Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love First Contact Stories

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A caution sign with the outline of an alien giving a peace sign on it. Y’all have no idea how hard it was for me to narrow this reply down to only one topic.

I desperately wanted to write at least six different posts in response to this prompt because there are so many specific things I love reading about.

But I will follow the rules and only gush about one of them!

Aliens are something that always make my ears perk up when I see references to them in blurbs or excerpts, especially if they’re written as something other than an antagonist.

1.  They make the universe seem friendlier. Since life evolved on Earth, it makes sense that it would develop on other planets and moons, too!

2. They stretch our imaginations. Sentient, humanoid aliens are interesting, but I’m even more interested in the ones that don’t feel familiar at all.This summer I’ll be reviewing a film called Life here about this precise topic.

3. They are thought provoking. How would people really react to new life on Mars, Europa, or some other faraway place?

4. They make learning from history mandatory. To tie into #3, I think we’d need to do a lot of soul-searching as a species when it came to how we’ve treated people from other countries and continents if we were to have any hope of not repeating the many mistakes of the past.

5. They say more about us than they do real aliens. Too often, alien stories assume that beings from other planets would be violent and cruel. I see no reason to believe that assumption is correct.

6. They give me an excuse to use this gif.

Man saying "I'm not saying it was the aliens...but it was the aliens."

And what could possibly be better than that?

110 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love First Contact Stories

  1. I haven’t read any first contact stories I don’t think…? Maybe Day of the Tryffds? I might have to have a think about it and look some more up to try.

    Love that GIF though! XD

  2. Such an interesting list! That gif is always a good choice 😀
    I don’t think I’ve read many first contact stories – do you have any suggestions from where to start with?

    • Thank you.

      There are so many great first contact out there! Here are a just a few:

      “Contact” by Carl Sagan (the film based on it was really good, too)

      “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (the excellent film Arrival is based on this novella)

      “Dawn” by Octavia E. Butler

      “Anathem”by Neal Stephenson

  3. Great list! I haven’t actually read that many first contact stories, but I agree with so much of this – particularly that they say an awful lot more about human nature than they do about aliens.

  4. I never thought about some of these things, but they make sense. I have not read a lot of First Contact stories, but those I have read do fit in with many of these.

  5. That gif 😀 😀 😀

    What a seriously awesome take on this week’s topic. I love these kinds of books too, but never realized why until I read this list. You’re right on the money!

    Side note, I’m reading a book right now about explorers in an ancient Egyptian tomb encountering technology that doesn’t even exist today and my inner meme lover just keeps thinking “ALIENS.”

  6. This was definitely a really open topic, wasn’t it? I’m enjoying seeing where everyone decided to take it, though, since it was so broad. Always a good excuse for using that GIF. xD I totally agree about loving how it expands our imaginations and makes us really think about things!

    • Thank you! It’s hard to narrow it down to only one, but I loved “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (the excellent film Arrival is based on this novella).

  7. Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    I don’t come across many aliens in my literature since I’m not a large fan of science fiction. But I’ve met a few, so I could understand your love for that kind of literature.

    Anyway, great post.

    • It’s hard to narrow it down to only one, but I loved “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (the excellent film Arrival is based on this novella). 🙂

  8. Very interesting topic. I don’t think I have ever read a First Contact novel. I will check out the ones you suggest in the comments. Many years ago my brother… who doesn’t read that much… suggested Contact. Have seen the film but not read the book. (This is TracyK @ Bitter Tea and Mystery, signing onto WordPress blogs requires my other “name”.)

  9. I wish I could appreciate a good contact story. I can’t because my Mother in Law reads them and then tells me about them like they’re non-fiction. It’s taken all joy out of anything alien related for me.

  10. I love reading about aliens in books and I agree with all your points! I used to be terrified of life outer space, because my only experiences with it in fiction were the bloodthirsty aliens that want to destroy earth. And when you think about it, it makes no sense really why they would so that? The actual science and speculation behind extraterrestrial life is fascinating too!

    • I’m glad you changed your mind on this topic. And, yeah, the actual science and speculation behind it is fascinating for sure. I only hope we live long enough to learn what life on other planets is actually like (if it exists).

  11. Oh this post is great, I also love first contact stories. You bring up some really great points, I particularly love that it makes us expand our view about what “alien” might mean and that they aren’t necessarily just some crazy other being.

  12. Interesting post! (And a nice change from most of the fantasy/genre overview ones ones.) I’m not really into sci-fi, and those I do read rarely involve aliens…Illuminae and Animorphs are the only ones I can even think of. You have some really good points here, and I especially agree about learning from history. I do always enjoy stories that force us to put in perspective how people are/have been treated.

  13. I have a lot of first contact stories on my TBR, but it’s been a while since I’ve read any of them. You’re right, though: they say a lot more about us. Sometimes the results make me sad. Luckily there are hopeful ones, too.

  14. Love, love, love #4 and #6!

    I just finished an arc that ended, out of the blue, with first contact and it was fantastic! These reasons are definitely a reason to put more first contact stories on my TBR list!

  15. I agree. There are so many topics for which I could create a list based on today’s topic! I especially love that you mention first contact stories stretch the imagination and are thought provoking. The best reads do both of these things.

  16. Love the topic you chose for this week! I haven’t read that many first contact stories, but always thought it was an interesting idea.

    • Thank you!

      Here are some good ones.

      “Contact” by Carl Sagan (the film based on it was really good, too)

      “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (the excellent film Arrival is based on this novella)

      “Dawn” by Octavia E. Butler

      “Anathem”by Neal Stephenson

      “The Sparrow” by Mary Dory Russell (although this one is graphic in places)

  17. I’ve probably only read 2 books about First Contact with Aliens and oh my gosh I need to fix that!
    I absolutely love the idea (and extreme likelihood) of there being life beyond our own perception (excluding the existential crisis that comes with thinking about it 😂) so reading about them – and about our own society’s response to them would be both entertaining and interesting!
    And also, I love that GIF and I also love that show! 😂 It’s amazing how many historical events can be summed up as “it was the aliens” and still make sense. 😂

    Amazing post as always!! Happy Reading!! <3

  18. I can honestly say that I haven’t read any first contact stories. I do believe I’m going to have to explore this genre a little more. I would imagine the social commentary to be out of this world. 🤦‍♀️ Bad pun/joke.

  19. Ohhh, now this TTT makes me want to read more SciFi! I usually watch it more than read it. However, I love dystopian fiction. So, I may need to try more out. Love seeing everyone’s responses, too!

  20. You really made me smile with your post after a long and very unpleasant day. Thank you for that. Your post reminded me of ET. The friendliest and most wonderful alien I´ve ever seen. So thank you for that. Happy reading and stay safe and well!

  21. It was totally the alienS! That GIF is awesome! Thank you for this list — i used to read heaps of this genre ages ago and you’ve reminded me how much fun the genre is!

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