That of “close encounters of the third kind” and “unidentified flying objects” (ie U̳F̳O̳, from the English “Unidentified Flying Objects”), is a world to be explored also in terms of pop culture, both of the last century and of the current: e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s, their origin, their habits and science fiction in general represent an extremely interesting topic for the production of contents intended for entertainment, cinema, literature and even music. Whether it is realistic approaches or completely imaginative inspirations, in fact, the mysteries of a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s and the imagery associated with them are always a stimulating theme and full of quotes and tributes: here are some of the most significant examples in each of these sectors.
E̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s̳ and literature: from the 19th century to today
You cannot start talking about e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s and a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s without starting from the literature, both as regards the international and the Italian one: in fact both are full of books and characters inspired by other planets and realities, able to fascinate thanks to all the points questions they are able to ask and all the answers they are able to provide to the reader. Among the great classics of the genre it is impossible not to mention the first works on these themes, such as “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells which dates back to 1898, or “A Martian Odyssey” by Stanley G. Weinbaum from 1934; subsequently, with the arrival of the 1950s, the boom in science fiction and the advent of the Cold War, the subject of e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s and their missions on Earth was completely cleared of customs and the literary production on the subject exploded, reaching up to contemporary titles such as Isaac Asimov\’s “Nemesis” (1989), on the colonization of space “on our part”, or the ironic and unpredictable cycle on Ibs of “The Hitchhiker\’s Guide to the Galaxy” (1979). As for national literature, however, the most interesting titles are found in fiction and non-fiction: in the first case stands out “Palomar”, the famous novel by Italo Calvino from 1983 which investigates the themes of the universe and infinity, while in the second, the whole series of works dedicated to space such as “The sky around us” (2012) and “Is there anyone out there?” (2013), both books published by the well-known astrophysicist Margherita Hack.
A̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s in the Cinema: Positive and Negative Representations
The entertainment sector is also very reactive and pays a lot of attention to the subject of e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳ creatures and other worlds compared to what we inhabit and “know”. One of the areas most interested in a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s and space is undoubtedly that of cinema: there is no shortage of plausible narratives, such as those of the cult films “E. T. the extra-terrestrial “(1982) by Steven Spielberg, in which the protagonist is a harmless a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ who is easy to become attached to, and” Signs “(2002) by M. Night Shyamalan, in which e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s arrive on Earth with intentions that are anything but positive and are presented to the public in a realistic and credible way, through “truthful” amateur videos of crop circles and clips of news reports. The debate on the intentions and on the alleged belligerence or otherwise of the a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s is in fact a recurring theme of the narration involving e̳x̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳s: the most widespread interpretation, also a sign of the fear of the unknown and the unknown, is that of creatures intent on damaging the human being and his balance, as evidenced by the “A̳l̳i̳e̳n̳” saga, which began in 1979 and is still in progress today (the last chapter for now dates back to 2017 with the film “A̳l̳i̳e̳n̳: Covenant”), the trilogy of the sci-fi comedy of “Men in Black” (1997 – 2012) and Roland Emmerich\’s colossal “Independence Day” (1996).
The mysteries of space in entertainment: digital games, television series and music
Finally, digital gaming has also dedicated numerous tributes and quotes to these themes, such as the many slot machines available thanks to the Betway online casino inspired by the theme of space and spaceships: slots such as “Retro Galaxy”, “Stellar Portals” and “Astro Legends Lyra and Erion” are able to “transport” the player to a parallel universe, where they can experience unexpected adventures in spatial settings thanks to sophisticated graphics and game interfaces. The world of television series has seen numerous successful series such as “Roswell” (1999 – 2002), available on Amazon, “Star Trek” (whose saga began in 1966 and has come to the present day thanks to numerous spin offs like the one currently in progress, “Star Trek: Picard”) and probably the most famous of all those dedicated to unsolvable mysteries and U̳F̳O̳s, “X-Files”, available for purchase on DVD.it and broadcast from 1993 to 2002, in which the agents of \’FBI Dana Scully and Fox Mulder solve cases bordering on the paranormal. To conclude, it is impossible not to mention the impact that science fiction and a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳s have had on music: from the famous Ziggy Stardust, a̳l̳i̳e̳n̳ alter ego of singer David Bowie, star of the omonimo musical piece of 1972, to the song “Extraterrestre” by Eugenio Finardi of 1978.