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A scene of a first contact between aliens and humans.
A scene of a first contact between aliens and humans.

First contact is a common science fiction theme about the first meeting between humans and extraterrestrial life, or of any sentient species' first encounter with another one, given they are from different planets or natural satellites. The theme allows writers to explore such topics such as xenophobia, transcendentalism, and basic linguistics by adapting the anthropological topic of first contact to extraterrestrial cultures.[citation needed]

Overview

Murray Leinster's 1945 novelette "First Contact" established the term "first contact" in science fiction,[citation needed] although the theme had appeared earlier. Its roots lie in colonial narratives from the Age of Discovery onward.[citation needed]

Of many variations of the trope, one may recognize the subclasses of the actual interstellar meeting of two civilizations and the "message from space" one.[1]

Notable examples

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An early example of the theme, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
An early example of the theme, H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds

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See also

Notes

  1. ^ Science Fiction After 1900: From the Steam Man to the Stars, by Brooks Landon, p. 81
  2. ^ Ann Weinstone (July 1994). "Resisting Monsters: Notes on "Solaris"". Science Fiction Studies. SF-TH Inc. 21 (2): 173–190. JSTOR 4240332. Retrieved 4 February 2021."Lem's critique of colonialism, as he broadly defines it,9 is articulated by Snow, one of the other scientists on the space station, who says in the book's most frequently quoted passage: We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don't want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange. We think of ourselves as the Knights of the Holy Contact. This is another lie. We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. (§6:72)"

References