SFRPG

The forum for Science Fiction Role Playing Game inspiration and information! So Say We All!
It is currently Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:00 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:35 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:25 am
Posts: 338
Location: Leamington, UK
I always find it odd when the Enterprise warps into a system, contacts the nearest habitable planet and within literally seconds gets to talk to the head of state for the entire planet. I always wonder what it would actually take to set that up. This in turn made me wonder how discoverers of a new civilisation would initiate first contact. Where would you land? Who would you try and talk to. For example, if you were an alien arriving at 21st century Earth, what do you do? Send out a radio message to all peoples of the Earth? Land somewhere? If so, where? The Whitehouse lawn? The Kremlin?
Once you've made contact, who would you speak to? The heads of state of all countries of the world? Just the biggest ones?

How would you do it?


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:04 am 
Offline
Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:22 am
Posts: 5294
I think a direct "first contact" would be pretty foolish. First a visitor would be analysing the 'radio sphere' emitted by the civilisation, finding out what they're like. They'd be looking at cities from orbit, they'd probably send out satellites of their own to map and survey the planet (preferably without the inhabitants knowing). Then once they know what they're up against (a warlike culture? a balkanised world? a paranoid society? a unified peacful civilisation?) they'd actually decide whether it's worth contacting anyone on the planet at all.

And then maybe they'd buzz some redneck in the backwoods and mutilate some of the local livestock ;).

_________________
SFRPG Owner/Admin
This post (or any other post I made here) may not be quoted or copied beyond the SF RPG boards without my explicit permission.
Check out the latest news from Spica Publishing!
evildrganymede.net - visit the The Worldbuilding Hub, and check out my Science Blog!


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 3:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1038
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
First thing is to learn the language. I don't think that any language could be learned from radio broadcasts alone, and I'm pretty skeptical about TV, too. Besides, I suspect that broadcast TV is just a phase we're going through. The inhabitants of a system where we want to make contact might very possibly be too primitive or too advanced to broadcast TV.

A lot depends on what sort of alien I am. Is this a planet of hats where I can pass for local? Am I a race of green-skinned space-aliens? Rubber-forehead aliens? Starfish aliens? The more alien I am the more delicately I'm going to have to make contact.

I start with a survey from orbit, of course. I'm not 100% certain that I'm going to recognise what I need to recognise from up here. Large expanses of artificial light on the the night side are probably settlements, but absence of lights doesn't mean absence of inhabitants. Lots of radio transmission stations tell me that an area is inhabited, but again complete radio silence might mean desolation, low tech, or the use of waveguide communications. I don't know how I will conclusively distinguish, e.g. expanses of forest from plantations of high-tech perennial crops. I'd really like to be able to make out vehicles: how big they are, how fast they move. Anyway, collect data as long as circumstances allow and feed it to planetologists, biologists, geographers, and whatever experts I have.

Coming to 21st-Century Earth? I would certainly pick up the radio and TV broadcast noise some way out, but I think that resolving it into separate signals would actually be rather difficult. Sneaking is probably not practical, and I guess that sending a signal would make me look less threatening, so I'd do that. But I don't expect it to be understood, and I don't expect to get anything useful from the replies.

Lights on the dark side tell me where the centres of habitation are, or rather, where the rich people are. I spot a big city on a coast and scope it by daylight, looking for vehicles. I get supertankers and container ships pretty soon, large passenger jets a bit later. This gives me an idea of the level of technology. I think my geographers warn me that the very uneven pattern of development is a bad sign. I probably overestimate humans' vulnerability to heat; even so, Africa and most of Asia look like dangerous places to land: their under-development is most likely a result of warfare.

Then I pick a few spots for landings. I don't want them either in centres of population or near critical resources, for fear that they would look threatening. Which means that the Baltimore-Boston conurbation is out and so is any bright light in the middle of desert. I want places that are in the well-lit-at-night regions, but not in their vital spots: small cities like Geraldton, Western Australia or Christchurch, New Zealand that look big enough to have community colleges in them, but that are service hubs for agricultural districts, not centres of power, uranium mines, or vital transport nodes. And near these places I land remote-operated vehicles with cameras, microphones, speakers, and visual displays on them. I'd send several, as many as I had crews to operate.

And they'd say "Take me to your linguistics professor!"

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


Last edited by Agemegos on Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:46 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:41 am
Posts: 2149
Location: Yavne, Israel
EDG wrote:
And then maybe they'd buzz some redneck in the backwoods and mutilate some of the local livestock ;).

Well, we Reticulans deserve some good steak after all those years on Hydroponic produce, don't you think? And if that low-SOC rancher got in our way, he just tasted our microwave tazers... :mrgreen:

_________________
We are but a tiny candle flickering against the darkness of our times.

Stellagama Publishing - Visit our Blog, Den of the Lizard King


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 9:09 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:11 pm
Posts: 314
Location: Near Frankfurt, Germany
Golan2072 wrote:
EDG wrote:
And then maybe they'd buzz some redneck in the backwoods and mutilate some of the local livestock ;).

Well, we Reticulans deserve some good steak after all those years on Hydroponic produce, don't you think? And if that low-SOC rancher got in our way, he just tasted our microwave tazers... :mrgreen:


"Take me to your larder!"

_________________
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


Top
   
PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:25 am
Posts: 22
Location: Brisbane, Australia
My daughter just pointed out that the redneck buzzing cattle mutilators would be members of some prankster species. The first contact scenarios really need to cover the intentions of contactor and contactee.


Top
   
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:08 am
Posts: 3107
Location: Sonthofen / Germany
Agemegos wrote:
First thing is to learn the language. I don't think that any language could be learned from radio broadcasts alone, and I'm pretty skeptical about TV, too.

One would probably need a kind of "Rosetta Stone" which contains both universal concepts and
such concepts expressed in the local language - something like mathematics lessons on TV - to
become able to understand the basics of the local language.


Top
   
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:25 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1038
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
Yes — cue a reference to H. Beam Piper's Omnilingual. The problem might be to pick out Sesame St from all the swamp of broadcasts and recognise it as lessons in counting and arithmetic.

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited