Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Commonly used alien types for writing aliens

Everyone's familiar with grey aliens as they're invaded popular culture for almost a century, starring predominantly in examinations of either them or ourselves. They are often portrayed as far more intelligent than us and possessive of a mean streak that is a result of intellectual objectivity and study. Few have broken this trend in characterisation so there is ample opportunity to mess about with them when writing an alien story. They are a staple feature of intellectual science fiction inclusive of most scientific details than characterisation. The drawback of using them though is that they are so pervasive in the science fiction scene that the audience will expect a certain type of story to come with their usage.


Little green men and sometimes tall women with more breasts than are appropriate are highly popular but their popularity goes in waves as they are sometimes seen as tacky versions of greys. Green aliens are very pervasive in general culture, not just in the realms of science fiction, are are the most likely to be accepted by children as non-threatening if presented properly. The little green men have appeared in various forms but have all maintained a certain level of cheekiness and recklessness that the greys never had. Little green men can sometimes be enemies of mankind but are generally either neutral or friendly, cheeky antics aside. Writing a green alien is fairly easy, with the base requirement of green skin being easy to meet. There are no definite expectations as to their characterisation in place as they've appeared in so many forms that they have even lots their original shape. Green aliens are perfect characters for exploring the difference between humans and aliens in a non-scientific manner.

You know that story about the British royal family being aliens? Well, the particular type of aliens they are are reptilians. Reptilians have largely been characterised as preferring to wear the skins of humans and to walk amongst us weaving their plots to take over the world. They are rarely if ever friendly to humans. Their plotting can either involve taking over the planet for those stranded here or taking over the planet for those coming. They are the epitome of the empire building and conquering aliens who prefer to do so through mental application rather than force. Largely 2D in characterisation because of their narrow concerns they almost beg for someone to come along and revamp their image.

Tall White aliens are closely related to greys and greens but they are more ethereal in appearance. Intelligent and distanced they are still often portrayed as connected to the human military or airforce in some way. Often neutral rather than friend or foe they seem to be dragged into our messes more than any thing else. Also, if there is a spooky alien to be written rather than a frightening, threatening, friendly or conquering on then this is the choice to go with as they appear like ghosts. They are prone to abductions though so a good abduction story can be woven using these. Also, of the greys, greens and whites the whites are the ones most likely to get into probing.

Other standard alien types that are fleetingly represented are Andromedan aliens, Nordic aliens, Sirians, Hairy Dwarves and Hopkinsville goblins. They either appear and are mostly human or are a cross between a demon or monster and a classic alien in characterisation. Souls are not consumed but slavery or entrapment can occur. Also, there is some benign defence of humanity and caring going on in the more beatific aliens.

Andromedan aliens

Sirians (representations vary to far more human-esque)

Hairy Dwarves (There are giant forms of this type of alien now)

Hopkinsville goblin

In recent alien history there have been a few inclusions into the list of alien lifeforms that have taken the world by storm and in doing so have become new classic forms of aliens. Unfortunately, as they belong largely to one creator they aren't always available for extra story telling. Or if they are you may find yourself writing a story that creates a lot of negative feedback as fans of the original creation object to the alien being moved from its normal home and role. In the list of new classic alien types are: 

Timelords (very similar to other human-esque and intellectual aliens but they have become one of the most distinct races amongst them)





Vulcans (very similar to other human-esque and intellectual aliens but they have become one of the most distinct races amongst them)

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