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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,957
# 30
02-27-2013, 10:02 PM
Originally Posted by janusforbeare View Post
Every time I see people talking about sexy aliens I just have to shake my head. I mean, you can get terminal diseases from relations with a human partner. How much worse would it be with someone crawling with alien bacteria to which we have no natural immunities?

In fact, that would be my biggest concern. Disease would almost certainly hit the planet on an unprecedented, pandemic level. Even if both sides took all possible precautions, the danger of contamination would always exist. There are other dangers, sure. Political instability, culture shock, communication mishaps leading to violence, advanced technology finding its way into the wrong hands... but disease would be the biggest problem by far.
Actually, in his Sector General stories, James White makes a convincing case that alien bacteria wouldn't even be able to infect us. I mean, you can't get tobacco-leaf mold, and the tobacco plant is far more closely related to you (coming, after all, from the same evolutionary tree) than, say, T'Pol. What are the odds that the alien bacteria would even recognize you as something infectable?

Viruses might be a worry, eventually - but first random mutation would have to hand an alien virus the ability to interface with a terrestrial cell, which seems improbable on the face of it, and would at the very least take so long that we'd likely have gotten the secret of curing Alien Tobacco-Leaf Mold in infected Terrans...

Then again, in his classic essay, "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex", Larry Niven points out the unlikelihood of a human ever getting it on with an alien. Who knows what cues the aliens use for sexual attraction, assuming they experience it at all? Perhaps they require a specific pheromone, which obviously no life form on Earth produces. As Niven put it, "We can speculate that LL smells wrong to Kal-El somehow, more like a Terrestrial monkey than a Kryptonian woman."

(For that matter, as the alien cyborg Mickey Finn pointed out to Mary Callahan in one of Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Place" stories, the sexual organs might not even be compatible. Of course, Mary's reply was, "I can see fingers and a tongue from here - anything else is gravy.")
Originally Posted by hfmudd
You are special, you are unique, and you are passionate. You are also insignificant. Get used to it.

Last edited by jonsills; 02-27-2013 at 10:07 PM.