science fiction bookFavorite Aliens in Science Fiction Books

It might not immediately spring to mind, but one of the most classic, memorable aliens in a science fiction book is Jeriba

the self-reproducing hermaphrodite alien from Barry Longyear’s Enemy Mine, which was made into an excellent movie starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. as Jeriba or Jerry.  What made Jerry so memorable?  He/she was seen through the eyes of Will, his human opponent and eventual friend – what today we call a “frenemy.”

Cuteness is another favorite theme among literary aliens. Little Fuzzy and his fellow Fuzzies are among the top alien favorites in science fiction books.  H. Beam Piper’s original Little Fuzzy novel and other stories tell the tale of human interaction with these adorable forest creatures.

The opposite of cuteness is repulsion, and it would be hard to not feel repulsed by the appearance of the spiderlike alien Hollus from top Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer’s award-winning science fiction book Calculating God.  In the course of telling a gripping story, Sawyer uses alien paleontologist Hollus to ask the reader to consider the nature of God, the universe, and the survival of life itself.

Larry Niven: Top Inventor of Aliens in Science Fiction Books

Classic science fiction book author Larry Niven is a one-man alien factory.  Niven might just be the best alien inventor of all time, as he is responsible for the unforgettable, cowardly Pierson’s Puppeteers (centaur-like beings with their mouths in their “hands”) and the equally unforgettable fierce, massive felines, the Kzinti.  Those who love classic science fiction with adventure, amazing concepts, and alien-human conflict can’t go wrong with Niven’s Known Space series of science fiction books, as well as the Man-Kzin war stories.

Aliens in science fiction books go back to the very earliest examples of science fiction, including the “Moonites” from Lucian’s science fiction story about the moon from the 2nd Century ACE. Earth was threatened by the Martians from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, and saved by earthbound microbes. Wells’ cold, machine-bound Martian intelligences were very different from the lyrical, ancient and strange Martians of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles.

Humorous to Terrifying Aliens in Science Fiction Books

Some aliens have been very effectively used for humor, such as Douglas Adams’ Vogons from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe series (big green bureaucratic, pompous slugs).  A much more serious alien race is the Overlords, who look suspiciously like fallen angels, from science fiction book Grand Master Arthur C. Clark’s award-winning novel Childhood’s End.

One of the strangest aliens of all is the sentient planet from Stanislaw Lem’s classic novel Solaris. Another classic alien that is better-remembered from several scary film versions than from the original science fiction book is “The Thing” from Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, which was first published in 1938 in classic science fiction magazine Astounding Stories.

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