized that a culture may be alien, more alien than any planet of bubbling lead. You can walk right up to something that looks like a man--and not know him at all, or anything about him. [p.44] The humans land, make camp, trail a lone alien, and set out some meat and berries for him, which are carried to him by a wolf-like beast: Very slowly, the man stepped out and scooped up the berries with his right hand. He stared at Monte, his dark eyes fearful. Monte took a deep breath. It was now or never. He pointed to himself. "Monte," he said distinctly. He pointed to Charlie. "Charlie," he said. .... the man understood; Monte was certain of that. The dark eyes were quick and intelligent. But he said nothing. He looked like he was trying to make up his mind about something, something terribly important.... Quite suddenly, with no warning at all, the man turned on his heel and walked into the forest. In seconds, he had disappeared from view. "Wait!" Monte called uselessly. "We won't hurt you, dammit!" [p.49] Even though they had studied tapes for a year or more, they were limited in what they could do: Oh, Charlie had worked out a few phrases in one of the native languages, and he thought he knew approximately what they meant. But none of the phrases--even assuming that they were correct--went with the situation. It wasn't the fault of the first expedition; they had planted their mikes and cameras well. It was simply the fact that you just don't say the right things in casual everyday conversation. A man can go through a lot of days without ever saying "I am a friend." He can go through several lifetimes very nicely without ever saying something as useful as: "I am a man from another planet, and I only want to talk to you." The closest thing they had was a sentence that Charlie thought meant something like, "I see you are awake, and now it is time to eat." That didn't seem too wildly promising. [p.53] The humans locate a village of a hundred aliens. They land their reconnaissance sphere next to the village (of caves in a rocky cliff): Then, at last, a child moved a little way down the trail from one of the caves. He pointed at the sphere and laughed--a high, delighted giggle. The people began to move again, going on about their business--whatever that might have been. They were so close that Monte could practically reach out and touch them, and yet he felt as though he were watching them from across some stupendous, uncrossable gulf. He simply didn't get them, didn't understand what he was seeing. The natives had nothing; they lived in caves and hollow trees. Their activities seemed aimless to him; they didn't seem to do anything that had any purpose to it. [p.71] At last, in this village, the humans find an "informant" who makes meaningful dialogue with them: Monte took a step toward the old man, who frowned at him and blinked his faded eyes. Monte raised his hands, showing him that they were empty. "Monte," he said, and pointed to himself. The old man muttered something and stood his ground. Monte tried again, feeling as though he were caught up in a cyclical nightmare. "Monte," he said. The old man nodded slowly and pulled his ear. "Larst," he said distinctly. By God! He said something! Charlie whipped out his notebook and recorded the single precious word in phonetic symbols. Monte smile broadly, trying to look like the answer to an old man's prayers. "Charlie," he said, pointing. "Tom, Ace." The old man nodded again. "Larst," he repeated. He sighed. Then, incredibly, he began to point to other things: the caves, the stream, the sky, the kids, the women. For each, he gave the native term--slowly, patiently, as though instructing a backward child. [pp.72-73] Monte suddenly realizes the significance of a village filled with only women, children, and old men. He rushes Charlie and Ace back to the sphere, and speeds back to the main human camp, only to find most of the expedition, including his wife Helen, slaughtered, except for two survivors. What had the humans done, so dreadfully wrong, to provoke the massacre? Charlie, analyzing the conversation in the village, has clues: It's a curious language--very weak in active verbs. But I can speak it now, after a fashion. Monte felt a wave of relief.... They had the words, they had a bridge. "What the devil do they call Sirius Nine?" "That's a tough one. They think of the world in a number of different ways, some of them pretty subjective. They do have word, though--Walonka. It seems to mean a totality of some sort. It means their world, their universe, and it has an idea of unity, of interconnections. It's the closest I can get. They just don't think in our terms. You know, of course, that it's more than just a matter of finding different labels for the same thing--you have to dig up the conceptual apparatus that they work with. They call themselves Merdosi, the People. And they call those damned wolf-things by a very similar term: Merdosini. A rough translation would be something like 'Hunters for the People.' Interesting, huh?" "It makes sense. Did you get anything else suggestive?" "I got one thing. One of the words that Larst applied to himself has the literal meaning of man-who-is-old-enough-to-stay-in-the-village-all-year-round. What do you make of that?" [p.100] Monte realizes, too late, that the Merdosi have some sort of culturally-based mating season, and that there must be times of the year when it is inappropriate for young men to be in contact with women. Unfortunately, the human men were seen by the Merdosi in company with the human women, and then the men compounded the mistake by being in proximity to the Merdosi women in the village. Monte sat down again wearily. "Me, the great anthropologist! Any fool bonehead could have done better. I should have known.... We landed and the very first thing that we did was to break the strongest taboo in their culture... [pp.101-102] Monte and Charlie alone go back to confront the extraterrestrials, while the others return to safety in orbit around Sirius Nine. He stays in a cave, chips a stone axe and kills a local animal for meat: Suddenly, he got to his feet. He looked around him, his eyes staring. I've been blind. Blind. Here it is, right in front of me! Yes. A cave. A fire. And a chipped-stone tool. The beginning. The key.... When man on Earth started down that trail, there was no turning back. When he chipped his first tool, he determined his destiny. All the rest flowed from that one creative act: spears, harpoons, bows and arrows, the plow, wheels, writing, cities, planes, bombs, spaceships.... [The Merdosi] had taken a different turning. They had started down a different trail. [pp.163-165] Monte understands that the people of Sirius Nine had never developed material culture: "They didn't make things." Instead, the Merdosi had a "close and pivotal relationship with some of the animals of their world" and "could influence growth patterns to some extent. For example, those hollow trees did not seem to be completely natural. And: Clearly, the Merdosi had developed a different aspect of the human personality. They had turned inward. They had tapped the hidden resources of the human mind. They worked in symbols, dreams, visions. Telepathy? No, not quite. Rather, they seemed to have perfected a technique of projecting emotional states.... But it must be more than that, far more. They must live in a world of symbolic richness, they must see the world in vivid colors, tones, shadings. They must be able to open their minds, share them. They must have techniques that we have never imagined--they must understand the growth of trees, the unfolding of life. Yes, but the Merdosi were people too. They were not supermen. They were not idealized figments of the imagination. They were only different. [pp.166-167] Monte submits to quasi-telepathic probing of his mind by the Merdosi, and at last true communication is established. They accept human beings as people. The risk of noncontact or exploitative military confrontation is eliminated. The novel has a happy ending. In the afterword to the revised edition, Chad Oliver comments [pp.207-208]: I think we still have a long way to go in our attitudes toward extraterrestrial lifeforms. The popular polarities are neatly represented by Close Encounters of the Third Kind {9} and John Carpenter's The Thing {31}. In one, we virtually genuflect before godlike beings, and in the other we react with all the aplomb of a child dropped into a tub of rattlesnakes. We'll have to do better than that (Yes, there's E.T. {5}, but that poses yet another threat to humanity--a case of the terminal cutes.) With all due respect to Mr. Spock, it might be worth mentioning that we still have no anthropologists aboard the Enterprise. I would agree that anthropologists are not the sole curators of wisdom in the human race, but perhaps we could find room for one or two when the aliens hit the fan. This novel is one of the very best to deal with human encountering ETs on the ETs own planet. Your job, in having to communicate with an ET here on Earth, is at least simpler in one way. The ET you are confronting took the path of the stone tool, and evolved to build a spaceship. We have at least that much in common. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Recent Fiction

There are other science fiction novels in the anthropological tradition of Chad Oliver. To mention only three, Celestis {81} by Paul Park, a Finalist for the 1995 Nebula Award, partly written from the point of view of an alien surgically altered and drugged to be more human, who is reverting to alien consciousness; Foragers{102} by Charles Oberndorf; and Foreigner: A Novel of First Contact {103} by C. J. Cherryh. Foragers is explicitly an ethnographic novel pretending to be a 2nd edition, after a war between humans an ET "Slozan." The novel is rich in detail, complexity, differing points of view, and some emphasis on language, morality, and physiology differences which cause several layers of misunderstanding. There are too many other stories and novels to list in this Handbook. The author apologizes for the many wonderful fictions omitted here due to limts of length, taste, and my own ignorance. But you are encourages to read as widely as possible in the serious literature of linguistics, anthropology, ethnography, biology, human history, as well as science fiction. There's no telling what will turn out to be be most crucial when you have your chance at First Contact! Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

LeGuin's Acacia Seeds

But how good are we at decoding alien messages, when we still can't (after decades of trying) speak Dolphin? Ursula K. LeGuin satirizes this ingeniously in: "The Author of the Acacia Seeds" {53}, with "therolinguists" translating stories from an ant ("written in touch-gland exudation on degerminated acacia seeds laid in rows"), Penguin ("a script written almost entirely in wings, neck, and air" which shares with Dolphin "the same extraordinary wit and flashes of crazy humor"), "all the thousands of literatures of the Fish stock", Seal, "Weasel murder mysteries, or Batrachian erotica, or the tunnel sagas of the earthworm." LeGuin (herself the daughter of two famous anthropologists) wonders if the "phytolinguist" will ever be able to : "read Eggplant ... [or] the newly deciphered lyrics of the lichen on the north face of Pike's Peak. And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer -- the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic poetry of the rocks: each one a word spoken, how long ago, by the Earth itself, in the immense solitude, the immenser community, of space." Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
[still need to mention]: 49 "The Language of Love", Robert E. Sheckley, Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1957 50 Communication, Charles Fontenay, If, October 1957 51 Communication, (verse), Walter Kerr, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1962 52 The Communicators, Edward S. Aarons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1958 {TO BE DONE}
Further Adventures in Exo-Linguistic Analysis {to be done} Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
Aliens, Language, and Twilight Zone In four seasons on television, The Twilight Zone was the first introduction to science fiction for many Americans. For that reason, it is worth examining in this handbook. At least eight times the story dealt with extraterrestrials, but when we examine these episodes, they tell us more about what ET language will NOT be like than what it might be like. In Third From The Sun {60}, the aliens look just like human beings, but smaller. This is astronomically unlikely, and was due to the limited special effects budget, rather than to any scientific plausibility. Similarly, in The Invaders {62}, the aliens look just like human beings, only larger. The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street {61} gives us hostile aliens who control the electricity of a small town, inciting panic and hostility between the townspeople, who destroy their community, as a prelude to the same being done to wreck human civilization as a whole. The ETs here are merely a plot device to warn us of our own failure to communicate with each other. The episode Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up {63} has two different species of aliens both passing as human in a small cafe filled with a bus-load of people trying to determine which one of them is really the invader from outer space. In an amusing denoument, the cafe owner lifts the brim of his hat to reveal a third eye, as he is a Martian spearheading an attack on Earth, and a customer reveals his third arm, saying that he's a Venusian whose invasion force has intercepted the Martian invasion force. This is entertaining, but doubly unlikely, first, in that aliens have little incentive to invade Earth (it's too expensive), and second, in having two competing alien species happening to meet this way. By the way, the first use in fiction of a Martian with a third eye in his forehead, passing for human by covering that eye with a hat, is in "Enemies in Space" {92} by Karl Grunert -- in 1907! The classic story To Serve Man {64}, by Rod Serling (from a story by Damon Knight), hinges on a ludicrously unrealistic linguistic conceit. An book by the superior alien "Kanamit" species on Earth is translated just as our hero is boarding the Kanamit flying saucer. He already knows that the title has been translated as "To Serve Man," which he takes to mean that the Kanamit intend to help human beings in every way possible. Too late for him to escape, he is warned that the translators have made further headway -- "it's a cookbook!" This is funny and horrible at the same time. The animated TV show The Simpsons has parodied this very story. What is absurd from a linguistic viewpoint is that exactly the same pun should exist in two unrelated languages. In Hocus-Pocus and Frisby {65}, the protagonist, abducted onto an alien flying saucer, discovers by accident that the sound of his harmonica knocks out the aliens, allowing his escape. True, ETs may have different reactions to specific sounds than we do, but the idea that a harmonica is humanity's secret weapon is such a tall tale that the other people in this very story refuse to believe Frisby when he tells them. Probe 7 -- Over And Out {66} is based on the single most common cliche in science fiction. Two ETs, each escaping planetary disasters, meet on a third planet, and turn out to be Adam and Eve on Earth. Bad enough that each ET looks human, the biology is totally unlikely that the two could interbreed. That would mean that they are, literally, the same species. In reality, two beings are of the same species if and only if they have an ancestor in common. The same species simply cannot evolve independently in two different places at the same time. Finally, Black Leather Jacket {67} again gives us aliens who mess up human electrical apparatus. Again, they can pass as human, and favor motorcycles and black leather jackets. They also have telekinesis (the ability to move objects by mind power) and telepathic mind control over humans. One of them falls in love with an Earth-girl. The story is ridiculous on several counts, but it does bring up the interesting problems of emotional communication between human and extraterrestrial. In summary, although The Twilight Zone was an entertaining introduction to many Americans of the dramatic possibilities of extraterrestrial contact, we can use it only as a guide by exclusion to what our contact will be like: (1) The aliens will NOT look so human as to be able to pass for humans in a crowd, nor be just like humans except bigger or smaller than us; (2) The aliens may have technology that can disrupt our electrical systems, but it won't be part of their physiological makeup; (3) The aliens will not desire to invade our world, as the economics of interstellar travel make full-scale invasion impossible. Whether they like us or not, they are more likely to want to trade information, cultural artefacts, or biological samples. Good communications will make mutually profitable trade more likely. (4) The alien language may have ambiguities and puns, but they will not be exactly the same as ours. (5) The aliens might have different reactions to stimuli than we do, almost certainly, but are not likely to be paralyzed by our musical instruments. (6) Alien-human love is a possibility, and maybe even alien-human sex, but alien-human interbreeding is biologically impossible. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
Aliens, Language, and The Outer Limits Another classic television show in which some episodes, but not all, involve aliens, is The Outer Limits. This show, like The Twilight Zone, deserves special attention because of its influence on popular culture, and its variety. By way of contrast, some other shows, such as V and Alien Nation deal with the same set of aliens in each episode, and thus are not as densely packed with new ideas about communication with extraterrestrials. For more on the "newcomers" in Alien Nation, the best World Wide Web reference is Alien Nation. Alf and Third Rock From The Sun have their moments, but are not meant to be taken seriously. Besides the classic episodes of The Outer Limits, there is the revival of the series. More about this can be found by World Wide Web at The Outer Limits. One of the frst of the new episodes to deal with extraterrestrials is Quality of Mercy. Here, Defense Pilot Major John Stokes is taken prisoner in an "ongoing intergalactic war." His jailer is a "huge, hideous, expressionless" alien. The ETs are surgically -- and painfully -- turning fellow captive Bree Tristan into an image of themselves. I suspect that this is based on the novel Cage a Man {80} by F.M. Busby, but have not been able to confirm this. The reverse idea, of humans surgically altering ETs to make them look more human, can be found in Celestis {81} by Paul Park. The CETI concept at the heart of each work is that we (and presumably ETs as well) are very emotionally dependent on facial expressions as an aid to interpreting spoken language. Birthright, which first aired the week of January 15, 1996, shows us how "an environmentally friendly U.S. Senator's life changes drastically after a freak accident, when he realizes he's actually an alien in disguise, with mission to surreptitiously reconfigure the earth's atmosphere." This includes the idea that, to best achieve communication between human and extraterrestrial, one or the other should be hypnotized so as to believe that he is one of the other species is dramatically compelling, but flies in the face of the objectivity that this handbook recommends. The idea that ETs would want to make earth's atmospheric chemistry more like their own is an obvious projection of our desire to "terraform" alien worlds to be more Earthlike. It has been used in science fiction in the story "Storm Warning" by Donald Wollheim {90} in 1942, and in the novel The Nitrogen Fix {91} by Hal Clement. The Conversion, which first aired the week of November 13, 1995, exhibits "a greedy man in prison [who] encounters aliens who teach him compassion." Again, this is a dramatic projection of the alien as a superior "other" who can transform people to be better. This has litle to tell us about real ETs; it is, rather, wish fulfillment, projecting the ET into our image of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or the like. The Voyage Home, which first aired the week of October 2, 1995, relates how "When an astronaut returning home from Mars discovers and alien aboard ship, he must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to prevent the alien from reaching Earth." This is an old, old idea. It was seen on film in Alien, and a lawsuit was then settled out of court between 20th Century Fox and A.E. Van Vogt, whose story "Discord in Scarlet" seems to have the same main plot line. That story was part of the novel Voyage of the Space Beagle {82}. The Second Soul, which first aired the week of September 25, 1995, tells about "Man't first encounter with beings from another planet -- the N'Tal -- appear to be a mutually rewarding arrangement. But a leery doctor/scientist must decide whether the N'Tal are friends or foe." This is, explicitly, a First Contact story, and thus particularly interesting to readers of the Handbook. The Sandkings, which first aired the week of September 11, 1995, is about "Scientist Simon Kress [who] finds himself the master of a colony of creatures from Mars that look like insects, but have the intelligence of much higher beings." Based on the award-winning story by George R.R. Martin, this is one of the best examples of science fiction on television in recent years. We may not, indeed, be able to correctly assess the intelligence of ETs, especially if they are very different from ourselves in appearance. Without linguistic contact, we run the risk of deadly misunderstandings. Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Collection of Memorable Aliens Editor Ian Summers and science fiction illustrator Wayne Douglas Barlowe created a wonderful compendium of artstically and textually rendered extraterrestrials, chosen (and faithfully portrayed) from classic novels of the field. Their book, Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials83 is worth referring to, if only to illustrate the variety of ETs imagined by first-rate writers. The other reason to peruse this volume is to prepare yourself not to be horrified by the un-human look of possible ETs, but instead to be able to see them analytically and as representing an alternative kind of beauty. The ETs, alphabetically by name, and the authors and books of origin are: The Abyormenite, from Hal Clement's Cycle of Fire, New York: Ballentine, 1957 The Athsheans, from Ursula K. LeGuin's The Word for World is Forest, New York: Berkeley, 1975 The Black Cloud, from Fred Hoyle's The Black Cloud28 The Chulpex, from Avram Davidson's Masters of the Maze The Cinruss, from James White's Sector General novels The Cryer, from Joseph Green's Conscience Interplanetary The Cygman, from Donald Moffitt's The Jupiter Theft85 The Cygnostik, from Michael Bishop's A Little Knowledge, New York: Berkeley, 1977 The Czill, from Jack L. Chalker's Midnight at the Well of Souls Demons, from Keith Laumer's A Plague of Demons, New York: Berkeley, 1977 The Demu, from F.M. Busby's Cage a Man, New York: New American Library, 1973 The Dextrans, from David J. Lake's The Right Hand of Dextra The Dilbians, from Gordon R. Dickson's Spacial Delivery and Spacepaw The Dirdir, from Jack Vance's The Dirdir The Garnishee, from Harry Harrison's Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers The Gowachin, from Frank Herbert's The Dosadi Experiment The Guild Steersman, from Frank Herbert's Dune Messiah The Ishtarians, from Poul Anderson's Fire Time, New York: Doubleday, 1974 The Ixchel, from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time The Ixtl, from A.E. Van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle The Lithians, from James Blish's A Case of Conscience The Masters, from John Christopher's Tripod trilogy The Medusans, from Jack Williamson's The Legion of Space The Merseians, from Poul Anderson's Ensign Flandry The Mesklinites, from Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity Mother, from Philip JosŽ Farmer's Strange Relations The Old Galactics, from James H. Schmitz's Legacy The Old Ones, from H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness The Overlords, from Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End24 The Pnume, from Jack Vance's The Pnume The Polarians, from Piers Anthony's Cluster The Puppeteers, from Larry Niven's Neutron Star and Ringworld The Radiates, from Naomi Mitchison's Memoirs of a Spacewoman The Regul, from C.J. Cherryh's The Faded Sun: Kesrith The Riim, from A.E. Van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle The Ruml, from Gordon R. Dickson's The Alien Way26 The Salamen, from Brian R. Stableford's Wildeblood's Empire The Sirians, from Frederik Pohl's The Age of the Pussyfoot The Slash, from Piers Anthony's Kirlian Quest The Soft Ones, from Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves Solaris, from Stanislaw Lem's Solaris46 The Sulidor, from Robert L. Silverberg's Downward to the Earth The Thing, from Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell)'s Who Goes There?31 The Thrint, from Larry Niven's World of Ptavvs The Tran, from Alan Dean Foster's Icerigger The Tripeds, from Damon Knight's Rule Golden The Tyreeans, from James Tiptree's Up the Walls of the World The Uchjinians, from Jack L. Chalker's Exiles at the Well of Souls The Vegans, from Robert A. Heinlein's Have Spacesuit Will Travel The Velantians, from E.E. Smith's Children of the Lens Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS


1 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, New York: Crown, 1979 2 The First Soviet-American Conference on Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CETI), Yerevan, 1971 3 U.S. President Jimmy Carter's and Secretary General of the United Nations Kurt Waldheim's statements recorded on the Voyager spacecraft record; see also "The World on a Record", Jonathan Eberhadt, Science News, 112(1977)124 4 The International SETI Petition by Carl Sagan 5 The 1982 film by Steven Spielburg, E.T. 6 The Klingon Dictionary: The Official Guide to Klingon Words and Phrases, Marc Okrand, ed. Dave Stern, New York: Pocket Books, 1985 7 An Introduction to General Linguistics, Francis P. Dineen, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1967 8 VOR, James Blish, New York: Avon, 1958; paperback Avon T-238 9 Close Encounters of the Third Kind, film, director Steven Spielberg, 1977 10 "Help, I am Dr. Morris Goldpepper", Avram Davidson, Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1957; reprinted in The Third Galaxy Reader, ed. H.L. Gold, New York: Doubleday, 1958 11 The Inheritors, William Golding, New York: Harcourt, 1963 12 God Bless You, Mr.Rosewater,[??] Kurt Vonnegut [citing fictional Kilgore Trout], New York: Holt Rinehart Winston, 1966 13 Time Machines, Paul J. Nahin, New York: American Institute of Physics, 1993 14 Computer Lib, Ted Nelson, Microsoft Press, 1985? 15 Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1914; Armed Forces paperback n-16; Goulden, 1951 16 Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, New York: G.P. Putnam's, 1962, Ace, 1962 17 "Shall We Have a Little Talk," Robert Sheckley, Galaxy Science Fiction, xxxx, 1965; reprinted in The Collected Short Fiction of Robert Sheckley, Book Three, Oregon: Pulphouse, 1991, pp.43-65 18 "A Martian Odyssey," Stanley G. Weinbaum, Wonder Stories, July 1934 19 The Art of Computer Programming, Vol.??, Chapter ??, xxxx, Donald Knuth, xxxx, yyyy 20 One Hundred Trillion Planets, Jonathan Vos Post & Dr. Christine Carmichael, in press 21 "First Contact," Murray Leinster (pseudonym of W.F. Jenkins), Astounding Science Fiction, May 1945 22 "Omnilingual", H. Beam Piper, Astounding Science Fiction, February 1957 23 The Dark Light Years, Brian Aldiss, London: Faber, 1964 24 Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke, New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 1953 25 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke, New York: New American Library, 1968; Stanley Kubrick's 1968 MGM film 26 The Alien Way, Gordon Dickson, New York: Bantam, 1965 27 "Old Faithful," Raymond Z. Gallun, Astounding Science Fiction, December 1934 28 The Black Cloud, Fred Hoyle, London: Heinemann, 1957; New York: Harper, 1957 29 The Wanderer, Fritz Leiber, New York: Ballantine, 1964 30 War of the Worlds, Produced by George Pal, Directed by Byron Haskin, Screenplay by Barre Lyndon, yyyyyyy, Paramount; from the novel The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, London: William Heinemann, 1898; radio show freely adapted by Howard Koch, presented by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air, CBS, 30 October 1938; film remake xxxx, yyyyyy, zzzzzzzzzzz 31 The Thing (full title The Thing From Another Planet), Produced by Howard Hawks, Directed by Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks, Screenplay by Charles Lederer (and maybe Ben Hecht), RKO/Winchester, 1951, from the story "Who Goes There" by John W. Campbell (writing as Don A. Stuart); remake in 1982 32 Invaders from Mars, Produced by Edward L. Alperson, Directed by William Cameron Menzies, Screenplay by Richard Blake, John T. Battle, W.C. Menzies, 20th Century-Fox, 1953 33 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, Screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring, Allied Artists, 1955, from the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney 34 This Island Earth, Produced by William Alland, Directed by Joseph Newman, Screenplay by Franklin Coen and Edward G. O'Callaghan, Universal-International, 1954, based on the novel by Raymond F. Jones 35 Forbidden Planet, Produced by Nicholas Nayfack, Directed by Fred McLeod Wilcox, Screenplay by Cyril Hume, MGM, 1956 36 Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis, London: Lane, 1938; New York: Macmillan, 1943 37 "The Heart of the Serpent," Ivan Antonovich Yefremov, in The Heart of the Serpent, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961; More Soviet Science Fiction, New York: Collier, 1962 38 "Pictures Don't Lie," Katherine MacLean, Galaxy Science Fiction, August 1951; reprinted in The Diploids, New York: Avon, 1962 39 The Eye of the Queen, Phillip Mann, New York: Arbor, 1983 40 "Not So Certain," David Irvine Masson, xxx, yyy; The Caltrips of Time, David Irvine Masson, London: Faber, 1968 41 The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974 42 The Embedding, Ian Watson, New York: Scribner's, 1975 43 Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany, New York: Ace, 1968 44 The Language of Pao, Jack Vance, Satellite Science Fiction, December 1957 45 Language, Thought, and Reality, Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ed. John B. Carroll, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1956 46 Solaris, Stanislaw Lem, 1961; translation London: Faber, 1970 47 Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, xxxx, yyyy 48 Contact, Carl Sagan, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985; grown out of a film treatment by Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, assisted by Gentry Lee & Lynda Obst 49 "The Language of Love", Robert E. Sheckley, Galaxy Science Fiction, May 1957 50 Communication, Charles Fontenay, If, October 1957 51 Communication, (verse), Walter Kerr, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1962 52 The Communicators, Edward S. Aarons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1958 53 "The Moon Moth", Jack Vance, Galaxy, xxx 1961, reprinted in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B, ed. Ben Bova, New York: Doubleday, 1973 60 Third From The Sun, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, 8 January 1960 61 The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, 4 March 1960 62 The Invaders, Richard Matheson, Twilight Zone, 27 January 1961 63 Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, 26 May 1961 64 To Serve Man, Rod Serling (from a story by Damon Knight), Twilight Zone, 2 March 1962 65 Hocus-Pocus and Frisby, Rod Serling, Twilight Zone, 13 April 1962 66 Probe 7 -- Over And Out, Rod Serling (directed by Ted Post), Twilight Zone, 29 November 1963 67 Black Leather Jacket, Earl Hamming Jr., Twilight Zone, 31 January 1964 68 Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon, London: Methuen, 1930; Los Angeles: Jeremy tarcher, 1988, p.304 69 Anything You Can Do, "Darrel T. Langart", pseudonym of Randall Garrett, New York: Doubleday, 1963 70 Weston La Barre, "Paralinguistics, Kinesics, and Cultural Anthropology", in Approaches to Semiotics, ed. Thomas A. Sebeok, Alfred S. Hayes, Mary Catherine Bateson, The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1964 71 How to Learn an Unwritten Language, Sarah C. Gudschinsky, New York: Holt Rinehart & Winston, 1967 72 A Natural History of the Senses, Diana Ackerman, New York: Random House, 1990 73 The Social Meaning of Language, J. B. Pride, London: Oxford University Press, 1971 74 Theory of Language, James Beattie, London, 1788 75 The Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan, New York: Random House, 1976 76 "Paralinguistics and Kinesics", Alfred S. Hayes, in Approaches to Semiotics, ed. Thomas A. Sebeok, Alfred S. Hayes, Mary Catherine Bateson, The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1964, 77 String Figures and How to Make Them: A Study of Cat's-Cradle in Many Lands, Caroline Furness Jayne, with an Ethnological Introduction by Alfred C. Haddon, New York: Dover, 1962 (unabridged reproduction of the work first published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1906 under the former title String Figures.) 80 Cage a Man, F.M. Busby, New York: New American Library, 1973 81 Celestis, Paul Park, New York: Tor, 1995 82 Voyage of the Space Beagle, A.E. Van Vogt, xxx: yyy, 19zz 83 Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials, Wayne Douglas Barlowe and Ian Summers, xx: yyy, 1979 84 JEM, Frederik Pohl, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978; New York Baen, 1994 85 The Jupiter Theft, Donald Moffitt, New York: Del Rey, 1977 86 Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement, Garden City NJ: Doubleday, 1954 87 "Hard Sciences and Tough Technologies", Hal Clement, in The Craft of Science Fiction, ed. Reginald Bretnor, New York: Harper & Row, 1976, p.51 88 Cosmic Engineers: A Study of Hard Science Fiction, Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1996 89 Stardance, Spider & Jeanne Robinson, xxx: yyy, 19ZZ 90 "Storm Warning", Donald Wollheim (as "Millard Verne Gordon"), Future Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1942 91 The Nitrogen Fix, Hal Clement, xxx: yyy, 19xx 92 "Enemies in Space", Karl Gruert (in German), 1907; translated by Willy Ley in Invaders of Earth, ed. Groff Conklin, New York: Vanguard: 1952 93 All Judgment Fled, James White, New York: Walker, 1969 94 "Mother", Philip JosŽ Farmer, Thrilling Wonder Stories, April 1953, reprinted in Strange Relations, Philip JosŽ Farmer, New York: Avon, 1974 95 Two Planets, Kurd Lasswitz, published in German under the original title Auf Zwei Planeten, Lepzig: Verlag B. Elischer Nachfolger, 1897; translated in English translation, Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press, 1971 96 "The Children's Hour", Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, Astounding Science Fiction, xx 1944, reprinted in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume One, ed. Anthony Boucher, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959 97 "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff", Theodore Sturgeon, 1955, reprinted in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume One, ed. Anthony Boucher, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959 98 "Crisis", Edward Grendon, Astounding Science Fiction, June 1951; reprinted in Invaders of Earth, ed. Groff Conklin, New York: Vanguard, 1952 99 "The Waveries", Frederic Brown, Astounding Science Fiction, August 1944; reprinted in Invaders of Earth, ed. Groff Conklin, New York: Vanguard: 1952 100 "Angel's Egg", Edgar Pangborn, Galaxy Science Fiction, June 1951; reprinted in Invaders of Earth, ed. Groff Conklin, New York: Vanguard: 1952 101 Unearthly Neighbors, Chad Oliver, New York: Ballentine, 1960; revised (first hardcover) edition, New York: Crown, 1984 102 Foragers, Charles Oberndorf, New York: Bantam-Spectra, April 1996 103 Foreigner: A Novel of First Contact, C. J. Cherryh, New York: Daw, February 1994 *** The End *** Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Appendix: People to Contact for First Contact

These organizations WANT you to contact them first, even though they are not included in the SETI Post-Detection Protocol: ¥ The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), one of the oldest and largest UFO groups, with members in every state, who collect data and investigate claims: Mutual UFO Network, 103 Oldtowne Road, Seguin, TX 78155 ¥ The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), 2457 West Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60659, (312) 271-3611 The remaining references have not necessarily ASKED to be contacted, but represent other types of authority and expertise beyond UFOlogy as such, and should be seriously considered on a high-priority basis: (1) the top Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) officers of ¥ the National Security Agency, at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ¥ Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ¥ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), at xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; (CIA Director John Deutch is a former Chemistry professor); (2) the top Mathematical Linguist from each of Caltech and MIT, plus Noam Chomsky if MIT doesn't volunteer him; ¥ Frederick Thompson, Caltech, (818) 354-6230, ¥ Noam Chomsky, Department of Linguistics, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02319, (617) 253-1541, (617) 258-8226 fax; (3) the Presidents of these organizations: ¥ Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Michael Capobianco, 14005 Robey Dr., Hughesville, MD 20637, (301) 274-9489, fax (301) 870-9181, Genie -- M.CAPABIANCO, Compuserve -- 70713,44 ¥ The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Executive Director Dr. Richard S. Nicholson, 1333 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 326-6400, (202) 289-4021 fax; ¥ the American Astronautical Society, Executive Director Carolyn F. Brown, 6352 Rolling Mill Pl., Ste.102, Springfield, VA 22152, (703) 866-0020, (703) 866-3526 fax; ¥ the American Astronomical Society, Dr. Peter B. Boyce, 1630 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 328-2010, (202) 234-2560 fax; ¥ the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Executive Director Cort Durocher, 370 L'Enfant Promendade SW, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 646-7400, (202) 646-7508 fax; ¥ the International Astronomical Union, General Secretary Dr. J. Bergeron, 98 bis, blvd. Arago, 75014 Paris, France, phone: 1-43258358, fax: 1-40512100; ¥ the National Science Foundation, Director Walter Massey, 1800 G Street NW, Room 520, Washington, DC 20550, (202) 357-9498 ¥ the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, Executive Officer Philip M. Smith, 2101 Constitution Av. NW, Washington, DC 20418, (202) 334-2000, (202) 334-2158 fax; ¥ The RAND Corporation, 1700 Main St., P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, California 90407, (310) 393-6411, (310) 393-4818 fax; ¥ The Hudson Institute, Chappaqua, New York, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (4) these key NASA personnel: ¥ NASA Administrator ¥ JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone, (818) 354-3405 ¥ Chief of the Extraterrestrial Research Division of NASA Ames, John Billingham, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; (5) Dr. Thomas McDonough, the SETI Director of the Planetary Society, 65 N. Catalina Av., Pasadena, CA xxxxx, (818) 793-5100 (6) The following heads of these Linguistic and Anthropological organizations ¥ Laboratory for Computational Linguistics, Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Philosophy, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; Director David A. Evans, (412) 268-5085, (412) 268-1440 fax; ¥ Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas, University Station, Austin, TX 78713-7247, Director Dr. Winfred P. Lehman, (512) 471-4566, (512) 471-6084 fax; ¥ xxxxxxxxxxxx ¥ xxxxxxxxxxxx and (7) the following individuals: Carl Sagan, David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences Director, Laboratory for Planetary Studies, Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, Cornell University, 302, Space Science Building CRSR, Ithaca, NY 14853, (607) 255-4341, (607) 255-8544 fax; David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Av., New York, NY 10021-6399, (212) 327-7600, (212) 327-7949 fax; Richard Berendzen, President, American University, Physics Department, American University, Washington, DC 20016, (202) 885-1400, (202) 885-1428 fax; Eleanor. Margaret Burbidge, Past President of American Astronomical Society, Professor of Astronomy, Department of Physics, C-011, University of California, at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0111; Melvin Calvin, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, University Professor of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720; Alastair G.W. Cameron, former Chairman of the Space Science Board of the National Research Council, Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University, Harvard College Observatory, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138; M.S. Chadha, Senior Researcher, Phabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Francis Crick, Nobel laureate in Medicine and Physiology, Distinguished Research Professor, Salk Institute of Biological Studies, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, (619) 453-4100, (619) 453-3105 fax; David Russell Criswell, Institute of Space Systems Operations, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5502; Robert S. Dixon, Assistant Director, Ohio State University Radio Observatory, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I.M. Donohue, Former Chairman of the Space Sciences Board of the National Research Council, Profesor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Michigan, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Frank D. Drake, former Director of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University, University of California 413 Natural Science Bldg. II, Santa Cruz, CA 95064; Freeman J. Dyson, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Olden Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540, (609) 734-8000, (609) 734-8399 fax; Manfred Eigen, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen 37077, Germany, phone (0551) 201432; Thomas Eisner, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Biology, NB&B, 347 Mudd Bldg., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853; James L. Elliot, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics and Director of the George R. Wallace Astrophysical Observatory, MIT, 77 Massacgusetts Ave., Bldg. 54-422A, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 253-6315, (617) 253-6208 fax; George B. Field, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Profesor of Astronomy, Harvard University, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, (617) 495-7461, (617) 495-7326 fax; Vitaly L. Ginzburg, Lenin Peace Prize Laureate, Senior Staff Member, Lebedev Physical Institute, Leninskiy Prospekt 53, Moscow 117924, Russia, phone 1354264, fax 1358533; Thomas Gold, former Director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, John L. Wetherill Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University, 7 Pleasant Grove, Ithaca, NY 14850, (607) 255-4341, (607) 255-8544 fax; Leo Goldberg, past President of the International Astronomical Union, former Director of the Kitt Peak National Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719, (602) 327-5511, (602) 325-9360 fax; Peter Goldreich, Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics, 176 S. Bridge, California Institute of Technology, 1201 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, California 91125, (818) 354-6193; J. Richard Gott III, Associate Professor of Astrophysics, Princeton University, xxxx Princeton, NJ 08544; Stephen J. Gould, Professor of Geology and Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138, (617) 495-2463, (617) 495-5667 fax; Tor Hagfors, former Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Trondheim in Norway, Director of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Cornell University, Max Planck Institute of Aeronomy, Post Fach 20 D-3411, Katlenburg-Lindan, Germany Stephen W. Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB3 9EW, England David S. Heeschen, Senior Scientist and former Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, (804) 296-0211, (804) 296-0278 fax; Jean Heidmann, Chief Astronomer, Observatoire de Paris (Paris Observatory), F-92195 Meudon, France, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Gerhard Hertzberg, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Distinguished Research Scientist, National Research Council of Canada, (613) 993-9101, (613) 952-9696 fax; Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, President, University of Notre Dame, P.O. Box Q, Notre Dame, IN 46556, (219) 631-5303, (219) 239-6927 fax; Paul M. Horowitz, Professor of Physics, Harvard University, xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Sir Fred Hoyle, former Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, former Director of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University, England, c/o the Royal Society, 6 Carleton House Terrace, London SWIY 5AG, England; Eric M. Jones, Staff Member, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, MSF 665, P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, New Mexico, 87545, (505) 667-7000, (505) 665-3910 fax; Jun Jugaku, Research Institute of Civilization, Tokai University, Hiratskuka, Kanagawa 259-12, Japan, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx N.S. Kardashev, Director of the Samarkand Radio Observatory Institute for Cosmic Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, & Astrospace Center, Moscow, Russia, xxxxxxxxxxx Kenneth I. Kellerman, Senior Scientist, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, (804) 296-0211, (804) 296-0278 fax; Michael J. Klein, Senior Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, (818) 354-7132, home: (213) 255-2410; Richard B. Lee, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Per-Olaf Lindblad, Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Stockholm Observatory, S-133 00 Saltsjobeden, Sweden, phone 8-7170380, fax: 8-7174719; Paul D. MacLean, Chief of the Laboratory of Brain Evolutionm and Behavior, National Institute of Mental Health, 9916 Logan Dr., Potomac, MD 20854, (301) 496-1371, (301) 480-1668 fax; Mikhail Ya. Marov, Department Chief, M.V. Keldesh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, and Professor of Planetary Physics, Moscow State University, Miuskaya Ploshchad 4, Moscow 125047, Russia, phone: 95-9723714; Matthews Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University, 7 Divinity Av., Cambridge, MA 02138; Marvin L. Minsky, Donner Professor of Science, former Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT, Media Laboratory, MIT, 20 Ames St., Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 253-0338, (617) 258-6264 fax; Masaki Morimoto, Director, Nobeyama Radio Observatory, Tokyo, Japan, xxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Philip Morrison, Institute Professor, MIT, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Bruce C. Murray, former Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Professor of Geological and Planetary Science, 159 S. Mudd, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, (818) 354-3780,; William L. Newman, Assistant Professor of Planetary Physics and Astronomy, Dept. of Earth & Space Science, University of California at Los Angeles, Westwood, CA 90024-1567, (310) 206-0686, (310) 206-5673 fax; Jan H. Oort, Past President of the International Astronomical Union, Professor of Astronomy, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Ernst J. Opik, Senior Scientist, Armagh University, Northern Ireland, xx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Leslie E. Orgel, Research Professor, the Salk Institute, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry, University of California at San Diego, P.O. Box 85800, San Diego, CA 92186-5800, (619) 453-4100; Franco Pacini, Director, Arcetri Observatory, Largo E. Fermi 5, Firenze 50125 Italy, phone (055) 2752232, fax: (055) 220039; Michael D. Papagiannis, President of the Commission on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life of the International Astronomical Union, Chairman, Department of Astronomy, Boston University, Boston, 1105 Lexington St., No. 5-10, Waltham, MA 02154, (617) 353-3081, (617) 353-6488 fax; Rudolf Pesek, Chairman on Astronautics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Czech Technical University, Prague, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx W.H. Pickering, National Medal of Science laureate, former Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lignetics, Inc., 1150 Foothill Blvd., Suite E, La Canada, CA 91011, fax (818) 952-5009; Cyril Ponnamperuna, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Evolution, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, (301) 405-1897, (301) 405-9375 fax; Jonathan Vos Post,, Edward M. Purcell, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Gade University Professor Emeritus, Lyman Laboratory, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; David M. Raup, Chairman, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 5757Woodlawn, Chicago, IL 60637, (312) 702-2163, (312) 702-2166 fax;, Grote Reber, Inventor of the Radiotelescope, Tasmania, Australia, xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Martin J. Rees, Phurman Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Institute of Astronomy, Madingly Road, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB3 OHA, England, phone 337548, fax 337523 Dale A. Russell, Chief of the Paleontology Division, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Roald J. Sagdeev, former Director of the Institute for Cosmic Research, Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, now at the Physics Department, University of Maryland Claude E. Shannon, Inventor of Communication Theory, National Medal of Science, Donner Professor of Science Emeritis, MIT, 5 Cambridge St., Winchester, MA 01890; Jill Tarter, Research Astronomer, University of California at Berkeley, NASA Ames Research Center, MS TR-002, Moffett Field, CA 94035, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Kip S. Thorne, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, 151 W. Bridge Annex, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, (818) 354-4598, (818) 441-0685 home,; V.S. Troitsky, Scientific Director, Radiophysics Research Institute, Gorky, Russia, xxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx J.P. Vallee, Hertzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Sebastian von Hoerner, Senior Staff Member, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Krumenacker-Str. 186, Esslingen 73733 Germany; Edward O. Wilson, National Medal of Science laureate, Baird Professor of Science and Professor of Biology, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138, (617) 495-2463, (617) 495-5667 fax; Benjamin Zuckerman, Professor of Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Av., Los Angeles, CA 90024 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Return to "Clues from Science Fiction" TABLE OF CONTENTS Return to "Me Human, You Alien" TABLE OF CONTENTS

Appendix: Declaration of Principles Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence

(The "Post-Detection Protocol")

We, the institutions and individuals participating in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, Recognizing that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is an integral part of space exploration and is being undertaken for peaceful purposes and for the common interest of all mankind, Inspired by the profound significance for mankind of detecting evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, even though the probability of detection may be low, Recalling the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which commits States Parties to that Treaty to "inform the Secretary General of the United Nations as well as the public and international scientific community, to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, of the nature, conduct, locations and results" of their space exploration activities (Article XI). Recognizing that any initial detection may be incomplete or ambiguous and thus require careful examination as well as confirmation, and that it is essential to maintain the highest standards of scientific responsibility and credibility, Agree to observe the following principles for disseminating information about the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence: 1. Any individual, public or private research institution, or government agency that believes it has detected a signal from or other evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence (the discoverer) should seek to verify that the most plausible explanation for the evidence is the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence rather than some other natural phenomenon or anthropogenic phenomenon before making any public announcement. If the evidence cannot be confirmed as indicating the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the discoverer may disseminate the information as appropriate to the discovery of any unknown phenomenon. 2. Prior to making a public announcement that the evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence has been detected, the discoverer should promptly inform all other observers or research organizations that are parties to this declaration, so that those other parties may seek to confirm the discovery by independent observations at other sites and so that a network can be established to enable continuous monitoring of the signal or phenomenon. Parties to this declaration should not make any public announcement of this information until it is determined whether this information is or is not credible evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. The discoverer should inform his/her or its relevant national authorities. 3. After concluding that the discovery appears to credible evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, and after informing other parties to this declaration, the discoverer should inform observers throughout the world through the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams of the International Astronomical Union, and should inform the Secretary General of the United Nations in accordance with Article XI of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. Because of their demonstrated interest in and expertise concerning the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence, the discoverer should simultaneously inform the following international institutions of the discovery and should provide them with all pertinent data and recorded information concerning the evidence: the International Telecommunications Union, the Committee on Space Research of the International Council of Scientific Unions, the International Astronautical Federation, the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Institute of Space Law, Commission 51 of the International Astronomical Union and Commission J of the International Radio Science Union. 4. A confirmed detection of extraterrestrial intelligence should be disseminated promptly, openly, and widely through scientific channels and public media, observing the procedures in this declaration. The discoverer shall have the privilege of making the first public announcement. 5. All data necessary for the confirmation of detection should be made available to the international scientific community through publications, meetings, conferences, and other appropriate means. 6. The discovery should be confirmed and monitored and any data bearing on the evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence should be recorded and stored permanently to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, in a form that will make it available for further analysis and interpretation. These recordings should be made available to the international institutions listed above and to members of the scientific community for further objective analysis and interpretation. 7. If the evidence of detection is in the form of electromagnetic signals, the parties to this declaration should seek international agreement to protect the appropriate frequencies by exercising the extraordinary procedures established within the World Administrative Radio Council of the International Telecommunication Union. 8. No response to a signal or other evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence should be sent until appropriate international consultations have taken place. The procedures for such consultations will be the subject of a separate agreement, declaration or arrangement. 9. The SETI Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics, in coordination with Commission 51 of the International Astronomical Union, will conduct a continuing review of the procedures for the detection of extraterrestrial intelligence and the subsequent handling of the data. Should credible evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence be discovered, an international committee of scientists and other experts should be established to serve as a focal point for continuing analysis of all observational evidence collected in the aftermath of the discovery, and also to provide advice on the release of information to the public. The committee should be constituted from representatives of each of the international institutions listed above and such other members as the committee may deem necessary. To facilitate the convocation of such a committee at some unknown time in the future, the SETI Committee of the International Academy of Astronautics should initiate and maintain a current list of willing representatives from each of the institutions listed above, as well as other individuals with relevant skills, and should make that list continuously available through the Secretariat of the International Academy of Astronautics. The International Academy of Astronautics will act as the Depository for this declaration and will annually provide a current list of parties to all the parties to this declaration. [endorsed April 1989 by the Board of Trustees of the International Academy of Astronautics and the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law]